Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lentil Walnut Paté

Lentil-walnut paté

1 cup green lentils.
Boil until soft (approx. 20 minutes) then rinse and drain.
In food processor:
1 cup raw walnuts
Cooked, rinsed and drained lentils
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise (Earth Island Veganaise, organic)

Purée 30 seconds for a smooth spread.
Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until serving as a spread on bread, or a tortilla with greens or sprouts or on crackers as a nibbler.

This is a recipe that freezes well. I like to store it in 1 cup mason jars and pull them out when needed. It is a great thing to bring to a shared supper when you are invited out.

We make spreads up ahead (hummus, paté, etc) and keep them in the freezer. They are fast and easy when we need them.


Tacos are a favourite in our house.

Start with 1/2 cup green lentils and 2 cups water.
Boil 20 minutes until soft.
Rinse and drain.

Add 2 Tbsp water and 1 T Tex Mex spice or taco seasoning.
Simmer until just barely dry.

 We use 6 inch tortillas but you can use a 12 inch if you want a bigger portion. The bigger ones are easier to wrap.

Put the cooked and spiced lentils on the tortilla.
We use only 2 tbsp on each.
Top with any other toppings your family likes.
We like to put all the toppings on a plate so people can add as much of what the like to it. Sometimes it is easier to wrap the whole tortilla in tin foil or a napkin to hold it together.

For this meal we added salsa, kale, tomato, onion, avocado, peppers, and grated vegan cheese. 

Here is the finished product ready to roll and eat.
You also have the option of grilling them after they are wrapped up. 


We love pizza in our house. If we have company we make a couple, or a few and serve them as "nibbles". They are great the next day for lunch.

These are on a serving plate ready to be eaten as "nibbles"

For the pizzas pictures we bought ready made crusts but usually we make our own crust from the easy bread recipe. This is another nice reason to keep bread dough in the fridge.

Toppings on one:
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup fresh pineapple
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup grated vegan cheese
These are ready to go into the oven.
Toppings on the other:
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small tomato sliced thin
1/3 cup olives sliced in half
1/3 cup grated vegan cheese

If you use a ready made crest you do not need to cook it just heat it through in the middle of the oven at 350 F for 20 minutes in the middle of the oven.

If you use a crust from dough you need 20-30 minutes (depending how thick it is) cooked on the bottom rack.

Winter salad with Asian dressing

This salad  improves if it sits for a few hours.

2 large leaves of curly kale, washed, stems removed, cut into small bite size pieces.
1/4 cup red onion, sliced very thin then chopped
2 cups broccoli chopped into bite size pieces (save the stalks for soup)
1 large pepper, diced (any colour)
1 cup red cabbage, sliced fine

Toss the salad ingredients together

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup sesame oil
4 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2 tsp agave (or other sweetener)

Mix dressing ingredients together.

Toss the salad and the dressing together.

This can be made a day ahead and will be good.
If we have left over we stir fry it and serve it over rice, potato or pasta.

Cream of Mushroom Soup for two


1/2 pound Portobello mushrooms, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp Greek seasoning
2 c unflavoured soy milk
2 cups vegetable broth (we made it with boullion cubes and boiling water)

Sauté mushrooms in oil on low heat.
Add flour and thyme.
Sauté 3 minutes.
Add soy milk and vegetable broth.

Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly.
Add salt and pepper to taste. (we did not add any)

We like Portobello mushrooms for their rich flavour. These I bought for $3.99/pound. ($2.00 for 1/2 pound)
Soy beverage was on sale with a coupon but is usually $3.49/1.89L so 2 cups cost $.92
One boullion cube is $.25

So a nice rich mushroom soup for 2 cost us $3.17 plus the cost of oil, flour and spice that is in our pantry.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sushi (Maki) Rolls

Maki (Sushi Rolls) are easy to make and fun to serve. 

1 cup sticky rice 
2 cups water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp white sugar
Nori (seaweed sheets)
1 Avocado, peeled then sliced
1 carrot, cut into tiny matchstick pieces with a knife, food processor or Mandolin slicer.
Bamboo rolling mat
Soy sauce (we like low sodium)
Wasabi (optional-this is very hot Japanese horseradish paste)

To Make:
Bring rice and water to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
Stir rice vinegar and sugar together.
Wet fingers to prevent the rice from sticking and add 1/5 of the rice mixture to the bottom half of each nori sheet. Place a row of avocado and carrots long the bottom then use bamboo mat to roll the nori until one 
inch from far edge.


Wet the final inch with water (a wet finger) to make it stick.

When the rolls are made they can be refrigerated until within one hour of serving. Use a very sharp knife (we use a fish knife) to cut each roll into one inch pieces. These can be eaten just like this or dipped in soy sauce or wasabi. 

In this photo they were being packed up to take to a buffet lunch.

Faster than fast food Baked Beans

There are lots of plant based substitutes for old favourites. We keep vegan hot dogs and sausages in the freezer in case children come and need to be fed something familiar.

On a cold day this meal can be made in 10 minutes from door to table.

One can of baked beans packed in tomato sauce 
Two vegan hot dogs, chopped
Two red peppers chopped

To Make:
We put the chopped hot dog and red pepper in a pan with 1/4 cup of water and brought it to a boil. 

We then added the can of baked beans and simmered until the water was boiled off.
That's it! Straight to the table.

Spiced Potatoes

Every Sunday morning we have these potatoes. They are very popular and any left over get taken to work for lunch. Potatoes are another thing that is easy to get at the local Farmers' Market.

10 medium potatoes, boiled and drained.
2 Tbsp oil (canola or olive)
1 Tbsp Tex Mex Spice (we use Club House Brand)

To Make:
Boil and drain the potatoes. Remove any eyes or damaged spots.
With the peels left on cut them into one inch cubes.
Toss the potatoes with the oil.

Add the Tex Mex Spice and mix in.
Place in one layer on a baking pan and bake for 30 minutes at 350F.

Parmesan Cheese Substitute

B12 is something that is not naturally available in a plant based diet. It is produced by bacteria in the large intestines. The good news is we have water treated to prevent outbreaks of disease. The other good news is it is easy to find ways to add it to the diet through supplements. Some brands of Nutritional yeast are fortified with B12. Locally we have found it at the Urban Marketplace, The Water Bug and Superstore. We use two brands, Artisan and Purely Bulk. Both companies have been contacted and state they are fortified.

4 cups walnuts
2 cups nutritional yeast

Pulse in a food processor until they are a crumbly texture.
Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to six months.
In the photo the large jar is stored in the freezer and the small glass jar is stored in the refrigerator ready to be sprinkled on pasta dishes.

We sprinkle this over pasta dishes and salads.

Easy Whole Wheat Bread

This is a great time of year to make bread. This is a recipe we make up once a week and have fresh bread for approximately 50 cents a loaf. 

7 c ww flour
1/4 c vital wheat gluten
1 T salt
1 1/2 T yeast
Mix the dry ingredients together 
4 c warm water 100F
Stir the water in until all the flour mixture is wet.
Cover and sit on the counter for 2 hours.

Put in the fridge overnight and for up to two weeks.

We did not want to buy ANOTHER plastic item to store it in so we used the liner from our 6 litre slow cooker. Most of the time the slow cooker is not in use and if we need to use it we can transfer the dough to a metal bowl. 

To Make:
Lightly oil a baking pan.
Pull out dough the size of an orange. 

Immediately after mixing.

After 2 hours at room temperature.

Ready to be refrigerated.

A ball the size of an orange.

Fresh out of the oven.

Roll the dough out flat with a rolling pin and roll it into a log shape and set down to rise on the baking pan. We use a ceramic covered cookie pan.
Brush the top of the loaf with water
Let it rise for two hours. (less if the room is warm)
Turn on oven to 350 degrees F.
Place in oven in middle rack.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes.
Place on cooling rack.
Serve immediately with soup or leave it on the table on a cutting board. It will be eaten in no time!

Except for the tiny bit of oil used to grease the pan this is a fat free recipe.

Turnip Delight

Nine squash and a turnip cost $10.50 at our local Farmer's Market.

1 large turnip
2 Tbsp minced garlic
28 oz canned pears in light syrup, drained
1 tsp olive oil
pepper to taste (we used 2 tsp ground black pepper)

To make:
In a large pot sauté the garlic in the oil on low heat for 3 minutes.
Peel and slice the turnip.

Add 4 cups of water and the turnip to the pot and boil until the turnip is soft.
When the turnip is soft enough to mash drain off the water and add the pears.
Mash the pears and turnip with a potato masher.
Taste and add pepper if desired. We added 2 tsp.
Transfer to a baking dish.
Heat in oven at 350 F for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and serve hot.
Everyone loved it including our not vegan guests.

We love John Pinette although we don't agree with his stand on turnips!

Grandma's Whole Wheat Drop Biscuits

These biscuits are fast, cheap and easy.

2 cups whole wheat flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup soy beverage (we used vanilla
flavour because that is what we
had on hand)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl stir the flour and the baking powder.
In a measuring cup mix the soy beverage with the oil.
Mix pour the soy beverage mixture into the flour mixture.
Drop the mixture into greased muffin tins or an oiled cookie sheet.
Bake in oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Spoon them onto pan or muffin tins.

12 on a pan ready to go into the oven.

Ready to eat.

Grandma says "These are super simple and fairly firm. I freeze some as they dry out and become hard quickly. They go well with our home made soups and/or peanut butter.

Squash Apple Soup

It is great to use local food. The farmer's market is still open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Squash and apples are easy to get in the winter.

3 pounds of apples (approximately 8)
5 cups chopped small squash (hubbard, acorn, butternut or whatever you have)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
4 cups vanilla soy beverage

To Make:
Cut the apples in half and remove the cores.
Cut into 1 inch chunks.
Add two cups of vegetable broth to a large pot.
Add the cut apples and cook until soft. Approximately 30 minutes.
Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.
Place in the oven on a pan and pour in 1 cup of water.
Bake at 350 degrees F until the squash are soft when poked with a for. Approximately one hour.
Remove and drain the water.
When cool enough to handle, scoop out the cooked squash with a spoon and add to the cooked apples.
Add 4 cups of soy beverage.
With immersion blender purée until all the chunks  and apple peels are liquid.
Heat through and serve hot. 

If you are not going to serve it right away make it up without the soy beverage and refrigerate or freeze. When you are ready to serve it, heat it up and add the soy when you are ready to serve it.
If you prefer not to use soy, you can use apple juice for a thinner soup.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Plant Based Diet

18% of carbon emissions are from animal agriculture. Every time we have a meal that is made up of plant foods instead of animal foods we help a little bit. The challenge is to come up with recipes that are attainable to regular busy people. Like all skills, the more we practice the easier it gets.

People who eat only plant based foods are called "Vegan". They usually avoid all animal products in their diet including  meat, fish, dairy (including rennet and whey), poultry, and eggs. They also may avoid products that include silk, leather, fur, wool, honey, beeswax, and any other products made with animal products.

In our experience there are four things that cause people to become vegans.
Concern about the environment.
Concern about third world poverty.
Concern about animal welfare and suffering.
Concern about personal health and wellness.

Perfection is not an attainable goal. Do what you can do today and tomorrow is a new day. Even if we decide to have one additional plant based meal each week it is a contribution to the world.