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Summer has finally shown up around here (along with a glorious sunburn I managed to obtain yesterday taking advantage of the sunshine). This means the reappearance of cold grain salads and the like in my books. This one was a happy combination of flavours and textures that came mostly out of the mixture that was the dregs of my pre-grocery shopping trip pantry.

2 cups dry quinoa (or 1 cup if your prefer a lower quinoa to add-in ratio)

2 navel oranges, cut into inch segments

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 bunch cilantro, minced (I would say about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of minced cilantro)

1 tablespoon minced ginger

2-3 tsp cumin

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine quinoa with 4 cups water (2 cups if you are using 1 cup of quinoa) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the white centres have dissapeared and tails are visible on the grains. Set aside to cool.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and add cooled quinoa. Toss all ingredients together and serve.

I’m also submitting this to Ricki’s weekly blog event “Wellness Weekend” where it can mingle with plenty of other, healthy vegan summery recipes!



I have a bit of a complex about feeding nonvegans vegan food if they know it is/I am vegan. I get all kinds of paranoid about how it’s my responsibility to show them that veganism isn’t all about eating lettuce and carrots and that it can be delicious and decadent and not at all restrictive. This usually winds up with me making some kind of dessert because really, who doesn’t like dessert/baked goods? Unfortunately that also usually means making something not so healthy, which doesn’t jive particularly well with my normal mode of baking where I try to sneak in as much good stuff as I can. I fear that I have ‘healthy’ tastebuds and even the baked goods that I think taste good (with flax seeds, spelt flour, etc.) won’t be sufficient for my vegan wowing aspirations. All that to say that I have an event on sunday which is causing me a bit of trauma in that department so if you have any veggie dish and dessert recommendations, let me know!

I baked this up to use up some of the colony of overripe bananas overtaking my kitchen counter and initially was thinking of going for a low sugar/stevia sweetened loaf but then remembered my sunday event and thought I could potentially bring this if I didn’t monkey with healthifying it. Alas, I think I need to get some groceries before truly beginning to embark on my amazing vegan recipe quest – currently the pantry houses no white sugar, a little bit of all-purpose flour (unbleached), and a smidge of brown sugar, no good! 😀

Anyways, those of you with fellow healthy tastebuds should be a-okay with this recipe, and really I don’t think it is that healthy tasting, but what do I know! 😉

Gingery Banana Bread

4 ripe bananas

1 cup brown sugar (or sucanat) not packed

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons minced ginger root

2 cups spelt flour

1/3 cups wheat germ

1/4 cup flax

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mash bananas in a medium sized bowl, add brown sugar, oil, vanilla extract and ginger root. Mix.

Combine flour, wheatgerm, flax, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a small bowl. Add to wet ingredients in batches stirring between each addition.

Pour into a loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Wait until the loaf cools to slice as it is quite delicate and will break (or just resign yourself to banana bread crumbles to top your oatmeal with the next morning! ;))


I am in love with everything British- they have the best accents (well, Australia is up there too), an excess of castles, beautiful old buildings and BBC! BBC is fantastic and I think they have on of the best websites out there. Seriously, you can learn obscure languages (ask me how I know, I may have gone through a Gaelic phase; I still know how to ask “how are you” in Gaelic), read world news, find recipes etc. This particular recipe is from a BBC Vegetarian magazine publication that my brother gave me for christmas a few years back, but lucky for me, the recipe was also online. Go take a peek at the original recipe; it makes for a very impressive main dish, but also quite time-consuming, so for my own purposes I made some alterations.

Moroccan Butternut Rice Pilaf

7 cups cubed butternut squash (this was about half a squash for me)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons groung coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup mixed rice blend

1 medium onion, diced

2 tablespoons minced ginger root

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1 small bag spinach (I used 10 frozen spinach cubes, probably about the equivalent of 1 cup of steamed spinach)

2 tablespoons agave nectar

2 cups cooked chickpeas

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix spices (first measures of cumin and coriander, paprika and cinnamon) into olive oil. Pour over butternut squash cubes in a pan and toss to coat. Place in oven and roast for about 40 minutes or until cubes are tender, tossing cubes a couple times during baking.

Meanwhile combine the rice and 2 cups of water in a saucepan and cook until all the water is absorbed and rice is tender.

Saute onion and ginger in a frying pan until onion is golden brown, about five minutes. Add spinach, almonds and raisins and cook until spinach is wilted (or defrosted). Add butternut squash cubes and rice once they have cooked and drizzle with agave.

Place chickpeas, garlic and second measures of cumin and coriander, olive oil, and lemon juice in food processor and puree. You may need to add some water at this point to get a good consistency.

Mix hummus into mixture in frying pan and stir to incorporate (you could also leave it out or layer it when serving-the dish looks much more attractive pre-hummus, but it adds a nice touch flavourwise)


For as long as I can remember, sometime in December my family would pack into the car and drive for an hour or so to the to cut down a Christmas tree (it was part of a Forest Warden program that aimed to help thin out the trees), er, well actually, several. For a number of years, we would get a big tree for the living room (and when I say big, I mean big, the Christmas tree corner in the house has an 18 foot high ceiling, so many years we would get a 10-15 foot tree) and then each of us kids would get a smaller tree for our bedrooms. This was an all day venture and in later years, we often brought friends along to participate, and every year mom packed a thermos of hot chocolate and a big pot of chili that sat in the trunk swathed in towels to keep it hot until we were ready to eat. To this day chili remains a favourite cold weather food of mine. This recipe is quite a bit different from the chili I grew up eating, lacking the pork and beans of yesteryear, but no less delicious. 

Butternut Squash Chili

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

7 cups cubed butternut squash (this was about half of a medium sized squash)

1 tablespoon chili powder (this may vary depending on how hot your chili poweder is and how spicy you want your chili)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground coriander

diced canned tomatoes

5 cups cooked chili beans

1 zucchini, diced

2 cups frozen, or fresh, corn kernels

Saute onion and garlic in a pot until golden. Add squash and spices and cook for a few more minutes, until spices are fragrant. Add tomatoes, and beans (you may want to add some additional water at this point, I added about 1/2 cup) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until squash is tender. Add in zucchini and corn and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until all vegetables are cooked. Remove from heat and serve.



I love the winter holidays and we are on the cusp of the Christmas season (okay, well if you ask the retailers, it’s more like halfway through) so my mind has been wandering to holiday cookies, warm drinks, festive music, and all things sparkly. These muffins are my first go at a holiday baked good this year, and I think we are off to a pretty good start. 🙂 Muffins are not just cupcakes without icing in my mind, they are a much healthier option and can even kind of pass as a breakfast-on-the-go solution, so while these are no bowl of flax topped oatmeal, they certainly aren’t your refined sugar and fat laden coffee-shop muffin either. Boasting the vitamin packed goodness of pumpkin, iron from molasses, healthy fats from flax and grapeseed oil, and made with whole grains; I say go ahead and indulge!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins

1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree (you could use homemade as well, just ensure it is fairly thick)

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1/4 cup cooking molasses

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup almond milk

1/4 cup ground flaxseeds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

2 cups spelt flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

pinch each of allspice and cloves

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all wet ingredients (pumpkin through vinegar) into a bowl and mix. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Stir dry ingredients into wet until fully incorporated. Spoon into silicone muffin cups, or a greased muffin tin, filling them almost to the top. This, plus my batter sampling tendencies, gave me 11 muffins, but I think you could eek out 12 if you keep your mitts out of the batter. 😉 Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.


If you’re looking for a burger to sandwich between a bun and act as a meatless patty, turn around! These lentil burgers are thick and filling and likely best served with a salad and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar/flax oil/agave nectar slurry.

-1 c. brown lentils
-3 c. water

Bring lentils and water to a boil, then cover and turn down to medium-low, and simmer until all the water is absorbed and the lentils are falling apart.

They should be pretty dry, and tender enough that they look like this once stirred:

totally unappetizing

-1/2 large onion, finely chopped (~1 c.)
-3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
-1 c. finely diced celery
-1 c. grated carrot
-few grinds black pepper

In a frying pan over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic with water or oil until translucent, then add in the other veggies and cook until softened.

Combine lentil mash and veggies in a mixing bowl, and then stir in:

-1/4 c. nutritional yeast
-1 tbsp. prepared mustard
-1 tbsp. vegan worsteshire sauce
-salt to taste
-1/2 tsp. each dried basil and oregano
-1/2 c. oats

Let the mixture cool a bit, and then shape into patties and fry with a couple tsps of oil over medium heat (or bake) until golden. Makes 8, maybe? I nibbled on the mixture pre-cooking, and got 7. 🙂


I have my doubts about my take on a quesadilla being even remotely authentic, but I’m also pretty sure it doesn’t really matter. This definitely isn’t a real recipe, but it’s quick and easy, very tasty, and infinitely adaptable!

First, smunch some black beans up with cumin, chili powder, and oregano, and a dash or two of hot sauce.

Smear half a tortilla (brown rice, in my case) with the mixture….

…..and then top with spinach, red pepper, and a bit of cheddar sheese.

Fold and ‘grill’ in a pan swiped with oil over medium heat until toasted and crunchy, and then flip and do the other side.

Cut and demolish! I ate mine with ketchup and more hot sauce.

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day! K has posted a few heart-themed recipes, so make sure you check ’em out:

Love’n Muffins

‘Heart’y Granola

Love-ly Burgers



Do you ever come up with a new and delicious dish, only to google it and discover that everyone and their dog has created something similar? This was definitely the case with these burgers, but I’m going ahead and posting my version anyways. 🙂

These come together quickly, and are very rich and creamy on the inside. Although they contain plenty of spinach, I think they would be best served alone or with a salad, as serving them inside a sandwich or on a bed of rice/grains might seem too heavy. They are quite mild, so if you’re eating them plain you might want to perk them up with a bit more cumin or spiciness, although I thought they were totally delicious with a little extra hot sauce on the side. I, however, would make a great candidate for Hot Sauce Addicts Anonymous (H.S.A.A?), were it a reality.

These are gluten free, but if you’re not gluten free, I think you could sub out some of the chickpea flour for wheat flour, or even a couple tablespoons of vital wheat gluten, although they do firm up nicely while they cook as is.

-1 medium onion, minced
-3 cloves garlic, crushed
-1 c. chickpeas
-3 c. packed spinach leaves
-1 carrot, grated
-2 tbsp. soy sauce (likely less if you’re using canned/salted chickpeas)
-1 tsp. cumin
-2 tbsp. peanut butter
-1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
-1 tsp. sriracha hot sauce
-1/2 c. chickpea flour

Cook the onion in oil or water in a pan over medium heat until soft and translucent, then add garlic and cook for another minute. Add the chickpeas, spinach, and carrot, and cook until the spinach is fully wilted and the carrot is softened. Make sure that you let as much liquid as possible cook off. Dump into a mixing bowl, and stir in the soy sauce, cumin, peanut butter, nutritional yeast, hot sauce, and chickpea flour. I didn’t bother trying to smush the chickpeas at all, although you could. Allow the mixture to cool. In big spoonfulls (~1/3 c.?) form the mixutre into thick patties and lightly pan fry, using only a couple teaspoons of oil for several burgers, over medium heat until browned on both sides. Alternatively, I bet you could bake them just fine, although I tend to fry my burgers – it’s faster! Makes six burgers.


I’ve been intending to try making chia seed pudding for forever now (since it’s all over the blogsphere!), and I finally got around to it! Last night, I mixed up 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk with 1/4 cup of chia seeds. At the time, I was pretty sure I might have added too much liquid, but this morning I had this:

Crazy! The chia seeds swelled up SO much, and sortof reminded me of a really soft bread dough. The full 1/4 cup of chia seeds would have made way too big a breakfast for me, so I divided it into half, and to one bowl added:

-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-pinch nutmeg
-2 tsp. maple syrup
-small handful of raisins

Now, I try not to worry too much about the nutritional content of my food. I like healthy food, and I eat lots (and lots) of it. However, chia seeds are RIDICULOUSLY nutritious, and just for fun, I calculated some of the numbers of the goo in my bowl before I stirred in any additions.

1/8 c. (2 tbsp.) of chia seeds + 1/2 c. unsweetened soy milk (Silk), which swelled to make a large enough breakfast for me, has:

-100 calories
-5.5 grams fibre
-5.5 grams protein
-2.6 grams of omega 3 fatty acids
-67% RDI of selenium
-23% RDI of magnesium
-23% RDI calcium
-11% RDI iron

Obviously, raisins and maple syrup would add extra calories, fibre, iron, and calcium, etc. Aren’t chia seeds impressive!?

They made a great breakfast, too! 🙂


I’ve seen a few takes on raw cauliflower based ‘rice’, so I picked up a head of cauliflower at the grocery store so that I could try it myself. Although it’s not going to fool anyone into thinking it’s rice, it also doesn’t feel like you’re chowing through a  bunch of raw cruciferous veggies. Sometimes I find that a whole plate of raw vegetables tires my jaw out – raw jaw, if you will!

I was quite pleased with how this turned out. Since you use a food processor (or a dry blade vitamix container, in my case) to mince the cauliflower and carrot, it all comes together really quickly – like most raw food, I suppose!


Please ignore the goofy shadows – it gets dark out at 5:30 (ugh!) these days, and I clearly have not figured out how to avoid blatantly after-dark photos.

Raw Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce

-1/4 c. sundried tomatoes
-1/4 c. almonds (if you’re not using a powerful blender, soaking might be a good plan)
-half a medium tomato
-small clove garlic
-1 tbsp. lemon juice
-1 tbsp. flax oil (or olive, I suppose)
-1/2 tsp. agave
-black pepper to taste
-enough water to reach a sauce consistency. I used around 12 tbsp – use some of the water from soaking the sundried tomatoes to add salt

Place everything in blender and whiz up.

Raw Rice

-1/2 head cauliflower, including stems
-1 small carrot
-2 tbsp. very finely minced onion
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 tbsp. lemon juice
-1/2 tbsp. tamari (or braggs to keep it raw)
-1 tsp dried basil (or fresh if you’ve got it!)
-lots of black pepper

In a food processor, mince the cauliflower and carrot until it forms very small pieces. Dump into a mixing bowl, add everything else, and stir to combine.

Cut one large aesthetically pleasing green (or red!) pepper in half and stuff with the rice. You’ll have some rice leftover, so stuff another pepper half or stick it in a lettuce leaf tomorrow. Serve with lots of sundried tomato sauce and some pine nuts, if desired. Yum!