Cream of Celery Soup

“Leave the dishes

Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator

and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.”

-Louise Erdrich, Advice to Myself 

At my old grocery store in Cambridge, I was able to buy celery by the stalk. I absolutely loved this, since I usually only needed a stalk or two for a soup or risotto. And despite Louise Erdrich’s advice, I hated having a huge head of celery in the bottom drawer.

But that was the situation I found myself in the other week (my current local grocery store only buys gargantuan heads of the vegetable). Celery gives a lovely note to soups, but I rarely give it the spotlight. I thought I’d give it a try and was delightfully surprised.

This soup uses an entire head of celery and is exactly what you’ll want to try the next time you are on the verge of a Louise Erdrich moment.  Raw cashews and cooked potato to add richness and body. It is flavored with onions, garlic, and dill.

Love and Celery,



P.S. Did you know you can regrow celery? This method really works! We now have little celery stalks growing on our windowsill (which will come in handy, since most of the time you really do only want one stalk).

Cream of Celery Soup

Yield: 6 servings

  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill
  • 1 head celery, chopped
  • 1 large, waxy potato, chopped
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a soup pot, add leek, garlic and oil over medium heat. Cook until the leeks become soft.
  2. Add the dill and celery and stir occasionally until everything is cooked through.
  3. Add the potato and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potato is soft, about 12 minutes.
  4. In a blender, add the cashews and a bit of the cooking liquid to form a cream. Transfer the remainder of the cooked ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Add salt and pepper, to taste.


Spinach and Artichoke Dip

When you think spinach and artichoke dip, you most likely imagine something warm and gooey, bubbling to the brim with cheese and mayonnaise. While that style of cooking has it’s place, this is a totally different kind of dip.

Think of this as a much more interesting version of hummus. It is cool, tangy and bright with a beautiful green hue from raw spinach. It goes perfectly with cold crudites or warm, toasted bread, or slathered on a sandwich.

This is an incredibly easy and impressive spread to have on hand as the more languid summer days become distant memory and the weather works to figure out how soon to cool off. This dip is good with warm or cool accompaniments and takes a mere 5 minutes to throw together (if you soak your cashews, that does extend the total time, but adds a mere few seconds of effort).

Love and Dips,



Spinach and Artichoke Dip
  • 6 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 cup spinach, raw
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the liquid.
  2. In a food processor, combine all ingredients until a smooth paste forms. If you need a little extra liquid to thin it out, use some extra olive oil or the artichoke juice.


Whipped Truffle Mash

Is it just me, or do you also occasionally just want a giant pile of mashed potatoes for dinner?  If so, this is your dish.  It’s steamed vegetables whipped in a food processor with a heavy drizzle of truffle oil until it becomes a silky smooth pillow of plant powered goodness.

This is an amazingly fast, versatile and delicious vegetable mash.  Since most of us are used to the pale, creamy color of mashed potatoes, I’ve used cauliflower and turnips in this recipe.  But you could truly use any starchy vegetable:  celeriac, jerusalem artichoke, sweet potatoes, etc.

Love and Comfort,



Whipped Truffle Mash
  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 large turnip, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons truffle oil
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Steam the cauliflower and turnip until they are soft and easily pierced with a fork.
  2. Transfer your steamed veggies to the food processor. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and blend until silky smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides a few times in order to blend everything thoroughly.
  3. Serve immediately.

Mushroom Pâté

I love French food.  I had the amazing fortune to study abroad in Aix en Provence, and find myself returning again and again to this beautiful country.  I am captivated by their culture, especially their food culture.   Meals are transcendental celebrations that synergistically elevate ingredients into sublime territory.

But French food is not always vegan friendly.  Let’s talk about pâté.  It’s a rich, spreadable meat paste.  What makes it delicious is the savory, fatty richness of the whole thing.   It’s easy to replicate this with plant ingredients.

This pâté has all of the savory richness of the traditional recipe with none of the harm.  Walnuts provide richness, lentils provide body, and mushrooms provide umami.  Whizz them all up in the blender with a few spices and you have a delicious, spreadable French treat.  Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy!




Mushroom Pate

Yield: 4 cups

Adapted from David Lebovitz's Faux Gras

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion peeled and diced
  • 10 ounces white button mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbs de provence
  • 1/4 cup port wine (or other red wine)
  • 2 cups cooked green lentils
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and sautee until caramelized. Add the mushrooms, garlic and herbs and cook, stirring occasionally until they are starting to stick to the pan. Deglaze with the port wine. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together lentils, walnuts, lemon juice, tamari, sugar , cayenne and remaining oil until smooth. Add the mushrooms and continue processing until smooth. Taste and season accordingly.
  3. Transfer to mixture to small ramekins. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


For a nut allergy, use sunflower seeds in place of walnuts.

For a soy-free option, omit the tamari and replace with sea salt.



A couple of years ago, Eric and I decided to invent our own holiday.  As best as I can remember, we were talking about what to do for Halloween.  

Suddenly, Eric says “Octuberfest.”  

“Octoberfest?” I ask. 

“Octuberfest,” he clarifies.  “The celebration of eight potatoes.” 

From there we were off.  The idea of throwing a party to celebrate potatoes was right up my alley, and before we knew it we were crafting an invitation, planning menus, and carving potato lanterns.

This year, we are throwing an Octuberfest celebration in our tiny New York apartment.  When you cram a bunch of people into a small room, they want cool food and drinks.  Vichyssoise is the perfect thing for such a party- a cool, creamy, chilled potato soup.

Vichyssoise is French and is traditionally made with lots of butter and cream.  This vegan version is just as rich and decadent, minus any animal products.

Love and Happy Octuberfest,

Amanda Signature




Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup raw cashes, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
  • 6 leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 large golden potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh chives, for garnish
  1. In a blender, combine soaked cashews with 1 cup of vegetable stock. Blend until the cashews are totally smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy bottom pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until soft and tender, but not brown. Add potatoes and cook for a minute or two.
  3. Add the blended cashews and remaining vegetable stock to the pot. Simmer for about 30 minute, until potatoes and leeks are very soft.
  4. Transfer soup to a blender. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Blend until totally smooth.
  5. Allow the soup to come to room temperature before chilling in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  6. To serve, garnish with chives.



A few weekends ago, Eric and I went to Governor’s Island for a Unicycle Festival.  We discovered the festival around 11:48am on a Saturday, and the festival began at 1pm.  Now, usually I am a snob about jarred peppers.  But we had some on hand, and I wanted to quickly whip up a picnic lunch so we could get on our way.  I threw everything in the blender, grabbed some bread and a few cut up veggies, and we were on our way.

The Unicycle Festival turned out to be disappointingly tiny, but the dip was delicious!  And given how ludicrously simple it was to make, I have since been persuaded to change my snobbish ways.

This makes a delicious accompaniment to the Chesapeake Cakes, but it’s also a fantastic picnic or party dip.

Love and Jarred Peppers,

Amanda Signature



  • 1 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon date syrup or other sweetener
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender of food processor. Blend until completely smooth.


For a gluten-free diet, use gluten-free breadcrumbs.

For a Paleo diet, omit the breadcrumbs entirely and increase the walnuts by 1/2 cup.

For a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet, omit the olive oil.

For the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, omit the date syrup.

Chesapeake Cakes


I was a seafood fiend when I was little.  One of my mother’s favorite stories to tell is about the time I ordered Oysters Benedict off an adult menu when I was barely past toddlerhood.  I grew up in Virginia, not too far from the Chesapeake Bay, where seafood was abundant.  And crabs were particularly plentiful.

But crabs, particularly Blue Crabs, have been under threat lately in the Chesapeake Bay.  According to The Chesapeake Bay Program, blue crabs are particularly “vulnerable to pollution, habitat loss, and harvest pressure.”

Lucky for us, we have artichokes.  Yes, artichokes.  If you pulse up a combination of artichokes and hearts of palm in the food processor, mix with a few spices and a bit of seaweed, and fry them up, they taste remarkably like crab cakes!  Serve over a healthy dollop of Muhammara (recipe coming next time), and you have a delicious, extravagant appetizer or light supper.

But why would you want to make crab cakes without the crab?  Because it’s not really the crab you’re after.  It’s that taste of the ocean, the richness of ingredients, and the familiarity of the flavor and texture.  All of this can be achieved, without causing any harm to the environment.  If this former seafood fiend can find satisfaction in a plant based party cake, I know you’ll love it, too.

Love and Crab Cakes,

Amanda Signature



Chesapeake Cakes

Yield: 6 patties

Serving Size: 1-2 patties

Adapted from Chad Sarno's Hearts of Palm "Crab" Cakes

  • 1 sheet nori
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 can hearts of palm, drained
  • 1/3 cup oil, for frying
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup celery, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced
  • 3 tablespoons vegan mayo (ex: Just Mayo)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • fresh black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  1. Toast the nori by holding it about 8 inches over an open flame and turning it until it becomes dry. Crumble the toasted nori into a spice grinder and grind until a fine powder forms. Set aside.
  2. Place the artichoke hearts and hearts of palm on a clean dish towel and press to remove any excess liquid. Place in a food processor and pulse a few times. Be careful not to over process. You want the pieces to resemble lump crab meat.
  3. In a small pan, saute onion, celery and jalapeno in about a teaspoon of oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine nori, sauteed vegetables, mayo, Old Bay, nutritional yeast, sugar, cornstarch and black pepper.
  5. Gently fold in the artichoke hearts and hearts of palm until thoroughly incorporated.
  6. Chill the mixture for at least 1 hour.
  7. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the mixture and form into a patty. Dredge in the breadcrumbs until coated. Place the breadcrumbed patties on a tray and chill an additional hour.
  8. When you're ready to fry, heat the remaining oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. Toss a few breadcrumbs into the oil. When they sizzle and turn golden brown, you're ready. Gently lower the patties into the oil and cook until the edges turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip and allow to cook an additional 3 minutes on the second side. Remove from the oil and set in a warm oven until ready to serve.


For a gluten-free diet, use gluten-free breadcrumbs of pulse up gluten free crackers in a food processors until a breadcrumb like consistency is reached.

For a soy-free diet, use a soy-free vegan mayo.


All Vegetable Sushi


I just don’t understand how people survived without air conditioning.  I really don’t.  Our little window unit struggles to keep our tiny NYC apartment cool enough to be tolerable.  And it is definitely not strong enough to combat the added heat of the stove.

My mission this summer has been to create meals that require absolutely no added heat.  No stove, no oven, not even a toaster oven.  I want food that is cool and hydrating.  That means we’ve been eating lots of smoothies, hummus, tapenades, and ice cream.

Raw food cuisine is also perfect for this kind of weather.  Personally, raw food as a dogma is not my thing.  It’s simply not true that raw fruits and vegetables are better than cooked fruits and vegetables.  We need both.  But I really appreciate raw foods innovative and creative approach to ingredients, and I am grateful for the source of inspiration!

This sushi recipe is totally raw.  The rice isn’t rice- it’s a mixture of white vegetables, almonds, ume vinegar, agave nectar, and fresh ginger.  It’s surprisingly delicious!   Of course, the fillings can be whatever you like.  I love avocado and cucumber.  You could throw in some smoked tofu, sundried tomatoes, julienned beets.  Really, anything you want or anything you have on hand.

This recipe is super flexible, allergy friendly, whole foods based, and gluten-free!  I hope it helps keep you cool during these sweltering summer days.

Love and sushi,

Amanda Signature



All Vegetable Sushi
  • 6 cups white vegetables (daikon, cauliflower, jicama, white carrot)
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon ume vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons agave of other liquid sweetener
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 10 sheets toasted nori
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 carrot, jullienned
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 3 inch pieces
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • Warm water
  1. In a food processor, pulse white vegetables until they break down into pieces the size or rice.
  2. Pulse the almond flour, vinegar, agave, and ginger into the white vegetable rice until eventy distributed.
  3. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a clean dish towel or fine mesh cheese cloth. Squeeze some of the liquid out of the rice. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Lay a piece of toasted nori with the shiny side facing down on a sushi mat or piece of cling film.
  5. Press 1/2-3/4 cup vegetable rice onto the sheet of nori. The vegetables should be pressed firmly into the nori, so that they stick together. It should be an even layer, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick, which covers about 3/4 of the sheet of nori. Leave 1/4 of the nori untouched.
  6. Lay slices of your vegetables parallel to the edge of the nori in a single line. Be sure not to overstuff!
  7. You are ready to wrap the sushi. Brush a bit of warm water on the exposed 1/4 of the nori sheet. This will allow it to adhere to the roll.
  8. Using your sushi mat or cling film, begin to roll the sushi in a tight, even log. Be sure to press along the way. Once you reach the end of the nori, press the damp edge into the log to seal it. Give the whole sushi a firm squeeze to compress the vegetables together.
  9. Using a serated knife, cut the sushi into bite sized pieces. Serve with soy sauce.


For a nut allergy, replace the almonds with ground sunflower seeds.

The Starters, Sides and Savory Spreads Chapter

Whipped Avocado and Radish-1

This was my catch all category of delicious and colorful little nibbles.  I love all the chapters, but this one may be my favorite.  Because this is my favorite way to eat- easy, fresh, fast.  I can (and do) often make a meal out of just the sorts of bites in this chapter.  They include:

arugula salad with sherry maple vinaigrette

kale caesar salad

roasted beet, avocado + grapefruit salad

orange + olive salad

mango ceviche

kalamata olive + black fig tapenade

cilantro pumpkin seed pesto


arugula pistachio pesto

sweet potato hummus

french radish and whipped avocado

hasselback beets with lime

zucchini involtini

sicilian cauliflower

roasted brussel sprouts + carrots with tahini miso vinaigrette

truffled chickpea + cauliflower mash


Here it is:  The Starters, Sides & Savory Spreads chapter.  I hope you enjoy it!

Love and Side Dishes,

Amanda Signature

The Soup Chapter

Granny's Black Bean Soup (1)

When I was in second grade, we did a unit on Stone Soup.  Do you remember this story? A few travellers arrive in a village with nothing more than a soup pot.  They fill the pot with soup from a stream and plunk a stone into it.  As the villagers walk by, each contributes what they have to the soup- a few carrots, a potato, an onion.  By the end of the story they’ve come together to create a delicious meal for the whole town.

I want to pause here and offer thanks to everyone who threw their spare time, energy, and talents into my soup chapter.  Thank you to my dear friend Chris for his gorgeous photographs (his work is featured above), Meaghan for her tireless testing, and Frankie for her generous editing.  I think we made one delicious chapter together!

This chapter features:

Watermelon Gazpacho

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque  

Asparagus Soup  

Spicy Carrot Soup with Cilantro Pumpkin Seed Pesto Toast

Granny’s Black Bean Soup

Japanese Yam Soup


So here it is: The Soup Chapter

Love and Soup,

Amanda Signature