Thursday, 19 February 2015

Vegan Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas

   I've made these a couple of times now, and absolutely love them. The first time I made enchiladas, Ryan came home from work, saw them in the baking dish as asked "Mexican manicotti?". Yea, pretty much. A tomato-y sauce, a tortilla instead of the pasta, and a tasty filling. That's pretty much it, right? 

     Enchiladas are extremely versatile and can be packed full of whatever your little heart desires. My personal favourite is a mixture of quinoa with black beans, spinach, corn and green onions. Super tasty, and besides rolling the enchiladas, there is minimal prep. I've included a pretty easy recipe for enchilada sauce, a thin tomato sauce seasoned with smoked and hot spices, along with cumin and coriander. But alternatively, if you want to make this recipe even easier, you can used canned or jarred, pre-made enchilada sauce, normally in the Mexican section of grocery stores next to the taco kits and what-not, though I am not sure if they're vegan (I've just never looked).

Serves: 4-6
Time: 45 minutes


  • 8-10 12" Tortilla wraps
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 can black beans, strained and rinsed
  • 4 green onions, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, washed, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 cup spinach, chiffonaded or finely chopped and packed tightly
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen corn (thawed)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander

Sauce (optional)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp each of onion powder, chili powder, smoked chipotle, smoked paprika, cooriander and salt
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp cold water
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook quinoa: either follow package instructions or place quinoa in a microwave-safe bowl with 1 1/2 cups water and cook for 8 minutes on 60% power, then 5 minutes at full/100% power. Remove from microwave when all water is absorbed, if any water remains, microwave for additional 1 minute increments at 100% until quinoa has completely absorbed liquid. Let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, start the sauce if using. In a medium sauce pan, on medium heat, warm olive oil with garlic until fragrant. Toss in all the spices to quickly toast, about 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste, and slowly incorporate the broth and water while stirring. Continue to stir the sauce while incorporating the cornstarch and water mixture. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until thickened (will thicken more as it cools). 
  3. While your sauce is cooking, mix together all filling ingredients in a large bowl. 
  4. Preheat oven to 375°F and coat the bottom of a large rectangular pyrex dish (9x13") with a bit of sauce.
  5. Start rolling! Evenly distribute the filling among the tortillas, roll up (you can leave the ends open or closed, it's up to you) and place seam down in the baking dish.
  6. Cover enchiladas with the remainder of the sauce and bake at 375° for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Serve with a guacamole for a tasty treat!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Vegan Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake

     February sixth has come again, which means that Ryan's another year older. I was thinking of making Ryan a lemon poppy seed cake, but he decided that he wanted a chocolate beetroot cake. So here is my recipe! It's light and fudgy and absolutely delicious.

     I tried to look up a vegan recipe online but there weren't really any that suited our needs. Don't get me wrong, there are a couple out there, but there where a couple things I needed to have in this cake, like espresso (Ryan's request), boiled beetroot rather than roasted so that I could use the water for the liquid in the recipe, and a light but fudgy product. So, I used my favourite chocolate cake recipe, and umphed it up with some luscious beet purée and a long shot of espresso... as well as a couple other changes to try and get the right texture and moisture content. 

     This cake turned out wonderfully! Ryan couldn't believe how moist but fluffy this cake was. Moist chocolaty goodness, why not? I've also paired the cake with a poppy seed butter cream, a fun spin off of the usual, but nothing to flavourful so that it doesn't outshine the cake.

Serves: 6-10
Time: 30 minutes prep, 30-45 minutes cook


  • 4 medium beets, about 400 g, trimmed, peeled and cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose-flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1 cup beet water, or water
  • 1 long espresso (2-4 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Poppy Seed Butter Cream
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered/confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tbsp soy milk
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp poppy seeds

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Wash, trim and peel beetroot (you might want to wear some gloves). Cut into 2" pieces. Place in a medium pot, rinse once, and then cover with about 2" of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender (they should be easily pierced with a fork), about 30 minutes. Check water level every ten minutes, and top up with a bit of water if too much boils off.
  3. Poor beet water into a glass measuring cup, keep one (1) cup, and discard the rest, or of there is less than a cup, top it up with warm water.
  4. Purée beetroots with a food processor or an immersion blender. As much as I love my food processor, beets are a bit messy so I tend to choose the stick blender for this task.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa, leavening agents and salt.
  6. While whisking, slowly add in the wet ingredients: beet purée, beet water, espresso, canola oil and vanilla extract. Mix well until smooth.
  7. Lightly grease your baking pans, either two 9" round baking pans or a bunt pan, and if possible, also line with parchment paper.
  8. If using the two round pans, equally distribute the batter between them. On a flat surface, bang the pans a couple of times, and then swirl or spin so that there is more batter around the edges of the cake pan than the center. This will help you get flatter cakes rather than really rounded cakes.
  9. Bake in the oven at 350°F for 30-35 minutes (two pans) or 40-45 minutes (bunt pan).
  10. Lick spoon (it's tasty. Seriously).
  11. When done baking, you should be able to pierce the center of the cake with a tooth pick or a knife and have it come out clean. 
  12. Let cool on a wire rack in the cake pans for 30 minutes, then delicately remove from the cake pans, and let cool an additional 30 minutes, still on wire rack, before icing or glazing.
  13. To make the poppy seed butter cream, whisk together the margarine with the vanilla extract, then slowly whisk in the powdered sugar. Then whisk in the soy milk and the poppy seeds, you can use a little or less soy milk to achieve your desired texture. This can be done by hand, or using an electric mixer, your preference.
  14. Ice and enjoy.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Green Monster Smoothie

     Smoothie time followers! So this is my first official smoothie post. It wasn't till recently that I started blending up some awesome smoothies....You know, after I got my shiny new high-speed blender for Christmas. I made an exceptional Green monster the other day and thought I would share it with you all.
Perks of this smoothie: 2 servings of fruit, 1 serving of green veg, 1 serving of dairy alternatives and 1 (or 2) servings of deliciousness. And if you want to get a serving of protein in your smoothie too, just add 2 Tbsp nut butter. 

     I used frozen peach in this smoothie instead of my typical frozen banana, and it turned out great! But if you don't have the frozen peach, you can substitute it for a banana. And because of the chia seeds, this is a great on-the-go smoothie because it won't get all watery.

Serves: 1 large (about 650mL) or 2 small
Time: 5 minutes


  • 1 medium peach, cut and frozen
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup spinach, loosely packed
  • 1 small chunk of ginger, about 1/4"x1/2" (about 1/2 tsp ginger paste)
  • 1 cup soy milk or almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • (optional: 2 Tbsp nut butter)


  1. Put all ingredients in a high speed blender, blend on high (purée or liquify) for about 2 minutes or until smooth.
  2. Serve in a mason jar (because not many people have a cup big enough to fit 650mL, and if it's too much goodness for one sitting you can put the lid on and save it for later)
  3. Since there's chia seeds in this smoothie, it stays thick for longer than a normal smoothie and thus can be made in advance.