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 glad I found this blog!! I made the fried poori and it was amazing. I hope to make many more recipes from here. Thank you!
Hi Yara, so awesome you made the poori!
In your lovely recipe Easy Vegetable Curry (One-pot, 30 minutes), why is the curry powder added later in the recipe and not in the hot oil at the start? Just wondering. Thanks!
Hi, the curry powder spices are already roasted and we don't need to roast them in the hot oil again or they'd burn.
I just tried your recipe and am excited to see how the lime pickle evolves. A few things I noticed - I think even a 1/4 cup himalayan salt is too much salt when I tasted. The other question was why you dont add the hing to the oil and mustard seed? Does not cooking it make it more bitter or does it even out over time with sitting in the sun, etc.
Thank you, Yasmeen
Hi Yasmeen, so awesome that you are trying the pickle. The hing flavor will mellow in the sun. Also if you want less salt I imagine you could reduce it although I find it just right. Keep in mind that the salt is also acting as a preservative here so reducing it too much could have adverse effects.
I love your story and would love to subscribe to your email list, but can't seem to find the subscribe button.
So happy to have found this blog. Thank you
Thanks, Colleen, and welcome to the blog! 🙂
Hi Chichi, thanks for pointing that out--I have a prominent subscribe button on the mobile menu but the desktop version wasn't as clear. I've added a Subscribe button to the top menu and I added you to the email list--you will get an email and have to click on it to finalize the subscription. Cheers!
I just this morning stumbled across this treasure of a blog! Looking forward to fresh vegan experiences. And I like your approach to life and food!
Thanks for that kind message, Melissa! 🙂
Hi Holy Cow vegan,
I love vegan Indian food and your page is really good.
I have been searching all over the Internet for Instant Pot-recipes for this dishes (favorites when from when I was traveling and eat this dishes almost every day):
Kashmiri Rogan Josh, vegan
Maybe you know how to make them in the Instant Pot if that's possible?
If you have time some day to convert these recipes to Instant Pot's recipes I would be eternally grateful. I'm a newbie when it comes to cooking myself.
Hi Peter, I already have vegan versions of these dishes on the blog (with the exception of tofu Madras), and shall certainly try and add instructions for IP versions of these in coming days!
I am glad I found you!!
Thanks, Marilyn! 🙂
This is delicious! And, quick to make, during lunch time (wfh). I'm on my second bowl already. It's a keeper and I like that the ingredient list is small. I didn't have any cashews so I left them out (will try them next time), and substituted a splash of red wine for the white. Thanks for sharing- I look forward to trying more of your recipes.
I follow Forks over Knives and we don't use any oil. How would the Cashew Halwah turn out if I leave the oil out?
I think it will be fine. There is enough fat in the cashews, but make sure you keep a very close eye on the wok to avoid burning. Thanks for the question and would appreciate it if in future you leave it on the recipe post itself (instead of on the "about" page) so other readers can benefit from the discussion.
My name is usha and I have been living in USA since since 1969.
I have been a vegan for last 10 years and read your receipes and almost everyone I tried has come out exceptional . I also noticed that we share the month and date of our birthdays .
Thank you for great ideas and wonderful instant pot vegan receipes .
Hi Usha, how lovely to hear that-- I love that I have a vegan birthday twin! 😀 Happy to hear you've tried and enjoyed the recipes.
Thank You for you dedication
Jane L Bryant
Do you have a cookbook in the works? Or one already published? I'd love to be able to access your recipes on paper! They're so wonderful.
Hi Jane, thanks for the kind words and unfortunately not yet, but hopefully soon. 🙂
Ms Carrol T Suzuki
Great to find your butternut squash recipe--having found myself with some leftover squash that I'd like to use up. Bonus that I can bake something sweet with it.
Just wanted to clarify the amount of extra firm tofu. The recipe says 1/2 but I'm not sure if it's 1/2 the package or 1/2 cup or ?
Love your life journey -- Carrol, Toronto, Canada
Hi Carol, which butternut squash recipe is this? Please clarify — I have a bunch on the blog. Thanks.
It's the Vegan Butternut Squash Muffins.
Just asking to clarify the amount/volume of tofu.
Is it 1/2 cup or 1/2 the package?
Thanks a bunch!
Hi Carol, it's 1/2 a cup. Thanks for checking.
Love the rationale for your blog’s name.
I have just discovered your website and recipes and have begun my vegan life at the age of 60 (last week!) after following my daughter's wisdom. I live in the UK where we love curry! Thank you for your generosity of spirit and talent. I send blessings to you and yours xx
Can you make prepare this night before and put in the oven in the morning or will it be soggy?
Hi Rebecca, can you clarify which recipe?
I can’t tell you how happy I was to find a vegan gulab jamun recipe! 😊I googled thinking there will be someone who must have tried a vegan version of it. So here I am! I’m not a vegan yet but I’m gradually trying to cut down on dairy and heal my body. Totally agree with your views and wish I can someday become vegan.
I have a vegan friend who will love your recipes as well. She will be glad to find so many good recipes!
Will surely try the gulab jamun recipe and give an update.
Hi Pallavi, good luck on your vegan journey. 🙂 And thanks for the kind words. Let me know if you try the gulab jamun--one of my favorites.
Lovely blog nice recipes. However, we cannot promote vegan diet in a country like India where half of its people live in poverty. We eat what we can, no substitutes but straight from the earth, whatever is available to us. However, its important that those who can afford vegan food ( and these lovely adjusted recipes which you have put together with so much passion), should continue to do so without being strident about it. Thank you, Malyan
Hi Malyan, thanks for the message. I grew up in India, and I take exception to the comment that a vegan diet is difficult for anyone to follow, at any income level. Meat, eggs and milk are not cheap--they are far more expensive than grain, legumes and vegetables are in India. Growing up, even in my middle class family, we ate meat just once a week and it was a special treat. Veganism is not an alien concept to India, although it may not have been called by that name. Most lower income or middle class Indians who can't afford lots of milk and butter and ghee and meat have been eating it for centuries, at least most of the time. Dal, rice, roti and sabzi are the foundation of the Indian diet and they are all essentially vegan.
Also, if animal products like meat, milk and eggs are easier to afford in India today it is because of factory farming, which has spread rapidly in India. Animals who are trapped in these large-scale facilities suffer terribly all their lives and are slaughtered when they are often just weeks old, especially chickens. They are never treated like sentient animals who feel pain and suffering, which they absolutely do.
While I can imagine that someone who begs for their food might not have a choice in what they eat, most people who cook their own food anywhere in the world can absolutely make the right choices, and it would cost them less to eat vegan.
Your site has THE BEST name.
Thanks Joost! 🙂
I'am not a full blooming Vegan but are seriously thinking of joining your world. Your recipes look mighty delicious & beautifully presented. I would love to venture into your Blog.
Thanks you for all your creative meals.
Thanks, Brenda! I hope you enjoy everything you try.