VEGAN SPANAKOPITA

Spanakopita was an absolute staple while I was growing up. My mom would usually make these with spinach and feta cheese, but I have enjoyed a wide variety of combinations that include cheese, meat, tomato and onion, leek and potato, just potato, cabbage, and butternut squash. Any which way you slice it, every combination was absolutely amazing. Usually spanakopita is made with homemade sheets of thin dough layers, but for the sake of my sanity I resort to the store bought phyllo dough. This option gives you a more crunchy spanakopita rather than the soft, thick layers of dough that comes with the truly homemade version.

I love this version of spanakopita – you don’t have labour with making individual sheets yourself, and these mini triangles are a great finger food or snack option for your plant based gatherings with friends and family.

Just a couple of pieces of advice as you make your spanakopitas:

  • Drizzle a good amount of olive oil on the individual phyllo pastries – this will help add moisture and keep the spanakopita’s soft while also allowing for some crunch. When you bake them, wash the tops with olive oil or butter so they don’t dry out
  • Don’t be afraid to stuff these little triangles. Since you are folding them multiple times they will keep their shape and the filling wont spill out.
  • Make sure you cook the leek greens to soften them before adding it to the mixture. Traditionally, a classic spanakopita is made with just feta cheese and spinach. I’ve added the leeks as I had some lying around. You can omit these if you would like
  • Watch the spanakopita as they bake – they turn brown rather quickly

Hope you enjoy the short cut version of this greek classic!

VEGAN SPANAKOPITA

A greek staple, spanakopita with a vegan filling of cashew cheese, spinach and leeks
Cuisine Greek
Keyword spanakopita

Ingredients

  • 1 box phyllo pastry
  • 1.5 c cashews
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 c non dairy milk
  • 1 handful of chopped dill
  • 2 c chopped spinach
  • 1 leek, dark green part only

Instructions

  • The night before take the phyllo dough out of the freezer and let thaw. Do not open it until you are ready to make your spanakopita
  • Soak cashews with boiling water for 30 mins.
  • Once cashews have softened, in a high speed blender blend together cashews, oregano, nutritional yeast, non-dairy milk and a pinch of salt. Pour mixture into a container and stick in the fridge to thicken, for an hour or so. You can make this the night before as well.
  • When cashew cheese is cooled, add to a mixing bowl. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil and add leeks and cook until they are soft. In the last two minutes of cooking, add the spinach and cook just until it is wilted. Add this to the cashew cheese, as well as the chopped dill and a pinch of salt. Mix to combine
  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Unroll the phyllo dough carefully. Take one phyllo sheet and sprinkle olive oil all over the sheet. Fold in thirds. In the corner of the folded phyllo add a tbsp of cashew mixture holding the corner bring to opposite end in a triangle, and fold into triangles as you go along.
  • Once you have used all of the mixture, brush spanakopita with olive oil or melted butter. Bake until they brown, about 15-20 minutes

LEEK, POTATO AND YELLOW SPLIT PEA SOUP

I believe that everyone, their mothers and grandmothers, have made a leek and potato soup. I always like to add a little bit of protein to my soups to sustain me throughout the day, and split peas make a perfect addition to this classic! I did not soak the split peas before hand so its a perfect time crunch soup as well.

For this soup you should not use the dark green parts of the leeks but you can save them for a later dish. Simply prepare all the ingredients and throw it into the pot to cook. I’ve made this early in the morning before I go to work because it requires very minimal effort and it can do its thing while you do you! The soup will naturally be thick because of the starchy potatoes and the split peas, but you are welcome to add a little bit of coconut milk if that is something you enjoy to have in your soups! I prefer to top the soup with a nice cool cashew creme and croutons.

LEEK, POTATO AND SPLIT PEA SOUP

A twist on the leek and potato soup for added vegan protein
Course Soup
Keyword soup

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts only
  • 1 c yellow split pea, rinsed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 c vegetable stock (or water)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric, sumac, red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp thyme, paprika

Instructions

  • Wash and rinse the split peas really well a couple of times. This is important.
  • Sautee the onion with olive oil in a large soup pot until translucent.
  • Add the potatoes, leeks and peas. Mix, and add the spices. Let the spices and veg cook for 30 seconds and then add the stock. Add a pinch of salt as well.
  • Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 30 mins, or until the split peas are completely cooked.
  • Blend ingredients together using an emersion blender or stand blender. Top with croutons and cashew creme!

Hope you try this amazing, fulfilling dish! Please leave a rating and comment on your experience with this soup.


VEGAN VIRAL “FETA” PASTA

If you have social media you have probably come across the Swedish craze termed “feta pasta” where you bake tomatoes and feta cheese and mix it all together to create this cheesy, goey goodness. Of course since I do not eat any type of cheese (although I used to LOVE feta) I made a simple substitution of using hummus. I do use my own homemade hummus but store bought would work just as well. A great way to enhance this dish is using a flavoured hummus like roasted red pepper, chipotle or garlic!

There are few simple steps to create this easy, less than 30 minute pasta meal that is sure to be a hit. Simply roast tomatoes and hummus with a load of herbs like oregano, basil, and thyme and olive oil, mix in your cooked pasta with a little reserved pasta water and you have a meal! You can totally be part of the viral TikTok trend without having to eat any dairy products and keep within the whole food plant based diet.

You are absolutely free to add other veggies in the roast. In this version, I had an extra red pepper lying around and just chopped it up and added it to the baking dish. I have also tried and absolutely loved adding olives as it really fit in nicely with the notes of oregano and garlic in this dish. I have also seen a green version with colourful cherry tomatoes, spinach, asparagus and broccoli! Below you’ll find a base recipe from which you can work from using what you have in lying in your fridge.

VEGAN “FETA” HUMMUS PASTA

The trending feta pasta, but vegan!

Ingredients

  • 1 package of fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 container of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp each of oregano, basil, thyme, garlic
  • 1/3 c hummus
  • 1/2 c pasta water
  • 1/4 c olive oil

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • In a medium sized baking pan, add cherry tomatoes, olive oil, herbs and a pinch of salt.
  • Carve space in the middle of the pan for your hummus.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, until tomatoes are roasted
  • In the meantime, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 c of pasta water.
  • When tomatoes are roasted, use a fork to mash the tomatoes and hummus and mix in the pasta water. Add in the pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately!

VEGAN BLACK BEAN CHIPOTLE BURGER

Vegan burgers are an ABSOLUTE staple in my diet, and as a guaranteed weekly menu item. I find that when I go out to a vegan restaurant I can only HOPE that they have an option for house made burgers made from scratch rather than using a processed version. You can just feel the love in bean burgers, and can infuse a wide variety of flavours without adding on the toppings. My favourite combination for bean burgers is spicy, Mexican like flavours including chipotle, chili powder, and a big scoop of avocado with lime.

You’ll absolutely need to use a food processor for these burgers and they will do the entire job for you with no stress. You can use a potato masher if you do not have one, but I would totally recommend pulling out your food processor. Plus you literally don’t have to chop a single thing if you do use one!

THE PROCESS

In the first step you will have to drain and rinse your can of black beans. I recommend doing this first so that the beans can dry as much as possible before blending them with the other ingredients. After, prepare your chia egg with 1 tbsp of chia seeds and 3 tbsp of water. Let it sit for about 5 mins until it comes together in a nice eggy like blob (I think thats a great description). Once you do that, quarter your onion and peppers and put them in the food processor. Next you’ll need to pull out your chipotle peppers. This is absolutely crucial in introducing that extra spice and flavour. I get a canned version of chipotle peppers at my local whole foods, that is marinated with adobo sauce and onions. The adobo sauce is to die for, but if you cant find these chipotle flavours feel free to use a dried version and add adobo sauce separately.

I will say that if you are not a fan of the spicy or chipotle flavours, you can omit these flavours and use the onions, peppers, beans, oats, and chia as a base for your very own black bean burger.

Firstly process the onions, bell peppers, cilantro, and chipotle peppers on their own. Just pulse a couple of times to chop everything up and to make sure there are no large pieces of onion or peppers. If you process to long the mixture might become too watery, which means you will have to add a little extra oats to soak up that moisture. Add the beans, oats, and chia egg to the processor along side your salt, pepper, chili powder, granulated garlic, paprika, and red chili flakes. Set on low and let the processor do its thing, stopping if you need to scrape down the sides. The mixture will come together nicely and look almost like refried beans.

Form into patties (depending on your sizes, I can get four normal sized patties) and bake in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes, flipping half way. Now onto toppings! Since this is a spicy burger I highly recommend your usuals – lettuce, tomato, onions. But if you want to elevate your game then add guac, barbeque chips, pickled red onions, and mayo. I hope you enjoy!

BLACK BEAN BURGER

Easy vegan black bean burger
Keyword blackbeanburger, veganburger
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients

  • 1/2 onion, quartered
  • 1/2 bell pepper, quartered
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 handful of cilantro
  • 1 chia egg
  • 1 12oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 c oats
  • 1 tsp each of chili powder, paprika, garlic powder

Instructions

  • Prepare chia egg (mix 1 tbsp of chia with 3 tbsp of water)
  • In a food processor, pulse onions, bell pepper, chipotle pepper and cilantro until they are broken down into smaller chunks.
  • Add in black beans, oats, chia egg, spices and a pinch of salt. Let run on low for a couple of minutes until well blended. You may need to scrape down the sides.
  • Form into four patties on a parchment lined baking tray.
  • Let chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
  • Preheat oven to 400 and bake for 20 minutes flipping half way.

PLANT BASED VEGGIE AND SAUSAGE SPAGHETTI

Looking for another way to use plant based sausage, extra veggies in your fridge, or even eggplants? Especially with the latter, I get so overwhelmed with the size and wanting to use it up as quickly as possible. What I love about this recipe is it takes less than 30 minutes and it’s a great way to up your veggie intake in an inconspicuous way.

Plant Based Sausage and Veggie Spaghetti

Less than 30 minute easy, protein and veggie filled spaghetti
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pack brown rice spaghetti, or any you prefer
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 plant based sausages (I used beyond meat)
  • 1/2 eggplant, diced
  • 1 green, yellow or red pepper chopped
  • 1 zucchini or yellow squash chopped
  • 1 jar favourite marinara sauce

Instructions

  • Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil or any cooking oil to a medium sauté pan. First cook plant based sausages according to package instructions. Remove from heat, chop into smaller bite sized pieces and set aside.
  • Add additional cooking oil to pan. Add onions, eggplants, zucchini and peppers. Let cook until soft. Feel free to add additional spices, but the marinara sauce will do just that.
  • In the meantime, cook pasta according to package instructions. Make sure to salt the water
  • While pasta is cooking, add marinara sauce and extra salt to pan with veggies. Add in the plant based sausage. Add some water in the jar (about a cup) and pour in the pan to thin out the sauce. Let simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • When the pasta is finished, drain and rinse. Add into pan with marinara sauce. Turn of heat and mix pasta in well. Serve while hot

BEEF ZOODLE SOUP (PALEO, KETO, VEGAN *)

This recipe is a rendition of something my mom used to make (still does) for those cold winter nights where you’re craving nothing but a warm hearty meal for dinner. With some variation of course – my mom would add potatoes and green beans – I found the recipe to give my mind and body that cozy feeling the moment I took the first bite. There is something truly remarkable about making a meal that reminds you of home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound beef stew meat
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 can (250ml) of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 pack of zucchini noodles
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • salt and peper

Steps:

  1. Heat olive oil in large pot on medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent
  2. Add beef stew meat and cook until browned on all sides (5-8mins)
  3. Add remaining ingredients leaving aside zucchini noodles. Cover pot and cook on medium-high for 10 mins.
  4. Add zucchini noodles. Turn heat to medium-low and cook for additional 20 minutes. Enjoy!

p.s: this recipe works really well as a vegan or vegetarian option – just omit the beef and add things like beans or tofu for that added protein!


STUFFED ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH KALE AND CHORIZO (PALEO, VEGAN, WHOLE30)

This was a perfect dish to switch up my regular dinner routine. Heres the good news: the most challenging thing about this recipe was cutting the butternut squash in equal halves!

Ingredients:

Squash:
1 medium sized butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp of salt, pepper, garlic power, and paprika

Stuffing:
4 cups of kale (roughly – really used about 4 large stems of green kale)
1/2 cup of chopped chorizo (omit if VG)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup of veg broth
1 chopped garlic glove
1/2 shallot
salt + pepper
fruit and nuts (I used apples, walnuts)

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Oil both butternut squash, sprinkle with seasonings. Place cut side faced down and bake for 15 mins. Flip and cook for 45-60min until tender
3. Heat oil in medium heat pan. Cook chorizo until crispy. Add shallot and garlic. Cook for 3-5 min until tender. Place kale, cook for 10 min. Add water and extra oil if needed. Sim for 10-15 min.
4. Remove squash and place stuffing on top. Add desired toppings. Serve warm and enjoy!



SHEPARD’S PIE (PALEO, GF, KETO)

The hardest part of switching to Paleo was giving up the potatoes. Fried, mashed, baked – every which way is strictly forbidden no matter how hard I tried!! This was a tough pill to swallow. But no fear – I conquered it and here I am now with a Paleo version to my favourite ever Shepard’s Pie. To tell you the truth I don’t miss the iconic white potatoes in this dish one bit 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, or three smaller ones
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup of frozen mix of carrots and peas
  • 1 lbs lean ground beef (or any ground meat you wish)
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil (or any cooking oil)
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic power
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/3 cup of Paleo ketchup (if using tomato sauce, add more seasonings to for extra flavour)
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp of arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 cup ghee

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel and chop sweet potatoes into smaller chunks. Place on double boiler to steam to mash potatoes later on.

2. Place 1 tbsp of olive oil on pan with medium-high heat. Add onions, and when they become translucent (about 3 mins) add frozen mix of carrots and peas (another 5 mins) until tender. Toss in (2 cloves) garlic and cook until garlic becomes aromatic (2 mins)

3. Add ground beef, breaking it up into smaller pieces for easier cooking. Cook until brown (6-10 mins), and drain excess liquid to avoid an oily dishes. Leave 1 tbsp of oil in pan to avoid burning.

4. Add tomato paste or Paleo ketchup, water, seasonings, and mix well. Cook for 5-8mins until tomato paste and water has slightly dissipated.

5. Add arrowroot starch and mix well. Keep adding until you reach desired texture one tbsp at a time.Arrowroot starch thickens the meat mixture to hold the dish together. Once finished, remove the meat and fill pan. I used a 8×8 glass dish.

6. Remove sweet potatoes from steamer and mash well. Add 1/4 cup of ghee and 1 minced garlic clove. Mix well. Once finished, place mashed potatoes on top of meat and spread with spoon/spatula.

7. Bake for 30 mins, until top of Shepard’s pie develops a slight crust. Let chill, serve, and enjoy!! 🙂