Category Archives: Main dish

Crispy Quinoa Patties with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

February 14, 2018

After visiting my grandkids last month, I’ve been thinking about healthy meals that are also toddler friendly. Quinoa is a perfect food for toddlers – a good source of good quality protein, delicious nutty flavor, and easily digested even if not chewed completely.  However, on its own, it can be a bit messy to manage by little hands.  These quinoa patties fit the bill perfectly. Delicious, nutritious and a finger food.  Perfect for adults too.

After serving Barbecued Beans with quinoa yesterday, I wondered what to do with the leftover quinoa. Then I remember this recipe from the Oh She Glows website. I used it for a cooking class back in September 2014, before this blog began.

You want your patties to be nice and firm, so they stick together well, so be sure to chop your veggies very fine – onions and kale – and grate the sweet potato with a small holed box grater. Chop your kale first thing, so it can stand about 40 minutes before cooking. (check out this video by Dr. Greger on sulfuraphane for an explanation) You can roast your red peppers for the dip while you let the kale sit.

The original recipe was already oil-free except for the oil packed sun-dried tomatoes. I substituted them with dried sun-dried tomatoes and pulverized them in the blender along with the rolled oats.  If using oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drain and chop them fine.

The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of flour, for binding. Since I cooked my quinoa yesterday, it was flaky and dry today and I did not need any of the flour to bind the patties. However, if your quinoa is on the moister side, you may need a tablespoon or two.

The recipe calls for fresh basil, which of course I don’t have in February. I used 1 tablespoon of dried (from my garden) and it provided a wonderful basil flavor. However, if you are not a fan of basil, you might want to reduce the basil by half.

For little dinner guests, I would suggest omitting the red pepper flakes. The recipe makes 12 –  1/4 cup patties.  For toddlers, make them half or even smaller for bite size portions. (watch the cooking time for smaller patties) If you want to use them for burgers, make them 1/2 cup size.

If you cook up 1 cup of quinoa, you should get enough cooked quinoa to make a double batch. These patties freeze wonderfully and the left overs are great for quick easy meals or snacks. As a bonus, the patties firm up even more after being frozen. If you are new to cooking quinoa, directions are below the recipe.

The patties are great with this simple roasted red pepper dip, but they are also good with ketchup. Served with a simple salad or raw veggie sticks for the little ones, this is a satisfying meal.

Crispy Quinoa Patties

• 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
• 2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water
• 1 cup destemmed and finely chopped kale
• 1/2 cup finely grated sweet potato
• 2 tablespoons finely diced onion
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoon runny tahini paste
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
• 1 1/2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar
• 1/2 cup rolled oats(use certified gluten-free if necessary)
• 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (dried, not oil packed)
• 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
• 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
• 3 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour or regular flour (only if necessary)
• red pepper flakes, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Chop the kale into very small pieces and set aside for about 40 minutes.

Mix the ground flax and water in a large bowl and set aside for 5 minutes or so to thicken.

Add the quinoa, kale, sweet potato, onion, garlic, basil, tahini, oregano and vinegar to the flax mixture and stir well. Add red pepper flakes if using (I used 1 tablespoon) Put the rolled oats in a blender along with the sun-dried tomatoes and salt. Blend until oats are ground to a flour. Add the sunflower seeds and pulse a few times to chop them but not pulverize them. Add to the quinoa mixture and stir well. If the mixture is too moist, add the flour, one tablespoon at a time until the mixture is firmed up and holds together. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop out ¼ cup of mixture and shape mixture into patties with wet hands. Pack tightly so they hold together better. Place on baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip cakes, and bake for another 8-10 minutes until golden and firm. Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet. Enjoy immediately or for firm patties, freeze and reheat in a skillet.

To cook quinoa, rinse 1 cup uncooked quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Place quinoa in a medium pot and cover with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and then cover with a tight fitting lid. Simmer covered for 14-17 minutes until most of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and then place lid back on to steam for another 4-5 minutes. Note that this makes almost 3 cups of cooked quinoa and you only need 1 1/2 cups for this recipe, so you will have leftover quinoa.

Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

I have never had much luck roasting peppers over an open flame as most sites demonstrate. Instead, I use an easier method I learned from an Italian friend, Sara. Place your whole red peppers in a covered baking pan and roast for about 45 minutes at 350F or until tender. Leave the lid on and let them cool until they are cool enough to remove stems and seeds. You can peel the skin off as well. Be sure to save the liquid from the pan and use it for soups or stock.

For this recipe, you could use jarred roasted red peppers but I roasted two large red peppers instead. After roasting, I removed the stem and seeds but did not peel. I threw the flesh and liquid into the blender along with the almonds, garlic, vinegar and salt.

I am not sure where I got this recipe from, but its delicious and super easy.

Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce
• 1 ½ cups roasted red peppers, drained
• ½ cup whole almonds
• 1 clove garlic
• 2 tsp. red wine vinegar (more to taste)

Purée all ingredients in food processor until smooth.  Taste and add a pinch of salt and a bit more vinegar to taste.



Make Ahead Meals

February 1, 2018

In our busy lives, it is sometimes hard to make time everyday to cook meals from scratch. However, there are ways to optimize your cooking time so you are not spending all your free time in the kitchen. Some strategies to use are:

  1. When you cook a dish, make a double batch. That way you can eat one now and freeze one for later. Generally, it doesn’t take that much longer to double the batch. This works great for soups, stews, chilies, and many main dishes.
  2. Make a double or triple batches of salad dressings to have on hand.
  3. Make a big batch of your favorite stir fry sauce. They will generally keep in the fridge for over a week, or you can freeze the in serving size amounts. Frozen mixed veggies are a great time saver. Add brown rice or whole grain noodles for a quick meal. Top with chick peas, toasted cashews, tofu or sesame seeds for an extra nutritional boost.
  4. For fast and easy breakfasts, prepare overnight oats the night before. In the morning, add plant milk and extra toppings and go. Or make a triple batch and have enough for three days.
  5. Keep hummus on hand for sandwiches, wraps and baked potatoes. Hummus is easy to make and freezes well.
Baking with Jacob

In January, I spent three weeks with the grandkids, so I did quite a bit of food prep for the hubby back home before leaving. That way he could spend more time on my “Honey Do List” instead of cooking, LOL. In the week before leaving, I made extra of each dish I cooked, freezing one or two meals for later. I made several salad dressings, so throwing together a big Caesar, Spinach or Kale salad is a simple process. I also made a litre of Chinese 5 Spice stir fry sauce, to go with frozen veggies, rice or noodles. And for a treat, I made a batch of Sweet Potato Brownies which freeze really well. See below for the links and recipes.


Red Lentil Carrot and Coconut Soup

Soups are a regular go to lunch meal for us in the winter, and I often make up several different soups each week. Since a pot of soup is generally three meals for us, it is easy to eat one and freeze two. Served with whole grain bread, a hearty soup is a comforting winter lunch. In the week before I left, I made four soups – Red Lentil Carrot and Coconut Soup, South American Black Bean Soup, 13 Bean Soup, and Caribbean Pepper Pot Soup. The recipes can be found here. 


Astrid licking the spatula with hummus

Hummus is another staple in our house. We use it instead of margarine or butter as a spread on bread or for topping a baked potato. Our favorite hummus is made with chickpeas (or while navy beans) and roasted sweet potato. I generally make a large batch and freeze it is smaller containers so we always have it on hand. This rich and creamy hummus, paired with a baked potato and green salad makes a delicious, easy to prepare and satisfying meal. It is also good as a pasta sauce.

The recipe for Sweet Potato Hummus can be found here. The recipe calls for cayenne pepper and is quite spicy. However, you can eliminate the cayenne all together for a delicious hummus for kids or those not fond of spices. This recipe, without the cayenne, is taste tested and approved by my granddaughter Astrid.

Stir Fry

Another great quick and easy meal is a stir fry. Make a big batch of your favorite sauce and keep it on hand in the fridge, or freeze it.  Frozen mixed vegetables are a real time saver.  All you need to do is make a pot of rice or noodles and sauté the frozen veggies in a bit of broth and add the sauce. Top with cashews or sesame seeds and your set.

Don’t forget that rice also freezes well. When you cook rice, make a big pot. You can keep enough for a week in the fridge and freeze the rest in one meal portions.

My favorite recipe for Chinese Brown Sauce can be found at this link, along the recipe for Chinese 5 Spice Sauce, a spicier version of the same sauce. These sauces will keep in the fridge for at least 1 week. However, you can make a big batch and freeze in 1 meal portions.


A big pot of chilli makes a filling meal and is one of those dishes that tastes better the next day. While most chillis are meat based, they are also easy to make without any animal products. If you have a favorite recipe, make a plant based version using the same sauce and spice mixture. Add beans, lentils, veggies or mashed tofu to replace the meat. One of my favorite chilli recipe can be found here. Make up a big pot and freeze the leftovers for a later meal.

One Pot Meals

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

One pot meals are real time savers – in prep, cooking and cleanup. Chop up your veggies and throw them into a pot with the sauce, simmer and serve. Great when you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry.

Two of my favorite one pot meals are:

Rotini in a Coconut Sauce – I love this recipe because the pasta cooks in the sauce. No need to dirty another pot to cook pasta.

Mexican Quinoa – Quinoa is a quick cooking seed that packs a nutritional punch and has a pleasant nutty taste. This Mexican dish can be spiced up or down to suit everyone’s taste.

Salad Dressings 

Salads make great quick, easy and hearty meals. Keep a couple of your favorite oil free salad dressings on hand in the fridge at all times. A great meal is a simple as tossing some greens with additional veggies, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, grains or beans. A salad with a baked potato or slice of hearty whole grain bread is a great meal. Oil free dressings are flavorful, easy to make and offer plenty of nutrition without the heavy calorie count. The recipes for some of my favorite salad dressings can be found here.

Sweet Potato Brownies 

Sweet Potato Brownies

Its always nice to have a little something sweet in the freezer for capping off a meal. These brownies are just sweet enough to satisfy and nutritious enough to be served at any everyday meal. They are packed with sweet potato, dates, oats and almond flour. I find them perfect just as they are: however, if you wish, you can increase the maple syrup to make them a bit sweeter.

The recipe makes a large cookie sheet or about 30 brownie squares, so they last a while. Slice them up and freeze them. They are great straight out of the freezer. Find the recipe here.


Mexican Quinoa

January 15, 2018

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

I stumbled across this recipe on Facebook a while back and modified it to be whole food plant based. Its fast and easy to make and a hit with vegans and meat eaters alike. I like to make it using salsa for the sauce, but it can also be made with canned tomatoes or tomato sauce for a milder version. When cooking for kids or those not fond of spice, omit the jalapeño and use mild chilli powder.  Serve it with additional hot sauce or salsa at the table for those who love the heat.

Quinoa seeds have a natural coating of saponins on them which gives them a bitter taste. This is the plant’s natural defence mechanism to discourage birds from eating the seeds. The quinoa you purchase is often pre rinsed to remove the saponins, but I like to rinse mine before using just in case. You can rinse in a strainer under running water, but to conserve water I like to put the quinoa in a quart jar and cover with water. Let it sit for a few minutes. When you are ready to use, give the jar a good shake and drain the quinoa into a strainer.

One Pot Mexican Quinoa
• 1 onion, diced
• ½ jalapeño, chopped fine
• 1 pepper, diced (your choice, red, yellow orange or green)
• 1 carrot, diced fine
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
• 1 can beans, drained and rinsed (your choice black, pinto, kidney or mixed beans)
• 1 cup tomatoes, tomato sauce or salsa
• ¾ cup quinoa, rinsed
• 1 tsp chilli powder (mild or hot)
• ½ tsp cumin
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 cup vegetable broth

Rinse quinoa well and set aside. In a large saucepan, sauté onion, jalapeño, pepper, carrot and garlic with a small amount of water or broth until onion is softened. Add corn, beans, tomato and spices. Add quinoa and broth and simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked. Serve with diced avocado and tomatoes.


January 15, 2018

Chilli is your classic comfort meal. Although it generally is meat based, it is also easy to make meatless. If you have a favorite recipe, omit the meat and add more beans and veggies. To add a bit more ‘meaty’ texture, try adding lentils, mashed tofu, or finely chopped carrots or mushrooms.

I don’t have one favorite chilli recipe, and like trying new ones. The latest one I made is great and definitely one I will make again. It is a modification of one from Bosh. I love their recipes; however, they tend to use a lot of oil. Luckily the oil is easy to cut and still have a great flavorful dish.

This chilli has a lot of ingredients but comes together quickly and does not require a long cooking time. It also freezes well, so is perfect for make ahead meals. The recipe has a nice kick to it, but it can be toned up or down by varying the amount of red chillies and chilli powder you use. I love the addition of the chocolate and cinnamon. The flavor is very subtle.

The recipe calls for mashed tofu, but you can eliminate if you are soy free. Sorry, no pictures as I forgot to take one when I made it.


  • 1 and a half Red Onions (Minced)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 1 Red Chilli (Finely Chopped) (omit for less spicy version)
  • 1 Red Pepper (Finely Chopped)
  • 2 Celery Stalks (Finely Chopped)
  • 3 Cups Kale (Shredded)
  • 2 Cups Firm Tofu (Well Pressed)
  • 1 Tsp Salt (More to Taste)
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper (More to Taste)
  • 2 Tsp Paprika
  • 2 Tsp Chilli Powder (More to Taste, choose hot or mild chilli)
  • 1.5 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1.5 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 Cups Tomato Sauce
  • 1.5 Cups Black Beans
  • 1.5 Cups Kidney Beans or red chilli beans
  • 2 Squares Dark Chocolate
  • 2 Cups Tomato Sauce
  • Cilantro
  • Lime juice

In a large pan sauté the onions, garlic, Cilantro stalks, chilli, red pepper and the celery stalks until onion is translucent. If necessary, add a tablespoon or two of water or veggie broth to prevent sticking.
Pour the Kale into the pan and stir it round until it’s well wilted.
Break the tofu into the pan, add the spices and seasoning and fold everything together so it’s well mixed.
Pour 2 cups of tomato sauce into the pan and fold it in so everything is well covered
Add the black beans, kidney beans and dark chocolate to the pan and fold everything together.
Add the rest of the tomato sauce and mix everything together.
Put a lid on the pan, reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer and let it bubble for 12 – 15 minutes to let the flavours blend together (only do this if you have a good non stick pan – if you don’t have a pan, gently stir the chilli for around 10 minutes)
Serve with brown rice or a baked potato and garnish with cilantro leaves and lime juice.

Check out the original recipe and video here

Eat More Greens

October 14, 2017

I firmly believe that one of the most important things you should do to improve your diet is to eat more greens. All kinds of greens, especially leafy greens. Kale, spinach, Swiss Chard, collards, beet greens, bok choy, gai lan, parsley, cilantro as well as broccoli, peas, snap peas, and green beans. In fact, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, recommends his patients eat greens at every meal. Recently I have been trying to implement this recommendation – trying to find ways to incorporate greens into every meal.

Breakfast My favorite way to consume a serving or two of greens every morning is a green smoothie or a wheat grass shot.  This fall, I planted several rows of wheat grass in my garden. A couple ounces of wheat grass juice is an amazing way to start the day.

Green smoothies are a terrific way to get leafy greens into the little guys

My go to recipe for a green smoothie is simple – 2 cups water, 2 cups greens and 2 cups fruit. This combination produces a flavorful smoothie with a significant amount of greens in every glass. My favorite combination is kale, banana and mango, but the combinations are endless. As you learn to love your green smoothie, start increasing the amount of greens (eg 2 cups water 3 cups greens and 2 cups fruit.



Cooked Greens

Steaming or boiling greens quickly reduces a big pile of raw greens into a small bowl of green goodness. As a kid, I remember hating cooked greens, but now have learned to like them. The trick is not to over cook them and to season them well. One of my favorite ways to eat cooked greens is a simple side dish of steamed greens (kale, Swiss Chard or beet greens) seasoned with salt and a dash of lemon or balsamic vinegar.

Greens are also great added to casseroles, burgers, stir fries, soups and stews. Chop them up fine and you can sneak them into most dishes. And don’t forget lots of bright greens in your salad. Try to have several servings (1 cup of chopped raw greens is one serving) of raw and cooked greens every day. They are loaded with protein, calcium and a whole host of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

A few of my favorite recipes are below.

Penne with Swiss Chard, Olives and Currants

serves 4

  • 4 large shallots, peeled and diced small (or substitute onion)
  • 2 bunches Swiss Chard
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced (or 1/2 tsp dry)
  • 1 pound whole grain penne, cooked
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup currants
Penne with Swiss Chard, Olives and Currants

Remove stems from Swiss Chard and chop the stems into small pieces. Slice the leaves into thin strips. Cook penne until just tender. Drain and keep warm. While pasta is cooking, sauté shallots and chopped stems for a few minutes. Add garlic and thyme and sauté a few minutes longer. Add a tbsp of water if needed to prevent sticking to the pan. Add sliced Swiss Chard leaves and a couple tablespoons of water. Cover and let steam until chard is cooked and tender. Add olives and currants. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. Toss with penne and serve immediately.

From The Forks Over Knives Cookbook by Dell Sroufe

Mushrooms Kale and Potatoes

Serves 2 to 3

  • 3 cups chopped potatoes (Yukon Gold or Red)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 6 cups Kale, chopped and stems removed
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili paste (like Sambol Olek or substitute crushed chili peppers)
  • black pepper
Kale, Potatoes and Mushrooms

In a saucepan, sauté onion, garlic and mushrooms until onion is translucent. Add a tablespoon or two of water if necessary to keep from sticking to the pan. Add potatoes and a small amount of water. Cover and let cook until potatoes are tender. Add more water as necessary to keep from sticking and form a gravy. When potatoes are tender, add kale, cover and steam until kale is bright green and tender.  Add soy sauce and chili paste and stir until combined. Season with black pepper and serve immediately.

from Forks Over Knives, The How To Companion to the Feature Documentary Forks Over Knives 

Greens with Maple Mustard

  • Greens, chopped and stems removed (Beet greens, kale or Swiss Chard)
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt

Mix mustard, maple syrup and lemon juice together. Boil or steam greens just until bright green and tender. Drain and drizzle with a bit of maple mustard sauce. Season with salt and serve.

Kale and Miraculous Walnut Sauce

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • kale, chopped and stems removed

In a blender, combine walnuts, garlic, soy sauce and water. Blend until smooth. In a large pot, bring a quart of water to boil. Add kale and cook covered for 3 to 5 minutes, until kale is bright green and tender. Drain and serve with walnut sauce. This is great on  baked or mashed potatoes instead of the usual butter and sour cream.

Salad Greens

In salads, try to choose salad greens that are bright green over pale ones –  like romaine over iceberg lettuce. Don’t limit your salad greens to lettuce only. Kale, beet greens and spinach are great in salads.  When introducing more robust greens, add them in small amounts along with your regular lettuce. A Caesar salad made with romaine and kale is a great way to get your family to eat kale.

When using kale in salads, chop it fine and sprinkle a bit of lemon juice on it. Massage it with your hands for a minute or so to tenderize it.  Some people find kale bitter and tough and I find this helps counteract this.

You can find my favorite kale salads at the following links:

Kale and Apple Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing

Caesar Salad with Romaine and Kale








Coconut Rotini

July 29, 2017

One of the nice things about traveling is you get try food other people make for you.  While it is sometimes hard for others to figure out what to feed “the vegan”, I truly appreciate the effort they make to accommodate my food choices. On my recent trip to Edmonton, I stopped by Pat and Glenn’s and Pat made this absolutely delicious dish for me. It comes from The LoonieSpoons Collection by Janet and Greta Podleski. This cookbook was a favorite of my mother’s and while it is not a vegetarian cookbook, it has several great vegetarian and vegan recipes. The LoonieSpoons’ cookbooks are probably best known for their whimsical recipe names. This one is called Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weeny Colored Polka-Dot Rotini.

Pat made this dish using mild chili powder and it was fabulous.  I just had to make it as soon as I got home, with Stevie’s help. However, when she put together the spice mix, she used my hot Indian chili powder instead, and I am glad she did. We all enjoyed the heat and it was equally as delicious as Pat’s version. I love the super fast way of making a pasta dish by cooking it in the sauce.

Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weeny Polka-Dot Rotini
• 1 ½ cup vegetable stock
• 1 can coconut milk
• 1 tsp each raw sugar and ground coriander
• ½ tsp each ground cumin and chilli powder (your choice mild or hot chilli powder)
• ¼ tsp each curry powder and ground ginger
• 227 g uncooked whole grain rotini (I used tri colored brown rice rotini) (about 3 cups dry)
• 2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
• 1 red pepper, diced small
• ¼ cup dried currants
Combine broth, coconut milk, sugar, spices and pepper in a non spick sauce pan. Bring to a boil, add rotini, reduce heat to a slow simmer and simmer 6 minutes.
Add chopped peppers and currants and simmer for 6 to 7 minutes longer until liquid has been absorbed and pasta is tender. Add peas. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes before serving.


Edmonton July 2017 Class

July 22, 2017

I had a wonderful opportunity this month to hold a class in Edmonton. It was great to meet both fellow vegetarians and those looking to make their diet more plant strong. We had a great discussion on the reasons for eating more plants – health, environment, compassion and spiritual.

For the class we used kale three different ways – in a green smoothie, in a main dish of rice and beans, and in a salad. For dessert, we had a simple fruit salad – no added sugar needed. The meal was delicious, simple to prepare and budget conscious – proving once again that it is not necessary to spend the day in the kitchen, have a lot of cooking skills or break the bank to enjoy a good, wholesome, home cooked meal.

Green Smoothie

One of the most important things you can do to improve your health is to add more greens to your diet. While it is best to chew your food, rather than drink it, I still find green smoothies the easiest way for most of us to increase the amount of green leafy veggies we consume. Since smoothies are well blended, the sugar from the fruit enters your blood stream faster than chewing the fruit, so it is best to sip it slowly and try to mix as much saliva with it as possible. My basic recipe for a green smoothie is below. For the class we used my favorite mix – kale for the greens, anana,  orange and mango for the fruit, and a squeeze of lemon.

  • 2 cups greens (kale, spinach, Swiss chard, parsley, cilantro, beet greens, collards, etc)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (banana, mango, pineapple, orange, apple, berries, etc)
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Place all ingredients in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth.

Tex Mex Casserole

This recipe which I have adapted from the Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon, is a mainstay in my house. It is fast and simple to prepare and always gets good reviews. I like to use the leftovers to make burritos, and they freeze well too. Just roll in a flour tortilla, wrap in parchment paper and freeze for a later meal.

When making this casserole for a crowd, I usually to omit the jalapeño. The cayenne in the spice mix gives it a tiny bit of a kick, but not too much.  Serve with a spicy salsa so guests who like the heat can spice it up a bit.

The cheese in this recipe is not essential for the casserole, but if you decide to add you can use a plant based cheese like Daiya shredded cheese or add 1/4 cup of cashew cheese sauce to it.

While the recipe calls for everything to be prepared in a frying pan and then popped in the oven to heat, it can easily be served straight from the frying pan, as we did in class. Or prepare it ahead of time and pop it in the oven the next day to reheat. We skipped the topping of cheese and taco chips on top and served it straight from the pan with taco chips on the side.

Spice blend:

  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika (or ½ tsp regular paprika)
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced fine (optional)
  • ½ cup corn kernals (fresh, canned or frozen)
  • 1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 – 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale leaves or spinach
  • 2 cups cooked  black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 3 cups cooked rice (brown rice or a brown and wild rice mix, we used short grain brown rice)
  • ½ cup cheese or cheese substitute (optional)
  • tortilla chips

Combine spice mix and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375F, oil a large casserole dish (4 to 5 quart)

In a large pan, add onion, garlic, peppers and sauté until softened. If necessary, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent sticking. Stir in spice mix and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant. Add corn, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, kale, beans and rice. Sauté until heated through and season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, mix in ¼ cup of shredded cheese, cheese substitute or cashew cheese sauce.

If desired, you can pour mixture into prepared casserole dish, sprinkle on crushed tortilla chips (and the other ¼ cup of shredded cheese if desired), cover and bake 15 minutes.  Or you can serve straight from the pan. Serve with optional toppings such as chopped avocado, salsa, taco chips or green onions.


Kale and Apple Salad

This recipe is another of my go to recipes. For those who are new to using kale, massaging the kale with a squeeze of lemon and/or sprinkle of salt help make it more tender and less bitter. Also, making this with a mix of kale and romaine is a good way to introduce kale to the menu. If you love kale, like I do, skip the romaine and use all kale.

This recipe is my adaptation of the original from Raw Amazing 


  • 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juice from
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Soak cashews for 2 to 12 hours. Drain cashews and place all ingredients in high-speed blender and blend until smooth.


  • 1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and shredded fine
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • ¼  cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced thinly and separated into rings
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (hulled, you can use raw or roasted and salted)

Place kale in large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice and a dash of salt. Massage the lemon juice and salt into the kale for a few minutes.  Add chopped apples, dried cranberries, sliced red onion, julienned carrots. Toss. Add enough dressing to coat the salad, toss well.  Just before serving, add the romaine and top with pumpkin seeds.

Fruit Salad

This is the same fruit salad we made at our July Winnipeg class. By varying the fruit combination, you get a different dessert every time.

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk yogurt (cultured coconut milk), or plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp finely minced ginger (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 4 mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 2 cups pineapple, diced
  • o   2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup seedless grapes
  • 2 cups strawberries, cut in half

Mix yogurt, minced ginger and maple syrup and place in a small serving bowl.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Place oranges, apples and pineapple in a large bowl. Toss to coat apples with the liquid to prevent browing.  Add blueberries, grapes and strawberries and gently stir to combine.  Serve fruit with a dollop of ginger yogurt on top.

You can change this salad up by using any mixture of your favourite fruit. Change up the yogurt sauce by omitting the ginger, using cane sugar and adding ½ tsp vanilla.