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!

The Ultimate Tofu Scramble

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!