Potluck Ideas: Healthy “Alfredo” Pasta

I love potlucks. They’re so exciting and you almost always try something new. Deciding what to bring to a potluck isn’t always easy. So from now on I’m going to blog about the things I bring to potlucks in hopes of creating some inspiration for your own dishes.

I was in a rush yesterday and had to squeeze in a quick recipe after work. I decided to make this baked pasta dish with fake alfredo sauce. It tastes pretty creamy like alfredo sauce but is made out of only beans! Super healthy and delicious. I topped off the pasta with some simple veggies and nutritional yeast. The whole thing took me less than 30 minutes. I eyeballed all the ingredients so I don’t have exact measures but this kind of recipe doesn’t need exact measurements. Hope you give it a try!

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Ingredients 

  • 1 package of pasta
  • 1 large carrot or 2 medium carrots
  • 1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast, and more to top
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • greens to top (I used baby spinach and arugula)

 

Step 1: Boil a package of pasta. I used whole wheat fusilli. Move on to the next steps while you’re waiting for the pasta to boil, just check the pasta once in a while. When the pasta is done, drain and pour the pasta into a oven-sage dish.

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Step 2: Peel and spiralize a large carrot.

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Step 3: Heat a bit on water on a pan to “saute” the carrots. Stir on high heat until the carrots are softened and have some colour.

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Step 4: Meanwhile, blend the “alfredo” sauce. To a blender add white kidney beans, salt, pepper, oregano, nutritional yeast and flour. Add water until the beans are covered.

Step 5: Assemble. Spread a layer of carrots over the pasta. Then pour your alfredo sauce on top. Add a layer of greens and sprinkle on some nutritional yeast.

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Optional: once you get to the potluck, bake for 5-10 minutes at 350-375C just to warm it up.

Aaand you’re done! Enjoy!

Lizzy

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The Anatomy of Homemade Granola

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Hi friends! Today I’m sharing my homemade granola recipe. Well, it’s not really a recipe because every time I make granola, I add a different combination of things. It’s never the same but it’s (almost) always delicious! I just use whatever is in my pantry because life’s all about using up what you already have, amirite?

Here are the components that I use for my granola – anatomy style because I’m nerdy like that. These guidelines make for 1 1L mason jar full of delicious granola.

  1. The skeleton – oats, duh! I prefer using rolled oats, but I’ve also used quick oats (which I’m using in the pics here) and steel-cut oats, and they all work! Add 2 cups of a big mixing bowl.
  2. The muscle – this is the good stuff, the meat on the bones. Add 1/2 cup of each creative add-in you can think of. You should limit it to 5 different add-ins though, or else your oats become your add-in. Here I added almonds, raisins, whole flax, goji berries and buckwheat groats. Other favourites of mine are shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries!
    1. Tip: Unless you want fully chocolate granola (in which case you should add cocoa powder), don’t add chocolate chips in yet because they will melt in the oven. Add chocolate chips in after the granola has cooled!
    2. Another tip: roughly chop some of the larger ingredients like almonds so that everything is about the same size.DSC02566DSC02567
  3. The fat – literally, the lipids. I find that for granola, you can’t skip out on the fats – it just doesn’t taste the same. You can add healthy fats though! I prefer coconut oil, but you can also use olive oil, or even something like peanut butter. Add 2 generous tablespoons.DSC02568
  4. The heart – salty and sweet. Because this makes everyone love the taste of this granola… haha get it? Always add a pinch of salt, this goes a long way. Vanilla extract is optional, but if you like it, add 1-2 tsp. Also add 1-2 tbsp of your sweetener of choice. I usually use maple syrup but my parents just brought me this honey from the Aland Islands so I wanted to try it out!
    1. P.S. I know honey is not technically vegan because bees make honey. This is a whole topic on its own but since I follow a vegan diet primarily for health reasons, I don’t mind eating honey once in a while.DSC02569

And that’s it! Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Don’t be afraid to use your hands to get everything incorporated. Bake in the oven at 350C for 15 minutes, stir, then bake for another 10 minutes. Let the granola cool completely before transferring to a mason jar for storage.

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Enjoy!

Vegan Chick’n Caesar Wraps

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I used to eat meat, so sometimes I think back to certain classic meals, like a chicken caesar wrap! I used to think those were healthy but hah… hah… Here’s my step-by-step for a vegan and healthier version of the recipe!

I used two different kinds of vegan chicken for this recipe because I didn’t have enough of either one. My boyfriend really likes fake meat but I prefer beans so I had to add some chickpeas in here too. For flavour, I made a vegan Caesar dressing and sprinkled in some nutritional yeast. Lastly, for that crouton crunch, I used dried garlic! Got this at St. Lawrence market and it tastes exactly like garlicky croutons but is made out of just dehydrated and baked garlic. Yum.

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Ingredients – makes 4 wraps 

  • 4 tortilla wraps, or pitas
  • 1/2 to 1 head of lettuce
  • 3 portions of vegan chicken
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • Fablunch’s vegan mayonnaise
  • dried basil
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • nutritional yeast
  • dried garlic
  • 2 sprigs green onion

Step 1: Make the Caesar dressing! I used Fablunch’s vegan mayonnaise and added dried basil, garlic powder and salt and pepper to make it taste like Caesar dressing and blended it up in my Blendtec. The dressing was pretty liquidy and not thick. This was fine and it still tasted great but if you want a thicker dressing, I recommend trying another mayonnaise recipe with cashews or something!

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Step 2: Heat the chicken on a pan on medium-high heat. You just have to heat it until it’s warm. If the chicken comes in breast-form, then rip them into bite-sized pieces. Add salt and pepper or other seasoning to your taste.

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Step 3: Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas.

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Step 4: Wash and roughly chop your lettuce.

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Step 5: Roughly dice the spring onion.

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Step 6: Assemble!

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I had the leftovers as a salad for lunch the next day and it equally as delicious. Hope you enjoy!

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Lizzy

Simple Curry Bowl

Curry is one of my favourite flavours and many people think you need to have a complicated curry paste in order to enjoy the flavour. With this simple recipe just using spices and water, you can get the yummy curry flavour in under 15 min!

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Ingredients – serves 1-2

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup uncooked black rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1-2 cups frozen peas
  • spices of choice: curry, cumin, paprika, turmeric
  • salt and pepper

Step 1: Cook your carb base in a rice cooker or on the stove. I made a quinoa and wild rice base by adding them into my rice cooker with 3 cups water on the “White Rice” setting.

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Step 2: Peel and chop your carrots into bite-sized pieces. I cut the carrots in half length-wise, then 1cm wide.

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Step 3: Add carrots to a pan on high heat with a splash of water. The water steams the veggies while keeping them from sticking to the pot. You might need to add more water throughout the cooking as it evaporates.

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Step 4: After about 8-10min when the carrots are pretty soft, add the frozen peas.

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Step 5: Add whatever spices you like, and salt and pepper to taste. I probably added too much spice here for 1 serving. Start small and you can always add more!

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Step 6: Add water until the curry is at your desired consistency. I like mine watery like this.

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Step 7: Plate and enjoy!

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Lizzy

Avocado Potato Salad

Here’s a recipe that I made a few days ago for a BBQ potluck that my friends had. Potato salads are perfect for BBQs but the traditional ones contain alot of mayo. This one is fully vegan and made from all whole ingredients! And if you eat eggs, adding some chopped egg in there would be really good to!DSC02464.jpg

Ingredients – makes 6 servings, perfect for a big potluck

  • 3 large handfuls of yellow baby potatoes
  • 2 small avocados or 1 large avocado
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1-2 sprigs dill
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  1. Chop the potatoes into bite size pieces (1-1/2 inch cubes). You can also use a regular potato instead of baby potatoes and just cut those into smaller cubes.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add the potatoes. Boil for ~10 minutes until they are soft enough to bite but not too soft or else your salad will turn into mush!
  3. Drain the potatoes and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  4. Finely chop the celery and dill.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together both mustards and maple syrup until combined.
  6. Add chunk of avocado to the sauces and mix until desired consistency. I under mixed mine so I would still have large avo chunks.
  7. Add celery, dill, and sauce to the cooled potatoes. Mix well.

Enjoy!

Lizzy

Pickled Veggie Sushi

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Some people think making sushi is really hard but I promise you it’s pretty easy! Since I stopped eating fish about a year ago I’ve been getting really creative with sushi and I love it. You can pretty much wrap anything in nori, and it tastes delicious.

In these rolls I use my pickled veggies from Toorshi Foods. The pickled veggies are preservative-free, sugar-free and oil-free! You can pick them up at the Toorshi Foods stand every Tuesday at the Farmer’s Market in front of Sick Kids. I love that farmer’s market. It’s such a nice addition to a busy University Ave.

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I think I was going for a mediterranean feel with the pickled veggies so I decided to use hummus to bind my quinoa and lentils together. I whipped up a homemade hummus but you can definitely skip that step and use store-bought.

You’ll one of those flexible sushi boards to help you help the wrap. And I made my quinoa in a rice cooker but you can do it on the stove top too. Ok let’s do it!

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Pickled Veggie Sushi 

Ingredients – serves 2 as a meal; many more as an appetizer!

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cucumber, sliced into sticks
  • pickled veggies (or any un-pickled veggies too!)
  • 5-10 nori sheets (or 1 package)

Step 1: Cook the quinoa and lentils with the water. You should do this the day before if you can. I cooked mine in a rice cooker on the “white rice” setting. If you do it on the stove you will probably have to bring everything to a boil, then let it sit for 20ish minutes on low heat.

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Step 2: Making the hummus. This is a really simple hummus that doesn’t have garlic or lemon in it because I didn’t want it to overtake the flavour of the sushi. Blend sesame seeds in a high-speed blender separately first, then add chickpeas, salt and pepper, and a little bit of water at a time until it blends smoothly.

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Step 3: Mix the hummus into the quinoa and lentils. You want the texture to be sticky but not too saucy. I had leftover hummus at the end.

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Step 4: Lay out a nori sheet on the sushi roller. Use a spatula to spread the quinoa and lentils on half of the sheet.

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Step 5: Lay a row of your veggies. Don’t pack it too much with veggies or else you won’t be able to roll it!

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Step 6: Roll your sushi, giving it a tight squeeze at the end. Use your finger to dab some of the pickle brine at the end of the nori roll. This will help the nori end stick so the sushi stays wrapped up. Since I’m my own camerawoman I couldn’t get a pic of this step 😦

Step 7: Slice the sushi using a sharp serrated knife and enjoy! Don’t forget that presentation is key.

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Loaded Mexican Street Corn

Hi everyone! Here’s another one of my step-by-step recipes. This time it’s a loaded Mexican street corn. I LOVE corn and they are really cheap this time of year. Mexican street corn usually has a lot of butter and fats in the crema, but my version is completely vegan and uses white kidney beans as a substitute for cream!

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Ingredients – makes 5 servings

  • 5 ears of corn
  • 1 can of white kidney beans
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • paprika, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • cilantro, to garnish
  • 1 lime, to garnish

Pre-heat the oven to 400F on BROIL. 

Step 1: Shuck the corn. I didn’t know that this verb “shuck” existed until 2 seconds ago. Basically just peel the husk and silk off of the corn ears.

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Step 2: Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. Place the corn ears in the pot on high heat for 10 minutes until it is cooked through.

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Step 3: While the corn is cooking, rinse and drain the white kidney beans and place it into a high-speed blender. Add water, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until well combined. This is going to be our “crema”.

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Step 4: Pour the smooth “crema” into a small pot on medium-high heat, and stir just until the crema is heated through. It might get a little messy… but that’s part of the fun in cooking right?

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Step 5: When the corn is done boiling, transfer the ears to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Generously sprinkle some paprika, salt and pepper over the corn and give it a rub. Then broil in the oven at 400F for 20 minutes.

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Step 6: When your corn is done it’s time to garnish. Pour the crema on the corn, then add diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro and lime. {I also added a vegan nacho cheese on top. I adapted that recipe from Hot for Food.}

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Hope you enjoy this recipe! It’s great for sharing and BBQ-ing the corn would work just as well.

Lizzy

Black Bean Patties

Today I made these delicious black bean patties for dinner and had to share the recipe. Hope you give it a try and enjoy it!

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Ingredients – makes 6 patties, serves 2-3

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 stalk green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 375C.

Step 1: Pulse the carrot and celery in a food processor to finely chop it up. Empty the chopped carrot and celery into a mixing bowl.

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Step 2: Add black beans, oatmeal, and water into the food processor and blend until mostly smooth.

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Step 3: Combine the carrot and celery, black bean mixture, and corn and chopped green onion in a mixing bowl. Mix well with a spatula.

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Step 4: Form the patties in a baking pan and bake for 30min at 375C.

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I paired the patties with my absolute favourite salad combo: romaine, mushrooms, yellow bell pepper, and green onions (which I forgot to add). They would also taste delicious on a bun burger-style. I think I’m going to eat the leftovers tomorrow for lunch in a wrap. The possibilities are endless!

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Enjoy!

Lizzy

Treat Yoself: Lemon Strawberry Crepes

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I’m starting a new series called TREAT YOSELF which features delicious indulgent recipes that take tender love and care (read: more time) to make. These recipes are still vegan and relatively healthy, but I wouldn’t be eating these every day. These would be recipes that you would want to make on a weekend or when you’re trying to impress a special someone 😉 I made mine for breakfast but this could also be a dessert!

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These crepes are fashioned after my favourite French crepes topped with lemon and sugar. Those are my favourite kind, over the ones stuffed with banana and nutella, cause I’m a simple girl, ya know? I had to throw in the strawberries because it’s summer and strawberries are so cheap in the summer! And coconut sugar instead of white sugar because we’re hip like that.

Lemon Strawberry Crepes topped with Coconut Sugar – makes 6 crepes, 3 servings

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil + more for the pan
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  1. Whisk together in a mixing bowl: all-purpose flour, baking powder, maple syrup, non-dairy milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth to create the batter.
  2. Heat a large non-stick pan on medium high heat. Add a tsp of vegetable oil to the pan, then take a folded paper towel to wipe the oil all over the pan.
  3. Add 1/3 cup of batter to the pan. Lift the pan and tilt it around to spread the batter out in a thin circle.
  4. Cover the pan with a lid for 2 minutes, then carefully flip the crepe with a spatula, and cook for 1 minute on the second side.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 until all the batter is used.
  6. To fill the crepes, cut a lemon in half and softly rub the lemon juice onto the surface area of the crepe.
  7. Place sliced strawberries on half of the crepe. Fold in half, then fold in quarters.
  8. Top with more lemon juice and a sprinkle of brown sugar.

Enjoy!

P.S. This crepe can be filled anyway you want. If you happen to love nutella (like my boyfriend), you make the same crepe and add nutella! (It won’t be vegan though). Or let me know what other filling combinations you come up with.

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Lizzy