A KINDER COBB SALAD

I can only be convinced to eat a salad for dinner if it’s really awesome, filling and hearty. This cobb salad fits the bill! Not only is it downright pretty, but it contains a tonne of protein, good fats, and veggies. I actually made two identical salads- the one pictured was brought along to work the next day and kept me full for the afternoon.

The creaminess of the dressing and the avocado is a great contrast to the crunch of the slaw and almonds.

It’s easy as can be and of course – if you’re feeling lawless – the components can easily be swapped up. Try beans such as chickpeas or kidney beans. Mixed peppers would work well, and any type of nut will do.

Ingredients (serves 2)

4 cups shredded cabbage (I used pre-packaged broccoli slaw)
1 avocado, cubed
1 tomato, cubed
1/4 cup roasted almonds
1/2 block smoked tofu
corn from one cobb (i’m ok with raw, but if you prefer slightly cooked, place in boiling water for 5 minutes)
coconut bacon (I buy mine from Tori’s Bakeshop)
1/4 cup vegenaise
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions 

Whisk vegenaise, dijon, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Toss with slaw until completely blended. Arrange slaw on two plates. “Layer” your ingredients in long strips across the slaw. Top with coconut bacon. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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5 MINUTES WITH TARA TOMULKA OF RAWCOLOGY

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Tara Tomulka is the founder of Rawcology, a raw vegan kitchen that aims to, “unite foodies that believe real food is best in its most natural state”.

Tara is a Toronto-based Certified Raw Food Teacher and Holistic Nutritionist. She also  developed (and, lucky for us, teaches!) the first ever raw vegan course at George Brown Culinary school.

What I love about Tara’s business and recipes is her focus on community and local food. Her kitchen aims to source all of their produce from Ontario farms.

I’m thrilled that Tara agreed to take 5 minutes out of her busy day to answer a few questions for me!

  1. What’s the last thing you ate?

My addictively delicious “very cheesy” dip that’s made with red pepper, nutritional yeast, cashews, apple cider vinegar, turmeric and Pink Himalayan salt. Mmmm…

2. Which vegan chef do you most admire and why?

Sarah Britton from My New Roots is my absolute favourite. I love Sarah because her down-to-earth approach and genuine love for whole foods shines through in every recipe she makes and photo she takes. She’s the kind of person I’d want to cook with in my own kitchen at home. Sarah also inspired me to become a Holistic Nutritionist and I strongly share her sentiment that both diet and lifestyle play a powerful role in achieving optimal health and wellness.

3. What’s the one dish you’ve created that’s scored you the most high fives?

Oooh, that’s a tough one! I’d have to say my raw vegan pad thai with spiralized zucchini, kelp noodles and a ton of colourful veggies. I recently made it at a demo for high school students and were thrilled that they licked their plates clean and came back for seconds.

4. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Still trying to figure that one out! My next Rawcology goal is to start selling a line of plant-based dips and snacks that are high protein, high fibre and nutrient-rich. I’d also like to invest in a kitchen space that can be turned into a studio space in which I teach culinary classes, host holistic wellness classes and retreats. The goal is to collaborate with other health and wellness professionals from plant-based chefs, holistic nutritionists, naturopathic doctors, yoga instructors and entrepreneurs to deliver memorable, one-of-a-kind wellness experiences in this space.

5. What’s the one ingredient can’t you live without?

This may be a surprise but I’m going to have to say hemp seeds. I sprinkle them on coconut yogurt, salads, veggie bowls, add them to my smoothies and even my desserts. Hemp seeds are a perfect food, a complete protein, a rich source of essential fatty acids (EFAs) and 3 tablespoons provide 10 grams of protein, 3 grams of fibre and 10.5 grams of EFAs!! They help balance blood sugar levels, support energy production and a strong immune system.

6. Do vegans have more fun?

What do you think? Hehe.

7. What kitchen item do you most often buy for wedding gifts?

Hand-crafted wooden bowls. Stinson Studios makes incredibly beautiful bowls!

8. Where’s the last place you went to on a date? (and what did you order?)

I went to Raw Aura Organic Cuisine and ordered the Pink Lady juice (yes, it did make me feel like a lady!), and split the Red Beet Ravioli, Nachos and Big Salad with my date. I loved it all but was very impressed by the presentation of the Beet Ravioli. I need to recreate something similar soon!

9. Did becoming vegan bring out any unexpected character traits in you? i.e. are you funnier now than ever before?

Switching to a plant-based diet has definitely made me more sensitive and compassionate in general. I cry in pretty much every drama and cartoon movie.. it’s embarrassing.

10. What’s the one thing you wish more people knew about vegan food?

That eating plants is not a sacrifice – there are endless ways that you can eat more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. My mission with Rawcology is to inspire and educate people that it’s possible to eat and create easy, healthy and delicious plant-based meals. Eating this way is not complicated. It should be simple and embracing more colourful, vibrant foods is one of the best things you can do for your own health and the health of the planet. I hope I can inspire you to eat more plants, every day!

BAKED SESAME TOFU STICKS

There’s nothing quite like savoury tofu. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s such an awesome, high protein addition to almost anything- salads, tacos, soup. But with this peanut dipping sauce, it’s unlikely to find its way into anything but your mouth.

If you’re too worn out to make the dipping sauce, don’t fret. No one will judge if you dip these bad boys into some hummus, vegan ranch dressing, or chilli sauce.

Continue reading “BAKED SESAME TOFU STICKS”

VEGAN THAI COCONUT SOUP (TOM KHA TOFU)

When I was younger and unattached, I spent close to a year in Thailand. I loved a million things about the country –  the warmth, the people, and the food. The spices were so varied and complex, meaning I could eat the same type of food every day (soup) and yet always enjoy a variety of flavours. A good amount of food in Thailand is vegetarian, so I happily ate my way through the country without a problem. I remember it as being incredibly family friendly, so I’m dreaming of the day when I can take my little ones there on a holiday.

What I love most about this Tom Kha Tofu recipe is how easy it is to make: from pot to bowl, we’re talkin’ 10-15 minutes. What I also love about this soup is how spot on it is in terms of tasting exactly like thai takeaway. Everyone is hella impressed when I serve this! It’s pretty light, so I find it’s best to eat/ serve as a starter vs. a main.

It’s also a very clean recipe, and will definitely be a staple during my upcoming 2 week cleanse with naturopathic doctor Christina Carreau. Subbing in almond milk vs. pure coconut milk reduces the fat content.

(note: I doubled the recipe below so i had leftovers for lunch).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 3/4 cups of almond milk (original)
  • 3 tbs green curry paste
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 cup thin sliced mushrooms
  • 3 cups chopped broccoli
  • 8 oz tofu, cubed
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 4 tbs lime juice
  • Fresh cilantro as a garnish

Directions

In a large pot, mix the coconut and almond milk, the green curry paste and the tamari. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli, mushrooms and tofu. Cover again and cook for 10 minutes.

Turn off the stove and stir in maple syrup and lime juice. Serve and top with cilantro and a sliced lime

 

CLEANSING DETOX SOUP

I’m about to embark on a 2 week cleanse with my naturopath Christina Carreau from Degen’s Health Group in Scarborough and the recipe below is part of her meal plan. To me, a spring cleanse is a great way to press the reset button in my body. I feel like I’m down with the clean eating part, but not drinking coffee (and, who are we kidding, wine) for 2 weeks is really challenging for me.  I do it because the benefits are remarkable – after a cleanse I feel lighter, have more energy, I sleep better (and wake up easier…normally we’re talking multiple hits of the proverbial snooze button each morning), and develop a stronger connection to the food I’m preparing and eating.

The recipe below makes an enormous amount of soup. Enough to last you for several meals through out the week. Enjoy a large bowl with a side salad for dinner, or pack it up for lunch. Between meals, this is a great soup to warm up in a mug for a quick snack. It’s packed with veggies, so you know you’re getting ample nutrients.  I tried to let the spices do the talking in this dish – the cinnamon and cayenne added such a great kick that I didn’t have to add much salt. I threw in a can of chick peas for an added fiber / protein boost.

Recipe from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Cookbook. 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup water (or vegetable broth)
  • 1/2 of a red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, florets
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (I used powdered)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
  • fine-grain sea salt (I used a few cranks of Himalayan pink salt ) and black pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups water (or 4 cups vegetable broth + 2 cups water)
  • 2 cups kale, de-stemmed and torn in pieces
  • 1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
  • juice from ½ of a small lemon (or a whole lemon, depending how much lemon flavor you like)

 

Directions 

In a large pot, add the water and turn on the heat to medium-high. After it’s hot, add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the celery, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes and fresh ginger. Stir and cook for 3 minutes, adding in extra water or broth as needed (another ¼ cup). Stir in the turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper plus salt and pepper to taste. Add in the water or vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10- 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add in the kale, cabbage and lemon juice near the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Enjoy!

Feeling Lawless? 

No one’s gonna call the cops on you if you switch up the kale for a gorgeous bunch of rainbow chard (or at least I got off lucky when I did this). I also threw in a can of chick peas, for kicks.

EASY GINGER-GARLIC CAULIFLOWER FRIED RICE

I admit it, I’m a bit obsessed with the humble cauliflower. But it’s really a magical veggie and its uses  in vegan cooking are endless. Imagine my surprise when my mother-in-law taught me how to make fried “rice” using cauliflower! Not that there is anything wrong with rice but cauliflower offers some added nutrition and a bit of variety to your usual veggie bowl.

This recipe is so simple – only 10 minutes to prep (most of this is spent grating the cauliflower, but this task will take less and less time the more you do it) and 15 mins to cook. It’s great as a main or a side and is perfect re-heated for lunches during the week.

Yield: 3-4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 whole head of cauliflower, leaves and stem removed and discarded
1 inch piece of ginger, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
3 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 pkg Yves veggie ground
1/2 cup Bragg’s or soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

DirectionsBreak cauliflower into large chunks and grate using a cheese grater. You may need to use a knife with the end pieces to save your fingers from getting cut!

Heat oil on medium-high in a non-stick skillet. Add ginger and garlic and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add veggie ground round and cook for 3 minutes. Add grated cauliflower, frozen peas and Bragg’s / soy sauce and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!!

 

 

Feeling Lawless? No need to add the veggie ground if you’ve got something else on hand. Another protein, such as diced tofu, would work really well too. And the veggies (apart from the cauliflower) can be swapped up too – try mushrooms, broccoli or peppers. If you have access to the famed “vegan egg” (I can’t find it in Canada!) you can add that too to make a classic Chinese Fried Rice.

 

 

REVIEW: THE BUTCHER AND THE VEGAN – A NEW CONCEPT IN DINING OUT

When my husband and I go out for dinner, there’s usually a bit of a tug of war between “vegan” and “mainstream”. With the former, I’m fully at ease with all the menu choices. With the latter, I’ve got a tonne of questions, some doubts, and a bit of poking around in my food to be sure I got what I ordered.

Enter The Lawless and the Vegan, a new-ish restaurant in Hamilton, Ontario that I had an opportunity to review recently. With my lovely mother in tow, we enjoyed a special lunch together and were both truly satisfied with our meals.

This type of restaurant represents a shift in thinking that’s becoming more and more common – local, sustainable, ethical, farm-to-table. It takes it one step further by offering at least half of the menu items that are fully vegan. This is a great opportunity for meat-eaters to try vegan dishes they may not otherwise have tried.

Food preferences / lifestyles typically vary amongst couples, within families, and amongst friends. It’s refreshing to have dining options that cater to this reality.

Check out my restaurant review here: http://www.eatdrinktravel.com/can-just-get-along-eat-harmony-butcher-and-the-vegan-hamilton/ 

“CHEESY” ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & POTATO CHOWDER

There’s nothing more comforting than a big bowl of chowder for dinner. Back in my fish-eating days, I could be talked into almost anything over a bowl of clam chowder in a bread bowl. This vegan version is just as tasty (bread bowl optional) and really easy to pull together. Have it for dinner one night and then re-heat leftovers during the week. It’s filling, so add a side green salad and call it a day. Kids love it, because it looks “plain” and the taste isn’t overwhelming. And my husband, who has a strange penchant for corn, said this dished passed with flying colours.

The first time I made this dish, I left out the daiya cheese. Using nutritional yeast alone, it just didn’t have the cheesy flavour I was looking for. The recipe below is super cheesy (the carrot helps with the colour) and the pepperjack gives it a subtle spicy kick.

Ingredients: 

1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp olive oil
1 large carrot, roughly sliced
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 head cauliflower
4 large cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
6 cups veggie stock
1 tsp salt
1 cup shredded pepperjack Daiya
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2/3 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
slices or shredded vegan cheese for topping

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 425. Cut Cauliflower into small florets and place on parchment lined baking sheet, along with cubes of potatoes, and slices of carrots. Place whole garlic cloves in between florets. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and combine well with your hands. Roast for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove cauliflower, carrots and garlic with tongs, stir potatoes and allow to roast for an additional 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare veggie stock and set to simmer.

Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan and cook onions for a few minutes. Add chopped cilantro and cook for one more minute. Add onion mixture to the broth along with salt, nutritional yeast (you may need to whisk this in to help dissolve). Once veggies are roasted, add to the soup mix and allow to simmer on low for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Once cool (ish), use hand blender (or stand blender in batches) and blend until smooth. Return to pot. Add pepperjack daiya and warm up enough to allow cheese to melt into soup (about 10 minutes on low). Add corn kernels for last 5 minutes. Serve topped with some additional cheese, and enjoy!

 

Feeling lawless? This recipe is pretty forgiving. Veggie stock + roasted cauliflower/garlic is plenty enough for a tasty soup, if that’s all you’ve got. The potatoes add some thickness and the yeast / Daiya combo makes it cheesy. You can easily leave out the onions / cilantro and sub for another herb i.e fresh basil.

If you’re keen to eat this out of a bread bowl, try a small sourdough loaf. Cut a circle in the top and pull off the “lid”. Scoop out the bread on the inside, leaving a bowl (for heaven’s sake, don’t throw the bread away!! It’s perfect for dipping into the soup). Fill the bowl with soup and cover with the lid until ready to serve. FUN!

 

CRISPY CAULIFLOWER & BLACK BEAN TACOS

There’s seriously nothing tastier than things in real corn tortillas. I found mine at the St Lawrence Market in Toronto at a shop called Manotas (which also sells vegan tamales and vegan empanadas, which are waiting in my freezer for me to devour them). I’ve also purchased a stack of corn tortillas from La Tortilleria in Kensington Market. I find the this option to be more reasonably priced, and they also deliver if you’re keen on stocking up your freezer (the delivery fee seems steep however if you’re only getting a few items).

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s eat!

Yield: About 12 tacos
Prep time: 30 minutes
cook time: 25 minutes

Crispy Cauliflower (recipe adapted from Vegan.com)

Ingredients 

  • 2 medium heads of cauliflower
  • 1 cup white rice flour (or substitute regular flour)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic power
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup water

Directions: Mix water, flour, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper in a  bowl. Cut cauliflower into small florets. Dip pieces of cauliflower into flour mixture and saturate completely. Place on a parchment covered backing sheet (you’ll thank me later for this step). Bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees (F), turn over and bake for 5 more minutes until brown and crispy. Allow to cool.

Super simple sauce: mix together 1/4 cup vegenaise plus 2 tbsp salsa verde.

Black bean dip (recipe adapted from Company’s Coming Meatless Cooking
Ingredients 

  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp hot sauce

Directions: mash beans on a plate or cutting board with the back of a fork. Mix in remaining ingredients. (Tip: use this later in the week for an awesome warm dip. Microwave or heat in the oven and melt some shredded vegan cheese on top. Use pita wedges, tortilla chips, or carrots to scoop it up!).

To arrange tacos: place about a table spoon of black bean dip on the base of the tortilla. Top with cauliflower, then sauce, and then some arugula. Add some extra salsa verde if you’re a spicy kind of person. Enjoy!

Feeling Lawless? Taco Tuesday is one of our favourite nights because everybody wins. Pull out some small prep bowls and fill them with pretty much anything: cooked vegan “beef”, chickpeas, veggies (mixed peppers, mushrooms and onions are great), avocado, seeds (i.e. sunflower), and any variety of salsas. Everyone can go nuts filling their tacos with whatever they fancy that night. The above recipe can be for crispy anything – try broccoli instead if that floats your boat!

BLUE CHEESE, AVOCADO & JALAPENO BITES

I had a craving for some complex flavours, and so these little numbers came together. The cheese is nut-based, with spirulina added to make it look like actual blue cheese. It’s got a slightly sour taste to it, which I personally love. Others, not so much (watch a Toronto Star taste test here).

The jalapenos can be store-bought, or if you’re adventurous, you can make your own. The combo of vegenaise, cheese, and avocado creates the creamiest topping that seems to melt in your mouth. Paired with the crunchiness of the cracker, it’s a celebration in your mouth. This appetizer is great for vegans and non-vegans alike. If folks like “real” blue cheese, they’ll be willing to give this a go as well. It’s so quick to pull together and you can easily vary the recipe based on what’s in your fridge at the time. Continue reading “BLUE CHEESE, AVOCADO & JALAPENO BITES”