Saturday, 28 March 2015

Vegan Carrot Cake with a Cream Cheese Icing or Lemon Glaze

       There is something very satisfying about eating carrot cake. Could be the taste, could be the fact that I feel better about eating a carrot-based cake than other less nutritious desserts. Ryan actually thinks that my carrot cake might be too healthy, but he's happy because he gets to eat cake for breakfast.

       If you know my dad, you probably know that he LOVES carrot cake. I remember when I was around ten or so, my mother was had broken her arm during March break. But it being my dad's birthday, he wouldn't settle for anything less than homemade carrot cake. So my mother, with only one good arm grated my father carrots for his carrot cake. She always reminds us of how that was the best cake she ever made (this recipe is based off of her recipe, minus the sweat and tears that went into that particular recipe), and she never lets us forget it. 

       This carrot cake has pretty much everything in it, many of the ingredients personally requested by my father (he tasted it yesterday and was quite pleased) including shredded coconut and raisins. I grew up loving a good cream cheese icing on my carrot cakes, but recently have been opting for a tangy lemon glaze. Both toppings pare excellently with this recipe, and their recipes and instructions can be found below.

Serves: 8


  • 2 cups finely grated carrot, unpacked (approx. 2 medium-large carrots)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 cup soy milk or other varieties
  • 1/2 cup light oil, olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp apple vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat or mixed flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 2/3 cup raisins, soaked and drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, I like unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, pecans or mix


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a loaf pan, bunt pan or 9x9 square pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients, and mix together.
  3. Soak raisins in water while you prepare the dry ingredients.
  4. In a large bowl mix together dry ingredients.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into the dry bowl and mix until combined. Drain the raisins, then fold into wet batter with the nuts and coconut.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and bake 350°F for 45-60 minutes. Depending on your cooking wear the times will vary, the square pan and the bunt pan will take less time to cook than the loaf pan.
  7. Before removing loaf from oven, check done-ness with a tooth pick or a cake tester.
  8. Let cool completely before icing or slicing.

Vegan Cream Cheese Icing

  • 4 oz/125g Tofutti cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups icing sugar

  1. Beat cream cheese, margarine and vanilla, and gradually add sugar until fluffy.

Vegan Lemon Glaze

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is better)

  1. Whisk icing sugar with lemon juice until smooth.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Sesame-Soy Vinaigrette

       I'm not sure if you guys are aware of this, but my favourite type of food is Asian food. Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, you name it, it's all tasty. As the weather has been getting warmer, I've been craving many of my favourite summer dishes, cold soba noodle salad being one of them. So today I bring you my favourite "pasta salad" with an Asian twist. 

       I've been making this recipe for ages, and in general it's a real crowd pleaser. It was only recently though that I decided that it was about time I measure out exactly what I'm putting in it so that I can share this lovely salad with all of you!

Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-6


  • 9oz/250g buckwheat soba noodles
  • 1-2 Tbsp peanut oil 
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar 
  • 1/8 tsp or a pinch of chili flakes
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, fine julienne or shredded (or spiralized!)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp sesame seeds, white and/or black


  1. In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook soba noodles until al dente, about 5-8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, start mixing up the dressing: in small measuring cup or bowl, mix together soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and chili flakes. Chop onions and shred, grate or fine julienne carrot. 
  3. When pasta is ready, drain and rinse with cold water, then put in large serving bowl and gently mix with peanut oil to stop them from sticking.
  4. Poor vinaigrette over noodles along with onions, carrots, cilantro, and 2 Tbsp of the sesame seeds. Toss and mix.
  5. Let cool for at least one (1) hour in the fridge before serving. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp sesame seeds before serving.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Stew

       Oh, stew. How you warm my heat. Sunday was day light savings (Spring is slowly coming to Canada) so amazingly, we actually ate dinner in daylight....though it was more of a lupper, seeing as we had brunch at 12.30. Anyways, we wanted some comfort food, so we decided on a hearty red lentil soup. Ryan wanted a soup, but I prefer stew, and it just happened that the pot wasn't big enough for him to add anymore liquid, so I won the soup vs. stew battle and we settled on a robust red stew with buttery drop biscuits.

       Also just to give you guys a heads up, I'm going to be offline for the next two weeks and will return on the 21st of March for a my birthday post (oh the options!). Two weeks four projects and four papers. Its going to be a very busy next couple of weeks. But don't worry, just because I'm not publishing recipes, doesn't mean I'n not making new recipes or testing old ones. A girl's got to eat after all.

       But anyways, back to the stew.... This stew is inspired by Indian dhal, and so uses some warm spices, like cumin and turmeric, but also some more floral spices like thyme and oregano. This stew is hearty enough that it doesn't need an accompaniment, but if you, like myself, enjoy dipping bread or biscuits into your stews and soups, give my vegan drop biscuit recipe a try.

Serves: 6-8
Time: 50 minutes


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 2 medium-large carrots, sliced into rounds or semi-circles
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • I bunch red or rainbow swiss chard, stems separated from greens, stems chopped, greens chiffonaded
  • 2 cups red lentils (dry)
  • 1/4 cup white wine (or 2 tbsp white or red wine vinegar)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can or jar tomato puree, or alternatively diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 3 medium white or red potatoes, chucked 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice


  1. In a large soup or stock pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Sauté onions, carrots, garlic and chopped swiss chard stems for about 3 minutes or until onions are translucent. 
  2. Add lentils, stir and let toast for a couple of minutes. Add the wine and let the alcohol burn off for an additional two minutes.
  3. Add broth, water, tomato products and spices. Cover, bring to a boil on high heat, and then reduce and let simmer for 10 minutes. The lentils will absorb a lot of liquid so add more water as needed.
  4. Add chopped potatoes, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes on medium heat.
  5. When the potatoes are starting to get tender, add the swiss chard greens, slowly while stirring the soup to avoid greens from clumping together. Let simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes until all vegetables are tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  6.  Remove from heat, and stir in lemon juice. 
  7. Serve with biscuits or garlicky toasts and enjoy.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Vegan Baked Banana French Toast (or is it Bread Pudding?)

     Do you know what is better than Saturday brunch? 

     Sunday Brunch. I say brunch because this is usually a dish I eat with Ryan, but seeing as I'm a morning bird, I've already had my morning coffee and a snack/first breakfast and have started doing homework or typing up a blog post (like this morning) before he wakes up. Anyways, I've got the perfect recipe for your Sunday brunch or breakfast: super easy baked banana french toast or bread pudding (really, it's all the same thing). Seriously, there are only a handful of ingredients and you only need to dirty one mixing bowl and of course whatever you are baking this bad boy in. Seeing as we prefer not to eat eggs here at No Empty Fridge, we make our custard base out of bananas, non-dairy milk and cornstarch. It really is that easy. Since we like to get a little extra protein boost in the A.M., I like to add some toasted walnuts to the mix. Turns out great. This baked french toast casserole is rather firm so that you can serve it with a spatula or a large flat spoon but it's still soft and creamy on the inside. If you like it more custardy, take it out of the oven earlier, or leave it in a smidgen longer if you like it firmer.

Serves: 2-4
Time: 15 min + bake 30 min 


  • 4-6 pieces of bread, cut into 1" by 2-3" chunks, or left whole
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, I use regular soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)
  • Margarine


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C
  2. Place your walnuts, if using, in your baking dish (see below), and toast uncovered while your oven is getting up to temp. By the time your oven gets up to temp your walnuts should be toasted (depending on how fast your oven heats up), but if they don't yet seem toasted enough, you can toast them for a couple more minutes at 350°F, checking often to make sure they don't burn.
  3. In a large mixing bowl mash banana until creamy, if your banana is really ripe you can do this with a whisk, otherwise use a fork.
  4. Whisk in soy milk, cornstarch, cinnamon, vanilla extract and canola oil. Mix in chopped walnuts if using.
  5. Coat all of the bread in the mixture. The older your bread is, the longer it will need to sit. Let sit for about 5-15 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes to make sure all of your bread gets coated in and absorbs the banana custard.
  6. While soaking up the banana custard, lightly grease a small baking dish, I use a 7"x7" square or a 9" oval  glass or ceramic baking dish.
  7. Mix your bread mixture one last time before pouring into your baking dish. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving with fresh fruit and a strong coffee.
and ready to bake

Have any favourite vegan breakfast or brunch options? Let me know!