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Vintage Recipes from My Real Life, by Victoria Moran

Sharon Auerbach, a reader of this blog, wrote me the following: “I was so impressed by your comment about the “Lemon ’Stedda’ Chicken” recipe, which you posted in your February 4, 2014 article/blog entry ‘In Praise of the Classic Cookbooks’: ‘I’ve made Marylin’s “Lemon ‘Stedda’ Chicken” at least once a month since this cookbook was published in 1990.’

“In a way, getting excited about a new recipe can be kind of like getting excited about a new article of clothing- it seems so fabulous at first but after you wear it a few times you realize that it’s uncomfortable when you sit down in it, or it is a pain to have to iron all the time, or the colors don’t go with anything else in your wardrobe- etc.  In other words- I see great value in recipes that have withstood the test of time!  While I’m certainly not against experimentation, I’d like to try some recipes that have very high odds of being ‘keepers’.  Would you be willing to share your wisdom?  If there are other recipes that you make at least once a month, I would love to try them!”

Well, Sharon, and any other traditionalists out there, I’m here for you. First, I want to draw your attention to a few recipes that are in Main Street Vegan (the book), which fall in this tried and true category. They are:

  • Neat Loaf – page 50, from The Peaceful Palate, by Jennifer Raymond
  • Baked Chee Spaghetti Casserole – page 58, from Ten Talents, by Rosalie and Dr. Frank Hurd

samantha marie baked chee

  • Cool Dilly Tofu Dip (or Dressing) – page 298. I found it on the wall of a food co-op in Downers Grove, Illinois, in 1977. How’s that for history?

To follow are perennial faves that I didn’t borrow for Main Street Vegan. I’ve given an Amazon link for each book. Please note that these are the copyrighted work of their creators. I always like to get that in. Writers and creative folks of all stripes are having a hard time in the Internet era.

Green Bean Casserole

From Ten Talents ©1968, Rosalie and Dr. Frank Hurd – Here’s an Amazon link to the 2012 edition.

I love this cookbook and made this dish for Thanksgiving last week, as I have for every TG since, gosh, since forever! There are no amounts given here; I generally use two 10-ounce packages of frozen, organic beans and one full recipe of cashew milk gravy. I find that this serves 6 nicely.

  • Green beans, cut & steamed (I use frozen and don’t steam in advance)
  • Cashew milk gravy (recipe below)
  • Almonds, blanched, sliced
  • Dry bread crumbs, seasoned
  1. Lightly steam green beans in boiling water and salt.
  2. Pour over beans cashew milk gravy.
  3. Stir in almonds.
  4. Top with seasoned crumbs, salt and oil (thread on).
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Cashew Milk Gravy (white sauce)

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup raw cashew pieces
  • 2 Tbls. arrowroot powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 Tbls. oil
  • ½ tsp. salt

Blend the above ingredients together. Stir constantly until thickened over medium flame (about 3 minutes). Dilute if necessary. (Note from Victoria: I use a lot less oil than I used to and find that this recipe works fine with no oil at all.)

Aztec Salad

From The Peaceful Palate, by ©1992 Jennifer Raymond

My assistant, Danielle, and I had this salad for lunch today. I was out of peppers so I added an avocado. This recipe is naturally oil free. “Seasoned rice vinegar,” if you’re unfamiliar with it, is a slightly sweetened vinegar that has a richness that’s almost oily; it can actually stand on its own as salad dressing.

  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans
  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 2 Tbls. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbls. apple cider or distilled vinegar
  • 1 lime or lemon, juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Drain and rinse the beans and place them in a large salad bowl with the onion, peppers, tomatoes, corn, and cilantro. In a small bowl, combine the vinegars, lemon or lime juice, garlic, cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Pour over the salad and toss gently to mix.

Real French Dressing

From The American Vegetarian Cookbook from the Fit for Life Kitchen,

©1990 Marilyn Diamond

Okay, so I said I’m using a lot less oil these days. I still use in this exquisite gourmet dressing that wows guests every time.

  • 4 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 ½ Tbls. lemon juice
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. Dijon-style mustard

Ground rock salt, seasoned salt, or salt-free seasoning (optional; no salt is necessary because mustard contains salt)

Freshly ground pepper (optional)

Measure oil and garlic into salad bowl. Add lemon juice, mustard, and seasonings to taste. Whisk until dressing is light yellow and thick. (Note: Especially with tender greens, avoid combining dressing with greens until right before serving. The salt component in the dressing will wilt the salad if it sits too long.)

Flourless Chocolate Cake

From Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People,

© Jennifer Cornbleet 2005 – link to newly revised edition

This is a much newer cookbook than the others highlighted here, but this recipe is a classic at our house nevertheless. I love it that it’s possible to make a chocolate cake that is, (1) health promoting, and (2) ready in 5 minutes. No wonder this cookless book is used more than any other in my kitchen!

Yield: one 5-inch cake

  • 1½ cups raw walnuts, unsoaked
  • Dash salt
  • 8 pitted Medjool dates, unsoaked
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa or carob powder
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • ½ cup fresh raspberries, for garnish (optional)

Place the walnuts and salt in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process until finely ground. Add the dates, cocoa powder, and optional vanilla and process until the mixture begins to stick together. Add the water and process briefly.

Transfer to a serving plate and form into a 5-inch round cake. Decorate the cake and plate with fresh raspberries before serving if desired. Covered with plastic wrap, Flourless Chocolate Cake will keep for three days in the refrigerator, or two weeks in the freezer. Bring to room temperature before serving.

And speaking of recipes . . . As our holiday gift to you here at Main Street Vegan, we’re providing a seasonal recipe we love every weekday during December to all who “like” the Main Street Vegan Facebook page. We’ll do this a 3 pm U.S. Eastern Time so we’ll call it “Recipe at 3.” Given Facebook algorithims that only show professional page posts to a small percentage of people who’ve liked the page, you’ll either need to mark your settings so that you’ll be notified when “Main Street Vegan” posts, or just make a note to drop in a minute or so after 3 Monday through Friday and get your recipe. Thursday will be especially fun: to join in with #ThrowbackThursday, I will personally post a vintage recipe from my early days in the vegan world.

Victoria Moran is the author of Main Street Vegan, The Good Karma Diet, The Love-Powered Diet, Younger by the Day, Lit from Within, Fit from Within, and Creating a Charmed Life. She is a 31-year vegan, director of Main Street Vegan Academy, and host of the weekly Main Street Vegan podcast.


  1. These look delicious! Thanks for sharing your favorites 🙂