Category: vegetarian

Horray Halushki!

My comfort foods come in many shapes and sizes, but all share a common trait: they are all meals that I ate as a child. Peanut butter and cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, baked beans… generally some simple, cheap, good stuff. Also on my list are a few of my mother’s Slovak dishes, including her incredible pasta dumplings, which she calls “Halushki.” Interestingly, a Google search for Halushki (as well as one for Haluski) did not return any results resembling the dumplings that I’ve grown up with – generally I found photos of broad, flat egg noodles fried up with cabbage. I’m thinking that somewhere along the way, either the translation was mixed up between my mother and my grandmother, or my grandmother had been making spaetzle while calling it halushki. In any case, it’s always been halushki to me, and it’s the most delicious food that I have ever eaten. I decided that those cabbage people were onto something, so, while I normally eat these with scrambled eggs, I tried it with fried brussels sprouts and golden onions. It did not disappoint. Being of Eastern European descent, cabbage and onions rank high on my list of comfort foods, so combining them with the pasta was a definite win all around! 
This is a pretty simple recipe and, unlike other laborious pastas, it comes together in a matter of minutes. My mother has a special “halushki pot” that she uses to press the dumplings through, but a large-holed colander will do just fine. Don’t have that either? Dropping tiny spoonfuls into the water will do just fine. If you like these pasta dumplings, you should also check out my Sweet Potato Gnudi recipe here! 

Haluski with Brussels Sprouts and Onions
an original recipe by allison sklar

ingredients

2 cups flour
1/2 cup warm water
2 eggs, beaten
a couple of pinches of salt
2 cups chopped brussels sprouts
1 large red onion, diced
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
cracked black pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, sunflower, etc.)
method

Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Make a well in the middle. Add eggs and water. Stir to combine, bringing in flour from the sides. If the dough feels dry, add a little more water, a tbsp at a time.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using an oiled, large holed collander, press dough holes, letting it drop into water. Alternately, fill a pastry bag with the mixture and pipe out quarter-sized drops at a time, or, drop by small spoonfuls. Once your pasta is in the water, it will start to move around, stir gently a couple of times. Pasta is ready once it floats to the top – about 5 minutes. Drain, toss with a bit of oil, and set aside. 
Heat oil in a frying pan. Once it’s hot, return heat to medium and add onions, stirring. Allow them to brown, about 8 to 12 minutes. Add cabbage and stir. Add butter and halushki. Continue cooking another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with cracked black pepper and paprika. Enjoy!

Honey Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts. Known only to some as “that food in movies that kids never eat,” Brussels sprouts have gotten a bad rap over the years, possibly due to the fact that people have been cooking them the wrong way. However, there is a reason that they’ve been experiencing a resurgence – and you’ll probably see them make an appearance a lot more often this Thanksgiving, Christmas & holiday season. These miniature cabbages of joy are sprouting up everywhere from upscale restos to food network kitchens. New age foodies have learned that when prepared and heated correctly, these little green powerhouses make for a tasty, tender, buttery dish. Now, what I’m about to say may shock you, so brace yourselves – YOU DON’T HAVE TO ADD BACON! I know, I know. Forget what all those other foodie sites & food network stars tell you. The secret to brussels sprouts that taste good ISN’T bacon. The secret is proper cooking time. To me, bacon is a cop-out. You’re basically adding it to mask the flavour that you don’t like. Thing is, if you make these little babies properly, they’re so delicious on their own that you don’t need the bacon at all. In fact, bacon would only distract from the natural tastiness. Before we get started, let me give you a few other pointers that’ll help amp up your brussels sprouts game in the future.

3 Things not to do with brussels sprouts:
1. Do not boil the living daylights out of them.
2. Do not boil the living daylights out of them.
3. Do not boil the living daylights out of them.

Great! Now that we’ve got that covered, remember: do not boil your brussels sprouts. This is a surefire way to make sure you’ll never eat them again. They become soggy, bitter, and truly unpalatable.

3 Things you should do with brussels sprouts:
1. Leave whole & steam them.
2. Finely chop & pan-fry them.
3. Half, glaze & roast them.

Today, I’m going to show you how to glaze and roast the tastiest brussels sprouts you’ve ever had.
So heat up your ovens, and get your sprout show on!

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Honey Glaze
an original recipe by allison sklar

ingredients
2 cups brussels sprouts, chopped in half, woody bottoms removed
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together honey and oil until homogenous. (If you’re having trouble stirring, it helps to heat the honey slightly in the microwave.) Add salt, pepper & cayenne. Toss brussels sprouts to coat. Transfer to greased baking dish (8″square should do the trick!). Roast in preheated oven at 400F for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring half way through. They are ready when golden and very tender.

Buckwheat Pancakes – Gluten Free!

I’d like to introduce to you a humble little superfood that may already be hiding in your pantry. It’s a little seed that is often mistaken as a grain, and goes by a few different names. Soba. Kasha. Groats. Yes, as you may have already guessed, I’m talking about buckwheat.

I call it a superfood, as it’s got quite an impressive nutritional profile. Low glycemic, high in protein, rich in amino acids, naturally gluten-free, this little seed is super versatile and can easily be prepared in many different ways. With a slightly nutty flavour that is enhanced when roasted, you can grind it into a flour and incorporate it into your desserts. You can sprinkle the raw groats over ice cream for a delicious little crunch. You can enjoy buckwheat in smoothies, as a breakfast cereal, as noodles (known as soba), or, my personal favourite, as a stack of delicious pancakes. Even Oprah praises buckwheat for it’s unique health-promoting properties. 
Buckwheat is the new quinoa. 
(People just don’t know it yet.)

I now present to you easy-peasy flourless buckwheat pancakes, made with few ingredients and a whole lot of love. I served them with a scoop of chai-chia pudding for an added protein and flavour boost, and garnished with some fieldberries for a little pop of colour. I used coconut oil in the pan (a little goes a long way), which added a touch of extra sweetness. All in all, these babies were absolutely delish, and the two of us ate every last bite!

Gluten-Free, Flourless, High Protein
Buckwheat Pancakes
an original recipe by allison sklar

Ingredients
3/4 cup buckwheat groats
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch fine sea salt
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp agave or real maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil

Method
In a high powered blender, food processor, or coffee grinder, grind groats into a fine flour.
Mix flour with baking powder & salt. Whisk in buttermilk, syrup & egg. Mixture will be bubbly!

Heat oil over medium heat in large frying pan.

Scoop about 2 tbsp of batter at a time into the pan, more or less depending on the size of the pancakes that you prefer. Flip when pancake starts to bubble – these cook quickly, so do not leave them unattended! You may have to lower the heat to med-low after a couple of batches.

Serve with fruit, maple syrup & chia pudding.

Find my chia pudding recipe here!

Vegan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes



When a “Let’s empty out the fridge and cook all the things,” dish becomes a “Let’s definitely make this again, like, all the time,” kind of meal, I know it’s time to blog.

This is one of those amazingly delicious get-your-omnivore-friends-to-love-vegan-food recipes. Seriously, this stuff tastes like love and comfort. A hearty, healthy, nutritional powerhouse, stuffed into a cute little potato package! You don’t even have to mention to anyone that it’s vegan, because really, they don’t even need to know that no animals were harmed in the making of this meal. They don’t even need to know that this is good for them. They don’t even need to know that it contains complete protein and is full of vitamins. Nope, they just need to eat it. And then, when they’re all done, you can casually fill them in. Oh, what’s that? You loved it? You want more? You can’t get over how creamy the sauce was? Yeah. Oh, bee tee dubs, it was vegan and naturally gluten-free!

And now, for the love of sweet potatoes everywhere, I present to you my 100th recipe!

Vegan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Quinoa & Swiss Chard
an original vegan recipe by allison sklar 

ingredients
2 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked to package directions
1 handful of chopped greens (I used swiss chard)
1 handful of chopped brussels sprouts (or cabbage)
4-5 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp of your favourite mixed all-purpose seasoning. (I like to use a Jamaican jerk seasoning because it’s tasty, but any spice mix that you have on hand will work!) 

Quick spicy vegan mayo: 2 tbsp Vegenaise Original + 1 tsp Sriracha

method
Roast your potatoes, wrapped in foil, in the oven for about 45 mins at 400F. When they’re ready, take them out, cut them in half and scoop out as much flesh as you can, trying not to break the skin. Sautée the greens and cabbage in some oil, once they are bright in colour, add in your quinoa and stir. Add your chopped potato. Add your spices. Scoop it all back into your potato. If they need to be re-warmed (mine did, because I made them in advance!) put them back in the oven at 350 for about 15 mins. Serve hot, drizzled with spicy vegan mayo.

Vegan "Meat" Sauce with Lentils

I got 99 posts, but a meat sauce ain’t one! (Well, until now!)

You guys! This is my 99th post! Are you as excited as I am? Well, you should be. Because this is by far the best of the best. I mean, this is some real stick-to-your-ribs, blow-your-socks-off, even-ravenous-carnivores-will-love-it saucy sauce. Even my boyfriend, the lover of all things meat, declared this sauce to be “so meaty!”

Do you need any more reasons to make this right now? Really? Alright. Here are 10 reasons you should make this sauce: It’s hearty. It’s tasty. It’s spicy. It’s easy. It’s healthy. It’s vegan. Low sodium. Soy-free. Gluten-free. No added sugar. And, for all of those worried about protein intake, it’s an excellent source of the good stuff!

Serious winning all around.

One of my favourite things about this sauce is how quick and easy the process is. Chop up your ingredients, toss ’em into your slow cooker, set it, and forget it! Let your kitchen, and your house, smell like you’ve been slaving over the stove all day (when really, you’ve just been doing other important things, like catching up on some Netflix.)

Ok, ok. I’ll spare you more blab and just get right to the recipe – so that you can get right to it and cook!

Hearty Vegan Slow Cooked “Meat” Sauce
with lentils, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes
a.k.a AWESOME SAUCE
an original recipe by allison sklar

ingredients
1 medium red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup brown or green lentils (dried)
1 large can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with liquid
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped pitted mammoth green olives
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small green chile peppers (or more, if you like a spicy sauce!)
1 tbsp Jamaican jerk seasoning mix (or a mix 1/2 tbsp paprika (not smoked), and 1/2 tbsp herbes de province)

method
Mix all ingredients together in slow cooker. Set on high for 3 hours. Remove lid, stir. If you notice it is starting to become too dry, add a few tbsp of water until desired consistency is reached. Return lid to pot and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 hours. Lentils will be tender and sauce will darken in colour.

Ways to serve it

  • On top of pasta
  • Mixed in with rice
  • On bread (as bruschetta)
  • With a spoon




Asparagus, Fava & Snap Pea Salad

Here’s a great, super fast, super easy vegan meal packed with flavour, packed with protein, packed with nutrients, and oh-so-green! I found some beautiful asparagus this week at my local grocer (nice, thin stalks & bright green in colour, which is what you should look for when choosing asparagus!) Inspired by Ottolenghi’s newest book, Plenty More, and whatever else I had on hand, I came up with this. This salad is on the hearty side, which means that you can enjoy it on it’s own, or as a stellar side dish. If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, don’t worry! I’ve put some substitution ideas in parentheses just for you.

Asparagus, Fava Bean & Snap Pea Salad 
inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More 
ingredients
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends snapped off, roughly chopped
2 cups snap peas, roughly chopped
1 cup cooked, frozen, or canned fava beans (edamame works well, too!)
1 medium avocado
1 handful chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley if you prefer!)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp tahini (or dijon mustard)
1 tsp agave (or honey)

1 tsp harissa paste (or sriracha)
1 tsp ground corriander seed
pinch of chilli flakes
cracked black pepper
sea salt
Blanch asparagus, beans and snap peas in boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and place into colander. Run under cold water to cool. Place into large salad bowl. Top with chopped avocado and cilantro. Whisk dressing ingredients together. Toss to coat.

Buffalo Tofu & Ranch

Fun fact: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo is a grammatically correct sentence in the English language. Wait! Before you go and fact-check that, make some of this deliciousness. This recipe is my vegetarian version of buffalo wings. You thought it couldn’t be done? Well it can! And it’s healthy. And it’s delicious. And it’s perfect. 

Vegetarians coming to your Superbowl party? PERFECT. 
Vegetarian yourself? PERFECT. 
Like spicy delicious meals? PERFECT. 

Everything about this meal is perfect. Even my super carnivorous boyfriend said, “you HAVE to make this again.” Win all around! Also, it really doesn’t take long to prepare, which is awesome if, you know, you’re super hungry. Seriously, this meal hits the spot. A little spicy, a little creamy, a little sweet, a whole lot of flavour! 

Pairs well with cold beer and good company.

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Buffalo Tofu with Mushrooms
an original recipe by allison sklar
time needed: 15 to 20 minutes, plus marinating. 
serves 2. 

ingredients
1/2 package firm tofu, cut into strips (or 3cm cubes)
1 cup whole button mushrooms, or sliced white mushrooms
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Franks Red Hot Original
1 tsp white vinegar

1/4 cup mayonnaise**
1/4 cup plain yogourt**
1 tbsp blue cheese crumbles
pinch salt
1 tsp lemon juice
4 tbsp soy milk
1 tsp granulated sugar 
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce 
generous amount cracked black pepper
dash hot sauce

2 cups mixed greens (radicchio, arugula, baby kale, spinach)
1/4 cup herbed goat cheese, crumbled

**VEGAN OPTION: Replace may & yogurt with Vegenaise Original, or another vegan mayo & omit cheese. 
how to do it
Marinate tofu for a few hours or overnight in a ziplock bag, air sealed, with ketchup, vinegar and Franks. Mix all dressing ingredients together and set aside. 

Heat a few tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop tofu into pan with juices. Pan fry about 5 minutes,  then add mushrooms. Continue to cook, turning tofu occasionally, until golden on all sides, about 15 minutes. Do not leave unattended. 

Arrange mixed greens in bowls, drizzle with half of the dressing. Place tofu mixture on top. Top with remaining dressing and cheese crumbles. Eat hot or cold.  Enjoy!