Written by Mahlet Yared
Just One Gursha
Mahlet Yared is a consultant, entrepreneur, and vegan cooking coach originally from the Silicon Valley. Mahlet received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago and Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School. After leaving the corporate legal world, Mahlet founded Just One Gursha with the mission of spreading love through plant-based food and culture. Mahlet is based in Miami, Florida and coaches clients on food mindset, plant-based ingredients, and cooking process, while incorporating practices of joy, gratitude, and cultural appreciation.
For most of my life, I loved food, but it didn’t always love me back. I constantly “managed” a sensitive stomach, which meant keeping Pepto Bismol and Tums in my medicine cabinet and continuing to try foods from around the world, praying they wouldn’t upset my stomach. But in my last year of law school, I was tired of simply “managing” and wanted to thrive. I asked myself when I felt like my body was truly thriving and there was only one answer: Orthodox fasting season.
As a first generation Ethiopian-American, I started to observe the annual Easter fast at the age of 12 and even as I eagerly awaited the holiday to feast on my favorite meat dishes, a part of me always knew I felt better eating vegan. When I realized I had been sabotaging my own stomach all these years, I decided I wanted to feel better all the time and establish healthy habits before the next stage of my life, especially as I was finishing up my last year of law school, preparing to study for the bar exam and become a first-year associate at a law firm.
Veganism transformed and elevated my passion for food.
I unlearned and relearned how to be a better home chef than ever before, while enjoying the same global cuisines I have always loved. While mainstream veganism looks like salads and smoothies, my veganism is spicy, complex, and looks more like misir, aloo gobi, ful medames, tallarines verdes, and tacos de nopales. As I studied for the bar exam and started working at a law firm, I started to find more joy in my culinary creations, sharing them on my Instagram story, and getting messages asking for recipes.
Then i failed the bar exam. twice. two of the best things that ever happened to me.
It allowed me to remember my initial intention when I went to law school: to start a business that helps people. While I was transitioning my career path, I launched Just One Gursha as a place to share delicious, vegan recipes inspired by cultures from around the world. “Gursha” is the Ethiopian practice of hand-feeding a bite of food to a friend, family member or other loved one.
By offering Just One Gursha, I wanted to invite people to try a new plant-based recipe, learn some cultural food history, and create a space for real cultural appreciation of food.
A year later, Just One Gursha has grown into a diverse foodie community and a business where I teach busy, young professionals how to cook easy and delicious plant-based foods. I coach clients on food mindset, ingredients, and process, introducing people to practices of gratitude, food conservation, and spiritual energy in our food.
Food is the essence of how we fuel our best lives and we are all worthy of thriving, not managing or getting by.
When we cook and feed each other with love, there’s nothing we can’t do.
For those hot summer days when you want something sweet, but don’t want to heat up the house with your oven, this simple and indulgent No Bake Vegan Cheesecake is the perfect treat. Cheesecake has origins in ancient Greece and was believed to be a good source of energy for Olympic athletes, so treat yourself to a delicious slice of sweet energy this summer!
No Bake Vegan Cheesecake
2 8-oz. containers of vegan cream cheese (I recommend Miyokos or Kite Hill)1 tbsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/2-2 cups graham cracker crumbs*
1/3 cup vegan butter (melted)
1/4 cup sugar
Optional Strawberry Glaze:
1 lb. frozen strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 lemon (juiced)
*to easily create graham cracker crumbs, I use a rolling pin to crush the crackers while they’re still in their plastic sleeve
- In a large mixing bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, melted vegan butter, and sugar.
- Pat the crumbly mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
- In a high powered blender, blend the cream cheese, vanilla extract, sugar, melted coconut oil, and lemon juice. Blend until you have a thick, creamy consistency.
- Pour the thick mixture onto the chilled graham cracker crust and set in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but ideally overnight.
- Before you serve it, you can make the optional strawberry glaze. In a small pot, ass the strawberries, sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes until a thick glaze starts to develop. Pour over cheesecake and serve or serve cheesecake and glaze individual slices as desired.
- Store this cheesecake in your fridge for up to 5 days (or freeze for up to 6 months) and enjoy with your family and friends!