My Eclectic Kitchen is a collection of recipes that celebrates plant-based and gluten-free whole foods. Creator of My Eclectic Kitchen, Chef Yvonne Ardestani, develops healthy alternatives to not-so-healthy foods. All of her recipes are vegan, white sugar-, gluten-, soy- and dairy-free, and best of all, devoid of refined foods.
When Nastaha, (@dr.organicmommy on Instagram) entrusts me to help create a firetruck-themed dessert table and snacks, you know it’s all going to have to be plant-based, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, naturally colored, eco-friendly, and, of course, delicious and memorable!
Natasha’s account is an incredible resource for pregnancy, parenting, and all things clean living… she specializes in Pediatric Neuropsychology, and I just find her content and knowledge to be fascinating, and even great for those who aren’t moms.
I had a blast making this epic Firetruck-themed dessert table come to life. Thanks to Pinterest for all the design inspo, and to my amazing team who helped make this happen!
Match Sticks – pretzels with housemade white chocolate, and naturally colored red sprinkles
Firetruck Tires – chocolate dipped mini donuts
Cakes – firetruck themed multi-tiered cake and Flame Cake
Cookies – sugar cookies in the shape of flames and the number 4
Fire Balls – housemade white chocolate-dipped marshmallows with naturally-colored sprinkles
Great Balls of Fire – date, nut superfood bliss balls in varying flavors: Lemon Coconut, Hazelnut Chocolate, Goji Cranberry Almond.
Fiery Fruit – kabobs of cantaloupe, pineapple, and strawberry
Burning Embers – beet chips with rosemary
Veggie Train – Veggie Crudite. Artiscly cut and arranged like a train
Flaming Fruit Cups – vegan jello with fruit
Firetruck Fuel – watermelon juice
Pumpkin Pie Bites with Coconut Whip
3-Cheese Platters – Cranberry and Dill Goatless Cheese, Black Truffle Cheese, Roasted Garlic, Onion and Chive Cheese, Superfood Crackers, Grapes, Nuts
I even made the back splash (don’t ask me how, it just came together), cake stands, food and ingredient labels, and a match stick box. It was so much fun! Thanks again to Natasha and family for allowing us into your home to feed your family more wholesome sweets and snacks. It was a true pleasure!
Truly a labor of love – from design concept to the finest details in execution. Joy. Love. That’s why I do what I do. That’s what life’s about. Well, to me at least. And I give everything my best to spread this love and joy. It’s the best feeling.
To inquire about a special occasion orders, please click here.s
Very thrilled to be a contributor in VegNews‘ May-June travel issue. In this issue, I veganized recipes I grew up loving, mixing a few popular flavors from my Filipino-Chinese heritage. I ended up with Savory Char Sui Maitake Bao and Sweet Ube Siopao. Steamed buns, also known as bao and siopao, are stuffed with sweet and savory fillings, making it a common and portable snack eaten every day and originally found all over South East-Asia. Growing up, we ate these for breakfast or as a snack. It was such a treat.
Since my friends at VegNews were so kind to feature my recipes, I am going to hold-off on giving the fillings recipes for now, so you can subscribe or pick up an issue at your local health food store. I am going to wait about a month to give out the entire recipe. So, please hold tight if you’re not able to get a hold of the issue right now. For now, since I made a version in the magazine that uses regular wheat flour (which is just like the original bao I grew up loving), for my gluten-free readers, I have a bun recipe for you, below.
After several attempts at making a bouncy gluten-free bao bun, I unfortunately wasn’t able to achieve the signature bouncy, spongy attributes the original wheat flour version possesses, BUT! When eaten minutes after steaming, it does have more of a bounce, so make sure you eat them minutes after steaming to get somewhat of a bouncy feel. Otherwise, if you wait and let them sit, they will feel heavier and dense.
In preparing for the feature, I was asked a few questions about my recipes and how they are relevant to my multicultural background. They ended up not making the cut, but that’s ok. This is why I have a blog! I share the questions and answers, below.
What’s your personal relationship to this recipe?
As a child, going to Woo Chee Chong Market, which at that time was the only Asian market in my hometown, was definitely a treat for me and my sisters. While my mom shopped for her essentials, my sisters and I would slowly peruse every aisle with wonder–inspecting, observing, and smelling all the foreign and exotic ingredients, spices, beautifully packaged and prepared foods. Our favorites were the red and green boxes of Botan Rice Candy that melted in our mouths, and watching the part-time teenage workers in the kitchen use a super sharp cleaver to slice the most delicious bright red char siu pork, and packaging it in a to-go box with chow mien for us to take home. I don’t have a memory eating it at home because once we would get home, it would be gone in .03 seconds. It was so delicious—tender, sweet, savory, and spiked with spices I couldn’t even name or identify. Char siu is definitely ingrained in my taste bud memory.
Around this same time, my grandmother would make the most delicious steamed buns called siopao. We would eat them piping hot right out of the bamboo steamer. They were beautiful little, bouncy, sponge-like pillows filled with juicy, flavorful shredded meat, and egg.
I created a vegan version of it without her direction, as she has since passed. I decided to create a char siu-style siapao. Instead of using pork I used maitake mushrooms, which create a meaty texture and hold flavor quite well. I made this in classic Yvonne-style, making it gluten-free, vegan, low-glycemic, and yet very flavorful. The sweet ube bao recipe is reminiscent of all the Filipino desserts I ate growing up–ube ice cream, ube cake, and the blob of ube on top of my halo-halo dessert!
Both recipes are reflective of my childhood and Filipino-American heritage.
Why is this recipe special in the culture it represents? Every culture seems to have some sort of small, succulent parcel encased in dough and wrapped. Mexicans have tamales. East Indians have samosas. Filipinos have lumpia, empanadas, and siopao. Chinese have eggrolls, wontons, and bao, which actually means “wrapper” and is referred to being steamed stuffed buns. In ancient Chinese history, bao went by different names, and was said to be created by different people for many reasons–to help keep the poor warm and fed in the winter, and to cure soldiers from plague. Today it is definitely a popular food. Bao is a common and portable snack eaten every day mostly for breakfast and found all over South East-Asia.
How is this recipe originally made and how did you veganize it? These recipes are originally made with shortening, meat, dairy, sometimes egg, and lots of refined sugar. I veganized it by replacing the meat with maitake mushrooms, ube, and using vegan milk and coconut sugar.
3 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
Filling: (filling recipe is featured in the May issue of VegNews Magazine) Please check back here in about a month for this portion of the recipe.
For the dough, in a large bowl, whisk together warm vegan milk, coconut sugar, and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes or until bubbly and bloomed. Add the grapeseed oil.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients then add to the yeast mixture. Stir until a soft dough forms, then turn dough out onto a lightly oat-floured surface. Knead until smooth. Return dough to large mixing bowl, coated with cooking spray, and lightly spray the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place (85 degrees F) for 1 hour or until doubled in size. As it rises, prepare the filling.
For the filling, in a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except maitake mushrooms and arrowroot powder, and stir to combine. Break maitake apart from the roots, to pieces, and into the sauce, and stir to coat. Place covered saucepan over medium-low heat for 17 minutes. Remove from heat, mix in arrowroot powder, and set aside uncovered to cool.
Divide dough in half. Cut each half into 8 equal portions, forming each into a ball. Cover dough balls while working with one dough ball at a time. On a lightly dusted (with oat flour) surface, roll ball into a 4-inch circle using a rolling pin. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough circle. Bring up sides to cover filling and meet on top. Pinch and twist to seal in filling. Place each bun onto a 2 ½-inch parchment square with the pinched seal at the bottom while you finish the rest of the buns.
Spray a multi-layered bamboo steamer with cooking spray. Place the steamer on top of a large saucepan, and pour in water to several inches below the steamer. Bring water to boil.
Working in several batches, place 3 or 4 buns into each steamer layer without letting buns touch each other or the edge of the steamer, about an inch apart. Cover steamer. Let buns steam over medium-low heat until puffy and the dough is springy. About 15-20 minutes per batch. Cool for at least 5 minutes and serve warm.
Vegan & Glutenfree Blueberry Muffins with Mia - YouTube
It took the Florida hurricanes to bring my whole family together–my mom, my 5 older sisters, their 17 kids, and me! For 2 weekends, I was blessed to be able to see my family in San Diego for an impromptu family reunion.
Aside from being a top student, amazing tennis player, singer, guitarist, and artist, Mia, my oldest niece who lives in Florida is a skilled baker and avid YouTube recipe video watcher. We thought it would be fun to bake together and to collaborate on a baking video. Since her grandma’s (my mom) favorite morning pastry is a blueberry muffin, we decided to make grandma a healthier muffin, Auntie Bon Bon-style, which means the muffins were vegan, gluten-free, free of refined sugar, and organic! I showed her how to make my special muffins, we took turns filming each other, and Mia painstakingly chose the music and edited videos for both YouTube and Instagram. I think she did a mighty fine job. #ProudAuntie
I missed her this Thanksgiving, and can’t wait for her to get back to California around Christmas so we can film more fun recipes together!
Find the full recipe, below!
Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 8 – 9 muffins
1/4 cup oat flour, gluten-free
2/3 cup potato starch
1/4 cup arrowroot, ground
1 tsp xanthan gum
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup coconut palm sugar
lemon zest from 2 lemons
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp flax meal
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups fresh organic blueberries
Crumb Topping Ingredients:
1 cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp oat flour
1 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
In a medium-sized bowl, add in the dry ingredients and whisk together to combine.
Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and in a separate small bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until almost combined.
Add in the fresh blueberries and with a rubber or silicone spatula, fold into the muffin batter.
Take 2 cupcake molds and line, in a staggered fashion, cupcake liners. Spray with coconut cooking spray so the muffin and crumb do not stick to the pan after baking and at removal.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill the liners with a heaping scoop of blueberry muffin batter. Then press on the crumb.
Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees F (all ovens vary, but stick a toothpick in it to check for doneness. If it comes out clean, it’s done).
Allow the muffins to sit for at least 10 minutes before removing them from the pan. Enjoy!
I’m really excited about the Nutiva Organic Liquid Coconut Oil Garlic I used to make these Sweet Potato Fries with Tikka Masala Sauce! What I really like about this new coconut oil is that it stays liquid and is extracted from organic coconuts and has a neutral flavor. Unlike many non-organic coconut oils that utilize harsh chemical solvents such as hexane, Nutiva uses a certified organic process to remove the fats that remain solid at room temperature. It’s perfect in salads, sautéing, coffee, baking, and in smoothies!
I love roasting vegetables, especially sweet potatoes. Recently, to spice up my sweet potato fries a bit, I decided to make a rich creamy sauce to compliment my favorite roasted potato. I thought you might enjoy the recipe, so here it is. I hope you love it as much as I do!
Sweet Potato Fries with Tikka Masala Sauce
Time: 45 minutes
Sweet Potato Fries Ingredients
6 small sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp Nutiva Organic Liquid Garlic Coconut Oil
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Wash and cut sweet potatoes into fries, leaving the peel on
Line a cookie sheet tray with parchment paper
Toss fries with cool, sea salt, and pepper. Spread evenly on cookie sheet.
Place in oven for 20 minutes. Toss
Place in oven for an additional 20 minutes or until crisp. It won’t be super crispy. Be careful to watch for burning. Remove from oven when desired crispness is reached.
While sweet potatoes are roasting, make tikka masalas sauce
Tikka Masala Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
1 ½ cups filtered water
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (optional)
20 crimini mushrooms, cut into quarters (optional)
cooking spray, as needed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp Nutiva Organic Liquid Coconut Oil
½ onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 cardamom pods
1 dried arbol chile (can substitute with ½ tsp red pepper flakes)
filtered water or vegetable stock, as needed
1 14oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1/3 cup cilantro (including stems), chopped
Soak cashews in filtered water overnight in refrigerator.
Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove peas from freezer and leave them out at room temperature to thaw.
Wash and cut cauliflower into florets.
Clean mushrooms and cut them into fourths.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Place the mushrooms and cauliflower on the baking sheet, spreading them evenly in one layer, and sprinkle with 1/8 tsp of salt (optional), and 1/8 tsp of freshly ground black pepper. Spray the vegetables quickly with cooking spray and place them in the oven for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, continue with the rest of the directions as follows.
Drain and rinse the soaked cashews and place them in a blender with 1 ½ cups of filtered water.
Make the cashew cream. Blend on high until it becomes a cream-like consistency. Set aside.
Make the spice mixture. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, and ½ tsp sea salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
Heat a large, 3-quart saucepot over medium heat. Add oil, wait 20 seconds, then add the onion, tomato paste, cardamom pods, and arbol chile until the tomato paste is darkened and the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. If the onions are not yet translucent but the bottom of the pan starts getting browned bits, add a little filtered water or vegetable stock to deglaze and scrape the bits that are sticking to the bottom of the pan. Make sure it doesn’t burn. Add about 2 Tbsp or more at a time.
Add the spice mixture and stir well for 1 minute.
Add the canned tomatoes and their juices and mash, break apart the whole tomatoes with your cooking utensil. I use a silicone spatula. Mix well and make sure to scrape any browned bits at the bottom of the saucepan.
Add the cashew cream and mix.
Add the cauliflower, mushrooms and cilantro, and mix.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring often and scraping any browned bits until the sauce thickens for about 8-10 minutes.
Place fries on a plate and pour sauce over and top with fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.
Savory Indian Pancake - vegan and gluten-free - YouTube
Happy Fall! With chillier weather, longer hours at work, and lots of garbanzo bean flour at my disposal, I was inspired to make a savory dish with warming spices to soothe and comfort my soul and palate. After a few attempts with my favorite Indian spices, I came up with a recipe I am very excited to share with you. Since I made this savory pancake, I have played around with other versions, and they keep getting better, so stay tuned for more!
You can find garbanzo bean flour at Whole Foods, Sprouts, and even Besan (chickpea) flour for a lot less at Indian spice stores. The spices used are found at pretty much any large grocery store, but they are the most inexpensive again at Indian spice stores.
Enjoy this for lunch, as snack, for dinner with a side salad, or pack it to-go for a picnic or as a dish you take to a potluck. Once you make this once, you’ll be glad you did because it is so simple and satisfying.
I hope you enjoy this easy recipe. Please let me know what you think, and tag me in your social media posts, also use hashtag, #YvonnesVeganKitchen so I can share with everyone!
Savory Indian Pancake
Time: 30 minutes
2 cups garbanzo bean flour
3 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups vegetable stock or filtered water
1 heaping cup steamed and mashed sweet potato
2 Tbsp tomato paste or pasta sauce
3/4 cup red onion, chopped
3/4 cup cauliflower, chopped
handful or two of mixed greens with carrot shreds (I buy a mix at Trader Joes), optional
2 Tbsp grapeseed or coconut oil for cooking
1. Steam a sweet potato and mash it with skin on (extra fiber)
2. In a medium-sized bowl, add all the dry ingredients and whisk together.
3. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add all the wet ingredients and stir the wet ingredients together, then stir it in with the dry ingredients.
4. Add the remaining ingredients, not including mixed greens and carrots.
5. Either make 1 pancake at a time or take 2 8″-10″ non-stick pans or griddles and place on stove top over medium heat. Once the pan is heated, add a Tbsp or more of oil. You can also try using non-stick cooking spray. Pour half the mixture into each pan and spread it evenly in a circular shape, like a pancake. Add a handful of mixed greens with carrot shreds, and cover with a lid. The lid will help cook the top portion of the pancake.
6. After about 3-4 minutes, check on the pancake using a spatula. It’s ready to flip once the bottom of the pancake has browned. Before flipping, cut the pancake into 4 segments. Once cut, flip each piece separately. Alternatively, you can make little pancakes to flip individually.
Savory Indian Pancake - vegan and gluten-free - YouTube
to watch me flip it so as to not break it.
7. Once flipped, cook until the other side browned. And voila, it is done!
8. Serve with a side salad or soup, or eat it on its own. You can even eat these as hamburger patties or place them in wraps!
Hope you enjoy! If you make this recipe, please let me know how it turned out! Happy eating!!!
It’s giveaway time! September is Lymphoma Awareness Month, and I have a special giveaway that is near and dear to my heart. It is in honor of my brother-in-law, Ace, who just three years ago and right before his 38th birthday was diagnosed with cancer. ❤️ It’s been quite a challenging journey, not only for him but for his entire family. He continues to fight on with the help of his strong faith and of course my amazing sister @plantifulblessings who holds down the fort and then some!
Today, Ace has been in remission for a couple years now and is striving with his family to live a healthier, conscientious, and plant-based lifestyle.
My sister began her Instagram account around the time Ace was diagnosed as way of coping and keeping hope alive. It’s a journal of their amazingly tight family (her blessings) laced with their journey to living a more active, conscientious, and healthy plant-based lifestyle in San Diego.
It also serves to keep them accountable, to continue living with healthy choices.
We teamed up with one of my favorite plant-based vegan restaurants, @joicafe, to give away a gift card as well as my favorite specialty produce distributor, @melissasproduce to give away a deluxe and exotic tropical fruit basket. .