Vegan Cooking Tips

Blender Meals
By Chef Nancy Berkoff, RD, EdD, CCE

Are you ever in such a rush that you don't have time to chew your food? Then, your blender may hold the answer to fast but tasty dining options.


Everyone should start the day off with a healthy meal, but you have better things to do than open cans, chop veggies, or measure in the midst of the morning rush! Instead, build a meal-in-a-cup the night before. Load the blender or food processor canister with fresh or frozen fruit, tofu, plain or fruit soy yogurt, applesauce, fruit juice... You get the picture. Combine in the blender canister, and leave it in the refrigerator over-night. Then, just blend away in the morning for a refreshing start to your day.

Lunch or Dinner

How about a hearty soup? Here are some ideas for mix-and-match soups made with ingredients from the pantry and/or refrigerator:

-Split Pea and Lentil
Add canned or leftover cooked lentils to canned vegan split pea soup and dilute according to package directions, using soft silken tofu for a really thick soup or soymilk for a slightly thinner soup. For a really creamy soup, purée all the ingredients. If you like, toss in some soy crumbles or chopped onions.
-Fast Tomato-Potato Chowder

Scoop leftover mashed potatoes into a blender. Add some pre-made vegan tomato soup, such as the asceptic 'boxed' vegan soups from Imagine and Pacific brands, and blend until smooth. Pour into a container or mug and add your ingredients of choice. For a spicy flavor, stir in salsa. If you like your soup chewy, add drained, canned mixed vegetables or sliced mushrooms. You can season with onion, garlic, or curry powder; white pepper; parsley flakes; or nutritional yeast.

To make a tomato-potato-corn chowder, add some canned creamed corn (which is non-dairy when it consists of smashed corn thickened with cornstarch) and some drained canned or leftover cooked corn to your tomato-potato chowder.

-Purée Mongole
This is a classic soup made from tomatoes and split peas. Combine canned vegan tomato soup and canned vegan split pea soup in a blender, and add soft silken tofu or soymilk for desired texture. If taking on the go, pour into a travel mug or canister. Otherwise, non-reactive serving bowls will work just fine. Then, add drained, canned diced tomatoes or some diced fresh tomatoes.
-Five-Bean Soup
A great way to use up those leftover beans! Add five types of cooked beans your choice to canned or thawed frozen vegetables or vegan minestrone soup and blend until the mixture is still just a bit chunky. If you like, add leftover cooked pasta to the soup after puréeing. Dilute with carrot juice or tomato juice.
-Black Bean Soup
Combine canned black beans with canned or thawed frozen vegetable soup. Add a small amount of soft silken tofu or vegan sour cream to start. (You can always add more as you go on!) Purée some of the soup and recombine with the portion that hasn't been puréed. Or purée the entire pot to achieve a smooth texture.
-Hot Gazpacho
Combine canned vegan tomato soup with prepared salsa. Dilute with tomato juice or vegetable cocktail juice. For seasoning, you can add lemon or lime juice, a small amount of vinegar, and onion and garlic powder for flavor.
-Cream of Green
Allow a package of frozen spinach to thaw, or use leftover chopped, cooked kale or collard greens. (This recipe does not work well with fresh spinach.) Drain the greens well and add to the blender. Add soft silken tofu, mashed potatoes, or vegan sour cream and purée. Season with garlic or onion powder or nutritional yeast. If you like, you can add in some shredded vegan cheddar cheese, which will melt and add texture when heated.
-Broccoli or Cauliflower Cheddar Soup
Another good way to use leftovers! Place cooked broccoli or cauliflower into a blender and then add mashed potatoes, soft silken tofu, or soymilk. Blend for a short time, but leave the mixture chunky. You may want to blend in some ripe avocado as well, if you like. For lunch, pour one of the thicker soups above into a microwave-safe mug or canister. Then, toss an apple or orange and a bag of pretzels into your lunch box, knapsack, or briefcase, and you've got a meal ready to heat and eat. As for dinner, just blend, heat, and serve!


If your mood is calling for sweet rather than savory, you can make a nutritious dessert or snack from any number of sweet ingredients that you have on hand. Here are some suggestions for tasty, blender-friendly combinations:

-Creamy Smooth
Fruit-flavored soy yogurt, rice milk, bananas, nutritional yeast, thawed orange juice concentrate, and drained canned apricots.
Fresh or frozen peaches, pineapple or orange juice, carrot juice, a splash of maple syrup, and a dash of ginger.
-Harvest Apple
Soft silken tofu or soy yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, thawed apple juice concentrate, rice milk, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
-Potassium Plus
Carrot juice, orange juice, half of a banana, drained canned pineapple tidbits, and vegan sour cream.
Orange juice, pineapple juice, sliced banana, frozen strawberries, and wheat germ.