Hi, I’m Vaishali and I am the human behind Holy Cow! I am a former journalist and I now work in media relations for the world’s greatest animal protection organization, The Humane Society of the United States. Holy Cow! is a personal blog that I write on my own time, with views and opinions that are strictly my own, and it was born in November 2007, just a few months after I turned vegan (thanks to my great old dog Lucy! Scroll down for her picture).

Vaishali Honawar
At Holy Cow! you will find more than 700 easy, healthy and tasty vegan recipes that are tried and tested in my kitchen, including lots of fat-free, low-fat and gluten-free recipes. Most recipes are kid-friendly and carnivore-friendly (as my occasional-meat-eating husband and blog photographer Desi and our son, Jay, will attest) and I always use clean, wholesome, natural ingredients, most of which are already in your pantry.

I have lived in lovely Washington, D.C. for the past 17 years but I was born in Mumbai, India, so many of my recipes are Indian or influenced by my Indian background. I  also love experimenting with global cuisines, including Mexican, Italian, and Middle Eastern, and I love to bake, especially bread. My recipes are ideal for those of you who juggle multiple responsibilities, but love a delicious meal at the end of a long day. But don’t just expect a recipe– I like telling you the stories behind the food I serve up. You can also expect some chatter about the wonderfulness of animals (especially mine :)).

I update Holy Cow! several times each week, so be sure to check back often for updates. You can sign up to get new recipes by email at the end of this page (or in the sidebar). And you can follow Holy Cow! on FacebookPinterestGoogle Plus and Twitter to keep up with what’s cooking here.

If you have questions or just want to say hello, email me at MyVeganWorld[at]gmail.com or leave a comment below.

Here are a few links you might find useful:

Recipe List featuring nearly 700 recipes and photographs that have appeared so far on this blog.

Recipe Index, where you can browse recipes by photo, date, and category.

Indian Pantry Basics

Vegan Baked Goods and Breads

If you are a baker, you might also find this link useful: Vegan Baking Substitutes


Lucy, my gorgeous German Shepherd.
Lucy, my gorgeous mutt who set me on the path to a vegan life.
She passed away in 2012, but  lives in my heart forever.
Thank you, Lucy. I love you.


Holy Cow! and her recipes have featured in these media stories:

The Washington Post: Kitchari is easygoing Indian comfort food

The Washington Post: Pani puri offers ‘explosion of flavors’

DomiCile DC magazine

All Animals (Magazine of The Humane Society of the United States)

DomiCile DC: Comfort Food

Huffington Post: Stuffed French Toast

Huffington Post: Chili Tofu

Mock Meat Recipes for Vegetarians: iDiva

Ethical Meat on My Platter: Dainik Jagran

Food Bytes: The Hindu

Food Bytes: The Hindu

DNA India 

One Green Planet

Urban Spoon: Tikka Masala Pot Pie

Reader’s Digest: Beet Burgers with Chipotle Cashew Hummus

Reader’s Digest: Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese

Buzzfeed: Red, Delicious Strawberry Pie

Buzzfeed: Quick Masala Dosa

People: Sweet Potato Skins

Greatist: Healthy Stuffed French Toast

Greatist: Fat-Free Slow Cooker Dal

Shape: Healthy Stuffed French Toast

KrisCarr.com: Curried Acorn Squash

KrisCarr.com: Quinoa Lentil Salad

Brit.co: Sweet Potato Skins with Indian Spices

Chow.com: Wholegrain Tofu Pancakes

Business Insider: Masala Khichdi

Fitness Magazine: Beet Burgers with Chipotle Cashew Hummus


A quick note for those of you who’ve been long-time readers of Holy Cow! (nearly eight years, can you imagine?! I have to pinch myself sometimes): Hundreds of old comments on this and other pages disappeared, unfortunately, when I changed my blogging platform from Blogger to WordPress in Nov. 2013. So if you don’t see your comments here, it’s not because I removed them (I never would do that) but because there was no way to save them during the transition. Thanks for reading Holy Cow! and for sticking with me all these years– you rock!

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  1. Katie says

    Hi! Love the site! Did you recently remove a recipe for vegan banana cake with peanut butter frosting? My husband is vegan and I kind of promised to make it for thanksgiving and I can’t find it on the site! We have made it before, for vegans and non, and everyone loves it!! Thank you, in advance, so much!

    • Priya says

      Vaishali, I love this blog. I’m a first gen Indian-American and vegan for 3years. Found you when I googled vegan gajar halwa–my fav dessert. Thx for the recipes. Was browsing some comments (some are old) and had a couple comments.

      First, my dogs are vegan, mostly due to food allergies, but also because the crap in dog food is horrific. Worst quality meat, and usu made in china so risk of toxic kidney injury is a real fear. I buy a vegan dog food. I don’t work for them or anything, but they are a small company out of Cali, where the food is made, and they ship for free via FedEx. I won’t name them as this isn’t meant to be a sales pitch, but I figure if peeps are interested they can find the company with minimal Internet research.

      Second, I can’t believe some of the inane things people say about being vegan, such as plants feel pain etc. even if that we’re true, I usually ask how that is a logical argument for supporting animal cruelty. It’s like saying “it’s ok that I murder people because you rob them.”

      Third, for folks in India, it is definitely harder to be vegan. The PCRM has a kickstart India 21 day program with recipes and encouragement on being vegan. I also recommend looking at recipes for almond milk that can be made really easily at home (I prefer almond to soy milk in my tea).

      Finally, thanks again for such an upbeat and informative blog. I’ll probably bug you again when I go up to NoVa to visit my sister.

      • says

        Hi Priya, thanks for your lovely message. And for the information about vegan dog food. I have seen some dry vegan dog food brands at a small boutique pet store that’s near my home but never tried because I’ve been making all of Opie’s food and also his treats myself– not vegan, unfortunately, because he won’t eat it. Does this California company do dry food or wet or both?
        Agreed on the plants feeling pain argument– and I like your counter-argument. :)
        I am glad you recommend PCRM’s India Kickstart. I worked for PCRM many years — in communications — and worked on recipe development and all the media outreach for India Kickstart when we launched it. It was fun, and I think we came up with a really good product.
        Feel free to bug me anytime. :) Always happy to answer questions.

  2. says

    I wanted to thank you for this wonderful site! Each recipe looks more delicious than the last. I keep getting distracted – and now there is a banana cake with peanut butter frosting!? Are you kidding me?! Thank you, thank you. I am delirious.

    • says

      Hi Irene, You can enter your email in the Get New Recipes by Email box in the right sidebar. I will go ahead and add your email to it now. You will receive an email asking you to confirm the subscription which is completely free. Once you confirm you will start getting each new recipe as I post it.
      Hope that helps. Thanks for your lovely words, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

      • says

        I think I totally misunderstood your email– I guess you are just wanting to add a new email and unsubscribe the old one you already have in the system? In that case can you just go ahead and enter your new email in the subscription box in the right sidebar and confirm the subscription. For the email you want to remove there should be an unsubscribe link in the email– typically it’s at the end. Hope that helps. Let me know if I still didn’t get it. :)

  3. Anonymous says

    thanks for the great article on cast iron pans in indian cooking. i wanted to purchase an enamaled cast iron casserole pan. will that work with indian food. i am also trying to stop using a non-stick and start using other products.


  4. Gilly says

    Hi V, Love your site. I had a question from the Lotus Seed Curry…I’m assuming I could sub in pure cashew butter (just ground up raw cashews) for the cashew paste. In your recipe, you have 1/3 cashew + 1 cup water…do you recall just how much paste you ended up with? Thanks!!

  5. Mohinj says

    Hi Vaishali
    I love your blog!! I am going to try the masala recipes( esp goda masala). Thanks so much for all the recipes….

  6. Samanna Paramasivam says

    Hi Vaishali Periodically I check your site, read anything new ( I do like your writing) and Look at your food . we go to Treatment once a week, while a sweet woman process our co-pay we talk about food, this past two visits i had given your site to look for good vegan recipes, her young daughter is vegan. There is a catch,She is white,I am from Chennai so we don’t keep the same spices at home. In short I have given her some spices one time so that she can try at home. Americans buy garbanzo beans but not chenna dhal or the flour. If you ever made dhoklas one with garbanzo beans , It will also be a good part of Vaishali’s vegan barking . By the way maintaining spices and ingredients is a full time job. Wish you for Christmas and for new year 2014. Paramasivam

    • says

      Hi Paramasivam, thanks for your kind message. A dhokla with garbanzo beans sounds very doable, and I promise to try making– and posting– one soon. And you’re right– keeping up with spices and other Indian ingredients is a full-time job indeed, but an enjoyable one as I’m sure you’ll agree. :) Happy holidays to you too, and a great new year!

  7. Valerie says

    For the past few years I have been hesitant to make homemade bread, but you have completely changed that mindset for me. I recently made your Whole-Wheat French Bread and it was surprisingly easy to make and tasted amazing! I shared the bread with my co-workers who love it as well. Today I began my sourdough starter shown on your website and I look forward to trying new recipes!

    • says

      Hi Valerie, so good to get your feedback– and so happy the bread worked for you. That french bread recipe is probably the one I make most in my kitchen. I think you’re going to have a lot of fun with the sourdough! :)

  8. Niyati says

    Would love to get menu ideas from you for vegan kiddie lunch boxes! Love all your entries. Your Sheera and Pooran Podi post really took me back home :)

    • says

      Would love to post more kiddie lunch box ideas — stay tuned. So happy you liked the Puran poli post. Although fiction, that society and its residents were very much out of my childhood and I am happy it took you back home. :)

  9. says

    Hi there. Have just come across your site. I’d love to see recipes using no oil or oil replacers like apple sauce. A healthy diet shouldn’t include oils. Thanks

  10. Ripal says

    Thank you for a delicious recipe. I am pregnant and have lost appetite for lots of food. I was craving palak paneer but I have gluten and dairy allergies. I put in keyword search and appeared holy cow recipe. It was healthy and delicious. Instead of tofu I substituted chickpeas for protein and instead of almond milk and corn flour I just chopped up almonds and used a two spoons of frozen corn. Did the trick with more natural ingredient. I suppose it was more like a palak chickpea subji. Nonetheless, it’s great that’ve a health Indian god recipe sight. Great job starting site and sharing,

    • says

      Hi Ripal, Welcome to the blog! Your chickpeas version of the Palak Tofu Paneer sounds delicious. So glad you tried it, and thanks for your kind words! Also, congratulations on the baby. :)

  11. Sunitha Kasiraman says

    Hi Vaishali!

    I stumbled upon your website while looking for a vegan Aviyal recipe. I am a Tamilian and have been a vegetarian all my life. I recently switched to Veganism since I was already eating predominantly vegan foods. Just thought I’d make the jump and see how I feel. Physically, I feel great and seem to have a lot more energy.

    I’ve been trying out a lot of recipes but my husband, who is also a Tamilian, loves all the traditional foods. My kids are all over the place when it comes to foods that they like and agree on. So I find myself quickly becoming a short order cook. Thankfully they are all vegetarians and are willing to put up with my experiments. So far they have liked all the vegan recipes I’ve tried out. Cooking without ghee and milk is easy but yogurt is another story. So I am very excited to try out your Aviyal recipe. Also, I do have a sweet tooth and I was feeling a bit despondent that I’ll be missing out on all the Indian sweets. But now that I’ve found your website and all the delicious recipes for gajar halwa, etc., I can’t wait to try them all out.

    One quick question, I tried warming up some dates with almond milk for a vegan date cake recipe that I found on another website and found that the almond milk separated and looked most unappetizing. I saw that your gajar halwa recipe asked for the carrots to be cooked in the almond milk and was curious to see if you had any separation of the milk.

    Also wanted to mention that we have a couple of connections: I have two friends named Vaishali, both from Bombay, one of whom is my best friend! Also, I have a dog too (not vegan or even vegetarian) who we adore. I know you lost yours a couple of years ago. I am sorry for your loss. I dread the day when our Sparkie will leave us to go to Puppy Heaven. He is almost 13 and we can’t imagine a life without him.

    I hope you keep posting new recipes and I look forward to trying them all out. I will be making Aviyal (as an accompaniment to Adai) tonight and will let you know how it was received by the rest of my family :-)

    • says

      Hi Sunitha, lovely to hear from another vegan, and Tamilian. I’ve done a lot of veganizing of Tamil foods over the past few years because of my Tamilian hubby, Desi. Since you mentioned missing yogurt, you might want to check out my recipe for Curd Rice which I know every Tamilian adores– Desi loves the vegan version more than the traditional yogurt version. :) http://holycowvegan.net/2010/08/vegan-curd-rice-dahi-annam.html
      The almond milk can separate while making the halwa, but keep in mind that dairy milk also separates when you cook carrots in it. In the end, the liquid is all going to evaporate anyway and the solids will be left behind, so it doesn’t really matter.
      That Avial recipe is one of my and Desi’s favorites, so glad you are trying it out.
      And nice to know of our connections! Your Sparkie sounds adorable, and he is lucky to have a family that loves him so. My dogs have never been vegan or vegetarian either– it didn’t seem right to impose on them my food choices once I went vegan.
      Finally, welcome to the blog! I post regularly, so do come back. And there are a ton of Tamil recipes on the blog.
      Take care! :)

  12. Sunitha Kasiraman says

    Oh! And I forgot to mention that I live in the DC metro area too! In Virginia.

    Thanks and I look forward to being in touch.

  13. John Riley says

    Dear Vaishali: I am so glad I found this site! My daughter is vegan, and I am a sometimes vegetarian (and growing more). I have had a difficult time finding easy, good vegan recipes, and your site is just great! I have visited India (4x), and I am planning to move there for work in a few years. Regards, John

    • says

      Hi John, thanks for your kind words! I hope you will try some of the recipes, and always feel free to ask if you have questions. Also great to meet an Indophile, and so wonderful you plan to go live there some day. I am counting the days till I can visit next! :)

  14. bekti spicer says

    hi, i like the idea of making eggless cake when i run out egg at home or at work. my step kid is bugging me to make her a birthday cake so she can share it with her friends at school. the problem is, many kids here have allergy, so it has to be eggless, no nuts or its kind and gluten-free. i am still looking for easy cake recipe that fits all of that. so, if you come across such recipe, would you kindly share it in your blog? thank you so much. best regards from Australia. Bekti.

  15. star says

    Hi I live in north Carolina USA, originally from Cuba. I recently became vegan and I must say this page was a treasure to Find after all the research your recipes and info on substitutes and amazing ideas just blew My mind. I’m thrilled to Start cooking all this healthy vegan recipes and I truly thank you for helping others thru this page. thank u thank u thank u muah

    • says

      Star, thanks for your lovely message. I am so glad you are finding the blog useful. Hope you try some of the recipes, and always feel free to ask questions. Hugs. :)

  16. nikita says

    Vaishali! you are amazing and an inspiration. I recently turned vegan and your site has opened up many cooking possibilities that I didn’t even know existed and were so easy. Keep up the good work and your experimentations with flavors

    • says

      Hi Nikita, you’re the best– thank you for those lovely words. I am really happy that the recipes have been helpful, and even happier you let me know. :) Hugs.

  17. Sharon says

    Hi Vaishali – I had to send you a note of thank you for the eggless omelet recipe using chickpea flour!! I’m not vegan, however over the last few years I can’t tolerate eggs (or gluten) so I’ve missed having a protein packed omelet as an alternative to my oatmeal breakfast. As a joke a googled “eggless omelet” thinking there was no such alternative and was very pleased to find your site. I just made it this morning and I loved it! Love the flavor of the chickpea flour – thanks so much for taking time to introduce others to wonderful healthy recipes – much appreciated!! Sharon

    • says

      Hi Sharon, thank you for letting me know! So glad you liked the chickpea pancakes– they really make a great substitute for eggs, don’t they? I whip these up each time I want something healthy without putting too much work into it. One of my favorite recipes too.

  18. says

    Hello-I found your site through Fat Free Vegan. I would also like to participate in your month of May blogging event. I make many of Susan’s recipes and will do so this month. How do I go about submitting my recipe review and photos?
    Thank you,
    Edible Musings

    • says

      Hi Lauren, The event you’re referring to was an old one– a few years back, in fact. Sorry! :) But thanks for visiting, and for your interest.

  19. says

    Hi Vaishali

    this morning I was on Pintrest and I saw a beautiful pin for Sweet potato patties. I could not find the recipe. Is this a traditional food of India? I have sweet potatoes in my kitchen that I think would be perfect for such an occasion. Just hoping you do this on your beautiful food site. FYI, if you ever decide to move to Toronto and open a restaurant, I will quit my job and come work for you.

    Namaste baby!

  20. says

    Hi V.
    I just made and ate those little sweet potato and kale patties. OMG! They are so good. Crispy on the outside and creamy and gingery on the inside. The chili powder I used was that really deadly hot stuff you get at the Indian spice store. It was magic. Toronto is India central. There must be a million Indian stores here. You name it and I will find it. Lucky, lucky me. Thanks for sharing. You’re the best.

    • says

      Hi Mary, how lovely that you made the patties. They are an eternal favorite at our home. That chili powder sounds deadly amazing! I love some heat in my food. :)
      Thanks for letting me know. You’re awesome! :)

  21. Laura says

    Hello Vaishali~ I’d like to make the Spicy Urad Dal but am unclear how much water to use to cook the dal. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Laura, to cook the lentils, cover with about an inch of water, bring to a boil and then turn down the heat, cover, and let the lentils simmer about 30 to 45 mins or until they are tender. You might have to add more water if the lentils dry up. Good luck! I love that dal. :)

      • Laura says

        This dish turned out to be quite delicious. I’d never cooked with this type of lentil. I’d read that some don’t appreciate their earthy flavor, but I’m a fan. The only oil I used was one tablespoon of Earth Balance for the garlic and spice instead of infusing in oil and adding Earth Balance at the end. It turned out very luscious just like that. Thanks for your awesome recipe. Our 2 Indian restaurants use ghee and yogurt in everything so I can no longer eat Indian out. If I want Indian I have to make it myself. I’ll be visiting you again & again! Namaste.

        • says

          Hi Laura, I am so glad you tried and liked it. I love lentils in all shapes, forms and flavors– it’s hard not to. Thanks for letting me know, and for visiting again. Namaste! :)

  22. says

    I love your blog! I generally google to find specific things – in this case I will follow your blog to
    stay inspired and motivated beyond my own creativity.

    Be Peace!

  23. Hasita says

    Hi Vaishali, after a long break from cooking using my baby as an excuse, I come back and see an amazing new website design that you’ve gone for. It is much easier to find recipes now, and the pictures are exquisite. I have already tried the masala khichdi, the roasted bell pepper pasta and most of your desserts. I’m making the stuffed bell peppers tonight. I think of all the blogs I visit, I cook most recipes from yours. Thanks for making the kitchen such a wonderful place to be in. :)

    • says

      Dear Hasita, Congratulations on the baby! That’s awesome news. And thanks for your kind message. :) So thrilled you liked the new blog design, and also so happy to know that it’s easier to navigate now. I was aiming for exactly that, and your feedback is very good to have.

  24. Jayashree Bala says

    Hi Vaishali, just by chance happened to land up in your blog, and here i am, drooling over all your mouth-watering recipes.Your recipes are too good, easy to follow and love the pics.Congrats Vaishali and now I am going to be a regular to this wonderful blog, for sure. bye and good luck.

  25. Annie says

    Hi, I love these Mexican Bolillo rolls and was wondering if I could use AP or bread flour for these?

    Thanking you in advance,
    Annie (ps, I love your blog.)

  26. an intelligent life from. says

    Have you ever heard of oat milk? I use it every day in tea or on cereal, or just fill a glass ind drink as is.
    I recommend it highly, it’s good.

      • Neerali says

        Hi Vaishalu, I have been receiving and enjoying your posts for some time. And always puzzled about double posts for the same recipe. In my haste to get my inbox cleared I forget to check why this happened. Today again I received your potato recipe from another subscription. The same one that consistently sends the same recipes like yours. Please see Vegan Richa online. Her recipes and photos are identical.

  27. says

    Hi Vaishali.

    How are you? I don’t know if you remember me or not. I was the one always telling you to move to Toronto and open a restaurant. I haven’t received anything in my mail box from you in quite a while, and
    I can’t figure out why. When I tried to sign up again it kept coming up as an error. But, anyway, I love your recipes and blog. It is truly the best. I miss getting your stuff in my email.
    I hope everything is well with you and your family. How is your little boy doing?

    Take care and Namaste, baby!

    • says

      Namaste, Mary, and of course I remember our conversations in the messages. Thanks for letting me know about the email. I tried subscribing you with the email id you had given, but it threw up an error message for me too. There doesn’t seem to be a problem with the subscription widget itself. Is there another email I can subscribe you with? You can write to me at myveganworld[at]gmail.com.
      Take care!

  28. Ram says

    Hi Vaishali.

    I’ve just seen your site and really like the way you experiment with different cultural cuisines. It makes the dishes more interesting and flavorsome. Keep up the good work..


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