Cooking Edible Flowers with The Inclusive Vegan
Amanda Goodman puts veganism in full bloom with her tips and recipes for edible flowers.
By Sarah Emily Gilbert
What’s lovelier than a flower? How about a cheesecake covered in edible flowers? Such a wonderful treat exists thanks to Amanda Goodman, better known as “The Inclusive Vegan.” As an ethical vegan and advocate for mixed dietary households, Goodman has dedicated her life to sharing plant-based recipes that everyone can enjoy, whether or not they’re vegan. Living with her partner, Eric, who once followed the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), Goodman understands the plight of those with dietary restrictions having to cook for others with dietary restrictions. That’s why her blog, The Inclusive Vegan and her e-book, The Inclusive Table, seek to connect people through food despite their dietary differences. True to its name, Goodman’s blog accommodates those who are gluten, soy, corn, or nut-free, or follow the SCD, Paleo, Whole-Food, or Raw Diet. Even with all these dietary specifications, Goodman’s e-book has 90 recipes including delights like truffle brownies and salted caramel doughnuts. Veganism never sounded so delicious. Lucky for us, now through early July, Goodman will be releasing weekly recipes from The Inclusive Table as easy to download PDFs. By subscribing to her blog, members of the Inclusive Vegan community will receive these recipes in their inbox every Sunday morning along with tips and tricks for every diet.
Among all her inventive recipes, there was one that stood out to Urban Agenda: Cardamom and Rose Petal Cheesecake. We knew that rose petals were beautiful, but edible too? Goodman ensures us that certain types of flowers are indeed as tasty as they are lovely, and they are a welcomed addition to some of her plant-based recipes. We decided to ask the Inclusive Vegan to give us some tips on how to incorporate these unforgettable edibles into our at-home recipes. Here, Goodman shares the best flowers to turn your next meal into a full sensory experience – and don’t worry, that incredible cheesecake recipe is here too!
Taste: “Clean, minty, and reminds people of soap”
Found at local shops or online at Mountain Rose Herbs
Admittedly, something that reminds people of soap doesn’t always sound like the best ingredient, but Goodman promises, “a small pinch of lavender adds elegance and complexity” to a recipe. Commonly found in Herbes de Provence, a mixture of dried herbs typical of the Provence region of France, lavender can be used in the same way as a spice. While Goodman explains that it can go on foods ranging from mushrooms to asparagus, she enjoys a dash of it in her quick blueberry lemon jam that uses chia seeds as a thickener.
Taste: “Soft and sweet”
Found at local tea shops or natural food marts
“Everyone thinks of chamomile as a soothing warm bedtime tea, but you can brew a strong batch of chamomile tea for lovely and refreshing chamomile lemonade,” explains Goodman. Using the tea as the water base, she suggests adding sugar, simple syrup, and lemon juice together to make a refreshing summer drink.
Taste: “Fresh and grassy”
Found in an outdoor area that is free of pesticides
Deep-fried flowers? Why not? “Cut off the yellow part of a dandelion weed and toss it in a batter with flour, water, and spices,” suggests Goodman. One of her favorite things to make when she was little, fried dandelions can be dipped in a simple mixture of ketchup and hot sauce for a novel, healthy snack.
Taste: “Quite plain and slightly bitter, the way lettuce is slightly bitter. Their true appeal is visual”
Found at grocery stores, farmer’s markets, or gardening supplies stores
Goodman suggests handling pansies like you would lettuce. A delicate flower, they should be gently rinsed before being tossed into a salad. Pansies aren’t necessarily the tastiest, but their beauty makes them a perfect garnish on a variety of foods, especially a fresh mescaline mix.
Taste: “Sweet, romantic, and musky”
Found at local shops or online at Mountain Rose Herbs
“Fresh rose petals are beautiful to add as garnish to a plate, but they are potent and easy to consume when dried,” explains Goodman. Dried roses are a key ingredient in what she deems her “impossibly delicious” Cardamom and Rose Petal Cheesecake. Below, she shares her recipe for this flower-powered dessert.”
Cardamom and Rose Petal Cheesecake
(featured in my eBook The Inclusive Table: Plant Based Recipes for Every Diet)
Yields: 1 cheesecake
2 cups dates, pitted
1 cup pistachios, shelled
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
1/3 cup refined coconut oil
1/3 cup agave nectar, simple syrup, or coconut nectar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons rosewater
juice of 2 lemons
pinch of sea salt
dried rose petals, to garnish
For the crust: In a food processor pulse the dates, pistachios and salt until a sticky dough forms. Press the dough into the bottom of a springform pan. Set aside.
For the base: Drain and rinse the cashews and blend with coconut oil, simple syrup, cardamom, and salt until totally smooth. This works best in a high speed blender, but similar results can be achieved with a standard blender.
To assemble: Pour the base on top of the crust. Sprinkle with dried rosepetals. Chill in the freezer for at least 1 hour, or until firm to the touch.
Store the pie in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to slice serve.
For a Raw Food diet, use raw agave nectar.