Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches [Review and Contest]

Even though we are winding our way through August, it’s never the wrong time for ice cream. As a kid, I remember some families just having ice cream in the summer. We had ice cream year-round, and in the summer we had homemade ice cream! We had an old White Mountain crank ice cream maker that brought everybody in the neighborhood to our yard. Anybody who cranked would get some ice cream. That ice cream maker made school easier for me, too. When we had to give instructional speeches (horrifying!), it was the ice cream maker to the rescue. Neighbor kids would borrow it for their speech years, too.

We still enjoy ice cream, and homemade is still the best. When the publisher offered me a review copy of Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches, I jumped on it.  This nifty little book from Kris Holochek Peters focuses on the sandwich aspect… and sandwiches are near and dear to my heart, too. Although the book is on the slim side, it’s packed with variety. To start, Kris uses three ice cream bases throughout (soy, cashew, and coconut), which take on the creative flavors wonderfully. I know I’ve said it before, but I always go for the most basic recipe first. If you can do a good vanilla ice cream, my guess is you can do a good flavored ice cream. The Vanilla Soy Ice cream is paired with Classic Chocolate Cookies, and that’s where I started. I made these when it was hot earlier this summer and the melty photos weren’t very appetizing. The photo below is from the book, but I’ll bet mine (the simplest ones in the middle) tasted just as amazing as they look here. The chocolate cookies were soft and almost brownie-like, while the ice cream was sweetened just right.

Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches  From Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches Courtesy of Ulysses Press/Judi Swinks Photography

Next up was the Spiced Nut Ice Cream. I added peaches to this batch, which was a splurge because all the peaches in NE Ohio froze this year. Our peaches are now coming from the South and are a bit pricy. But as peach has always been my favorite, I had to give it a go. This recipe has a cashew-base  and was rich and felt very high fat, in a great way. We liked the ice cream so much, that it didn’t make it into sandwiches. Had it stuck around long enough, it would have been sandwiched between the Oat Crumble Cookies.

The book starts with a brief section on the basics, including ingredients and tools, then opens up to the recipes. The recipes range from traditional  to curious (Mouthful O’Midwest) to must makes (Root Beer Float Sandwiches and Tiramisu Sandwiches), all of which look tempting. The book is versatile, if you decide you have a preference for a certain base, stick to it and just adapt the flavoring components. The opportunities to mix and match the cookies and ice creams seems endless, too.

The bottom line: This is a fun and flavorful book.

The publisher has generously offered a book to one lucky reader. US shipping only.

Update: The winner is Aimee from New Hampshire! Thanks to all for entering. (Rafflecopter removed.)

Secret Ingredient Gazpacho

Thanks to the Cleveland Culinary Launch Kitchen, food-focused small businesses are booming in Cleveland. Each week, new products are hitting the streets, all fueled by passionate cooks. CCLK is home to businesses offering luscious small batch jams,  hand-shaped bagels, and even the best popsicles you’ll ever eat. One of our favorite recent finds has to be the sauerkraut from Cleveland Kraut.  It’s so good that I’ve been finding new ways to add it to our meals in unexpected ways, such as this Secret Ingredient Gazpacho.

For us, gazpacho is a summer staple. We devour it for lunch on it’s own, or pair it with a sandwich such as tempeh salad pockets or cucumber cream cheese sandwiches. As a kid, the only tomato-ey food that I’d eat was ketchup. How things have changed! These days, I can’t get enough of tomatoes.

Cleveland Kraut usually features 4 kinds of kraut: Classic Caraway,  Sweet Red, Curry, and our favorite, the Gnar Gnar. We like them all, but the garlic, sriracha, hot peppers, and leeks take the Gnar Gnar to an otherworldly wonderful. It’s the perfect choice to pack a punch to this gazpacho. For a quick and flavorful dinner, grill a field roast sausage, pop it in the bun, pile on the kraut, and douse it with barbecue sauce. We pick up our kraut at the North Union Farmer’s Market at Shaker Square.  Note that the kraut sometimes sells out, so you might want to make it your first stop at the market. We do.

The photo shows the Classic Caraway, as the Gnar Gnar is always the first one we run out of. Any sauerkraut will work in this, but finding locally made, organic kraut is sure to be worth any extra effort. Your tastebuds will thank you.


Secret Ingredient Gazpacho

Secret Ingredient Gazpacho

If you hadn’t just read the earlier part of this post, I’m willing to guess you’d never know what the secret ingredient is! Try it on your own family or friends and see if they can tell what brings instant umami to this quick and easy gazpacho.

1 (32-ounce) jar organic tomato juice

1 cup minced onion

3/4 cup minced, peeled cucumber

1 stalk celery, minced

1 (15-ounce can) fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1/2 cup drained sauerkraut, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke, or to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour for the flavors to meld. Taste and adjust the seasonings when serving.

Yield: 4 servings

Smoked Tofu Salad and Smoked Tofu and Mac Salad

It’s that time of year. The time when I hate to turn on the stove or oven. This tasty and unique tofu salad let’s you keep cool! Originally written for Grills Gone Vegan, the recipe got cut due to space.

Serve this cool and creamy salad  with a side of your favorite gazpacho for a very refreshing meal. Check back for my Surprise Ingredient Gazpacho recipe coming soon!

Smoked Tofu and Mac Salad

Smoked Tofu Salad

Quick and easy, this dish can be made in minutes, and still delivers on taste. Celery and radish give it a satisfying crunch, while the harissa and ume plum vinegar work wonders with the smoked tofu.  Try the variation below for a heartier version.

16 ounces smoked tofu, chopped
1/4 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons minced celery
1 tablespoon minced radish
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons vegan mayonniase
2 tablespoons prepared harissa
2 teaspoons ume plum vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. The salad may be served on top of green, in wraps or buns, or even in crisp iceberg lettuce leaves.

Yield: 4 servings


Smoked Tofu and Mac Salad

Make the tofu salad above, then take it to a whole other level with this variation.

1 cup dry elbow macaroni
1 to 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
4 cups mixed salad greens
4 cups chopped romaine
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 cup cherry tomato halves

Cook the macaroni in a pot of salted boiling water for 7 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water and drain again. Add the macaroni to the Smoked Tofu Salad, along with one tablespoon of the mayonnaise. Add another tablespoon of mayonnaise, if desired. Stir together.

In a large bowl, combine the salad greens  and the romaine. Divide evenly on plates. Top each plate with one cup of the tofu mixture. Arrange the peppers and tomatoes around the macaroni tofu salad.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Vegan Cleveland Rocks Zine!



Cleveland is getting more and more vegan-friendly. It’s kind of been a secret, but it’s time to shout it from the rooftops! Or course, part of the reason are the increasing options we have for food. Now it your chance to pick up this nifty zine of 14 recipes from the awesome restaurants, caterers, bakers, and confectioners’ of the Cleveland area. Here is what we’ve got for you:

and….Skillet-Grilled Mango-Blueberry Cobbler from Grills Gone Vegan.

Not only can you make these fantastic recipes at home – just like at some of your favorite eateries – but you will be helping two awesome groups at the same time. All profits will be divided between Mid-Ohio Animal Welfare League and Lasa  Sanctuary!

The zines are only $5 in person! If you are coming to the Cleveland VegFest, pick up your copy at the Lasa table in the vendor area. Can’t make it on  Saturday? We’ll mail you a copy in the US for a whopping total of $7. Check out our etsy page here!

While you’re at it, maybe you’d like to pick up raffle tickets for this quilt? It’s for the same two charities. The drawing will be in September. Tickets are $1/each or 6/$5.


We’re all in this together, and your help means the world to these animals. Thank you!

Corn Fritters with Tomato Thyme Gravy

Part of the fun of being a tester for a cookbook is getting the first crack at brand new recipes. In most cases, this is the first time anyone besides the author has tried them. That means the testers’ feedback is a huge barometer about how a recipe is going to be received when (and if) it comes out in a book. One of the downsides is having to keep the recipes secret… especially the ones you love. Enter Kelly, one of our recipe testers, who has raved about this recipe to her friends and online and really, really wanted to be able to share it. Here you go, Kelly! Thanks for loving it like you do! Thanks to Celine Steen for the photo.

This one is from Vegan Finger Foods.

Corn Fritters with Tomato Thyme Gravy

Corn Fritters with Tomato Thyme Gravy
Make Ahead
Quick and Easy

We like to serve these with Tomato Thyme Gravy, but if you’re short on time, just spike some vegan mayonnaise with hot sauce, and dip away! If you happen to have extra gravy, save it to pour over a tofu scramble, or use it as a dip with the Baked Frittata Minis.

For the fritters:
1/2 cup (60 g) garbanzo flour
1/4 cup (31 g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (15 g) fine cornmeal (not corn flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Generous pinch ground black pepper
1 cup (135 g) frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 tablespoons (14 g) finely grated carrot
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (4 g) minced chives, more for garnish, if desired
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened plain vegan milk, more if needed
High-heat neutral-flavored oil, for cooking

For the gravy:
1/2 cup (80 g) finely minced onion
2 tablespoons (16 g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 tablespoon (2 g) minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 can (15 ounces, or 425 g) diced tomatoes with juice, preferably no-salt added
3/4 cup (180 ml) tomato juice
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Frank’s Hot Sauce, or more, to taste
2 teaspoons liquid smoke

To make the fritters: Combine the flours, cornmeal, baking powder, spices, salt, and pepper in medium-size bowl. Whisk to combine. Stir in the corn, carrot, and chives, followed by the milk. The mixture will be sticky, but it should be shape-able. If not, add an additional tablespoon (15 ml) milk.

Pour a thin layer of oil in a large skillet. Heat over medium-high heat. Using a heaping tablespoon (20 g) of the mixture, shape into a small patty about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) across, and 1/2 to 3/4 inch (1.3 to 2 cm) thick. Put the fritters into the oil and cook until golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn the fritters over to cook the second side, 4 to 6 minutes.

Drain on a paper towel and serve with the gravy.

To make the gravy: Heat the onion, flour, oil, thyme, salt, and pepper in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring 3 to 4 minutes, until the flour is cooked. Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. The gravy may be made ahead, covered, and refrigerated for up to 48 hours. Heat over low heat to serve.

Yield: 16 to 18 fritters, 2 cups (470 ml) gravy

WAIT! Don’t go! the winner of Everyday Vegan Eats is #16, Carolyn! I’ll try to contact you, but please email me your mailing address if you see this! Congratulations!

More cool stuff coming soon. Check back!