Laura Theodore is a recognized public television personality, vegan PBS celebrity chef, nationally renowned jazz singer and award-winning cookbook author. She is co-creator of the highly successful Jazzy Vegetarian vegan cooking series on national public television. Ms. Theodore is author of five cookbooks, including Jazzy Vegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan, which won silver medals at the 2018 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, Midwest Book Awards and the 2019 Living Now Book Awards. Easy Vegan Home Cooking is Laura’s newest book (Hatherleigh Press, 2021).
1. A good jarred, organic vegan marinara sauce is my go-to staple for creating quick and satisfying weeknight meals, making a time-saving base for pasta dishes, lasagna, chili, sauces, casseroles, stews, soups and more. I keep several varieties stocked in my pantry for use when time is at a premium. Canned (BPA-free) tomatoes provide the same flexibility for creating easy meals. I keep organic diced, crushed and fire-roasted canned tomato varieties on hand so I know I always have a base for an easy-to-prepare meal.
2. Cooking with dried herbs and spices is an easy way to add flavor to just about any plant-based recipe. To make it easy, I keep several spice and herb seasoning blends in my spice rack. When I want to add a big burst of flavor to a recipe, I reach for just one jar of seasoning blend instead of opening six or seven jars of herbs and spices. It’s much less time-consuming and certainly saves time when you’re in a hurry to get a yummy meal on the table.
3. For leavening baked goods without eggs, mix 1 cup dairy-free milk with 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice and let stand for 10 minutes. This will produce vegan “buttermilk.” Then, add a bit of baking soda to the batter. The baking soda will react to the acidic base in the vegan “buttermilk,” helping your baked goods to rise beautifully.
4. Making a vegan cream sauce is so simple! Cashew “Cream” Sauce is a favorite of mine. To make this creamy vegan sauce, soak raw cashews in the refrigerator with just enough water to cover for 1 to 4 hours, then drain and rinse them well. Put the soaked cashews in a blender container and process with fresh water to cover until smooth, adding more water as needed to achieve desired consistency.