Saturday, April 30, 2011

Vegetarian Black Bean and Nut "Meat" Tacos

These tacos are soo delicious and you won't believe there is no meat at all in them! I made them for my family and they couldn't even tell the difference. The taco seasoning blend and the heavy, meaty texture of the beans and nuts combo makes you think you're really eating taco meat - plus you're getting tons of protein and healthy fats!

Bean and Nut "Meat" Ingredients:
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, loosely packed (optional)
2-4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Seasoned with your favourite taco seasoning, or make your own (see recipe below)

Homemade Taco Seasoning:
4 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Throw spices and herbs in a bowl and stir to combine.

Taco Fixin's:
6-8 flour tortillas
Cheddar cheese, grated (or vegan Daiya cheese)
Bell peppers, diced
Sour cream (omit if vegan)

Cilantro Cabbage Coleslaw Ingredients:
2 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice
2 cups coleslaw salad mix
2 green onions, chopped
1/4-1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (or Veganaise/Nayonaise for vegans)
Salt and black pepper, to taste


To make your taco "meat," put the almonds, walnuts, sun dried tomatoes (if using), and olive oil in a food processor or blender and blend until it is all small chunks. 

In a skillet over medium heat, heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and then saute the onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add in the black beans and your taco seasoning. Use a fork or back of a spoon to slightly mash the beans, and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. 

Add in the prepared nut mixture and stir until well combined, cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. 
It is best if you make this ahead of time (either the day before or in the morning for that night's dinner), to allow the flavours to develop and become even more delicious. You can store this "meat" in the fridge for about 4 days.

Serve your vegetarian taco "meat" in your favourite flour tortillas with some salsa, sour cream, cheese, chopped bell peppers, and anything else you like in your tacos!

Cilantro Cabbage Coleslaw Directions:

Mix 2 tsp. of olive oil and lime juice in a medium bowl. Add the coleslaw, green onions, cilantro, and may and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve alongside your vegetarian tacos.

*Taco meat recipe adapted from Love Veggies and Yoga

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Homemade Apple Butter

I had never tried Apple Butter before making this recipe - and wow was I ever missing out! This stuff is seriously AMAZING! And the best part is it is so easy to make. Just throw everything into a crock pot, leave it overnight, and in the morning wake up to a delicious smelling house and something yummy to put on your toast, pancakes, or oatmeal. Plus it is way cheaper to make than buying a jar from the store and you get the piece of mind of knowing exactly what ingredients goes into it (no added preservatives needed!). It also makes a great gift around the holiday season or anytime at all really! I made my dad two bigs jars for his birthday this week :)


8 apples (Feel free to use whatever kind you have on hand. I used several varieties - 4 gala, 2 granny smith, 2 macintosh)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt

2-3 sealable jars

Yield: ~2.5 pints
*You can easily double this recipe if you are planning on making a large batch for preserving, gifts, etc.


Peel, core, and chop apples into about 1" chunks.

Place all ingredients in crock pot and stir so all apples are coated. Cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce to LOW for 10 hours (or overnight); stir occasionally.

Once the apples are a rich brown color and mash easily you can do one of two things:

If you have a handheld submersion blender then use it in the crock pot to blend the apples until totally smooth.

 If you don't have a submersion blender then just scoop several cups of the apples at a time into a normal blender and pulse it a few times until you reach the desired consistency. If after you've blended you want a thicker consistency of apple butter then just let it continue to cook uncovered in the crock pot on high for 20-30 minutes so that some of the liquid can evaporate. 

Fill your jars with the hot apple butter. At this point you can preserve them with your preferred home canning method or just leave it as is and store in the refrigerator. The apple butter will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge (but I doubt it will last that long!). Serve on toast, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, muffins, scones... or just eat it straight off the spoon!

Black Bean Veggie Burgers and Vegan Coleslaw

Burger Ingredients:

6 cups black beans (~3 15 oz. cans, rinsed and drained)
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. hot sauce
1 and 1/2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (or Veganaise/Nayonaise)
3 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large egg 
(to make these vegan you can substitute with a flax "egg" by whisking together 3 Tbsp. water with 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed and letting it sit for 10 min. before using)
2 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
1 and 1/2 cups bread crumbs

Burger Fixin's:

8 hamburger buns
2-3 roma tomatoes
1 medium red onion
Cheddar cheese slices (or vegan cheese)
Condiments of your choice


Pour the black beans into a colander, rinse well and let drain. Put the beans in a food processor along with the onion, garlic, parsley, hot sauce, mayo, soy sauce, cumin, and some pepper. Process until everything is combined and the mixture looks pasty with a few chunks. Depending on the strength and size of your food processor, you may have to process this in two separate batches and then combine them afterwards.
If you don't have a food processor, mash the beans with a fork and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Make sure the onion, garlic and parsley are very finely chopped.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and season with salt. I used about 1 tsp. of salt total. Adjust other seasonings to your taste at this time as well. Make the mixture slightly stronger in flavour and saltiness than you want the burgers to be because once the bread crumbs and egg are added the flavour will be diluted.

Whisk an egg (or the flax egg substitute) and stir it into the mixture. Stir in the breadcrumbs. The resulting mixture should be moist chunks and crumbs and should stick together if squeezed in your hand. Adjust the bread crumbs up or down to achieve a mixture that will hold a patty shape.

Use your hands for form the patties. This recipe makes 8 medium-sized burgers (or about 6 small or 10 extra big ones). If you are making these ahead of time, then just cover a baking sheet with wax paper, place the raw patties on it, cover the whole thing with plastic wrap and store them in the fridge until needed. You can also freeze the raw patties for longer storage - just wrap the individual raw patties in plastic wrap and place them in a ziploc freezer bag. To cook later, just thaw the patty for 30 seconds in the microwave, then finish cooking in a skillet. 

To cook the burgers, coat a skillet or large griddle with non-stick spray or cooking oil and cook the patties for 8-9 minutes on each side. The patties should be brown and crisp on the outside and slightly firm to the touch. Be delicate when handling the patties, they are not as cohesive as meat patties but should hold their shape well while cooking. 

Serve on a bun along with whatever toppings and sides you desire! I served my burgers with a vegan cabbage coleslaw (recipe below) and homemade baked sweet potato and parsnip fries - click here for the sweet potato fries recipe (I used the same technique for the parsnip fries as well).

Vegan Coleslaw Ingredients:

1 bag ready-made coleslaw mix 
 A mixture of green and purple cabbage and shredded carrots)

1/2 cup Veganaise or Nayonaise (or any other vegan "mayo")
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. sugar (or substitute with agave, Stevia, or other sweetener)
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar


Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined. Pour desired amount of dressing over the salad mix and toss. Extra dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

*Black Bean Burger recipe adapted from Budget Bytes and Vegan Slaw Dressing recipe from Love Veggies and Yoga

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

1/3 cup rolled oats
1 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or instead use 1/4 tsp. ginger and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg)

1-2 Tbsp. chopped pecans 
1 Tbsp. almond milk
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
Pinch of cinnamon

  • Directions: 

  • In a medium sized pot, heat the oats and almond milk over medium heat until it comes to a low boil. Stir in the pumpkin and chia seeds. 

  • Heat over low-medium for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Now add in the spices and vanilla and heat for another 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. 

  • Pour into a bowl and add toppings. Serves 1.

*Recipe from Oh She Glows

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Orange Chocolate Swirl Cake


2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups white sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. milk, room temperature, divided use
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
Zest and juice of 3-4 large oranges, separated

1 cup icing sugar + 3 Tbsp. orange juice
1 cup chocolate chips, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, place a rack in the middle of the oven. Grease a 12-cup bundt cake pan with non-stick cooking spray or butter and flour. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 

In a separate bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and cream together with butter on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly and scraping down the sides between each addition. Add the vanilla and beat just until incorporated.

Add one-third of the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until incorporated, then add 1/2 cup of the milk, beating again until incorporated. Scrape down the sides in between each addition. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, then the remaining 1/2 cup of the milk, then the remainder of the flour. 

Divide the batter evenly between two bowls. Gently and quickly mix in the orange zest and 1 Tbsp. orange juice into one bowl. Add 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder and 1 Tbsp. milk into the other bowl and stir until well incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan. To create a swirled effect, just randomly scoop big spoonfuls of one type of batter in the pan, then fill in the spaces with the other type of batter. Continue alternating until both batters have been used up.

Bake for 40-50 minutes (depending on your oven), until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. 

To add a little something extra, mix together 1 cup icing sugar with 3 Tbsp. orange juice for a simple glaze. Place the completely cooled caked on a plate or platter covered with wax paper and pour the prepared glaze over the cake. This glaze helps moisten the cake and keeps it moist for days! Or, you could do the same only with melted chocolate drizzled all over the cake - I think that would be even better!

*Recipe by Brooke McMillan