Chef Fran Costigan

Salad Samurai Recipe and Giveaway

Salad Samurai

Award-winning chef and Veganomicon coauthor Terry Hope Romero knows her veggies. In Salad Samurai, she’s back to teach you the way of the veggie warrior, rescuing salads from their bland, boring reputation and “side” status with more than 100 vibrant, filling entrees. This is our guide to real salads:  a hearty base, a zesty dressing, and loads of terrific tasting toppings. Based on whole food ingredients and seasonal produce, Terry’s versatile meatless, dairy-free dishes are organized by season so you’ll have  a full year of memorable meals Salad rocks my world every season, even during the coldest days of winter and Terry has given me many more choices.  Produce is seasonal, so it makes total sense to organize salad recipes by season. I don’t like seeing  butternut squash salads on menus in in the middle of July, do you? And I’m not ready for so called dishes featuring watermelmelon in deep winter.

With so many vegan and plant-centric cookbooks on the market today, Salad Samurai is definitely a standout in the bunch. The book is well-designed and organized logically, and filled with I-have-to-make-this kind of photographs. The creative recipes read delicious and easy to make.  Terry begins the book with important basics, such as meal planning, recommended kitchen equipment, how to press tofu, and a glossary of ingredients that might not be familiar to the vegan newbie. The first chapters are where you will find the dressings and salad toppers, which include marinated tofu, homemade croutons, and even a hemp seed parmesan.

I have a copy of this gorgeous cookbook to send to one lucky winner. Enter the giveaway, which you will find after the recipe. Believe me, if you don’t already have a copy, you want one. If you do have a copy, enter anyway and give it to a person you love.

You can see Terry at Vida Vegan Con in May… and me too.


Asparagus Pad Thai Salad

Asparagus Pad Thai Salad

Serves: 2

Time: 45 minutes

Put down that wok and pick up a veggie peeler for this fusion of raw culinary technique (shredding asparagus or zucchini into “noodles”), cooked rice noodles, and a dressing of caramelized shallots for a lighter, veggie-loaded twist on that beloved Thai noodle dish.

Pad Thai Salad

  • 4 ounces Pad Thai rice noodles
  • 12 pound asparagus
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts, washed and dried
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh Thai or sweet basil leaves, chiffonaded
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 2 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 recipe Lemongrass Tofu (page 43)
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely ground
  • Lime wedges and Sriracha, for serving

Toasted Shallot Dressing

  • 14 cup minced shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 14 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or organic brown sugar, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more for serving


  1. Boil the rice noodles according to package directions and cook only until al dente (1 or 2 minutes less than directed). Drain, rinse with cold water, and cover with cold water until ready to use.
  2. Wash and trim the tough stem ends from the asparagus. Trim the heads from the asparagus and set aside. Use a Y-shaped peeler to shred the asparagus stalks into long ribbons and slice into thin strips the remaining pieces that are too awkward to shred. Transfer the asparagus ribbons to a mixing bowl and add the mung bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, and scallions.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, fry the shallots, garlic, ginger, and oil until the shallots are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus tips, sauté 1 minute, remove from the heat, and cool for 2 minutes. Transfer the asparagus tip mixture to the bowl with the ribbons. Drain the rice noodles and add to the asparagus salad.
  4. Whisk together the lime juice, sugar, tamarind, and soy sauce and pour over the salad. Toss to coat everything with dressing. Mound the salad in serving bowls and garnish with strips of Lemongrass Tofu and sprinkle with peanuts. Devour, but graciously offer wedges of lime, Sriracha, a small dish of coconut sugar, and soy sauce for dining companions to season their own dish to taste.

Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai

Replace the rice noodles with homemade zucchini or yellow summer squash noodles for an even lighter dish. You’ll need a little more than 12 pound of squash. Use the Y-shaped peeler to create long, thin strands similar to the asparagus “noodles” for the above salad. Proceed as directed.

Plan ahead like a samurai: prepare the Lemongrass Tofu a day in advance and heat up just before serving.


From Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014

I have a copy of Salad Samurai for one lucky reader. Follow the instructions below to enter. U.S. and Canadian residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight eastern time on April 19, 2015. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you liked this post, please share it.

Cinnamon Walnut Un-Coffeecake

Cinnamon Walnut Un-Coffeecake

Cinnamon Walnut Un-Coffeecake

Today is National Coffee Cake Day, so I’m sharing the award-winning recipe, Cinnamon Walnut Un-Coffee Cake from my book More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally. As a coffee drinker I don’t know why the Un.. but the cake won me a job as a pastry chef at New York’s famed Angelica Kitchen. It won another vegan a blue ribbon/first prize in coffeecake category at a fair in “cowboy’ country” (her label).  Smartly, the baker did not label the cake vegan. The judges flipped out, and I was told, they ate the crumbs on the plate.  While the cake stays fresh tasting for up to three days, you just try to keep it around that long. The recipe makes a big cake bakers have have shared with me photos of the individual ones they serve for holiday brunches. Pictured here are cakes by Danette in LA.


Photo from Kate Lewis from my book Vegan Chocolate

Photo from Kate Lewis from my book Vegan Chocolate

Another delicious choice for National Coffee Cake day is the Chocolate Pecan Cranberry Coffee Cake from my more recent book Vegan Chocolate.


Cinnamon Walnut Un-Coffeecake

Cinnamon Walnut Un-Coffeecake


Cinnamon Walnut Un-Coffeecake

Yield: one large 9-inch cake (12 or more servings)


  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted (see page 23), cooled, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup organic granulated sugar,  maple sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic dark whole cane sugar (Such as Sucant)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons mild tasting extra virgin olive oil or another neutral oil


  • 1 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons organic granulated sugar
  • 11⁄2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon fine seasalt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄4 cup mild tasting extra virgin olive oil or another neutral oil
  • 3⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, dark grade
  • 3⁄4 cup any nondairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


  1. To make the filling, mix the walnuts, granulated sugar, dark whole cane sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir in 21⁄2 tablespoons of the oil. The nuts should be damp, but not wet. Add the remaining oil, if necessary.
  2. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 x 3-inch-deep springform pan, and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit.
  3. To make the cake, place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the pastry flour, white flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg to the strainer. Whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. Stir with a wire whisk to distribute the ingredients.
  4. Combine the oil, maple syrup, nondairy milk, vanilla and almond extracts, and vinegar in a separate medium bowl, and whisk until well blended. Pour into the dry mixture and stir with a whisk until the batter is smooth.
  5. Pour half the batter into the prepared cake pan and sprinkle with half the sweet nuts. Pour the remaining batter over the nuts, using a small spatula or thin knife to spread, if necessary. Sprinkle the batter evenly with the remaining nuts.
  6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or longer, until the cake is golden and firm at the center when touched gently, and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs.
  7. Place the pan on a wire rack and run a thin knife around the inside of the pan to release the cake. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove the outside ring of the pan. Cool completely on the rack before cutting.


Recipe from More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally, by Fran Costigan (Book Publishing Company, 2006)

If you liked this post, please share it.

Vegan Chocolate Dessert Recipes for Passover and Easter

Chocolate Recipes for Easter and Passover
I grew up in  Jewish home and Passover was always a favorite holiday. Our family was large when I was young and we went to my Grandma Ida and Grandpa Joe’s apartment in Brooklyn of the magic expanding table no matter what. For years, my girl cousins were miffed at me since as the oldest, I was seated at the grownups table, not the childrens table. Times changed

For Passover

Dukkah-Spiced Chocolate–Covered Matzoh

Dukkah-Spiced Chocolate–Covered MatzohRecently, I went dukkah mad, and that madness led to the creation of this dish. Dukkah is an Egyptian spice blend made with nuts, cumin, sesame, coriander, fennel seeds, pepper berries, salt, some dried herbs, and chili pepper. The ingredients are lightly toasted and ground into a powder and make a divine dust for bread dipped in olive oil. During my dukkah delirium, I made batch after batch with different combinations of spices and nuts. I still had jars of them when my daughter asked me to make matzoh toffee for a Chanukah party. I spied the dukkah and thought, “Why not something different?” I slathered the matzoh with olive oil–enhanced Ganache Glaze, and finished with a shower of dukkah. The pieces were quickly devoured.

The recipe can be found here:

For Passover and Easter

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate Dipped Coconut MacaroonsThis is a delicious, preservative-free version of that canned cookie that appears on virtually every Seder table. These macaroons are too good to eat only on Passover, and you certainly don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy them.

The recipe can be found here:


Raw Chocolate Fudge and Mandarin Orange Tart 

Chocolate Tart 3Raw chocolate fillings often taste like date paste–flavored cocoa (to me anyway). While that can be fine, is certainly not a rich and silken chocolate fudge. This filling is different. Luxuriously smooth and definitely chocolate, I’m betting that whether or not you are a raw enthusiast, this recipe will find its way into your file of favorite chocolate fillings. The filling can be spread into the baked Almond Cookie Crust, too, for a change of pace, and Dutch-process cocoa can be used. It won’t be a raw recipe, but it will be very good.

The recipe can be found here:



MendiantsMendiants are a French confection, composed of  nuts and dried or candied fruits strewn on disks of melted chocolate. They look beautiful but can be time-consuming and tricky to make when using tempered chocolate and candying the nuts. I made a simpler version by using leftover ingredients. Melted chocolate left from a recipe test? Check. Walnuts or pine nuts? Yes. Four squares of candied ginger, a handful of dried cranberries . . . you get the idea. This is probably heresy but it works, so be creative. By the way, traditionally the nuts and fruits were chosen to represent the four monastic orders, or mendicants, of the church.

The recipe can be found here:


Chocolate Orange Sesame Truffles

Chocolate Orange Sesame TrufflesThe liquid in this unusual, slightly chewy chocolate truffle is made by cooking fresh orange juice and finely minced orange zest with tahini (sesame seed paste) and agave syrup. While this truffle ganache is not perfectly smooth, the truffles taste very creamy, and the coating of lightly toasted sesame seeds provides color and crunch.

The recipe can be found here:


For Easter

Chocolate, Orange, and Almond Olive Oil Cake

Chocolate Orange and Almond Olive Oil CakeIf you have ground almonds in your freezer, this cake takes almost no time to prep. (If youdon’t it’s fast anyway.) But don’t rush the baking and final steps: it is important to bake the cake until it is dark golden-brown for the best texture, and to sprinkle a layer of chopped almonds on the serving plate so that the bottom of the cake doesn’t stick to the plate.

The recipe can be found here:


You can find many more recipes for Passover on and on Real Responsible Eating and Living. Think vegan Matzoh Balls and even Gefilte Fish!

Friends, I LOVE comments so please do!

What will you be cooking for Passover and/or Easter this weekend?

Do you play around with tradition or do you cook versions of the food served around your family table?

Do you have one food that you must have in order for you to “feel” the holiday?


Dukkah-Spiced Chocolate–Covered Matzoh, Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroon, and Raw Chocolate Fudge and Mandarin Orange Tart  photos by Hannah Kaminsky.

Mendiants, Chocolate Orange Sesame Truffles, and Chocolate, Orange, and Almond Olive Oil Cake photos by Kate Lewis.

If you liked this post, please share it.
When: April 25, 2015 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Do you still have questions about the best way to transition to a plant-based lifestyle? Excited about tapping into the power of plant-based and yet discouraged by the day-to-day challenges? Join us at our star-studded event and you will: Get…