Friday FAQs: Cooking lasagna in advance, vanilla bean powder, subs for mango, and more!

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on May 27, 2016


Thanks to the Victoria Day holiday on Monday, this week has flown by (even more so than usual). It’s always a challenge trying to squeeze a 5-day workweek into just 4 days, but I’m still hoping my plans to retest and photograph a couple new recipes can happen today. As always, you can catch the behind-the-scenes action on Snapchat. :)

Without further ado, here is the next installment of Friday FAQs! Don’t forget to leave your comments and questions on the blog and social media, and I’ll select a handful to feature each week.

Also, just a note that my 22 Weeks update is now up in the Baby section.

Q1: Where do you get/order vanilla bean powder? And what else can you use vanilla bean powder for?

A: Hi Hilary, It can definitely be tricky to find in stores, so I order vanilla bean powder online from the Vanilla Food Company. I love having it on hand, and you can use it in place of vanilla beans (I tend to use a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of powder to replace 1 vanilla bean) or as a more luxurious substitute for pure vanilla extract. I love adding vanilla bean powder to homemade nut milk (such as my Coffee Shop Worthy Caramel Vanilla Bean Hazelnut Milk), Vegan Overnight Oats, smoothies, Chia Seed Jam, crisps/crumbles, granola bars, and more. A little bit goes a long way!

Q2: I just made this Chickpea Salad recipe, and it all tastes great, but my chickpeas were weirdly dry. I didn’t have a potato masher, so I just used a fork, and I also put the chickpeas in the microwave to make it a bit easier. After tasting it, I was really surprised at the texture of the chickpeas. I added some olive oil, and it helped a little bit but not much. I think something went wrong! I really want this recipe to work out, and I’m open to trying it again if someone gives me some tips!

A: Hey Anna, I’m happy to help! You are right that when you first mash the chickpeas, they will be quite flakey and dry in appearance, however once the mix-ins are added (especially the mayo!), it turns into a creamy salad with tons of moisture. It sounds like microwaving the chickpeas probably resulted in them drying out, and then things went awry from there. My advice is to try the recipe again (hopefully you can find a potato masher to use, as it’s much easier) and see what you think. It’s a popular recipe on the blog (and a personal favourite of my own) so I really hope it works out for you!

Q3: Hi Angela. Your Vegan Lasagna with Basil Cashew Cheeze recipe is awesome—I’ve eaten it many times and served it to many S.A.D. eaters and it’s always very well received. Question: if you were to make this lasagna for someone else and only wanted them to re-heat it, how would you recommend they do that? As the cook, I can assemble it and then have them cook it completely, but they won’t want to wait an hour. I could cook it for 45 minutes and then have them broil it for 5 as the recipe does, but I don’t think that would warm it all the way through. Or I could cook it fully and have them warm it in the oven at 325 for 20 minutes? Thoughts? Thanks so much. Your recipes are my #1 cookbook and recipe website recommendations as a Nutritionist. Thanks SO much!

A: Hey Trisha, Thanks so much for your kind words about my blog, book, and recipes! I haven’t tried this before (disclaimer alert! hah), but what I would attempt is to cook the lasagna for a reduced amount of time (let’s say 30 minutes), and then have your friend cook it for the remaining amount of time (20ish minutes, perhaps). That should be enough to warm it through, but of course a few more minutes cook time probably wouldn’t hurt if it needs it. Be sure to keep the lasagna chilled after the first cook until it’s delivered to your friend to prevent any food contamination issues. PS—What a thoughtful thing to do for someone! I hope they enjoy it.

Q4: Hi Angela. Happy belated birthday! And thanks for posting this All Day Glow Green Smoothie recipe. I am definitely going to try it. I am not keen on mango, though (I know, my loss!) so is there another fruit that would work just as well to replace the juice and the mango chunks?

A. Hey Janet, Thank you for the bday wishes! I would suggest frozen pineapple instead of mango. You could even try freezing orange segments for a fun twist! Citrus in a smoothie is never a bad idea. (Can you tell I’m on a huge orange and grapefruit kick right now?) Let me know if you try anything out!

Q5: These cupcakes look amazing! I’m excited to try the recipe for my daughter’s birthday! We are an allergy household and use your recipes for much of our cooking!! Have you ever tried these in cake rounds? If so, any tips? Thank you in advance!

A: Hey Karen, Luckily, this cake recipe is quite versatile and I’ve had success baking it many different ways. I have a recipe for a double-layer vegan chocolate cake (with instructions on how to make it into a sheet cake, too) in The Oh She Glows Cookbook on page 249, which was adapted from these cupcakes. Wishing your daughter the happiest of birthdays!

Comments of the Week:

“I’m not usually a poster on any online outlet—I am very much a lurker on every site I have ever visited—however after trialing this Raw Rainbow Pad Thai recipe I just had to break the trend! Thank you so very much for your beautiful and inspiring recipes. This salad was absolutely incredible! I have been a long-time vegetarian with multiple failed attempts at converting to vegan under my belt, but, after discovering your wonderful blog and buying your book, I think I’ve finally cracked it! The number of compliments I have received at work from my colleagues (all vegetable-wary committed carnivores) is certainly fuel to carry on! Thank you for all the wonderful work you do creating and sharing these gorgeous recipes!”

Thank you for the lovely words Emily! I’m so glad you decided to leave a comment. It’s wonderful to hear that my recipes are helping you shift your diet to where you want it to be (not to mention, dazzling some of your coworkers), and I’m glad the pad thai was a hit—it’s a huge fave around here (especially in the summer). Do you know which recipe you’ll try next? Happy cooking. =)

“Just made this Warm Spring Salad for the third delicious time! My boyfriend did the grocery shopping this week and picked up what he thought was a leek, but was in fact fennel bulb. Grateful to have not been grocery shopping I simply said thank you and used it in the recipe just as you would the leek. It turned out great!”

Faith, I’m glad it turned out well, despite the mix-up! Your story definitely gives me a bit more courage to try fennel again; I haven’t been a fan so far, but there’s always hope.

Well, that’s a wrap for this week. I hope you all have a great weekend in store. I’d like to wish our friends in the US a fun, delicious, and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Taylor May 27, 2016 at 8:56 am

Just a tip for Anna, when I make the chickpea salad I give the chickpeas a few pulses in the food processor, then mash them with a fork! I agree having a go at it with just the fork is hard, and the potato masher doesn’t work that much better for me, so my food processor is a life changer!


Sarah May 29, 2016 at 2:33 pm

I use the food processor as well but I skip out on the fork because I find I didn’t really need it. My thought to use it was out of laziness to clean the potato masher and overall ease of use. Glad I’m not the only one.


Nadine May 27, 2016 at 11:04 am

Just wanted to say thank you for your amazing recipes! Love your blog and cookbook. Congrats on your second pregnancy, I have a newborn and a 2yr old myself and its so much fun seeing them together :)


Angela Liddon May 27, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Thanks for your sweet note Nadine! Congrats on your newborn. I can only imagine how fun it is to watch them together. :)


Cara May 27, 2016 at 8:12 pm

Mine are 2 years apart, too, and the little one (just over 1) is starting to talk–and one of her first words? Her sister’s name. My heart melted the first time I heard it. You will have so much fun with the two of them!


Karen May 27, 2016 at 11:05 am

Thank you so much for your reply! Your tips and suggestions are much appreciated. Our daughter Aspen will really enjoy her birthday cake! Her Nannie is making this one for her! She does a lot of our baking for our crazy kiddos!
Have a wonderful weekend.


Annalise May 27, 2016 at 11:14 am

Hi Angela, I’m loving this series. It’s fun read other people’s questions and your feedback and suggestions as well as commenters’ suggestions. I just made a batch of the Toffee Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie Bars yesterday and they are so good! I didn’t have any almond flour, so I just used more oat flour. The dough was a bit dry and crumbly (probably from the lack of fats from the almond flour) so I added a tad more almond butter, coconut oil and some almond milk. They turned out wonderfully… moist in the center and crunchy on the edges. Yum!

I have a photography question: I was wondering where you take your beautiful, sleek photos for your app as well as the Friday FAQ’s series. Do you have a marble slab (such as a large cutting board) or is that your counter top? And do you use natural light, or canned lights? Thanks in advance! :)


Emily Grayson May 27, 2016 at 11:28 am

As a note to Anna about the chickpea recipe. It is one of my very favorites and my mom had the bright idea of putting the ingredients in the food processor and having it do the work for you (first garlic, everything but the chickpeas, finally chickpeas). Although it does get a bit more mixed than if you hand chopped – if you use pulse some great texture still remains (and the flavor is just as great!). Love it with fresh farmers market greens and pea shoots! Amazing recipe!!


Anna Lee May 27, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Let me just say, your vegan lasagna is always on permanent rotation in my kitchen. I’m actually making it this weekend. It’s such a great recipe! Everyone I’ve made it for LOVES it!


Kaya May 27, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Another note to Anna about the chickpea recipe. I tried all the different tinned chickpeas available and some mash much better than others (the ‘harder’ versions are great for soups and stews). Another option is to cook your own chickpeas then you can get them as soft as you want them to be. It is definitely one of my favorite recipes.


Jen May 27, 2016 at 4:44 pm

I love using a pastry cutter to “mash” chickpeas!

I’m so excited to try the lasagna recipe! I love these Fri FAQs, because you bring up recipes that I haven’t seen or just have forgotten about. Thank you!


janine May 27, 2016 at 11:05 pm

The picture at the top of this blog, just wondering what it is and where the recipe is. Looks amazing!


Angela Liddon June 1, 2016 at 9:29 am

Thanks Janine! it’s a fruit dip I’m working on for the app. It’s still in the testing phase! :)


Sarah May 28, 2016 at 12:33 pm

We tried the all day green smoothie, and wow! It was delicious. To help with question 4, we used more water and coconut water in place of mango juice, and we added a clementine. It was delicious — and I really didn’t taste the mango chunks. It was just light and refreshing. We did one and a half apples, since they were large. My point is that you can change to taste/what you have on hand and it is still so good! Parsley is supposed to have quercetin, which helps with allergies. I’ve been sneaking it into everything!

PS. The cheese sauce made from cashews and green avocado sauce has me off cheese for good. There is no comparison–so creamy and I don’t feel sick after!


Angela May 28, 2016 at 9:00 pm

Hi Angela, I love reading your blog posts and pregnancy updates. I had a question on how you buy coconut water (for use in smoothies). It can be costly buying it in individual portions, but that’s the only way I’ve seen it sold on the grocery stores I frequent. Any tips you can share would be great!


Angela Liddon June 1, 2016 at 9:30 am

Hey Angela, Yes, larger sizes can be tricky to find in some groceries stores! I am quite fond of the “Thirsty Buddha” brand which is sold by the 1-litre carton. Sometimes they are hiding on the very top shelf of the non-refrigerated juice aisle, so can be easy to miss!


Therese May 28, 2016 at 9:52 pm

Hi Angela, recipe question for you. Do you have a recipe for a delicious sandwich spread with the consistency of a sauce/dressing? Looking for a flavorful topping for a veggie sandwich (sprouted toasted bread, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, etc.)? It would be great if it could do double duty as a salad dressing. Love your book!! :)


Angela Liddon June 8, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Hi Therese, thanks for the great question! I definitely have some suggestions for you. In terms of sauces/spreads can pull double duty on both sandwiches and salads, I’d recommend you try my Green Goddess Dressing, Creamy Lemon Dill Dressing, or Lemon-Tahini Dressing (page 284 of The Oh She Glows Cookbook). My Spicy Peanut-Lime Sauce could also be a great sandwich topping, if that’s up your alley. Another great option is my Sundried Tomato Hemp Basil Pesto, which I absolutely love on sandwiches! I recently posted a recipe for 5-Minute Soy-Free Vegan Mayonnaise, too—does a sandwich spread get more classic than that? Hopefully one of these recipes will hit the spot.


Therese June 25, 2016 at 12:13 pm

So…I made the Sundried Tomato Hemp Basil Pesto & it was super good! Thanks for the ideas. I preordered book #2 today, can’t wait to read it. Looking forward to a fresh set of recipes to cook my way through Fall 2016; plus I’m planning on making your homemade candy recipes (yolo’s etc.) for my fam this Halloween, I’m a little too excited for that..haha


Angela Liddon June 27, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Haha, there’s no such thing as being too excited for homemade candy, Therese! ;) Thanks so much your support of my second cookbook–I hope you love it as much as I do.


Ellen May 29, 2016 at 1:50 pm

I NEED to try the vegan lasagna! It looks so so good!


Sahantha May 30, 2016 at 4:31 am

Thanks for the awesome healthy recipes. I love salads. They not only fill you up easily but also help you shed weight.


Emma May 31, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Hi Angela!
Just got your cookbook and I am in love!! Just made your empowered noodle bowl with the peanut sauce for me and my mum and we both loved it, it was delicious! Looking forward to trying the rest of the recipes :)


Louise June 1, 2016 at 1:10 am

Hi Angela! I’m on the lookout for toddler-friendly snack recipes, especially those that are somewhat portable and tend not to make too much of a mess. I’m sure you’ve got quite a few! What are some of your favorites? Thanks!


Karen June 1, 2016 at 6:22 pm

Hi! I remember seeing a post where you were discussing composting. I’m thinking a composting bin might be a nice present for my husband who loves to garden. What are your suggestions? Pros cons to different kinds? Being able to transport it if someone had to move… Sizes. Total beginner here. But really wanting to keep our soil healthy while keeping quality waste out of landfills.


Abbey June 1, 2016 at 11:07 pm

Hi Angela! Big congrats to you and your growing family! My girls are 20 months apart (now 8 mos. and 2 1/2) and it is wonderful and chaos and all the things that make for a happy family. :)
I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind listing your favorite protein-packed recipes? I am getting back in the gym and trying to get some muscle definition back in my life and some extra protein is in order! Thanks so much!


Angela Liddon June 8, 2016 at 1:46 pm

Hi Abbey, Thank you for the warm congrats! Getting back to the gym after time away can be such a challenge—but delicious, protein-packed foods can help make that transition so much easier. If you’re a green smoothie lover like me, I recommend checking out my Green Warrior Protein smoothie. My Protein Power Goddess Bowl, Spiced Red Lentil Tomato and Kale Soup, and Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup are also filled-to-the-brim with high-protein goodness, as are my Super-Power Chia Bread (page 229 of The Oh She Glows Cookbook) and roasted chickpeas (try the ones on page 220 of the cookbook and on the blog here, or Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas on page 221) for “snackier” options. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a sweet snack to grab on the go heading to or from the gym, there’s my Super Seed Chocolate Protein Bites or Quick ‘n Easy No-Bake Protein Bars. (And who doesn’t love a sweet treat after killing a workout?) All the best to you and your family!


Simon November 3, 2016 at 11:59 am

Thanks for the awesome healthy recipes. I love salads. They not only fill you up easily but also help you shed weight.


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