Vegan & Vegetarian Cooking Tips

Vegan Meal Ideas for People Who Can’t (or just don’t want to) Cook

A lot of people have been talking about how the extra time at home in social isolation due to the Coronavirus has given them an opportunity to cook and bake. There has been no shortage of exchanges of recipes or online cooking classes going on. But what if you truly don’t know how to cook, or you just plain hate it, and suddenly you are cut off from the world of vegan restaurants and coffee shops you usually frequent? We’re here to help with some ideas for meals you can throw together right now without having to learn any new skills. Breakfast cereal with soy, almond, or oat milk toast with peanut butter (or your favourite other nut or seed butter), topped with some sliced bananas and hemp seeds for extra nutrition giant fruit salad: slice up oranges and apples and sprinkle with some nuts and/or seeds, and cinnamon already flavoured instant oats can be bought so that all you need to do is add boiling water or, if you don’t even know how to use your kettle, there are usually instructions for microwaving too! Thaw some frozen berries and mix those in for added nutrition, and/or add in some peanut or… Read More

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Vegan cooking for the holidays

Care of Florence McCambridge Whether this is your first time cooking a vegan meal for the holidays or you’re just looking for some new menu ideas, The Vegan Holiday Cookbook: From Elegant Appetizers to Festive Mains and Delicious Sweets 
by Marie Laforêt has got you covered. It’s full of recipes and full-colour photos for spreads and hors d’oeuvres, soups and mains, not to mentions sweets and even festive cocktails. Many of the recipes included in this book are gluten-free, and the author has also included a helpful section listing them by category. I really appreciate the variety of recipes in The Vegan Holiday Cookbook, particularly in the section on appetizers, an often overlooked category that is particularly important at this time of year. Some standouts include the Foie Gras-Style Terrine made with shiitake mushrooms and tofu, the Blinis with Carrot Gravlax, and the elegant yet simple Squash Truffles. When it comes to dessert, this book does not disappoint. In addition to gingerbread and shortbread, there are some showstoppers like the Frozen Tiramisu Log, Chestnut Creme Brûlée, and a Snow White Layer Cake that looks almost too good to eat. I like to make my own… Read More

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Vegan & Vegetarian Cooking Classes in Toronto

Whether you’re a brand new cook or you’re someone who knows their way around the kitchen, culinary classes are a great way to learn something new while having fun at the same time. Here’s a roundup of some vegetarian and vegan cooking classes happening around Toronto. The Toronto Vegetarian Association Events Calendar You can always start your search by checking our online events calendar which includes classes from the businesses below, as well as other one-off cooking classes that come up now and again. The Empowered Vegan Jack Middleton is a Red Seal Chef and a plant-based educator based out of Hamilton, Ontario. Jack runs group classes, private classes and in-home one-on-one lessons. His classes have an emphasis on food flavour theory, knife skills and using interesting vegan ingredients to produce dishes that match their meat-based counterparts in satiety in flavour.  Whether you are a seasoned cook or a plant curious newbie, you will find Jack’s passion for plant-based cooking contagious and inspiring. Check out his upcoming classes on his website:  The Deppaneur The Deppaneur is a great little spot in on College Street that hosts a variety… Read More

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Vegan Brunch Recipes & Breakfast Options

Check out these great vegetarian and vegan brunch recipes and quick breakfast options to start your day. We have delicious recipes and tips for toast, cereal, granola, muesli, hot oatmeal, apple pancakes, miso soup, tofu scramble and more. Don’t feel like cooking? Go out! See our new Vegetarian Brunch & Breakfast Guide 2013 for a complete list of Toronto and surrounding area spots that serve brunch and breakfast. Quick Vegan Breakfast Options Toast with tahini and apple slices.Try other nut butters such as almond, peanut, or hazelnut. Try other seasonal fruit slices or top with or applesauce. For sweet toast try jam, coconut butter, cinnamon and sugar, or tahini and molasses. Cereal, muesli, or granola with soy milk, rice milk or other non-dairy milk or yogurt. Fresh fruit such as apples, berries, a half grapefruit, banana, etc. Fruit salad with nuts or seeds. Try soaking the nuts ahead of time to improve digestibility. Packaged vegan toaster waffles from a natural food store. Vegan Brunch Options That Take a Bit Longer… but are so Worth it Hot cereal (porridge) – quick-cooking oatmeal, corn meal, red river, etc. Add raisins, cinnamon, soy milk, and maple syrup. A simple clear soup with some greens, carrots, and any other chopped veggies is… Read More

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Wild Blueberry Date Pie

Care of Amy Symington Ingredients: 2 cups spelt flour ½ tsp salt ½ tsp baking powder 1 tbsp ground flaxseed 1 cup coconut oil ½ cup water 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 3 cups wild blueberries 1 cup chopped dates ¼ cup maple syrup ¼ cup chopped almonds 2 tsp cinnamon 2 tsp vanilla ½ a lemon, zested Directions: In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, salt and flaxseed and fully incorporate.  Cut in the coconut oil using a fork or potato masher and fully incorporate. Next, make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the water and vinegar.  Using your hands, knead the dough until all the liquid is completely incorporated.  Divide the dough so that one piece is 1/3 the dough and the other 2/3.  Next, with the larger piece, on a well-floured surface using a well-floured rolling pin roll out the dough into a 1” thick crust. Place into a 9” pie plate.  Trim edges if needed. Roll out the remaining dough into a 9” top crust.  Set aside. Next in a large bowl add the remaining ingredients and mix.  Evenly distribute the blueberry mixture into the pie crust shell. … Read More

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How about a date?

Care of Amy Symington The date palm tree is cultivated for its succulently sweet fruit.  Found in dried, fresh, crystal or syrup form its uses are unending. The date fruit is the most widely known use of the date palm tree, however there are an array of additional uses as well.  The tree is also tapped for its sap which is made into sugar and molasses, its leaves are harvested and eaten as vegetables and its seeds are ground and used for bread. Dates are a very good source of potassium and antioxidants, rich in iron, protein and fibre and contain significant amounts of trace minerals like copper, manganese and magnesium.  When consumed they also provide a more stable increase in blood sugar levels than other sweeteners like sugar. Dates are used in many culturally diverse cuisines from Moroccan to Libyan to South Asian.  Anything from couscous dishes, to tagines to curries are fair game and date friendly. Some other delish date delicacies include eggplant “bacon” wrapped dates, almond stuffed dates, date glazed tempeh and fresh dates with cashew cream.  Of course who can forget what dates are most infamous for: sweet treats.  Date nut bread, date squares, date tarts,… Read More

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Kale: Real Fast, Real Food

Care of Karen Soper and Lisa Pitman In the realm of fast food there is a plethora of options for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. We can literally go to every street corner and find something to eat. Books have been written about our “Fast Food Nation”, scrapping and devouring our land resources, contributing to epidemic proportions of disease and illness, putting an entire food system into an inequitable state, and yet food to us must be fast. Must it be real? It is clear that the foods I am talking about are not really food. They are derived, manufactured, concocted, packaged and then digested. Calories, well we know the sad story there. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we can choose it – plant based foods that are easy to cook. Kale, as so many healthy, life-giving plant based foods are, is an example of a real fast food. This amazing curly-leafed, dark green vegetable is a member of the same family as cabbage, collards and brussel sprouts. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, B6, riboflavin, and manganese (an important part of superoxide dismutase – the powerful antioxidant enzyme). Kale provides more nutritional… Read More

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Food of the Month: Dandelion Greens

Care of Lisa Pitman and Nimisha Raja Do you just walk right past those green leafy veggies in the produce section? Does the mention of dandelions conjure up images of endless digging in the garden to rid the pesky weed? Let’s stop and take a second look. Dandelion greens are some of the most nutritious greens you can consume (but get them from your farmers’ market or produce section unless you know for sure the ones in your garden are safe to eat: aka free of lawn pesticides, no dogs, cats or other animals in the area that may have done their business there). Some people shy away from these super healthy greens because of the bitter taste. But fear not – you can mix them into a green smoothie and use fruit to cover up the bitterness, or lightly sauté them in a tablespoon of olive oil and crushed garlic. Add a bit of soy sauce or tamari and a squeeze of lemon and the bitterness will be pleasantly palatable. Also, choose younger (smaller leaves/stalks) dandelion, and it will be milder than the more mature variety. The bitterness is what makes dandelion a wonderful tonic for your liver and… Read More

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10 Easy Ways to Use Sprouts

Care of Lisa Pitman   Photo care of Vegan Cookbook Critic 1. Add fresh sprouts to any salad or rice bowl to boost the nutritional profile. 2. Dump a handful of green sprouts (e.g. sunflower sprouts) into a fruit smoothie to satisfy your greens quotient. 3. Make your own Essene or Manna bread by combining sprouted wheat berries, a drizzle of olive oil and your favourite flavour additions (raisins, cinnamon, nuts, seeds, etc.). Bake small loaves slowly at a low heat in your oven or dehydrator. 4. Enjoy sprouted quinoa or sprouted lentils as the base of a hearty summer salad. 5. Stuff a handful of sprouts into a whole wheat pita with roasted veggies and hummus for a protein-packed lunch. 6. Wander over to your local juice-bar for a shot of wheatgrass sprouts. 7. Use sprouted flax or chia as the base for an Omega-rich cracker. 8. Enrich your favourite smoothie with extra protein by the powder of ground sprouts – lentil, flax, chia, pea (you can make your own or use a commercial source like Vega). 9. Puree green sprouts into your favourite dips – hummus, white bean, nuts – to add fresh flavour. Read More

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Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Illustration by PJ Chimiel, printed by permission. See for more art, and food photos. This Canadian Thanksgiving enjoy a vegetarian feast. We have tips on what to serve and links to the best recipes. Thanksgiving is also about celebrating the harvest. Farmers’ markets are the best places to find fresh seasonal produce such as squash, pumpkins, corn, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, peppers, arugula, kale, broccoli, etc. Avoid stress when vegetarians and meat eaters will be at the same meal. See our Surviving a holiday dinner page for suggestions on: Catering to vegetarians (when you aren’t one yourself) Being invited to a home where meat is being served Inviting non-vegetarians to your home Holiday recipes Vegetarian Holidays information & recipe sheet View our printable two-page holiday fact sheet: vegetarian-holiday.pdf (180 kb). It includes the following recipes: Easy Festive Bake, Stuffed Tofu Turkey, Good Gravy, Sweet Potato and Parsnip Casserole, Chestnut Soup with Greens, and Ginger Cranberry Mincemeat Pie. Roasted Chestnuts How to select, roast and serve chestnuts. Thanksgiving recipe links Vegan Lunch Box Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup: Click here. Live… Read More

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