Tag Archives: gluten-free

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.


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.


High-protein overnight n’oats (grain-free!)

Disclaimer: I am not grain-free (as a vegan zombie, I love graiiiiiins). But just as I don’t eat gluten-free, soy-free or (entirely) sugar-free, I like to provide as many alternates as possible for a diverse readership. I also just think it’s fun to eat differently sometimes!

I have always found overnight oats a little boring (just one big giant “meh” from me) but I do love how high in protein they are without a ton of effort. I told myself I’d never do an overnight oats recipe on Urban Garlic because it just seems way too basic, but I got the idea to come up with an alternative that’s 1) higher in protein and 2) grain-free for people who need the alternative.


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.


Almond-crusted tofu

What’s the one meal you always remember being a go-to, weeknight meal at your house?

For me, it was chicken with Shake ‘n’ Bake. Oh, and not just any Shake ‘n’ Bake, Zesty Italian Shake ‘n’ Bake. What can I say — we were cultured kids.

I never grew up actually knowing how to bread anything. Shake ‘n’ Bake was the closest I ever came. As a result, I really don’t like heavy batters very much.


Colourful curry chickpea salad

When I was a kid, I was so picky that the only sandwich I’d take to school for the longest time was peanut butter and jam. My mom tried different meats and veggies, but the only thing I liked was PB&J. And nothing grossed me out more than the thought of a chicken salad or a tuna or ham salad — just looking at the weird mounds of meat pile seemed so bizarre to me, I couldn’t tell you where the appeal was.

Now that I don’t eat meat, I still obviously don’t think there’s any appeal to, well, meat piles. But I do love a good salad sandwich. You see, the older I got, the more I started liking sandwiches for their texture. When I make a sandwich, there’s generally two kinds I like: 1) the piled-high, million-toppings, every-taste-and-texture-you-can-find kind, or 2) a mashed mixture of soft-but-firm protein combined with juicy crunch and flavourful spice.


Blueberry power smoothie

Jarrod and I spent last week on a fairly strict meal plan to cut down on how much we were eating out and how much we were scrambling for last-minute dinner ideas. The first thing I noticed was how beautiful our fridge looked — so many beautiful, fresh veggies, all of them getting eaten before they had the chance to go bed!


Garden veggie chickpea omelettes

I’ve mentioned before that my husband is not a vegan (although our household is vegan with the exception of our cat food and a microsuede couch given to me as a gift a long time ago). He has greatly reduced his animal consumption since we met (and even before we met, he was very open to eating plant-based) and I definitely bother him to go vegan/still hold some hopes that he will go vegan, but when he’s out of the house he eats an omnivorous diet. He has been choosing the veggie option lately even when he isn’t with me, which I’m very proud of.


Recipe: The Big Stuffed Squash

I’ll admit I was a big worried when we went up to my cousin’s wedding in Wawa, ON. Of course, my cousin assured me that Jarrod and I would get a vegan meal, but when our plane landed in Sault Ste. Marie and we prepared for a two-hour drive up a beautiful but very remote highway without even half a dozen truck stops, I realized that the weekend was not going to be easy.

When we got to Wawa, the first thing we did was go to the grocery store (yep, the one). Jarrod and I found some cereal and soy milk for the mornings and some healthy snacks (and some not-so-healthy because duh, it’s a party weekend). I gnawed on potato chips and Bark Thins while my cousins ate pulled pork at the Friday night party and ate Tim Horton’s oatmeal for lunch. Then, finally, when we sat for the reception, we were greeted with the most beautiful creation.


Recipe: Carrot cake smoothie bowl

I generally try to be wary of how much smoothie content I’m posting, because I figure a) no one cares, b) I’m 95% sure every smoothie I made has been done before and c) smoothies are most fun when you figure it out for yourself!

That said, I think I was onto something  with this smoothie, something at least somewhat original and delightful. The key to this early-fall-friendly smoothie is all in the spices  (just like any fall recipe). When I was a kid, I was afraid to try carrot cake because I thought, “Ew, a vegetable cake?!” Yes, I was truly that picky an eater. I was equally freaked out when I could see shreds of the carrot in the cake. I thought, “What are they trying to pull?!”