Recipes

Melty Grilled Cheese - every time

Alright, grilled cheese may seem like a no brainer… butter the bread, add the cheese, and grill it on a hot pan.

…But when you throw vegan cheese into the mix, things aren’t quite as easy. Don’t get me wrong, vegan cheese is pretty amazing (provided you get the right kind)... but it isn’t always the easiest to melt. Vegan cheese CAN melt, but the problem is that it takes a little longer to melt than dairy cheese, so by the time it’s nice and melty… your bread is burnt.

The ONLY two kinds of vegan cheese slices that I recommend are Chao cheese (both flavours), and the “provolone” from Earth Island (called Follow Your Heart in the states).

I’ve shared this little trick a few times on Instagram, and it always gets a ton of comments so I thought I’d share it here too.

Before you come at me and say that I could just put a dome on the pan… I like my way better. But do what you want.

  1. Butter the outside of your bread, add two slices of cheese to the middle and heat it over medium heat, as usual. (I use Earth Balance butter)

  2. When you think your bread is toated perfectly (but unfortunately your cheese isn’t melted), put it on a plate and microwave it for 30 seconds. This will melt your cheese perfectly… BUT you’ll find that your bread is soggy.

  3. That’s when you put the grilled cheese back on the hot pan (I know, I’m a genius). All it takes is 10 seconds on each side, and it crisps it right back up again.

  4. Optional: Open up your gooey grilled cheese and add a slice of cold tomato. Heaven.

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Simple Cashew Rosé Sauce (GF)

This recipe takes my traditional cashew alfredo sauce, and adds a few ingredients to make it even more delicious (well, maybe just a different kind of delicious). It’s insanely easy and is a great way to use up leftover tomato sauce.

The first time I made this, I did it with leftover alfredo sauce and just threw in extra ingredients so I didn’t have any measurements… so I had to make it again! I know this is my own recipe, but I give it a 10/10 haha.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drain your pasta and then put it back in the pot, and back on the element over low heat. Pour on more alfredo sauce than you think you need, as it really thickens up over the heat. Add all the extra ingredients, mix together, and enjoy!!

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The Most Delicious Shepherd's Pie (GF)

Ok, here’s the deal. My dad gave me this recipe, and it’s insanely delicious. He found it a few years ago, and can’t remember from where… and he’s changed it a lot over time. The steps are not as specific as I would like (e.g. “sauté the onions until transculent”… I need real times, dad!!!), butttt it will work out in the end and it’s a nice easy, go-with-the-flow kind of meal.

The flavours are INCREDIBLE, and I promise you that it’s the best Shepher’s Pie that I’ve ever had.

I made a double batch of this, and it worked perfectly to put all the ingredients in one large soup pot! (the ingredients below are for a single batch).

The recipe freezes AMAZINGLY, and heats up so nicely in the microwave.

Anyway - see below for my dad’s recipe!

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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

1 cup red lentils (*Soaked for about 2-3 hours before you’re ready to cook. This will help speed up the cooking time. Just cover with water and leave on your counter. Make sure that you have enough water as the lentils will soak most of it up!)

3 russet potatoes, peeled

1 large onion, diced

2 large carrots (shredded in the food processor, this makes it cook a LOT faster, and also spreads it evenly in the filling. You can totally dice them if you don’t have a food processor)

10 cremini mushrooms, diced

4 stalks of celery, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp of dried rosemary

1 tsp of dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour)

1 tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 vegetable stock cube

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon of HP sauce (We actually forgot to add this… it still tasted great! So add it if you have this already… but don’t buy it specifically for this recipe)


METHOD:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add your peeled potatoes. They’re done when you can easily stick a fork through them - about 15-20 minutes (you can chop your veggies during this time). When they’re done add a splash of plant milk (make sure it’s unsweetened, and unflavoured), and a tablespoon or two of vegan butter.

Finely dice your onions, celery and mushrooms and crush your garlic. Put your carrots in the food processor, or finely dice them as well, if you prefer.

Put a large pot on medium heat, and add a tbsp of oil. Add the onions until they start to go translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the minced garlic and sauté for another three minutes. Add the rest of the veggies and cook for another 10 minutes - stirring constantly.

When the vegetables have softened and started to brown, add in your flour and stir through so it coats everything.

Then add the salt, pepper, mixed herbs. Stir these through.

Add your vegetable stock cube to 2 cups of warm water. Add the tomato paste to the water as well.

Then start adding your stock/tomato paste to the pot very slowly. Every time your pour some stock into the vegetables stir it through until it has absorbed and slightly thickened.

Then drain your lentils and add them to the pot and stir through.

Leave the mixture to simmer for around 30 minutes but check it and stir it constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn. It’s done when your lentils are tender, and the water is mostly absorbed.

Add in a about a tablespoon of HP Sauce at the end of the cooking process and stir it though.

When the lentil mix is cooked through, pour it all into the bottom of a glass baking dish.

Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the lentil mix, smoothing it out with a fork.

Then bake the Shepherd’s Pie at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and then another 5 minutes under the broiler so the potatoes go nice and golden brown.

Enjoy!


Basic Pantry Dal (GF)

You know those nights where you feel like you desperately need to go grocery shopping, but it’s so dark and cold out and you just don’t wanna?!
THIS IS THE MEAL FOR YOU! It’s also insanely delicious, so it’s a win-win!


This is just a simple red lentil dal with ingredients that we always have in our kitchen. We have a big jar of red lentils that we keep in our cupboard (as well as a container of dehydrated onions), and we just always pick up extra cans of coconut milk and diced tomatoes when they’re on sale.
All you do is dump all the ingredients into a pot, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer for 30 minutes. THAT’S IT! The perfect meal on a cold night after work, when you have no idea what to cook.
This recipe freezes amazingly, so you can portion it out and then microwave it for lunches. You can also freeze individual portions of brown rice, so you’ll be all set for lunches.

This recipe is adapted from one by Oh She Glows.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked red lentils

  • 2 and 3/4 cups of water

  • 1 (798 ml) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 (400 ml) can light coconut milk (I love this kind. Cheap, organic, and tasty!)

  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 3 teaspoons dehydrated onion (this kind will last you FOREVER)

  • 2 tablespoon curry powder

  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add in all of the ingredients (lentils, water, diced tomatoes [with juices], coconut milk, all the spices, salt, and pepper). Stir until combined.

  2. Increase heat to high and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes (I find when it starts to splatter, it’s done haha). Stir the dal frequently while cooking, and reduce the heat if necessary to prevent it from sticking to the pot.

  3. Serve over brown rice, and add in a squeeze of lime if you have it! I also like topping mine with chilli flakes.

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Oil Free Granola (Two Ways) GF

Before I found this recipe I was on a serious hunt for one that was healthy. I would read the packaging of store bought ones, and be disappointed by all the added corn syrup/vegetable oils.
This granola is easy, crunchy, healthy, and tasty - what more could you want!!
Lately I’ve been adding in two cups of puffed brown rice (I get the Nature’s Path Organic brand one from Whole Foods), and it’s soooo good. It also bulks it out a bit since nuts can be expensive.

Make sure that your tahini is from the ethnic food section, and not from the health food section. You need it to be smooth and runny, and not thick and raw.


I make a batch every Sunday and eat it throughout the week for breakfast.
My favourite way to eat it is with almond milk, and then topped with dried cranberries and either a banana or half an apple.

The recipe is adapted from one by Anna Pippus.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats)

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (This kind is great)

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup tahini ***

  • 1 tsp vanilla ***

  • 2 cups of Nature’s Path puffed brown rice crisps (optional)

    • *** NOTE - if you’re adding in the rice puffs, you’re going to need in a bit more liquid as well. I fill up my 1/4 cup measuring cup halfway up with maple syrup, and then the remainder of the way with tahini (so an extra 1/8’s of a cup of each).

Process:

  1. Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Combine! Spread onto baking sheet.

Bake at 325 for 20 minutes, stirring after ten.

Once cooled, mix in brown rice puffs (if you want), and then store in a sealed container.

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Quinoa Taco "Meat" (Minimalist Baker) GF

This is an insanely easy recipe that you can make with either fresh quinoa, or it would be a great way to use up leftovers. The cooked quinoa is mixed with some spices and salsa, and then baked in the oven - it gets slightly crispy and I often eat it by the spoonful right from the pan….

It keeps in the fridge for 4-5 days, and it freezes great. I pan fry it to heat it back up, and it’s perfect.

We love making this when we have lots of leftover veggies, because everything tastes better when it’s inside a taco! I normally add kale, red pepper, salsa, avocado, and sauerkraut.

My favourite tortillas are the 100% corn tortillas (gluten free) from Casa Bonita (I get them at Sobey’s, they’re cheap and delicious). Just pan fry them on a dry pan on medium heat. SO GOOD.

I highly recommend making it on a busy work night when you’re tired but still want something delicious.

The original recipe calls for oil, but I leave that out and it’s completely fine.

The recipe is by Minimalist Baker and can be found below, or on their website here.

My notes are italicized.

QUINOA

  • 1 cup tri-color, white, or red quinoa

  • 1 cup vegetable broth (you can totally just use water if you don’t have any)

  • 3/4 cup water

SEASONINGS

  • 1/2 cup of salsa (slightly chunky is best)

  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 2 tsp ground cumin

  • 2 tsp ground chili powder

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add rinsed quinoa and toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.

  2. Add vegetable broth and water and bring back to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to low, cover with a secure lid, and cook for 15-25 minutes, or until liquid is completely absorbed. Fluff with a fork, then crack lid and let rest for 10 minutes off heat.

  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).

  4. Add cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients (salsa, nutritional yeast, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper). Toss to combine. Then spread on a silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet.

  5. Bake for 20-35 minutes, stirring/tossing once at the halfway point to ensure even baking. The quinoa is done when it's fragrant and golden brown. Be careful not to burn!

  6. This quinoa taco meat goes extremely well in crispy taco shells and soft taco shells, and I also think it would be perfect on nachos, taco salads, tostadas, and in enchiladas. Dream big!

  7. Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days. Reheat in the microwave, in a 350 degree F oven, or in a skillet on the stovetop. (I do it on the stovetop and it’s perfect)

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Quick & Easy Cashew Alfredo GF

When I was growing up a creamy alfredo sauce was by FAR my favourite way to eat pasta. While a traditional alfredo is made with cream, butter, and cheese, this one is wayyyyy healthier as it’s made with only cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt. It sounds too good to be true, but trust me, it’s delicious.

I recommend soaking your nuts overnight, if you remember. Just put the cashews in a container and cover with cold water. Put the lid on and leave in the fridge until dinner the next night. If you forget, you can pour boiling hot water over them and then let them soak while your pasta boils (you might just have to blend it a bit longer, but it will still be fine).

When you first pour the sauce over the cooked pasta you’ll THINK that it’s too runny, but mix it around on the heat for 30-60 seconds and it turns into the most glorious, creamy, decadent sauce that you could ever imagine. If there’s any leftover sauce, I store it in the fridge (right in my blender), and then just give it a quick blend the next night. I’ve heard that some sauces like this thicken up in the fridge overnight… but apparently this one is magic because it stays the same!

I buy the raw cashews (along with the dry brown rice pasta, which is gluten free) from Bulk Barn, and it’s quickly become an easy staple meal for us. This sauce tastes great on it’s own, or with added steamed broccoli and chilli flakes. You can also add a bit of tomato sauce to it to make it a rosé!
The recipe is has been adapted from a recipe from Anna Pippus.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of dry pasta (I normally do about 3 cups of pasta one night, and then use up the rest of the sauce with the remaining 2 cups of pasta the next night)

  • 1.5 cups raw cashews (I stock up when Bulk Barn has a sale)

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 2 and 1/4 cups of water

  • salt and pepper to taste

Process:

The night before: add your cashews to a container and fill with cold water. Cover and store in the fridge until dinner the next night.

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

  2. Drain and rinse your cashews, and add them to your blender with the water, nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt. Blend until very smooth—this might take 2 to 5 minutes depending on your blender.

  3. Drain your pasta and put it back in the pot on the hot element. Pour your sauce on (a bit more than you think you need), and stir to combine. After about 30-60 seconds the sauce will thicken up and be so creamy and decadent.

  4. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. I love topping mine with chilli flakes as well.

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(Very) Freezer Friendly Breakfast Burritos

These have officially taken over as the reigning burritos in our household. If our freezer ever runs low on these, my husband goes into crisis mode haha.

Unlike other burritos, something about these make them reheat in the microwave BEAUTIFULLY!. I promise you that they don’t get soggy. They’re magic.

They’re very very easy to make, and a triple batch makes about 27 burritos. My husband goes through these like no one’s business, and will often grab two a day to take to work.

Lately we’ve been portioning them out into individual portions, and freezing in a container. When you’re ready to eat it, you can serve it over toast, on rice, or wrap it in a fresh burrito.

The recipe was adapted from Emilie Eats.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 cup potato, diced (any variety)

  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced

  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup salsa

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

  • 3 teaspoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • 3 cups kale or spinach, finely chopped

  • 8 whole-wheat tortillas (Optional. You can also just freeze the filling in individual portions)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Drain the tofu and then squeeze out the extra liquid with a cloth or paper towel.

  2. In a large skillet or wok, add the onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes until they become translucent. Add garlic; cook for 2 minutes, stirring.

  3. Add potato and mushrooms; stir. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until potato is fork tender. Crumble the tofu into small pieces and add to the pot; cook for 5 minutes.

  4. Add black beans, salsa, nutritional yeast, chili powder, cumin, salt, turmeric, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir to fully incorporate all ingredients; cook for 5 minutes. Add kale or spinach and stir; cook until wilted.

  5. Scoop some of the filling and place in the center of a tortilla. Fold in the edges, then roll up. Wrap in foil. Repeat for all tortillas.

  6. Store in the fridge or freezer (they reheat great in the microwave).

Quick Rice & Veggies with Homemade Sauce (GF)

If you’re looking for the easiest meal in the world (that’s also nourishing and tasty), I’ve got you covered.
This sauce makes even the most simple meal (like this one!), next level. I use it for sooo many things.
On those nights when I have no idea what to make for dinner, this is my favourite go to meal. Don’t laugh at how simple it is until you try it!! We always have all the ingredients in the house, and make this at least once a week.
I make brown rice in my instant pot, heat up two cups of the frozen green giant veggie mix on the stove, and make the sauce... it takes about ten minutes! Wahoo! I also like to sprinkle a ton of white sesame seeds on top. Way quicker than ordering food (and way healthier!). If I have some produce to use up, I’ll sauté that too and add it on top (but usually it’s just the green giant veggies - no shame!!).

Sauce (for two):

2 tbsp peanut butter (smooth, but crunchy also works)

3 tbsp tamari/soy sauce

1 tbsp water

The juice from one lemon (or lime works too)

4 tsp chili garlic sauce

3/4 tsp ground ginger



EASTER TREATS IN TORONTO

ALRIGHT. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have been on a massive hunt for a vegan version of mini eggs.

While I haven't found them yet (I still have hope that they exist!), I've received a bunch of messages of people trying to help and telling me their favourite vegan Easter treats. Since Easter is a fabulous holiday designed for eating an insane amount of chocolate, I'd thought I'd share my information so we can all eat treats until we puke this weekend (you're welcome).

Please let me know if I've missed any, and I'll keep adding to this list!

KK, here we go:

1. Sweet Hart Kitchen - they have deliciously natural treats that you can bring to your (non-vegan) family for dessert, and they'll love them. You could pre-order with them up until noon on Wednesday, but they always have treats on hand in the shop! And you can always try to email them to ask if they have time to make something special for you. I'm bringing the Lemon Curd pie to my Easter dinner on Sunday, and I'm so excited!

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2. Lindt Dark Chocolate Bunnies are vegan. Enough said. 

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3. Sorelle & Co has the CUTEST little Easter themed cupcakes. Sidenote - ARE THOSE VEGAN MINI EGGS ON TOP? I've asked them to confirm on Instagram... I'll report back. (UPDATE: They're sadly fondant) 

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4. Good Rebel has those big hollow chocolate eggs filled with treats that we used to get as kids - they're shipped in all the way from England!

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5. Whole Foods and Noah's have a whole variety of cool vegan chocolate options! If you don't have much time, you should definitely stop in here and you'll find something tasty.

6. Tori's Bakeshop has made their own version of Cream Eggs that look INSANE. They also made Cream Egg cupcakes. (Tori's also offers DELIVERY from M-F, soooo you should probably get these).

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7. Apiecalypse Now had preorders for desserts to bring over to your family, but I think it's too late to order them... may as well try though!

8. The Vegan Imperative has a bunch of cute Easter chocolates, including a 'milk' chocolate bunny

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9.  A brand called LiveOnChocolate makes Coconut Cream Eggs that I hear are delicious, and are available at a few place around Toronto.

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10. Bunner's just posted on Instagram saying that they'll have Easter treats available all weekend - just LOOK how cute these cupcakes are!!

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Bringing Food to an All-Inclusive?

Yes, I bring food to an all-inclusive resort. For an average person, this might seem to defeat the point, but for someone with dietary restrictions it's worth it.

I'm almost always pleasantly surprised with the amount of foods that are vegan when I go on vacation, but I'd hate to be in a situation where that's not the case... and it never hurts to have some midnight snacks in you room :)

Buffalo Cauliflower Wing Pizza

Did anyone else try the Stranger Wings pizza by Virtuous Pie at VeganFestTO this summer?! I've been (un)patiently waiting for their Toronto location to open, but in the meantime I've made an insanely easy version of their pizza that's ALMOST as good. It's a pizza with a bianca sauce, buffalo chicken wings, crispy onions, green onions, and ranch sauce (I used creamy garlic sauce instead) - it's so delicious!!!!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (GF)

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (GF)

Before I was vegan, mac and cheese was my favourite food and I HATED all of the vegan versions until I tried a butternut squash one (and I'm not even a huge squash lover, weird right?). I wanted to make a healthy version so I looked at a ton of versions online and then made my own. A lot of the recipes that I found called for lots butter, oil, or processed vegan cheese. While I'm sure that those taste delicious, I'm happy with this healthy version and I can eat as much of it as I want without feeling crappy!

Chickpea Tuna (GF)

This recipe has QUICKLY become a staple in my house (and for so many of my friends!).

It's gotten the seal of approval from everyone that I've made it for, and so many of my friends have made it themselves and fallen in love with it. It has the taste and texture of tuna (without the fishy taste - although you can add shredded nori if you like that), and it's so simple to make.