This Vegan Pumpkin Soup Has a Super-Secret Immune-Boosting Ingredient

Pumpkin soup is the quintessential autumn dish. It’s sweet and creamy with earthy tones and can be pantry-friendly or not, depending if you’re using canned or fresh. This vegan pumpkin soup recipe is a bit different because we’ve snuck in immune-boosting foods inside. Most soups start with a base of onions, garlic and ginger, just like this one — but did you know, these ingredients have antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant properties? They’re also loaded with nutrients like vitamin C, selenium and zinc. But the super-secret immune-boosting ingredient here is… turmeric. That golden, bright spice has been heavily studied for regulating the immune system. It’s important to add a pinch of black pepper when cooking with turmeric to make it more absorbable in the body. This soup will warm you up in cooler weather and definitely send you back for seconds and thirds.

Vegan Pumpkin Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 bowls of soup

Ingredients:

Soup
1 medium pumpkin (red kuri or kabocha squash also work well) or 3 cups unsweetened pumpkin puree (2 x 398 ml canned pumpkin)
2 tsp coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping tsp minced ginger
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ to 1 tsp sea salt, depending on taste
Pinch pepper
2 carrots, sliced
1 cup coconut milk
1 ½ cups veggie broth

Optional Garnish Toppings
2 tsp maple syrup
Drizzle of coconut milk
Squeeze of lime or lemon
Fresh cilantro, mint or parsley
Pinch of unsweetened shredded coconut
Small handful chopped walnuts

Directions:

1. If you’re using fresh pumpkin or squash, peel it, de-seed it and cut it into chunks.

2. Place a large pot over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil.

3. Toss in the onions, once they become golden, add in the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Related: 20 Hearty Vegetable Soup Recipes Just in Time for Sweater Weather

4. Mix everything around so it’s coated in the spices. If your pot is becoming too dry, add a bit more coconut oil.

5. Drop in the carrots and if you’re using fresh pumpkin, add in the chunks. Toss to mix.

6. If you’re using canned pumpkin, spoon it in now, then pour in the coconut milk and broth. Stir. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

7. After 20 minutes, blitz the soup until it’s creamy. If you’re using a blender, be very careful as the soup will be scorching hot.

8. Once blended, taste and re-season with salt and pepper if needed. For an extra hit of sweetness add a few tsp of maple syrup. Top each bowl with a drizzle of coconut milk, a squeeze of lime or lemon, fresh herbs, shredded coconut and chopped walnuts if you’d like.

If you enjoyed Tamara and Sarah’s vegan pumpkin soup recipe, be sure to check out their simple miso chicken or no-bake chocolate oat bars.

Cheyenne Sundance of Sundance Harvest

How Food Injustice Inspired This 23-Year-Old to Start Her Own Farm, Plus Her Advice for You

Food is political and should be rooted in justice. That’s the message that’s at the core of the work of 23-year-old urban farmer Cheyenne Sundance.

Sundance Harvest, started by Cheyenne when she was just 21, was created based on a void she saw for farms operating in an ethical lens in the for-profit farming industry. “What farm would I want to see when I was younger? What farm would I want to work at and learn from? And I literally just created it from that,” she says of her Toronto-based urban farm.

Her farming career began after she turned 18 and worked on a socialist farm in Cuba. Working with many Afro-Indigenous and Black Cubans, she was introduced to the ideas of food justice and sovereignty. “Access to food is affected by someone’s health status, socioeconomic status. There’s data from U of T that correlates food insecurity and food injustice to Black and Indigenous people being the most systemically affected. So I started understanding those things and noticing these trends,” Cheyenne says.

Cheynne Sundance of Sundance Harvest holding up a box of greens

Related: What is Food Insecurity? FoodShare’s Paul Taylor Explains (Plus, What Canadians Can Do About It)

Can you tell us about how Sundance Harvest came about?

I could not find a farm that existed in Toronto with those same values, that also respected the workers, paid them a fair wage and was actually trying to further food justice.

I wasn’t really thinking so much about “Is this the most profitable farm?” because for Sundance Harvest, it’s my full-time job and has been for a year and a half, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just having a farm that exists in a vacuum. I want to have a farm that is planting the seeds and all these other small farms are grown from my farm and that’s why I started a program called Growing in the Margins as soon as I started Sundance Harvest.

I didn’t want to be a farm that relies on grants and I didn’t want Sundance Harvest to be a not-for-profit. I wanted to make sure my farm was profitable, so I have a CSA three seasons of the year and I also sell at farmers’ markets year-round.

Mentorship is at the core of your work. Can you tell us more about the farming education programs you’ve developed?

[On Growing in the Margins] It’s a free urban agriculture mentorship for youth who are BIPOC, queer, trans, two-spirit, non-binary and also youth with disabilities. Youth who are marginalized and low-income within the food system have the ability to take [the program] Growing in the Margins for free. They either want to start their own farm, have a career in urban agriculture or start their own food sovereignty movements and I teach them everything I know about the basics of starting a farm. Growing in the Margins is not for gardeners, because it’s primarily focused on mentorship.

[On Liberating Lawns] When COVID hit, the city of Toronto was not opening community gardens and I am part of a group that was trying to lobby to have them open them. If we hypothetically can’t get community gardens to open, what are ways that I can have people grow food? The easiest way is private land. Working with the city is like watching paint dry, so I decided to start Liberating Lawns, which basically matches up landholders with growers. My next intake is this fall, in September.

Related: 10 Facts That Will Shock You About Racial Injustice in Canada 

What are some of the challenges you faced with racism/sexism/ageism within the food system and how did you address them?

One is big corporate farms that operate on colonial and white supremacist ideals. There is a corporate farm in Toronto — also a couple of the non-profits — that is actively harming the food justice movement. It was so hard starting Sundance Harvest. Finding land and basically competing with corporate farms who have really wealthy investors and backers to help them get these large properties that I don’t have the privilege to because I don’t have those connections. I would also say corporate gentrification of urban farming in Toronto which exists and is happening very rapidly [and] is really scary because a lot of community land is turning into corporate farms, probably in the next couple years.

It makes it really hard for someone who’s in a position like I am, who does face intersectionality oppression. Because I have no wealthy parents, I have no investors, I don’t have a degree. I don’t really have anything to start my farm off of. What would really help in the future would be grants, subsidies and the city zoning for urban agriculture, because there’s currently no zoning for urban agriculture. One of the biggest hurdles was the total lack of support [from] the city. [Access to] land is also one of the biggest issues.

Sundance Harvest greenhouse

Related: Ren Navarro on Diversity in the Beer Industry – and How Companies Can Improve

What advice can you offer to Canadians interested in growing their own food?

One of the easiest ways to start gardening is to do container growing. [It’s] super easy and you don’t have to worry about making sure you have the right soil and if it’s draining enough because that’s a whole other issue.

For people who are Black or Indigenous, the best thing I can say is to reach out to other people who are Black and Indigenous or both in your area who are doing the work already because they’ll know who to connect, who to talk to, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked. I’ve found that creating a community has really helped me in expanding Sundance so quickly. I started Sundance Harvest a year ago. I doubled the size of my greenhouse to a production that is 2,600 square feet and bought a 2.5-acre farm. I’ve done all that in a year. It’s really helped me connecting and getting tips, because farming while Black, it takes a lot of lived experience to do it right.

What other actions can non-farming Canadians take in their everyday life?

The first and most obvious one is purchasing your produce from a CSA. It’s a produce box you get each week. When someone buys a CSA, they usually buy it in the springtime and what that does is gives the farmer money upfront to buy seeds and equipment. If you can purchase a CSA, it’s great to buy one from a POC. Purchasing from a CSA helps small farms — and the more small farms we have, the more youth that can be trained on those small farms and they’ll get experience and start their own.

The second is to look into your neighbourhood (or town or city) and see what’s being done about urban agriculture. If you can, volunteer at a local non-profit that does urban agriculture and ask them, “What would you like to be seeing?” Once you know that from the people that are in the industry, write to your MPs or your city councillors and say that you value urban agriculture.

Cheyenne Sundance with her leafy greens

What are your favourite crops to grow and why? Do you have a favourite recipe you make from your produce?

I’m going to say the easiest one – kale. Kale is the easiest crop to grow, same with Swiss chard. I like making a kale Caesar salad. I swap out Romaine for kale because it’s way more nutritionally-dense. You can marinate it overnight and have it as a cool dinner party dish. With Swiss chard, I love substituting it for lettuce in sandwiches because it has a thicker crunch.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Photos courtesy of Cheyenne Sundance

Kardea Brown Fish Fillet Sandwich

Skip the Drive-Thru With Kardea Brown’s 30-Minute Fish Fillet Sandwich

Kardea Brown has had her fair share on online success with her drool-worthy food pics on Instagram, but none appealed to the masses quite like her Fish Fillet Sandwich, and it’s easy to see why.

Kardea Brown Fish Fillet Sandwich

Related: The Best Work-From-Home Lunch Ideas That Are Better Than Takeout

Growing up, the Brown family didn’t eat a lot of fast food, so this homemade play on a drive-thru favourite was a real treat for Kardea. This crave-worthy recipe comes in handy for when those fast food cravings hit and you don’t want to leave the house – plus, we guarantee this sandwich will have you ditching the drive-thru.

Skin-on or off, dredge a thick piece of white fish in a seasoned panko batter and fry to golden perfection. A creamy homemade tartar sauce made with mayo, capers, dill relish and some fresh dill perfectly complements that salty and crunchy fish, slice of American cheese and a soft potato bun.

See More: Our 75 Best Sandwich Recipes

Miss Brown’s Fish Fillet Sandwich

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time:
30 minutes
Serves:
3 servings

Ingredients:

Tartar Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 1/2 Tbsp dill pickle relish
1 1/2 tsp capers
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Pinch sugar
1/4 onion, diced

Fish Sandwich
1 Tbsp lemon juice, plus additional as desired
Three 6-oz skinless boneless halibut fillets or steaks
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp kosher salt, plus additional as desired
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/2 Tbsp seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
3 potato buns
Unsalted butter, for toasting the buns
3 slices American cheese

Special equipment
A deep-frying thermometer

Related: Our Most Popular Fish Recipes

Directions: 

1. For the tartar sauce: Mix together the mayonnaise, relish, capers, dill, lemon juice, salt, pepper, sugar and onion in a bowl and refrigerate.

2. For the fish: Sprinkle the lemon juice over the fish fillets. Combine the milk, eggs, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Put the flour on a large plate. Combine the panko and seafood seasoning on another.

3. Heat 2 inches oil to 350°F in a large Dutch oven.

4. One at a time, dip the fish into the flour, then the egg and milk mixture, then the panko. Set on another plate or small baking sheet. Place the fish in the oil and fry, turning once, for 3 to 4 minutes total (if you are using the shallow-frying method, cook both sides until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes). Transfer the fish with tongs to a plate lined with paper towels or a wire rack set in a baking sheet. (I like to hit my fish with a little salt and lemon juice while it’s hot.)

5. Meanwhile, toast the buns, by melting the butter in a pan and cooking them in it or by buttering the buns and broiling them until slightly golden.

6. Top the bun bottoms with the cheese and the fish, then spread the bun tops with tartar sauce and top your sandwiches.

These Quick and Tasty Guava Tarts Will Be Your New Favourite Dessert

If you’re looking for the perfect treat to enjoy these last few weeks of summer — this is it. These guava tarts are my remix of a traditional Cuban guava dessert, pastelitos guayaba y queso. The pastries are super simple, flaky and so delicious. I used puff pastry to save time, but feel free to step it up and make your own puff pastry from scratch. I topped these treats with some fun island-inspired icing and added citrus to the cream cheese filling. I loved the results — hope you do too!

Quick Guava Tarts

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 to 12

Ingredients:

2 eggs
250 grams cream cheese (1 block)
1 ½ Tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
1 package of puff pastry (400 grams)
200 grams guava paste (½ of standard 400 grams block)
1 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp icing sugar
1 Tbsp mango nectar (or juice)
½ tsp hibiscus powder

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Separate one egg yolk from egg white and set aside. In a large bowl, combine room temperature cream cheese, one egg yolk, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix well and set aside.

Related: 12 Brilliant Ways to Use Puff Pastry

3. Unroll thawed puff pastry. Each sheet is usually split into 3 sections; cut in half to create 6 sections. If you’d like to make the tarts smaller, cut the puff pastry into two sections to make 12 tarts.

4. Cut guava paste into thin slices and place on each puff pastry. Add a large spoonful of cream cheese filling on top of each piece of guava.

5. Beat 1 egg and water to create an egg wash. Brush the pastry edges with egg wash and top with remaining puff pastry. Press down on edges to seal, then use knife to cut a few slits on top of each pastry.

6. Put tray in the freezer or fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

7. Then brush the top of pastries with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

8. If you want to top with icing: mix icing sugar with mango nectar until you achieve the consistency you desire. Lightly drizzle on top of cooled pastries. Then mix hibiscus powder into remaining icing and drizzle the mango hibiscus icing for a pop of colour and flavour. Enjoy!

Like Eden’s guava tarts? Try her sweet potato blondies or easy Ethiopian mushroom tibs recipe.

The Top 5 Kitchen Utensils Every Home Cook Needs

An equipped kitchen is incredibly important for any home cook. Imagine baking a cake without mixing bowls or chopping veggies for a stir-fry without a knife. Whether you’re moving into a new home and need to stock your kitchen or you’ve been living with an ill-equipped cooking space for years – now is the time to take charge! While there are many cooking tools and equipment you can buy, here is a list of the top five utensils every kitchen needs.

Related: Do You Really Need an Air Fryer? (And 5 Other Kitchen Essentials You’ve Been Eyeing)

wooden-spoons-in-mug

1. Chef’s Knife

I’m not just talking about any old chef’s knife, I mean a good-quality one. Trust me, this is one tool that is worth the investment. A knife is the most used utensil in the kitchen, and having a sharp knife that properly slices, dices and chops is a key component for cooking. Higher-quality sharp knives are actually safer than dull, cheap varieties because they’re less likely to slip and cut you. A paring knife is also a great and inexpensive investment. It’s very sharp and great for chopping smaller veggies and fruit.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: ZELITE INFINITY Chef Knife 8 Inch, Amazon, $190.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Mercer Culinary 3.5-Inch Forged Paring Knife, Amazon, $31.

Related: Top 5 Kitchen Knives Every Home Cook Should Own

2. Mixing Bowls

Mixing bowls are like your kitchen’s hands. You use them for just about anything, from storing to cooking to baking and everything in between. Having varying sizes is important because you will likely need a small, medium and large bowl depending on what you’re making. If you have a big family or often make large quantities of food, I highly recommend purchasing an extra-large bowl. I personally love stainless-steel, but any variety will work. If you tend to store food in your bowls, consider purchasing silicon lids: they’re reusable and easy to clean!

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Luvan Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids, Set of 5, Amazon, $28.

3. Cutting Boards

A kitchen is not complete without cutting boards. Where are you going to chop your onions – on the counter? I don’t think so! Similar to mixing bowls, having varying sizes is important for any home cook. It’s also great to get a variety of materials such as wood, plastic or glass. Some people love to leave out a large all-purpose cutting board on their countertops, too.  It’s a good idea to have designated cutting boards for meat and veggies/fruit to prevent any cross-contamination.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Home Organics Bamboo Cutting Boards, Amazon, $20.

Related: Your Ultimate Guide to Cooking and Baking Conversions

4. Wooden Spoon & Spatula

A home cook’s kitchen is not complete without spoons and spatulas! How are you going to mix your batter, sauté your onions or scrape your leftovers without them? A wooden spoon is a great all-purpose cooking utensil; it doesn’t scratch pots and pans, which makes it safe for frying and sautéing. It’s also a great baking utensil perfect for mixing and scraping. A spatula carries out many of the same tasks as a wooden spoon, especially if you get a silicone one. Spatulas are great for lifting and flipping. Get a spatula with a thin front edge rather than a thicker one so that it easily slides under food.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: 6-Piece Natural Teak Kitchen Utensil Set, Amazon, $35.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: KitchenAid Silicone Mixer Spatula, Amazon, $24.

5. Measuring Cups and Spoons

It doesn’t matter if you’re baking or cooking, measuring out flours, grains, spices, sweeteners, vinegars and oils is important for crafting a delicious dish. Eyeballing when cooking is a wonderful skill to have; however, sometimes it’s important to be precise with the amounts you’re putting into your dish. Measuring cups and spoons will give you the precision you need (although some baking does require a scale) and you won’t have to worry if you added way too much of one ingredient. No one wants a meal that is overly spiced or seasoned.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: U-Taste 10-Piece Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons Set, Amazon, $35.

Looking for more tips? Learn how to organize your Tupperware drawer, plus the cooking “rules” you should actually be breaking.

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy through links in this article, we may earn an affiliate commission.

This Comforting Mujadara Recipe is Our Favourite Way to Cook Rice

Mujadara is a simple and delicious dish of lentils, rice, spices and fried onions. The first-known recipe of this popular Middle Eastern dish can be found in a 13th-century Iraqi cookbook. This vegetarian meal was once considered to be “food of the poor” — as its inexpensive and readily available ingredients can feed many people. It gets its rich, infused flavour by coating the rice in olive oil and spices before cooking it. If you have leftover rice, you can improvise a cheat version of mujadara and fold it in with the lentils and onions at the end. But it’s always best to start with a traditional recipe from scratch before you begin experimenting with shortcuts — so you know how it’s meant to turn out. This recipe is adapted from methods from my favourite Middle Eastern chefs, who bring Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and Syrian influences to their recipes. I remember trying mujadara for the first time as a little girl and savouring the crispy onions — and now, when I make it for my own children, they also eat the onions first!

Vegetarian Mujadara

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 (depending on if it’s a main or side)

Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil
3 large or 4 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced as evenly as possible
1 ½ cups water
1 ¼ cups brown or green lentils
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 cup basmati rice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 bunch of parsley, picked off the stems and roughly chopped (optional)
1 lemon, quartered for serving
Sea salt and black pepper

Serve this mujadara recipe warm or at room temperature, with a side of plain Greek yogurt or labneh, lemon wedges, parsley and a chopped salad of tomato and cucumber.

Directions:

1. Heat the vegetable oil on medium to high in a heavy-bottom saucepan with a lid or a Dutch oven. Once the oil is hot, add half of the onions. Fry for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn a rich golden brown. Some dark bits are fine, that’s where you’ll get the bitterness. If the onions are all the same size, they will cook more evenly. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions to a colander or plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. (Act fast— the onions crisp up quickly at this stage and it’s in the last seconds where they’ll go from brown to black if you’re not careful). Season with salt. Repeat with second batch and set aside.

2. While the onions are frying, add the lentils to a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft, but slightly firm in the centre. Drain and set aside.

Related: 25 Healthy Middle Eastern Recipes You’ll Make on Repeat

3. Drain the oil from the saucepan you fried the onions in and wipe it clean. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, rice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat the rice with the oil and spices. If you’re adding sugar, now is the time to put it in as well. Bring to a boil before simmering on low heat for 15 minutes. (Be patient and don’t open the lid — you don’t want any of that steam to escape).

4. Remove from heat, take the lid off and immediately cover with a clean tea towel and put the lid back on, sealing tightly. This will allow the mujadara to keep steaming gently. Let rest for about 10 minutes.

5. Transfer the rice and lentils into a large mixing bowl or straight into your serving platter and then gently fold in half the fried onions.
Top with the second half of the fried onions and garnish with parsley.

Like Claire’s vegetarian mujadara? Try her mother’s recipe for seven-vegetable Moroccan couscous.

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