Veganism

Canadian vegan food franchise Globally Local

Canadian company, Globally Local, started as a vegan restaurant in 2014, in London Ontario. So far, the restaurant has locations in Toronto, Windsor, and London; naturally, I hope this company will make it to Halifax eventually. This company is more than a restaurant, however, as it has a manufacturing centre where it makes its own meat and dairy alternatives, and conducts research and development. The company has gone public and is now on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The plan is for the company to have twenty locations across North America by 2022.

The restaurant offers a variety of breakfast sandwiches, burgers, wraps, and tacos. Their burgers are made from chickpeas, seitan, or tempeh, for example, rather than meat alternatives. The College Street location in Toronto is on my list when it’s safe to travel to my home town.

Veganism

Wardrobe update: Adding a new pair of sandals

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much of a shoe person. I keep my collection of shoes as small as possible. My favourite type of footwear is an ankle boot, but clearly this won’t do for the summer months. When I did my wardrobe inventory two weeks ago, I was down to two pairs of summer shoes: A pair of pink sneakers (the only pink thing I own), and a dressier pair of black sandals. I wanted to add a third pair in a brown shade. I’ve wanted to add a pair of Birkenstock-type sandals, but vegan versions aren’t easy to find. Birkenstock does carry some vegan sandals, but only in black, white, and light cream. Light cream shows dirt too easily, and I never wear white shoes. After some searching, I found exactly what I was looking for at Call It Spring, a Canadian company that makes only vegan products and is PETA certified. The Firewia sandal, pictured above, is exactly the colour I wanted, and comes in half sizes, which isn’t true for a lot of shoes. I’m not sure about the long-term quality of these shoes, but they do seem well made so far, and other shoes or boots I’ve bought from this company have served me well.

Recipes, Veganism

Chickpea salad

Ingredients

  • Cooked chickpeas. I used about 1.5 cups. I prefer to cook beans from dry in my pressure cooker, but tinned chickpeas as fine, as long as you rinse them well.
  • 3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise, or to taste. I use Hellman‘s.
  • 1 tablespoon relish, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • Kala Namak salt

I use a food processor to pulse the ingredients, but you can simply mash the chickpeas with a fork if you’re not too fussy about having a consistent texture. I like to keep this salad simple, but you can add other items such as green onions and pepper. I always add fresh chives when they are at hand. Other variations include adding some avocado to the mix. The Kala Namak salt is a key ingredient, as it gives the salad an egg flavour; it can be hard to find, unfortunately, but I’m lucky that a local health food store carries it.

Veganism

My favourite vegan dining options in Halifax Regional Municipality, 2020

I thought it would be useful to provide an updated list of my favourite vegan dining options in HRM especially since, as I’m delighted to report, these options have increased over the past year. I won’t provide too much information for the locations for the sake of efficiency. My focus is on establishments that are either completely vegan, or have a large range of vegan options (one veggie burger or the dreaded and cliched falafal wrap won’t suffice).

Wild Leek Food and Juice Bar: At Wild Leek the focus is on seasonal local ingredients made into familiar vegan comfort food. Everything is made in house daily using whole natural ingredients and our juices and smoothies are made right before your eyes! With fresh and flavorful daily specials, vegan breakfast served everyday. We strive to create delicious food that vegans and non-vegans can enjoy.

Envie: A Vegan Kitchen: Our mission is to inspire people to choose a healthier, sustainable and more compassionate lifestyle through plant-based eating by making information and education accessible, so that we can create a healthier community and planet.

Heartwood: Vegetarian. Most of the dishes have vegan options.

Springhouse: Vegan grocer. We’ve got lots of locally-made goods, frozen meals to-go, fresh produce, body care products, groceries and specialty items you won’t find anywhere else in the city. Some products are made here in-house, and the rest we thoughtfully curate from top-notch suppliers. We’re also a little take-out restaurant, with a tasty lunch menu.

Real Fake Meats: A small Vegan Butcher Shop that includes take-out and delivery.

The Wooden Monkey: Omnivore menu, but vegan options are available for many of the menu items.

M&J’s Eatery: Separate omnivore and vegan menus.

Copper Branch: Serving our community whole foods, plant-based, good for you and our planet.

The Nook: Several vegan options.

G-Street Pizza: Several vegan options for pizza, donairs, burgers, and appetizers

Syd Delicious: All vegan sweets. Amazing cinnamon buns

Recipes, Veganism

Navy bean spread

Ingredients

1 cup dry navy beans, cooked

Finely chopped green onion

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt, to taste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Water, as needed

Assembly

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend. Add as much water as needed to make your desired consistency. I like a thick consistency that can be spread on bread or crackers.

Adjust seasoning, lemon juice, and nutritonal yeast to taste.

Recipes, Veganism

Tofu ricotta

Ingredients

1 package extra-firm tofu

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Dried basil

Salt (and pepper)

1 teaspoon white miso paste

Water, as needed

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth
  2. Add a little water, if necessary, if the ricotta is too dry
  3. I don’t like pepper, but feel free to use it if you do.
  4. You could add some garlic to the ricotta; I prefer not to, I like the more delicate flavour without it, which is closer to the taste of original ricotta.
Recipes, Veganism

Vegan bangers and mash

I treated myself this weekend to an old classic: Bangers and mash. I used Montreal-based Gusta’s Italian seitan sausage, as well as Yukon Gold potatoes mashed with Becel vegan margarine and soy milk. I added lots of caramelized onions, as well as peas. At this time of the year, fresh peas aren’t available, but frozen do well. I sauteed the peas with the onions after the latter were caramelized. I topped this with a simple gravy, which is a combination of water, flour, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, gravy browning, and a touch of soy sauce.

Absolutely delicious.

Veganism

Local vegan pastries

I’m very glad to have found a local bakery that makes two vegan tarts: Cherry and coconut lemon. Dinah’s Sourdough is a bakery located in the north end of the city. I’ve not been there in person yet, but I’m very happy to see that the bakery has been offering online shopping and delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am looking forward to my first order of both tarts today. They are destined for the freezer, as I like to discipline my consumption of baked goods; these will be Saturday afternoon treats with espresso or herbal tea.

Recipes, Veganism

Creamy chocolate custard

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups soy milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Combine the cornstarch and water to form a paste.
  2. Mix together the cocoa powder and sugar.
  3. Pour the soy milk into a pan over medium heat. Although you can use other plant-based milks, soy milk works best for custards, as it thickens well (almond milk for example, does not), and does not impart a strong flavour (unlike oat milk or cashew milk, for example).
  4. Stir the cocoa powder and sugar gradually into the soy milk. I find a balloon whisk works well for this.
  5. Add the vanilla extract, to taste. I like to use a full teaspoon.
  6. Add the cornstarch paste.
  7. Whisk the milk until boiling point. It’s important that you stir constantly, as you don’t want any lumps to form.
  8. When the milk boils, remove from heat.
  9. Pour into individual containers of your choosing. The custard will continue to thicken.

My preference is to eat the custard when it’s still warm and a crust has formed, but it’s equally good cold. It will be thicker when cold.

Veganism

Health benefits of tofu

Image source

I’m a huge fan of tofu and eat it almost daily. When I was first introduced to tofu many years ago, it was the silken kind, which I hated. I convinced myself that I didn’t like tofu until I came across the firm and extra firm versions; it was love at first bite. This article discusses some of the primary health benefits of tofu. The article discusses as well some of the potential concerns about food processing, although it provides no citations to support these statements, which I take with a pinch of salt. I think there is a lot of misinformation about GMOs in general, based often on scare tactics and an assumption because something isn’t “natural” it must automatically be bad for you. Many GMO foods are perfectly harmless and also nutritious; their sale is regulated in Canada. This same fear is often extended to all processed foods, even though they are not necessarily harmful. Ultimately, it all comes down to balance. This article provides the nutritional breakdown of 100g of tofu and its role in helping to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol. This article discusses the potential impact of tofu on Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.

Tofu is an important source of protein and calcium for me, and adds substance to green salads, rice dishes, and so forth. My favourite way to eat tofu is to marinate it in a simple sauce, usually teriyaki, and then to saute it. I also like to grill it with barbecue sauce. This site has some suggested vegan tofu recipes.