Carrot and cauliflower pakoras

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My favourite pakoras are packed with sweet onions and spicy chilies. But when I decided to make a little snack this evening, I wanted to make something the kids would enjoy too. So I left out the chilies and swapped the onions for carrots and cauliflower. It resulted in these little gems I can share.

On the side is some Curried apple chutney that I made in the fall. It’s a bit spicy so it makes up for the missing chilies in the pakoras. This recipe is based on Vegan Richa‘s pakoras.

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Carrot and cauliflower pakoras

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 2 Tbsp rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 tbsp non-dairy yogurt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup finely chopped cauliflower

Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add garlic, ginger, yogurt, lemon juice, oil and water and stir well to combine. Add veggies and mix.

Scoop batter into 2 tbsp balls on to the parchment paper and bake for 18 minutes.

Creamy cauliflower dip with cashews and caramelized onions

If you’re looking for something special to bring to a potluck or a party, I have your solution. This dairy-free dip is creamy with a kick of spice and it won’t impact your waistline. But there’s no need to wait for a special occasion – whip it up today for an indulgence you don’t have to share.

Note to parents: don’t let the Santa plate fool you – the kids won’t touch this dip. It’s sweet and spicy with caramelized onions and hot sauce, which makes it too flavourful for most kids. I could make a kid-friendly version but not today. This one’s just for the grown-ups.

Warm vegan cauliflower dip
Straight from the oven, this creamy dip tastes naughty but is really nice.

This recipe is a bit more time consuming than others because you have to soak the cashews. If you have a high speed blender, you only need to soak them in boiling water for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a Vitamix or similarly powerful blender, you should probably soak them overnight.

Creamy cauliflower dip

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (or whatever kind you have on hand)
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 Tbsp hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup cauliflower (chopped very small)
  • 2 Tbsp oats
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Pour the boiling water over the raw cashews and soak them for 30 minutes or overnight (depending on the strength of your blender).

When you’re ready to make the dip, preheat the oven to 350 and find an ovenproof dish that can fit up to 3 cups of dip.

Heat a frying pan on medium-low heat, add the olive oil and the onion. Cook it for a few minutes until it starts to turn brown. Turn the heat down if it starts sticking. Add the garlic and cauliflower and continue to cook for another minute, stirring often to prevent burning. Add the balsamic vinegar, paprika, dry mustard and hot sauce and remove from the heat.

Put the cashews and their water in the blender with the oats and nutritional yeast and blend until smooth. Pour the cashew cream into the pan with the onion mixture and stir to combine. Pour this mixture into the ovenproof dish and bake for 15 minutes.

Serve with crackers, chips or fresh bread.

Vegan cauliflower dip
Even Santa approves of this nice treat.

Creamy cauliflower and pumpkin seed soup

cauliflower soup
Creamy cauliflower and pumpkin seed soup with fresh bread for an easy weeknight dinner.

My goal with this blog isn’t to write about special occasion meals and instagramable photos but to show that it’s doable to increase the amount of nutrient-rich food on the dinner table. Vegan cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming (though it can be both). With a bit of creativity, it’s easy to have family-friendly plant-based meals on the table on weeknights.

You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy these meals. Vegans have developed innovative recipes to mimic familiar foods we remember from before we gave up animal products. These foods have familiar textures and flavours but are much more nutritious than the foods that inspired them. If you’re looking to eat more vegetables or encourage your family-members to be less veggie-adverse, getting inspiration from vegan recipes might give you a new appreciation for a vegetable you thought you didn’t like.

Here’s a simple soup that is velvety smooth and flavourful despite the few plant-based ingredients required. The cauliflower blends into a rich, creamy texture that will make you forget you’re eating a low-fat, vitamin-rich vegetable soup. The pumpkin seeds enrich the soup with added protein and nutrients. It’s flavour is subtle enough to be enjoyed by kids but sophisticated enough for adults too. It’s easy to make – just add the ingredients to the pot and allow it to simmer.
Creamy cauliflower and pumpkin seed soup

I kept the flavours very simple so the kids would enjoy it but it would be nice with a dash of spice or extra garlic as well. Served with a side of rustic whole grain bread, it makes a nice, satisfying meal for a cool fall day.

Creamy cauliflower and pumpkin seed soup

  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped into small flowerets
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the chopped garlic and cauliflower. Cook for a few minutes to brown the garlic and soften the cauliflower. Add the vegetable broth, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes until the cauliflower is soft. Add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

That’s it – very simple and a great way to eat a nutrient-rich vegetable.