By Yonni Wattenmaker

Many of you know me as Executive Director of Breast Cancer Alliance. Years before I arrived in Greenwich, I began a different journey. After unexpectedly finding myself in the throes of adhering to a strict vegan diet due to health issues, I turned that challenge into a purpose, launching The Trendy Vegan (now Yon Appetit) blog and coaching program. Adhering to a vegan diet was exceedingly more challenging then. Menus were not progressive, nor were supermarket shelves. I commuted hours for work, hated packing lunch, and loved meeting friends for dinner, so I had to embrace this and make meals enjoyable again.

I love cooking. I have a million cookbooks that I rarely open and binge the Food Network and Master Class in my downtime. During the pandemic, working from home (always being home!) allowed me the opportunity to cook more creatively and continue coaching others as well.

Cooking is the one thing I do not plan. I never go to the market with a list, but take inspiration from the aisles of local markets and from seasonal produce. I also enjoy adapting chef’s recipes to make them healthier or vegan friendly. Here is a winter favorite along with my signature cocktail.

Butternut Squash Soup:
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup oat milk
1 TBSP Miyoko’s vegan butter
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ginger

If you have an Instant Pot, place all ingredients into the pot and manually set the pressure for 8 minutes. If you have a stock pot, do the same, puree it with an immersion blender or use a regular blender once the squash is very tender. Whisk in 1 TBSP vegan butter and 2 generous pinches of salt and serve.

The Tipsy Vegan:
1 oz. tequila 
Juice from ½ lime
½ TBSP pineapple juice
Splash of club soda


This was named by a bartender at the W Hotel in Seattle back in January 2011. He loved the ingredients and said it needed a name! Just shake, pour over ice and enjoy! If you like it spicy, eliminate the pineapple juice and drop in a couple of slices of jalapeño.

Follow Yonni at Yon Appetit on Facebook ( or on Instagram (@trendyvegandishes) where you can also DM her for coaching and advice.