Lentil and oat soup

This soup features what is perhaps an odd combination of lentils and oats. I had planned to make a simple lentil soup, but I came across a small bag of oat groats that I had received as a sample, and decided to toss them in the soup. I had no idea what to expect, but this sums up my approach to cooking: Experiment, enjoy, and learn from the results. The picture is not good, as it was taken while the soup was cooking. I didn’t take one of the finished product, but it thickened nicely. Measurements, as always, are approximate, since I never actually measure anything when I cook.

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Ingredients

2 cups dried green lentils

Enough vegetable stock to cover the lentils. I make my own stock, but use what you have.

Chopped broccoli

Diced carrots

I cup oat groats

Crushed tomatoes. I used half a 280z tin.

Thyme and sage

Salt to taste (and pepper, if you like it)

Ras el hanout spice mix. If you don’t have this, you can add some cumin, ginger, and cayenne).

Preparation

Bring to a boil, the simmer until the lentils and oat groats are tender. The soup will thicken, so add some water, if needed.

 

 

Mediterranean chickpea salad

I made the following salad for a potluck dinner. As usual, measurements are very approximate.

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Ingredients

2 cups cooked chickpeas (I cook mine from dry, but tinned are OK)

Sliced Kalamata olives

Sliced artichoke hearts. Use hearts marinated in olive oil, as the ones marinated in water don’t have enough flavour.

2 diced potatoes, roasted in olive oil, oregano, and thyme. I did not peel them

Salt, to taste.

Dressing

Olive oil

White balsamic vinegar

Mustard of choice.  I used a black olive mustard, because one can’t have too many olives.

Preparation

Mix all the salad ingredients, except the potatoes, and toss with the dressing to coat. Refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavour blend.

Before serving, add the diced roasted potatoes, and mix well. If you add the potatoes too soon, they will get soggy.

 

Penne with cabbage and collard greens

This is a rather weird combination of ingredients, perhaps, but it works. Like most of my recipes, it’s based upon what I need to clear out of my fridge. In this case, I had some collard greens that were starting to wilt. I always have cabbage in my fridge, as it’s one of my favourite vegetables. I needed to use up some vegan sour cream, as well.

penne

Ingredients

  • Thinly-sliced green cabbage
  • Diced collard greens
  • Diced shallots
  • Diced garlic
  • Sliced shitake mushrooms
  • Sweet corn (I used frozen)
  • Vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Penne
  1. Steam the cabbage, collard greens, and corn  (if using frozen), until tender.
  2. While the penne are cooking, saute the shallots until transparent, then add the mushrooms and garlic.
  3. Add the steamed vegetables to the shallots and mushrooms. Season to taste.
  4. Add sour cream to the vegetable mixture until heated. If necessary, add a little soy milk to thin.
  5. Toss the sour cream sauce with the penne.

I don’t like my food spicy, but if you do, some chili or hot peppers would work well.

 

Canadian vegan cheeses

This article in the Globe and Mail discusses the growth of the vegan cheese industry in Canada. Daiya, of course, is one of the most famous vegan cheese brands in the world, and is proudly Canadian. This article discusses smaller producers of vegan cheeses, based in Toronto and London (ON); these products are not yet available on a large scale, but I live in hope that they will. There are still some very inferior cheeses that look and taste like plastic, but vegan cheese has come a very long way, and some (e.g., Sheese, in the UK, and available in some local stores across Canada) are delicious.

Roasted butternut squash with sage

I love winter squashes, preferably roasted. Tonight I used butternut squash, which has a lot of flesh, and is thus a good candidate for roasting. I brushed each half of the squash with a combination of olive oil, sage, minced onion, garlic powder, and salt. After roasting at 400 for thirty minutes, I filled the cavity with sweet corn, then roasted for another thirty minutes or so. I served the squash with steamed rice and kale. Delicious.

 

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Thirteen things that annoy vegans

This post discusses 13 things that annoy vegans;  it’s written in good fun but it is, in fact, based on the reality we face every day. I’ve been vegan so long that there isn’t anything I haven’t heard or encountered. Most people who know me accept who I am and don’t make a fuss, thank goodness, but I still encounter a few. Some people, for example, seem to constantly look for ways to trap me; for example, they will see me eating a chocolate and ask “is that vegan?”, as though they are hoping to find me “cheating.” Or they proceed to go through the menu in a restaurant to point out what I can eat. Um, I have a number of graduate degrees; I think that reading a menu is within my skill set. Yes, I realize that this is often meant well, but it’s always funny to think about how concerned people become about the state of my health, even though it should be obvious to anyone that if I’m still alive after 30 years of veganism, it’s safe to assume that my I’ve passed that test. I have to resist my very broad streak of sarcasm and not respond with “and where do you get you vitamins and minerals?” when I’m asked from where I get my protein. I try to be gracious as much as possible, of course, as no one likes a preachy or aggressive vegan, and I am Canadian after all, but the urge is there.

World Vegan Day, 2016

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I just need to look at my cats’ eyes any day to think of why I’ve been vegan for so long. Most of us love our companion animals and could not bear the thought of them being harmed in any way. We are appalled when we read and hear about the Yulin dog festival, for example, because we can’t imagine dogs and other animals we view as “pets” (I don’t use that term, as it denotes possessions) being subjected to such cruelty and slaughter, yet turn a blind eye to the suffering, misery, and pain, that farm animals are subjected to every year. We become upset about the appalling conditions of so many zoos in the world, yet think nothing of the millions of animals who are killed every year to feed and clothe us, even though so many animal-friendly alternatives exist. Loving animals means that we do all we can to love and respect them, or simply to leave them to live their lives, unfettered by our cruelty and hedonism. Yes, I know I’m preaching, but this is World Vegan Day, and animals can’t speak for themselves. Even if you won’t give up animal products, try to reduce your consumption. Look into the eyes of your animal companion, and imagine if he or she were treated the way most factory farm animals are, and who end up on your plate. Even if it’s just for one day a week.