Vegan Cabbage Roll Casserole

TGIF!?

I had never made cabbage rolls, as an adventurous cook as I am. My mom makes delicious cabbage rolls but I’m never really sure how anyone finds the time to make them? Maybe setting aside an entire day. Anyways, the prep for this recipe can be made done in less than an hour. This meal is hearty and filling and great for cool winter nights. This is my take on the classic cabbage roll.

Serving Size: 6-8

Total time: 1 hour and 30 minutes 

Ingredients 

“Meat” Filling

  • 2 cups of cooked lentils (canned or make your own)
  • 1 medium onion, diced finely
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 large parsnip shredded
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 tbsp of Montreal steak spice
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 1/2 cup of water

Sauce/Cabbage

  • 8 cups of chopped cabbage
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of Dill (dried or fresh)
  • 3 tbsp of parsley (dried or fresh)
  • 2 1/2 cups of cooked rice (white or brown)
  • 1 tbsp of oil

Instructions 

  1. Heat a large skillet to medium heat, add 2 tbsp of olive oil, add onions (cook for 5 minutes) until translucent, add garlic, carrots, and parsnip (cook for about 5 minutes) until garlic is fragrant, finally add the lentils and steak spice, cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently so things do not burn to the bottom.
  2. Once the meat mixture is cooked, allow half to cool slightly- 10 minutes, mix in 1/2 cup of ice water, add to blender, blend until smooth, re-add to the lentil pan, simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. To the lentils add the tomato soup, 1 cup of tomato sauce, can of tomatoes and spices, stir until combined and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. While the lentils are simmering, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add oil and cabbage, cook until cabbage is tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
  6. Mix the rice in with the lentil mixture.
  7. Grab a large casserole dish and layer the casserole like so, 1/2 the cabbage mixture, 1/2 meat mixture, rest of the cabbage and top with the rest of the meat. Stir until all combined nicely, flatten the top and add 1 cup of tomato sauce.
  8. Either place in the fridge until dinner time (if so cook at 350 F for 45 minutes uncovered) or cook at 350 F for 30 minutes until bubbly!

Note: If not vegan add parmesan

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Roasted Carrot & Squash Soup

Happy…November?!

Where has the year gone?! I cannot believe that we less than two months away from 2018. I don’t make new years resolutions because I believe that anytime is a good time to improve your life. November has been the month I have begun to become more health conscious, mentally and physically. I have been sleeping more, exercising at least 3 times a week and leaving time for breaks and socializing. November is when most students experience the “burnout”, I have to admit, I do feel it too. Taking control of my wellbeing will help me finish off the semester with ease and hopefully get better grades than expected. Eating healthy is another great way to nourish your body and soul, so here is a delicious and SO easy, seasonal recipe…roasted carrot and squash soup. This recipe is so versatile you can basically through any veggies in that taste good together…here is my rendition of the classic squash soup, veganized!

Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Total serving: 6 -8people

  • please note this recipe can be made for two as it is hard to find small squashes if you can find one cut the recipe in half if you plan to freeze the soup, wait until it cools and defrost in the fridge overnight!

Ingredients 

  • 1 large squash of your choice, chopped into chunks (no need to peel) and seeds removed (pumpkin can also be used)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped into 1/4’s
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into coins
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped into coins
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp of each curry powder, turmeric, oregano and basil
  • 2 tbsp of both cinnamon and sage
  • 4 tbsp of oil
  • 2 cups of water
  • 4-8 cups of low sodium vegetable broth (depending on how thick you like your soup)
  • 2 cups of coconut milk

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Chop all vegetables, place into a large bowl, add olive oil and stir until all coated, add spices stir until all coated. Note: do not worry about peeling your tough squash, the skin falls off once roasted.
  3. Add the vegetables all into a large roasting pan (adding them into the same pan allows the flavors to blend), be sure to add the squash first, the order of the other vegetables does not matter.
  4. Once over is preheated roast vegetables for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, stir, add 2 cups of water to the roasting pan, be careful at first as it may splatter! Cook for another 20-30 minutes once vegetables are soft and a fork can easily pierce through.
  5. Once soft remove vegetables from oven, allow them to cool uncovered for 15 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, remove squash skin and discard.
  6. If you have an immersion blender, transfer into a large pot, start with 2 cups of broth and blend, add broth to achieve the thickness you desire, Add coconut milk in last.
  7. If you have a regular blender, transfer the roasted vegetables and their liquid into the blender, blend in-stages using enough liquid to allow it to blend. Ensure to allow the steam to remove as the build-up can cause an explosion and burn you. I cover mine with a towel, with the top vent open, holding the towel with an oven mitt just to be safe you can get very badly burned by the steam and/or the hot liquid (I’ve experienced it first hand)
  8. Simmer soup until bubbly (10 minutes) serve with a fresh bread, salt, and pepper to taste and parmesan/sour cream if not vegan.

30 days of being vegan

Hello all,

My eyes have been opened to the world of hurt the dairy industry actually is. I was always turning a blind eye to the torture female dairy cows go through. Yesterday I listened to motivational speaker James Asprey, my eyes have been opened. I have watched so many documentaries but never wanted to believe that eating dairy and eggs were really that bad. I am horrified by the practices that take place in the dairy/egg industry and have decided to commit to 30 days of being vegan. I will try to post what I eat every day (with recipes!) and decide if this is the lifestyle for me. I have always hoped to say that I am 100% plant-based, and now is the time to try it out. Stay tuned folks!

Double Chocolate Vegan Brownies

Good evening friends,

These brownies are perfect for non-vegans and vegans alike! I think they are the best brownie recipe I have ever made. They are super easy and can be made with everyday ingredients!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of mashed avocado (about 1 small avocado)
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup of white or whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees F). Grease an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pureed avocado and applesauce until smooth. Add in the flour, cocoa powder, maple syrup, baking soda, salt, coffee, and water.
  3. Stir until smooth. Fold in 1 cup of the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan and spread the batter evenly throughout the pan. Sprinkle with an additional 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. If you over-bake, the brownies will have a cake-like texture.
  5. Remove and let the brownies sit out for at least 20 minutes before serving. Cut and serve, or cover and store for up to 3 days.

Cauliflower Wings

Ola everybody!

My dad bought a lovely cauliflower yesterday and I just had to enjoy it while it was still nice and fresh! I was debating roasting it, steaming it, stir frying it, but then it hit me! I decided to make cauliflower wings! I decided to do a vegan version with “honey” garlic sauce, they can easily be made non-vegan, it’s your choice!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 large head of cauliflower

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup or agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp of sriracha
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp of soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp of flour (gluten free can be substituted)

Breading

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of vegan milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs, I like panko

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut cauliflower into large chunks, try to keep it into its own pieces, clean, and dry very thoroughly.
  3. Mix all of the ingredients together (except flour) in a bowl for the sauce, place in a saucepan and simmer.
  4. Mix all of the ingredients together for the breading (except the breadcrumbs), start with 1/4 cup of vegan milk and 1/4 cup of water to ensure the batter is not too runny.
  5. Dip the cauliflower in the breading, then into the panko breadcrumbs, place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, flip and 15 minutes more.
  6. Once the wings have about 2 minutes left, add the flour to the sauce and allow it to simmer.
  7. Coat the wings in the sauce once cooked and enjoy!

Twice Baked Potatoes

Good evening everyone!

The thunderstorms on my end of town have been crazy, the weather has been up and down. Hot in the morning, the storm rolls in and the temperature drops 10 degrees. My family scored a huge bunch of fresh chives from the farmers market this week and it inspired me to make these twice baked potatoes.

Ingredients (serves five)

  • 1/2 cup of chives
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp of sour cream
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • five large sized potatoes

Instructions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F, pierce the potatoes with a fork and rub the potatoes with oil, bake for 45 minutes.
  2. Once the potatoes are cooked through, cut a slit through the center of the potatoes, scoop out the flesh of the potatoes and add to the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Mix the potato mixture and add bake into the flesh back into the shells.
  4. Bake the potatoes for 15 more minutes and enjoy!

 

Mexican Millet Salad with Chili Lime Tofu

Hello all, I tried this recipe yesterday on my family and it was such a hit I had to share it with all of you! Great for a BBQ as a side or a lunch for work. The tofu can be substituted for shrimp or chicken.

Millet salad with chili lime tofu (serves four)

  • ½ tsp of dried chile flakes
  • 2 tsp of grated lime zest
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 cup of hulled millet
  • 20 slices of tofu
  • 2 large ears of sweet corn
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 firm ripe avocado, peeled pit removed and diced
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

Dressing

  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Chile flakes
  • ½ tsp of sugar
  1. Add the chile flakes, lime zest and 1 tbsp of olive oil in a shallow glass or ceramic bowl, add the tofu and stir to coat then cover and set aside.
  2. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the millet and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until fragrant
  3. Add 2 cups of water to the millet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Removed from the heat and set aside, covered, to steam for 10 minutes. Fluff the grains with a fork and transfer to a large bowl to cool completely.
  4. Heat a large skillet over high heat, drizzle the corn and asparagus with the remaining oil, cook the corn, turning 6-8 minutes, or until lightly charred and tender. Remove and set aside to cool slightly, then cut the kernels from the ears. Cook the asparagus and tofu for 2 minutes each side until tender crisp and to tofu is crisp. Add all but the tofu to the millet.
  5. Make the dressing, add to the salad and top with the tofu.

Vegetarian Italian Meatballs Recipe

Hello, folks! Happy long weekend to all of those celebrating, for the long weekend a family gets together with a delicious dinner is always on schedule, and for this dinner, an abundance of meatball subs and vegan peanut butter pie was enjoyed!

This recipe is super easy and can be doubled which will allow you to freeze the meatballs for later to have with pasta! Vegetarian meatballs can get expensive so making your own is a great way to save money and to be honest, these are better than any store bought vegetarian meatball!

Ingredients (serves 8-10) 

2 lbs of vegetarian ground beef substitute (I use Yves original ground round), 2 eggs, 2/3 cup of Italian breadcrumbs (I use panko breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning), 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup of fresh minced parsley, 1/3 of cooked chopped spinach, 1/3 cup of minced onions, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tsp of Italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp of pepper, 1/2 tsp of salt

Note: You need just enough milk to moisten the breadcrumbs, moistening the bread crumbs with milk allows the meatballs to stay moist

Instructions 

  1. Moisten the breadcrumbs with the milk
  2. Whisk the eggs and mix with the ground round, add all the other ingredients, I noticed that the recipe was quite salty if you are sensitive to salt like me, omit the tsp of salt, mix well so all of the ingredients are well incorporated
  3. Shape all of the meat balls into the size of your choice, for pasta, larger meatballs are better, for subs smaller meatballs are preferred
  4. Bake the meatballs on a cookie sheet at 350 for 25 minutes
  5. While the meatballs are cooking prepare a large baking pan 9×13 with sauce at the bottom, once the meatballs are done cooking, place in the sauced pan, add a very small amount of sauce on top of each meatball
  6. Baked covered for 20 minutes, bake uncovered for 10 minutes, and enjoy

Note: If you plan on freezing the meatballs omit steps 5 and 6, this leaves the meatballs par-baked, bake for another 30 minutes at 350 from frozen

Super Easy Veggie Stir Fry

It’s Monday?! That’s how I feel every week because I’m lucky enough to work weekends. Today was such a gorgeous day and I spent it inside at work, that’s when I decided to make this veggie stir fry so I could enjoy the beautiful gifts of the Earth inside! I love to make this with rice or noodles, but my favourite is quinoa! Did you know quinoa has 10g of protein for just a 50g (1/4 cup) serving size, this is a great alternative to animal products (chicken 12.5g/50g, beef 18g/50g, pork 15g/50g) and is filled with vitamins and minerals so you can enjoy your meatless Monday without sacrificing nutrition!

Another reason why I love this recipe is that you can use really any set of vegetables you have in your fridge and are not limited to what is listed below, when in season I also love to use zucchini, eggplant, and cauliflower!

Ingredients (serving size: 6 people)

1 bell pepper chopped, 1 onion diced, 2 cups of sliced mushrooms, 1 cup of sliced cabbage, 1 cup of chopped carrots, 2 cups of chopped broccoli, 1 cup of snap peas, 2 cups of fresh spinach, 2 cups of a grain of your choice (quinoa, rice, noodles, etc.), 1 tbsp of oil

Sweet Garlic Sauce: 1/2 soy sauce, 2 cloves of mined garlic, 1 tbsp of minced ginger, 1 tbsp of honey (maple syrup if vegan)

Note: This recipe can be made with or without an added protein, I like to enjoy it with stirfried tofu, for non vegans/vegetarians chicken, fish, beef, etc. would all go well with this vibrant dish

Steps 

  1. Prepare all vegetables as stated above, heat a large skillet on medium heat and add oil, at the same time, prepare grain of your choice to package specifications
  2. Add onions to pan, cook for 5 minutes until translucent, add mushrooms, cook for another 5 minutes, add all the other vegetables except the spinach and cook for 10 minutes, until vegetables soften and brown slightly
  3. While vegetables are cooking add soy sauce and honey/maple syrup to a small sauce pan, bring to a gentle boil stirring often, add garlic and ginger, simmer for 10 minutes, taste sauce adjust sweetness by adding more honey/maple syrup
  4. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the spinach, cook for 2 minutes until wilted, add the desired amount of prepared sauce ontop of the vegetables, simmer the vegetables in the sauce for two minutes
  5. If desired add grain to the vegetable mixture, serve ontop of the grain, or serve along side the grain

Note: Omit step 3 if you are using your own store bought sauce, if this sauce does not appeal to you, plain soy sauce works great as well.

 

 

Vegetarian Shepard’s Pie Recipe

Good evening friends,

It seems like where I am from April showers has continued into May, the past week has been all doom and gloom with upwards of 50 mm of rain each day! Damp, cool days make me want my comfort food, if I had to choose my very last meal, this would be it. This recipe will fill you up and warm your belly on a cool day.

Ingredients (serving size: 5 people)

5 medium potatoes of your choice (I like russet/white/yellow, sweet potatoes would be good too), 1/2 cup of corn, 1/2 cup of peas, 1/2 cup of carrots (diced), 1 diced onion, 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 package of instant vegetarian/vegan gravy (you could make your own, but this is just too easy!), 1 package of Yves groundround, 1 tsp of steak spice, 1 tsp of onion powder, 1 tsp of turmeric, 1 tsp of yellow curry powder, 2 tbsp of butter (or vegan substitute), 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1/4 cup of milk of your choice

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Note: I often used canned/frozen peas/corn/carrots as it is much faster then preparing them fresh, this recipe’s instructions are designed to use frozen/canned vegetables, if you are using FRESH vegetables, please see the final note within the steps.

Steps 

Prep-time: 30 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Celcius
  2. Wash and chop the potatoes into 3×3 cm cubes, leave the skin on! Place in a large pot cover with water and bring to a boil, cook until a fork can easily be pierced through
  3. In a large pan, bring to medium heat, add oil, spices, and diced onion, cook until onions are translucent and slightly brown about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the groundround to the pan, cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until slightly browned and heated through.
  4. While the groundround is cooking begin making the gravy, my personal favourite is the Swiss Chalet Homestyle gravy, cook according to the package, OR use your favourite gravy recipe.
  5. Once the potatoes are cooked through drain the pot leaving about 1/4 cup of water, begin mashing them, add the butter of your choice, if the mixture still seems too dry add 1/4 cup of milk of your choice. To make creamier, add 1 tbsp of sour cream and 1 tbsp of cream cheese if desired.
  6. Once the groundround is cooked add the vegetables, turn heat to low and cook for 5 minutes
  7. Once groundround and vegetable mixture is ready, potatoes are mashed, and gravy is prepared, begin assembling the meal.
  8. In a 9×13 pan first add the groundround and vegetable mixture, next pour the gravy over top and mix, finally add the mashed potatoes
  9. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, before removing from oven gravy should be boiling, if it is not leave in for another 15 minutes
  10. Remove from oven let sit for 5 minutes and enjoy.

Note: If you are using fresh vegetables, within step two, after the onions have cooked for about 5 minutes, add the fresh vegetables and cook for 5 more minutes, once the 10 minutes of cooking of vegetables is up, proceed through the recipe omitting step 6.