Category Archives: Vegan

Candy Bars!

I’m a sucker for anything that’s salty and sweet, and if you add chocolate to the mix it’s the best snack ever.   What I like best about these candy bars is that they use all real, healthy ingredients and are very straightforward to throw together. You do have to plan ahead a bit though and let the cashew, date, shredded coconut, maple syrup and peanut butter filling set for a few hours.  I skipped this step one time and they were messier and more crumbly than when you let them chill.

The recipe calls for almond butter, but since I didn’t have any I substituted natural peanut butter and I have zero complaints about how these turned out.  Coconut flour and coconut oil are also in the original recipe but again I substituted (a bit less) regular flour and peanut oil.  I’m sure there are many variations you could try and come up with an above average snack each time!

Candy Bar ingredients

Candy Bar ingredients

Start by blending the cashews (or whatever other nut you want to use) until they’re a fine meal.  Then throw in everything else (except the chocolate chips) and blend until a sticky dough ball forms.

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Spread the mixture into a parchment paper lined dish.  The parchment will make it much easier to free these treats from the dish later on, and you’re going to want fast, easy access.

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Set up a double boiler and melt the chocolate chips and oil, then spread the melted mixture on top of the cooled nut mixture.

I actually felt that this amount of chocolate while delicious, could be overpoweringly sweet at times.  Next time I think I’ll cut it in half and just get a hint of sweetness.  Gotta find that flavour balance!

Candy Bars!

Candy Bars!

Candy Bars Recipe

1 1/2 cups salted cashews
1 1/2 cups dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup almond or peanut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (or 3/4 cups if you want just a hint of sweetness)
1 1/2 tablespoons oil (coconut, peanut, canola, etc.)

  1. Grind the cashews to a very fine meal in a food processor.  Add the dates, peanut (or almond) butter, maple syrup, flour, shredded coconut, almond extract and pulse until you have a sticky ball of dough.
  2. Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper and press the cashew mixture out onto the paper, making a rectangle 1 inch deep.  Refrigerate mixture for a few hours until it’s firm.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the chocolate chips and oil in a stainless steel or glass bowl set over a pot of boiling water (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl).  Stir the mixture until it’s just melted, remove the bowl from the heat, and pour the chocolate mixture over the cold cashew mix.  Return the bar to the fridge and let it cool until the chocolate coating is set, at least 1 hour.
  4. Using the parchment, lift the bar out of the sheet pan and cut it into rectangles.  Serve at once or store in an airtight container

From:  It’s All Good

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Filed under Dessert, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian

Blueberry Popsicles

These popsicles could not be easier to make and are the perfect treat to pull out of the freezer on a summer afternoon, or for a healthy dessert one night. .  There are only 3 ingredients:  fresh or frozen blueberries, coconut milk and maple syrup.  Just blend everything together (I used my immersion blender – the food processor would have worked as well, but the the clean up is waaay easier), pour into popsicle molds, freeze for a few hours, and voila!  Very little work for a very high flavour return.

Blueberry Popsicle Ingredients

Blueberry Popsicle Ingredients

I also used a pitcher to hold all the ingredients instead of a bowl, since the spout factor was very convenient for pouring the mixture into the molds.

Blueberry Popsicle Molds

The only popsicle molds available at my local kitchen store are designed to make rocket pops – remember those?  I figured they would work just fine, but didn’t really consider it would be nearly impossible to get a non-phallic shot of the finished product…This is the next best thing!

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Blueberry Popsicles

Blueberry Popsicle Recipe

2 cups blueberries, frozen or fresh
1/2 – 3/4 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp maple syrup

Blend all the ingredients with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth.  Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 4-5 hours before eating.

From: It’s All Good

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Frozen Banana Ice Cream

Often when my brother Robb and I get together, kitchen shenanigans ensue.  On this particular occasion we made a giant batch of almond milk (more on that later) and were looking for ways to use it.  We decided to try Gwyneth Paltrow’s frozen banana “ice cream” and were not disappointed.  It’s only a handful of ingredients, and doesn’t require any fancy machinery, like an ice cream maker.  A food processor works just fine! Needless to say,  this turned out to be a very refreshing (and healthy) summer treat.

We started by slicing bananas and putting them in the freezer.

Frozen Banana Slices

Frozen Banana Slices

Throw the frozen bananas in a food processor with some almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla.

Frozen banana mix

Frozen banana mix

Pulse a few times until the mixture is just blended. mmmmmmmmm.

Frozen Banana Ice Cream

Frozen Banana Ice Cream

Mix some toasted, chopped pecans (or almonds, or whatever nut you have on hand) with maple syrup, a pinch of kosher salt and drizzle over top of the ice cream.  Downright delightful.

My only complaint is that it melts quickly and therefore makes it tough to get a decent photo, but that’s not really a huuuuuuge problem.

Frozen Banana Ice CreamFrozen Banana Ice Cream

Frozen Banana Ice Cream Recipe

4 Ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1/4 cup finely chopped roasted almonds or pecans
2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
Pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1.  Freeze the banana slices in a single layer on a tray or plate lined with wax or parchment paper.  Once the slices are frozen, use them immediately or keep frozen in a zip-top plastic bag or airtight container for up to a month.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the nuts with 2 teaspoons of the maple syrup and a pinch of salt and set the mixture aside.
  3. Combine the frozen banana slices, the almond milk, the remaining 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and the vanilla in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is the texture of soft serve ice cream, scraping down the sides as necessary.  Don’t worry if the mixture is not totally smooth at first – once the bananas start to break down and defrost in the food processor, they’ll give in and the “ice cream” will take shape quickly.
  4. Spoon the banana ice cream into bowls immediately and sprinkle each serving with a bit of the almond mixture.

From:  It’s All Good

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Roasted Cauliflower and Chickepeas with Mustard and Parsley

Because I’m always on the lookout for new and delicious sounding recipes to entice me into healthy eating, I picked up Gwyneth Paltrow’s book in Chapter’s one day. After a few discreet iPhone shots of some especially mouth-wateringly good sounding recipes, I figured I should just go ahead and buy the whole thing.  I’ve tried a handful of recipes so far, and have really liked all of them.   This one for roasted cauliflower and chickpeas was the first one I tried, and will definitely be making it again.   We had it as a side for dinner one night, and it was so good that two people easily polished off an entire head of cauliflower in one sitting!  And the whole recipe involved about six ingredients, most of which you likely already have in your pantry.  Not complicated at all!

Cauliflower and chickpeas

Roasted cauliflower and chickpeas set-up

Mix up two kinds of mustard, add rice vinegar, parsley and kosher salt.  Dressing complete!

Two mustard dressing

Two-mustard dressing

Toss the cauliflower and chickpeas with a bit of olive oil and salt, and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes.  The dark brown pieces is where the flavour’s at 😉

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower and chickpeas

Toss the cauliflower mix with some parsley and the mustard dressing, then revel in that gorgeous, golden colour!

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with mustard and parsley

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with mustard and parsley

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley Recipe

1 14 oz can chickpeas, rinsed
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp seeded mustard
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan or cookie sheet with 3 tbsp olive oil and a big pinch of salt.  Roast, stirring occasionally, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar and 1/4 olive oil with a big pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper.  While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

From:  It’s All Good

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Cuban Black Bean and Rice soup

Inspired by the marvelous soup from Havana Café, I attempted my own version of their black bean and rice soup.  What made the Havana soup so noticeably delicious was how the fresh lime tied everything toegther perfectly.  The soup was a bit thick because of the rice and bean base, and the lime just freshened everything up.  It was hearty but not heavy.  Everything you could want in a soup!

It turns out that my Cuban soup making skills need some work.  This soup isn’t exactly what I had imagined, but as I was perusing recipes, I was drawn to the idea of making a marinated rice and then adding the broth right before serving,  in order to avoid sometimes over soaked and mushy rice you find in soup.  As a result, this soup wasn’t all that thick, but it ended up being spicy, a bit zesty, and of course fresh because of the lime and cilantro garnishes.  I was very happy with it!

Line up your ingredients to get started:


I tried soaking dry beans this time because I’ve heard it’s better for you health-wise, aaaaand (mostly) because the grocery store didn’t have cans.  Anyways, I loved the soaked beans!  I’m going to make a real effort to plan ahead and soak them from now on.  They just taste so much more beany.

Soaked and Rinsed Black Beans

After you soak them, you have to boil them for a few hours too…

While the beans are boiling, start cooking up the broth.  Sautée the onions, garlic and peppers for a few minutes, then stir in the cumin and oregano.

Add some broth and the beans to the pepper mixture and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Then, add a few scoops of the marinated rice mixture (a bit of olive oil, green onion, diced tomatoes and rice vinegar, by the way) to your soup bowl.  Zesty!

Marinated rice soup base

Pour a few scoops of the simmering broth over the rice and top with cilantro, a dollop of sour cream and of course fresh lime.

Cuban Black Bean and Rice Soup

Cuban Black Bean and Rice Soup Recipe

5 green onions, thinly sliced
3 cups cooked brown rice ( from 1 cup dry)
1 1/2 tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar ( or white wine vinegar)
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onions, diced
2 jalapenos, with seeds, minced
2 red bell peppers, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 quart chicken broth or 1 quart vegetable broth
1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar ( or white wine vinegar)
cayenne pepper
cilantro
nonfat plain yogurt (optional) or sour cream (optional)
cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. Prepare marinated rice by mixing cooked rice with green onion, diced tomatoes, olive oil and cider vinegar. Let the mixture marinate at room temperature, if making soup right away. Otherwise, cover, refrigerate, and marinate up to 1 day. Let rice come to room temperature before serving.
  2. Rinse beans in a strainer until canning juices run clear, or soak and boil dry beans if you prefer.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium high, and add onions. Saute for a few minutes.
  4. Add jalapenos, bell peppers and garlic; cook until softened.
  5. Stir in spices.
  6. Add broth, vinegar and beans.
  7. Cover and simmer 30 minutes (or longer, if desired), stirring occasionally.
  8. Taste for salt and spiciness. Add cayenne pepper, if more heat is desired.
  9. Serve soup in bowls over a scoop of rice. Top with cilantro and yogurt, if desired.
  10. Store left-over rice separately from soup, so liquid will not all be absorbed.

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Red Lentil Dal

I learned long ago not to fight the food cravings when they arrive.   They don’t go away, they only intensify.  Even when that craving is for spicy Indian food when it’s 40 degrees outside.  So when this particular craving came knocking, I welcomed it by trying out a recipe for Red Lentil Dal I’d had bookmarked for a while.  Served alongside some Chicken Tikka and some rice, this Indian feast hit the spot.

I love the variety of spices used in Indian food.  Cumin, chili powder, tumeric, coriander, ginger etc. etc. etc.  For this recipe, line up a few select spices alongside some onions and garlic, jalapeno and red lentils.  Very few ingredients – all totally healthy by the way – doesn’t mean it’s lacking in any way.  Just in case you were wondering.

Red Lentil Dal Ingredients

Soften the lentils in some boiling water…

Boiling Lentils

…and get the onion, garlic and spice base going…

Onion, garlic and jalapeno base

…mix the softened lentils into the spice mixture…

Lentil and onion mixture

…and serve with Basmati rice and chicken tikka masala.  A feast!

Red Lentil Dahl and Chicken Tikka

Red Lentil Dal Recipe

3 cups water
1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 hot chili pepper, seeded and chopped (I usually go with a Jalapeno)
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Fresh cilantro leaves

  1. In medium saucepan, combine water and lentils.  Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  2. Heat oil in non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat.  Cook garlic and onion for 10 minutes or until softened and turning golden brown.  Add chili pepper, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt; cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in lentils and cook for 5 minutes or until thickened and liquid is evaporated.  Garnish with cilantro before serving.

From:  The G.I. Diet Cookbook

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Baba Ghanouj

Apart from being incredibly fun to say, baba ghanouj is incredibly fun to eat!  This would be a great mid-afternoon pick me up snack if you have it with fresh veggies or pita bread, but keep it in the fridge for a week or so and enjoy it in any number of ways.  Like as a spread to fancy-up a sandwich.  Or with black olives for a late night snack. You name it.

I also love that this dish is on the healthy side too;  nothing but smokey roasted eggplant, garlic and tahini goodness.  And some other spices, for good measure. 😉

And you get to take out any aggressions you may have on the eggplant, because you have to stab it with a fork multiple times so it doesn’t explode during the cooking process.  Delicious and therapeutic!  Talk about a good for you recipe!

Here are the fresh out of the oven ooey gooey roasted eggplant guts:

Roasted Eggplant

Pull out the eggplant innards and blend with garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne and salt in a food processor or blender, until well mixed and slightly creamy.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh parsley, and start dipping!

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ghanouj Recipe

1 large eggplant (about 1 ½ lb)
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup tahini
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

  1. Preheat oiled grill to medium-high and oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Prick eggplant with fork in several places and grill, turning frequently, until skin blackens and blisters and flesh just begins to feel soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer eggplant to baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until very soft.  Set aside until cool enough to handle.  Peel off skin and discard.
  4. In food processor, blend eggplant, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt, cumin and cayenne; process until smooth.  (If mixture is too thick, thin with a lemon juice or olive oil to desired consistency.)
  5. Transfer mixture to serving bowl and use back of spoon to form shallow well.  Drizzle olive oil over top and sprinkle with parsley.
  6. Serve at room temperature with fresh veggies, olives or pita wedges.

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