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Cauliflower Hummus

Cauliflower Hummus

Cauliflower Hummus

I’m one of those people that loves hummus, but has to be careful how much I eat – you know what I mean right?… the effects of beans! I love to add beans to many of my dishes but a few too many can create a bit too much gas and that can be embarrassing! This dish helps solve that problem by incorporating cauliflower instead of beans. It’s pretty similar in texture and I think tastes pretty good too…

  • One head cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1 to 2 tsp canola oil to drizzle
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil

 

Wash cauliflower florets then drain. Place in large bowl and lightly coat in canola oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place evenly on a parchment covered baking sheet and roast at 375F until tender, about 25 minutes. Flip halfway to ensure even cooking. Or use my Roasted Cauliflower recipe.

Once cauliflower has roasted and mostly cooled, add to food processor along with remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Stop and scrape the sides to make sure everything is incorporated. If needed, add more water for thinner hummus. Keep in mind that it will thicken as it cools. Keep stored in covered container in fridge for several days. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

What types of hummus have you tried?

You might also like Easy Guacamole and Black Bean Avocado Salsa.

Another recipe that is sneaky and uses cauliflower is my Fettuccini Alfredo. Try it and let me know what you think…

Black Bean Avocado Salsa

Black Bean Avocado Salsa

Black Bean Avocado Salsa

This is a great recipe to prepare for a party or gathering. It’s full of lots of colour and phytochemicals to give you a nutritious appetizer or snack. Bring this to a pool party this summer and everyone will be asking you for the recipe!

Salsa Ingredients:

  • 1 (16oz or 400mL) can black beans
  • 2 to 3 medium tomatoes, diced & water squeezed out
  • 1 orange pepper, diced
  • 1 to 2 avocados, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro or parsley
  • ¼ cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh corn

Dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • juice of 1 lime (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 jalapeno finely diced or
  • 3 to 4 dashes Tabasco (to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Combine all salsa ingredients in a medium bowl and mix. Combine all dressing ingredients in a measuring jug and stir. Pour evenly over salsa then stir to evenly coat. Keeps well in the fridge for a few days and might even be better the second day. After storing, stir it up to make sure all the salsa is coated in dressing. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

What do you put in your salsa? Leave your comments below…

You might also like Artichoke Spinach Dip and Easy Guacamole.

Watermelonade

Watermelonade

Watermelonade

Ahhhh…. on those hot summer days, imagine lying back relaxing by the lake or pool, the sun streaming down and the soft summer breeze on your face, with a cool refreshing drink in your hand…. Watermenonade – a nice twist on lemonade with the addition of watermelon.

  • 1/2 small watermelon cubed (about 4 cups)
  • 5 lemons (about 1 cup juice)
  • 4 cups cold water or more
  • 3/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple flakes or maple sugar
  • 1 tray of ice cubes

 

Add watermelon to a high-powered blender and pulse until well pureed. Strain through a mesh strainer (optional) and pour the juice into a pitcher. Juice the lemons (about 1 cup) and add to pitcher along with water. Add sugar to desired sweetness. Store in refrigerator or serve immediately over ice and garnish with slice of lemon. Enjoy!

What’s your favourite summer drink?

See also my tangy Mango Smoothie

Artichoke Spinach Dip

Artichoke Spinach Dip

Artichoke Spinach Dip

Enjoy this delicious dip warm or cold (my preference is warm). A great recipe to share with friends and is quite simple to prepare. The original recipe is from one of my favourite Canadian chefs, Dreena Burton. I’ve updated it by not blending the spinach in but rather finely chopping it and mixing it by hand.

  • ¾ cup raw cashews (unsoaked)
  • 1-2 medium-large cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup plain unsweetened nondairy milk (almond)
  • 5-3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups artichoke hearts
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach leaves

 

Preheat oven to 425F. In blender add cashews, garlic, salt, mustard, black pepper, milk and lemon juice. Blend until very smooth. Add half of artichokes and pulse through – in order to keep some chunky texture. Chop remaining artichokes and all of the spinach.   In large bowl, combine artichokes and spinach with cashew mixture, mixing well. Transfer to an ovenproof (lightly greased) baking dish and bake for 17-20 minutes until lightly golden on top. Serve warm with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

What dish to you take to a potluck meal?

See more recipes here.

Asparagus Potato Salad

Asparagus Potato Salad

Asparagus Potato Salad

This is a great dish to serve at a barbeque or picnic! Served cold, it can be cool and refreshing. Served warm, is comforting! I love the creamy avocado dressing…

  • 2 pounds mini potatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • 3 tsp canola oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Dressing:

  • ½ cup ripe avocado
  • ½ Tbsp dried dill or 1 Tbsp fresh dill
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • freshly-ground black pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 400F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Wash and prepare potatoes. I like to cut them in half depending on their size. In large bowl, add mini potatoes and drizzle with 2 tsp of canola oil. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper and toss again. Spread evenly over one baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes flipping half way. Bake until cooked through and lightly browned.

Next wash asparagus then cut each stem into about 3 pieces, discarding woody ends. Place into bowl and drizzle with 1 tsp of canola oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on 2nd baking sheet. Add asparagus to oven during the last 10 minutes of the potatoes roasting.

For the dressing, in a medium bowl, mash avocado. Add lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add roasted potatoes and asparagus and coat well. Serve right away warm or allow to cool, then store in sealed container in fridge. This recipe can be enjoyed warm or cool!

Do you like this dish warm or cool?

Try also Broccoli Salad or Thai Crunch Salad

Adapted from an original recipe from Oh She Glows cookbook.

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

The original broccoli salad uses dairy-based mayonnaise. This version is completely plant-based but just as creamy and I think I like it even better! Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable and full of phytochemicals. It ranks very highly on the nutrition scale. You can leave the broccoli florets raw if you prefer.

  • 6 cups fresh broccoli florets (2 large crowns), blanched
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup red onion finely diced

Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup cashews, soaked & drained
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Soak cashews in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain the cashews, then add them along with remaining dressing ingredients to a high-powered blender or Nutribullet. Blend until completely mixed and smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Rinse and cut broccoli into florets. Steam florets just until blanched and bright green in colour. Length of time depends on the size of your florets but 3 to 4 minutes should suffice. Or microwave the broccoli in a covered dish for about 2 minutes. Either way, don’t let the broccoli get soft; it should still be crispy. Pour broccoli immediately into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop it cooking and allow to drain for a few minutes, then pat dry. In medium bowl, combine broccoli, onion, raisins and pumpkin seeds. Pour dressing over broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Do you prefer raw or blanched broccoli in your salad?

Feel free to leave your comments below…

Try Quinoa Tabouli too.

Whole Food Plant-Based

Whole Food Plant-Based

Why I Eat Primarily Whole Food Plant-Based

The main reason I started eating whole food plant-based (WFPB) was initially selfish. I continue to choose it for the best health possible, to feel energized and alive! People eat this way for other reasons too but I do it for mainly for health.

What does WFPB mean? Whole foods means eating little to no processed foods. Plant-based means just what it says: food that comes from plants and not animals. Some like to label it as “vegan”. Vegan means eating mostly plants and no animal product like meat or dairy. But you could actually be an unhealthy vegan by eating more processed foods, fat and sugar. So combining whole foods and plant based is the best of both worlds.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman coined the term “nutritarian”, which refers to nutrient-dense and plant-rich. He allows small amounts of fish or meat and says it should be the “condiment” to a meal rather than the focus. I would say I’m not strictly vegan so I’ve used the term “veganish”. I don’t want to worry too much about eating one wrong thing and feel stressed about it. In fact I’d rather not put a label on the way I eat. The term vegan also emphasizes what I don’t eat and I don’t think of my eating style as a negative thing. I strive for WFPB.

Everyone has their own eating style and I have no judgement over anyone else’s choices but I do feel we have a responsibility to be the healthiest we can be within the resources we have. We each make our own decisions based on what we know at that time. I prefer to base my own health and eating decisions on science and what works best for me.

Eating more plants and less meat is becoming more popular thanks to recent media coverage including the documentary Forks Over Knives and the new documentary Eating You Alive. This eating philosophy is based primarily as a result of scientific studies including The China Study by Dr. Colin T. Campbell and his son M.D. Dr. Thomas Campbell. This 20-year study began in 1980 and the findings were first published in 2005. You can find additional supporting evidence in the book How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger. It means eating more veggies, fruits, beans peas, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds instead of animal products, dairy and processed foods.

Further research by Dr. Dean Ornish showed that eating a low-fat, plant-based diet could in fact reverse heart disease. Additionally, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn was able to stop and reverse heart disease in patients who were gravely ill. Eating red meat is associated with increased rates of cancer and heart disease. In 2015, the World Health Organization announced that red meat and processed meats are known to be carcinogenic. They can lead to diseases like colon cancer, which is on the rise in North America. Other advocates with evidence to support a WFPB eating style are:

Eating whole foods means eating foods in their natural state. Processing food removes the nutrients and fibre and leaves little nutritional value. Eating whole foods also means less added sugar or fat. Most plant-based food is higher in fibre, lower in sugar and full of valuable phytochemicals and other nutrients. Eating WFPB not only gives you the right nutritional balance, it also leaves you feeling satisfied.

When you eat food that is highly processed, your body doesn’t get what it needs nutritionally and it constantly craves more and you feel hungry. Even if you just ate something, if it’s not nutritionally good, your body may send you signs of hunger because it is looking for the right nutrients. If you keep eating the wrong foods you fill up on empty calories and end up gaining weight. I have discovered that when I eat WFPB, I feel more satisfied and less likely to graze.

Many plant-based foods like fruit and veggies are much less calorie dense and require more volume to increase the total caloric value. You usually can fill up on more and not over eat. It is possible to eat vegan and not eat healthily by eating processed foods high in sugar and/or fat. That’s why the emphasis is on whole foods.

I eat plants mostly for my own health but there are some good side effects:

  • I feel better, have more energy, am less lethargic & have good performance
  • It’s easier to maintain a healthy weight
  • It’s good for the environment
  • It saves me money
  • It doesn’t support animal cruelty

While it’s true that vegans eat a lot of salads, we’d have to eat a huge amount of leafy vegetables to sustain the correct amount of energy. It’s best to eat a wide variety of foods in as many colours and textures as possible. We need fruits, vegetables, tubers and starchy vegetables, whole grains and legumes. I try to eat many different colours of food. If you are thinking of trying this lifestyle of eating, start small: start with meatless Monday. Make simple changes that will last and that you feel good about. Do what feels right to you!

What’s on your dinner plate?

Please leave your comments below…

Find some WFPB recipes

Veggie Cheesy Soup

Veggie Cheesy Soup

Veggie Cheesy Soup

This comforting creamy soup is a great way to use up some veggies and things in your fridge. Use whatever veggies you have on hand – but make sure there are some orange coloured ones for colour! I’ve used potatoes, squash and have even added some soaked cashews to make it creamier.

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 stalks of celery chopped (~1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped (1+ cup)
  • 1 large broccoli head, chopped (~6 cups)
  • 2 cups sweet potato, peeled & chopped
  • 5-6 cups veggie broth (low sodium)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Optional toppings:

  • dried chives
  • pumpkin seeds
  • croutons

In large pot, heat oil, then sauté onion and garlic until onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add celery, carrots, broccoli and sweet potato; sauté another 5 minutes. Add broth and stir. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on medium-low heat until veggies are tender. Once softened, add nutritional yeast, optional soaked cashews and seasonings. Blend right in the pot, using an immersion blender until smooth, or carefully scoop in batches into blender. Serve with your choice of toppings or a hunk of bread for dipping. Store any leftovers for up to 7 days.

Based on an original recipe from Oh She Glows.

What’s your favourite soup?

Please leave your comment below…

See recipes for Vegan Herb Cheese and Scones.

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

Date Caramel Pecan Pie

Crust:

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup pecans
  • ¼ cup canned low-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt

 

Filling:

  • 3 cups Medjool dates
  • 1 cup canned low-fat coconut milk

 

Topping:

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • sea salt (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9.5” glass pie dish with parchment. Set aside.

For the crust, add the oats, pecans in food processor and mix about 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup of coconut milk and vanilla extract. Process until dough sticks together. Press the dough on the bottom and sides of the lined pie dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

For the pecan topping, place 1 cup of pecan halves onto a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for about 5-10 minutes watching closely so they don’t burn. Set aside to cool.

In the same food processor, add dates and coconut milk. Blend until smooth – about 2 to 3 minutes. Spread date filling evenly into the crust. Arrange roasted pecan halves all over the top of the pie. Sprinkle optional sea salt over top. Store in fridge or freezer in air-tight container. Serve with coconut whipped cream.

Original recipe from Unsweetened Caroline

What’s your favourite type of pie?

Let me know in the comments below…

See more recipes.

Easy Guacamole

Easy Guacamole

Easy Guacamole

guacamoleThis simple recipe is a colourful, nutritious dish that can be served as a snack, an appetizer or along side a meal. It can be used as a spread inside wraps or on top of any savoury dish for some added flavour.

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 dashes of Tabasco sauce (hot sauce)
  • 1 large tomato, finely diced, juice squeezed out
  • dash of garlic powder
  • dash of no-salt seasoning (Mrs. Dash)
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste

Cut each avocado, peel the skin and remove the stone. Mash the avocados in a medium bowl with a fork or potato masher. It’s ok to leave some chunks for texture. Prepare the tomato by finely chopping it, then scoop some in your hands and gently squeeze out most of the juice. Add all remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine. Add more or less spices to taste. Place in a serving dish and serve with corn tortilla chips.