Why did you go vegan?
I just felt weird—not good— eating meat and dairy. Then when I went vegan, I noticed I felt so much better.
How would you describe your cooking style?
Home-cooked comfort food.
What’s the first vegan thing you made?
Cheesecake made from raw cashews. It’s so healthy, you can eat it for breakfast!
What advice would you give to a newbie vegan?
Don’t put pressure on yourself. Slowly eliminate things from your diet, and don’t listen to other vegans because they can be really cranky sometimes. Listen to your body instead.
If I were coming over for a barbecue, what would you make me?
The best damn vegan burger. It’s made of black beans, caramelized onions, soy and wheat gluten.
Greatest kitchen fail?
I almost lit the kitchen on fire with hot oil.
Greatest kitchen triumph?
Cauliflower Buffalo wings.
Most ingenious vegan hack?
I make vegan nacho cheese. [From potatoes and carrots with spices and jalapeños.]
Do you ever cheat on your diet?
Directors: Saty + Pratha
Styling: Peghah Maleknejad
Hair & Makeup: Tami El Sombati, M.A.C
On Toyota: Top, T by Alexander Wang, Sacks Fifth Avenue. Pants, Smythe, Holt Renfrew. Ring, Amanda Hunt.
Photo Editor: Lindsay Murrell
Editor: Rachel Heinrichs
Lauren’s Vegan Vanilla Cheesecake
1 cup raw almonds, soaked in water at least 3 hours
1⁄2 cup raw walnuts
8 medjool dates, pitted
1⁄4 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 1/3 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1⁄4 tsp sea salt
Place the almonds and walnuts in a food processor and blend into a coarse meal. Add remaining ingredients and blend until well combined. Press the dough into four 41⁄2-inch mini tart pans with removable bottoms. Freeze the crusts for 30 minutes.
11⁄2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 3 hours
1/3 cup agave nectar (or 1⁄2 cup maple syrup for a non-raw version)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1⁄4 cup lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, insides scraped out
Combine all the ingredients in a high- powered blender and blend until smooth. Remove crusts from the freezer and pour filling into them. Place them back in the freezer to set, 1 to 2 hours. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.
1 cup fresh mixed summer berries (blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp raw agave nectar
Toss berries in a bowl with lemon juice and agave nectar. Let sit for 30 minutes until they become juicy. Spoon over cheesecakes and serve.
Makes four 4 1⁄2-inch cheesecakes
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