Bombastic Beyond Meat Chili

All vegan, all flavour.

As a foodie, food taster, menu creator and also flavour-seeker, making a hearty vegan chili is NO small feat. Beans are delicious and all but can fall flat quick if just married into a tomato bath with a sprinkle of spices without much layering.

Let’s face it, meat does kinda build some OMMPH to a good, hearty chili as it fills in the gaps and adds texture and bite. Don’t worry though, this chili is cruelty-free, is full of ridiculous flavour, requires some patience but I promise, you will get one kick-butt, delicious, over-the-top chili that won’t leave you hanging.

Now listen, I KNOW there are other Beyond Meat chili recipes on the internet, that all claim to have the best flavour. I have googled them all and some actually look pretty amazing and others well, as Borat would say…”not so much”. I do challenge you that before the winter is over, give this recipe a try, send me pics or drop comments of your beautiful chili and my most favourite, proprietary recipe that I know will impress those carnivore friends of yours you have been hoping to convert 😉

Flavour layering 101

Before we get started, I have to talk to you about flavour layering. In chili, it is soooo important. So please do not dump your spices in the pot hoping to create a shortcut and get the same results. Be patient with my layering, and if your palatte needs a little more or less, get creative but with chili, less is more. (Wait-did i just say that when using a word like BOMBASTIC to describe chili??!!!) No really, it is in the case of chili. THAT’S my secret. Now you know.

Ingredients

1 can kidney, black and pinto beans each – all rinsed very well, drained, set aside

1 can regular beans in tomato sauce

1 can can marzano tomatoes in juice (do not cheap out on this!)

1 Cup corn kernels

1 large bell pepper of each: green, orange, red, large dice

2 ribs celery, small dice

1.5 medium onions, small dice

1 Cup water

1/4 Cup Whisky or 3 tsp apple cider vinegar

3 large dice plum tomatoes, seeded

1 block Beyond meat

1 tsp liquid smoke

2 tsp sugar

1/2 poblano pepper, seeded, sprayed with olive oil and roasted in oven until charred slightly

1 tsp chili power, cumin, salt and smoked paprika plus 1 sm thumb of whole cinnamon stick and 1/2 tsp oregano + 1/2 tsp garlic powder

VEGAN AVOCADO LIME CREMA (for garnish)

1 large avocado

1 tsp olive oil

1.5 limes, juiced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C vegan sour cream

Blend all ingredients until smooth. refrigerate until ready to use as a garnish on chili.

METHOD

  1. Take JUST your beans, corn, tomatoes, cinnamon stick and water and place into a crock pot. Turn on high and cook as you prep other ingredients.
  2. Roast your poblano pepper and small dice, placing into crock pot with beans and water.
  3. Turn pan onto medium heat in oil and saute onion until translucent. Add celery and saute for 2 minutes. Add remaining spices and cook for another minute.
  4. Incorporate your peppers into the crock pot and cook for two hours on high.
  5. Add beyond crumble in large chunks, breaking slightly but keeping meaty. Turn up pan if needed to get the product hot and sizzling. After 5 minutes, add liquid smoke and booze or vinegar along with the sugar, and cook down for a minute or so. Remove from heat.
  6. Turn heat to low and add beyond crumble. Remove cinnamon stick at this point. Cook on low for 3-4 hours total. Check spices and heat and adjust salt as you wish.

Serve immediately with crema, tortilla chips, cilantro, lime wedges, red onion, vegan cheese or whatever your heart desires.

Last but not least, enjoy and tell your friends!

Fall for Soup All Over Again

There is seriously something about fall soup-making that makes my heart skip a beat. I think because when we usually think of comfort foods, they tend to be on the luxurious side and laden with calories. But this fall soup is completely vegan, low in calories, and feels like your coziest fall sweater.

Fall Harvest Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin plain pumpkin
  • 1 whole butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 Can coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves, ground
  • 3 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 whole white onion, diced
  • 1 thumb of ginger – grated
  • 3 Cups of vegetable stock
  • 1/4 C pure maple syrup
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a large stock pot, set to medium heat and add a few tsp of oil to pan.
  2. Saute onion for 3 minutes.
  3. Add celery and carrot, salt and begin cooking for 2 minutes then adding rest of seasoning, stock and squash.
  4. Raise heat and bring to boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Check for tenderness.
  5. Once fork tender and ready to puree, using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.
  6. Add pumpkin puree, salt and dash of pepper, along with maple syrup slowly, to taste. Reserve the remaining maple syrup for garnish.
  7. Cook for 10 minutes, allowing flavours to develop. Add coconut milk slowly, reserving the remaining portion of the can for your garnish.
  8. Serve with toasted squash seeds, a swirl of coconut milk and maple and a garnish of crispy sage, if you wish (optional)

Juicing Week!

Today is day one of makeover ME!

And this journey begins with a massive juice cleanse and heart to heart with myself.

Now it is time to move forward into new abundance and opportunity, and seek out the true path I was meant to walk down.  

With the decision to make this change, I also gave the blog a little refresh as well-hey, why not!

I am excited to remove the toxins from my life and body, so this will be a good week for lots of yoga, hikes, juicing and meditation.

When preparing yourself for a big change, I speak from experience – you need to gear up the body because it will be under stress. If you let things spiral out of control, you will just end up hugging the couch crying or paralyzed with fear (also speaking from experience).

My goals are simple:

  1. Lose 15 pounds
  2. Build healthier habits outdoors
  3. Get my mind ready for a big new change

I started my Day One out with a morning meditation and giving gratitude for the day. This only takes five minutes, and I like to do this on the deck with my morning coffee. I will just zone in on a bird, or a flower, or stare at the sky, and just zone out and close my eyes. Ahhhh…so zen!

Next, I began my water. I drank 16 oz of cold water with a lemon squeezed into it and began my day with emails, and any catch up. Now, onto the juicing…this is where it gets fun!

Last night was a few hours of fruit and vegetable prep, and LOTS of juicing. We prepped enough juice to last two days, and made five AMAZING juice recipes, which I am going to share over the course of the week.

I hope you enjoy!

Day One Breakfast Detox

Ingredients

  • 3 ribs celery
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1 beet
  • 2 lemons with skin
  • 4-5 carrots
  • 1 thumb of ginger

Method

  1. Soak fruits and vegetables in a vinegar and water bath for at least 20 minutes to remove pesticides and toxins. You can do this by adding one part vinegar to four parts water. Rinse and it is ready to use.
  2. Juice your fruits, then vegetables and last add ginger and parsley. Stir and place immediately in stand up baggies or clean jars, and refrigerate immediately.
Morning Breakfast

Here is a sample of a typical day of the  juicing diet I am following:

5 am – 7 am: 16 oz of lemon water

8 am-Breakfast Detox Juice

10 am:  16 oz lemon water

12 pm: Carrot Ginger juice

2 PM: Watermelon rosewater juice

4 PM: 16 oz lemon water

6 PM: Green Tea

7 PM: Hike and Beet Juice

9 PM: 8 oz lemon water Lemon water

Magical Breakfast Burritos

This burrito might just be the super-powered vegan and gluten free breakfast miracle you have been searching for.

A few weeks ago I enjoyed a beautiful weekend in the Okanagen, experiencing amazing food, wine and a wrap that I have not been able to stop dreaming about. My friend and I landed at a kitschy coffee shop that served amazing local java and a vegan wrap that even left my carnivore travel companion in a puddle of her own drool.

Desperate to recreate what I have been missing, I amped up the breakfast treat by adding a whole lot of high-nutrient fillings to really get your Monday off to the right start, or at the very least, make up a little bit for what you did to your body over the weekend at the wine bar.

First, I began with dandelion. I remember working for an Italian family when I was young and them selling frozen chopped dandelion in bags. Like most, I turned my nose up and thought who in the world would purchase weeds to actually consume. Turns out dandelion is amazing in soup and you can easily remove the bitterness with a cold bath. Also, pairing this with a sweet potato gives a bit of balance which is needed. I also blanched the sweet potato and then just sprinkled with hot smoked paprika and a bit of raw coconut sugar to bring out the flavour and also give it a nice crisp on the outside while not over cooking it.

Moving on to the tofu scramble, while scrambling tofu can seem a little bit scary at first to those who are die-hard egg fans, I found that adding a bit of nutritional yeast and cooking in a bit of water and plain soy milk did give a bit more creaminess and egg texture.

The whole thing gets stuffed with sweet pea shoots, some pan fried peppers and spicy green pesto. YUM YUM.

TOFU SCRAMBLE:

Take a half block of soft tofu and crumble into medium-heat pan. Add quarter cup of soy milk and quarter cup water, 1 tblsp nutritional yeast, half tsp tumeric, salt to taste. cook until liquid dissolved.

ROASTED SLICED SWEET POTATO:

Blanch sweet potato which is peeled and sliced in half. Remove and slice into strips, coating with a spray of olive oil, then sprinkle with hot smoked paprika and a half tsp of raw coconut sugar. Salt and pepper and place into 425 degree oven for approx. 25 min, turning once. Remove.

WILTED DANDELION GREENS:

Take one bunch organic dandelion greens and plunge into cold water bath with salt for ten minutes. Drain. Steam greens in steamer until wilted-about 3 minutes.

SPICY TRUFFLE PESTO:

Take one bunch fresh basil, quarter cup toasted pine nuts, 2 tsp truffle oil, half a squeezed lemon and half cup olive oil and place into blender. Add salt and pepper to taste, 1 tsp red chili flake, 2 cloves roasted garlic and pulse for 8-10 pulses or until mealy and blended. Do not over blend.

ASSEMBLY:

Take a rice or gluten-free burrito wrap and warm in a moist towel in microwave to soften. Remove and heat up pan to medium heat as we will toast the burrito to give a good shell on the outside so none of your yummy filling seeps out!

Place tofu scramble first, then wilted dandelion, sweet potato then thinly sliced pan-fried red pepper (you can do this quick once you remove your tofu from the pan) all on top of one another. Top with pesto and pea shoots and then fold in sides and roll like a burrito. Toast for a few minutes on each side until browned. Top with more pea shoots and enjoy!

Recipe makes two large burritos and enough pesto for a week of dipping afterwards!

It is audition season!

I cannot believe it is almost July.

I find myself becoming increasingly envious of my friends and family back home in Niagara who display their perfectly-manicured gardens, the luscious blooms splayed all over my facebook feed. I think here in Calgary I saw the tulips come up in June, and it snowed in the mountains just days ago.

The seasons have become a blur to me here, in this place I have called home. I have lost track of the amount of times I have had to move recently for work, or love, or both…and I long for the comforts of what home was to me.

You know…pancakes in the morning and pastas at night for the kids. Picking fresh herbs out of my garden and laying in the sun on my deck for a few hours while sipping wine from Niagara that I had just picked up on my last drive into the country.

I have been slacking with this blog lately, which does not mean for a minute I haven’t been cooking or baking, but I have just been incredibly busy with work, projects, auditions and craziness.

This leads me to this post-food that brings the comfort of home but elevates the dish just that little bit more into something that still makes your lips smack, your heart flutter, your mind wander into fond, delightful memories of that place that you used to call home.

I am still undecided which final one I am submitting for the Wall of Chefs audition-I did a veg burger but then made pasta so maybe I will go a vegetarian pasta route. Who knows… 🙂

Below is my veg version of this dish. I made the non-veg version for a friend last night but promise this version is equally as yummy. Remove the honey to make it vegan 🙂

Cherries Clafouti – elevated and vegetarian

CHERRIES CLAFOUTI

Ingredients

2.5 C pitted cherries (you can also leave in pits for more flavour) – DIVIDED

300g silken tofu-slightly whipped

100g almond flour

1 tblsp tapioca flour

4 tblsp raw coconut sugar

2 tsp honey

1 half tsp salt

5 tblsp almond milk

1 half tsp vanilla extract

For brandied cherries:

Remaining half C pitted cherries

6 tblps raw sugar

about a quarter C Brandy

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a 9×9 baking dish with coconut oil
  3. Mix together your wet ingredients, slowly adding dry. Do not overmix.
  4. Spread a thin layer (about an inch) of mix onto pan. Place in oven for about 5-7 minutes, or until firms up slightly.
  5. Open oven and sprinkle about 2 cups of cherries on top and pour remaining batter over.
  6. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until golden but not too browned.
  7. Remove from oven to cool slightly and while that is cooling, on the stovetop, prepare your sugar and water mix and bring to rolling boil.
  8. Add brandy and cherries, reducing heat to simmer and cook for 5 minutes max.
  9. Remove immediately and cool in the freezer for a minute or so, so it doesn’t over cook.
  10. Using a large round glass, cut out a warm disc of the clafouti and place on your plate. decorate plate with the brandied, warm cherries and garnish with fresh lavender and mint.
  11. Dust top of clafouti with powdered sugar and add a dallop of your favourite vegan whipped cream, cocowhip or a zesting of lemon.

Fully Loaded Portobello Mushroom

Do you know how people load up baked potatoes and stuff them with crazy goodness? This is the mushroom version, filled with green lentils, quinoa, peas, tomatoes, and if you would like, topped with cheese (as pictured). But, you could easily make this vegan in a pinch.

The meatiness of the mushrooms and texture profile of the different ingredients delivers variety and flavour , allowing you to feel completely satisfied and not missing out on anything-period.

Ingredients:

-Four large portobello mushroom caps (meant for stuffing); cleaned, stems and gills removed

-1/2 C peas, steamed

-8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

-1/2 C quinoa, prepared as per package

-1 cup cooked green lentils as per package (in veg broth is ideal)

-1/2 Cup of minced celery, carrot (total combined)

-1 clove garlic, minched

-1/4 onion, minced

-1 tsp of herbs de provence

-Fresh herbs for garnish

-Olive or avocado oil for cooking

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a tsp of olive oil in saute pan. While lentils and quinoa are cooking, saute your onion for 2 mins, add minced vegetables, cook for another 2 mins, then add garlic, cooking for a minute. Stir in cooked quinoa-remove from heat and set aside.

Salt and pepper your lentils to taste.

Roast mushroom caps brushed with olive oil in a 400 degree oven for ten minutes with the hollow side down. Turn over and prep for stuffing.

Assemble your mushroom caps. Add a thin layer of quinoa, a layer of lentils, then top with peas and quartered tomatoes. Sprinkle with fresh grated parm if desired and herbs de province. Drizzle with a splash of olive oil. Place under broiler on low until tomatoes soften and cheese is golden (if used). This will vary on your oven, so keep an eye on it as it cooks. Usually about 5-6 minutes.

Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.

Optional: Serve with a drizzle of italian-flavoured balsamic vinegar.

Got an extra five minutes? Add sweet onion shoestrings to bring some additional texture to the dish.Dredge thinly sliced vidalla onions in egg or egg substitute, dip in italian-seasoned flour, fry in hot oil for 2-3 minutes and drain well on a paper towel.