A saucy vegan blog to help inspire you to stop taking sh*t and stop eating it too



Avocado Garlic Pasta

Skip the grocery store and nurse your hangover with this easy, delicious recipe! Avocados and garlic are two of my favorite things and they smartly come together in this rich, creamy pasta that is so good it will have you walking out the door whistlin’ di …

Jerked Black-Eyed Peas and Greens

The Caribbean meets the South in this spicy, filling dish. Bursting with flavors of Jamaican jerk sauce, the silky black eyed peas and collards join forces to bring you good health and a sweating brow.

Portobello Saltado with Baked French Fries

A vegan version of the Peruvian dish, Lomo Saltado. Here, meaty portobello mushrooms replace steak in this fusion of Latin and Asian flavors. Enjoy not one, but two bonuses! 1. It’s sooooo easy to make. 2. It involves eating french fries (slam dunk!).

Patsy’s Famous Jambalaya

My mother was famous in the neighborhood for her Jambalaya Parties. The original recipe contained shrimp and turkey sausage, but as both my mother and I have adopted vegan diets we have adapted the recipe into a delicious, zippy (I think improved) version …

Quinoa Pinto Spicy Taco Filling

A versatile, high-protein filling for tacos, burritos, bowls, or even a dunk for tortilla chips!



Ellen Vaagen founded Vaagen’s Vegan Sauce in 2016 to share her tasty, and often spicy, recipes with the world.  She likes cats, eating, and eating and eating.


Welcome to Vaagen’s Vegan Sauce!  A website devoted to the in-your-face sauciness that is the best part about a healthy vegan lifestyle.  Vaagen’s Vegan Sauce blog began as a pipe dream for me amidst a sea of confusion about what to do with my life and how to share my love of vegan cooking with the world.

After experimenting with vegetarianism as a child, I stopped eating meat altogether at age 17 because I was “sensitive” to the torture and slaughter inherent in flesh consumption.  At age 19, after watching the documentary “Earthlings” for extra credit in a college sociology course “Animals and Society,” I, feeling both buoyed and overwhelmed by my newfound knowledge, decided to transition to a vegan lifestyle.  It was a difficult change because, as you may know, cheese seems to be the main ingredient in most “vegetarian” dishes and eggs and dairy are abound in most baked goods.  And back in 2008, vegan options at Midwestern restaurants were basically non-existent.
Wary as she was, my sweet mother, Patsy, intervened and insisted I must learn how to cook for myself if I was going to eat a plant-based diet and she started buying me cookbooks.  I, who had never cooked much before and had the palate of an 8th grade Scandinavian french-fries ONLY eater, had to learn the magic ways of vegan cooking via trial and error.  Early inspiration came from geniuses Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero in their book Veganomicon, Donna Klein’s cookbooks, Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook by Carole Raymond, and many more to follow.  After slogging through recipe after recipe and learning from my mistakes, I finally developed my saucy skills.

Firmly vested in my lifestyle choice, I hit the road to investigate plant-based diets around the world.  I was lucky enough to study abroad in India which, for religious reasons, is predominantly vegetarian. I took cooking classes from a sassy woman named Dolly who taught me the basics of Indian cuisine and helped me learn to make vegan substitutions for dairy in classic dishes.  During this time I was residing with a host family with two daughters, Nidhi and Puja, who were happy to have me help them prepare dinner every night.  It was at this time I learned about the virtues of the pressure cooker and how to make roti from scratch and sabzi (vegetable curry) out of pretty much anything.  Read more about my experience in India here: http://ellen-visionsofindia.blogspot.com/

My next culinary adventure took me south of the border to our lovely neighbor country Mexico!  After struggling through year after year of seemingly endless winters in Duluth, MN, I decided to skip a winter.  I wound up in the small, colonial city of San Cristobal de las Casas nestled in the Central Highlands of Chiapas. While there I volunteered as a vegan chef in a vegetarian restaurant La Casa del Pan (The House of Bread).  The owner of La Casa del Pan wanted to veganize their menu and I quickly acquired the duty of making the vegan main entree for the daily lunch buffet.  It was a sweet gig as I was able to be as creative as I wanted with an abundance of vegetables from a never ending growing season. It was a challenge, however, to learn the ropes in the kitchen with a palpable language barrier.  Armed with personalized Spanish lessons and a strong desire to communicate, I wound up making great food, great friends, and learning some real life lessons. My travel bug is alive and well and I’d like to extend my list of culinary travel destinations to Thailand, China, Japan, London, Indonesia, etc.

I hope to use Vaagen’s Vegan Sauce as a platform to share my passion for spicy, sassy vegan food with the world.  I will be posting about my culinary experiments, successes, failures, and inspirations.  I also plan to do some vegan product and restaurant reviews on “The Dish” alongside my social commentary and journalistic inquiries.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, desires to attend a class, host a private dinner party, or to make me your personal vegan chef (wink wink).  Vaagen’s Vegan Sauce also hopes to move toward catering your special events, and maybe even creating a Vending Van.

Thank you for joining us in the plant-based revolution!  The planet and your body will start thanking your right away!


Ellen Vaagen

Founder, Sauce Boss, and Creative Force behind Vaagen’s Vegan Sauce



Please Welcome: The Dish

Welcome to my first entry in the lifestyle section of Vaagen’s Vegan Sauce: “The Dish.” In this episode we are exploring the trials and tribulations of measurement, my gratitude for my dentist, and my absolute dependence on my artistic and technological team. Enjoy!

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You know the old saying “If you teach a man to fish…” that is the goal with my “Vegan by Vaagen” instructional E-Book.  In “Vegan by Vaagen” you will find simple and straightforward tips on vegan nutrition, grocery shopping, and recipes to get you started.  After reading this you will be fully prepared to start enjoying the delicious benefits that accompany a plant-based diet.

“Vegan by Vaagen” will teach you about:

  • Vegan Nutrition
  • How to Stock a Vegan Pantry
  • Demystifying Spices
  • Simple and flavorful recipes to get you started

Changing your diet and lifestyle has never been easier.  Armed with this tidy arsenal of information you will learn how to make better choices and begin your journey to eating well and feeling great.


Stay tuned for future E-Books by Crafty Ellen


I would love to hear from you!  Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments. Here are some reasons you might want to contact me:


  • Questions/Comments
  • Book a Private Vegan Cooking Class for you and your friends to start learning how to cook delicious vegan food.
  • Collaboration – Let’s get together ya ya yaaa
  • Event Catering – Let Vaagen’s Vegan Sauce help you entertain with small event catering.

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