Vegan Dog Kibble

For 2012 Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) I planned to blog about transitioning Bonnie to a vegan diet, but The 508 happened and Vegan MoFo sign-up came and went. I missed deadline. Not that I had much time for blogging this month anyway.

For now, in honor of the last day of Vegan MoFo 2012, I’m sharing our (so far) best recipe for vegan kibble. It’s based on the “No Soy Kibble” from the VegeDog recipe sheet, with inspiration from “Mini Seitan Bites” in 500 Vegan Recipes. Bonnie loves those! It has quite a lot more fat than the VegeDog recipes. I’ve always given my dogs higher fat foods, and added vegetable oil to that, because their skin and fur seems healthier, especially in this dry climate.

If you’d asked me a few months ago when I started switching Bonnie to vegan food, I would have sworn that, while I wouldn’t mind cooking up lentils and rice for her, I would NEVER bake vegan kibble!! Ah well. For several reasons, that went out the window pretty quickly:

  1. Bonnie is a VERY picky eater. She won’t eat the same thing more than a few times in a row. This has always been true. No matter the food. Although it’s contrary to standard American dog feeding advice, the more variety the better for Bonnie.
  2. You can’t really leave your dog for a week with a dog sitter and ask her to cook 2 meals a day for your dog … unless you have a much bigger dog sitting budget than I do.
  3. The pre-made kibble Bonnie likes (Evolution Diet, both flavors) is expensive! (Also see point #1.) (Note: She also likes Evolution canned food. Also expensive! It’s a stretch to say she likes it, but if she’s hungry and hasn’t had it recently, she’ll eat Natural Balance Vegan, which is available at PetCo.)
4 days food for Bonnie.
1/2 the batch. This is about 8 meals (4 days food) for Bonnie.

Given, that I rotate different foods, and Bonnie weighs less than 30 pounds so she doesn’t eat a lot, I make about one batch of homemade kibble a month. Altogether it takes about an hour. I figure saving several chickens from battery cages, and giving my dog food she likes is worth 1 hour per month. I’ve tried making bigger batches, but it doesn’t really save much time. I can’t fit more than this on my two pizza stones without making the kibble thicker. Thicker turns out chewier. Bonnie likes that ok, but seems to like the small, crispy kibble the best. And it seems to keep a little better. I usually store a few meals in the fridge and the remainder in the freezer, just to make sure it stays as fresh as possible.

Oat-Tahini-Herb Kibble
Makes about 12 cups

Preheat oven to 325°F

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 c quick oats soaked in
  • 4 c water
  • 2 T Soy Sauce

Dry Ingredients (mix together the following)

  • 3 c vital wheat gluten
  • 4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 c VegeYeast
  • 2 T VegeDog
  • 3/4 t soy lecithin (optional)
  • 2 t dry basil
  • 2 t dry oregano
  • 2 t dry thyme

Blend dry ingredients with:

  • 3/4 c tahini (or peanut butter)
  • 1/4 c olive oil

Add wet ingredients and knead about 4 minutes. I use a stand mixer with dough hook for mixing, blending and kneading steps.

Line pizza stone with parchment paper (unless you have an hour to chip kibble off your pizza stone after baking!) Roll dough out on parchment paper to a thickness of 1/4″-3/8″. No thicker than 1/2″. Score with pizza cutter or knife. I try for about 1/4″x1/4″ squares. Sometimes, for a change, I make bigger squares 3/4″-1″. That size is also good for peanut butter “sandwiches”.

Dough rolled and scored
Dough rolled out and scored with pizza cutter. It’s dog food. It doesn’t need to be perfect!

Bake 45 min to 1 hour and 20 min. I’ve always baked at least 1h 20m, but nearly always have to double baking times in recipes so I’m guessing most people will be closer to 45 min. (Yes, I have an oven thermometer. Altitude?)

I usually remove the edge pieces when they start to brown. Then return the stone and middle pieces back to the oven.

You can try different dog-safe herbs and spices. Tahini seems to be more flavorful than peanut butter.

Try not to eat it all yourself. It’s for your pup!

Kibble after baking
Fresh out of the oven!


Vegan Month of Food Logo

For the last day of Vegan Month of Food: Pizza! Pizza is one of my favorite foods. Probably because when I was a kid, my family nearly always celebrated with pizza. In spite of my love of bread, I like thin crust pizza best. This recipe will make a crust as thin as you can roll it. The problem is getting it to stay rolled out. I usually roll it on parchment paper, which the dough sticks to a bit. Then move the parchment paper with pizza atop directly to the pizza stone.

Pizza with pesto and tofu
Pesto and tofu pizza

I use a crust recipe similar to these two from Pizza Inn Style “Original Thin” and Thin Cracker-Crust. Those pizza makers are much more exacting than I, so you may want to refer to their instructions. I’m just happy to have a crispy, non-sagging, thin crust.

Yield: 8-9 servings

  • 1-1/2 tsp. yeast
  • 3/4 c. + 1 tbsp. warm water
  • 1-2 tsp. sugar
  • 3-1/2 c. high gluten flour
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt

First put the yeast, warm water and sugar into the mixer. Stir briefly. Then let it sit for a 5 minutes to proof your yeast. As soon as you start to see tiny bubbles, or foam, you’ll know the yeast is good. I am often tempted to skip this step, and I was glad I didn’t this time because the first yeast I tried was dead.

Add olive oil and mix. Then add flour and knead with mixer for 10 minutes or so. You might have to knead longer if you’re doing it by hand. Last add the salt and knead for another minute or two to get it mixed well. Transfer dough to a covered container. Let rise on the counter 1-4 hours. Then move to the refrigerator overnight. I’ve kept it in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours before using.

When you’re ready to make pizza, place pizza stone on a middle shelf in your oven and preheat to 425°F. Place a piece parchment paper on the counter. Pinch off dough the size of a small fist for each serving. (Note: 3-4 small fists worth is probably max for most pizza stones.) Form a ball with the dough and place in the middle of the parchment paper. Unless, you’re an expert pizza dough thrower, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. I try to get it 1/8″ (3mm) or less. Add toppings. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

If I’m not planning to eat pizza again within a day or two, I separate the extra dough into serving size balls and freeze. Take as many as you need out of the freezer the day before you need them, and let them thaw in the refrigerator.

Homemade energy bars

Vegan Month of Food Logo

I’ve experimented with several different kinds of homemade energy bar recipes, but these are the only ones worthy of offering to others. They’re basically a mix of cereal/fruit/nut stuck together with nut butter and rice syrup. I started with this recipe from The Vegan Delicious blog. You might be able to skip the baking step, but it helps the bars hold together.

  • 1/2 c. almond butter
  • 1/2 c. rice syrup
  • 1/2 c. Perky’s Nutty Flax Cereal
  • 1/2 c. puffed millet
  • 1/3 c. toasted pecans
  • 1/3 c. dried blueberries
  • 1/4 c. dried cherries
  • 1/3 c. raisins
  • 1/3 c. chopped dates
  • 1/3 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×13 or 8×8 baking pan with coconut oil. Pan size doesn’t really matter. You’ll have thicker bars with a smaller pan. Mix almond butter and rice syrup. Add cereal and coat well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Use a metal spatula to press mixture into pan. Bake for 5-10 min. Remove from oven and use spatula to further compress bars. Press the mixture into the pan well. Otherwise you’ll have crumbles instead of bars. Allow to cool and cut.

Homemade Energy Bar