If you’re a new convert to vegan and vegetarian cooking and still have a craving for the flavour of bacon on top of your salad, this lively and healthy substitute is just the ticket. These delicious ribbons are also tasty on sandwiches or cut up and served on a soup. It also goes perfectly with our Stacked Celery Salad !
Delicious little morsels of crunchy crusts with a creamy filling offer just enough sweetness to end a special meal. They’re easy to make ahead—and they’re vegan! Alternative serving idea Press nut crust mixture into bottom and partway up sides of 8 in (20 cm) tart pan with removable bottom. Chill crust, then fill, and chill again until chocolate ganache is firm. Garnish and serve. The icing on the cake! This chocolate and coconut cream ganache is so decadent, it can also be used as piped frosting on a cake. Simply chill until firm enough to pipe.
Puttanesca is typically made with tomatoes, capers, and anchovies. But that’s not what “puttanesca” actually means. It roughly translates to “lady of the night.” We gave it a nutritional boost by adding in some miso, beans, and baby spring chard to add to the umami explosion of flavour. Perfect served with red wine and, of course, by candlelight. Can’t find fire-roasted tomatoes? Substitute with regular diced tomatoes and add some smoked paprika, to taste. A sauce of veritable versatility Puttanesca is frequently tossed with pasta. But we also love to jazz it up and spoon it over creamy polenta or roasted squash.
Our tasty tart is the quintessential harbinger of spring with its new asparagus and spring leeks. All tucked into a flaky crust with tiny tomatoes and sprinkled with pine nuts, it’s a delicious meatless alternative for the vegetarian palate. Looking to make this entirely vegan? Substitute vegan butter for unsalted butter, and brush crust with a little oil before baking.
Fresh baby carrots are beginning to surface this month. They’re especially delicious eaten fresh from the garden. However, if you’re looking to sip a soothing bowl with healing spices, simmering young carrots in a lovely broth really delivers. We added nutty-tasting wild rice to up the protein quotient along with added fibre, potassium, and zinc. Did you know? Cooked wild rice has about 30 percent fewer calories than brown rice as well as 40 percent more protein. And it’s native to the Great Lakes region of Canada. Cooking wild rice is easy! Rinse 1 cup (250 mL) rice thoroughly under cold running water. Then simmer, covered, in saucepan with 3 cups (750 mL) water or stock and a generous pinch of salt. Check after 40 minutes. As grains begin to split, rice is done. You want rice to have a little body and not be mushy. Drain well and use in soups and stir-fries. 1 cup (250 mL) dry = 3 1/2 cups (850 mL) cooked.
You get the best of all worlds with this crispy fresh spring salad. Filled with goodness, containing crisp celery and fennel and fresh baby spinach, it’s chock full of healthy anticancer phytochemical compounds. Add a side of grilled salmon for a hit of beneficial omega-3s and protein.
These little bite-sized morsels are a snap to make. Traditionally, blinis are made with yeast and left to rise. We simplified the recipe using baking powder and soda. Plus, we added some buckwheat flour to make them a little nuttier. These delicious mini pancakes are the perfect foundation for any topping. Za’atar is a Turkish blend of seasonings found in most major grocery stores. This dish lends itself to any variety of prepared spice blends if za’atar is not available. Lentil caviar? Called the caviar of the lentil family, black beluga lentils are a popular legume grown in parts of Canada. Full of healthy antioxidants and excellent for gut health, lentils are a wonder food and so easy to cook! Gluten-free? Substitute gluten-free for all-purpose flour if you wish. Just be sure your flour mix contains xanthan gum. If it doesn’t, add a generous pinch.
Broccoli rabe, also called rapini or Chinese broccoli in Asian markets, hits peak season in early spring. Its pronounced bitter taste is tamed somewhat with cooking. This elegant plant-based recipe proves that overcooked vegetables are sometimes a good thing. Name game Despite the name, leafy broccoli rabe tastes nothing like broccoli. Its uses and flavours are closer to turnip and mustard greens. All parts of broccoli rabe—stems, florets, and leaves—are edible. Just like broccoli rabe, broccolini is also a cruciferous vegetable but is a hybrid cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli (also called gai lan or Chinese kale). It has long stalks with small broccoli-like florets and less of a bitter edge than rabe.
Time to use a hit of bitter to wake up your breakfast routine. This coffee-chocolate sauce adds a haunting bitter element to everything it touches from creamy yogurt to pancakes to a bowl of vanilla ice cream. As with wine and vinegar, reducing coffee concentrates its flavour so a little goes a long way. Dark delight Dutch-processed cacao (often spelled “cocoa”) has been treated with alkali to tame its natural bitterness. Natural or “raw” cacao still retains its bold flavour personality as well as the health-hiking antioxidants.
Together, arugula pesto and hazelnuts add a whisper of bitterness to this dish that offers a fresh take on pasta night to welcome spring. Tossing chickpeas into the mix adds some satiating plant-based protein. If orecchiette pasta is not available, other shaped noodles such as penne work as stand-ins. Boiling point To jumpstart your pasta cooking water, bring a kettleful of water to a boil, pour into a large saucepan, and then add any additional hot tap water. This will reduce the amount of time it takes a pot of water to come to a boil.
Elevate your salad and side-dish game at once. When blasted in the oven and flecked with a bit of char, radicchio mellows and gains some sweetness while still retaining just the right amount of bitterness. Here, it’s paired with acidic (syrupy balsamic) and fatty (creamy cheese) ingredients to make a knife-and-fork salad with balanced flavours. Round or slender You can use either of the popular varieties of radicchio—round Chioggia or slender Treviso—in this recipe, but if using a large head of this colourful member of the chicory family, you can slice it into quarters for 4 servings. Radicchio can also be prepared on an outdoor grill. Chill out When some people say they don’t like slightly bitter-tasting walnuts, it could be because they have only tried nuts that have turned rancid. The delicate omega fats in walnuts are prone to turning unpleasant tasting fairly quickly. So, it’s best to stash them in your fridge or freezer and purchase walnut halves when possible, since their smaller surface area delays the rancidity process.
Within each bowl is a delightful play of flavours and textures with curly endive (sometimes labelled chicory) and the tahini-turmeric sauce delivering just the right amount of bitter punch. All the elements of this dish can be prepared ahead of time for a quick toss for lunch or dinner, but keep everything separated until just before serving. Open, sesame! For dressings and sauces (and hummus!), runny tahini is preferred over versions with a consistency similar to nut butter. Middle Eastern grocers are the best bet for locating this style of sesame paste. You can swap out the lacy leaves of curly endive for a base of other greens with a bitter edge such as baby kale, radish greens, frisée, dandelion greens, escarole, or arugula.
Toss the tempered bitterness of raw turnip with sweet-tart apple slices, crunchy sunflower seeds, fresh mint, and a dairy-free creamy curry dressing, and you’ll have a slaw to take notice of. After all, bitter plays well with sour, salty, and especially sweet. Leftovers won’t disappoint. Deliver even higher nutrition by serving the slaw atop a bed of baby kale or spinach.
A basic tomato soup has plenty of umami, but when you use roasted tomatoes, dried tomatoes, a whisper of soy sauce, and a crispy Parmesan accompaniment, each spoonful delivers considerably more. It’s comfort food taken to new heights. You can also press the easy button and garnish with a simple dusting of grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese. Nutrition bonus Tomatoes, particularly the sun-dried variety, are laced with lycopene, an antioxidant linked to improved brain functioning. Roasting vegetables is a hands-off approach to making soup. Plus, it adds a smoky (more umami) element to the final dish. As with tomato soup, adding a touch of soy sauce to tomato-based pasta sauces can pump up the flavour.
Toast for dinner? Certainly, when it’s the base for a dish reminiscent of comforting chicken pot pie that comes with an umami-laced gravy of your dreams. Miso’s concentrated umami flavour (and versatility) means you just need a little bit to boost sauces, salad dressings, and soup broths. The gravy is also wonderful strewn over roasted potatoes. Nutrition bonus Cremini mushrooms are a good source of selenium, an antioxidant linked to a lower risk for type 2 diabetes. Fermented miso contains beneficial strains of bacteria that may help bolster digestive health. Paying it forward Don’t compost those mushroom stems. Collect them up and freeze in an airtight container for future use when making homemade vegetable stock.
This power bowl is overflowing with umami showstoppers. While beets and apple add a sweet element, combining umami and sweet in one dish has become a culinary trend among savvy chefs. Sourced from Canada’s East Coast, dulse is a chewy seaweed that takes on a bacon-esque personality when turned crunchy in a hot pan. But if not available, shards of hijiki or arame or even roughly chopped nori can stand in for dulse. Other grains such as sorghum, farro, freekeh, or wheat berries can work here too. Make it plant based by swapping out egg and mackerel for grilled tempeh. Nutrition bonus Fatty in a good way, both mackerel and walnuts contain a boatload of heart-healthy omega-3 fats. As with other seaweed, dulse is a reliable source of iodine, which contributes to proper thyroid functioning. Watching the clock and simmering eggs for exactly 6 1/2 minutes yields cooked whites and an oozy yolk. The eggs can be cooked, peeled, and kept chilled for up to 3 days. Reheat in simmering water for 1 minute if desired.
Dried shiitake mushrooms are loaded with guanylate, which teams up with the glutamate in nutritional yeast and nori to produce an over-the-top umami seasoning that is ready to elevate popcorn for movie night at home, which we’re doing a lot more of these days. Once you taste it, you’re going to want to sprinkle (or perhaps pour) this magic mushroom powder on everything, including roasted or steamed vegetables, baked potato, grilled fish, soups, pasta, and avocado toast. Luckily, it keeps well. You can also make it with dried porcini mushrooms. Nutrition bonus Shiitake mushrooms deliver polysaccharide compounds that may have anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting powers. Nutritional yeast offers up a huge dose of essential B vitamins including thiamine and vitamin B12. To deepen the umami flavour of nori, you can toast the sheets first. To do so, heat heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium and dry toast nori sheets one at a time until darkened, about 2 minutes per side. Alternatively, place nori sheets on baking sheet in one layer. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 5 to 7 minutes, flipping halfway during baking time, until roasted and crispy. Let sheets cool down to room temperature before pulsing them into seasoning.
Now that kimchi has hit the mainstream, it’s time to work its umami-fiery crunch into more of your cooking repertoire, including this punchy salsa that adorns a plant-based tempeh filling that brings even more umami oomph to the table. Served in fresh-tasting lettuce leaves, the whole dish is a riot of appetizing colour. For taco night, you can also scoop everything into warmed corn tortillas. If eating only plants, be sure to choose a brand of kimchi that is not made with a fish product such as anchovies or fish sauce.
Here’s a dessert with every flavour on the spectrum, including umami, enclosed in a single bite: tart yogurt; a wee bit of sweet, zippy zest; a pinch of salt; and a bit of Chinese spice. Garnished with a poof of cleansing mint, it’s a riot of fused flavours that doesn’t have to be reserved just for dessert. Try it for breakfast with granola! Substitute coconut or soy yogurt for the dairy yogurt and add lime zest on top with pomegranate seeds for a Persian twist. The options are unlimited.
The spelling is different, but the pronunciation is easy: “zoog” sauce. Zhoug is a delightfully bright green fresh dipping sauce with plenty of heat. It’s easy to make and simply delicious drizzled over grilled meats and vegetables. It’s common in Middle Eastern dishes. We paired it up with mild paneer and fresh local bell peppers for a massive “wow” factor. Trouble finding paneer? It’s not always out there, as traditionalists often make it at home. Substitute with a very firm tofu or halloumi. Or thread cubed chicken onto skewers. Everything tastes delicious with Zhoug.
Halloumi is the quintessential cheese for carrying flavour, making it a versatile flavour star for many different dishes. In this spring salad, we’ve joined in-season Canadian maple syrup with South Asian curry and then added this delicious Cypriot cheese. It’s a potpourri of global fusion flavours all on one plate! Looking for an added protein kick that’s dairy free and also turns this salad into a full meal deal? Add some fava beans for extra heartiness.
These pillowy little gnocchi are delicious with just about any sauce. We’ve made them with rutabaga so they’re full of healthy vitamins, then paired them with saffron-laced salmon and thyme. Absolutely scrumptious. Coupled with pucker-up lemon and dill, it’s a sensational blend of flavours. Gnocchi can be a little labour intensive to prepare. Make a batch ahead and refrigerate or freeze. Then, when you’re ready to serve, presto! It only takes 4 to 6 minutes to cook from fresh or frozen.
A little blend of “N’awlins” with Tuscany makes this spicy cauliflower steak platter a hearty dish. We tempered the southern heat with fresh spinach and tomatoes. And then scattered it with cooling goat cheese and a little added crunch of pine nuts. Beautiful colours with amazing flavours, it’s delicious paired with fresh tomato soup. Creole spice blend is delicious used in many Southern dishes such as jambalaya and gumbo. But don’t stop there. Use it in your favourite tomato or squash soup recipe or in a risotto dish for some added kick.
Miso adds a “what’s that?” flavour switch-up to these sweet-savoury energy balls that can help you get through the mid-afternoon energy slump or a spirited workout. A coating of sesame seeds lends this nourishing snack a nice crunch. Nutrition bonus Tahini supplies a healthy mix of heart-benefitting mono- and polyunsaturated fats, as well as a range of essential nutrients including thiamine, phosphorus, and copper. Salty, earthy, and funky, miso is a versatile ingredient made from fermented soybeans. The colour of miso will predict how it will taste (and how you can use it). Lighter shades (white and yellow) are fermented for less time, have a sweeter flavour, and are what you can use for dressings, sauces, glazes, and even desserts (yes, peanut butter miso cookies are a thing). Red miso is fermented for a longer time, giving it an earthier, more intense flavour that can elevate hearty stews and braises.