Sunday, 14 April 2013

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

This recipe has been a favorite of mine for a few years. It's always changing depending on what I have on hand, but always tasty. I love doing healthier, veggie versions of traditional dishes, especially Newfoundland food, because that will always have a special place in my heart. I think Shepherd's Pie originated in Scotland, but we share many similarities in our traditional cooking.

Shepherd's Pie is one of those dishes that taste better the next day, after all the flavours have had time to  soak into everything. That's one reason why I love casseroles, it's so easy to make enough to last the whole weekend (This particular one didn't last more then 24 hours, though. It was that yummy.)

Vegan Shepherd's Pie
serves 5

3 medium potatoes, cubed (equals about 3-4 cups)
1-2 tbsp butter (or Earth Balance)
1-2 cups veggie stock
1 chopped small onion
2 minced garlic cloves
2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup dry TVP
1/2 cup dry red lentils (optional, but I like the extra protein)
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp cumin
salt & pepper to taste


1. After you have your potatoes chopped, add them to a stock pot of boiling, salted water. Simmer until tender (about 10-15 mins).

2. Meanwhile, start another pot with 2 cups of water for your red lentils. Once it's boiled, add your rinsed lentils and reduce to a simmer. They don't need to be fully cooked, they'll finish cooking while in the oven, so about 15 mins on the stove top should be fine.

3. When your potatoes are done, save some liquid at the bottom of the pot after you've drained them for your mashed potatoes. Add the butter and start mashing! I used a splash of unsweetened Almond Milk so they were a bit creamier. Salt & pepper to taste.

4. Add the chopped onion, garlic and carrot to a saute pan with a splash of oil. Cook about 10 mins, until tender and fragrant.

5. Pre-heat oven to 375. Add your tvp to the bottom of your casserole dish, and rehydrate with 1 cup boiling veggie stock. Let it sit for 5 mins, then add your onion, garlic, carrots, (drained) lentils, corn, and seasoning. Mix everything together (Or layer it if you prefer, I think it taste better when it's mixed) Add enough veggie stock so it just covers everything. The TVP and lentils will soak up a lot of the liquid, so keep that in mind.

6. Spoon the mashed potatoes over the mixture as evenly as possible. Slightly smooth it, and score with a fork. Bake about 30-40 mins, if your mashed potatoes don't have a crispy top, then broil for 5-7 mins before taking it out of the oven. Let sit for 10 mins, then enjoy with some beets and mustard pickles!

Coming up: The recipe for my favorite pickled beets!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Vegetable Curry Casserole

This is one of my go-to easy recipes. Casseroles are great when they're done right, they should have lots of different textures and flavours. You can put almost anything you want in a casserole, so they're convenient for using extra produce that's about to go off.

Vegetable Curry Casserole

2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 small yellow onion
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup veggie stock
1 cup canned chickpeas
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp curry paste
1/2 tsp cumin
2 garlic cloves 

It doesn't look that impressive, but what it lacks in appearance, it makes up for in flavour.

1. Pre-heat oven to 375. Sautee your chopped onion and garlic in a pan with about 1 tsp oil. Cook until translucent and fragrant. Set aside. 

2. In a stock pot mix together the coconut cream, veggie stock, potatoes and seasonings. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-7 mins then add the broccoli, onion and garlic. 

3. Add the pot mixture and chickpeas to your casserole dish. Make sure everything is well mixed. Add extra liquid if it doesn't cover the vegetables and chickpeas. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs (sometimes I drizzle oil over the breadcrumbs) and bake for 20-30 mins (until your breadcrumbs are crispy and veggies are tender). Let it sit for 10 mins before serving. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Spicy Green Lentils

What's not to like about lentils? They're quick cooking (30-40 mins), and there's no need to soak them over night. They're so cheap, they're practically free and they go with almost any meal. If I may quote wikipedia: "Lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp." If you have a predominately plant-based diet, you should make lentils one of your favorite foods.

Spicy Green Lentils

3/4 cup dried green lentils (red won't work for this recipe)
1/4 cup of salsa
3 cups of water 
2 garlic cloves
1.5 tps taco seasoning
.5 tps cumin
salt & pepper to taste

1: Saute your chopped garlic in some oil in a small pot. Once fragrant add the dried lentils and water. (make sure to rinse them before hand).

2: Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 mins. Add extra water while cooking if it seems low. Add seasoning and salsa and simmer for another 10 mins.  Garnish with plain yoghurt, or whatever you like.

I enjoy these lentils:
On top of spicy oven baked hash browns (bed of spinach optional)
On a taco
In a salad
Blended then spread on toast (yum!)

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Fat Free Pumpkin Cookies

Fall has always been one of my favorite times of the year, and most of that has to do with the food. Pumpkin is so versatile and delicious I wish I could have it fresh all year round. For the other 10 months of the year I have to settle for the canned stuff, which isn't too bad.

Adapted from this recipe

Fat Free Pumpkin Cookies

makes 12-16 cookies

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1 and 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or less)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 sea salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional) 
(The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup dried cranberries, which I didn't have, but recommend.)

Other optional ingredients: 
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl whisk together pumpkin, egg, and vanilla until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Fold in chocolate chips (and dried cranberries, if you're using them.) Fold together the wet and dry ingredients until just combined - do not overmix. The cookie dough will be very thick.

3. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets and slightly flatten to the shape you want your cookie. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 3 minutes and transfer to a wire rack. Cookies stay fresh at room temperature for 3 days in an airtight container.

Even though these cookies have no butter or oil, they're nice and moist. I'd like to modify this recipe so they're even more pumpkin-y.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup

2 cups cubbed potatoe
1 cup chopped carrot
1/5 cup frozen corn
1 cup cooked yellow eye’d beans
1/2 cup edamame
3 garlic cloves
1 white onion
1 tsp cooking oil
5 cups vegtable stock
.5 tsp tumeric
pinch of cinnamon
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 heaping tbsp salsa (optional)

ONE: Peel and chopped all your veggies. Sautee onion and garlic in oil until fragrent and translucent. Add them to slow cooker.  
TWO: Add veggies, stock, and seasoning to your slow cooker. Set on HIGH and cook for 3 hours.
THREE: Make sure to soak your beans in cold water, over night. Start a pot on the stove with 4 cups of water. Rinse the pre-soaked beans and add them to your pot. Cook according to package instructions. I cooked mine for 50 mins on a low simmer.
FOUR: After your soup has been cooking for 3 hours, add your cooked beans. Cook for another 30 mins then add corn,  edamame, salsa and vinegar. Top with some no knead bread. Serve!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Crumbled Tofu & Spinach Salad

Sometimes when cooking tofu I can be lazy. That's why I'm glad I discovered this "technique" (I'm using that term loosely.) Crumbling your tofu into a heated, oiled pan, is the quickest and easiest way I've found to cook it. Usually I'll press my tofu before this, but let's be honest, who always has time for that?

Crumbled Tofu & Spinach Salad
1/2 cup tofu crumble
1/2 cup chopped apple (I used gala)
sliced red onion
handful of chopped almonds
handful of dried cranberries

1 tsp hemp oil (olive oil would do)
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
splash of dijon mustard and lemon juice

1. Heat oil in a frying pan. Crumble tofu into the pan and saute for 5-7 mins, until beginning to brown. Stir periodically. (I like to add some balsamic vinegar and honey to my tofu right before it comes off the pan, but that's optional.)

2. Add dressing to your jar, after tofu has cooled, add it as well. Then the chopped apple, cranberries  almonds, onion and fill the rest with spinach.

More Salad!

Mason jar salads are a trend I can get behind.

Asian Noodle Salad
1/2-3/4 cup cooked rice noodles
1/3 cup edamame
1/4 cup each of grated cabbage and carrot
handful of peanuts

(there's no wrong way to make this sauce, it's according to your taste, so play around with it)
3 tbsp natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp sriracha
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp honey (or brown sugar)
1 tsp soy sauce
hot water


1. Whisk together sauce ingredients, gradually adding hot water depending on desired thickness .

2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Defrost edamame. Assemble salad. Enjoy at a later time!