his ‘n hers secret ingredient vegan black bean chili

 

Before I adopted a plant-based diet, there were some dishes that I never made with meat. Like pasta sauce (here’s my go to recipe). And chili.

Not sure why, but for some reason, I never liked the addition of meat in these dishes. However, once I went all in on the vegan eating, I knew I had to pay more attention to my protein sources.

 

Let’s pause a minute on this while I clear up the myth that you can’t get “enough” protein on a plant-based diet…

  • First, all plants have protein, though some have more than others (think nuts, legumes, beans, lentils).
  • Secondly, our bodies don’t store protein and will eliminate the excess or turn it into fat.
  • Therefore, there’s absolutely no point in consuming more than your body will use for that day. For example, 1 cup of cooked, chopped chicken has about 43 grams of protein. That’s only 3 grams shy of the recommended daily requirement for the average woman. So unless our lady eats almost nothing else the rest of the day, she’ll be consuming way more protein than is needed.
  • By comparison, I reach a third of my daily requirements with a thoughtful, 100% plant-based breakfast. Combine that with lunch, dinner and snacks, I rarely have an issue meeting my daily requirements unless I’ve skimped on the nuts and beans.

 

Which brings me to this secret-ingredient vegan black bean chili.

 

 

Beans are excellent sources of plant-based protein, but I wanted to dot my protein “i’s” and “t’s” in this dish and add a little more. Plus I wanted to give the appearance that meat was present to appeal to meat eaters. Like my husband.

So what’s the secret ingredient in this secret-ingredient vegan black bean chili? Walnuts! Finely chopping the walnuts with some garlic and onion powders and sage in a food processor or blender makes it look like I’ve added ground meat into my chili. Genius, right?!

But wait, there’s a second secret ingredient too…chocolate!

It may sound weird, but trust me on this. The chocolate tangos with the chili powder to deepen the flavor, plus it’s a superfood that has won many a woman’s heart so of course it needs to go there.

And there you have it. The his ‘n hers secret ingredient vegan black bean chili.

Let’s get cooking!

 

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his 'n hers secret ingredient vegan black bean chili
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins
 

This protein-packed chili has two secret ingredients to appeal both to him and to her.

Course: Entree
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 3 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup veggie stock
  • 4.5-6 cups black beans
  • 2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 7-8 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp oregano
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3-4 dashes onion powder
  • 3-4 dashes garlic powder
  • 1-2 dashes ground sage
Instructions
  1. If you're cooking your own black beans, do so according to package directions. I usually soak mine in cold water overnight, rinse then add to a fresh pot of boiling water and boil for about 115-20 minutes. Then I turn off the heat and soak for several more hours.

  2. If you want the walnuts more tender, soak them for 30 minutes in water that been just boiled.

  3. Add the onion, garlic and peppers to a large stock pot along with the veggie stock over high heat. Saute about 5 minutes or until the veggies start to become tender.

  4. Add tomatoes and spices. (Hint: I like using the 1 cup of water to rinse out the cans and add it into the chili pot - it helps prevent waste that way!)

  5. Add cooked beans.

  6. For the walnuts, add to a food processor or blender along with garlic and onion powders and sage and pulse until the walnuts are finely chopped. Then add to the chili.

  7. Bring the chili to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about one hour to let the flavors develop.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES: This chili tastes even better on the second and third day as the spices work themselves through. It also freezes well!

 

 

 

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thanksgiving recipe roundup (vegan, plant-based)

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is one week away!! How did that happen?!

If you’re new(ish) to a plant-based/vegan diet, I’m guessing Thanksgiving can feel rather…intimidating. After all, the main feature of this holiday meal is the turkey. (Can you even hear “Thanksgiving” without picturing the turkey? I can’t!) And holidays usually mean eating with people who probably aren’t eating the way you at best or make you feel looney tunes for choosing a different diet altogether.

But I’m here to encourage you that Thanksgiving – and all other holiday meals – can still be looked forward to and even give you chance to share how amazing a vegan diet can be! After all the turkey is only one part of the meal…the rest is a delightful array of sides which let the veggies we love shine.

So let’s get on with the roundup, shall we? #inspirationloading

 

Lentil Walnut Mushroom Balls by Oh She Glows

Hands down this is my favorite dish that I look forward to every year. I use it as my “main” dish and love it because it reminds me of stuffing. I usually make a batch for Canadian Thanksgiving in October and have enough to last me until Christmas (since I’m the only one who isn’t eating the turkey).

photo credit: oh she glows

 

 

Classic Vegan Stuffing by Raepublic

Confession: the stuffing is the one part of this meal I do eat even though it’s been cooked in the turkey. Shocking, I know. But I eat a vegan diet for health reasons, not strictly for animal rights, and it’s a rare indulgence. If you’re eating strictly vegan, however, give this stuffing recipe a try.

photo credit: raepublic

 

 

Vegan Porchini Mushroom Gravy by Veganosity

I’m still working on a vegan gravy recipe that hits the spot. This one looks divine.

photo credit: veganosity

 

 

Easy Biscuit Recipe by Whole New Mom

Anytime you can squeeze “easy” into a labor-intensive meal is a win! Plus this one is made from whole grains and can easily be made 100% plant-based by using dairy free milk.

photo credit: whole new mom

 

 

Fresh Cranberry Apple Relish by Veggies Save the Day

I love this twist on traditional cranberry sauce which usually is loaded with added sugars – it wins be over by relying on the natural sweetness found in the apples and dates.

photo credit: veggies save the day

 

Jeweled Sweet Potatoes

These are my favorite side dish that I’ve added as a “must have” to my holiday menu. They even eat like dessert!

 

 

Savory Stuffed Butternut Squash by Emilie Eats

Usually, I prepare my squash simply with just a little Earth Balance butter and cinnamon, but if you’re up for a twist on the traditional, give this recipe a try. It could stand in for a main dish as well!

photo credit: emilie eats

 

 

Apple Cabbage Slaw with Apple Cinnamon Dressing

This is my new favorite salad because it’s so refreshing! A perfect contrast to the heavier dishes and spotlights how tasty clean eating can be. It’s one of the bonus recipes included in the Fall edition of my Perk Up Your Pantry recipe ebook, which you can get here.

 

 

 

Fall Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad by Emilie Eats

I love the looks of this “meatier” salad and all of the fall colors in one dish!

photo credit: emilie eats

 

 

Easier-than-pie Apple Crisp

With all the work you put into the main meal, having an easy dessert recipe in your hip pocket is a must. Bonus: you can make the filling and topping separately up to several days ahead of time!

 

 

Vegan Pumpkin Caramels by Minimalist Baker

Here’s one way to spin dessert if you want to break away from the traditional pie. No added sugar, of course!

photo credit: minimalist baker

 

 

Pumpkin Pie-lets with Maple Coconut Whip

Although I was never a pumpkin pie fan (it’s a texture thing), I do love this vegan spin on a Thanksgiving staple. The pie-lets are free of added sugar and the coconut whip has only a teensy amount. These are coming at you Monday here on the blog…stay tuned!

 

loaded sweet potatoes with spicy guacamole and black bean sofrito (vegan, dairy free, soy free, gluten free)

 

It always amazes me how hard it is to find a recipe that my entire family likes. I often get close with a 5 out of 6 thumbs up, but hitting a perfect score of 6 for 6 is maddeningly elusive. So imagine my surprise when this loaded sweet potato with spicy guacamole and black bean sofrito was a clear winner.

Even with my daughter who doesn’t usually like bean dishes. Or my boys who prefer mild to spicy. Let’s pause while I celebrate with a hearty “ole.”

 

 

I love the contrasting flavors, textures and color of this dish…the sweetness with the spicy, the creaminess punctuated with a light crunchiness, the deep orange flesh of the sweet potato with the brilliant green of the avocado.

This recipe is extremely easy to pull together and is simply packed plant-powdered nutrition. Let me break it down:

  • The sweet potatoes are high in fiber and vitamins like A, B6 and C and carry a low glycemic index. And did you know you can eat their skins? You can! Just scrub them well before baking. I thought it would be weird to eat sweet potato skin at first, but I really like it!
  • The black bean sofrito boosts the protein along with the fiber in this dish. I learned the secret of yummy black bean sofrito when I was on a mission trip to Panama earlier this year…at each lunch and dinner while we were in the mountains, beans would be served (along with rice and some meat). I couldn’t get over how good the beans tasted and had to know what made them so flavorful. When I tried it after I got back home, I was extremely pleased with the results.
  • For the spicy gucamole, I wanted to do more than simply give it some heat – I wanted to sneak in some extra nutrients too which I accomplished by adding spinach. Were my kids any wiser? Nope!

 

 

If you want to make this for a weeknight but anticipate being tight on time, bake your sweet potatoes ahead of time. Although the sofrito cooks up quickly, to make things speedier, you also could make it ahead of time. You’ll want to make the spicy guacamole fresh, though, but it will take less than 10 minutes. While you’re making the guac, you can be re-heating the potatoes and sofrito.

 

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loaded sweet potatoes with spicy guac and black bean sofrito
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 

A nutrient-dense meal that's easy to pull together and a beautiful contrast in flavors, texture and color.

Course: Appetizer, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 6 people
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 per person sweet potato, scrubbed
For the black bean sofrito
  • 3 cups black beans, cooked
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dashes pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
For the spicy guacamole
  • 3 avocadoes, peeled and pitted
  • 4.5-6 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp, scant salt
  • 1/2 cup spinach, chopped fine
  • 1/3-1/2 cup jalapeno peppers, minced
  • dashes freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • dashes dried chili flakes, to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pierce each sweet potato several times with a knife then in a 375 degree F oven for about 45 minutes or until the flesh is very tender.

For the black bean sofrito:
  1. Add the onion, garlic and tomato to a pot with a little water and cook over high heat until the onion is translucent. Add more water if needed to prevent the vegetables from sticking.

  2. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and then simmer until the water is absorbed, using a potato masher to break up the beans slightly. For a creamier sofrito, add a little more water and adjust seasonings to taste.

For the spicy guac:
  1. Cut the avocado into a bowl and mash. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Make sure you save the avocado pit which can be added to any leftovers to prevent browning.

 

 

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  • My daughter and I have a mild obsession with Jeff’s Natural’s jalapeno peppers which you can find here. Jeff uses purer ingredients than the canned kind and I love them in this spicy guacamole.

 

weeknight spinach tikka masala (vegan, dairy free, gluten free, soy free)

My love for Indian food – especially south Indian – has grown over the years and my favorite go-to curry sauce is this one. It’s one of the often-requested dishes from my boys (although they like chicken to go along with it…sigh). But, my girl…she’s a tough one! So far I haven’t won her over to that recipe, so you could have knocked me over with a feather when she actually liked this one. Praise the Lord.

If you’re looking for a quick-ish fresh meal to make and one that rocks leftovers – this one is it!

 

 

The sauce is the epitome of comfort food, Indian-style, with its warming spices and rich creaminess of the coconut milk. It gets an added nutrition boost from quick-cooking red lentils, which makes them ideally suited for weeknights, and freshly chopped spinach. It can be spooned over chickpeas or quinoa for added plant-protein or served traditionally with rice (brown is best). For our meal, I served it with oven roasted broccoli and green beans since those are two family favorites, but you can easily adapt your veggie add-ons to suit your tastes. Weeknight tip: use frozen veggies to save on chopping time!!

 

 

For a quick weeknight meal, I recommend following the preparation steps outlined in the recipe. Alternatively, you could prep the sauce ahead of time and simply re-heat when ready to serve.

 

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weeknight spinach tikka masala

Warm comfort food designed for weeknights and made for leftovers.

Course: Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 people
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the tikka masala sauce
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 tsp freshly minced ginger or 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup red lentils
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
For the rest of the dish:
  • chickpeas, quinoa or rice
  • veggies of choice
Instructions
  1. If you are serving with brown rice and don't have a rice- or pressure cooker, put a pot of water on to boil (like you would for pasta) and turn on the oven to 350 degrees F. If you are serving with quinoa, rinse thoroughly and add to pot with water. For less mushy quinoa use a scant 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. For example, if you're cooking one cup of dried quinoa, add only 1 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer. Cooks in about 10 minutes.

  2. Spread your veggies on a cookie sheet and pop in the oven. Rinse lentils thoroughly and set aside.

  3. Begin to chop the veggies for the tikka masala sauce. If cooking rice, at whatever point in this process your water starts to boil, add in the rice and cook uncovered as you would pasta. Set the time for 23 minutes.

  4. Finish preparing the tikka masala sauce and add in the lentils. Bring the sauce to a boil, cover the pot, then reduce to a simmer.

  5. Chop spinach and take a peek at your veggies in the oven. When they start to brown slightly, turn the oven off. Keep them in the oven until ready to serve so they stay warm.

  6. When the timer beeps, test your rice for doneness, then either allow to cook for another minute or two or drain immediately and return to the pot.

  7. When the lentils are fully cooked (about 10-15 minutes), add in the spinach and cilantro and stir to combine.

  8. To serve, add quinoa/chickpeas/rice to a bowl along with the veggies and spoon the sauce over top.

  9. 9) Store leftovers in the fridge for up to several days or freeze for later.
Recipe Notes

Recipe Notes

  • I prefer buying my broccoli and green beans frozen to save me a step.
  • If you want leftovers, I recommend doubling the sauce recipe.

 

 

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  • I’m able to buy my broccoli organically and in bulk from BJ’s (a wholesale club). If you don’t have a wholesale club membership and want to check BJ’s out, click here to get details on a membership (if you sign up we both get $25!!). Or, if you’re not sure if a wholesale club membership is worth it, you can download an article here where I share my experience and steps in evaluating whether a membership made sense for us.
  • You should be able to find canned full-fat coconut milk in most grocery stores. I buy either the Thai Kitchen brand or Whole Foods 365 coconut milk (which is better since their cans are BPA free!). However, if you can’t find it, try here.
  • I get my red lentils in bulk from Whole Foods, but you also can find them here.
  • I love Trader Joe’s frozen french-style green beans which is what I used here.

 

 

 

the best basic burrito recipe (vegan, dairy free, oil free option, gluten free option)

I could easily eat Mexican food most days of the week. That and my favorite Indian curry. I love how effortless it feels, how easily it adapts to a plant-based diet and that leftovers go a long way.

This basic burrito recipe is one of my go-to’s and is inspired by a recipe I found on Whole Foods years ago. One of the things I hope you will love about it is that once you have the basic flavor profile down, you can easily tweak it to your preferences…a little more garlic here, less tomato there, more spice, more lime).

 

Once the basic burrito mix is assembled, here’s how I put it together…

1) Grab your favorite tortillas (gluten free if needed) and spread on a generous layer of hummus – red pepper is best. The hummus is what makes vegan burritos “survive” without the cheese. If you need to keep things oil-free, use oil-free tortillas and oil-free hummus.

 

2) Add a few slices of avocado and mash well. This also helps round out the creaminess and moisture usually provided by dairy cheese. If you can’t stand avocado, you can use just a little and mix it in well with the hummus and your taste buds won’t be any wiser. Trust me. I’ve tested this on my avocado-averse family members.

 

3) Scoop on the rice.

 

4) Then add the bean mixture.

 

5) Accessorize with jalapeno peppers and chili flakes if you like a lot of heat. #bringiton, I say!

 

6) Now you’re ready to roll it up and put it in the oven. Usually, I just secure it with a toothpick, but you can wrap it in parchment paper if you are planning this for a take-it-with-you meal.

 

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best basic burritos

Easy to prepare, customizable and leftovers that go a long way are why this is my basic burrito recipe. Fresh flavors, oven toasted tortillas and creamy plant-based sub-ins for dairy cheese come together to make this weeknight favorite.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
Basic Burrito Filling
  • 3 cups black beans, canned or cooked according to package directions
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 limes, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • dashes pepper
  • 1/4 cup veggie stock
Other ingredients
  • 1.5 cups brown rice
  • tortillas
  • red pepper hummus
  • avocado
  • jalapeno peppers (optional)
  • red chili flakes (optional)
Instructions
  1. If you don't have a rice cooker and need the rice ready in a hurry because you forgot to make it earlier (like I often do!), bring a pot of water to a boil, add the rice and cook it as you would pasta - over high heat and with the lid off. Set the timer for 23 minutes. In the meantime, you can prep your burrito filling...

  2. Add all the basic burrito filling ingredients to a mixing bowl, stir until thoroughly combined and adjust seasonings to your taste.

  3. To assemble the burritos, spread a generous helping of hummus on the tortilla and add a few pieces of avocado - give the avocado a mash. Spoon on the rice, then the bean mixture and "accessorize" with the jalapeno peppers and chili flakes if desired.

  4. Secure burritos with a toothpick or wrap in parchment paper and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes or until the tortillas are lightly browned on the edges.

Recipe Notes

These burritos keep well as leftovers and can be reheated by wrapping in tin foil and placing in a 350 degree F for about 20 minutes or until heated through. Oven re-heating may not top the microwave in speed, but it keeps your tortilla crisp like it was meant to be.

 

 

If you have family members who promise you they can’t survive without meat and will launch a revolt if you serve them only veggies, I give you permission to cook up some meat and add it to the burritos for the sake of keeping the peace.

 

 

 

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  • Though I prefer homemade tortillas, life is just too busy. So I save my sanity and buy my tortillas from Trader Joes – the chile ones are my favorite. If you need gluten-free tortillas, you can try these. For oil-free tortillas, try the Food for Life brand which can be found in most health food stores.
  • My favorite brand of store-bought hummus is Sabra. Roasted red pepper is my preferred flavor, especially for Mexican recipes (and even looks a little like cheese).
  • I prefer the unsalted veggie stock by Kitchen Basics if I don’t have my own on hand. If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, you can get it here.
  • My daughter and I have a mild obsession with Jeff’s Natural’s jalapeno peppers which you can find here. Jeff uses purer ingredients than the canned kind.

 

cabbage rolls (vegan)

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Despite the warmer weather today, I know we’re not quite in the clear yet…a few weeks of wintery weather may still be upon us. Which means there will be many days left which call for the warming dishes of comfort food.

Last week, I turned to my quarter-Polish roots to prepare a vegan twist on the traditional cabbage roll. For  the longest time, this was one dish that I never warmed up to until recently. I think it was the unusual color + size of the cabbage leaves that was a turn off.

But ever since I learned more about my great-grandparents who emigrated from Poland to Canada in the late 1920’s, my appreciation (and apparently, appetite) for this part of my heritage has grown. nanpics

Traditionally, cabbage rolls are prepared with ground pork, salt pork or ground beef combined with rice and onions. This recipe is based on the one my mother gave me, but I incorporated some coconut bacon to approximate the flavor of salt pork.

Despite the length of prep and cook time, this dish is simple to prepare.

cabbage rolls1

So, what kind of dishes have you grown to love?

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the vegan cabbage rolls recipe
CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the coconut bacon recipe

 vegan cabbage rolls

Prep Time: 90 minutes

Cook Time: 2-3 hours

Keywords: bake saute entree gluten-free nut-free soy-free vegan vegetarian whole grain cabbage rice tomato sauce lentils

Ingredients

  • 1 cabbage head, core removed
  • 1 c. brown rice (organic is best)
  • ½ c. brown lentils
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ c. coconut bacon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3-4 cups tomato sauce

For the Coconut Bacon (makes more than needed for the cabbage rolls- save the extra for other recipes!)

  • 2 cups large, flaked coconut, unsweetened
  • 3 T coconut aminos
  • 2 tsp. liquid smoke
  • ½ tsp. pure maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions

Cook rice in 1 ¾ c. water until liquid is absorbed. In a separate pot, cook lentils in 1-1 ¼ c. water until tender.

Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic in dairy free butter until tender; set aside.

To prepare cabbage leaves: place cabbage head in a large pot of boiling water. Use tongs to remove leaves one at a time as they become softened and loose (about 20-30 seconds between each leaf layer). Set aside.

When rice and lentils are cooked, combine, then mix in coconut bacon and seasonings.

Depending on the leaf size, spoon ¼-1/2 c. of rice/lentil mixture into each leaf. Fold in bottom and top and then roll closed.*

Cover the bottom of a glass baking dish with tomato sauce and place rolls seam side down into dish (you can do this as you roll each one). When all the rolls are prepared, pour remaining sauce over the rolls until they are almost completely covered.

Cover with foil and place in a 325 degree F oven and bake for 2-3 hours, turning down the temperature if needed to prevent burning. The rolls are cooked when most of the tomato sauce is absorbed.

for the Coconut Bacon

Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine. Mixing by hand can help the liquids coat the coconut.

Let the mixture stand a few minutes while oven preheats to further aid absorption.

Spread coconut onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake 7-8 minutes, remove pan from oven, stir, then return pan oven.

Bake an additional 7-8 minutes, stirring once or twice to help coconut bacon cook evenly.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Recipe Notes

Depending on the size of your cabbage leaves, you will need anywhere from 12-18 leaves for this recipe. You can use the remainder of the cabbage in other recipes.

Cabbage rolls are formed similar to burritos or spring rolls. There are online tutorials of how to roll them if you are unsure of the correct method.

Carefully monitor the level of the tomato sauce, especially as the cooking time approaches the two hour mark

For the coconut bacon, you can use tamari or soy sauce in place of coconut aminos, but you will need to adjust the salt content. I like using coconut aminos because it is free of additives often found in soy sauce and tamari and it has a lower sodium content. Vitacost.com* offers a great price per bottle.

I use Wright’s Hickory Liquid Smoke because it is one of the few liquid smoke brands that is free of sugar and other additives.

*Clicking this link gives me credit to Vitacost’s Refer-a-Friend program

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brussels sprout & “bacon” pizza (vegan)

2009-01-01 14.13.33The weather finally is whispering spring. My children actually want to play outside. I wore shoes, not boots, outside for the first time since I can’t remember when (not counting my time in the DR). Today the boys rode their bikes to school. Yet I know we’re not in the clear yet…a spring snow is still a possibility.

And here is a, perhaps unconventional, recipe; a nod to this betwixt and between time of eating winter’s comfort food while looking forward to spring’s fresh raw green. It’s a pizza featuring the warming heat of peppers and topped with raw Brussels sprouts and coconut bacon.

Considering I spent much of my life convinced I did. not. like. Brussels sprouts (I even tried convincing my mum I was allergic to them), I find it humorous that I now try to find ways to work them into a recipe. Though I still am not a fan of a cooked sprout, I do enjoy them in the raw.

If you enjoy the taste and texture of cooked Brussels sprouts, by all means roast away, but I like the contrast of warm pizza with cool greens and knowing that the heat hasn’t killed all their micro-nutrient goodness.

The coconut bacon recipe comes from a recipe pack Angela at Oh She Glows offered with a pre-buy of her cookbook*; I tweaked it slightly. brusselsproutbaconpizza

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the brussels sprout & “bacon” pizza recipe

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the coconut bacon recipe

Brussels sprout & “bacon” pizza (vegan)

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serving size: 2 adults

 

Ingredients

For the Coconut Bacon (makes more than needed for the pizza – save the extra for other recipes!)

  • 2 cups large, flaked coconut, unsweetened
  • 3 T coconut aminos
  • 2 tsp. liquid smoke
  • ½ tsp. pure maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt

For the Pizza

  • Pizza crust (here’s the one I use)
  • Hummus
  • Pizza sauce (the sauce I make for this)
  • Pine nuts (optional)
  • Sliced onion rounds
  • Sliced red peppers, organic are best
  • Sliced Greek pepperoncini
  • Brussels sprouts, roughly chopped
  • Coconut bacon (recipe follows, next page)
  • Garlic powder & dried oregano

Instructions

for the Coconut Bacon

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine. Mixing by hand can help the liquids coat the coconut.
  2. Let the mixture stand a few minutes while oven preheats to further aid absorption.
  3. Spread coconut onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake 7-8 minutes, remove pan from oven, stir, then return pan oven.
  5. Bake an additional 7-8 minutes, stirring once or twice to help coconut bacon cook evenly.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool.

for the Brussels Sprout & “Bacon” Pizza

  1. If using a homemade crust, pre-bake it for five minutes.
  2. Spread on hummus, then sauce.
  3. Sprinkle garlic powder and dried oregano, then add pine nuts if using.
  4. Add onions, peppers and pepperoncini and bake in over for about 15 minutes or until crust is lightly brown and veggies are tender.
  5. Top with raw Brussels sprouts and sprinkle on coconut bacon. Serve.

Recipe Notes

  • You can use tamari or soy sauce in place of coconut aminos, but you will need to adjust the salt content. I like using coconut aminos because it is free of additives often found in soy sauce and tamari and it has a lower sodium content. Here’s where I order it on vitacost.com.
  • I use Wright’s Hickory Liquid Smoke because it is one of the few liquid smoke brands that is free of sugar and other additives.
  • Although the bacon is soft when it first comes out of the oven, it hardens as it cools.
  • I like using red pepper hummus (especially Sabra’s Red Pepper Hummus) for the extra flavor dimension it offers, but feel free to experiment with your favorite kind. Hummus is key as it mimics the moisture and flavor cheese adds to pizza.
  • I use Jeff’s Naturals brand for my pepperoncini because it doesn’t contain the preservatives found in most brands of pepperoncini found in grocery stores. I get mine a natural foods grocery store.
  • Sprinkling on garlic powder and dried oregano helps boost flavor.
  • To judge quantity, I make my pizza in a 9-inch cake pan and use about ½ onion, one small red pepper, ½ cup of pepperoncini, 4-5 Brussels sprouts and ¼ cup coconut bacon. But feel free to adjust to your personal taste.
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skillet pot pie (gluten free option)

100_1058Every year the  Dairy Farmers of Canada release a free calendar featuring recipes starring one or more dairy products. The Milk Calendar is a fixture on my parents’ fridge. Even though they no longer eat dairy. But it’s an endearing tradition and I always look forward to flipping through it.

While I cringe at the propaganda that continually tries to convince the public that eating dairy is a good and essential thing to do (it’s not), a few of the calendar’s recipes can be adapted to suit a vegan diet. One of the recipes my mum tried years ago was the Milk Calendar’s Turkey Pot Pie. It was an instant hit in our family.

I’ve been making the same recipe for years for my own family, although I had taken out the turkey even before changing my diet. Once I eliminated dairy from diet, I further modified the recipe to incorporate plant-based milk and butter.

Traditionally, I’ve made this recipe in a casserole dish, but decided to change things up and make it in one of our cast iron skillets.

No skillet? No worries. Simply cook in a regular pot, then transfer the filling to a casserole dish and top with the crust. It’s as easy as…pie.

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CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the Skillet Pot Pie Recipe

Skillet Pot Pie

Prep Time: 30-45 minutes

Cook Time: 45-55 minutes

Keywords: bake saute entree casserole gluten-free nut-free vegan sugar-free potato carrot peas mushroom

    For the Filling

    • 2 cups diced organic potatoes*
    • 2 cups sliced carrots
    • 1 medium-small onion, minced
    • 1 large garlic clove, minced
    • 1 cup diced mushrooms
    • 1/4 red pepper, finely minced
    • 1 cup peas
    • 1 cup organic corn
    • 1 tsp tapioca flour or organic cornstarch
    • scant 1/4 cup flour of your choice, gluten free if needed*
    • 1/2 cup unsalted veggie stock
    • 1 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk*
    • 1/2-3/4 cup water
    • 1/2 tsp. thyme
    • 1/2-1 tsp salt
    • dashes of pepper and turmeric

    For the Crust

    • 1 cup flour of your choice, gluten free if needed*
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 T parsley
    • 1/2 c. of unsweetened dairy-free milk, chilled*
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/3 c. organic dairy-free butter, chilled*
    • 1/2 tsp. xantham gum if using gluten-free flour
    *see Recipe Notes for details

    Instructions

    For the Filling

    Par boil diced/chopping potatoes and carrots until just fork tender. Par boiling saved cooking time and ensures the potatoes and carrots will cook properly.

    Meanwhile, in the skillet, saute onion and garlic in a little veggie stock until onions begin to soften. Add the mushrooms and red pepper and saute until the vegetables are tender. Add more stock as needed to prevent the liquid from boiling away.

    Stir in tapioca and flour until thoroughly mixed, then pour in stock, milk and water and bring to a boil while stirring frequently to prevent the flour from sticking to the bottom of the skillet.

    Once the mixture boils, add thyme, salt, pepper and turmeric and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Cool the filling, then add potatoes, carrots, peas and corn.

    For the Crust

    Mix together the flour, baking powder, parsley and salt. Cut in chilled butter until the mixture has crumbs the size of peas. Pour in milk and gently stir to combine. Drop by the spoonful over the filling.

    To Bake

    Place skillet in an oven warmed to 375 degrees and bake 45-55 minutes or until the filling is warmed through and the crust is baked. To prevent the crust from burning, you might need to cover the skillet loosely with foil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking. Placing a large baking sheet on a rack below the skillet is recommended to catch any drips from the filling as it likes to bubble over the pan.

    Recipe Notes

    Using organic vegetables is always best, especially for the potatoes (due to pesticides) and corn (because of GMO). If using soy-based dairy substitutes, it’s best to use organic because of GMO.

    I found cooling the filling mixture before adding the potatoes, carrots, peas and corn helps the peas retain a bright green color instead of turning an unappealing grayish green.

    For the filling, I used organic brown rice flour and unsweetened organic soy milk. For the crust, I used equal parts organic brown rice flour and whole wheat pastry flour, unsweetened organic soy milk and Smart Balance organic dairy-free whipped buttery spread.

    Since the crust is unfussy (more of a biscuit, really), feel free to experiment with your favorite blend of flour. However, its best to add xantham gum if going completely gluten free.

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