BBQ pulled tofu tacos

BBQ Pulled Tofu Tacos with Citrus Avocado Sauce

Here is a life hack: find (BBQ tofu) taco-loving people and surround yourself with them. Then you can have Taco Tuesday all week long, and you will have SO. MUCH. FUN. Your taste buds will be pretty dang happy all the time, too.

I’m pretty obsessed with tacos these days, and with spring and summer on their way, I’ll definitely be creating lots more recipes of this sort. You can also check out my other taco recipes: Pulled Sweet Potato Tacos and Ethiopian Berbere Lentil Tacos!

I don’t mean to sound cocky, but I believe that this is my best taco creation yet. Spicy, smoky, and sweet barbecue “pulled” tofu, crunchy cabbage slaw, buttery roasted squash, and citrusy avocado sauce are piled high onto flour or corn tortillas- your choice! This is my idea of the ultimate fun meal, especially when you pair it with beer or even a margarita! (Yessss margarita season is coming, woo hoo!)

And I know that pulled jackfruit is all the rage, but tofu has this little thing going for it that jackfruit doesn’t, and that is the fact that tofu is packed with complete protein! As I’ve said previously, I try to include all protein, fat, and carbs in balanced proportions in my recipes, and that is why I went with tofu. While tofu is typically prepared in cubes or triangles, why not grate it to simulate pulled meat? It works!

In life news, I think something has finally clicked in my half-marathon training. After months of struggling, running is starting to feel somewhat effortless again. It’s hard to believe that my first race of 2019 is in 19 days. I can’t wait! I love taking the train to Toronto, and having a race is the perfect excuse to eat at all of my favourite vegan restaurants and take in some of Toronto’s sights, like the waterfront, High Park, and its many vibrant neighbourhoods. 🙂 I also just finished watching the Boston Marathon, and my resolve to qualify for 2020 is stronger than ever. Let’s go!

BBQ Tofu Tacos
BBQ Tofu Tacos

BBQ Pulled Tofu Tacos with Grapefruit Slaw, Butternut Squash, and Citrus Avocado Dressing

These tacos are crave-worthy! Pulled tofu cooked in an addictive barbecue sauce, roasted butternut squash, grapefruit cabbage slaw, and citrus avocado sauce combine to knock Taco Tuesday out of the park! 
Course Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican, Vegan
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4

Ingredients

Barbecue Pulled Tofu

  • 1 block (454 g) firm or extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (Wizard brand is my favourite)

Roasted Butternut Squash

  • 4 cups peeled and 1- inch cubed butternut squash (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch each fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Grapefruit Cabbage Slaw

  • 4 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 large grapefruit, peeled, white pith removed as much as possible
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper

Avocado Citrus Dressing

  • 1 large avocado, pitted and flesh scooped out
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from 1 large orange)
  • 1/3 cup parsley or cilantro
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup water, plus more as needed

Everything else:

  • 8 small corn or flour tortillas (sprouted grain are my favourite)
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Hot sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the butternut squash on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 35-40 minutes, or until fork tender and crispy. 
  • Press the tofu if desired (I skipped this step and it turned out perfectly, but pressing the tofu will result in a firmer texture). 
  • Grate the tofu on a cheese grater and set aside until ready to use. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Chop the onion, mince the garlic, and add it to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Add the salt, pepperto taste, and the paprika. 
  • Whisk together the barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard, tamari, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce in a medium bowl. Add the tofu to the skillet, followed by the barbecue sauce mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Cover and set aside until ready to eat. 
  • To make the Grapefruit Cabbage Slaw, place the cabbage, grapefruit, and cilantro into a medium bowl. Measure the olive oil, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, maple syrup, salt, and pepper into a glass jar, screw the lid on tight, and shake vigorously to combine. Pour the dressing onto the slaw and toss to coat. 
  • To make the Avocado Citrus Sauce, place all ingredients into the jar of a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer into a glass container and cover until ready to serve. 
  • Warm the tortillas if desired. To serve, divide squash, tofu, slaw, sauce, and cilantro evenly among eight tortillas. Garnish with additional hot sauce, if desired. 

If you make these BBQ pulled tofu tacos and post them on Instagram, be sure to tag me @holisticallie and #holisticallie so I can see!

BBQ Tofu Tacos
BBQ Tofu Tacos

Date Night Vegan Penne with Tempeh Chorizo and Red Pepper Cream Sauce

It’s still early spring, which means it’s perfectly acceptable to share this cozy pasta recipe, right?

Pasta is the ultimate date night meal. And if you gussy it up with tempeh chorizo and a creamy cashew red pepper sauce, you’ll most definitely succeed in impressing your person. As my dad always says, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!” Actually, the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. So even if you’re not making this for your special someone, you can still make this for your siblings, parents, that neighbour you just met, or even yourself (spoiling yourself with a pasta dinner like this is the best form of self-love!).

Almost every savoury recipe that you see on this blog has a balanced macronutrient ratio, and this one is a perfect example: tempeh chorizo provides protein, whole grain pasta provides carbohydrates, and the cashew red pepper sauce provides an ample amount of healthy fats. The sauteed kale adds micronutrients like calcium, vitamin K1, manganese, and cancer-fighting compounds. Cashews are also rich in micronutrients, including copper. Copper helps the body utilize iron, eliminates free radicals, and plays a role in the development of bone and connective tissue and in the production of melanin.

It actually makes the perfect meal to enjoy the night before a long run or hard workout. And aside from being healthy, this pasta tastes divine.

It comes together in just a few simple steps. First, you’ll make the tempeh chorizo, which is a recipe I developed in the very early days of blogging. However, instead of making 6 large patties, you’ll make 18 smaller ones.

Then, you’ll make the creamy roasted red pepper sauce. It’s a combination of soaked and drained raw cashews, roasted red pepper, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, vegetable broth, salt, and pepper.

The final step is cooking the pasta and sauteeing onions, garlic, celery, and kale, and tossing it all together.

All that remains to be done is serve the pasta and pour yourselves a glass another glass of wine.

We enjoyed this pasta with a simple salad of radicchio, escarole, and a creamy avocado dressing that I’ll be sharing soon. The bitterness of the greens provided a really wonderful contrast to the richness of the dish.

Tempeh Chorizo
Tempeh Chorizo
Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce
Tempeh Chorizo
Date Night Penne with Tempeh Chorizo and Red Pepper Cream Sauce
Date Night Penne with Tempeh Chorizo and Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce

Date Night Penne with Tempeh Chorizo and Red Pepper Cream Sauce

Penne, tempeh chorizo, and a creamy cashew red pepper cream sauce combine to create the perfect date night meal. 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dinner, Entree, Main
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Cashew Red Pepper Cream Sauce

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in cold water for at least 4 hours or hot water for 1 hour, drained
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup chopped roasted red pepper
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pasta

  • 1 batch Tempeh Chorizo, made into 18 small patties (see note for recipe)
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 medium bunch kale, chopped
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 cups dry penne, rotini, fusili, or rigatoni pasta

Instructions

  • If you have not yet made the tempeh chorizo, do so before beginning anything else. 
  • Make the cashew cream sauce: Blend together the soaked and drained cashews, tomato paste, roasted red pepper, vegetable broth, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast in a blender until very smooth and creamy. Transfer to a jar until ready to use. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium. Add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Saute for 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the celery and cook 3 minutes more. Then add the kale, followed by the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook until the kale is just bright green. Remove from heat. 
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain, and return to the pot. Add the sauteed greens and tempeh chorizo to the pot, followed by the cashew cream sauce. Toss to coat. Divide between bowls and enjoy with a glass of fine wine and a green salad. 

Notes

My Tempeh Chorizo recipe can be found here.
Red pepper cream sauce inspired by The Full Helping
Date night pasta idea inspired by Pinch of Yum

Did you make this recipe? Tag @holisticallie on Instagram and hashtag it #holisticallie.

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Vegan S’mores Bars

Welcome to Drool City. Population: anyone who ever so much as glanced at the tiny slices of heaven that are these Vegan S’mores Bars.

Believe me. Since making these bars this morning, I’ve made many trips into the kitchen, gazing longingly at the container that they are in, and then distracting myself with other things (grocery shopping, working out) so as not to cave in to my deepest dessert desires before I’ve eaten a healthy dinner. It’s been a day filled with forlorn sighs, especially during the photoshoot. Okay, a wayward marshmallow and a few crumbs might have made their way into mah belly in the process, but I mean… I’m a human. If you can resist these bars, there’s a good chance that you’re part cyborg or something.

A couple of factors coalesced into the perfect storm that motivated me to create this recipe. The first was that I looked into my pantry the other day and realized that I had a package of marshmallows and a box of organic graham crackers nearing their best before date. The second was that my coworkers had been enjoying a non-vegan store-bought s’mores bar this past week, and while I wasn’t tempted to try it, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t start craving s’mores by the time the week was out.

S’mores were always my favourite dessert growing up, but I wanted to create something a little more portable for the purposes of this dessert (because you never know when a s’mores craving will strike, and you might also want to endow your friends/coworkers/coach/partner with a container brimming with s’mores bars sometime in the near future).

But THESE S’MORES BARS. Where do I even begin? With their lightly sweet, oat flour and coconut sugar-based crust and vegan marshmallow and dark chocolate filling, they are an absolute dream. The crust is basically a cookie crust, with the addition of some crushed graham crackers, and comes together in a flash, requiring just a few vegan pantry staples: oat flour, coconut oil, coconut sugar, almond butter, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt, and graham crackers. It’s the only part of the recipe you need to make from scratch, as the filling is simply Dandies vegan marshmallows and chopped dark chocolate. While they bake into gooey, melty deliciousness, you can turn up some tunes and have a fist-pumping kitchen dance party to work up your appetite. Or you can gaze into the oven for 25 agonizing minutes. I alternated between the two.

I would say that the hardest step in the process is waiting for these babies to cool down enough to slice. I let mine sit in the pan at room temperature for 2 hours before lifting them out and slicing. If you can’t wait that long, you could try slicing them after just 1 hour.

These bars are sweet without being over the top, and are best enjoyed with a large glass of plant milk, like almond or hemp.

With their buttery-tasting crust and gooey marshallow and melty chocolate interiors, they are proof that the universe loves us and wants us to be happy. I mean, one bite, and you just might start singing,

“Heaven, I’m in heaven, 
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek”
When I’m in my kitchen eating vegan s’mores”

My dinky iPhone camera doesn’t do these bars justice, but just know that you must put these on your list of things to make ASAP!

Vegan S’mores Bars

Healthy-ish s’mores bars that are easy to make and vegan, too! A coconut sugar-oat flour cookie crust enrobes layers of marshmallows and chocolate, creating a portable version of that quintessential campfire favourite. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Keyword: S’mores, S’mores Bars, Vegan Dessert
Servings: 12 bars

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 3 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 12 crushed graham crackers (organic if possible)
  • 1-100 gram dark chocolate bar, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan marshmallows

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, cream together coconut oil and almond butter with a whisk or an electric mixer. Add coconut sugar, flax, almond milk, and vanilla and mix again to incorporate. 
  • In a medium bowl, stir together oat flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the crushed graham crackers. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. 
  • Preheat oven to 350 F and line a 8 inch by 8 inch square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving some overhang around the edges to allow you to easily lift the bar out. Divide the dough in half. Press half of the dough into the parchment paper-lined baking dish and carefully lift out. This will be your top layer. Set aside until ready to use. Line the pan with another sheet of parchment paper and press in the second half of the dough, pressing outward with your fingers to create a nice even layer. Top the dough with the chopped dark chocolate and marshmallows. To add the top layer of dough, carefully lift it and flip it over on top of the marshmallow layer. Gently press it down. 
  • Bake for 25 minutes. Let it cool for at least an hour, preferably 2 hours, before slicing into 12 squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator to extend shelf life. 

Notes

Recipe inspired by Pinch of Yum

Did you make this recipe? Tag @holisticallie on Instagram and hashtag it #holisticallie.

Let’s get social! Connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Superfood Hot Chocolate (Vegan)

This superfood hot chocolate is my favourite afternoon pick-me-up or healthy dessert when I’m craving something warm and sweet and the end of the day. It’s packed with good for you ingredients like cocoa, reishi mushroom, cashew butter, coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla, and is sweetened with a Medjool date. Reishi mushroom helps with relaxation and a healthy stress response, and I find that it helps me wind down in the evening. It’s also believed to benefit heart health.

Warm drinks like this one are a crucial part of my self care rituals. There’s something really meditative about sipping a warm drink, made with intention, in the peace of your own home. I enjoy going out to cafes, but I would take a homemade drink like this one any day.

I don’t have grand plans for the weekend- brunch with a good friend today, then working on a paper for the rest of the day and work tomorrow. I’m trying to find ways to incorporate little things that bring me joy into every day, and that seems to be helping to get out of the slump that I seem to have fallen into. In other news, I impulsively registered for the Ottawa Marathon earlier in the week, so I’ll be in training mode for that for the next seven weeks or so. I ran 25 km on Thursday, and it was a real wake-up call that I’m not where I want to be as far as stamina goes. I’m tempted to set a lofty time goal, but then again, I don’t feel that my fitness is where it was in October when I ran 3:25:54 at the Toronto Marathon. I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself, but I’m a competitive person and I REALLY want to run under 3:25 to get a guaranteed entry at Boston 2020. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a bit disappointed with myself for not pushing harder in October- I mean, what’s 54 seconds? Had I known how close I was going to be, I definitely would have gutted out a stronger finish. Run and learn, though!

Well, that’s all for today. I hope you love this healthy hot chocolate!

Superfood Hot Chocolate (VEGAN)

A healthy hot chocolate made with cashew butter, coconut oil, cocoa, cinnamon, reishi mushroom, and sweetened with Medjool date. The perfect cozy tonic for your body and soul. 
Prep Time2 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time7 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 1 mug of hot chocolate

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Botanica Reishi Hot Cocoa (see note)
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter or other nut/seed butter
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pitted Medjool date
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp virgin coconut oil (makes it ultra frothy)

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. 
  • Pour into a small saucepan and heat over medium, whisking occasionally, until hot. Pour into a mug and enjoy. 

Notes

I used Botanica Reishi Hot Cocoa in this recipe (not sponsored, just a product I really enjoy). If you are unable to find this product, simply use an additional 1/2 tbsp of cocoa powder instead! 

Did you make this recipe? Take a photo and post it to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with #holisticallie and @holisticallie!

Smoky Barbecue Black Bean Burgers

Believe it or not, I was an extremely picky eater as a kid. The number of meals I would eat could be counted on one hand, while the number of meals I turned my nose up to could easily fill a small book. My poor food-loving parents, huh? They were always trying new recipes from their many cookbooks and magazines, and I had zero appreciation for how avant garde they actually were. Thankfully, my older brother was an adventurous eater who was able to validate my parents’ efforts to feed us healthily.

My top five least favourite dishes? Tofu pesto (yeah, that was a Moosewood cookbook classic), parathas (Indian sweet potato-stuffed flatbread), bulgur burgers, salmon burgers (the only way I would choke them down was with a thick layer of Cheez Whiz), and anything containing ground meat.

I never liked meat, but it wasn’t until around age 10 that I began to warm up to vegetables. I always loved my carbs, though! I think I must have been on the 80/10/10 diet before it was even a thing, ha!

These veggie burgers are, according to my trusty taste testers, my best yet. They are sturdy, flavourful, and have crispy exteriors, which are my top three veggie burger parameters. The smoky flavour comes from smoked paprika (my secret weapon for endowing that elusive meaty note to vegan cusine) and subtle sweetness from barbecue sauce. And they actually hold together, thanks to the inclusion of both ground walnuts and bread crumbs. I chose to serve them on buns with pickles, lettuce, tomato, and my homemade green goddess sauce that I originally created for my Vegan Meatball Pizza, only I subbed cilantro for the parsley to give it a southwestern flair.

I think you’re going to LOVE these burgers. They’re the perfect way to usher in a new season, and they’re so much fun to eat.

Black bean burgers with green goddess sauce.

Smoky Barbecue Black Bean Burgers

These hearty black bean burgers are spicy, smoky, and a bit sweet. They hold together perfectly and are accompanied by a tasty cilantro green goddess sauce. Enjoy them on buns or crumbled over greens with the green goddess sauce as a dressing! 
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dinner, Entree, Lunch, Main
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Servings: 10 large burgers

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 medium sweet potatos, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, preferably homemade (see note)
  • 3 cups cooked black beans (or 1 large can, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt, plus more to taste

For serving:

  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Pickles
  • Green Goddess Sauce, made with cilantro instead of parsley (see note for recipe link)
  • Buns, collard or lettuce leaves, or pitas

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Cook the brown rice: In a small saucepan, combine the brown rice, water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 40-45 minutes, until all of the water has been absorbed. 
  • Place the diced sweet potato on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on a pinch of salt and toss to coat. Roast for 40-45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 F and leave it on to bake the burgers. 
  • Toast the walnuts in a large skillet over medium heat until browned and fragrant. Once cool enough to handle, finely chop and place them in a large bowl along with the breadcrumbs. 
  • Place the black beans into a food processor fitted with the ‘S’ blade. Pulse a few times until broken, but do not over-process. Add the beans to the large bowl. Then add the cooked sweet potato, brown rice, onion, garlic, barbecue sauce, spices, hot sauce, cilantro, and salt. Lightly mash the sweet potato and stir everything well to combine. Taste and add additional salt if desired. 
  • Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the mixture into 10 tennis ball-sized rounds and place on the prepared baking sheets. Use your hands to gently flatten the burgers. Bake until the burgers are crispy on the outside but not burnt, about 35-40 minutes. 
  • Serve on buns, collard or lettuce leaves, or pitas with desired toppings. 

Notes

To make 1 cup of homemade bread crumbs: Cube 5 slices of desired bread (I like whole grain sourdough) into 1-inch cubes and toast in a 350 F oven for 7 minutes. Then place the toasted bread into a food processor fitted with the ‘S’ blade and blend until you have bread crumbs. 
Green Goddess Sauce recipe can be found here.

I’ve been feeling discombobulated this week, having just returned to work and a with big term paper due in seven days. I have a lot of negative feelings about university. I’ve never felt that my program is a good fit for me, and as whiny as it sounds, I can’t see a point in anything I’m learning. I still wish that I would have chosen to major in nutrition and dietetics, and I’m definitely not ruling that out. I guess I still have time to figure it out. But the one thing that always brings me joy is writing recipes and sharing them with the world. That’s where my heart is, and that’s what I’ll continue to do as I figure out everything else!

Thanks as always for reading my posts, and I will be back here again on Saturday with my standard weekend beverage post.

Did you make this recipe? Let’s see it! Post a photo on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram with #holisticallie and @holisticallie!

Green Ginger Ale

Welcome to the second weekend of spring! Whether or not things are greening up where you are, I think we can all agree that this green ginger juice is an awesome seasonal tonic. It’ll wake you right up in the morning, and it’s equally good as an afternoon pick-me-up.

Now that I no longer work or go to school near Bliss in Victoria, British Columbia, and because the beautiful cookbook somehow got lost in my travels, I’ve started to create inspired recipes in my own kitchen. One of my favourite juices from Cafe Bliss was Green Ginger Ale, and I’m so pleased with the delicious result of my ‘blender juice’ version. Have you made blender juice before? All that you do is blend the ingredients together with a bit of water and strain through a fine mesh sieve or nut milk bag. It’s the poor man’s/woman’s juice/juice for people who live in small apartments with limited storage space. 🙂

I love the subtle spice, sweetness, and freshness of this juice. It doesn’t taste ultra green, but it isn’t too high in sugar, either: there’s just one apple in an entire 16-oz juice!

I’m keeping things short and sweet today, but I have a delicious black bean burger recipe coming your way on Tuesday. Have a beautiful weekend, all!

Green Ginger Ale

This green juice is great for digestion and really wakes you up. Made with kale, apple, celery, lemon, and ginger. 
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Juice
Cuisine: Raw Vegan, Vegan
Servings: 1 16-oz juice

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 large sweet apple (Ambrosia or Gala)
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 4-inch knob ginger, peeled
  • 2 kale leaves (green kale results in a green juice- I photographed purple kale but used green kale)

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender (Vitamix or Blendtec work best) and blend until almost smooth. 
  • Strain into a large bowl through a fine-mesh sieve or nut milk bag. Pour juice into a jar or glass and enjoy. Juice is best fresh, but should keep in the refrigerator for 24 hours or more. 

Notes

Recipe inspired by Green Ginger Ale from Bliss

Did you make this recipe! Share a photo on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram and tag me #holisticallie and @holisticallie.

Roasted Cauliflower Cilantro Soup

This Middle Eastern-inspired soup packs a flavourful punch thanks to a roasted cauliflower base plus cilantro, tahini, and lemon.

After a period of indulgence, I naturally gravitate towards meals with an abundance of greens. I often start to crave these meals at the seasonal transition from winter to spring, too. It stands to reason: after months of warm, grounding, nourishing meals, I think all of our bodies are in want of lighter, greener foods.

I don’t believe in cleanses per se, but I do believe in eating foods that naturally support our bodies’ natural detoxification processes on a daily basis. Because we are exposed to so many toxins and pollutants in our daily lives, it is incredibly important to make sure that we are regularly consuming an abundance of organically grown cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower) and fresh herbs (cilantro is particularly good at cleansing the body of heavy metals).

This soup fits the bill when the days are still just cool enough to justify a warm meal, but not cold enough to warrant, say, a chili. It’s a vibrant green colour (hey cilantro!); ultra creamy thanks to roasted cauliflower; and it gets a hit of complexity from tahini. Lemon juice adds brightness, and I’ve intentionally kept the spices simple here to really allow the simple trifecta of tahini, lemon, and cilantro to shine. Chickpeas roasted with extra virgin olive oil and za’atar (a middle eastern spice blend made with sumac, oregano, thyme, and sesame) add not only texture, but a boost of protein, too.

While it’s pretty nutritionally balanced as far as soups go, a bowl of soup never constitutes a meal for me- I always need some good sourdough bread, homemade flatbread, and/or salad to round out the meal. (But then again, I’m a volume eater, lol.) I served this soup with braised purple cabbage and bread, and we found it to be the perfect combination!

Oh, and a note to all the cilantro haters out there: if you must, feel free to substitute an equal amount of fresh parsley for the cilantro.

Roasted Cauliflower Cilantro Soup

A creamy roasted cauliflower soup with a boost of green from a whole bunch of cilantro. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Dish, Soup
Cuisine: Middle Eastern, Vegan
Servings: 4 generous bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 2.5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 heaping cup chopped yellow onion
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • Generous pinch fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 large bunch cilantro
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Za’atar-Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 14-oz can, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp za’atar*

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the cauliflower on one baking sheet and drizzle with 1.5 tbsp of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.  Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until browned and crispy around the edges. 
  • Place the chickpeas on the second baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and za’atar. Roast until browned and crispy, about 25-30 minutes, keeping in mind that they will crisp up more once out of the oven. 
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Add the celery, a pinch of salt and pepper, and spices, and cook a few minutes more. Add the broth and bring the soup to a low simmer. 
  • Once the cauliflower is ready, add it to the pot and remove from heat. Stir in the tahini. 
  • Blend the soup in two batches. Add half of the soup to the jar of the blender and place half of the cilantro on top (we are adding the cilantro now instead of earlier to allow it to retain its beautiful green colour!). Blend until smooth, pour it into a a large container or bowl, and repeat with the second half of the soup. Return the soup to the original pot and warm it up more, if desired. Right before serving, add the lemon juice.  
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with roasted chickpeas. 

Notes

*If you cannot find za’atar, you can make your own.

Did you make this recipe! Share a photo on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag me #holisticallie and @holisticallie.

Vegan Meatball Pizza with Green Goddess Ranch Dip

All your vegan pizza dreams came true with this meatball pizza. Tempeh meatballs, tofu ricotta (or vegan cheese of your choice), and veggies bake up into pizza perfection atop a homemade spelt pizza crust. Take it over the top by serving it with my Green Goddess Ranch Dip.

Recently, a number of high profile (high profile on social media channels, at least) vegans have come out and confessed that they have had to go back to eating animal products because years of veganism had made them sick. Bonny Rebecca, Rawvana, and most recently, Raw Alignment have all published videos outlining why they are no longer vegan. Now, I’m not a health professional, but what I have observed in many of the popular vegan YouTubers is an incredibly restrictive diet lacking in protein, fat (particularly omega-3 essential fatty acids), and numerous important micronutrients like iron and vitamin B12. It bothers me that people with such influence have been so irresponsible for so long, and profited handsomely off of spreading misinformation to millions of followers. By the looks of what they were eating (or not eating, in the example of Rawvana, who went on a 25-day water fast at one point), their behaviours were those of people with restrictive eating disorders, and can’t be blamed on the vegan diet. They were not eating a balanced vegan diet, and years of engaging in these restrictive habits will eventually catch up to anyone, vegan or not. (I don’t know how many of you know about Mic the Vegan, but he has skillfully dissected many ex-vegans’ claims using scientific evidence. I’d encourage you to check him out if you’re curious about digging deeper into the facts.)

I try to have compassion for everyone, and I would never judge a person because they weren’t vegan. That isn’t my point at all. My point is that a balanced vegan diet that incorporates plenty of healthy fat, protein, carbohydrates, and micronutrients should be maintainable for life. Some people choose to go back to eating animal products for various reasons, but if you’re doing veganism properly, health shouldn’t be one of them.

My food philosophy echoes Michael Pollan’s well-known adage: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” I think food has become really over-complicated in the digital age, with the next fad right around the corner, and it’s been made worse by influencers on social media such as the ones I just discussed who have only cursory knowledge of nutrition but proclaim themselves as experts.

This meatball pizza recipe is a celebration of enjoying a balanced vegan diet. It isn’t raw. There’s both tofu and tempeh on it (I know, soy, gasp!). It isn’t green (although the Green Goddess Ranch sauce just happens to be green, heh heh). You’ll probably go back for seconds and thirds. You’ll enjoy this with some beer. And that’s okay! That’s healthy. Enjoying an abundance of foods–both “clean” and not– is what will allow you to sustain veganism for years to come, if you decide that it works for you and aligns with your health, ethical, and environmental values.

Vegan Meatball Pizza with Green Goddess Ranch Dip

A vegan meatball pizza made with tempeh meatballs, tofu ricotta, and vegetables on a thin crust. A Green Goddess Ranch Dip makes the perfect compliment.  
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 2 10-inch pizzas, 6-8 slices each

Ingredients

  • 1 batch Easy as Pie Spelt Pizza Dough* (see instructions for recipe link)
  • 1 batch Tempeh Meatballs, made into 24 small meatballs* (see instructions for recipe link)
  • 1/2 batch Tofu Ricotta (recipe follows)
  • 1-1 1/2 cups pizza sauce
  • 1 small red onion
  • 10 medium cremini mushrooms

Tofu Ricotta

  • 1 454 g package firm or extra-firm tofu (organic and non-GMO, please)
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil 1
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp mellow white or chickpea miso
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2-1 tsp fine sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Green Goddess Ranch Dip

  • 1/2 a medium ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped out
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, stems removed, chopped

Instructions

  • Prepare the Easy as Pie Spelt Pizza Dough according to the instructions. 
  • Prepare the Tempeh Meatballs according to the instructions, but form into 24 small balls as opposed to the 12 larger balls indicated in the original recipe. 
  • While the dough is rising and the meatballs are baking, make the tofu ricotta. Combine all ingredients together in a food process and blend until very smooth and creamy. Add more salt, lemon juice, or nutritional yeast to taste. 
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F if you will be using a pizza stone, or 450 degrees F if you will be using a metal sheet. If you will be using a pizza stone or other stoneware, put it into the oven to preheat now. 
  • Peel and thinly slice the red onion. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth and thinly slice those, too. If you do not like mushrooms, you may substitute a thinly sliced red bell pepper. 
  • Once the dough is ready and you have divided it in two and rolled out a round of dough, transfer it to a sheet of parchment paper that fits your pan. Lightly brush the edges of the pizza dough with some extra-virgin olive oil- this helps the crust brown and crisp up as it bakes. Spread 1/2 to 3/4 cup of pizza sauce on it, followed by 12 of the meatballs and half of the onions and mushrooms. Dollop on half of the tofu ricotta (you can also use your desired amount of your favourite vegan cheese, such as cashew cheese, if you do not feel like the tofu ricotta). If you have leftover nut Parmesan from making the tempeh meatballs, you may sprinkle that on top. 
  • Repeat this step with the second round of pizza dough. If you have two pizza stones or pans, you can bake the pizzas at the same time. Transfer each unbaked pizza to a pre-heated stone and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are nicely browned and the tofu ricotta has turned golden and appears to have crisped up. 
  • While the pizza is baking, make the Green Goddess Ranch dip. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. 
  • Remove the pizza from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving with a generous amount of Green Goddess Ranch Dip (that stuff is addictive!). And beer. Don’t forget the craft beer. 

Notes

I own two Pampered Chef stoneware cookie sheets, which I bake pizza on. I highly recommend investing in some- they are made with non-toxic American clay; don’t contain any nasty Teflon or other non-stick chemicals; and are truly timeless. 
 
Prep and cook times do not take into consideration time to make meatballs and pizza dough. 

Thank you for sticking with me through this rather long post! It was something I felt I needed to get off of my chest. I’d love to hear your thoughts on veganism/ex-veganism and/or this pizza!

If you make this recipe, don’t forget to tag a photo with #holisticallie and @holisticallie on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Easy As Pie Spelt Pizza Dough

Hey hey hey! Sorry for neglecting to publish a beverage recipe this weekend. In lieu of that, allow me to present to you my perfect pizza dough. It is neither too thick nor too thin, and it bakes up with a crispy edge and perfectly soft interior without being too doughy. Also, this recipe is a harbinger of things to come on Tuesday (ahem vegan meatball pizza). Just thought I’d put that out there. 😉

This is my go-to dough whenever I am craving pizza (which is often, heh heh). If you’ve never tried to make your own pizza dough, I encourage you– no, I implore you– to give it a try. Contrary to what you may have been told, you don’t need to be a pro in order to make a delicious, authentic-tasting pizza crust. If you know how to mix and knead, homemade pizza dough is a cinch. All you need is about 15 minutes of active time and an hour of risng time, and all your homemade pizza dreams will come true.

I love using light spelt flour in this recipe. It’s more like all-purpose flour in texture, and it brings a wonderful elasticity to the dough. I used to make pizza dough with whole spelt flour, and the result was always a dense, crumbly crust. If you only have whole spelt flour on hand, I would recommend using a 50/50 mix of whole spelt and regular all-purpose flours in order to achieve the right texture.

Let’s make pizza dough!

Step 1: Combine active dry yeast, warm water, maple syrup, and olive oil. Proof for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together flour and salt.

Step 2: Make a well in the flour and pour in the proofed yeast mixture. Stir together to create a shaggy dough.

Step 3: Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed to create an elastic dough.

Step 4: Place in a greased bowl, cover with a dish towel, and place in a warm area to rise for 1 hour.

Step 5: Once it has doubled in size, punch down dough, knead a few times, and divide into 2 equal balls.

Step 6: Press the dough into a rough circle.

Step 7: Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a large circle, about 10 inches in diameter and 1/4 of an inch thick.

Step 8: Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper and proceed with your pizza recipe!

Easy Spelt Pizza Dough

Every kitchen needs a pizza dough recipe. This one is made with light spelt flour, giving it a light, airy texture and authentic flavour. 
Prep Time15 mins
Rising time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2 10-inch pizza crusts

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hot water (110 degrees F)
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup 1
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (not instant)
  • 3 cups light/white spelt flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt

Instructions

  • Combine hot water, maple syrup, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Sprinkle in yeast. I find that the yeast usually sinks to the bottom naturally before it starts rising, so I don’t find whisking necessary. Cover and wait for 10 minutes, or until the yeast activates and creates a foamy/frothy layer on the top of the mixture. If nothing happens, this means that your water was either too hot or too cold and the yeast has not activated; in this case, dump it out and start over. 
  • Meanwhile, mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir to combine. 
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding additional flour as needed, for about 5 minutes, until you have a smooth, elastic dough that doesn’t stick to your fingers. 
  • Lightly grease a clean bowl with olive oil and place the dough in it. Cover with a kitchen towel and put it into the warmest area of your kitchen to rise for an hour, or until doubled in bulk. 
  • Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead a couple of times and divide in half. 
  • Take one ball of dough and press it into a rough circle. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into a circle about 10 inches in diameter and 1/4 of an inch thick. If you desire a thinner crust, go for 1/8 of an inch diameter. 
  • Transfer the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper that will fit whatever pan you will be baking your pizza in, and repeat steps 5-7 with the second ball of dough, Proceed with your pizza recipe. 

If you make this pizza dough, post a photo and tag it with #holisticallie and @holisticallie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Berbere-Spiced Lentil Sweet Potato Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema

Happy spring! We made it through another winter, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with some lentil tacos that fuse east African and Mexican cuisines.

Before we get into discussions of food, though, let’s chat briefly about setting some intentions. I prefer to set my ‘new year’s resolutions,’ at the beginning of spring. It just feels more natural to hit the reset button when the earth is, quite literally, springing back to life, than it does during the darkest time of the year at the beginning of January.

Here are some of my goals for the next 12 months:

1) Graduate from university (for once and for all).
2) Continue working towards my dream of living and working on an organic farmstead/owning a tiny home/working as a chef at retreats.
3) Grow this website into a community of friends who simply love wholesome, vegan food and living a healthy life.
4) Run a sub-3:20 marathon in the fall.
5) Practice gratitude every day.
6) Live in the present moment and get out of the habit of overthinking.

I used to be excellent at setting goals, but poor at following through with them. For the past couple of years, I have fallen out of the habit of setting lofty goals or even writing to-do lists, because I would overthink them and inevitably come up short. But that, I’ve come to realize, isn’t the best approach, either: I thrive on working towards a goal. This year, my focus is on incremental progress every day rather than perfection. I’m also going in with the mindset that none of my goals are set in stone. They may evolve as the year progresses, and I’m okay with adapting them as necessary.

Now, on to the food. I created this recipe the week before the Ethiopian Airlines disaster, and the tragic coincidence was not lost on me that we had just finished eating these Ethiopian-inspired tacos the day before the plane crash. Out of sensitivity to the victims and the country itself, I held off on publishing the recipe in the week following. I just wanted to mention this, as I do not take the tragedy lightly, and my heart aches for all those who were affected.

This recipe evolved out of my attempt to recreate my friend Victoria‘s favourite dish: injera. Injera is an Ethiopian sour flatbread made with teff flour. Victoria loves Ethiopian food, and has scoped out almost every restaurant in the city to find the best injera. Well, let me just say that I’m going to have to leave injera to the pros: my first attempt fermented beautifully, and I was so excited to cook them. But the moment the batter hit the hot cast iron skillet, it adhered to it, and my hopes of removing it from the pan in one piece were dashed.

Fear not, though! I’m consciously trying to see every lemon life hands me as an opportunity to make lemonade. 😉 I already had a concept for my injera accompaniments, and I also had a pretty mean taco craving.

And that’s how Berbere-Spiced Lentil Sweet Potato Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Crema were born!

These tacos are in “OMG you must make them now” territory. They contain the following components:

fragrant, perfectly spiced Berbere-spiced lentils;

crunchy purple cabbage slaw;

melt-in-your mouth roasted sweet potato;

sour-sweet pickled onions;

and a cool and tangy cilantro lime crema…

all wrapped up in either corn or flour tortillas.

The Berbere lentils are a staple dish that can serve many purposes outside of tacos. Try them in a grains/greens/beans bowl with the cilantro lime crema as a sauce if you’re looking to change things up. They’re actually crave-worthy. Yup, I just referred to lentils as crave-worthy. You’re welcome. But seriously, I urge you to make them, because the flavours just work so well together. And the fragrant spice blend will make your kitchen smell divine!

Hungry yet? Same.

Berbere-Spiced Lentil Sweet Potato Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema

Your taste buds will do a happy dance for these Berbere-spiced lentil tacos with roasted sweet potato, cabbage slaw, pickled onions, and a cool and tangy cilantro lime crema! 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Ethiopian, Mexican, Vegan
Servings: 6 people, 2 tacos per person
Author: Allison

Ingredients

For the Berbere-Spiced Lentils:

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or refined coconut oil
  • 2 medium red or yellow onions, finely diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar or pure maple syrup (helps round out flavours; don’t skip!)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked green lentils (from 1 1/2 cups dry green lentils) OR 2 15-oz cans lentils, rinsed and drained

For the roasted sweet potatoes:

  • 4 small or 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Simple Cabbage Slaw

  • 3 cups finely shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

For the Cilantro-Lime Crema:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in hot water for at least 45 minutes or cold water for 4 hours
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup filtered water

For the Quick-Pickled Onions:

  • 1 large or 2 small red onions
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

For assembling:

  • 12 6-inch corn or flour tortillas
  • Hot sauce of choice

Instructions

  • Prepare the lentils: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add celery. Meanwhile, whisk together tomato paste, vegetable broth, and sugar or maple syrup in a bowl. 
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the spices, salt, and pepper. Add the tomato paste mixture to the skillet, followed by the spice mixture. Add lentils and stir to combine. Then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until some of the liquid has absorbed/evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside until ready to use. This will allow the flavours to meld. 
  • Prepare the sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the diced sweet potatoes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Roast for 25-35 minutes, or until fork-tender and crispy around the edges. 
  • While the sweet potatoes are roasting, you will have time to prepare the remaining components. To make the cabbage slaw, toss together cabbage, oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside until ready to use. 
  • Make the Cilantro-Lime Crema: Blend cashews, cilantro, lime juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and water in a blender until smooth and a thick, sour cream-like consistency is achieved. If it seems too thick, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time. 
  • Make the Quick Pickled Onions: Peel and thinly slice the onions. Place them in a 16-oz/500 mL glass jar. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegars, water, maple syrup, salt, and red pepper flakes over high heat. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and pour over top of the onions in the jar. Make sure that the liquid is covering all of the onions. Secure a lid on the jar and set aside to pickle for at least 10 minutes, preferably longer (the onions will soften and their sharpness will mellow the longer you allow them to pickle). Make ahead: Onions will keep in the fridge for at least a week. 
  • Warm up the tortillas in a covered dish in a 300 degree F oven for 5 minutes prior to eating, if desired. 
  • To assemble a taco, spoon desired amount of lentils, followed by sweet potato, cabbage slaw, pickled onions, and cilantro-lime crema onto a tortilla. Repeat as desired. 

Notes

Click here for some wine pairings for Ethiopian food. As far as beer goes, I would recommend a Saison or an IPA from your favourite craft brewery. 

If you make these tacos, take a photo and post it on Instagram with #holisticallie and @holisticallie!

Vegan Banh Mi Sandwiches

Vegan Banh Mi Sandwiches make the perfect lunch or dinner! They are ultra flavourful thanks to the addictive baked tofu and sriracha mayo, and they are ridiculously easy to prepare.

Well, I ran my farthest all winter on Saturday. Eighteen kilometres of slip sliding, sun shining fun along the rivers. It wasn’t fast or pretty, but I did it and it can only get better from here. Running is an interesting beast. In all my years of running, I have yet to figure out how, in a matter of a few months, I can go from being in excellent cardiovascular shape, capable of running a sub-3:30 marathon, to a mediocre runner who struggles to run half that distance at that pace. On the plus side, this very issue continues to teach me the value of patience and putting in the effort required to reach my goals.

I know that in a few more short months, with consistent effort, I will reach that sweet spot once again where running feels effortless and my goals will once again be within my reach.

Speaking of goals, I’m now one step closer to reaching a life goal that I haven’t yet shared on the blog. I can’t say anything about it yet, but stay tuned as I will be revealing it in the next few weeks. I can’t wait!

What does all of this have to do with the recipe at hand? Well, to be honest, not a whole lot. But I did enjoy this Banh Mi after a long run, so there’s that. I always try to include a hearty, macronutrient-balanced meal following any intense workout. Anecdotal evidence has proven that doing so reduces hanger and makes runners much nicer people to be around.

Banh who? Banh Mi!

Have you ever eaten Banh Mi? I hadn’t, until I created this recipe. I’d always wanted to, but I’d never come across a joint that serves it in my city. And then I thought, Why not just make my own?

Banh Mi is a French-influenced Vietnamese sandwich typically served on a baguette and stuffed with savoury ingredients. Non-vegan versions usually use pork as the protein, but I opt for the decidedly more ethical, nutritious, and delicious baked tofu in my version. I also add quick pickled carrots, avocado, a delightfully spicy sriracha mayo, and as many vegetables as you can fit your mouth around for one satisfying sammie! You could serve yours on the traditional baguette, but I actually prefer a more typical sandwich presentation using slices of sourdough bread. You can even use pitas.

You’ll notice that I’ve included beverage pairings in my recipe notes! I’m going to start doing this regularly, because as some of you know, it is my firm belief that a meal is only as good as the drinks that accompany it. I’ll include a beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drink recommendation!

With all that being said, let’s get our Banh Mi on!

Step 1: Slice and marinate the tofu in an addictive mix of tamari, lime juice, garlic, ginger, maple syrup, hot sauce, and sesame oil. Then, bake it.

Step 2: Pickle your carrots.

Step 3: Whip up some sriracha mayo.

Step 4: Gather additional toppings: I recommend thinly sliced cabbage, lettuce, and avocado.

Step 5: Toast some bread.

Step 6: Assemble your sandwiches.

Step 7: Om nom nom.

Vegan Banh Mi Sandwiches

Healthy, delicious vegan Banh Mi with baked tofu, ginger pickled carrots, lots of veggies, and sriracha mayo. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Marinating time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Vegan, Vietnamese
Servings: 4 sandwiches
Author: Allison

Ingredients

For the tofu:

  • 1 block (454 g) firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed if desired
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tbsp reduced-sodium tamari
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sriracha or hot sauce
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp finely minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup

For the Ginger Pickled Carrots:

  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ume plum vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar or pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger

For the Sriracha Mayonnaise:

  • 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise (such as Vegenaise)
  • 2 tbsp sriracha or other hot sauce

Everything else:

  • Lettuce
  • Thinly shredded purple cabbage
  • Sliced avocado
  • Vegan cheese
  • 8 slices sourdough bread, 1 large baguette, or 4 pitas

Instructions

  • Prepare the tofu: Slice the tofu into six equal rectangles (see photo), then slice each rectangle in half to create 12 equal triangles. Place tofu in a 9×13-inch baking dish. 
  • Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over top of the tofu. Marinate tofu for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours, flipping after 30 minutes or halfway through to ensure even marinating. 
  • Prepare the Ginger Pickled Carrots: Place the carrot matchsticks in a 500 mL jar. Combine vinegar, water, coconut sugar or maple syrup, red pepper flakes, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat and add ginger to the pot. Pour over the carrots, cover jar with lid, and allow them to ‘pickle’ for at least 30 minutes, or longer if you have time.
  • Bake tofu at 375 F for 20 minutes, or until most of the marinade has been absorbed/evaporated.  
  • While the tofu is baking, prepare the sriracha mayonnaise by whisking together the mayonnaise and sriracha in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to use. 
  • If using bread or baguette, toast it if desired (this step is unnecessary if you are using pitas). If using a baguette, slice it in half lengthwise and then cut it into 4 equal pieces. 
  • Gather up additional toppings: I used lettuce, shredded cabbage, and avocado. 
  • To assemble a sandwich: Spread 1 tablespoon of sriracha mayonnaise on a slice of bread. Top with 2-3 triangles of tofu. On a second slice of bread (or on the other half of the baguette section or the other half of the pita), layer lettuce, cabbage, avocado, and pickled carrots. Put the sandwich together and repeat until you have 4 sandwiches. Serve. 

Notes

As always, if you make these Banh Mi (why wouldn’t you?), post a photo on Instagram with #holisticallie and @holisticallie!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Shake

Good morning! Popping in with a drink recipe and a few reads again. Hopefully you’ve fared all right during this emotional week of two heartbreaking tragedies, and that you were uplifted by the climate action protests around the world on Friday. As senseless and heartbreaking as these tragedies are, they make me extra grateful for this life, and remind me of its fragility. And the climate action protests are yet another reminder that we all can, and must, treat Mother Earth with more care and respect. Be kind to the earth, be kind to yourself, and spread love to all beings–human and non-human alike.

With that, I leave you with a smoothie recipe that is kind to your body and the earth. It doesn’t hurt that it tastes just like a peanut butter cookie in smoothie form, too! Of course, you can use whichever nut or seed butter you like.

Here are some reads that caught my eye this week:

  1. How to wake up with more joy.
  2. We are unstoppable. Another world is possible.” The youth are rising in 112 countries and counting.
  3. Tiny Costa Rica has a Green New Deal, too. And it matters for the whole planet. The country wants to wean itself from fossil fuels by 2050.
  4. Have you heard of Loop? Now, similar startups are popping up, aiming to all but remove plastic from the consumption equation by offering products in refillable containers. But unlike zero waste stores, the refilling is done by the company itself. I’m really hoping this goes mainstream.
  5. I love my car-free lifestyle and am a pretty outspoken car-free advocate. George Monbiot expresses it so succinctly : “Let’s abandon this disastrous experiment, recognise that this 19th-century technology is now doing more harm than good, and plan our way out of it. Let’s set a target to cut the use of cars by 90% over the next decade.”



Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Shake

A delicious smoothie that tastes just like a peanut butter oatmeal cookie! It packs a serious punch of fibre, potassium, and healthy fat. 
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 1 500 mL/16 oz smoothie
Author: Allison

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 large frozen banana, chopped
  • 1 pitted Medjool date, soaked for 10 minutes if hard
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 ice cube

Instructions

  • Place ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy. 

Notes

If you do not have a high-speed blender, I recommend soaking the oats and almond milk together for 10 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. 

If you make this recipe, tag your photo #holisticallie and @holisticallie on Instagram!

Curried Carrot, Lentil, and Coconut Soup

A healthy, simple dish, my Curried Carrot, Lentil, and Coconut Soup will chase away those late winter blahs and flood your body with health-giving nutrients!

I thought I’d pop in with one soup recipe before winter slips away for another year! It’s hard to believe I haven’t shared any soup recipes on the blog yet. Hopefully I’ll be able to remedy that as time goes on!

carrots

On the topic of winter, do you love it or would you be a snowbird if you could? I’d say that I fall somewhere in the middle. On the one hand, I enjoy peaceful walks right after a snowfall, when it feels as if the world has ground to halt. I appreciate how the weather forces me to slow down and do less. On the other hand, I could do without five layers of clothing (a bit of an exaggeration, but I do feel like a Michelin tire woman in my jacket) and heavy boots every time I go outside. And winter running in this Ontario climate has been interesting, to say the least. At this point in the season, I’m really just ready to see something other than white (or grey, or brown, as you do in a city winter). Bring on the green foliage!

The one thing that I do love about winter, though, is the warm, cozy food that comes along with it. I’m all about soups, stews, and warm drinks during this season, and I have found that eating plenty of cooked food and warming spices has been a game-changer for my wintertime immunity.

Ayurveda, an ancient eastern healing modality, would certainly support this: according to Ayurveda, our environment affects our inner health, so when it is cold outside, we should consume food that stokes our inner fire: lots of cooked food and hot spices (curry, cayenne, ginger, garlic). In short: Like increases like, so we treat with the opposite. Cold outside, warm inside. It’s simple, and it works. Of course, there is more to Ayurveda than that, but for the purposes of this blog post, that is all the detail I will go into today.

It does make good intuitive sense to eat warm food when it is cold outside, doesn’t it? This soup is the perfect warming dish for these last days of winter. It simultaneously soothes and satisfies, all while flooding your body with immunity-boosting spices and vegetables. Red lentils add heft and protein to this velvety soup, along with a healthy dose of folate, magnesium, and iron, to name just a few of the minerals found in these mighty nutritional all-stars!

I love serving this soup with homemade chapathis, and Indian flatbread made with spelt flour, water, and salt. You can also serve it with a fresh green salad, a sandwich, or simply with some nice sourdough bread and butter.

Curried Carrot, Lentil, and Coconut Soup

A healthy, perfectly spiced carrot soup that gets an extra boost of nutrition from red lentils. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Thai, Vegan
Servings: 4 bowls
Author: Allison

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 2 medium)
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 3 stalks celery
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 400 mL full-fat coconut milk (1 can)
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  • In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. 
  • Add celery, salt, curry paste, turmeric, and carrots. Cook five minutes more. 
  • Rinse the lentils in a fine mesh sieve. Drain and add to the pot. Add the vegetable broth and coconut sugar and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent lentils sticking, for 20 minutes, or until lentils have cooked and carrots are fork-tender. 
  • Stir in the coconut milk and transfer to an upright blender. Blend in two or three batches and transfer back into the pot. Bring it back to a simmer, then stir in the lime juice and serve. Garnish with cilantro if desired. 

I hope you love this soup! If you make it, tag your photo #holisticallie and @holisticallie on Instagram!

tofu scramble

The Ultimate Tofu Scramble

A common refrain I get from non-vegetarians is, “Tofu is gross- it doesn’t taste like anything.” My response: that’s the point. It’s a blank slate for us to gussy up however we like! I happen to be part of the tofu loving camp: it’s versatile, easy to digest, affordable, and high in protein. It works as well in Asian dishes as it does in Mexican, Thai, and American ones. And yet, I can empathize with the tofu haters because I was once one myself. If you have only ever tasted plain, slimy tofu, I think your dislike of the stuff is entirely justified.

All of that is about to change, my friends, once you dig in to this tasty tofu scramble. My scramble is full of flavour thanks to my heavy hand with the seasonings: ample amounts of onion, garlic, spices, nutritional yeast, salsa, and tahini combine to take tofu from ho-hum to OMG yum! If you have only ever had scrambled eggs, I encourage you to give tofu scramble a try.

Perhaps the best thing about it is the speed at which it can be whipped up, making it the perfect dish to serve to unexpected brunch guests or your hangry family (or self!) at dinner.

Simply chop onions, garlic and red pepper. Saute for a few minutes, add spices, tofu, nutritional yeast, salsa, tahini, and heat through.

While it’s heating, pop some bread in the toaster for avocado toast, and throw some kale into the steamer or throw together a fresh green salad.

Ten minutes later, sit down to a delicious, healthy, home-cooked meal.

It’s as simple as that. Healthy eating isn’t complicated. More often than not, it isn’t glamorous or Instagram-worthy. But it is an act of self-care–and that is reason enough for us to make time for it.

If you love this scramble and are hungry for more, check out my other tofu and tempeh recipes!

Tempeh Reuben

Tempeh Chorizo

Homemade Beyond Meat Burgers

Ravishing Rainbow Veggie Wraps

Hawaiian Kale Salad with Peanut Butter Tempeh

Tempeh Meatballs

tofu scramble
tofu scramble

The Ultimate Tofu Scramble

A tofu scramble that’s ultra-flavourful thanks to generous amounts of nutritional yeast, salsa, tahini, and spices. Serve with avocado toast and greens for a well-balanced vegan meal. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, Mexican, Vegan
Keyword: Tofu Scramble
Servings: 4 people
Author: Allison

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 (454 g) block firm tofu (organic and non-GMO)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • Freshly ground black pepper, cayenne, and additional sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional, for colour)

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add salt, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika,coriander, and red bell pepper. 
  • Crumble in the tofu and cook for five minutes. 
  • Stir in nutritional yeast, salsa, and tahini, and cook five minutes more, or until heated through. Taste and add pepper, cayenne, additional salt, and turmeric, if desired. 
  • Serve with avocado toast and greens of your choice. 

Tag your photos #holisticallie and @holisticallie on Instagram!

Slow Rise Saturday: Salted Caramel Latte

As I write, the intoxicating aroma of freshly baked spelt bread wafts out of the oven. I’m sipping on my salted caramel latte and listening to a beautiful folk/indie playlist. The sun is shining onto the kitchen table. I feel completely content in this moment.

This winter, I have made a conscious effort to slow down. I’d preached it for years, but never fully stepped into the space myself. Every time I dipped my toes into the waters of slow living, guilt would creep up on me. I always felt that I had to be working hard at something in order to be worthy approval from both myself and others.

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was itching to set a new goal and strive to achieve it. And I am. But at the same time, I feel content in the present moment, and I have surprised myself by how naturally a slower, more mindful way of life has come to me. Society has done an excellent job at conditioning us to believe that we are successful only when we are ‘busy.’

Now, I fully recognize that not everyone has the means to live this way. I am lucky that I have a light course load that allows me to schedule my days with as much or as little work as I please. I was able to save some money last year, alleviating the need for me to work while in school this semester. There’s no denying that there are complex social and economic forces at play when it comes to determining who can afford the luxury of slow living. How ironic is it that what was once the norm-a life lived at a natural pace- is now thought of as a luxury that only a select few have time and money for?

If you can afford to take even an hour for yourself this weekend, I can’t recommend doing so enough. And what better accompaniment than this drink?

My salted caramel latte could not be easier to make: you can whip it up in far less time than it would take to buy one at the local coffee shop. It’s more economical, too, as well as being made with whole food ingredients like dates and almond butter. Yes, you can have a rich, decadent-tasting caramel latte without the sugar crash afterwards.

This drink pairs perfectly with my weekly roundup of reads/videos below!

Here’s what caught my eye this week:

  1. A giant dam in the Ecuadorian jungle, financed and built by China, was supposed to help lift the country out of poverty. Instead, it has engulfed the country in debt.
  2. Vandana Shiva urges us to decolonize the mind and wrap our heads around a regenerative agricultural model. Definitely worth watching.
  3. An often forgotten aspect of environmental sustainability is its spiritual aspects: “There is now a single issue before us: survival. Not merely physical survival, but survival in a world of fulfillment, survival in a living world, where the violets bloom in the springtime, where the stars shine down in all their mystery, survival in a world of meaning.”
  4. The calming effect of sewing can help relieve inner turmoil.
  5. A comprehensive guide to freezing food in glass jars. I’m definitely bookmarking this!

Salted Caramel Latte

A healthy salted caramel latte made with dates, almond butter, almond milk, and strong coffee or espresso. 
Prep Time5 mins
Course: Beverage, Dessert, Drink, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: Latte
Servings: 1 latte
Author: Allison

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup hot strong brewed coffee (or sub 2 shots of espresso)
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 pitted Medjool date
  • 1/2 tsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Fat pinch of sea salt
  • Dash of cinnamon

Instructions

  • Warm the almond milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot, whisking occasionally. 
  • Place almond butter, date, coconut oil, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon into a blender. Add hot coffee and almond milk. Blend until very smooth and creamy. Wait 20 seconds to allow froth to form on top before pouring into a mug. Enjoy! 

If you make this latte, tag me #holisticallie and @holisticallie on Instagram!

Have an awesome weekend!

Vegan Banana Spice Cake with Cashew Buttercream

I’ve been feeling restless lately. Anyone else? I’m ready to shake things up, yet I can’t decide where to go or what to do. It’s not to say that I’m unhappy with my current situation. However, I feel as though I’m caught in my comfort zone, where I’m not actively chasing a goal that scares me. Sad though it may sound, I have allowed myself to become content with mediocrity this winter. As someone with perfectionist tendencies, it does feel strange to be utterly content doing less–and I suppose, in a way, it’s been freeing. And yet, I haven’t done anything that scares me since I completed my first marathon in the fall. I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with not having a big, scary goal at all times– in fact, I’d wager that it’s healthy not to be constantly in pursuit of bigger and better– but I think it’s time for me to set a new big, scary goal. More on that as I figure it out. 😉

But THIS Vegan Banana Spice Cake. (Was that transition awkward enough for you? Writing is hard sometimes.) While it might not hold all the answers, I’m almost certain that it will make your day a little brighter. Behold the veganized and spiced up version of my favourite birthday cake. It’s moist, lightly spiced, sweet, and the equal parts dense and fluffy. The cashew buttercream really takes it over the top–imagine a veganized cream cheese icing using only whole foods and natural sweeteners! It blends up into creamy bliss in a high speed blender, and after about an hour in the freezer, it’s ready to be whipped and put onto the cake. I iced this cake generously, as you can see from the photos, because that is how I roll. Go big or go home, baby!

Banana Spice Cake

A moist, dense cake that’s perfect for both snacking and special occasions. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: Banana cake, Vegan cake
Servings: 9 slices
Author: Allison

Ingredients

  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax plus 2.5 tbsp water)
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup raw cane sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups light/white spelt flour (or 3/4 cup all-purpose flour + 3/4 cup whole spelt flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 batch Cashew Buttercream (recipe follows)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 8×8-inch square baking dish with coconut oil. 
  • In a small bowl, prepare the flax egg and set it aside to ‘gel.’
  • In a large bowl, cream together coconut oil and sugar. Mix in maple syrup, flax egg, and vanilla. 
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. 
  • Pour the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and stir just until flour is incorporated. Fold in the rolled oats. 
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. 
  • Allow to cool completely before frosting. 

Cashew Buttercream

A vegan cream cheese-style frosting made in your blender. 
Prep Time5 mins
Freezing time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: Cashew Buttercream, Vegan Frosting
Servings: 1 1/2 cups, enough for one 8×8-inch cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in cool water for 8 hours or hot water for 1 hour, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 118 mL coconut cream (1 small can)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Pinch sea salt

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, scraping down sides as needed, and blend until very smooth and creamy. This may take a few minutes. 
  • Place icing in a glass container, cover, and place in the freezer for at least 1 hour, until beginning to firm up. 
  • Empty the icing into a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use. This icing does not remain firm at room temperature, so it’s best to frost cake right before serving. 

If you make this cake, take a photo and post it on Instagram with #holisticallie and @holisticallie!

Homemade ‘Beyond Meat’ Burgers

Yeah, I get it. Weekend’s over. But what if I told you the fun doesn’t have to end on Sunday? What if you had legitimately meaty burgers to look forward to at dinner tomorrow night?

My intention was to share this recipe on Tuesday, in keeping with my new Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday posting schedule. But given the amount of interest you expressed in my teaser post on Instagram a couple of days ago, I felt like keeping this recipe from you any longer would be a sin.

A couple years back, I recall sharing a video on Facebook about a certain plant burger that “bleeds” beet juice. Naturally, it garnered a fair amount of interest.

That burger was the now-famous Beyond Meat burger. And while I can appreciate the difference that Beyond Meat is making in the fast food industry, I also couldn’t help but wonder if it would be that difficult to create a recipe for a homemade version that looks and tastes just as “meaty,” but with fewer processed ingredients.

To my delight, it wasn’t difficult at all. And here, my friends, is the delicious result of my long-simmering idea.

The secret to a meaty veggie burger, it turns out, is a tempeh and chickpea base combined with a flavourful beet puree, amped up with my favourite flavour makers: tamari, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and barbecue sauce. The binding agents here are ground walnuts (or any nut or seed you have on hand) and flax.

While they don’t ‘bleed’ beet juice, the beet puree certainly adds a red hue, reminiscent of red meat, to these delicious burgers.

In short, these burgers won’t disappoint. They:

-Hold together perfectly
-Are full of umami, that elusive fifth taste typically associated with meat
-Are ‘meaty’ in texture
-Come together quickly
-Are affordable
-Contain plenty of protein
-Bring that ‘wow’ factor to vegan dining
-Satisfy even the staunchest of carnivores

Making these burgers couldn’t be easier. As long as you have a food processor, they come together seamlessly.

While self-promotion has never really been my forte, I do believe that this recipe will change your life, and I really can’t come up with a reason for you not to make it.

Let’s do this thing!

Homemade ‘Beyond Meat’ Burgers

Meaty beet, tempeh, and chickpea burgers that come together quickly. Delicious on their own or on a bun with all the fixings. Best accompanied by sweet potato fries and craft beer! 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dinner, Entree, Main Dish
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Keyword: Veggie Burger
Servings: 6 burgers
Author: Allison

Ingredients

  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax + 2.5 tbsp water)
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 8 oz tempeh, cubed (1 standard package=8 oz)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 14-oz can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium beet, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (I use Wizard’s brand)
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For serving:

  • Vegan cheese of choice
  • Pickles
  • Sliced tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Barbecue sauce

Instructions

  • Whisk together flax and water in a small dish and set aside to thicken. Place the walnuts in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process until ground into a meal. Empty walnuts into a large mixing bowl. 
  • Place the tempeh and chickpeas in the food processor and pulse until crumbly. Do not over-process: you want the burgers to have some texture! Add the tempeh and chickpeas to the bowl with the walnuts, along with the flax egg, onion, and garlic. 
  • Place the chopped beet, barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard, tamari or soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce in the food processor. Process until smooth (the beets might not be completely pureed, but this is okay). 
  • Pour the beet mixture over top of the other ingredients in the bowl. Add the cumin, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper (I added 1/4 tsp of salt and a few generous grinds of pepper). Stir to combine. 
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Using a 1/2-cup measure, divide the mixture into 6 equal patties. 
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until crispy around the edges. 
  • Serve on buns with vegan cheese, pickles, tomato, lettuce, mustard, and additional barbecue sauce. These burgers are best accompanied by baked sweet potato fries and your favourite craft beer! 

If you make these burgers, tag me with #holisticallie and @holisticallie on Instagram! Enjoy!

Slow Rise Saturday: Blueberry, Almond Butter, and Cardamom Smoothie

Welcome to a new feature on Holistic Allie! “Slow Rise Saturdays” will include a healthy drink recipe and a roundup of reads that I’ve found interesting throughout the week. I might even include some recipes from other vegan blogs that have caught my eye!

I’ve been enjoying Gena’s “Weekend Reading” posts on The Full Helping blog and Laura’s “Happy Hour” posts on The First Mess blog for quite some time now, and I feel inspired to start a similar feature on my own site.

One of the biggest challenges with food blogging is finding a way to weave a personal narrative–or anything unrelated to the food at hand, for that matter–into a recipe post. I’m hoping that this weekly feature will allow me to connect a little bit more with you, my readers. As much as I enjoy writing about food, I also want to build a community in this little corner of the internet. I hope that you’ll join me in taking some time to slow down, sip on a tasty drink, and savour some good reads on Saturday mornings.

READS:

– The herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) persists in wild, edible plants, according to a British Columbia study: “Herbicides containing glyphosate are used by forest companies to kill aspen and other broadleaf plants in areas that have been logged and replanted with trees of commercial value such as Douglas fir and pine, according to the Ministry of Forests.”

-Oslo University Hospital is taking “Nature is the best medicine” to the next level, opening an outdoor care centre.

-Berlin’s new transit plan might be the envy of cities everywhere: “This week, the city announced its transit masterplan for 2019 to 2023 (with a period of focus that actually extends to 2035), and a major overhaul of the city’s transit networks is in the cards. The funds allocated are generous, to say the least: Berlin is committing a remarkable €28.1 billion, or just under $32 billion, to transportation projects.”

-I’ve read some interesting coverage about the Green New Deal this week. This article stood out: Hundreds of young protesters confronted Senator Mitch McConnell for “lining your pockets while we die in floods” and demanded climate action.

-I hadn’t heard of Fairhope, Alabama, until reading this article, but it sounds like it would be worth a visit: “(It) thrives as a place for artists, intellectuals and people of outsize character.”

Blueberry, Almond Butter, and Cardamom Smoothie

A subtly spiced smoothie with banana, blueberries, and almond butter. 
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: Smoothie
Servings: 2 people
Author: Allison

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 large frozen bananas, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2 ice cubes

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Divide between two glasses and serve. 

If you make this recipe, tag #holisticallie and @holisticallie on Instagram!

Vegan Chocolate Chip, Pecan, and Cranberry Cookies

Rich chocolate. Buttery pecans. Chewy cranberries. The perfect trifecta, yes?

When life hands you these three ingredients, there is only one thing to do: You make cookies.

And not just any cookies. Rich, chewy, buttery-tasting vegan cookies that are actually good for you.

Yes, my friends. The universe loves us and wants us to be happy.

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I have a gigantic sweet tooth that requires nourishment every day. While I do my best to enjoy desserts that are made with whole foods, I also think that treats are one of life’s simple pleasures. Why should we deny ourselves the joy that comes along with savouring something sweet with people we love?

I think that there is a lot of unnecessary guilt and shame wrapped up in people’s dietary choices, and it doesn’t have to be so. My food philosophy continues to evolve as I move away from years of restriction and obsession with a particular way of eating, but for now, Michael Pollan’s adage, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” continues to resonate quite strongly with me.

I enjoy a wide variety of foods. I eat vegan 95% of the time, with the odd organic egg or goat/sheep dairy thrown in when I’m craving it. I believe that ethics, the environment, and macronutrient balance are important considerations to make in our food choices, but I believe just as strongly that eating socially and for pleasure are important variables of the equation– variables that are often left out of the discussion about nutrition. You can eat what on paper appears to be the healthiest food in the world, but if you’re not enjoying it–if your soul isn’t being nourished by your food and the people you are eating with–you probably won’t enjoy radiant health.

If you are already eating a diet based on plants and whole foods to begin with, you definitely have plenty of wiggle room to enjoy something sweet at the end of the day, if that is what makes you feel good- no guilt required!

And on that note, let’s bake cookies!

These cookies have a lot going for them. They’re:

Vegan
Crisp on the outside and perfectly tender on the inside
Buttery-tasting
Made with spelt flour
Perfect for dunking into a tall glass of almond milk

These are my new go-to when I’m in the mood for a quick and easy treat. I think they’ll become one of your favourites, too!

And, if you love sweet treats as much as I do, check out these recipes:

Oat Fudge Bars
Peanut Butter Cup Muffins
Cranberry Swirl Loaf
No-Churn Chocolate Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream
Chocolate Chunk Cashew Butter Blondies
Fabulous Fudge Pie

As always, if you make this recipe, tag #holisticallie and @holisticallie on Instagram!

Vegan Chocolate Chip, Pecan, and Cranberry Cookies

Chocolate chips, pecans, and cranberries combine into one drool-worthy cookie! Tender on the inside, crisp around the outside, and buttery-tasting, these are sure to become your new favourite treat. Best enjoyed with a glass of almond milk or coffee. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: Cookies, Vegan
Servings: 10 large cookies
Author: Allison

Ingredients

  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 2.5 tbsp water)
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup light/white spelt flour*
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Prepare the flax egg in a small bowl and set it aside to thicken. 
  • In a large bowl, cream together the coconut oil and almond butter with an electric mixer. Alternatively, you can whisk it by hand. 
  • Add the flax egg, brown sugar, raw cane sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to the coconut oil/almond butter mixture and mix to incorporate. 
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and rolled oats. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix, either with an electric mixer or a wooden spoon. 
  • Chop the pecan halves. Add the chocolate, chopped pecans, and dried cranberries to the cookie dough and stir to incorporate. The dough should be soft but workable. You should be able to roll it into balls without it sticking to your fingers. If the dough seems too wet, add a couple more tablespoons of flour. If it seems too dry, add almond milk or water, a tablespoon at a time, until the proper consistency is achieved. 
  • Roll dough into 10 equal balls for large cookies or 15 equal balls for smaller cookies and place on the baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. 
  • Bake for 12-18 minutes. Baking time will vary depending on the size of your cookies, whether you like your cookies soft and chewy or crispy, and the type of baking sheet that you use (I use a stone pan from Pampered Chef, so my cookies take a bit longer to bake). 

Notes

*I prefer light spelt flour to whole spelt flour in dessert recipes because it is lighter and more closely resembles all purpose flour. I purchase it in the bulk bin at my local health food store. If you are unable to find it, you can use whole spelt flour in a pinch! 

Enjoy these cookies to the fullest. Let’s meet back here on Saturday, when I’ll be starting a new weekly post series called Slow Rise Saturdays. Each post will feature a drink recipe and a roundup of interesting articles for you to savour on your weekend mornings. I can’t wait!




Vegan Chili with Sweet Potato and Beans

This chili recipe is a classic that I hope you will turn to again and again to warm your belly and nourish your soul. I know it’s been keeping me cozy and happy in these final weeks of winter here in Canada.

I got to thinking last week about some of my favourite childhood dishes (see my fudge pie), and one that stood out was a sweet potato and kidney bean chili on polenta from Rose Reisman Vegetarian Cooking. I requested that chili often for the entire winter of grade 6. While that cookbook has long since found a new home, I have never forgotten about my beloved chili.

I was surprised by how many of you responded in the affirmative when I took a poll on Instagram a couple of weekends ago to gauge interest in a chili recipe. I guess we’re all still in need of some winter comfort food!

Knowing that I wanted to keep this within the realm of a weeknight meal, I’ve kept the prep time and ingredient list short. The chili really only needs about 10 minutes of active prep and 30 minutes of cooking. It makes 4 large or 6 moderate servings, and can be accompanied by quinoa, avocado, nacho chips, cilantro, lime juice, cashew sour cream, pickled jalapenos, cornbread… the sky really is the limit with this versatile recipe.

Even though the ingredient list is short, this chili has complex flavours thanks to plenty of onion and garlic, fire-roasted tomatoes, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, and coriander. A couple tablespoons of maple syrup mellows the acidity of the tomatoes and really rounds out the dish.

What I love most about this chili is that it’s thick and stew-like. Sweet potatoes add heft to the dish, which makes this recipe friendly to all eaters– even those bean skeptics.

I think that this recipe works perfectly with kidney beans, but it is open to experimentation. You could use cooked green lentils, black beans, or pinto beans with equally delicious results.

Make this chili for a crowd, or make it on the weekend for easy lunches throughout the week. However you choose to enjoy it, I hope that it keeps you warm and cozy through this final six week stretch of winter. We’re almost there!

Smoky Sweet Potato and Bean Chili

A thick, hearty vegan chili made with warming spices, kidney beans, and sweet potato. Smoky, flavourful, and rich in protein and fibre, it’s the perfect plant-based meal for cold nights. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Mexican, Vegan
Keyword: Chili, Meatless Mondays, Sweet Potato, Vegan
Servings: 6
Author: Allison

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 4 cups peeled sweet potato, diced in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 28-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen organic)
  • 3 cups cooked kidney beans
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup

For serving:

  • Cooked quinoa
  • Diced avocado
  • Hot sauce
  • Cashew sour cream
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Cilantro

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and salt and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add the red pepper and spices and cook 3 minutes more. 
  • Next, add the sweet potato, tomatoes, kidney beans, broth, and maple syrup. Turn heat up to high and bring chili to a rolling simmer, stirring often. 
  • Turn heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet potato is fork-tender, about 25 minutes. Taste and add additional seasonings, if desired: salt, pepper, or spices. Flavours deepen the longer it sits, so feel free to make this ahead of time. 
  • Serve in bowls with desired toppings: quinoa, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, cashew sour cream, and pickled jalapenos. 

Notes

Make ahead: This recipe keeps for at least five days in the refrigerator. 
You can find a recipe for cashew sour cream recipe here: https://cookieandkate.com/2018/vegan-sour-cream-recipe/

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment below, and be sure to tag #holisticallie on Instagram!

Fabulous Fudge Pie (VEGAN)

I love fudge pie, and I cannot lie.

This recipe takes its inspiration from a certain nostalgic childhood treat: mud pie. Growing up, it was my favourite dessert. As I recall, my family’s recipe featured an Oreo cookie crumb crust, a whipped topping filling, and gummy candy adornments. So sweet, but so good. Oh, to be a kid again!

These days, my preference is for food that’s free from animal products and a tad more redeeming from a nutritional standpoint, but no less delicious.

I set out on a mission to re-create mud pie in plant-powerful fashion, and the result is tastier than the original and (surprise!) secretly healthy. Whether or not you reveal to your dinner guests the last point is entirely up to you. What matters is that you make this now.

This vegan fudge pie features just a handful of ingredients. The base is a simple press-in crust made with rice crisp cereal, coconut nectar or brown rice syrup, cocoa, coconut oil, and a pinch of salt. The filling is made with avocado, Medjool dates, melted dark chocolate, maple syrup, cocoa, almond milk, vanilla extract, salt, and arrowroot.

After a quick freeze, you can top it with an optional almond butter “caramel” drizzle. Or, you can add coconut whipped cream and berries. The choice is yours.

I have a feeling this would be a hit at a dinner party, especially if there are kids present! It would also be a fun date night dessert. You could even forego the crust entirely and serve the chocolate/avocado filling in small bowls garnished with berries and coconut whip for a fudge pudding treat.

Fabulous Fudge Pie (VEGAN)

This decadent-tasting dessert comes together quickly. A press-in crust is topped with a rich and creamy chocolate avocado filling and drizzled with a maple-almond butter ‘caramel.’ 
Prep Time20 mins
Freeze time2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Keyword: Dessert, Fudge Pie, Kid-friendly, No-Bake, Vegan
Servings: 8
Author: Allison

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 cups brown rice crisp cereal
  • 3 tbsp coconut nectar or brown rice syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Filling:

  • 2 avocados, pitted
  • 3/4 cup pitted Medjool dates (about 10)*
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch**
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips, melted

Maple Almond Butter Topping:

  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

Instructions

  • Combine the coconut nectar or brown rice syrup, coconut oil, cocoa, and salt in a small saucepan over low heat, whisking occasionally, until melted. 
  • Place the rice crisp cereal in a mixing bowl and pour the melted coconut nectar mixture on top. Stir to coat the cereal. 
  • Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate with coconut oil and line it with parchment paper. Make sure that there is sufficient parchment paper to allow you to lift the pie out of the pan later. 
  • Pour the prepared rice crisp cereal crust into the prepared pie plate. Place another piece of parchment paper on top and flatten the crust with your hands. Place the crust in the freezer to chill while you prepare the filling. 
  • Prepare the filling: Place all ingredients EXCEPT the melted dark chocolate into a food processor. Process until very smooth. It may take up to five minutes for the dates to blend, so be patient. 
  • Add the melted dark chocolate and process again until smooth. By this point, you should have a luscious mixture similar in consistency to a thick chocolate pudding. 
  • Remove the crust from the freezer and scoop the filling on top. Smooth with a spoon and place in the freezer for 1.5 hours. 
  • Prepare the maple-almond butter topping: In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil over low heat. Whisk in the almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt. Remove the pie from the freezer and drizzle the topping all over. 
  • Freeze for an additional 30 minutes, or until ready to serve. 
  • Remove the pie from the freezer 5-10 minutes before serving. Carefully remove it from the pan and place on an even surface for slicing. Cut into 8 even slices and serve. 

Notes

-This pie freezes beautifully. Keep it in a covered container for up to two weeks. 
-Crust adapted from Oh She Glows
*I soaked the pitted Medjool dates in hot water for about 15 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. If your dates are on the hard side, I recommend soaking them in hot water for at least 15 minutes and draining them before you make this recipe. This helps the dates blend easily!
**Arrowroot starch seems to help this filling maintain its mousse-like texture, even when frozen. I wouldn’t recommend skipping it unless you are unable to find it! 

If you make this, tag it #holisticallie and @holisticallie on Instagram!

The Best Vegan Meatballs

I kind of have a love affair with Italian food. It’s a lot like my love affair with Greek, Indian, Thai, Ethiopian, and Mexican food. (What can I say? I guess I just have a thing for food.)

But sometimes, nothing can compete with a gigantic bowl of spaghetti topped with steaming homemade marinara, tempeh meatballs, and vegan Parmesan cheese.

Yes, you can eat enjoy Italian food, minus the eggs, meat, and dairy. Let me show you how!

To start, gather your ingredients together. For this recipe, you’ll only need a handful of items: Tempeh, vegan Parmesan cheese (homemade or store-bought), tamari, dried herbs, fresh parsley, ground flax, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, tamari, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.

Then, you’ll throw everything into a food processor and pulse until crumbly.

Next, form 12 equal balls and bake them for about 25 minutes!

And voila. Now your meatballs are ready. From here, the possibilities are endless! I opted to serve them with homemade marinara sauce and pasta, but I can’t wait to try them on sandwiches, pizza, and more!

These vegan tempeh meatballs are legitimately meaty, packed with protein, and so flavourful. I hope you love them as much as I do.

As always, if you make this recipe, don’t forget to share a photo on Instagram! Tag @holisticallie and #holisticallie.

The Best Vegan Meatballs

Simple, healthy vegan meatballs made with tempeh. Perfect on spaghetti, sandwiches, pizza, and more. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dinner, Entree, Main Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian, Vegan
Keyword: Tempeh Meatballs, Vegan Meatballs
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 8 oz temeph (1 package), cubed
  • 1/4 cup vegan Parmesan cheese*
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Pinch each sea salt, red pepper flakes, and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (I use Wizard’s brand)

For serving:

  • Cooked spaghetti or other pasta/grain of choice
  • Marinara sauce (homemade** or store-bought)
  • Additional vegan Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined and crumbly. You want these balls to resemble meat in texture, so don’t over-process. 
  • Divide meatball mixture into 12 equal balls, each about the size of a golf ball, and place on the prepared pan. 
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. 
  • Serve with desired amount of pasta, warmed marinara sauce, and vegan Parmesan cheese. 

Notes

*You can use whichever vegan Parmesan cheese you like. You can find my recipe here. Note that you can use any nut or seed in this recipe! 
**I recommend the marinara sauce recipe from Oh She Glows Everyday

Sweet Potato Nachos with Hemp ‘Cheese’

If you’ve been following this blog since the beginning, it’s probably become clear that I have a thing for orange vegetables (see here, here, here, and here). It probably also comes as no surprise that one of my favourite things in the world is ‘veganizing’ or putting a healthier spin on comfort food.

Today, I combined my two passions into one plant-powerful nacho plate. Behold my mighty Sweet Potato Nachos!

I don’t know what got into me this morning, but boy, I had a precise vision for how I wanted these nachos to turn out, and I am happy to say that I nailed them on my first attempt! You know what they say… When life hands you sweet potatoes, make nachos. Heh heh heh.

So, how does one make these nachos? First, thinly sliced sweet potato is roasted until crispy. These are your ‘chips.’

While the sweet potatoes are baking, you whip together a raw hemp nacho ‘cheese’ sauce and gather the other toppings: thinly sliced cabbage, cilantro, black beans, salsa, avocado, and mango.

Once the sweet potatoes are ready, you transfer them to a serving platter and gussy them up with all your toppings. Fancy, fancy.

Finally, dig in. Utensils are unnecessary, although you might want to keep some napkins nearby. Take it from me. #messyeatersunite 😉

These nachos serve 3-4 as a main dish, and 6-8 as an appetizer. They make an excellent weekend lunch or hors d’oeuvre, and thanks to the beans, sweet potato, avocado, and hemp sauce, they are nutritionally balanced, providing lots of complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fat. Healthy nachos? It doesn’t get much better than that!

If you make this recipe, tag it with #holisticallie and @holisticallie on Instagram!

Healthy Sweet Potato Nachos with Hemp Nacho “Cheese” and all the Fixings

This healthy vegan spin on nachos is the perfect winter comfort food dish! This recipe replaces the typical chips with thinly sliced roasted sweet potato rounds that are dressed with a hemp ‘cheese’ sauce, avocado, black beans, vegetables, and salsa. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American, High Raw, Mexican, Mexican Fusion, Raw, Vegan
Keyword: Dinner, Nachos, Sweet Potato Nachos, Vegan Nachos
Servings: 4
Author: Allison

Ingredients

  • 3 large organic sweet potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1 cup finely shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 large or 2 small avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 cup salsa of choice
  • 1 cup cilantro, stems removed
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 cup finely diced mango (optional)
  • 1 cup hemp nacho ‘cheese’ sauce (recipe follows)

Hemp Nacho ‘Cheese’ Sauce

  • 1/3 cup filtered water
  • 1 cup hemp hearts
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp salsa
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  • Wash and dry the sweet potatoes. Leave peels on. Slice as thinly as possible and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat. 
  • Spread sweet potato in a single layer on the baking sheets. Depending on the size of your pans, you may need to bake them in two batches. 
  • Bake sweet potato for 20-30 minutes, or until crisp and curling up around the edges. Some of them will start resembling chips as they bake. 
  • While the sweet potatoes are baking, prepare the hemp ‘cheese’ sauce: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth and creamy. Transfer into a container and set aside until ready to use. 
  • Once sweet potato chips are finished baking, transfer them to a large serving platter. Top with cabbage, avocado, cilantro, salsa, black beans, mango (if using) and hemp nacho ‘cheese’ sauce. 
  • Divide among serving plates and enjoy. 

Notes

Hemp nacho ‘cheese’ sauce adapted from Bloom For Life
 

Have a lovely, lively weekend, and I’ll be back soon with another winter comfort food dish involving pasta and tempeh meatballs. Until then, be well and enjoy these nachos!

Chocolate Milkshake Smoothie Bowls

Do you ever wake up craving a milkshake for breakfast? I do. ALL. THE. TIME.

You know what’s amazing about plant-based cuisine? You can blend up a healthy chocolate milkshake using fruits, seeds, and cocoa powder. It all comes together in five minutes. From there, you can choose to sip it with a straw or gussy it up with fancy garnishes and enjoy it as a smoothie- errr, milkshake- bowl.

This chocolate milkshake is packed with good-for-you ingredients like banana, avocado, raw cacao powder, dates, a drizzle of raw honey for immunity-boosting superpowers, and three different seeds: flax, hemp, and tahini. Flax is an excellent plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, while hemp contains the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. Hemp is also an excellent source of protein, coming in at 9-10 grams of protein in a 3 tbsp serving, as well as being high in magnesium- an essential mineral for normal muscle and nervous system function! And sesame seeds are very rich in iron and calcium. Bananas provide a healthy dose of potassium and vitamin B6, a B vitamin that helps to reduce symptoms of stress, and avocado is packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and vitamin E.

Needless to say, this isn’t any chocolate milkshake. This is a true supercharged meal that’ll power you through a morning workout, meeting, or study session.

Goodbye, winter blahs, and hello, dewy glow! Now if anyone asks how you have such healthy skin, you can give them the best answer ever: “I had a milkshake for breakfast.” Elaborate further as you see fit. 😉

Chocolate Milkshake Smoothie Bowl

This vegan chocolate milkshake smoothie bowl comes together in 5 minutes, making it the perfect weekday breakfast! Packed with three healthy seeds, banana, avocado, and naturally sweetened with a Medjool date and honey, it’ll energize you for hours! 
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: Breakfast, Vegan
Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 1/2 an avocado, pitted
  • 1 pitted Medjool date (if it is dry, soak in warm water for 10 minutes)
  • 1 tsp raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp tahini or nut or seed butter of choice
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 ice cubes

Topping Ideas:

  • 2 tbsp yogurt of choice (coconut, soy, sheep, goat)
  • 1/4 cup granola of choice
  • 1/4 cup berries or cherries

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth. Remember that you are aiming for a thick, milkshake-like consistency. 
  • Pour into a bowl (or a large glass if you prefer to enjoy as a more traditional milkshake. Garnish with desired toppings and serve immediately. For a fancy effect (as pictured), carefully 1 tbsp yogurt in a horizontal line. Use a butter knife and strike it through the yogurt in the opposite direction. Repeat with the remaining yogurt, adding more as needed). 

Pulled Sweet Potato Tacos with Green Hemp Cream and Kale

Ready for a meal that’ll satisfy your comfort food needs in the depths of winter? These Pulled Sweet Potato Tacos with Green Hemp Cream and Kale seriously do the trick! A couple of these tacos and a few episodes of The Office (or your favourite feel-good TV show) spells out bliss on a chilly night. I’m happy to announce that I am emerging from a slump that began over the holidays. Something about the frenzy of it all- and we don’t even go all-out at Christmas- put the brakes on my creative flow. Now that routine is once again present, I can feel my energy increasing and the inspiration to come up with new recipes and improve this space has returned.

Speaking of inspiration, the idea for this recipe came from a pulled sweet potato sandwich that I recently enjoyed at Pure Kitchen. While I’ve seen many recipes utilizing jackfruit for that ‘pulled meat’ effect, I’ve never tried making it myself, and we all know how obsessed I am with sweet potato (I feel like it’s more readily available in stores, too). Also, I’m definitely more of a taco gal than a sandwich gal, so I took the concept of pulled sweet potato, added lots of smoky and spicy barbecue flavours, whizzed up a cooling hemp-cilantro sauce with lime to provide flavour contrast, and even added a quick shredded kale slaw for your health! The flavours here are definitely southwestern, which is one of my favourite cuisines, especially when it’s so chilly outside!

I hope that 2019 has been treating you well so far. I’ve slowly been getting back into the running groove and am currently trying to decide between running a full marathon or a couple of half marathons in May. I’ve also been enjoying lots of yoga, HIIT, walking, and overall just embracing good people and good energy. School has started back up again, too, and although I’m not stoked about what I’m studying, I’m definitely enjoying the change of pace and am finding a lot more free time in my days to hit the pause button and relax- something I haven’t always been good at, but am always working on!

Pulled Sweet Potato Tacos with Green Hemp Cream and Kale

These southwestern-inspired tacos will transport you from the depths of winter to warmer and sunnier climes! Sweet and spicy ‘pulled’ sweet potato stands in for pulled meat, while a cool and tangy cilantro hemp sauce brightens and cools the palate. A simple kale salad brings it all together and provides an extra boost of green nutrition! 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Quick dinner, Tacos, Vegan Tacos
Author: Allison

Ingredients

Pulled Sweet Potato

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 6 cups packed shredded sweet potato (from about 2 large sweet potatoes)
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce (preferably an organic vegan one)
  • 3 tbsp hot sauce (I used Frank’s original)

Green Hemp Cream

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2-3 limes)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1-2 tbsp water, to thin, as needed

Simple Shredded Kale

  • 1 bunch kale, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat or sheep feta (optional)

Everything Else

  • 8-12 6-inch wheat or corn tortillas of choice (I used sprouted wheat)
  • 2 ripe avocados, sliced
  • hot sauce, for serving

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is shimmering, add onion and garlic. Add salt and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. 
  • Add sweet potato. Cook for five minutes, stirring often to prevent sweet potato from sticking to the pan. Add barbecue sauce and hot sauce. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring often, until sweet potato has softened but still retains some crunch. Turn off stove and cover until ready to eat. 
  • Next, prepare the Green Hemp Cream by adding all ingredients into an upright blender and blending until smooth. You want the consistency of a creamy ranch dressing, so add water as needed until proper texture is achieved. 
  • Place the kale in a large bowl. Massage the olive oil into it until soft and bright green. Add lime juice and salt and massage again. Add feta, if using. 
  • Warm up tortillas on the stovetop or in a covered dish in a 300 F oven for 5 minutes right before serving. 
  • To serve, place desired amount of sweet potato, kale, and avocado on a tortilla and drizzle with cilantro cream and hot sauce. 

Chocolate Chunk Cashew Butter Blondies (Vegan, GF)

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Oh hi, friends! I’m so excited to share my favourite blondie recipe with you just in time for the holidays! This dessert only takes 20 minutes to whip up and is so intensely craveable, you’ll be making it all year round!

What the heck is a blondie, you may ask? Think brownie, minus the chocolate batter. I like to think of them as blonde brownies. What the batter lacks in cocoa, it makes up for in the chocolate chunks that adorn every square inch of this dessert!

They’re sweet (but not tooth-achingly so), rich (but not over the top), and satisfying. Sweetened with coconut sugarand made with wholesome ingredients like flax, oat flour, cashew butter, and fair trade organic dark chocolate, they’re even rather redeeming from a nutritional standpoint—at least more so than the average dessert on offer at this time of the year.

So flatter your family and impress your friends with your vegan baking prowess. Only you and I have to know how easy and fuss-free it truly is to make a blondie.

What are we waiting for? Let’s bake!

First of all, you’ll whip together a flax egg. To the flax egg, you’ll add cashew butter, coconut sugar, and melted coconut oil (or butter if not vegan), and almond milk. Add some vanilla extract to enhance the flavour.

Next, you’ll whisk together oat flour, baking soda, and sea salt.

Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and stir.

Lastly, you’ll sprinkle on the most important ingredient of all: chopped dark chocolate!

The hardest step is waiting for it to bake and set before slicing and biting into pure blondie nirvana.

You know you want it. Go get it.

Chocolate Chunk Cashew Butter Blondies

These chocolate chunk cashew butter blondies are rich, fudgey, and decadent, while also being gluten-free and vegan! There’s nothing better on a cold winter day than one of these blondies and a steaming cup of Earl Grey tea. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Keyword: Dessert, Gluten-Free, Healthy Dessert, Oil-Free, Vegan
Author: Allison

Ingredients

  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax plus 3 tbsp water)
  • 1/2 cup cashew butter (other nut and seed butters probably work)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil or butter
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups oat flour (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate (I used 70%)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) and line a 8×8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. Note that I have not attempted to make this recipe in a 9×9-inch dish, so do so at your own risk! 
  • Whisk together ground flax and water in a large mixing bowl. Let stand for five minutes to thicken. 
  • Add cashew butter, coconut sugar, melted oil or butter, milk, and vanilla and cream together using electric mixer or a large spoon and a strong arm. 🙂 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Pour dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and stir vigorously to combine. 
  • Spoon the prepared dough into your pan. Wet your hands and press the dough into the corners of the pan. You want a flat, even layer. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and golden. 
  • Cool in the pan for 20 minutes before lifting out. Cool on a rack for an additional 10 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator and allowing it to cool fully before slicing into 9-12 squares. 
  • Blondies will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for at least one week. 

Things will likely be pretty quiet around here for the next week, but you can stay in touch with me via Instagram! And if you make this recipe, don’t forget to tag #holisticallie on social media so that we can see your delicious creations!

Coziest Cranberry Swirl Loaf

As promised, here is my cranberry swirl loaf recipe! This quick bread is perfect as a holiday breakfast, snack, or dessert. It comes together in under 30 minutes, including the cranberry cooking time. The maple syrup flavour really shines through here, as does the unique nuttiness of the spelt flour. As it bakes, the cranberry swirl begins to crystallize on the top, creating a crispy exterior with a soft, chewy interior. Furthermore, this recipe takes advantage of a few of my favourite Canadian products: cranberries, pure maple syrup, and spelt flour!

I am a bread/loaf lover through and through. Banana bread has its time and place, to be sure, but if you are a fiend for gluten such as myself, a diversification of loaf options becomes necessary rather quickly. You can, of course, substitute your favourite gluten-free flour blend for the spelt flour called for in this recipe. And, while I have only made this recipe with eggs, I am fairly certain that you will be able to make this recipe vegan by using 2 flax eggs (1 flax egg=1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water). Please let me know if you try it!

This loaf is delightful with a generous smear of almond butter for breakfast, or with a steaming mug of chai for an afternoon pick-me-up!

However and whenever you choose to eat this loaf, I hope that you LOVE it. If you make it, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram: @holisticallie and #holisticallie.

Coziest Cranberry Swirl Loaf

This cranberry swirl loaf is the perfect seasonal snack! A cranberry compote is swirled throughout the interior of the loaf, which crystallizes as it bakes. Naturally sweetened with maple syrup and coconut sugar and made with spelt flour and coconut oil, this luxurious quick bread is healthy enough to eat for breakfast! 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American, Canadian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Cranberry, Loaf, Maple, Quick bread
Servings: 10 slices
Author: Allison

Ingredients

Cranberry Compote

  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Loaf

  • 2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup

Instructions

  • Make the cranberry compote: Combine cranberries and maple syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once cranberries begin to pop, turn down heat to medium-low and stir often until cooked down into a jammy mixture. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use. 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and line a standard (9×5 inch) loaf pan with parchment paper. Alternatively, grease your loaf pan with some coconut oil or butter. 
  • Make the loaf: In a large bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, baking powder, sea salt, and coconut sugar. 
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the almond milk, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, and maple syrup. 
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not over-mix, as spelt has a delicate gluten structure that can be damaged by over-working. 
  • Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Pour half of the cranberry compote on top and swirl with a knife. Pour the remaining batter on top and then add the remaining cranberry compote; swirl again. 
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan for at least 45 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack. Allow to cool fully before slicing. 

Notes

  • You may be able to use 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp of ground flax mixed with 6 tbsp of water) in place of the eggs. 
  • This loaf will keep in a covered container at room temperature for 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. You may also store it in a container in the freezer for up to 1 month, although I’m sure you won’t need to! 

Scrambled Egg Breakfast Wraps with Butternut Squash and Pesto

Looking for a simple and healthy change-up to your everyday breakfast rotation? This recipe was born out of my desire to diversify my morning meal. As someone who has always tended towards sweeter breakfasts (toast with nut butter and honey or overnight oats with lots of fruit, nuts, and/or seeds have been staples for awhile now), I started craving something a little bit more savoury a couple of months ago. 

Eggs are the natural first step into savoury breakfast territory, and although plain old eggs with toast (preferably avocado toast) are delicious in their own right, you can always trust me to remix a classic. Born out of my love of winter squash, pesto, and anything wrapped up in a warm tortilla, this dish will fill you up in all the right ways. It’s packed with protein, healthy fats, fibre, and most importantly, flavour! Roasted peak of the season local butternut squash is oh so sweet and creamy while delivering a punch of beta carotene; fluffy scrambled eggs provide the satiety factor with their protein and healthy fats; the pesto adds a fresh, herbacious punch, and the Pecorino provides the salty contrast. Wrap it all up into a sprouted grain tortilla, and what you have is a satisfying, nutrient-dense meal that qualifies as breakfast, lunch, or dinner! 

You could even modify this recipe to make it vegan by scrambling tofu instead of the egg and using your favourite vegan cheese instead of the Pecorino! 

Most of the recipe components can be made ahead, so you can enjoy this on your busiest weekday mornings as well as on a lazy Sunday. You can even assemble it and wrap it in your reusable food wrap or parchment paper and eat it on the run. I can be clever like that. No more complaining that you didn’t have time to make breakfast! 

Start by roasting up some butternut squash. 

Next, scramble some eggs. 

Then, assemble your wraps: spread on some pesto, top with two scrambled eggs, sprinkle on some Pecorino, and top with that sweet, caramel-y butternut squash. Mmmmmm. 

Scrambled Egg Breakfast Wraps with Butternut Squash and Pesto

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 40 minutes
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Mediterranean, American 

Ingredients:

-1 medium-large butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes

-1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

-1/2 tsp fine sea salt

-Pepper, to taste

-1 tbsp butter or ghee

-8 large organic free-range eggs

-1 cup pesto

-1 cup finely grated Pecorino or Manchego cheese (sheep cheese from Italy or Spain, respectively)

-4 large sprouted grain tortillas (I used Ezekiel brand) 

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Place cubed squash on the pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast squash for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and crispy around the edges. 
  3. Cook the eggs: Warm the butter or ghee over medium heat in a large skillet. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Once butter or ghee is shimmering, add the eggs. Stir occasionally with a fork until done to your liking, 3-4 minutes. Remove eggs from heat. 
  4. To assemble the wraps, spread 1/4 cup of pesto onto each tortilla. Divide eggs evenly among the 4 tortillas. Top each with 1/4 cup of cheese and a generous portion of squash (you may have extra, depending on the size of your squash). 
  5. Wrap and serve. 

Note: You may prepare the pesto and roast the squash up to three days in advance. Re-heat the squash in the oven at 300 degrees F for 10 minutes, if desired.

Mayan Mocha

Since starting Holistic Allie, I have wanted to do a weekly beverage recipe + a roundup of interesting media from around the web for you to enjoy during your weekend downtime. Let me know what you think and if you would like to see this style continue- I am thinking of making these posts a regular Saturday occurrence if you are interested! 

I am a beverage aficionado. You can often find me sipping a kombucha, coffee, green drink, or one of my homemade creations at any given hour. What can I say? Girls gotta drink! 

My favourite thing to do on lazy weekend mornings is to prepare a special warm drink for myself (something more remarkable than my weekday French press coffee) and enjoy it on the window seat while gazing out of the window and journaling.  Continue reading “Mayan Mocha”

Mediterranean Broccoli and Chickpea Salad with Roasted Pepper and Feta

This Mediterranean-inspired broccoli salad is bursting with flavour, texture, and colour! Broccoli is steamed until just tender and combined with roasted bell peppers and almonds, salty goat feta, sweet currants, and chickpeas! Then, everything is tossed in a tangy lemon-Dijon vinaigrette. This dish is great as a side or as a main dish when paired with a roasted sweet potato or quinoa. 

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Hey, friends! I’m baaaaack with a summery Mediterranean vegetable salad that covers all of the nutritional bases, and is super delicious to boot. I apologize for the prolonged absence, but hopefully now that I can feel the season turning ever so slightly, I will get back onto a more regular posting schedule. Thanks for your patience as I figure out this whole blogging routine. 😉

I’ll confess that I haven’t really been enthused about cooking this summer- a bit worrisome for somebody whose passion is food, but normal, I suppose, in the context of the extreme heat and ecosystem devastation that the planet is experiencing. It’s enough for even the most diehard foodie to lose their appetite. From raging wildfires in California to a grieving killer whale mother carrying her dead calf through the ocean off the coast of British Columbia for what is going on weeks, it’s hard to be an aware human being at this point in time. At the risk of sounding overly political, I am going to come right out and say that I am keenly aware of the reality of global warming/climate change, and the trends are incredibly worrisome. My response to stressors of any kind has always been to turn inward, and while I feel guilty at times for not being a more vocal activist, it has never been my style. I have always felt more comfortable with leading by example. I have deep respect for anyone who is a vocal activist, don’t get me wrong. But it has never been my style and I wouldn’t be my authentic self if I pretended that it was. So I return to my kitchen, again and again, because it has always been my happy place and, increasingly, because it is through my food choices that I feel I am able to vote for a more just and sustainable future.

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Now, I am not saying that salad will save the world. What I am suggesting is that the more of us who prepare meals in our own kitchens, using locally and sustainably-sourced ingredients, the better off our world will be. And at a time when more and more of us feel powerless in the face of rising seas, droughts, wildfires, and unprecedented pollution levels, being connected to our food is a pretty necessary thing indeed.

Hopefully I don’t come off as preachy; that is never my intention. I just can’t pretend that everything is just fine when the world is a mess. Sure, it’s fun to scroll through Instagram and admire all the pretty food photos, but there are so many important and pressing issues that we all need to be devoting time and energy to. Hopefully I can use this platform as a force for good by providing ideas for how to restore our connection to the earth, starting with the food that we purchase and eat. And that brings me to this salad. I put seasonal, farmers’ market-fresh ingredients to good use here, with broccoli, roasted bell peppers, and red onion playing starring roles. I added some local goat feta for a salty contrast, but feel free to omit it if you are vegan or dairy-free. Roasted almonds or seeds provide some toothsome crunch, while dried fruit adds sweetness. The tangy lemon-Dijon dressing is light and coats the ingredients nicely without overpowering them. Overall, this salad is filling and hearty while remaining light enough to eat in the heat of summer. I enjoy serving it with a baked sweet potato to complete the meal!

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Thanks for sticking with me through this post, and I hope that you enjoy this salad as much as I do! If you make it, let me know! Leave a comment below, and tag me on Instagram @holisticallie and #holisticallie. 🙂

Mediterranean Broccoli and Chickpea Salad with Roasted Peppers and Feta 

Servings: 4-6
Time: 30 minutes
Cuisine: Plant-based, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Vegan

Ingredients: 

  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 cup roasted red or orange pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds (I roasted organic raw almonds at 325 F for 10 minutes)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup finely diced goat or sheep feta cheese (optional, omit for vegan option)

Lemon-Dijon Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp chickpea miso or mellow white miso (if you are unable to find this miso, substitute 1 tbsp tamari or 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Steam the broccoli until tender-crisp, about five minutes. Remove from heat and empty into a large bowl.
  2. Add remaining salad ingredients to the bowl with the broccoli.
  3. Make the dressing by adding all ingredients into a medium Mason jar. Screw on lid and shake to combine.
  4. Pour the dressing on top of the salad and toss until incorporated.
  5. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. This salad will keep in the fridge for a few days, although the broccoli will begin to lose its bright green hue!

 

Double Chocolate Protein Bars

Why buy protein bars when it takes ten minutes to whip up a batch in your own kitchen? These protein bars are packed with protein (obviously), healthy fat, complex carbs, and are lightly sweetened with pure maple syrup! The icing on the cake, so to speak, is the raw chocolate glaze. Made with just four ingredients (cacao butter, raw cacao, maple syrup, and almond milk), it propels these protein bars into “I can’t ever go back to store-bought” territory. 

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Well, we made it to Friday. If you have a Monday to Friday job, happy weekend! If, like me, you still find yourself working retail on weekends, I feel ya! Hopefully you can make the most of whatever time you have off over the next couple of days.

I don’t know anyone who actually craves store-bought protein bars. Sure, I will eat one in a pinch (and given that I work in a health food store, there is never any shortage of options for when one is feeling rather peckish). However, I have never been able to find one that suits my taste and quality preferences. Most of them contain at least a handful of ingredients that I am not keen on putting into my body, and I would rather keep things as healthy and natural as possible. Add to that the fact that I am trying to reduce my plastic footprint, and it’s easy to see why homemade is the way to go.

This protein bar recipe is the product of a desperate attempt to use up some protein powder that had almost reached its best before date. It’s entirely a first world problem, true, but I hate to waste food, and I couldn’t possibly stomach more protein smoothie bowls.

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These bars make the PERFECT afternoon snack when you’re low on energy and need a pick-me-up to get you through the afternoon. They are also phenomenal as a post-workout snack to kickstart muscle recovery. However and whenever you choose to enjoy them, I hope that they become your new favourite snack!

If you make this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment below, and tag me on Instagram with @holisticallie and #holisticallie!

Double Chocolate Protein Bars 

Servings: 10
Cuisine: Vegan
Time: 15 minutes + 30 minutes chill time

Ingredients:

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