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Jerk Cauliflower Tacos with Mango Salsa

October 4th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

IMG_3444 (1)It’s a tradition at my house to get together with friends on Sunday nights, make good food together and watch (and discuss) The Walking Dead.   It’s the perfect wrap to a weekend before heading back into reality.  We like to call it “Ham Dinner” as many traditional Sunday meals are, but in reality my house is 100% animal-free (well, except for the family members).

On the menu this week were these tacos.  This meal is mind-blowing.  Move aside La Taqueria … there is a vegan taco in town that EVERYBODY is talking about!!


For the taco filling:

Grapeseed oil
1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 6 cups/1.5 L)
1 Tbsp (15 mL) jerk seasoning or Creole/Cajun seasoning

IMG_3433 (1)Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and cook until slightly charred, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Stir in jerk or Creole/Cajun seasoning and heat for 30 seconds.

For the salsa:

1 mango, peeled and chopped
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup (125 mL) diced red onion
1/3 cup (80 mL) roughly chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime

IMG_3441 (1)To make salsa, toss together mango, red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice.

For the crema:

1 cup (250 mL) organic, GMO free silken tofu
1/2 avocado
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
2 small chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp (2 mL) cumin
salt and pepper to taste

To make the crema, place the tofu, avocado, lime zest, lime juice, chipotle chili pepper, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
10 sprouted corn tortillas, warmed
2 cups (500 mL) shredded cabbage

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Divide cauliflower among corn tortillas and top with shredded cabbage, mango salsa, and crema.  Consume with plenty of margaritas and good laughs.IMG_3443 (1)

Spicy Bok Choy & Mushroom Soup

September 16th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

IMG_3378I’ve been thinking all day about the bok choy in my crisper that I have to use up so that it doesn’t go to waste.  To be honest, I’m not a super fan of the flavour of this vegetable, so it was working my brain to think of a way to put it in a recipe that got me excited.

Then it dawned on me!  One of my favourite hangover cures is spicy instant kimchi noodles.  Unfortunately it’s  often laden with MSG and other things which I don’t recognize on the label.  I took the elements of that soup (swapping the noodles for a dumpling) and created a dish that is both healthy, as well as TASTY (and will still cure a hangover when you need it to). The soup will also be an excellent choice for a cold winter night when you want a light meal, or when you are down with a cold or the flu.

Bok choy is a fairly bitter vegetable, and the leaves can be quite tough which is the main reason I chopped it very finely for this soup.  The nice thing about it though is the stalks almost have a water chestnut texture, so it’s got a nice fresh crunch which is refreshing in a soup!

IMG_3368Bok choy is highly concentrated in both Vitamin A and C (which is why it’s going to cure-all of the above ailments), and has been ranked near the top for nutrient density.  Hangover smangover.


  • 4 heads baby bok choy
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 stalks of green onion, thinly sliced; separate white from green parts
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly chopped
  • 1 “1/2 piece ginger (from a big root), grated or sliced
  • 2 tablespoon Braggs Liquid Amino
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 organic lemon, sliced
  • 16 vegan won tons or gyoza** – if you have time to make from scratch you can also use my bok choy ravioli



  1. Finely chop the bok choy and set aside
  2. In a medium size pot, bring the broth to a boil
  3. Add the mushrooms, scallion-whites, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and simmer for 7-8 minutes.
  4. Add bok choy and the frozen won tons and simmer for an additional 1-2 minutes or until bok choy is bright green.  Don’t over cook!
  5. Turn heat down to low and add the Braggs
  6. Serve immediately with scallion-greens and a lemon slicesIMG_3376

** you can sub the gyoza or dumplings with tofu noodles, straight-up tofu, won tons etc.

Chia Pudding

September 14th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

IMG_3359It’s been so long since I’ve written a post, or even thought of writing a post that I actually forgot how to sign into my WordPress account.  After some sleuth work, I finally figured it out.  Fewf.  Nice to see you all – and I would love to say I’m back for good, but life is quite busy, so we’ll see how it goes.

The changing season always inspires me to find new recipes that fit the mood, and this season I have become particularly inspired.  Although I am mortified that summer is coming to a bitter end, I am finding comfort in some of the recipes I’m digging up and the changes of colour at the local market.  I’ve also made a conscious effort to up my fruit and vegetable intake as I head into marathon season; to eat more whole foods as opposed to processed options, which brings me to this recipe.  The alternative to this meal for me would be a ready-made vegan yogurt and berries bought from the local market, but this is just so much better.  If you are a tapioca fan, this is going to rock your world.  Great for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert, Chia pudding is one of my favourite things in the whole wide world.

The recipe is so easy, you are going to want to eat this on a daily basis because it literally takes a second to make.  Here we go.


  • 3 cups unsweetened nut milk
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1-3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup, to taste


  1. Whisk the nut milk, chia seeds, and sweetener together in a large bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and then whisk again (this just helps prevent clumping).IMG_3354
  2. Cover and chill in the fridge overnight.
  3. Stir well before serving. Keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

I often have this for breakfast with fresh fruit and sprinkled with granola. You can top it with pretty much anything you like.  Another one of my favourite things to do is to blend some sort of fruit or berry with the nut milk before adding the chia seeds, and you end up with a flavoured variation – SO GOOD.IMG_3356



Key Lime Pie

March 9th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

IMG_3074I don’t think I’ve ever tried the traditional version of Key Lime Pie, so you will have to tell me if this is anything like the “real thing”.  I’ve adapted the version from Cafe Gratitude** for two reasons.

  1. I don’t think there is any way I could get through a 9″ dessert in a few days, so I’ve made this recipe smaller to fit a 6″ spring-form pan.  If you have occasion to make the full recipe, just double this one and use a regular 9″ pie pan.
  2. I wasn’t sure how my adaptions would work out; hence a smaller batch as a tester (I’ve removed the emulsifier from the original recipe, and used agave instead of coconut nectar for sweetness)**.

The pie worked out quite well (although it’s more like a Key Lime Cheesecake due to the pan.  It all goes down the same way though!

Yields:  8 small slices

Prep Time:  10 minutes

Cook Time:  1-3 hours in the freezer

For the Crust:

  • 3/4 cups macadamia nuts
  • 3/4 cups walnuts or pecans
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 medjool dates



IMG_3043For the Filling:

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (about 4 freshly squeezed limes)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat coconut milk well blended)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


IMG_3049In a food processor, whiz the nuts, vanilla and salt for the crust until you get a crumbly mixture.  Add the two medjool dates and whiz again until the mixture starts to become sticky.

Press into the bottom of a greased (I used coconut oil) 6″ spring-form pan and place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

In a clean food processor, blend the avocado, lime, vanilla, agave, coconut butter, and salt.  When smooth, taste the mixture.  If you wish it to be sweeter, add a few tsp of agave, one at a time until you acquire the desired sweetness.

IMG_3063Pour the filling into the spring-form pan over top of the crust.  Freeze for at least 1 hour (I let mine sit in the freezer for 3 hours).  With a heated knife, cut the pie into 8 portions.  Serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped coconut milk.

This would be a very refreshing summer dessert after a long hot day under the sun.

IMG_3069**note.  I do not have a sweet tooth in any way, but I found that the pie was just too tart without the additional agave.  Definitely add sweetness to your own taste before freezing.


Hearty Lentil and Brown Rice Burgers

March 2nd, 2014 § 4 comments § permalink

IMG_2985One of the things that I did recently to find my way back to healthy eating was a brown rice cleanse.  I often do this cleanse if I’ve been on vacation and overindulged, or just lost my way altogether.  It works wonders to reset the taste buds and re-inspire my love of fresh foods and recipes.

The brown rice cleans is a whole foods diet.  This means no refined or process foods are to be consumed.  Brown rice is a whole grain that is hypoallergenic to most people.  It provides important detoxification enhancing substances such as gamma-oryzanol and fiber in the rice bran, which binds to toxins and decreases transit time.  The nutritional value of each meal will be enhanced by consuming locally grown produce and seasonal foods.  Organically grown foods should be eaten as much as possible to minimize introduction of new chemicals into the body.  If you are interested in reading more on the cleanse, or feel like giving it a go, there is some information here.

During this cleanse a friend recommended this recipe to me.  She is meat eater, but raved about these burgers (so they must be good right?).  They are out of this world.  Packed with flavour, I make these at least once a week these days and freeze patties to take out whenever I need a quick meal on the go.  Trust me.  These burgers are to die for!

Note that the burgers to require some time to cool and set in the fridge, so if you want a fast meal, I suggest making a batch on your days off, and placing them in the fridge or freezer so you can just throw them in the oven after work for a super fast meal!

Yields:  6 burgers

Prep Time:  10 minutes

Cook Time:  20 minutes


  • 1/2 cups green lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2  cups vegetable broth


These burgers are ridiculously easy to make.

  1. Put all the ingredients into a pot and bring to a simmer.  Let cook until the lentils and rice are soft.
  2. Once cooked, let the pot cool.  Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until all the ingredients are well combined, but not smooth.
  3. Let the mixture set in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  4. Shape into 6 patties.
  5. Lightly brush both sides of the burgers with extra virgin olive oil.  Place in an oven proof dish, and back for about 20 minutes, turning once half way.

I have tried cooking these in a frying pan which works quite well, and I have been told that the bbq is also a successful cooking method, but I prefer to bake mine in the oven.  They turn out a little bit firmer which is best if you are not doing the cleanse and are going to put your burger in a bun.  If the patty is too soft, it will just squish out the sides when you take a bite. ♥

IMG_2999My favourite way to eat these is with no bun, a side of roasted cauliflower doused with a good squeeze of lemon, a healthy dollop of humus and fresh sliced avocado.  TO. DIE. FOR.


Cheesy Pasta (Grety’s Mac and Cheese)

February 23rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

IMG_2957 - Version 2 (1)

I bet you’re wondering why the header photo in this recipe is cauliflower…

I’m heading to a friend’s house for dinner later and I thought I’d bring a vegetarian offering with me.  This one was inspired by my little niece who lives in the Ancient Town of Rye, Sussex, England.  You can’t buy Kraft Dinner in the UK.  Go figure.  I thought that stuff was available in every corner of the world.  Apparently not.

My sister has tried offering Greta the home-made version, but she just won’t have it.  It’s just not that fluorescent orange version that she’s come to love when she visits Grandma and Grandad Mac in Canada.  Sheesh.  Every time we go to visit, we have to pack our cases with “the REAL cheesy pasta” for Greta.

This version is a “little” more healthy (and quite a bit more tasty to the adult taste buds).  I’m sure most kids would gobble it down without issue.  If they MUST have the “real” thing however, you might get a little “krafty” and sub the cauliflower here for roasted butternut squash, to give you that bright orange colour.  Shhhh.  I won’t tell anyone.

Yield: 6-7 Servings as a side, 4 Servings as a main course

Prep Time:  20 minutes

Cook Time:  30 minutes


  • 4 heaping cups cauliflower florets (1 medium-large cauliflower)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 cup unsweetened and unflavoured almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 200g sharp cheddar (sub Daiya cheddar for vegan option)
  • sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups macaroni pasta (uncooked).  Sub brown rice macaroni for gluten-free.
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)


  1. Add cauliflower florets in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a low boil. Once boiling, cook for another 5-7 minutes until fork tender. Drain.  If you want to have a bright orange mac and cheese, roast about 2 medium butternut squash for 30-40 minutes in the oven at 400F until tender.  Use this instead of cauliflower.
  2. Meanwhile, add the oil into a skillet and saute the onion over low heat for 4-5 minutes until translucent, but not browned.
  3. In a high-speed blender, add the cooked and drained cauliflower (or roasted squash), sautéed onion, milk, lemon juice, onion powder, and garlic powder. Blend until a super smooth sauce forms.  Set aside
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add your desired amount of pasta and boil for the time instructed on the package. Drain pasta.IMG_2961
  5. Pour the cauliflower sauce back into the pot. Heat over low-medium, adding 1/2 the cheddar cheese (or Daiya cheese).  Heat until the cheese has melted.IMG_2964
  6. Add the pasta and stir until the noodles are coated nicely.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Pour into a greased baking pan (I used a small lasagna pan greased lightly with olive oil). IMG_2968Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and panko bread crumbs (omit panko for gluten-free).  IMG_2972Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until the pan is bubbling.  Brown under the grill for the last few minutes for a crispy top (make sure you watch it so as not to burn).

If you prefer a non-baked silky version of the pasta, omit step 6 and just serve!  For a more “sophisticated” mac and cheese, you can sub out 1/2 cup of non dairy milk for white wine (the alcohol will evaporate when you cook it off in the pot (and bake in the oven).  Also try experimenting with your favourite strong flavoured hard cheeses.IMG_2982

Bon Apetite!


SwapMeat – A New Era

February 21st, 2014 § 3 comments § permalink

BerriesI really regret eating healthy today.  Said no one – EVER.

It’s been over two years since I posted on this blog.  Life got crazy (and by crazy I mean lazy).  Meat wasn’t swapped for better choices (yes, that was my outside voice on my VEGAN blog), and well, I’ve come full circle back to a more responsible, healthy way of eating and living.  During this process, which I started 6 weeks and one full clothing size ago, I have taken a deep look at what drives me to make the choices I do in terms of nutrition, exercise and overall wellness.

The cycle that I have been caught in for the past few years has been coming home and being too tired (or lazy, or annoyed) to make something well-balanced to eat.  This leaves me to sub dinner with a glass of wine (or bottle), or throw a frozen pizza into the oven, (or both), or something else with no nutritional value just for the sake of convenience.  Because of this, I am left with no leftovers for the next day at work, and this in turn leaves me with picking up something on the road that is fast and convenient (but not necessarily good for me), or skipping a meal all together.  Voila.  I’m caught in a cycle of not giving a sh*t.  Nothing inspires me anymore in this cycle.

Several months later and 25 lbs heavier I find myself unhappy, unhealthy and looking to return to my past life with desperation.  I am a three-time IRONMAN for Pete’s sake!  I’ve run over 15 full marathons!  How does this happen to someone like me?  What was I thinking?

I tried starting this journey maybe 8 or 10 times over the past two years before I finally buckled down and made the commitment.  This even included signing up for another Ironman, hoping that I’d scare myself into returning to health and fitness.  That failed miserably.  Apparently potato chips and horror movies are much easier and a better alternative than sitting on my bike in the pouring rain for hours, or the $600 loss I took on the registration.  I’m still not sure what the breaking point is that makes me start and stick to a plan (although it seems to happen somewhere around the 25 lb mark).  That is some soul-searching that I’m still deep diving into.  The good news is, that whatever that breaking point was, it hit me six weeks ago, and I’m finally feeling like my old (and by old I mean previous), fit self again.

Let me start by saying this is not a post to point fingers or pass blame.  I am the only one responsible for my own wellness.  I thought it would be interesting to express my thoughts on “giving in”  for anyone else that finds themselves in this same cycle of fight between veg, vegan or carnivore.  Maybe it will open a few doors for success.  Who knows…  What I have discovered in the past few years is that when you surround yourself with bad influences that temp and test your will power, you are more likely to make those (poor) choices – DUH right?  No news there, but it has led me to think even deeper about what the h*ll am I going to do when faced with hard decisions about the choices that make me happy in the moment, versus the consequences of those decisions down the road.  Just today, I said to a friend who has invited me to dinner this weekend:  “I don’t want to put you out, but I’m vegetarian now, and I’m committed to this.”.  I was just throwing it out there because not everyone knows that I’ve cleaned up my diet and I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable when I show up to their dinner table and refuse to consume anything that is put in front of me.  To my announcement, I got a joke in response;  “But that’s just recent right?  So one night won’t kill you?”.  I know that this comment was not meant to intentionally sway me in the wrong direction.  It was simply a light joke that was meant to be humorous.  However, all jokes aside, my point is, when the people in my life give the me the “permission” to make the wrong choices, or even harass me for the responsible food choices that I make (you know who you are you vegetarian button pushers you), they create great conflict within me, no matter what was intended by the original conversation, I feel bad that I am inconveniencing people by trying to make more responsible choices for myself and for the planet.  The flip side of that is that I LOVE junk food (of the fatty, salty, deep-fried kind) and animal product is 500% easier to get one’s hands on than vegan/vegetarian product.  It’s all around us!  Luckily I wasn’t around a McDonalds when I was told one day wouldn’t kill me.  I’d be in a deep-fried chicken coma by now.good choice

I can’t change the way I interpret someone else’s sense of humor, or alter someone else’s old school way of thinking.  When someone gives me that “permission” to make a choice that goes against my good intentions, I actually involuntarily consider the option to fall off the wagon, even though I know it will lead me back down that road of regret and self-indulgence.  If I make that poor choice, and get a taste of the “easy life”, the over-indulgent, bad kind that packs on 25 lbs in two months and makes me want to sit on the couch eating chips all day with 5 seasons of a really good TV show, loathing anyone that gets into my personal space because THEY (and others) were the influence that offered another glass of wine or opened a package of frozen deep-fried junk.  CURSE THEM!!  And it’s not because anyone is out to get me and see me fail (I’m pretty sure), it’s only because they are not me.  They are not in my head, they may not necessarily have the same values or goals as I do.  They may be fine with junk in moderation and have practiced it their entire lives, or they may simply not care what they consume, and therefore not care about what I consume; and why would they?  I’m a grown adult responsible for myself.  It might not seem like a big deal to people, that I opt to buy only fresh food as opposed to packaged food, or products not tested on animals.  They just don’t get it because they are not me.  Often, they don’t even have to say anything.  They just have to influence me by their existence.  That is how weak I am (ha ha).  Note:  couch potato shown below is much cuter than my own version.Couch Potato

That vision makes me cringe (the one about me on the couch loathing people), but it has happened to me more than once in my life (heck, more than twice in the past three years alone!).  So what will be difference this time?  This question scares the bejesus out of me several times a day, but I think I have come up with somewhat of a game plan to avoid heading down this road ever again:

  1. I have not returned to being 100% vegan at all meals.  I have, however, eliminated all flesh yet again.  I have incorporated some dairy and eggs into my recipes.  The reason for this is that I’ve come to the conclusion that the easier and more convenient it is for me to make something nutritious after a long day at work, the more likely I am to do it.  My focus since I’ve been back in the kitchen is fast and convenient; simple ingredient meals that will have DELICIOUS food in my gob in 30 minutes or less.  Yes, I may have been watching a tidbit of Jamie Oliver here and there recently for some quick meal inspiration.  He he.  Have you seen his Happy Cow Burgers?  YUM.  Good old dribbly chops.Jamie Oliver
  2. My personality is that of such that I do EVERYTHING to the extreme.  Good or bad. I am hard-wired to be this way.  I cannot help it.  This time around I am going to attempt to build a little more moderation into my life in order to avoid getting bored or lazy about my choices.  I am practicing that it is fine to have a few glasses of wine over the week – just maybe not a few bottles.  Junk is completely off the table however.  If food does not have nutritional value, it does not pass these lips. Period.
  3. I’ve made a compromise to not be such a stickler on the vegan front for SwapMeat.  I may lose some followers, but I am committed to suggest the vegan alternatives to any dairy or eggs that I include here, so please don’t leave :-).  I originally chose to be vegan for health and performance reasons, and now I am choosing that again.  During my previous vegan journey however, it became more about keeping the animals safe over my personal gain (and definitely still is).  The choices in my current vegetarian menu include only free range products,  and products standing for the ethical treatment of animals.  The odd recipe may contain some dairy from time to time, or an egg here or there, but for the most part, it’s the same old SwapMeat.
  4. And for those in my life that say “What?  You are vegetarian?  But you eat lamb right?” – for those people I am going to learn to make less of a big deal about their ignorance, and just bring a vegetarian meal to offer or opt to make my own plans that night.  I can’t change other people, but I can change the way I react to them, and whether or not I choose to keep them in my life. (ever notice how some people just like to push vegetarian and vegan’s buttons?).   I’m taking a “no drama stance”.  My wellness is not up for discussion.

And to wrap up this post, I leave you with some food for thought.  I read an article recently about hobbies and how they relate to your quality of life.  Apparently (and I do buy into this) people who are content with their lives have hobbies and interests (for me it used to be photography, cooking, blogging and training for the next big race).  Hobbies are activities that you have a true passion about.  The article mentioned that watching TV and surfing the internet are NOT hobbies.  These are pastimes, not activities.  That statement was a bit of an eye opener and a slap in the face for me.  Thank goodness I was surfing Facebook to find that information – and come to think of it, this may very well have been the statement that broke the cycle for me.

I am committed to posting at least one SwapMeat blog post per week (first one coming this weekend).  If I fail to do that, please support me and yell!  And yell HARD.  I am counting on you to call me out.

So here goes nothing (and by  nothing I mean EVERYTHING).  SwapMeat returns for a new era – an era of moderation.


February 12th, 2012 § 3 comments § permalink

Ever since I went to Spain last fall and tried some of the most amazing foods in the world under the heat of the Spanish sun, I’ve been obsessed.  Obsessed with the authentic flavours, the wine pairing…all of it.  It was a food and beverage experience I could re-live over and over again for eternity.

Real Spanish paella originated in the eastern coastal Spanish city of Valencia.  Paella exists because of rice, and rice has existed in Valencia and its surrounding area ever since the Moors planted it there over 1,300 years ago, in a lagoon called the Albufera.  The the grain is still grown in Albufera today.  The original Paella Valenciana dates to the early 1800s and consists of saffron-scented rice cooked with rabbit, chicken, local snails (vaquetes), and three types of beans: a broad string bean (ferraúra), a lima-like dried bean (garrofó), and a white bean (tavella).  We won’t be using any rabbit, snails or chicken here, but it helps that beans were part of this traditional recipe in bringing the vegan version to the table.

I have two great cookbooks in my collection, and between these two books there are three great recipes for Spanish paella.  Rick Stein’s Spain and a vegetarian cookbook, Plenty; Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi.  Many of the recipes I develop on this site are the result of taking a non-vegan classic and making it something amazing without the addition of animal product.  Because of this, I do have many non-vegan cookbooks in my collection to reference.  The photography and mood of these two books are very similar and have sparked some great ideas in my kitchen to take me back to that beach cafe in Marbella, without actually getting back on the plane (although I would go in a heartbeat if I had the chance!).  From these three recipes, I have developed my own version of paella.  Just imagine yourself in that little cafe on the boardwalk of Marbella, white wine in hand under the Spanish sun…

Serves 4
Prep time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  30 minutes

olive oil
1/2 Spanish onion, thinly chopped
1 small red bell pepper, cut into fine strips
1/2 fennel bulb, cut into fine strips
3-4 cloves crushed garlic
bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup Calasparra rice (or other short grain paella rice)
1/2 cup spanish white wine or sherry
1 teaspoon of saffron threads
2 cups boiling vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups frozen edamame beans (or beans of your choice).  I prefer the firmness of the edamame beans.
12 cherry tomatoes halved
5 small grilled artichokes from oil in a jar, drained and quartered
15 pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley

Heat about 2 tablespoons in a paella pan and gently fry the onion for about five minutes.  Add the fennel and the bell peppers.  and saute for about six minutes, until the peppers are soft.  Add the crushed garlic and cook another minute or so.

Into a small dish, crumble the saffron between your fingers and pour about 2 tablespoons over water over the threads to release the flavour and colour.

Remove the beans from the freezer and set aside to de-thaw.

Add the bay leaf, paprika, tumeric and cayenne to the vegetables and stir well.  Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and add the stock.  As the stock begins to simmer, sprinkle the rice evenly throughout the pan and finish this withe saffron and hot water.  Reduce the heat to a mimimum, and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has absorbed. DO NOT stir the rice as it cooks!

Remove from the heat and salt if necessary.  Scatter the tomatoes, artichokes and beans over the rice and cover the pant tightly with foil.  Leave  to rest for 10 minutes.

Now that’s a taste of Spain in Vancouver…




Gluten Free Protein Power Cookies

January 3rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Wow.  Finally, a day off with no obligations!

I had hoped to bring you a plethora of delicious vegan Christmas treats and recipes over the month of December, but running the restaurant got a wee bit crazy and the days turned into nights and the breakfasts turned into lunch and dinner, and before I knew it…it was New Years and the season had come and gone.  Next year my plan is to bring it to you in November so you have the month of December to enjoy the recipes and make them over several times! But enough excuses…on to 2012!

Working in a restaurant is ironic.  I’m surrounded by food and options galore, and yet I never seem to get to eat.  Sometimes I find myself going 10-12 hours without a meal or a snack, simply because I’m running around all day.  We are always too busy feeding the masses.  Part of my New Year’s resolution was to be more organized and to have handy snacks on hand for a quick energy boost back stage.  What did I come up with?  Cookies.  Yes, that’s right.  I’m giving you permission to use cookies as a meal replacement.  This one’s for you Megan! (maybe try having a piece of fruit on the side).

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yields:  2 dozen cookies

Whole Almonds, and then ground into Almond Meal

Chia ground in a coffee grinder

3/4 cup of almond meal (this can either be bought or you can grind up almonds in a high-speed blender)
1/2 cup of gluten-free oats
1/2 cup of organic coconut flour
1 cup of sucanat (unrefined cane juice) coconut palm sugar or beet sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
3/4 cup of almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 tablespoon ground chia seeds (ground flax seed works as well)
1/4 cup of agave nectar or maple syrup
1/4 cup of light olive oil or coconut oil (melted)
1/3 cup of organic almond butter
1/2 cup of dried cherries
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
1/2 cup of dairy-free dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper (I like parchment as it’s a quick clean up at the end).  Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the milk and chia (or flax).  Let sit for a few minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients.

Dry ingredients combined with chocolate chips and dried cherries

In a large mixing bowl, mix together everything from the almond meal, to the baking powder.  Add the chocolate chips, dried cherries and chopped nuts and set aside.

Your milk and chia mixture (or flax if you are using flax) should have thickened considerably.   Add the agave, olive oil, almond butter and whisk together until combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine thoroughly.

Drop large spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets.  These cookies do not spread, nor do they rise considerably, so you want to basically flatten them down until they are the same thickness from the center to the edge.  You can use the back of a spoon or the back of a fork.

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.  This will give you a nice soft chewy cookie.  If you prefer your cookies to be a bit crisper, leave them for another 2 or three minutes, being careful not to burn them!

Let cool on cooling racks and enjoy!  2 cookies is about 250 calories and 5 grams of protein.

Recipe adapted from Protein Monster Cookies






No Pig Pulled Pork

December 3rd, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

Ok.  There is just something about making a vegan meat replacement that tastes and LOOKS like the real thing that gives one a certain sense of pride and accomplishment.  Wow.  This is the dish.

I give full credit to my friend Dalyn of The Best i Ever Had who found this little gem of brilliance.  She was watching an episode of Eat Street (one of the main things we have in common is our love for wine and a healthy addiction to the Food Network).   The Seabirds was one of the competition on the Eat Street episode she was watching.  Another gem of brilliance.  A vegan food truck!   These guys do vegan pulled pork really well and the idea sent Dalyn on a quest to find a good recipe for this piggy which she did;  here at Clean Green Simple**.  I should add that if you ever need to find something in the deepest darkest corner of the internet and can’t seem to dig it up – ask Dalyn.  She is the Google Goddess.

This is pretty simple stuff to make.  You just have to keep in mind that it contains minimal protein, so you’ll need to jack up your fake piggy with some beans or other meat free option of your choice.  It’s pretty versatile – you can do everything from tacos to carnitas to Cuban pulled pork sandwiches.  Use your imagination and go wild!  I’d love to hear about what you choose to do with your little piggy…

Serves:  approximately 4 cups of “meat”
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  20 minutes


1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
5ml  (1 teaspoon) Better Than Bouillon
1 20 oz can of Jackfruit in brine, drained *

*Make sure you get Green Jackfruit in brine or water and not want ripe Jackfruit in syrup

Dry Spice:

2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon chili powder
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch cinnamon

Wet Seasoning:

3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon canola or other neutral oil
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons maple syrup

I have adapted this recipe from a combination of the Carolina Pulled Pork sandwich and the Mexican Carnitas found on the blog Clean Green Simple.  I wanted to create a spicy pulled pork for an open-faced sandwich with jalapeno peppers and Daiya mozza cheese.  You can adapt the seasoning in any way you want depending on the flavour you are going for (a bbq version would rock as well).  This is what I did:

Drain and rinse the jackfruit in a colander with cold water.  Cut away the core of the fruit and discard with any seeds that fall away.  You will be left with the stringy bits which will later resemble the pork.

In a medium saucepan, heat some oil and saute the diced onion for a few minutes until translucent.  Add the jackfruit and the dry spices.  The spices will toast nicely as you coat the jackfruit, stirring constantly.  Continue to cook until the mixture is fragrant and the jackfruit starts to fall apart.

Add the wet seasoning mix.  Continue to cook the jackfruit, working it with a wooden spoon to break it apart into stringy pieces.

The recipe on Clean Green Simple has you spread this mixture onto a cooking tray and bake it in the oven to dry it out, but rather than having to wash another pan, I just turned down the heat to medium-low and continued to cook my jackfruit until it started to caramelize and get crispy, stirring constantly so as not to burn any bits.  That’s it!

I decided to roast a few jalapeno peppers in the oven and make a spicy open-faced sandwich with some baked beans on the side. This is what I did.

Butter half of a nice bun with Earth Balance and place butter side down in a saute pan over medium heat.  When the bun is nice and crispy, remove from the pan and set aside for a moment.  Now, you could top this with your pulled pork, some roasted jalapenos and your cheese and then broil in the oven until the cheese is nicely melted, but I like my cheese to be nice and crispy, so this is what I did:

Turn the saute pan down to medium.  In the center for the pan, place a nice portion (about 1/3 cup) of mozza cheese shreds.  Top with about 1/2 cup pulled pork and jalapenos.  You could add a bit more cheese to the top so that it glues the ingredients all together.

When the cheese is all nice and melty, remove the gooey mix from the pan and flip onto your fried bun so that the cheese is now on the top.  Top with hot baked beans or fresh jalapenos (or both) and enjoy the cheesy, spicy goodness!

Like I said, you can play around with how you season the pork – let me know what you come up with!  The possibilities are ENDLESS!!