Overflowing Lentil-Quinoa Soup

One of my favourite vegan books is Sarah Kramer‘s Vegan a Go-Go!: A Cookbook and Survival Manual for Vegans on the Road, an indispensable small volume I always have on my phone. Tonight on my way home I was looking for a recipe to modify in the book and decided on “Vanessa’s Lentil-Quinoa Stew”. For my version I dropped out basil and cilantro, swapped apple cider vinegar out for balsamic vinegar and added a cucumber. I doubled the original recipe to have 4 healthy servings instead of two.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups vegetable stock (I augmented mine with some marmite, miso soup paste and soy sauce.)
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, diced
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat.
  2. Sauté the onion until translucent.
  3. Add the celery, carrot and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the stock, lentils, quinoa, basil and pepper. 
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium heat and cook until lentils are tender (about 20 minutes).
  6. Stir in the tomato, cucumber and vinegar.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Halifax Seaport Market Adventures

This weekend I went to the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market for the first time in over a month. It’s not just a great spot for a vegan because of the fresh fruits and vegetables, but also has some explicitly vegan vendors, such as FruitionRawthentic Chocolate and Crowbar Real Foods (try the avocado fudge!).

Another vegan in the area, +Ashley Leslie, has shared “Vegan Halifax– A Guide“. In the piece Ashley detailed a lot of great options for vegans in this city and wrote the following about the market:

“The market offers of course fresh local produce but there are also a few vegan companies that are set up there too. Rawthetic chocolates offers raw dairy and gluten-free chocolates and almost all are vegan, The Main Squeeze is a juice bar offering healthy juices, and they also carry Crowbar Real Foods, which also has its own stand. Crowbar is a local all vegan energy bar company. You can also find them at places like Planet Organic and Pete’s. Osha Mae Soaps is an artisan soaperie who’s product line is almost entirely vegan, The Kind Cookie is an all vegan baking company that makes cookies, bars, donuts, muffins and more. Fruition is always on site, they are an all vegan and raw restaurant that makes snacks, almond milk, dips, desserts and more. Jitterbug Sodas makes real vegan sodas with fruit juice and nothing artificial.Gali’s Healthy Kitchen makes raw chocolates. She marks all vegan but most have honey so read ingredients. She is a very sweet lady and I discussed the honey issue with her. Little Red Kitsch’n offers a different menu each time, always has a vegan option.”

Check out the full article if you live in the area or plan to visit Halifax because it covers a lot of the best this city has to offer.

My meal at the market was a departure from my usual market experience. I got a veggie combo from a Caribbean food stand that was delicious.

Garlic Bread Monster Sandwich

After a long week, a monster sandwich seemed to be the perfect dinner to start the weekend.

Ingredients:

  • 1 foot-long loaf of garlic bread
  • 1/2 medium tomato
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Daiya cheddar style shreds or similar vegan cheese
  • vegan sour cream

Directions:

  1. Cut the bread lengthwise to make it sandwich-ready.
  2. Spread sour cream on the bread.
  3. Add a layer of cheese.
  4. Cut avocado into slices and layer.
  5. Top with sliced tomato.
  6. Place in an oven heated to 400 F and bake for about 7 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

Bok Choy, Kale, Mushroom and Tofu Stir-fry

Bok choy and kale are my two favourite leafy green vegetables. Tonight I felt like combining them so I tossed in some tofu and mushrooms for this stir-fry.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs coconut or olive oil
  • ~2 cups kale leaves, cut 
  • ~2 cups bok choy, cut
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 420g or 14oz tofu, cubed
  • Sriracha and dark soy sauce

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large wok.
  2. Add tofu and stir-fry until browned.
  3. Add kale and bok choy. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms and sauces. Stir-fry for an additional 3 minutes.
  5. Serve.
This recipe will serve two.

Red Lentil and Green Bean Pasta

I returned after a long day of work and a soggy walk home feeling the need for a simple, comforting meal. I had fresh green beans from my father’s garden waiting for me, so I threw together this quick meal.
Ingredients:

  • 4 cups green beans, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 200g (7oz) chow mein noodles
  • 1 1/2 cup pasta sauce (I recommend “Easy Vegan Pasta Sauce“)
  • Vegan parmesan such as Go Veggie! (optional)

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add the noodles, lentils and beans, reduce the heat to medium,
  3. Cook for about 7 minutes or until noodles are tender.
  4. Drain water, stir in pasta sauce.
  5. Serve topped with vegan parmesan.

This recipe makes enough to serve two.

Zucchini Pasta with Mushrooms and Green Peppers

I returned home today after a weekend at a family reunion with some garden-fresh zucchini, so I decided to make zucchini pasta for the first time. Here’s how it’s done.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchini, grated into long, thin slices
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cups sliced mini bella mushrooms
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup pasta sauce (try “Easy Vegan Pasta Sauce” or your favourite)
  • Vegan parmesan such as Go Veggie! (optional) 

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan or wok.
  2. Add mushrooms and peppers. Sauté until both are tender.
  3. Stir in the zucchini and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Place in bowls. Top with pasta sauce and vegan parmesan.

This recipe makes enough to serve two.

For all of September I’m taking part in Vegan Month of Food, or VeganMoFo. There are many other vegan bloggers taking part, so check out their daily writings about vegan foods.

Vegan Grilled Cheese Avocado Garlic Sandwich

Sometimes a greasy, delicious sandwich is incredibly comforting. I’ve created my ideal grilled cheese sandwich and I’ve gotta share how this is done.

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of garlic bread
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 2 slices of Daiya or similar vegan cheese slices
  • vegan margarine

Instructions:

  1. Heat a cast iron or other pan on medium heat
  2. Place cheese slices on each piece of bread, put avocado slices between and place bread in sandwich position.
  3. Spread margarine on the top slice of bread and place that side onto the pan.
  4. Spread margarine on the other side of the bread.
  5. Flip once the first side is browned.
  6. Remove from pan once second side is browned.
  7. Enjoy! 
If you don’t have access to vegan garlic bread, make some vegan garlic butter to put on the inside of your sandwich.

Sport Fix Soap

Soap is not normally something I become enthusiastic about; if I feel clean after using it, that’s usually enough for me. But I found a soap I like better than any other I’ve tried.

Raw Materials’ Sport Fix Soap is nice and simple. It’s mostly scentless and provides a very satisfying clean. The black lather is very striking but rinses off easily. It’s neither harsh nor wimpy; it just leaves my body clean.

Raw Materials as a company is also cruelty-free, which is very important to me as a vegan.

ANIMAL FRIENDLY
We love animals, we love our planet, and we promote earth-friendly practices. We never test on any animals and we never use animal derived ingredients.

Dirt Candy

Comics and food are two of my favourite things, and Dirt Candy: A Cookbook: Flavor-Forward Food from the Upstart New York City Vegetarian Restaurant blends the two in an exciting way. It’s part autobiography of a restaurant owner and chef, part learning resource for kitchen skills, part history book and part cookbook. It’s entirely rewarding.

Dirt Candy includes explanations of complex cooking terminology and clearly explains, through comics, how to do many of the steps called for in advanced recipes. There are cooking methods explained within that I hadn’t attempted in part because of intimidation, but after reading I feel I have a good grasp of concepts such as blanching and shocking foods. The comics format is perfect for this kind of instructional material.

The book is full of great surprises, such as a section on why hiring illegal immigrants is valuable to everyone involved. It included the heartbreaking story of a family who had immigrated illegally. The book is about food broadly; it covers a lot of what it takes to operate a restaurant, food history, how meals are priced and reveals some of the challenges faced before the doors opened.

I usually gravitate to simple recipes and there are not many of those in this book. It has actually been nice to explore some food ideas outside my normal comfort zone. The dishes tend to be complex and have suggestions for presentation; the cookbook is decidedly coming from restaurant culture, and that has been an interesting shift to make when working with them. The recipes are vegetarian but usually have suggested modifications for making them vegan, which I appreciated.

Dirt Candy is packed with content and the comic format makes it very easy to digest. It has joined the ranks of both my favourite cookbooks and my favourite comics.

The Dirt Candy cookbook is 224 pages of pure comic book madness: the entire Dirt Candy experience wrapped up between two covers. Part graphic novel, part cookbook, it’s written by the chef and owner of Dirt Candy, Amanda Cohen, drawn by Ryan Dunlavey, the award-winning comic book criminal behind Action Philosophers, and ably assisted by the writer Grady Hendrix (who is also Amanda’s husband). This book answers all your burning questions.

Why is your salad $14? What are the tawdry, over-sexed roots of vegetarian food? How hard is it to open a restaurant? What’s the secret to cooking awesome vegetables? Does Martha Stewart like Dirt Candy? Who is the panda? What is the monkey? How do you make deep fried cheese curds? Why is corn not on the menu? Is cooking magic? What are the three myths of vegetables? All of these questions and more, plus dozens of recipes (both vegan and non-), can be found between the covers of the Dirt Candy cookbook.

Dirt Candy can be ordered in paper and ebook formats. All Things Considered did a feature on the book, “‘Dirt Candy’: A Visual Veggie Cookbook With A Memoir Mixed In” that included a sample recipe, “Roasted Cauliflower With White Wine Pappardelle And Pine Nut Parmesan”.