Vegan Cooking 101: Improv

Vegan Cooking 101: Improv
Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.

Vegan Cooking 101: Part 3

Improv cooking, with a granola bar recipe

Step 3 of pro-style vegan cooking: make something without using a recipe.

Once you know the rules, you can start improvising off standard recipes.

It’s not necessary to improvise in cooking, because following recipes is still a great way to cook.

But being able to improvise means that you can get more creative with what you have in your kitchen, rather than always needing the exact ingredients as listed.

In my online cooking classes, I give the information about the recipe but also the broader scope of the thought process behind the recipe – so that you can learn how to improvise and create your own dishes.

You save time, because you don’t have to find and then refer to a recipe.

You can recover from potential kitchen failures, simply by adjusting the recipe as you go.

(Remember: since you’re a subscriber you can get my online cooking classes for more than 30% off – your exclusive coupon code is in your email. CLICK HERE to check out the classes!)

Fruity no-bake granola bars, improv style

You can download a PDF of the recipe, and watch a video tutorial of how they came together, improv-style.


  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup ground sesame seeds
  • 1 cup toasted coconut flakes (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup Brazil nuts, chopped
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried papaya, chopped
  • 1/2 cup banana chips, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 cup cashew or almond or peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 Tbsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cloves


  1. Combine all nuts, seeds and dried fruits in a large bowl.
  2. Pour the boiling water over the oats in a small bowl and stir to combine. Let this sit for a few minutes, then stir in the molasses and nut butter.
  3. Stir/press the oat mixture into the nuts and dried fruit until it’s all combined. If you need to, you could add a bit more moisture but try not to otherwise the bars will be too moist.
  4. Line a baking dish with parchment or waxed paper, press the mixture into the pan, and put in the fridge to set for about half an hour. Then cut it into squares and enjoy! You could also make it into little balls if you want to make them bite-sized.

When you get to the point that you can create dishes improv style, you know you’ve mastered the essentials of cooking.

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Coming up next: Sample class with techniques for raw vegetables + salad dressing recipe

I love raw vegetables. But I get to a certain point where I just can’t handle plain raw veggies…

So we’ll look at a bunch of tricks for making raw veggies tasty, using different methods for 3 different vegetables going into a salad. We’re also going to make a dressing recipe to put this all together into a delicious salad.

This was filmed as a live q&a with cooking class members, so there’s a bit of question time at the end of the demonstration, about what kind of kale is best for salads and more.

Reminder: This series is all about learning how to cook, so I’m offering my online cooking classes for more than 30% off – just for subscribers of this series! Check your email for your exclusive coupon code.

Not signed up for this series? Get in on it, over on the left.

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