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.

Vegan Mother’s Day Recipes: Cinnamon French Toast & Potato Shallot Frittata


How do we do it, moms? Day in, day out, we are master jugglers, keeping things running (relatively) smoothly. Can you imagine if we took a few days off? I mean completely off? Result: sheer mayhem.

We can at least take time off for Mother’s. I sure plan to do so. Other years, I’ve continued to carry on with most of the things I need to do in a day. This past year I’ve learned to treat myself better. Some self-care. Whether that means spending a little money on myself, or spending a little time with myself. It also includes being aware when I jump in to fix or take care of something, or checking in when I’m feeling unnecessary guilt.  I’m not entirely zen with, but I’ve definitely grown.

So, this Sunday, I may do a little shopping and then just hang out with the family. We have our wee girl’s  birthday party on Saturday, followed by her actual birthday on Monday (I labored all Monther’s Day with her 6 years ago!), and then my book officially launches on Wednesday! Indeed, I shall enjoy some me time on Sunday.

I don’t expect the kiddos and hubby to make a breakfast or brunch for me. Actually, I’d prefer if they didn’t. Not sure I want to look at the mess or how long it takes them to tidy it up. 😉 But, if you have cooks in your family, here’s hoping they cook up something special for you this Mother’s Day! Or, perhaps you might like to plan a brunch for your own mum. If so, I have two incredibly delicious vegan recipes for you!

For those that enjoy a sweeter breakfast, I’m sharing my Cinnamon French Toast recipe from Plant-Powered Families. If you prefer a savory breakfast, you’ll enjoy this Potato Shallot Frittata from Let Them Eat Vegan.

If you like a bit of sweet and savory… get your order into the kitchen. I say you deserve both.

Cinnamon French Toast by Dreena Burton #soyfree #vegan with #nutfree option

Cinnamon French Toast (recipe from Plant-Powered Families)

recipage link to print/share

I remember French toast fondly from childhood. It was the “treat” breakfast we had as kids, probably far easier for our parents to make than pancakes, and a great way to use up odds and ends of bread. This version is much healthier than what I ate as a kid, and I tell you our girls love it just the same.

1 cup plus 1–2 tablespoons plain or vanilla unsweetened nondairy milk

1 tablespoon white chia seeds 1/3 cup soaked and drained cashews (see note for nut-free option)

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4–1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Sliced bread of choice (see note)

In a blender or using a handheld blender, puree the milk (starting with 1 cup; see note), chia, cashews, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and sea salt until very smooth and thick (it will get thicker as it sits a little while and the chia swells). Prepare a nonstick skillet by wiping over with a touch of oil (you need a nonstick skillet, or this will be a sticky event!). Turn heat to high for a few minutes to heat up the pan, then reduce to medium/medium-high. Dip a slice of bread into the batter. Turn over and let it sit in the chia mixture for a few moments to soak, then remove and place in the skillet. Repeat with other slices, frying 2–3 pieces or more at a time, depending on the size of your skillet. Fry for 3–5 minutes on each side, until light brown. Keep the heat high enough to get a good sear/crust on the bread, but reduce if it’s scorching. Note that the slices will be sticky until they are ready to be flipped, so be patient. Repeat until all bread is used. Serve with fresh fruit and pure maple syrup.

Serving Idea: Another fun serving idea is to make sandwiches out of the French toast, slathering some nut butter between two slices, then serving with maple syrup. Serves 3-4.

Nut-Free Option: Replace 1/3 cup of cashews with 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds.

Bread Note: You may use 6–10 slices of bread, depending on the size of the slices.

Milk Note: After the batter sits for a few minutes it can become quite thick. You can stir through another 1–2 tablespoons of milk if it has gotten too thick with standing (if you have less than half the batter left, use just 1 tablespoon).

Potato Shallot Frittata by Dreena Burton #vegan

Potato, Shallot, and Pepper Frittata (recipe from Let Them Eat Vegan)

recipage link to print/share

This might better be named ‘Frit-not-ta’, since this quiche-like dish contains no eggs, yet has a great texture from the cashews and tofu. The oat bran topping lends a slight crunchy texture.

For sauté:

1-2 tbsp water

¾ cup shallots, chopped

2 cups red or Yukon gold potato, cut in small cubes (peeling optional)

¼ tsp sea salt Pinch black pepper

1 – 1 ¼ cups combination of red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, chopped

Base mix:

½ cup raw cashews ¾ cup plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond or soy preferred) (+ another 1-2 tbsp to reserve)

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 large clove garlic 2 tsp brown rice miso (or other light miso)

½ tsp ground mustard 1/2 tsp (touch scant) sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 pkg (12 oz/350g) extra-firm tofu

1/4 tsp dill seeds

½ tsp agar powder

2 tsp fresh thyme or oregano, chopped


¼ cup oat bran (use gf certified for gluten-free option, or substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs)

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

Couple pinches sea salt

Preheat oven to 375. In a skillet over medium heat, add the water shallots, potatoes, sea salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are cooked through and golden, about 15-20 minutes (add a teaspoon or two of water if potatoes are sticking, to deglaze the pan). Add the bell pepper and cook through for another couple of minutes. Meanwhile, in a blender (see note), add the cashews, milk, lemon juice, garlic, miso, ground mustard, salt and pepper, tofu, dill seeds, and agar. Blend until smooth and creamy. Once vegetables are cooked, transfer to a bowl and stir in the tofu mixture (scrape out as much of the tofu batter as possible, and use another 1-2 tbsp of milk if needed to help loosen the mixture), as well as the fresh thyme/oregano. Transfer mixture to a lightly oiled glass pie plate (or other baking dish), and smooth out.  In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over top of fritatta.  Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, then set oven to broil and cook for another couple of minutes to crisp up the topping slightly. Remove from oven and let cool about 10-15 minutes, then cut in wedges or scoop portions to serve. Serves 4-6.

Note: I use a Blendtec for the pureeing, and so it easily and quickly smooths out the tofu along with the cashews and other ingredients. If you don’t have a Blendtec, you will need to first blend the cashews with the milk and lemon juice until smooth, using an immersion blender or standard blender. Then, add the tofu and remaining ingredients to the blender (or food processor, if having trouble smoothing with the blender) and blend until very smooth.

Do you have a favorite Mother’s Day recipe or food tradition? Please share!

p.s. I have a VERY special Mother’s Day giveaway coming up next week. Hint: Both these recipes use a blender! A new fancy appliance for mom’s day would be awesome, huh? 

If you need ideas for mom’s day gifts, maybe consider a little plant-powered love, or cookbook.

Happy Mother’s Day!

x Dreena

photo credit thanks to: Nicole Axworthy

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.

Quick Quinoa Paella: Recipe & giveaway of “Plant-Power” by Nava Atlas

Today I have a featured recipe from the new Plant-Power cookbook by Nava Atlas. I feel I don’t need to introduce Nava, as her work is legendary in the vegan cookery world. For those of you new to the vegan diet, however, let’s get you acquainted!

Plant-Power cookbook by Nava Atlas

Nava Atlas is one of the pioneering vegan and vegetarian cookbook authors (check out all her titles!), and is the creator of Nava also writes outside of the cookbook genre, producing visual nonfiction books. She is also an active fine artist, with works shown in museums and universities through the U.S.

Nava’s latest book, Plant-Power is a cookbook lover’s delight! To begin, it is a full-color, hard-cover book, with 125 recipes and 75 food photos throughout. Beyond the recipes, it is also a solid vegan cooking resource with detailed guides on stocking your pantry and fridge, to seasonal cooking, and practical tips for meal preparation.

Inside “Plant-Power”: Skillet Tofu Teriyaki

I often say that eating a plant-powered diet isn’t about what we “give up”… it’s what we GAIN: the new foods we eat, our expanded awareness and practice of compassion, and (usually) our renewed abundant health. Nava expresses this most eloquently with a quote on the back cover:

A switch to a plant-based diet doesn’t mean sacrifice or missing out. We get to revel in and enjoy themost flavorful, colorful, life-enhancing foods available. What I’d like you to take away from these pages is a message of ease, abundance, and pleasure. Cooking with the most healthful (not most exotic or expensive) ingredients nature has to offer is a joy!

Nava delivers this food passion throughout every page in Plant-Power. This book is dived into two main parts, the first focusing on lifestyle tips (ex: benefits of the diet, top myths, stocking a pantry, kitchen tools, meal planning strategies), and the second part devoted to recipes and menus.

Inside “Plant-Power” – Barbecue-Flavored Chickpea Sandwiches

The recipe range from stews, pizza, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and breakfast to a special “Asian Express” chapter and another on “Tortilla Specialties”. Very nice additions to the usual repertoire of recipes! For those with a fondness for sweets (who’s pointing at me?!), the dessert section is brief, but includes several beautiful fruit and chocolate-based treats.

One of the recipes that really caught my eye is this Quick Quinoa Paella. It combines two of my personal favorite plant-strong foods: quinoa and artichokes! Nava is sharing this recipe with all of you today…

Quinoa Paella by Nava Atlas, recipe from "Plant Power" cookbook

Quick Quinoa Paella

ReciPage to print/share

Paella is a Spanish pilaf traditionally made with white rice and seafood. We’ll do away with the seafood here, of course, and since we’re dispensing with tradition, let’s do away with white rice as well. Using nutritious and quick-cooking quinoa instead, you can have a colorful meal in about thirty minutes. This goes well with Spinach, Orange, and Red Cabbage Salad.

Recipe from Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes by Nava Atlas. ©2014, published by HarperOne, reprinted by permission. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.

Serves: 6

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or 3 tablespoons vegetable broth or water
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
1 cup sliced baby bella (cremini) mushrooms (optional)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric (see Note)
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve
2 teaspoons fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
One 14- to 15-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
2 cups diced ripe tomatoes
2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat the oil, broth, or water in a large, deep skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the garlic, bell peppers, and mushrooms, if desired, and sauté over medium-low heat until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth, turmeric, and quinoa. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the thyme, artichoke hearts, peas, tomatoes, scallions, and half the parsley. Check if the quinoa is completely done; if not, add 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring frequently, just until everything is well heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer the mixture to a large shallow serving container, or serve straight from the pan. Sprinkle the remaining parsley over the top and serve at once.

Note: As another departure from tradition, I’ve suggested turmeric rather than the customary saffron. Saffron is harder to obtain and very expensive, but you’re welcome to try it if you have access to it. Use 1 to 11/2 teaspoons saffron threads dissolved in a small amount of hot water.

Nutrition information:
 Calories: 222 with oil, 202 without oil; Total fat: 4g with oil, 2g without oil; Protein: 10g; Carbohydrates: 40g; Fiber: 9g; Sodium: 240mg

Nava has generously arranged a giveaway of Plant-Power. Enter through Rafflecopter, tell us YOUR favorite Nava Atlas recipe!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.



Returning to Blogging: Peanut Thai Vegetable Stew

Hello friends. I’m officially back to blogging! I was very touched by your heartfelt comments on my last post. I read them all, quite a few times. Your kindness reached me during a rough time. Thank you.

I’ve had some personal insights in the last couple of months. My journey has just begun. I have more to learn and absorb, yet I am feeling far more optimistic, supported, and peaceful. I realize this sounds very vague. What I’ve discovered and am discovering is not easily put into words for a blog post. At least not right now. What I can say is that this process is helping me live with more awareness. Some days are easier than others, as it’s a process. Still, it’s allowing me to appreciate and respect who I am, and learn to make choices that are in alignment with this new understanding.

As obscure as this might seem, one thing that is very clear: my work is very much a part of me. So, I am most certainly continuing, with some changes. These changes may not even be obvious for you all, and will hopefully help me work with more balance.

Finally, in returning to blogging my intention is to share delicious plant-based recipes for you to enjoy, without judgement. Most of us judge ourselves harshly in one or more areas of our lives. I’m not immune to this judgement, these past months have helped me recognize that. I hope to present my recipes and ideas to you in a place that feels welcoming and encouraging so I can continue to share nourishing foods that will satisfy and delight!

With that, my return to blogging begins with this Peanut Thai Vegetable Stew from Let Them Eat Vegan. It is full-flavored and will infuse a little exotic into your weekday meals. Many of you have reached out to tell me how much you love this dish, so I wanted to share it while the weather (for most of us) is still a little cool. Enjoy… :)

Peanut Thai Vegetable Stew by Dreena Burton,

Peanut Thai Vegetable Stew

ReciPage link to print/share

This beautifully flavored stew is brimming with vegetables and tofu in a creamy peanut-coconut sauce that is not too rich or heavy. Sure to become a favorite!

1 tbsp water
2 cups onion, diced
5 medium-large cloves garlic, minced
2 – 2 ½ cups yams, peeled and chopped in bite-size chunks (see note)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp. whole coriander seeds
1/4 – ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you like the ‘heat’!)
1 stalk lemongrass
1 ½ – 2 cups zucchini, halved or quartered lengthwise (depending on thickness of zucchini) and sliced about ¼” thick
1 cup red, orange, or yellow pepper, chopped in chunks
2 cups vegetable stock
3/4 – 1 cup water
1 can (400 ml) light coconut milk
1/2 cup + 1-2 tbsp natural peanut butter (can substitute almond or cashew butter)
1 tbsp tamari
1 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
½ – 1 350-g pkg (12-oz) firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes, about ¾” (see notes for use and substitution)
6-8 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, loosely packed (can substitute Swiss Chard leaves)
2 ½ -3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
fresh cilantro for serving (optional)
few lime wedges for serving

In a soup pot over medium heat, add the water, onion, garlic, yams, salt, coriander seeds, and red pepper flakes. Cover and let cook for 5-7 minutes. While cooking, prepare the lemongrass. Cut off the lower yellow bulbous portion (about halfway), and remove the outer tough leaves (discard outer leaves along with upper portion of stalk). Using your chef’s knife ‘bruise’ this bulbous portion. Cut a few shallow slits in the stalk and then use pressure on your knife to open and bruise the stalk, to help release its flavors (do not chop the stalk, keep in one piece). Add the lemongrass, zucchini, bell pepper, stock, water, coconut milk, peanut butter (start with ½ cup + 1 tbsp), tamari, and fresh ginger. Stir through and increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low/medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. After this time, add the tofu (see note) and gently stir through. Simmer covered for another 3-5 minutes, or longer until yams have completely softened and can be easily squished. Add the fresh spinach and lime juice (start with 2½ tbsp, and add more if desired), stir through and serve immediately (so spinach stays a vibrant green color). Taste, and if you’d like a full peanut flavor, add the remaining 1 tbsp of peanut butter, or more if desired. Remove piece of lemongrass before serving. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro if desired, and with a lime wedge to squeeze juices on individual portions. Serves 4-5.

Ingredients 411:

1) You can use the orange-flesh tubers that are most commonly known as yams in Canada (but as sweet potatoes in the US), or you can use the yellow flesh tubers most often labeled as sweet potatoes in Canada.

2) You can choose to use either the full package of tofu, or a lesser amount to your preference. If you’d like a very substantial stew, use the full package (or most of it). If you’d like a lighter stew with fewer pieces of tofu, use roughly ½ of the package, and refrigerate the remaining tofu (tightly wrapped in plastic).

Savvy Subs and Adds:
If you don’t care for tofu, add a can of black beans (rinsed/drained first; roughly 1 3/4 – 2 cups). The beans will give similar hearty substance as the tofu.

It This Apron Could Talk: Do not add the spinach until just ready to serve. If making this soup ahead of time, omit the spinach and then reheat soup, adding the spinach for last minute and then serve!

Peanut Thai Vegetable Stew from "Let Them Eat Vegan" by Dreena Burton

Have you made this stew yet? If so, please share how you enjoy it!

It’s good to be back, thanks for all of your support. And, shout-out to Emma Potts for the glorious food photos!

x Dreena

Walnut-Pecan Balls – and Reminiscing

My very first recipe for a vegan meatball was in The Everyday Vegan. That recipe isn’t a traditional meatball, more of an asian-fusion with flavors of hoisin, miso, cilantro and paired with a sweet and sour sauce. It’s actually one of my favorite recipes from TEV, though I rarely make them now (new recipe development has its drawbacks)!

Walnut-Pecan Balls from Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen

I started writing that book 15 years ago, and I still remember grappling with what to call a vegan ‘meatball’. The recipes in that book didn’t replicate many traditional omnivorous dishes. But, still, when you have a meatball that’s not meat, what do you call it? Many vegan recipes rhyme or use wordplays on the original name. I settled on Sweet and Sour Neatballs, and still like that name. It hints to a different flavor profile, and – hey, it’s easy to say!

Now when I create recipes that take similar forms as many meat-based dishes (ex: meatballs, burgers) I tend to refer to the main ingredients or flavor profiles of the recipes (Mediterranean Bean Burgers, Umami Almond Quinoa Burgers, etc) rather than use wordplays.

So, when I developed this recipe for Let Them Eat Vegan, the recipe naming was simple and obvious – Walnut-Pecan Balls. The walnuts and pecans are just the beginning, however. There are other flavorful and savory elements in these balls that they probably deserve a more glorified name! At the end of the meal, the name is not what counts – it’s all about how it tastes and how it makes you feel. This recipe delivers both great flavor and good nutrition. Pair them traditionally with pasta and tomato sauce – or try some of the other serving suggestions in the recipe (below).

Walnut-Pecan Balls - from Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton,

walnut-pecan balls, all photos by:

These Walnut-Pecan Balls are also one of my husband’s favorite meals. We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary just last week. We were wed in San Diego, California on January 16, 1994. We enjoyed a simple ceremony – sincered and intimate, unfussy and relaxing. We flew out of Los Angeles that evening, just before the 1994 earthquake. I remember hearing the news as we were toasting each other in-flight. We have many lovely memories of our wedding – and have created many more since, especially with our three girls.


I was feeling particularly emotional about our anniversary. Twenty years is a long time, and we were together several years before we were married. We were just kids, really. Yet, we knew our connection and commitment was real, true, and strong. I took some time to create a playlist of our songs that hubby could listen to commuting to work that day. Songs from when we first met, our long-distance relationship, through marriage, having children, and other milestones. As I listened to these songs over a couple of days, it really hit home how much we’ve been through as individuals, as a couple, and as parents.

Some songs made me feel a little sad. Not just because they reminded me of some of our harder times, but also because it brought me back to those early days, when it was just us. We both work so hard, and are so busy as parents. It’s easy to get caught up in our roles and routines, not taking time to remember that connection… why we first fell in love. After the sadness passed, I felt filled with gratitude and love.


When I woke on our anniversary, I had an email waiting from hubby. He had written a letter, reflecting on our years together. It recalled sweet and joyful memories, as well as how we’ve endured more challenging times. He also reminisced about my journey as a cookbook author, saying:

I am so proud of everything you have achieved. That includes your accomplishments in business and your amazing publishing career.  I vividly remember all of your effort into those early proposals and the rejections coming back one by one. Then when you accomplished your goal, what a time that was, just seeing the first book in print, the Toronto tour and Canada AM.

Our eldest daughter was just six months old when we took that trip for the book tour and Canada AM appearance. I recall nursing her in the hotel, toting baby food (she had just started solids), and trying to pull it all together to be on national television!

I also clearly remember writing and mailing those proposals with return envelopes. Knowing that I needed just one “yes”! I believed it would happen, and it did. Now, our eldest is now almost 13, with two younger sisters, I have published 3 more books, one ebook, and working on my 5th cookbook.

Much like how our relationship has grown, changed, and evolved over 20+ year – so has my food knowledge, recipe development, and recipe naming. (Mostly for the better, I think!)

With that story I hope you enjoy this recipe. Maybe it’s one you will love for 20+ years too. 😉 Yeah… some things never change. You can always count on me to throw in a good dose of corny.

My thanks again to Emma of Coconut and Berries for these delectable photos! Visit her blog, she shares some incredible recipes and ideas on her site!

Walnut-Pecan Balls from Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

Walnut-Pecan Balls gluten-free option, oil-free option

ReciPage link to print/share

These savory balls have a buttery taste from a combination of walnuts, pecans, and sautéed vegetables.  They are delicious topped on pasta with a good quality pasta sauce, but can also be used as finger foods to dip in a warmed marinara sauce, or formed into patties and eaten as plant-strong veggie burgers! Makes about 17- 20 balls.

1 tbsp water or olive oil (to saute – use water for oil-free version)

1 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1¼ tsp dried oregano leaves

½ tsp dried thyme leaves

1/4 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup pecans

3/4 cup walnut

1 cup + 2 tbsp rolled oats (use certified gluten-free for a gf option)

2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce (use gluten-free for wheat/gluten free option)

1 tbsp tamari (can use coconut aminos)

½ tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp blackstrap molasses

1/2 – 1 tbsp olive oil (or less/more as needed for frying), optional (see note for oil-free option)

In a skillet over medium heat, heat the water/oil, onion, celery, dried oregano, thyme, sea salt, and pepper. Cook for 10-14 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions and celery are nicely softened and golden brown (add extra water if needed to prevent sticking). Once onions and celery have softened some, add them to a food processor with the remaining ingredients (except last 1 tbsp of olive oil for frying), and process until the mixture becomes crumbly, and then scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Process again to incorporate any larger pieces, and just as mixture becomes sticky and/or forms a ball, stop processor.  Refrigerate for at least 1⁄2 hour (chilling will make it firmer and easier to form). Take small spoonfuls of the mixture, about 1 tbsp (using a small cookie scoop is helpful, but otherwise form with your hands, rinsing hands when needed to keep mixture from sticking to your palms).  If cooking in a non-stick skillet (see note for oven-baking), heat the oil over medium-high.  Add the balls and fry for 5-7 minutes (reduce heat if burning), shifting the pan to turn sides of balls every minute or two to form a golden crust fairly evenly around the balls.  Remove, and serve.

Serving Suggestions:  Most obvious, serve these warm with tomato sauce and pasta.  But, also try as an hor d’oeurve with a warmed sauce (ex: a marinara or other sauce such as my Raw Tomato Sauce, or Living Caesar Dressing for dipping. Also try adding them to a salad to transform a light salad into a full meal.

Oven-Baking Note:  If you prefer baking these in the oven, place balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, turning once or twice during baking, until golden brown.

Idea: These mixture can also be formed into patties and pan-fried as a burger patty.   Or, it can be placed in a loaf dish and baked.

Leftovers? Refrigerate them and use another day as a sandwich filling, simply mashing and stirring in a sauce or condiment of choice, and chopped veggies if you like.

Please feel free to share your feedback about this recipe, how you liked them and/or how you served them! Thanks for indulging my personal ramblings as well, maybe some of you relate from a relationship or parenting perspective. Have a delicious plant-powered week! xx Dreena

Protein-Rich Foods Kids Will Love: Today’s Parent

As parents raising children on a plant-based diet, the question of protein is always present. At first we question ourselves. After researching we come to understand how a whole-foods vegan diet provides ample protein, and are (usually!) at ease with the issue. Yet, the question remains, as we are often asked about protein by friends, family, and also new vegetarians and vegans.

12 Protein-Rich Foods Veg Kids Will Love - Plant-Powered Kitchen via Today's Parent

Other than recipe emails, protein for kids is the question I receive most from readers.

What are some protein-rich foods I cam give my kids? What are recipes kids will love? What foods do your kids like most, Dreena?

"Instant" Chocolate Chia Pudding

So, you will enjoy this special post that I’ve written for Today’s Parent:

Protein-Rich Foods Vegetarian Kids Will LOVE!

I’ve shared 12 kid-tested, mom-approved recipes in this piece – including a couple of new recipes!

Hempanana Smoothie

photo credit:

I ask that you please support this article. Comment on the post, and share it through your social media networks. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to write this piece for Today’s Parent. We can encourage mainstream media to include more vegetarian lifestyle pieces through our support. So, please share this piece through facebook, pinterest, twitter, Google+, etc. Thank you!

Read on at Today’s Parent, and please share your thoughts here, as well as there. Enjoy!

p.s. Special thanks to Sarah Wise for cheerleading my work and helping make this article happen!

Other photos credit to Nicole Axworthy.

Healthy Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes: From Brunch to Dinner to Dessert


To help you make this Thanksgiving a Plantsgiving, I’ve gathered my favorite festive vegan menu items for brunch, dinner, and dessert to complete your holiday weekend.

Vegan Thanksgiving Menu: from brunch to dinner to dessert!


Our girls love French Toast, it’s a real treat for them. So, if you want to serve a breakfast that feels very special during your Thanksgiving weekend, try this Cinnamon French Toast recipe from Plant-Powered Families. Pair with maple syrup, fresh fruit, or try with a dollop of my Creamy Cashew Dip.

Cinnamon French Toast by Dreena Burton #soyfree #vegan with #nutfree option

Hempanola and Acai Antioxidant Smoothie This smoothie has a chocolate-berry flavor, and isn’t overly sweet. It is a great energy boost, and really can be a breakfast on its own. But, you can always make my ever-popular Hempanola and nibble on that while preparing your other Thanksgiving recipes! For those looking for an oil-free granola, try my Gingerbread version!



Creamy Breakfast Rice Pudding If you’re looking for an easy, comforting, plant-strong breakfast, this is it. Using some leftover brown rice (that you may already have on hand for other Thanksgiving recipes), you can have a cozy, creamy, pudding-like warm cereal in minutes. If you have PPF, this recipe is also in there!

Creamy Breakfast Rice Pudding by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #oilfree


Sweet Balls. If you haven’t tried the Sweet Balls from Plant-Powered Families yet, they make a great finger food with a dipping sauce!

Sweet Balls

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus. Because no holiday is complete without hummus! #hummusisafoodgroup 😀


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

Rawesome Nut Dip While amazing on its own with veggies or crackers for dipping, also try as a filling for lettuce wraps, to fill in endive leaves or rice paper rolls. Or, use in small phyllo pastry rolls and bake for a warm appetizer.

Rawesome Nut Dip from Plant-Powered Kitchen

Dinner – Sides/Salads/Soup

Kale-Slaw with Curried Almond Dressing With the combination of apples and cranberries, this is such a festive salad, and is also another reader fave!

Kale-Slaw with Curried Almond Dressing

Citrus-Tahini Salad Dressing To me, the flavors in this dressing can complement just about any Thanksgiving or holiday dinner. Serve with a bright, crisp romaine salad with pomegranate seeds and you’re set!

Citrus Tahini Dressing from Let Them Eat Vegan

Roasted Sweet Potato Puree This simple but flavorful side dish is always on our holiday menu.

Roasted Rutabega Puree So is this one! (It’s my very favorite way to eat rutabega, the addition of cinnamon changes everything.)

Almond Roasted Cauliflower This dish is unbelievably addictive and has turned cauli-naysayers into cauli-lovers. You have to try it to believe it!

Almond Roasted Cauliflower from Plant-Powered Kitchen

Other vegetable sides I love include Smashing Sweet Spuds (pictured above with the No-Fu Loaf), White Bean Mashed Potatoes, Lemon Dijon Green Beans, Oven-Sweetened Beets with Sage, Gingered Broccolini, and Duo of Roasted Fennel. These recipes are all from LTEV, so if you have the book, look them up!

Traditional Cranberry Sauce This is so easy you’ll wonder why you haven’t always made cranberry sauce from scratch! (p.s. I freeze any leftovers, works a charm!)

Thick ‘n Rich Gravy It’s as it sounds – thick and rich! You might be happy with just this and some spuds!

Sweet Potato Peanut Stew with Chickpeas This soup is very seasonal, and the infusion of peanut is not heavy or cloying. This would be a beautiful addition to your Thanksgiving menu, or to have another day during your weekend.

Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Maple-Spiced Pepitas A new addition this year, this soup makes a great starter, and is so wonderfully easy to make!

Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Maple Spiced Pepitas, by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree #oilfree


Dinner – Main Dishes

Festive Chickpea Tart.  This recipe from Let Them Eat Vegan was featured in VegNews many years ago and has become a reader favorite since. It isn’t difficult to make, and you can even bake it without a crust if you prefer. Definitely a table “centrepiece”.

No-fu Love Loaf I had no idea this recipe from LTEV would be such a hit with readers. I’m pretty sure the sensation started after Susan posted the recipe in her review of my book. (Thank you Susan!) Since then, I’ve heard from so many of you that love it. It’s definitely holiday fare, especially when paired with gravy and side veggies. This recipe also has notes to modify for a gluten-free option.

No-Fu Love Loaf from Let Them Eat Vegan

Moroccan Phylllo Rolls If you’d like to have something with a different flavor flair, these rolls are an outstanding centrepiece. They have flavor, texture, and an elegant presentation with the Balsamic Maple Sauce.

Moroccan Chickpea Vegetable Phyllo Rolls with Balsamic Maple Sauce (from "eat, drink & be vegan")


Chocolate Pumpkin Pie What do you get when chocolate meets pumpkin meets pie? This! It’s easy to make, and the flavor combination is outstanding.

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie from eat, drink & be vegan

Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping This is the dessert I always make for Thanksgiving. The whole family loves it, and it’s a little lighter after a big meal than other desserts.

Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping #vegan #glutenfree #wfpb #oilfree

Pumpkin Cake Because we need more pumpkin! 😀

Pumpkin Cake with Cooked Vanilla Frosting

Gluten-Free Pie Crust with “Apple of My Eye” Pie Filling This is a recipe that takes a little more time, a little more effort – but is most definitely worth it! Those of you that have made it have reported back with rave reviews. You will love the crust (even if you aren’t gluten-free), and the filling is apple-cinnamon perfection.

Gluten-Free Apple Pie from Let Them Eat Vegan

Pumpkin Chia and Raw Chocolate Pudding Parfaits This is a fun dessert or even snack to make for the kids. You can make the full parfaits, or just the pumpkin pudding and then garnish with chocolate. Either way, delicious!

Pumpkin Chia Pudding by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree

Hello Vegan” Bars If you are looking for a cookie bar recipe, these hit the holiday mark! They are festive and oh-so-irresistible.

Hello Vegan Bars from Let Them Eat Vegan

Cocoa Cookie Dough Balls Maybe you’ve had enough decadent sweets, and just want a simple, healthy treat for you – or the kids! Now affectionately dubbed “CCDBs”, these are the perfect easy, healthy treat! Hint: They are especially yummy paired with a homemade spiced latte! Bonus: They freeze fabulously, if you can get them there. 😉

Cocoa Cookie Dough Balls by Dreena Burton #vegan


Please share what recipes YOU are having for Thanksgiving. I’m a food geek, I love to hear this stuff! I’m not alone in that, right? 😉 What plant-powered dishes always make it to your Thanksgiving menu? You trying anything new this year?