Your New Thanksgiving Tradition - Plant Based Side Dishes

There are hundreds of easy vegan Thanksgiving recipes out there that will satisfy all of your friends and family. Here are just a few - as always, you can change these to match up with your tastes or whatever you have on hand. These recipes make about 4-5 servings and can be easily doubled or tripled.

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OVEN ROASTED BALSAMIC BRUSSEL SPROUTS:
- 3 cups Brussel sprouts cut in half
- 3 Tbsp each: balsamic vinegar and olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Arrange Brussel sprouts on a baking sheet.
- Mix together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and drizzle over sprouts.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

SPICY CORN
- 2 cups of frozen organic corn
- 1 tsp each: garlic powder, chili powder, lime juice
-  ½ tsp cayenne
- 1-2 Tbsp of Vegan Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast

DIRECTIONS:
- Mix all spices and add to frozen corn.
- Heat up in microwave or on stove top.
- Sprinkle with cheese or yeast and serve.
 

MAPLE CARROTS:
- 5-6 medium carrots, sliced on diagonal
- 1 Tbsp each: Vegan butter and maple syrup
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- Salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:
- Boil carrots in water for about 15 minutes.
- Drain and stir in maple syrup, butter, rosemar.y, salt and pepper.
 

ROASTED ROOT VEGGIES WITH CURRY
- 4-5 cups of peeled and chopped root veggies: carrots, parsnips, turnip
- 1 large onion, chopped in big chunks
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped fine 
- Salt & pepper
- 2-3 Tbsp Cilantro or parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS:
- Preheat oven to 425. Toss all ingredients except cilantro together and layer on to two baking sheets. Cook for 15 minutes and turn over (or just stir them around). Cook another 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

OPTIONS:
- Replace curry powder with 1 tsp each: rosemary and thyme
 

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ASIAN STYLE GREEN BEANS
- 2 cups of frozen or fresh green beans
- 1/4 cup organic soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp each: garlic-minced, brown sugar and sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS:
- Mix in medium bowl soy, garlic, brown sugar and pepper flakes.
- Toss green beans on mixture.
- Heat up sesame oil over medium heat. Add green beans and cook for 3-5 minutes –keep stirring.

OPTIONS:
- Use broccoli instead of green beans. Add sliced mushrooms or red pepper.
- Change up the spices - use olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper-delete soy, sugar and sesame oil.
 

CREAMED KALE
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 big bunch of kale cut into bite size pieces
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- Salt & pepper
- Grated coconut (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
- Heat oil over medium high heat in a large pan. Add onion and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add kale, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add coconut milk, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Top with coconut flakes if using.

OPTIONS:
- Replace kale with Swiss Chard or spinach.
 

GARLIC MASHED POTATOES
- 8 medium potatoes cut in chunks, peel if you prefer
- 3-4 Tbsp of vegan butter
- 5 cloves of roasted garlic (see note)
- salt, pepper and chives

DIRECTIONS
- Put potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Boil for about 30 minutes.
- Drain potatoes and add to a large bowl. Add butter, salt and pepper.
- Mash with a potato masher or use a hand mixer (don't over mix).
- Mash the roasted garlic and stir into potatoes.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

NOTE:
- To roast garlic, wrap cloves in tin foil add a few drops of olive oil and roast in oven at 400 for 30 minutes.

OPTIONS:
- Replace potatoes with sweet potatoes. Replace garlic with a small sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.
 

BASIC VEGAN STUFFING
- 2 Tbsp of olive oil or vegan butter
- 2 of each, chopped: celery stock, carrot and onion
- 1 cup of mushrooms, chopped
- 1 cup each: cooked rice and dried out bread cut into cubes
- 1 cup of vegetable or mushroom stock
- 1 tsp each: sage, thyme, rosemary, salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS
- Heat up oil or butter in a large pan on medium heat, add celery, carrots, onions, mushrooms and spices.
- Cook for about 5-6 minutes.
- Place rice, bread and veggie mixture into a large bowl and add as much stock as you need to make the mixture moist. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Put the mixture into a baking dish that has been greased with oil or butter. Cover with foil and cook at 375 for about 30 minutes. 

OPTIONS
- The sky is the limit with stuffing, add nuts, dried fruit or other vegetables.

Easy Thanksgiving Starters - All Plant based and All Easy!

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We are starting new traditions! A delicious plant based Thanksgiving dinner that everyone will love! 

Here are a couple of starters that can be served for a casual dinner or can be adapted to serve a large group of your friends and family.

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Spiced Pumpkin Soup (Serves 6 - 8)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups medium chopped onion
- 2 tsp. each: minced ginger and garlic
- 1 tsp. each: ground cumin, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon, salt and pepper
- 4 cups low vegetable stock
- 2 x 15 oz cans pumpkin puree or 4 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin purée*
- 1 C coconut milk
- Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional - for garnish)
- Pomegranate seeds (optional - for garnish)

Directions:
- In a large stockpot heat oil and add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Then add ginger, garlic and spices. Cook over medium heat until onions are soft – about 4-5 minutes.

- Add stock and pumpkin puree. Increase temperature and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.

- Stir in coconut milk and cook for another two minutes.

- Top with toasted pumpkin and pomegranate seeds.

* If you are making your own pumpkin puree, cut your pumpkin in half, remove seeds and place cut side down in a microwavable container. Add about 1 cup of water and heat on high for about 15 minutes (or until soft). Cool and then puree in a blender or food processor.

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This salad is easy to put together and you can change it up and add your fav ingredients. Also, use a bottled vegan salad dressing if you are in a hurry.

Spinach Salad with Cranberries and Pumpkin Seeds (6-8 servings)

- 1 large package of baby spinach
- 1 C of dried cranberries
- 1 C of roasted pumpkin seeds
- 1 C of drained mandarin oranges
- 1/2 C thinly sliced onions

Dressing:
- 2 Tbsp each: Olive oil, Apple Cider vinegar, honey, water
-2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp each: cinnamon, salt and pepper
- Mix all ingredients together is a container with a lid - shake well before dressing the salad.

Directions:
- Combine spinach, cranberries, oranges, onion and pumpkin seeds and toss with salad dressing.

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Here is a classic vegan cornbread that is both delicious and very easy to make. This recipe is dense and not too sweet, so if you like your corn bread sweet, just increase the maple syrup.

Vegan Corn Bread (8 - 10 servings)

- 2 C organic cornmeal
- 1 C all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp each: salt and cayenne powder
- 2 C nut milk (your choice)
- 1/2 C melted coconut oil
- 2-3 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk together milk, coconut oil, vinegar and maple syrup in a large bowl. Taste and add more maple syrup if you like it sweeter.
- Combine all dry ingredient and mix well, then add to wet ingredients and stir until combined.
- Pour the mixture into an 8 x 8 pan lined with parchment paper, and cook for about 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Start A New Tradition - A Plant Based Thanksgiving!

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Over 70 million turkeys are killed in the US and Canada each year - just for Thanksgiving! The conditions they are placed in while they await death, are abhorrent!  We need to end this now.

This year, I am going to inspire you to start a new Thanksgiving tradition! A plant based feast that will be the talk of all your friends and family.

The first of our vegan recipes will be some appetizers and snacks. And as always, feel free to switch up the recipes to suite the ingredients in your cupboard and your taste.

If you don't have time to make up your own appetizers, the stores are filled with some great options like hummus, veggies and dip, vegan cheeses and more!

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Warm Spiced Cashews (make about 2 cups - 10-12 servings)
-  1 Tbsp oil - Olive, Safflower or Grapeseed
-  1 Tbsp of dark brown sugar
-  1 tsp each: cumin, chili powder, garlic salt
-  1/2 tsp each: pepper and cayenne
-  2 cups of unsalted roasted cashews

Directions:
- Heat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Toss all ingredients really well and add to baking pan in a single layer.
- Cook for about 6-7 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly before serving. Store in airtight container.
 

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These sweet potato crescent rolls are easy peasy and taste amazing. You can make the filling up a head of time and bake when you are ready to serve.

Sweet Potato Crescent Rolls
- 1 package of vegan refrigerated crescent roll dough (most are vegan but check)
- 1 cup each: finely chopped mushrooms and onions
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tp each: salt & pepper

-  2 medium cooked sweet poatoes
-  1 Tbsp each: vegan butter, maple syrup and nut milk of your choice
-  1 tsp each: chili powder, salt & pepper

Directions:
-  Heat oven to 375 Farenheit
- Add oil, mushrooms, onions, salt and pepper to a frying pan over medium heat and cook for about 5-6 minutes. Set aside.
-  Add cooked sweet potatoes, milk, butter and spices to a large bowl and mix well.
-  Separate the dough into 8 pre-cut pieces.
- Spoon 1 1/2 Tbsp of the potato mixture and the mushroom mixture onto the large end of the dough and roll the pastry starting at the long end. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet (or an oiled baking sheet).
-  Cook for about 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned.

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This easy and delicious dip can be served with raw veggies, crackers or even some fresh baked bread. If you don't have white beans on hand, you can replace with most types of caned beans.

White Bean Dip (makes 2 cups)
-  2 x 14 ounce cans of white beans, drained and rinced
-  1/4 C of fresh lemon juice
-  1 Tbsp of minced fresh garlic
-  2 tsp of mustard (whatever type you like)
-  1/2 tsp each: salt, pepper and cayenne
-  1 Tbsp of nut milk (you can add more for a thinner consistency)

Directions:
-  Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
-  OPTIONAL: top with a splash of olive oil and chopped parsley.

Easy Vegan Cookies with Blessed Protein

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Blessed Protein Shortbread Cookies, makes about 2 dozen.

1 C dairy free butter
2/3 C vegan confectioners sugar
1 3/4 C flour
1/4 C Blessed Protein Vanilla Chai Protein Powder
1/4 tsp. salt
a few drops of pink vegetable dye (Optional)

DIRECTIONS:

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with a mixer until fluffy, slowly add the sugar and then the remaining ingredients mixing well.
- Roll the dough with your hands making 1" balls and place on your baking tray. Depress each dough ball with your finger or a spatula to flatten.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes (Until edge are slightly golden). Let cool on a cooling rack.

 

Easy Protein Brownies!

Today we all seem to be snackers, and because we do snack so much, finding healthy choices is more important than ever. I made these amazing protein brownies last night with Blessed Protein! They are so yummy and are the ultimate healthy dessert 😍 Here’s the recipe:

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Protein Brownies

- 1 cup almond milk (or other plant based milk)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup mashed banana
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup of @blessedprotein
- 1/3 cup cacao
- 1/2 cup sweetener (I used coconut sugar)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:
- Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit
- Grease a small bread loaf pan or a 8"x 8" brownie pan (you can use parchment paper instead)
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl
- Mix all wet ingredient and then add to the dry
- Combine well and pour into your baking pan
- Cook for 23 - 26 minutes
- Let cool and enjoy!

Really Easy Dinner - Stuffed Mushrooms

This is an easy peasy recipe for a great week-day dinner and fancy enough for company. You can stuff your mushrooms with practically anything, so feel free to change this recipe up! You can sub the potatoes for sweet potatoes or add some of your fav beans and add some Mexican spices.

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Mashed Potato and Kale Stuffed Mushrooms

- 4 large Portabello mushrooms, cleaned (if they are small'ish - use 6 or 8),
   stems removed-save and chop the stems.
- 3 large potatoes
- 1 cup frozen kale (or spinach)
- 1 large leek, diced small (you can sub 1 medium onion)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped small
- 2 Tbsp each of olive oil and vegan butter
- 1-2 tsp each of salt, pepper and thyme

- 1 C vegan cheese shreds
- 1/2 C bread crumbs or crushed croutons

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Directions:
- Heat your oven to 375 F.
- Cut your potatoes into 1/2 thick slices and boil until soft (about 20 minutes).
- Drain potatoes, mash with 1 Tbsp butter, salt and pepper.
- Add 1 Tbsp of oil to a large pan over medium high heat, and add your chopped mushroom stems, leek (or onion), garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper and all the thyme. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until soft. Stir into mashed potatoes.
- Stir cheese shreds and frozen kale into the potato mixture.
- Rub the remaining oil over the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper (don't be shy with the salt). Place on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. 
- Add potato mixture to the mushrooms evenly and top with bread crumbs and a tiny dab of vegan butter.
- Cook for 30 to 35 minutes.

* using leftover mashed potatoes makes this quicker. Also, add any fresh or dried herbs you like.
* Serve with your favorite salad. I served with beet/orange salad!

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Plant Based Options for Easter

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Easter is here - it came really fast it seems. Like any other holiday, the easier you can put your food together the more you can enjoy your company.  Here are some really simple plant based dinner ideas that will make your day healthier and more enjoyable.

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Buying store bought organic hummus is easy peasy. You can serve it with just about any type of fresh vegetable, plant based pitas or chips. There are other great plant based dips available at your grocery store, so serve a few of them for variety. Everyone will enjoy this one.

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Today there are quite a few tasty options available to serve as a main, that will please everyone at your table. Gardein has some great options that come with the stuffing, gravy and cranberries, making your job easier. 

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Side dishes are always the easiest part when you are choosing a plant based menu. Spring offers up great options like asparagus, peas, artichokes and even fiddle heads. Our site is filled with great side dish options, or you can google bazillions of easy recipes. Just make sure to use plant based butters and milks when preparing your side dishes. Salads are always a great option as well, and putting dressings together is as easy as your favorite oil, vinegar and some salt and pepper. You can make your dressing up the day before. 

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If everyone isn't filled with chocolates from their egg hunt, Daiya offers 7 or 8 different types of "cheese" cakes. My favorite is the Key Lime. For a lighter option, fresh fruit with a plant based dip or a chocolate sauce is another really easy option.

Hoping you all have a happy, peaceful, plant-filled easter!

Less Waste This Easter

Over 8,000 tonnes of waste is generated from Easter Egg cards and packaging every year! We have to do better this year. Here are some easy things you can do to bring that number way down.

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One of the easiest and most important things you can do is to buy your Easter treats from a bulk food store (bring your own reusable bags). Choose either foil wrapped candies or unwrapped treats. There are beautiful wooden eggs available for you to stuff full of the kids treats. Mason jars and reusable bags work great as well. If you are going to buy from your grocery store, look for foil wrapped items with as little packaging as possible. And for those of you who have the time and talent, nothing says love like homemade treats.

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All Easter baskets should be reusable. Buy a nice one that can be used for other things during the rest of the year. Skip the plastic shreds, the paper ones look and work just a good, or you can skip all together!

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Egg dyeing: There are tons of tutorials on line for amazing natural dyeing techniques. Did you know that regular dyes are tested on animals?! You can even use kitchen scraps to come up with some great dyes.

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Enjoy this great time of year but remember we need to look after tomorrow as well.  Happy Easter!!

Plant Based Poutine - YUM!

Poutine may have started out as a Canadian treat, but you can find it anywhere now. This plant based recipe is really easy and absolutely delicious! You can either make the entire dish from scratch or buy the ingredients and simply assemble - whichever works for you!

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Quick and Easy Classic Poutine – 4 servings

For the fries:
-  2 large Russet Potatoes, cut into thin fries – leave skin on
-  1 Tbsp Oil (Grapeseed, Olive or Sunflower)
-  1 tsp salt (or seasoning salt)

DIRECTIONS:     
-  Put the fires into a large bowl of ice cold water and let soak for 30 minutes to overnight.
-  Heat oven to 425F (220C).
-  Drain the fries and place on a dry dish towel to dry out as much as possible.
-  Add fries to a large bowl and toss with oil and salt.
-  Spread the fries over two large baking sheets in a single layer and bake for 30-40 minutes
-  ALTERNATIVELY – You can buy premade French fries and cook about 2-3 cups according to the directions.

For the gravy:
-  2 C of sliced mushrooms – any type you like
-  2 cloves of garlic, diced small
-  ½ onion diced small
-  2 C of mushroom stock (or vegetable stock)
-  ¼ C of AP flour
-  2 Tbsp of oil (or vegan butter)
-  1 tsp salt, pepper and thyme

DIRECTIONS:
-  Heat up the oil or butter over medium high heat in a large saucepan.
-  Add mushrooms, onion and garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes (or until soft).
-  Add flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook for 1 minute.
-  Slowly whisk in stock and cook for about 2-3 minutes (until it thickens).
-  ALTERNATIVELY: You can buy a package of Vegan gravy and prepare according to the directions.

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For the Cheese:
-  1/2 cup raw cashews
-  1 cup water
-  3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons tapioca flour
-  1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
-  1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
-  1/2 teaspoon each: salt and garlic powder           

DIRECTIONS:
-  Add the cashews to a small pot and with water. Bring to a boil for 10 to 15 minutes until they are softened.
-  Drain and rinse the cashews and add them with the 1 cup of water and all the remaining ingredients to a blender. Blend until completely smooth. It will be watery.
-  Pour into a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, and continually stir as it cooks (about 5 minutes). Continue to cook and stir for an additional minute to make sure it has firmed up completely. Cool in fridge for 30 minutes or up to overnight,
-  ALTERNATIVELY: Use a Plant based cheese like Daiya Mozzarella Shreds.

To assemble your poutine:
-  Place Fries in a large serving dish. Top with as much cheese as you like and cover with hot gravy.

 

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes - All plant based!

This is an easy dish to make that we call cheesy scalloped potatoes, but if you are serving them to guests you can call them Potatoes au Gratin. Either way, they are delicious! This recipe serves 6 but you can change it up if you are serving a crowd.

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Ingredients:

- 4 cups potatoes, thinly sliced (you can use a mandolin if you have one)
- 3 Tbsp of vegan butter
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened plain almond milk
- 1 cup grated vegan cheese, plus 1/2 cup for topping (Follow Your Heart Cheddar Shreds are perfect)
- 1 tsp each: salt and pepper
- a pinch each: cayenne pepper and paprika

Directions:
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and slowly whisk in flour. Stir for about 30 seconds. Add cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper and continue stirring.
- Slowly whisk in milk and cook until mixture starts to bubble. Add cheese and remove from heat. Stir until all cheese has melted.
- Arrange half of your sliced potatoes in a slightly greased casserole dish then pour half your cheese mixture over. Repeat with the remaining potatoes and cheese sauce.
- Top with your remaining cheese shreds and place in heated oven for one hour.