Vegan Shakshuka

Happy Valentine’s Day! Although every day can be a day of love, I really enjoy Valentine’s Day for really focusing in on love, and using that focus to find ways to show love. “Tom” and I like to celebrate V Day by planning and preparing a lovely dinner to share. Hearts are almost always involved as well as the colours red, white, pink. This year, we made Shakshuka! Shakshuka originates from North Africa and the Middle East and is a dish of spicy tomato sauce with eggs poached on top. To make this dish vegan, I used tofu in place of the eggs. And to make this dish vegan and Valentine, I cut the tofu into heart shapes!

Many Shakshuka recipes that use tofu in place of eggs just call for cutting the tofu into circles, placing them in the sauce and heating through. For me, this is not giving the tofu enough love! I have used my smoked tofu for the eggs substitute, but this year, I treated my tofu with some extra love. I cut my tofu into hearts, marinated them in a spicy, salty marinade for several hours, then baked the hearts before nestling them into the tomato sauce.

Here’s how I did it:

Vegan Shaksuka

For the Tofu:

1 block of organic tofu, pressed overnight

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp black salt (Kala Namak)

1 tbsp tomato sauce

2 tbsps water

1 tbsp tamari sauce

1 tsp garlic powder

For the sauce:

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 small zucchini, finely chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped

2 tsps smoked paprika

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp + chili flakes

3 fresh tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped

a jar of tomato sauce/strained tomatoes (I used about 400 ml)

Cut the pressed block of tofu in half lengthwise. Cut out circles or hearts using a cookie cutter. Mix the marinade ingredients together (from paprika to garlic powder) in a small zip-type freezer bag. Add the tofu to the marinade, gently shake so that the tofu is completely covered, then store the marinating tofu in the fridge for several hours, flipping the bag occasionally. Pour the tofu and remaining marinade onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, flip the tofu, bake for another 15 minutes.

Heat a little oil in a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, zucchini and red pepper and saute for several minutes. Add in the spices (paprika, cumin, chili flakes) and stir to thoroughly coat the vegetables with the spices. Stir in the diced tomatoes and the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer, then let the sauce barely simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let the sauce thicken up.

Place the baked tofu on top of the sauce, then warm through, either on the stovetop or in the oven. Serve in shallow bowls, as is, or sprinkle on some vegan feta cheese and a some diced avocado, with a salad on the side and/or some bread for dipping.

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Winter Salad

I made a salad today! That may sound like a funny statement coming from a plant-based eater. One would think that salads are the mainstay of a vegan’s diet. Well, in some ways this is true, but even us self-righteous plant-based folks can get off track sometimes! These dark days of winter find me getting my vegetables through soups and stews and curries and other one pot wonders. All delicious and nutritious, but not, necessarily, fresh, light, or raw. So, today, I made a salad! It’s a winter salad, in that it has both cooked and raw elements. It has grains and beans, and it has fresh, raw vegetables. It’s hearty yet fresh. It’s filling and satisfying AND full of vegetables.

This Winter Salad features one of my favourite grains, farro, plus Borlotti beans. There’s a story behind the beans. Tom and I subscribe to a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). This year, the farm grew a few types of beans – some familiar like black beans and cannellini beans, and some unfamiliar (to me) like Tiger Eye beans, Marfax beans and Borlotti beans. Borlotti beans are also called Cranberry beans and are often used in Italian cooking. I cooked up a pot of Borlottis, tossed them with some farro, threw in a variety of tasty vegetables, including some greens, and heightened the flavour of it all with a simple dressing. Here’s how I made it:

Winter Salad

1 cup cooked farro

1 cup cooked Borlotti beans

3 green onions, finely chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 cup shredded purple cabbage

1 cup shredded green cabbage

2 cups spinach, large julienne

3 tbsps avocado oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 tsps Dijon mustard

1 tsp salt

Toss all the ingredients, from farro to spinach, together in a large bowl. In a small measuring cup or small lidded jar, whisk the dressing ingredients together (oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt). Pour the dressing over the salad and mix until the dressing is well combined with the farro, beans and vegetables. You can eat it right away, but it tastes way better if left to sit and marinate for an hour on the counter or overnight in the fridge.

As always, adjust dressing ingredients to taste. I like lots of garlic and salt, but you may want to scale these ingredients down a bit.

You can change up the vegetables to suit what you have on hand and what you prefer to eat. Some shredded brussel sprouts would go well in here. Some small cubes of roasted butternut squash would be a nice addition. Swap out the spinach for massaged black kale.

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Smoked Tofu

I’m sure you noticed that, during this pandemic, there have been shortages of things in the stores. It started with toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and masks. Then it went to food items such as chicken (so I’m told), flour, yeast, baking powder and … smoked tofu!

Apart from the toilet paper, I wasn’t very affected by the shortages – being a plant-based, whole foods eater, I wasn’t interested in chicken or white flour, and being a supporter of small green businesses, I had other ways to keep me and my surroundings clean other than Clorox and bleach. However, no smoked tofu? That’s when things got real for me!

I use smoked tofu for all kinds of things. I love it sliced on toast and in sandwiches. I like to cube it and put it in salads. It tastes good grated or cubed and used as a topping on chili or pasta sauces. It’s a great source of protein and is keto-friendly.

The most widely available brand of tofu available where I live is Soyganic Smoked Tofu:

Soyganic Smoked TofuAnother favourite brand of mine, only available in the Kootenays, is Silver King:

Silver King Smoked Tofu

The Soyganic is fine, the Silver King is delicious, but with neither on my local store shelves, I decided to make my own. I’ve now made several bricks of smoked tofu (since April 21) and don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner! My homemade version is so much tastier and is not difficult at all to make. It takes a couple of days, but most of that time is inactive time (pressing and marinating). Here’s how:

Smoked Tofu4

Smoked Tofu

1 block of extra firm organic tofu

4 tbsps Bragg All-Purpose Liquid Soy Seasoning

4 tbsps water

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp liquid smoke

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp neutral tasting vegetable oil (avocado oil works well

Press the tofu all day or over night.

  • I wrap the tofu in a clean tea towel, then press it in a homemade tofu press. Or press the tofu under the weight of 2 or 3 big heavy books.

  • even though the tofu is extra firm, I still press it to get as much water out as possible

Using a wooden skewer, poke holes all through the block of pressed tofu, from all sides.

In a shallow rectangular glass or metal container, mix together the marinade ingredients. Place the block of tofu in the marinade and press down gently to force the marinade up through the holes. Marinate, in the fridge, for several hours, then flip the block over, press gently, and continue to marinate. I marinate the tofu for 24 hours, flipping and basting a few times during this time.

Place the tofu in a glass baking dish and pour the leftover marinade over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Flip the tofu over, baste with the marinade in the the dish and bake for another 30 minutes. Take the tofu out of the oven and smear it through any leftover marinade in the baking dish, trying to coat all sides. Let cool before cutting. Store in the fridge in a covered glass container.

Smoked Tofu3

Smoked Tofu
Smoked Tofu2
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Keto-Friendly Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup that is keto-friendly?

Yep, I did it!

“Tom” is practicing keto now and we’re always looking for delicious new recipes that are, or can be made, keto-friendly.

I came across Tortilla Soup in Power Plates by Gena Hamshaw of and decided to try making it without the tortillas! I guess I can’t really call it Tortilla Soup anymore, but … 

Woman Shrugging: Medium-Light Skin Tone Emoji (U+1F937, U+1F3FC, U ...


Here’s my recipe:

(adapted from Tortilla Soup by Gena Hamshaw of The Full Helping blog)

Keto-Friendly Tortilla Soup

(makes about 4 or 5 servings and is amazingly delicious!)

1 tbsp avocado oil

1/2 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1 red pepper, diced

1 small zucchini, diced

1-398 ml can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes

2 whole fresh tomatoes, skinned and diced

2 tbsps chipotle paste

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp salt

4 cups chicken flavoured veg stock

Heat the oil, over a bit higher than medium heat, in a large pot. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes. Add in the garlic, red pepper, zucchini and continue to heat and cook and stir for several minutes. Add in the fire-roasted tomatoes, the fresh tomatoes, the chipotle paste, the cumin, the coriander and the salt. Stir and heat everything together, then add in the veg stock. Cover the pot, bring to boil, stir, reduce heat and let gently simmer for half an hour. Stick an immersion blender into the soup and blend until mostly smooth with a few small bits left (or completely smooth is you prefer or not blended at all if you like a chunky soup.

We ate this served over roasted, charred broccoli, pan-fried mushrooms and spicy tofu crumbles, with diced avocado on top. I also sprinkled crumbled tortilla chips on top of my bowl of soup. You could also add in some smoked tofu cubes.




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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!


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.


(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



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!




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



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 (


Greek Salad with Tofu Feta (



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 ( Use canned beans and the spices you packed.


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.


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


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.


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!


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

Scrambled Tofu


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


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


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


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


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


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.

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!



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


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!


N’Oatmeal or Keto Porridge



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


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!


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!


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)


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


  • 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?


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


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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