for preparing and eating food as if your life depended on it
















Christiane Deslauriers

For showing me what to eat and why












What shall we have for dinner?

How did such a simple question get so complicated?!


Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma)










Beans, etc

Soy Milk

Soy Milk Yogurt


Coffee Substitute

Chai Tea

Okara Cakes

Black Bean Burgers

Soups, etc.

Vegetable Stock

Mulligatawny Soup

Black Bean Soup

Hot and Sour Soup

Lentil Soup

Peanut Sauce

Breads, etc.

Basic Flat Bread (Chapattis)

Chinese Noodles

Basic White Bread (or Pizza Dough)

Hearty Grain Bread

Great Crusty White Bread


Yeast Pancakes

Further Reading









Blueprints is a short guide to making at home many of the things that you buy every day. It is also a guide for people who would like to try a meat-free diet but who are not sure exactly what to eat as substitutes for meat. It can also be used to supplement a meat-eating diet.


Though not designed strictly as a Vegan cookbook, Blueprints does not call for any animal products, so can easily be used as part of a Vegan or vegetarian diet.


The recipes below are for basic staples only: breads, legumes, soups etc. It is assumed that the reader already knows how to prepare and eat fruits and vegetables


As the title suggests, Blueprints contains sketches of recipes that can be modified with substitutions. Recipes that lend themselves well to substitutions will be followed by, Variation.


Listed at the end are websites with many more recipes. For example, after you try making some simple bread, you might want to investigate the world of sourdough. On this topic there are already many great books and websites.


Please feel free to go further by experimenting with substitutes I haven’t thought of. Start with small amounts and the worst you can end up with is some compost! At best you could discover a food that no one has ever tried before.


As for kitchen equipment, these recipes do not call for anything more than a blender. I don’t use bread makers, soy milk makers or yogurt makers. However, if you have any of these, you can modify the recipes accordingly.





Beans, etc.



Soy Milk


Soak 1 cup dry soy beans in about 4 cups water overnight


Discard water.


Put 1 cup soaked soy beans with 2 cups fresh water in a blender.

Blend for about 30 seconds.

Pour mixture into a jam bag over a large pot.

Carefully gather the top of the bag and squeeze all of the liquid into the pot.

Save granules in a separate container.

Continue process with 1 part soy beans to 2 parts water for each batch.


Bring milk slowly to a boil, and then boil for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally

Add salt and/ or sugar to taste.


Use leftover granules (called Okara in Japanese) for making bread, soy burgers, Okara Cakes etc. Okara will last a week in the fridge if not needed immediately. It also freezes well.


Soy milk can be stored in the fridge for about a week or can be made immediately into yogurt or tofu.


Variation: Can be made with raw cashews, raw almonds or chick peas. Doesn’t seem to work with Navy Beans. Another simple milk can be made by blending 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter (or any smooth nut butter) in 1 cup water.


Caution!: The soy milk, before being boiled and the Okara, before being cooked, are inedible!




Soy Milk Yogurt


1 soy milk recipe (5-6 cups)


2 tbsp yogurt (or starter)




If milk has just been made, set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

If not, put milk in a pot and boil 5 minutes. Then allow to cool.


Put yogurt in a small bowl and allow to warm up to room temperature.

When you are sure that the milk has cooled right down and the yogurt has warmed up (put them beside each other), add a tbsp of milk to the yogurt and stir. Add 1 tbsp of milk at a time to the yogurt until you have about a cup of mixture. Then, gently add this mixture back into the rest of the soy milk. Stir.

Cover and let rest in a warm place (above the fridge is good.) for 12 hours. Try to keep away from drafts and other temperature changes.

Refrigerate. Will last a few weeks in the fridge






5-6 cups Warm Soy Milk


Nigari (Magnesium Chloride) or


Calcium Sulphate (both available from Health food Stores)


Warm water




If milk has just been made, allow to cool to 180 deg F (fairly warm)

If not, heat to boiling then allow to cool to 180 deg F. This will kill any bacteria that might compete with the yogurt.


Prepare coagulant: dissolve either 1 tsp nigari (natural magnesium chloride) or 1 tsp natural calcium sulfate in 1/2 cup warm water. Less coagulant produces softer tofu, more produces firmer tofu.

Pour the prepared coagulant solution slowly into the soy milk, stirring gently. Stop stirring when 3/4 of coagulant solution has been added. Wait 2-3 minutes. Now, gently stir the forming curds and sprinkle the last 1/4 of the coagulant solution into any milky areas. If there are no milky areas, you do not need to add the rest of the solution. If there are still some milky areas after adding all the solution, mix and add some more. Depending on the water quality, etc., you may need slightly more or less coagulant.

Once the soymilk has separated into small white curds of tofu and an amber liquid (whey), transfer curds to a tofu mold (or tofu box) lined with cheesecloth. Any container that has many small holes to allow residual whey to drain can serve as a tofu mold. A lid is then placed on the forming container, after which a small weight of 3 - 5 pounds is placed on the lid of the container and allowed to sit for 20 minutes or so.

NOTE: A piece of wood smaller than the box opening makes a good top and a fist-sized rock makes a good weight.


Empty the resulting block of tofu into a tub of cold water and allow it to sit for another hour, then store the tofu in the refrigerator and change the soaking water daily.



Coffee Substitute


1 cup dry soy beans




Spread beans on a baking sheet.


Bake at 400 deg. F for 20-30 minutes, or until very dark brown. Cool.


Grind in a coffee grinder and percolate or use in drip coffee-maker.


Add a pinch of salt to taste.




Chai Tea


2 cups water


1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped


8 pods cardamom, broken open


1 star anise


1/2 teaspoon whole back pepper


2-3 cloves


1/2 cinnamon stick


1 teabag black tea or 1 tbsp loose tea (any kind, de-caf is fine)




1. Syrup: Place all ingredients except black tea in a medium pot. Bring to a boil and boil about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add black tea. Let stand 5 minutes.

Strain. This syrup can be stored in the fridge for later use.


2. Chai: Mix equal parts syrup with soy milk. Bring almost to boil. Sweeten to taste.




Okara Cakes

2 slices whole wheat bread or toast, ground into crumbs

1/2 cup minced celery1 large onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, minced

1/2 green pepper, minced

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 1/2 cups okara (see soy milk recipe)

1/2 cup oatmeal

Seasoning to taste (Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Chili powder, herbs etc)


In a non-stick skillet, saute celery, onion, carrot, pepper and parsley until softened, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine okara, sauteed vegetable mixture, oatmeal, and seasonings. Mix well and set aside to "rest" for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Using about 1/4 cup for each cake, form mixture into about 15-20 patties about 2 inches across and 1/2 inch thick. Coat each side of the patty with bread crumbs and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Carefully turn cakes over and return to the oven to bake until second side is toasty and browned, about 15 more minutes.

Caution! Okara (leftover granuals from making soy milk) must be cooked for about half an hour in any recipe.


Black Bean Burgers

1/2 onion, diced

1 can black beans or 2 cups cooked black beans

1/2 cup flour

2 slices bread, crumbled

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste


Saute the onions till soft, about 3-5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mash the beans until almost smooth (a potato masher works well). Add sauteed onions and the rest of the ingredients, adding the flour a few tablespoons at a time to combine well.

Form bean mixture into patties, approximately 1/2 inch thick and fry patties in a small amount of oil until slightly firm.

Variation: Try with any cooked beans or lentils. You can also add finely ground cashews, almonds etc.


Soups, etc.


Basic Vegetable Stock

10 cups water

2 potatoes, quartered

2 tomatoes, quartered

1 onion, quartered, (leave peel on)

2 carrots chopped

2 celery stalks (with leaves) chopped

2 cloves garlic, unpeeled

A few sprigs fresh parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 bay leaf


Put all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Strain, removing all solids. Let cool. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for long term storage.

This stock can be made with any vegetables, especially ones that are getting a bit soft.

NOTE: If you want a very clear stock, skip the tomatoes and potatoes


Mulligatawny Soup

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 chile pepper (banana, jalapeno, habanero etc.) finely chopped

4 cups vegetable stock

1/4 cup lentils

salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon curry powder

1/2 cup coconut milk

1-2 cups cooked rice (basmati)

1/2 cup raw apple, chopped fine

Garnish: chopped green onions, minced cilantro or parsley.


In a large pot, saute the celery, carrot, onion, and chile pepper in oil at a low heat until the onion is translucent. Stir in the curry powder to blend and cook for a minute. Pour in the stock, add the lentils, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, get the rice cooked (if it isn't already). Then chop the apples finely. You don't need to skin the apples.

When the soup is done, season to taste with the salt and pepper. At this point you can puree some or all of the soup. Add coconut milk and bring to a simmer.

To serve, spoon rice and a little apple into each bowl. Ladle the soup on top, then drip coconut milk into the center and swirl. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro or parsley.

Variation: If you don’t have cooked rice on hand, try adding 1/4 cup of uncooked rice with the lentils.


Black Bean Soup

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 sweet red pepper, chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

pinch cayenne pepper

1 19 oz can black beans (undrained) or 3 cups cooked black beans

2 cups vegetable stock

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander or parsley

2 tbsp lime or lemon juice

1/4 cup soy milk yogurt


In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.

Cook onion, garlic, red pepper, cumin and cayenne, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened.

Add black beans and stock; bring to boil

Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in coriander and lime or lemon juice.

Dollop soy yogurt on each serving.

Try serving over a bowl of corn chips!

Variation: Try using any cooked beans, chick peas or a blend instead of black beans.


Hot and Sour Soup

4 cups vegetable stock

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (any vinegar is fine)

2 tbsp soy sauce

Asian chili oil (or Tabasco etc) to taste

1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced

1 onion,, chopped

1 carrot, grated

1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed

3 tbsp water

1 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 lb. tofu, cut in 1/2-inch cubes

4 green onions, thinly sliced

2 tsp sesame oil


In large pan, stir together stock, vinegar, soy sauce and chili oil. Bring to boil. Stir in mushrooms, onion, carrot and bamboo shoots. Cook on low heat for about ten minutes.

Stir together water and cornstarch in small bowl. Slowly pour into soup while stirring. Cook until soup thickens, about 5 minutes.

Stir in tofu. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Stir in onions and sesame oil and serve.


Lentil Soup

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 medium onions, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1 potato, chopped

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp curry paste or curry powder

2-1/2 cups vegetable stock

2-1/2 cups water

1 cup dried red lentils (green, or brown are fine)

2 cups packed fresh spinach


In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions, carrots and potato. Fry until onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and curry.

Add stock, water and lentils; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils and vegetables are tender (15-20 minutes). Stir in spinach. Bring back to simmer. Serve



Peanut Sauce


3 cloves garlic, minced


1-inch piece ginger root, peeled, minced


3/4 cup natural smooth peanut butter


1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)


2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce


1 tbsp paprika


1 cup water, more if needed


Cayenne pepper (or Tabasco etc.) to taste


1/2 teaspoon brown sugar to taste



Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Whisk until smooth.

Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. Be careful not to burn. If sauce becomes too thick or separates, whisk in a little more water until it's the right consistency. Serve hot.

Refrigerate, covered, up to 1 week.


Variation: Works with any nut butter, tahini etc. also vinegar instead of lemon.




Breads, etc.


Basic Flat Bread (Chapattis)

2 cups flour (white or whole wheat)

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup water


Mix flour and salt in a medium bowl

Add water, mix well

Let sit for 15 minutes

Pour onto floured surface. Knead for about 5 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes

Divide dough into 8 portions.

Roll each portion as flat as possible.

Heat a cast iron pan, with a little oil, to almost smoking.

Fry each chapatti until bubbles form (about two minutes) then flip and fry two minutes on the other side.

NOTE: The first amount of oil should do for all 8 chapattis.

Keep in warm oven until ready to serve.


Chinese Noodles

2 cups flour

1/2 cup water


Mix flour and water in a bowl.

Knead the dough thoroughly, then allow to rest for 20 minutes.

On a floured surface, flatten the dough with a rolling pin and make a sheet about 1mm thick.

Dust with flour to prevent sticking, as necessary.

Roll the sheet into a log, and cut slices of the width desired for the noodles.

The noodles may then be air dried by draping them on plastic coat hangers for several hours, or they may be refrigerated. They can also be frozen for several weeks.

Cook noodles by boiling in water for about 10 minutes.

Serve with your favorite sauce or in soups etc.


Basic White Bread (or Pizza Dough)

(Makes 1 loaf or one large pizza dough)

1 cup warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon dry yeast (1 packet)

2-3 cups white flour (or half white and half whole wheat)

1 teaspoon salt


In a large bowl, mix water and sugar. Add yeast and let stand 10 minutes. Mix thoroughly with whisk.

Add salt and about 1 cup flour and mix thoroughly with whisk.

Mixing with a wooden spoon, add enough flour to make a stiff dough but not too dry.

Knead for a full 10 minutes, adding a little flour if too sticky.

Let dough rise in bowl until doubled in size (about an hour)

For pizza dough, punch down and roll out to fit large pizza pan.

NOTE: if pan is oiled, dough can just be pushed out to sides. Be careful not to break the dough. Add toppings and bake.

For bread, punch down and place in bread pan. Rise again until double (about an hour)

Bake at 400 deg. F 20-30 minutes or until nice and brown.


Hearty Grain Bread (makes 2 loaves)

1 cup boiling water

2 teaspoons salt

1 heaping tablespoon malt extract or molasses

1 cup Red River Cereal (or other multi-grain cereal)


1 cup warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon dry yeast (one packet)

1/4 cup gluten flour mixed with 3/4 cups white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

3-4 cups white flour


In a small bowl, mix together 1 cup boiling water, malt (or molasses) and 2 teaspoons salt. Then add 1 cup cereal and stir. Let stand until cooled to room temperature (an hour or so)

In a large bowl, mix 1 cup warm water (not hot) and 1 teaspoon sugar. Then add yeast. Let sit 10 minutes. Mix thoroughly with whisk.

Add whole wheat flour. Mix thoroughly with whisk. Let stand for another 10 minutes

Add cooled Red River mix and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Add enough white flour (3-4 cups) to make a stiff dough. Knead for a full ten minutes, adding flour if dough is too sticky. (Note: you can knead the dough right in the bowl.)

Cover bowl with a towel and let rise until double (about 2 hours).

Punch down, divide in two and form 2 equal loaves. Place in two oiled bread pans. Let rise again until doubled (2 hours).

Bake at 400 deg. F for 20 to 30 minutes or until loaves sound hollow and/or are nicely browned.

Remove from pans and cool on a rack.


Great Crusty White Bread (1 large round loaf)

(No kneading)


3 cups flour


1 1/2 cups warm water


1/4 teaspoon yeast


1 teaspoon salt




Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add water and mix by hand or with a wooden spoon for 1 minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest 12 to 18 hours (overnight) at room temperature (above the fridge is good).


Remove the dough (should be bubbly and wet) onto a floured surface and fold once or twice. Lightly cover the dough with a cotton towel (also sprinkled with flour), and let rise 2 hours, until about doubled in size.


Preheat oven to 450 deg F. Place an oven-proof pot (un-greased) with top (crock pot works well) in the oven while it is preheating. When oven and pot are pre-heated, remove pot from oven. Lift dough (may need wooden spoons or spatulas, still very moist) and drop into the pot. Don’t worry about the dough keeping its shape. Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes. If loaf still looks pale, remove the lid and bake another 10 minutes uncovered, until the loaf is nicely browned.


NOTE: This bread doesn’t seem to work as well with whole wheat flour or other substitutes.






1 cup whole raw cashews


1 cup whole raw almonds


1 cup whole raw hazelnuts


1 cup whole pitted dates


4 cups large flake oats


Salt to taste




Place nuts on a baking sheet and roast at 350 deg F for about 20 minutes or until nuts have a nice brown colour. Check almonds by cutting one in half. Should be brown all the way through.

Put nuts aside and repeat with oats.

When everything has cooled to room temperature, mix in dates and salt to taste.

Store in a large glass jar in a cool, dry place.

Serve with soy milk or soy yogurt.


Variation: Try any mixture of nuts and seeds (sunflower, sesame, poppy, millet) and/or other dried fruits




Yeast Pancakes


2 cups mixed flours


1 1/2 cups warm water plus some more to adjust consistency


1 tblsp instant dry yeast (1 packet)


1 tsp sugar


1 tsp salt


Oil to cook




Mix flours and salt in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl place the yeast with 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tsp sugar. Cover and keep aside for 10 minutes.

Pour this activated yeast with another cup of warm water in the bowl with dry ingredients.

Mix well and cover with a towel for up to 1 hour, till the batter is risen and bubbly.


At this point you can add any variation of nuts, seeds or fruit.

If you want a lunch or dinner pancake you can add chopped onions, celery, peppers etc as well as nuts and seeds herbs etc.


Heat a greased cast iron skillet over medium flame. Pour a ladle full of batter and let it spread naturally. Do not spread out thinly with the ladle. Wait for 30 seconds to a minute until there are holes around the edges. Flip over and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute until the pancake is well cooked and golden brown.

Top with jam, maple syrup, yogurt, nut butter etc.


Further Reading


1. Food for thought

2. Lots of Vegan recipes

3. Bean recipes

4. 105 peanut recipes

5. Sourdough Bread

6. Vegetarian and Vegan cooking

7. Book Review

8. Vegetarian recipes

9. Tofu recipes


I welcome questions and comments