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A favourite product of ours has finally hit Vancouver shelves everyone-Daiya Vegan Cheese! Hailing from North Vancouver and a cult favourite among vegans worldwide, it will delightfully substitute dairy cheese in any dish and can now be found at Choices, Capers, Whole Foods and The Drive Organics. Yippee!  This recipe for steamed veggies smothered in cheesy sauce is the first in what will be a vegan cheese binge over the next little while until the excitement wears off.

1 head of cauliflower

1 bunch of broccoli

1 tablespoon earth balance

1 tablespoon wholewheat flour

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 cup non-dairy milk

1 cup shredded cheddar-style Daiya

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cut the broccoli and cauliflower into florets and steam until just tender.

Melt the earth balance in a small saucepan over low heat and add the flour to make a roux. Add the nutritional yeast, onion powder and salt.  Whisk in non-dairy milk.  Add the vegan cheese and whisk till smooth and all the cheese has melted.  Pour over steamed veggies and serve warm.  The resemblance to the classic version is uncanny!

~The Vegan Project

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Just like Mom’s…

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 chopped celery

1 package Homestyle Tempeh

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper

2 cups vegetable broth

4 cups of sourdough bread, cut into cubes and lightly toasted

Set your oven to broil.  Spread the sourdough cubes onto a baking sheet and place under the broiler until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.  Switch oven to bake setting and turn down to 350F.

In a large saucepan, saute the onions and celery in olive oil on medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and garlic and crumble in the tempeh.  Add all other seasonings and 1 cup of the vegetable broth and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Mix this mixture in a large baking dish together with the cubes of bread and the remainder of vegetable broth.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

~The Vegan Project

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Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

1 head of garlic

drizzle of olive oil

8 large potatoes

2 tablespoons earth balance

3/4 cup potato water

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut off the top of the garlic head and drizzle with olive oil and wrap in tinfoil.  Place in an oven safe dish and bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes.

Cut the potatoes into chunks (you can leave the skins on) and cover with water in a big pot and boil till tender.  Before you drain, be sure to reserve 3/4 cup of the water.  Add the earth balance, roasted garlic, potato water, non-dairy milk, and salt and pepper and mash until nice and creamy.  For an even smoother texture, use a hand blender to whip the potatoes into fluffy clouds.

Shiitake-Miso Gravy

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon wholewheat flour

1/2 cup chopped shallots

3/4 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 tablespoon dark miso paste

dash of salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and add the flour to make a roux.  Add the shallots and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes.  Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer fro about 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and stir in the miso paste and add a dash of salt and pepper.  Then use a hand blender to blend everything together.  This step really thickened everything up and mixed the flavours beautifully. Pour generously over mashed potatoes, in fact pour over everything!

~The Vegan Project

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Feeling a bit weak or low on energy?  After eating this yummy salad, you can practically feel the nutrients feeding your muscles (recipe below).

The consumption of adequate protein is a primary concern to the discerning vegan.  In fact, the most common question I get from other athletes is ‘how do you get enough protein in a vegan diet?’  It’s definitely something to be conscious of.  Protein is necessary to feed your muscles, and deterioration of lean muscle mass is not something you want to experience.  Not only can your lean muscle mass decrease, which can lead to unwanted weight gain, but weak muscles are much more susceptible to injury.

Protein sources closest to their original state are ideal for assimilation.  For example, a raw organic sunflower seed is considerably less altered when compared to a packaged, processed protein supplement deriving amino acids from soy, pea, hemp, etc.  I have nothing against protein supplements –  I use them every day – but the more natural fuel you can give your body, the better.

Enjoy this delicious, warm salad made with kale, one of the most nutrient-dense veggies available, and packed with protein, vitamins, essential fatty acids and fiber.

Salad Ingredients:

2 bunches of kale, de-stemmed

½ tomato, sliced

½ avocado, sliced (2 grams protein)

1 stalk of celery, finely chopped

4 tbsp sunflower seeds (12 grams protein)

4 tbsp hemp hearts (16 grams protein)

1/8 cup loosely packed dulse, ground in a coffee grinder

Lightly steam chopped kale leaves (1-2 minutes max) until bright green.  Spin wet leaves in a salad spinner to dry excess water.  In a bowl, toss dressing and kale until leaves are fully coated (careful not to use too much dressing, yields will vary).  Plate the greens (makes 2 meal-size portions) and add celery, avocado and tomatoes.  Sprinkle sunflower seeds, hemp hearts and dulse evenly and top with a drizzle of dressing, sesame oil and rock salt.

Dressing:

1/3 cup of tahini

1 ½ to 2 lemons, juiced

¼ cup of rice milk

1 clove of garlic

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

½ tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend for about a minute. Add salt and lemon to taste.  It should have the consistency of a Caesar dressing.

It’s so healthy, your mother would be proud!  This dish takes nearly all common allergies into consideration, so keep it in mind if you’re having a super picky eater over for dinner.

~The Vegan Project

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This recipe came about because I was had a huge craving for some ‘creamy’ risotto but was lacking stock or non dairy milk, not even a bouillon cube was to be found.  I did however have shiro miso paste.  I love when one discovers a new recipe based on necessity.  Plato was right, it really is the mother of invention.  And thankfully, unlike some of my other failed experiments, this one turned out beautifully.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2-3 cloves minced garlic

1 cup of arborio rice

1/2 cup miso paste (i think any flavour would be good)

4 cups water

1 cup frozen peas

Salt and pepper to taste (remember that the miso is quite salty)

chopped fresh chives for garnish

Directions:

First bring the 4 cups of water to a boil.  When it starts to bubble turn down to low and whisk in the miso paste.  Keep the broth warm on the stove while you prepare the rest of the risotto.  Saute the onion in olive oil on medium heat till they get some colour and soften up.  Add the garlic, then add the arborio rice and saute it for a couple of minutes to coat the rice rice with the oil and flavours.  Now start adding the miso broth.  Ladle about 1/2 cup and stir slowly around and reduce the heat a bit.  When the liquid is absorbed and the bottom of the pan starts to become sticky, ladle in some more broth.  Continue this process until all the broth has been added to the pan and absorbed into the rice.  After the last ladle, add the frozen peas.  Risotto requires some patience as this process takes about 20-25 minutes and can’t be left alone for too long.  The end result is a slightly sweet, smooth and creamy risotto with tons of  flavour.  Season with salt and pepper and  garnish with chopped fresh chives.  I served this with purple and yellow string beans from the Farmer’s Market tossed in sesame oil and sea salt.

~The Vegan Project

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This vegan greek salad takes a little bit of planning but is so worth it!  Marinate the tofu the night before and it will be ready for lunch the next day.  It is surprisingly similar to feta cheese. Even our non-vegan friends marvelled at the resemblance!  This is a very loose recipe and can easily be tailored to your own preferences.

Ingredients:

1 block of firm pressed tofu (the brand i used had two blocks in one package-i only used one)

1/4 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups cherry tomatoes (or chopped big tomatoes…i used cherry because they were fresh from my garden!)

1 field cucumber, chopped

1 orange pepper, chopped

1/2 cup of mixed olives

2 cloves of minced garlic

1 tablespoon each of fresh oregano, basil and parsley or whatever other herbs you love

Pinch of chili flakes

Pinch of sea salt

Black pepper

Cut the tofu into little cubes and marinate in the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sea salt.  Make sure to toss it around really well and then cover and let it sit in fridge for 8-10 hours. The oil will solidify.  No worries though. Bring it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you’re ready to use it to bring it to room temperature.  Mix all the veggies together in a large bowl.  Drain the tofu and add it and the seasonings, stir it up and enjoy!  I found I didn’t need to add any more oil, but of course add a splash if you like.  This makes enough for two meal size servings or 3-4 as a side.

~The Vegan Project

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Quinoa was considered the ‘mother of all grains’ by the Incas.  I might have to agree.  It is extremely high in protein, and a complete one at that, and an excellent source of dietary fibre.  It cooks with the same ratio as rice, though way easier in my opinion, and shares its ability to be combined with almost anything, sweet or savoury.  Cauliflower, mushrooms and thyme cooked to a golden brown coat the quinoa seeds in an abundance of earthy flavours.

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

2 cups cold water

2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling

1 medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 mushrooms, diced

1 cup cauliflower, diced

4 sprigs of thyme, whole

1 lemon. juice and zest

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Combine water, quinoa and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a low simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Take off heat and let stand 5 minutes.

Saute the diced onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-low heat in a large frying pan. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms.  After 5 more minutes, add the garlic.  Add the whole thyme sprigs and cauliflower, salt and pepper.  Cook on low heat till everything is golden.  Towards the end squeeze the lemon juice into the pan and scrape up all the bits off the bottom.  Now add the lemon zest, parsley and cooked quinoa and toss around in the pan.  Drizzle with some olive oil if needed and serve.

~The Vegan Project

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