Category Archives: Staples, sides and sauces

Mushroom and tempeh mince

When I first went vegan, I wanted to avoid using a lot of mock meats. This wasn’t necessarily out of health concerns (frankly, you’re a vegan whether or not you’re “healthy,” so put that to bed), but more because I really really like cooking on my own and developing my own recipes and alternatives. Particularly once I started Urban Garlic (yep, back in the low-light, 5 a.m. blurry breakfast snap days), I wanted to be a from-scratch vegan. I preferred my tacos to have things like black beans instead of “beef” crumbles, or to add mushrooms instead of vegan “bacon” to my breakfasts.

Unfortunately, for too long I missed out on how lovely and handy it was to have a handy mince substitute. Whether it was to throw in a chickpea omelette, toss on top of some pasta or just eat straight out of the jar (shut up…), I am now convinced that everyone needs a vegan mince in their life.


Vegan meal plan for one week

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Jarrod and I have really committed to a more well thought-out meal plan, especially for breakfast and lunch. Before, breakfast would always consist of only me eating (and usually throwing a smoothie together last-minute) and Jarrod not eating anything at all, then running to Tim Horton’s for a breakfast sandwich on the way to work. So wasteful!

I wanted to share a sample of a meal plan that we follow most weeks (with some variance, of course, because variety is the spice of life).


Zingy garlic and almond edamame

When I went to university, I’d use whatever money I could scrape together to go to our campus pub, Wilf’s, for the occasional treat. I wasn’t a vegan back then (and thank goodness, because if you check out Wilfs’ menu online, look at how little options there were, and how apparently they think chicken is vegetarian), but my favourite things at Wilf’s happened to be the only vegan things on the menu — edamame, and hummus and pita chips.

I’ve mentioned before that I came from a reallllly non-diverse town. Like, we didn’t even have grocery store sushi. I’d never even heard of hummus until I was 19 years old. Edamame? I actually thought it was pronounced “Eda-maim!” But that didn’t mean I wouldn’t try it. Wilf’s edamame was just steamed with salt (lots of it!) but it was so damn addictive.


Balsamic Brussels and berries

I never knew how amazing Brussels sprouts could be when I was younger because I only ever had them steamed. Can you believe I missed out on all the goodness of roasted Brussels sprouts?

I’ll confess that my favourite way to do Brussels sprouts is with some oil, salt and pepper, and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice — that’s it! No BS, just Brussels sprouts. Geddit? Ooh hoo hoo, I crack myself up.


Five-minute BBQ chickpea mayo


When I was a kid I hated mayonnaise. I couldn’t tell you why — I was one of those kids who would wake up one day and decide they hated something they once loved. One time I even decided that with my mom’s meatballs and I went almost a year without eating them (at this point I guess that was a good thing?). Anyway, even though my mom insisted that mayonnaise was in tons of things I liked, like her vegetable dip, I couldn’t stand the sight of mayonnaise on a sandwich or burger.

How things have changed! I’ve even become one of those people who puts (vegan) mayonnaise on their fries or (un)chicken fingers.


Vegan 101: Smoky heirloom tomato and carrot sauce

tomato sauce

It’s been an exciting few weeks for Urban Garlic. I’ve been making more food than ever, taking more pictures than ever, and having more fun than ever. This blog is now more lined up with how I’m living my life — and life is exciting right now!