Tag Archives: dairy free

Creamy White Bean Soup

March 19, 2017

This super simple, creamy soup is another recipe from Shain Brown. Its a basic recipe for a hearty filling soup that can be modified so many ways.

You can buy white beans (also called navy beans) in a can, but it is super simple to cook them from dry beans. And there are benefits to using dry beans – no BPA from the can, cheaper (about 50% cheaper), smaller carbon footprint (dry beans are lighter to transport than cans full of water)…and you don’t have to lug those heavy cans home after shopping or recycle them later.

One cup of dry beans makes three cups of cooked beans. Step 1 below outlines how to cook beans from scratch by soaking them first, then cooking. (You can cook the beans without soaking first, but soaking will remove more of the compounds that cause the gas issues common with bean consumption.)

I like to cook up a big batch of beans and then freeze the drained beans on cookie sheets. Once frozen , store in ziplock bags and whenever you need them for a recipe you can easily remove how much you need.

Shain’s basic recipe starts with dry beans, but you can easily substitute already cooked beans. I was out of frozen cooked white beans, so I cooked up another big batch to restock my freezer. If your beans are already cooked, you will skip Step 1 and start at Step 2.

I love this soup as it is so versatile. All you really need is white beans, and the rest you can modify. I had a leek in the fridge and some leftover squash that I added to the soup (in Step 2). I also added smoked paprika and liquid smoke to create a bacony flavor. Use your imagination and whatever you have in the fridge to create your own version.

Basic Creamy White Bean Soup

  • 1 cup dry white beans (or 3 cups cooked, or 2 15 ounce cans)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)
Cooking white beans

Step 1 – If using dry beans, soak the beans overnight. (In a hurry, no problem. Cover the beans with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes then remove from heat, cover and let sit 1 hour. You will get the same results as soaking overnight.)

Drain soaked beans and place in a large pot with about 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then gently simmer until the beans are tender but not mushy, about 1 hour. Drain beans. You should have about 3 cups of cooked beans.



Beans, leeks, squash and garlic simmering

Step 2 – Add vegetable broth, and garlic to the cooked beans. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes.

You can vary the soup up by adding other veggies at this point. I added one chopped leek and 1 cup of butternut squash. The squash gave the soup a nice golden color. You could also add diced carrots, sweet potatoes or onions at this point as well. Cook until your veggies are tender.




Puree using an emersion blender

Step 3 – Using an emersion blender, puree the beans until smooth.

Alternatively, you can puree the beans in a blender. Let the mixture cool slightly and be sure to vent the container to let the steam escape.

If you are not a fan of pureed soups, the soup is also delicious left chunky.

Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. For a smokey bacon-like taste, add a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a dash of liquid smoke, if you have it. If you like it spicy, add a 1/4 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder as well.


Step 4 – Dry fry mushrooms in a large non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Stir often and cook until nicely browned and slightly crispy.

To add a bit more texture and color to the soup, you can also dry fry up some diced onion and red pepper and add it to the soup.

The soup is also good with finely chopped kale in it. Add it after pureeing and let it simmer for 5 minutes to cook the kale.

Thin the soup out with additional broth or water to your desired thickness.

Step 5 – Serve soup with mushrooms on top. Or green onions.




Curried Chickpeas and Naan

March 14, 2017

I am preparing for the next cooking class on April 2. The theme of the class is The Versatile Chickpea. You can bet that we have been eating a whole lot of chickpeas lately, while getting the menu finalized. There are so many great chickpea recipes, we can’t do them all at the class. This curried chickpea will be not be demonstrated at the class, but not because it isn’t totally delicious. And paired with this delicious naan, it is totally to die for.

Curried Chickpeas and homemade naan

The original recipe for the curry comes from Jessica in the Kitchen. I modified it only slightly – removed the oil and added veggies to make it a one pot meal. It comes together quickly and is not very spicy at all. I added a jalapeño and red pepper flakes to mine to spice it up a bit.  If you are not a fan of hot spicy food, the basic curry is for you. If you like it spicy, add red pepper flakes or use a good curry paste, like a sriracha or harrisa, to spice it up at the table to everyone’s individual tastes.

I used peas and carrots in my curry. You can omit both for a plan chickpea curry and serve it with a vegetable side. Or add any other vegetable combination you like to the curry. Sweet potatoes, cauliflower and green beans would also work well.

The curry is delicious, but the real star of this meal is the naan. I have never been a big fan of naan – white flour and loads of butter. However, this recipe is so good and its whole grain and pretty much oil -free, except for the oil I used to coat the utensils. And it turns out Naan is really not that hard to make from scratch. I have not yet mastered chapatis or tortillas, but the naan came out great.

Curried Chickpeas

  • 2 mediums onions/1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1- 16 ounces/454g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed or 1 1/2 cups cooked
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1- 13.5 ounces/383g can coconut milk, full fat or lite
  • 2 teaspoons coconut flour
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 small lime

In a deep pot, add in the onions, tomatoes and carrots. Allow to simmer slowly until onions are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add in the chickpeas, garlic, garam masala, curry powder and cumin (and red chilli flakes if using). Stir to combine.

Add the coconut flour to the liquid of the coconut milk and stir until well combined. Add in the coconut milk and coconut flour mixture to the pot and stir. Bring the curry to a boil, and then reduce to medium-low so that the mixture continues to simmer for 10 to 12 more minutes.

Taste the curry and season with salt and pepper to taste. (How much you need will depend on whether or not your tomatoes and chickpeas were salted.) If you want a hotter curry, add a touch of hot chili powder or cayenne.  Thaw peas under hot water and add to curry. Remove the curry from the heat and squeeze a lime lightly over the top of the curry, stirring to combine. Serve.

This Naan Bread recipe comes from Kim Campbell’s The PlantPure Nation Cookbook. While the recipe does not call for any oil, the bread is moist and delicious.  I have altered the method for making the naan based on how I like to make bread. You can easily make this bread without a bread mixer by doing a bit of hand kneading. However, if you have a mixer, making the dough will be a piece of cake.

I used my tortilla press to press the dough out to the desired thickness and it worked like a charm. If you don’t have a press, roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thick using a rolling pin.

Whole Wheat Naan Bread

  • ½  cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • ½ cup hot water (tap water hot not boiling)
  • 1/3 cup agave, honey, brown rice syrup or brown sugar
  • ¾ cup plant based milk
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • About 4 cups whole wheat flour

In a small bowl, dissolve 1 tsp sugar in the warm water and sprinkle yeast on top. Stir to dissolve yeast and let stand in a warm place until frothy and doubled in size, about 5 to 10 minutes. (If your yeast does not froth up within 20 minutes, then either your water was too hot or cold, or your yeast was old. Throw out the mixture. Check the expiry on your yeast. Try again.)

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a bread mixer with dough hooks) add hot water, sweetener, milk, garlic powder, vinegar, salt and 1 cup of flour. (Note: I use hot water to counter the cold of the milk. Make sure this mixture is not too hot. You want it warm when you add the yeast. Too hot and it will kill the yeast.) Stir until well combined. Add an additional cup of flour and beat until well combined. Add the yeast mixture and beat until combined. Continue adding flour, a small amount at a time until a soft dough forms. (note you may use more or less than 4 cups when finished.) Knead dough for 6 to 8 minutes, either by hand or using the mixer.  

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a lid or damp towel. Let rest in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and divide it into 15 to 20 pieces (depending on how big you want your naan). I made 20 pieces of 6 inch naan breads. Keep in mind you will be cooking in a skillet so be sure your pieces will fit your pan.

Roll each piece of dough into a ball. Place on a tray and cover with a damp towel. Let rest in a warm place until double in size, about 30 minutes.



Heat a griddle pan on medium-high heat.  (I find cast iron works best. ) Roll one piece of dough out to about 1/8 inch thick. (If you have one, a tortilla press works perfectly. I use a cut open zip lock bag to prevent sticking to the press. Place dough ball on the plastic, cover with the plastic and close the press. Voila, a perfectly round dough. If necessary, lightly grease your hands to prevent the dough from sticking.)







To roll by hand, either lightly flour our dough to prevent sticking, or lightly oil the dough and roll between plastic. If using flour, add only small amounts so that your dough does not become too dry.

Place on the hot griddle and cover with a lid. Set a timer for 1 minute. After 1 minute, remove the cover. The dough should be puffy and golden on the bottom side.  If not, turn your heat up or down to adjust and cook until golden. 








Flip  the dough and press down lightly to get good contact with the dough and the pan.  Cover and cook 1 minute or until done.




Remove naan from pan and place on a dish and cover with a cloth.  






While your naan is cooking, roll out another piece of dough, ready to cook. Once the first piece is done, add the second piece to the pan. Cover, cook 1 minute, flip, cover, cook another minute. Repeat until all naan is cooked.

Naan freezes well in a tightly sealed zip lock bag. Thaw and serve the naan warm by quickly heating in a hot frying pan.





Cream of Zucchini and Potato Soup Without the Cream

September 19, 2015

cream of zucchini soup

My friend Theresa sent me this soup recipe with her personal stamp of approval. Good thing because the ingredient list didn’t catch my interest and I doubt I would have tried it otherwise. However, it is super fast and easy to make and its absolutely delicious. My Mom and I made it and it was so good we did not even bother adding the milk. I made it again and added cashew milk which made it really rich tasting. With or without the milk, I highly recommend trying this soup.

We used golden yellow zucchini and added carrots to mix so that the soup was a gorgeous creamy yellow color. If you use green zucchini, you still get a creamy colored soup but with green flecs in it. I added parsley to the soup so the green flecs aren’t noticeable.

I am sure the soup would also be good substituting any other winter squash for the zucchini. But this time of year I have too many zucchini and too few zucchini recipes, so a recipe using 6 cups of zucchini is welcome in my house.

Cream of Zucchini and Potato Soup

  • 2 or 3 medium potatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped (about 6 cups chopped)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes (or bouillon for flavoring 4 cups liquid)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (1 tbsp dried)
  • 3 cup unsweetened plant based milk (soy or cashew recommended)

Sep 19 2015_Soup ingredients

Roughly chop the veggies and place in a large saucepan. Add water and bouillon. Bring to a boil and simmer until veggies are tender. Blend a small amount at a time in a blender until smooth. (Use a hand held immersion blender for a chunkier soup) Add the milk and season with salt and pepper to taste. (note if your bouillon is salted you may not require any additional salt) Do not boil soup after milk has been added. Reheat gently on the stove or in a double boiler.

June 2015 Cooking Class

The June cooking class started, as usual with a green smoothie. Smoothies are fabulous way of sneaking more greens into your diet. This time the smoothie featured a green I had not previously used before, watercress. The basic recipe is 2 cups greens, 2 cups fruit, 2 cups water and the juice of 1/2 lemon.

Watercress Pineapple Blueberry Smoothie
Watercress Pineapple Blueberry Smoothie

Watercress Smoothie

  • 2 cups chopped watercress
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple cubes
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

The items prepared for the June class were chosen because they were easy to prepare with common ingredients, involved little time in the kitchen and could be made ahead of time, making them perfect for the hot busy summer months. The menu consisted of Pasta e Fagioli Soup (a vegetarian version of the popular Olive Garden soup), Rice Buddha Bowl (a simple dish of rice and veggies in a teriyaki sauce topped with marinated tofu) and Frozen Chocolate Almond Banana Pie (a variation of the One Ingredient Chef’s Epic Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream Pie).  The recipes are below.

Thanks again to James for the wonderful photographs.

Pasta e Fagioli - vegetarian style
Pasta e Fagioli – vegetarian style


  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot, diced or julienned
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 – 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 28 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked)
  • 1- 28 oz can small white beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 ½ tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ½ of a 340g package Veggie Ground Round
  • ½ lb ditali pasta

Sauté onion, garlic, carrot and celery in a small amount of vegetable broth or water (1 to 2 tbsp) until onion is translucent. Add remaining ingredients except pasta and simmer 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the Veggie Ground Round, if using.

(Note: I have increased the canned tomatoes to two 28 oz cans rather than the previous 1 1/2 cans and increased the broth to 4 cups from 2. This makes for a lighter summer soup. Also , if using your own cooked beans, be sure not to overcook the beans as when added to the soup they will thicken it.)

Cook pasta until al dente. Cool under cold water. Either add pasta to hot soup just prior to serving or place pasta in individual bowls and ladle hot soup over.

Adapted from http://www.topsecretrecipes.com/Olive-Garden-Pasta-e-Fagioli-Copycat-Recipe.html


  •  Cooked brown rice (or soba, vermicelli or spaghetti noodles)
  • 2 cups chopped veggies of your choice per person (onion, garlic, peppers, carrots, celery, green peas, broccoli, mushrooms, etc)
  • Marinated tofu (recipe below)
  • Teriyaki sauce (recipe below)
  • Toppings – green onions, toasted sesame seeds
  1.  Make marinated tofu.
  2. Make teriyaki sauce.
  3. Stir fry your choice of veggies in oil, broth or water until almost done. Add teriyaki sauce and sauté until tender crisp
  4. Warm up brown rice. (optional, when warming up rice, add chopped onion, minced garlic, soy sauce and ground pepper)
  5. To serve: In a bowl layer warmed rice, veggies and marinated tofu. Top with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds

Adapted from http://ohsheglows.com/2014/06/03/speedy-veggie-lsquon-brown-rice-noodle-bowl-with-homemade-teriyaki-sauce/


Buddah Bowl
Buddah Bowl


  • 4 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 4 teaspoons coconut sugar (or granulated sugar of choice)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and store in a glass jar in the fridge.



Marinated Tofu
Marinated Tofu
  • 1 350 g package of extra firm tofu
  • 3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp dry ground ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup water

Drain tofu and slice into ¼ inch sticks. Place tamari, ginger, garlic and water in a non-stick frying pan and mix well. Add tofu and coat thoroughly in marinade. Slowly cook on very low heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid absorbed by the tofu. (this will take about 30 minutes depending on the amount of heat used) Continue to cook until tofu is crispy. (this will take another 30 to 60 minutes) (Note, you can also make this in a low oven – 250F, especially if you find the tofu sticks to your frying pan). Store in the fridge, will keep for at least a week. Also freezes well.




  • 1 cup almonds
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 8 medjool dates, pitted

First Layer:

  • 5 large frozen bananas, sliced
  • ½ cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • ¼ to ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract (if using peanut butter, omit or substitute vanilla)

Second Layer:

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
  • 5 large frozen bananas, sliced
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ to ½ cup almond milk


  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp raw sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

coconut cream

  1. Refrigerate the can of coconut milk for 1 day.
  2. Crust – In a food processor, process almonds until fine, add walnuts and process until fine. Add cocoa powder and salt and process until mixed well. Add the dates one at a time. Process until mixture is crumbly and holds together when pinched between your fingers. (if your dates are very dry, soak in water for several hours then pat dry). If the mixture won’t hold together, add a teaspoon of water to the mix. Press the crust mixture into a large spring form pan lined with parchment paper. Press in well with your hands or a small roller. Place in freezer.
  3. First Layer- In the food processor, place bananas, nut butter, and almond extract. Process until smooth. (It helps to let the frozen banana slices thaw slightly first) If needed, add almond milk to help it process, if needed. Spread over the crust and return to the freezer. If you have the time, let this layer freeze up well before adding the next layer, but if strapped for time, you can add the next layer right away.
  4. Second Layer-In the food processor, place bananas and cocoa and process until smooth, adding almond milk if necessary. Spread over Banana Nut layer and return to freezer. Freeze these layers well.
  5. Topping- Open the bottom of the can of chilled coconut milk. Pour out the coconut water (reserve for use in a soup or smoothie). Open the top of the can and scoop out the coconut cream. Whip the cream with a hand held beater with vanilla and adding enough sweetener to taste. Add the topping over the chocolate banana layer and smooth out. (If desired, top with shaved chocolate or chopped nuts.) Freeze sell before serving (about 24 hours)
  6. To serve – remove from freezer and let sit in the fridge for about ½ hour. Remove from the spring form pan, slice and serve.
  7. To store leftovers, slice and put in freezer so they aren’t touching. This way you can take out one or two pieces as needed.

Adapted from http://www.oneingredientchef.com/banana-pie/

Frozen Chocolate Almond Banana Pie
Frozen Chocolate Almond Banana Pie