Most asked question: Laura are you a vegan? Yes, I am a vegan, and all of my recipes are vegan. Below are a few of my super easy, vegan recipes - perfect for the New Year!  For a delightful tummy warming, one-pot, weeknight meal try my Rockin’ Moroccan Stew. If you are looking for a fabulous no-cook dessert that will please anyone with a sweet tooth, try my jazzylicious Peanut Butter Mousse Tartlets! Seeking a really hearty main dish salad? Check out my tanatilzing Penne and Black Bean Salad. YUM!


Well – back to the topic at hand! So, people always ask me why I am the Jazzy Vegetarian and not the Jazzy Vegan. Well, many years ago, when we were thinking of names for the pilot of our television show, we wondered if most people even knew what a vegan was. Back then, it wasn’t part of the common vernacular. (In fact, it was almost like a dirty word). We knew that pitching a vegetarian show to the networks was a daunting task in itself and Jazzy Vegan did not have that snazzy ring to it that we were looking for. Since a vegan is a vegetarian who does not consume any animal products, we felt it was a fitting title. (Miriam Webster online definition; Vegan: a strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food or dairy products)1

Here is the way I explain it, in an excerpt from my new book:

Recently I did a little online research about the histories and origins of the words vegetarian and vegan. According to the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom, the practice of vegetarianism was more commonly known as “the vegetable diet” before the word vegetarian was officially coined in conjunction with the formation of the society in 1847. It comes from the Latin word vegetus, meaning invigorating, lively, vivid, active, or energetic. The members of the Vegetarian Society who adapted the word emphasized and sought to spread a message of good health and moral responsibility through vegetarianism, so the original meaning of the word implies a lot more than just a diet of vegetables and fruit. 

In fact, according to John Davis, who is a pioneer of vegetarianism on the Internet and a trustee of the Vegetarian Society of the UK, the first people who called themselves “vegetarian” were actually vegan. Some historians believe that until 1847 all uses of the word vegetarian came from people associated with Alcott House School, an institution southwest of London started by a radical educator, and they used it to indicate individuals who consumed a 100 percent plant-based food diet. In other words, a vegetarian simply meant someone who “lived on vegetation.” 2 

The term vegan did not exist independently of vegetarianism for another 100 years, when Donald Watson, cofounder of the Vegan Society, coined it in 1944. According to Watson, he wanted a concise word to replace “nondairy vegetarian,” so he derived “vegan” from the first three and last two letters of “vegetarian”— “the beginning and end of vegetarian.” 3 

So, in fact, the Jazzy Vegetarian is vegan! 

Here are a few of my delicious recipes to get your new year started in jazzy style! Happy, healthy new year!


Rockin’ Moroccan Stew 

Makes 6 to 8 servings



1 large red onion, chopped

4 large carrots, peeled and cut in one inch slices

4 small (or 3 large) russet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1 inch cubes 

1 small cauliflower, cut in florets

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut in one inch cubes

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less to taste)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or vegetable boullion, plus more as needed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Put onion, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, eggplant, chickpeas, crushed tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine.

Put the vegetable mixture into a 5 to 6 quart casserole. Pour the vegetable broth over the top. Cover and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. As the stew cooks, check it every ½ hour. If stew becomes dry, add ¼ to cup more vegetable broth, or more, as needed.

Remove stew from oven. Serve with brown rice or quinoa, crusty bread and a baby green  salad.

Episode #206 - Recipe © LAURA THEODORE 2011


Peanut Butter Mousse Tartlets

Makes 12 Tartlets


12 large Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

1/2 cup unsalted, raw sunflower seeds

2/3 cup cubed firm regular tofu (sprouted variety is preferred)

4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

4 tablespoons maple syrup

12 vegan chocolate chips

Put the dates and sunflower seeds in a high-performance blender or food processor, and process to a smooth dough. Put the date mixture in a medium bowl and pull it together to form a ball. Divide the date mixture into 12 parts and roll each into a ball. Press each ball into the shape of a cup, one at a time, using the cups in a mini-muffin baking tin as guides. Using an offset spatula or table knife, carefully remove the date cups from the mini-muffin molds, and place them on a flat tray or plate that has been lined with parchment paper.

Put the tofu, peanut butter, and maple syrup in a blender or food processor and process until very smooth. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star pastry tip. Pipe the filling into each of the date cups and top with a single chocolate chip. Cover and refrigerate for 5 to 6 hours before serving. Covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator, leftover tartlets will keep up to 24 hours.

If you do not have a pastry bag, simply spoon the filling into the cups. Not quite as fancy, but still jazzylicious!


 Penne and Black Bean Salad

Makes 8 to 10 servings



1 pound whole-grain penne, cooked al dente and drained

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed

5 carrots, chopped

1 sweet red pepper, chopped

1 sweet orange or yellow pepper, chopped

1 small sweet onion, diced

1 can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

12 to 14 leaves chopped fresh basil

4 to 5 leaves chopped fresh oregano

4 leaves chopped fresh sage

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise, plus more as needed

1/4 cup Dijon mustard, plus more as needed

1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar or maple sugar

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Put all of the salad ingredients in a very large bowl.

Put all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Add the dressing to the pasta salad and toss gently until well combined. If a creamier consistency is desired, add more mayonnaise and/or Dijon to taste. Cover and chill for 3 hours or more until the salad is thoroughly chilled. Serve chilled over a bed of crisp greens with crusty whole-grain bread or rolls on the side.

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