Winter comfort food roundup

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Tis the season!

To layer on tons of clothes every time before you go outside.

I’m back in Toronto for the holidays and it’s been a hard transition from California. I almost slipped and fell on ice 2x, my skin is embarrassingly dry, and I resent having to wear 2 layers of pants on some days.

Anyway, now is the perfect time to make comforting meals that make you feel cozy and warm, like getting a hug from the inside.

Here are some healthy, vegan stews and soups that I’ve been making and / or are planning to make this winter:

Quick Beefless Stew (Gardein)

I made this tomato-based stew a few days ago (pictured above). It’s chock full of veggies, beans and flavor and comes together so quickly. I added extra mushrooms and peas and eat it with a side of brown rice.

15 Minute Vegan Kimchi Tofu Stew (Brothers Green Eats)

I haven’t made this yet but I love kimchi (the vegan kind that doesn’t contain fish sauce) and it reminds me of another Korean dish I also love called soondubu. The base is miso and vegan kimchi, which are both fermented foods that are supposed to be good for your gut. Some enoki mushrooms would also be really good in there.

Spicy Mapo Tofu (Vegan Miam)

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Mapo tofu, aka grandma tofu, is one of my favorite dishes. I finally found this vegan version a while ago and made a week’s lunch worth. I find it so flavourful & satisfying, and I also love bean paste. I think the spiciness and mushiness (in a good way) are perfect for cold weather.

Simple spicy butternut dhal (Jenny Mustard)

This dish looks super healthy, with lentils and tons of veggies. I have been really getting into Jenny Mustard recently and binge watched her videos.

Spicy Pumpkin Peanut Soup (Peaceful Cuisine)

Soup with peanut butter? Uh, yes please. I will eat cardboard if it has peanut butter on it. Even if you don’t make this soup, you will definitely enjoy watching this artfully created video.

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What are your favorite vegan winter meals or holiday treats?

I hope you’re all having a great holiday — not stressed — and enjoying this time of year 🙂

Spaghetti Squash & Sausage Pasta Meal Prep Recipe

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We’re in the midst of ALL-PUMPKIN-EVERYTHING season, so what better time than now to post a recipe using spaghetti squash!

I like preparing squash by microwaving it first to soften it, because I don’t trust myself enough to cut through one without the knife slipping and accidentally stabbing myself.I’m not particularly weak or anything so I don’t know how other people cut through raw squashes.

Serves 4 (if you are really hungry) to 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1 package of Italian Field Roast sausages*, sliced into 1-inch coins
  • 2 T pesto
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • vegan cheese (optional topping)

Prepare the “noodles”:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

To make the squash easier to cut through, microwave each one at a time for 5 minutes each, turning them over halfway through.

Let them cool for 10 minutes, or until they are cool enough to handle.

At this point, the squashes should be soft enough that you can cut through them with a knife somewhat easily. If not, microwave for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Cut each squash in half and place on two baking sheets, rind side down. Bake for 50 minutes.

Prepare the sauce:

In the meantime, sautée the sausage in olive oil for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Add the tomato sauce and pesto, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a light simmer.

Assemble:

Once the squash is done, let them cool for 15-20 minutes, or until it’s cool enough to handle. Take a fork and scrape the flesh of the inside to get the spaghetti and collect in a large bowl. If the squash cooked all the way, you should be able to get everything all the way to the rind.

Mix some of the spaghetti “noodles” with the sauce, top with vegan cheese, and serve.

Stored separately, the sauce and noodles will keep in the fridge for 1 week.

* You could also use a package of vegan ground meat.

Low-carb, vegan spaghetti & meatballs

 

Project Meal Prep | Low carb, vegan spaghetti and meatballs

I rarely come up with my own recipes.

I have a habit of browsing through other people’s recipes just for fun, and so most of what I do is just follow recipes.

Also, I have a desk job that makes me use my brain a lot, so I don’t have a lot of time and energy to recipe test (but I wish I did!)

Tonight I had a rare moment where I actually came up with this dinner on my own AND it tastes really good, so I had to post it immediately.

I love this recipe because it’s:

  • low carb
  • has at least 15 grams of protein (if you use the Gardein meatballs)
  • you can make it in like 20 minutes
  • it tastes delicious and is totally satisfying

The pesto sauce totally makes up for the lack of effort otherwise on the sauce.

BEHOLD: Low-carb, vegan spaghetti and meatballs! Which are really zoodles and meatless balls.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 zucchinis (preferably organic, because pesticides + you’re eating the skin), spiralized
  • 6 frozen meatless meatballs (I used these Gardein ones)
  • 1 can or carton of tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon pesto
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt

In a medium pot, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 minced clove of garlic at the same time (so the garlic flavor is infused into the oil).

Let the garlic sizzle for a minute or two, then add the tomato sauce and pesto. Mix to combine and bring to a simmer.

Add the frozen meatballs and simmer for another 10-12 minutes. Add salt to taste if needed.

In the meantime, heat up a pan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the remaining garlic again (same method). Let the garlic sizzle for a minute or two, then add the spiralized zucchini. Sautee for 3 minutes or until the zoodles are as soft as you like.

Once the sauce and meatballs have done simmering, divide the zoodles onto two plates and top with sauce (you might not use it all) and 3 meatballs.

I hope you make it and love it!

Check out my tiny handful of other recipes:

3 stupidly easy, no-frills ways to make vegan chocolate pudding

An introductory green smoothie

Not Coco-Roons (coconut-y dessert recipe)

3 different things you can make with just bananas and oatmeal/

Asian jackfruit tacos

 

Vanilla Milkshake Day

VANILLA MILKSHAKE DAY

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Today is National Vanilla Milkshake Day! Traditional milkshakes usually contain ice cream and are full of added sugar*, but have no fear: Here’s a recipe for a milkshake that’s just as cold, creamy, sweet and delicious but also healthy and vegan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk (or nut milk of your choice) OR full-fat coconut milk for a more indulgent shake
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Medjool date
  • 1 cup frozen banana chunks

Directions:

  1. Soak your date in hot water for a few minutes until softened
  2. Remove pit from the date
  3. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

 

* The difference between the effect on your body of just straight up sugar vs adding fruit is in the amount of time it takes for your the fructose to hit your liver. The fibre in fruit slows down your body’s absorption of this fructose, so your liver has time to process it.

From the Institute for Responsible Nutrition:

When consumed, [their] large doses of fructose overwhelm the liver’s ability to metabolize fructose. The liver responds by doing the most efficient thing it can do with fructose–it converts fructose to fat, which, over time, leads to metabolic syndrome by contributing to:

 

  • fatty liver disease (a precursor to diabetes)
  • liver insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes)
  • increased small, dense LDL cholesterol
  • increased triglycerides
  • increased uric acid (which contributes to hypertension)

Father’s Day vegan food roundup

FATHER'S DAY VEGAN FOOD ROU
Modified photo by Peter Baker on Flickr

Father’s Day is approaching! I’ve rounded up some recipes for if you’re planning to celebrate, or just wanna do something nice for him that isn’t, say, buying yet another necktie that he doesn’t really want.

I think cooking for someone is one of the most generous things you can do, so whether or not your dad is a vegan, these are some vegan dishes he’ll enjoy.

‘Filet’ with Caramelized Onion Gravy (Ms. Vegan)

No need to go to a steakhouse when you could make a faux filet mignon at home. This dish looks like steak, but it’s made with Gardein Beefless tips (which are delicious BTW).

Australian Meat Pie (Ms. Vegan)

I had no idea that “meat pie” was an Australian dish, but apparently it’s considered “iconic” in both Australia and New Zealand. I made these a few months ago and they are SO hearty, warm and filling. Kinda feels like getting a hug from the inside, but not in a creepy way 🙂

Pasta carbonara with shiitake bacon (Chef Chloe) 

This recipe is from Chef Chloe, who won Cupcake Wars a few years ago with a vegan cupcake. She now has a super popular vegan restaurant in NYC which I am dying to visit. Anyway, she came up with this amazing dish which she went on the TODAY show to make, and I also saw it in a magazine a few months ago, so it must be a crowd-pleaser! “Carbonara” is a name for an Italian pasta dish containing egg, cheese/cream, and bacon/ham.

Meatball sliders (Chef Chloe)

Another recipe from Chef Chloe. This is what she says about them:

I made these once for a pack of far-from-vegan guy friends and they scarfed them down. They were shocked to learn that they were vegetarian, let alone vegan!

I’m sold!

Cauliflower wings (Conveniently Vegan)

Wings — a classic pub favorite. My fellow blogger friend Meredith came up with a way to vegan-ize them AND make them healthy. If your dad enjoys wings, then it’s a win-win-win… is that the correct number of wins?

Vegan Guinness chocolate cake (Wallflower Kitchen)

Did you know that some types of Guinness beers aren’t vegan? There’s a part of the filtration process that involves using fish bladder, and there are trace amounts of it in the final product. The company is reportedly in the process of removing that step, making the beer vegan.

Anyway, this chocolate cake recipe looks delicious, and I personally don’t know many men who don’t like beer, so if you’re able to find a vegan lager, why not make it for the dad in your life?

Chocolate Chip Cookies (The Vegan Zombie)

Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies, especially when they’re freshly warm out of the oven!

I hope you have an awesome Father’s Day!

Asian jackfruit tacos

HEALTHY ASIAN TACOS

I was at Whole Foods the other day and in one of my favorite sections of the store, the faux meats section, I came across Jackfruit.

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I had heard about the meaty texture of jackfruit, but never came across the actual fruit in the grocery store. I LOVE trying new products and get really excited about them, especially meat, dairy and cheese alternatives, so of course I had to buy one (no this is not a sponsored post — I’m way too insignificant in the food blog world heh).

It tastes different from anything I’ve ever had, but I liked it. I wish I could tell you if they taste jackfruit-y, but I can’t because I’ve never had it.

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Anyway, I decided to make Asian tacos with the jackfruit, adding a rice vinegar, soy sauce slaw and some Sriracha.

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Instead of using regular corn or flour tortillas, I went with sprouted grain tortillas.

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The jackfruit doesn’t have a lot of calories — 100 for 1/2 cup, so this makes for a light dinner that comes together so quickly. You can eat it throughout the week, preparing the slaw in advance.

Makes 12 tacos (2 tacos per serving)

For the slaw:

  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage, regular cabbage, and carrots; I bought mine pre-shredded
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar or 1 packet of Stevia
  • a few slices of jalapeno (optional)

I can only tolerate a moderate amount of spice, so I just added the jalapeno in to let the flavor and spice rub against the other ingredients, but I don’t put the actual slices in my taco. But you do you, boo.
For the tacos:

  • 2-3 boxes of The Jackfruit Company Sesame-Ginger Jackfruit
  • 1 package small / taco-sized tortillas of your choice
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • Sriracha

Optional but recommended garnishes:

  • sesame seeds
  • a wedge of lime

Meal prepping directions:

  • Mix all of the slaw ingredients together in a container.
  • Wash a big handful of the cilantro and put it in another container.
  • Empty the packets of jackfruit into a third container.
  • Refrigerate all three containers.

Serving directions for 2 tacos:

  • Warm up 2 tortillas on a pan
  • In the meantime, microwave about 1/2 cup of the jackfruit, or as much as you want.
  • When the tortillas are done warming up, top with 1/3 cup of the slaw distributed evenly between them, then top with the warmed jackfruit.
  • Top with torn up cilantro, as much Sriracha as you’d like.
  • Add a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a squeeze of lime if using.

Have you tried jackfruit before? How did you eat it?

Live Like a Vegan King on $50 a Week – Day 6 Recap

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I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for the next episode of this YouTube series. Basically, this guy (who’s an omnivore) takes on a challenge to eat vegan on a budget of $50 for a week. He’s come up with some pretty creative dishes so far.

In this episode, he and a friend make sweet potato gnocchi, with a sauce using leftover ingredients from previous dishes.

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What potato gnocchi looks like

If you don’t know what gnocchi is (pronounced n(y)ok-ee or noh-kee, naw-kee), this is what Wikipedia says:

Gnocchi are various thick, soft dough dumplings that may be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, egg, cheese, potato, breadcrumbs, cornmeal, or similar ingredients, with or without flavourings of herbs, vegetables, or sweet things like cocoa or prunes…  Gnocchi is usually eaten as a replacement for pasta as a first course, but it can also be served as a contorno to some dishes.

The dish originates from Italy.

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Here’s how they made gnocchi from sweet potatoes:

  • roast an entire sweet potato whole at 400F for 45 mins
  • add a sprinkle of salt to extract the moisture
  • add flour gradually (looks to be about 1/4 cup) and fold in gently
  • to test for flavor, make one gnocchi by forming a ball with two spoons
  • add to boiling water until it rises to the surface (3 mins)
  • taste gnocchi and adjust seasoning on sweet potato-flour mixture if necessary
  • form balls and cook the remaining gnocchi

The sauce they added the gnocchi to had a mixture of:

  • chickpeas
  • leftover mac and cheese sauce
  • leftover ramen stock
  • black beans
  • lemon
  • salt and pepper

I was hoping there would have been more dishes, but I thought this video was pretty cool. I’ve never made gnocchi before or thought it could be made with sweet potato, but now I’d like to try making it. Looking forward to the final episode 🙂