Tag

vegan

Browsing

Spaghetti Squash and Zucchini Parmesan

With the approach of fall, leaning towards cozy sweaters and comfort food is the norm- and nothing says comfort like spaghetti!

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy hot meals and delicious treats! It can be challenging to stay on top of healthy habits once the cooler temperatures set in!

It takes all of this author’s motivation to get up and go to the gym when the cold sets in! I find making meals with healthy bases helps me to stay on track, and not to mind so much when I don’t make it to that spin class!

Here’s a twist on a classic homemade meal that is one of my favorites-you know, the one your grandmother used to force you to eat more than 2 helpings of! This time though, it’s incorporating more plants, healthy fats and tons of good taste! I dare you to try this and not have 3 servings…at a fraction of the calories!

 

Spaghetti Squash and Zucchini Parmesan

When cooked, spaghetti squash separates into strings that can be covered in sauce, much like

pasta – a grain free alternative! It is full of fibre, vitamins and nutrients that help build up those

antibodies -definitely something that’s good to increase with the onset of cold season! The

squash and zucchini hold up well together, while the cheeses create a mouthwatering finish.

This warm fall classic will have you and your loved ones asking for more-make sure to double

your recipe if you like to have leftovers! The portions outlined below makes 4-6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 large zucchini, grated
  • 1/3 cup caramelized onions (see below for these instructions)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parimigiano-reggiano cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Pierce the spaghetti squash with a fork in several places. Microwave it on high power for 12 minutes, rotating every 3 minutes. Let the squash cool, then cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Add the zucchini, onions and tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into a shallow baking pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
  3. Remove the baking pan from the oven and turn the oven to broil. Top the vegetables with the grated cheese and place under the broiler until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced

Instructions:

Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add the onions and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often, until they are soft and brown. Let cool and then store in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

These caramelized onions are easy to do and are a great addition for any of your favorite dishes! Add them to meals like salads, sandwiches and more!

Enjoy this plant based meal which is guaranteed to taste better the next day!

That is, if you manage to have any leftovers!

 

Recipe: vegan apple crumble

Despite the sprinkling of snow this week, it’s still too early to call this season winter. That means there is still time to indulge in your favourite fall desserts. The smell of roasted squash, sweetened fruit, and perhaps a bit of pumpkin spice is too much to resist. I will literally follow that smell to the nearest bakery or coffee shop. There is something addictive about these flavours, and I’m not ready to give them up just yet!

My personal favourite is an apple crisp or an apple crumble. There is a great recipe for a vegan (with gluten-free options) version of this fantastic dessert, provided to Women’s Post by Avra Epstein, founder of Love Wild Live Free. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Recipe Apple Crumble Pie (gluten-free option)

Yield: 1 pie (9”) or 4 mini pies (4.5”)

Ingredients

Pie Dough:

1 cup + 2 tbsp flour (see notes below on making this gluten-free)

1/3 cup *cold* unrefined coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

4 tablespoon *ice cold* water

Filling:

4 apples (about 1 + 1/2 lbs), peeled, cored and sliced

1/2 cup coconut sugar (or other vegan sugar)

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon true cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

Crumble Topping:

1/2 tsp true cinnamon

1/2 cup rolled oats (not the quick cooking kind)

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp flour

1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar

1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, softened

The tiniest pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Optional finishing touch:

1 tbsp unsweetened plant-based milk (I used rice milk)

1 tsp turbinado cane sugar

(use organic ingredients)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).

Prepare the Pie Crust:

  1. Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter (or fork), cut in chunks of cold coconut oil until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Add in water 1 tablespoon at a time and gently mix until dough comes together (not to worry if it doesn’t form right away, the dough should come together when it is kneaded).
  3. Use your hands to gently knead/form the dough and gather any loose scraps.
  4. Transfer to a well floured surface and form into a disk shape. If you’re making 4 mini pies, divide dough into 4 and form each portion into a disk shape.
  5. Lightly flour the top of the dough, as well as your rolling pin and roll into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Add more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Transfer to your pie dish and form crust moving from the middle of the dish, outwards to the rim of the dish. Repeat if making 4 mini pies.

Note: This dough is very forgiving, it may break when you transfer it to the dish, but you can easily press it back together.

Prepare the Filling:

  1. Combine apple filling ingredients in a large bowl – you can use the same bowl that you made the crust in to save time on clean up! Add filling to the pie dish(es), make sure not to include any excess liquid.

Prepare the Crumble Topping:

  1. Combine crumble ingredients in a small bowl. Top the apple mixture in the pie dish(es) with the topping.

Final steps:

  1. Optional: Lightly brush plant-based milk on any exposed pie crust on the rim of the pie dish(es) and sprinkle a small amount of turbaned cane sugar on top.
  2. Place pie dish(es) onto a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Check after the first 20 minutes and keep an eye on the topping and crust thereafter to make sure that it doesn’t overcook.

Serve warm. Pairs well with a scoop of dairy-free ice cream or coconut whip cream.

A Note on making this Gluten Free

The flour: I have tested out a number of gluten-free flours over the years and I’ve found the best results with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour (GMO-free). I like to avoid gluten-free flour mixes that contain conventional potato and corn starch. Be wary of non-organic potato and corn as these are are grown with pesticides and are commonly genetically modified.

The oats: Oats are gluten-free by nature, but are sometimes contaminated during processing or even in the field during production. If you are celiac or have a gluten sensitivity, be sure to select oats that have a “gluten-free” label on the packaging.

 

Avra Epstein publishes organic vegan lifestyle living resources on her blog lovewildlivefree.com where she shares everything from nutritious recipes, to health & wellness information, while showcasing the best of Toronto vegan businesses and local food along the way. Her meal-time inspiration, with an emphasis on healing foods, will make you feel good, inside and out! LoveWildLiveFree was recently featured on Blog TO’s list as one of “15 Instagram accounts for Toronto vegans to follow.”

Recipe: Raw Pumpkin Pie with coconut whipped cream

There can be so many treats to eat around Thanksgiving that some people get overwhelmed by the choices. However, as a vegan, those choices can be limited. Never fear! Women’s Post has you covered. This Thanksgiving, if you are looking for a healthier or vegan recipe try this raw pumpkin pie with delicious coconut whipped cream. Yes, it is as delicious as it sounds!

Ingredients:

Crust
For your crust you can use a variety of options, including nuts, dried fruits and shredded coconut.

3/4 cup almonds ( or nut of your choice)
1/2 cup pitted dates (or raisins work well too)
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp of water
1/2 tsp sea salt

Filling

  • 2 cups of diced pie pumpkin
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice

Directions:

  1. Add almonds, dates and coconut to a food processor and mix for two minutes or untiled crumbled. Add water and sea salt and blend again (the mixture should solid enough to form into a ball).
  2. Press the crust mixture into a base of a 9’inch pie pan.
  3. Place the crust in the refrigerator.
  4. Using a blender, add the pumpkin, banana, almond milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, dates, and spice. Blend until smooth.
  5. Spoon the pie filling into the crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Topping: This topping is entirely optional, but coconut cream is a great option for vegan whipped cream.

Refrigerated the can of coconut cream overnight and chill the bowls used for mixing for up to one hour before mixing.

Once the coconut milk is in the bowl you can add some additional sweetener of your choice and whip on high for 7-8 minutes.

Add to pie and serve! Enjoy.

 

Let us know what you think of this raw pumpkin pie recipe and leave a comment below. Happy Thanksgiving !

 

 

Blue Diamond Growers put love into Almond Breeze

“The almond is a very versatile product.”

No one exudes passion for a nut quite like Mel Machado. Machado is the director of members relations at Blue Diamond Growers, and is as invested in the business as any almond grower.

A farmer himself, Machado says you either love it, or you don’t. “Farming is a system and by that, there are no independent actions that don’t have reactions somewhere else,” he said. “It’s definitely not the easiest thing in the world. It takes vision and strength to be a good farmer.”

But the one thing about almond growing in California is that Blue Diamond values the input of every single one of the people working the fields — something that can’t be said about most companies.

Blue Diamond Almond Growers are part of one of the oldest cooperatives in the United States. It was created in 1910 with the intention of giving growers more power in the marketplace and improving the quality of the product. Today, there are over 3,000 growers in the cooperative and every single one of the farmers who market through Blue Diamond is considered an owner.

The important thing to remember about Blue Diamond is that quality is their number one priority. It’s an incredibly family-centric industry, meaning the almonds are grown with love and respect. Some of the growers come from three to four generations of farmers, and each one is invested in the cooperative. In fact, Machado makes a point to introduce the corporate members of Blue Diamond to these farmers so they understand all that goes into making such a delicious product.

In 2013, the cooperative opened the Blue Diamond Almond Innovation Centre, which is the world’s first and only research center dedicated to almond product innovation. It’s through this centre the company comes up with its new ideas. In fact, Almond Breeze, the dairy-free beverage, is a product of the cooperative’s Innovation Centre.  It’s there that different flavours and uses for the product are explored and tested. This includes beverages, snacks, crackers, and of course, traditionally flavoured nuts. Some of Machado’s favourite flavours (as well as his dog’s) are sweet thai chilli and wasabi soy.

The most popular products are, of course, the Almond Breeze beverages. Each one is smooth and creamy with a unique flavour that doesn’t overpower the delicious natural taste of almonds. It’s a great option for lactose-intolerant and vegan customers who still require a source of calcium and vitamins.

My personal favourite is the Unsweetened Almond Coconut drink! It has fewer calories than regular milk, contains the healthy fats and nutrients I need for my day, and tastes absolutely divine on my morning oatmeal!

You can find the Original and Vanilla Almond Breeze (sweetened and unsweetened) in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores, but make sure to check the self-stable products on the shelves to find the chocolate and coconut flavours.

Wondering how to use your dairy-free beverages? Try a Key Lime Pie Smoothie:

For more recipes, go here!

Key Lime Pie Smoothie

Prep Time: 10 minutes                              Cook Time: 0 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) Almond Breeze® Unsweetened Vanilla
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh baby spinach
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) lime zest
  • 5 ice cubes
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) toasted shredded coconut (optional)

Directions

In blender, combine Almond Breeze, avocado, spinach, maple syrup, lime juice, lime zest and ice; purée until smooth.

If desired, rim 2 glasses with fresh lime and dip into toasted coconut.

Nutrition Facts

Per 1/2 recipe: Calories 190, Fat 8g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 150mg, Carbohydrate 27g, Fibre 2g, Sugars 20g, Protein 2g

 

Recipe: Instagram-worthy grain bowl

It can be hard to muster the energy to prepare lunches everyday, especially when the summer heat hits. There is nothing less appealing than cooking on a hot day. But, if you want to continue to eat healthy and homemade lunches, then preparation is key.

That’s what’s so great about the grain bowl (sometimes called a Buddha Bowl). You can prepare them on the weekend and alternate flavours and ingredients throughout the week for unique meals each time.

The best part about these bowls is that it doesn’t require a recipe — just an understanding of the mechanics.

The base of the bowl is, obviously, usually a grain like rice or quinoa. Next, choose your protein source. One of my favourite gain bowls uses cooked chickpeas, but you can use grilled chicken,pork, tofu, or even something like goat cheese.

Then you add vegetables. The key is to pick ingredients that are colourful and compliment each other. Some suggestions include: beets, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, asparagus, peppers, or zucchini. Cook some of the harder vegetables to make them easier to chew in combination with the rest of the bowl ingredients. It’s okay to have some cooked and some raw.

Afterwards, add something like hummus or tabbouleh so that the grains aren’t so dry. If you want something a bit more saucey, try a greek salad dressing or an olive oil based mixture with dry herbs.

Top with sprouts, olives, or pickled vegetables to taste. Add a little fresh coriander, basil, or mint.

The best part about this meal is that you can cook the grains and cut all of the vegetables on the weekend. Each night, just cook the vegetables you want cooked and that’s it — you have a healthy meal fit for kings!

Variations include breakfast bowls with sweet potato, a poached egg, and sausage.

What is your favourite combination? Let us know in the comments below!

‘Everything’ white bean dip

Everything flavoured bagels are delicious, but eating them every day is not healthy. Instead, opt for the healthy and tasty alternative by creating a bean dip. By blending white beans with a variety of delectable spices, it makes a great dip that tastes exactly like an everything bagel.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups white beans
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 head of garlic (roasted)
  • 2 tbsp dried onion
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine dried onion, poppy seeds, garlic, sea salt and pepper. Mix together.
  2. Add beans and roasted garlic in a blender and process until pureed. Add olive oil and sesame oil and salt to taste.
  3. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve with crackers, vegetables, or pita.

Dips are a yummy and filling snack option.  Instead of going for the breads full of carbohydrates, a healthy bean dip is full of protein and will be scooped up in mere minutes. Eat them with vegetables, pitas, or crackers and is a great dip for guests. Enjoy this irresistible treat as a cool summer dish!

Raw Vegan Mock Tuna Salad from Love Wild Live Free

Eating a fresh and raw salad in the summertime is one of the healthiest and easiest ways to stay cool from the gut-wrenching heat. One of my favourites is a refreshing raw vegan mock tuna salad.

Love Wild Live Free, a vegan food and lifestyle blog by Avra Epstein, offers a yummy raw mock tuna salad recipe that uses affordable, fresh ingredients to make a light (but filling) meal that will leave you vying for more. This raw recipe uses organic ingredients and also includes kosher dill relish with live probiotics, an easy way to get additional bacteria that keep the gut healthy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw sunflower seeds
  • 5 tablespoons RawFoodz French Onion Dip
  • 2 celery stocks, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tbsp Kosher dill relish (with live probiotics)
  • 2 tsp Dulse Flakes, or Nori Flakes
  • 1 tbsp finely minced onion (red or sweet white)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • (use organic ingredients)

Directions

  1. Rinse sunflower seeds and place in to a medium size bowl. Fill with filtered water, leaving a few inches of space above. Cover with a clean towel, secured with an elastic band. Allow to soak 6-8 hours.
  2. After the soaking time is up, rise sunflower seeds again. Add to food processor and pulse to chop into an even consistency, scraping down with a spatula as necessary. You do not want to over process otherwise you will end up with a creamy consistency. Instead, you’re going for a crumbled consistency that resembles flaked tuna.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add chopped sunflower seeds and the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.
  4. Serve chilled and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy this delicious salad and experience the rejuvenating feeling of eating raw and healthy foods.

What’s the buzz on bee pollination?

When was the last time you saw a bumble bee? These magnificent yellow and black critters are supposed to fly from plant to plant, pollinating them and allowing these flowers to grow into fruitful crops; but, something has happened. The bees are slowly disappearing — and with them the world’s hope of becoming sustainable.

Broccoli, cantaloupes, cucumbers, pumpkins, blueberries, watermelons, almonds, apples, and cherries are few of many fruits and vegetables that rely on bee pollination to grow. When bees drink nectar from a flower, they brush against the stamens (the male reproductive organ of a flower) and pollen sticks to the hairs on the bee’s body. The bee then transfers the pollen to the stigma (female reproductive organ) of the next flower it visits and fertilization occurs, which creates a fruit with seeds.

Unfortunately, bee populations have been decimated due to genetically modified crops and increased amounts of pesticides used on foods. According to Honeylove, an American urban beekeeper’s non-profit, there were over five million bee colonies after WWII. There are less than half that amount today.

There is also a common misconception that the honey industry actually helps the bees, but this is not the case. Instead, large commercial honey brands use corn syrup to feed the bees instead of letting them keep their honey, and it results in sick colonies that have a lower rate of survival. Honey is also an essential food source for bees to survive in the wintertime and replacing this vital resource with a sugar substitute like corn syrup does not provide bees with nutrients and vitamins they need to pollinate properly. Instead, there are rising occurrences of bee colonies dying off entirely from a corn syrup diet because it lacks the enzymes and nutrients found in honey. If society leaves the bees in their current situation, the insect may go extinct and many of our essential foods will die off permanently with them.

So, what can people do about it? First of all, try planting some bee-friendly plants, vegetables, and fruits in your garden. Bee populations vary depending on their region, and the best way to ensure bees flourish is to plant native plants. Bees thrive with open native blooms where they can access the nectar and carry pollen easily from flower to flower.

bees milkweed
Common milkweed is another affordable and local plant in Ontario.

Second of all, build and hang a bee hotel near the garden. Simply nail together a box with one open side, and fill with blocks of wood or logs that have small holes drilled into them. This provides tunnels for the bees to nest in and wind-protection on the other side. Join a local beekeeper’s group to learn more about bees in your particular region.

Bees plants
Bees love Anise Hyssop Flowers and they are local to Ontario!

Ontario’s ecosystem really does depend on the buzzing creatures — with the world claiming a sustainable future, let’s not forget about these small and easily ignored insects. Not many people enjoy having a buzzing sound in their ear, but without it, the world is so much bleaker.

When was the last time you saw a bee? Let us know in the comments below!

Recipe: Vegan Taco Pizza

What are the two best comfort foods in the world? Pizza and tacos. If you put them together, it creates the ultimate treat that will leave you wanting more. Homemade pizza is easy to make and absolutely delicious. It is also surprisingly healthy if made with vegetables.  Over the long weekend, give this pizza a try!

Ingredients:

Homemade Pizza Crust:

  • A packet of active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Toppings:

  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of Pizza Sauce
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Handful of chopped onion
  • Vegan ground round with taco spices (if desired)
  • Daiya cheese or another vegan cheese alternative (if desired)

Directions:

  1. Make homemade vegan pizza crust by mixing all ingredients and turn dough out onto a flat surface that has been sprinkled with flour.
  2. Roll the dough into a circular shape and roll up edges to create a crust.
  3. Put the toppings on the pizza, beginning by spreading the tomato paste on the crust first.
  4. Put all other toppings on the pizza and the vegan cheese as the final ingredient. Feel free to mix in some ingredients not mentioned in this recipe!
  5. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes.

Enjoy this delicious combination on a pizza and pass it on to all of your vegan friends! Homemade pizza is a great comfort food and you can put as little or as much of the toppings on, depending upon preference. It is the perfect meal for the long weekend, and goes well with a glass of red wine and a relaxing patio chair.

Recipe: overnight oats with banana

I’m a big fan of this easy and simply overnight breakfast recipe. Just dump all ingredients in a jar, shake, put it in the refrigerator overnight, and then grab-and-go. It’s perfect for those who are super busy or just don’t want to have to deal with complicated breakfasts in the early hours of the morn. It’s also quite a refreshing post-workout breakfast for those who like to get up before dawn for a run.

 Ingredients

¼ cup of oats

½ almond or coconut milk

1 tbsp chia seeds

½ tsp of cinnamon

½ tbls of honey or agave

Banana or other fruit cut up into bite-sized pieces

Put all ingredients in a regular sized jam jar. Add fruit or nuts to taste. And then shake, shake shake! Maybe even dance around the kitchen a bit.

Put the jar in refrigerator over night.

It’s that simple! This breakfast is nutritious, full of fibre, and really tasty! You can heat up the oats in a microwave or it cold. Personally, I don’t mind it cold, especially if I add in some fresh fruit as opposed to frozen.

My suggestion would be to include half a banana (cut into small pieces) to help bind and fill up the spaces between oats. Add blueberries for a particularly refreshing taste. Other options include walnuts, apples, and mango for a Caribbean flavour.

Note: if you don’t enjoy the texture of oatmeal, you may not like this overnight recipe. Instead, why not try mixing chia seeds with milk, cocoa powder, and honey overnight to make a pudding!