I love to browse through the local daily newspapers and always flip to the recipe section (if there is one) to see if there’s something tasty to veganize. This past Sunday, hindus all over the world celebrated Diwali or ‘the festival of lights’, thus inspiring an indian dish called Palak Paneer as the featured recipe. I scanned the ingredients, finding a few that were not vegan, but was confident that I could substitute some vegan foods into the mix. No problem! It’s spicy and green, and the softer tofu makes for a wonderful panner substitute and breaks down a bit into the sauce.
A couple of weeks ago, Bridget and I (Sam) were invited for a lovely dinner at Sula: a modern “vegan friendly” Indian restaurant in one of Vancouver’s hippest areas on Commercial Drive. As we sipped on almond milk chai and their signature “Delhi to Dublin” Cocktail, we learned so much about Indian cuisine from part-owner Sharath Vittal. He and Sula’s marketing director Rochelle Lockhart truly wined and dined us like vegan queens. It was fan-frickin-tastic.
Not only did we get to try ALL of their ridiculously tasty vegan dishes from Vegetable Pakoras and Channa Masala to Gobi Aloo and gluten-free Tandoori Roti but they also shared with us the secret recipe for their famous Bhaigan Bharta aka Eggplant Curry! It was so damn good, I was giddy like a school girl, eager to test it out myself and it did not disappoint. It was also incredibly quick and easy to make!
This past Monday I had the good fortune to attend a book signing, wine tasting and canapes at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver, to celebrate Food Network chef Lidia Bastianich‘s new book, Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking. There weren’t too many options for me there food wise, aside from a very interesting Fava Bean and Dried Fig Soup, which I will share soon. As I was flipping through her book I noticed a lot of veg-friendly recipes that could easily be made vegan, including this Stuffed Eggplant Puglia Style. I subbed out cheese for nutritional yeast, used sage instead of mint, and added crumbled sauteed tempeh to make a complete vegan meal, and it was all so delicious!
Apple season is upon us and I can’t deny the many varieties of apples available on the West Coast. They are in season, affordable an fresh from the trees. They are also high in Vitamin C which we all need extra doses of to fight off those coughs and sniffles.
I scoured the web and put together some of my favourites, must-tries and one of my own to highlight the Fall Apple Harvest.
Well it was my dear parents’ 40th wedding anniversary last weekend and we celebrated by throwing them a big-ass BBQ at their house. I made sure to prepare a lot of vegan food to ensure enough food for myself to eat (but more than anything, to show off some of the recipes from our new e-books). It was a huge success and a nice added bonus was that some of the guests contributed some incredible vegan dishes!! This quinoa salad was one of them!
This is the taste of summer! Potatoes on the grill have have such a lovely, smoky flavour. Throw in crunchy celery, grilled summer corn, fresh herbs, and toss with creamy vegan mayo and you have a decadent potato salad that is perfect for summer dinners.
On a recent trip to Whole Foods, I decided to try to a new legume, one I had never purchased before. Behold the mug bean! Tiny little green ovals not unlike a tic-tac. I did some poking around on the web and found out that mung beans were considered healing in some cultures, and very prominent in Indian and Chinese cooking and an extremely nutrient dense legume. I also discovered that a popular way to eat them was in dip form. Below is my take on a mung bean hummus recipe that was super easy to make and very tasty with tortilla chips made from Ezekiel Wraps.
We are gathering our friends for a Canada Day Partio – A party on the patio celebrating all things Canadian!
If you’re looking for a vegan potluck BBQ offering this summer, or even a quick vegan side you can throw together for dinner, look no further than this lovely Rosemary Yam dish with French Green Lentils. Added bonus: It took no longer than ten minutes to prepare!
So, this weekend we collected our first produce box from Organic Acres. We were particularly excited about the local garlic scapes, as we had never (that either of us can recall) eaten them before. We have been told they were similar to asparagus with garlicky tones. What more could you want?
This recipe is a result of growing up with an abundance of fresh vegetables courtesy of my granddad. Watercress, asparagus and jersey royal new potatoes are all in season right now and I’m missing out. Tempting as it is to take a trip back to the UK to get my hands on some homegrown goodness this delicious salad will have to do for now.
Recipe from “Salsa Sam” Shorkey
With the nice summer weather upon us, I would love to be sharing a fresh, new salsa recipe but alas, I am just one month away from competing in my first-ever bodybuilding competition so as you can imagine, my diet SUCKS and even something as healthy as salsa is unfortunately not allowed on this strict, boring diet plan. (more…)
Wanted to try something new and we were craving cauliflower and it led to this. It’s seriously good, we’re already planning when we’re going to make this dish again. Rosemary, juniper, sumac, fennel, garlic…mmm tempted yet? It has three main components, but with a bit of multitasking it shouldn’t take longer then 40 minutes to put together. Give it a good read through and you’ll be set! It’s well worth it.
The secret ingredient in this Ultimate Baked Beans recipe is fermented [aka black] garlic. We’d never used it before. So when in doubt google it, right? We discovered that the black color is created when the sugar and amino acids in garlic are fermented as they create melanoidin.
This vegan sausage recipe is a variation on our holiday themed Cranberry and Fennel Sausage, which originally hails from the Post Punk Kitchen. This version has a very ‘chorizo’ like flavour, with a pop of garlic in every bite! I encourage you to play around with different beans, or lentils and a variety of spices, to keep things interesting.
The other night I had a few people over for some legendary Quinoa Burgers (actually just the patties) and Gluten-Free Baked Onion Rings from Healthiersteps.com. The burgers were, as always, an incredible hit, and the onion rings were also a crowd pleaser.
Nothing says summer like corn-on-the-cob! This Tanzanian recipe is a really unique and delicious version of the classic North American backyard fare, from the One World Vegetarian Cookbook. It’s a definite crowd pleaser and easy to prepare…and we’ve asked this before but…has there ever been something made with coconut that wasn’t delicious?
After coming home from a solid workout last week, I found beets, spinach and avocado were all the veggies that I had available for lunch, so spinach salad it was!
If you don’t already receive the VegNews Magazine emails, I suggest you sign up, because they have source out some of the yummiest recipes around. This Kale Slaw recipe graced my inbox a few days ago, and I just knew it would be perfect for entertaining friends. It was such a crowd pleaser; delicious & flavourful, and gone in mere minutes! I highly recommend this for your next ‘do’, or tonight’s Meatless Monday dinner. A big thanks to VegNews for this one!
I made this for a super fantastic beach day some friends and I had this past Sunday! It was light, refreshing, and held up in the heat. The sweet, soft mango was by far the most popular ingredient, complimenting the crunchy red pepper and cuke. You can hold back on the red pepper flakes, or amp them up, to your liking.
Okay, okay, I know you’re thinking WHAT?! But in all honesty, this was a killer breakfast, very filling and solved one of my biggest dietary dilemmas…I don’t like oatmeal.
I once had a friend tell me that ‘nobody really likes radishes, they just don’t taste good’, and to the that friend I say, try this salad. I agree, radishes can pack a bit of a punch, pungent and bitter at times with an unexpected spice that hits you right in the nasal cavity. For some, what I just described sounds like taste bud hell, for others…bliss.
How often do you eat cabbage? If you’re like me, you know that you’ve enjoyed it in the past, but do not reach for it in the produce section as much as you’d like.
In this new year, I would like to experiment more with ingredients I often pass by in the grocery store. I received the most wonderful culinary tools (including a Le Crueset pot!) for Christmas and would like to put them to good use. I remembered seeing this Celery Root and Fennel Gratin while thumbing through the Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook and connected the dots when I saw a celery root at Whole Foods last night.
I was inspired to make a savoury fall dish using mostly local, organic ingredients, by Jessica’s Halloween 100-Mile Potluck at ethicalDeal.com. This dish doesn’t meet all requirements but it does come pretty close. Most of these ingredients are grown locally, seasonally and organically.
Jessica made something…and it was delicious! Creamy and tangy, with crunchy bits interspersed throughout – everything a potato salad should be.
This meal was soooo good! The corn turned out better than expected (it was my first time doing corn on the bbq), the beans were light and crunchy, and the risotto, well, it was sublime.
Jessica found us this recipe for vegan macaroni salad over the weekend on a website called the autonomie project, inc., a fair trade fashion and footwear company – neat!
I finally got my own barbeque, and I am happier than a pig in sh*t! I purchased the Weber 100 from Home Depot for $149. It was easy to assemble and heats up in mere minutes. Grilling vegetables is such a fabulous way to enjoy the season’s harvests, and I find the simpler, the better when it comes to flavouring or marinades. You don’t want to mask those fresh flavours at their peak.
There’s something so comforting about the combination of noodles and cheese, and many may be ashamed to admit having enjoyed some Hamburger Helper at some point in their lives. Perhaps because it brings back memories of childhood, or a more innocent time when we just ate the yummy things put in front of us without thinking about their composition.
You may not believe it, but it IS possible to make a vegan version of Hamburger Helper, and this one has a Mexican kick. The Pepper Jack Daiya sauce is gooey and good, and the veggies and whole wheat pasta make this version a lot healthier than its nostalgic counterpart. (And yes, we are aware the title sounds funny.)
Grilled vegetables are so delicious and easy to prepare. I like them best tossed with kitchen basics such as olive oil, salt and pepper. I don’t actually own a BBQ, but I did find a neat little disposable hibachi at Wonderbucks for $5 (better deal than on the commercial!). I was skeptical, but the saleswoman assured me with her first hand experience of it and gave me some tips for lighting. The ‘Lil “Tail” Gator‘, worked like a charm! No more annoyingly large barbecues at your next tailgate party.
A couple weeks ago, Whole Foods had a sale on red rice, also know as Bhutanese rice, in the bulk section. Although I didn’t know anything about this grain, I love experimenting with unfamiliar ingredients – you never know what you’ll come up with! After some internet research, I came across this recipe, and with a few modifications, I had a delicious vegan side dish full of iron, B-vitamins, fibre and calcium!
The other night I had a hankering for crab cakes, so I embarked on a quest to create crispy, ocean-flavoured cakes using items I already had. It was a success! A combination of chickpeas, ground almonds and a sheet of nori, among a few other ingredients, combined to make delicious, savoury cakes perfect for entertaining.
Above: Marinated Artichoke Salad
As you already know we LOVE Spanish tapas, especially from our favourite Vancouver Spanish Restaurant La Bodega, which Jessica G recently reviewed here. Well, as I was perusing through Taste Magazine available at your local BC Liquor Store, I came across recipes for Patatas Bravas and Mushrooms with Parsley Sauce, the very items we love at La Bodega! Added a quick marinated artichoke salad to the menu and a crusty loaf of bread and we brought the delicious tastes of Spain right into our home.
Another winning PPK recipe, this awesome animal-free version of the Southern staple accompanies a variety of dishes, and has been repeatedly validated with the ‘is this really vegan?!’ suspicion. It’s a perfect accompaniment to theAromatic Curried-Chili with a peppery glass of red.
Inspired by an informational afternoon with Adam Hart and his Power of Food workshop this past Sunday, I’ve been eager to jazz my recipes with his top two Superfoods. Hemp hearts and quinoa…boy were we happy to hear that he considers these two staples some of the healthiest foods on the planet!
So after teaching a yoga class, and less than two hours before taking one myself, I wanted a quick, energy packed mini-meal that could digest quickly and power my asanas. With my pre-cooked quinoa on hand and an arsenal of key ingredients, I threw together the following dish in less than 3 minutes. Yes, I timed it. I wanted to make sure the clever alliteration of the title was valid, alright?
Ingredients: (for 1)
3/4 cup of cooked quinoa
1 stalk of chopped celery
1 tbsp of organic hemp oil
2 tbsp of hemp seeds
1/4 chopped avocado
1/4 cup of dulse, ground in coffee grinder
cracked salt and pepper
In a bowl, combine all ingredients, pouring oil and squeezing lemon last. Mix thoroughly and top with s&p. Adjust to taste.
The dulse is rich in nutrients, and adds an earthy, salty flavor. The celery gives it some crunch, and the quinoa and hemp hearts are both COMPLETE PROTEINS…So important for all you vegans out there!
Thanks for a great time Adam Hart!
~The Vegan Project
These last few weeks of Winter have me longing for warmth and comfort, and I have found a bit of both with my recent near-obsession with winter squashes. The Vegan Project has posted recipes on the Spaghetti Squash, as well as Butternut Squash, and now we’d like to bring attention to their less popular cousin, the Acorn Squash. Abundant in the Winter, this dark green squash is smaller, more dense, and packed with nutrients.
Squash is also one of the simplest snacks to prepare. All you have to do is cut it in half, give it a good rub of olive oil, a sprinkling of sea salt, and whatever else you have kickin’ around. (The little baby you see above also has some dried ground garlic and a sprinkle of cracked pepper.) Then, turn the two halves upside down in a pan and cook 35-45 minutes. I baked mine in my little toaster oven at 425 degrees, and it turned out soft, hearty and simply perfect. You can top it with sauce or seasoning if you like, or simply enjoy on its own.
It takes less than 5 minutes to prep, then you can go about your business for a half hour or so and next thing you know…a warm snack is ready for you! You can also use this, or any squash as a lovely side dish. And feel free to experiment…using coconut oil and maple syrup with a sprinkle of cinnamon is also super yummy and satisfying.
~The Vegan Project
To help you stay on track and interested with your healthy/yummy veganism, keep lots of tasty options pre-made in your refrigerator. I try to keep cooked quinoa and brown rice on hand, as well as a homemade salad dressing and a couple sauces and dips.
The Vegan Project has finally surged into the future with all of us getting that magical little hand device, the iphone 4. And with it comes literally thousands of applications, some are time wasters, some are really useful, and some are vegan! One of our favourite finds in the app world has been the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart, which is free, and outlines seven days of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks complete with recipes, and even incorporating leftovers. For those without an iphone, you can view the entire meal plan here. Below is a recipe for Couscous Confetti Salad that is super flavourful while being super healthy-bonus!
Christmas in Winnipeg has never been more vegan. This year at family dinner there was literally a vegan section on the table! And my meat obsessed Philipino in-laws seem to be embracing the whole concept, because everyone was digging in.
I’ve been roasting a lot of veggies lately, mostly just to fill my house with warm, comforting aromas. Here are a few really easy ways to roast two of my favourite vegetables: Brussel sprouts and baby beets. I’ve also been playing around a lot with some artisan salts I recently picked up at Make It! Craft Fair from Sea to Sky Seasonings. If you don’t have any flavoured salts, experiment by mixing course sea salt with fresh lemon zest or orange peel for a quick and easy citrus salt or try mixing your sea salt with dried herbs or powders in the blender. Who knows what you may come up with?!
A favourite product of ours has finally hit Vancouver shelves everyone-Daiya Vegan Cheese! Hailing from North Vancouver and a cult favourite among vegans worldwide, it will delightfully substitute dairy cheese in any dish and can now be found at Choices, Capers, Whole Foods and The Drive Organics. Yippee! This recipe for steamed veggies smothered in cheesy sauce is the first in what will be a vegan cheese binge over the next little while until the excitement wears off.
A perfect side for any holiday meal…
Feeling a bit weak or low on energy? After eating this yummy salad, you can practically feel the nutrients feeding your muscles…
This recipe came about because I was had a huge craving for some ‘creamy’ risotto but was lacking stock or non dairy milk, not even a bouillon cube was to be found. I did however have shiro miso paste. I love when one discovers a new recipe based on necessity. Plato was right, it really is the mother of invention. And thankfully, unlike some of my other failed experiments, this one turned out beautifully.
This vegan greek salad takes a little bit of planning but is so worth it! Marinate the tofu the night before and it will be ready for lunch the next day. It is surprisingly similar to feta cheese. Even our non-vegan friends marvelled at the resemblance! This is a very loose recipe and can easily be tailored to your own preferences.
1 block of firm pressed tofu (the brand i used had two blocks in one package-i only used one)
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups cherry tomatoes (or chopped big tomatoes…i used cherry because they were fresh from my garden!)
1 field cucumber, chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped
1/2 cup of mixed olives
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon each of fresh oregano, basil and parsley or whatever other herbs you love
Pinch of chili flakes
Pinch of sea salt
Cut the tofu into little cubes and marinate in the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Make sure to toss it around really well and then cover and let it sit in fridge for 8-10 hours. The oil will solidify. No worries though. Bring it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you’re ready to use it to bring it to room temperature. Mix all the veggies together in a large bowl. Drain the tofu and add it and the seasonings, stir it up and enjoy! I found I didn’t need to add any more oil, but of course add a splash if you like. This makes enough for two meal size servings or 3-4 as a side.
~The Vegan Project
Quinoa was considered the ‘mother of all grains’ by the Incas. I might have to agree. It is extremely high in protein, and a complete one at that, and an excellent source of dietary fibre. It cooks with the same ratio as rice, though way easier in my opinion, and shares its ability to be combined with almost anything, sweet or savoury. Cauliflower, mushrooms and thyme cooked to a golden brown coat the quinoa seeds in an abundance of earthy flavours.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups cold water
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 mushrooms, diced
1 cup cauliflower, diced
4 sprigs of thyme, whole
1 lemon. juice and zest
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Combine water, quinoa and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a low simmer for 10-15 minutes. Take off heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Saute the diced onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-low heat in a large frying pan. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms. After 5 more minutes, add the garlic. Add the whole thyme sprigs and cauliflower, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat till everything is golden. Towards the end squeeze the lemon juice into the pan and scrape up all the bits off the bottom. Now add the lemon zest, parsley and cooked quinoa and toss around in the pan. Drizzle with some olive oil if needed and serve.
~The Vegan Project
Picked up some BEAUTIFUL rainbow chard from SOLEfood at the Vancouver Farmer’s Market the other day (among other tasty delights) along with some garlic scapes from another vendor and this is what I did with them…
1 Bunch Rainbow Chard (or kale, spinach, collard greens)
1 Bunch Garlic Scapes (I cut off the buds at the end)
Salt and Pepper
Throw the scapes in first, then the chopped chard, season and voila!
Don’t miss out on summer greens!
Tonight’s dinner was inspired by a dear friend Steve’s Cucumber & Fennel Salad combined with a Shepherd’s Pie recipe found here (i’ve renamed it ‘gardener’s pie’): http://www.ivu.org/recipes/main/lentil-shepherds.html (I definitely added mushrooms-about 2 cups chopped portobellos, mixed frozen veggies and lots of fresh thyme. Also added Tofutti cream cheese to make the potatoes extra creamy, and a few dashes of hot sauce in the lentil mixture)
I decided to pair this comforting dish with something light and fresh. I was reminded of my friend Steve’s Cucumber & Fennel salad and knew it would be perfect! It’s simple and flexible:
1 Fennel bulb w/ tops thinly sliced and about 1 cup of the tops chopped
1 long english cucumber thinly sliced on diagonal
2 lemons juiced and zested
about 1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Now just layer….cucumber, fennel, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/2 of the olive oil, some fennel tops and salt and pepper.
Repeat and then let it sit for a bit and enjoy!
The zest really makes this dish-don’t skip!
Love The Vegan Project xo