Our friend Laura hosted a vegetarian, potluck brunch for her birthday. Emily and I made vegan “eggs benedict” using a recipe from Keepin’ It Kind. They were really good. The only changes we made to the recipe were using a muffin pan to bake the patties and we skipped the liquid smoke for the mushrooms. It was scary how close the consistency of the chickpea patties was to scrambled eggs, although they tasted nothing alike. It’s definitely a recipe I’d use again.
A few weeks ago a friend asked me what my vegan recipe staples were – the tried and true meals that I cook every week because they’re easy and tasty. I love trying new recipes and more often make something new then something I’m familiar with. Oh She Glows is an inspiring source of new recipes. However, there are a few meals I do rely on. Most of them don’t have strict recipes. They’re more meal ideas that I can shape to the ingredients I have in my garden or fridge.
Tacos are quick, easy to make, and easily adaptable to the ingredients you have on hand. Be creative. Almost any vegetable tastes good in a taco. My basic taco has black beans, grilled vegetables, lettuce, and a spicy salsa. I also like adding avocado, pineapple, green onions, roasted beets, and shredded carrots. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making walnut taco meat or jackfruit pulled pork. For a cheesy flavour, you can add nutritional yeast, cashew sour cream, or Daiya.
- Stir Fry
A stir fry is another simple and versatile dish that can use almost any vegetable. There are a million stir fry recipes out there. My favourite ingredients are broccoli and eggplant. For a complete meal, add cashews, chickpeas, quinoa, or wild rice for protein.
- Roasted Vegetables
Another easy way to prepare vegetables is to roast them in the oven with a oil and spices. Potatoes, beets, yams, and garlic all taste great roasted. Cauliflower is amazing! Service it with a fresh salad and wild rice and you have a great meal.
- Quinoa Salad
Whenever we eat quinoa for dinner, I like to make extra so I can turn the leftovers into quinoa salad. to make an excellent Mediterranean salad, mix it with peppers, cucumber, tomato, olives, red onion, olive oil, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar. Massaged kale also goes well in a quinoa salad.
- Lentil Soup
I like making lentil soup because it’s fast, filling, and flavourful. It takes less than 30 minutes to make. The Rebar cookbook has an excellent recipe (available here) that I follow, minus the feta. The lemon juice adds a nice tang and brings out the flavour.
I’m experimenting with making my own energy gel as part of my marathon training. I need something to prevent me from hitting the wall (aka bonking) on my long runs. The commercial gels contain maltodextrin, fructose, and a bunch of chemicals that are hard to pronounce. I wanted something healthier that doesn’t make me want to gag.
Here’s V2 of my recipe.
- 5 medjool dates
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup dulse
- 1/2 banana
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp agave
- 1 tsp molasses
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp papaya
- 1 tsp maca powder
- Soak the dates in water for a few hours.
- Mix the soaked dates with the other ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
- Add the energy gel into two large (3 oz) GoToobs.
- Consume the gels on your workout. 6 oz was more than enough for a 3 hour run.
- The dates, honey, agave, molasses, and fruit provide clean burning carbohydrates with varying glycemic index (GI) values between 15 and 62.
- The dulse provides sodium and the banana provides potassium, to replace the electrolytes I sweat out. The papaya is there to aid digestion.
- The lemon juice is mostly for flavour, but it also helps to clear out lactic acid.
- The maca gives an additional energy boost.
- The coconut oil is for taste and energy.
The coconut oil is the most confusing ingredient. I put 1/4 cup in my first batch and only 1 tbsp in my second. I added it because Brendan Brazier uses it in his energy gels, but I couldn’t figure out why. The fat you burn running is already stored in your body, not recently consumed. Then I read this on the Thrive Staple Foods List:
Medium-chain triglycerides in coconut burn like a carbohydrate, offering immediate energy.
Here’s my recipe for Mexican lasagna (or lazy enchiladas) that I cooked for a community potluck I went to last night. It’s completely vegan, soy-free, and gluten-free (and still quite tasty). I made up the recipe as I went along, so the measurements are not exact but I’ve tried to guess how much I used – feel free to add more/less of each ingredient or to add/remove ingredients entirely. It’s a forgiving recipe.
- onion, 1 diced
- zucchinis, 3 small diced
- red pepper, 1 diced
- green pepper, 1 diced
- garlic, 2 cloves minced
- corn, 1 cup frozen or canned
- pineapple, 1 cup cut into chunks
- cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup sliced in half
- black olives, 1/2 cup sliced
- black beans, 1 can
- greens (kale, spinach, chard, or even beet greens), roughly chopped
- cilantro, 2 tbsp chopped
- chili powder, 2 tsp
- paprika, 2 tsp
- cumin, 2 tsp
- cayenne, 1/2 tsp
- salt and pepper
Vegan Cashew Cheeze Ingredients
- cashews, 1 1/4 cup, soaked for a few hours in water and then drained
- nutritional yeast, 1/3 cup
- lemon juice, 2 tbsp
- olive oil, 1 tbsp
- apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp
- sauce, 2 cups of enchilada sauce or salsa
- corn tortillas, 12 small ones
- Daiya vegan cheese, preferably pepperjack
- avocado, sliced thinly
- Fry onions in oil. When browned, mix in spices. Add zucchini and cook for a few minutes. Add peppers and garlic. Fry until all your veggies are mostly cooked. Add pineapple, corn, tomatoes, black olives, and black beans. Add more spices if necessary. When cooked, remove from heat and fold in cilantro and greens (they don’t need to be fried).
- In a food processor, mix all the cashew cheeze ingredients together until they have a mostly smooth consistency.
- Cover the bottom of a large casserole dish with a thin coating of sauce. Add a layer of tortilla shells. Cover with 1/2 of the filling. Sprinkle with half of the cashew cheeze (it’s ok if it’s in little blobs). Cover with a some sauce. Add another layer of tortilla shells and repeat with the remaining filling and cashew cheeze. Cover with tortillas and a layer of sauce on top. *I didn’t put sauce on the top of mine, and the top layer of tortillas got a bit too crunchy.
- Sprinkle Daiya cheese on top and bake at 375 C for 30 minutes – covered for the first 20 minutes and then uncovered for the last 10 so the cheese melts.
- Remove from oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with sliced avocado on top.
When Emily and I were in Hoi An, we took a vegan Vietnamese cooking class at Karma Waters. Our instructor was excellent and even adapted the recipes to remove soy for me.
Here are the recipes our instructor taught us for phở (Vietnam’s famous noodle soup) and fresh spring rolls (salad rolls). They might look intimidating at first glance, but they’re not that complicated. The result is well worth it.