Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad With Pear, Cranberries + Vegan Parmesan

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

This salad is definitely a winner.  Who says you can’t make friends with salad?  I love fresh salads for lunch or sides, and frankly the bigger the better.  I wanted a little bit of everything in here; crunch, sweetness, cheesiness, and something that can be prepared ahead of time and thrown together later.  I think we all typically boil or roast brussels sprouts, but have you ever had these amazing little greens raw?  They have a similar texture to shredded cabbage, but much more flavourful.  Shaved brussels, chewy dried cranberries, toasted almonds, fresh pear, and vegan parmesan cheese make this salad irresistible.  By the way, I just recently discovered vegan parm, and boy oh boy is it ever delicious and the easiest thing to put together.  It has officially made its way as a topping to almost anything I eat!

You don’t need any fancy tools to shave brussels, it’s actually very quick and easy to do with your kitchen knife.  The best part is, you can do this and store the brussels in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and they will stay fresh and crunchy!

How To Shave Brussels Sprouts

Times have definitely changed from when I was a kid.  My son loves his vegetables, and yes, even brussels sprouts.  I think his new favourite way to have them is raw.  Kids like crunch, right?

So, here it is.

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

Makes approx. 6 side dish salads

Vinaigrette:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh herbs (I used thyme, rosemary would work great as well)

Directions:  Place all ingredients into a mason jar, tightly secure the lid, and shake!

Vegan Parmesan Cheese:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted cashews
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:  Place all ingredients in a food processor and process for 20 seconds.  I like the texture crumbly, but you can continue processing to a fine powder if you like.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Salad:

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups shaved brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 pear, washed and sliced (I used red anjou)

Directions:  Wash brussels sprouts and trim off ends.  Slice in half from top to bottom.  Thinly slice each half using a sharp knife then fluff the shreds using your fingers, separating the shreds.  Place shaved brussels sprouts onto a serving dish.  Top with toasted almonds, dried cranberries, sliced pear and parmesan cheese.  Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.  If you want to prepare the salad ahead of time, only add the pear right before serving.  Enjoy my friends!

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

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Kale Eight Ways

Everyone knows that kale is a superfood, but the question is, are you eating your kale?  I decided to make a recipe round up of my favourite kale recipes, which are easy to make and delicious.  I hope you love them as much as we do!

I absolutely love kale in general.  A nutrient powerhouse, one cup of kale has zero fat and only 36 calories and is high in vitamins and cancer-fighting antioxidants.  Any time you see a dark green such as kale, it is a sign that it is highly concentrated with nutrients.
Here are just some of its wholesome features:

  • Super rich in vitamin K (which translates into a super antioxidant!)
  • High in fiber (assists in gut health)
  • High in iron (per calorie, more iron than beef)
  • High in vitamin A (great skin, yes please)
  • High in vitamin C (great for your immune system)
  • High in calcium (per calorie, more calcium than milk!)

I’d love to know, what is your favourite way of preparing kale?

Kale Eight Ways

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Penne with Kale + Sautéed Vegetables

2. Cheesy Kale Chips 

3. Lemony Lentil + Kale Rice Bowl

4. Scrambled Tofu + Kale Breakfast Burritos 

5. Creamy Kale Salad 

6. Maple Roasted Butternut Squash + Kale Rice Bowl

7. Black Bean + Kale Soup 

8. Crispy Kale Rice Bowl with Spicy Peanut Sauce 

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Banana Nut Crumb Muffins

Banana Nut Crumb Muffins

Everyone in my house is under the weather and being that I found some energy today, I knew we needed a treat to lift our spirits.  I had way too many bananas that were very ripe (we can never get through bananas fast enough it seems), so I knew I wanted to base the recipe around those suckers.  I have a staple, go-to banana muffin recipe which I make without having to think or look at ingredients, but I wanted something more indulgent.  I decided the best way to take them to the next level was with a crumb top.  Everything is better with crumble topping, right?

I didn’t want to use up all my newfound energy, so I did not pull out the mixer, and I used only one bowl.  These muffins, I tell you, are so moist, perfectly sweet, filling, and really nicely textured.  They were made for your morning coffee.  Oh, and they are vegan.

I must say, they definitely put a smile on some faces today.  Thank goodness for crumble toppings.

Banana Nut Crumb Muffins

Makes 11 muffins

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Crumble Top:

  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 5 tablespoons spelt flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Pour applesauce into a large bowl.  Add banana and mash with a fork.
  • Add brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk for about one minute.
  • Add vanilla and melted coconut oil and stir.
  • Add flour and oats and stir with a spatula until just combined. Fold in walnuts.
  • Divide batter among 11 lined muffin tins, I used silicone muffin cup liners.
  • Wipe down your mixing bowl and add crumble ingredients. Mash with a fork until you get a crumbly consistency.  Spoon crumble over muffin tops.

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  • Bake for 22 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly, then remove from muffin tin and serve.  You can store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days.
  • Enjoy!

Banana Nut Crumb Muffins

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Banana Nut Crumb Muffins

Banana Nut Crumb Muffins

Cauliflower ‘Risotto’

One of my favourite meals to make in the kitchen is risotto.  I actually don’t mind the laborious process, it’s quite meditative and helps slow you down.  A little splash of water, a stir, a sip of wine – so relaxing!  But it’s just not realistic on a weeknight when time is limited and there’s a lot going on (and you’ve been fighting a cold!).  I had heard about people using cauliflower as risotto, which is not only super quick, but also so much more nutritious.  It turned out so well, and unlike typical risotto which leaves you feeling a little guilty and heavy, this is incredibly satisfying, yet light and fresh.  We had our risotto with a side of roasted asparagus (chopping it and stirring it in is also an option) but you can easily adapt this risotto with ingredients you have on hand; add mushrooms,  peas, tomatoes, basil, or other veggies and herbs you may be craving.

Cauliflower 'Risotto'

Cauliflower ‘Risotto’

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped to small rice-like pieces in a food processor
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat.  Add garlic, onion and thyme and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add beans, vegetable broth (and nutritional yeast if you are using it, gives a slight cheesy flavour) into the pot, stir, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Using an immersion (handheld) blender, blend the ingredients to a creamy consistency.
  4. Add cauliflower and spinach, stir.  Cover with a lid and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir, spoon into bowls and garnish with toasted pine nuts.
  6. Enjoy!

Cauliflower 'Risotto'

Cauliflower 'Risotto'

 

Cauliflower 'Risotto'

Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Rice Crispy Hearts

Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Rice Crispy Hearts

I have to thank my blogger buddy Celeste from Honk If You’re Vegan for coming to the rescue with a great idea for me.  I needed to come up with a vegan, nut-free, kid-friendly Valentine treat for my son to bring to daycare tomorrow to share with his classmates and educator.  I really wanted something a little healthier, but still sweet and fun.  Celeste suggested these great rice crispy squares.  I loved the idea of only 5 ingredients!  I jazzed them up by dipping them in semi-sweet vegan chocolate, and then adding some sprinkles.  Although the sprinkles are vegan, they are not completely additive-free, but I figured one rice crispy heart won’t be the end of the world.  Also, my husband said don’t be the worst ‘healthy mom’, add the sprinkles.  So, the sprinkles went on.

Although the rice crispies are not very sweet on their own (which I prefer), the texture turns out almost exactly like the marshmallow ones we grew up on.  I used a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to later shape them.  Sonny took care of decorating the clear bags with cute stickers which we later used to package each heart.

So, a happy Valentine’s Day to you all.  If anything, a little reminder to be grateful for the love we all have within us.  And thank you Celeste for the awesome idea!

Vegan Chocolate Dipped Rice Crispy Hearts

adapted from Healthful Pursuit

Makes 1 9×13 pan (14 hearts)

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups crispy rice cereal
  • ¼ cup ground flax seed
  • 1 cup brown rice syrup
  • ⅔ cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 100 gram bar of semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • vegan sprinkles, to decorate

Directions:

  1. Lightly oil a 9×13 pan with coconut oil (or other oil of your choice).  Set aside.
  2. Place rice cereal and ground flax seed in a large bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized sauce pan or frying pan, add rice syrup, sunflower seed butter and vanilla extract. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until ingredients have liquified, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour syrup over rice crisp mixture and stir to coat.
  5. Once all crisps have been coated, drop the mixture into the prepared pan and even it out with a spatula, pressing down firmly.
  6. Allow to sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before using your cookie cutter to cut into heart shapes.  This is a little bit of a workout with pressing down firmly through the rice crispies.

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  1. Using a double boiler or a saucepan filled with water with a metal bowl over top, melt the chocolate.  Remove the bowl from saucepan.
  2. Carefully dip one side of the hearts into the chocolate.  Use a spatula to spread it evenly.  Place on a wire rack to cool.  Once you’ve dipped all the hearts, add sprinkles.
  3. Place in the refrigerator (still on the wire rack) to allow the chocolate to harden.  This should take 20-30 minutes.
  4. Remove from refrigerator and place in small gift bags, or go ahead and enjoy.  Keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Rice Crispy Hearts

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Roasted Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

Vegan Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

I am way too excited about this recipe.  I have entered a time machine and gone back to my childhood.  The only difference is, I’m not eating yellow #5 and #6.  And it doesn’t come out of a box.  Even if you’re not buying Kraft Dinner, homemade versions of mac and cheese are usually loaded with butter, cheese and other unhealthy ingredients.  This mac and cheese is 100% vegan and so healthy!  I’m just smiling ear to ear knowing what I used to make it, and seeing how much my family loved it.  I think you’re all going to love this one just as much as we did.

The cheese in this recipe is a combination of roasted sweet potato, mustard and nutritional yeast.  The result is a nostalgic mac and cheese with a grown up edge and a rich, creamy, and satisfying dish!  My son pushed the mushrooms aside, but I couldn’t resist them.

Roasted Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

Serves 6

Ingredients:

For the mac and cheese:

  • 500 grams gluten-free elbow macaroni
  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 3 cups), cubed
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of your choice)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon tamari (or regular soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For garnish: a handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped

For the mushrooms:

  • 8 ounces mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.  Place sweet potato cubes onto lightly greased baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Place in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until tender, turning once half way through.

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  • In the meanwhile, boil your pasta according to packaging instructions.  Drain and place pasta back in the pot.
  • In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, dijon, garlic powder, chili flakes, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  • In a small pan, sauté mushrooms in oil on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Remove sweet potatoes from oven (don’t turn off the heat) and add sweet potatoes to the bowl with all your seasonings and almond milk.  Mash well, combining all ingredients.  Don’t worry if you have a few clumps.  If the mixture is a little too thick, add another splash of almond milk.
  • Add macaroni noodles to the bowl, and fold all ingredients together.  Spoon all into a casserole dish, top with mushrooms and place in the oven for 10 minutes.

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Vegan Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

Remove and sprinkle freshly chopped parsley overtop.  Dig in!

Vegan Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

Vegan Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

Scrambled Tofu + Kale Breakfast Burritos

Tofu Scramble and Kale Burritos

Growing up, one of my favourite things to have for dinner was breakfast.  It’s so fun for kids and I truly enjoy it just as much now, as a grown up (gulp).  I wasn’t too sure how my little guy would react to scrambled tofu instead of eggs, but it was a great success.  It’s amazing what a little turmeric can do to give the tofu such a great colour.  Although I made these for dinner, they make a great breakfast or even lunch (I reheated them today and they were delicious).

Who doesn’t like a breakfast burrito, right? I wanted to show the nutritional value of this vegan version compared to a typical egg burrito.  I live for super tasty food that is also nutritious.  Here is what it looks like:

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So, as you see you’re still getting a high protein breakfast, but one which is vegan and cholesterol-free!  Ready in about 25 minutes.

Tofu Scramble and Kale Burritos

Scrambled Tofu + Kale Breakfast Burritos

Makes 5-6 burritos

Ingredients:

  • 6 flat breads (I used whole wheat and flax)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups chopped kale, stems removed
  • 1  14 oz block extra firm tofu, pressed for 10 minutes, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Turn on oven to the lowest heat, place flat breads on a baking sheet, and pop in the oven to heat while you prepare the tofu scramble.
  • Heat coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  • Add onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  • Add the bell pepper and kale and continue sauteéing until the kale is slightly wilted, approx. 5 more minutes.
  • Add crumbled tofu to the pan, along with the nutritional yeast, turmeric, sage, cumin, salt and pepper and fold all to combine.  Heat for another 2 minutes, then turn off the heat.
  • Spoon tofu scramble onto warmed flat bread.  Fold into a burrito, serve, and enjoy!

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