Autumn Dinner Loaf (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

Hey kids! First, thanks for all the enthusiasm about the Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake last week. I guess I’m not at all alone loving healthier dessert.¬†And chocolate. ūüėÄ

Today is a super-quick post because I’ve been “up to my eyeballs” in mommy matters and work. I have two new projects I’m working on. Yes, two! I hope to share details soon.

For now, I want to share this recipe in time for Thanksgiving – and the holidays. It’s another from Plant-Powered Families. It’s just so seasonal and easy (really easy, guys!) that I had to get it out to you this week. If you’re a fan of the No-Fu Loaf, I think you’ll enjoy this one. So, without a lot of chitty-chat, here it is… Autumn Dinner Loaf!

Enjoy, and Happy ThanksLIVING my friends! x Dreena

Autumn Dinner Loaf from "Plant-Powered Families" #vegan #glutenfree

Autumn Dinner Loaf link to print/share

This comforting dinner loaf is perfect for the holidays, but may become a year-round favorite! Serve with Home-Style Gravy, along with baked potatoes and green beans. Serves 5‚Äď6

2 cups carrot, sliced
2/3 cup whole raw almonds
1/2 cup sliced green onion
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1‚Äď1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground dried sage
1 medium-large clove garlic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 lightly packed cups cooked and cooled brown rice
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons rolled oats

Topping Options (see note)

BBQ Topping:
21/2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1‚Äď2 tablespoons rolled oats

Dry Topping:
2 tablespoons almond meal
1 tablespoon rolled oats
Pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 375¬įF. Lightly wipe a glass loaf pan with a smidgen of oil. Line the bottom of the pan with a strip of parchment paper (place it in so it hangs over the short ends of the pan; this helps for easier removal of the veggie loaf from the pan).¬†In a food processor, add the carrots, almonds, green onions, nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, sea salt, rosemary, sage, garlic, and lemon juice. Process until the mixture smooths out and starts to become sticky, scraping down the bowl as needed.¬†Add the rice and puree. At this point the mixture should be sticky enough to hold slightly when pressed. Add the oats and process through.¬†Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and evenly distribute.¬†If using the BBQ topping, spread the sauce over the top of the loaf, and then sprinkle on the oats.¬†If using the dry topping, combine the almond meal, oats, and salt in a small bowl, and then sprinkle over the loaf.¬†Cover the dish with foil and bake for 33‚Äď35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5‚Äď7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for about 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

Toppings Note: If you don‚Äôt care for barbecue sauce, you may prefer the dry topping. Either way, pair with the “Homestyle Gravy” from Plant-Powered Families, or my Thick ‘n Rich Gravy.

Serving Suggestions: Refer to this post for other Thanksgiving menu ideas!

Autum Dinner Loaf from "Plant-Powered Families" #vegan #glutenfree #oilfree #Thanksgiving #meatloaf #vegetarian #holiday #food

photos by Nicole Axworthy

Vegan Pecan Pie

In my last post I announced I’ll be judging the pies category for the¬†Earth Balance Holiday Bake-Off. So, it’s only appropriate that I share a pie recipe with you all, yes?

Before I do, I want to clarify my role with this bake-off. I am not being compensated by Earth Balance to judge or promote this bake-off. I did receive some sample products (peanut butters, snacks), but I’m not receiving any financial compensation. I didn’t disclose this in my last post, and want you all to know that I’m supporting this bake-off to (1) help encourage people to move into vegan baking, and¬†(2)¬†also to encourage you all to enter the contest. Please do!

Dreena's Pecan Pie (from "Let Them Eat Vegan") #vegan #dairyfree #holidays #pies #plantbased #glutenfree

With that, I’ll share my recipe for Dreena’s Pecan Pie. This is a recipe from Let Them Eat Vegan. I loved pecan pie¬†in my pre-vegan days. Did you?

Dreena's Pecan Pie (from "Let Them Eat Vegan") #vegan #dairyfree #holidays #pies #plantbased #glutenfree

With this version, I keep the pecan topping more distinct from the custardy filling. I like having that contrast with the creamy filling and the pecans maintaining crunch (rather than plumping through baking). This is delicious on its own, but oh-my-heavens, pair it with a vegan vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for dessert bliss!

Dreena's Pecan Pie (from "Let Them Eat Vegan") #vegan #dairyfree #holidays #pies #plantbased #glutenfree

Dreena’s Pecan Pie

link to print/share

1¬Ĺ tbsp arrowroot powder
¬Ĺ + 1/8 tsp agar powder
1 can (400ml) full-fat coconut milk (not light), using only thick cream and discarding watery portion (this is about 1 cup + 2 ‚Äď 4 tbsp of cream)
¬ľ cup plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond or soy preferred)
¬Ĺ cup brown rice syrup
1/3 cup agave nectar (can substitute maple syrup but filling will be darker in color)
1 ¬Ĺ tbsp flax meal
¬ľ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¬ľ tsp (rounded) sea salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 ¬ľ – 1 3/4 cups pecans (whole or pieces, see note)
1 ¬Ĺ – 2 tbsp unrefined sugar (for topping)
2 tsp coconut butter (warmed through to melt; can sub 1-2 tsp coconut oil)
couple pinches sea salt

1 prepared pastry pie crust (I use Wholly Wholesome brand), or can use ‚ÄúRustic Pie Crust‚Ä̬†or ‚ÄúGluten-Free Pie Crust‚ÄĚ, both in Let Them Eat Vegan.

In a saucepan, first whisk together the arrowroot and agar with a small amount of the coconut milk or non-dairy milk (about ¬ľ cup). Once incorporated, whisk in the remainder of the milks, as well as the brown rice syrup, agave nectar, flax meal, nutmeg, and salt. Bring mixture to a low boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. Once at a boil, remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool in refrigerator to a cooler temperature (can still be fairly warm), stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, mix together the topping ingredients. Set aside and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Once filling is cooled somewhat, pour mixture into the pie shell (scraping out all you can!) Bake (without pecan topping) for 15 minutes. After that time, reduce heat to 350, sprinkle on pecan mixture, ever so gently patting into surface of filling. Bake for another 15 minutes, then carefully remove and let cool on a cooling rack. Once pie is fully cooled, it will set (refrigerate if desired). Slice and serve. Serves 6-8.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with ‚ÄúLemon-Scented Whipped Cream‚ÄĚ from LTEV, or a scoop on vanilla non-dairy ice cream.

Pecan Note: If using whole pecans, it‚Äôs helpful to roughly chop them before using in the recipe. It‚Äôs easier to cut the pie with the pecan pieces broken up rather than kept whole. I prefer this pie with just 1¬ľ cups of pecans, but if you really love plenty of pecans in your pecan pie, use the full 1 3/4 cups. If using the greater amount of pecans, then also use the greater amount of sugar and oil to toss through the pecans.

Dreena's Pecan Pie (from "Let Them Eat Vegan") #vegan #dairyfree #holidays #pies #plantbased #glutenfree

All photos done by Marika Collins,

So guys, what do you think? Is this a recipe you might make for the holidays? Or, have you already made it? Share your thoughts! I love hearing from you. :)

Enjoy… x Dreena

Dreena’s Peanut Butter Cups (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)


So many of the foods we love are connected to memories. Favorite meals and desserts we had as children, foods we shared with friends, dishes during the holidays, and more.

Dreena's PB Cups #vegan #glutenfree #oilfree

While I’ve talked about some of the junky foods I ate as a child, I have many memories of home-cooked meals and treats. I remember my mom putting a lot of love and time into making stews, casseroles, and more. She is famous for her mac ‘n cheese, ¬†cod au gratin, and rhubarb jam. She had six girls, so I cannot even fathom how much food she had to buy and prepare to feed us all. She also had a husband who loved good food. I remember many family dinners, and how much my father would appreciate¬†those meals. Even if he didn’t get seconds because of six growing girls.

My father passed just after my 11th birthday. Today is the anniversary, it’s now 34 years since that day. Our middle daughter (Bridget) is almost the exact age I was when it happened. Charlotte and Hope are quite close to the ages of two of my sisters. I haven’t written much about my family history and childhood. My dad was a recreational pilot, and¬†died in a helicopter accident (my three cousins were also with him). It¬†was a single, tragic, inexplicable event¬†that¬†changed our¬†lives forever.¬†There were other things going on that hurt our¬†family life¬†and relationships –¬†some related to our dad’s tragedy, some not. But, they all took a very heavy toll on our family, and our hearts and souls.


I find it hard to believe it’s been 34 years. Moments can trigger a memory that brings me to tears in seconds, and yet most of my days I’m carrying on with my life as an adult (as we do). I mentioned in my last post that it was my birthday this week. For years and years I didn’t enjoy my birthday because it felt so close to my dad’s death. There were other deaths in October for our extended family when I was young. So, October has always felt very dark and emotional for me.

Last year I realized how much I was connecting the two, and this year I made a conscious effort to separate them. I’ve been joking with friends that I’m making it my “birthweek” or “birthmonth” rather than birthday. I figure if my actual birthday isn’t great, or the few days before or after, I can certainly celebrate the person I am on other days. We should all be doing this, don’t you think? It doesn’t have to be extravagant or costly efforts.¬†Just finding ways to appreciate and love ourselves.¬†This year I did enjoy my birthday. I still think of my dad, and my mom, and my sisters at this time. How could I not? But, I’m feeling differently this year, and maybe that’s why I am choosing to write about it today.

I mentioned my¬†dad loved hearty home-cooked meals¬†– and he also loved his treats!¬†My mom made the best jams, date squares, and pies. And, I remember my dad having a good stash of chocolate bars in the house. Dad was also a huge prankster.¬†He would have loved how Halloween has become this big event of spooking out your house! He’d be part of it, in full character. He’d also be scoring his favorite treats from the stash.

I created these PB Cups as a healthier (but still delicious) alternative to Reese’s for Halloween. I think my dad would have loved them. I think you will too.

x Dreena

Dreena's PB Cups #vegan #glutenfree #oilfree

Dreena’s PB Cups

link to print/share

These little cups are much like an open-faced Reese‚Äôs cup¬†– made¬†much¬†healthier!¬†Makes 15‚Äď18 cups

Chocolate Base:
1/2 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
2 1/2 tbsp coconut butter

Peanut Butter Topping:
2 tbsp coconut butter
1/3 cup natural unsalted peanut butter (see note for substitution)
3 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar
1/4 rounded tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder

Line a mini-muffin pan with 15‚Äď18 small muffin liners.¬†To make the chocolate base: Set a heat-proof bowl over a small¬†pot or double boiler with a few inches of water in it. Turn heat to¬†medium. Add chocolate chips and coconut butter to the bowl. Stir¬†through until well combined and melted. Remove from heat, and
spoon roughly one tablespoon of chocolate mixture into each liner. Once finished, transfer the pan to the fridge to cool completely. Reserve saucepan with hot water or double boiler (still with just a small amount of water in it). To make the peanut butter topping: Add the coconut butter to another small bowl, place over the saucepan/double boiler, and allow it to melt. If needed, turn on low heat to help melt. Meanwhile, prepare the peanut butter mixture. In a mini food processor, puree the peanut butter, coconut sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add the melted coconut butter to the peanut butter mixture and puree until fully incorporated.
To assemble: Once chocolate cups are chilled and firm, spoon about 11/2 tbsp peanut butter mixture on top of each of the chocolate cups. I use a small cookie scoop, and then gently smooth out the peanut mixture to cover the chocolate. Place the cups in the fridge until completely chilled, about an hour.
Peanut Butter Note: You bet you can substitute a nut butter Рtry almond or cashew! If your peanut butter/ nut butter does contain salt, reduce the salt measure to just under 1/8 tsp.

Food photos credit: Nicole Axworthy

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread

Chocolate and gingerbread. Delicious on their own, but when paired together Рa quintessential holiday treat. For many years I made chocolate-ginger-almond-cranberry bark for Christmas gifts, and later I began a new tradition making Chocolate Gingery Cookies (from LTEV). With those goodies in mind, I created this new whole-foods Chocolate Gem Gingerbread!

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread #vegan by Dreena Burton


This gingerbread is delicious without the addition of the chocolate. So, if you are a gingerbread purist, the chocolate can certainly be omitted. I sometimes make it without the chocolate myself.¬†Shocking, yes… but true! Or, try substituting¬†currants or raisins for the chocolate chips. If you do use the dried fruit in the loaf, I’d recommend not adding the crystallized ginger topping. The crystallized ginger is balanced with dark chocolate chips, with the raisins it’s too much.

This whole-foods vegan gingerbread is moist and flavorful thanks to the addition of almond meal. It’s also not too ‘spicy’ for young palates. My girls don’t enjoy crystallized ginger, so I often omit it¬†or add to just a portion of the loaf. If you enjoy¬†more ginger kick, use the full 1 1/2 teaspoon of¬†dried ginger in the loaf, along with the crystallized ginger for the topping.

With the holidays almost here, you can add this to your menu as a brunch/tea treat. Or, if you pair with a vanilla non-dairy ice cream, it can be transformed into dessert!

Enjoy, guys. Do share any feedback in the comments, as well as sharing any of your favorite chocolate-ginger combinations.

(p.s. I announced my new book on facebook this week, if you missed it, link through. You can count on a more detailed post about the book right here, in the new year.)

x Dreena

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread by Dreena Burton #vegan #holidays

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread

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1 cups whole-grain spelt flour
1 cup + 1 tbsp oat flour (or 1 cup more spelt flour; but I prefer spelt/oat combo)
1/3 cup almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1‚ĀĄ4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 – 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
1‚ĀĄ2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup plain non-dairy milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
options: 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or currants/raisins
optional toppings: 2 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger (omit if using raisins) OR 1-2 tbsp coconut sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon OR 2 tbsp chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350¬įF (176¬įC). In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients, sifting in the baking powder and baking soda. Stir through until well combined. In another bowl, first combine the molasses with the apple applesauce and then whisk/stir in the maple syrup, non-dairy milk, and vanilla, and mix together. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture (as well as raisins or chocolate chips, if using). Gently fold and mix through, until just combined (do not overmix). Transfer mixture to a lightly oiled loaf pan (lined with a strip of parchment also useful). If using any optional toppings, sprinkle those on. Bake for 37-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove, and transfer (keeping in pan) to cooling rack. Let cool completely, then remove from pan and slice. Makes one quickbread.

Ginger Note: I typically use 1 tsp ginger, that keeps it mild enough for the kiddos. If you love ginger, feel free to bump it up!

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread by Dreena Burton #vegan #wholefoods #plantbased

Photo credit: Shout-out to Emma Potts for assisting with all these food photos! Thanks Emma. x

“Raisinet” Cookies (vegan)

Halloween was quite a success here. Success meaning my kids had a blast collecting candy… success really meaning they didn’t eat 99% of the candy!

One of my strategies for candy-holidays (Halloween, birthday parties, etc) is to offer the girls some better vegan treats, either storebought (ex: ice cream sandwiches) or a homemade goodie. I often make my pumpkin chia pudding or candy apples for Halloween, but this year, I baked cookies.

"Raisinet" Cookies by Dreena Burton #vegan

I’ve been baking these Raisinet Cookies from¬†LTEV lately, and posting pics on instagram. I promised to share the recipe, and just realized this is the¬†sweetest¬†time to do so! Bake up a batch, and see how easy it is to swap out that junk your kiddos might be hoarding in their rooms.

Note: The original recipe in LTEV does not have an oil-free option, but I’ve included one here. Do not simply substitute applesauce. It is not the answer to replacing oil in all recipes, and particularly not in cookies. With most cookies, you want to retain a slightly chewy, crisp texture – and applesauce will make them moist. So, include some whole-foods fat, here I’ve used some nut butter, with a few other simple modifications (all noted below). :)

"Raisinet" Cookies by Dreena Burton #vegan

“Raisinet” Cookies

link to print/share recipe

If you were once a fan of Raisinets (or Glosette Raisins), you’ll love these cookies!¬†Of course‚ÄĒchocolate-covered raisins! They capture the flavor and texture of¬†that chocolate and raisins combination, in a satisfying vegan cookie.

1 cup sifted spelt flour

1‚ĀĄ3 to 1‚ĀĄ2 rolled oats (see note)

1‚ĀĄ4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1‚ĀĄ4 teaspoon (rounded) baking soda

1‚ĀĄ4 cup raisins

1‚ĀĄ4 cup vegan chocolate chips (smaller-size chips are good, such as the Enjoy Life brand)

3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or other unrefined sugar; use just 2 tbsp oil-free version, see note)

1‚ĀĄ4 teaspoon sea salt

1‚ĀĄ3 cup pure maple syrup (+ another 1 tbsp for oil-free, see note)

1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses

1 1‚ĀĄ2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1‚ĀĄ4 cup neutral-flavored oil OR 3 – 3 1/2 tbsp nut butter (ex: almond butter, see note for oil-free)

Preheat the oven to 350¬įF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, and cocoa, sifting in the baking powder and baking soda. Add the raisins, chips, sugar, and salt, and stir well. In a separate bowl, first combine the maple syrup with the molasses and vanilla, then stir in the nut butter/oil until well mixed. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir until just incorporated. Place spoonfuls of the batter (about 1 tablespoon each) on the prepared baking sheet and flatten a little. Bake for 11 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool on the pan for just a minute (not much longer, to prevent drying), then transfer to a cooling rack.

Oats Note: Using 1‚ĀĄ3 cup of oats will give a slightly softer cookie that spreads a little more when baking. Using 1‚ĀĄ2 cup will give a firmer cookie treat.

Oil-Free Note: For the oil-free adaptation, you will need to reduce the dry sweetener slightly and increase the liquid sweetener. So, use just 2 tbsp coconut sugar, and add another 1 tbsp of maple syrup. Start with 3 tbsp nut butter, and add the extra 1/2 tbsp if needed to bring the batter together.

(p.s. Before Halloween I did an interview with the fabulous Brian Patton, aka The Sexy Vegan about Halloween. Have a listen if you want to hear our chat. And if you don’t want to listen to candy talk, you will want to hear¬†the first half of his podcast. He gives the BEST overview of vegan cheeses – reviewing vegan cheeses of the¬†past, present, and exciting vegan cheese days ahead! It’s a bit like a ‘Cheesy’ ¬†Christmas Carol!)

Ok, that’s all for today. Hope you love the cookies! There are always more waiting. :)

x Dreena

Top 5 Vegan Halloween Recipes

What are your favorite recipes for Halloween? Today I’m sharing my top picks for¬†Halloween. These vegan treats have been¬†popular with¬†my kiddos, and also festive for Halloween parties. After reading my roundup, add your favorite plant-based recipe links in the comments (I’ll add some back to my post, see below.)

Top 5 HEALTHY Halloween Recipes #plantbased #vegan #dairyfree #wfpb #healthy #halloween #treats


My top 5 Halloween recipes are…

1. Pumpkin Chia Pudding

Our girls love¬†this pudding, and¬†it’s easy to make. Take it one step further by layering with Chocolate Mousse.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree

Photo credit: Nicole Axworthy


2. Green Chickpea Hummus:

When I created this recipe, I wasn’t thinking about Halloween. But, doesn’t it look ghoulish? Fun party dip for sure!

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


3. Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Maple-Spiced Pepitas

I shared this recipe for Thanksgiving, but look how you can spook it up for¬†Halloween! That web design is actually really easy, here’s a youtube demonstration.

Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Maple-Spiced Pepitas #vegan #glutenfree

Photo credit: Emma Potts


4. Sugar-Free Caramel Apples

Kids will love these. (You will too.) You can also use the caramel as a dip for fruit slices, more details in the post.

Sugar-free caramel apples by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #glutenfree


5. 2-Ingredient Chocolate Lollibats

I mean, they are cute, right? You can use other Halloween-themed molds, pumpkins or ghosts, maybe?

Chocolate Lollibats by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #dairyfree

I’d love to know YOUR favorite Halloween recipes. Share your own link, or a link fom another blog.¬†I’ll select 5 to add back to this post!

Happy Halloween!

x Dreena

Updating with YOUR links! …

Check out Kristina’s collection of wickedly fun Halloween treats, including these PIZZA PEPPER JACKS (I’d say they’re a heck of a lot easier to carve than pumpkins):


Next, check out Alexa’s COOL decorations and her¬†Dried Pear and Apples Slices.

And, how about these stunning Creepy Crawly Sugar Cookies from My Darling Vegan…? Amazing!


Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Maple-Spiced Pepitas… & My Farewell to Sarabi

Hi guys. When I started planning this post, it was a simple recipe share. Yesterday, however, we lost our beloved Sarabi kitty. It was a very hard day. She was 18, so she certainly had a long, happy life with us. In the spring we learned that she was having troubles. The vet informed us at the time that we might only have another few weeks with her. But, beautiful Sarabi gave us her love a little longer.


Paul and I adopted Sarabi when we were living in Newfoundland. We were married a couple of years, and heard about¬†a litter of kittens through a colleague. We took a drive out and found little Sarabi. While I was holding another kitten, Sarabi climbed up Paul’s leg. We said “well, she’s the one“! She was a frisky kitten, and a bit of a furry menace in her early years! She regularly chewed through electrical wires. Yes, wires – to lamps, keyboards and mouses (they had wires then), and more. She kept us on our toes for sure! When we moved to BC, she came with us. And, when I was pregnant with our first daughter, Charlotte, she was right there with me. Sleeping by my belly. The days leading up to Charlotte’s birth were very stressful for us, we had many tests and medical professionals interpreting my pregnancy and ultimately I was induced early. I remember Sarabi snoozing snuggled by my belly, offering her comfort. Once Charlotte was born, she was so good to her. She didn’t become jealous or react oddly, just continued to sleep where we were with our new baby. When Charlotte spoke, her first word wasn’t ‘mama’ or ‘dada’… it was “ah-boo“, as she pointed to Sarabi. And, Sarabi was with us as our family grew with both Bridget and Hope.¬†She even helped us welcome our puppy, Ollie, this year. However, she was still top dog in this house! We would escort Sarabi¬†through Ollie’s playroom ensuring he didn’t excitedly lunge at her. She quickly caught on to that special treatment, too. In her old age, she kept frequenting the area just to get a rise out of the pup!

Yet, she was becoming frail and slow, we knew her days with us were limited. It’s no surprise¬†that she spent her last hours yesterday under Charlotte’s bed. Those two had a special connection. We all took turns going in and talking to Sarabi¬†and stroking her. Later in the day, Charlotte was¬†bringing her upstairs to me as she passed away. Charlotte said she heard one last purr. The girls are doing okay. It is hardest for Charlotte because Sarabi really was her love. Her nickname in school last year was “cat lady” as she is always sketching cats. Our younger girls are processing it differently, I¬†don’t think they quite understand the finality. It’s been hard for Paul and I, as Sarabi was¬†with us almost as long as we’ve been married, through so many of our milestones together.


This picture is from the photo shoot for my upcoming book. I took some special photos with miss Sarabi, sitting on our “nest” chair – another one of her favorite spots. I’m so grateful to have these photos, they really capture her sweet, peaceful, elderly¬†spirit.¬†Goodbye for now, miss Sarabi. Thank you for your love, we will miss you.

With Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, we will honor Sarabi.¬†We’ll look at photos,¬†share our memories, and give thanks for the many years she was with our entire family.

For your Thanksgiving dinner, I have this¬†Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Maple-Spiced Pepitas¬†recipe to share. It’s festive yet easy to make, lightly spiced, and very comforting. You could serve it as a starter, or as part of the main course with other dishes. This post has other Thanksgiving menu ideas.

Blessings to you all this Thanksgiving.

x Dreena

Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Maple-Spiced Pepitas - #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree #oilfree by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen

Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Maple-Spiced Pepitas

Note: See this post to make Halloween “webbed” soup! ¬†link¬†to share/print recipe

This is feel-good soup. In the autumn when the chill sets in, it is just the most comforting soup that helps you ease into the fall season. It’s perfect for a Thanksgiving starter, or served on Halloween to warm the kiddos before they head out in the cold. The pumpkin seeds are optional, but add a deliciously spicy crunch!

2 tbsp water
1 1/2 cups onion
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 – 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 Р1 tsp teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 tsp allspice
1 – 14 oz can (398 ml) pure pumpkin puree
4 cups water
1 dried bay leaf
3/4 – 1 cup soaked cashews or soaked almonds (skins removed, see note)
1 – 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Heat the water in a large pot over medium or medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, salt (starting with 1 tsp) and spices. Stir, cover, and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the pumpkin, about 3 1/2 cups of water, and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove soup from heat and let cool slightly. While waiting, you can prepare the pepitas (see below). Then, remove bay leaf from soup and discard. Transfer soup to a high-speed blender, along with the cashews and 1 tbsp of lemon juice. (If using a standard blender, you will need to puree in a couple of batches). Puree the soup until completely smooth. Transfer mixture back to the pot, using remaining 1/2 cup of water to loosen any soup from blender, scraping down sides and transferring back to the pot. Taste, add extra salt or lemon juice to taste, and serve, sprinkled with the seasoned pepitas (see below). Serves 4-5.

Soaked Nuts Note: You can use anywhere from 3/4 Р1 cup of soaked cashews or almonds (or a combination of both). If using soaked almonds, you can easily slip off the skins with your fingers after they have soaked. It’s not critical to remove them, but a nice touch.

Maple Roasted Pepitas

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp cinnamon
few pinches sea salt

Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet (or toaster oven tray) with parchment paper. Add the pumpkin seeds to the sheet/tray, and add the maple syrup, ginger, and cinnamon. Toss through to combine. Sprinkle with a few pinches of sea salt. Bake for 5-8 minutes, tossing once through, and watching so they don’t burn. As soon as the start to become aromatic and toasted, remove from the oven/toaster oven. Let cool on the tray. As they cool they will become crisp.

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

14 Recipe Ideas for New Year’s Eve!

As we clue up 2013, I thank you for being part of this community. I value your engagement through comments and feedback, and also your support and generous compliments. Let’s enjoy much more plant-powered goodness in this coming new year!

14 party ideas to ring in a healthy, compassionate 2014!

Whether you are having a quiet night at home,¬†or celebrating with a new year’s eve party, I have a vegan recipe round-up to make your evening delicious!

Here are 14 party food ideas to help you ring in a healthy, compassionate 2014!

The countdown (in no particular order other than ending with a dessert!)…

14.¬†Wonder Spread.¬†I just posted this one, so you probably don’t need reminding. Actually, maybe you do! Make it! It’s scrumptious slathered on some great artisan breads – or for baked potatoes. You could also thin it out and toss into quinoa or drizzle over broiled asparagus or steamed broccolini.

Wonder Spread - by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

13. Rawesome Nut Dip. Serve it a bowl with crackers (raw or otherwise), or tucked into mini bell peppers, endive leaves, or cherry tomatoes. Or, use it as a filling for rolls for finger food (ex: baked mini phyllo rolls).

12.¬†Creamy Artichoke Dip.¬†¬†I know I’ve talked about this one a lot, but that’s only because it is freaking amazing, and readers are LOVING it!

photo credit:

11. Falafels with Smoky Tahini Sauce.  I served these for a holiday get-together one year, along with the Quinoa Nicoise (in LTEV), and the Lemon-Rosemary Potatoes and Creamy Hummus (both from Vive le Vegan!) РHUGE hit!

10.  Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Croquettes with Pumpkin Seed Chipotle Cream These are so incredibly tasty, your guests will deem you some sort of flavor wizard that has revitalized their tired holiday tastebuds! Definitely a dish to impress (but not that difficult to make)!

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, Quinoa Croquettes with Pumpkin Seed Chipotle Cream

9. Mini-Burgers. Take a favorite burger recipe, and make mini-patties, for sliders, or for dipping. Try Mediterranean Bean Burgers from LTEV, Nutty Veggie Burgers, Mushroom Pecan Burgers, or the now very popular Umami Almond Burgers!


8. Chickpea Salad Rolls. These are fresh and fast, and the salad mixture is a little like a mock tuna salad, but far lighter without vegan mayo.  Roll in leafy greens like chard, romaine leaves, or steamed collards, in rice paper rolls, or make into more elegant finger sandwiches.

7.¬†Moroccan Bean Stew. If you are having a cozy, homey New Year’s Eve and want a soup, this is one of my favorites. It is special and elegant enough to serve to guests, and is also delicious paired with breads with the¬†¬†from¬†LTEV.

Moroccan Bean Stew

6.¬†Vegveeta Dip. I need to say little other than – YUMMY! ūüėÄ ¬†Mix in a few spoonfuls of salsa, and serve up with tortilla chips. Easy as that.

5.¬†Cannellini Bean Sweet Potato Hummus. There is a hummus for every occasion! For New Year’s Eve, skip the traditional puree and try this sweet and smoky version. This recipe is a bit of a hidden gem, give it a try!¬†Roasted Red Pepper Almond Hummus¬†is another goody.

4. Kale Slaw.  Even less adventurous foodie guests will enjoy this salad because the dressing coats the ingredients so scrumptiously!  The 3-Bean salad pictured would also be a great potluck salad Рso simple you could throw it together last minute!

Kale-Slaw and 3-Bean Salad, Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

3.¬†Jerk Chickpeas¬†or¬†Chickpea Ratatouille.¬†Have either dish potluck style with tortillas, rice, and avocado – you’re set!

Chickpea Ratatouille, by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

2.¬†Creamy Cashew Dip.¬†Most folks are little tired of sugar-laden cookies at this point in the holidays. This dip is lightly sweetened, and pairs well with fruit. Also, those¬†Softly Spiced Nuts¬†peeking out in the bottom right hand corner make a fine nibbly New Year’s Eve party snack!


1.¬†Easy, Healthy Dessert Bars.¬†If you’d like to make a cookie treat, but want something healthier, opt for¬†Frosted Brawnies,¬†Raw Chai Bars with Creamed Cheese Frosting, or the new¬†Vanilla Bean Almond Fudge. All will satisfy your sweet tooth, all very easy to make!

Raw Chai Bars with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting - photo by Lisa Pitman
Photo credit: Lisa Pitman,

These are all very¬†omni-friendly¬†recipes too. Nothing too unusual for those new to plant-based dishes. Just some¬†really good food… made with really good ingredients!

Wishing you a blessed and healthy New Year! What plant-powered dishes are you making to ring in 2014?  xx

NEW! Pumpkin Pie! (vegan, soy-free, gluten-free)

Just in time for Thanksgiving, a new pumpkin pie recipe for you!

Wait…¬†Do we really need another pumpkin pie recipe? Why is this one special?¬†

Indeed, there is no shortage of pumpkin pie recipes – even vegan. A quick google search will confirm that. I’ve baked my fair share of pumpkin pies. Crusts made with graham or cookie crusts, fillings with silken tofu or chocolate,¬†the list goes on.

But, ever since creating the Pumpkin Pie Custards in LTEV, I’ve wanted to somehow transform the recipe into a pie! It needed tweaks, to thicken and stabilize. Plus, I wanted to develop a crust that was (1) wholesome and (2) EASY (we need some breaks during the holidays)!

The Great Pumpkin Pie! by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen

After quite a few tests, success! The filling is creamy and custard-y and altogether dreamy. And – yes, the crust is easy. Plus, it can be used for other pies you love – pecan, banana cream, etc. All the ingredients for the crust whiz together in the food processor, and then you simply press it into your pie plate. (Easy!) The filling is pureed (I use my Blendtec for smoothest consistency), and then you’re ready to bake this plant-strong pumpkin pie!


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This pumpkin pie is dreamy. The crust is buttery and nutty, the filling is a softer set than many traditional pumpkin pies, so it is irresistibly creamy. It’s a must for your holiday menus!


2 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free for a GF option)

1/2 cup pitted dates (packed)

1/3 cup almond butter (I like raw, can also use roasted)

1/8 tsp sea salt (omit if almond butter has salt)

2 tbsp non-dairy milk (or more if needed to bring the crust together)


1 can (15 oz, 398ml) pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)

2/3 – 3/4 cup raw cashews (2/3 for slightly softer set, 3/4 for firmer; for this photo we used 3/4 cup)

1/3 cup plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond or soy preferred, but choice is yours)

1/2 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp arrowroot powder

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

few pinches ground cloves

1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder)

1/4 tsp (rounded) sea salt

Preheat oven to 400¬įF. Prepare a pie plate (I use a glass pie plate) by lightly wiping inner surface with a dab of oil (or spray). In a food processor, add the oats, dates, and salt for the crust. Puree until fine and crumbly. Then add the almond butter and puree for about a minute. Add the milk and pulse through until the mixture becomes sticky (it should hold together when pressed/pinched). If it’s not holding together, add a little more milk, 1 tsp at a time, until it does. You shouldn’t need more than another 3-4 tsp. Remove and transfer to a prepared pie plate. Press mixture in with your fingers until evenly distributed around the base and up the sides of the plate. In a blender (high speed works best, for regular blender you will need to blend longer and scrape down jar several times) combine all ingredients for the filling. Pur√©e until very smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Pour mixture into pie crust (scrape out bowl) and gently tip back and forth to distribute evenly. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F (180C) and continue to bake for 25 minutes, until the pie is golden and has mostly set (the center may be soft, but it will set further as it cools). Remove from oven, transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before slicing and serving (can refrigerate to chill first). Serve as is or with vanilla non-dairy ice cream.¬†Serves 6-8.

p.s. I did a facebook and twitter poll to help me name this pie. Thank you Carrie for the fine suggestion of “The Great Pumpkin Pie“, and thanks to everyone for joining the voting and fun! :)

For other Thanksgiving menu ideas, check out my post from last week!

What are you serving for dessert this Thanksgiving? If you always make pumpkin pie, what’s YOUR favorite recipe? Do you pair it with ice cream, coconut whipped cream? Share your deliciousness, and until next post…¬†sending you plant-powered goodness from my kitchen to yours!¬†

photo credit: Emma Potts

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 ūüėÄ


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! ūüėÄ

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. ūüėČ

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? ūüėČ What plant-powered dishes always make it to your Thanksgiving menu? You trying anything new this year?