A plate full of vegan chocolate chip cookies, tollhouse style on a distressed white wooden table/

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe: Tollhouse-Style

I’ve adapted this vegan chocolate chip cookies recipe from a regular tollhouse cookie recipe that makes the most delicious vegan cookies you can imagine. A little soft, a little chewy and bursts of chocolate with every bite. You can even get that crunchy finish if you leave them in the oven a bit longer. I personally like them a bit undercooked and gooey 🙂

Nothing is more satisfying than a good cookie, and infinitely better if no animals were harmed in the making. You know the best part? Vegan chocolate chip cookie dough is eatable! No eggs means no salmonella. Yayyy! And seriously, you don’t need the animal products, these cookies are legit identical to regular choco chip cookies. Vegans and non-vegans alike should make cookies without animal products.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

These vegan chocolate chip cookies are every bit as delicious as regular chocolate chip cookies. They are actually exactly like tollhouse cookies and perfect to make as a treat for your loved ones or bring as dessert to special occasions. These egg-free, dairy-free chocolate chip cookies are winners everywhere I’ve brought them.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Servings: 20 large cookies

Materials Needed

  • 1 medium and 1 large mixing bowl
  • 2 cookie sheets

Ingredients

I always recommend non-GMO, organic ingredients wherever possible. Bonus points for locally-sourced <3

  • 2 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) vegan butter softened (I use Earth Balance sticks)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons of original apple sauce
  • 2 cups (12-ounces) vegan chocolate chips

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 375ÂşF
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix the softened vegan butter, both sugars, vanilla, and apple sauce. Stir for a minute or two to really combine and bring the flavors together
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet sugar mixture until a nice dough is created. I usually start with a spoon and switch to my hands when the dough starts coming together
  5. Add in the chocolate chips and mix to distribute evenly into the dough
  6. Grab chunks of the cookie dough and make them into balls with your palms to make 20 cookies. You can also make 50 cookies from this same recipe by using a rounded tablespoons. But, I prefer larger cookies.
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes. For soft, gooey cookies take out at 8 minutes, for crispy cookies take out at 12 minutes.
  8. Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve with your favorite non-dairy milk!

I paired my cookies with a tall cup of Oatly oatmilk. Oatmilk is seriously my favorite now. I hope you enjoyed these delectable vegan chocolate chip cookies. Be sure to share your experiences baking these circles of wonder in the comments!

Peet's vegan breakfast sandwich after two bites with vegan cheese, beyond sausage, and just egg.

Peet’s Vegan Breakfast Sandwich Review

I was so excited that Peet’s launched a fully plant-based breakfast sandwich. Peet’s vegan breakfast sandwich consists of an everything bagel thin, a slice of vegan cheddar cheese, Beyond sausage and Just Egg. I drove over to the Peet’s Coffee location in Solana Beach, California on a cloudy day to try this vegan delight.

Peet’s Vegan Breakfast Sandwich from Peet’s Coffee in Solana Beach, California

To start, the Peet’s plant-based breakfast sandwich was even better than I thought. Of course it’s not like a big ooey gooey egg, cheese and sausage from your corner deli, but as far an on-the-go breakfast sandwiches it’s right in line with other fast food breakfast sandwiches as far as I can remember (Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, etc). I haven’t had a convenient breakfast sandwich in over 16 years so I’m super grateful to Peet’s for stepping up to the [vegan] plate when all the other places have not.

Peet’s Vegan Breakfast Sandwich Review

The overall sandwich was more flavorful and juicy than I expected. Let me break it down by ingredient:

The bread. To start, the sandwich bread is a flavorsome, lightly toasted everything bagel thin with sesame and poppy seeds. A lot of times bagel thins can be quite bland but this one was not — it lent itself perfectly to the sandwich.

The vegan cheese. The non-dairy cheddar worked perfectly in this sandwich. It is just one slice but when melted one slice goes a long way. The cheese was melted beautifully over the sausage and pulled the sandwich together making it ooey gooey (and combatting any potential dryness). We all know cheese takes anything to the next level, and this sandwich is no exception.

The Beyond sausage. Their preparation of Beyond breakfast sausage was great. They don’t dry it out at all, they retain its juiciness so it gives a very scrumptious, satiating feeling to the whole sandwich. And of course, the flavors in the Beyond sausage are on point — there is such an explosion of savory flavor.

The Just Egg. Just Egg is very impressive. This plant-based egg, made with mung beans, is not too flavorful, but gives a nice fluffy eggy consistency to compliment the flavorful sausage and cheese. It brings all the right textures that you would expect in a breakfast sandwich.

In conclusion, each element of Peet’s vegan breakfast sandwich works perfectly together to provide a satisfying on-the-go option for vegans and anyone looking to reduce their impact on the planet. It is currently priced at $5.95 and I paired mine with a creamy oat milk vanilla latte. Thank you Peet’s for adding this option to your menu!

Find a Peet’s Coffee location near you. Have you tried Peet’s vegan breakfast sandwich? Be sure to share your thoughts in the reviews.

Vegan white pizza with tofu ricotta, spinach and sun-dried tomato on a cutting board.

Vegan White Pizza Recipe: With Tofu Ricotta (No Cashews)

This vegan white pizza recipe is really, really, really good. I have been making pizza with my mom, dad and sister since I was 3 years old. I remember getting that round of dough from the corner pizzeria on Long Island, NY and loading it with globs of ricotta then topping it with fresh mozzarella from Uncle Giuseppe’s and our favorite toppings.

When I became vegan in 2004, did I have to give up white pizza? Of course not. I’m New York Italian — no way I’m giving up pizza. I just made it vegan! With the best, easiest and cheapest tofu ricotta, the finest dough of the land, vegan mozzarella of your choice and toppingzzz! In this case, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach FTW.

This recipe is very easy and definitely a crowd-pleaser. The trickiest part for me is working with the dough. Luckily my boo has a couple years of assistant pizza chef under his belt so he is a dough master. Thanks to him, my pizzas now look like circles and not like “guess the country” shapes. But if you don’t have these skills, luckily the mystery shapes still taste just as good as the circles, so shine on, you crazy diamond!

What is vegan white pizza sauce?

Vegan white pizza is essentially pizza that uses a vegan ricotta instead of tomato sauce. So vegan white pizza sauce is actually just a vegan ricotta. On top of the non-dairy ricotta, you simply put some vegan mozzarella and your favorite toppings. My vegan ricotta is made from simple, affordable ingredients like tofu, nutritional yeast, salt, black pepper and optional fresh basil.

Actually, my tofu ricotta is kinda famous in my house and my (non-vegan) family comes lurking with spoons when they know I’m making it. I have to shoo them away or else there will be none left for the pizza! I also use the ricotta for my baked ziti, lasagna, eggplant rollatini, manicotti and more.

Facciamo la pizza!

(Let’s make pizza!)

Vegan White Pizza Recipe: With Tofu Ricotta (No Cashews)

White pizza is my favorite!! Though I love tomato sauce, there is something so indulgent and comforting about a white pizza loaded with homemade vegan ricotta and my fave toppings. This is the perfect recipe for a Friday pizza night. But whatever day of the week, vegan white pizza rules.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 15-17 minutes
  • Serves: 4

Ingredients

I always recommend non-GMO, organic ingredients wherever possible. Bonus points for locally-sourced <3

Materials needed:

  • Perforated circular pizza pan (non-perforated also works fine).
  • Food processor. This is pretty essential for the ricotta. I have processed it with my hands in an emergency situation before but it’s not nearly as creamy. Food processor is an excellent investment for vegan ricotta, hummus, pesto — so many things!

For the dough:

  • A “round of dough” from your local pizzeria. You can also find fresh-made whole wheat and regular dough at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
  • Flour, for your work surface and working with the dough
  • Olive oil, for greasing your pizza pan.

For the ricotta:

  • 1 pack (1 lb) firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (or more to taste)
  • .5 teaspoon black pepper
  • .5 teaspoon garlic powder
  • handful fresh basil (optional, but recommended for basil lovers)

For the toppings:

  • Your favorite vegan mozzarella. My favorite used to be Daiya, but for pizza now I gravitate more toward Follow your Heart shreds or Miyoko’s Fresh Mozzarella.
  • Your favorite toppings. I used jarred sundried tomatoes, and frozen spinach that I sautĂ©ed a bit with olive oil before putting on top of pizza. You can put fresh pineapple, sautĂ©ed broccoli, vegan pepperoni, artichoke hearts—the options are endless.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Rub the surface of your pan with a little olive oil and set aside
  3. Prepare the vegan ricotta
    • Place tofu and olive oil in your food processor, process until mostly smooth
    • Add nutritional yeast, salt, black pepper, garlic powder and basil (if using) and process until smooth
    • Taste test to see if there is anything missing. This step is KEY! Add more of whatever it is lacking
    • Process until complete smooth and creamy and set aside
  4. Prepare the dough
    • Sprinkle a clean, dry surface with a generous dusting of flour (I used my countertop)
    • Work the dough into a medium circle so the dough is about a half-inch thick
    • Place the dough onto your lightly greased pizza pan
  5. Assemble your pizza
    • Dollop your ricotta on your dough and spread evenly. There should be a generous layer of ricotta
    • Top the ricotta with your choice of vegan mozzarella. I used almost a whole pack of Follow your Heart mozzarella shreds
    • Put your favorite toppings over the vegan mozzarella. I put chopped, sautĂ©ed spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and some additional dollops of tofu ricotta
  6. Bake your pizza
    • Place pizza on center rack in your preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until crust is golden and desired level of crispy. I like to take a spatula and peak at the bottom of the crust to see the color
  7. Serve.
    • Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into 8 slices. Serve, top with vegan parmesan, oregano, crushed red pepper or any other finishing touches.
    • Enjoy!
  • Vegan white pizza with tofu ricotta, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes unsliced on a cutting board.
  • Vegan white pizza slice with tofu ricotta, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes topped with parmesan and paired with Pellegrino.
  • Vegan white pizza with tofu ricotta, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes sliced on a cutting board.

I hope you found this vegan white pizza recipe useful! Please be sure to share your results or any questions in the comments 🙂

Soft-boiled egg with seasoning on a white and black marble table.

Soft-Boiled Eggs: How Many Minutes?

Soft-boiled eggs have soft yet firm whites and jelly-like yolks. For so long, I tried time and time again but always ended up overcooking them so the yolk is a hard, chalky consistency. Or other times undercooking them so it’s a liquid mess (including the whites — gross!). If you want to avoid those 2 scenarios, it’s essential to know the perfect timing and how many minutes are ideal to make a soft-boiled egg.

So how many minutes to make a soft-boiled egg? After much trial and error, I’ve found that the perfect duration to cook a soft-boiled egg is 6 minutes and 30 seconds on a low boil. Make sure to not overcrowd the pot — each egg should have a place on the bottom. Also, be sure to use humane-certified, pasture-raised eggs to ensure there wasn’t animal suffering involved in your soft-boiled eggs.

How to Make a Soft-Boiled Eggs

  1. Bring water and half teaspoon salt to a low boil. It is very important that it is a light boil with small bubbles and not a roaring boil. We’re makin’ eggs here not pasta. Also, salt makes the eggs easier to peel.
  2. Carefully add your eggs in the water with tongs. Don’t overcrowd the pot, eggs should be fully submerged. Be sure to use tongs, otherwise you’ll either burn yourself on the water, or drop them from too high up and they’ll crack.
  3. Set a timer to 6 minutes and 30 seconds. Trust me, a timer is the only way you’ll really remember to take them out at the right time. Your powers of estimation may be good, but not soft-boiled egg good.
  4. Remove the eggs from heat. Once the timer goes off, remove them immediately from the water with tongs. If eating right away, be sure to rinse them in cold water so you don’t burn your fingers.
  5. Enjoy your soft-boiled eggs on their own or dash with some salt and pepper!
My soft-boiled egg. Look at that beautiful orange yolk! These are Carol’s Pasture Raised Eggs, which I found at Trader Joe’s.
Menemen, a Turkish dessert, is made with eggs, sweet pepper and tomatoes.

Menemen Recipe: Turkish Eggs with Tomato and Pepper

I love this menemen recipe!! Menemen is a Turkish egg dish that combines sweet frying peppers, tomatoes and, of course, eggs. My fiance Mehmet is Turkish and menemen is actually the first thing he ever made for me. This recipe is pretty simple and straightforward in terms of ingredients, so it is important to find quality ingredients like organic, pasture-raised, humane-certified eggs; ripe, juicy organic tomatoes; and organic, sweet frying peppers.

The peppers

The exact Turkish sweet peppers (çarliston pepper) can be tricky to find in the US, so we used Italian sweet peppers (Cubanelle), which he said are practically the same. When we can’t find those (often the case), we use bell peppers or poblano peppers, which he said are an okay substitute. Bell pepper tastes fine to me but I definitely notice a better texture and flavor when we use the Italian sweet peppers.

The onion debate

Mehmet said that some families use onions in this dish and others don’t. It’s actually a hotly debated topic, which sparked a Twitter poll where thousands of voters were practically 50/50 about whether or not to use onion in menemen. Mehmet prefers without onion — he says it gives it a fresh, light finish that is more suitable for breakfast. So, this menemen recipe leaves onion out. However, it’s totally acceptable to sautĂ© an onion into this dish at same time as the peppers for a more savory finish.

Menemen Recipe: Turkish Eggs with Tomato and Sweet Pepper

Menemen

Menemen is a breakfast that will give you the energy and strength you need to start your day. The pasture-raised eggs, tomatoes and sweet peppers work in perfect harmony in this simple, one-pan meal.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 Italian sweet peppers (Cubanelle), diced; or you can substitute green bell pepper or poblano here as well
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups diced tomatoes with juices, we used 3 beefsteak tomatoes1
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter (we use Earth Balance)2
  • 6 pasture-raised eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Chopped green onion to garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat a medium pan on medium-high heat.
  2. Add diced pepper (without oil at first for a slightly roasted taste). Roast for 5 minutes.
  3. Add olive oil and continue sautéing for 5 more minutes until tender.
  4. Add the butter, salt, pepper, and tomato with their juices and saute until soft and hot, about 10 minutes.3
  5. Now, crack eggs over the tomato and let them simmer for about 2 minutes.
  6. Then, use a spoon to break the yolks and very lightly scramble them. You do not want to fully incorporate them as you normally would when you scramble eggs, only swirl them around a bit.
  7. Cook until just barely set, about 4 minutes. You can move the egg whites around a bit to help them cook. If you prefer yolks more set, you can move those around too and even extend cooking time.4
  8. Garnish with green onion if you wish and serve in the pan5

Notes

  • 1You can used canned chopped tomatoes as well.
  • 2Since we are veggan (vegan + eggs), we do NOT use dairy products of any kind. For this reason, we do not use real butter (contains milk). Earth balance is very easy to find in just about any major grocery store in the US.
  • 3You can cut these times by half if you’re in a crunch, but often with cooking patience pays off in having deeper flavor and juicier consistency.
  • 4An old trick for eggs in any dish is “if the eggs look done in the pan they are overcooked.” This always stayed with me, and it’s so true.
  • 5Traditionally this dish is eaten directly out of the pan or spooned onto each plate directly from the pan at the table. It’s a sort of communal dish, perfect with Turkish bagels to sop up some of the extra juices.
Menemen, a Turkish dessert, is made with eggs, sweet pepper and tomatoes.
Brown hen wandering freely on green grass with yellow flowers in the background, conditions for pasture-raised eggs.

What are Pasture Raised Eggs? Benefits and Standards

If you are trying to live a more conscious and ethical lifestyle, you’ve probably wondered to yourself, what are pasture raised eggs? Is there a real difference? Am I wasting my money? First off, no, you are not wasting your money. You can’t put a price tag on animal suffering, and anyone who cares about animal welfare would agree that a couple dollars more for eggs that are humanely produced is worth every penny. And, actually, many brands can be found quite affordably – you just need to know where to look. 

Also, yes, there is a major difference between pasture, conventional, cage-free and free-range eggs. So before you make your next omelet, learn about what sets the pasture raised above the rest. 

What are pasture raised eggs? 

Pasture raised eggs come from hens who are free to roam pastures, grasslands and forests, pecking for insects, seeds and grasses (their natural food) during the day. At night, they retreat to their hen houses to roost, nest and lay eggs (this also protects them against predators). While pasture-raised is not a specific certification in and of itself, it does imply that the eggs come from small family farms with large pastures for egg-laying hens.

Certified Humane and American Humane Certified, on the other hand, are official certifications that comes with a list of requirements for the production of pasture-raised eggs. To receive the Certified Humane or American Humane Certified label, the hens must be kept on a pasture 12 months of the year and there must be 2.5 acres per 1000 birds, or 108 sq. feet per bird. At night, as outlined above, the hens are kept inside. Pasture raised are the most humane of all the egg types.

Many brands have the Certified Humane or American Certified Humane label. If they don’t, it may be a smaller, local family farm that has not yet applied for this certification. If ever in doubt about the conditions of the hens at the farm you get your pasture-raised eggs from, you can always call them and ask directly for more information about the conditions for their hens. Usually, they will be thrilled to provide this information and maybe even invite you for a visit.

Pasture-raised eggs in hay with one of them cracked open to expose orange yolk.

Are pasture-raised eggs healthier? 

Yes, according to research, pasture-raised eggs are healthier than conventional eggs. In fact, a study by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has shown that pasture-raised eggs contain double the vitamin E and omega-3s. Folic acid and B12 is 70 percent more, and vitamin A is over 30 percent more in pasture raised. Plus, chickens who have had exposure to sunlight lay eggs that contain three-to-four times more vitamin D.

All these nutrients provide much-needed nourishment to the body. Omega 3’s lower blood pressure, preserve hair and skin health, improve mobility of the muscles and joints and support healthy brain function. Vitamin D strengthens the bones and muscles, boosts immunity, and helps prevent diabetes and hypertension. Vitamin B12 is essential for anemia prevention, higher energy levels and healthy hair. So, as you can see, they provide way more nutrients than conventional, which preserves whole body wellness and beauty.

Soft boiled pasture-raised eggs on toast with avocado and pomegranate.

Free range vs. pasture-raised eggs

Pasture raised 

Pasture raised eggs come from hens that are free to roam on grassy pastures year-round eating their natural diet of bugs, grasses and seeds. The hens retreat to hen houses at night for warmth and protection from predators. According to Certified Humane and American Humane Certified standards for pasture raised, hens must have 108 square feet of pasture per bird.

Free-range

Free range eggs come from hens that have approximately 2 square feet of outdoor space each for around 6 hours per day. The space usually contains a large flock of birds in an open air warehouse. The ground does not need to be comprised of living vegetation and is often dirt or concrete.

Cage-free

Cage-free eggs come from hens with no access to the outdoors. Cage free simply means, as it sounds, that they are not in cages. They are in a crowded room, building or enclosed area, with approximately 1.25 square feet of space per bird.

Caged

Caged eggs come from hens who live the entirety of their lives inside large, enclosed warehouses in battery cages that measure no more than a sheet of paper. They are unable to move or flap their wings, and there are usually multiple hens stuffed into each cage, which can cause extreme anxiety, pain and frustration.

Where to buy them

Know where to look for affordable pasture-raised eggs. You may notice if you go to your local supermarket, pasture-raised eggs are actually more expensive than in major health food stores. Conventional supermarkets price gauge a bit because there is no house brand and not much competition between pasture-raised egg brands. If you go to a place like Whole Foods, Trader Joes or even Costco, you can find a variety of brands (or at least a house-brand) and for that reason, more reasonable pricing. Here are some common stores where you can find pasture-raised eggs: 

  • Costco. Costco carries Kirkland Pasture-Raised Eggs (their house-brand) 24 for just $8.99*
  • Whole Foods. Whole Foods has their house brand 365 eggs at $4.99 a dozen. They also sell other brands like Vital Farms for $5.99 a dozen*
  • Trader Joes. Trader Joes sells them for $3.99 a dozen. My local Trader Joe’s was selling Carol’s Pasture Raised Eggs.
  • Sprouts. Sprouts sells house-brand pasture raised eggs for $4.99 a dozen*
  • Local Farmer’s Market. Head to your local weekly Farmer’s Market where farmers of the region come to sell their eggs. Prices vary but it’s great to be able to purchase right from the farmer. You can even visit a local farm.

*Prices and pasture-raised egg supplier may vary according to region and time of year. Pricing as of Winter 2021.

Hen in the hen house on hay laying pasture-raised eggs.

Conclusion

Pasture-raised eggs are most definitely the most humane and healthy egg option at the market. However, since this is not an official certification in and of itself, you are going to want to do your research to ensure the farm is meeting your ethical standards. The easy way to identify this is via the Certified Humane and American Humane Certified labels. However, you can always go a step further and contact the farm directly if you have additional questions about their practices.

Best Vegan Cheesecake: Creamiest Non-Dairy NY Cheesecake

My dad’s and fiancĂ©’s favorite dessert is NY-style cheesecake. So it was my special mission to make the best vegan cheesecake for the 2 most important guys in my life. I am from New York (Long Island) and somehow never had cheesecake growing up before I was vegan. I didn’t like it — give me ice cream or brownies or cannoli plz. I think cheesecake is something you like as you get older? Do kids ever like it?

Over 16 years of being vegan, I tried different vegan cheesecakes from plant-based restaurants (huge shout out to Darbster’s in South Florida for their insanely delicious non-dairy cheesecake). And learned what makes a cheesecake so delicious — a buttery graham cracker crust, a creamy, light and perfectly sweetened cake and a fresh topping to finish it off. So this Valentine’s Day I decided to go ahead and make an awesome cheesecake. And my fiancĂ© said it was the best cheesecake he has ever had!!

Finding Ingredients

  • Vegan Cream Cheese. The key ingredient in cheesecake? Cream cheese! And luckily, vegan cream cheese is available everywhere (in the US) now. If you don’t typically make vegan desserts or purchase vegan products, don’t be intimidated, trust me you can find it. If you go to Trader Joe’s, there is a green and blue packaging for their store-brand vegan cream cheese. At Whole Foods or your local supermarket, you can find Tofutti or Kite Hill brand. I used the Trader Joe’s cream cheese and had incredible success. I would suggest one of these 3 brands for best results: 1. Trader Joe’s 2. Tofutti 3. Kite Hill (Original). I can’t vouch for other brands.
  • Coconut Cream. Be sure to ideally get a can of coconut cream, or if you really can’t find it you can get a can of full-fat coconut milk. Just please be sure to avoid light coconut milk. Again, Trader Joe’s is an easy spot to find this. They have a great canned coconut cream. You can also find coconut cream at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Natural Grocers and most any other natural-leaning grocery store. You may be able to find it in a typical supermarket, though it may be trickier (it’s not available in my local Von’s, for example).
  • Vegan Graham Crackers. Most graham crackers contain honey (including the ones at Trader Joe’s). If you’re vegan, this is an issue! However, Nabisco Original Graham Crackers do not contain honey. Luckily, these are pretty easy to find at any standard grocery store. If you prefer a chocolatey finish, you can use Oreos. If you want to make it gluten-free, use your favorite gluten free graham cracker or ginger cookie. I used the Nabisco Graham Crackers.
  • Vegan Butter. Again, available literally everywhere. I used Earth Balance for this and this is probably the one you’ll find too because this is the most common vegan butter brand out today. If you can find it, that would be my pick. Alternatively, you can use coconut oil if you prefer.

The rest of the ingredients are super standard that you probably already have in your home, so no need to offer tips on how to find them.

Best Vegan Cheesecake Recipe

This NY-style cheesecake is so good you would never know it’s vegan. It’s every bit as good as dairy cheesecake, but without the cholesterol or animal products. You are 1 step away from making the best vegan cheesecake for your loved ones (or just yourself, no judgment here). Best prepared the day before so it can chill overnight.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Chill time: 6 hours to overnight
  • Servings: 8 slices

Ingredients

Materials needed:

  • Hand mixer or fork/whisk
  • 9-inch spring-form pan
  • Mixing bowl

Crust Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups vegan graham cracker crumbs
  • 7 tablespoons melted vegan butter (or melted coconut oil)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (for the crust, I used coconut sugar to bring down the glycemic index a bit)

Cake Ingredients

  • (4) 8-ounce containers of vegan cream cheese (48 ounces). Trader Joe’s brand works great, but you may use Tofutti or Kite Hill as well.
  • (1) 13.5 ounce can of coconut cream
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Method

  1. Prep.
    • Preheat the oven to 350ÂşF.
    • Lightly grease the bottoms and sides of your 9-inch springform with vegan butter, coconut oil or baking spray.
    • Wrap the outside (outside bottom and outside sides) of the springform snugly with tin foil to prevent leakage.
  2. Crust.
    • Crumble your graham crackers until you have 1 2/3 cup. I did this by hand for that homemade touch, but you can use a food processor if you prefer.
    • Stir in melted butter and sugar until incorporated.
    • Press your mixture onto the bottom and a bit up the sides of your prepared, greased 9-inch springform pan.
    • The crust will be pretty crumbly and not overly moist. That is fine, don’t worry, it will hold together in the end.
  3. Filling.
    • Whisk all cream cheese in mixing bowl until smooth. I started with a fork then switched to handheld whisk. It took a bit of strength so yay for exercise. If you have an electric mixer with whisk or hand beaters you can use those.
    • Mix until uniform and creamy.
    • Add remaining ingredients (coconut cream, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and lemon juice)
    • Continue whisking until uniform, fluffy and totally smooth. Don’t overmix.
  4. Pour.
    • Pour your cheesecake filling evenly over the crust in the springform.
    • Make sure it is level.
  5. Bake.
    • Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes. Do not open the oven during this time.
    • When ready, it should be slightly golden on top.
    • When finished baking, turn off oven heat and let sit in the hot oven for 10 more minutes.
    • Carefully remove from oven. It will be slightly jiggly on top, that is normal. It will continue to set in the fridge.
  6. Chill.
    • First leave the cheesecake out on the counter to cool for 20 minutes, then transfer to fridge for at least 6 hours.
    • I recommend whipping this dessert up the day before and letting it chill overnight in the fridge. I placed a clean dish towel over the top while it was chilling
  7. Serve.
    • The most fun part is taking off the springform and slicing into this beautiful cheesecake.
    • Slice a generous portion, top with your favorite topping and serve.
    • It can stay out on the counter for up to an hour, after which you should put it back in the fridge to chill.

Optional Toppings

Fresh Strawberry Topping

Slice a half-cup of fresh strawberries and set aside. Place another 2 cups strawberries, quarter lemon of fresh squeeze lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or sugar) in a food processor and process until smooth. Mix fresh strawberry slices in to the puree and let chill in fridge an hour or 2 before serving.

Chocolate Drizzle Topping

Mix 1 cup canned coconut milk, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup agave nectar and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Bring to a simmer in pot over medium heat. Remove from heat. Mix in 1/4 cup of (vegan) semi-sweet chocolate chips until melted and smooth.

Fresh Blueberry Topping

Set aside half cup of fresh blueberries. Place another 2 cups of blueberries, quarter lemon of fresh squeezed lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or sugar) in a food processor and process until smooth. Mix fresh blueberries into the puree and let chill in fridge an hour or 2 before serving.

It’s also nice to just have these toppings on the side in cute bowls with cute lil spoons and let your guests choose which they want to put on top.

Slice of plain vegan cheesecake golden on top, graham cracker crust with rose and strawberry in background.

And that’s it! It takes a little bit of time but nothing says special occasion like an absolutely delicious homemade cheesecake. I’m so excited to make this for my next family event. I hope you enjoy the best vegan cheesecake, and please be sure to share your experience!

Hens roaming freely on big green field to make pasture-raised eggs at Handsome Brook Farms.

Pasture-Raised Egg Brands: Humane Eggs Directory (2021)

If you care about animal welfare, finding out the most humane egg brands is essential. I have done research and reached out to some pasture-raised egg brands to compile this Humane Eggs Directory that you can refer to when looking for kinder, healthier eggs. Some of these awesome companies even collaborated with us and provided a statement about their humane practices.

*Feature Photo Courtesy of Handsome Brook Farms. Thanks, you guys are awesome!


1. Happy Hens Pasture Raised

Pasture-Raised | Certified-Humane | Non-GMO | USDA Organic

Website

Why we love them:

Happy Hens eggs come from hens raised in small flocks with lots of room to roam and live a natural life. All eggs at the farm 100 percent pasture-raised and the hens are fed organic food, free of corn and soy. Plus, they are top-rated by Cornucopia Institute as being the #1 organic egg farm in the nation. The farmers have a commitment to bring consumers eggs in the most humane and sustainable way possible from their Southern California pastures. I actually live in San Diego and eat their eggs frequently.

Statement from Happy Hens:

“We are a TRULY OUTDOOR, Pasture Raised, Family Owned and Operated Egg Ranch in the picturesque mountain of San Diego. We produce not only Certified Organic, NON-GMO Verified + Certified Humane eggs but also have been rated #1 in the NATION in regard to our practices in regard to raising our hens and lifestyle we provide for them!  Unlike most pasture raised farms, our hens actually live in small numbers with mobile barns that we continually rotate through our Pastures creating a biodynamic environment where we get to harsh nature and work with it to REGENERATE the land we steward!”  


2. Handsome Brook Farms

Pasture Raised | American Humane Certified | USDA Organic | Kosher

Website

Why we love them:

Handsome Brook Farms takes the welfare of their hens seriously. All the girls are allowed to roam free on pastures and are fed organic food with no pesticides or GMOs. They are doing a lot of great work to change the system and help shift society away from industrial, numbers-based egg production, to small farms working together with animal welfare and sustainability at the forefront.

Q&A with Handsome Brook Farms:

Living conditions for your hens: All of our hens are Pasture Raised (108+ sq feet of outdoor space per hen) on small family farms and fed a 100% organic diet. 

Your relationship with the hens: Our choices of how to treat our hens—what to plant on farm, what not to spray, what to feed and how to care for our hens—is at the foundation of Handsome Brook Farms. Our farmers are true stewards of the land and believe that organic pasture raising is the most sustainable and humane way to produce eggs. As part of a regional group, each farm is supported by farm supervisors and experts, to create a community of mutual support, education and logistics.

Your location: Handsome Brook Farms was founded in upstate NY and our headquarters is now in New York City. Our network of just over 80 family farms spans three regions of the country: Northeast, Central, and MOARK. 

Your philosophy: At Handsome Brook Farms, we strive to act Handsomely in all that we do. This means treating our farmers and animals with dignity and the land with respect, while helping consumers access clean, responsibly-raised protein. Being Handsome means working hard to ensure personal, public, and planetary health are prioritized at every turn. With this at our core, we feel well-positioned to…bring the most sustainable eggs from our coops to your carton. 


3. Vital Farms

Pasture-Rasied | Certfied Humane | Organic Option | Non-GMO Option

Website

Why we love them:

Vital Farms is so easy to find in just about every major grocery store, and the company is committed to making pasture-raised eggs available to all. My favorite thing about them is each egg carton is stamped with the exact farm where those particular eggs are from. You can then go to their website and see a webcam feed of the hens roaming freely on the pastures! So adorable and A+ for transparency and traceability.

Statement from Vital Farms:

In 2007, we started with 20 Rhode Island red hens, a small plot of land, and a strong belief in ethics, from ensuring animals have the freedom to roam on open pasture and supporting small family farms to building a business that prioritizes the long-term benefits of its stakeholders.  More info can be found on our About Us and Instagram page.


4. Carol’s Pasture Raised Eggs

Pasture-Raised | Certified Humane | USDA Organic

Website

Why we love them:

Carol’s Pasture Raised Eggs come from hens in Virginia who are allowed to roam the pastures all day long and return to their warm, safe barns at night. The company offers pasture-raised eggs, organic pasture-raised eggs and free-range heirloom eggs. I have tried their Pasture-Raised eggs after finding them at Trader Joe’s, and the yolks were some of the deepest orange I’ve personally seen — they were delicious!

Statement from Carol’s Eggs:

We’re so grateful that you reached out to us here at Carol’s Eggs. We’re proud to be Certified Humane. This means our lovely chickens spend their days outside on plentiful grassy pastures or in their spacious barns where they have unlimited access to food and water and we work hard to maintain certain standards for animal welfare in accordance to Certified Humane’s standards. You can find out more about these standards via their website: https://certifiedhumane.org/

We have a few different offerings of our eggs:
Our heirloom hens enjoy nutritionally balanced feed that contains whole cereal grains like corn, soybeans, marigold petals, alfalfa grasses, and naturally omega-3-rich flaxseed. They have access to clean, fresh, filtered water whenever they need it. And finally, they can forage for insects, flowers, and other delights in the pasture.

Our organic pasture-raised hens are similar, but also Certified Organic. The hens also forage on organic pasture daily, so they also get a nutritious boost from the plants, bugs, worms, and grubs they find there. 

We also offer non-organic pasture-raised eggs. The feed has the same rich mix of nutrition as all our hens get but the corn, soy, and other grains are not Certified Organic or GMO free. This helps lower the cost to consumers while still providing them an excellent egg.

Regarding our farm locations and being pasture raised, our pasture-raised flocks are primarily located in Virginia, so nearly year-round they can enjoy their very spacious pastures all day long. 


5. Alexandre Kids

Pasture-Raised | Certified Humane | USDA Organic

Website

Why we love them

These eggs that hail from California are pasture-raised, certified humane, and USDA organic. The hens that spend their days clucking and preening and stretching their feathers and legs on the lush green grass. They are free to forage all they want outside and go inside to their nest in the coop to lay eggs. They live a natural life as hens should.


6. Blue Sky Family Farms

Pasture Raised | American Humane Certified

Website

Why we love them

Blue Sky Farms is named as such because their hens get to roam freely beneath the beautiful blue skies. All the chickens are able to do all the things that make them happy, like perching, dust bathing, scratching the ground, and roaming the pasture for a healthy dose of fresh and and vitamin D.


7. Born Free Eggs

Pasture-Raised | Certified Humane | American Humane Certified | Organic Option

Website

Why we love them

As the name suggests, we love these eggs because the hens are “Born Free.” They are born free to roam grassy pastures and live a healthy, happy life. The pasture-raised egg brand is a leader when it comes to adopting humane farming practices and animal care. Plus we love their eco-friendly and 100 percent recyclable packaging.


8. NestFresh

Pasture-Raised | Certified Humane | Organic Option | Non-GMO Option | Soy-Free Option

Website

Why we love them

NestFresh gets their nutritious eggs from hens on small family farms across the country. They have a range of Pasture Raised Egg products in addition to their free range offerings. Pasture raised options include non-GMO, organic, and soy-free organic options, appealing to people with many different lifestyle and food preferences. They also have adorable blue and brown heirloom eggs that are pasture-raised as well.


9. Chino Valley Ranchers

Pasture-Raised Option | American Humane Certified | Kosher

Website

Why we love them

This is the brand that I find at my local Sprouts in San Diego and I love them! Not only for the taste of course, but this company is committed to providing hens with a beautiful life full of sunshine, fresh air and water on family farms. The hens are free to forage for seeds, bugs and grass.


House-Brand Pasture-raised eggs

Many supermarkets carry their own house-brand of pasture-raised eggs. Grocery chains get their eggs from various pasture-raised, Certified Humane or American Humane Certified farms across the country. Being house-brand, they typically have a lower price than name brand and are so easy to find. It is amazing to see some supermarkets offering pasture-raised eggs as the norm.

  • Natural Grocer’s House Brand Pasture-Raised
  • Kirkland House Brand Pasture Raised (Costco)
  • 365 House Brand Pasture-Raised (Whole Foods)

The purpose of this Humane Egg Directory is to allow consumers to make more ethical choices when shopping for groceries. By choosing pasture-raised egg brands, you support a more humane economy where hens can live happy, natural lives rather than torturous lives in cages. Keep a lookout for these brands next time your shopping for eggs.

Please note this page about pasture-raised egg brands is continuously under construction. Last updated May 16, 2021. To learn more about pasture-raised eggs, click here.

Person eating a veggan meal of 1 sunnyside up egg, avocado, and 2 slices of whole-grain toast.

What is a Veggan? Vegans Who Eat Eggs

Vegganism is a dietary preference that is gaining popularity. Essentially, a veggan is an ethical vegan who eats eggs due to health or other reasons. It is a diet that can be adopted by vegans needing an extra boost of nutrients, vegetarians looking to make the next step for animals, or even meat eaters wanting to say goodbye to animal cruelty but not sure they can be entirely vegan yet.

Typically, since veganism and animal ethics is at the heart of this diet, a veggan will opt for humane-certified or pasture-raised eggs, as they are more ethical than conventional, cage-free and free range. Veggan is not an official term so it is still being shaped by the people who follow this diet. I feel I am one of those people wanting to give a voice to veggans and a structure to the veggan lifestyle, and so I think it is important to lay out not only what it is, but what it can be. 

What is the difference between vegan and veggan? 

VEGAN

A vegan is someone who eats no animal products whatsoever, or in other words, plant-based products only. Vegans do not eat meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, dairy products, honey or other animal byproducts in any form. They also typically do not wear leather, suede, fur, wool, silk or other materials made from animals. People are vegan due to ethical, health and/or environmental reasons. They may also just be vegan out of general preference or distaste for animal products. 

VEGGAN

A veggan follows the same rules as vegan, however they do eat eggs. So, in other words, veggans do not eat meat, poulty, fish, milk, dairy products (ice cream, yogurt, cheese, etc), honey or other animal byproducts, but they do eat eggs. 

While some may say veggans eat eggs in any form as long as there are no other animal products, I hold that a veggan specifically and consciously eats eggs with ethical impact in mind. For that reason, a veggan would restrict themselves to pasture-raised and humane-certified eggs only, doing their research to ensure the farms they get their eggs from treat their hens with respect.

Veggan vs. Ovo-Vegetarian

Not all eggs are created equal

You might be thinking, okay, so a veggan is the same as an ovo-vegetarian. This is the distinction that I think should be made. We need to keep in mind that not all eggs are created equal. Some eggs come as a result of some of the most horrific animal torture in the industry, and others come from family farm pastures where hens can roam and live a happy life. This is an extremely important distinction to make.

Ovo-vegetarian is the general term for a person who follows a plant-based diet but eats eggs of any kind (conventional, cage free, free range, pasture raised) in any form (baked goods, restaurant omelets, etc), without regard to where and how they were produced. A veggan would ensure that their eggs are coming from humane sources, and likely be very picky and avoid eating products that contain eggs, opting for the whole eggs to be prepared at home or by a trusted source.

Since veggan is a fairly new term, again I don’t want to claim this is the law of what veggan is. But it is what I feel and sense that veggan should be. It’s the avenue that vegans who are having health issues, or vegetarians who want to take an extra stop for animal rights, are looking for.  Ethics and love for animals and their wellbeing is at the heart and soul of vegganism.

Why be veggan?

For people who are vegan, the primary reason to switch to a veggan diet is health reasons. Though not at all impossible, it can be very difficult to get all the nutrients you need on a vegan diet. Egg is sort of that miracle superfood that fills in all the gaps in an otherwise plant-based diet. Eggs contains lots of nutrients that can be a bit tricky for vegans to get enough of (vitamin D, b12, protein, iron and more).

For people who are vegetarian, vegganism is an incredible step toward better health and more conscious choices for the planet. Vegetarians are often such for animal ethics, but unfortunately the milk and dairy industry is one of the cruelest in the nation. Not only that, vegetarians tend to lean their diet heavily on cheese, milk, and other dairy products, which are actually pretty bad for your health. Going from vegetarian to veggan is a huge step to make for yourself and for the animals.

Conclusion

If you can be vegan, of course that is the ultimate. I still 100% condone a vegan diet to all and everyone. This is the least harm you can do to animals and by far the most humane decision you can make. However, for some people for whatever reason it can be difficult to give up all animal products. Vegganism is the next best thing when keeping both your health and animal welfare in mind.

I myself was vegan for 16 years and mentally, spiritually and emotionally it’s the best I ever felt. Unfortunately, physically I was not doing as well — I was losing hair, I was always tired, and overall I just didn’t look or feel healthy. Vegganism has really helped my health and I feel and look like myself again.