Tag Archives: food

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and we all know what that means – family, football, and FOOD!

Illustration by Sierra Rodriguez

In case you’re vegan, starting a plant-based diet, or just hoping to eat healthier this holiday season, here are some tasty Vegan thanksgiving recipes that are easy to cook and even easier to eat!

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Image courtesy of Unsplash


  • 1/2 cup Vegan Butter
  • 6 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • 3 14oz Cans Coconut Milk 
  • 1 cup Vegetable Stock
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 3 tsp Onion Powder
  • 3 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Thick Slices White Bread (Toasted)
  • 2 Tbsp Vegan Butter (Melted)
  • 1 18oz package of elbow macaroni


  1. Add the vegan butter to a pot and let it melt. When it’s melted add in the all purpose flour and stir it vigorously with the melted butter.
  2. Then pour in the cans of coconut milk and the vegetable stock. Use a hand whisk to whisk out the lumps. Keep whisking until it starts to boil and then keep whisking for a few minutes after it has boiled until it thickens. It will continue to thicken as it cools, so it doesn’t have to be all the way there when you remove it from the heat, as long as it has thickened considerably from when you started.
  3. Remove it from the heat and add in the dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and whisk in. Now your sauce is ready, you can prepare your macaroni.
  4. Cook your macaroni according to the package directions and then rinse and drain.
  5. Add the cooked macaroni into the pot of sauce and toss it up with the sauce.
  6. Then transfer the macaroni and sauce to a 9×13 baking dish and smooth down.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  8. Prepare the crumb topping by breaking up the 3 thick slices of toasted white bread and placing into the blender. Pulse blend until you have crumbs. Then transfer to a mixing bowl, and add in the melted vegan butter and toss up the crumbs with the melted butter.
  9. Place the breadcrumbs evenly over the top of the macaroni.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes until the topping is golden brown and crispy.
Image courtesy of Unsplash

Vegan Mashed Potatoes


  • 3 lbs russet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 5 large garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened unflavored almond milk
  • salt and pepper


  1. Rinse and scrub potatoes and place in a large pot.
  2. Cover potatoes with hot water and bring to a boil, salt generously (about 2 teaspoons).
  3. Boil potatoes until a fork can go all the way through.
  4. While potatoes are boiling, sautee diced onion and garlic in a skillet with a teaspoon of olive oil.
  5. Cook garlic and onions until done (about 5 minutes on medium heat or until onion is translucent).
  6. Puree garlic and onion mixture with almond milk in a blender until it reaches a paste texture.
  7. Once potatoes are soft, mash them in a large bowl or pan and add garlic/onion puree, vegan butter, and salt and pepper to taste ( I used an additional 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper).

Vegan Pumpkin Dinner Rolls


  • 3-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut sugar, or granulated sugar of choice
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 and 3/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 4 Tablespoons melted coconut oil, or neutral vegetable oil of choice
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • Coarse sea salt for topping


Mix the coconut sugar, yeast, and warm water together in a large bowl. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes in order to activate the yeast. Once the yeast has foamed, add the oil, maple syrup, salt, and pumpkin puree to the bowl and mix it all up.

  1. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until fully incorporated before adding in another full cup of flour.
  2. Use the last cup of flour to dust your hands and the dough throughout the kneading process. Lightly knead the dough until a slightly sticky dough ball forms, this should take about 2-3 minutes. (You may not need the full cup of flour. I use anywhere from 1/4-3/4 cups of it.) 
  3. Once the dough comes together shape it into a ball. Then, lightly coat the bowl and the dough with a bit of oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise for 45 minutes.
  4. Turn out the risen dough onto a floured surface. Depending on the size of rolls you want, cut the dough into 9,12 or 16 evenly sized pieces. 
  5. Form each piece into a ball by pulling and tucking the edges of the dough underneath itself. Gently roll the dough ball, seam side down, on an unfloured surface to create a smooth ball.
  6. Transfer rolls to a lightly oiled oven safe dish.
  7. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow the rolls to rise for another 30-45 minutes.
  8. Once the rolls have doubled in size, bake at 400ºF for 14-20 minutes or until the tops brown.
  9. Brush the warm rolls with oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Vegan Stuffing


  • 10 slices (450g) bread of choice cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (add more if needed)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries


  1.  Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. Spread the bread cubes across two large baking sheet. Bake for about 5-8 minutes until dried out and very lightly browned. 
  3. Next, melt the vegan butter in a large skillet or pan over medium-high heat. When melted add the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the veggies soften and begin to brown. 
  4. Stir in the thyme, rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper. Then add the toasted bread cubes, vegetable broth, and dried cranberries -no need stir at this point. Remove the pan from heat and cover, then let sit for 10 – 15 minutes until softened. Stir well to combine and serve hot.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

For Pie Crust


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ lb vegetable shortening (½ cup + 1 tbsp) cold and cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup non-dairy milk


  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together. 
  2. Add in the cubes of vegetable shortening, using a fork to cut it into the flour until the mixture reaches a crumbly texture.
  3. Next, drizzle the milk over the flour mixture and mix with a fork until everything is combined enough to form a ball of dough. Be sure not to overmix!
  4. Clear your work surface and lightly dust it with flour. Then, scoop out your dough, shape it into a ball and place it in the center of your floured work surface.
  5. Roll out your dough into a circle. It should be a few inches larger than your pie plate in order to make room for the sides and edges of the crust.
  6. Transfer the dough into your pie plate. The easiest way to do this is by wrapping your dough around a rolling pin before carefully setting it into the dish.
  7. With a knife, trim off the excess dough around the edges of the pie plate. Fill any holes in the crust with extra pieces of dough.
  8. Finally, pinch the edges with either your fingers or a fork to add the finishing touches to your beautiful vegan pie crust! 

For Pie Filling 


  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Your pie crust should already be prepared inside your pie plate and ready to go.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the canned pumpkin, brown sugar, coconut milk, cornstarch, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and salt until fully combined and smooth.
  3. Pour mixture into the dish lined with your pie crust and spread evenly with a spatula.
  4. Bake for 1 hour and let cool for 30 minutes at room temperature. Cover the pie and chill in the fridge overnight, or for 4 hours at the very least.
  5. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

A Beginner’s Guide to Espresso Drinks

An espresso machine hums behind the sounds of chatter and clicking keyboards. The smell of coffee lies heavy in the air, while people sip beverages and twirl spoons. People mutter words like “macchiato,” “americano” and “cappuccino” to cashiers behind counters. 

Coffee shops can be the ideal location for many events. Maybe you have a big test that you need to study for, or you’re meeting up with a new friend for the first time. A coffee shop is the perfect place to go, because it can be casual, cozy and relaxing. However, if you have only ever consumed coffee at Starbucks, local coffee shop’s menus can seem confusing. 

Although coffee jargon might seem advanced, coffee orders are simpler than they sound. Here are some basic espresso drinks that will help you find your dream caffeine.

1. Lattes

Photo by Jesus Angel

A latte is a deliciously common drink because it is customizable to your likings. At its core, a latte is 1 part espresso and 3 parts steamed milk with milk foam on top. 

 Beyond that, a latte can take many forms. You can order an artistic hot latte with a poured design, or a refreshing latte over ice. You can also alter your milk preference. Most lattes are made with whole milk, but feel free to ask for a non-dairy substitute like almond or soy milk.

 If you prefer your coffee sweet, add pumps of flavored syrup to your drink. Some flavors include, vanilla, caramel and hazelnut, but be sure to ask the barista what syrups they keep in their store.

2. Mocha

Photo by Jesus Angel

A mocha is very similar to a latte, because they share the same milk to espresso ratio. However, mochas are much richer. A mocha has an added chocolate powder or syrup, blending together hot chocolate and coffee for a cozy drink of your dreams. 

Mochas can also be altered in their milk contents, temperature and  sweetness. If you are already a fan of mochas, try making your order a little more festive with a pump of peppermint, cinnamon dolce, or pumpkin spice.

3. Cappuccino

Photo by Jesus Angel

Cappuccinos are great for people who enjoy the natural taste of espresso, but still want the richness of cream inside of  their coffee. A cappuccino is 1 part espresso and 2 parts milk with foam at the top, making it a little lighter than a latte. 

It is not very common to add syrup to cappuccinos, but mixing the drink with a cube of brown sugar makes the perfect blend of sweet to bitter, and thin to creamy. 

4. Macchiato

Photo by Jesus Angel

Unlike a latte or a cappuccino, macchiatos don’t have any milk foam. A macchiato is 2 parts espresso and 1 part steamed milk. This drink is perfect for people who want a drink even lighter than a cappuccino but richer than an americano. 

This is a great drink to pair with a slightly sweeter cookie, danish or scone, for the perfect afternoon snack.

5. Americano

Photo by Jesus Angel

An americano is a drink for the brave and bold. An americano doesn’t bother with cream or sugar, but rather relies on the rich flavor profile of the espresso itself. An americano is composed of espresso and hot water only, and the ratio is dependent on your order. Some people prefer a stronger coffee taste and will order a double shot of espresso, while others will order a single shot. 

This guide to espresso drinks is just a start to the endless amounts of coffee combinations available to you. Don’t be afraid to ask your barista for recommendations or try something new on a whim.

The next time you’re ordering at a coffee shop, remember to stay calm, stay creative and most importantly, stay caffeinated.

Featured image by Jesus Angel.

Places to Take Your Parents to Impress Them

Showing your family around UT is a must, but our campus is also in one of the coolest cities in America (not sponsored- I swear). Austin’s food scene is big, unique, delicious and probably the best way to get to know the city. Here are a few places to take your family that are sure to impress. These picks are in no particular order but are grouped based on their location to help you better plan your day.

Close to Campus…

Kerbey Lane (2606 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705)

This true Austin classic (and their delicious queso) is practically on campus, making it an easy go-to option to bring your family to. Breakfast is served all day along with burgers, Tex-Mex, sandwiches and more. I’m personally a big fan of their french toast or, when I’m not in a breakfast mood, the Turkey & Avocado Club. They also offer accommodations for several dietary restrictions along with a kid’s menu which can be helpful when taking a group out to eat!

Torchy’s Tacos (2801 Guadalupe St St 5-b, Austin, TX 78705)

Torchy’s Tacos is another great introduction to Austin. With funky names for their tacos such as the “Tipsy Chick” and “The Wrangler,” Torchy’s captures the “Keep Austin Weird” slogan for sure. Not only are the tacos creatively named, but they’re delicious. By the way, if the cashier asks you if you want to “make it trashy,” just say yes- it means they’ll add queso. Always do that. 

Cold Cookie Company (2512 Rio Grande St, Austin, TX 78705)

Located in west campus, Cold Cookie Company is just a short walk from campus. That walk is perfect to get a little hot and need some ice cream to cool you down, too. The options are almost endless as you can have your ice cream in a cup, cone, as a float, shake, or in cookie sandwich form. Did I mention that EVERYTHING comes with a cookie of your choice? Oh yeah, it’s pretty great. 

South Congress…

Home Slice Pizza (1415 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704)

Pizza never fails to impress and satisfy, so you might as well take your family to this SoCo staple. Home Slice offers the classics as well as their own specialties. Sharing is easy with their pizzas, family style salad options, and subs. Can’t decide? They offer select pizzas by the slice too. 

Cafe No Se (1603 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704)

One of the many great things about Cafe No Se is that they serve brunch every single day from 7am-3pm. Freshly baked pastries, avocado toast, brioche french toast, sandwiches, and coffee are among some of the many options. If you can’t make brunch there is also dinner which begins at 3pm. Dinner is going to be a little more upscale and gourmet but still a delicious way to explore South Congress. Unlike some popular Austin spots, Cafe No Se allows reservations. Go online or use the OpenTable app to do this- it’s worth it. 

Amy’s Ice Cream (1301 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704)

If Amy’s isn’t on your Austin bucket list as you make your way through the next few years…you’re doing it wrong. Sorry, someone had to tell you. I myself was a skeptic until I tried it, but it really is worth the hype! There are over 350 flavors in the rotation along with several constant flavors such as coffee and Mexican vanilla, meaning that there are plenty of options. You can pick and choose your own crush-ins/toppings or you can choose one of their combos. You aren’t limited to just a scoop, either. Amy’s has floats, sundaes, cones, and pints for sale.

Barton Springs/Zilker Area…

Bouldin Creek Cafe (1900 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704)

Unlike the other places on this list, Bouldin Creek Cafe is one hundred percent vegetarian and features plenty of vegan options. If breakfast is your jam, their menu features omeletts, plates, tacos, bagels and sweet options. For lunch there is a wide variety of salads and sandwiches, including an award winning veggie burger aka the Veggie Royale. 

P. Terry’s Burger Stand (404 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704)

All Photos by Courtney Smith

Okay so yes there are other P. Terry’s locations but for the sake of the article and because this location is by Barton Springs and the Zilker area, this one gets the address shout out. P. Terry’s is an affordable, Austinite favorite. It’s also a crowd pleasing option if your family can appreciate a burger and fries combo with an old fashioned burger stand feel. P. Terry’s is also a good option if you are on the go while your family is visiting and need a quick, satisfying option.

Juliet Italian Kitchen (1500 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704)

Modern and classic takes on Italian cuisine come together at Juliet Italian Kitchen. A nice patio area, luxe finishes, and free parking are just a few of the features that make this restaurant worthwhile… not to mention the handmade pasta. The menu is perfect for families because there are single portions as well as shareable portions that make it easy to try a little bit of everything. 

Juuuust South of the Capitol…

Moonshine Grill (303 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701)

Moonshine Grill has a menu that is sure to satisfy if comfort food is what you’re looking for. A few of their staples include chicken and waffles, fajita steak salad, baked macaroni, and the pimento cheeseburger. Want something sweet? I recommend the peanut butter mousse pie. Trust me, you won’t forget or regret it. Moonshine Grill also features a Sunday brunch buffet that, according to their website, is the “best brunch in Austin.” 

Irene’s (506 West Ave, Austin, TX 78701)

Irene’s takes the diner concept of classic breakfast, sweets, snacks, and platters and gives it an Austin makeover. The weekend brunch (Saturday and Sunday 10am-3pm) is a can’t miss with menu selections like Nutella toast, biscuits, and brioche french toast being too good to pass up. Their lunch and dinner menu is also delicious and features a wide variety of sandwiches, salads, and other entrees. Plus, if you’d like to snag a photo for the ‘gram before your family leaves, a cute neon pink sign featuring the restaurant is just outside and makes for a fun photo-op. 

Holy Roller (509 Rio Grande St, Austin, TX 78701)

Inspired by punk rock and featuring whimsical nostalgia, Holy Roller is well on its way to becoming an Austin classic. The restaurant has all of the things you could ask for: burgers, salads, appetizers, desserts, and a brunch–but all of it is executed really well. Be sure to check what the french toast of the day is when you go and if breakfast isn’t your jam, try their grilled cheese sandwich. 

La Condesa (400 W 2nd St A, Austin, TX 78701)

Located in the 2nd Street District, La Condesa is a mouthwatering option that puts you near a plethora of shopping options. A contemporary Mexican restaurant, La Condesa is just as fresh and modern as it is delicious. The chips and salsa comes with four different salsas- what could be better than that? Nothing! I recommend getting several options to share because it’s just so hard to choose between the tortas and tacos. They also feature a brunch which is a good way to get an early start shopping on 2nd. If you’re worried about time or crowdedness, make a reservation online or on the OpenTable app. 

Overall there are no shortages of amazing restaurants to try in Austin. Give your family a taste of the city by showing them some of the delicious, local flavors Austin has to offer. Be sure to take advantage of the city while you and your family have the time to explore it.