In the movie Year of the Dog, the lead character Peggy, played by the incredible Molly Shannon, turns into an animal rights activist- and a vegan- after the unexpected death of her beloved dog. Peggy, a lonely woman, is used to pleasing her colleagues with treats like donuts every morning. But when the treats become vegan, no one wants them anymore. In fact, they turn away before even tasting them when they hear the V word.
As a vegan, I often run into such skepticism from people I’ve just met, who believe I must surely live on salads alone. As for sweets, there are not many out there who believe it is possible to cook amazing sweets without eggs and dairy products.
Here’s a news flash. I was an omnivore just a few years back, as were most vegans at some point in their lives, and we do know what your food tastes like. And not many of us would dream of settling for food that’s sub-delicious. In fact, this belief that vegans, somehow, sacrifice taste for their beliefs or health and settle for barely-edible food is not just an annoying one but also one that smacks of ignorance.
Ergo, Sweet Vegan! I wanted not only to create a great resource for anyone (including myself!) looking to make great desserts and snacks that do not rely on animal products, but I also hoped to get some very amazing cooks out there thinking about the fact that products like milk, butter, cream, ghee and eggs (and yes, honey too) are not really indispensible in sweet-making as we often believe them to be.
Still, while cooking everyday vegan food, especially Indian, is not in itself a tough job, conjuring up a vegan sweet does take creativity and quite a bit of experimentation. Baked goods rely on the chemistry of eggs and on products like butter and cream for taste, while Indian sweets depend heavily and often exclusively on dairy products. To stray from these time-tested traditions can be difficult, not to mention a little scary. Will my bread rise? Will my cookie be as chewy or crumbly? Will my kheer taste as rich? These are legitimate worries, and not easy to overcome.
But with your amazing entries, you talented cooks proved that the only limitation to delicious veganism is imagination. There is every kind of sweet in this collection, from delicious burfis to traditional goodies like adhirasam to puddings and breads and even a beautiful maple cake.
Today, on World Vegan Day, I salute all of you amazing cooks, and hope your recipes provide food for inspiration to every foodie out there. Here, without further ado, are the gorgeous recipes sent in by you.
Coconutty goodness: Thengai Paal Kesari from Amma’s Special
A feast for the eyes: Aparna’s Spiced Pear Galette
Fruity and fun: Divya’s Spiced Mango Bread
Wholesome and inspiring: Divya’s Healthy Laddus
Colorfully fragrant: DK’s Lavender Strawberry Sorbet
A time-tested favorite: Jayasree’s Athirasam
A tantalizing medley of jaggery, bananas and coconut milk: Jayasree’s Pazha Pradhaman
Eye candy: Vegan Stawberry Milkshake from Kitchen Flavors
Unusual and gorgeous: Madhuram’s Oats and Coconut Milk Pudding
A traditional treasure: Madhuram’s Rice Flour Puttu
Sparkling morsels: Mansi’s Thumbprint Cookies
A delicacy from India’s west coast: Meera’s KhaparPoli
Gorgeous yet guilt-free: Priya’s Eggless Maple Cake
Easy and Tasty, for sure! Priya’s Vegan Choco Almond Shake
A musical-sounding delight: Radhika’s Naanu Maanu
Sinlessly delicious: Rajee’s Moong Dal Kheer
Yummy and handy: Ramki’s 10 Easy Indian Chikkis (Brittles)
A tall glass of bliss: Tilslørte Bondepiker / Veiled Peasant Girls from Seitan Is My Motor
A riot of traditional flavors: Shreya’s Unni Appam
Delicious festival eats: Sia’s Banana Appams
Four-ingredient wonder: Puttu from Simple Indian Food
Easy and fun: Sunshinemom’s No Cook Ooey Gooey Vegan Chocolate Pudding
A nutty find: Supriya’s Almond, Walnut and Cashew Burfis
Simply delicious: Ujwal’s Rava Payasam
A tasty marriage of coconut and tofu: Uma’s Coconut Pudding
And here are my own contributions:
If you sent me an entry and do not see it here, please, please let me know asap. If it is not included, it is not intentional; blame it instead on my inexperience with hosting an event and rest assured I’ll add it.