Tag Archives: Vegan

Recipe: Carrot, mint and date salad

My trip to Morocco was a unique experience in terms of culture and food. I will never forget the meals that came with many plates of salads, one of which was carrot salad. I am not a fan of raw carrots at all. However, once cooked and seasoned, I like carrots enough. This salad is inspired by the salads I had in Morocco and more recently by the opening of my friends’ restaurant Atlas.

5-6 carrots, peeled and sliced thick

1 tablespoon olive oil

sprinkle of cumin to taste

juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon

honey to taste

handful of chopped fresh mint

5-6 pitted dates, chopped

Bring salted water to boil in a medium pot. Add carrots and boil for 6 minutes or until desired tenderness. Drain.

In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, honey and cumin. Add cooked carrots and dates, toss together gently and top with mint. Enjoy slightly warm or at room temperature

Recipe: White Bean Mushroom Pasta

There is always debate on the “healthiest’ diet and foods to eat, which is different for every person at different points in their life. There is one dietary concept that everyone could use, which is to eat more plant based foods. This is a delicious vegan pasta dish I have perfected in the past couple months with beans cooked from dry: http://www.vivianlaw.ca/cook-beans-from-dry-skip-the-cans/

tossed together with Tinkyada brown rice pasta shells, sautéed mushrooms, capers, pickled hot peppers, green beans (or whatever greens you have on hand) and parsley. Tinkyada is my brand of choice for brown rice pasta in terms of taste and texture. The capers and hot peppers add really nice flavour to the beans and mushrooms. The portions can easily be modified with about 1 cup of cooked white beans, 1/2 cup pasta and 1/4 pound of mushrooms per serving.

For 2 servings:

1.5-2 cups cooked white beans

1 clove garlic

1 shallot minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 pound mushrooms finely chopped (any of or mixed: cremini, portobello, white)

salt, pepper and thyme to taste

1 cup brown rice pasta shells, I prefer the taste and texture of Tinkyada

1 cup chopped greens of your choice

2 tablespoons capers

pickled hot pepper to taste (optional)

In a medium to large pot, bring salted water to a boil and cook brown rice pasta shells according to package instructions. Throw in green beans or whichever green you are using into the boiling pasta and water at the last minute of cooking and drain altogether.

Meanwhile, as the pasta is cooking, saute garlic, shallots and mushrooms  in olive oil until mushrooms are browned and cooked through. Season with thyme during the cooking process. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.

In a another small pot, bring beans to a simmer (you can add a little water and reduce as the beans warm up), add a splash of olive oil and salt to taste.

In the medium to large pot, toss together white beans, mushrooms, pasta and greens, capers and hot peppers. Top with chopped parsley and enjoy!


Recipe: Roasted Squash soup

I had some roasted squash soup as a special at Foxley in the fall. It was so delicious, I set out to make some myself the very next day. The recipe has taken some practice and I did ask chef Tom Thai for tips-the key is to rest the squash after it was roasted. The kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass impart such a nice balance with the rich coconut milk above the delicious roasted squash base.

1 buttercup squash

1 butternut squash

1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons coconut oil

handful of kaffir lime leaves

1 stalk of lemongrass, cut into pieces

4-6 cups vegetable stock

1 can full fat coconut milk

butternut and buttercup squash ready for roasting-2 types add depth of flavour

butternut and buttercup squash ready for roasting-2 types add depth of flavour

Wash the squash in warm water thoroughly. Usually squash are hard to cut through, so I throw them in the oven for 10-15 minutes whole to soften. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (soften up the squash as well).

Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and rub with a little coconut or olive oil. Roast squash in a baking dish for 45-60 minutes. Leave in oven to ‘rest’ for a couple hours or until cool.

Depending on the softness of the squash, you can scoop out the flesh in chunks or peel the skin and cut into chunks.

In a large pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat and saute the onion and apple until softened. Add the squash, vegetable broth, lime leaves, and lemongrass. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the lime leaves and lemongrass. Puree with an immersion blender. Season with salt and stir in coconut milk until blended. Enjoy!

Recipe: Chia Pudding

I have tried a few chia pudding recipes and found them to be lacking in the taste department and wondered how the name pudding could be applied to the recipes. While in London, my great friend K bought me a coconut chia pudding from Le Pain Quotidien despite my reluctance. This pudding was delicious!! We looked up the recipe and I tested it as soon as I returned home. There are only 2 ingredients to work with to your liking, canned coconut milk and chia seeds. Coconut milk contains healthy medium chain fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids are found in chia seeds. In addition, this pudding feels like a dessert without any added sugar.

For one serving (use a ratio of 1 part chia seeds to 4 parts coconut milk to make your desired quantity)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

4-5 tablespoons canned coconut milk (full fat tastes best)

In a small bowl, stir together chia seeds and coconut milk. Refrigerate overnight or for at least an hour. Stir, add water if needed, for desired consistency. Top with chopped strawberries, shredded coconut, fruit of your choice, or passion fruit butter for an ultimate rich taste. Enjoy for breakfast, as a snack or dessert.


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: 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!


Recipe: Sweet Potato Soup

This is a recipe I put together yesterday after having sweet potato soup recently suggested to me as a soup idea. Sweet potatoes contain vitamins B, C, D, magnesium, potassium and beta carotene. I looked through a few recipes and came up with this version. The red lentils add an extra nutritional boost as well. I quite enjoyed the thick texture and rich taste of the coconut along with the spices, which have a slight curry flavour.

Sweet Potato Soup 

4-5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 onion, chopped finely

1 clove garlic, minced

1 apple, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon coconut oil

4-5 cups of vegetable stock

1/2 cup of red lentils, rinsed

1 tablespoon creamed coconut (concentrated coconut, available at health food stores) (optional)

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground tumeric

1 stalk lemongrass

8-10 cilantro stems

salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste

In a large pot, saute onion, garlic, apple and sweet potato until softened. Add vegetable stock and red lentils, bring to a boil. Add creamed coconut, cumin and tumeric, stir. Add lemongrass and cilantro stems. Simmer until sweet potatoes are very soft. Remove lemongrass and cilantro stems. Use a handheld immersion blender to puree the soup. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to your taste.  Enjoy!



Recipe: Guacamole

Avocados are a healthy super food with their high monounsaturated (healthy) fat content, fiber content, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B, vitamin C, copper, and lutein for the prevention of macular degeneration. My favourite way to have avocado is in guacamole. Here is my take on guacamole, everyone has their own, so make it your own with your own additions. I use shallot as a cross between onion and garlic. I feel cilantro and jalapeno are required for zip and spice.

2 ripe avocados

Lime juice to taste (1/2 lime)

1 plum tomato finely chopped

1 shallot finely chopped

1/2 jalapeno pepper finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, scoop out avocado, mash with a spoon and mix in lime juice. Add tomato, shallot, jalapeno and cilantro, mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the avocado seed in the guacamole if you are not serving it immediately to help prevent browning. Enjoy with tortilla chips, crackers or with tacos.


Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup

Locally grown butternut squash is available at this time of year and the colder weather makes this soup a natural choice. Butternut squash contains beta carotene, vitamin C, manganese, calcium, magnesium and potassium. This is a simple recipe that was told to me verbally by another foodie who highly recommended fried sage as a secret ingredient. The soup is still good even when you cannot get your hands on fresh sage.

1 butternut squash, peeled and seeded, cut into cubes (bake the squash at 350 for 10 minutes if is hard to peel or cut)

1 onion, finely diced

1-2 apples or 1 pear and 1 apple, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil (if you prefer a vegan version)

4 cups vegetable broth or stock

salt, pepper, cardamom, to taste

In a large pot, heat butter or oil over medium heat. Saute onion, apple and pear until softened. Add cubed squash and saute briefly. Add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer for 15-20 minutes or until squash is soft. Let soup cool slightly and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, cardamom or any other spices to your taste. Enjoy!

Recipe: Healthy Granola

Granola is a food that most of us enjoy for the taste and texture, but consider to be a food that is too high in calories to enjoy regularly. However, the source of the ‘high calories’ is very important to consider. This recipe is wheat free and contains various sources of fibre and healthy fats that we could all use in our diet. The soluble fibre in the oats can help lower blood cholesterol. The pumpkin, sunflower and chia seeds provide healthy fats and vitamin E in addition to fibre. The coconut oil provides flavour and medium chain fatty acids, which help your cells absorb nutrients amongst other benefits.  I like to have granola for breakfast with non dairy milk, such as Coconut Dream, and fresh berries. I find it to be a great source of steady energy that tastes great at the same time. Many friends that have tried this granola just love to eat it out of hand as a quick snack.

4 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/4 cup oat bran

1/4 cup whole chia seeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1tsp ground cinnamon

6 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 cup honey or maple syrup or combination

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together oats, coconut, ground flaxseed, oat bran,  chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon. In a small sauce pan, melt together honey and/or maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Pour liquid honey mixture over the oat mixture and toss to coat evenly. Spread mixture evenly on shallow rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 min, remove from oven, use a spatula to stir the mixture to ensure even browning. Bake a another 15-20 minutes until granola is crunchy and browned to your desired level.  Add 1/2 cup of your favourite dried fruits after the granola cools, if desired. Store in an airtight container. Try a 1/3-3/4 cup serving size to see what amount fits your energy needs.