Category Archives: Vegan

Recipe: Banana Oatmeal Cookies (vegan)

In light of declaring love for the Cookie Monster, I must share this new discovery for a vegan oatmeal cookie (Cookie Monster’s second favourite cookie after chocolate chip). These cookies are made with unprocessed, whole foods and are delicious enough to feed the cookie monster inside any one of us. Oats are naturally a gluten free food, but may come into contact with gluten during processing. Purchase gluten free oats (they are more expensive) if you have that degree of sensitivity. I tend to have Bob’s organic rolled oats in my kitchen most of the time.

I ordered the Oh She Glows cookbook on the based on the inspiring appeal of this oatmeal cookie recipe I made them right away, repeated the tasty success several times over, so here is my adaptation of the recipe:

3 ripe bananas

1/2 cup pitted dates, packed (soak dry dates, and a mixture of medjool and other pitted dates is nice)

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 cups rolled oats, separated into 1.5 and 0.5 cups

1 tablespoon shredded coconut

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional, freshly grated is best)

1/4 cup currants

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, mix together dates, bananas, and coconut oil to a fairly smooth consistency. Add 1.5 cups of oats, shredded coconut, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, pulse until oats are ground. Power off food processor and remove the blade. Stir in remaining 0.5 cups of oats and currants into the bowl of the food processor.  Spoon batter onto a baking sheet and flatten slightly with a spatula. Bake for 12 minutes, remove and rotate tray, bake for 12 more minutes or until the desired level of browning is achieved. Makes 12-16 cookies.

Enjoy fresh or within 2-3 days or freeze for a week in an airtight container.

Enjoy vegan banana oatmeal cookies warm off the baking sheet!

Enjoy vegan banana oatmeal cookies warm off the baking sheet to indulge your cookie monster-


Recipe: Chickpea Salad (sandwich)

The Oh She Glows cookbook by Angela Liddon and blog recently came to my attention through my sister. I found the vegan recipes to be inspiring, so I ordered the cookbook, then made some oatmeal cookies from the blog the next day. I have enjoyed the cookbook so far and particularly liked a recipe for chickpea salad. I must admit that I used regular mayonnaise. However, you can purchase vegan mayonnaise at the health food store or make your own with a blender and Angela Liddon’s recipe in the cookbook.

Here is my version of the Oh She Glows chickpea salad. A delicious vegetarian alternative for a classic ‘salad’ sandwich. I much prefer home cooked chickpeas. The Old Bay seasoning really adds a great flavour.

2-3 cups cooked chickpeas (canned is alright if you wish)

2 stalks celery, diced

2 green onions, chopped

2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise (vegan if you prefer)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (optional, but tasty)

Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, mash chickpeas with a fork until half are mashed and half are still whole. Add celery, green onion and mayonnaise to the chickpeas, mix well. Season with dill, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, salt and pepper to your taste. Enjoy as a sandwich or over a bed of greens as a salad.

Delicious chickpea salad on rye toast

Delicious chickpea salad on rye toast


Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts were not on my list of regular veggies for a long time. My mom served them boiled a few times during my upbringing, no one liked them and I stayed away for a long time. Even delicious versions of brussels sprouts at Campagnolo and Momofuku Daisho did not motivate me to cook them. We had roasted brussels sprouts with Christmas dinner and I discovered they were tasty!!

Brussels sprouts are of the cruciferous family of vegetables with sinigrin and sulforaphane as antioxidant, detoxifying nutrients in addition to vitamin A, C, E and lutein. Roasting (caramelization improves the flavour) and sauteing are the best ways to go with cooking brussels sprouts. Lemon juice, vinegar, and nuts are good accompaniments. Here is a super simple recipe:

1 pound brussels sprouts, washed, and cut into halves or quarters for even size pieces

1 tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil

1/4 cup dried cherries (optional)

salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss brussels sprouts in shallow baking dish with oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with dried cherries if using. Roast for 10-15 minutes until desired doneness. Season further with salt, pepper and lemon juice as desired. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Roasted brussels sprouts with dried cherries

Roasted brussels sprouts with dried cherries

Recipe: Herb Lentil and Rice Soup

This is my favourite soup lately for the cold weather and as lighter fare for the holiday season. The brightness of fresh herbs and lime juice adds an interesting zest of flavour.

1 cup red lentils, rinsed

1/4 cup rice, rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 plum tomato, finely diced

1 bay leaf

5-6 cups vegetable stock

1 lime, juiced

1 cup chopped dill, cilantro and parsley

salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute garlic, onion, carrot, celery until softened. Add tomato, saute for another minute. Add vegetable stock, bay leaf, lentils and rice, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes or until lentils and rice are desired texture. Season with salt, pepper, lime juice. Stir in fresh herbs and enjoy.


Recipe: Italian Green Salad

Here is a green salad recipe that I created upon my arrival in Tuscany after my first trip to the grocery store. I found sea asparagus at the fish counter, and it is called ‘algae’ here. Not the most appealing, but sea asparagus is a delicious and nutritious plant food. Everyone enjoyed this salad and the key is the infused olive oil.

For Infused Olive Oil:

1/2 red chili pepper, sliced

1 clove garlic, sliced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

coarse salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, stir together sliced pepper, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let oil infuse for a few hours or a day.

For green salad:

6 cups mixed baby greens

1 small cucumber, diced

1 tomato, diced

1 green onion, sliced

1 cup green beans, cut in half

1/2 cup sea asparagus, rinsed (optional)

Balsamic vinegar to taste

Bring a medium pot of water to boil, add green beans and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add sea asparagus briefly. Take off heat, drain, and rinse under cold water.

In a large bowl, toss baby greens, cucumber, tomato, green onion, green beans and sea asparagus with desired quantity of olive oil (2-3 tablespoons). Drizzle balsamic vinegar to taste, enjoy.





Recipe: Barley Pomegranate Salad

This recipe caught my eye in the mainly vegetarian cookbook Plenty. I could not get my hands on sherry vinegar, so I improvised with pomegranate molasses or concentrated pomegranate juice (found in middle eastern food shops), which adds a slightly sweet, tart depth of flavour. The pomegranate seeds and celery bring a nice crunchy contrast to the chewy barley.

1 cup pearl barley, rinsed

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

2 stalks celery, diced

1 pomegranate (gather the seeds by slicing horizontally and removing the skin)

2-3 tablespoons chopped dill

2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1/4 cup currants (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Place barley into a small pot with 3 cups of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 35 minutes or until tender with a chewy bite. Drain if necessary.

While barley is still warm, stir in olive oil, vinegar, pomegranate molasses and shallot. Allow to cool and stir in celery, pomegranate seeds, dill, parsley and currants if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.


Recipe: Coconut Black Rice

Black rice is something I have tasted sporadically over the years in various forms of Asian  fusion cuisine. Earlier this year, I had coconut black rice served with fish in Kauai and then as coconut black rice pudding at Foxley.  Both were delicious and I had to learn how to make it. Black rice contains fiber and antioxidants in addition to its interesting taste and texture. Here is my recipe for coconut black rice, a dessert I have served topped with mango and strawberry to delighted guests. The rice also makes a nice alternative breakfast topped with fruit and nuts. The grated fresh coconut is a nice touch and dry shredded coconut works as well. Omit the sugar and cook for less time if you wish to serve it as more of a savoury side dish.

1 cup black rice, soaked overnight or a few hours in water and rinsed

2 cups water

1 cup coconut milk

2 tablespoons of organic sugar

1/4 cup grated fresh coconut or shredded unsweetened coconut

Bring rice, water and coconut milk to a boil in a pot. Remove the lid and simmer on low heat until water is absorbed or rice is desired tenderness, about 45 minutes. Stir periodically, check for doneness, and add more water if necessary. Stir in sugar and coconut before serving. Serve warm, topped with fresh mango and/or strawberries if desired. Enjoy!


Recipe: Pineapple Avocado Salsa

This is a recipe I came across years ago in Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine and have adapted to add a bit more zip. This tasty salsa is great with corn chips, as a condiment for grilled pork, chicken, shrimp or rice. The avocado is a healthy fat and the pineapple contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties.

1 ripe avocado, mashed

1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple

1 green onion chopped

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper (optional)

salt to taste

In a medium bowl, scoop out avocado and mash until it is a smooth consistency. Season avocado with salt to taste. Stir in pineapple and green onion evenly. Stir in cilantro and jalapeno. Enjoy!


Recipe: Sweet Potato and Rapini Mash

This is a nutrient packed vegan dish I first tried in the fall of 2012 at Mela Cafe. I was told it was yummy, which it absolutely was with the sweet potato balancing the slight bitterness of the rapini in a addition to a topping of homemade tomato sauce. The delicious combination of sweet potato and rapini is a super dose of beta carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, lutein and vitamin K. Here is my simple version:

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 bunch rapini, chopped

Homemade tomato sauce

In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook the sweet potato until soft. Drain potatoes and put back into the pot. Using an immersion blender, mash sweet potato to desired consistency. Stir in coconut oil, bring back to medium heat and stir in the chopped rapini. Cover and heat until rapini is bright green and cooked through.

Heat desired quantity of homemade tomato sauce in a saucepan. Serve the sweet potato and rapini mash topped with the tomato sauce.-Enjoy!


Veggie Inspiration: Choi Sum

It seems highly appropriate to introduce Choi Sum, a Chinese green vegetable during  Chinese New Year. Choi sum is mild in flavour, somewhat similar to bok choy. It is part of the mustard family of greens and is a source of vitamin C, soluble fibre, calcium and phytonutrients such as indole 3-carbinol, which helps cells repair their DNA.

Baby Choi Sum

Baby Choi Sum

Choi sum came to my attention in Hawaii while I sampled the incredibly diverse and blended Asian food on Oahu. I found choi sum as a tasty cold salad at a Korean place in the food court at Ala Moana Mall. I believe the choi sum was steamed and seasoned with sesame oil and soy sauce among other unidentified seasonings to create the ‘salad’. I also enjoyed and ordered extra portions of choi sum in tan tan ramen (a spicy sesame infused broth for ramen and a new favourite food!).

With these sources of inspiration, I procured some tender baby choi sum with a little help. It’s an interesting leafy green vegetable to have, which works well for healthy eating and fat loss. Look for baby choi sum, or choi sum that is bright green at your local Asian grocer. Try it stir fried, lightly steamed and enjoyed hot or cold dressed as a ‘salad’, or in a noodle soup.