September 30, 2011

Chickpea Fries

Before I get to this recipe, I just wanted to give you all a head's up for next week - since Canadian Thansgiving is coming up very soon (next weekend!), my sister Natalie (from Once Upon a Cutting Board) and I both decided to dedicate our blogs to Thanksgiving all week! So be sure to keep visiting so that you can get new recipes every day leading up to Thanksgiving, starting this Sunday!

Now on to these chickpea fries...I'm pretty excited to share this recipe today because it's one of my favourite recipes out of all the cookbooks I own. It comes from Canadian Living: The Vegetarian Collection, and with a title that I didn't understand ("Chickpea Panisse") and no picture to go along with it, I'm surprised that I didn't just pass over the recipe when I first read through the cookbook. But now I'm so glad that I gave it a try, and it has become one of the few recipes that I've actually made multiple times.

The only downside of the recipe is that you have to stir the batter constantly for about 10 minutes while cooking, so your arms will be very sore by the time you're done! But I try to tell myself that not only is the end result worth the work, but I also managed to fit in a workout while making it!

Other than the constant stirring, these are actually pretty easy to make and require very few ingredients - they're basically just made of chickpea flour. I also try to "fry" these in as little oil as possible, to keep them fairly healthy.

If you haven't heard of chickpea flour (also called besan, gram flour or garbanzo flour) you can find it at bulk food stores (I buy it from Bulk Barn), at natural foods stores, Indian markets and even in many grocery stores  - check the organic or gluten-free section.

Chickpea flour has a slightly nutty taste, since it's made from ground chickpeas. I love the taste so much that I could eat these fries plain, but they are made even better when covered in salt and pepper. I also like to dip them in spicy ketchup (pictured above), which I make by mixing regular ketchup with some chili powder and a bit of curry paste. If you like mayonnaise-based dips, you could also eat these with a curried mayo dip (which is what the cookbook suggests).

Chickpea Fries
Adapted from Canadian Living: The Vegetarian Collection

1 cup water
2-3 tbsp olive oil, divided
pinch of salt
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp chickpea flour

Heat the water, 1 tbsp of the olive oil, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over high heat. Heat until the water is hot but not quite simmering.

Reduce heat to medium. Whisk in the chickpea flour slowly. Continue to whisk constantly for 2 minutes, then switch to a wooden spoon and cook for 8-10 more minutes, stirring constantly. Scrape down the sides of the saucepan occasionally as you stir. The batter will gradually get thicker and will start to pull away from the sides of the pan and clump together. Once it is very thick and can hold its shape, remove the pan from the heat.

Scrape the batter into a greased square cake pan or loaf pan (try to work quickly as the batter will begin to set almost immediately). Smooth the top with a spatula. Let the mixture cool for about an hour, until it is completely set.

Once cooled, invert the pan onto a cutting board. Cut the batter into 1/3 inch wide sticks (like french fries).

Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sticks to the pan and fry for about 5-6 minutes, flipping over halfway through, until they are crisp and golden. (The amount here will fit into one skillet, but if you are making a larger amount, you will need to cook them in batches, keeping the finished fries warm while you cook the rest).

Transfer onto a paper towel to remove any extra oil. Serve with lots of additional salt and pepper, and ketchup or another dipping sauce if desired.

Makes 1 serving.

Note: This recipe makes the amount shown above, which is perfect for me as a light meal. It could also serve 2 as a side dish, or you could easily increase the recipe amounts to serve more people.

These would also make a great side dish to serve with these beet-chickpea sliders, or these spinach tofu patties!

September 27, 2011

Apple Spice Breakfast Cake

Every year I look forward to Fall baking, which to me means apples, pumpkin and warm spices. This year, I started off my Fall baking with a treat that includes two of these components - apple spice breakfast cake! I'm calling these breakfast cake bars because they healthy enough to eat for breakfast, but they also make a great snack or dessert!

I saw the recipe for these cake bars on one of my favourite blogs, The Diva Dish. I made a few changes to her recipe, including using maple syrup instead of honey to keep them vegan, and adding some diced apples and raisins to the batter.

I loved how this cake turned out! It's full of warm fall flavours with just the right amount of sweetness for my taste. It's also extremely moist, and almost gooey inside from the apple-date puree. I liked the extra texture from the diced apple and raisins that I added, but you could leave out the raisins if you don't like them.

While these are great on their own, you could also top them with a glaze. I tried adding a yummy maple glaze to a few of my cake bars, as recommended by the original recipe - I just mixed together some icing sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and a bit of almond milk until the mixture was thin and pourable, and drizzled it over top of the cake.

I would recommend adding a glaze if you plan on eating these for dessert, to make them a bit sweeter. The glaze also helps make them a bit prettier if you plan on serving them to others.

Apple Spice Breakfast Cake
Adapted from The Diva Dish

3 small Gala apples, peeled and grated
1/2 cup dates, chopped
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup water
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 tbsp ground flax
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup almond milk (or other non dairy milk)
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 medium Gala apple, peeled and diced
1/4 cup raisins

In a medium saucepan, combine the shredded apples, chopped dates, maple syrup, water, cornstarch and cinnamon. Stir and heat on medium-high until it starts to bubble. Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and puree the mixture in a food processor or blender until it is smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients (flour through to salt).

In a separate bowl, mix the flax, oil, almond milk, apple juice and sugar. Stir with a whisk until it is smooth.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in the apple-date mixture, as well as the diced apple and raisins, until evenly mixed.

Pour the batter into an 8x8 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 22-25 minutes (Mine took the full amount of time).

Remove from oven and let cool before removing from the pan and cutting into bars.

Drizzle with your favourite icing or glaze if desired.

Makes about 12 bars.

September 25, 2011

Parsnip Pear Soup

I've officially made my first soup of the Fall season! When the weather starts getting cooler, I love to bring home root vegetables from the market, roast them in the oven, then purée them into a delicious and comforting soup.

This soup was different than any I've ever made in the past.  It combines parsnips with pears, resulting in a unique, slightly sweet taste with a hint of spice. Parsnips are a pretty neutral-tasting vegetable on their own (similar to carrots), but in this recipe they are roasted first, which brings out a deeper, sweeter flavour that paired nicely with the pear.

This wasn't the prettiest soup I've ever made either - it looked more like ugly mashed potatoes than a smooth soup - but I still loved the taste of it!

As you can see in the photo below, my soup was also very thick, almost like a puree. I prefer thicker soups anyway, so this was fine with me, but if you like a thinner soup, you can add more liquid.

I wanted to serve this with some fresh bread, so I made some healthy three-seed biscuits to have with it (see photo above). They were the perfect accompaniment, and they were easy enough to put together in the same time as it took to make the soup! The recipe for these biscuits comes from Canadian Living: The Vegetarian Collection: Creative Meat-Free Dishes That Nourish and Inspire and was recommended to me by Ashley of Eat Me, Delicious. You can find the recipe on her blog here: Three-Seed Biscuits.

Parsnip Pear Soup
Adapted from Eat This, originally from The Perfect Pantry

1 lb parsnips, peeled and ends trimmed
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
2 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 pear, peeled and chopped
1.5 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp allspice
salt and pepper
roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)

Place the parsnips, onion, and garlic on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 375°F for 30-40 minutes, until the parsnips are tender and lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. 

Once cooled, cut the parsnips into chunks and remove the garlic from its peel. Place the parsnips, garlic, onions, and pear in a large pot. Add the vegetable stock, thyme and allspice. Add more water if you need to, so that the veggies are almost covered.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Blend soup in batches in a blender or food processor. Add more water if necessary to thin out the soup (I found that I needed to add a lot of water to get more of a soup-like consistency. I used at least 1 cup of water, and my soup was still very thick).

Season with additional salt and pepper and serve hot. Garnish with pumpkin seeds if desired.

Makes 3 servings.

This is my submission to Souper Sundays hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.

September 23, 2011

Ginger-Peanut Noodles

While I don't like to repeat meals and recipes often, one thing that I do make regularly for a quick and easy dinner is Asian noodles with veggies. I have tried a few different variations on this dish - changing up the vegetables or the sauce, but my favourite version is peanut noodles. I love peanut sauce and it's so easy to make yourself using ingredients from your pantry.

I know there are a ton of recipes out there for peanut noodles already, but this one for a soba noodle salad with ginger peanut dressing from Vegetarian Times that I tried recently was so good that I had to post about it! One thing that makes it different from any other recipe that I've seen is that you actually blend cilantro into the sauce as well as adding fresh cilantro on top. The sauce was delicious - it had the right amount of peanut butter and it was a bit tangy, which I liked.

Another part of this recipe that made it stand out from others was that it includes sliced cucumber, which I have never tried adding to my noodles before, but it was perfect in this recipe!

I loved this recipe on its own, but I think it would also be good with some tofu added in for a more substantial meal.

Ginger-Peanut Noodles
Adapted from Vegetarian Times

6 oz dried noodles, preferable soba noodles but spaghetti would also work (I used kamut udon noodles)
1 red pepper, sliced thinly
about 1/2 to 2/3 of a large English cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced into half moons
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
2 tsp soy sauce
zest and juice of one lime
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro
a dash or two of hot sauce, such as Sriracha (optional)

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water, then set aside.

Prepare all the vegetables (red pepper, cucumber and carrot) and add to noodles.

Add all ingredients for the dressing to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add 1-2 tbsp of water to thin out if necessary.

Pour the dressing over noodles and mix thoroughly. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until serving time. Garnish each serving with the chopped cilantro and peanuts.

Makes 4 servings.

This recipe was submitted to Wellness Weekends at Diet Dessert & Dogs.

September 21, 2011

Banana Blueberry Mango Muffins

I tend to be finicky about blueberries - I don't particularly like eating them on their own, but I will put them in my yogurt ... blueberry pies don't appeal to me, but I do like them in other baked goods.  Blueberry muffins are one baked good that are definitely on my "like" list! Especially when they're combined with other fruits like bananas and mangoes!

The idea for these muffins came from a recipe for blueberry flax muffins from the blog Cupcakes and Kale. The recipe was full of healthy ingredients, and I was especially intrigued by the rye flour - I love the taste of it in bread, but had never thought to put it in muffins before.

Since I wanted to make them into banana-blueberry muffins, I used mashed bananas instead of the applesauce. I also decided to add diced mangoes to make them extra fruit-filled! I was a little worried when I cut one of the muffins open that I had gone overboard with the amount of fruit - as you can see, this one was completely blue inside:

But once I gave them more time to cool, I really liked them! These muffins had a lot going on - with the coconut topping, the subtle banana flavour throughout, and the juicy burst of actual fruit pieces in every bite.  I will definitely try to use rye flour in my baking more often too - I loved the colour and the sweet, nutty taste that it gave the muffins.

These are also vegan and contain no added fats (other than the coconut on top, which you can leave off if you prefer) - so you can feel good about eating them for breakfast, or any other time of the day!

Vegan Banana Blueberry Mango Muffins
Heavily adapted from Cupcakes and Kale

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup rye flour
2 tbsp wheat bran or oat bran
2.5 tbsp ground flax
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp mashed banana
3/4 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup diced mango
unsweetened shredded coconut for topping

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a muffin pan by spraying with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through to salt).

In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed banana, almond milk and vanilla. 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the blueberries and mango. 

Spoon the batter into your muffin pan and sprinkle the coconut on top, pressing in gently to make sure it sticks. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (Note: it might be hard to test when they are done because of all the fruit inside, so try to find a dry spot in the muffins to insert your toothpick tester).

Makes about 9 muffins.

September 19, 2011

Yellow Split Pea Salad

Before the Fall season officially starts in just a few days, I have one more recipe from this summer to post!

I have cooked yellow split peas a number of times when making dhal and soups, but I had never tried them in a salad before. Then when I saw a recipe for a yellow split pea, tomato and avocado salad on Taste of Beirut, I thought it sounded so good and couldn't wait to try it!

I changed the recipe slightly by using grape tomatoes instead of chopped tomatoes, dried parsley instead of fresh (only because I didn't have any), and I added some chopped peanuts for extra texture.

The result was a rich, creamy and delicious salad! It was actually very filling for a vegetarian salad. I also though the tahini dressing went really well with it, and I loved how colourful the ingredients looked together before I mixed in the dressing:

Yellow Split Pea Salad
Adapted from Taste of Beirut

1/2 cup dried yellow split peas
heaping 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped parsley (or use about 1/2 tsp dried parsley)
2-3 tbsp roughly chopped unsalted peanuts (optional)

2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp plain low-fat yogurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Bring about 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the peas and reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 25 minutes, until softened (they should be soft enough to chew, but still firm enough that they would not mash easily). Note: keep an eye on the pot during the last half of cooking time - if the water starts to dry up, add some more to prevent the peas from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Drain the peas and rinse with cold water. Place the peas in a large bowl, and add the diced tomato, avocado, and parsley.

In a separate bowl, stir together all of the ingredients for the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Add more seasoning if necessary.

Garnish with the chopped peanuts, if desired.

Makes 2 servings.

September 16, 2011

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Treats from Other Blogs

When I see a recipe that I like in a cookbook or on a blog, I will usually try to adapt it in some way to make it more of my own. But sometimes, a recipe looks perfect just the way it is.  I find that this is most often the case with baking and dessert recipes - any changes you make will likely affect the way something turns out, and not necessarily in a good way!

So in the spirit of honouring original recipes, I thought I would dedicate a post to recipes from other blogs that I have made recently and loved.

And to narrow down the list a bit, I'll focus on vegan treats - cookies, cupcakes, and other bite sized goodies!


Note: All photos below are my own - just click on the links to see the original post and recipes!

1) Funfetti Cookies from Chocolate Covered Katie
This may be the first time I have ever baked anything with sprinkles, and I have to say, I loved them! Not only were they adorable, but they were so tasty too! I liked the texture - nice and soft, almost like raw dough balls. I intended to make these for kids, but I still ate more than my share myself!

2) Raw Macaroons from Sketch-Free Vegan Eating
I love coconut and these were definitely full of it! I made both the chocolate and vanilla versions for my family, but I liked these vanilla ones better.

3) Chickpea Coconut Blondies from Forgiving Martha
I love the idea of baking with beans - I've posted my version of chickpea granola bars, but before those I made these chickpea blondies with coconut - they were so good!

4) Cappuccino Muffins from Of Cookies and Carrots
These tasted like a decadent treat, even though they were actually very healthy! I used cappuccino-flavoured soy milk to bring out the coffee flavour even more.

5) Carrot Cake Cookies from Oh She Glows
These bite sized cookies tasted like a much healthier version of carrot cake, without the frosting. They made a great snack or dessert!

6) Single Lady Strawberry Cupcake from Chocolate Covered Katie

I made these a couple of times during fresh strawberry season - it was so easy to whip up a sweet treat for myself for breakfast, without needing to make a whole batch of muffins.

7) Carnival Cookies from Super Natural Every Day
These cookies from Heidi Swanson's latest cookbook were highly recommended to me by my sister, so I had to try them myself. She was right, they were so tasty and full of goodies - peanuts, chocolate chips and even popcorn! The people I shared them with raved about them too.

8) Chocolate Chip Banana Oat Cake from Oh She Glows
I can't tell you how much I absolutely loved this breakfast cake. The best part was that it includes actual banana chunks instead of pureed bananas. I also highly recommend the peanut butter-banana glaze on top - I don't know why I had never thought of it before!

9) Besan Laddoos from Hobby and More
I haven't had much success so far in my attempts to make Indian sweets at home. I came closer with these sweet laddoos full of chopped cashews and raisins, but I still made some mistakes like almost burning my flour mixture and not adding enough liquid to keep them from drying out. I still enjoyed them though!

10) Frosty No-Bake Glo Cakes from Oh She Glows
These frozen granola treats were great during the summer. I enjoyed them straight from the freezer, crumbled over frozen yogurt, and also softened up a bit to room temperature. I followed the advice at the end of the post and left out the chocolate chips.

September 14, 2011

Raw Zucchini Roll-Ups

Yesterday I posted my first version of raw zucchini lasagna - layered stacks of peeled vegetables with cashew cheese and raw tomato sauce.

Then since I still had leftover cashew cheese and tomato sauce the next day, I decided to reconstruct the lasagna into a different form - zucchini roll-ups! I got the idea after seeing some raw zucchini sushi rolls on the blog For the Love of Food.

These were pretty easy and fun to make and I liked that they were more bite sized compared to the lasagna, so they would be a good appetizer to serve!

After trying both versions of my raw zucchini lasagna now, I can't decide which one I liked better!

Raw Zucchini Roll-Ups
Inspired by For the Love of Food

I don't have an exact "recipe" for this, but here is what I did:
(Also, see my raw zucchini lasagna post or the zucchini sushi rolls at the link above for additional help!)

You need:
about 1/2 a large zucchini
1/2 a carrot
1/2 a beet
cashew cheese
raw tomato sauce

Peel or slice the zucchini into wide, thin strips. Peel the carrot and raw beet and slice into equally sized pieces with a knife.

Lay out a strip of zucchini and place a spoonful of cashew cheese on one end. Lay a few slices each of carrot and beet on top of the cheese. Roll up the zucchini and secure with a toothpick.

Repeat for as many roll-ups as you like. Top with the raw tomato sauce.

Makes 6 roll-ups (using amounts above)

September 13, 2011

Raw Zucchini Lasagna

Recently, I've become more intrigued by raw foods - as you can see from my raw beet apple carrot salad, raw corn avocado chowder, and raw zucchini noodles. I don't see myself converting to a fully raw food diet anytime soon, but I do enjoy making the occasional meal or dessert out of purely raw ingredients - I just feel so good about what I'm eating when it's all unprocessed, because I know I'm getting as many nutrients as possible!

But since a lot of raw food recipes still intimidate me a bit, as they often require ingredients I have never heard of, I don't make a lot of raw food meals for myself at home. So when I had the chance to try a raw zucchini lasagna at a vegetarian restaurant that I went to recently, I couldn't wait to order it! The dish was described as "A delicate vegetable stack topped with cashew cheese and raw tomato basil sauce on a bed of organic greens". And when it appeared in front of me (see picture below), I immediately started thinking of how I could recreate it myself at home!

As you can see from the picture of my version at the top of this post, I think my reproduction turned out pretty good! I have to say, it was more work than I would normally put into a meal, but it was also a lot of fun!

I was the most excited to make the cashew cheese - something I have been wanting to try for a while. That was probably my favourite component of the dish, although it didn't stand out that much once it was mixed in between all the layers of vegetables.

For the vegetables, I chose to use peeled carrots, beets and parsnips, in addition to the slices of zucchini. I really loved this combination, especially the sweetness of the raw beets. It also helped that all of the ingredients that I used (the vegetables, tomatoes and garlic) were fresh from the farmer's market.

So as long as you don't expect this to taste anything like real lasagna, and if you like eating raw vegetables as much as I do, then you will love this raw-zagna!

Raw Zucchini Lasagna
Inspired by the "Rawzagna" dish at Veg Out Restaurant

Note: These are the approximate amounts that I used for a large individual serving, but you can use whatever amounts of vegetables that you like!

about 1/2 a large zucchini
1/2 a carrot
1/2 a parsnip (or use more carrot)
1/2 a medium beet
cashew cheese (recipe below)
raw tomato sauce (recipe below)

Peel the green skin off the zucchini and discard. Using a knife or a vegetable peeler, slice into very thin, wide strips. You will want enough strips for 3 layers of lasagna.

Peel the skin off the carrot, parsnip and beet, then peel them into thin strips using a vegetable peeler. Aim for uniform lengths of all the vegetables.

To assemble the lasagna, start by laying a few slices of zucchini on a plate. Next, add a layer of the peeled carrot, parsnip and beet. Top with a few dollops of cashew cheese and a large spoonful of tomato sauce. Repeat for two more layers, ending with a generous amount of sauce on top.

Raw Cashew "Cheese"
Recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini

3/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp sea salt

Soak the cashews in a container filled with water for a few hours. Drain and place in a food processor or blender. Add 1/4 cup water and the rest of the ingredients. Process until mixture is fully blended.

Transfer to a container and let sit for at least 12 hours (the original recipe says 24 hours) before placing in the fridge.

Makes 3/4 cup (more than you will need for this recipe, but you can save the leftovers for up to 5 days for other uses)

Raw Tomato Sauce
Adapted from The Parsley Thief

1 lb tomatoes (I used about 3 medium tomatoes)
1 clove of garlic
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp of sliced fresh basil leaves
1/2 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground pepper

Chop the tomatoes and place in a blender.

Smash the garlic with the salt until it resembles a paste.

Add the garlic paste, basil, olive oil and some pepper to the blender.

Pulse the mixture in the blender a few times until it is roughly blended. Transfer to a container and let sit for about an hour before using.

**Stay tuned to see version #2 of my raw zucchini lasagna - reconstructed!**

September 11, 2011

Strawberry-Banana-Coconut Pancakes for One

When it comes to breakfast, I don't often take the time to make anything too fancy or special. But on the occasional lazy Sunday morning, I do enjoy a stack of homemade pancakes!

The problem with making pancakes just for myself is that it's hard to make the right amount for a single serving, especially since most recipes are designed with large families in mind. So when it came to finding a recipe for single serving pancakes, I turned to Chocolate Covered Katie, who has lots of pancake and cupcake recipes that make just the right amount for one person! And the best part about these recipes is that they are all vegan, which means you don't have to attempt to measure out a fraction of an egg in order to adapt the recipe for one serving!

Katie's recipe for blueberry pie pancakes have gotten a lot of attention around the web, so I knew that they would be good. But instead of using blueberries, I wanted to include some of my other favourite ingredients - strawberries, bananas and coconut!

For assembling the pancakes, I was inspired by a recipe for Strawberry Shortcake Stacked Pancakes that I saw on one of my other favourite blogs, Oh She Glows. I loved the idea of layering the pancakes with slices of fruit and topping it with a thick, creamy "soft serve" type sauce.

So I decided to combine the two recipes. For the pancakes themselves, I used Katie's recipe:

Vegan Single Serve Pancakes 

I followed the recipe at the link above, but with the following modifications:
I used light spelt for the flour, and coconut milk beverage (from the carton, not the can) for the liquid. I also left out the blueberries, and added 2 tbsp of unsweetened shredded coconut to the batter to bring out the coconut flavour even more.

I have to say, I think these are my favourite pancakes that I've ever had, even just plain! Not only did I love the taste of them, but they were so fluffy!

See how fat these guys were...

But then topping them with the frozen strawberry-banana sauce took them from great to amazing! Even though making that sauce broke my blender (it was getting old anyway, and apparently couldn't handle frozen strawberries), it was worth it! I was a bit worried that topping pancakes with a cold sauce instead of maple syrup might be strange, but I actually really liked them that way!

I also liked the fact that I didn't feel stuffed after eating these pancakes - they were actually pretty light and not too filling, which I prefer when eating breakfast.

Here is the recipe I used for the sauce:

Strawberry Banana Soft Serve
Adapted from Oh She Glows

half a frozen banana, chopped
one and a half frozen strawberries, thawed slightly and chopped
1-2 tbsp yogurt (I used strawberry-banana flavoured yogurt)

Place all ingredients in a powerful blender and process until smooth.

To assemble the pancakes:

Once the pancakes have cooked, place them on a plate and top with sliced fruit and the strawberry banana soft serve. You can make these more fun by stacking the pancakes with layers of sliced bananas and/or strawberries and the soft serve in between each pancake.

Since I only made two pancakes, the stacked effect wasn't as stunning as Angela's pancakes...and when I looked at my photos afterwards, I realized I had inadvertently created a little pancake monster (see his eyes and tongue sticking out):

This is definitely my new go-to recipe for single serving pancakes...and even though I loved the strawberry-banana-coconut combination, I'm looking forward to trying other ways of stacking them - I already have Angela's spiced pumpkin butter pancakes in mind for the fall!

September 09, 2011

Spinach Tofu Patties

I love vegetarian burgers because they're usually packed with lots of vegetables and other yummy ingredients, and there are so many ways to enjoy them - you can put them in between a bun and dress them up with your favourite toppings, but they are often just as good or even better on their own, without the bun! 

These patties definitely fit into the latter category. They are so flavourful that I preferred to just eat them with a fork rather than hiding them in a bun underneath other toppings. 

The patties themselves are actually made with tofu, but you would probably never guess just by looking at them (and you could probably serve these to a tofu-hater without them knowing either!) They are also filled with spinach and asian flavours like sesame oil and soy sauce. I decided to add some peanut butter to mine too, to go with a sort of asian peanut sauce theme. 

Once cooked, they held their shape well (which can be a problem with other veggie burgers), but they were still soft and easily broke apart with a fork when eaten that way. 

The original recipe didn't include a sauce to go with them, but since I love my condiments, I brainstormed what type of topping I could make for them. I immediately thought of a yogurt sauce, like the tahini yogurt sauce that I made for my beet burgers. I still think that would go really well with them, but I ended up choosing a different sauce. To keep with the asian flavours, I made a peanut chutney using a recipe that I've been wanting to try for a while. It's actually meant to be a dipping sauce so it's quite thick, but it was really good!

I loved eating the patties on top of naan bread with the peanut chutney spread on top, but feel free to use another sauce or just eat these plain! 

Spinach Tofu Patties
Adapted from Joanne of Eats Well With Others, as seen on Marcus Samuelsson's Blog

1/2 lb spinach
1 scallion, minced (I left this out)
1 clove garlic, minced
175 grams tofu (about half a block)
1/4 cup panko or bread crumbs
2 tbsp sesame seeds (I used the toasted kind)
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1.5 tbsp peanut butter
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for one minute. Then drain the spinach and plunge it into a bowl of ice water. Once it has cooled, drain the water and squeeze out as much additional water from the spinach as you can with your hands. Chop the drained spinach finely and place aside in a bowl.

Add the minced garlic and scallion (if using) to the spinach. Crumble half of the tofu with your hands into the bowl with the spinach mixture. Process the other half of the tofu in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the pureed tofu to the bowl, along with the bread crumbs, sesame seeds, soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, and a dash of salt and pepper.

Stir everything together until it is fully mixed. Form into 4 patties (or less if you want larger patties), flattening the top and bottom.

Heat a bit of vegetable oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the patties to the pan and cook, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes, or until they are nicely browned. Carefully flip and cook the other side for another 3-4 minutes.

Serve warm with buns or pitas, or simply top with your favourite sauce (like the peanut chutney recipe below)

Makes 4 patties (the original recipe said it made 4, and I cut the recipe in half and still got 4).

Peanut Chutney Sauce
Recipe from Smells Like Home

2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp mango chutney
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 small clove garlic, minced
pinch of salt and red pepper flakes
1-2 tbsp of water to thin if necessary

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.

Makes enough for 4 patties.

September 07, 2011

Chickpea Salad with Mexican Mango Dressing

I first saw the recipe for this salad on the blog My New Roots more than a year ago and thought it looked and sounded amazing. Somehow, it took me until now to finally make it, and now that I've tasted it, I wish I had tried it sooner!

This was such a bright, colourful, refreshing and delicious meal. I also loved the different textures from the raw crunchy vegetables, the soft chickpeas and the creamy avocado. But my favourite part was the dressing - smooth mango blended with lime juice and mexican spices...definitely a dressing you will want to slurp off your plate!

I did make a few changes to the original recipe, so my version is below. Since I couldn't find any jicama, I used kohlrabi because it has a similar texture. I also completely forgot to include the spinach, but I think it worked out better that way, because I didn't want the leftovers to get soggy in the fridge (which I was afraid would happen if the spinach soaked up the dressing). I would also recommend adding the avocado to the salad itself as I did, rather than only serving it on the side.

I hope you try this recipe, and don't wait as long as I did to make it - you won't regret it!

Chickpea Salad with Mexican Mango Dressing
Adapted from My New Roots

1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 red pepper
3 carrots
1/2 a kohlrabi (or jicama)
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
handful of toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
pinch of cayenne + pinch of chili flakes (or 1/4 tsp of any chili spice you like)

To make the dressing, place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Season to taste.

Peel and chop all the vegetables for the salad - you should aim for uniformly thin slices of red pepper, carrots and kohlrabi.

Place the drained chickpeas in a large bowl and pour the dressing over top. Add in the sliced vegetables, avocado and cilantro, and stir until the dressing is completely mixed in.

Keep in refrigerator until you are ready to eat. Garnish each serving with toasted pumpkin seeds if desired.

Makes at least 3-4 servings. This will keep well in the fridge for a few days (I think I liked it even more after it had been sitting in the fridge!)

This is my submission to My Legume Love Affair hosted by What Would Cathy Eat 

September 05, 2011

Coconut Lavender Lace Cookies

One thing I love about cooking at my parents' house is that they have a garden full of fresh herbs that can be picked right at the time you want to use them, so you aren't left with a fridge full of dying basil or mint once you've used the amount you need.

When I found out there would be lavender growing in their garden this year, I started keeping my eye out for any recipes that use fresh lavender. I've never tried cooking or baking with it before, but I liked the sound of a delicate floral scone or cookie.

After searching for the perfect lavender recipe to try out first, I decided on these Lavender Lace Cookies. I usually prefer soft and puffy cookies over thin and crispy ones, but these actually sounded really good - especially with the addition of coconut.

I was a little worried that they wouldn't turn out right since I've never tried making lace cookies, but luckily they came out perfect! They were thin and chewy and had a sweet and buttery taste, even though there was very little butter in them. The lavender actually wasn't very noticeable, but I realized afterwards that the plant I used probably wasn't quite ready yet...since there were no actual flowers growing, I picked the little leaves instead and used those. The leaves are still edible but they didn't have as strong of a flowery scent, which you would get from the buds. I would still like to try these with the actual lavender flowers, but even without them, these little cookies were great!

The recipe also makes a large batch, but they still disappeared quickly! Since they are so tiny and light, you won't be able to stop after eating just one!

Coconut Lavender Lace Cookies
Recipe from Very Small Anna

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tbsp fresh lavender, chopped very finely (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 egg
2 tbsp melted butter (unsalted)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
2/3 cup rolled oats

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the lavender into the sugar until the sugar becomes grainy and the lavender is incorporated throughout.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg. Stir the lavender sugar mixture. Then add in the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop the cookie mixture onto the baking sheet about an inch apart, using a half teaspoon measure (just drop the rounded spoonfuls without flattening them - they will spread out while baking).

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet until they have hardened, then remove with a spatula.

Makes 3-4 dozen small cookies (this is the amount I got using the half teaspoon measure)

September 02, 2011

Mango, Cucumber & Squash Rice Salad

I made this salad a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to make sure I shared it before the summer ends!

The recipe comes from the summer issue of Food Network Magazine, which I love reading. I must have passed over this recipe when I first saw it in the magazine, but then when it appeared on Perry's Plate, it suddenly became much more appealing and I knew I wanted to make it!

This is a cold rice salad that uses a mix of grains, a light dressing and a combination of fresh ingredients that make it a healthy and refreshing summer meal. In addition to the mango and cucumber, I added some raw pattypan squash - I saw it at my local natural food store the day I planned on making this salad and it was so adorable that I had to buy some! The salad would still be great without it, but I liked having an extra vegetable in there.

If you're looking for a nice summery dish to make this Labour Day weekend, I recommend this recipe! It would also be great to bring to a potluck or a BBQ as a side dish because it makes a large amount.

Mango, Cucumber & Squash Rice Salad
Adapted from Food Network Magazine, as seen on Perry's Plate

1.5 cups uncooked rice blend (I just used a packaged mix of long grain and wild rice)
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 large mango, peeled and diced
About 1/2 to 2/3 of an English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
2 pattypan squash (or 1 summer squash), diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
zest and juice of one lime
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp agave nectar
Pinch of salt and ground pepper

First, cook the rice and quinoa. If you are using microwaveable rice: Cook the rice according to package directions. Bring a small pot of water to a boil on the stove. Add the quinoa and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes before lifting the lid and fluffing the quinoa with a fork.

If you are not using microwaveable rice: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice and cook about 15 minutes. Then add the quinoa to the water and cook an additional 15 minutes.

When the rice and quinoa are done cooking, drain and spread out on a baking sheet or shallow dish. Put the dish in the freezer to cool down.

Meanwhile, whisk together the lime juice, zest, oil, agave, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Prepare the remaining ingredients (mango, cucumber, squash, jalapeno, nuts and cilantro).

When the rice and quinoa have cooled, transfer them to a large bowl. Add the remaining salad ingredients and pour the dressing overtop. Toss to combine.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Season with additional salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lime juice when serving if desired.

Makes about 4.5 cups.


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