Tag Archives: nut-free

Easy tempeh nuggets with Szechuan dipping sauce

I never really post tempeh recipes on here because to be perfectly honest, I’m not a huge fan of tempeh. Yes, I, the girl who would live off of Bloomer’s tempeh reuben sandwich if she could, think that tempeh can be kind of blah. And that, I will fully chalk up to me not being that great at cooking tempeh. Also? Tofu is cheaper.

But sometimes you’re in Noah’s and you see a nice brick of tempeh on sale for just over half of what you’d normally pay for it and that fermented bean cake is lookin’ pretty good to you, isn’t it?

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Nut-free cookie dough bites

I was definitely a cookie-dough eater as a kid. And as an adult. In university, my roommate Jenn and I would make cookies and usually end up eating about half the dough ourselves. Let’s just say one of my favourite unexpected benefits of going vegan is being able to eat the raw cookie dough with pretty much no consequences (I say “pretty much” because I have been known to become quite miserable when I eat too many sweet things, much as I don’t want to admit it).

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Ultimate comforting leek and potato soup (budget-friendly!)

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Nothing to get you cooking for yourself more like the weather being the least bit crappy, amirite, folks? I have been on this never-ending soup kick lately, which suits Jarrod just fine because he is the master of soup. In fact, I’m admitting it straight-up: this recipe is 100% his. I didn’t even poke my head in the kitchen as he was cooking it. But he had the idea and I let him roll with it under one condition: he write down the recipe.

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Roasted cabbage with creamy sriracha dressing

roasted cabbage

One thing I love about travelling for work is all the new food to try. This year was my second time travelling to Santa Monica for our company’s conference and marketplace, and I was lucky enough that Jarrod came with me, too!

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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!

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Blueberry cardamom smoothie (bowl)

Blueberry Bowl

I never thought I’d see this day, but I’ve grown a little tired of chocolate smoothies. I’ve had a million variations on chocolate smoothies — zucchini, hemp, avocado, the glorious days back when I could stomach a couple dates — but let’s face it, it’s all just chocolate ice cream for breakfast.

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Red ranger beet and berry smoothie

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A couple weeks ago, I did something I haven’t done in almost a year.

I took a sick day.

Well, not a full-sick day (or, I guess a sick full-day). I took only the afternoon off, after we got our daily newsletter out, and went home to sleep and retire my voice for awhile. It was more or less a nasty head cold, which I can normally get through just fine (I don’t get sick all that often, and when I’m stuck in the “getting sick” stage for about a day and a half but never really get to a point of needing to go home from work). But it completely drained me, and I was at a point of being in utterly yucky pain and misery. I needed three things:

  1. Blanket
  2. Cat
  3. The sympathy of everyone around me (which, I guess, was limited to my precious kitty cat)

Anyway, after that I was on a big fruits and veggies kick (I mean, what else is new?), specifically trying to to shove as much colourful produce down my food-hole as humanly possible because damn, dat placebo effect. My super-saturated colourful smoothie concoctions probably didn’t actually do anything to relieve my cold, but I’ll admit, when my temperature shot up, I was pretty damn comfortable sitting out on my balcony with Ben (note for those who are unaware: we actually have balcony netting installed so Ben can safely enjoy the bacony) with my boxers on, sipping on an ice-cold smoothie watching all the suckers navigating the unseasonably cool streets.

And then I straight-up died.

But if this smoothie were to be the last thing I ate before I died (it wasn’t) I’d be pretty cool with that. And that’s something considering it features my once-despised worst enemy, beets! This smoothie also features the crisp, almost sticky-sweet taste of mango combined with the just-tart-enough taste of raspberries that’ll really have you envisioning summer and all of the long walks, parties and nudity that comes along with it.

Red ranger berry smoothie

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time: N/A
  • Yield: One 2.5-cup serving
  • Allergen info: Gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy free

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mango chunks, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup beets, peeled and chopped*
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup water or, if feeling fancy, coconut water**
  • Splash of non-dairy milk (optional)

* If you don’t have a super-powerful blender, I’d recommend steaming your beets prior to preparing, as they will be way easier to blend.

** I’ve since made another version of this that had ginger ale instead of coconut water, and the results were… interesting, to say the least, but I didn’t entirely hate it by the end.

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add more water/coconut water as you go depending on how hard/frozen your fruit is.
  2. Add a splash of non-dairy milk, or even a bit of ripe avocado flesh if you like a creamier smoothie.

I’ve found this smoothie is best enjoyed wrapped in a blanket sitting on your balcony in your boxer shorts hoping the kids at the elementary school 11 stories down and across the street don’t notice the crazy lady on the balcony. But, like, you could also enjoy it with a light breakfast (as much as this is a nice big smoothie I don’t consider a meal in itself, unless you’re one of those super-light breakfast-eaters) like some toast and avocado or a small muffin.

What’s your comfort routine like when you get sick? Do you turn into a garbage disposal like me, or do you hate food? Do you become a big, attention-starved baby, or do you lock everyone out of your apartment and convert it into a blanket fort/quarantine tent? Let me know in the comments, and share any variations on the smoothie you think I should try!


Snackable green smoothie

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I went on a bit of a smoothie hiatus with the blog, I’ll cop to that. I’ll have you know I still eatdrink approximately one smoothie per day. It’s just that I was starting to run out of ideas, and also, I want my blog to be a little more than just smoothies. Vegans do eat solid foods, after all.

But trust me, I’m still a smoothie-operator, and I have a delightfully bright green smoothie to share with everyone. This green smoothie is deemed “snackable” because it’s not quite as filling as a banana-and-milk kind of smoothie. It’s best enjoyed with something light on the side like toast and PB, or some chia puddin’, or in a lunch with your sandwich.

All week last week when I was on vacation I enjoyed this as my breakfast along with some granola and milk, plus usually a cup of tea (my favourite white tea is Buddha’s Blend from David’s Tea). I felt so earthy and cool, all I wanted to do was go sit in upward-facing dog for, like, ever. Instead I ended up playing with my cat, listening to Supertramp, swearing, riding my bike, making fart jokes, you know, all those things. But for the tiniest moment, I felt all peaceful and stuff.

Anyway, enjoy this smoothie that’s light enough that you can have it on the side, but is still packed with flavour and good-for-you ingredients. Of course, nothing’s stopping you from having this with a big slice of vegan cake for breakfast. And if I am correct, vegan cake is practically a vegetable.

Far be it from me to tell you how to life your life.

Snackabe green smoothie

Prep time: <5 minutes
Cook time: n/a
Yield: One smoothie, about 1 3/4 cups liquid
Dietary specs: Vegan, fructose-friendly, gluten-free, raw/no-bake, nut-free*

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks (or pineapple)
  • 1 generous handfull kale or spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup coconut water (plain water will do but won’t quite give the same taste)
  • 1″ piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp avocado flesh (optional for a slightly more filling and thicker smoothie)

* Coconut is defined as a tree nut by some sources but as the seed of a fruit by others. You’re making this for yourself so if you have a nut allergy I hope you know to trust your own doctor and medical history more than you trust me.

Instructions

  1. (Optional) Slice and freeze your banana overnight to give the smoothie a nice chill with no added ice.
  2. Blend all ingredients on high speed until it reaches your desired consistency.

On Monday my blog saw more traffic than it’s ever seen — actually, Monday’s traffic was roughly six times what it normally is. The community on Reddit’s r/Vegan subreddit are the most amazingly supportive users and I just really wanted to shout out to them (as well as r/Veganrecipies for always being so receptive to my recipes). Things are really looking up here at Urban Garlic and I am so thankful. Getting to keep this up as a side project while working a job I love (not to mention teaching dance!) is nothing short of a dream.

For my American readers, I’d love to read about how your Thanksgiving went. Family gatherings can be so hard when your lifestyle is so fundamentally different than the rest of your families. My Thanksgiving was back in October and I brought my own food courtesy of Toronto vegan stalwarts Bunner’s — and it was awesome to see my sister, brother-in-law and partner try some of Bunner’s amazing tomato and kale pie.

Jarrod’s parents are joining us for dinner on Friday night. His mom has to adhere to a low-FODMAP diet because of some recent health issues, so I’m going to flex my very creative cooking muscles and hopefully share some of the best results with you guys. What are some of your favourite low-FODMAP recipes? I’d love to hear about that — or your Thanksgivings, or just how cool your cat is or something — in the comments.


Peppermint mocha brownies with white chocolate drizzle (vegan and gluten-free)

Brownies

When I went back to Starbucks after my two weeks off, I saw that they had switched over to their holiday drinks (I know, apparently I missed the whole grossly-offensive cups thing). And of course, they have those wonderfully cute snowman cookies and donuts and all those other great things I can’t eat.

So I made these brownies, because fuuuuuuuck that.

These peppermint mocha brownies have a moist but light texture, and a flavour that’s chocolatey without being so overwhelmingly sweet.

Best of all, since the holidays are all about sharing, I also made these as allergen-friendly — they’re free of gluten, soy, nuts and are fructose-friendly. Wahoo!

I’ve been asked a few times, mostly by people I know in real life and not in Internet-land, why I occasionally make things like gluten-free and nut-free recipes despite not having any intolerance to those things myself, especially because I’m a huge proponent for not giving into fad diets if you don’t have a diagnosed health reason to do it. The reason I do this is actually the same reason I started my blog in the first place: I love to share.As a vegan I know exactly how it feels when there’s food around that I can’t eat because no one took the time to consider me. I’ve been the one person bringing my own food to potlucks for years now. For that reason, especially around the holiday season, I like to make sure that I can create yummy food that we can all share. The best way you can show someone you care about them during the holidays is to think about them when it comes to planning, and I show that in my food.

Peppermint mocha brownies

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25-30 minutes
Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, fructose-friendly, soy-free

Brownie ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten-free flour blend
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand is soy-free, gluten-free and nut-free)
  • 1/4 cup-1/3 cup hot brewed coffee plus one pinch of extra coffee/espresso grinds
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup ripe avocado flesh
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 extra large flax egg (2 tbsp flax meal+3 tbsp water)
  • 1/3 cup crushed candy cane bits

White chocolate drizzle ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cocoa butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup, brown rice syrup or other liquid sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Prep your flax egg and let sit for at least five minutes
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together your flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt and a pinch of your coffee grinds (we hand-grind our coffee in our home, so we can always just whizz up a few beans for situations like this).
  4. In another large bowl, add your cocoa powder and your chocolate chips. Once your coffee is hot (and I mean piping hot), pour it over the mix. Hand-mix this thoroughly until it is mostly-liquid (a few chunks is fine).
  5. Add in your coconut sugar and continue mixing until all is incorporated.
  6. Add in your flax egg and avocado flesh. If your avocado is a little underripe (you can easily scoop it out with a fork but it’s difficult to mash) I’d recommend whizzing it through the food processor in order to give it that whipped, buttery texture, or else you’ll have avo bits all over your brownies.
  7. Once that is all mixed, add in your extracts, give ‘er one last mix, and add to the flour bowl.
  8. This is where it gets tricky. It’s going to be a texture similar to heavy mashed potatoes, but don’t give into the temptation to use an electric mixer. Over-mixing this will not result in a nice texture for the brownies. Strong-arm the crap out of this, folding and mixing until everything is nice and soaked up. Fold in your candy canes, spread throughout a pan lined with parchment paper, and pop in the oven for 25 minutes.
  9. After you pull the brownies, let them cool while you mix the white chocolate drizzle. In a double-boiler (I rigged up my own using a Pyrex measuring cup in a pot of boiling water), melt down your cocoa butter, extracts and syrup. Pour in whatever shape you like (if my sister’s reading this: yes, I fully expect you to pour it in the shape of a penis) and sprinkle on any last candy canes you wish!

Enjoy these unique little treats. My suggestion for how to best enjoy them would be to feed them to a baby boomer and them softly whisper “happy holidays” and watch them lose their shit. Heh.

Oh, so I’m now three days into my vacation! On Monday I wrote two recipes, saw a huge surge of traffic on my blog (thanks, Reddit), biked 29.9 km, did a few boulder problems, bought my first batch of carrot lox (gotta say, I’m not a big fan) and chilled out at my favourite Toronto vegan haunt, Bloomer’s. So warm and comforting and jackfruity. I swear, I’ve never eaten a jackfruit sandwich where everything didn’t fall out from between the buns and onto the plate, but that’s the best part! You get to eat it twice!

What are some of your favourite holiday tastes you haven’t been able to have in awhile? Perhaps I can work some of my vegan magic and make a good cruelty-free snack for everyone!


Holy f!&# a f!&#ing cheesecake (with f!&#ing raw caramel!)

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Processed with VSCOcam

Vegan.

Gluten-free.

Fructose-friendly.

No. Cashews.

I was seriously so surprised with how easy this “cheesecake” was to make — and how much of a hit it was! We brought it to a barbecue on Canada Day, and I’ll glaze over the fact that alcohol was involved to influence them, but all the girls at the party were just all over this cheesecake.

I’ve found that showing up to a party with food is always the easiest way to make friends. Otherwise, I’m screwed. What with my personality and all.

Now, there’s two things I bet you’d expect of this cheesecake:

  1. Cashews for the filling
  2. Dates for the crust
  3. Dates for the caramel, definitely.

Au contraire, friends! The crust is held together with coconut nectar, coconut oil and a bit of tahini. Now, it’s not a fully raw crust if raw is what you’re into, but I have to ask you if going raw is fully worth forgoing the delicious, almost sexual smell of hazelnuts roasting in your kitchen on a lovely, laid-back summer morning.

‘Cause, like… damn.

So now I’m sure you’re wondering about that filling and thinking, “Oh, it’s probably silken tofu or something else I can’t eat.

Wrong, fella.

It’s actually buckwheat. I got the idea of soaking buckwheat from Evelyn at nourishnotpunish, one of my favourite bloggers for not only recipes but body positivity and recovery conversation. Of course, my whole thing with a cheesecake is that I’m not just trying to get a creamy texture, I want to actually have that cream cheese taste. I’ve never been a big fan of cheese, but cream cheese is apparently the exception.

So I figured out a trick.

If you want that actual tart taste for your cheesecake but want to still keep it subtle, add about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. You could also try lemon juice.

If you want to really give it a true “cheesecake” taste, add about an ounce (one shot glass for those of you who are like “whaa?!”) of nutritional yeast (yes, nooch in a sweet recipe. I know it sounds weird but… go with it, if you’re feeling brave)!

Of course, you could keep it out and have it just be a chocolate cream pie, but if you’re going for authenticity, be brave (will ya?!) and add the nooch!

Now… raw vegan caramel made without dates? It’s actually so. damn. easy. Brown rice syrup (or maple syrup, but I find the viscosity of BRS to be just right for caramel) makes a great caramel base, and then thickening it up with some nut or seed butter makes it totally drizzle-able. I used tahini to avoid making it super headache-sweet.

Now, to conclude the pre-recipe spiel (because that’s really what you want, right? The recipe?) I’ll leave you with one important note: this is probably the easiest dessert I’ve made all year.

Raw salted caramel mocha vegan cheesecake

Ingredients – crust

  • 1 cups hazelnuts
  • 1 tbsp+1 tsp coconut oil or other light-tasting oil
  • 1 tbsp tahini (or other nut/seed butter)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut nectar or other liquid sweetener
  • Pinch of fine grain sea salt

Ingredients – Filling

  • 1 3/4 cup raw buckwheat groats (not kasha)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut nectar or other liquid sweetener
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs (optional)
  • 1 oz nutritional yeast (optional, provides a more “cheesy” taste)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground espresso powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Ingredients – Raw salted caramel

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • A few generous sprinkles of fine-grain sea salt

Instructions

  1. Set the buckwheat groats in a large bowl and cover in boiling water. Let sit for about an hour. You may have to re-pour water occasionally as the buckwheat soaks up the water.
  2. While the groats are soaking, make your crust. Start by preheating an oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Fill a bowl with warm water and sit your coconut oil in there, to gently melt it without zapping it.
  4. In a large food processor, process your nuts to a fine-to-medium crumb.
  5. In a bowl, mix the nut crumbs, melted coconut oil, tahini, vanilla and syrup.
  6. Lay the mixture into your pie plate and press flat (use your hands if you’ve washed them since the last time you got in a garbage fight or pet a dog).
  7. Set in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until your kitchen is filled with the glorious smell of roasting hazelnuts.
  8. Drain and rinse your buckwheat groats.
  9. In your food processor, blend the groats, oil apple cider vinegar and syrup until it is a smooth, velvety texture.
  10. Now, add in your cacao nips and nooch (if using), vanilla, espresso and cinnamon. Since these are flavour agents, use my measurements as a guideline — add gradually and go with what makes you happy (I mean, that’s a general rule for life).
  11. Pour your mixture onto the nice toasty crust and smooth out the top.
  12. Freeze the pie for about two hours.
  13. In a small bowl, use a fork to mix together your tahini and syrup. Pour on top of your frozen cake in whatever formation you desire. Add a few generous sprinkles of sea salt — after all, it’s a salted caramel mocha!
  14. You can also assemble with any fruit or  toppings you desire — a coconut whipped cream topping would basically make this Starbucks on a plate.