All posts by Lauren Toyota and John Diemer

hot for food's Lauren and John are quickly dispelling misconceptions of the vegan lifestyle by woo'ing fans one delicious dish at a time.

Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Tempeh Bacon

Caesar salad is something that non-vegans will swear we can’t re-create. But the truth is, a vegan Caesar salad is SO much healthier for you, you’ll only want to eat this version from now on. It will leave you feeling light, clean, and energized. Feel free to use romaine lettuce instead of kale for an even more traditional salad. We just like to switch it up and get our dark leafy greens in wherever we can. Tempeh bacon makes this more of an entree salad, but you can use coconut bacon for an appetizer version (as seen in right photo). You can also use the coconut bacon in the entree salad for added flavour and texture.

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I like the taste of roasted garlic in a Caesar dressing because it makes it sweeter and less overpowering. In case you don’t know how to roast garlic, just peel the outer layers off the garlic bulb, leaving a thin layer still in tact and cut the top of the bulb off (approx. 1/4 inch from the top) so the cloves are visible. Coat in 1 Tbsp of olive oil (per bulb) and a pinch of sea salt and then bake at 400°F for 35 minutes or until the cloves are browned and soft to the touch.

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Caesar Dressing

Ingredients (makes 2 cups):
3/4 cup raw cashews (soaked for a minimum of 3 hours)
3/4 cup water
1 bulb of roasted garlic (approximately 7-9 cloves. Feel free to do more/less depending on your taste.)
1 pitted medjool date
1 lemon, juice & zest
3 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp  sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper

Directions:
1. Drain the soaked cashews and rinse with more water until it runs clear.
2. Place all the ingredients in a vita-mix or high powered blender and mix on high until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving on your salad.

Garlic Croutons

Ingredients:
3 cups cubed bread (your choice)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 Tbsp go veggie! vegan Parmesan

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, and pepper. Toss the cubed bread in the mixture until well coated. If you’re adding the vegan Parmesan, then toss them in that next.
2. Lay out the bread onto a baking sheet and bake for approximately 10-15 minutes, turning over once in the middle of baking, until golden brown. Depending on the bread you use the time will vary so just keep an eye on them. Gluten-free bread takes longer, approximately 20 minutes. and gluten free bread is always a bit gummy so don’t expect them to be crispy crunchy croutons like when they’re made with regular bread. Italian baguette is our favourite for this recipe.

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Tempeh Bacon

Ingredients:
1 package of tempeh (approximately 250 grams)
1/2 cup tamari (can sub soy sauce or Bragg’s aminos)
1/2 Tablespoon water
1/3 cup liquid smoke
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1-2 Tbsp coconut oil (for frying)
Extra water for de-glazing the pan

Directions:
1. Thinly slice the tempeh.
2. Whisk together all the liquid ingredients and smoked paprika in a shallow dish that you can use to marinate the tempeh in.
3. Lay the slices of tempeh in the dish and pour in half the sauce. Marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
4. To cook, heat a non-stick pan to medium and add 1 Tbsp of coconut oil. When it’s heated, add the slices of tempeh.
5. Once the first side starts to brown you’ll want to start de-glazing the pan with left over marinade and a bit of water every so often to prevent them from sticking and to get them really caramelized and browned. Flip the slices and do the same thing on the other side.
6. You might want to use another Tbsp of coconut oil on the other side to get them frying up nice. You’ll start to notice the liquid becoming absorbed and the tempeh getting crispier and stickier. Cook time is approximately 15-20 minutes. Remember, you’re trying to caramelize the tempeh, times may vary.
7. Remove from the heat to cool while you assemble the Caesar salad.
8. All there is left to do is wash and chop your romaine lettuce or kale.

Garnish your Caesar salad with more black pepper, lemon wedges, and additional go veggie! vegan Parmesan if you like! And…I think we might just convert you to being a vegan Caesar salad lover.

Kale tip: If you’re using kale, finely chop it and massage it with your hands in some lemon juice for 3-5 mins. Massaging the kale is actually beneficial. It makes the tough, bitter green sweeter, softer and easier to digest. I like using lemon juice for this salad, but massaging kale with olive oil, lime juice or a pinch of sea salt will wilt it and break it down just the same.

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Raw Vanilla Cheesecake with Chocolate Almond Crust

This recipe has been in the bank for a long time and I’ve just never divulged my secret. I keep it in my arsenal and always make it for dinner parties to wow my non-vegan friends! It totally works plus they all feel good after eating it. This healthified dessert is definitely a fan favourite and now I’m sharing this little piece of vegan love with you too. Enjoy!

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Makes: 4 x 4 1/2″ cheesecakes

Ingredients:

Chocolate Almond Crust
1 cup raw almonds (soaked at least 3 hours)
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/3 cup shredded coconut
8 medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
1/4 tsp sea salt

Vanilla Cheesecake Filling Ingredients
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked at least 3 hours)
1/3 cup agave nectar (or 1/2 C maple syrup for non-raw version)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or the inside of 1 vanilla bean)

Topping
1 cup frozen mixed berries

Directions:

Chocolate Almond Crust
1. Place the almonds and walnuts in a food processor and blend them into a coarse meal. Add remaining ingredients and blend until well combined.
2. Using your hands, press the dough in an even layer into mini tart pans with removable bottoms. Freeze the crusts for 30 mins and make the cheesecake filling.

Tip: If you don’t care about eating a strictly raw dessert, you can poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork and then bake them for 8-10 minutes at 325°F. The nuts toast up nicely and it gives a yummy overall flavour to the cheesecake that might be more palatable to people who aren’t accustomed to raw food and desserts. Allow the crusts to cool completely before filling them.

Vanilla Cheesecake Filling
1. In a vita-mix or high powered blender, combine all the ingredients until smooth.
2. Remove your crusts from the freezer and pour the filling into them just below the top edge of the crust. Place them back in the freezer for 1-2 hours to set.
3. Before serving the cheesecake allow them to sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes. They can keep for a while in the freezer as well.

Topping
For an easy topping you can just thaw frozen mixed berries at room temperature while you wait for the cheesecakes. Alternatively, you can place fresh mixed berries in a bowl with a mixture of 2 parts lemon juice and 1 part raw agave nectar and let this mixture sit for 30 minutes until it becomes soft and juicy.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

Gluten-Free Powdered Sugar Doughnuts

Who knew making dreamy little, vegan gluten-free powdered sugar doughnuts could be so easy! And what better way to celebrate National Doughnut Day than with these tiny treats that are much like those Tiny Tom doughnuts you get at the fair every year. By using a ready-made gluten-free flour blend that already contains baking powder and xanthan gum you take all the science and guess work out of gluten-free baking.

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Note: This recipe will only work with a flour blend that contains these two ingredients so look for Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Biscuit & Baking Mix at your grocery store. It’s fairly common as most commercial grocers carry this line of products and have specific gluten-free sections.

Makes 16: Small doughnuts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon ground flax
3 tablespoons water
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup organic golden sugar (or same as unbleached granulated sugar)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups gluten-free flour mix (Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Biscuit & Baking Mix)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 to 4 cups vegetable oil (for deep frying)
½ cup powdered icing sugar

Directions:
1. In a small bowl mix together ground flax and water. Let is sit for 15 minutes in the fridge to thicken.
2. In a mixing bowl combine soy milk and apple cider vinegar and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
3. After letting these 2 components sit for 15 minutes heat up vegetable oil in a pot to 375°F while you prepare the rest of the dough.
4. In a large mixing bowl add 2 cups of gluten-free flour mix (the other ¼ cup is for rolling out the dough) and mix with cinnamon until well combined.
5. Add the ¼ cup of vegetable oil, vanilla extract, sugar, and flax mixture to the bowl with soy milk and apple cider vinegar and whisk together until well combined.
6. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until it just comes together into a sticky ball of dough.
7. On a clean, dry surface spread out ¼ cup of the flour and place the dough from the bowl onto the floured surface. Knead the dough into a little bit of this flour as well as ensuring you keep the surface floured to prevent the dough from sticking. It will become a little less sticky to handle as you incorporate a bit more of this flour into it.
8. Pat the dough down with your hand until it’s ½” thick.
9. Cut 2 ½” circles from this dough. Being sure to lightly coat the cookie cutter with excess flour on the counter.
10. Bring the excess dough together in a ball again, ensure you’ve spread out a bit more of the excess flour across your surface/counter and flatten the dough again to ½” thick and continue to cut out circles. After this second round of cutting out circles you should be left with just enough dough to make one or 2 more doughnuts with your hands.
11. To make the center hole you can light coat the thicker end of a chopstick with a bit of excess flour. Then stick it through the middle of the circles and roll it around a little to create a small ¼” hole.
12. Place powdered sugar into a shallow dish and have it near your frying oil. You’re going to sugar the doughnuts right out of the fryer.
13. Ensure your oil has reached a temperature of 375°F and place 2 to 3 doughnuts in the hot oil. After about 1 minute they should be floating at the surface. Using a slotted frying spoon gently flip them. Then let them fry for another 1 ½ minutes until golden.
14. Lift them out with the slotted frying spoon allowing excess oil to drip onto paper towel. You can let them sit for a few seconds but you want to get them powdered with sugar pretty immediately while they’re still hot. Roll the doughnuts around in the powdered sugar until coated evenly and place them on a separate clean plate. Continue this process until all the doughnuts are fried.
15. It’s best to eat these immediately while they’re still warm!

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Healthy Buddha Bowl with Creamy Tahini Dressing

There’s something about eating a healthy, hearty meal out of a nice big bowl that just makes you feel good. The possibilities for your bowl are endless, but we thought we’d offer up some fresh suggestions to bring balance to your meal. These offerings pair well with a base of soba noodles or quinoa, and our delicious creamy dressing will bring you to full-on lunch enlightenment. Here’s to more mindful eating!

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Makes: 4-5 bowls

Spicy Toasted Chickpeas:

Ingredients:
1 x 398 ml can of chickpeas
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Drain liquid from canned chickpeas and rinse under cool water. Lay them on top of paper towel, place another piece on top and roll it around to remove the outer skins. Allow chickpeas to dry of excess water on a fresh piece of paper towel.
3. Toss chickpeas in a bowl with olive oil, spices and sea salt, and coat evenly. Pour chickpeas onto a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, turning half way through.
4. While they bake prepare the dressing and other ingredients for the bowls.
** Use 2 Tbsp of spicy toasted chickpeas per bowl/serving.

Grain Base Options:
230 g (8 oz) buckwheat soba noodles or 1 cup quinoa
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp sea salt
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp ground pepper

Directions:
1. To prepare soba noodles, bring a pot of water to a boil with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp sea salt. Once at a rolling boil, add the noodles, stir until submerged and lower heat to medium-high. Cook for 6-7 minutes. Drain and rinse with water.
2. To prepare quinoa, rinse under running water through a sieve and drain. Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil with ¼ tsp sea salt. Once at a rolling boil, stir in quinoa and cover with a lid. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
3. While noodle/quinoa are still warm, toss them with lemon juice, ground pepper and finely chopped green onion (add 1 Tbsp olive oil as well to cooked quinoa).
** Use a heaping ½ cup of quinoa or soba noodles per bowl/serving

Creamy Miso Tahini Dressing:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup tahini
1 cup water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp miso paste
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Directions:
1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Refrigerate dressing until ready to serve.
** use 1/3 cup dressing per bowl/serving

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Other Ingredients:
1 large crown broccoli
** use 1/2 cup (5 or 6 florets) per bowl/serving
3 cups finely chopped kale
** use 1/3 cup per bowl/serving
2 large carrots
** use 1/3 cup per bowl/serving
2 cups red cabbage shredded or finely chopped
** use 1/3 cup per bowl/serving
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
** use 1/3 cup per bowl/serving
1 cups marinated whole artichokes, quartered
** use 1/4 cup per bowl/serving
3 cups sunflower sprouts
** use 1/2 cup per bowl/serving
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
** use 1 Tbsp per bowl/serving
1 cups fresh cilantro leaves (or fresh herb of your choice)
** use 1 Tbsp per bowl/serving
1 lemon, cut into wedges
** use 1 wedge per bowl/serving

Directions:
1. Cut broccoli into florets and steam for 3-4 minutes. Submerge in cold water to prevent further cooking for up to 5 minutes and drain.
2. Massage kale with 1 tsp lemon juice and a pinch of salt with your hands until it begins to soften and wilt.
3. Peel outer skin of the carrots and use peeler to shave off thick ribbons.

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Vegan Quiche Tarts with Red Pepper Relish

Eating vegan food isn’t about sacrifice or restriction but rather expanding your palette and creating magic in the kitchen! Here’s another recipe to prove our point. This delicious, egg-free quiche has savoury mushrooms and asparagus in a fluffy filling with flakey crust and is served with a tart red pepper relish that will leave your mouth watering for more.

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Makes: 12 mini quiches
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins

Crust Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons cold vegan butter (1/2 cup)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup cold water

Filling Ingredients:
1 cup medium soft tofu
¼ cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon tahini
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon tamari (or soy sauce)
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon ground chia (or flax)
1 teaspoon arrowroot flour (or cornstarch)
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper (or ground pepper)
1 ½ cups diced mushrooms
½ cup diced asparagus
¼ cup finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and ground pepper to taste

Red Pepper Relish Ingredients:
1 cup finely chopped red pepper (approx. 1 pepper)
½ cup finely chopped white onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon chili flakes
¼ cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons agave nectar
½ teaspoon dijon mustard

Garnish (optional):
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
2. To make the crust, combine all-purpose flour, sea salt, and cold vegan butter in a food processor. While the machine is running slowly add cold water. Stop the machine once the dough comes together in a ball.
3. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out until it’s ¼” thick.
4. Cut out 5” wide circles. You should only need to roll out the dough twice and cut circles.
5. Then gently press each circle of dough into the cups of a regular size muffin pan and bake for 10 minutes.
6. While the crust is baking cook the shallots, mushrooms, and asparagus in olive oil over medium heat for 4-5 minutes and add sea salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
7. Combine the remaining filling ingredients together in a high-powered blender until smooth.
8. Pour this mixture into a large mixing bowl and fold in the cooked vegetables.
9. Fill baked crusts with the filling and bake for 20 minutes at 350F.
10. While the quiche are baking make the red pepper relish by sautéing red pepper and onion in olive oil over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add chili flakes and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Bring heat to medium-low to prevent burning the garlic and onion.
11. Then add white wine vinegar, agave nectar, and dijon mustard and simmer for 8-10 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed.
12. Serve quiche right out of the oven with dollops of red pepper relish on top. Garnish with finely chopped chives if desired.

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Rainbow Quinoa Taco Salad with Vegan Dressing

We only have one diet tip and it’s easy. Ready? Here it is: eat all the colours of the rainbow the majority of the time. Just look at the spectrum of colour in this healthy rainbow quinoa taco salad. It’s full of flavour and we especially like the little zing from the creamy sunflower dressing. You might not find a pot of gold at the bottom of your bowl, but you’ll feel good eating this nutritious and filling salad.

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Rainbow Quinoa Taco Salad

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Serves: 4

Ingredients for Salad:
½ cup rainbow quinoa
1 cup water
¼ cup teaspoon sea salt
8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 small can black beans (approx. 1 cup), drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 avocados, diced
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup diced tomato
¼ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lime juice
corn chips, for serving (optional)

Dressing Ingredients:
½ cup raw sunflower seeds (soaked for 3 hours)
½ cup water
1 lime, juiced (approx. 2 ½ tbsp.)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper

Directions:

1. In a small pot combine quinoa, water, and sea salt. Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
2. Meanwhile combine diced tomato, red onion, cilantro and lime juice to make a fresh salsa.
3. Drain and rinse the soaked sunflower seeds and then add to a high-powered blender with remaining dressing ingredients. Combine until smooth.
4. Just before serving dress the chopped romaine lettuce in a large mixing bowl with 4 tablespoons of dressing and then divide portions into serving bowls.
5. Top each serving with quinoa, black beans, corn, diced avocado, fresh tomato salsa, and another drizzle of dressing.
6. Serve with corn chips on the side if desired.

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Vegan Mac & Peas

Ever since I turned vegan, I’ve been experimenting with different versions of mac & cheese. There are many ways to make it and I love our perfect vegan mac & cheese recipe made with cashews. But I’ve turned out a really quick version that doesn’t involve soaking nuts overnight! It’s still really creamy, kinda cheesy, healthy and kinda cute with the little green peas in it.

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Ingredients (serves 4):
1 x 454 g package Tinkyada brown rice spirals or approximately 5 cups of noodles of your choice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup frozen peas
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp white miso
1 Tbsp gluten-free tamari
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup pasta water, reserved from boiling pasta
Ground pepper to taste

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Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with sea salt.
2. In a dish, mix together tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, white miso, nutritional yeast, tamari and garlic. Set aside.
3. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add in brown rice pasta and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until al dente. Add frozen peas to the boiling water during the last minute of cooking.
4. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water right before draining. Then drain the pasta and peas, do not rinse. Put the peas back in the large pot.
5. Add the sauce and 1/2 cup of pasta water to start, and stir to combine with the noodles and peas over low heat on the stovetop. Stir constantly to allow the noodles to get coated, adding more pasta water as necessary to create a creamy consistency. Don’t heat for longer than 2-3 minutes.
6. Top with fresh ground pepper and serve immediately.

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The Vegan “Big Mac”

You know those nights when you just feel like a Big Mac? Well don’t go get one because you’ll hate yourself afterwards. Instead, make this vegan “Big Mac” at home in a flash and hate yourself a little less from the comfort of your own couch! I hope you know I’m joking — I haven’t hated myself after eating once since going vegan two years ago.

I made this burger using Gardein’s ultimate beefless burger patties and Fieldroast’s chao cheese, and I made a quick “Big Mac” sauce using vegan mayonnaise (recipe follows). I also have to admit: my vegan “Big Mac” looks a lot more alive than the one you get at the drive through!

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Ingredients (1 burger):
2 vegan burger patties
2 tsp barbecue sauce
2 slices of vegan cheddar cheese
1 1/2 large kaiser rolls

Use these ingredients to your liking:
Boston leaf lettuce
White or red onion, finely minced
Relish (or pickles)

Vegan “Big Mac” sauce ingredients:
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lime juice (or lemon juice)
1/2 Tbsp hot sauce (or ketchup)
1/2 tsp onion powder

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Directions:
1. Combine all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to assemble the vegan “Big Mac”.
2. Cook vegan burger patties in a pan on the stove or on a barbecue, and baste them in barbecue sauce as you go. Melt cheese slices on top during last minute of cooking.
3. Cut one kaiser roll in half and take another kaiser roll and cut a slice off the bottom for the middle piece.
4. Put vegan “Big Mac” sauce and relish (if using) on both sides of the middle pieces of the bun and the inside of the top and bottom bun. Add your burger patties with cheese between each piece of bun, and then add onions, lettuce and pickles to your liking.
5. Dive in and don’t forget lots of napkins!

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Gluten-Free & Vegan Coconut Pancakes

I thought pancakes would be the death of me! I could never get them cooked through without being burned on the outside, or they would just stick to the pan. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who barely has the patience to watch batter bake, but this formula for gluten-free vegan coconut pancakes might just be fool proof. Feel free to leave out the coconut and add any other fillings you like.

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Ingredients (makes 6-8 pancakes):
1 cup rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp egg replacer powder
2 Tbsp water
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or unsweetened non-dairy milk)
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp shredded coconut

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Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 250°F and place a parchment covered baking sheet in the oven. This is where you’ll keep the finished pancakes warm until you’re done and ready to serve.
2. In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and cinnamon with a fork until combined. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together egg replacer powder with water, then add the coconut milk, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
3. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients along with the shredded coconut and stir just a few times to get the mixture combined, but don’t over mix.
4. Heat a non-stick pan to medium and use a paper towel to spread a light coating of coconut oil on the surface, then scoop 1/4 cup of the pancake mixture into the pan. You’re looking for the surface to bubble, then flip. The other side should take 1-2 minutes.
5. Serve the pancakes with warm maple syrup, another sprinkling of shredded coconut and grated raw cacao on top with a bit of vegan butter. Happy stacking!

Tip: Let your maple syrup bottle sit in hot water while you make the pancakes! Then you’ll be serving warm syrup instead of cold.

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Vegan Grilled Cheese & Beef Sandwich with Sriracha Ketchup

Now this creation is going out to John who always tells me how he grew up on two things: beef and cheese. His mom once made these sandwiches that were made of cheddar cheese, ground beef, and white bread, because that’s all she had on hand. Of course, John and his siblings loved the sandwiches so it became a regular meal.

It’s about time we made a vegan version, but this one is spiced up a little, because we’re adults now!

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Ingredients (makes 1 sandwich):
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp finely chopped pickled jalapeños
1/2 cup meatless ground round
1/4 tsp chili powder
Pinch sea salt
1/3 of a block, Daiya jalapeño havarti wedge
2 slices sourdough bread
2 tsp vegan butter
1 Tbsp ketchup
1-2 tsp Sriracha

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Directions:
1. In a pan over medium heat, sauté the onion and olive oil for 2 minutes until soft. Add pickled jalapeños, meatless ground round, chili powder and a pinch of sea salt, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Push this mixture to the side of the pan to make room for the bread.
2. Butter one side of each slice of bread and place one slice, butter side down, into the pan.
3. Place thin slices of jalapeño havarti wedge on the bread, covering it generously. Then scoop the meatless ground round mixture on top. Place the other slice of bread, butter side up, on top of that.
4. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip the sandwich carefully and cook for another 2-3 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
5. Serve with ketchup mixed with Sriracha for dipping.

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Dairy-Free Double Chocolate Cookies

These cookies are seriously amazing. They’re chewy, chocolatey, and honestly, we think baking vegan treats turns out a lot better than “regular” baked goods.

Give these treats a try and get a big glass of almond milk ready for dunking.

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Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (or whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup unsweetened dutch process cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cups earth balance butter
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp unsulfured molasses
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 cup vegan chocolate chips

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Directions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
2. Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl cream together earth balance, sugar, vanilla, and molasses until fluffy. Then add in non-dairy milk and mix until well combined.
4. Add your wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
5. Scoop 1/4 cup of cookie dough and roll it into a ball, then flatten the cookie slightly with your hand onto un-greased cookie sheets.
6. Bake for 10 minutes.
6. Cool cookies on baking sheet for about 5 minutes or so and then transfer to a cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes.

Now just try not to eat the whole batch yourself!

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Better-Than-Takeout Vegan Pad Thai

You might be tempted to just order some Thai food from your local joint, but you can make a fresh and fragrant version of Pad Thai at home with the help of a little unexpected ingredient. Dates are a staple in our pantry – we use them for tons of raw desserts and in our morning green smoothies, but when blended with savory flavours like miso, sesame and lime, it tastes very similar to tamarind paste, which is the traditional base of pad Thai sauce (not ketchup, as some restaurants would have you believe!) Try this vegan Pad Thai and you’ll be convinced that healthy home-style cooking is far better than soggy takeout.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

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Ingredients:

Sauce:
10 medjool dates, pitted
1 cup water
2 tablespoons vegan oyster sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Siracha
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons miso paste
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Pad Thai:
200 grams brown rice fettuccine noodles (or flat rice noodles)
350 grams medium firm tofu
2 tablespoons coconut oil (for frying)
½ cup thinly sliced onion
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups broccoli florets
3 cups bean sprouts
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped roasted cashews (or peanuts)

Directions:

1. Let dates soak in water for 15 minutes.
2. Drain the water from the tofu and let it sit in paper towel for 10-15 minutes to get rid of excess moisture. Then cut into cubes.
3. Drain and rinse dates from soaking water. Then place them in a high-powered blender with the rest of the sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth and set aside.
4. Bring a pot of water to a boil for the noodles. Once the water is at a rolling boil, toss in the noodles and stir occasionally while they cook for approximately 10 minutes. Cook to al dente, drain and set aside in a colander.
5. Meanwhile, heat a large pan to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and cubes of tofu. After 4-5 minutes, flip the cubes to another side to crisp. Flip the cubes every 2 minutes to get each side golden brown.
6. When the tofu cubes are golden brown all around, add ¼ cup of the sauce to the pan and coat the pieces evenly, cooking over the heat for another minute. Remove tofu from the pan and set aside. You’ll toss tofu into the vegetables and noodles near the end of cooking time.
7. In the same pan over medium heat, add another 1 tablespoon of oil and the onions, carrots and celery. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently.
8. Add in minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
9. Then add in broccoli and sprouts (you might want to leave a small amount of raw sprouts aside as a garnish on top of the finished pad Thai) and cook for another 4-5 minutes stirring frequently.
10. Pour in half the amount of sauce remaining, toss to coat all the veggies and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
11. Add in the cooked noodles and remaining sauce, turn the heat down to low, toss to coat everything in sauce and cook for another 3-4 minutes. At this stage you can adjust the spice level if you desire by adding another 1-2 teaspoons of Sriracha.
12. Serve immediately and top with green onion, cilantro, raw sprouts and chopped cashews (or peanuts).

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Healthy Clubhouse Sandwich

Sandwiches are one of my absolute favourite things to eat! And it just so happens that this dish looks and tastes just like a classic clubhouse sandwich but without the greasy meat. Get your choice of hearty bread and start stacking this baby with all the fixins’.

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Mushroom Bacon Ingredients:

1 portobello mushroom, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tamari (can sub soy sauce)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together tamari, water, maple syrup, liquid smoke and smoked paprika. Coat thin slices of portobello mushroom with the marinade and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
3. Bake for 15 minutes then remove the baking sheet from the oven, flip the slices and brush some remaining sauce on them. Bake for another 15 minutes. While the mushroom bacon is cooking, you can prep the remaining sandwich ingredients.

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Sandwich Ingredients (makes 2):

2 PC Blue Menu vegetarian chicken breasts
1 teaspoon oil (for frying chicken)
6 slices bread
1/4 cup vegan butte
1/3 cup vegan mayo
4-5 pieces iceberg lettuce
4 tomato slices
2 pickles, quartered
Pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Over medium heat, brown the vegetarian chicken breasts in a pan with 1 teaspoon of oil. This should take 5-6 minutes. Slice the cooked breasts into strips.
2. Toast the 6 slices of bread, and butter them while still warm.
3. To assemble one sandwich, add some mayo to the bottom slice then add a couple pieces of ice berg lettuce and then sliced chicken. The middle piece of bread should have mayo on both sides. Then stack 2 tomato
4. slices, add pepper to taste, place half the mushroom bacon on top and then the last piece of bread with more mayo on the inside.
5. Slice the sandwich into quarters with a sharp knife and place toothpicks in the centre of each quarter to hold the sandwich together.
6. Serve with pickle spears and chow down!

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Edamame Mash Sandwiches with Baked Fries

Veggie sandwiches don’t have to be dull and drab. Combining bright green edamame and fresh herbs makes for a delicious and beautiful sandwich filling. In this recipe we offer up some pretty pairings for your sandwich, but feel free to let your creativity fly and stack this sandwich with as many ingredients as you like. Bake up a batch of easy homemade fries and you’ve got yourself a meatless dinner the whole family can enjoy.

Serving Size: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 65 minutes

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Ingredients:

Sandwich:
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup sauerkraut
8 slices of thick cut bread of your choice
4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
2 tomatoes cut into slices
1 1/2 cups baby spinach

Edamame Mash:
1 1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon vegan mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon fresh dill fronds
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Baked Fries:
4 russet potatoes
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika

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Directions:

1. Mix red cabbage with sauerkraut and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The cabbage will soak up the fermented liquid in the sauerkraut and soften.
2. Preheat the oven to 425°F for the fries.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Wash the potatoes and cut into approximately 1-centimetre sticks, leaving the skin on. Once the water is at a rolling boil, submerge the potato sticks in the water and                    cook for 10 minutes.
4. Drain the water from the pot and toss them in oil, sea salt, ground pepper, and paprika until evenly coated.
5. Lay the fries out on baking sheets without over crowding. Bake for 50-55 minutes, flipping halfway through. Meanwhile, prepare the edamame mash.
6. Place edamame in heat safe bowl. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a kettle and pour over edamame. Place a plate or lid on top of the bowl and let them sit for 5 minutes. Drain the hot water and rinse                     under cold water until they are no longer emitting heat.
7. Place edamame, garlic, lime juice, vegan mayonnaise, cilantro, mint, dill, ground mustard, sea salt, and ground pepper into a food processor.
8. Process until the mash is well combined but still has some texture to it. Refrigerate until ready to assemble sandwiches.
9. To assemble the sandwiches, spread vegan mayonnaise onto one side of each slice of bread, then add edamame mash to the other side
10. Top with the cabbage/sauerkraut mixture, tomato slices, baby spinach leaves, and top with another slice of bread.
11. Serve with baked fries right out of the oven.

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Homemade Vegan Calzones

We say, why bother with the big sloppy slices when you can fit a calzone nicely in your hand with no mess!

If you feel like making your pizza dough from scratch, check out our step by step post here.

Vegan Calzones

Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Yields: 6 Servings

Ingredients:

1 package of pre-made pizza dough from the deli section of your grocery store
1/3 cup all-purpose or whole-wheat flour (for rolling out your dough)
1 can pizza pasta sauce
1 package Daiya jack-style wedge or mozzarella-style shreds
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon dried chilli flakes
1/4 cup olive oil

 

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450°F.
  2. Remove the fresh pizza dough from the bag and place the ball of dough on a lightly floured surface.
  3. Cut the ball in half and each half into thirds, for a total of six smaller balls of dough.
  4. Lightly flour a rolling pin and continue to lightly flour your rolling surface as you go to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll out one small ball of dough until it is approximately 7-8 inches wide. It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle or oval.
  5. Place 1 to 2 Tablespoons of pizza sauce on the surface of the dough with a spoon and leave about a 1/2 inch of space from the edge of the dough.
  6. Place your toppings on one half of the sauced part of the dough. Try to have a bit of cheese on the bottom and the top. If you’re using the Daiya jack-style wedge, cut the whole wedge into 6 even strips or chunks and use one piece per calzone.
  7. Fold the dough over the toppings. Then fold both edges upward and pinch together simultaneously around the circumference of the calzone. Then take a fork and press the prongs of the fork into the folded and pinched edge for extra reinforcement.
  8. Lightly oil a baking sheet with about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Place finished calzones on the baking skeet and brush each with another tablespoon of oil on the surface and the edges of the calzones.
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes until crispy and golden brown on the edges.
  10. Once baked, let the calzones sit for a few minutes before serving or cutting in half.

Read the full post on the w dish blog here.

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Vegan Scallops with Spaghetti, Crispy Kale and Pomegranates

It’s definitely a romantic move to cook your lover dinner on Valentine’s Day. But ain’t nobody got time for meat and dairy on this occasion, especially if you still want to have enough room for dessert! So open up your minds and hearts this holiday and cook a vegan meal together. You’ll be left feeling satisfied but not stuffed with this light and flavourful pasta dish.

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Vegan Scallops with Spaghetti, Crispy Kale and Pomegranates 

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 2, generously

Ingredients:

6 oyster mushrooms
3 cups hot water
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 package brown rice spaghetti (approximately 340 grams – we recommend tinkyada organic brown rice spaghetti)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/8 cup finely chopped shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup finely chopped leek
1 cup white wine
1 cup pasta water (reserved from cooked noodles)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried chilli peppers
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups roughly chopped lacinato kale (stems removed)
1/8 cup pomegranate jewels

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Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and start boiling your pasta water with 1 teaspoon sea salt.
  2. Trim the tops and woody bottoms of the oyster mushrooms, leaving the solid part of the stems. Cut the stems into medallions about 1-inch thick. You can cook the tops of the oyster mushrooms too (they just don’t look like scallops) or use them in another recipe. You should have about 14 medallions.
  3. In a bowl combine 3 cups of hot water with 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar and submerge the mushroom scallops in the mixture for 30 minutes at room temperature. Place a small bowl or plate bowl that fits within the main bowl on top of the mushrooms to ensure the mushrooms are submerged and not floating.
  4. While the mushrooms are marinating toss roughly chopped lacinato kale with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice. Bake for 12-14 minutes until crispy, but still green. Once baked turn the oven off and set the kale aside until you’re ready to assemble the whole dish.
  5. Cook your pasta until al dente and reserve 1 cup of the water for creating the sauce.  Drain the pasta (do not rinse it) and leave it to sit in a colander until the scallops and sauce are done.
  6. Heat a large pan to medium with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Place the mushroom medallions in the pan and brown on one side for 3-4 minutes. Flip the medallions and season with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Brown on the other side for 3-4 minutes.  Remove the scallops from the pan and place on an oven safe plate/dish and place them in the oven to stay warm while you complete the sauce.
  7. Turn the heat under this pan down to medium-low if it’s become quite hot from cooking the scallops. Immediately add another 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/8 cup finely chopped shallot, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1 cup of finely chopped leek. Sauté this for 2-3 minutes until fragrant, stirring frequently being sure not to burn the garlic and shallot.
  8. Then mix in oregano, basil, and chilli peppers, cooking for another 1-2 minutes.
  9. Add in white wine and pasta water. Bring the heat back up to medium (if you need to) to simmer, stirring frequently for 10-12 minutes as the sauce reduces. Add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper near the end.
  10. Reduce the heat to low and toss the cooked spaghetti noodles in the sauce for 1-2 minutes until evenly coated and most of the sauce is absorbed.
  11. Transfer the pasta to serving dishes and top with crispy kale, scallops, and pomegranates. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if desired.

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Vegan Greek Salad with Mushroom Souvlaki

Just because you’re going meatless today doesn’t mean you won’t be satisfied. This recipe is Greek-inspired but instead of the traditional lamb souvlaki you might normally see in a dish like this, the star of this big salad is a flavourful mushroom walnut “meatless” patty. You could even make great meatballs with this recipe and use them in a simple spaghetti and tomato sauce.

NOTE: This recipe is for 4 servings with the exception of the tofu feta. But the tofu feta is a great thing to keep in the fridge and use for lunches and other dinner ideas.

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Tofu Feta Ingredients (make 1 day ahead):

1 x 350g brick extra firm organic tofu
½ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup almond milk (or soy milk)
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons sea salt

Directions:

  1. Remove the tofu from the packaging and drain the excess water.
  2. Cut it lengthwise in half, then into strips, and then cut the strips into cubes.
  3. Whisk the remaining ingredients together in a glass storage container that has a fitted lid. Submerge the tofu cubes in the mixture, place the lid on the container and refrigerate it.
  4. It is preferred to marinate the tofu at least overnight as it gives it a stronger flavour, but you could do it as for as short as 3 hours.

Creamy Cucumber Dressing Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup shredded cucumber
2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ teaspoon agave nectar (can substitute honey for non-vegans)

Directions:

  1. Make the dressing ahead of the mushroom walnut patties and leave it the fridge until you’re ready to serve the salad.
  2. You can either whisk all these ingredients together until combined or blend them in a blender for a creamier, smoother dressing.

Mushroom Walnut Patties Ingredients (makes 8 patties, 2 per serving):

1 tablespoon ground flax
3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms
2 teaspoons coconut or grapeseed oil (for frying)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup raw walnuts
½ cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons tamari (or soy sauce)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon sage
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1-3 tablespoons coconut or grapeseed oil (for cooking the patties)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl whisk together ground flax and water. Place it in the fridge for 15 minutes to allow it to thicken.
  2. Heat a pan to medium and sauté onion, garlic, and mushrooms in 2 teaspoons of oil for approximately 5 minutes. In the last minute of cooking add in fresh thyme.
  3. Put the sautéed mushroom mixture in a food processor along with the thickened flax mixture, walnuts, flour, tamari, tomato paste, parsley, onion powder, cumin, ground mustard, smoked paprika, sage, pepper, and salt. Process the mixture until a smooth pâté-like consistency is formed.
  4. Form 2 ½ wide x ¼” thick patties with the mixture using your hands. You may need to dampen your hands with a little bit of water to keep the mixture from sticking.
  5. You can either bake the patties on a lightly oiled baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes at 375°F and flip them half way through or pan fry them.
  6. To pan fry, heat a large pan to medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, place the patties in the pan and fry for 1 to 2 mins a side until golden brown. Don’t overcrowd the patties in the pan. Depending on the size of your pan you may want to only do 2 to 3 at a time. Add more oil to the pan for the next batch.

Greek Salad Ingredients:

8 to 9 cups arugula
1 cup cherry tomatoes
½ cup sliced kalamata olives
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup tofu feta cubes (as per above recipe)

Directions:

  1. Assemble the salads starting with a bed of arugula and add in olives, halved cherry tomatoes, and top with thinly sliced onions.
  2. Place warm mushroom walnut patties on top of the salad.
  3. Crumble tofu feta on top and drizzle with the creamy cucumber dressing.
  4. Garnish with fresh ground pepper and serve immediately.

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