Hummus


hummusA bunch of us are heading up to my family cottage for the weekend to get outside, enjoy some fresh air and fires to warm up the chilly evenings, oh, and eat.

I make this for just about every gathering, family birthday party or any other excuse snack.
I’ve tried others and this one is it. Simple, light and perfect.

Since there’s company, I’ll pretend I’m fancy and liven this super easy appetizer up with homemade Furikake and a light olive oil.

Furikake is a Japanese seasoning (Furiakakeru which means sprinkle) is meant for sprinkling on rice and other dishes. Mine is a combination of roasted nori, toasted sesame and wasabi powder.

 

CLASSIC HUMMUS

1 15oz Can Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas), drained and rinsed
3 Garlic Cloves, small & finely minced
1/3 Cup Tahini, roasted sesame paste
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1/4 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Combine the drained beans with the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. If you find it thick, add 1 tablespoon of water and combine. Taste and adjust your salt as necessary.

FURIKAKE
1/2 Cup White Sesame Seeds
3 Sheets Nori, roasted seasoned
1 teaspoon Dehydrated Onion Flakes
1/4 teaspoon Wasabi Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Sugar

Heat a dry skillet over medium high heat and add the sesame seeds in one layer.
Shake the pan regularly to toast to a medium tan and the seeds become fragrant.
Remove from heat and pour the seeds into a bowl. Add the wasabi powder, salt and sugar, tossing well to coat and cool.
Break up the nori sheets and in the bowl of a food processor, (or just cut the nori into small pieces) combine the nori with the onion flakes and cooled sesame seeds until everything is small and sprinkleable.

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 3 months.

To serve, spread the hummus in a wide, shallow bowl or plate. Using a spoon, create a few swirls and pour over the olive oil. Sprinkle over the furikake.

Versatile Meatless Meatballs


The other day, my friend dropped me a line asking if I had any meatball recipes.
You see, she was off to a Holiday potluck and being vegetarian, her and her husband wanted to offer something familiar on the carnivorous table, as well as have something to satisfy themselves.

I suddenly realized that the site was a bit lacking on the soy and meat replacement type options. I’d decided I was long overdue. Since the whole point of this site is to satisfy (everybody) I figured I’d better get cracking.

One option, other than just removing meat, is to just use breadcrumbs but since most meatballs are held together with eggs, I had a little more of a challenge ahead to make them stick. However, my biggest concern was, of course flavour and texture. With a combination of finely chopped mushrooms, crumbs and a glutenous flour to hold them together, they turned out pretty great, if I may say so myself:)

Hence the name, this recipe is pretty versatile, good for either marinara sauces or gravies.

MEATLESS MEATBALLS

1 Cup Breadcrumbs, coarse
1 Cup  Minced Mushrooms, I used crimini
1 Clove Garlic, finely minced (or 1/2 t garlic powder will do in a pinch)
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast Flakes
3/4 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten Flour
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, vegan
1 Tablespoon Tamari or soy sauce
3 Tablespoons finely chopped baby spinach leaves*
1 Vegetable bouillon cube
1/2 Cup Hot Water

Dissolve the bouillon cube in the hot water. Add the worcestershire and tamari and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, mushrooms, garlic, nutritional yeast flakes, and flour.
Pour over the liquid and spinach.
Knead the mixture together to form a firm dough.
Pinch off 1 inch sized pieces to roll into balls.

Either heat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC) or heat a layer of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.
If baking, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and evenly distribute the meatballs so they aren’t touching.
Bake for 15 minutes then roll each of the meatballs over to brown the other sides, baking for an additional 15 minutes.

If frying, (I liked this version better) add the meatballs to the heated oil to fill the pan, without overcrowding.
Fry the meatballs, moving occasionally to evenly brown them on all sides.
Remove from the pan and allow to drain on a paper towel while you finish up any remaining meatballs.

*Depending on the end dish, you could choose to add additional seasoning such as parsley, thyme, oregano or basil for tomato sauces and rosemary or thyme for brown (mushroom) gravies.

Curried Lemon Quinoa With Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpeas


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Oh Yeah! Who doesn’t like Quinoa?
Haven’t heard of it??
It’s got a similar texture to brown rice or couscous (but better, it’s tender with bounce) oh, and it’s landed a “Superfood” title.
Not only high in protein, it’s a complete protein, with all 8 essential amino acids. Oh, and it’s gluten free and easy to digest…. that and it takes about seven minutes to make.

I’ve heard of it in so many rice bowl style recipes as well as served up for breakfast.
So before I continue to sound like an infomercial, what about you? Are you new to this superfood or have you already converted from rice?

This is one amazing, flavour packed recipe! The roasted cauliflower and chickpeas would be so great on their own, but the lemony-dressed, herby kale dotted, lemony quinoa just makes this a memorable dinner!

CURRIED LEMON QUINOA WITH ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & CHICKPEAS

1 Cup Quinoa
3 Cups Kale, Chopped
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoon Olive Oil, divided
1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger, peeled & grated
1 Head of  Cauliflower, cut into flowerettes
1 15oz can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Lemons, Juiced and Zested, divided
2 Tablespoons Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Powder
1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
4 Fresh Mint Leaves, Finely Chopped
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup tahini.
1 clove garlic, finely minced.
1-2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric

 

Preheat the oven to 400ºF
In a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the oil ,onion, garlic, dried spices, cauliflower and chickpeas to toss. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet.
Roast until the cauliflower is tender, and the chickpeas have crisped, about 45-50 minutes, checking irregularly to shake the pan.
Meanwhile, in a mesh strainer. Rinse the quinoa very well for about 3 minutes.
In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the quinoa.
Reduce to a simmer, cover and remove from heat after 5 minutes.
Keep covered until ready to use.
Strip the kale from the larger stems and roughly chop. Add the kale to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, “massage” it, by grabbing handfuls of kale in your hands and scrunch it up in your palms to break down the tougher fibers. When the kale is darker green in colour, pour over 2 tablespoons olive oil, one tablespoon grated ginger, cilantro, mint and juice from one lemon. Add the cooked quinoa , salt and pepper, then stir well to combine.
To make the dressing, whisk together the tahini, adding 3-4 tablespoons of warm water to thin, add remaining lemon juice , maple syrup, curry powder, 1/2 tablespoon grated ginger and turmeric.

Divide the quinoa among serving bowls. Spoon over cauliflower and chickpeas. Finish with the lemon zest, a drizzle of the dressing and an extra toss of fresh cilantro, if desired.

Just Visiting?


So it’s January. Or as I’ve also heard, Veganuary…  A month of clean eating repent for the holiday glut. Maybe, it’s the start of a year long commitment to eat more plant-based. But here, there is no judgement. Try it out. I’m here to help! I know, I know, the idea of doing something new is tough. New is unknown, but after over a decade of writing hundreds of Vegan Visitor recipes, I’ve learned, and tasted so much. Thirteen (!) years later,  it’s easier than ever to practice a plant-based diet — even if you’re just visiting. Diets seem to be ever evolving, but vegetables never go out of food fashion.
Easing into plant-based eating and feeling forgiven to be on that veggie grayscale can make it so much more comfortable. Testing the waters and eating this way part time, may be less of a commitment, but come February, you’ll discover clean eating isn’t that tough and will not only make you a bit more fit, but happier. It’s great to feel healthy, but you’ll be doing a little bit to lighten your “food-print” too!

Being on both sides of the food fence, I know what I need to feel satisfied during a meal and these recipes will leave you happy, healthier and satiated too.

Vegan isn’t as tricky as some might think to adapt into their everyday, so don’t fret! I’ve been doing this a long time and have put a lot of recipes to the test.

There’s everything from comforting classics to tasty one-tray dinners, simple pasta dishes to hearty winter stews. Start with this deliciously simple idea from my forthcoming book for lunch! It’s probably everything you have in your pantry already, so no stress. Adapting plant-based isn’t supposed to be. It’s here to make you feel better, ease the planet in the process.

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Creamy White Bean & Arugula Toasts

1 Can White Cannellini Beans (260g)
3 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Baby Arugula, packed
3-4 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
1 Lemon, zested and juiced.
¼ teaspoon Salt
Crack of freshly ground pepper to taste
Chilli Flakes

Drain and rinse the beans. Heat olive oil over medium low. Add the garlic to lightly sauté, followed by the beans, salt and pepper. Once warmed through, about 5 minutes, mash the beans slightly with the back of a wooden spoon to break down and make everything even creamier. Add the arugula to wilt, basil and lemon zest, tossing to combine.

Toast some grainy slices of bread and top with some the bean mixture. Lightly drizzle it with more olive oil, if desired and top with more arugula, lemon  zest, some flaky sea salt and chilli flakes.

 

 

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Beans, Beans. They’re Good…


We all know the rhyme. Even my kids refuse to take them for lunch at school and I don’t blame them. It’s because of the curse that I refused to go near them throughout my entire teenage years.

Quite possibly just a myth, we all got over it with this latest batch. I’ve tried the classic Boston version and never one to be too much into the tomatoey version, I’ve always been partial to the sweet Canadian maple variety.
However, I’m getting BPA picky and costofevenacanofbeans choosy, so I ventured out for another home try.

At literally pennies for a cup of beans, dried are so the way to go for so many reasons. Cheap yes, but they really aren’t as intimidating as one would think. After simply soaking them in water, in the same pot I would later cook them in, they were tender and ready to go into the crockpot in about the same time as it took me to prep and get everything else together!

GREAT WHITE NORTHERN BEANS

3 Cups Great Northern Beans, soaked overnight
1 1/2 Tablespoons Oil
1 Small Onion, finely diced (about 1/2 Cup)
1 Apple, peeled and finely diced (about 1 Cup)
1 Cup Ketchup
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
2 – 3 Cups Water, reserved from the beans

Once the beans have soaked overnight, make sure they still have about 3 inches of water covering them and bring them to a boil in a large stockpot for about 55 minutes or until just tender.
Meanwhile heat the crockpot to high. Add the oil diced onion and apple. Cover and let it begin to cook and soften.
Measure off the ketchup in a large, pourable measuring cup.
Add the mustard, salt, brown sugar and vinegar, stirring to combine.
Once the beans are soft, drain, reserving the liquid.
Add the beans to the crockpot along with the onion and apple.
Pour over the prepared ingredients and the maple syrup.
Add 2 1/2 cups of the reserved bean water and stir to combine well.
Cook on high heat setting for about 5 hours or low for 8 hours until beans are quite soft and very flavourful.
Add more liquid as necessary and adjust salt to taste.

Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini



Where have I been having vanished with the summer?
Sheltering from the rain, I’d replaced my passé front yard with an edible garden.
I tried my luck with a few heirloom seeds and a few more old stand-by vegetables.
Summer may have squeaked by, but not without leaving me with a few baseball bat sized zucchinis.

I took company coming as the perfect opportunity to eat up the biggest one.  Of course there were cakes and something savoury for lunch as well.

We managed to eat half. (That was even with seconds!)

QUINOA STUFFED ZUCCHINI

1 Tablespoon Oil
1 Shallot, minced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Red Quinoa
1 Large Zucchini, very large in my case
1 Cup Yellow Pear Tomatoes
A big handful of herbs of your choice. I used mostly basil, some parsley and thyme, finely chopped
salt+pepper

Rinse the quinoa well and leave it to soak in a mesh colander for about 3 minutes.
Combine the drained quinoa with 2 cups of boiling water in a medium saucepan.
Cover and reduce to a simmer for about 7 minutes.
Lift the lid and check in on the quinoa. The water should be mostly absorbed and appear fluffy. If not, cover again and continue to cook for a couple of minutes more.
Once the water has been absorbed, fluff with a fork and leave it to cool while you prepare the remainder of the stuffing.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil and sauté the shallots. Once they’ve softened, add the garlic but be careful not to burn it.
Half the zucchini lengthwise and remove the seeds. Trim the ends and remove the bottom of one half just so it will sit without toppling over. Dice the other half until you’ve measured 2 Cups. (If there’s still some left, here’s a recipe for scones.)
Add the chopped zucchini to the shallots and continue to sauté until it’s softened.
Slice the tomatoes and add them to the zucchini.
Remove from the heat and add the prepared quinoa and chopped herbs.
Combine well and add a good amount of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Place the seeded, trimmed zucchini half in a baking dish which has been lightly oiled.
Pack the stuffing into the crevice. Drizzle with olive oil and cover lightly with foil.
Bake for approximately 1 hour or depending on your zucchini’s size and thickness, until it’s tender. (Begin checking at 40 minutes if it’s more of a slender forearm size:)