Light, lemony and satisfying, my Creamy Avocado Soup tastes rich and smooth, making the perfect light summer lunch or first course for a outdoor supper.
Creamy Avocado Soup
Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 small ripe avocados
12 ounces soft regular tofu, drained and cubed
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, chopped
1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons filtered or spring water, plus more as needed
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Diced sweet red pepper, for garnish (optional)
Peel, pit, and chop the avocados.
Put the chopped avocados, tofu, onion, lemon juice, garlic, sugar, cilantro, salt, cayenne pepper, and 2 tablespoons water in a blender and process until creamy. If the soup is too thick, add more water, 2 tablespoons at a time, to achieve the desired consistency.
Transfer to a bowl. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. About 30 minutes before serving, chill four small soup bowls or six demitasse cups.
To serve, ladle the soup into the chilled bowls. Garnish each serving with cilantro or parsley. Serve immediately.
Recipe source: Jazzy Vegetarian Classics, Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites by Laura Theodore (Ben Bella Books 2013) Used by permission
Can you believe we’re more than halfway through the year? I sure can’t. When it hit me that we were 6 months into 2018, I did a bit of a mental check-in on how things have been going so far this year—it’s definitely had its ups and downs. My challenges this year have been mainly with my health, but when our health is off-balance, it tends to drip over into every area of life.
There is always a silver lining, though: my health setbacks have been a huge wake-up call. For the past 5 years, my body has been either pregnant, nursing, or both, and that has without a doubt taken a huge toll on me. There have been times when I’ve neglected my physical, mental, and emotional health. There have been times when I got lazy with vitamins and just stopped caring. There have been times when my anxiety felt out of control. I’ve had a lot of inflammation and allergic reactions. A lot of illness. Things seemed to get worse after I had to take antibiotics for an infection this past winter.
About a month ago, I finally said enough is enough! I needed to stop and listen. Since then, I have committed to taking time for myself to heal. To go to those doctors appointments I’ve been putting off. It’s easy to let things slide when life is busy. Having kids can be all-consuming…they are so needy (for good reason), but wow parenthood can really make you lose yourself if you let it.
If you’re going through one of those life phases where you feel like you just can’t “get it together,” you aren’t alone. This too shall pass. And when it does, you will be stronger and wiser. And don’t lose gratitude for everything that’s going well along the way. Gratitude is definitely an anchor through the challenging times.
Meet jackfruit. Have you tried it before? I’ll admit I was a bit scared when I first saw the funky-looking fruit (and cans of jackfruit mystified me!). But after playing around with it for a few weeks, I’ve come to really love it. And I have so many fun jackfruit recipes ideas! A reader wrote to me the other week asking for help. He said his daughter can’t have legumes or nuts, so I put my thinking cap on and thought about how I could use jackfruit to create a delicious salad dish that she could enjoy on bread, wraps, rice cakes, or crackers. Jackfruit does lack the robust amount of protein you’d find in legumes and nuts, but I find adding hemp hearts (either by mixing them into the salad or adding on top) works great for boosting protein.
I really like the Native Forest brand of canned jackfruit. You don’t need to cook it to soften before use (unlike Cha’s Organics brand). After rinsing and draining it, I slice the spongy, firm core off each piece. If using jackfruit straight from the can, the core is a bit too firm for this recipe. You’ll only want to use the soft, stringy jackfruit that resembles pulled pork/chicken (in the photo below, that’s the stuff on the left!). With a bit of slicing and dicing, you’re ready to roll!
I recently started experimenting with jackfruit recipes, and I discovered that jackfruit makes a fantastic sub for chicken in a traditional chicken salad. My goodness, it’s delicious (and not only is jackfruit delicious, it’s rich in Vitamin C too)! Because jackfruit has such a mild flavour, it takes on all the wonderful flavours in this dish—tangy lemon and dill, creamy eggless mayo, savoury garlic, and smoky paprika. I’ve added fresh vegetables like celery, green onion, and bell peppers to give it a great crunch and loads of fibre. Serve this salad in pieces of Boston or Bibb lettuce, in a wrap or sandwich, or on crackers. To boost the protein, I like adding hemp hearts. You can find canned jackfruit online or in health food stores, Asian grocery stores, and the international section of some chain grocers. Recipe is adapted from my favourite Chickpea Salad.
Yield 4 servings
Prep time 15 Minutes
Total time 15 Minutes
1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can young jackfruit (in brine)*
2 medium (140 g) stalks celery, finely chopped
3 medium (45 g) green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (67 g) finely chopped red bell pepper
3 tablespoons (45 mL) store-bought vegan mayo or 5-Minute Mayo**
1 small (5 g) clove garlic, minced
2 to 3 teaspoons (3 g) minced fresh dill
2 to 3 teaspoons (10 to 15 mL) fresh lemon juice, to taste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Drain and rinse the jackfruit. Place the drained jackfruit segments onto a large cutting board. Using a knife, slice off the fibrous core of each jackfruit segment. You’ll only want to use the “stringy” parts that resemble pulled pork. Discard the core and chop the remaining pieces into small 1/2-inch chunks. It should look like shredded chicken and you should have about 1 1/2 cups chopped.
Add the chopped pieces to a bowl and stir in the celery, green onions, bell peppers, mayonnaise, and garlic until combined.
Now stir in the dill and season with the lemon juice, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper, adjusting quantities to taste after mixing.
Serve in a sandwich or wrap, on top of a big salad, or with crackers. I love enjoying it with rice cakes and mashed avocado too. Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. Stir before serving.
In case anyone is wondering, I served the salad on rice cakes with mashed avocado, hemp hearts, and a sprinkle of pink salt. So good!
Chef Saifon Plewtong of True Seasons Organic Kitchen shares an easy recipe that is as tasty as it is pretty!
We’ve been hearing about the popular Southern California chef Saifon Plewtong, who runs a restaurant called True Seasons Organic Kitchen, in Anaheim, which serves GMO-free, organic hot pot cuisine that makes food lovers drive long distances to try her cuisine. Chef Saifon grew up on a farm in Thailand before moving to the US. “I’ve been cooking longer than I can remember,” she says. “Since I was a little girl I’ve been curious about the kitchen, and when I was old enough, I was given a small plot on the family farm. From there I began to make soups and other dishes that I learned about from watching others.”
Her favorite ingredients right now? “Kubucha and pumpkin are on the top of my list right now for winter vegetables,” says Chef Saifon. Vegan Thai Curry is one of Chef Saifon’s most popular dishes. “Our customers can’t get enough of it!” she says.
Here, she shares a fresh cucumber recipe with VT that is as tasty as it is pretty:
British vegan food photographer Michael Kitson, 22, shows off how good vegan food can be — like this recipe for Vegan Buttermilk Rusks.
When Michael Kitson, 22, learned some facts about the meat industry, he wanted no part of it, and decided to go vegan (he’s also an avid dog lover).
So as he plunged into the world of vegan cooking, he was thrilled to find out how creative and delicious vegan recipes can be. Since he’s also a food photographer, Kitson decided to start his own website and blog, Discover Delicious, to show off vegan food like Vegan Florentine cookies in all their mouth-watering beauty.
The London resident wants everyone to understand how good vegan food can be. “My hope is that people will be inspired to cook interesting, delicious vegan food and free themselves from thoughts such as ‘I couldn’t go vegan as it’s so restricting.'” Kitson says.
Case in point: His recipe for Vegan Buttermilk Rusks:
Vegan Buttermilk Rusks
Yield: 40 small or 20 large rusks
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Hands-off time: 1 hour, 10 minutes baking, then 3 hours and drying out.
4 cups Self-rising flour
2 1/2 cup All-bran cereal
1/3 cup Hazelnuts
1/2 cup White caster sugar
1/2 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup Raisins
2 1/2 Tbs. Water
1 Tbs. Flax seeds
1/2 cup Coconut oil, melted
1 cup + 2 Tbs. Unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbs. Lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Line a deep-walled baking tray (mine is 13- x 8- x 1.5-inches but it needn’t be
the same) with baking parchment.
Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl. Finely crush the bran flakes using your hands. Crush the hazelnuts in a bag using a rolling pin or something heavy. Mix in the bran flakes, hazelnuts and the rest of the dry ingredients into the flour.
Put the tablespoon of ground flax seeds into a small bowl and mix in the water. Stir well and leave for 5 minutes until it has thickened a bit.
Measure out the almond milk and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside for a couple of minutes.
Whisk together the flax mixture and the almond milk mixture with the melted coconut oil.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix well until fully combined. This could be done in a stand mixer, or using a large spoon or your hands. Make sure there are no lumps of unhydrated flour left.
Put the mixture into the baking tin. It will be quite dry and you can push it down and even it out with your hands.
Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 40 minutes.
Take the tray out of the oven (but don’t turn it off) and remove the foil. If it’s really not cooked, put it back into the oven uncovered for 5-10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes. Invert the semi-cooked dough onto a large chopping board.
Using a large, sharp knife, carefully slice the dough into rectangles. The size is up to you; I like my rusks quite small. You will have lots of crumbs left over, but you can cook these in a small oven-proof dish and add them to soy/coconut yoghurt or porridge.
Spread the rusks out on a larger baking tray, or two smaller trays, and return to the oven. Bake for 30 mins (checking regularly) until golden brown. If they’re browning too quickly, cover them with foil again. If they don’t look fully cooked, give them 10 more minutes. Then turn the oven right down to 50°C/120°F.
Leave the rusks to dry out for a minumum of 3 hours. You could also leave them in the oven overnight with the pilot light on.
Once finished drying out, remove the rusks from the oven, or just turn the oven off but make sure to leave the oven door ajar so they don’t steam.
When the rusks are completely cool, store them in an airtight tin.
It’s frittata time! This hearty dish can be served for any meal of the day. This authentic-tasting vegan frittata is baked in the oven, making it especially easy to prepare. With a delish potato and onion base and a fluffy, herb-infused filling, this entrée is a true winner.
Easy Vegan Frittata
Makes 3 to 4 servings
Potato Layer: • 1/4 cup filtered or spring water, plus more as needed
• 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
• 2 large red or white potatoes (with peel on) very thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
• 1/2 cup minced fresh onion
• 2 tablespoons rolled oats
• 1 block (about 15 ounces), extra firm or firm regular tofu
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Liberally coat a 9- or 10-inch round quiche pan with vegan margarine.
2. Place all the potato layer ingredients in a large skillet in the order listed above. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost fork tender, flipping them over halfway through cooking. Check often and add more water, 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
3. Meanwhile, put the rolled oats in a blender and process to a coarse flour. Add the tofu, nondairy milk, Italian seasoning, tamari and turmeric and process until smooth.
4. Arrange all of the potato mixture in an even layer in the prepared quiche pan. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon sea salt over the top. Spread 1/3 of the tofu mixture evenly over the potatoes. Top with all the spinach, pressing it down firmly. Carefully pour the remaining tofu mixture over the spinach and gently spread it in an even layer over the spinach using a rubber spatula.
5. Sprinkle the paprika over the top of the frittata. Tent with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
6. Remove the foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until the frittata is set. Put the pan on a wire rack and loosen the sides of the frittata with a knife. Let cool for 12 to 15 minutes and slice in to wedges. Serve warm.
Looking to streamline your cooking routines? Check out these expert tips.
Veg Cooking Tip # 1: Steam greens as you cook grains.
Looking to speed up meal prep for the week ahead? If you already cook grains in batches to save time during the week, you can save even more time by cooking greens simultaneously. When there are about 3-5 minutes left in cooking time for a large pot of grains, open the pot cover and add a few handfuls of the shredded green of your choice on top of the grain. As long as you don’t mind your foods touching, at the end of the grain cooking time not only will you have a pot of grains to eat throughout the week, you’ll also have wilted greens ready to be added to sautés, salads, or served in a grain bowl.
Veg Cooking Tip # 2: Cook dried beans in a slow cooker overnight.
Want a hands-off way to cook beans from scratch? Place dried beans (soaked or not) in a slow cooker, cover with about 4 inches of water, and place the slow cooker on low before you turn in for the night. By the time you wake up, you’ll have a batch of cooked beans ready to be eaten in soups, salads, or even frozen for later use.
Veg Cooking Tip # 3: Keep the liquid from canned beans.
Out of flax and chia seeds but in a pinch for a vegan egg replacement? The liquid from a can of beans (also referred to as aquafaba — Latin for bean water) can act as an egg replacer in recipes where eggs would act as a binder and add moisture like in cookies and cakes. Three tablespoons of aquafaba can replace 1 egg and liquid from chickpeas and white beans usually works best due to its neutral color.
This cauliflower-based pizza crust is a lifesaver for people with food restrictions.
Amy Lacey determined that in order to be healthy, she had to eat the healthiest food possible.
Diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease, Lacey tracked what foods triggered her inflammation reactions, and what foods did not—and she started creating alternatives to favorite foods so that she could enjoy eating without fear. Cali’flour Foods is the happy result of Lacey’s commitment to good health and her desire to help other with similar food restrictions.
She came up with an original thin-style crust is made with cauliflower, cheese, eggs and spices—a flavorful, satisfying crust that’s perfect for toppings.
Spice up your summer barbecues with the perfect macaroni salad.
Makes 3 quarts
What You Need:
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
½ cup vegetable broth, divided
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced red pepper
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
½ cup thinly sliced green onions
3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup chopped parsley
What You Do:
1. In a large bowl, add cooked macaroni and 1/4 cup of vegetable stock and toss well to coat. Add carrot, celery, red pepper, peas, and green onions, and toss with macaroni.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients and remaining vegetable stock. Pour dressing over macaroni mixture and toss gently to combine. Cover and chill for 1 hour before serving.
Enjoy the thrill of the grill without setting foot outdoors, thanks to these easy weeknight recipes.
George Foreman made a household name for himself showing how an indoor grill could cook meat with less fat in half the time, yet his gourmet gadget—as well as other two-sided countertop grills, such as panini presses—offer an unlimited range of speedy, tasty veg options. Let the following meals-for-two get your creative juices flowing, and before long, you’ll be coming up with some lean, mean grilling action of your own.
Grilled Radicchio with Creamy Walnut Sauce Serves 2 | 30 minutes or fewer
The nonstick surface of a countertop grill means you don’t have to put together a fancy marinade to make tasty, tender grilled radicchio.
3 small radicchio heads, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup walnut halves, plus more for garnish, optional
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 Tbs. plain unsweetened soymilk
1 Tbs. vegan sour cream
1/4 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup quartered red or green seedless grapes
1. Place radicchio halves cut-side up on grill. Close, and grill 10 to 12 minutes, or until pronounced grill marks appear and radicchio is just tender.
2. Meanwhile, chop 1/4 cup walnut halves with garlic in mini food processor or blender. Add soymilk, sour cream, and Worcestershire sauce, and blend until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
3. Place 3 radicchio halves cut-side up on each plate. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar. Serve with walnut sauce, and garnish with grapes and walnut halves, if using.
PER SERVING: 152 CAL; 4 G PROT; 10 G TOTAL FAT (1 G SAT FAT); 14 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 59 MG SOD; 2 G FIBER; 8 G SUGARS
Grilled Vegetables with Miso Sauce Serves 2 | 30 minutes or fewer
Grill-roasted Asian-style vegetables hit the spot on a weeknight. Serve over a bed of steamed basmati or jasmine rice.
1/4 red kuri or kabocha squash, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 small red onion, sliced
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 large bok choy, leaves separated
1. To make Vegetables: Brush squash and onion slices with oil. Spray grill with cooking spray, and lay squash slices on grill. Close, and cook on medium-high 10 minutes, or until squash is tender; transfer to plate. Place onion slices on grill; cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender; transfer to plate. Place bok choy leaves on grill; cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until wilted and crisp-tender; transfer to plate.
2. Meanwhile, to make Miso Sauce: Combine miso paste, garlic, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup water in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook 1 minute, or until miso dissolves and begins to bloom. Remove from heat; stir in oil and vinegar. Fold in green onions and sesame seeds.
3. Serve Grilled Vegetables drizzled with Miso Sauce, or serve Miso Sauce on the side.
PER SERVING (11/2 CUPS VEGETABLES AND 3 TBS. SAUCE): 184 CAL; 5 G PROT; 10 G TOTAL FAT (1 G SAT FAT); 21 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 379 MG SOD; 4 G FIBER; 8 G SUGARS
Grilled Mango Sundaes Serves 2 | 30 minutes or fewer
A few minutes on the grill gives mangoes a rich, creamy texture without overcooking them to mush. This recipe can also be made with plums, peaches, nectarines, or pineapple.
1 large mango, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1 cup coconut or vanilla ice cream
2 Tbs. chopped candied ginger
Sprinkle mango slices with allspice, and place on grill. Close, and cook on high heat 5 to 7 minutes, or until grill marks appear on fruit. Transfer to serving bowls. Top each serving with 1/2 cup ice cream and 1 Tbs. candied ginger.
PER SERVING: 280 CAL; 3 G PROT; 11 G TOTAL FAT (7 G SAT FAT); 45 G CARB; 35 MG CHOL; 56 MG SOD; 3 G FIBER; 35 G SUGARS
Grilled Plantains with Queso Fresco Serves 2 | 30 minutes or fewer
If you want to expand your horizons with Mexican flavors, this is a good dish to try. Green plantains have a starchy, almost potato-like consistency when cooked. Queso fresco is a nonmelting Mexican cheese that can be pan-fried or grilled. If you can’t find queso fresco, substitute feta cheese.
2 green plantains, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for brushing grill
2 oz. queso fresco, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, plus more crumbled for garnish (optional)
1/2 cup fresh-packed salsa
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro, optional
2 1/2 tsp. lime juice, divided
2 cups torn romaine lettuce or baby mesclun greens
1. Spray plantain slices on both sides with olive oil cooking spray, and sprinkle with chili powder. Season with salt, if desired. Brush grill with oil. Place plantain slices on grill, close, and cook on medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes, or until plantain slices look crisp and dry. Transfer to plate.
2. Place queso fresco on grill, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until grill marks appear.
3. Meanwhile, stir together salsa, cilantro (if using), and 1/2 tsp. lime juice.
4. Arrange greens on one side of each serving plate; drizzle with remaining 2 tsp. lime juice and 1 Tbs. oil. Set 1 layer (4 to 5 slices) plantain slices on other side of each plate; top with grilled queso fresco slices, and then with remaining plantain slices. Spoon salsa over plantains, and sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco (if using).
PER SERVING: 347 CAL; 7 G PROT; 10 G TOTAL FAT (3 G SAT FAT); 65 G CARB; 9 MG CHOL; 204 MG SOD; 6 G FIBER; 30 G SUGARS
Italian Veggie Medley Serves 2 | 30 minutes or fewer
This quick, versatile vegetable medley is perfect served over pasta or steamed wheat berries. It also makes a great hero sandwich filling: simply spread on 2 sliced long rolls, top with slices of provolone cheese, and grill in the double-sided grill 3 to 4 minutes, or until bread is crisp and cheese is melted.
1 tomato, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 small zucchini (4 oz.), halved and cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
4 oz. fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and halved crosswise
4 oil-packed artichoke hearts, drained and halved (1/2 cup), plus 1 tsp. oil from jar
1/2 small onion, sliced (1/2 cup)
1 jarred roasted red pepper, drained and cut into strips (1/4 cup)
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
Combine all ingredients in large bowl, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Spread on grill, close, and cook on medium-high 10 minutes, or until vegetables are browned. Drizzle with pan juices, if desired.
PER 2-CUP SERVING: 104 CAL; 4 G PROT; 7 G TOTAL FAT (<1 G SAT FAT); 16 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 305 MG SOD; 6 G FIBER; 6 G SUGARS
Stir together the red onion, garlic, chopped basil, extra-virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, tomatoes, and plenty of salt and pepper to taste in a mixing bowl. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes to let the flavors develop.
In the meantime, preheat the broiler to high heat. Turn broiler down to low heat, and add the bread slices to a high rack. Toast the bread under the broiler until golden (7-9 minutes), turning once.
Remove from the broiler to a platter. Top with spoonfuls of the bruschetta mixture and serve.
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