Tag Archives: vegan

Falafel sliders on blue serving platter

Summer Feast! Baked Falafel Sliders With Tabbouleh and Tahini Sauce

You’ve probably heard of falafel before — but what about falafel sliders? They are perfectly crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside and they’re shallow fried (or even baked) to make the process easier. Serve them on flat breads with tangy tabbouleh salad and a lot of tahini sauce, and you have the perfect summer feast.

Falafel sliders on blue serving platter

Baked Falafel Sliders With Tabbouleh and Tahini

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 10 falafel patties

Ingredients:

Falafel
¼ yellow onion
3 large garlic cloves
1 cup dry chickpeas (approx. 2 ½ cups after soaking)
1 cup parsley, packed
¼ cup cilantro, packed
1 ½ Tbsp olive oil + ¼ cup for frying/baking
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp black pepper

Tabbouleh
½ cup fine bulgur (can substitute with couscous)
2 cups parsley, packed
1 tomato, finely chopped
¼ cup green onions, finely chopped
¼ cup mint leaves, loosely packed
½ cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp chilli powder

Tahini Sauce
½ cup tahini paste
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp salt

Falafel slider ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Make the falafel: add onion and garlic to a food processor and process for a minute. Next add the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, olive oil, baking soda, salt, cumin and black pepper and process for a few minutes until well combined and the mixture holds together well.

Falafel slider mixture in food processor

2. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour. Once they’ve rested, form the patties ensuring they are not too thin (approx. ½ – ¾ inch thick).

3. Shallow fry the falafel for 1 minute on each side until golden brown. You can also bake them at 400°F for 25 minutes, flip, then bake for a further 15 minutes.

Falafel sliders being baked on baking tray

4. Make the tabbouleh: soak the fine bulgur in ½ cup of hot water and cover. Let stand for a few minutes, then fluff.

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

5. Finely chop the parsley, tomato, green onions and mint. In a bowl, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and chili powder. Mix the bulgur, parsley mixture and dressing together. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Tabouleh salad in yellow mixing bowl

6. For the tahini sauce: mix together the tahini paste, lemon juice and salt. Whisk everything using a fork continuously until you achieve a smooth consistency. The sauce may seize up when whisking, but continue to whisk until it smoothens out. Thin with a bit of water if required to achieve desired consistency.

7. Serve sliders on flat breads with tabbouleh salad and tahini sauce.

Like Amina’s falafel sliders? Try her 20-minute salmon or her Middle Eastern bulgur, pomegranate and almond salad.

Vegan Nashville hot chicken sandwich on bun

This Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich Tastes Just Like the Real Thing!

With this Can You Vegan It? recipe, I’m turning everyone’s favourite spicy chicken sandwich into a vegan-friendly dish. What makes the Nashville hot chicken sandwich unique is that it is deep-fried to maximum crispiness and then dipped in a spicy hot oil mixture. To make this easy for the home cook, I’m pan frying the sandwich twice (vs. deep-frying it). Once to cook throughout and once to coat in a mixture of spices. Instead of traditional chicken breast, this sandwich features extra-firm tofu as the protein. Be sure to press out any excess moisture from the tofu before getting started.

Vegan Nashville hot chicken sandwich on bun

Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

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

Ingredients:

1 pound extra-firm tofu, pressed
2 to 3 dashes of hot sauce
½ cup vegan egg substitute (if vegetarian, use traditional eggs)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
½ cup canola or vegetable oil, for frying
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
4 sesame buns
Vegan mayonnaise
Bread and butter pickles
Shredded lettuce

Vegan Nashville hot chicken sandwich ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Slice the block of tofu into 4 equally sized patties. Add a few dashes of hot sauce to the egg substitute mixture. Put the flour in it’s own bowl and the panko in it’s own bowl. Season the egg substitute mixture, as well as the flour and panko with salt and pepper to taste.

Related: You’ll Never Guess the Secret Ingredient in This Vegan Steak Recipe

2. Dip each tofu patty in the flour, followed by the egg substitute, followed by the panko bread crumbs. Set aside until ready to fry.
When ready to fry, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, cook patties for 2 minutes on each side, until crispy and golden.

Tofu for vegan Nashville hot chicken sandwich being coated in panko

3. Turn heat off and whisk brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and paprika into the pan. Fry the patties once more over low to medium heat until coated, about 15 seconds. Once you remove them from the pan, drain any excess oil onto a paper towel or two.

Vegan Nashville hot chicken sandwich being cooked in pan

4. Slather buns with mayonnaise and add patty. Top with pickles and lettuce. Enjoy!

Person holding vegan Nashville hot chicken sandwich

Like Marcella’s vegan Nashville hot chicken sandwich? Try her vegan egg salad recipe or her vegan eggnog.

3d printed meat on plate from Aleph Farms

Is 3D-Printed Meat the Next Big Thing? (And How It Really Tastes)

There’s a new wave of alternative meat products coming to our not-so-distant future and is likely to make up a major part of our future diets. Currently, the global market for lab-grown meats is the fastest growing segment in the food industry and is expected to reach $140 billion by 2030, according to forecasts by Blue Horizon Corp.

In 2018, Aleph Farms in Israel successfully cultivated the world’s first beef steak using 3D printing. Today, they’ve upgraded to 3D bioprinting. Unlike 3D printing that uses ink or plastic, 3D bioprinting technology is able to print actual living cells without harming the animal. Essentially, this technology is able to recreate the natural process of tissue regeneration that occurs in the animal’s body in a controlled environment. The end product is able to mimic the structure, smell, cooking behaviour and appearance of a meaty steak, right down to the blood oozing out of a juicy steak.

3d printed meat on plate from Aleph Farms

Redefine Meat is another leading meat cultivating company that uses a method of multi-material 3D printing to create alt-meats. “[The] 3D printer lays down blood, fat and protein simultaneously at a voxel-level that resembles mimicking meat of an animal,” says Daniel Dikovsky, head of technology and innovation at Redefine Meat. “This advanced capability is what allows an alternative-steak to go beyond just taste, but also replicate texture and mouthfeel.” Redefine Meat does not use any animal ingredients, but rather a proprietary blend of soy, pea protein, coconut fat, sunflower oil and a few other plant-based ingredients, so their products are vegan.

3d printed meat on plate from Redefine Meat

Now Let’s Talk Taste

Earlier this year, Redefine Meat held a blind taste test for its 3D printed meat, with over 600 participants, mostly meat eaters. The overall approval rate was over 90%, based on taste, texture and mouthfeel. When Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, tried Aleph Farm’s steak he said: “I can’t taste the difference.”

Looking to the Future

While these are only two examples of start-ups that are experimenting in the 3D printed meat world, several other companies from around the world are diving into the cultivated meat industry, as the demand for innovative products, with less impact to the environment and harm to animals is rapidly growing.

Related: Meet the World’s First Autonomous Robotic Kitchen Assistant

Aleph Farms has partnered with Mitsubishi to sell their beef in Japan in the coming years, but they’re not in a rush to get it on the market. Japan is home to the world’s most luxurious steak, Wagyu. In other words, they’re well aware of what they’re up against. No word yet on when Aleph or Redefine Meat will hit the open market or when lab-grown meat will be available for purchase in Canada.

First photo/feature photo courtesy of Aleph Farms; second photo courtesy of Redefine Meat

Homemade Purple Japanese Ube Ice Cream in a Bowl

Flavour Trends to Watch For According to the Latest Flavour Forecast

Homemade Purple Japanese Ube Ice Cream

The 21st McCormick Flavour Forecast has released its most recent report naming what Canadians can expect next in terms of flavour.

The Flavour Forecast has been breaking down the flavours Canadians want in their food for over two decades and this round is no exception; The team behind the report includes chefs, culinary professionals, trend trackers and others in the food industry, with the goals of encouraging exploration and innovation around the world and in the kitchen.

Related: How to Properly Dispose of Cooking Oil

The research was based on a series of virtual, interactive at-home culinary experiences. The experiences spanned the previous year and were led by chefs, exploring flavours that range from nutritious to decadent, and varying in taste, colour, and texture – both in food and drink.

The 21st edition of the Flavour Forecast identified four key flavour trends based on what was most popular: Plants pushing boundaries; humble nosh; underwater, underdiscovered; and physiological eating.

Related: 5 Hot New Releases to Binge on Amazon Prime This Summer

Here is what you can expect with each:

Plants Pushing Boundaries

We know that plant-based is no longer a “trend” but a way of life for many – even those who are flexitarian, or simply looking to fold more fruits, veggies and botanicals into their diets. The people at McCormick agree. Plants are bringing indulgence, brilliant colour, hearty texture and flora-focused eating to the forefront.

Key flavours to look for:
Ube (purple yam)
Szechuan buttons (edible flower buds)
Trumpet mushrooms

Related: Allison Gibson Talks Launching Food Businesses and Reclaiming the Term “Ethnic Food”

Various spices spread across a light-surfaced table

Humble Nosh

With so many borders closed to international tourism, Canadians are wanting to venture out with their plates. Bold, niche global flavours are still front and centre on people’s minds, and on their palettes. The good news is that Canada offers no shortage of ways to satisfy these cravings.

Key flavours to look for:
Chaat masala (Indian spice blend)
Pandan kaya (Malaysian jam)
Crisped chilies

Related: Food Activist and Dietitian Rosie Mensah Looks at Nutrition Through a Social Justice Lens

A bowl of Wakame seaweed salad

Underwater, Underdiscovered

Going underwater now also means going deeper, and looking further. Plant-based is by no means exclusive to the land, and Canadians are increasingly looking for flavours and ingredients that feature both fresh and saltwater botanicals like seaweeds and even algae.

Key flavours to look for:
Dulse (red sea lettuce flakes)
Spirulina (blue-green algae)
Sea grapes (soft, green algae)

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

Ginger and halved lemon spread on table with mint leaves

Physiological Eating

Leaning into India’s 5,000-year old tradition of Ayurveda that embraces a traditional, healthy lifestyle rooted in mind-body, harmony, growth and self-love, physiological eating also taps into the related six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, stringent, and pungent). Each offer warming and cooling benefits to help provide comfort to the physical body.

Key flavours to look for:
Coriander
Lemon
Sea salt
Cumin
Turmeric
Ginger

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.

Related: 15 Popular Foods That Grow in Very Surprising Ways

Vegan spinach dip in bowl with toasted pita chips next to it

This Yummy Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip is the Perfect Appetizer

You definitely won’t miss the cheese in this Can You Vegan It? spinach and artichoke dip. The traditional asiago cheese is swapped out for creamy pureed cashews and flavoured with garlic, Dijon and bell peppers. It’s a perfect crowd pleaser (and so quick to whip up!).

Vegan spinach dip in bowl with toasted pita chips next to it

Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip

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

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups unsalted roasted cashews
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
½ yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp chickpea flour
Juice of one lime
1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard (optional)
2 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
4 cups fresh spinach
¾ cup canned artichoke hearts, drained

Vegan spinach dip ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Soak cashews in 2 cups of boiled water for about 5 minutes. Strain and set aside.

2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Saute onion, bell pepper and garlic powder until softened and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat off and transfer the mixture into a blender.

Related: Party-Perfect Vegan Appetizers That Anyone Can Make

3. In the blender, also add in cashews, almond milk, chickpea flour, lime juice, Dijon, sea salt, pepper, spinach and artichokes. Pulse until semi-smooth.

Vegan spinach dip ingredients in blender

4. Transfer the puree into a 9-inch round baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Serve with toasted pita chips or veggies.

Vegan spinach dip in bowl with toasted pita chips next to it

Like Valerie’s vegan spinach and artichoke dip? Try her air fryer corn “ribs” (that are trending on TikTok) or her sweet chili chicken wings.

Vegan bubbat on kitchen countertop

Traditional Mennonite Bubbat Recipe Gets a Vegan Makeover

Traditional bubbat can be made with raisins, to be more of a bread you would have with tea. My brother-in-law Brian — who was raised in Regina, Saskatchewan — ate it this way. But you can also make it like this, with plant-based sausage, and serve alongside a meal. This is a great side to a hearty salad with lots of fresh veggies in it. Or for breakfast! Some traditions even put the bubbat inside of a turkey. Don’t worry too much about what it looks like, it will taste great.

Vegan bubbat on kitchen countertop

Vegan Bubbat

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rest Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1 Tbsp dry active yeast
½ cup warm water
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp plant-based butter, melted
1 Tbsp salt
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 package (4 links) of your choice of plant-based sausage (both Gusta and Field Roast are readily available in grocery stores)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Scald soy milk and then pour it into a large mixing bowl and set aside and let it cool to a lukewarm temperature.

3. Dissolve yeast into warm water.

4. Once soy milk is at the right temperature (warm to the touch), add sugar and plant-based butter, as well as the yeast.

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

5. Add salt and flour to wet ingredients. This should be a soft dough. Give it a good stir. Add a little more liquid as needed or flour, depending on how it feels. You should be able to stir the dough with a wooden spoon, but it should be tough.

6. Dice up sausage into bite-sized pieces and stir it into the dough.
Transfer it into an 8 x 8 greased baking pan.

7. Cover pan with a tea towel or a beeswax wrap and let it rise for one hour. Then bake for 45 minutes. Keep an eye on it after 35 minutes.

Vegan Mennonite Kitchen cookbook
Reprinted with permission from The Vegan Mennonite Kitchen by Jo Snyder, Pandora Press Co 2021, photo credit Sarah Pflug

Vegan Mennonite Kitchen, Pandora Press, $33.

vegan mug cake with chocolate and blueberries on top

This Peanut Butter Vegan Mug Cake Can Be Made in Just 3 Minutes!

When you feel like something sweet and you don’t want to bake a whole batch of cookies or brownies — just something small that will hit the spot — this Can You Vegan It? recipe is it. It takes 60 seconds to “bake” in your microwave and it’s got all the frills of a molten cake: it’s gooey, chocolatey, swirled with the perfect amount of peanut butter and it’s vegan! The best, easiest and fastest dessert to end a meal.

vegan mug cake with chocolate and blueberries on top

Peanut Butter Vegan Mug Cake

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Bake Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 3 minutes
Servings: 1

Ingredients:

2 tsp coconut oil
4 Tbsp oat flour
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

Optional Toppings
1-2 Tbsp of blueberries
1 Tbsp of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bar
1 tsp unsweetened shredded coconut

vegan mug cake ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Melt the coconut oil over the stove or in the microwave until it’s liquid.

Related: Easy One-Bowl Baking Recipes That Eliminate All the Fuss

2. Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe mug and mix around.

making vegan mug cake on countertop

3. “Bake” for 60 seconds in the microwave until gooey.

4. Top with your toppings of choice or just leave it as is and dig in!

two vegan mug cakes with chocolate and blueberries on top

Note: If you prefer the oven method, heat your oven to 350°F and bake for 20 minutes.

Like Tamara and Sarah’s vegan mug cake? Try their vegan skewers or their vegan pumpkin soup.

The Easy Make-Ahead Chorizo Tempeh Breakfast Wraps You’ll Love

These oh-so delicious breakfast wraps are hearty and super filling. The tempeh is seasoned with chili powder, cumin and garlic to give it a spicy, smoky flavour similar to chorizo sausage. And for my on-the-go breakfast crew, the wraps are super easy to make ahead of time.

tempeh breakfast wraps on blue countertop

Chorizo Tempeh Breakfast Wraps

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 wraps

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups peeled and cubed sweet potato (about 1 small)
½ onion, sliced
2 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
½ tsp salt
12 oz tempeh, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp garlic powder
2 cups coarsely chopped kale, ribs removed
4 flour tortillas
½ cup tomato salsa

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Place the sweet potato, onion, 1 Tbsp of oil and salt in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet in an even layer (reserve the bowl) and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the onion is starting to brown.

3. Meanwhile, add the tempeh, bell pepper, remaining oil, nutritional yeast, chili powder, cumin and garlic powder to the reserved bowl; toss to coat. Add to the baking sheet and stir gently to combine. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potato is fork-tender and the tempeh is golden. Remove from the oven, add the kale and bake for 2 more minutes, until the kale is slightly wilted.

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

4. Remove from the oven. Divide the mixture among the tortillas and top evenly with salsa. Roll each tortilla up from the bottom, like a burrito. Serve.

To freeze: let the filling cool completely. Assemble through step 4, but do not add salsa. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat from frozen in the microwave: remove plastic, then wrap tortilla in a damp paper towel. Place on a plate and microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, until heated through. To reheat from frozen in the oven: preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove plastic and place tortilla on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Cover of the cookbook 'Liv B's Easy Everyday'Courtesy of Liv B’s Easy Everyday by Olivia Biermann © 2021 www.robertrose.ca. Reprinted with permission. Available where books are sold. Image credit: Ashley Lima. Image credit for author picture: Greg Bellefontaine.

 

Liv B’s Easy Everyday, Amazon, $30.

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.

vegan no-bake strawberry lemon tart on countertop

Say Hello to Spring With This Healthy No-Bake Vegan Strawberry Lemon Tart

Pucker up for this bright and tangy, no-bake strawberry lemon tart. You don’t have to be vegan to love this dairy-free dessert, but you can still appreciate how healthy it is — a gluten-free and paleo-friendly dessert, with no refined sugar. Plump Medjool dates make the nut-based crust perfectly sweet and chewy, paired with a fruity filling of coconut milk, fresh strawberries, lemon juice and a splash of maple syrup. (It’s thickened with just a bit of agar and tapioca powders, which you can find at most bulk or health food stores).

vegan no-bake strawberry lemon tart on countertop

Vegan No-Bake Strawberry Lemon Tart

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 2-3 hours or overnight
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cup raw walnuts
1 ¼ cup raw cashews
1 cup oats
2 ½ cups pitted Medjool dates, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted (plus extra for greasing pan)
3 tsp vanilla, divided
¼ tsp sea salt
4 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
Zest of 2 lemons
¼ cup maple syrup
4 Tbsp tapioca starch/flour (or 2 Tbsp of arrowroot powder)
4 Tbsp cool water
1 (14 oz) can full-fat coconut milk
2 tsp agar powder

vegan no-bake strawberry lemon tart ingredients

Directions:

1. In a food processor or heavy-duty blender, combine walnuts, cashews, oats, dates, coconut oil, 1 tsp vanilla and sea salt. Pulse for about 1 minute or until the dates and nuts are combined and stick together.

2. Press the crust mixture into the bottom and sides of a greased 9-inch tart pan (preferably with removable bottom). Set aside while making the filling.

vegan no-bake strawberry lemon tart crust

3. Add strawberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, maple syrup and 2 tsp vanilla extract (and arrowroot powder only if you’re using it as a substitute for tapioca) to a blender or food processor and pulse or blend until pureed, about 1 minute, and set aside.

4. Stir the tapioca powder into 4 Tbsp of cool water. Set aside.

Related: Healthy Baking Recipes for When You’re Bored at Home

5. Add coconut milk and agar powder to a small saucepan, stirring while it simmers until thickened, around 1 minute. Once it’s bubbling, gradually add tapioca slurry, stirring continuously until it’s glossy and even thicker, about another minute.

6. Remove from heat and stir in strawberry mixture until combined. (If you have any clumps, don’t worry! Pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer).

vegan no-bake strawberry lemon tart being cooked in pot

7. Pour filling mixture into tart crust, chilling in the fridge for at least  2-3 hours or overnight. (Store for up to one week). Before serving, decorate with pretty berries, lemon slices and flowers.

vegan no-bake strawberry lemon tart on countertop

Like Claire’s vegan strawberry lemon tart? Try her vegan Girl Guide cookies or her vegan Moroccan doughnuts.

Arabic lentil soup in white bowls

This Classic Arabic Lentil Soup is Perfect for Ramadan

Ramadan is a month celebrated by Muslims across the globe — and it requires fasting from food and water from sunrise to sunset. Most Muslims wake up before sunrise to have a small meal and then break their fast with a few dates and this Arabic lentil soup at sunset. Breaking the fast with soup helps to prepare the stomach for the meal to follow and it includes a lot of nutrients. Soup is also rich in fluids, which are much needed after a long day of fasting. This specific recipe uses a few simple ingredients that add a depth of flavour — and it only requires a few minutes of hands-on time.

Arabic lentil soup in white bowls

Arabic Lentil Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp black pepper
1 ½ cups split red lentils
7-8 cups water
Lemon juice (optional)

Arabic lentil soup ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. In a soup pot, add the vegetable oil along with the onions, potatoes and salt. Cook for a few minutes until they soften.

2. Add the cumin, turmeric and black pepper to the onions and potatoes and continue to cook for a few minutes to toast the spices.

Related: Healthy and Hearty Soup Recipes

3. Wash and drain the lentils several times until clean. Add the lentils along with the water to the pot. Mix well, then cover and simmer on medium heat for 40-60 minutes. (Halfway through, taste and adjust the salt. Also, add more water if required, depending on the consistency you prefer).

Arabic lentil soup cooking in pot

4. Remove from the heat once the vegetables have softened and serve with a squeeze of lemon on top.

Arabic lentil soup cooking in pot

Like Amina’s Arabic lentil soup? Try her Middle Eastern eggplant casserole or her curried Brussels sprouts.

You’ll Never Guess the Secret Ingredient in This Vegan Steak Recipe

Steaks are a weeknight staple for so many, but for those who would like to indulge in the flavour and texture of steak without the animal protein, this Can You Vegan It? recipe is for you! The key ingredient that gives these steaks their meaty texture is seitan (made from vital wheat gluten), a delicious meat alternative that is a growing food trend among vegans and vegetarians. Plus, topping these steaks with chili chimichurri gives it an oh-so spicy, herby and tangy finish.

Vegan steak with broccoli, sweet potatoes

Vegan Steaks

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 48 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Steaks
½ cup mashed chickpeas
1 ¼ cup vital wheat gluten flour
2 tsp coconut aminos
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp sea salt
½ cup vegetable stock
Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying

Marinade
⅔ cup coconut aminos
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp paprika
½ tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp olive oil

Chilli Chimichurri
1 tsp ancho chili powder
Handful of parsley
Handful of cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot, chopped
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper

Vegan steak ingredients on kitchen countertop

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, add in chickpeas, flour, coconut aminos, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and sea salt. Mix all ingredients until crumbly, then gradually incorporate the vegetable stock and knead until firm. Add more stock if the dough is too dry or more flour if it’s too sticky.

Vegan steak ingredients in bowl

2. Roll the dough into a log and cut into four portions. Roll out each portion until about ½ inch thick. Steam steaks on stovetop for 45 minutes.

Four formed vegan steak patties

3. While the steaks are steaming, make the marinade. Combine coconut aminos, garlic powder, paprika, sea salt and oil in a resealable plastic bag.

4. Once the steaks are steamed and fully cooked, place the steaks in the resealable plastic bag and coat them with the marinade. Let it marinate in the fridge for half an hour.

Vegan steak marinaded on white plate

5. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add in marinated steaks and sear both sides for about 30 seconds until lightly brown. Do not sear them for too long or they will burn. Once the steaks are seared, rest them for about 3 minutes while you make the chili chimichurri sauce.

Related: Vegan Comfort Food Trends to Look out for This Year

6. In a food processor, add in chili powder, parsley, cilantro, garlic, shallot, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sea salt and black pepper. Puree until smooth. Add more oil if needed for looser consistency.

7. Top steaks with chili chimichurri and serve with broccoli and sweet potato wedges or any side of choice.

Vegan steak with chimichurri sauce on top

Like Valerie’s vegan steak recipe? Try her vegan West African peanut lentil stew or her 20-minute vegan zucchini ramen noodle soup.

Vegan eggplant casserole

Classic Middle Eastern Eggplant Casserole With a Vegan Twist

This eggplant casserole is a classic Middle Eastern dish common in Iraq. It is usually made with layers of kofta (beef patties), eggplant, potatoes, onions, peppers and tomatoes. But in this Can You Vegan It? dish, just skip the kofta and bake up the veggies using the same method. The result? A light and deeply flavourful casserole served alongside rice, with some yogurt on the side. Traditionally, all the vegetables are fried before they are layered together and smothered in sauce, then baked in the oven. But you can also roast them instead of frying, which is quicker and yields so much flavour.

Vegan eggplant casserole

Middle Eastern Eggplant Casserole

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

2-3 large eggplants
3-4 medium potatoes
5 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1 ½ tsp salt, divided
1 large white onion
1 red pepper
5 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses (skip this if you don’t have it)
2 ½ cups hot water
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 ½ large tomatoes

Vegan eggplant casserole ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Start by preheating your oven to 400°F.

2. Wash the eggplant and peel it in a zebra pattern down the length, peeling every other stripe. Then cut it into ½ inch circular slices.

Peeling eggplant casserole

3. Peel and wash potatoes and cut them into ¼ inch circular slices.

4. Put 3 Tbsp of the vegetable oil on the potatoes and eggplant, sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt, then place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.

eggplants roasting on baking tray

5. Meanwhile, peel the onions and wash the pepper, then cut them both into thin slices. Heat a skillet with remaining vegetable oil, add the onions and peppers and sprinkle with remaining salt, then cook them on medium heat until softened.

Related: Easy Vegan Weeknight Dinner Recipes

6. Mix together tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, water, salt and pepper. Slice the tomatoes into ¼ inch thick slices.

7. Assemble the casserole by layering the eggplant, potato, onions and peppers, tomatoes and then pour the tomato sauce on top.

Vegan eggplant casserole being made

8. Bake covered for 45 minutes, then uncover and broil for 15 minutes. Serve with rice and a side of yogurt.

Middle Eastern vegan casserole being served onto a light blue plate

Like Amina’s vegan casserole? Try her 20-minute glazed salmon or roasted cauliflower with tahini.

The Ultimate Vegan Pizza Recipe with Almond Ricotta Cheese and Coconut Bacon

If you can’t eat dairy or just want to try out a healthier alternative to cheese-laden pizza, then you’re going to love this vegan weeknight dinner recipe. Making your own dairy-free ricotta “cheese” is easy when you use almonds, which pairs perfectly with fresh, zippy basil pesto, marinara sauce and slivered kale. You’ll really impress everyone with the simple homemade crust recipe, but you can always use a pre-made one instead if you don’t have time to make it from scratch. Take your vegan pizza toppings up a notch by trying out coconut “bacon.”  Even if you aren’t vegan or want to share this dairy-free dinner recipe with your friends, you’ll find the savoury and slightly sweet bacon alternative adds the perfect crunch and a unique smoky taste that everyone will love.

Vegan Pizza with Almond Ricotta, Coconut Bacon and Pesto

Prep Time: 40 minutes (add 8 hours to soak nuts for “almond ricotta” recipe below)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 70 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Almond “Ricotta”:
1 cup slivered blanched almonds
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 small clove of fresh garlic, chopped

Coconut “Bacon”:
2 cups coconut flakes, unsweetened
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
1 Tbsp tamari
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp smoked paprika

Pesto:
1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp hemp seeds or pine nuts
1 tsp lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Homemade Pizza Crust:
1 packet rapid rise yeast (or 2 tsp of baker’s yeast)
1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups spelt flour or whole wheat flour

Additional Ingredients:
2 cups green kale, chopped finely
2 cups marinara sauce

Directions:

Almond “Ricotta”:
1. Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with water so the nuts are fully submerged.
2. Place on the counter and let sit overnight. Alternatively,  soak the almonds early in the morning and then finish the rest of the steps later in the evening. You’ll want the nuts to soak for 8 hours.
3. After the nuts have soaked, drain them out of the water and rinse off.
4. Place the rinsed off nuts, lemon juice, sea salt, 1/2 cup of water, and garlic in the food processor. Blend for a few minutes until the mixture is smooth and creamy. You can scrape the mixture down the sides of the food processor to make sure it blends evenly.
5. Pour the blended almond mixture into a bowl and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Coconut “Bacon”:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Toss together the ingredients so the coconut is evenly coated in the oil, tamari, maple syrup, and smoked paprika.
3. Spread out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Bake for 5 minutes, check and stir around. Make sure to keep your eye on the coconut so that it doesn’t burn (it can go from fine to burnt really quickly).
5. Once the coconut is beginning to crisp on the edges, remove from the oven.
6. Let it cool for 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.


Pesto:
1. Rinse off the basil well and make sure to dry it with a paper towel or tea towel.
2. Add all of the ingredients to the food processor and blend for 30 seconds to a minute, until everything is finely chopped.
3. Add sea salt and pepper to your taste preference.

Homemade Pizza Crust:
1. In a large bowl, mix the packet of yeast in warm water and stir for 1 minute until dissolved.
2. Add in the olive oil and flour. Using your hands, knead the dough until a smooth ball forms. Add extra flour to the bowl if the dough is too sticky.
3. Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit on the countertop for 15 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
5. If you’d like to make 2 pizzas, divide the dough in half to make 2 balls.
6. You’ll need to roll out the ball of dough to make a circular crust. The best way to do this is by placing a large piece of parchment paper on the counter. Sprinkle some flour over top. Then place the dough in the center. Place a second sheet of parchment paper over top. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a circular shape. Then carefully pull off the piece of parchment paper that’s on top.
7. Poke a few holes in the crust with a fork.
8. Slide or lift the piece of parchment paper with the crust on it onto a large baking sheet.
9. Bake for 5 minutes.
10. Remove from the oven and keep on the baking sheet.

Pizza Assembly:
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2. Spread the marinara sauce out evenly over top of the crust.
3. Sprinkle the chopped kale over top of the sauce.
4. Add dollops of the almond ricotta cheese and pesto.
5. Bake for 15 minutes until the kale is cooked.
6. Remove the pizza from the oven. Sprinkle the coconut “bacon” over top.
7. Serve immediately by slicing into pieces.

As showcased above, making your own vegan cheese is easier than it seems. For another crave-worthy option, check out this Herbed Cashew Ricotta Cheese recipe.

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?

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

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

This Vegan Eggnog Recipe is So Good It’ll Impress All the Non-Vegans Too

Because it isn’t the holiday season without a cup of boozy eggnog, I’m serving up a vegan twist on this staple winter drink. This version is not only dairy free, it’s gluten- and egg-free too! The eggnog gets its delicious creaminess from canned coconut milk (don’t use the boxed variety) — and is naturally sweetened with maple syrup. Serve this warm on a snowy day or chilled over ice, whichever you prefer. For a kid-friendly option, just omit the bourbon or rum. Cheers!

Ingredients:

2 14-oz cans full-fat coconut milk
1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
½ cup bourbon or spiced rum
Coconut whip, for serving

Related: 20 Vegan Holiday Entrées You’ve Never Tried Before

Vegan eggnog ingredients

Directions:

1. In a saucepan over low heat, add the coconut milk, almond milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt. Whisk until combined. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Vegan eggnog in pot

2. Remove from heat and pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer to ensure it is smooth. Stir in bourbon.

Related: 12 Must-Try Fall Cocktails to Give Thanks for This Autumn

3. Serve warm with a dollop of coconut whip and a pinch of nutmeg. To serve chilled, transfer mixture to a glass serving pitcher and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, fill a glass with ice, add eggnog, a dollop of coconut whip and a pinch of nutmeg.

Vegan eggnog in two glasses

Like Marcella’s vegan eggnog? Try your hand at her winter greens mac and cheese or her sausage, apple and sage-stuffed acorn squash recipe!

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