Category Archives: ALL POSTS

Writer/blogger and psychology student Desiree Tan, recently wrote an article about the different kinds of healthy diets including vegetarianism and veganism. Much to my delight, she has reached out to AstigVegan for an interview. Of course, I gladly said yes. Desiree posted the article on her blog, “Tales of a Fearless Princess”.

The article talks about the perks of eating healthy as well as the different levels of going meatless. I’ve always been ambivalent about semi-vegan lifestyles. What do you think?

Embarassing as it may sound, I have to admit, the highlight of my dishes has never been leafy greens. Like an omnivore meal, the greens play only a supporting role on the plate. The main stars have always been mushrooms, tofu, beans, legumes, and Seitan. It’s nothing intentional. I had never realized my lack of interest in greens until I joined a cooking blog challenge called #Greenslove Bloghop. Ironically, this Astig Vegan was stuck.

After some brainstorming with my boyfriend Chris, I landed with two options: use a Filipino green in a non-Filipino recipe or vice versa. I chose to do the first option.

Without further ado, I bring to you:  my “Cream of Jute Leaves”

Jute Leaves, or Dahon ng Saluyot in Tagalog, is a popular leafy vegetable in the Philippines especially in the provinces of the Ilocos region.  According to, Jute leaves carry many health benefits including “control of blood pressure & cholesterol, and lowers the risk of asthma, cancer, diabetes and heart disease”. Many Filipinos use it as an herbal medicine to cure aches and pains. Not to mention, it tastes good!

Cream of Jute Leaves is inspired by Cream of Spinach

  • 1 frozen Jute Leaves (available at Asian and Filipino grocery stores)
  • 3 tablespoon powdered vegetable buillon & 2 cups water (OR 2 cups of vegetable broth)
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2-3 cups almond milk, unsweetened
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium sauce pan, saute the onion with oil over medium heat
  2. Add water, vegetable broth and potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are soft and tender.
  3. Add the Jute leaves. Simmer for 5-8 minutes
  4. In a separate pan, melt butter.
  5. Add the milk
  6. Whisk in the flour
  7. Combine with the jute leaves soup.
  8. Season with salt and pepper. Add more vegetable broth to taste.
*Feel free to puree if you prefer.




March is #greenslove month!Please join in on the #greenslove fun by linking up any leafy green recipe from the month of March 2012.  Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #greenslove event! The twitter hashtag is #greenslove. :)A special thanks to Juniafor organizing this monthly blog hop. And here is a list of my wonderful co-hosts:

ASTIG Vegan ~ Richgail ~  @astigvegan
Bon a croquer ~ Valerie ~ @Valouth
Cheap Ethnic Eatz ~ Evelyne ~ @cethniceatz
Easily Good Eats ~ Three Cookies
Oh Cake ~ Jessica ~ @jesshose



Lately, I’ve been getting inspired by so many wonderful guest posts here on AstigVegan as well as scrumptious recipes from my Love Bloghop family. Unfortunately life gets in the way and there are times when I don’t have the time to try the recipes I’ve discovered.

When I need something quick, I resort to recipes ready to serve in less than 15 minutes.

One of them is a vegan Filipino dish called Binagoongan (pronounced been-nah-goh-ohng-ngan), in English “cooked in shrimp paste”. I’m veganizing it with crispy tofu and black bean sauce.

I remembered that I have this recipe when I watched guest blogger Marie Gonzalez, the Kitchen Revolutionista who talked about her bagoong recipe on one of her guest videos.

Another rad person who gave me the idea is fellow foodie, Fred Briones. Fred whipped up a vegan binagoongan dish at our Astigvegan potluck with Kapamealya last year. In fact, he did a live cooking demo (I remembered just the gist though). Fred said that his binagoongan was inspired by Filipino chef, Dominic Ainza.

I do not have the exact recipes Marie, Fred, and Dominic used. I’m guessing theirs involved intricate process that would result in an in-depth, out of this world vegan creation. I have to wait until they reveal their secret recipe-IF ever they’re going to! Until then, I’ll settle for my quick fix:


Makes 4 servings


  • 2 tbsp Kikkoman black bean garlic sauce
  • 1 tomato, finely diced
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pack extra firm tofu, cubed
  • cooking oil
  • 2-3 pcs Thai chili, finely diced (If you want it spicy)


  1. On a medium pan over high heat, fry the tofu with oil until tofu is crispy. Set aside.
  2. Using the same pan, saute the tomatoes and onions until tender and fragrant. If you like to make it spicy, add the thai chili.
  3. Add the tofu back to the pan as well as add the black bean sauce.
  4. Mix until the flavors marry. Adjust the black bean sauce according to taste.
  5. Serve with rice.
My hungry tummy thanks me big time for this, and I hope yours will too.


Bibingka is a Filipino rice cake usually known for being cheesy and buttery. You’ll often find it on dinner tables during holidays like Christmas. I planned to make it for a different holiday, Valentines Day. Thankfully, my first run proved to be successful. I was worried at first because I wasn’t only going to veganize my Bibingka, I was also going to use a special ingredient, Chocolate-appropriate for the month of love.

The concept is part of the Bloghop collaboration. Because I’m co-hosting this month, I didn’t want to submit something that had chocolate thrown in just to say it’s a chocolate recipe. To take it a step further, I incorporated something I hadn’t eaten in a long time since I went vegan, Nutella. Of course, I had to veganize my Nutella too, and boy, it was splendid!

Vegan Nutella Bibingka


  • Instead of mixing rice flour, baking powder, and salt and figuring out the perfect balance of the three, I used self rising flour that already has baking powder and salt in it.  For the flavor of rice, I used rice milk. Nowadays, most grocery stores carry rice milk. You can find it in the same section with soy milk and almond milk.
  • To replace the eggs, I used Ener-G Egg replacer that I bought from Whole Foods.  Ener-G is quite pricey-but not really because a little goes a long way. One and 1/2 teaspoon of Energ-G and two tablespoons of water equals to one egg. Don’t worry the box has instructions.
  • For the flavor of Nutella, I used “Justin’s All Natural Chocolate Hazelnut Butter” and mixed it with unsweetened cocoa and powdered sugar. I wasn’t able to find raw hazel nuts so I opted for the ready-made butter. Next time, I’ll try making it from scratch. You can get the recipe for homemade hazelnut butter here.


  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 5-6 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup rice milk
  • grated coconut
  • banana leaves (optional)
  • 3 tsp of Ener-G Egg replacer mixed with 4 tbsp water


  • 8 packets of Justin’s Hazelnut Butter (I found single packets only)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a bowl, combine the hazelnut ingredients until well incorporated. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream butter and gradually add sugar while whisking
  4. Gradually add the egg replacer, coconut milk, and rice milk continue whisking
  5. Pour in the hazelnut mixture and keep whisking for about two minutes
  6. Gradually add the self rising flour while whisking until everything is well incorporated. Once you pour all the flour and combined everything, no need to whisk some more because the flour might not rise in the oven.
  7. Arrange the banana leaves on a pan. Spread a little bit of butter so the cake won’t stick.
  8. Pour the mixture on the pan
  9. Bake for about 50 minutes or until the center is cooked. You can figure out if it’s done by sticking a toothpick in the center of the cake and it should come out clean or with very few crumbs. You may also have it longer in the oven if you want the top part to be crusty.
  10. Once you have the cake at the right firmness, take it out of the oven and sprinkle with grated coconut on top.
  11. Let it cool and you’re done! Serve and Enjoy!
February is #chocolatelove month!

Please join in on the #chocolatelove fun by linking up any chocolate recipe from the month of Februrary 2012.  Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #chocolateloveevent!  The twitter hashtag is #chocolatelove :).
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Before going to Bryant Terry’s Speaker Series, TJ and I headed to Souley Vegan in downtown Oakland for some delicious vegan soul food.

For starters, we had Artichoke Garlic Dip with Garlic Bread and Vegan Butter. The creamy dip tasted pure bliss especially because it had  strong flavors of my two favorite ingredients: Artichoke and garlic.

What TJ ordered: Combo of black eyed peas, mustard greens, and mac and cheese. Souley Vegan must have changed chefs. The mac and cheese I had before at this place couldn’t compare to this one. I tasted more cheese without the gummy texture. The black eyed peas and mustard greens were also a winner.

What I ordered: Southern Fried Tofu Bowl, which was their Special that day. Their presentation may not be clean, but maybe it wasn’t supposed to be. Regardless, this bowl tasted amazing. I’d order it again.

The ambiance transcended us to a cozy Southern-like dining.

The menu:

TJ & I enjoying our meal.

Souley Vegan on Urbanspoon

On January 26th, TJ and I headed to Oakland to get “vegucated” on food ethics . The event was called “Food, Justice, & Sustainability” with vegan chef, author and activist Bryant Terry.

I always hear amazing reviews of Bryant’s cookbook “Vegan Soul Kitchen”, so I was excited to see him talk about his cooking as well as his personal views.


Aside from Bryant, a panel of food activists also joined the conversation:
Bryant Terry, author/activist/chef “Vegan Soul Kitchen”, “The Inspired Vegan”


Brahm Ahmadi, CEO of People’s Community Market


Amie Breeze Harper, author/academic & editor of “Sistah Vegan”


Raj Patel, author/activist/academic “Stuffed and Starved”, “The Value of Nothing”


Nikki Henderson, Executive Director of People’s Grocery


Bryant Terry at TTS Speakers Series in Oakland. Sorry for the blurry image, I was using my cellphone.

Witnessing their brilliant minds exchange unique discourse revealed just how the vegan community is so diverse.  The panelists divulged into the many aspects of food including how we treat not only animals but also the farmers who grow our crops.  They also discussed the lack of awareness of food sources as well as different approaches to advocating veganism.


Anyway, below are snippets of the discussion. It’s not the best visual quality but the audio is clear.

Here, Amie Breeze Harper talks about how other people, even vegans care about animals but not farmers:

Raj Patel delightfully talks about a phenomena in Malawi:

Bryant Terry reads a recipe from his new cookbook, The Inspired Vegan. He dedicates it to those who grow his recipe ingredients:


TJ & I at the event.

As late holiday present, TJ gave me a Bryant Terry cookbook, Vegan Soul Kitchen, woohoo!

Personally, being vegan teaches me to be more compassionate towards all living things. Animal rights and Human rights are not mutually exclusive. If anything, they complement each other.

To conclude our Vegas (food) trip, Chris and I grandly celebrated at the only place we knew we ought to be- at the buffet line!

Contrary to most people’s assumptions, some vegans do love to eat at buffets because they’re not stuck with only one dish. For us, it only cost $16 each for lunch. So score!

Here’s what I had at the Excalibur. Nothing too exciting but I was definitely stuffed to the gills. I also ate two other plates full of fruits and salads.

Buffet at the Excalibur Hotel

Food aside, here are some sights we captured during our trip:
















Thank you Vegas. Twas a blast!