Hey there. I'm Vaishali, the author and recipe creator at Holy Cow Vegan, where I share tasty and affordable plant-based recipes that anyone--experienced or not--can make quickly and easily. There are more than 1,000 recipes on this blog and I hope everyone--vegan, vegetarian or omnivore--will find something here that they will love.
Fast facts about Holy Cow Vegan and me:
- I live in Silver Spring, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C.
- I was born in Bombay, India; when I left the city in 1996 to do my master's in the United States it had recently been renamed Mumbai.
- My family is my husband Desi (also the photographer for the blog), my son Jay, and my four divine fur babies, all rescues -- Lily and Leo (dogs) and Billy and Kala (cats).
- Holy Cow Vegan was born on November 28, 2007. I've been posting vegan recipes here for more than 15 years now.
- My favorite foods are savory. And they usually have potatoes in them. French fries are especially unsafe around me.
- The foods I cook are healthy and easy and delicious and always free of animal products. Jay has trained me well over the years and most of the recipes you'll find on this blog are both kid- and adult-friendly.
- In my former life I worked as a political journalist navigating political shenanigans in Congress and the Maryland statehouse, and I've worked as a reporter in three countries--India, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- My idea of bliss is spending time with my family or relaxing with a good book or the New York Times crossword. When I cook I listen to old Hindi songs (especially by Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar). I also love bingeing on YouTube videos about simple living and minimalism -- while I am not there yet, I hope to be some day.
- My pet peeve is when people forget the first "r" in turmeric. It's not tumeric, guys, and the first four letters are pronounced just like "term" 😉 And oh, while we're at it, I have one more --it's not a chai tea, it's not a chai latte: a chai is simply a chai. Chai means "tea" in Hindi, and in India, a chai is always made with milk. Calling it a chai tea or a chai latte is like calling an apple pie "an apple pie pastry made with apples". See? Redundant. And I don't care if Starbucks thinks "chai tea" or "chai latte" are right--they aren't.
I started to write this food blog in 2007 shortly after becoming a vegan and about four years after going vegetarian. I've loved the alchemy of cooking for as long as I can remember, and I enjoyed eating meat as much as I enjoyed using it in the meals I made for myself and my family.
Desi and I adopted our great old dog Lucy (scroll down for her picture). Loving her -- and Opie who followed soon after -- as much as I did set me thinking about the complex intelligence of animals. The more I thought about it, the less I wanted to participate in the cruelty of meat production where billions of sentient animals just as sweet and wonderful as my dogs and cats are killed every year. In 2005 I became a vegetarian and two years later I had transitioned to a fully vegan life.
Because of how much I loved food, I challenged myself to create recipes that would taste as good as anything I'd ever cooked or eaten in my past life. Because I loved to write, I thought it would be a great idea to start a food blog to share these recipes with others who were looking for ways to either cut out or cut down on meat.
Today, Holy Cow Vegan reaches millions of readers with original, fresh and healthy recipes that I cook up in my kitchen.
What you'll find on Holy Cow Vegan
- Easy, quick, healthy and hassle-free plant-based recipes. This is food we eat in our home every day, food you can cook whether you are a novice or an expert, and food you will love whether you are an omnivore or a vegan or somewhere in between. All recipes use clean, wholesome, natural ingredients, most of which are already in your pantry.
- Recipes for special diets. More than half the recipes on this blog are gluten-free and vegan (including lots of gluten-free vegan desserts!). You will also find many recipes suited to a low-carb and keto vegan diet.
- Kid-friendly recipes. Because I'm mom to a picky teen, a lot of my recipes are kid-friendly. Adults will love them too!
- Global and Indian vegan recipes. You can take your palate on an adventure around the world with Mexican, Italian, Irish, African and Mediterranean recipes. You can also browse tons of vegan Indian recipes, from traditional and restaurant favorites like chana masala and vegan butter chicken to more modern dishes with my own spin, like this tasty vegetable curry and chickpea curry.
- Vegan baked goods. I love to bake, so you'll find lots of recipes for homemade vegan cakes, vegan cookies, vegan pies and vegan breads.
My fur family
On this blog you'll find many pages dedicated to all the wonderful dogs and cats who have been part of our family over the years, including our current group of four furry troublemakers.
Leo was rescued from a dog meat farm in Korea and flew halfway around the world to find a home with us, Lily was a street dog rescued from Puerto Rico. Billy, our adorable tuxedo cat, was found roaming the streets of Virginia. Kala Jamoon, our resident black cat, simply wandered off the streets to settle into our hearts and home.
More about Vaishali and Holy Cow Vegan
I add new recipes every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. You can sign up here to get notified about new recipes by email (it's free!). Or you can follow Holy Cow Vegan on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.
The blog's name calls out the dichotomy in the Indian diet and religious belief system. Cows are worshipped as holy but hundreds of thousands of cows are also tortured in factory farms to supply Indians' love for milk and milk products. I try to show, through this blog, that Indian food can be just as delicious without the dairy.
Yes! Indian food might appear difficult but there are many recipes that are quite easy and can easily be made by someone new to Indian cooking, like this basic but delicious dal or this easy vegetable curry. You will need a few spices that can easily be found at Indian grocery stores or through online retailers, including Amazon.
You can leave a comment on the recipe (it's the quickest way to get a response and I read and appreciate every comment). Or you can email me at MyVeganWorld@gmail.com. If you'd like to share a photo of the recipe please post it on Instagram and tag me @HolyCowVegan.
Check out some of my top recipes
Holy Cow! has featured in:
I am so excited to have found your site! I have never tried Indian food but have several of your recipes printed out and spices that I need ordered from Amazon lol! I canNOT wait to try them as they look so amazingly good. I also love your story and the reason you became vegan. I am two months in to the plant based/vegan lifestyle and am loving it. I wish I had done it alot sooner.
Hey there! I love the recipes that I've read over so far and I've bookmarked your Mawa cake recipe and a few of your khichdi recipes. Reading your reminiscence of Irani restaurants in Bombay was just enchanting. You are a wonderful food writer! Thank you so much for putting your recipes and your writing out in the world.
I found a neat bean stew the other day when I was looking for a recipe using 'African red beans,' which I picked up in a Supreme grocery here in Philadelphia. It uses almonds ground with soy milk to thicken the stew, and it tasted a lot like a West African peanut stew. I wonder if someone devised it to avoid ground nuts. It is incredibly savory! I found it on the Delicious Living website, attributed to some yoga retreat.
Hi wanted to know what is the equivalent of Great Northern Beans in India. I would really like to try out your Vegan White Pasta Sauce.
RE: Vegan Manicotti with Spinach and Bean Ricotta
This recipe does not indicate if manicotti past is to be cooked prior to filling.
Hi Lee, it does need to be cooked! I've checked the recipe and clarified.
Hi Sripriya, You can use any neutral-tasting white bean, I'm not sure what is available now in India, except one that has a strong flavor, like vaal. If you can't find any use chickpeas.
Vaishali, I love your story! Your recipes have always intrigued me, but I have not tried them as my husband does almost all the cooking. I do the pasta noodles but that's about it, even after becoming vegan twelve years ago. Now, I am going to push myself to start cooking more, with your recipes to begin my journey. Thank you.
Hi Julie, that's so sweet to hear! I think once you begin you will fall in love with cooking--it's such a relaxing activity.
Hi! I have found your site by searching for Gluten Free Sourdough Starter recipes. I tried your recipe the first time and it had mold in it by day 4. I also never really noticed any difference each day after feeding, it looked like the same amount and it didn't bubble. What am I doing wrong? I really want to make this work - I am newly Gluten Free and am struggling with finding good gluten free bread. I appreciate any suggestions. Thank you in advance! Sheri
Hi, the mold could be caused by a number of reasons, including a contaminated container. Or it could be that you didn't feed the starter frequently enough to produce good bacteria that overtakes the bad bacteria. Make sure the container you use is super clean. Also feed the starter twice a day and keep the starter at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit room temperature. Good luck with it.
I just found this site, looking for a vegan Aloo Paratha recipe. I may never make it but at least I have the information. Lol!
As soon as I saw the pet peeve on the pronunciation of turmeric, I knew this was a site I would love!
😀 So happy you're here!
woman I love your recipes....I cannot remember where I saw it...but what are the brands you use for vegetarian sausage substitutes for meat, chicken, etc. Thanks so much be good to yourself.
Hi Theresa, thanks for the kind words. I am not too brand loyal when it comes to vegan meat substitutes--often I'll just pick up whatever is on sale. But often, for ground beef and sausage substitutes, I'll use Beyond or Impossible. But I also often buy Field Roast and some of the other brands available at Safeway, can't remember the names right now. I also use seitan as a meat substitute, again, no brand loyalty.
Am planning to make your Homemade Indian Lime Pickle tomorrow, have all ingredients to hand but you don't say what to do with the Asafetida. I have bought some, but recipe doesn't mention it. HELP, I want to start tomorrow b4 my limes too aged ♥️
Hi Cathy, you add it in step one with fenugreek and fennel. No need to toast it, add it to the blender before processing the other ingredients.
I have just found your blog, after googling Mushroom Stock. Wow! I am impressed.
I am a Stage IV Colon Cancer survivor and three months ago had a major heart attack, so I am going Vegetarian and then hopefully Vegan.
I plan to stay alive, and I am looking forward to immersing myself in your blog and trying out your recipes.
Hi Sue, you sound like an amazing person. Good luck with everything, and I hope you enjoy your journey toward good health with lots of good food!
Pablo (de república Argentina)
Vaisalli: Gracias por tus recetas. Te sigo desde hace mucho tiempo. Espero que sigas de la misma manera. Te mando un saludo respeptuoso y mis mejores deseos para ti y tu familia.
Pablo (desde Argentina)
Hi Pablo, thanks so much for that very kind comment and for being a long-time reader. I appreciate it so much!
Hi Vaishali, so looking fwd to trying out the Moong Chilla recipe I found by accident, after sprouting too many Moong for a recipe that required Urad dal!
Loved you cheeky sense of humour correcting the Turmeric spelling & especially Chai!!
I was born in Bangalore, India, migrated to Australia in 1968 turning 10yrs old.
I don't really want to be vegan or whatever, but must say my body does seem to naturally gravitate towards vegetarian dishes! I'm a savoury addict too. Have health issues with high BP, Cholesterol, Diabetes & Chronic Kidney Disease, so trying to improve blood numbers through diet. I've long been aware of the benefits of a plant-based diet for protein.
Now, I'm convinced it's crucial, with kidney disease. I'm 64 this year, hoping to live a stronger, healthier 64years. Thanks for your wonderfully detailed, yet brief explanations & tips. I'm a fan, for sure!
Awww, thanks Jenny and appreciate the kind words. Here's wishing you all the best in life and health as you embark on your plant-based journey. Hugs.
Hi, Vaishali, My husband and I went vegan about 5 years ago, and we love foods from around the world, especially spicy stews and soups. Since we come from extreme West Texas, Mexican foods are often a go-to for us. I'm excited to find your website and look forward to trying your recipes!
Hi Carole, welcome to Holy Cow! Hope you'll find some recipes to love here. 🙂
Well ,,,, tomorrow is the day , first day vegan after reading many articles both medical and otherwise on the benefits of vegan food. After 7 months of chemotherapy , my oncologist and I discussed ( many times) his views on vegan. So here I am. Wondering if you can veganize tres leche cake??? So glad you have this blog. Thank you Carla
Hi Carla, absolutely--stay tuned!
I'm always looking for veganized Indian dishes. Anything with rose water makes me inspired to give it a try. I was able to live in Jodhpur for a semester in 1995 but had already been vegetarian for 19 years by then. I still remember when the first Indian restaurant opened in the suburbs of Chicago-- it was that unusual in the early 1980s! A couple years later an Indian vegetarian restaurant opened called Shree Indian Vegetarian. I was hooked from that point on.
Such lovely memories--thanks for sharing!
Totally agree with the messing up of turmeric and Chai!!
Oh my goodness! I can't believe I just found this. Now living on Vancouver Island in BC, Canada. I was born in London UK so was brought up on curries. I'll not be joking when I say I eat this every day of the week. Not only because I love it but having suffered from Diverticulitis for years, anti-inflammatory foods keep the disease at bay big time. I left the UK in 1992 to beach walk and dive in the Caribbean for a year. 14 years later I relocated to Canada. Whilst there everything was cooked from scratch. My bestie hailed from Mumbai and she usually cooked lunch which included a cookery lesson. I've got my work cut out for me now I've found you. I'll be cooking up a storm shortly. I'll have to feed my curry plant for a growth spurt 😉
Hi Jenns, what an amazing life! Happy to meet another curry aficionado and hope you find lots of recipes to love here. 🙂