janet @ the taste space

Archive for the ‘Sides’ Category

Roasted Balsamic Chickpeas + Plant-Powered Families Cookbook Giveaway

In Book Review, Sides on May 22, 2015 at 6:43 AM

Dreena's Roasted Balsamic Chickpeas

In addition to not (almost) blogging, you know what else I have not been doing?

Exercise. Going to the gym.

It has been over 2 months since I have stepped into my gym. For years, I was a morning gym-goer, opting to wake up early and work out before heading to work. After I moved back from Texas, I switched it up to go after work. I knew it was a recipe for disaster, but it worked out well during the winter. In due time, I think I will meander back to the gym but enjoying this relaxed phase to the max.

Dreena's Roasted Balsamic Chickpeas

I have slowly ramped up my digestive system back up to its mostly normal high-fiber self, and spent this weekend making (and eating) all the chickpeas. One of the easiest ways to eat chickpeas (after hummus, of course), is to roast them. I really liked these salt and vinegar roasted chickpeas, and this batch was a tangy balsamic version with a touch of maple. They roasted up, shrinking in size, but gained a savoury outer crust. Snack on them as they are, or add them to your next salad.

Plant-Powered Families review + giveaway

The recipe is from Dreena Burton’s latest cookbook. No stranger to her lovely recipes (Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew, Lemon Mediterranean Lentil Salad, Moroccan Vegetable Phyllo Rolls, and Orange Red Lentil Soup with Coriander and Star Anise), her latest cookbook is focused on family-friendly recipes, catering to the (oftentimes) picky requests of children. She said these chickpeas were often requested by her children, and I could see why.

Dreena's Roasted Balsamic Chickpeas

This is undoubtedly her prettiest cookbook yet with all photographs by Nicole Axworthy (you can see her favourite recipes form the cookbook here and her photo of the chickpea nibbles at the bottom of the post). Indeed, the recipes span the entire day with breakfast recipes like Almond Zen Granola, Savory Chickpea Omelets and Pumpkin Snackles. Lunch options include salads with tofu feta, “magical” applesauce vinaigrette, mild cheesy dip and the simplest marinated baked tofu I still want to make myself. Dinner themed recipes include soups/stews like Pumpkin Lentil Soup and Apple Lentil Dal, pizzas/pasta including Polenta Pizza Crust and Hummus Tortilla Pizzas, and Burgers/etc such as Sneaky Chickpea Burgers. Like her previous books, dessert is not forgotten with puddings, creams, sauces, cookies, bars, energy bites, frozen treats, cakes and fruit-based desserts all represented.

Dreena's Roasted Balsamic Chickpeas

All of her recipes use plant-based whole foods as ingredients. She has tried to make them more nut-free, a common problem when feeding children going to school. As someone who owns a few of Dreena’s cookbooks, I feel like it is only fair to mention that this is an oil-free cookbook (not necessarily low-fat) and you may recognize some recipes from her previous cookbooks. Some are the same (ie, the umami burgers and blondies from Plant-Powered 15) and other recipes seem similar but have been modified to accommodate nut-free options (ie, her Nicer Krispie Squares) or oil-free options (ie, her Sniffle Lentil Soup). There are definitely new recipes, too, which are true to her signature kid-friendly style.

Dreena's Roasted Balsamic Chickpeas (aka Chickpea Nibbles)

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me which vegan food your family loves to eat the most. The winners will be selected at random on June 5, 2015. Good luck!

Recipes from Plant-Powered Families spotted elsewhere:

Artichoke and Spinach Dip

Artichoke Sunflower Burgers


Best Banana Bread (or Muffins)

Blueberry Lassy Muffins

Cheesy Caesar Dressing

Cinnamon French Toast

Crazy Brownies

Creamy Artichoke Spinach Dip

Creamy Vegan Fettuccine

Double Chocolate Orange Banana Muffins


No-Bake Granola Bars

Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl

Polenta Pizza Crust

Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Red Lentil Hummus

Saucy BBQ Chickpeas and Green Beans

Sticky Almond Blondies


Umami Almond, Quinoa and Sun-Dried Tomato Burgers

White Bean Guacamole

PS. I am sharing this with No Waste Food Challenge and Bookmarked Recipes.

PPS. There is still time to enter this giveaway for Crave Eat Heal here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Avo-Kraut Toast

In Breakfasts, Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on May 5, 2015 at 7:38 AM

Avo-Kraut Toast

Long time no chat. I feel like I have been revived back to life. Those past few weeks seemingly lost into the neverlands. Of course it was all in the name of recovery, but I am at a loss for words as to how I spent my days. I certainly wasn’t at work. There was barely any blogging. I aimed for a short walk a day, usually to the nearby grocery store although sometimes just around the block. And eventually I started feeding myself.

Avo-Kraut Toast

At risk of sharing TMI, bear with me. While most suggestions after bowel surgery is to eat a high fibre diet, I found I needed to scale back my typical fibre rich meals. This was one meal that was very easy to make and worked well. I figured the sauerkraut would be good for adding probiotics after a long stretch of antibiotics but I also really liked this with some smoked tofu. I told Rob the smoked tofu reminded me of cheese although he denied it vehemently. He agreed it looked like cheese but it did not taste like it.

Avo-Kraut Toast

Avocado toast is definitely the sandwich du jour, but it wasn’t until we travelled through Guatemala and Honduras that I truly appreciated its versatility. There was a stretch where I had avocado toast (with refried beans and fried plantains) for both breakfast and dinner. It was just too good. Here is Rob’s play with refried for one of our snacks. Enjoy!

Have you ever had a rough recovery from surgery?

beany love

I am sharing this with Souper Sundays, Meat Free MondaysEat Your GreensCredit Crunch Munch and ExtraVeg.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sesame-Sriracha Roasted Vegetable Chickpea Bowl

In Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on March 3, 2015 at 7:51 AM

Sesame-Sriracha Roasted Vegetable Chickpea Bowl

I have been lucky to be able to cook from so many fabulous cookbooks. I always try to share my favourite recipe for you to try as well, but sometimes there are so many good recipes. This dish was simplified, slightly from the Buddha Parcels in Keep It Vegan (as reviewed originally here).

Instead of making parcels (cute but not too practical), I put all the vegetables in a big glass tray and roasted them with a sheet of aluminum foil overtop. The sauce from toasted sesame oil and sriracha was spot on perfect, and I wonder whether the vinegar was the best part. Not that I tasted it, but it was a lovely marinade.

Sesame-Sriracha Roasted Vegetable Chickpea Bowl

I used sweet potatoes and sweet red bell peppers and it complemented the spicy sauce. Because of the lid, the kale gets steamed from the juicy vegetables. Not that kale chips would be bad, because I think they were fabulous on this roasted vegetable and kale chip pizza.

There is a nice (albeit small) side of cardamom-lemon infused rice in the cookbook, but I ended up tossing the vegetables with chickpeas and brown rice. Enjoy it with your favourite protein.

Sesame-Sriracha Roasted Vegetable Chickpea Bowl

I am sharing this with Shaheen’s Eat Your Greens.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jackfruit Vegan Gyros with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce + Vegan Without Borders Giveaway

In Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on January 24, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Jackfruit Gyros with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

See below for the worldwide (!!) giveaway.

I don’t pay attention to food trends, mostly because I have learned I am usually ahead of the pack! Quinoa before the masses. I was talking about amaranth in 2010! Kale and cauliflower, I have you covered… Although I am still waiting for the world to catch on to the love of beans.

Anyways, Bon Appetit top prediction for 2015 is gyros.

Vegans need not fret. I am presenting to you: jackfruit vegan gyros for 2015.

Gyros sound finicky and complex. They are probably confused mostly in their pronunciation (hint: it sounds more like euro).

And yes, I also think jackfruit is looking to be the next culinary trend (and humble-brag alert, I’ve been eating jackfruit since 2012).

Jackfruit Gyros with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce + Vegan Without Borders Giveaway

This recipe is courtesy of Robin Robertson’s Vegan Without Borders. A very prolific author, this particular cookbook has focused on mostly authentic vegan recipes from around the world. The cookbook is divided into sections based on geography and highlights recipes from Europe (Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, Greece, Eastern Europe, British Isles), The Americas (United States, Mexico, The Caribbean, South America, Africa, The Middle East, India, and Asia (China, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Southeast Asia Islands).

The recipes, so far, have been solid. They are earmarked as gluten-free, soy-free, low oil/no oil and quick and easy. Because Robin has tried to maintain authenticity to the dishes, there are a bit more convenience foods as ingredients than I like (sour cream, cream cheese, etc) but you could definitely try substituting homemade versions, too.

Jackfruit Gyros with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

These gyros, though, were fabulous. The jackfruit had an excellent texture, similar to pulled pork and the flavours were bright and fresh. Because I didn’t have yogurt or sour cream on hand, I made my own version of tzatziki which complemented the pita well. I opted for a tofu base since I thought the meal needed an extra hit of protein.

As leftovers, once I ran out of the pita, this was also excellent as a quinoa bowl, with the jackfruit and veggies piled high and a generous serving of the tzatziki overtop.

Jackfruit Gyros with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce
Recipes from Vegan Without Borders spotted elsewhere:

Baked Eggplant Fries


Chickpea and Kale Wat

Cucumber and White Bean Ceviche

Farinata with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives


Mango Rice Verrines

Pina Colada Squares


Roasted Ratatouille with Basil Pistou

Seitan Jagerschnitzel

Szechuan Bok Choy

Tzatziki Sauce

Umbrian Lentil Salad

Vegetable Paella

Vegetable Tagine

Watermelon Paletas

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living anywhere in the world. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite cuisine (Thai, German, etc). The winner will be selected at random on February 1, 2015. Good luck!

PS. I am sharing this with Souper Sundays. Read the rest of this entry »

Balsamic-Maple Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potato & Giveaway for But I Could Never Go Vegan!

In Book Review, Favourites, Sides on December 4, 2014 at 7:24 AM

But I Could Never Go Vegan.Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Rob is away this week for work. He likes to update me on his day-to-day life…. like what they serve for breakfast at work, especially when it is unusual like Brussels sprouts. I would be excited about that, too! I have had Brussels for breakfast once, when we used them in this curried dill tofu scramble. Turns out I had just made Brussels sprouts as a vegetable side and it was so good, I could possibly consider eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I mean it includes all good things: roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potato, both in a sticky tangy-sweet glaze courtesy of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. I like how the nutritional yeast adds a tackiness to the marinade and thickens it up, helping it to coat all the vegetables. I opted to skip the dried cranberries and I excluded them purely on principle. I had a sneaking suspicion that fresh/frozen cranberries would be surreal in here. I included them in this Balsamic Curry Roasted Vegetable dish and their tart juiciness would have complemented the dish well.

Kristy's Balsamic-Maple Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes

The recipe is courtesy of Kristy’s new cookbook, But I Could Never Go Vegan!I have been a long-time reader of her blog, where Kristy creates the creative recipes and her husband, Chris Turner, takes the most gorgeous photos. (You totally know he gets the credit for the top photo).

Kristy’s book is a cute foray into vegan cuisine. She aims to convince you that will not be lacking anything while munching vegan-style. Each chapter was created with recipes targetted to bust vegan myths: All Those Special Ingredients are Way More Expensive; I Could Never Give Up Cheese!; Where Would I Get My Protein?; Tofu Doesn’t Taste Like Anything; Vegan Cooking is Too Hard; Where’s the Beef?; Just Thinking about Salad Makes Me Yawn; What About Brunch?; Fake “Foods” Freak Me Out; It’s All Rabbit Food; Not Soup Again!; I’d Miss Pizza; Can’t I Be Pescatarian Instead?; My Friends Won’t Want to Come Over for Dinner; No Way. I’m Italian (or Southern/German/Mexican/French); But I Hate (Insert Vegetable Here); I Don’t Want to be Left Out at Potlucks and Family Get-Togethers; You Can’t Bake Without Butter Or Eggs; Wait, Is Chocolate Vegan?; But I Scream for Ice Cream.

Yeah, she definitely covers her bases! Her recipes span the simple and easy (see below) but also mostly on the elaborate side: Potato Sauerkraut Soup with Sausage Crumbles, Buffalo Cauliflower Calzones with Cashew Blue Cheese, Pretzel Dumplings with Mushroom-Sauerkraut Gravy; Salisbury Seitan Phyllo Pouches with Rosemary Mashed Potatoes. I may be wrong but I only recognize a few recipes from her blog: Spinach Artichoke Soup, Chickpea Sloppy Joes and Jackfruit Tuna Salad Sandwich. There may be others, but those were the ones I recognized and previously bookmarked. These sprouts and sweets are similar (and likely improved) from her Cheesy Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli dish. I am certainly looking forward to cooking through these recipes. One can not help but to be inspired by the photography and recipes.

Recipes spotted elsewhere:

(Vegan) BBQ Bacon Burgers

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kristy's Balsamic-Maple Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about the hardest that prevents (or used to prevent you) from becoming vegan. The winner will be selected at random on December 15, 2014. Good luck!

I am sharing this with Shaheen’s Eat Your Greens and Virtual Vegan Potluck.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mediterranean Chickpeas Braised with Brussels Sprouts, Kale & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

In Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on November 23, 2014 at 7:44 AM

Pan-Roasted Chickpeas Braised with Brussels Sprouts

Turns out our furnace problems were solved with a new thermostat. Thank goodness it was such an easy fix. It will be a bit warmer over the next few days which is perfect for us. It will melt the snow and allow us to rake all the leaves we had neglected earlier before winter resumes again later in the week.

Hearty winter fare is back into my kitchen for good and this was a delicious side, and could definitely work if you are looking for a something different for a holiday meal. Brussels sprouts are braised with chickpeas, kale and sun-dried tomatoes along with Italian-inspired seasonings. I thought this was excellent. Highly recommended.

What are you planning to serve for Thanksgiving?

Pan-Roasted Chickpeas Braised with Brussels Sprouts

I am sharing this with this month’s Eat Your Greens and Cook Your Books.

Read the rest of this entry »

Caramelized Leek and Flageolet Bean Salad

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads, Sides on November 20, 2014 at 8:18 AM

Caramelized Leek and Flageolet Bean Salad

So, how are you faring with the first blast of winter?

Turns out my furnace was not up to the increased stress and stopped working. Twice. For the past two nights, we have woken up to a fairly frigid home. At least we have warm blankets, so you don’t really notice until you escape for breakfast.

It reminded me of the time we were in Houston, in May during the first heat wave. It was at that time we noticed our air conditioner was broken. Eventually our home was a few degrees shy of the sweltering outside and we knew we had to contact our landlord. Accessing the air conditioner was another challenge, as it was difficult to find a safe ladder to span 4 storeys and jockey around the lightning and rain.

This time, I keep telling myself: at least we’re not in Buffalo. Did you catch the video of the snow blanket being lifting from the lake?

Caramelized Leek and Flageolet Bean Salad

I thought, perhaps my salad days were over, too. But this is a delightful salad warm or cold. A bunch of leeks are caramelized and added to creamy flageolet beans and coated in a simple lemon-mustard sauce.

Another winner from Gena!

Caramelized Leek and Flageolet Bean Salad

I am sharing this with Souper Sundays and  Bookmarked Recipes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Peacefood Cafe’s Chickpea Fries & HappyCow Cookbook Giveaway

In Appetizers, Book Review, Sides on October 21, 2014 at 7:10 AM

Peacefood Cafe Chickpea Fries Recipe

I may not have promoted it here but I am a complete fan of Happy Cow. When travelling, I consult the reviews (and then leave my own) to find the best vegan eats around the world. Not only across Canada and the US, I chronicled my eats while travelling in Germany, Iceland, Mexico, Colombia and South Africa. Rightfully so, there are zero entries for Madagascar.

In any case, I was thrilled when I heard that Eric Brent and Glen Merzer were creating a cookbook featuring recipes from top-rated vegan restaurants, The Happy Cow Cookbook.

Peacefood Cafe Chickpea Fries Recipe

The neat part of this compilation was each restaurant’s profile, highlighting their popular and favourite dishes, important lessons as a restaurant owner/chef, and the future of plant-based food movement. Each restaurant shares one, two or more recipes, along with some photographs. As expected with a compilation, the recipes vary with respect to level of difficulty, recipe instructions and photographs. On the whole, the recipes seem solid. Millenium’s Pistachio-Crusted Eggplant Napoleon is way too complex for me to recreate, but makes me want to visit this San Francisco eatery.  There is also a recipe for Coconut Tofu and Blackened Tempeh with Grapefruit Yuzu (courtesy of Green in Tempe, AZ) that definitely beyond my reach. However, Lettuce Love Cafe’s Tempeh Reuben looks easy to recreate at home, as well as Netherlands’ Veggies on Fire’s Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce.

The book is ordered alphabetically, based on the name of the restaurants, which makes it difficult to find recipes. However, the breadth of recipes seems vast with little repeats (although you will certainly find many recipes for vegan cheese!). Recipes vary from Kimchi Nori Maki Rolls and Peruvian Leftovers Pie to Avocado Apple Tartare with Walnut Bonbons to Chicken Fried Tempeh and Carrot Cake with a Vegan Cream Cheese frosting. Sadly, what I was most disappointed, was the abundant use of vegan substitutes (ie vegan cream cheese, sour cream and Vegenaise), although that probably helps prep time for restaurants.

While I have never been to Peacefood Cafe, I was itching to make their “Award-Winning Chickpea Fries” which is basically an Indian-spiced baked fry made with chickpea flour. They were quite easy to make although I regret adding the bay leaf to the spice mixture. It became a predominant flavour and bothersome since I didn’t grind it to a fine powder. I didn’t make the Caesar Dipping Sauce as the recipe perplexed me. I was not sure why there was fermented bean curd in the sauce without directions to pulverize it with a blender. In any case, the recipe below is as seen in the book. Enjoy.

Peacefood Cafe Chickpea Fries Recipe

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to share the recipe AND giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the cookbook, please leave a comment below telling me what your favourite vegan-friendly restaurant is (and where). Bonus entry if you share your link to your review on HappyCow. The winner will be selected at random on November 7, 2014. Good luck!

PS. HappyCow Cookbook recipes spotted elsewhere:

Beet Salad with Shallot-Thyme Dressing (from Blackbird Pizzeria in Philadelphia, PA)
Cherry Royal (from Veggie Grill in Hollywood, CA)
Granada Chai
(from El Piano in Malaga, Spain)
Kimchi Nori Maki Roll (from Real Food Daily in West Hollywood, CA)
Moroccan Tajine (from SunCafe Organic in Studio City, CA)
Nutloaf (from Wayward Cafe in Seattle, WA)
Pasta with Pumpkin Curry Sauce (from Counter Culture in Austin, TX)
Pickled Beets (from Zen Kitchen in Ottawa, ON)
Pistachio-Crusted Eggplant Napoleon (from Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco, CA)
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon-Brown Sugar Cream (from True Bistro in Boston, MA)
Quinoa Tabbouleh
(from Chaco Canyon in Seattle, WA)
Raw Lime Parfait (from Plant in Asheville, NC)
Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Cauliflower, Garlic and Mashed Potatoes with Porcini Mushroom Gravy (from Peacefood Cafe in New York, NY)
Skillet Cornbread (from Cornbread Cafe in Eugene, OR)
Spicy Cha Cha (from The Loving Hut in Houston, TX)
Swiss Bircher Muesli (from Luna’s Living Kitchen in Charlotte, NC)

Other recipes from restaurants I have made:

Candle Cafe’s Paradise Casserole with Black Beans, Millet and Cinnamon-Miso Sweet Potato Mash
Fresh’s All-Star Salad
Fresh’s Miso Gravy
Gorilla Food’s Strawberry Bliss Up Shake
Live Organic Cafe’s Raw Pad Thai
Peacefood Cafe’s Raw Key Lime Pie

I am sharing this with the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ottolenghi’s Miso-Braised Cabbage

In Sides on October 14, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Ottolenghi's Miso-Braised Cabbage

I hope all my Canadian readers enjoyed their long Thanksgiving weekend. My small contribution to this year’s Thanksgiving spread was my silky smooth braised cabbage. Mostly because it is so easy to make. Also because I remade it last year and it wasn’t as good as I remembered it, so I wanted to try it again. This time, I read the recipe more carefully. I have to cook it for at least 2 hours and 15 minutes. I think I missed a whole hour last time, but this time, 2.5 hours later, we had glorious braised cabbage. Vindicated.

Although while searching for my cabbage recipe, I came across Ottolenghi’s new recipe for miso-braised cabbage. With half a head of cabbage leftover, I vowed to make his version when I returned home. Although, I fell victim to not reading the recipe. Or became confused. I mistakenly cooked it at 400F for 20 minutes and then 200F for another 3.5 hours. As such, my cabbage wasn’t as crispy golden as my other recipe for braised cabbage, but still silky tender, without a drop of oil. I probably could have roasted it for a final 15 minutes at 400F for a crispy exterior but I was quickly running out of time. I kept the original temperature in the directions below for your next attempt.

I often have troubles when I halve or double recipes, so I always make sure to write down the math for every ingredient, but this time the C and F conversion tripped me up. Too much information! How do you usually mess up recipes?

Ottolenghi's Miso-Braised Cabbage

I am sharing this with Bookmarked Recipes, Credit Crunch Munch, Healthy Vegan Fridays and ExtraVeg.

Read the rest of this entry »

South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce (Tomato-Free)

In Favourites, Sides on September 23, 2014 at 6:54 AM

South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce

WOAH! Stop the presses. Where have you been all my life?

No seriously.

I always thought barbecue sauces were tomato-based. This barbecue sauce has no tomato in sight. Instead, the base is from mustard and vinegar. It is amazing what a little blackstrap molasses can do to herald a sauce into the barbecue family.

The ultimate barbecue sauce is probably a very touchy/personal topic for many, especially in the US, with each region having their own spin on their special sauce for grilling. While in Texas, I didn’t go for barbecue, but I seem to be homesick for my time in Houston and bringing the barbecue back to Toronto.

However, this is not Texas-style barbecue sauce, it hails from South Carolina. Mustard-loving Germans added a barbecue twist to their local sauce and it is wonderful. Not too sweet, a heavy hand with the vinegar and a perfect punch from the savoury spices. A perfect mix for me and my love of all things mustard.

I haven’t quite decided what to do with this sauce yet. I was originally going to toss it with some tofu and veggies and then bake it, but now all I want to do is keep it. Why use that all in one go?

What is your favourite barbecue sauce and what do you like to do with it?

PS. I am sharing this with Credit Crunch Munch and this week’s Virtual Vegan Potluck.

Read the rest of this entry »

Buffalo Hummus

In Appetizers, Sides on September 11, 2014 at 6:29 AM

Buffalo Hummus

Allow me to be honest with you. I may have lost my cooking mojo.

I haven’t really been too interested in cooking lately. My life has slowed down a lot (physically, mainly) and my heart no no longer sings in the kitchen. One must still eat, so I am still cooking… although finding it a challenge to continue to blog consistently.

And then I made this hummus.  I knew I had to share it right away.

I am no stranger to strange hummus concoctions but this one was really good. Spiced with sriracha with a depthness from red peppers, I really liked it. It wasn’t too spicy (for me!) so feel free to add more sriracha for your palate. I found this had a taste reminiscent of cheese but without any nooch, I think it was from the red pepper paste. This was nice and silky straight from the food processor. Sadly, it stiffened slightly as leftovers so either eat it all at once or add some more liquid as needed.

Buffalo Hummus

I am sharing this with My Legume Love Affair hosted by Valli and Bookmarked Recipes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Roasted Creole Cauliflower

In Favourites, Sides on August 7, 2014 at 6:31 AM

Roasted Creole Cauliflower

I spoke too soon.

You know when you plan for something, know you won’t be having internet for a while and schedule a post about what life will be like (because you planned for it to be as so)?

Well, let’s just say I planned to have a semi-functioning household. En route to our new home in Toronto, packed to the brim with loaner things (you know, all the necessities: an inflatable bed, sheets, cutlery, pot, frypan, containers and all that food you made for the following week so you wouldn’t actually have to cook..), an hour and half into our trip from Ottawa, my car breaks down. We pulled off to the side of the 401 as my dashboard went bonkers and the engine stopped working.

Roasted Creole Cauliflower

I pulled out my cell phone. Three days earlier I had finally signed up for service. Although, looking down, my phone told me I had no service. (Bad WIND!) Not good.

Thank goodness Rob’s phone still worked, despite roaming and despite me previously draining the battery surfing the internet.

Roasted Creole Cauliflower

Frantic phone calls eventually got my brother and pregnant sister-in-law to my side who had the rational idea to tow the car back to Ottawa and they would drive Rob and I along with a few essentials.

We called CAA/AAA with my brother’s charged phone, despite being on hold and having dropped calls, only to find out our membership expired last month (GAH!). Membership offices are closed because it is a holiday.

We contact my Mom, who has a CAA membership and she offered to come down and help out. We knew it would be at least 90 minutes for her to arrive.

Roasted Creole Cauliflower

We start rearranging luggage on the side of the highway. Non-essentials in the dead car. Essentials in my brother’s. I had to make quick decisions: clothes and underwear keep, inflatable bed keep (but forgot the pump and sheets!) and also realized there was no room for all of the packed food and the container with all the helpful bits (pot, pan, knives, etc).

An OPP police officer pulls over and asks us what was going on. It must be such a sight with all of us scurrying around, including a pregnant woman and someone with crutches. He calls a tow truck to remove us from harm’s way and told us to be careful (turns out someone had died earlier that day after exiting their car).

Not too long afterwards, the tow truck arrives. The car is loaded onto the flatbed truck and brought to the closest safe location as we patiently wait for my mother to arrive.

Eventually, my Mom is able to call CAA for us and she returns with the car back to Ottawa. My brother drops us off in our new empty home. (Kind soul, he actually waited with us for 30 minutes as we waited for our landlord to give us the keys). We forgot we have no microwave.

Once we’re somewhat settled, Rob runs off to the grocery store since we have zero food. And no tokens for the bus to get to work tomorrow. He comes back loaded with groceries. We quickly eat the ready-made salads and hummus.

I ask for his can opener for the beans. (Because salsa+beans=meal).  It is in the bag that went back to Ottawa. GAH.

I subsequently call up a friend and we cobble together some kitchen necessities to borrow: cutlery, can opener, bowls and plates. And a pot!

We collapse on the inflatable bed. Exhausted but at the same time basking in the love and support from family and friends. Ready for me to start my first day at work.*

*With my vacation clothes I packed for Africa.


If you are here for the lovely recipe instead of the dramatic life of Janet (I can’t make this up!), this was made while I still lived in Houston. This was our go-to roasted cauliflower recipe. A tomato base with a savoury spice blend. The original recipe was for a raw version, using the dehydrator, but we have been using tomato paste and the oven since it is both delicious and simple. A great side with lots of flavour.

Perhaps in a week or so I will be back to normal. Have you ever felt like the universe was pushing against you?

Roasted Creole Cauliflower

I am sharing this with Bookmarked Recipes and Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck. Read the rest of this entry »

Creamy Curried Lentil Salad

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads, Sides on August 5, 2014 at 6:47 AM

Creamy Curried Lentil Salad

It is nice to be home again. While I have a very bare kitchen (some borrowed knives, cutting board, pot and frypan only with a few containers), I am still happy to be starting my new life. We had dedicated more time for unpacking over the long weekend, but since we had nothing to unpack, we spent more time at my parents, thoroughly exploiting their fully functional kitchen.

We quickly gravitated to make old favourites: Tamarind Lentils, Pad Thai, and Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad. Then, finally itching to make something new, I decided to make a spin on two of my other favourite salads, aka The Best Lentil Salad and The Best Chickpea Salad. This time, I used lentils, capers and currants but with a dressing more similar to the tahini-maple-curry dressing from the chickpea salad. I added some greens, too, which I like to add to lentil salads. It was so delicious, it barely lasted one meal.

Got to love simple salads like this. What is your favourite summer salad?

Creamy Curried Lentil Salad

I am sharing this with My Legume Love Affair hosted by Lemon in Ginger, No Croutons Required, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Credit Crunch Munch,  Souper Sundays, Eat Your Greens and this week’s Virtual Vegan Linky.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fiesta Masa Cornbread Muffins

In Sides on July 15, 2014 at 7:23 AM

Fiesta Cornbread Muffins

This is probably my favourite concoction from the remains of my pantry.

I had a vision. I wanted to make corn muffins with masarepa. Cornmeal, polenta, masa harina and masarepa— what are the differences?

Masarepa is unique because it is precooked. We use it all the time for arepas and I love how soft and melt-in-your mouth arepas taste fresh from the oven. Sounds like the perfect recipe for cornbread, no?

My googling did not help.  Possibly because arepas ARE Colombia’s (and Venezuela’s) answer to cornbread.

Fiesta Cornbread Muffins

In any case, I cobbled together a few recipes and in the end, just ran with it. Into my batter with masarepa (and masa harina since I finished our stash), I added roasted corn, roasted hatch chiles and roasted red peppers. A bit of sweetener to accentuate the dough, although that may be sacrilegious depending on who you ask (and I am no corn bread expert).

Although I appreciate good food, and this was delicious. Basically a fiesta arepa in muffin form. They didn’t really raise too much. Although this will encourage me to add veggies to our next batch of arepas.

I find experimental baking quite daunting, but these turned out great. Do you ever make non-arepas from masarepa?

Fiesta Cornbread Muffins


Read the rest of this entry »

Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Vegan Bacon Chickpea Croutons

In Mains (Vegetarian), Sides, Soups on April 22, 2014 at 7:13 AM

Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Vegan Bacon Chickpea Croutons

I love when it is going to be a delicious week.

I am too lazy/tired to cook during the week, so I make everything on the weekend. A new batch of oatmeal. I create 3-4 different dishes, with possibly some fresh rice mid-week. Rob helps with the rice. His rice always seems to taste better even if we use the same rice cooker.

Anyways. I digress.

I love delicious surprises in the kitchen.

Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Vegan Bacon Chickpea Croutons

I was wooed by Tess’ creamy cauliflower soup in her latest cookbook. However, I knew cauliflower and leeks, alone, would not be a filling meal. Beans. I need some beans. Where are the beans? I could have easily blended white beans into the soup, but I don’t like pureed soups.

Keeping things a bit more texturally complex, I ran with bacon-flavoured roasted chickpea croutons! Because I was going to use the oven to roast my chickpeas, I roasted my vegetables, too. It helped to free up a coveted soup pot and oven burner, too.

Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Vegan Bacon Chickpea Croutons

I guess I get surprised by some of my successes. Light and fluffy yet still filling, the soup was as easy as blending together roasted vegetables with some spices. The bacon chickpeas added a salty-savoury topping that contrasted the soup wonderfully.

And somewhat off-topic. Not soup-related, but related by all things delicious. You know what else we recently discovered that was glorious? Trader Joe’s Soy Creamy Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream. GAH! Annie clued me in early on that their coconut-based ice creams were delicious and they helped tame the Texan heat in the summer. Now that we’re cycling in the heat, this has become our new way to cool off.

What have you been enjoying lately?

Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Vegan Bacon Chickpea Croutons

I am sharing this with Souper Sundays and Vegan Potluck.

Read the rest of this entry »