Spiced Pear Muffins - Vegan

Spiced Pear Muffins - Vegan

I'll be the first to admit that baking does present greater challenges than most of the dinners I cook because the chemistry is usually more precise, but in the case of muffins, only a few fundamentals are necessary to understand and you'll get perfect muffins each and every time. It is important to measure out the dry ingredients separately from the moist ingredients and then stir the moist ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined without over-mixing.

Spiced Pear Muffins

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Chickpea, Spinach and Beets in a Coconut-Tomato Curry

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Chickpea, Spinach and Beets in a Coconut-Tomato Curry

Combining plump buttery chickpeas with spinach and beets in a creamy coconut milk and tomato gravy with aromatic spices not only puts plenty of flavor on the plate, but also provides for a complete, filling and wonderfully nourishing meal served with fresh cooked white or brown rice or a flat bread. And with curry powder and panch phoran spice blends made up ahead of time, it comes together in no time at all.

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Creamy Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce with Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Shell Pasta

Creamy Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce with Crispy Roasted Brussels and Shell Pasta

Fettuccine Alfredo is a classic Italian creation that is essentially egg noodle pasta smothered in a rich sauce of butter and Parmesan cheese, and sometimes cream. When I first became a vegetarian, it was one of the only dishes I could eat when dining out, assuming it was on the menu, unless I wanted a boring salad with little substance instead. Of course, now that vegetarianism has become a choice for a much greater number of people worldwide, vegetarian options are more varied in restaurants now than ever before.

But what to do for vegans if they remember this dish and enjoyed it? After all, butter and cheese are off limits. I'm not strictly vegan, so I can still enjoy the classic preparation, and have made it at home, but I wanted to try a vegan version, with the twist of adding some grilled vegetables on the side too with the sauce. Cashews and nutritional yeast to the rescue again! I used shell pasta instead of fettuccine to "cradle" the cashew Alfredo sauce. The result was a filling and comforting chilly weather meal. I didn't miss the cheese and I don't think you will either. As always, nuts and nutritional yeast makes for a nice substitute that is protein rich and wholesomely delicious and satisfying.

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10 Nourishing Vegetarian and Vegan Pumpkin Recipes

Autumn to most of us means bringing out our favourite cozy sweaters and blankets. If you are interested in cooking and eating well, cooks find themselves turning to comfort foods, like soups, baked dishes and treats. It's also about enjoying the harvest. Unique to this time of year are pumpkins. For a few months of the year, they are in abundance and cost very little. To really stretch things out, I always buy several pie pumpkins - they have more flavour than large ones - roast them, mash up the flesh and divide into 1 cup portions to store in the freezer for future use. This way, I can extend the season. Don't forget to save and roast the pumpkin seeds because they are a special treat and happen to be high in protein and a good source of phosphorus, magnesium and other minerals.

Now onward to some recipes from the archives to satisfy that pumpkin craving. Please note not all of the recipes are vegan friendly, but most are, and many can be adapted to suit dietary requirements.

Kidney Bean Pumpkin Chili

Rich, hearty and slightly smokey chili includes not only the goodness of pumpkin purée, but also red kidney beans, carrots, pepper and mushrooms to fill out the bowl. Finished with some lime juice and a splash of balsamic, this chili is sure to warm the toes.

Pumpkin Potato Soup

I like some spice in my kitchen and pumpkin and potato combine well here to warm your spirit and body. This is an easy dish to make too, so it's great for a mid-week lunch or as part of a main meal.

Chickpea Quinoa Burgers

If you adore little baked delights as much as I do, then you'll want to try these protein packed patties that can be served as burgers with bread or buns, or over salad greens with some homemade tomato chutney or tomato sauce. They smell heavenly as they bake in the oven.

Pumpkin Falafel

On the subject of little bites, falafel never fails to please, especially when served up with some zesty tahini lemon sauce and wrapped in pitas or your favorite flatbreads.


A twist on my classic and spicy refried beans, I added some pumpkin purée for added depth and texture and of course, a healthy dose of nourishment.

Pumpkin Carrot Soup

On those especially chilly days, serve up a bowl of this colourful and creamy soup cooked with toor dal and Indian spicing. Every slurp is a treat for the tastebuds.

South Indian-Style Quinoa with Potato, Pumpkin and Tamarind

Quinoa, pumpkin, potato and peas tossed together with classic south Indian tamarind, coconut and spices makes for an interesting, rather untraditional side that is every bit as satisfying and delicious as you can imagine. This is a hearty dish so consider serving it up with a vegetable soup.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Waffles

For breakfast, waffles with a hot cup of coffee or tea are a fine way to warm up in the morning. The divine aroma of the baking waffles with pumpkin pie spicing will have you nibbling on them before the maple syrup is even poured on top to complete the feast.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Of course, pumpkin also features well in desserts, and this light and creamy cheesecake is a fine example of that. It's crustless too. The only drawback is waiting for the opportunity to enjoy a few bites.

Pumpkin Pie with Fresh Puree

Who can resist the allure of pumpkin pie, especially when a homemade pumpkin purée is baked in a homemade pastry crust. Creamy and rich, with the aromatic spices we associate with baked treats, this might be the best pumpkin pie I've made yet.