Tag Archives: healthy eating

vegan cassoulet in white dish

This Cozy Weeknight Cassoulet is Given a Spicy Vegan Makeover

A cozy weeknight favourite with a vegan spin, this French-inspired dish is booming with flavour and wholesome ingredients, while topped with a light panko crumb crust to add a nice crunch. While cassoulet traditionally contains meat, this Can You Vegan It? recipe gives the classic a plant-based twist. This recipe calls for harissa paste for a bit of a spicy kick, but if heat isn’t your thing, substitute black pepper in place of the paste. Plus, an added bonus: this meal all comes together in one pot and it takes just an hour to whip up!

vegan cassoulet in white dish

Spicy Vegan Cassoulet

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

3 medium leeks
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 large carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp ground cloves
1-1 ½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp harissa paste
3 (19 oz) cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups of water
1 ¾ cups organic panko crumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme

vegan cassoulet ingredients on kitchen countertop

Directions:

1. Cut and discard the green part of the leeks, leaving only the white and pale green parts to work with. Halve leeks lengthwise, then chop crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Place chopped leeks in a bowl or large strainer and rinse thoroughly until the sandy particles are gone.

2. Place a large Dutch oven pot over medium heat and add ¼ cup olive oil. Once heated, add leeks, carrots, zucchini, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, cloves, salt and harissa. Stir occasionally until veggies are semi soft and golden, about 15 minutes; then add in beans and water. Cook covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s One Pot Recipes That Will Make Dinner a Breeze

3. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, toss panko bread crumbs, 2 Tbsp olive oil, garlic powder and thyme. Place it on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 7-9 minutes until toasted and light brown, stirring occasionally. Set aside and let it cool.

panko breadcrumbs roasted on cookie sheet

4. When the cassoulet is ready, discard bay leaf and parsley sprigs and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Top with toasted garlic panko before serving.

vegan cassoulet in white dish

Like Valerie’s vegan cassoulet? Try her low-carb vegan ramen or her healthy Sriracha-honey oven-fried chicken.

Plate of healthy fried chicken

This Healthy Sriracha-Honey Oven-Fried Chicken is Simply Delish

For all the fried chicken lovers out there who are looking for a much healthier way to enjoy delicious chicken — this paleo Sriracha-honey oven-fried chicken is right up your alley. It’s spicy, sweet and savoury, extremely flavourful and there’s no deep frying or oil required.

Plate of healthy fried chicken

Healthy Sriracha-Honey Oven-Fried Chicken

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serving: 4

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour
1 tsp flaky sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 eggs
1 lb chicken breasts or thighs (4-5 pieces)
⅓ cup Sriracha hot sauce
⅓ cup pure honey
1 tsp garlic powder
Fresh chives or parsley, for topping

Ingredients for healthy fried chicken on countertop

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt and pepper. In a smaller bowl, whisk eggs.

Related: Our Best Budget-Friendly Chicken Recipes to Have on Rotation

3. Dip each chicken breast in the whisked eggs, then coat with almond flour mixture and place on the lined baking sheet. Store any leftover almond flour mixture in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator. This can be reused within 3 days.

Healthy fried chicken in batter on baking pan

4. Transfer the chicken to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

5. In the meantime, combine Sriracha hot sauce, honey and garlic powder in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until the honey is melted and mixture is smooth. Turn off the heat and set the sauce aside.

Sauce for healthy fried chicken in pot

6. When ready, take the chicken out of the oven, then turn the oven settings to broil. Using a pastry brush, brush the Sriracha-honey sauce on the surface of the chicken until coated. Place the chicken back in the oven and broil for 3-5 minutes.

Pan full of healthy fried chicken

7. When ready, top with fresh chives or herb of choice. Serve immediately.

Like Valerie’s healthy Sriracha-honey chicken? Try her low-carb mint lamb burgers or her low-sugar persimmon creme brulee.

Vegan egg salad on baguette

This One Ingredient Will Change Your Vegan Recipes Forever (Plus a Vegan Egg Salad Recipe!)

Kala namak AKA black salt is the secret ingredient to many vegan recipes. It is a kiln-fired rock salt with a similar texture to a pink Himalayan salt, but with a strong hard-boiled egg flavour. Often used in South Asian cooking, it is the perfect way to add egg flavour to any eggless dish. It is amazing in this Can You Vegan It? egg salad sandwich recipe — serve it between two slices of your favourite bread or on a toasted sourdough baguette (my preference!).

Black salt

Vegan Egg Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 sandwiches

Vegan egg salad on baguette

Ingredients:

16 ounces medium or firm tofu, pressed
¼ cup celery, finely chopped
¼ cup chives or green onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise, store-bought or homemade
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ tsp turmeric
½ teaspoon kala namak
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Sourdough baguette, for serving

Vegan egg salad ingredients

Directions:

1. Press the tofu before using to drain out any excess liquids and ensure it soaks up the ingredients.

Tofu chopped up on cutting board

2. In a mixing bowl, toss together the tofu, celery and green onion. Set aside.

Vegan egg salad mixed in bowl

3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, turmeric, kala namak and pepper.

Related: Healthy Vegan Snack Ideas Featuring 10 Ingredients or Less

4. Pour mixture over tofu and toss to coat. Scoop mixture over bread, garnish with chives and enjoy!

Vegan egg salad mixed in bowl

Like Marcella’s vegan egg salad recipe? Try her vegan eggnog recipe or her six different recipes from one humble can of tomatoes.

Ramen with tofu and bok choy in white bowl

This Hearty 20-Minute Vegan Zucchini Ramen Noodle Soup Will Not Disappoint

No matter what, you always found yourself eating ramen out of a microwaved bowl in college. It was soupy noodles and not much else. Imagine if you found a veggie-based recipe that was full of flavor, packed with protein, low carb and delicious. That’s exactly what this ramen is: healthy good food. In this Can You Vegan It? recipe, we swap eggs for tofu — further transforming this classic comfort food.

Ramen with tofu and bok choy in white bowl

Zucchini Ramen Noodle Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

¼ cup sesame oil, divided
4 baby bok choy, quartered
2 Tbsp yellow miso paste (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, chopped
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
¼ cup coconut aminos
8 cups vegetable broth
½ tsp kosher salt
4 zucchinis, spiralized
4-6 omega-3 eggs, boiled, peeled and sliced or cooked tofu
2 3-oz (85 g) packages enoki mushrooms
1 cup scallions, diced

Related: Genius Ways to Hack a Pack of Ramen Noodles

Directions:

1. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bok choy to the skillet and cook for roughly 2 minutes on both sides until lightly charred. Remove the bok choy from the skillet and set it aside.

2. Add the remaining oil, then add the miso (if using), garlic, shallots, ginger and coconut aminos. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the broth and salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, then add the zucchini. Let the soup simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with the bok choy, eggs (or tofu), enoki mushrooms and a topping of scallions.

Like Valerie’s ramen noodle soup? Try her zesty lamb burgers or her low sugar persimmon creme brulee.

front cover of 30-Minute Low-Carb DinnersReprinted with permission from 30-Minute Low-Carb Dinners by Valerie Azinge, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020. Photo credit: Valerie Azinge, Yasaman Shafiei and Kabir Ali.

30-Minute Low-Carb Dinners, Amazon, $23.

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Festive vegan latte

We Tried 3 Seasonal Vegan Lattes at Your Favourite Coffee Shops. Here’s the Winner

Holiday latte season is one of my favourite seasons. You can indulge in the best coffee beans, but with a shot of sugary flavour and warm, frothy milk. And now thanks to an increased popularity of veganism and food allergies, plant-based milk (soy, almond, oat) is also typically on the menu.

This year I wanted to sample all of the best seasonal vegan lattes to see which one held up best. However because of the pandemic it felt like the options for such bevvies has been limited as many smaller joints have had to shut down. The good news is that some of the coffee franchises we all know and love did step up to pump out the special syrup and spices this season. And while I’m always a fan of supporting local, for the purpose of Canadian readers everywhere, here’s my hot take on the best vegan lattes from three of the more widely available cafes in the country.

Related: Coffee and Hot Chocolate Recipes to Warm Your Belly

Chestnut Praline Latte With Almond Milk, Starbucks

Available across Canada

Festive flavour: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, perhaps? Just ordering this drink, which promises “caramelized chestnuts and spices” is enough to make me want to bust out the Nat King Cole.

Sweetness: A grande comes with four pumps of syrup, which was a touch on the sweet side. Next time I might stick with two or three.

Real talk: To make this version vegan, I omitted the whipped cream. Because of that, they also left off the “specialty spiced praline crumbs.” It doesn’t matter — I fell in love with chestnut lattes years ago. To be honest, it’s one of the first drinks my husband and I order every holiday season when they make their way to Canada.

Related: Famous Recipes We’re Making at Home, From McDs Hash Browns to IKEA Meatballs

Verdict: This year did not disappoint. While my drink was overly sweet (it took me a while to finish the whole cup) I did love how smooth and velvety it was. It also came piping hot, which was a bonus because I’m also that girl who microwaves her coffee if it’s not steaming. And as for the almond milk substitution? The syrup actually overpowered that chalky taste you can sometimes get with almond milk — and I think the drink would have been even sweeter with the regular stuff. So I’m calling this one a glorious, vegan win. Now if only they made chestnut lattes available year-round…

Gingerbread Latte With Almond Milk, Coffee Culture

Available in Ontario and Manitoba

Festive flavour: Gingerbread is kind of the ultimate holiday flavour, don’t you think? So drinking it in latte form (rather than biting into a tooth-chipping piece from the stale house my kids always insist on decorating) makes sense.

Sweetness: This one wasn’t nearly as sweet as the chestnut latte, but it definitely left me with a bit of a sugar rush.

Real talk: Full disclosure: I’m pretty picky about how I like my gingerbread. I love fresh ginger, so if we’re talking cookies, I prefer the warm and chewy kind.

Related: Our Fave Food Trends to Come out of Quarantine, From Pancake Cereal to Bread Art

Verdict: As a drink, this gingerbread latte had a pretty great balance of coffee to ginger — and just smelling it was enough to bring a warm and fuzzy feel to my hectic afternoon. But one cup was definitely enough to last me for the entire season. I’m of the camp that gingerbread is special because it’s a once-in-a-while treat. But if they made this drink in candle form? Well that’s something I’d light up all season long.

Cinnamon Toast Latte With Almond Milk, Second Cup

Available across Canada

Festive flavour: I feel like cinnamon is a year-round flavour, so I wasn’t necessarily getting a festive vibe from this drink. But it did feel special and new, especially since I got to sip it in a fully decorated cafe while my toddler nibbled on a croissant.

Sweetness: Once again this latte was slightly too sweet for my personal preference, so next time I would ask for one less pump of syrup.

Real talk: Growing up my dad used to make me cinnamon toast and it was one of my favourite breakfasts. So I was immediately excited to try this grown-up version. I sipped it while watching my kid take in the experience of having a snack at a cafe (something he hasn’t really gotten to do yet in his life, especially with this pandemic) and it just reminded me of traditions, holiday shopping and taking a timeout to savour the season. Yes, I got all that from a drink.

Related: We Tried Popeyes’ Famous Chicken Sandwich That Finally Arrived in Canada — Is It Worth the Hype?

Verdict: I appreciated that while the other cafes were happy to offer up vegan milk in any of their lattes, Second Cup specifically put a plant-based version of its Cinnamon Toast Latte on the menu. They usually make theirs with oat milk (because oats and cinnamon are another memorable combo), but in order to be completely fair to the other shops, I had mine with almond milk. That suited me just fine and it was delicious, but next time I’m there I’m definitely trying to recommended version.

Winner

While the chestnut latte was delicious and the gingerbread latte was memorable, I have to go with the cinnamon toast latte. Are you surprised? I believe the season is all about the memories we make — and to me, the drink was a mood. Add in the fact that Second Cup put effort into branding the latte as a vegan drink and it had to win — hands down.

That said, this year has been strange and weird for so many reasons. Restaurants have been struggling to stay afloat, let alone sink money into new products. So I’m calling this a tentative win for now and here’s hoping that by this time next year, we can all over-imbibe on caffeine and more holiday-themed, sugary goodness.

Photos courtesy of Amber Dowling

We also tried the KFC Cinnabon Dessert Biscuits. Are they worth the hype?

These Vegan Sloppy Joe Sliders Are Your Answer to Healthy Entertaining

This unconventional take on the sloppy Joe is inspired by the popular chickpea-filled Trinidadian street food, doubles. Like sloppy Joes, doubles are a deliciously messy, sweet and savoury snack. They’re typically made of channa (a curried chickpea filling) sandwiched between two pieces of fried dough with tamarind sauce, chutneys and pepper sauce.

For this Can You Vegan It? sloppy Joe recipe, the fried dough is replaced with mini sesame-seed buns. The savoury curried chickpea filling is topped with a spicy and crunchy cucumber chutney, as well as a tangy pineapple jam rather than tamarind sauce. It’s an unlikely combination, but if you enjoy sweet, savoury and spicy flavours, this recipe is calling your name. It’s perfect for pleasing picky kids or entertaining guests. Plus they’re veg-friendly for everyone to enjoy!

Vegan Sloppy Joe Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 70 minutes
Servings: 12 sliders

Ingredients:

Channa (Chickpea Filling)
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
3 stalks green onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp turmeric
2 Tbsp geera (ground roasted cumin)
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 can drained chickpeas (28 oz)
4 tsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 scotch bonnet pepper
Salt, to taste

Spicy Cucumber Chutney
½ large field cucumber
⅓ scotch bonnet pepper
1 lime, juiced
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

Additional
Pineapple jam or guava jam (you can find this in the Caribbean section of the grocery store or at a Caribbean grocery store)
12 sesame buns (or any type of slider buns you prefer)

Directions:

1. Finely chop the onion, garlic cloves and green onion. Add a few spoons of oil to a large pot at medium heat. Then saute the onion, garlic and green onion.

2. Once the onions become translucent, add the turmeric, geera and curry powder and stir — add a bit of water if necessary to keep the ingredients from sticking to the pot.

3. Add the drained chickpeas and chopped cilantro and stir. Then pour enough water to cover the chickpeas and add in the scotch bonnet pepper (do not cut the pepper). Let the ingredients simmer on medium heat until soft, adding more water when necessary to keep the mixture from burning or sticking to the pan.

4. Once the chickpeas have softened and the mixture has a thick consistency, take it off the heat and let cool.

Related: Our Most Popular Vegan Recipes Ever

5. Use a grater to shred half the field cucumber and place in a bowl.

6. Finely chop the ⅓ scotch bonnet pepper, removing most of the seeds (this pepper is incredibly spicy, so be careful when handling) before adding to the bowl of grated cucumber.

7. Add the lime juice and chopped cilantro to the bowl. Mix the ingredients together and place in a mason jar.

8. Lightly toast the sesame buns and spread a generous portion of pineapple jam to the bottom of the bun, then add a few spoonfuls of the chickpea channa mix, top with a bit of the spicy cucumber chutney — and enjoy!

Like Eden’s vegan sloppy Joes? Try her sweet potato blondies or cardamom teff apple muffins.

Published June 11, 2018, Updated December 13, 2020

We Tried 4 Different Vegan Cheeses in Canada. Here’s the Winner (Plus a Recipe!)

I probably appreciate cheese more than the average person — the dairy-laden type of fromage that makes a charcuterie board sing and a pizza one of the greatest edible creations on earth.  But, somewhat ironically, I also appreciate plant-based spins on classics just as dearly — and if you were to peer inside my fridge on any given week, you’d find a block of Parm, some fancy old Cheddar and a nut cheese or two sitting pretty. Because balance is everything, right?

I consider myself a bit of an expert on vegan cheese (and vegan cheese brands in general) — and to be totally honest, I expect them to stand up to their traditional counterpart. Call me a harsh critic, but there are some questionable dairy-free options on shelves that are definitely not worth their $7-$12 price tag.

So, after having taste tested my fair share, here’s my honest opinion on four popular plant-based, dairy-free cheeses available in Canada, from nut-based options to inventive coconut-inspired versions.

Related: I Tried “Beyond Meat” Meals at 5 Popular Canadian Chains. Here’s How They Stacked Up

1.  Violife Foods’ Feta-Style Block

Feta cheese made vegan and palatable is an ambitious undertaking. I’ll admit: I was skeptical about this one. But Violife’s coconut-oil based version is deceiving in the best way. It tastes like feta (read: super creamy, slightly salty and silky smooth) and even crumbles like it. Any lingering taste of coconut was subtler than I imagined, which makes it a reliable salad topper. I haven’t tried melting it yet (on Greek-style pizza or whipped into baked potatoes?) but consider it my next “cooking in quarantine” experiment.

Who Will Love It: Feta-cheese devotees seeking a dairy-free alternative that passes the taste test. Also those who prefer a nut-free vegan fromage.

Rating: 4 cheese wheels out of 5

2. Farm Boy’s Camembert-Style Ash-Ripened Cashew Cheese

OK, this is hands down my favourite Canadian vegan cheese on the market right now, which further solidifies Farm Boy’s well-earned status as the Canadian Trader Joes (who’s with me?). If you’re looking for a plant-based option, the Ontario grocery chain’s brand of nut-based cheeses are worth the $10.99 splurge. Bonus points for creativity: their Camembert-style cashew wheel is “ripened” with food-grade activated charcoal, which gives it a convincing rind reminiscent of traditional Camembert.

Who Will Love It: Charcuterie-loving hosts looking for a crowd-pleasing vegan cheese that’ll elevate any grazing board.

Rating: 5 cheese wheels out of 5

3. Field Roast’s Chao Creamy Original Slices

Field Roast is a popular vegan brand, and their cheese slices boast a more affordable price tag ($6.99) than the rest on this list. Made from coconut oil and tofu, it’s another nut-free option, though unfortunately, it didn’t pass the taste test for me. Eaten on its own, it has a mild coconut flavour and tastes more processed than the rest. However, it melts beautifully, and when tossed on a bagel with all the vegan fixings, it proved a satisfying and easy lunch.

Who Will Love It: Easy-to-please eaters who want a sliceable plant-based cheese in their fridge for quick meals, from loaded breakfast sandwiches to gourmet grilled cheese.

Rating: 3 cheese wheels out of 5

Related: Satisfying Vegan Breakfast Recipes You’ll Want Every Morning

4. Culcherd’s Tree Nut Cheese, Herb & Garlic

You’ll find this round of creamy, herbaceous vegan cheese in my fridge most often thanks to its versatility. I’ll slather it onto crackers (think Boursin, just not quite as spreadable), dollop it onto spaghetti squash pasta or chop up pieces to toss into a salad. It’s another rich, cashew-based option that’s super filling — and also fragrant thanks to ingredients like nutritional yeast, garlic powder, basil, parsley and thyme.

Who Will Love It: The everyday cook and kitchen grazer looking for a reliable nut cheese to always have on hand, no matter what’s on the menu for the week.

Rating: 4 cheese wheels out of 5

Related: 5 Delicious New Ways to Use Nutritional Yeast (And Why it Belongs in Your Pantry)

Recipe: Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Overall, there are some impressive dairy-free cheese products out there, whether you prescribe to a vegan diet or not. But here’s the thing: if you don’t want to splurge on a fancy block, try your hand at making one at home instead.

I followed this recipe for Vegan Parmesan Cheese (final product pictured above!). It took all of five minutes to whip up and calls for five simple ingredients (cashews, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt). A little pinch goes a long way, and it lasts in the fridge for up to one month.

You can also try making this Vegan Cheddar Wheel or Vegan Cashew Cheese.

First photo courtesy of Violife Foods; remaining photos and feature image courtesy of Brittany Devenyi

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.

These Healthy Apple Oatmeal Cookies Are the Perfect Breakfast Sweet Treat

If you’re anything like me and have a weakness for cookies, the thought of a healthier option is exciting, but it can also make you wonder: Will they taste good? Will my friends like them? Will they actually taste like cookies? Enter these Baking Therapy healthy apple oatmeal cookies. They’re soft, chewy and loaded with goodies like cranberries, coconut and chocolate. Sweetened with date sugar and maple syrup, they also boast a hint of caramel flavour. Trust me: they’re the perfect healthy breakfast treat!

apple oatmeal cookies on cooling rack

Healthy Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 15-20 minutes
Bake Time: 15-17 minutes
Total Time: 40-47 minutes
Servings: 16 cookies

Ingredients:

½ cup date sugar
½ cup maple syrup, room temperature
½ cup coconut oil, softened
½ cup unsweetened apple butter
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups spelt flour (or whole wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ cups large flake oats
1 cup (about 1 medium apple) finely diced apples
½ cup dried cranberries
⅓ cup dark chocolate chunks or chips
¼ cup shredded coconut

apple oatmeal cookie ingredients on white counter

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the date sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil and apple butter. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.

Related: Anna Olson’s Lighter Dessert Recipes to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

3. In another bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Add to the stand mixer and mix until just combined. Fold in the oats, apples, cranberries, chocolate and coconut.

apple oatmeal cookie dough in stand mixer bowl

4. Scoop the cookie dough into 2-inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Freeze for 15-20 minutes, slightly flatten each cookie before placing them into the oven. Bake for 15-17 minutes until golden on the edges. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

apple oatmeal cookie dough in balls on baking sheet

Like Sabrina’s baking? Check out her ginger molasses cookiessticky toffee pudding and pumpkin pie squares with candied pecans.

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

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

Vegan Pumpkin Soup

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

Ingredients:

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

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

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Easy Ethiopian Mushroom Stir-Fry Will Be Your New Fave Weeknight Meal

Tibs are a quick, easy and delicious Ethiopian-style stir-fry traditionally made with beef or lamb. Mushroom tibs are one of my favourite ways to make a tasty plant-based alternative to this popular dish. It is super flavourful and perfect for a quick lunch or weeknight dinner. Tibs are typically served with injera (a spongy fermented Ethiopian flatbread), but can also be enjoyed with rice, fonio or quinoa.

Vegetarian Mushroom Tibs Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:
450 grams mushrooms
1 tomato
1 yellow onion
1 ½ bell peppers (different colours)
1 jalapeno
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ Tbsp berbere (Ethiopian spice blend)
1 tsp ground korarima (Ethiopian Black cardamom) (optional)
1 sprig rosemary
Salt, to taste

Directions:
1. Begin by prepping all of the vegetables. Clean mushrooms thoroughly and remove the stem (save stems for another dish). Slice mushrooms evenly and set aside.

2. Dice tomatoes, thinly slice the onion and bell peppers and set aside. Remove the seeds from the jalapeno and thinly slice.

3. To a hot pan, add the sliced mushrooms. Cook down on medium-high until it reduces in volume. Drain the excess liquid and remove the mushrooms. Set both the liquid and mushrooms aside for later.

4. Now add oil to the heated pan and sauté the onions.

5. Once the onions begin to become translucent, add the berbere spice and stir. Pour back in a few spoons of the liquid from the mushrooms as needed.

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

6. Add the minced garlic to the pan, stir and add the diced tomatoes. Next add bell peppers and stir.

7. Add the mushrooms, jalapenos, korarima spice, rosemary and stir.

8. Garnish with rosemary or thinly sliced jalapeno (in Ethiopian cooking, jalapenos are both an ingredient and garnish!). Serve with fresh injera, rice, quinoa or fonio. Enjoy!

Tip: Tibs are all about your personal preference. If you’d like this dish to be a bit less saucy, add half of the tomato instead. Many berbere spice blends have salt within the mix, so be sure to taste your stir-fry as you go and salt to taste.

Like Eden’s mushroom tibs recipe? Try her vegan sloppy Joe sliders or teff breakfast bowl.

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: These are the Best Foods to 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: 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: Pan-Seared Salmon with Kale and Apple Salad
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Afternoon Snack: Homemade hummus with Sliced Carrots, Cucumbers & Celery
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Dinner: Slow Cooker Chicken Breast with a Healthy Grain 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 Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Afternoon Snack: Apple with 2 Tbsp Almond Butter
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Dinner: The Perfect Veggie 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: Cold-Busting Citrus Smoothie
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Morning Snack: Handful of Strawberries and ¼ cup Almonds
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Lunch: Citrus Rainbow Trout and Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash
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 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.

Bread Baking for Beginners: How to Make the Perfect Sourdough Loaf

There’s nothing like the smell of homemade bread in your kitchen, and the taste of a fresh sourdough loaf is always so much better than store-bought. While there are some bakeries that sell traditionally made sourdough bread, it’s not always common to find. Besides, it’s actually easy to make your own bread at home. With a few readily available ingredients and a little bit of time, you can learn the basics of working with sourdough. The slow fermentation process of sourdough makes the bread easier to digest, and tastes absolutely delicious. We know you’ll love it!

Sourdough Bread Recipe: Bread Baking for Beginners

The Perfect Sourdough Bread Recipe

Prep Time: 20 hours
Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:
1 ½  cups sourdough starter
½  cup water
1 cup spelt flour
½  cup rye flour
½  cup white flour
1.5 tsp sea salt
1 cup white rice flour for sprinkling

Related: Can’t Find Yeast? You’ll Love These Yeast-Free Bread Recipes

Directions:
1. Combine the starter with water and the different flours in a large bowl. Gently mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated evenly. The dough should be a bit sticky.

How to Make Sourdough Bread

2. Let the mixture sit in the bowl for 30 minutes, covered with a towel. You’ll want the room temperature to be warm, around 25°C (78°F).

3. After 30 minutes, add in the sea salt. You can gently rub the salt into the dough with your fingers.

4. Place the dough on a clean counter or a large cutting board, and lightly flour the surface. Here’s where you’ll do a technique that’s called “slap and fold” for around 5 minutes: Stretch out the dough into a rectangular shape and slap this against the surface.

Related: 15 Things You Can Make With Your Leftover Sourdough Starter

Once the dough is laying flat on the surface, fold the bottom end over into the center. Stretch out the dough again and repeat several more times in the 5 minute period. You’ll find that the dough starts to hold together better and is smoother after this process.

5. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Place it back in the bowl, and cover with a towel for this resting period.

6. After 30 minutes of resting, you’ll do a set of what’s called “stretch and fold.” This is more gentle than the “slap and fold.” Stretch the dough into a rectangular shape and fold the bottom edge into the centre. Then fold the upper edge into the centre.

7. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with the towel to rest for another 30 minutes. Repeat another set of stretch and fold after the 30 minutes.

8. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with the towel to rest for another 30 minutes. Repeat a third set of stretch and fold after the 30 minutes.

9. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with the towel, and this time let it rest for 2 to 2.5 hours. During this time you should see the dough rise, about 30-50%.

Related: Our Carbiest Breakfast Recipes, From Croissants to Pancakes

10. After resting, place the dough on your clean countertop or cutting board again and lightly shape into a round. Experienced sourdough bakers call this the pre-shape step. You can let this rest for 20 minutes. While the dough is resting, line a colander or bowl (or use a proofing basket known as a banneton, if you have one) with a towel and lightly flour it.

11. Gently reshape the dough into a round and then place this into the lined strainer, bowl or banneton. Cover with a towel and place in the fridge overnight for around 14 hours.

12. In the morning, preheat the oven to 450°F, placing a Dutch oven with its lid (without the dough) inside the oven for 1 hour.

13. Take the dough out of the fridge. Place a piece of parchment paper (you’ll want to trim the paper to make sure it fits in the Dutch oven) on top of the dough, and then invert the strainer, bowl or banneton to flip over so the dough is resting on top of the parchment. Use a small sifter to sprinkle white rice flour over top of the dough. Then score the top of the bread, using a razor blade, bread lame or really sharp knife. You can do one simple line down the centre, or you can try doing other more creative scores (simply look online for “how to score sourdough”).

14. Carefully transfer the dough into the heated Dutch oven and cover with the lid. Be careful, since the Dutch oven and lid will be very hot.

15. Bake for 20 minutes. Then uncover and turn the heat down to 400°F. Bake for another 30 minutes, or until the crust is a nice golden colour.

16. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 2-3 hours before slicing.

For more must-bake bread inspiration, browse these brilliant banana bread recipes, or try your hand at this no-knead olive za’atar bread.  And don’t toss that sourdough discard! Instead, make these easy five-ingredient sourdough discard crackers.

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.

Snack Plates Are the Easy Dinner Option You Need This Week

We’ve been at home for months now. We’ve brushed up on our cooking skills, baked enough to open a bakery (are you also a banana bread connoisseur?) — but, some days, the thought of cooking one more meal that ends in a mountain of dishes is too much to handle. And as the weather gets warmer, we’d rather be spending our time outside and not chained to a hot oven. So, here’s the solution: make snack plates for dinner a thing every week.

Snack plates are essentially the way toddlers eat (not a bad thing!) and make perfect sense for adults as a simple, vibrant and ultimately exciting meal option that promises a myriad of flavours, textures, colours and nutrients. Start by selecting items that already live in your fridge or pantry. Remember: the plate is still supposed to resemble a meal, so even though it’s snack-style, ensure there’s colourful fibrous veggies and fruit, protein and healthy fats.

Related: How to Prep Slow Cooker Freezer Meals to Get Through the Week

What to Put on Your Snack Plate

Veggies:
● Choose veggies that have texture (good crunch), colour and can be grabbed easily.
● Some great examples are carrots, cucumbers, celery, radishes, fennel, bell peppers and snap peas.
● You can also BBQ, roast or saute veggies like onion, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli , cauliflower and Brussel sprouts.

Fruit:
● It’s officially the season for fresh fruit, so add it generously.
● Use fresh mixed berries, sliced apples and pears, pineapple, peaches, nectarines — the list goes on!
● Cut everything small enough so it’s easy and quick to grab.

Dips:
● If there are dips in the fridge, use them; if they’re half finished or need a little bit of love, drizzle some oil on top, add toasted seeds or nuts, mix in fresh herbs and even sprinkle some spices on top.
● For example, a half eaten hummus container in the fridge can easily be revived by adding some chickpeas, sesame seeds, parsley, tahini, lemon and za’atar on top.
● Or make dips like pesto, roasted red pepper and beet hummus.

Protein:
● You can keep it vegetarian or use animal proteins (the snack plate is yours to design).
● Ideas include crispy chickpeas, grilled skewers, hard-boiled eggs, sausages, sliders, cooked chicken or fish, lox, tofu or tempeh.

Grains:
● When choosing a grain, try to find one that’s rich in fibre.
● You may want something that acts as a vessel for dip, stuffed with other ingredients or just added for carby-deliciousness.
● Think: crackers, sliced bread, pita, tortillas, chips, cornbread or savoury muffins.

Related: Our Fave Food Trends to Come out of Quarantine, From Pancake Cereal to Bread Art

Extras and Bonuses:
● These are little delicious bonuses that add punchy flavour or satisfying crunch.
● Things like olives, pickles, toasted cashews, tamari almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dates or raisins.
● You can also add sweetness with dessert-inspired bites like chocolate chips, truffle balls and brownies.

Plate Themes:
● You can theme your plate based on cuisines you love or based on leftovers that need to be revived.
● For example, if you already have leftover falafel or chicken shawarma, you can make a Middle Eastern plate and add hummus, pitas, pickled veggies and crudite with drizzles of tahini and fresh parsley on top.
● Or if you have leftover ginger soy salmon, you can create an Asian-style theme and add nori chips, steamed dumplings, kimchi, sesame crackers, edamame and lettuce leaf wraps.

Related: Middle Eastern Sumac Chicken With Date Syrup, Lemon and Pecans

How to Assemble It:
● Depending on how many mouths are being fed, choose the size of your plate accordingly. It can be a big platter, a few platters or just a normal size dinner plate.
● This doesn’t need to be Instagram- or Pinterest-worthy, but bonus points if it is!
● Start by adding one item at a time, placing each item either in a few different spots on the platter or in one dedicated spot.
● Your snack plate can be as elaborate or as simple as your heart desires. Then, enjoy yourself an easy, clean-up friendly dinner!

Want some more easy dinner ideas? 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.

Building a Zero-Waste Kitchen is Easier Than You Think. Here’s How!

Whether you want to be more eco-friendly, save some cash or you simply like having a little organization in your life, there are plenty of reasons to move towards a waste-free kitchen. The good news: even if it sounds a little overwhelming at first, it’s a whole lot simpler to achieve than you’d think. Here’s how to make it happen.

10 Easy Steps to Creating a No-Waste Kitchen 

1. Invest in reusable containers, wraps and bags

One of the easiest ways to eliminate extra waste is to ditch the plastic wrap, single-use containers and plastic bags in favour of reusable containers, Mason jars and beeswax wraps. And, if you’re already taking tote bags or baskets with you to do your shopping, consider upping your game with produce-friendly mesh bags. It’s a pain-free start to making some pretty big changes, and it also sets you up for better long-term food storage and less waste at the grocery store.

2. Buy in bulk and buy whole

For basic goods that you use often, like oats, flour, beans and grains, head to the bulk food store and fill up your own containers. You’ll save money and even potentially extend the shelf life of some of those products by storing them in glass jars. Meanwhile, when it comes to meat, select whole chicken and fish rather than pre-cut trays, and in the produce aisle, don’t fall victim to pre-packed greens, cut beans, or other “handy” items that have already been prepared for you. When you take full items home, you can portion and use them how you wish, plus you can use the leftovers to whip up a nifty vegetable, fish or chicken stock.

Get the recipe for Lentil Mushroom Meatballs

3. Use a meal plan

Is there anything more dangerous than doing your grocery shopping while hungry? That’s when you tend to fill the cart with wants, rather than needs. Fill up before you shop, but also make sure to put together a meal plan and a grocery list first. That way you can avoid overbuying and tossing food that goes bad before you have a chance to use it. Plus, you’re more likely to stick to healthy choices when you plan ahead. Double win.

Related: 10 Ways You’re Destroying the Planet From the Comfort of Your Own Home

4. Make things from scratch

We’ve covered stocks, but there’s a whole world of basic condiments you can also whip up with things you already have in the fridge or pantry. There are tons of recipes for everyday salad dressings out there, mayo is pretty simple to throw together, while ketchup, mustard and barbecue sauce always taste better when they’re made in-house.

Related: 18 Freezer-Friendly Vegan Dinner Ideas to Prep This Week

5. Regrow your vegetable scraps

If your veggie scraps aren’t worth transforming into a stock, why not give them a whole new life by planting them and starting your own veggie garden? If you’ve never done this before, it’s actually shocking how many things you can plant and regrow in the kitchen, while eliminating how much waste you produce. Green onion roots turn into new shoots, pepper seeds will grow into the real deal, and even celery bases get a second life if you plant them. If you’re just starting to explore your green thumb or you need some more inspiration, here are vegetables you can regrow in your kitchen.

6. Get creative with food scraps and compost when necessary

If you don’t compost, now is a good time to start — it’s a smarter alternative to recycling, and if your city doesn’t have a program already in place, then it’s something you can easily start doing at home. Meanwhile, reconsider the food scraps you may currently be tossing into the bin. Broccoli stems make for a delicious slaw, veggie pulp from a juicer can be tossed into a pasta sauce, and carrot tops transform into a surprisingly delicious pesto.

7. Find a second use for your leftovers

Don’t just get creative with your food scraps — get creative with your leftovers before they go bad and you’re forced to toss them. While meal planning definitely helps eliminate unexpected leftovers, if you find yourself with extra food, don’t be discouraged. Your freezer is always your friend in terms of extending an item’s shelf life, or get inspired with some of our ideas for leftover chicken, leftover steak or leftover rice.

Related: 10 Tasty Uses for Leftover Food Scraps to Reduce Food Waste

8. Ditch the coffee pods and tea bags

Coffee pods may be convenient and easy-to-use, but they’re also expensive and they create so much unnecessary waste. If you insist on a single-pod machine, invest in a reusable filter that gives you the further benefit of adjusting the amount of coffee per serving to individual tastes. And when it comes to tea, buy a diffuser and stock the pantry with loose-leaf tea to avoid extra staples, strings, and plastic-coated tea bags being tossed into the rubbish bin.

9. Clean your kitchen the smart way

As you’re ditching disposable kitchen-storage products, consider eliminating unnecessary one-time-use cleaning items like paper towels and sponges, too. Dish towels and clothes can be thrown into the laundry and used over and over again, which might feel like more work, but it also saves you more money in the long-run. And when it comes to cleaning products, consider making your own. A solution of vinegar, baking soda and water will clean most household items.

Related: 12 Ways You Can Organize Your Kitchen Like Marie Kondo

10. Think quality, not quantity

If you get excited by new tools and gadgets, we feel you — it’s always fun to try out a new toy in the kitchen. But, if the goal is to create a waste-free kitchen then sometimes it’s better to ask yourself if you really need an item, or if it just sounds like a cool thing to have. Cast-iron pans will produce quality food for a longer period of time than a Teflon-coated one, for example, while most pressure cookers also double as a slow cooker these days. Garlic presses are handy, but sometimes it’s quicker to just mince a clove or two yourself. Take stock of needs versus wants, and then begin living your best minimalist life from there.

Related: 17 Kitchen Gadgets That’ll Be Extinct by 2025

If you’re looking to take your zero-waste kitchen one step further, find out where to take your used appliances and cabinets (by province) or check out the best zero-waste restaurants and food stores across Canada.

First photo courtesy of Unsplash