Tag Archives: plant-based

mushroom plant-based jerky on yellow serving tray

Everyone’s Favourite Snack is Made Vegan With This Spicy Plant-Based Jerky

If you’re craving a delicious plant-based jerky with a kick, this mushroom jerky is for you. This Can You Vegan It? recipe takes traditional mushroom jerky up a notch by adding the flavourful and spicy addition of jerk marinade. All of the delicious flavours of scotch bonnet pepper, thyme and allspice are concentrated in that spoonful of store-bought marinade and make this recipe super, super simple and easy to prepare. Whether you’re plant-based or not, the flavours are sure to make you a fan. The best part is a dehydrator is not essential to get a delicious jerky. All you need is a baking tray and some parchment paper. Serve up this mushroom treat with your grain bowls, breakfast sandwiches, salads or on its own as a snack!

mushroom plant-based jerky on yellow serving tray

Spicy Mushroom Jerky

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 6 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours, 40 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp liquid aminos or soy sauce
3 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp jerk marinade
1 tsp smoked paprika
8 medium portobello mushrooms

mushroom plant-based jerky on baking tray

Directions:

1. In a bowl, whisk together the liquid aminos, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, jerk marinade and smoked paprika. Then set aside.

2. Clean portobello mushrooms and slice into ½-inch pieces.

Related: Healthy (and Tasty) Snacks to Avoid Getting Hangry

3. Place the mushrooms into a bowl and pour marinade over the slices. Mix to ensure that each slice is evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 6 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place marinated mushroom slices on the sheet, ensuring the slices are not crowded.

mushrooms in bowl and on roasting pan

5. Bake mushrooms for about 1 ½ hours, be sure to check on it halfway through and adjust time if needed.

6. Enjoy in your next grain bowl, breakfast sandwich or on its own as a snack.

Like Eden’s plant-based jerky? Try her vegan sloppy Joe sliders or her cardamom teff apple muffins.

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?

Vegan Antipasto Skewers Are the Creative Plant-Based Appetizer You Need

Let’s be real: the heart of any celebration is the food. To keep your guests happy, make sure the apps are flowing, which as it turns out, is a bit of an art form: appetizers should look “appetizing,” they should be finger-friendly, mess-free and only take a few bites to consume. That’s why these We Know You Have 10 Minutes vegan appetizers in the form of antipasto skewers make for the best addition to your table. They’re user-friendly, beautiful and a cinch to make! And since dietary restrictions are commonplace these days, it’s important to accommodate with vegan finger foods. These two dairy-free plant-based beauties are the perfect place to start.

Olive, Artichoke, Tomato and Balsamic Skewers

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

Small wooden skewers (or toothpicks)
Artichokes, from a jar
Kalamata olives, pitted
Cherry tomatoes (extra points for multi-colour!)
Basil leaves
1-2 Tbsp balsamic reduction or syrup

Directions:

1. Remove the artichokes from the jar and cut them slightly so they’ll fit onto the skewers and are manageable to eat.

2. In any order, thread the ingredients above through the wooden skewers. We like to ribbon basil leaves between the ingredients to create more vibrant colour throughout and to get that punchy taste of raw basil with every bite.

3. Once all ingredients are on the skewers, take your balsamic reduction and lightly drizzle it over top. You can pour the balsamic on a spoon, hover about 10 inches above the skewers and drizzle away.


Eggplant, Tofu, Zucchini and Pesto Skewers

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 to 35 minutes (if you roast the eggplant and tofu the night before, then the total time will only take 10 minutes!)
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

1 eggplant, chopped into 1 ½ inch cubes
1 brick tofu, patted dry and chopped into 1 ½ inch cubes
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
¼ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
1 zucchini, peeled into ribbons
8 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
Small wooden skewers (or toothpicks)
2-3 Tbsp pesto

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Chop the eggplant and tofu into cubes, they should be around the same size.

3. Season both with oil, salt and pepper. Place them on separate baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Related: These Are the 5 Best Meatless BBQ Skewers You’ll Ever Eat

4. Roast the tofu for 15 minutes and the eggplant for 20-25 minutes. Both should be lightly crisp.

5. While the eggplant and tofu are roasting, peel the zucchini into thin ribbons and make your pesto, if you’re not buying it pre-made.

6. Once all veggies are prepped, begin threading them through the skewer in any order you desire.

7. Place them on a tray or plate and lightly dollop a few spoonfuls of pesto over areas of the skewers.

Like Tamara and Sarah’s vegan antipasto skewers? Try their easy lemon spatchcock chicken or sumac-spiced roasted delicata.

Published November 30, 2019, Updated December 23, 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

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.

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.