Zippys Chili Recipe Gone Vegan

IMG_1881    My parents called from Hawaii yesterday, and they had just been to Zippys for breakfast.  It reminded me that I used to like Zippys chili (it’s famous in Hawaii).  After looking at copycat recipes online, I made a vegan version, and it’s really good–a keeper.  Although I’ve made several vegan chilis before, this one is just a bit meatier and richer than the others, and it really does remind me of Zippys.  I could see serving this easy dish for the Superbowl, or any game day.  If you want a healthier vegan chili, try this Perfect Vegetable Chili with Quinoa.  I like to serve chili with these Fruited Cornbread Muffins, or Tostitos Original Restaurant Style chips, Tofutti Cream Cheese, fresh avocado, etc.  More photos below.


11 oz. package Beyond Beef Beefy Crumbles  (or other ground beef substitute)
15 oz. can Kidney beans, with liquid from can
15 oz. can tomato sauce
10 oz. can Ro-Tel Mild Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies  (use 1/2 can, or more to taste)
2 teaspoons peanut oil (or grapeseed oil or olive oil)
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons Vegenaise Reduced Fat vegan mayo  (the secret ingredient)
1 Tablespoon Better Than Bouillon (No Beef, or Vegetarian,  or No Chicken flavor)
1 Tablespoon Sherry Cooking Wine, (or red wine, or vinegar)
2 teaspoons minced dried onions  (from the spices aisle)
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire, such as Wizard brand  (it’s delicious)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt  (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
pinch cinnamon  (a pinch equals 1/16th teaspoon)

Toppings of choice, such as vegan sour cream, avocado chunks and nacho chips.

Heat oil in small stock pot, and sauté onion and bell pepper.  Set beans aside for now, but add all other ingredients and simmer on medium heat for 5 or 10 minutes.  Add beans and bean liquid just before serving and stir them gently into the chili.  Serve with vegan sour cream, fresh avocado, nacho chips, etc.

Notes:  I avoid canola oil for purposes of flavor.  I prefer Eden Organic beans because they use kombu to “salt” their beans, but any kidney beans will do.  If you want it spicier, add the full can of Ro-Tel, or the Ro-Tel can simply be put out to dollop on bowls for those who like it hotter.  The mayonnaise might seem an odd addition to this recipe but it’s rumored to be the secret ingredient in Zippys Chili, and it does seem to add an unctuous richness.  I reduced the mayo by 75% here and the chili still tastes really good.  I deleted the MSG from the original recipes, but if you want to add it back in, use about 1/2 teaspoon.  I grew up eating a lot of Ajinomoto, and I didn’t miss it here.

Guatemalan Guacamole

IMG_0398    A friend who is originally from Guatemala taught me how to make this smooth guacamole.  There was no written recipe, just a hands-on lesson in the kitchen.  She had brought us some guacamole one time and I couldn’t put my finger on why it was so good, so I asked her for the recipe.  Instead of writing it down, she showed up at my house with a bag of produce.  Note that there is NO lime or lemon in this recipe, because the natural acidity of the tomatillos helps keep the guacamole from turning brown.


Makes approx. 3 Cups

6 raw tomatillos
2 avocados,  at least medium size or a bit larger
1/2 of a small bunch of cilantro, including stems, rinsed
2 jalapenos raw and whole, but stems removed
1/3 small onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup water

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Peel the papery skins off the tomatillos and rinse the tomatillos to remove any stickiness.   Boil the tomatillos and the jalapenos for three minutes.  Remove them from the pot and set them on a plate to cool.

Remove pits from avocados and reserve one or both pits for the guacamole bowl.  The pit will also help keep the guacamole from turning brown.  In a blender place all the avocado flesh and everything else, and blend just until smooth.  Delicioso!

Notes:  This recipe as written above is exactly how she makes it for her family, including her small children.  However, for our palates, I did remove the seeds from the jalapenos (after boiling them).  For another good guacamole recipe, try the chunky Chipotle Restaurant Guacamole also on this site in the Mexican Category.
IMG_0395  This photo is wrong, there is no lime.
IMG_0396  Put the avocado pit in your bowl.  Along with the acidic tomatillos, the pit will help keep the guacamole from turning brown.

Yuba Barbecue Ribs

IMG_9975This recipe for BBQ Yuba ribs caught my eye on Pinterest.    There are also other recipes for barbecue Yuba ribs, like this one and this one.  I have this 1981 cookbook called Kathy Cooks Naturally  by  Kathy Hoshijo.  Kathy had a TV show on PBS back in the 1980’s, called Kathy’s Kitchen.  The cookbook is not vegan but it’s perhaps closer to vegan than vegetarian, and a lot of the recipes are already vegan and do not need to be converted.   Other recipes are converted simply by switching in agave or plant milk.  I don’t think she has any eggs in this book either.  So, back to our main ingredient–Yuba.  Yuba is a by-product of soybeans.  When soy milk is heated, a thin film forms on the surface, and this is Yuba.  Yuba can be fresh, half-dried or completely dried.  The dried form is often available in Oriental grocery stores and can be labeled as “Bean Curd” and are available in sheets and sticks and rolls.  Fresh Yuba is highly prized in Japan, and dried Yuba is about 50% protein and rich in minerals.  Monks have eaten Yuba for centuries to maintain a compassionate and healthful diet.  So, in Kathy Cooks Naturally, she has Yuba recipes for Yuba Chips, Mock Bacon, Yuba Seaweed Rolls, Mock Peking Duck, Monk’s Ham, Yuba Sausage, Southern Fried Chicken, Festive Mock Stuffed Turkey, Yuba Vegetable Rolls and Monk’s Chicken.  On to the BBQ!  This is my very first time making Yuba and it was quick and easy, and I can see how versatile this food is.  The whole package was $2.50 and could easily feed 3-4 people as a main dish, depending on who you’re feeding.   I followed Miyoko Schinner’s recipe pretty much, except I switched in a bottle of store-bought BBQ sauce, and reduced the oil.  This is a fast, delicious main dish, but I agree with Miyoko, these vegan ribs would make great football food too.  And yes, good enough to serve for company.


Serves 3-4


1 package Yuba dried bean curd sticks (see photo below)  (5.3 oz. pkg.)
1 bottle Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce
2 Tablespoons peanut oil, or safflower oil (or some other oil suitable for high heat)

Place Yuba sticks in a 13-inch glass baking dish and cover with water
(the Yuba will float at first,  but it will settle down).
Cover baking dish and place in refrigerator overnight.

The next day:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
With scissors, cut Yuba sticks into 5-inch or 6-inch sections.
Remove Yuba from water, drain it and place it on a plate.
Wash and dry the baking dish, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Put 1 Tablespoon of the oil onto the parchment paper and rub it around.
Pour BBQ sauce into a large bowl and stir the remaining Tablespoon of oil into it.
Toss the drained Yuba sticks into the BBQ/oil sauce and mix until well coated.
Lay coated Yuba sticks onto the oiled parchment paper in the baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, turn Yuba ribs over and brush them with remaining BBQ/oil sauce.
Bake another 15 minutes.
It’s good if the ribs are a bit blackened in a few spots.
Although Miyoko Schinner’s original recipe says they should be “somewhat” firm, don’t try to get the ribs totally firm.

IMG_9967  This is how I bought the Yuba from the Asian Food Center, at 2505 N. Salisbury Boulevard, in Salisbury, Maryland.

IMG_9974  Yuba sticks after soaking overnight, and draining.

Barbecued Tempeh Sandwich with Quick Slaw


This is one of those fast, delicious things you can make for lunch or dinner.  For anyone not familiar with using or eating tempeh, this is the perfect introductory dish.  No steaming of the tempeh is necessary!


16 ounce package soy tempeh, cut into half-inch strips  (I use Lightlife brand)
18 oz. bottle Kraft Barbecue Sauce – Original Thick ‘N Spicy flavor
bread buns or baguette
raw cabbage sliced very thinly,  or raw slaw mix
1/4 teaspoon mustard
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour half of BBQ sauce into bottom of small casserole dish.
Lay tempeh fingers flat into the sauce.
Pour rest of barbecue sauce over the tempeh fingers to coat evenly.
Bake 30 minutes until some of the sauce is absorbed.
Pile Quick Slaw (see below)  onto buns, top with BBQ tempeh, onions and/or pickles, and then more Quick Slaw.

By the Tablespoonful, mix a little Vegenaise with the mustard, dill pickle brine, and salt and pepper.
Gently fold mayo mixture into the raw, shredded cabbage.

Notes:  We both like our Pickled Red Onions on any sandwich, it really brings it up to the next level.  The Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles also go really well with or on any sandwich.


A few years ago, before I went vegan, I had these at a girlfriend’s.  There were these meatballs that had a nice flavor, sort of sweet-and-sour, but mild.  She wrote the recipe down for me on a scrap of paper, and I remember being surprised at the ingredients.  Here they are in their vegan incarnation,  perfect appetizers for a cocktail party, or Super Bowl or football food.  You could also bring these to any gathering calling for Heavy Pupus, and they take 5 minutes to make.  You could make your own vegan meatballs, but then it’s no longer a five-minute recipe.  I also read that homemade meatballs tend to fall apart in the slow cooker.  Happy New Year, Everyone.  In 2013, I plan to start blogging more raw food, less processed food, as I go along.  In the meantime, here’s this easy, delicious recipe that will have all the men at your house gathered around the crock pot.

Serves:  however many meatballs are in the bags

2 twelve-ounce jars Heinz Chili Sauce
1 32-ounce jar grape jelly, such as Welch’s
2 16-ounce bags vegan meatballs, plain flavor

Put chili sauce and jelly in a large pot or slow cooker.
Cook on medium heat until jelly is melted smooth, stirring often.
Add frozen meatballs, and heat until thawed.
Simmer for an hour or so.

Notes:  I used a four-quart Crock-Pot slow cooker, and set the temperature to Low for half an hour while the jelly melted, stirring occasionally.  Then I added the meatballs and set it to High for an hour.  This way, the meatballs stayed nicely intact in the beginning when the stirring of the jelly was happening.  The crock pot also is a great party tool since it keeps the stove free, while keeping your appetizers hot.  I used Trader Joe’s vegan meatballs, but there are quite a few brands now, even at regular grocery stores, in the freezer section.  There is an easy variation–just use canned, jellied cranberry sauce instead of the grape jelly.

Vegan Con Queso Dip


This is an old recipe from the 1970’s that I’ve veganized.  It’s sort of like the vegan Rotel Dip but has more vegetables and spices in it, and it’s really good.  Served with Doritos, Tostitos or Frito’s, it’s perfect for nacho night or watching football at home.  If you don’t want to use the beer in it, I suppose you could use soda water, but I haven’t tried that yet.  If you really want to do it up right, you could also serve the Excellent Bean Dip from this site.
Vegan Con Queso Dip

Serves 6 to 8,  I’m guessing.

2 Tablespoons oil
1 large onion, diced
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, drained (any kind, even fire roasted)
4 oz. can diced green chili peppers (we like mild or medium heat)
1 clove garlic, pressed, or crushed and minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
8 oz. bag of Daiya cheese
up to 1/2 Cup of beer

Saute onion in oil on medium heat.
Add tomatoes, chili peppers and seasonings.
Simmer on low until blended and some of the liquid is gone.
Put in double boiler and add cheese.
Simmer, stirring occasionally, until cheese melts.
Add splashes of beer as you stir, maybe a Tablespoon or two at a time, to smooth out the mixture and keep it “open.”
Serve with nacho chips or Fritos.

Notes:  You could probably substitute soda water instead of beer.  I haven’t tried this yet, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.

Excellent Bean Dip

This recipe was given to my friend Dave when he was working at Hilo Hospital, back in the 1990’s.  We laugh because it’s uber healthy, but then we go and eat it with Doritos, Fritos and the like.   At least you’re getting some major nutrition and fiber with your junk food!  It’s good, and it would be perfect for the big game, so I’m also putting it under the vegan football food category on this site.  It makes a ton and it freezes beautifully.  See second photo below, dated in October 2011, and I like this chunky texture better, it’s all about how much you puree, and pulse which ingredients.


2 cans 15 oz kidney beans (drained)
1 cans 15 oz black beans  (drained)
1 cans 15 oz garbanzo beans (drained)
2 cans 2.25 oz. ripe (black) olives (drained).  Chop one can, and put  other in blender.
1 can 14.5 oz can flavored tomatoes.  I used Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes, but any flavor would do.
Juice of one whole lemon (fresh)
1 large purple onion, diced fine (I use the Pickled Red Onions on this site)
1 to 2 green bell peppers, diced
4 oz. Catalina dressing
Optional:  several Tablespoons of black olive tapenade (I like Trader Joe’s brand for it’s great price and good taste)
Drain all beans and rinse well in colander.
Then put beans in bowl with cold water to cover, for one hour.
Drain beans in colander.
Take a tablespoon or two of your chopped vegetables and put them aside, to use as a garnish for your final presentation.
Have your Catalina dressing ready and waiting on the side.  You will need to put a little of this dressing into each blender batch, so add it accordingly, a little at a time.  This dressing is the liquid that will keep your blender moving.
Puree about half of all ingredients in batches, pulsing and stirring.  You want half of this dip to be fully pureed, and half of it to be chunkier.
Put this puree into a very large bowl and set aside.
Now put the other half of all ingredients into the blender and pulse so that it’s finely chopped, but not pureed.
Add this finely chopped half to the pureed half in the large bowl and mix.
Let chill in refrigerator for an hour or so.
Serve  with Fritos, or Tostitos, or, if you have to, something healthier.
This makes a LOT so you can serve a crowd, or freeze in small containers to take out when you like.
Notes:  You will need to finesse the blender or Vitamix because of the sheer volume.  This means putting it into your blender in small batches, with some of the liquid and pulsing, and stirring sometimes.  Get out your biggest bowl.  This would also be great to take to work functions, or put out for teens, etc.  You can also add a couple of tablespoons of black olive tapenade (I like Trader Joe’s brand for the cheap price).

Vegan Hunt’s Manwich Sloppy Joes

This vegan Manwich is fast, easy and delicious.  I first saw Manwich on the Accidentally Vegan lists put out by PETA.  I doctor mine up with what I have on hand, such as grated carrot, finely-diced onion, garlic, or bell pepper.  I’ll sometiomes throw in a half Cup of raw walnuts, but you can’t really taste them.  For little ones, it might be easier to serve on hotdog buns.

Vegan Hunt’s Manwich Sloppy Joes

Serves:  about 6

15.5 oz. can of Hunt’s Manwich Original Sloppy Joe Sauce
1 medium or large onion, diced
2 small or medium carrots, grated (or one large carrot)
2 cloves garlic, pressed, or crushed and minced
1 teaspoon cooking oil, such as safflower or peanut, etc.
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 Cup finely chopped raw walnuts (optional)
1 Cup Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles, or Boca Crumbles

In a large skillet, add onions, carrots, garlic, salt and oil.
Cook on medium/low  heat until things soften up, maybe 5-10 minutes.
To the skillet, add can of Manwich sauce, stir and cook one minute.
Add the finely chopped raw walnuts, stir and cook one minute.
Add vegan beefy crumbles, stir and cook a couple more minutes.
Serve good and hot on some type of bun or a slice of bread.
Have flashbacks of the 1970’s.

Notes:  In place of vegan burger crumbles and nuts, you can instead  use a Cup of dry TSP (textured soy protein) or TVP (textured vegetable protein) from Bob’s Red Mill.  We like to serve these on Martin’s Potato Rolls, which are accidentally vegan.

Chipotle Grill Restaurant Guacamole

Very soon after I went vegan last year, I went to Chipotle Grill restaurant in Annapolis.   Their guacamole has such a nice balance to it.  So I searched online and found this web site with the actual recipe on it and just modified it to our taste exactly.  You can follow my recipe or start with the original and change it slightly to suit your family.  Lars is one of those people who perceive the taste of cilantro as being slightly soapy, but the ratios I use below are just fine with even him.  The first time I made it, I used all the juice from the little lime, but it really was too much.  The online recipe doesn’t say how many this serves, but I find it’s good for two or three people, depending upon appetites.  I’ve heard it said many times that avocados are fattening, but don’t believe it.  Yes, they are high in monounsaturated fat, the kind that lowers cholesterol.  Also a good source of folate, which is important for the formation of hemoglobin,  and ounce for ounce, an avocado contains more potassium than a banana which is considered an excellent source.  With other nutrients like Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, magnesium and iron, we can’t go wrong.  Avocados are high up on the list of the Clean 15, so you can save a few pennies and buy conventional (as opposed to organic).  However, when we buy organic, we create a demand for it and less of a demand for pesticide-laden foods.  As for growing fresh cilantro, here in the Mid-Atlantic part of the United States, it tends to wither away once the true heat of summer sets in, so I plant it in my shaded porch pots, along with a nasturtium for salads, and some mint for iced tea. 
Chipotle Grill Guacamole Recipe

Serves: 2 to 3

2 Hass Avocados   Don’t go for black avocados;  make sure they have some green showing in the skin
1/3 of a Jalapeno pepper, seeded (seeds taken out), and minced
1/4 of a medium-sized red onion, finely chopped (or a bit less)
1 Tablespoon of fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 of a lime, juiced (no more)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

In a mixing bowl, mash avocados some (not all the way).  I use an old-fashioned potato masher, because I don’t have a molcajete.

Add cilantro, chopped red onions, minced jalapeno, lime juice, and salt. Continue mashing until desired consistency.  It’s more authentic to leave some small chunks.

Note:  To speed ripening, store avocados in a paper bag at room temperature.  In a pinch, you can simply add one more avocado for that 4th person.

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket

My girlfriend Piliki has been experimenting with vegan corn dogs for her grandchildren, but hasn’t been satisfied with the results yet.  I decided to try making Vegan Pigs in a Blanket, in hope that she would find them easier.  Of course, these are not exactly health food, but if you take into consideration the unspeakable animal products and chemicals in hot dogs (yes, even kosher ones), and all the preservatives in the store-bought buns, etc., you are still ahead of the game.  And these Smart Dogs have more protein, zero fat, zero cholesterol, and only 45 calories.  Once in a while, kids want to have what the other kids are having, and these would also be great for a Super Bowl football party or something.  So, I used Smart Dogs by LightLife and my own Vegan Pate Brisee dough.  You’ll want to make the dough a few hours ahead or the day before (so it can rest in the fridge), or pull it from the freezer.  It’s an easy and quick dough–once you make it, you’ll see.  And then you can pop one or both of the  single crusts into the freezer and just pull them out the night before.  These may seem like gourmet Pigs in a Blanket, and maybe they are due to the decadent French pastry crust.  I had to play around with the baking time, but it worked out perfectly and yielded a delicate bun with a flaky, buttery crust.  Be sure to serve with little pots of condiments, including different mustards, catsup and relish, chopped onions, etc.  Afternote:  Since posting this, I’ve learned that the Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls are accidentally vegan, and those can be used in lieu of the pate brise dough.
Vegan Pigs in a Blanket   or   Vegan Pigs in Blankets

Yield:  8 Pigs in a Blanket  (you can double this of course)

one package of Smart Dogs
one Vegan Pate Brisee single crust (for 8 pieces)  (or Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls)
Condiments for serving, including mustards, ketchup, chopped onions, sweet relish, etc.

-At least 30 minutes before you begin, place one or two rolling pins in the freezer.
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
-Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
-Slice Smart Dogs in half the short way, so you’ll get two Pigs in a Blanket from each hot dog.
-Sprinkle a flat surface with flour, and take dough from refrigerator.
-Using one of your well-chilled rolling pins, roll out the dough on your floured surface.  Don’t be afraid to add more flour as you go, rolling and flipping the dough, no worries.
-With a butter knife, cut the dough into rectangles or squares and then cut those on the diagonal so you wind up with triangles of dough.  Immediately roll the little dogs up in the dough and place on baking sheet.  As you run out of dough, just improvise and use rectangles or whatever.
-You can re-roll the last little bit of dough if you use the other frozen rolling pin.  Otherwise, the dough scraps are  probably too warm to work with by now.
-Bake for 15 minutes.

Note:  You can briefly fry on medium heat some or all of your Smart Dogs in a teaspoon or two of Earth Balance and a sprinkle of sea salt–this will yield a slightly chewier dog.  Good but possibly not worth the effort.  We tried them both fried and un-fried, and liked both just as well.  The oven heat is high enough that it cooks the dog well, even if it is un-fried first.

Vegan Rotel Queso Dip

I once met a girl from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who told me you could not have a party without Rotel dip.  She was horrified when I asked, “What’s Rotel dip?”  So she made it for me, and I was shocked to see there was Velveeta in such an apparently popular party food.  But there it was, and it tasted good.  So, I decided to give it a vegan whirl.  And guess what?  It was really good!  This would be a killer snack for Super Bowl parties and what have you.  No other vegan cheese would do but Daiya brand, and I decided to mix up the mozzarella and cheddar flavors to get the color and taste that might approximate Velveeta, and also added some beer to thin it out and keep it “open” and give it a bit of live culture, like bad cheese would have.  These little successes keep me going and I hope you like them too.

Vegan Rotel Dip     or     Vegan Queso Dip

one 10 oz. can of Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
4 oz. Daiya mozzarella cheese
4 oz. Daiya cheddar cheese
1 bottle of Corona beer (or some other beer)

Put Rotel and cheeses in a saucepan, on medium-low heat.
Add 1/2 Cup of the beer and stir with a wooden spoon.
As it heats up, add another 1/4 Cup of the beer if necessary.
Stir often until bubbly.
Keep warm in a chafing dish or on the stove, on lowest heat.
You can add a Tablespoon (or two) more beer as time passes, and stir occasionally.