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Vegan Blueberry SconesVegan No-Meat-Ball SandwichGrilled Tempeh in a Spicy Vegan Manchurian SauceVegan Tofu Sliders with Tangy Purple ColeslawMake this Rich Focaccia with Vegan Parmesan and Olive OilBaked Tofu and Veggies in a Balsamic MarinadeVegan Lima Bean Lentil Soup Satisfies for HoursFour Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Truffles

Tag: healthy

Tasty Vegan Grilled Salad with Tofu and Portobellos

A decent vegan grilled salad has been on my to-do list for a while now. I need a substantial amount of protein to help get me through the afternoon without hunger pangs. Tofu to the rescue there. Grilled portobello mushrooms always remind me of beef, so the flavour is rich to me even if the ingredient itself isn't. Rich is always good in a salad. A simple lemon vinaigrette adds the required tang. But suprisingly enough, the star of the show turned out to be the pumpkin seeds. The contrasting crunch really ties everything together and makes it feel like a meal. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: tofu, salad, portobello, mushroom, healthy

Vegan Lima Bean Lentil Soup Satisfies for Hours

It's generally fair to say that most vegans use the plant-based palette available to them to keep their nutrient levels appropriately topped up. But it's also fair to say that it's pretty easy to fall into a menu rut, sticking with the standard tried-and-true recipes week after week, just because life is hectic and being vegan demands a great deal of time in the kitchen as it is. The risk that the dietary rut represents, besides boredom, is that over time we will unknowingly become deficient in important nutrients. I'm an engineer by training, and I have no right to offer advice about nutrition. But I do like visiting the websites of people who are qualified to comment on vegan nutrition and seeing if their advice can help me choose better varieties of plant-based foods to keep my menu interesting and nutritious. This soup recipe came out of one such visit. More

Filed under: Recipes > Soups

Tags: soup, healthy, lentil, lima_bean, spinach, tomato

Making Panini for Vegans

I never thought I'd live to see the day that Toronto's sandwich shops acknowledge that vegans exist, let alone offer them a choice of delicious, fresh sandwich ingredients. The protein options are still somewhat limited, but it's possible to put together a perfectly delicious lunch using the ingredients behind many big counters, especially downtown. On one recent visit, I even saw grilled tofu as an option. I opted for hummus and mushroom instead, but it's great to see them making an effort. This is my attempt to replicate the experience at home. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: sandwich, healthy, hummus, portobello, mushroom, avocado

Making Better Hummus at Home

So, I guess the first question to deal with is why. Why make your own hummus at home when there are so many options at the grocery store that just require the effort of opening a lid? Two reasons mainly: cost and freshness. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: hummus, chickpea, healthy, tahini

Szechuan Eggplant from Scratch (No Sauce from a Jar)

Like I've said before, one of the perks of living in a big city like Toronto is the exposure to all different kinds of food. If it wasn't for Asian food in particular, I would have left this city a long time ago. I've been in love with szechuan eggplant since the first time I had it at a restaurant. I'm not going to lie, this is a spicy one, and it's not going to be everybody's cup of tea. But the aromas and flavours of the szechuan spices go much deeper than just "hot". Of course I've tried to duplicate it at home using szechuan sauce from a jar, but of course it never even came close. For this recipe, I decided to try to use the internet to unlock the secret and make a passable szechuan eggplant from scratch. More

Filed under: Recipes > Side Dishes

Tags: szechuan, Chinese, healthy, spicy

Big Colourful Salad with Grilled Sweet Potato and Asian Dressing

Salad and a protein smoothie for lunch? You bet, especially if the flavours complement eachother. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: salad, sweet_potato, healthy, cabbage, peppers

Vegan Blueberry Protein Smoothie

I have a recurring need for a protein smoothie that I can combine with a big plate of salad to make a complete lunch. To make the smoothie vegan, the choices are basically rice or soy. I decided to give rice protein a try. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: blueberry, smoothie, healthy

Curl Up with a Vegan Quinoa Bowl Topped with Rich Tahini Sauce

The meal-in-a-bowl has become a mainstay of vegan restaurants. A successful bowl achieves a harmonious balance between a grain, a protein, vegetables and a flavourful sauce. Last week's tahini sauce adventure left me with a fierce desire to mingle all that lemon-sesame goodness with quinoa and cubes of firm tofu. So that's what I did this week. I added roasted broccoli for colour and almond slivers for some extra crunch. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: healthy, tofu, quinoa, tahini, broccoli

Really Simple Vegan Black Bean Chili from Scratch

Although comfort food takes many forms, safe to say that most comfort food is not the kind of thing you'd want to put in your body on a daily basis. Even vegan comfort food has its bad actors. Happy to say that this vegan black bean chili gives me all the "mmmm" with none of the guilt. More

Filed under: Recipes > Soups

Tags: healthy, bean, slowcooker, chili

Vegan Mushroom Pate with Lentils and Cashews

I have to admit that when I started working on this recipe, I wasn't expecting much. Vegan alternatives to traditional meat dishes don't usually get me excited. Happy to say that I was wrong, and this mushroom-lentil spread is really tasty. It makes a good party food on water crackers and it goes really nicely with slices of raw sweet pepper. The key to the pate's flavour is the way the mushrooms interact with the thyme. The key to its texture is a good food processor. You want the lentil-cashew mixture that forms the base to be completely smooth. That way, the little mushroom pieces distributed throughout provide little flavour bombs and a nicely contrasting texture. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: mushroom, lentil, cashew, healthy

Chana Masala is About the Most Fun You Can Have with Chickpeas

Like many Toronto people, my introduction to chana masala came from one of the many outstanding Indian buffet restaurants that I was addicted to in my 20s. When you think about it, these restaurants are unique in big cities for the proportion of their menus that are devoted to vegetarian offerings, and their dedication to spiciness, two very important qualities when looking for a place to eat out, IMHO. Chana masala was always a big part of the magnetic pull toward these restaurants, a pull that I found pretty much impossible to resist. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: healthy, Indian, chickpea, curry, spicy

Grilled Tofu in Garlic Lemon Sauce

Tofu is an acquired taste for sure, and it's a rare person who is a fan on first tasting. Common complaints include blandness and a gelatinous texture. I felt the same way at first, but I'm glad I stuck with tofu past these early impressions. (Who really liked beer the first time they tasted it?) Over time I developed a taste for tofu. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: tofu, garlic, lemon, healthy, grill, sauce

Hummus Wrap with Homemade Pita Bread

I work in a hospital during the week and I (very) occasionally have to avail myself of the trucked-in meals. The one thing in this factory-supplied, mini-cafe nightmare that I can count on for flavour, freshness and even nutrition is a pita wrap with hummus, romaine lettuce and shredded carrot. Inexplicably, the pita is always soft and fresh, the hummus tastes homemade and the raw veggies are crisp and abundant. Rather than tempt fate by becoming dependent on this pita-wrapped oasis in the desert of institutionally outsourced "food," I decided to try to duplicate it at home. Last week, I bought one and took it apart to reverse engineer it. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: healthy, hummus, pita, wrap, carrot, chickpea

Big Soft Pitas for Wraps

I have a recurring need for big, soft pita bread that I can use for wraps. We're talking twelve inches in diameter, thin enough to wrap around the wrap's goodies, and strong enough to do so without falling apart. As usual, I turned to the internet for inspiration and then started experimenting. More

Filed under: Recipes > Bread

Tags: pita, bread, healthy

Chipotle Refried Black Beans from Scratch

Let's be honest, we're just talking here, would it be fair to say that our past experiences with refried beans from a can have been somewhat ho-hum? That's the way I feel about it, but I can't be sure whether my memories of refried beans past have been blandified by the flavour dynamite that I experiences with this recipe. The source of the explosion is not difficult to pinpoint: it's the smoky heat of chipotle. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: Mexican, chipotle, bean, healthy, spicy

Vegan Black Bean Tacos from Scratch

A few months ago, I set a little challenge for myself. I love the black bean tacos at the local Mexican burrito place. The challenge was to duplicate these beauties at home using just the basic raw ingredients. And by that, I mean starting with a pound of dry black beans and two cups of corn flour. Well, the last few months have included a few, umm let's call them learning experiences. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: taco, healthy, bean, avocado, corn, tortilla, Mexican

Low Carb and Vegan: Spicy Tofu with Roasted Veggies

Vegetarian cooking, and especially vegan cooking, requires conscious attention to key nutrient levels, including protein. The good news is that most vegetarians quickly develop the skills needed to manage their nutritional needs. That's not to say that there aren't challenges. It can be a struggle to design vegetarian meals that have enough protein but don't cause unintentional carbo-loading. Examples are all around us. This meal combines tofu with roasted vegetables, for all the flavour without all the carbs. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: healthy, tofu, broccoli, mushroom, sweet_potato, brussels_sprout, spicy

Vegan Grilled Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches

We all know that grilled portobello mushrooms are great in a sandwich. That's why I wasn't too upset when the portobello panini was literally the only vegetarian option at a friend's favourite pub. With the first bite, it was clear that I would be having a great meal. I know this is going to sound strange, but what put this sandwich over the top was a bed of wilted spinach. It just worked. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: mushroom, grill, healthy, hummus, spinach

Quin-Bean Hash is Nothing Like any other Hash

You can call me Quin-Bean and baby I'll ruleeee... More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: healthy, quinoa, kidney_bean, bean, chickpea, cashew, nutritional_yeast

Warm your Bones with Three-Lentil Dal Tadka

Like many large cities, Toronto has special neighbourhoods where specific ethnicities are concentrated to the point that they form the predominant character of those neighbourhoods. Slightly east of downtown, there is a stretch of one of the major east-west roads known to Torontonians as Little India. You know that you're in Little India when you start to smell an intoxicating combination of incense and spices wafting from the storefronts. I've come to associate the aromas of the neighbourhood with the waistband-stretching satisfaction of truly outstanding vegetarian food. After a few visits to Little India as a tourist, a natural curiosity starts to develop. How do they do it? Is there any possible way that I could reproduce these flavours in my kitchen? More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: dal, Indian, lentil, curry, healthy, spicy

The Veggie Burger that Ate Manhattan

I'm not going to lie to you -- making this vegan burger requires a bit of a commitment. It's not something you can whip up between work and dinner time. On the plus side, the recipe makes a 10-12 patties depending on how big you like them, and they freeze well. You can eat half now and freeze the rest for later, which would make your effort now a partial investment toward your future eating. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: tofu, healthy, flax, lentil, burger, tex-mex

Get your Quinoa and Beans with a Side of Flavour

The internet tells us that quinoa has been around as a basic food staple in parts of South America for three or four thousand years, but has only recently become popular in other parts of the world. And there are plenty of good reasons for its rise in popularity: nutritionally, quinoa is a bit of a rockstar. This recipe combines quinoa with classic Tex-Mex flavours. Technically, it's a side-dish, and you can definitely serve it as a small part of a larger meal, but I find it fills a plate well by itself and always makes a satisfying meal. Part of the reason for that satisfaction is the high protein content for sure, but the emotional comfort of the combination of beans, onions, corn, cumin and cilantro is definitely part of the draw. More

Filed under: Recipes > Side Dishes

Tags: quinoa, bean, healthy, tex-mex

Stir-Fried Veggies can be the Whole Meal

In his interesting book, Eat to Live, Joel Fuhrman challenges the typical notion of what constitutes a meal. His plan emphasizes nutrient-rich foods like whole fruits and vegetables over the high-calorie, low-nutrient staples of the typical western diet. Here is a simple vegetable stir-fry that does just fine as a meal all by itself, without any extras like rice or noodles. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: stirfry, vegetables, healthy

A Couple of Sweet Potato Grilling Ideas

Sweet potato is one of the foods that the diet gurus are always trying to get you to eat. You'll hear terms like anti-oxidant, beta carotene and complex carbohydrate. I don't dislike them, but I can't say I've ever come home from work with a sweet potato craving. Since I started making a serious effort to improve my diet, I've been looking for ways to work more of these "good" carbs into my regular menu. More

Filed under: Recipes > Side Dishes

Tags: grill, sweet_potato, vegetables, healthy