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Hummus Wrap with Homemade Pita BreadHomemade PizzaVegan Grilled Portobello Mushroom SandwichesSave Room for Vegan Apple CrispMaking Hummus at HomeMake Excellent Cheddar Biscuits using this One Weird Trick! (And I'm going to Tell You What it is.)Chipotle Refried Black Beans from ScratchWarm your Bones with Three-Lentil Dal Tadka

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Chana Masala is About the Most Fun You Can Have with Chickpeas

Like many Toronto people, my introduction to chana masala came from one of the many outstanding Indian buffet restaurants that I was addicted to in my 20s. When you think about it, these restaurants are unique in big cities for the proportion of their menus that are devoted to vegetarian offerings, and their dedication to spiciness, two very important qualities when looking for a place to eat out, IMHO. Chana masala was always a big part of the magnetic pull toward these restaurants, a pull that I found pretty much impossible to resist. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: vegan, healthy, Indian, chickpeas, curry, spicy

Szechuan Eggplant from Scratch (No Sauce from a Jar)

Like I've said before, one of the perks of living in a big city like Toronto is the exposure to all different kinds of food. If it wasn't for Asian food in particular, I would have left this city a long time ago. I've been in love with szechuan eggplant since the first time I had it at a restaurant. I'm not going to lie, this is a spicy one, and it's not going to be everybody's cup of tea. But the aromas and flavours of the szechuan spices go much deeper than just "hot". Of course I've tried to duplicate it at home using szechuan sauce from a jar, but of course it never even came close. For this recipe, I decided to try to use the internet to unlock the secret and make a passable szechuan eggplant from scratch. More

Filed under: Recipes > Side Dishes

Tags: szechuan, Chinese, vegan, healthy, spicy

Save Room for Vegan Apple Crisp

Of course, apple crisp is a classic. Tangy apples on the bottom are set off against a sweet, crumbly oatmeal topping. Butter is usually a big part of that topping. As an experiment, I wanted to see whether I could use a combination of plant-based oils to produce the crumbly-but-substantial texture that gave this dessert its name. More

Filed under: Recipes > Desserts

Tags: vegan, comfort_food, apples, dessert, coconut

Aloo Gobi will Make your Mouth Happy

Cauliflower is one of the in-vogue vegetables right now. It seems like you can't start up a browser without seeing a cauliflower used as some kind of stand-in for carbs: a rice substitute, a bread ingredient or even the base of a pizza crust. As tempting as these nutritious replacements are, you can never go wrong with the classics. And aloo gobi is definitely a classic cauliflower dish. The magic is in the spice -- a perfect blend of spicy, tangy and salty. It's a popular North Indian accompaniment and a delicious way to get your cauliflower. More

Filed under: Recipes > Side Dishes

Tags: vegan, comfort_food, cauliflower, potatoes, Indian, spicy

Grilled Tofu in Garlic Lemon Sauce

Tofu is an acquired taste for sure, and it's a rare person who is a fan on first tasting. Common complaints include blandness and a gelatinous texture. I felt the same way at first, but I'm glad I stuck with tofu past these early impressions. (Who really liked beer the first time they tasted it?) Over time I developed a taste for tofu. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: vegan, tofu, garlic, lemon, healthy, grilling

Grilled Tempeh Bowl with Vegan Mushroom Gravy

In many North American meat-eating households, family celebrations almost always feature turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and veggies. A lot of us grew up participating in these celebrations and the memories are deep-seated. KFC taps into these memories quite effectively by marketing a bowl consisting of mashed potatoes, corn, chicken and gravy. What if we could make a vegan version of that bowl with a good source of protein and a vegan gravy that actually tastes good? More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: vegan, comfort_food, tempeh, gravy, potatoes, mushrooms

East Meets West Black Bean Burrito

Vegan burritos deserve to have daring and exotic ingredients that complement eachother and leave you satisfied. I was at a local burrito place not too long ago with just such a vegan offering, one that actually seemed more appetizing to me than anything else on their menu. It was chock full of interesting flavours and textures to the point that every bite was different than the one before. I left pleasantly full with my mouth slightly burning and my mind percolating ideas about concocting something similar at home. Toronto's vast cultural mosaic inspires me yet again. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: vegan, burrito, Mexican, Chinese, noodles, beans

Homemade Flour Tortillas

My experiences with store-bought tortillas made from corn have been pretty positive for the most part, probably because I get them very close to where they're made. Not so for flour tortillas -- I can't say that I've gotten a big hit of enjoyment from any package of flour tortillas that I've bought at a store. There's something faintly acrid about the flavour and something about the texture that screams "factory." So, I've been wanting to learn how to make flour tortillas from scratch for quite some time. More

Filed under: Recipes > Bread

Tags: Mexican, tortillas, comfort_food, vegan

Hummus Wrap with Homemade Pita Bread

I work in a hospital during the week and I (very) occasionally have to avail myself of the trucked-in meals. The one thing in this factory-supplied, mini-cafe nightmare that I can count on for flavour, freshness and even nutrition is a pita wrap with hummus, romaine lettuce and shredded carrot. Inexplicably, the pita is always soft and fresh, the hummus tastes homemade and the raw veggies are crisp and abundant. Rather than tempt fate by becoming dependent on this pita-wrapped oasis in the desert of institutionally outsourced "food," I decided to try to duplicate it at home. Last week, I bought one and took it apart to reverse engineer it. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: vegan, healthy, hummus, pita, wrap, carrot

Big Soft Pitas for Wraps

I have a recurring need for big, soft pita bread that I can use for wraps. We're talking twelve inches in diameter, thin enough to wrap around the wrap's goodies, and strong enough to do so without falling apart. As usual, I turned to the internet for inspiration and then started experimenting. More

Filed under: Recipes > Bread

Tags: pita, bread, vegan, healthy

Chipotle Refried Black Beans from Scratch

Let's be honest, we're just talking here, would it be fair to say that our past experiences with refried beans from a can have been somewhat ho-hum? That's the way I feel about it, but I can't be sure whether my memories of refried beans past have been blandified by the flavour dynamite that I experiences with this recipe. The source of the explosion is not difficult to pinpoint: it's the smoky heat of chipotle. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: vegan, Mexican, chipotle, beans, healthy, spicy

Making Hummus at Home

How many 63% off sales do you remember seeing at your local grocery store? Not at any store I've ever been to. If my back-of-the-envelope calculations are right, that's the discount I get when I make my own hummus instead of buying it ready-made at the store. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: hummus, chickpeas, healthy, vegan

Vegan Black Bean Tacos from Scratch

A few months ago, I set a little challenge for myself. I love the black bean tacos at the local Mexican burrito place. The challenge was to duplicate these beauties at home using just the basic raw ingredients. And by that, I mean starting with a pound of dry black beans and two cups of corn flour. Well, the last few months have included a few, umm let's call them learning experiences. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: vegan, tacos, healthy, beans, avocado, corn, tortilla, Mexican

Low Carb and Vegan: Spicy Tofu with Roasted Veggies

Vegetarian cooking, and especially vegan cooking, requires conscious attention to key nutrient levels, including protein. The good news is that most vegetarians quickly develop the skills needed to manage their nutritional needs. That's not to say that there aren't challenges. It can be a struggle to design vegetarian meals that have enough protein but don't cause unintentional carbo-loading. Examples are all around us. This meal combines tofu with roasted vegetables, for all the flavour without all the carbs. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: vegan, healthy, tofu, broccoli, mushroom, sweet_potato, brussels_sprouts, spicy

Vegan Fried Noodles with Lots of Veggies

I've always wondered about the magical flavour combinations that make up chow mein. When I see it in restaurants here, it's usually a very simple noodle dish with nothing but beansprouts and green onions as accompaniment. But whenever I've had it, there's always been this mysterious synergy going on between the noodles the sauce, which I've never been able to duplicate at home. Well, the internet has satisfied my curiosity and my appetite at the same time. Again. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: vegan, noodles, Chinese, soy, comfort_food

Corn Tortillas are Easy to Screw Up, but also Easy to Get Right (And I've Done Both)

Making corn tortillas at home. It sounds simple, doesn't it? Needless to say, my own learning curve has not been a slow and steady climb. I've made some barely recognizable, practically inedible corn frisbees out of what seems like a very straightforward recipe. Along the way, I've also learned a couple of simple techniques to make them properly, which I want to share with you. More

Filed under: Recipes > Bread

Tags: corn, tortilla, Mexican, vegan, tacos

Vegan Grilled Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches

We all know that grilled portobello mushrooms are great in a sandwich. That's why I wasn't too upset when the portobello panini was literally the only vegetarian option at a friend's favourite pub. With the first bite, it was clear that I would be having a great meal. I know this is going to sound strange, but what put this sandwich over the top was a bed of wilted spinach. It just worked. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: vegan, mushroom, grill, healthy, hummus, spinach

Quin-Bean Hash is Nothing Like any other Hash

You can call me Quin-Bean and baby I'll ruleeee... More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: vegan, healthy, quinoa, kidney_bean, beans, chickpeas, cashews

Make Excellent Cheddar Biscuits using this One Weird Trick! (And I'm going to Tell You What it is.)

Before I get to the one weird trick for making light, fluffy biscuits, I want to sell you a special report. No, just kidding, you can have the trick for free. More

Filed under: Recipes > Bread

Tags: cheese, cheddar, comfort_food, biscuits, pastries, breakfast

Warm your Bones with Three-Lentil Dal Tadka

Like many large cities, Toronto has special neighbourhoods where specific ethnicities are concentrated to the point that they form the predominant character of those neighbourhoods. Slightly east of downtown, there is a stretch of one of the major east-west roads known to Torontonians as Little India. You know that you're in Little India when you start to smell an intoxicating combination of incense and spices wafting from the storefronts. I've come to associate the aromas of the neighbourhood with the waistband-stretching satisfaction of truly outstanding vegetarian food. After a few visits to Little India as a tourist, a natural curiosity starts to develop. How do they do it? Is there any possible way that I could reproduce these flavours in my kitchen? More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: dal, Indian, lentil, curry, healthy, vegan, spicy

Decadent Yes, Vegan Also Yes!

I have a confession to make. Ever since I worked downtown, I've been hooked on the Starbucks fruit and oat cookie. I try to fight it, but in the 15 minutes after lunch, the temptation of a nice stroll outside, a hot coffee and one of these beautiful cookies is just too strong. I knew I would try to make something similar eventually. I also knew I would try to stay away from the usual cookie ingredients. More

Filed under: Recipes > Desserts

Tags: vegan, oatmeal, fruit, coconut, dessert, maple_syrup, raisins

Deluxe Vegan Macaroni and Fake Cheese with Spinach and Mushrooms

That would be a yes -- a big, emphatic "you betcha." In fact, I had been feeling like the earlier vegan macaroni and no-cheese recipe needed something more, something to make it a little more interesting to eat and also something to give it a little more nutritional oomph. Something like baby spinach. I also think sauteed mushrooms play nicely with the lemon in the sauce. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: spinach, vegan, macaroni, pasta, comfort_food

Sesame Ginger Noodles with Tofu

Cliches are sometimes cliches for good reason. The combination of sesame and ginger in Japanese cooking is so tried-and-true that its absence is more noticeable than its presence. Add some soy sauce, rice vinegar, some form of sweetener, and a little heat, and you've got a delicious cliche. This magical mixture provides the much needed personality for otherwise bland tofu and udon noodles. Crisp carrots and sugarsnap peas make it a well-rounded meal. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: sesame, ginger, japanese, tofu, vegan, carrots, peas, noodles

Warm up with Some Potato Leek Soup

My quest for warmth and comfort in the form of thick soup continues. This time, I'm looking for a creamy-but-vegan potato leek soup. Will I be satisfied? I can't wait to find out. More

Filed under: Recipes > Soups

Tags: vegan, soup, potatoes, leek, comfort_food

New England (No-)Clam Vegan Chowder

The craving for soup, commencing as soon as the temperature starts edging toward the freezing mark, is so universal that it must be coded somewhere in our DNA. This is actually a good time of year for vegans, because soup is one craving that is relatively easy to satisfy. This recipe is a vegan chowder with a pureed cauliflower base, flavoured with nutritional yeast. And it actually tastes good. More

Filed under: Recipes > Soups

Tags: vegan, nutritional_yeast, cauliflower, chowder, soy, soup

The Veggie Burger that Ate Manhattan

I'm not going to lie to you -- making this vegan burger requires a bit of a commitment. It's not something you can whip up between work and dinner time. On the plus side, the recipe makes a 10-12 patties depending on how big you like them, and they freeze well. You can eat half now and freeze the rest for later, which would make your effort now a partial investment toward your future eating. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: tofu, healthy, vegan, flax, lentil, burger, tex-mex

Get your Quinoa and Beans with a Side of Flavour

The internet tells us that quinoa has been around as a basic food staple in parts of South America for three or four thousand years, but has only recently become popular in other parts of the world. And there are plenty of good reasons for its rise in popularity: nutritionally, quinoa is a bit of a rockstar. This recipe combines quinoa with classic Tex-Mex flavours. Technically, it's a side-dish, and you can definitely serve it as a small part of a larger meal, but I find it fills a plate well by itself and always makes a satisfying meal. Part of the reason for that satisfaction is the high protein content for sure, but the emotional comfort of the combination of beans, onions, corn, cumin and cilantro is definitely part of the draw. More

Filed under: Recipes > Side Dishes

Tags: quinoa, beans, healthy, vegan, tex-mex

Vegan Macaroni and (No) Cheese

I don't think it's any kind of exaggeration to call macaroni and cheese the ultimate childhood comfort food. I'm always on the lookout for jazzed up variations that can satisfy my inner seven year old while offering my adult mouth something a little more interesting. In this vegan take on the classic, the no-cheese sauce is based on ground cashews combined with a mix of harmonious flavours and textures that perfectly complement the elbow macaroni. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: vegan, nutritional_yeast, cashews, soy, nuts, comfort_food

Spinach Fatayer Panzerotti

One of my earliest and most delicious memories of the move to Toronto was made one morning riding shotgun in my boss' car. He had grown up in Lebanon, but had been in Toronto long enough to know the hidden treasures of its food establishments -- the places you don't see in tourist guides. We were driving along, talking about the upcoming meeting, when he suddenly made a U-turn, saying something in an excited voice about the fatayer being made fresh on Tuesdays. He was mostly talking to himself because I had no idea what fatayer were. He ducked into a little shop and emerged ten minutes later with a couple dozen little pastry miracles. I was hooked. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: Lebanese, spinach, panzerotti, fatayer, vegan

Meet your Daily Maple Syrup Requirements with Fudge

Who can say what it is about the holidays that makes us want to bake? I realize there's a practical side to it -- without a pile of baking, those big family dinners would be just a bunch of people sitting awkwardly in a room. And it's important to have something nice in your hands to give Aunt Gwen to say thanks for the ridiculously long day of cooking she just completed. But beyond the practical considerations and family obligations, baking around the holidays imbues us with a kind of internal emotional glow that you don't get from cooking at other times of the year. It probably has to do with deap-seated memories of childhood sugar rushes and laughter around the dining room table. More

Filed under: Recipes > Desserts

Tags: dessert, maple_syrup, comfort_food

Fun with Queso Fundido

I grew up in Windsor, Canada, just across the river from Detroit. When I was a student, one of our favourite destinations in the Motor City was a small strip of Mexican restaurants just on the other side of the border. The flaming cheese (queso flameado) appetizer was always a big reason for making the trip. Rich melted cheese and a spicy sauce served with fresh tortillas has to be pretty close to the very definition of comfort food. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: cheese, Mexican, comfort_food

The Flavour Explosion that is Tapenade

I think of tapenade in somewhat the same way that I think about pesto. Both are fairly simple to make -- you just combine a bunch of interesting ingredients in a food processor and let them mingle with eachother. Another similarity is the richness of the the flavours, flavours so rich in fact that you might be a little put off by their intensity and unfamiliarity the first time you taste them. Foods that start out being too intense to love often become my favourites with repeated tasting. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: olives, appetizer

Some Decent Faux Meat with Rice and Fresh Greens

If you've ever tried to find a satisfying non-meat substitute for dishes where you would typically use meat, you know how difficult it can be. The price you usually pay for the herbivorous alternative is a rubbery texture and a bland flavour (with a faint undertone of sawdust). That's why I was so happy to find Oh Naturel Meatless Meatballs, a soy and wheat based fake meat product that actually tastes good. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: rice, vegetarian, kale, vegetables, healthy, soy, vegan

Nothing Says Saturday Morning like Blueberry Pancakes

Picture a Saturday morning in mid-winter. Saturday-morning-type jazz is playing on the radio. The smell of fresh brewed coffee is wafting. A light snow is falling and the kitchen window is pleasantly half-fogged. The realization that you have no commitments today causes you to smile contentedly. Does this scene not scream out for blueberry pancakes? More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes > Breakfast

Tags: pancakes, blueberries, comfort_food, maple_syrup

Stir-Fried Veggies can be the Whole Meal

In his interesting book, Eat to Live, Joel Fuhrman challenges the typical notion of what constitutes a meal. His plan emphasizes nutrient-rich foods like whole fruits and vegetables over the high-calorie, low-nutrient staples of the typical western diet. Here is a simple vegetable stir-fry that does just fine as a meal all by itself, without any extras like rice or noodles. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: stir-fry, vegetables, healthy, vegan

A Couple of Sweet Potato Grilling Ideas

Sweet potato is one of the foods that the diet gurus are always trying to get you to eat. You'll hear terms like anti-oxidant, beta carotene and complex carbohydrate. I don't dislike them, but I can't say I've ever come home from work with a sweet potato craving. Since I started making a serious effort to improve my diet, I've been looking for ways to work more of these "good" carbs into my regular menu. More

Filed under: Recipes > Side Dishes

Tags: grill, sweet_potato, vegetables, healthy, vegan

Blueberry Scones

I'm going to confess right off the bat that I've never been much of a dessert maker. My major previous experience includes a couple of mediocre banana breads for potlucks at work and the very occasional batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Scones are one of my favourite coffee accompaniments, especially if there's a little fruit in the mix, so I thought I'd give blueberry scones a shot. More

Filed under: Recipes > Desserts

Tags: dessert, pastries, blueberries

Grilling Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms are the steak of the vegetarian world -- they respond very nicely to a BBQ grill, and their juicy flavour and tender texture are extremely steakish. They also get along well with melted cheese... More

Filed under: Recipes > Side Dishes

Tags: mushrooms, grill, healthy, vegan

Yellow Split Pea Dal is Surprisingly Easy to Make

Dal is a thick curried lentil stew. Yellow split pea dal always makes me happy, but especially on cold winter nights. It's also very economical -- you get three or four decent meals for a few pennies worth of split peas and spices. I usually combine it with rice, or if there are leftovers, it's great with toast. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: dal, Indian, lentil, curry, healthy

Simple (but Delicious) Ordinary White Bread

I guess it's a bit of a guilty pleasure, but I really enjoy plain old white bread fresh from the oven.... Homemade bread really has a bit of an undeserved reputation of being a time waster. The initial work is probably about 30 minutes, and then most of the rest of the work is done by the yeast while you're off doing other things. The sight and smell of freshly made bread on a cooling rack makes the time seem completely irrelevant. More

Filed under: Recipes > Bread

Tags: bread

Homemade Pizza

Sure, you can press a few buttons on your phone and get a box of pizza to your door within a half-hour, but you would be missing out on the aroma that your kitchen would acquire from your own pizza creation getting to a state of delicious, bubbly, crispy goodness in your very own oven. And sure, you can get a precision-manufactured frozen pizza for a few bucks at the grocery store that will leave your belly full, but will it leave your soul content? Don't think so... More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: pizza, comfort_food

Perogies with Potato Cheese Filling

In the vast universe of comfort food, perogies have an entire rich galaxy all to themselves. This delicious area of space, known as the sour-cream-way, is densely populated with subtle variations on a basic theme... More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: perogies, comfort_food, cheese

An Illustrated Recipe for Multigrain Buns

Mollie Katzen (of Enchanted Broccoli Forest fame) says that it's difficult to not get wistful when talking about breadmaking. The warm, yeasty smells conjure up memories of home and holidays... More

Filed under: Recipes > Bread

Tags: bread, buns

Making Rice

One of the benefits of living in a big city is easy access to Chinatown. In my case there are two, and one of them is a fifteen-minute walk from my house, through a big park and a quiet neighbourhood. A couple of times each year... More

Filed under: Recipes > Side Dishes

Tags: rice, how-to