Masala Lentils from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen!

With so many vegan cookbooks on the market now, it can be hard to choose a selection for our own kitchen. When I began my vegan journey, there were (literally) 2 or 3 vegan cookbooks at the time. Now, there are hundreds and hundreds (have we broken a thousand yet?), and choosing just a handful can feel overwhelming.

Yet, once in a while a new book comes out that really breaks some new ground. I felt Ricki Heller’s book did so, and I feel the same way about Richa Hingle’s Indian Vegan Kitchen. We have had many vegan cookbooks for comfort foods, soups, gluten-free foods, salads, raw foods, desserts, and many cuisines. However, the authenticity of Indian cuisine was still untapped. Enter Richa Hingle.

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen


If you aren’t familiar with Richa, she is an award winning recipe developer, blogger, and photographer behind Her recipes have been featured on, Huffington Post, Glamour, Babble,,, TheKitchn, Cosmopolitan, MSN, BuzzFeed, and more. Richa grew up in India, and combines her love of vegan cooking and vast knowledge of Indian cuisine in this book.

I am a big fan of Indian spices and flavors, and how much legumes and vegetables are favored. Yet, when our family orders from a restaurant, I find the dishes far too hot – even when I order mild! So, I have tended to created Indian dishes myself, even though I don’t consider myself an expert in the cuisine.

So, I was quite excited to get my hands on Richa’s book to experiment with new recipes! And, there are a lot to get excited about. The book has over 150 recipes, from breakfast and snacks to dals, dry curries, casseroles, and other mains, to flatbreads and desserts. Plus Richa shares ingredient and recipe photos throughout, and a detailed glossary of spices and ingredients, and useful kitchen tools. Truly, if you are interested in Indian cooking, this is your one-stop cookbook… vegan or not. There are many recipes that caught my eye, including:

Kofta Balls in Nut-Free Cream Sauce
Tofu in Velvety Pepita Poppy Seed Sauce
Cauliflower and Yellow Lentils
Sweet and Sour Pumpkin
Gluten-Free Chia Flatbread
Savory Oats Hash (this is a breakfast dish, and I think it would be an awesome dinner!)
Chickpea Tofu in Spicy Madras Sauce
Sweet Chickpea Flour Balls
Pistachio Almond Ice Cream

There are so many more enticing recipes like these, you owe it to yourself to check out this book.

Photos from Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen

So far I’ve tried two legume dishes – the Masala Lentils, and the Split Peas with Coconut, Sesame, and Tamarind. They were both excellent. You may be wondering how these dishes “went over” with the kiddos. Well, I definitely tempered the spices. As in, did not use much heat at all. Our girls are usually okay with ‘spices’ just not so much whole seeds and hot spices. Plus, when I served these dishes, I’d pair with brown rice or quinoa. For the girls’ servings, I’d adjust how much of the lentils/peas they had with their grains, again just to balance the more assertive spices for their palates. Personally, I don’t even need the grain! I love these legume dishes straight up. Hubby too. We’ve both always loved the robust flavors of Indian dishes. One other note – I also made the dishes oil-free. I realize this is rather inauthentic, as the oil helps to develop the flavors of the spices through the cooking process. However, I wanted to try it for myself, and also for others reading. I imagine the oil-based version has even more flavor impact, but I gotta’ tell you… we were happy!

Richa has allowed me to share the recipe for her Masala Lentils. I truly love this dish and will make it again. I posted a “fusion” pic on instagram, and later had leftovers for lunch in a salad bowl. Vegan food bliss. That’s all.

Masala Lentils from Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen #vegan #dairyfree

Masala Lentils (Sabut Masoor) Link to print/share

Prep: 20 minutes | Active: 25 minutes | Inactive: 20 minutes | Serves 4

If you want to impress someone with a dal, make it this one. Don’t be afraid of the number of spices—it is quite simple to make. The spices and garlic are blended to a paste and fried in the oil. A hot sauce (chiles, garlic, and vinegar) in the tadka is another secret to getting the right flavor profile. Serve this as a part of a meal, or with rice or naan or other flatbread. (Recipe from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen Copyright © 2015 by Richa Hingle. Used by permission Vegan Heritage Press, LLC.)

3/4 cup brown lentils, washed and drained
2 cups water
2 to 3 teaspoons safflower or other neutral oil
1/2 cup finely chopped red or white onion
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek leaves or 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups chopped tomato
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish
1 tablespoon vegan butter (optional)

1. Combine the lentils with 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Partially cover and cook over medium heat until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

2. While the lentils are cooking, make the tempering. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes.

3. In a blender, combine the garlic, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, fenugreek, paprika, nutmeg, black pepper, sriracha, and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend to combine well. Add this paste to the onions in the skillet. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and salt, and cook until the tomatoes are tender, about 8 minutes. Mash the larger tomato pieces.

4. Add the tempering to the lentils. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Garnish with cilantro and vegan butter, if using, and serve hot.

Thank you Richa for sharing your gift of cooking with our plant-based and vegan community. Wishing you continued success!

x Dreena

Enjoy the recipe, guys! If you have tried recipes from this book, please share your favorites in the comments.

Smoky Paprika Green Bean Salad – HEALTHY HAPPY VEGAN KITCHEN cookbook by Kathy Patalsky

Today I have the honor of sharing a beautiful recipe from Kathy Patalsky’s NEW Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen cookbook!

Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen cookbook  - recipe feature and giveaway!

Many of you already know Kathy, but if you don’t, here’s a quick intro. Kathy blogs at Healthy. Happy. Life. This is her second published cookbook, she released 365 Vegan Smoothies in 2013.  Kathy is incredibly talented, not only as a recipe developer but also as a food photographer. You can count on Kathy to bring striking, vibrant food photos to every post. She captures the beauty that is vegan food – its vitality and abundance! Reading Kathy’s book, it’s apparent why this is characteristic in her work. She writes:

Why vegan? I believe that there is no diet on earth more uplifting to one’s body, mind, and soul than a vegan one. Plant-based foods are the ultimate path toward total body and spirit enlightenment. A vegan diet consists of foods that are rich in life, rather than death. Vegan foods are energizing, healing, kindness-infused, sunshine-filled, and overflowing with vitality-enhancing nutrients, enzymes, and phytochemicals…. embracing a vegan diet is a worthy starting point for positive changes in your life!

Well said.

Kathy is also quite a visionary. She is the mastermind behind, which in my opinion has revolutionized vegan recipes online. Just this year, Kathy launched the Finding Vegan App.

This newest project by Kathy, Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen, is a beautiful compilation of 220 vegan recipes, with all these chapters:

Breakfast; Bakery; Sandwiches; Burgers; Veggie Sides; Cakes, Balls & Fritters; Salads; Bowls; Appetizers, Sides, Snacks, & Party Platters; Entrees; Soups; Desserts; Drinks, Sips, and Smoothies; For the Kids; Holiday Favorites; Happy Life Menus.

That’s some serious recipe content! And the recipes themselves are diverse and enticing. It was hard for me to select a recipe to feature for this post. Naturally, I wanted to choose a dessert, but I thought I’d try being a little less predicable. 😉 Kathy’s recipe for this green bean salad really stood out to me. It’s the perfect combination of flavors and textures. Smoked paprika and tahini mingle in the sauce to coat the tender green beans, and then topped off with crunchy, candied walnuts. Right?!! It’s the ideal spring and summer potluck or picnic salad.

Smoky Paprika Green Bean Salad with Candied Walnuts - from "Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen" by Kathy Patalsky

Smoky Paprika Green Bean Salad with Candied Walnuts


recipage link to print/share

If you do not consider yourself a fan of green beans, keep reading! Even those who snarl at the classic “holiday green bean casserole” will love the spicy, lively, smoky-sweet flavors of this colorful green bean salad. Candied walnuts, soaked with maple flavor, mingle with crisp golden carrots, a smoky paprika-tahini-maple dressing, and perky boiled green beans. The green beans retain a slightly crisp texture from a quick cooking time. Serve as a veggie-filled lunch or at your next holiday gathering, and watch your guests actually get excited to try the green bean dish! Serves 6.

4 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into halves or thirds
2 medium carrots, cut into rounds ¼ cup chopped sweet onion
1 small lemon, juiced 2 heaping tablespoons tahini 2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup 1½ teaspoon smoky Spanish-style
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1⁄8 teaspoon garlic powder
A few dashes freshly ground black pepper
A few dashes cayenne (optional)
1 cup walnuts 2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup Coconut oil spray (optional)

Rinse the green beans in a large colander under cold water. Set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the beans and boil for about 5 minutes; do not overcook the beans or they will become too soft. For crisper (almost raw!) beans, do a very quick boil of just 1 to 3 minutes. Drain the beans and thoroughly rinse under cold water. Let the beans drain completely. Place the green beans, carrots, and onion in a large bowl. Set aside. For the Dressing: In a cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the veggies and toss until all the veggies are well coated. Pour the salad into a serving bowl and set aside. For the Candied Walnuts: Heat a small saucepan over high heat. Add the walnuts and maple syrup and cook for about 1 minute, tossing the walnuts with the maple syrup. (For less sticking, add a spritz of coconut oil spray, if desired, before adding the nuts.) Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Text excerpted from HEALTHY HAPPY VEGAN KITCHEN, © 2015 by Kathy Patalsky. Photos © Kathy Patalsky.

Treat yourself to a copy of Kathy’s book, you’ll love it! I must mention that Kathy is hosting one heck of a book launch giveaway, and stellar blog tour. So, hop over for the details.

Also, Kathy has offered a giveaway of her book for YOU! This contest is open to US residents, enter below by telling us which recipe by Kathy you love the most (if you can pick just one), or which recipe from her new book you want to try first? Good luck!

Plant-Powered Kitchen Housekeeping: Reminder that if you’ve ordered PPF, you are eligible for the free ebook. I get emails daily about if the offer is open to other countries, or if the order was back in November… YES! See this post for details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus

I know I’m really bending the definition of hummus. Technically, this probably should be called a bean dip. But pretty much any chickpea or bean combination pureed into dippy goodness – is hummus in my book. I just can’t help myself… #hummusisafoodgroup :)

Even if we can’t agree on whether it should be called a dip or hummus – I have a feeling we can agree that this combination tastes delicious!

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

This was another recipe intended for my Plant-Powered Families cookbook. I got a little excited with recipe development! When needing to round out the recipes by chapter in PPF, I decided to scale back with a hummus recipe – and share it here. Once again, I thank Nicole Axworthy for bringing her exceptional talent to these food photos.

This hummus is a little unique, combining a mix of kidney beans with chickpeas, along with cooked sweet potato. Yes, sweet spuds! I love sweet potato in bean dips hummus. They lighten up the bean texture, while adding a touch of creaminess and also some sweetness – which is incredibly tasty in contrast to the spices and lime juice. So, whenever I bake sweet spuds, I’ll cook a few extra to have on hand for recipes like this (see recipe note below). I talk about this type of batch-cooking and repurposing ingredients in PPF as well. Just prepping a few extra portions of staples can really come in handy for other meals during the week.

Lime most hummus, this dip is wonderful with veg and snack chips. But, also try ‘repurposing’ this dip. Use it as a spread to hold other fillings in green wraps, or for baked burritos. Or, try a lunch or dinner bowl, gently warming the hummus and topping over cooked quinoa along with some veggies and chopped avocado, with a drizzle of dressing. Think outside the hummus bowl. Do you have any suggestions for turning hummus into a meal? If so, please share!

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus link for Recipage to print/share

Cooked sweet potato lends a little creaminess and sweetness to this hummus-like dip. The lime juice lends a fresh tang, and there’s just enough chili powder and cinnamon to give it flavor without too much kiddo-offending spice!

1 can kidney beans, rinsed (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 cup precooked (and peeled) orange sweet potato (see note)
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 – 1 tsp chili powder (adjust to taste; see note)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 medium or large clove garlic, sliced or quartered
4–4½ tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1–3 tbsp water (as needed to thin)
fresh cilantro or parsley (optional)

In a food processor, combine the kidney beans, chickpeas, sweet potato, tahini, sea salt, ½ tsp of the chili powder, cinnamon, garlic, lime juice, and 1 tablespoon of water. Purée until smooth, gradually adding remaining water as desired to thin dip, and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add fresh cilantro or parsley if desired, and purée briefly to incorporate. Season with additional salt and spices to taste, if desired. Serves 4-5.

Sweet Potato Note: Prebake your spuds! Keep whole and unpeeled, just give a quick wash. Then, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 425/450 for 40-60 minutes (baking time varies based on size of spuds). Bake more than you need at a time, keep extras refrigerated for 4-5 days to use in other dishes – like salads, soups, pasta sauces, and more.

Spice Note: Use a good quality chili powder that isn’t too hot. If you aren’t sure of the heat intensity, start with a lesser amount, and then add more if desired. Our kids like this with 1/2 tsp of chili powder, but you may want to add more. You can also substitute a chipotle powder or chipotle hot sauce, to taste.

Enjoy the hummus, guys! And, quick reminder… if you already ordered Plant-Powered Families, be sure to email us to get that bonus 15 recipe ebook. Those 15 recipes are not included in the printed book, and I know you’ll find some favorites in there! I’m already hearing back from many of you on some of the recipes. So be sure to get your copy. :) For details, see this post

NEW! Plant-Powered Families cookbook by Dreena Burton

x Dreena


Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew

Often times, you guys remind me of my own recipes. When I get an email or tweet from you about a recipe you are loving, I’m reminded to share more about those dishes, right here.

And I appreciate those notes, especially right now! Between preparing for my book launch in May, reviewing final book edits, preparing for Christmas, and managing endless momma to-do’s… my mind is scattered. Terribly scattered. (Moms, please reassure me that you are feeling the same out there with holiday prep!)

When I feel scattered like that, there is something grounding about posting a “tried and true” recipe.

Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree by Dreena Burton

Last week I heard from a few of you about this Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew recipe from Let Them Eat Vegan. It’s a great one-pot plant-based dish that is very nourishing. Though the ingredient list is long, it doesn’t mean the recipe is difficult. Once you assemble the spices, the rest of the prep is rather easy.

Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree

This stew is also the kind of dish that hits the spot when we are eating more processed foods and sweets during the holidays. The warm, earthy spices and nutrient-dense ingredients help us feel more balanced when our diet doesn’t feel so balanced. Healthy comfort food, I guess! Adult comfort food, for sure. (I should mention that this is not one of my kids’ favourite recipes, they aren’t very fond of the notes of fennel and curry. Just a heads up if you have little ones – you might need to top with guac.) :)

This is good straight up, hot out of the pot with a sprinkle of chopped pistachios (shown), or chopped almonds or some pine nuts. It’s also delicious with a little drizzle of Maple-Balsamic Sauce…. just a touch, a little goes a long way.

Enjoy the recipe, guys… and hang in there with the holiday prep. I’ll try to. 😉

x Dreena

Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree

Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew

(vegan, gluten-free, soy-free) link to print/share

This dish is a cross between a casserole and a stew. It is cooked stove-top, much like a stew, but is much more like a casserole in texture. The quinoa and chickpeas are simmered with warm, earthy spices, and balanced with the sweetness of dried figs and sautéed fennel. Serves 4-5 or more depending on accompaniments.

1-2 tbsp water
1 cup onion, chopped
¾ – 1 cup red pepper, chopped (see note)
1- 1 ½ cups fennel bulb, chopped (first remove core and stalks from bulb) (see note)
3 large cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp fennel seed
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp dried basil
3/4 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed (see note)
2 cups chickpeas (rinsed and drained if using canned)
2 – 2 ¼ cups water (+ another 2-4 tbsp if needed, see directions)
1 dried or fresh bay leaf
1/3 cup dried black mission figs, chopped (or dried apricots, chopped or can use raisins, whole)
½ cup pine nuts or pistachios (optional)

In a large pot over medium heat, add the water, onion, red pepper, fennel, garlic, salt, pepper, curry powder, fennel seed, paprika, dried basil, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Stir through, cover, and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine, bring to a boil and let boil for a couple of minutes. Then add quinoa, chickpeas, water (start with 2 cups) and bay leaf and stir through. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium/medium-low, cover and let cook for 18-22 minutes. Once quinoa is cooked, and most of the liquid is absorbed, stir in dried figs, remove from heat and let sit for 3-4 minutes. If the liquid is absorbed but quinoa isn’t tender, add the extra ¼ cup of water and cook another few minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve, with a sprinkling of nuts if desired.

Red Pepper Note: If you don’t have red pepper, you can substitute chopped carrot or winter squash like butternut, though the red pepper adds a nice color contrast with the other ingredients.

Quinoa/Water Note: If the liquid is absorbed but quinoa isn’t tender, add the extra ¼ cup of water and cook another few minutes.

Cooking Tip: After this dish is cooked, keep it covered before and after serving portions. It will get a little dry if left uncovered. Also, as it stands, the heat from the pot will continue to cook the quinoa and so it will absorb more water and get drier. If needed, have some water boiled in your kettle, so you can stir a couple of tablespoons before getting a second helping!

Photo credit: Gratitude to my buddy Emma for these beautiful food photos.

Review & Giveaway: Gourmet Creations spreads (vegan and gluten-free)

Usually when I post about a new dip or spread, it’s a variation on hummus. And, when grocery shopping I rarely find vegan spreads that aren’t hummus. You guys know I love my hummus, but sometimes we want a dip or spread that uses vegetables, or with different flavor combinations not typically found in hummus.

Gourmet Creations Spreads and Dips #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree

Enter Gourmet Creations! This is a local company (based in Langley, BC), that produces a line of plant-based, gluten free spreads and dips. When they reached out to ask if I’d review their line, I was most interested.

Gourmet Creations has six varieties of vegetable- and bean-based spreads that are all plant-based, gluten-free, and nut-free. The flavors are:

  1. Carrot-Ginger
  2. Black Bean Salsa
  3. Red Pepper
  4. Butternut Curry
  5. Mexican Chili
  6. Sundried Tomato

Review Summary

Taste: Overall, the collection of dips are flavorful without being too salty. Most have a tangy flavor, and several have spicy notes.

Ingredients:  Their flavor and ingredient combinations are quite unique. While red pepper and black bean dips are not uncommon, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “Carrot-Ginger” or “Butternut Curry” spread in a store. Also, Gourmet Creations includes some unexpected ingredients within each flavor. The Red Pepper spread has quinoa as one of its ingredients. The Carrot-Ginger spread includes sunflower seeds – so unique! I also liked how the Mexican Chili has chickpeas that had been crushed or chopped to add body to the spread, a nice textural touch.

Favorites: My favorite spreads were the Butternut Curry, Sundried Tomato, and the Mexican Chili. The sundried tomato spread works particularly well spread on sandwiches and wraps for lunches. I gently heated the Butternut Curry spread, as it reminded me a little of a butternut squash soup, but obviously thicker and with more tang. The Mexican Chili was good straight up with tortilla chips.

Family-Friend Factor: As a mom, I’d say that these dips are best suited to more mature palates, as most have some spicy tones. However, diet is learned. I remember being so surprised to witness my friend’s toddler scooping salsa straight from a jar! So, I guess it depends on how much spice you generally eat in meals. The spiciest dips (to me) were the Carrot-Ginger and Butternut Curry. I think the Red Pepper dip had the mildest flavor. (I used the red pepper dip in a quinoa bowl with avocado and served it to our 13-year old – she really enjoyed it.)

Gourmet Creations dips and spreads #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree

Serving Suggestions: Often when we buy dips and spreads, we simply think to pair them with tortilla chips, rice crackers, or pita breads. There are so many other ways to enjoy these dips. Here are some of my ideas…

  • Red Pepper Dip – As mentioned, I used it in a quinoa bowl, but you could also work it into hot pasta or use as a base for pizza.
  • Sundried Tomato – This was my favorite spread for sandwiches, but I also tried it in these cucumber bites, hollowing out about 3/4 of the centre (not all the way through) and filling with the spread. Do something similar with mini-peppers, makes a great snack or party appetizer.

Gourmet Creations Sundried Tomato Spread #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree

  • Butternut Curry – Put an autumnal, ethnic spin on pizza, spreading as a base and topping with roasted vegetables and cashew cheese. Or, thin it out with coconut milk and mix it through steamed veggies like cauliflower, parsnip, and winter squash.
  • Mexican Chili – I liked this one straight up with tortilla chips, but it would be terrific mixed with quinoa and stuffed in taco shells,
  • Black Bean Salsa – Try this in stuffed baked potatoes. I’d use a combination of sweet potatoes and white potatoes, add a little of the salsa, some green onions, chopped red pepper, top with vegan cheese if you like and bake.
  • Carrot Ginger – This spread was lovely on this toasted gluten-free bread (below), and even better with a layer of cashew cheese. Gourmet Creations Carrot Ginger Dip #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree

I’m sure you could come up with other serving ideas. And… you have the chance, since Gourmet Creations is offering 2 boxes (12 dips) as a giveaway! To enter, leave a comment telling us which dip you’d like to try, or one of your serving ideas.

Since these dips need to be refrigerated, contest is open to resident of BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. For more details about Gourmet Creations spreads and their tasting events in your area, visit their site.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Gourmet Creation send samples of their spreads for me to try, and I was compensated for my time to review and host this giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

Green Chickpea Hummus

A couple of months ago, Paul returned from Costco with a big bag of frozen green chickpeas. I had heard about them, but never tried them, so I was pretty excited about his food find.

Green chickpeas are the raw, fresh form of chickpeas we know and love. They aren’t a fresh legume you find often in markets, but it is becoming easier to find them frozen. The taste, to me, is somewhat a cross between edamame and green peas. So, I think they would substitute well in many dishes where you might use either green peas or edamame. I first tried them in a cooked dish (briefly cooking through), and really enjoyed them. Then, I turned my thoughts to…

Green Chickpea Hummus by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Hummus. Glorious hummus! I’ve only ever made hummus with cooked legumes, so I wasn’t sure the fam would dig this more ‘raw’ version. Plus it was green. That’s usually tricky with kids. Well, to my surprise and delight, it was a hit! With Paul and the older girls, anyhow. Our 5-year old is in the stage where everything green (other than green smoothies) is “ewwww”, so her vote doesn’t count right now. 😉

Personally, I would choose this over classic hummus… at least most days! The combination of flavors is a little addictive, and it is just so fresh and vibrant. We noshed on it straight up, but you could also use it in sandwiches and wraps, or for topping sweet spuds (that combination would be tasty)!

If you can get your hands on some frozen green chickpeas, they are worth experimenting with. If you can’t find them, try substituting frozen edamame here, or a half-and-half combo of frozen edamame and frozen green peas.

Green Chickpea Hummus by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Green Chickpea Hummus

link to print/share

3 cups (frozen) green chickpeas, blanched and drained (see note)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 medium clove garlic (can use larger if you love garlic)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (don’t omit!)
1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 1/2 – 3 tbsp tahini
3/4 – 1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2-3 tbsp water (or more if desired to thin)
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

In a food processor (see note), combine all ingredients, starting with 3/4 tsp of salt and 2 tbsp of water. Puree until smoothed out, scraping down the processor bowl as needed. Taste, and add additional salt to taste, and extra water to thin out as desired. Serve!

Chickpeas Note: Add chickpeas to a pot of boiling water, and let cook about 3 minutes. Remove, and run under cold water. I cook them very briefly just to bring out their vibrant green color. Be sure to run them through cold water to stop the cooking process. If you cannot find green chickpeas, use a combination of green peas and edamame (half of each preferably), or the full amount of edamame.

Food processor Note: If you have a high-speed blender, you can puree it in the blender for a smoother consistency. I quite liked the more textured consistency with the food processor.

Green Chickpea Hummus by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Please share your ideas for using green chickpeas, and of course your feedback on this recipe! 




Maple-Chipotle Chickpea Salad Dressing (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

For the past year or two I’ve been coming up with a slew of new salad dressings. All whole-foods based, all delicious! Things have been so busy with my new book (promise, details soon!), mothering, and other projects that I haven’t had a chance to properly organize or even post one of these recipes. Until today!

Maple-Chipotle Chickpea Dressing by Dreena Burton #vegan #oilfree #dairyfree

This Maple-Chipotle Chickpea Dressing is made with a base of chickpeas and a touch of tahini. It is naturally (easily) oil-free, and is also gluten-free and (obviously) dairy-free. I love this dressing. I created it one day with some leftover chickpeas, and was immediately hooked! I especially love it over steamed kale (steam the kale leaves just like the collards), along with hot quinoa and a mix of seasonal veggies.

Maple-Chipotle Chickpea Dressing by Dreena Burton #vegan #oilfree #dairyfree

For the photo we used sweet potatoes and avocado with the kale and quinoa, and I’ll tell you this combination with the dressing makes a pretty wicked lunch bowl! It’s so nourishing and wholesome, and every bite hits a little different flavor note that’s just so scrumptious! Also, it’s a substantial dressing with a fairly thick texture, which ‘clings’ nicely to salad ingredients.

There are many ways to make salad dressings and sauces without oil, using nuts, seeds, avocado, and even applesauce! I’m thinking of putting together a simple, inexpensive ebook with maybe 10 recipes. Would you guys be interested in this idea? Please chime in if you are. I think it’s a fun idea, but need to know if it’s worthwhile. So, let me know what you think!

And, of course… also let me know how you like this recipe. Enjoy, guys!

Maple-Chipotle Chickpea Dressing by Dreena Burton #vegan #dairyfree #oilfree

Maple-Chipotle Chickpea Dressing

link to print/share recipe

A creamy, flavorful dressing made with a base of chickpeas and flavored with maple syrup and the smoky essence of chipotle!

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 – 1 tbsp tahini (adjust to taste, 1 tbsp will give a richer, fuller flavor)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
2  1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1  1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp chipotle hot sauce (I use Tabasco brand; can use more if desired!)
1/4 cup water, or more to thin as desired
optional: 2-3 tbsp cilantro, chopped

In a blender (I use the Blendtec twister jar), add all ingredients except the cilantro. Puree until very smooth (this will take less than a minute in a high speed blender, may take several minutes in a standard blender). Taste, and adjust with additional lime juice, sweetener, or salt as desired. If using the cilantro, stir through. For a thinner dressing, add a touch more water and stir through. Serve! Makes about 3/4 – 1 cup dressing.

Another shout-out to Emma for assisting with these beautiful photos!

Summer Chickpea Salad

Anyone else feel like August snuck up on them? This summer is whizzing by, and I had grand plans to post (a little) more often. I have stacks of new recipes to share, but wow, I’m having a hard time keeping up. Three kiddos at home through summer isn’t exactly “free time”. (Any mamas out there relating??) Still, I will do my best to share these new goodies, starting now!

You guys know I love beans. Love ’em, legume-y goodness love. Not only for their nutrition, but I just love how versatile they can be in dishes, and adding unparalleled heartiness. Yet, I typically turn to hot dishes when making bean dishes – like soups, casseroles, stews, and on. (You too?)

As much as I love these dishes, it’s summer. Some days are just too hot to turn on the oven, or even the stove! While I love my hummus and dips as much as the next legume-lovin’ vegan, sometimes I want something different.

Summer Chickpea Salad by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

I’ve been making a variety of bean-based salads this summer. Salads with beans. Not a novel idea, I know. But, somewhat novel for my family to eat for dinner. They associate “hot food” with dinner, so it’s a bit unusual for them to see a cool bean dish on the table. I meet them halfway. I typically serve up the salad alongside some grilled spuds. (I grilled sweet spuds this week for the first time, wow!) Plus some guac. (YUM!) That rounds out the happiness factor for this vegan family of five.

Today I’m sharing my Summer Chickpea Salad. It brings summer tomatoes, spinach, and basil together with chickpeas, olives, and avocado in a bright, tangy lemon dressing. Chickpeas are my bean of choice because I think their firm texture holds up well amongst the softer tomatoes, avocados, and spinach. But, if you prefer another bean, cannellini beans would sub well. Enjoy!

Summer Chickpea Salad (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free) by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

Summer Chickpea Salad (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, oil-free)

ReciPage link to print/share

This salad is a breeze to make, and makes a deliciously satisfying meal when you’d love a hearty bean dish but it’s too hot to turn on that oven! Serve over greens, with a side of grilled potatoes or sides of bread.

2 – 2 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp salt, rounded

1/2 tsp lemon zest (optional)

2 cups cooked chickpeas (see note)

1 cup tomatoes, cut in bite-size chunks

1 cup avocado, cut in bite-sized chunks

1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced

1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup torn/chopped basil leaves

1-2 tbsp chopped chives (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice (starting with 2 tbsp), maple syrup, dijon, salt, and lemon zest (if using). Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, avocado, olives, spinach, and basil (and chives, if using). Toss through, gently so not to break up the avocado too much. Taste, and if you’d like more lemony tang, add the extra 1/2 tbsp of juice. Season as desired with more salt or with some pepper. Serve!

Chickpea Note: I like the firmer texture of chickpeas in this salad. If you’d like to try another bean to replace chickpeas, try cannellini beans.

Avocado Note: If not serving straight away, store in the fridge in a covered container. Note that the avocado in this salad will oxidize slightly after several hours, this salad is best eaten the same day. If you want to make ahead, add the avocado just before serving.

Kick it Up a Notch: If you’d like some spicy kick, grate a clove of garlic into the vinaigrette, whisking through.

Idea: Want to add a little crunch to this salad? Top with 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts or chopped pistachios or walnuts!

Serving Suggestion: Serve over a bed of greens alongside grilled potatoes with Cashew Cheese!

Hope you enjoy the salad, please comment with your ideas and feedback, I love to hear from you!



Lentil Walnut-Apple Burgers topped with “Almonnaise”

Fourth of July and Canada Day (July 1st) seem to launch summer – the food, the picnics, BBQs, and kids breaking from school. For us, summer essentially started two weeks ago. Our teachers went on strike, so the kids abruptly left school two weeks early. Our girls will be going into grades 8, 5, and kindergarten in September. Our eldest had her grade 7 graduation this year, and our youngest her preschool graduation. Milestones. There’s been a lot going on to wrap up our school year, and I’ve enjoyed some simpler with the girls these past couple of weeks. (Not completely simple as we just got a pup, more on that in another post!) :)

With the kids home unexpectedly early, training a new pup, and also getting ready for the cover shoot for my next book (this Sunday, more on that in another post too), I’ve really enlisted their help with more work around the house, including some of the food prep. The older girls mostly, as it’s far more productive, and they are really curious about ingredients and the process. For instance, one of their favorite lunches is a quinoa bowl. I usually speedily prepare it, but lately I’ve had them take turns. As busy as it can be in the kitchen (we don’t have a ton of counterspace), it’s really enjoyable. Feeling in the moment with them, enjoying the simplicity of preparing easy, tasty, healthy food. That’s been lovely. Mind you, there’s a little competition going on regarding whose quinoa tastes best! Geez! Well, better than squabbling over toys.

We also tried a new burger recipe, discussing what ingredients and flavors might work together well. Eldest girl is quite artistic so she was drawing characters on our recipe plan. That recipe still needs some development. 😉 But this burger recipe does not! These Lentil Walnut-Apple Burgers are tucked away in the burgers chapter in LTEV. I wanted to show people in that chapter just how fantastically delicious whole foods vegan burgers can be! Our family loves these, and I think the kids quite enjoy the small bites of sweet apple inside the otherwise very savory burger (as do I). Don’t skip the apple, I promise it works!

Lentil Walnut Burgers with Fresh Apple

Along with the burgers, I’m sharing my recipe “Almonnaise”. It’s a fresh take on mayonnaise, made by blending presoaked almonds with a few essential seasonings. No, it doesn’t taste quite like mayonnaise. Nor like vegennaise. It tastes different, but I think that different is better. With a creamy, rich texture and more-ish flavor that you expect from mayonnaise – just fresher and healthier. Scrumptious on veggie burgers and sandwiches, but also wonderful in green wraps, baked spuds, and wherever you’d like a dollop of creamy/salty/rich sauce. I love it, but then those of you that have LTEV know that I am a little saucy.

These burgers will be a hit year-round, and especially for your Fourth of July and Canada Day BBQs and celebrations. Enjoy! (p.s. If you’re looking for a festive dessert, this pie was a hit for many folks last year.)

Lentil Walnut Burgers with "Almonnaise"

Lentil Walnut Burgers (link to print/share)

These savory burgers will surprise you with little bites of sweetness, courtesy of fresh apple.  Plus, they hold together quite well, without being too starchy or heavy. Makes 9-11 patties.

1 tbsp olive oil or water (for saute, see note for skipping saute and cooking onions/garlic with lentils)

1 1/2 cups onion, chopped

3 medium-large cloves garlic

1/8 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper (generous is good)

2 cups cooked green lentils (will need about ¾ cup dry lentils, see note)

1/2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce (omit for wheat/gluten-free version or use a gluten-free vegan worcestershire)

1 ½ tbsp mild miso (I use Genmai brown rice Miso)

1 tsp dried thyme (or 2-3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves)

3/4 tsp dried sage

½ tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp sea salt

¾ – 1 cup ground steel cut oats (or ¾ – 1 cup rolled or quick oats; see note for firmer burgers) (use gf-certified oats for gluten-free option)

3/4 cup raw walnuts (or can toast to enhance the flavor)

1 cup apple (firm, crisp apple like Gala, Fuji, or Yellow Delicious), peeled and diced (in small cubes) – *toss with a squeeze of lemon juice (see note)

In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the water/oil. Add the add onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and let cook 7-8 minutes until onions have softened.  Meanwhile, in a food processor, add the cooked lentils, worcestershire sauce, miso, thyme, sage, basil and salt, and blend through.  When onion mixture is ready, add this to the food processor and puree through again, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the oats and walnuts, and pulse through a few times to break up the walnut (but not fully pulverize, leave in a rough chop).  Transfer mixture to a large bowl.  Add apple and mix through until well combined.  At this point, you can refrigerate mixture until ready to fry in patties (refrigerating for at least 1⁄2 hour will make it firmer and easier to form). Take scoops of the mixture and form into patties with your hands. In a non-skillet over medium-high heat (use a wipe of oil unless you have a very good non-stick pan), add the patties, flatten gently on the pan, and fry for 6-9 minutes on each side, until golden and a crust has developed; flip them over only once or twice (the second side will cook quicker than the first).

Serving Suggestions:  Instead of whole-wheat burger buns, try serving in pitas, or a folded whole-grain tortilla with your favorite fixings!  Try a dollop of “Raw-nch Dressing”, p<>, or a large romaine salad tossed with “Classic Caesar Dressing”, p.<>.

Saute Note: Some days you might want to skip the step of sautéing the onions and garlic.  If you’re having one of those days, simply toss the onion and garlic in with the dry lentils and water (see lentil cooking note below), and cook through while the lentils simmer.  You can omit the oil and salt, and simply add a titch more salt with the puree (lightly round the ¼ tsp salt in the pureed mix).

Leftovers? Use leftover patties in sandwiches, much like a pate, or crumble and add to other fixings in a pita or wrap sandwich.

Oats Note: For ground steel cut oats, simply add steel cut oats to a food processor or blender and process until very fine, like a coarse flour.  If you don’t have steel cut oats, you can substitute quick oats for the ground steel cut oats.  These burgers form patties that will hold together, but are still fairly soft.  For firmer burgers, add another ¼ – 1/3 cup of oats.

Lentils Note: If cooking lentils yourself, use about 3/4 cup dry lentils to about 1 ¾  – 2 cups water.  Add a bay leaf, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer covered for about 35 minutes or longer, until lentils are tender and the water is mostly absorbed.  If the lentils are tender but there is extra water, either drain off the water, or remove cover and simmer until water has evaporated).  Of course, feel free to use canned or packaged cooked lentils in a pinch!

Apple Note: You can also grate the apple for the mixture if you prefer.  Use a large-holed grater, and then toss the grated apple with the lemon juice as per directions. Also, if refrigerating the mix for more than ½ – 1 hour, reserve the apples.  This mixture can be refrigerated up to a day or two in advance, however, the apples will lose their texture and taste if they sit in the mixture that long.  So,  if preparing burgers in advance, you can prepare the entire mixture and refrigerate, and then stir in the chopped apple later, before getting ready to pan-fry the patties.

‘Almonnaise’ (link to print/share)

This thick, rich sauce can easily take the place of mayo for your favorite burgers or in sandwiches.  You might just find yourself topping it on just about everything, from baked spuds to pasta, beans and rice, or just a big ol’ dollop on a raw salad.  Make a double-batch (see note); it is that good! Makes about 1 cup, single-batch.

¾ cup soaked (and drained) raw almonds (see notes)

1 tbsp red wine vinegar or lemon juice

¼ tsp dill seed (or ¼ scant celery seed), or omit either, see note

¼ tsp ground mustard (optional, see note)

¼ + 1/8 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup + 1-3 tbsp water

optional: 1-2 tbsp neutral flavor oil (ex: organic almond, avocado oil – omit for oil-free,  add another splash of water if needed)

Using a blender or immersion blender and deep cup or jar, puree all ingredients (starting with 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp of water) until very, very smooth, scraping down sides as needed.  (A high-powered blender works best to achieve a smooth consistency, but a standard blender or immersion blender can step in, just takes a little longer to smooth.)  If texture is very thick, add another 1-2 tablespoons of water (or more, if needed).  I like this mixture fairly thick, so if you want to thin it out more, go ahead and add more water until you have your desired consistency.

Almonds Note:  Soaking almonds makes them softer for pureeing, and will give a little creamier consistency (plus make the blending easier). If you don’t have time to soak the almonds, go ahead and still use ¾ cup of raw almonds – and just add more water.  You will need to start with ½ cup, and then add another tablespoon or two if needed to get the mixture blended and thinned out a little. I use raw almonds that have the skins intact, so this ‘naise has some flecks of color from the almond skins.  If you don’t want this color, feel free to use blanched almonds, or remove the almond skins after soaking (it’s easy, they slip off)!

Double-Batch Note: The blender has an easier time working through this mixture if you double the batch.  It’s not essential, but if you think you will use it up within 4-5 days, consider a double whammy!

Kid-Friendly:  I love this ‘naise best with the dill seed and also the dried mustard, but our kids like it without the dill (or celery seed) and dried mustard.  Also, our children like the addition of just 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast to this mix – give it a try!

Another shout-out to Emma Potts for these mouthwatering photos!

Do you have any inventive burger toppings? Share your fave toppings and inspire others too! 

Impromptu Post: Gimme Chimis with Guacamole Con Alga Marina!

I’m sitting at my computer early on a Sunday morning catching up on emails. As it’s Father’s Day, I’m also thinking about what special meal I might make for dinner tonight. Hubby has some definite favorites, including these burgers. Oh and these burgers – okay, most burgers! But he loves any hearty meal that is tasty, whether a soup or casserole… and he also loves Mexican dishes. I got to thinking “what meal would he really like on Father’s Day… what would other dads really like?

These Gimme Chimis from eat, drink & be vegan came to mind – I haven’t made them in ages. I hadn’t planned to post today, but since I was thinking about this recipe and realized it’s one you may not know about – here we are!

There are great flavors going on in this meal, but also wonderful texture. Though these chimichangas aren’t deep-fried, the tortillas still become deliciously crisp on the seared edges, and then the filling is soft but also has some vegetable crunch. DO add all the spices! Even though you may think “really? … cinnamon? … cloves?Yes! It’s a very small amount that contributes a wonderful depth of seasoning.

Of course, don’t forget that guacamole in the background. Normally I don’t follow a recipe for guac. I typically just season up some mashed avocados with lemon juice and salt to taste. But, I’m including the recipe for this guacamole, because it’s a little special!

Gimme Chimis with Guacamole Con Alga Marina - by Dreena Burton - vegan

Gimme Chimis

Link to print/share

These chimis are spicy and smoky, but without intense “heat”. They are incredible served with the Guacamole Con Algo Marina (recipe below) and a salad with Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette (in ed&bv).

1/2 – 1 tbsp olive oil or 1 tbsp water

1/2 cup onion, finely chopped (1 small onion)

2 medium-large cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp dried oregano, crushed

1 – 1½ tsp chipotle hot sauce (I use Tabasco brand, can use more for extra heat if you like!)

1 tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cloves

½ tsp sea salt

1 ½ cups julienned zucchini (or combination of zucchini and finely sliced green peppers)

½-3/4 cup tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 14 oz. (398 m) can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)

½ cup chopped tempeh or chopped tofu  (or another ½ cup beans of any type)

1½ tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 – 10” whole grain tortillas (see note)

2 tbsp olive oil (for frying, if you have a very good non-stick pan, you can skip the oil)

Accompaniments for serving: Lime wedges (a must!), chopped cilantro or parsley, guacamole (see recipe) or chopped avocado, chopped fresh tomatoes, etc.

Heat the olive oil/water in a skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, chili powder, oregano, chipotle sauce, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, and salt and let cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then add the zucchini and tomatoes, and let cook another 5-7 minutes until the veggies have softened.  Add beans and tempeh (or other choice), and stir through cooking for another 3-5 minutes.  Finally, stir in the vinegar and remove mixture from the heat.  Transfer mixture to a bowl or plate (scraping out all the filling from the pan) to cool a few minutes and then get ready to fill your tortillas (Preheat your oven to 425 degrees while preparing your chimichangas.  Lay out your tortillas, and spoon ¼ of the filling in the centre of each, leaving an inch or two on the top and bottom.  Bring the bottom edge over top of the filling, and begin to roll up the burrito, tucking in the sides as you go until fully rolled.  Heat the olive oil in your skillet over medium-high heat and place the burritos, folded side down into the pan.  Cook for a few minutes on each side to lightly brown and then either transfer chimichangas to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or if your skillet is oven-proof, then simply place your skillet in the oven.  Bake for about 15 minutes.  Remove and serve with any accompaniments you like! Serves 3-4.

Note: You can use 4 tortillas and make very large chimichangas, or use one or even two more tortillas to make them much thinner and less ‘stuffed’.

Guacamole con Alga Marina

Guacamole does not have to be complicated.  In fact, it’s one of the easiest, fastest – and most delicious – dips you can make.  This is a very basic recipe, made with the addition of kelp granules, which add a salty flavor along with some extra nutrition.   This recipe name translates literally to “guacamole with seaweed”, and this recipe name was offered up by a visitor to my website (and let’s face it, this recipe name makes this dish sound fantastically sophisticated)!

1 ½ – 1 ¾ cups avocado, cut in chunks (roughly 2 medium-large avocadoes, peels and stones removed)

1 – 1 ½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

¼ tsp sea salt (a little scant)

1 tsp kelp granules (I use Maine Coast Sea Seasonings brand)

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients (starting with 1 tbsp of lemon juice) and mash.  Mash to desired consistency, keeping some chunkier pieces or mashing until fairly smooth.  Serve, seasoning to taste with additional sea salt and lemon/lime juice if desired (you may want the extra lemon juice and a touch more salt if using the full 1 ¾ cups of avocado). Serves 4 or more (maybe 2 in my house)! 😀

Note:  Want to enhance this guacamole?  I like it simple, as above, but you can certainly jazz it up and vary it from time to time.  Some options include chopped fresh tomatoes (about ½ cup), a finely chopped shallot, a clove of garlic (finely minced or pressed), finely chopped cilantro (about 1/3 cup), a few pinches of cumin, or a combination of some of these ingredients.

Note:  Since avocado oxidizes quickly, it’s best to serve this soon after making it so the guacamole doesn’t turn brownish.  If, however, you need to store it for an hour or more, see this post.

Do you have a special meal planned for Father’s Day? What are you making? 

Ok, I’m off to get organized for Father’s Day as this post was totally unplanned! Enjoy your time with the special dad in your life today.