Beet, carrot and clementine slaw. So pink. So good.

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 Does anyone else notice their tastes change through the seasons? We’re in the heart of a Canadian winter now and I just cannot get enough of root vegetables and cabbages, kale and broccoli. Perhaps they just happen to be the most appetizing produce available this time of year or maybe our dietary needs really do change with the rhythm of the year.

This salad is earthy and delicious but also sunshine-y with a bit of spice. It’s perfect for brightening up the still-too-short winter days.

 I used a food processor but you could make this dish using a grater and a good knife.

 Let’s get started!

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Ingredients

2 large beets cleaned and peeled.

2 medium or 3 carrots cleaned

2 Tbsp raisins (any type) OR 2 dates with the stones removed

1 shallot peeled

2 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise

1 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1/4 of a lemon)

½ Tbsp maple syrup

1/2 Tbsp curry powder

½ tsp garam marsala

¼ tsp ground ginger

2-3 clementine or mandarin oranges

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Directions

 Whiz the raisins, shallot, and clementines (or mandarin oranges) in a food processor. You’ll end up with a pulp. Remove this pulp and place it in a medium-sized bowl. Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry, garam masala, ground ginger and maple syrup and blend to make the slaw dressing.  

In the same food processor – no need to clean it – switch the blade to finely grate the carrots and beets. 

Add the grated veggies to the salad dressing and toss to combine. You’ll have a furiously fuchsia salad! 

Serve up and enjoy. This dish will last for 3 days in the fridge.

 

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Massaman Curry – all the flavour without the heat

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Esther the Wonder Pig’s executive chef (Yeah, I know right? She has her own chef!) recently posted a recipe for Massaman curry. I had never heard of this dish – a fragrant, comforting, delicious stew originating in the Malaysian peninsula. While Esther is a pig of delicate tastes, I like my foods spicy and flavourful. We both agree that Massaman curry is best made vegan.

This curry is very straightforward to make and in less than 1 hour – from start to finish – you will be sitting down to a restaurant-worthy meal.

Do not let the long list of ingredients daunt you. You probably have most of the ingredients already on hand.

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Ingredients

1 pound yellow potatoes (about 2-3 potatoes), washed, unpeeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 small onion cut into 6 pieces

3 carrots cut into coins

3 cloves garlic minced

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger

2 Tbsp Chinese 5-spice powder

I Tbsp red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

1 piece of star anise

¼ tsp cumin

¼ tsp cardamom

1/8 tsp cloves

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

400 ml (13 oz) can coconut milk

2/3 cup vegetable broth

½ Tbsp maple syrup (or brown sugar)

¼ cup peanut butter (please only use the kind that is just peanuts and oil – no brands full of added sugar and chemical brands)

½ cup whole, unsalted peanuts

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Directions

In a medium sized pot, heat the oil. Sauté the ginger, garlic, 5-spice powder, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cardamom, cloves and cumin to heat the spices through (this step helps release the flavours).

Add the broth, salt, coconut milk, star anise, maple syrup (or brown sugar) and curry paste. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, carrots and onions and reduce to a simmer.

Simmer covered for about 20 minutes. You want the potatoes to be cooked through.

Fish out the piece of star anise; it’s done its work.

Add the peanut butter and peanuts and stir until the peanut butter is combined. You will have a thick, creamy sauce.

Serve on brown, basmati or jasmine rice. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Buffalo “wing” salad

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Buffalo wings are one of those things that people go gaga over. I don’t think folks are actually that excited about the sad, bony, cartilaginous bits of chicken death, but rather they love the hot and spicy wing coating and the creamy and crunchy blend of dip with celery and carrot sticks.

I’ve recreated all the goodness of Buffalo wings with hot sauce, ranch dressing, celery and carrots and added fibre, minerals, micronutrients and a big old dose of compassion. Try this!

Ingredients

For the salad

5 -6 cups of kale washed and torn into bite-sized pieces (that’s one big bunch of kale)

2-3 carrots sliced into coins

2-3 ribs of celery sliced

 

For the buffalo chickpeas

1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (that’s one 15 oz can), rinsed and dried

½ cup Frank’s hot sauce

1 Tbsp neutral tasting oil (I use peanut oil since it can take high heat)

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp garlic powder

 

For the ranch dressing

1 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 Tbsp plant milk

2 tsp cider vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill*

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley*

Optional garnish – slices of avocado

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Directions

Turn the oven on to 400F. Mix the hot sauce, garlic powder, oil and salt in a bowl and toss the chickpeas in the dressing until they are coated. Turn them out onto a cookie sheet. Do NOT pour any remaining dressing that’s in the bowl onto the chickpeas, but just set it aside.

Bake the chickpeas for 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven, give them a stir, pour the remaining hot sauce dressing on them and then return them to the oven for another 40 minutes.

When they are done, just let the chickpeas cool on the cookie sheet.

You can make the roasted chickpeas ahead of time and store them in a sealed container in the fridge for 1-2 days.

While the chickpeas are baking, mix the kale, carrots and celery in a large salad bowl. Add the roasted chickpeas.

In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients. Taste. Swoon. Add all or some of the dressing to the salad (depending on how creamy you want it). Toss everything together and serve up your Buffalo wing salad. Enjoy!

*Here’s how I always have “fresh” herbs on hand. Store your fresh, clean herbs by the bunch in the freezer in freezer bags. Whenever you want fresh herbs for soups, sauces, stews, dips or dressings, just take some from your frozen supply. You won’t even need to chop – just crumble the frozen herbs. Frozen herbs do not work well as garnishes.

 

Curried carrot (and other roots!) slaw

I’ve been eating this curried carrot slaw all summer and autumn and sharing it with friends too. It’s hugely popular – mix of creamy, sweet, crunchy, spicy, and tangy and it’s good for you. It’ll last for days in the fridge (though it’ll be gobbled up before then) and as the weather turns colder, I’m experimenting with adding in other root veggies – white turnips, kohlrabi, rutabaga etc. Give this one a try. It’s quick and easy and a brilliant side with everything!

In this photo, I’ve used a mix of different coloured carrots – yellow, orange and purple.CurriedCarrotSlaw1st.jpg

Ingredients

2 ½ cups grated carrots (or mix it up with up to one cup of other grated root veggies)

4 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise

2 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1/3 of a lemon)

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp curry powder

1 shallot minced

1-2 Tbsp raisins

1 – 2 Tbsp shelled pistachios (optional)

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Directions

In a medium-sized bowl mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, maple syrup, curry powder and minced shallot. Add the raisins and carrot and toss to combine. Serve topped with a few pistachios.

A vegan shepherd’s pie to die for… except no one actually does

ShepherdsPie

I have always loved shepherd’s pie. It’s a gorgeous, classic comfort food. Now here’s a version that’s just as delicious as the original AND vegan.

While the ingredients list and steps may seem long, I promise this is a simple recipe that will make you feel like a gourmet when it’s done.

My next door neighbour, a venerable German lady and an excellent cook, came by to sample the dish and declared it to be buttery and sinful. I couldn’t ask for higher praise.

Ingredients

For the mashed potatoes

4-5 potatoes. I use Yukon Gold or any white fleshed potato. Scrub them well, remove any eyes, all or some of the skin and then dice.

1 white turnip peeled and diced. Trust me on this – the turnip gives the buttery flavour to the potatoes.

3 Tbsp vegan margarine

1/3 to ½ cup unsweetened soy or almond milk

Salt and pepper to taste

For the filling

½ cup beluga (black) lentils or any kind of lentils except red lentils, which get mushy.

3 stalks celery sliced

1 small onion diced

2 carrots sliced

1 parsnip sliced (if you don’t like parsnips, then just go with 3 carrots)

2 cups mushrooms sliced (I used cremini)

½ cup green peas (I used frozen)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 ½ cups vegetable broth

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tsp fresh thyme (or go w/ dried if that is what you have, but use only ½ teaspoon)

1 Tsp fresh sage (or go w/ dried if that is what you have, but use only ½ teaspoon)

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (make sure your brand is vegan. I used Lea and Perrins)

A splash of red wine (about ¼ cup)

I Tbsp flour or arrowroot (for thickening the sauce)

1 tsp salt

Black pepper to taste

Directions

Boil the cubed potatoes and turnip together until they are soft. This takes about 15-20 minutes. Drain off the water. Add the margarine and milk and mash everything together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Put the lentils in a small pot with one cup of water. Put a lid on the pot and bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside.

In a large skillet or large pot (you want a wide based vessel), sauté the onion, celery, carrot and parsnip in the olive oil. Sauté on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then add the mushrooms and sauté some more until the mushrooms have released their liquid.

Add the tomato paste, flour, wine and half the broth. Stir well so the flour and tomato paste are blended well in the broth. Add the remaining broth, thyme, sage, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, cooked lentils and peas and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer uncovered until the liquid has reduced by about half. This will take about 15 minutes.

When the filling is ready, pour it into a very large pie dish or other casserole dish. Top with the mashed potatoes and place under the broiler for 10 minutes until the potatoes are golden.

Dig in and enjoy!

Raw, vegan, carrot cake cupcakes with cashew frosting

September marches on and it’s still hotter than sin. It’s enough that we’re cooking outside; I’m not going to cook inside too. But a gal’s gotta eat. These cupcakes are all raw so require no heat. My carrots this year are especially sweet and juicy; perfect for these delicious treats.

CarrotCake

For the frosting

1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight (8 hours) and drained

1 Tbsp maple syrup

½ Tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp salt

In a food processor, blend all the ingredients. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag for piping onto the cupcakes. I don’t have a piping bag, so I used a plastic ziplock bag with the corner snipped off to do my piping. You don’t get a fancy result, but you get results. J

For the cupcakes

2 cups shredded carrots

½ cup walnut pieces

½ cup dates, pitted and soaked in hot water for about 15-30 minutes

½ cup raisins (if you don’t like raisins, try diced dried apricot)

¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

½ tsp ground cloves

Pinch salt

Put the dates, walnuts and maple syrup in a food processor and blend. It’ll look ugly but persevere.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together and then scoop into cupcake liners. Top with the frosting and keep in the freezer. Let thaw about 10 minutes before eating.

I think the cupcakes are delicious on their own without the frosting and could see making these into carrot cake balls rolled in ground walnuts.

My salad days

My salad days

It’s September 1st and the garden is bursting with goodies: yellow and green beans, savoy cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onion, green pepper, cucumber and tomatoes.

Summer is having a hot and steamy farewell this week so I opted for a quartet of salads for my dinner.

SaladDays

  1. Spicy Asian coleslaw (top of the plate)
  2. A creamy cucumber salad (on the right)
  3. A traditional bean salad (front and centre), and
  4. My mom’s potato salad (on the left).

Each recipe makes about 3-4 servings. Each salad is better after sitting overnight but you MUST let the bean salad sit overnight or you won’t get the full flavour effect.

Spicy Asian slaw

4 cups of green cabbage shredded or diced (that’s about 1/3 of a savoy cabbage)

1 carrot sliced or shredded

½ stalk celery sliced thinly

¼ of a large onion diced

¼ of a green pepper diced

2 Tbsp Vegeniase or other vegan mayo-type dressing

1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp hot chili paste (I use sambal oelek)

About 2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl and enjoy! I like this salad with roasted tofu too and a few chow mein noodles.

Note – if you have radishes they are great in this salad too and add pretty colour.

Creamy cucumber salad

About half of a large English cucumber. Do not peel. Cut into quarters and then slice.

1 green onion sliced – I use the white and green

1 tsp fresh dill or more to taste

A few grinds of black pepper

½ tsp salt

I Tbsp white vinegar

1 Tbsp Vegeniase or other vegan mayo-type dressing

Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy!

Traditional bean salad

¾ cup fresh beans

15 oz can of mixed beans (not bean salad) – drained and rinsed

¼ of a green pepper diced

½ of a large onion cut in half and then sliced in thin rings

½ stalk (or more) celery thinly sliced

¼ cup white vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil (or good vegetable oil)

3 Tbsp sugar (use raw sugar, processed, white sugar may have been made with animal bone ash – ugh)

½ tsp salt or to taste

A few grinds of black pepper to taste

Cut the stem end of the beans off and put the beans in boiling water until they are cooked – about 5-10 minutes. Drain the beans and let them cool. When the beans have cooled, cut into 1” pieces and place in a bowl with all the other ingredients. Toss everything together and let marinate for a few hours or overnight. You really must let this salad marinate!

My mom’s potato salad

3 cups of boiled potatoes (I live the skin on), cooled and cut into bite-sized pieces

¼ of a large onion diced

1 stalk celery sliced thinly

1-2 dill pickles diced

1 ½ Tbsp olive oil or other good vegetable oil

2 Tbsp dill pickle juice (the brine from the jar)

3 Tbsp Vegeniase or other vegan mayo-type dressing

Salt and pepper to taste (careful on the salt – the pickle juice is already salty!)

In a large bowl toss the potatoes, onion, oil and pickle juice together until the potatoes and onion are coated. Add the remaining ingredients and toss together.

p.s. My mom would not be happy that I shared her recipe. She would be delighted that we’re all still gushing over her potato salad though.