Vegan Chai Concentrate Recipe

IMG_1949aLast week, in an effort to iron out some stomach woes, I gave up coffee, even the decaf variety. This meant switching to tea, because no hot drinks was not an option in January. I like tea, but was in the mood for something robust and filling, so I decided chai fit the bill.

The chai at Starbucks and readily available in concentrate form is good, but not vegan. The chai in teabags is decent, but not amazing. To make chai from scratch each time is admirable, but not realistic! Thus, I decided to make my own chai concentrate. I’m still adjusting the recipe, but this is what I have right now.

Note: I like my chai like I like my… um… tea -spicy and sweet. Adjust as needed.

Vegan Chai Concentrate
(makes 1 quart jar + a bit)


30 cardamom pods
10 cinnamon sticks
30 black peppercorns
20 cloves
5 star anise
2 medium pieces of fresh ginger, sliced
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. fennel
½ cup brown or raw sugar
5 cups water
15 black tea bags (regular or decaf)*


Place all ingredients except tea bags and cinnamon sticks in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes.

After 15-20 minutes, raise the heat again for a minute to bring the pot back to a boil. Add tea bags and cinnamon sticks and turn heat to low. Steep for 8-10 minutes.

Strain mixture into a canning jar or other glass container for storage (it will stain plastic). To drink, mix ½ and ½ with the milk of your choice and heat – or not if you want a cold drink.

I don’t know how long exactly it will last, because I drink it pretty fast, but at least 5 days.

* The type of black tea doesn’t matter, really, so just get something inexpensive.



Vegan Biscuits and Gravy – Good Comfort Food!

If you grew up in the middle or Southern U.S., or had family roots there, you probably ate some biscuits and gravy in your childhood. There is no sense in pretending a plate of biscuits and gravy is good for you (though I have had chickpea gravy, which is certainly better for you but less yummy), but it tastes good and it’s one of those foods that, on a fall day, feels just about right.

It took me a while as a vegan to even try making biscuits and gravy, because most soy milks seemed far too sweet. So, it wasn’t until I found some unsweetened soy milks (Silk has one, as do others), that I gave it a try. If you are hoping for a healthy recipe, go read some of my others. If you just want yummy comfort food, read on!

Vegan Soda Biscuits
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 c soy milk
1/2 tsp white vinegar
4 tbsp of soy butter, shortening, or oil

Combine salt, soda, and flour (my original recipe calls for sifting them  – I don’t sift, but if you do, rock on). Work in the shortening/butter/oil until mixture becomes crumbly. Add vinegar to soy milk and stir (this will “sour” the soy and create something like buttermilk). Add milk mix gradually until mixture gets to a consistency that is not sticky but is doughy. Kneed until smooth but don’t over knead; roll out, and cut. Bake 12-15 minutes at 420*  Note: these aren’t big fluffy biscuits, they are dense soda biscuits. For fluff, go with a yeast dough recipe.

Vegan Fauxsage Gravy
1/2 package of faux sausage (we like Lightlife)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups unsweetened soy milk
Salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, brown the faux sausage in a bit of olive oil, separating to small pieces as it cooks. Set that aside. Add the vegetable oil and flour to the skillet and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium/high until bubbly. Slowly add the unsweetened soy milk. After fully combining, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat to get gravy to a simmer and continue to stir often. Add salt and pepper and allow to simmer for 5-8 minutes, adjusting thickness if needed with extra soy milk. When finished, stir cooked sausage back in and allow to cook another minute to heat through. Serve over fresh biscuits.