Camping Food: What Vegans Eat When They’re Camping

As I prepared for a camping trip last summer, I gave a lot of thought, as I usually do, to food prep and menu planning. I consulted some food blogs for some vegan camping food ideas, but I was not all that inspired by what I read. Then I realized … I don’t need to look at other blogs and websites for ideas, I already know what to make and eat while camping. After all, I’ve been doing this for several years and for many, many camping trips! So perhaps it is me who should be writing a blog post for others to consult!

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Whether I’m headed off on a short camping trip or a more lengthy one, it’s important, and it makes things much easier at the campsite, if I prep food and do some menu planning beforehand. I generally spend a good part of the day before embarking on the trip, menu planning, shopping for and preparing food, packing food in the cooler and in the dry goods box.

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(BTW, I should say here that I’m talking about camping trips that involve a vehicle, a tent and a camp stove, not backpacking camping or glamping)!

Tips and Tricks and Staple Groceries:

  • use block ice in the cooler (doesn’t melt as quickly as ice cubes), and put the ice in a container, if you can, to hold the water as the ice melts

  • don’t put anything in the cooler unless it’s in a sealed container to prevent food from getting water logged from melting ice

  • use ice packs for weekend trips

  • keep a cutting knife, a butter knife, 2 spoons, 2 forks, 2 bowls and 2 napkins in the cooler so you can eat lunch on the road (for 2 people)

  • pack veg stock cubes, and a variety of spices (curry powder, cumin, garam masala, chili powder, smoked salt) so that you’re ready for anything

  • bring along a jar of good pasta sauce, a can of coconut milk, some pre-measured rice, a couple of cans of beans (black, kidney), a jar of your favourite salsa, a box of short pasta like fusilli or rotini

  • onions, potatoes, zucchini, carrots, cucumber, grape and whole tomatoes, bell pepper, container of washed spinach, avocados, container of washed and separated lettuce

  • whole wheat flour tortillas

Breakfast

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We always eat granola and fresh fruit for breakfast. I guess some campers make pancakes and fried potatoes and such, but I can’t be bothered! Too much work, too many dishes to wash! Keep it simple, easy and wholesome, I say! I used to make my own granola, but got out of the habit. I think it’s time I started making it again! In the meantime, we use New World Organics Granola (organic, made in Canada, no preservatives). The fruit is whatever is in season – strawberries, blueberries, peaches, blackberries. And almond milk. I tend to have a bowl of fruit with some granola. “Tom” tends to have a bowl of granola with some fruit!

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Lunch

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Now this depends on what we’re doing around lunch time. If we’re on the road, we eat hummous with pre-cut carrot and cucumber sticks and crackers, and some trail mix. If we’re hanging around the campsite we might eat some pre-made salad or bunwiches. If we’re exploring and hiking, we eat bunwiches.

hoagie rolls or Kaiser buns

vegan mayo

Dijon mustard

smoked tofu

avocado

tomato

dill pickle

lettuce (pre-washed and separated into leaves)

Before setting out for the day, cut the buns and spread with mayo and mustard. Put the buns back in the bag. Cut the avocado in the shell and leave in the shell. Slice the tomato and the pickle and put in a container with a lid. When it’s time to eat, open up the buns, put in a slice or two of smoked tofu, add some avocado slices (or mashed avocado), some tomato slices, some pickle slices and a couple of leaves of lettuce in the bun. Eat with a napkin handy.

Salads are good for lunch too. You can find these salads on my blog. These salads are good for making ahead and they travel well. I always make two salads to take along on our camping trips. For the longer trips, after the two pre-made salads are finished, I make salads of cucumber, green onions/red onions, grape tomatoes, red bell peppers.

Black Bean, Corn, Quinoa Salad (http://foodfartsfun.blogspot.ca/2011/04/whats-for-breakfast.html)

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Greek Salad with Tofu Feta (https://mostlyveganfun.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/recipe-updates/)

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Supper

Chili – make it at home, freeze it and use it as an ice pack in the cooler. Chili is also easy to make at the campsite. Try this recipe (https://mostlyveganfun.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/chili-and-cornbread/). Use canned beans and the spices you packed.

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Pasta – We like to cook up some short pasta like fusilli or rotini, then toss it with a jar of enhanced pasta sauce. You can also make some vegan pesto at home and toss it with pasta at the campsite.

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1 tbsp veg oil

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1/2 zucchini, finely chopped

several handfuls of spinach

jar of tasty pasta sauce

In frying pan on the camp stove, heat the oil, then saute the onion and the zucchini. Once softened, add the spinach and heat until wilted. Stir in about 1/2 the jar of pasta sauce. Once heated, toss with the cooked and drained pasta.

Camp Stove Stew

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cooking oil

1/2 white onion, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1carrot, diced

2 or 3 small-medium sized potatoes, diced

1 cob corn, kernels scraped off

1 can black beans

1/2 veg cube dissolved in 1 cup of water

salt and pepper

herbs and spices to taste

a couple of handfuls of spinach, coarsely chopped

Basically, this stew is made from whatever you have on hand! Try:

heating some cooking oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat on the campstove. Add the onion, red pepper, and carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add the potatoes and continue to saute. When vegetables start to soften, add in the corn, black beans, veg broth, herbs and spices, salt and pepper. Bring to simmer, turn down heat, put the lid on and let simmer gently until the vegetables are soft and the flavours have developed. Stir in the spinach and adjust seasoning just before serving.

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That’s it for now. I actually started writing this post a year ago, so I think it’s time to get it published! If I think of any more advice or camping recipes, I’ll just do another post! I’d be delighted to hear about your camping-cooking stories in the comments.

Happy Camping!

 

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Vegan Keto – Part Three – Lunch & Supper

Okay, here are some recipes for the main meals. Each of these recipes makes at least three servings, if not four. “Tom” and I each eat a serving for supper, then pack and eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. When I’m dishing up the food, I portion out two servings for us to eat for supper, and two servings into lidded containers to take to work for lunch the next day. This way, I’ve always got something substantial and keto to eat.

As I got further along in my vegan keto diet, I found that I wasn’t as hungry. Even though these servings aren’t generous, they are adequate and I never feel like having a second helping.

Eating out while on this diet is difficult. It’s hard enough to find vegan items on a menu let alone vegan and keto! I’ve only eaten in a restaurant 2 or 3 times in the past 7 weeks. Each time, I actually ate a bit at home first, then, at the restaurant, I ordered the side order of seasonal vegetables and/or the cauliflower appetizer (be careful of non-keto breading) and/or a salad. I went to a Chinese restaurant once, and that was actually pretty good because I could order greens and tofu. Anyway, while you’re on this diet, it’s best just to eat at home!

Lunch/Supper

(I put these together because my lunch is usually leftovers from supper)!

Scrambled Tofu

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1/2 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp coriander

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp black salt (kala namak) – this makes the tofu smell and taste a bit like eggs!

1 tbsp water

1-2 tbsps coconut oil

5 to 10 mushrooms, chopped

1/2 red pepper, diced

1 green onion, finely diced

1 block of medium-firm tofu, pressed for several hours, coarsely crumbled

2 handfuls of spinach, coarsely chopped

1 tomato, diced

1 avocado, cubed

Mix all the spices together in a bowl, then add the water and stir to make a slurry. Set aside.

Heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan. Once melted and hot, add the mushrooms and red pepper and saute until beginning to soften and release their juices. Stir in the green onion. Push the vegetables over the side of the pan, then add the crumbled tofu to the empty side of the pan. Saute for a couple of minutes, then pour on the spice mixture. Stir to coat the tofu, then stir the vegetables and tofu together. Add the spinach to the top, turn the heat down to medium or lower, put a lid on the pan and let the spinach wilt.

Serve the scrambled tofu with diced tomato and avocado and a side of steamed greens such as bok choy, collard greens, kale, or broccoli.

“Spaghetti” and No Meat Balls

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1 spaghetti squash

avocado oil

1 tbsp+ coconut oil

a few slices of onion, diced

5 mushrooms, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/4 zucchini, diced

3 or 4 fresh tomatoes, skin removed, diced

1 tsp oregano

grinding of black pepper

small handful of fresh basil, minced

two large handfuls of spinach, chopped

Gardein Meatless Meatballs

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, brush a generous amount of avocado oil on the cut sides of the squash, place cut side down on a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

In the meantime, melt the coconut oil in a frying pan, then add the onion, followed by the mushrooms, red pepper and zucchini. Saute these vegetables until soft, then stir in the diced tomatoes, the oregano, the black pepper, half of the basil and the spinach. Let simmer for a bit to develop flavour. Add in the no-meatballs and heat until the balls are heated through. Sprinkle on the remaining basil just before serving

Once the squash has cooled down a bit, scrape out the insides into a bowl. Divide the squash between three or four plates, depending on the size of the squash. (In our household, we divide the squash between two plates and one or two glass containers with lids to take for lunch). Spoon over the tomato sauce with 3 no-meatballs per serving.

You can serve this meal with steamed greens if you like.

Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash

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1 spaghetti squash

avocado oil

coconut oil

1/4 onion, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/2 zucchini, diced

5-7 mushrooms, sliced

1/4 head of green cabbage or Napa cabbage, chopped

2 large handfuls spinach, coarsely chopped

small handful of fresh basil, coarsely chopped

vegan feta cheese, store-bought or homemade

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, brush a generous amount of avocado oil on the cut sides of the squash, place cut side down on a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan, then add the onions followed by the red pepper, zucchini and mushrooms. Saute until vegetables begin to soften. Add the cabbage and saute for a couple of minutes to soften the cabbage. Add in the spinach and basil, turn the heat down to medium-low, put a lid on the pan and let steam for a few minutes to wilt the spinach and basil. Remove the lid, stir everything together.

Scrape the squash into some bowls or onto some plates, then top with the sauteed vegetables. Sprinkle on the feta cheese. Salt to taste. Serve with steamed greens.

Greekish Salad

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1 red pepper, chopped into small pieces

1 English cucumber, sliced length-wise into 1/4’s then chopped crossways

1 green onion, diced

10+ grape tomatoes, cut in half

1 bunch of black kale, leaves stripped off stem, ripped into bite-sized pieces, massaged with a good drizzle of avocado oil and a sprinkle of sea salt

large slice of green cabbage or 4 leaves Napa cabbage, chopped into bite-sized pieces

vegan feta cheese, store bought or homemade (my homemade tofu feta is in the salad in the picture – see recipe below)

fresh oregano, finely diced

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. There is no need to add a dressing as the oil from the kale plus the marinade from the vegan feta cheese does a nice job of dressing the entire salad. If you want more oil, you can drizzle some avocado oil over the tossed salad. You can also serve this with chopped avocado to add more healthy fat and to add some creaminess to the salad.

Tofu Feta

2 tbsps olive oil

2 tbsps red wine vinegar

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp salt

1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced

1 block medium-firm tofu, pressed and crumbled

Gently whisk the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Add the crumbled tofu and mix well. Let marinate for the day or overnight.

Fajita Bowl with Cumin Cauliflower Rice

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1 head of cauliflower, separated into small florets

1 1/2 tbsps coconut oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 green onion, diced

1 tsp cumin

1 1/2 tbsps coconut oil

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

2 portabello mushrooms, cut into strips

1/2 zucchini, cut into strips

large chunk of green cabbage or Napa cabbage, cut into strips

salt and pepper

1 avocado, cut into slices

1 tomato, chopped

salsa

mesquite or chipotle smoked salt, if available

Feed the cauliflower florets into a food processor and process until finely chopped and looking like bits of rice. You may need to do this in batches to process the entire head of cauliflower. In a large frying pan, melt and heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the cauliflower and stir until coated in the oil. Add the garlic and the green onion and the cumin and stir to combine. Continue cooking for a few more minutes, then turn the heat to low.

In another frying pan, melt and heat the second batch of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the red pepper, mushrooms and zucchini. Stir fry until the vegetables begin to soften and release their juices. Add in the cabbage and stir fry until soft. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve: put a large spoonful of cauliflower rice into each bowl, top with a large scoop of vegetables, add 1/2 an avocado to each serving, add 1/2 a chopped tomato to each serving, spoon in some of your favourite salsa, and sprinkle with some smoked salt. I often serve this with some barely steamed spinach.

Stir Fry with Cauliflower Rice

(no picture available at time of publishing – will try and add one next time I make this dish!)

1 head cauliflower, separated into small florets

1 clove garlic, minced

1 green onion, diced

salt and pepper

lots and lots of vegetables of your choice cut into slices (mushrooms, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, bok choy, etc.)

tofu – try my baked tofu cubes recipe or use siracha smoked tofu

wheat-free soy sauce or tamari

toasted sesame seeds or peanuts, coarsely chopped

Feed the cauliflower florets into a food processor and process until finely chopped and looking like bits of rice. You may need to do this in batches to process the entire head of cauliflower. In a large frying pan, melt and heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the cauliflower and stir until coated in the oil. Add the garlic and the green onion and the salt and pepper and stir to combine. Continue cooking for a few more minutes, then turn the heat to low.

In another frying pan or wok, melt and heat some more coconut oil over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add in the vegetables and stir fry until they are coated in oil and are soft. Add in the tofu cubes and heat through.

To serve, put a large spoonful of cauliflower rice into each bowl, top with a large scoop of the vegetables and tofu. Sprinkle on the soy/tamari sauce and some toasted sesame seeds or peanuts. If you don’t put it in the vegetable stir fry, serve some steamed bok choy with this dish.

Tofu Crumbles in a Mexi Bowl

Here’s a new recipe and idea that I’m adding onto this post. The recipe for the tofu crumbles is from Sam Turnbull of It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken.

https://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/vegan-chorizo-tofu-crumbles/

I made broccoli-cauliflower rice, a stir-fry of onion, red pepper, zucchini and mushrooms, with a side salad of massaged kale and shredded Napa cabbage. I sprinkled the tofu crumbles on top. It was delicious, filling and fit the vegan-keto bill!

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Other Ideas

  • roasted turnips – toss in lots of oil and roast until soft, serve over cauliflower or broccoli rice

  • broccoli rice – prepare the same way as cauliflower rice

  • smoked tofu – cut into small cubes and add to anything

  • tempeh – fry in coconut oil and add to a vegetable stir fry

  • vegan cheese like feta or boursin or cream cheese spread on Romaine lettuce spears

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Vegan Keto Diet – Part Two – Snacks

Figuring out what to eat for snacks on this diet was a difficult one. No more potato chips, french fries, candy, crackers, tortilla chips and salsa! I did, eventually, sort out some keto-friendly and satisfying snacks, but beware … even low carb snacks can rack up the daily carb count if you overdo the snacking. It’s best to keep to the main meals and have a little snack here and there. Here are some of the snacks that have worked for me:

  • seaweed snacks (good replacement for potato chips)

  • nuts and seeds such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds

  • keto-friendly crackers made from flax seed and other seeds

  • vegan cheese such as Black Sheep and Blue Heron – eat with keto crackers and crudites

  • berries with almond milk, sprinkled with hemp hearts and almond meal

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Here are some magnificent cheese boards I made for “Tom” and I to share.

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Vegan Keto Diet – Part One – Breakfast

Many of you have heard of a vegan diet. Some of you may have heard about the keto diet. But did you know that there is such a thing as a vegan keto diet? Neither did I until recently!

Over the past couple of years, but particularly over the past six or seven months, I have been putting on weight. The weight gain was helped by contracting shingles a few months ago. I lost my vim and vigour and my strength and endurance was sapped. I ate comfort foods (potato chips) and had no energy or motivation to exercise. Eventually, as I worked through my recovery, I began to resume my previous activities such as hiking, running, yoga, walks in nature, etc. That was (is) good, but I was not comfortable with my weight. Then, one day, on a BC ferry, I overheard someone extolling the virtues of a Keto Diet.

Now, I’d heard about a Keto Diet, but I’d discounted it because I think, and research supports this, it is a very unhealthy diet. But I thought, “I wonder if there is such a thing as a Vegan Keto Diet?” Turns out there is! The internet is full of information and recipes to support this kind of diet and, on May 26, I jumped right in! Now, 7 weeks in, I have learned so much, but most importantly, I’ve lost 11 pounds!

If you’re looking to try a plant-based keto diet, let me help you. I’m going to post some of my best and favourite recipes on my blog for you to try out if you’re interested.

Today, let’s start with breakfast. I eat this bowl of n’oatmeal at home before I leave for work. I take the smoothie in a portable cup with lid and straw for my mid-morning snack. And I eat and drink these two dishes e-v-e-r-y weekday morning!

Breakfast

N’Oatmeal or Keto Porridge

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2 tbsps chia seeds

1 tbsp ground flax seeds

2 tbsps almond meal

1 tbsp hemp hearts

1/2 cup almond milk*

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp almond butter

almond milk

small handful of berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)

optional: a couple of tbsps chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans

optional: 1/4 tsp coconut sugar**

Put the chia seeds, flax seeds, almond meal and hemp hearts into a bowl. Add the milk and stir. Place bowl in fridge overnight or set aside for half an hour to allow time for the milk to be absorbed by the chia seeds. Scrape the chia seed mixture into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add a splash of water as well as the coconut oil and the almond butter. Heat and stir until warmed through. Transfer to a bowl, add a bit of almond milk and sprinkle on the berries.

*you can use coconut milk instead

**a little bit of sweetener can go a long way, especially when you’re starting out with this diet. Some recipes call for stevia, but I don’t like the taste and I found that this small amount of coconut sugar has the same amount of carbohydrates as stevia.

Berry-Spinach Smoothie

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1 1/2 cups berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)

large handful of spinach

1 cup of almond milk

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp hemp hearts

1 thin slice of lemon

1 tbsp almond butter

Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth. I put all the ingredients in the blender the night before, especially if the berries are frozen, then blend it up in the morning.

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Roast-Vegetable-Smoked-Tofu-Kale Pizza

When it comes to pizza time at a party, a dinner out, a staff luncheon, what do all you vegans out there do? I usually abstain or, occasionally, suck it up and eat a slice or two. At home, I just don’t have pizza. I’m not crazy about vegan cheese, either store-bought or homemade. The taste is not terrific and it’s too much fuss and bother to make “cheeze”. Then I read Sam Turnbull’s cookbook, Fuss-Free Vegan. She has a recipe called Life-Changing Mozzarella that she uses for pizza cheese and I thought I’d give it a try. The first pizza I made using this cheese was so-so, so the next time I made the cheese, I made some adjustments to the ingredients (I kind of combined her Life-Changing Mozzarella and her Nacho Cheese Love) and came out with a winner!

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This is the mozza cheese. It’s made with tapioca starch which gives this cheese it’s thick and stretchy qualities.

The first pizza I made with this cheese was kind of traditional with a tomato sauce base, and I went for a Mediterranean style with basil, spinach, black olives. As I said above, it was okay. Then I decided to try again, adjusting the cheese recipe and omitting the tomato sauce base. This pizza was dee-licious!

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Here’s how I made it:

Roast-Veg-Smoked-Tofu-Kale Pizza

(it takes about 90 minutes to make this pizza from start to finish using premade/store-bought pizza shells)

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2 store-bought pizza shells of your choice (I used a store-made, thin-crust pizza shell from Save-On-Foods) – placed on pizza pans

Cheese

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 3 tbsp tapioca starch*

  • 2 tbsp sauerkraut (or 2 tbsp brine from a jar of green olives) – I used sauerkraut

  • 2 tsp lemon juice

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 3/4 to 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Combine and blend all ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Pour into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring often, then constantly for 3-5 minutes until thickened and smooth. Heat and stir for another 3-5 minutes at a slightly lower heat to make sure the tapioca starch is cooked.

Pour and spread the cheese on the pizza shells – you will use the entire recipe on two pizza.

Pizza Toppings

2 tomatoes, skin removed*, diced (I used some beautiful organic plum tomatoes I bought in Keremeos when I was passing through last week).

1/2 an onion, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 head cauliflower, separated into large florets then sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces or strips

1/2 fresh poblano pepper, cut into slightly smaller than bite-sized pieces

2 large cloves garlic, sliced

2/3 of a block of smoked tofu (I actually used smoked siracha tofu on this pizza), sliced and diced into bite-sized pieces

3 stalks of curly kale (or any kind of kale you prefer), washed and dried and torn into bite-sized pieces

avocado oil

coarse sea salt or Himalayan salt

Sprinkle the diced tomatoes onto the two pizza shells, evenly distributing them between the two shells.

Place the onion, cauliflower, bell pepper, poblano pepper and garlic into a large bowl. Pour in about a tbsp of oil. Toss the vegetables in the oil until evenly coated. Spread the vegetables out on a baking sheet and roast in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the kale. Put the torn kale into a bowl, drizzle on a bit of oil, and sprinkle on some salt. Massage the oil and salt into the kale until the kale is soft and just starting to release some of it’s juice.

Pull the roast veg out of the over and add the smoked tofu to the pan, evenly spaced. Put the pan back into the oven and roast for another 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the roast veg and tofu on the pizza shells, evenly distributing between the 2 shells and over each pizza.

Put the pizza pans in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until bottoms of shells begin to brown. Pull the pans out of the oven, sprinkle on the kale and put back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Let the pizzas rest and cool for 5 minutes, then slide out onto a cutting board and cut into slices.

*tapioca starch is readily available in a grocery store

*The best way to skin a tomato is to pour boiling water over it, let it sit for a couple of minutes, douse in cold water and peel. The skin usually slips right off.

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Mock Tuna Salad Sandwich

What’s this then?

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There are all kinds of names for this in the vegan blogosphere … Vegan Tuna Salad, Mock Tuna Salad, Chickpea Tuna Salad … I didn’t know what to name it … the title of this post names it Mock Tuna Salad Sandwich, but I really don’t like that name … I just named it that so it would be easy to search and identify.

What about …

  • Chick-a Salad

  • Toona Salad

  • Chuna Salad

  • Tubanzo Salad

  • Garbuna Salad

What’s your favourite name? Basically it’s a vegan version of tuna salad … kind of! It doesn’t taste like tuna, but it can be used in the same way as tuna salad – in a sandwich, on crackers, as part of a Nicoise salad … I think that the version I put together is, simply, tasty and worthy to be used in any of these ways just because it tastes good, not because it replaces tuna. Try it and see!

Toona Salad

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1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

1 green onion, chopped

1 carrot, finely grated

handful of chopped red bell pepper

large handful of parsley, minced

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp vegan mayonnaise

1/4 tsp salt

several grinds of black pepper

In a bowl, coarsely mash the chickpeas – do not mash into a paste, but mash until some of the chickpeas are completely mashed while others are coarsely mashed. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix until fully combined. Taste and add more salt and pepper to taste, more mayo if you want it creamier. Serve on toast or crackers or as part of a salad.

Don’t forget to give me your favourite name for this dish in the comments. Also, please tell me how you would modify the recipe to fit your own tastes and on-hand ingredients. Thanks!

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Green Lentil Pumpkin Seed Dip

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Came across this dip on The Full Helping

(https://www.thefullhelping.com/simple-lentil-pumpkin-seed-dip/)

by Gena. She kind of downplayed it in her blog post, but I thought it sounded scrumptious. I decided to give it a try. Of course I didn’t have any cooked or canned lentils ready to go or some soaked pumpkin seeds, so it took me a day to get ready. I’ve just been reading Joyous Detox by Joy McCarthy and The Blender Girl by Tess Masters and they both strongly recommend soaking legumes, grains, nuts and seeds before using, and even sprouting them if you have the time. These authors convinced me that soaking is the way to go as it:

  • improves digestion

  • unlocks nutrients

  • produces better flavour and texture

  • reduces cooking time

  • makes for smooooooth dips

So, I soaked my green French lentils and my seeds before blending up this dip today. Here’s my adapted recipe:

Green Lentil Pumpkin Seed Dip

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1/3 cup soaked pumpkin seeds

1 1/2 cups soaked and cooked French lentils (Le Puy lentils)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsps. fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup tightly packed parsley

1/2 to 3/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 to 1/2 cup water

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Put all the ingredients in a blender. Add 1/4 cup of water and turn blender on to low. Blend on low for a few minutes, scraping down the sides as needed and adding more water as needed, a tbsp. at a time, to keep the ingredients in the blender moving. Add up to 1/4 cup more water. Turn blender on to high and blend until quite smooth.

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Serve with crackers or vegetable sticks. I spread the dip on some Pumpkin Seed Oat Rye Crackers that I happened to have in the cupboard … very tasty!

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Deconstructed Salad Roll

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I’ve been on a bit of a rice noodle kick lately. Today, while considering another meal to make with rice noodles, I had an inspiration! I thought of salad rolls and how they often include rice noodles and are wrapped with a rice paper wrapper. But salad rolls are a bit timely to make so … how about a deconstructed salad roll … eureka! A salad roll bowl! (And you all know how much I love bowls)! All I needed to do was julien up a few vegetables, prepare some rice noodles and whip up a peanut sauce. Easy peasy! And tasty too!

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Salad Roll Bowl

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1 carrot

1 green onion

1/2 cucumber

1/2 red bell pepper

wedge of purple cabbage

1/2 bunch cilantro

1/2 package rice noodles

Peanut Sauce

1 tsp Bragg liquid soy seasoning

2 tsps. tamari sauce

2 tbsps. peanut butter

2 tbsps. orange juice

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp sesame oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp finely minced ginger

2 tbsps. siracha

2 tbsps. rice wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

chopped peanuts or sesame seeds

Pour boiling water over the rice noodles and let sit for a minute. Use a spaghetti scoop to loosen and separate the noodles. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables. Julien-chop the carrot, cucumber, red pepper, and purple cabbage. Slice the green onion and coarsely chop the cilantro. Arrange the vegetables in two bowls as in the pictures. Drain the rice noodles, rinse with cold water and set aside. Make the peanut sauce by whisking all ingredients together. (You can heat the sauce if you want. This will soften the peanut butter for easier mixing. Also, I like the sauce a little warm when I pour it over the vegetables and noodles.) Arrange a serving of rice noodles in the middle of the bowl. Drizzle the peanut sauce over top of the vegetables and noodles. Sprinkle on some peanuts or some sesame seeds. Eat and enjoy!

Note:  You can also add mint leaves, tofu, and avocado to this bowl. That would make it even yummier!

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Thai Noodle Soup

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At my workplace, I participate in a Lunch Club. At the beginning of the school year, anyone who is interested signs up, with a partner, and commits to providing lunch for the rest of the participants. This year we have fourteen members and this works out to each partnership making lunch about 5 or 6 times a year. If it’s not your day to make lunch, then you are eating lunch someone else has provided. I really look forward to Thursdays (our Lunch Club day) because I don’t have to make lunch! I’m the only vegan in the club, but we also have a vegetarian and someone who doesn’t eat pork. This year’s crew have been really kind and conscientious and have always made sure that there are vegan options for me! This makes me really happy! Usually, when I attend something where lunch is provided, I have to find out ahead of time what the menu is. If a vegan option can’t be added, then I just bring my own. As I always say, “I don’t mind bringing my own lunch, I just need to know.” At my Lunch Club, I don’t even have to ask anymore. I can rely on my colleagues to consider all dietary wants and needs!

My Lunch Club partner and I don’t have to make lunch for another month, but we started talking about it this week. We decided to make Thai Noodle Soup. Now, I’ve never actually had this soup before, let alone made it, but my partner raved about it! Into a big bowl and onto a bed of rice noodles, a spicy broth infused with Thai flavours is ladled, then topped with a variety of tasty and textured toppings. Sounds great! Well, I decided I’d better give this soup a trial run before serving it up for a crowd of people, so I did some Pinterest research and made this Thai Noodle Soup last night for supper. Traditionally, this soup has lots of non-vegan things in it like fish sauce and chicken and meat broth, but I delved deeper into the offerings on Pinterest and found some vegan versions that I was able to combine and adapt until I came up with a recipe that satisfied me. Here it is:

Thai Noodle Soup

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1/2 package rice noodles

2 tsps. coconut oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp. of grated ginger

3 tsps. of minced garlic

2 tbsps. red curry paste *

2 tsps. curry powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 can organic light coconut milk

4 cups vegetable broth

about 6 heads of baby bok choy, chopped

2 tbsps. tamari

2 tbsps. coconut sugar

1 lime, 1/2 of it juiced, 1/2 of it cut into little wedges

1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped

bean sprouts

Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Cashews (if you can get them!)

Put the rice noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over to cover. Set aside for a few minutes, then toss and untangle with a fork or spaghetti scoop. Let sit until soft, then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once melted, add the onions. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the ginger and the garlic and continue to stir and cook for a few more minutes. If the onion mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, add a tablespoon or two of water. Now add the red curry paste, the curry powder and the turmeric. Stir until mixed and coated. Pour in the coconut milk and the vegetable broth. Stir everything together. Bring the broth to a simmer, then add in the baby bok choy and lightly simmer for a couple of minutes. Lower the heat. Stir in the tamari and the coconut sugar and the lime juice. Heat through.

Divide the noodles among 4 big bowls (or two bowls and reserve the other two servings for tomorrow night’s supper). Ladle the broth into the bowls. Top each bowl with a handful of bean sprouts, a generous sprinkling of cilantro, a couple of lime wedges and a few cashews.

Serve with a knife, fork and spoon – “Tom” ate his noodles like spaghetti, rolling the noodles into a ball with a fork onto his spoon, and ate the soup with a spoon; I cut my noodles up with a knife and fork in the bowl, then ate noodles and broth with a spoon.

* check the ingredients on the package of red curry paste. Some have fish sauce and/or shrimp in the ingredients. Vegan paste is available and should be easy to find in a major grocery store.

Other toppings you could use: chopped green onion, small cubes of tofu, finely sliced green cabbage …

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Springtime Eating: Dip, Soup, Salad

I’ve just returned from a trip to the old country, my birthplace and the home of most of my relatives. Although I absolutely love, and am grateful for, any opportunity to visit the folks overseas, I am always happy to return home. I miss my Canadian family when I’m away and I miss my own food! Every time I go to England, I have to begin every re-meeting with a reminder about my drinking and eating habits:

  • “Okay, let’s just get this out of the way, upfront, here it goes … I don’t drink coffee or tea, I don’t drink alcohol and I only eat plants! Got it? Okay, let’s move on!”

In the United Kingdom, you see, everything is about beverages! All transitions, all arrivals, all social engagements involve a drink, usually tea, but often alcohol. You can imagine how my drinking habits are received!

  • Julia, what can I get you?

  • Nothing thanks, I’m good.

  • What? Nothing? Surely a cup of tea?

  • Okay, how about a cup of hot water?

  • [mind blown]

  • or

  • Julia, what will you have?

  • Nothing right now.

  • What? Nothing? Not even half a pint?

  • Okay, how about some ginger beer?

  • [mind blown]

And food … cheese, savoury pies, fried food, Branston Pickle, salad cream, more cheese … not really a welcoming place for vegans. I admit that when I travel and when I am given room and board by my relatives, I become more of a flexitarian. I like to experience the food of the culture I am visiting and I’ll eat most anything put in front of me by someone who is kind enough to prepare and cook food for me. Having said that, I was craving nothing but salad and greens when I got home! Yes, I love chips and pub food when I’m in situ, but once I hit my home turf, I headed straight for the produce section of the grocery store and loaded up on vegetables and fruit. Here’s what I made for my first meal home:

Light Green Dip or White Bean-Edamame Hummus

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1 cup cooked navy beans

3/4 cup edamame beans

2 tbsps. tahini

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tsps. minced garlic

1/4 + tsp salt

bunch fresh dill, chopped

Pub beans, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt in a blender or small food processor and blend until smooth – about 3 to 5 minutes depending on your appliance. Add in a tbsp. of water if needed to make a smooth dip. Add in the dill and blend until the dill is well mixed in. Serve with crackers and vegetable sticks.

Green Spring Soup

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1 tsp butter

1 tsp veg oil

heart of one leek, about 1/4 cup, chopped

4 spring onions, chopped (or one thick slice of white onion, chopped, if you don’t have green onions)

1/2 bunch asparagus, chopped

3/4 cup green peas

2 large handfuls spinach, chopped

1 potato, peeled, cubed, cooked in 1 cup of cooking water

4 cups vegetable broth (I used 2 cups chicken flavoured veg broth and 2 cups veg broth)

black pepper

salt

3 tsps. fresh lemon juice

Heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the leek and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the onions, asparagus and peas and saute for 3 or more minutes until everything begins to soften. Stir in the spinach. Then add the potatoes with their cooking water along with the veg broth. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for a few minutes. Blend everything together with an immersion blender to make a smooth green pureed soup. Add a few grinds of black pepper, a bit of salt to taste and the fresh lemon juice. Stir, heat through and serve. Deeelicious!

Springtime Pasta Salad

(recipe from The Fed Up Foodie)

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3 cups dry rotini

2 cups broccoli flowers

1/2 English cucumber, cut into half coins

1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise

1/4 cup red onion, chopped in small pieces

1/2 red or orange bell pepper, chopped

1/2 bunch asparagus spears, chopped

handful or more of pea pods, cut in 1/2’s or 1/3’s

handful of green olives, sliced lengthwise twice

Dressing:

2 tbsp. olive oil

4 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. white wine vinegar

1/2 bunch fresh dill, chopped finely

1/2 tsp salt

Cook the rotini until al dente. Drain the pasta over the broccoli so the broccoli gets blanched. Pour cold water over both the pasta and the broccoli to cool then add to a big bowl. Add all the chopped vegetables to the bowl. Make the dressing by whisking together the ingredients. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and pasta and toss to combine.

Note: The amounts for the vegetables are a guideline. Please adjust as you prefer, including changing up the vegetables.

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