Category Archives: Healthy Eating

roasted cauliflower with tahini

This Middle Eastern Roasted Cauliflower With Tahini is What Vegetarian Dreams Are Made Of

If you’re serving up a vegetarian side, don’t settle for boring. Take it up a notch with this easy recipe! Cauliflower is the perfect vegetable to serve in the fall — and roasting it brings out its nutty and sweet flavour. It is typically mild in taste and can use some spices to jazz it up. In this recipe, it’s marinated in olive oil and warm Middle Eastern spices, then roasted to perfection. The key to roasting cauliflower is to use a high temperature so the outside can caramelize, while still maintaining a bit of a bite. But we’re not done yet. Serve this cauliflower with a luxurious drizzle of tahini sauce and garnish with parsley, cilantro or flaked almonds. Then just watch it disappear off the plate.

roasted cauliflower with tahini

Middle Eastern Roasted Cauliflower With Tahini

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

Cauliflower
1 large head of cauliflower or 2 small ones (roughly 600g without stems)
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp salt + more per preference

Tahini Drizzle
½ cup tahini paste
3 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
1 small garlic clove, crushed
5-7 Tbsp water, per preference

Garnish
Handful of parsley or cilantro (optional)
Flaked almonds (optional)

roasted cauliflower with tahini ingredients

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Wash the cauliflower and pat dry using a paper towel. Trim off the ends and green stems. Cut into florets.

chunks of cauliflower on baking tray

2. Prepare the marinade by mixing together the olive oil, onion powder, cumin powder, chilli powder and salt.

roasted cauliflower with tahini marinade

3. On a large sheet pan, toss the cauliflower with the marinade ensuring they are well coated. Do not overcrowd them on the pan. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until they are caramelized. Toss around halfway through baking time.

roasted cauliflower on baking tray

Related: How to Grow Fall Vegetables and What to Do With Them

4. Meanwhile prepare the tahini drizzle by mixing together the tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Whisk everything together using a fork. The tahini will thicken a lot and seize up and it will seem like it is ruined. However, keep whisking and gradually add water a few Tbsp at a time, until it becomes smooth again. Adjust the thickness of the sauce to your preference by adding more or less water.

white bowl filled with tahini

5. Take the cauliflower out of the oven and taste for salt. Add more if required while they are hot. Toss in lemon juice if you desire. Serve the cauliflower with the tahini sauce drizzled on top. Garnish with parsley, cilantro or almonds if using.

roasted cauliflower with tahini

Like Amina’s Middle Eastern roasted cauliflower recipe? Try her curried roasted Brussels sprouts.

The Perfect Fall Dessert: Healthy Low Sugar Persimmon Creme Brulee

This unique twist on the traditional creme brulee is an egg-free and sugar-conscious alternative that fits right into your fall dessert menu. Not only is it healthier — it mostly relies on a ripe persimmon for that creamy butterscotch-like sweetness — there’s no baking required. This dessert is a fun and fancy way to utilize persimmons during the fall season, especially since they are only around for a short time.

persimmon creme brulee

Persimmon Creme Brulee

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours, 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 medium very ripe persimmon, chopped
1 cup half and half creamer
⅓ cup + 4 Tbsp golden monk fruit sugar, divided
⅓ cup cornstarch
½ cup water
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Creme brulee ingredients

Directions:

1. Place the persimmon, creamer, ⅓ cup monk fruit sugar, cornstarch, water, sea salt and cinnamon in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth. Pour the puree into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk until it thickens like a smooth custard and has no lumps. This should take about 25 minutes.

Persimmon creme brulee ingredients in blender

2. Divide the mixture between four ramekins that are 4 oz each. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight until solid.

Persimmon creme brulee ingredients divided into ramekins

3. When ready, let the creme sit at room temperature for 2 minutes. Top each ramekin with 1 Tbsp of monk fruit sugar, making sure the entire surface is equally coated. Melt the sugar with a brulee torch until golden brown or slightly darker if you prefer. You will get a golden brown-orange colour, since this is not a regular creme brulee.

Related: 17 Low-Sugar Dessert Recipes to Get You Through the Holiday Season

4. Let sit for 5 minutes until the sugar has crystallized. Garnish with persimmon slices and serve.

Like Valerie’s low-sugar creme brulee? Try her easy paleo butternut squash or 30-minute low-carb zesty lamb burgers.

Forget Takeout and Make This Easy Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant for Dinner Tonight

This umami-rich vegetarian dish gets tons of flavour from light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine (the key to authentic Chinese cooking), ginger and a healthy sum of garlic for an easy-to-prepare dinner rivalling any takeout. Though mastering the cookery of eggplant can be tricky, we’ve unlocked the mystery with a simple soaking and salting technique for the right texture and overall balanced flavour. Added bonus: this vegetarian dish will be ready in just over 30 minutes.

Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

3 Chinese eggplants (they are slightly smaller and shorter than Japanese eggplants and can be purchased in Asian markets)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp light soy sauce or regular soy sauce
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
5 ½ tsp cornstarch, divided
1 ¼ tsp dark soy sauce or light soy sauce
3 Tbsp peanut oil or vegetable oil, divided
2 tsp minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 dried chilies (optional)
Green onions for garnish

Directions:

1. Halve eggplant lengthwise and then cut into 2-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and fill with enough water to cover; sprinkle with salt and swish around to dissolve salt. Cover with plate to keep eggplant submerged for at least 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Make the sauce by stirring together the light soy, water, sugar, wine, 4 tsp of cornstarch and dark soy sauce until smooth. Set aside.

Tip: Shaoxing wine is a fermented rice wine used to add depth of flavour and complexity to marinating meat, to add flavour to stir-fries, sauces and braises in Chinese cooking.

Related: These 25 Simple Stir-Fry Recipes Will Convince You to Cook More

3. Sprinkle remaining cornstarch over eggplant and toss to coat. Heat 2 ½ Tbsp of the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add eggplant in one layer and cook until dark brown, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping after halfway. Move to a large plate.

4. Add remaining oil to pan and add ginger, garlic and dried chilies (if using), stirring for 10 seconds. Return eggplant to pan and stir quickly until warmed, about 30 seconds. Stir in sauce and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce thickens and coats eggplant, 1 to 2 minutes.

5. To serve, scrape eggplant mixture onto platter and sprinkle with green onions if desired.

Tip: For a non-vegetarian version, marinate ½ cup ground pork with 1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine, 2 tsp minced ginger and garlic and 1 tsp light soy sauce. Stir into pan at the beginning of step 4 and cook until browned. Push to one side of the pan and continue with recipe, adding the oil, ginger, garlic and chilies.

Like Soo’s stir-fried eggplant? Try her pork banh mi burgers, gochujang cauliflower popcorn or asparagus and mushroom udon.

This Korean Sweet and Sour Seaweed Salad is the Perfect BBQ Side Dish

Naturally briny, yet subtly sweet, miyeok (seaweed) is a Korean pantry staple used in soups and salads for that perfect umami taste. Miyeok muchim (seaweed salad) is often served with other banchan (Korean side dishes) — however, BBQ fare is the quintessential accompaniment to the vinegary, crunchy and cold flavours of the sea. Pair this sweet and sour seaweed salad (say that three times fast!) with any grilled protein or with noodles and leafy greens.

Korean Sweet and Sour Seaweed Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 ¾ cups dried seaweed
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
4 tsp sugar or honey
½ onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp sea salt or Kosher salt
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 mini cucumber, thinly sliced
¼ English cucumber, julienned (use a Japanese mandoline if you can!)
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
¼ tsp Korean hot pepper flakes (optional)

Tip: Look for large, clear packages of dried seaweed in Korean/Asian grocery store or order online. In its raw form, it’s dried, almost black and turns green after soaking or blanching in boiling water.

Directions:

1. Place dried seaweed in a large bowl and cover with cold water until fully expanded and supple (about 20 minutes). Drain and rinse twice, swishing it around to remove the salt used in the drying process.

2. While the seaweed is blooming in the cold water, make the vinaigrette. In a large bowl, stir the vinegar and sugar until dissolved. Stir in the onion and let it pickle for 5 minutes before adding the sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, sea salt and sesame seeds.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the seaweed and blanch for 30 seconds; drain and cover in cold, running water until cooled. Drain and squeeze excess water with both hands. Roughly chop the seaweed and let stand in a colander or sieve.

Related: 14 Tasty Korean Recipes to Make Tonight

4. Add the cucumbers and seaweed to the vinaigrette mixture. Cover and refrigerate until cold. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and Korean hot pepper flakes before serving.

Tip: You can cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days. If you’re planning ahead, toss in the cucumbers a few hours before serving. The cucumbers and seaweed will continue to release water, so toss and taste the salad, adding more vinegar or a pinch of sugar if needed.

Like Soo’s seaweed salad recipe? Try your hand at her pork banh mi burgers or restaurant-worthy Chinese scallion pancakes.

These No-Bake Chocolate Layered Oat Bars Are Sinfully Healthy

If there is ever a reason to eat chocolate for breakfast, now is the time. These healthy oatmeal bars will be your new favourite dessert, snack and morning meal. There’s a bottom layer of oat shortbread cookie, topped with smooth chocolate and almond butter and finished with oat cookie crumbs. You can give them your own spin by swapping out almond butter for peanut butter, tahini or your favourite nut/seed butter. And you can use flavoured chocolate like coffee, salted caramel or toasted almond to give even more depth and flavour. Who says your next sweet treat needs to be unhealthy or even require the use of the oven?! You can thank us later.

No-Bake Chocolate Layered Oat Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Freeze Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes
Servings: 8 bars

Ingredients:

Oat Layer
½ cup coconut oil or butter
¾ cup almond butter
⅓ cup coconut sugar
1 ½ cups rolled oats
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 Tbsp cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp sea salt

Chocolate Layer
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or 150 gram chocolate bar
¼ cup almond butter or peanut butter

Directions:

1. Place a pot over medium-low heat. Add in the coconut oil and almond butter and as they soften and gently melt, pour in the coconut sugar and mix.

2. Toss in the rolled oats, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, vanilla and sea salt, turn heat to low and stir well to fully combine. After 3 minutes remove from the heat.

Related: 65 Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love

3. Combine the chocolate and almond butter in a double boiler and stir until melted and creamy.

4. Lightly oil an 8 x 8 inch pan and place parchment paper in it. Ensure the parchment comes up slightly over the sides so that once the bars are done, they pull out easily.

5. Take ¾ of the oat mixture and press it down into the pan. Use your hands and/or the back of a measuring cup to push it down into a nice even layer.

6. Then pour most of the chocolate mixture over the oat layer and cascade the rest of the oat mixture on top, no need to press in, just crumble over.

7. Then drizzle over the remaining chocolate with the back of a spoon. You can also top with shredded coconut, toasted almonds and/or chocolate chips.

8. Place in the fridge for 2 hours until solidified. Gently pull them out of the pan and slice into bars. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Like Tamara and Sarah’s creation? Try their epic waffle platter or their vegan brownies (where they test five vegan egg substitutes!).

Sugar Detox: Nutritionist Explains How to Reset Your System (And Fight Cravings!)

Although some cleanses rely on fasting and calorie restriction as the primary focus, that often isn’t the healthiest approach. The main aspect to focus on during a sugar detox is keeping the body well fed and hydrated. Sugar imbalances hormones, mood, energy, blood sugar and suppresses the immune system. It’s well known that sugar feeds bad bacteria, and it has even been compared to cocaine because it’s so addictive—yikes!

It’s now time to crush that sugar habit once and for all. Follow this 3-Day Sugar Detox and you will start feeling the effects immediately.

What to Focus On:

1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Keeping the body properly hydrated encourages oxygen to flow freely throughout the body. This allows you to be more attentive, alert and focused. Water itself is a powerful detoxifier because it assists the kidneys and colon to eliminate waste. Hydration means drinking water (not coffee, caffeinated teas or energy drinks). Although these drinks are comprised of water, they can also be dehydrating for the body. Drink 6-8 glasses (250mL) of water per day. Don’t drink water with meals because it dilutes stomach acid and leads to poor digestion. Add a squeeze of lemon into your water for added benefits and some flavour.

Related: 10 Foods That Can Help Aid Digestion

2. Protein & Fat Are Your Friends

Eating tons of sugar creates a cycle of low blood sugar and intense “hanger” (hungry + angry). One way to break the cycle, besides eliminating sugar, is to eat meals that contain tons of good protein and fat (nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, etc). Protein and fat are more difficult to digest, making you feel full for longer periods of time.

3. Taste the Rainbow

Focus on eating colourful foods. When you eat vegetables and fruits in a rainbow-bright assortment of colours, you are getting a whole array of antioxidants and phytonutrients that all have specific jobs to keep the body healthy, skin vibrant and eyes strong. Again, this detox is not about deprivation, so when you’re hungry, eat! Just make vegetables the star of the plate.

Related: A Nutritionist Reveals 10 Best Natural Foods for Dewy, Glowing Skin

4. Prepare Yourself

The key to any good detox is to be prepared. Look over the menu below and see which ingredients you need to buy, and which foods you need to prep ahead of time. Prepping lunches the night before is a great way to save time in the morning. It’s only 3 days—you can do this!

3-Day Sugar Detox Plan:


Day 1

Wake Up: Drink Lemon Water (250mL)
Breakfast: Celery, Cucumber & Kale Smoothie
*Add a scoop of protein powder or nut butter to increase fat and protein content
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Morning Snack: Chia Pudding Cup
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Lunch: Salmon and Greens with Cumin Dressing
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Afternoon Snack: Hummus with Sliced Carrots, Cucumbers & Celery
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Dinner: Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts with Wild Rice, Artichoke & Kale Salad
Water Break: Hot Water with Lemon

Day 2

Wake Up: Drink Lemon Water (250mL)
Breakfast: Blueberry Ginger Kale Smoothie
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Morning Snack: Handful Roasted Spiced Almonds
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Lunch: Thai Glazed Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Afternoon Snack: Apple with 2 Tablespoons Almond Butter
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Dinner: Oh My Chickpea Goodness Burger (no bun) with Gluten-Free Tabbouleh Salad
Water Break: Hot Water with Lemon

sheet plan chicken dinner with sweet potatoes and fennel


Day 3

Wake Up: Drink Lemon Water (250mL)
Breakfast: Green Smoothie
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Morning Snack: Handful of Strawberries and ¼ cup Almonds
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Lunch: Citrus Roasted Tilapia with Greek Quinoa Salad
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Afternoon Snack: Guacamole with Sliced Veggies
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Dinner: Sheet Pan Chicken and Veggie Dinner
Water Break: Hot Water with Lemon

Looking for more healthy recipe inspiration? Here’s how a nutritionist meal preps every Sunday, plus 20 healthy meal prep ideas to get you through the week ahead!

This is the Right Way to Freeze Vegetables and Fresh Herbs

Whether you stocked up on too many fresh vegetables at the market or your summer vegetable garden is growing wild, I am here to show you how to properly freeze your vegetables and herbs. There are a few simple steps you have to take to ensure they will stay vibrant, fresh and full of flavour. It will also give them a much longer shelf life than if you just placed the veggies and herbs straight into the freezer. Just be sure to use ripe produce. OK — let’s get freezing!

Related: Can I Freeze This? How to Freeze Fruit, Cheese, Leftovers and More

Step 1: Chop Vegetables and Herbs

If you’re planning to use the veggies or herbs straight from the freezer as a side dish or stirred right into your pot or pan, I recommend chopping them into bite-sized pieces first.

Step 2: Blanch Vegetables

Blanching is an important step to freezing fresh vegetables as it will stop enzyme actions that result in a loss of colour and flavour. This will also clean the vegetables. This step is not required for herbs. To blanch, simply bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and drop in the vegetables for 2 to 4 minutes. The timing will depend on the type of vegetable being blanched. For example broccoli and asparagus will be on the shorter end, whereas carrots will take a bit longer.

Related: Time for a Pasta Maker? (And 9 Other Kitchen Essentials You Deserve Right Now)

Step 3: Shock Vegetables

Once the vegetables are blanched, immediately strain and submerge them into an ice bath. This will halt the cooking process so the vegetables do not cook any further and it’ll keep them vibrant. This step is not required for herbs.

Step 4: Dry and Portion Vegetables and Herbs

Strain the vegetables from the ice bath and transfer them onto a kitchen towel to dry. Place them on a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for 60 minutes. Portion them into desired freezer bags and label with the packaged date. Transfer back to the freezer and use when needed! Vegetables will stay fresh for up to 12 months. For herbs, transfer them to an ice cube tray and fill with water. This way they are ready to go for soups, sauces and stews.

Related: The Ultimate Herb Guide: Varieties and Best Uses

Looking for more sanity-saving kitchen tips? Here’s how to organize your Tupperware drawer once and for all, plus the best way to prevent freezer burn for good.

How to Always Make the Perfect Veggie Burger (Plus One Easy Recipe!)

Regardless if you’re vegetarian or not, veggie burgers are the perfect main to accompany any side dish (especially french fries!). They can usually be made with pantry staples you already have on hand and are filled with whole ingredients. But, there is an art — or rather a science — to making a good veggie burger. You’ve likely eaten or made a veggie burger before that was too mushy or fell apart immediately after taking a bite. Or maybe it was too dry or completely bland and flavourless (read: cardboard patty). Veggie burgers require more thought than typical beef burgers, because you need to consider texture and flavour that much more. So we’re offering up tips to crafting the perfect patty, as well as one of our favourite recipes: The Southwest Burger! We also adore the Crunchy Sunshine Burger and Cashew Mushroom Slider.

Veggie Burger Rules

1. You Need a “Binder” and a “Dry” Component
● If you want a veggie burger that holds together, use binding agents like cooked grains (rice, quinoa, millet), eggs, flax eggs, bread crumbs, oats, flour or nut/seed flours like almond flour.
● The amount of grains or flour will depend on the recipe, but it’s usually anywhere from ¼ to 1 cup.

2. Any Bean Will Do
● Truly any bean you use will be great, whether it’s chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, white beans, mung beans, lentils or a melange of beans.

Related: Dinners That Start With Frozen Veggies (But Don’t Taste Like It)

3. Choose the “Right” Veggies
● Water and excess moisture will drown your burger in mushy sorrows, so choose veggies that have a low water content, like sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, broccoli or cauliflower.
● If you choose veggies like zucchini, grate them first, then squeeze out the excess water. This is a must!
● Or if using mushrooms, cook them first to release the moisture.
● It’s always good to start a veggie burger with onion and garlic as the flavour-base.

4. Make it Flavourful
● It’s really easy to wind up with a bland veggie burger. Beans don’t have a high fat content, like ground beef, which is where most of the flavour comes from in a traditional burger.
● It’s important to rely on flavour-bombs like:
– Spices (cumin, coriander, garam masala, curry powder, chili powder, paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, turmeric).
– Fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, mint, dill, thyme, rosemary, basil).
– Nut or seed butters (tahini, almond butter, pumpkin seed butter).
– Condiments (balsamic vinegar, tamari, hot sauce, mustard). Tip: use these sparingly if liquid so you don’t add more moisture.
– Others (sun-dried tomatoes, olives, feta, nutritional yeast, roasted red pepper).

Related: 10 Veggie-Forward Grilled Skewers and Kebabs to Try This Summer

5. Resting and Cooking
●  Once shaped into patties, let the burgers rest in the fridge, if only for a few minutes, this will help them stick together.
● Most veggie burgers are not grill-able, because their texture is fragile. They may fall through the grates, so we recommend baking or pan-frying. If you desperately want to grill, bake them first then finish them on the BBQ once they’re a bit more solid.

6. Toppings
● Of course, toppings only add more flavour, crunch and excitement.
● Obvious ones are pickles, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, mustard and ketchup.
● Not as obvious ones are avocado, guacamole, BBQ sauce, cashew mayo, salsa, sprouts, sauerkraut and caramelized onions.

Related: 20 High-Protein Vegan Meals That Are Beyond Tasty

The Southwest Burger

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rest Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutes
Servings: 4 burgers

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp ground flax
2 Tbsp water
½ yellow or red onion, roughly sliced (about ½ cup)
1 garlic clove
1 small sweet potato (about 1 cup chopped)
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp granulated garlic
1 x 19 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked beans)
½ cup cooked brown rice
3 Tbsp oat flour
Olive oil for brushing the burgers

Directions:

1. Combine the ground flax with water to make a vegan “egg.” Let it sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients so it congeals.

2. Using the S-blade of a food processor, run the onion through. Then move it to one side or take it out and squeeze it to release excess liquid. If there is liquid pooled in the food processor, gently pour it out without losing any onion.

3. Turn the processor back on and run the garlic and sweet potato through. Pulse it a few times until the sweet potato resembles little rice kernels.

4. Next, add the spices, beans, rice, oat flour and flax egg. Pulse until everything is combined. If you like a more “textured” burger, then you can leave some of the beans unprocessed and whole.

5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take out 4 equal parts of the burger mixture and shape them into 4 patties.

6. Place the uncooked burgers in the fridge for a minimum of 15 minutes. During this time, preheat the oven to 375°F.

7. Brush the tops of the burgers with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes, then flip, brush the other side with oil and bake for another 15 minutes.

8. Let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes so they can harden. Top with your favourite toppings.

Want more summertime recipes? These vegan sloppy Joe sliders and strawberry chia frozen yogurt pops will surely be a hit.

These Crunchy Salad Ideas Are Perfect for When You’re Running Low on Greens

It’s finally summer and that means we’re craving all that fresh produce and seasonal salads. But what happens when you run out of greens mid-week and you can’t bare another stress-inducing trip to the grocery store? Maybe it’s time to turn your attention to some of the overlooked, heartier vegetables in your refrigerator. Almost all of the produce we think of as “winter” vegetables can be turned into a salad with nothing more than a sharp chef’s knife and a tangy dressing. We’ve created three crunchy salads starring celery, carrots and cabbage, but you can use this template for celeriac, beets, mushrooms… pretty much any vegetable you’d normally eat in the middle of January. The key points to remember are: slice your veg thinly, season aggressively and have fun with the add ons (cheese and nuts are always welcome!).

Celery Salad
In a medium bowl, whisk 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar with 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and ½ tsp kosher salt (or ¼ tsp fine sea salt). Thinly slice 4 stalks of celery on the diagonal (you should have about 2 cups), then add to bowl with dressing. Toss with 2 Tbsp chopped and toasted walnuts or pecans and 2 Tbsp golden raisins. Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates, then drizzle with olive oil and top with as much shaved ricotta salata or Pecorino Romano as you like. Serves 2 as a side dish.

Carrot Salad
In a medium bowl, whisk 1 Tbsp lemon juice with 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tsp honey and ½ tsp kosher salt (or ¼ tsp fine sea salt). Thinly slice 1 bunch of heirloom carrots on the diagonal (you should have about 2 cups) then add to bowl with dressing. Toss with 2 pitted and finely chopped dates and ¼ tsp sumac. Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates, then sprinkle with ¼ tsp more sumac and 2 Tbsp crumbled feta. Drizzle with more olive oil, if desired. Serves 2 as a side dish.

Cabbage Salad
In a medium bowl, whisk 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar with 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, ½ tsp kosher salt (or ¼ tsp fine sea salt) and half a small garlic clove (about 1/8 tsp) finely grated. Tear the leaves of a napa cabbage into bite-sized pieces and thinly slice the stems until you have about 6 cups. Add to bowl with dressing. Toss with ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan and as much freshly ground pepper as you’d like. Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates, then top with more Parmesan and 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds. Serves 2 as a side dish.

Craving more summertime meals? Try this baked salmon with spicy mango avocado salsa and mint and lemon pearl couscous salad.

We Tested 5 Vegan Egg Substitutes — This One is the Winner

There are so many options these days when it comes to replacing eggs in your vegan baking. So, we decided to test a whole bunch of substitutes to see which ones went boom and which ones went bust. We chose to test them all with the same brownie recipe, since we know brownies can be quite forgiving and almost always delicious (and it meant we got to eat a lot of brownies!). We deliberately left out commercial, store-bought brands and tested the most common egg replacements you probably already have stocked in your kitchen pantry. Let’s introduce you to our five vegan egg contenders.

Chia Egg

Both flax and chia eggs are classic substitutes used in vegan baking. We find them to be quite interchangeable so we only tested this recipe with chia. To make a chia egg, add 1 Tbsp of whole or ground chia seeds to 3 Tbsp of water. Whole chia seeds can easily get stuck in your teeth, so we recommend using ground unless you’re in a pinch (you can blitz them in a coffee grinder!). Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes gelatinous and thick. The reason why this works well in most baked goods, like muffins, cakes, breads and brownies, is because it adds moisture while also acting as a binder and not imparting any flavour. The downside is that because both chia and flax are darker in colour, they’ll change the colour of certain baked goods that are lighter, like cookies or cakes.

Result: The chia brownies came out gooey, fudgy and resembled a more traditional brownie texture.

Related: Common Ingredient Substitutions That Will Bring Your Recipes to Life

Aquafaba

Aquafaba is newer on the vegan baking scene. It’s the reserved liquid from a can of chickpeas. So once you drain your can of chickpeas, keep the liquid and measure out 3 Tbsp to replace one egg, then whisk it until it becomes frothed. If you put this into a stand mixer for about 3-5 minutes it will become whipped and resemble whipped egg whites with stiff peaks. When it’s that whipped, it’s more ideal for making meringues or macarons. So, we just frothed it. Aquafaba doesn’t tend to give off much moisture, sometimes leading to a drier baked good.

Result: We were really excited to see how the aquafaba would turn out, mainly because it’s so weird and interesting. But unfortunately, it was a bust. The texture was tough and lacked any sort of fluffiness. It also didn’t rise and had a layer of tiny holes on top. This may be because too much air was incorporated into the batter while mixing and became trapped, making it dense and bubbly on top. This is possibly because aquafaba acts more like egg whites, rather than a whole egg.

Arrowroot Starch/Powder

If you don’t have arrowroot, you can replace it with potato starch, cornstarch or tapioca starch. Arrowroot is gluten-free, grain-free and vegan. To replace one egg, make a slurry by combining 2 Tbsp of starch with 3 Tbsp of water. Arrowroot acts as a great binder and thickener, which may change the texture of your baked good to be a little on the drier side.

Result: This was the best looking brownie, but it had a drier, cakier texture and wasn’t as fudgy. If you like a cakier brownie, this is a great egg substitute for you.

Applesauce

Applesauce is a classic substitute for a few different baking ingredients: eggs, sugar, butter and oil. The reason why it works well as an egg replacement is because it adds a lot of moisture, making for a fudgy texture. Use ¼ cup of applesauce to replace one egg.

Result: The applesauce made a great fudgy brownie, but not quite as gooey as the chia brownie. Sometimes applesauce can impart a strong flavour, but we didn’t find that at all and found it was barely detectable. It also had a bit more rise than the chia brownie.

Mashed Sweet Potato

Mashed sweet potatoes are an amazing egg substitute, they offer a natural sweetener, while adding moisture to create a fudgy texture and are thick enough to act as a binder. You’ll need ¼ cup of mashed sweet potato to replace one egg.

Result: The sweet potato brownie came out fairly similar to the applesauce one in terms of fudgy texture and rise, but you could definitely taste the sweet potato, which may or may not be appealing to you.

Related: You Won’t Believe These Fudgy Sweet Potato Brownies Are Totally Gluten-Free

Overall the Winner is…

The chia egg brownie! It had the best texture, was moist, had a good amount of rise and tasted sweet, decadent and chocolatey. If you want to make the brownies yourself, here is the recipe we used.

The Best Vegan Brownie Recipe

Prep Time: 7 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 9 brownies

Ingredients:
2 vegan eggs
½ cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup coconut sugar
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ cup spelt flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8-inch brownie pan with parchment paper.

2. Prepare your vegan eggs and combine them with the coconut oil and vanilla in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Then add the dry into the wet until well combined, but not over-mixed. If you like, you can fold in chocolate chips.

4. Pour the batter into your brownie pan, shake the pan around until the batter is evenly spread out.

5. Bake it in the oven for 30 minutes, allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Want more vegan baking ideas? This carrot cake recipe and this raspberry cheezecake recipe are so good even non-vegans will love them.

Sarah Britton’s Vegan Blood Orange Chocolate Birthday Cake Will Make You Want to Celebrate

In the new Food Network Canada Facebook series The Substitute Baker, celebrated Toronto-born holistic nutritionist Sarah Britton shows us just how easy it can be to adapt your favourite recipes to suit any occasion or special dietary needs.

This time around, she’s given us a reason to celebrate at home — birthday or not — with a vegan citrus and chocolate birthday cake that you’ll crave all year round.

Related: Homemade Bread Recipes You’ll Want to Make Again and Again

Blood Orange Chocolate Birthday Cake

Dark Chocolate Date Frosting Ingredients:

4 cups/720g pitted dates
½ cup/50g raw cacao powder
½ tsp sea salt
Grated zest of 2 organic oranges
1 cup plant-based milk of your choice

Dark Chocolate Date Frosting Directions:

1. If the dates are really dry, soak them in warm water for an hour or so, until softened. Then drain the dates.

2. Combine the dates, cacao powder, salt and orange zest in a food processor, and pulse to break up the dates. Then slowly add the milk with the processor running until you have a thick, silky frosting that is easy to spread. You may need to stop periodically and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the food processor. If you have any leftovers, store them, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Related: 20 Comforting Baking Projects That Deserve a Pat on the Back

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

2 cups/280g whole spelt flour
½ cup/50g unsweetened cacao powder
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine salt
1 cup/250ml pure maple syrup
1¼ cups/ 30ml plant-based milk of your choice
6 Tbsp/90ml coconut oil, melted, plus extra for the pan
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Blood Orange Cake Ingredients:

2½ cups/360g whole spelt flour
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine salt
1 cup/250ml pure maple syrup
Grated zest of 2 organic blood oranges
1¼ cups/300ml freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about 5 oranges)
6 Tbsp/90ml coconut oil, melted, plus extra for the pan
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Decorations:

100g dark chocolate (80%), melted
A few slices dehydrated citrus
3 Tbsp dehydrated raspberries

Blood Orange Chocolate Birthday Cake Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Lightly oil two 7–inch/18cm springform cake pans.

2. Make the chocolate cake batter: In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl combine the maple syrup, milk, coconut oil and vanilla; whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk to remove any lumps. Quickly whisk in the vinegar.

3. Make the blood orange cake batter: In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl combine the maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest, coconut oil and vanilla; whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk to remove any lumps. Quickly whisk in the vinegar.

4. Pour each bowl of batter into its own prepared cake pan. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, approximately 50 minutes. Set the cakes on a wire rack and let them cool for about 20 minutes, then remove them from the pans. Let the cakes cool completely. You may even want to bake them the night before.

Related: 65 Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love

5. Use a long knife to carefully slice each cake in half horizontally, creating four thin layers, total.

6. Put the 7” blood orange cake layer on a platter. Spread the top with about a quarter of the frosting. Put the 7” chocolate cake layer on top, and spread it with frosting. Repeat with the remaining blood orange and chocolate layers.

7. Use the melted chocolate to decorate the dehydrated citrus slices by dipping some into the chocolate half way, and drizzling chocolate over others. Decorate the top of the cake with the decorated dehydrated citrus and crumbled dried raspberries. Serve. (The cake keeps rather well at room temperature, covered, for 5 days.)

For more baking inspiration, Sarah Britton’s Bold and Beautiful Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake is an instant dessert classic, or learn how to make her Keto Salt and Pepper Tahini Cookies and easy Gluten-Free Everything Bagel Loaf.


 

Sarah Britton’s Keto Salt and Pepper Tahini Cookies = Our New Favourite Treat

In the new Food Network Canada Facebook series The Substitute Baker, celebrated Toronto-born holistic nutritionist Sarah Britton shows us just how easy it can be to adapt your favourite recipes to suit any occasion or special dietary needs.


This time around, she’s elevated the humble cookie and transformed it into a salty and sweet keto-friendly treat that you’ll want to make on repeat.

Related: Homemade Bread Recipes You’ll Want to Make Again and Again

Salt and Pepper Tahini Cookies

Homemade Tahini Ingredients: 
Makes about 2 cups (500ml)

4 cups / 300g un-hulled (brown/variegated) sesame seeds
½ tsp. fine salt
½ cup cold-pressed sesame oil (olive oil works too)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread sesame seeds out on two rimmed baking sheets and place in the oven to toast for 15-20, stirring a couple times during cooking to prevent burning. Remove from the oven and let cool.

2. Place sesame seeds in a food processor and blend on high until smooth, adding the oil as needed. Add salt and blend.

3. Store tahini in an airtight glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Related: 20 Comforting Baking Projects That Deserve a Pat on the Back

Cookie Ingredients:

2 cups / 220g almond flour
½ tsp. flaky sea salt, plus more for garnish
1 ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup / 175ml tahini
½ cup / 125ml yacon syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup / 50g chopped dark chocolate
2 Tbsp. crushed cacao nibs, plus 2 Tbsp. to garnish

Related: 10 Surprising Foods That Boost the Immune System

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 170°C. Lightly grease, or line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, black pepper and salt. Set aside.

3. In a small saucepan whisk tahini, yacon syrup, and vanilla together over low heat until runny. Pour over dry ingredients and stir well to combine. The dough will be thick and you may need to use your hands to finish mixing. When the dough has cooled, fold in chopped chocolate and cacao nibs.

4. Roll about a tablespoon and a half worth of the dough in the palm of your hands, into a ball. Flatten slightly, then place on the prepared tray, sprinkle with a few more cacao nibs and a pinch of flaky salt. Lightly press the toppings into the dough.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

6. Store in airtight containers at room temperature for up to a week.

For more baking inspiration, Sarah Britton’s Bold and Beautiful Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake is an instant dessert classic, or learn how to make her easy Gluten-Free Everything Bagel Loaf.

Watch The Substitute Baker Wednesdays at 4ep on the Food Network Canada Facebook page.

Sarah Britton’s Gluten-Free Everything Bagel Loaf is The Easiest Bread Recipe Ever

In the new Food Network Canada Facebook series The Substitute Baker, celebrated Toronto-born holistic nutritionist Sarah Britton shows us just how easy it can be to adapt your favourite recipes to suit any occasion or special dietary needs.

This time around, she’s taken one of the all-time greatest bagel flavours (everything!) and transformed it into a nutritious, highly satisfying gluten-free loaf studded with seeds – making it high in protein! – that you’ll want to introduce into regular rotation. Did we mention this life-changing bread recipe is also plant-based and incredibly easy to whip together? Your morning breakfast routine (okay, and lunch routine) just got way more delicious.

Related: 20 Comforting Baking Projects That Deserve a Pat on the Back

Gluten-Free Everything Bagel Loaf

Big-Batch Everything Bagel Spice Mix Ingredients:
Makes 3 cups (430g)

½ cup / 80g garlic flakes
¾ cup / 85g onion flakes
¾ cup /100g sesame seeds (I like a mix of brown and black)
½ cup/ 85g poppy seeds
½ cup / 80g flaky sea salt (I used Maldon)

Directions:

1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool. Place poppy seeds in the same skillet, and toast over medium heat until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. In a large jar, combine the cooled sesame and poppy seeds, garlic flakes, onion flakes and salt. Shake or stir to combine, and secure with an airtight lid. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct light. Keeps for 3-4 months.

Related: From Homemade Bread to Pickles, 20 Recipes to Master While Indoors

Life-Changing Loaf of Bread Ingredients:
Makes 1 loaf

1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds
½ cup / 90g flax seeds
½ cup / 65g pumpkin seeds
1 ½ cups / 150g gluten-free rolled oats
2 Tbsp chia seeds
4 Tbsp psyllium husk powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp everything bagel spice blend, plus 1 Tbsp. for garnish
1 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp melted, expeller-pressed coconut oil
1¾ cups water

Related: 10 Surprising Foods That Boost the Immune System

Directions:

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very wet (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable). Transfer the dough into a flexible, silicon loaf pan, and smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of bagel spice for garnish. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.

3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down on a clean baking sheet and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important).

4. Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast. Reheat by toasting in the toaster for 5-7 minutes.

For more baking inspiration, Sarah Britton’s Bold and Beautiful Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake is here for you, or learn how to make the most Perfect Sourdough Loaf.


 

Sarah Britton’s Bold and Beautiful Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake

In the new Food Network Canada series The Substitute Baker, celebrated Toronto-born holistic nutritionist Sarah Britton shows us just how easy it can be to adapt your favourite recipes to suit any occasion or special dietary needs.

For starters, she’s crafted this bold, gorgeous and positively mouth-watering plant-based cheesecake recipe that will make you look like a well-seasoned baker.

Related: 20 Easy Plant-Based Recipes for Beginners That Will Make You Drool

Healthy Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake

Ingredients:

Crust
1 cup/150g toasted sunflower seeds (almonds, pecans or walnuts also work)
¼ cup/35g cacao nibs
1 cup/250g soft dates, pitted
2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
¼ tsp sea salt

Filling
2 cups/300g raw cashews, soaked overnight
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
½ cup/125ml virgin coconut oil
½ cup/125ml raw honey
Pinch sea salt
1½ cups frozen raspberries (thaw slightly)

Decorations
30g dark chocolate, melted
Handful of dried raspberries, crushed

Directions:

1. Place seeds, cacao nibs, cacao powder and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (process a finer crust longer than a chunky one). Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect (if it’s too dry, add more dates, if it’s too wet, add more seeds).

Related: Our Very Best Vegan Dessert Recipes to Make

2. Reserve ¼ cup of your crust to use as decorations later and transfer the remaining crust mixture to a lightly greased (with expeller-pressed coconut oil) and parchment-lined 7.5” (19cm) spring-form pan. Press the mixture firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout. Use a flat-bottomed drinking glass or bottle to help press the crust into the pan evenly. Use the reserved mixture to make balls of different sizes that you will use as decorations later. Store these in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

3. Warm coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Add vanilla and whisk to combine.

4. In the most powerful blender you own (I recommend a Vitamix), place all filling ingredients, except raspberries, and blend on high for 1-2 minutes or until very smooth.

5. Reserve ⅛ cup filling in a small bowl and set it aside. Pour about 2/3 (just eyeball it, you can’t make a mistake!) of the filling out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Tap the pan firmly against a hard surface to remove air bubbles. Add the raspberries to the remaining ⅓ of the filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling and tap again to create a smooth surface. Dollop the reserved white filling onto the raspberry layer and swirl with a knife tip. Tap the pan once more to even out the filling, then place the cheezecake in the freezer until solid.

6. To serve, remove from the freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Remove parchment from base of cake. Decorate with date and seed balls, drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle dried raspberries.

Related: Can I Freeze This? How to Freeze Fruit, Cheese, Leftovers and More

For more baking inspiration, try Our Most Crave-Worthy Carrot Cake Recipes in Every Form or These Banana Bread Recipes That Will Provide All the Comfort.


 

This Chocolate Tahini Coffee Granola Will Make You a Morning Person

It just might be the case that three of the very best ingredients in the world are tahini, chocolate and coffee. So naturally, we were committed to finding a way to stir them all together into one delectable healthy breakfast that can’t be beat. Enter this creamy, flavour-forward granola with a kick of coffee and cacao powder. These three ingredients marry well together because they heighten each other’s bitterness, sweetness and richness, making this granola such a treat. Sprinkle it onto yogurt (or a non-dairy equivalent) for added texture and creaminess… and while you’re at it, double the batch.

Related: Bright and Beautiful Breakfasts That’ll Get You Excited for Spring

Healthy Chocolate Tahini Coffee Granola Recipe

Servings: 6 ½ cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans
1 cup pumpkin seeds
2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
⅓ cup ground decaf coffee (or caffeinated if you want an extra kick!)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup tahini
¼ cup maple syrup
½ cup coconut oil, butter or avocado oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. If you like, you can roughly chop the nuts and seeds by hand or in a food processor.

3. Place a saucepan on medium heat and whisk together the tahini, maple syrup and coconut oil until velvety.

Related: How to Make Oat Milk 5 Ways (And Why It’s the Best Non-Dairy Option)

4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry, and mix until well combined.

5. Spread the mixture out onto a baking sheet. Use two baking sheets if needed, as you don’t want to overcrowd the granola.

Related: Healthy High-Protein Oatmeal, Dressed Up 3 Delicious Ways

6. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring at the 15-20 minute mark (we stirred at 20 minutes) then allow to cool for at least 10 minutes so the granola has the opportunity to harden.

7. Enjoy with dairy or non-dairy yogurt or milk, or by the handful.

Keep morning meals a priority and whip up a batch of these healthy loaded breakfast cookies or nourishing pancakes made with “green banana” flour.

The Healthy Loaded Oatmeal Cookie You’re Meant to Eat for Breakfast

Cookies for breakfast? You heard us right. Think of these healthy baked goods as chewy (portable) granola, sweetened with maple syrup and packed with wholesome ingredients, like chia seeds and walnuts. The cookies are also gluten-free – the batter uses oat flour instead of all-purpose, but you’d never know it!

Don’t have oat flour on hand? Make your own by grinding whole oats in a food processor until the mixture resembles a flour consistency. Just be sure to measure the oat flour after you grind it, not before. To turn this recipe into a dairy-free breakfast, simply substitute the butter with equal parts coconut oil. Pairing these cookies with your morning coffee will make everything that much sweeter.

Related: Healthy High-Protein Oatmeal, Dressed Up 3 Delicious Ways

Gluten-Free Breakfast Oat Cookies

Prep Time: 18 minutes
Chill Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 cookies

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
¼ cup maple syrup
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups gluten-free old fashioned oats
1 cup gluten-free oat flour
1 Tbsp chia seeds
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp fine salt
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Related: Green Banana Flour is Here to Stay, And This Pancake Recipe Proves It

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, maple syrup, egg and vanilla until well blended.

3. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the oats, oat flour, chia seeds, cinnamon, baking powder and salt until combined.

4. Fold in the cranberries, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

Related: 3-Ingredient Breakfasts That Will Make Mornings a Breeze

5. Using a large ice cream scoop, evenly divide mixture into 12 rounds. Let chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

6. Transfer dough to a prepared baking sheet and press each round to flatten.

7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.

8. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For more inspiration, here are our best high-protein breakfast recipes, the only make-ahead breakfast ideas you need, and a look into what healthy people eat for breakfast.

Green Banana Flour is Here to Stay, And This Pancake Recipe Proves It

With the popularization of plant-forward, gluten-free and dairy-free eating, many are swapping their traditional beloved foods for more nourishing alternatives like “milk” made from oats, “yogurt” made from coconut, “cheese” made from cashews … and now “flour” made from green bananas! And, green banana flour is as its name suggests: green bananas are harvested and milled into a flour that is actually incredibly healthy for you.

The flour is rich in resistant starch, meaning it resists digestion and feeds the good bacteria in the gut. Since it bypasses digestion, banana flour doesn’t spike blood sugar or insulin after it’s consumed. It’s also grain- and gluten-free, not to mention environmentally friendly, since many green bananas aren’t suitable for export or sale; but they’re perfect for grinding into flour. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the texture and lightness of pancakes made from the starchy fruit – you may never go back to using other flours again!

Gluten-Free Green Banana Flour Pancakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: Makes 8 small pancakes

Ingredients:

Pancakes
¾ cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup green banana flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
2 eggs
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted + more for frying
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Toppings
Banana slices
Crumbled walnuts
Maple syrup

Directions:

1. Combine the lemon juice and non-dairy milk in a bowl and let it sit and curdle for 5 minutes.

2. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and sea salt.

3. After the 5 minutes are up, whisk in the eggs, maple syrup, cooled liquid coconut oil and vanilla.

4. Slowly pour the dry mix into the wet and fold the ingredients together.

5. Heat a griddle or frying pan on medium, melt coconut oil to coat the surface and then drop about ⅓ cup of batter down.  Allow to cook for about 3 minutes, you’ll see bubbles and the edges will begin to solidify, then flip for another 3 minutes. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn.

6. Once all the pancakes have been cooked, dress them up with your favourite toppings like caramelized banana slices, walnuts and maple syrup.

On a healthy baking streak? Try your hand at these 3 no-bake cookies (they’re healthy enough for breakfast!) together with this nourishing apple pie oatmeal bake. For more inspiration, here are 10 things healthy people eat for breakfast every morning.

I Went Keto for 3 Months and Got Gout. Here’s What I Wish I’d Known

My friend walks into a bar – glowing, leaner and the happiest I’ve ever seen her in our 12 year friendship. “Keto,” she says, anticipating the ‘What are you doing?’ question, “I basically eat a lot of Caesar salad – I’ve lost 25 pounds.”

We’re in our thirties, and every year it feels like there’s another ring around the trunk. While I’ve picked up rec sports like ball hockey and practice yoga semi-regularly, I’ve never been on a diet and haven’t put any actual effort into slimming down. My friend, Janna, and I have always had similar palates: we love bread, pasta, sandwiches, sauce, potatoes and most comfort foods on the regular. “You should do it,” she said, “You can eat so many things — I feel amazing.”

Why I went keto

As an intersectional-feminist who promotes body positivity, I hate how this story starts. It was one long look into my bathroom mirror after a shower when I cried — unhappy with the aged, unfamiliar woman staring back at me. I decided, at that exact moment, that I was going to try keto, as Janna had done.

So, I started the following Monday. I took the weekend to consult with Dr. Google so I could hunt and gather at the grocery store for my new and very first diet.

The ketogenic diet is attractive to people like me (read: who have the palate of a 13-year-old boy in the 90’s with a love for beige food and grease) because you never have to go hungry or calorie count, and you’re allowed to eat bacon, burgers, butter and other foods typically considered unhealthy. It’s a high fat, moderate protein, zero-sugar, low-carb diet. I don’t even like baked goods or sweets.

But I do like bagels, dumplings, corn and other carbs you’re not allowed on keto. Starchy carbs were off the table — so were fruits (including the melon family, mangoes, pineapple, apples etc.) and even a variety of vegetables had to be limited.

Related: From keto to whole30 to vegan. What is the best healthy diet? 

What a typical day of eating looked like for me

Like Janna, I ended up eating a lot of Caesar salad with chicken on the regular. Breakfast was all about bacon, eggs (cooked in butter), spinach and avocado. On offer at lunch was usually more leafy greens, roast chicken (sometimes hot, other times cold), cheese and nuts. For snacks, I ate more nuts, more cheese, and sometimes I’d even eat raw spinach out of the bin and call them “keto chips”. Blackberries were a green-lit treat, and very dark chocolate is also OK in moderation. I learned to like cream, and sometimes butter, in my keto coffee.

I also learned to drink so much water, and I peed on a keto strip every morning to make sure I was still in a state of ketosis. Being in the state of dietary ketosis is key to the weight loss benefits of the diet — it means your body is no longer fueled by carbs and is instead running on stored fat (hence the high fat part), producing ketones, so your brain still gets the energy it needs. To enter ketosis, I had to deprive my body of carbs (keeping the serving under 20g per day). The process took about three to five days, which is when I got what’s dubbed the keto flu and lost seven pounds by day six.

Some challenges I faced while on keto

I made the mistake of going on a road trip to Michigan within my first weeks of keto. Translation: burgers with lettuce, meat sticks, cheese and nuts were pretty much all I consumed that weekend. My mother commented on my appearance: “It’s working. I can see it in your face.” I was thinning out.

Related: How to develop healthy eating habits that actually last.

They say you stop craving carbs — that never actually happened for me. I didn’t need them, but if I saw my co-worker eating pizza, I knew I’d rather be sinking my teeth into a slice than stabbing at a bowl of cold, raw vegetables.

Keto became a way of life. At post ball hockey drinks, I’d have water and eat a burger in a lettuce bun with celery (no illegal carrots because of the sugar). But I knew this couldn’t go on forever. While editing a story on celebrity diets, I discovered the 80/20 diet and decided to try carb cycling.

Related: What is the flexitarian diet, and why are people doing it?

What I wish I knew when I got gout

Carb cycling and keto may increase the risk of gout. I wish I’d talked to an actual expert and registered nutritionist before I’d participated in a fad diet to explore the potential risks for myself. For this article, I talked to Julie Mancuso, the weight-loss expert and owner of JM Nutrition.

My friends are doing it, my coworkers are doing it — it works great for them, so it’ll work great for me, is something Mancuso hears all the time from first-time dieters. “Even though we have the same composition, we all have a different makeup, and your friend may not have any pre-dispositions to health issues,” she explains.

It turns out gout runs in my family. I was the first female to get it in my known bloodline — a glass ceiling I really didn’t need to break. But after attempting (and failing) carb cycling, drinking wine and building up too much uric acid, I found myself hopping on one foot with the rich man’s disease. I gave myself gout. It was already in my genes and it was triggered by my diet.

“With keto, you actually get most of the calorie consumption from fat,” says Mancuso. “If someone is predisposed to gallstones and you’re eating an abundance of fat — and [the] body can’t keep up with that — that will cause a problem.” Another thing to note is that spinach is very high in oxalate, the number one cause of kidney stones. So, at least I didn’t get gallstones or kidney stones, right?

Related: A nutritionist reveals 10 best natural foods for glowing skin.

How I would do keto differently

The next time I submit to my insecurities and decide to attempt a drastic diet change, I will consult with a nutritionist or dietitian to help me better my relationship with food.

According to Mancuso, there are many healthy and sustainable changes people can make to their diet that will help with weight-loss — people don’t need to jump into keto. But many lean towards diets like keto, including Atkins, Paleo and South Beach, because the results are typically fast, and starting something so strict and seemingly effective can be motivating.

“Our culture is like that — when we want something, we want it now,” says Mancuso, who often works with clients and encourages them to start slowly with new diets. She likes to take the time to assess and provide people with a better understanding with how diets and weight-loss actually work.

“What I don’t like about keto is that it’s very restrictive,” explains Mancuso. “The biggest problem is that people have trouble sustaining this diet… what diet restricts broccoli?”

Related: Nutritionist reveals 10 secrets to keeping energy levels up all day long.

What people should keep in mind if going keto

“Keto works for weight-loss” says Mancuso. “What I like is that it steers people away from eating carbs and sugar.”

She would recommend nutritionally balanced keto — which, according to the weight-loss expert, is moderate protein and plenty of vegetables. If the aim is weight-loss, the sugar has to go, and the carbs have to be cut down. As it turns out, there really aren’t any shortcuts or hacks for leading a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.

Feature image courtesy of Getty Images. 

Healthy High-Protein Oatmeal, Dressed Up 3 Delicious Ways

You’ve heard it before and we will say it again: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But the kicker is, your go-to morning meal should feature nutrients to keep you satiated and satisfied (sugar-laden cereals just won’t cut it). Today, we’re sharing three protein-packed oatmeal recipes that promise to keep you full. It’s a healthy – and delicious – start to the year that belongs in your breakfast rotation. And with three exciting variations to choose from, you’ll never get bored.

Winter Citrus Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup orange juice, store-bought or freshly squeezed
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional)
1 Tbsp hemp seeds, plus more for topping
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, plus more for topping
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
1/2 tsp orange zest
Orange slices, for topping
Blueberry jam, for topping
Chopped pecans, for topping

Directions:

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the almond milk, orange juice, oats, protein powder, hemp seeds and maple syrup.

2. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, salt and orange zest. If oatmeal appears thick, add an additional splash of almond milk.

4. Stir in orange slices, blueberry jam, pecans and maple syrup.

Cranberry, Coconut & Chia Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, plus more for topping
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
Fresh cranberries, for topping (can substitute dried)
Flaked coconut, for topping
Roasted almonds, for topping
Maple syrup, for serving

Directions:

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the coconut milk, oats, protein powder, chia seeds and maple syrup.

2. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt. If oatmeal appears thick, add an additional splash of coconut milk.

4. Stir in cranberries, coconut, almonds and maple syrup.

Chocolate, Banana & Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional)
2 Tbsp honey, plus more for topping
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1 banana, sliced
2 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 pinch flaked salt, for topping

Directions:

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the almond milk, oats, protein powder and honey.

2. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt. If oatmeal appears thick, add an additional splash of almond milk.

4. Stir in peanut butter, banana and dark chocolate. Top with flaked salt.

Restore your relationship with breakfast with this vegan apple pie oatmeal bake or these creative chia puddings 3 ways. These 3-ingredient breakfasts will also make mornings a breeze.

The 30-Minute Instant Pot Curry a Nutritionist Makes Every Week

Once a week, I make a large batch of healthy, vegetable- and protein-filled curry in my Instant Pot. It’s a top pick in my house and feeds us for lunch a few days after it’s made. Cozy, adaptable to any dietary preference and made in about 30 minutes (give or take five to 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure and the steam to release), it’s a staple in our weekly rotation. And clean up is a breeze!

Along with the chicken curry recipe below, you’ll find ways to switch it up, which I often do, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or omnivore. I also have a few suggestions for my personal favourite part of the curry: the toppings.   

Instant Pot Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry (Adaptable)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 

Ingredients: 

Curry
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, left whole (scroll to bottom for plant-based and pescatarian options)
1 white or yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium red new potatoes or 2 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp kosher salt
1 (14 oz) can full-fat coconut milk
1 (5.5 fl oz) can tomato paste
⅓ cup water or broth
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, ghee or coconut oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice, plus more for serving

Toppings and Serving Suggestions
Naan or roti
Cooked white or brown basmati rice
Plain yogurt, raita or cottage cheese
Lime or lemon juice
Fresh cilantro or mint
Mango chutney or sweet chili jam
Raisins
Ghee or butter
Nigella seeds
Toasted chopped cashews
Diced fresh chili or red pepper flakes

Directions: 

1. In your Instant Pot, stir to combine chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, potatoes, garam masala or curry powder, cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, coconut milk, tomato paste and water.

2. Seal the lid and sealing switch on top. Cook on High Pressure for 15 minutes (Manual). After the time is up, turn the sealing switch to release the pressure, and then open the lid.

3. Remove chicken, shred or chop and add back to the pot with butter, ghee or coconut oil and lemon juice. Stir everything to combine and serve with any of the suggested toppings and accompaniments.

Tips for Modifying the Recipe:

1. Add more vegetables
Replace the new or Yukon gold potatoes with ½ head cauliflower cut into florets and stir in ½ cup frozen peas or a few handfuls of spinach right before serving (press Sauté to warm through if the frozen peas cool the curry down too much).

2. Make it vegan
Replace the chicken with 1 (19 oz) can drained and rinsed chickpeas, 1 block extra-firm tofu, or ½ large head cauliflower cut into florets.    

3. Make it vegetarian
Replace the chicken with with 1 (19 oz) can drained and rinsed chickpeas and top with a poached or soft-boiled egg. 

4. Make it pescatarian
Replace the chicken with peeled and deveined shrimp, adding only after cooking the curry base and vegetables. Once the pressure is released, press Sauté, add shrimp and cook, stirring often until cooked through, about 2 minutes.  

You’ll want to add this recipe to your roster of healthy Instant Pot meal ideas. And if you’re on a belly-warming recipe kick, try these slow-cooker curries along with The Pioneer Woman’s best soups and stews.