Vegan Tartines (Open-faced Sandwiches)

Tartines are French style, open-faced sandwiches topped with all sorts of delicious ingredients. Perfect for brunch, if you want to show off a little to your friends, or if you just feel like having something delicious, healthy, and colourful all to yourself!

Here are just a few ideas of how to dress up a simple slice of bread:

  • Avocado, Roasted Corn, and Pico de Gallo Tartine
  • Oven-roasted Tomato, Arugula, and Asparagus Tartine
  • Hummus, Bell Pepper, and Watercress Tartine

You can also turn these into normal sandwiches if you need to take lunch on the go!

Prep Time: ~20 minutes, depending on the tartine.
Serves: 2 per tartine.

Ingredients:

For the Avocado and Corn Tartine:

  • 1 flatbread, cut in half and toasted.
  • 1 avocado, mashed.
  • 1 cob of corn, kernels cut off the cob (frozen corn is also fine, just let it thaw completely first!).
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely diced.
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced.
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced.
  • juice of 1 lime.
  • 1 tsp olive oil.
  • salt.
  • pepper.
  • 1 small handful cilantro, leaves plucked from the stems.

Preheat your oven to 400 F/200 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then place the corn kernels on it. Toss lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the corn is fully cooked and begins to blacken in a few areas.

In a bowl, mix together the tomatoes, red onion, garlic, most of the lime juice, olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Mix the remaining lime juice with the avocado.

To assemble: Spread a layer of avocado on the toast, then plenty of corn on top of that, and finish with the pico de gallo. Sprinkle a few coriander leaves on top for garnish, and voila!

For the Tomato and Asparagus Tartine:

  • 2 slices ciabatta bread, lightly toasted.
  • 1 large handful red cherry tomatoes, halved.
  • 1 large handful yellow cherry tomatoes, halved.
  • 1 small handful asparagus, woody parts of the stem removed, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 2 cloves garlic.
  • olive oil.
  • salt.
  • pepper.
  • 2 handfuls baby arugula.

Preheat your oven to 400 F/200 C. Place the tomatoes and asparagus on a lined baking sheet. Grate the garlic cloves over the top. Drizzle with olive oil, then season well with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then place in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until the skin on the tomatoes begins to shrivel and the asparagus is cooked.

To assemble: Drizzle a small amount of olive oil onto the bread, then add a generous amount of the roasted tomatoes and asparagus. Top with a handful of arugula, and enjoy!

For the Hummus and Bell Pepper Tartine:

  • 2 slices sourdough, lightly toasted.
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained (reserving the liquid) and rinsed.
  • 1 clove garlic.
  • 2 tsp tahini.
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon.
  • 2 tsp olive oil.
  • salt.
  • pepper.
  • paprika
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips.
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips.
  • 2 handfuls watercress.

Place the chickpeas, garlic, and tahini in a food processor and mix on low. Slowly add in the lemon juice and olive oil, blending until smooth. If the mixture is still too chunky, add a little of the chickpea water from the can and blend again, until the desired consistency is reached. Season well with salt and pepper.

To assemble: spoon a good amount of the hummus onto the bread, and sprinkle a light dusting of paprika over the top. Add plenty of bell peppers on top of that, and finish with a handful of watercress. Enjoy!

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Kale and Cauliflower Salad

Another salad that incorporates roasted vegetables. A little more effort than usual, but I find that mixing the salad while the roasted vegetables are still warm helps the kale tenderize a little bit more and taste better. This particular salad uses cauliflower, red peppers, and carrots – only the cauliflower is roasted, though!

Gluten-free
Serves 6
Prep time: ~30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 8 large handfuls of chopped kale.
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced.
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets.
  • 2 large carrots, peeled if desired, finely grated.
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard.
  • 1 tsp agave syrup.
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely grated.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper. Tumble all of your cauliflower florets onto the baking sheet, and season well with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until soft and cooked all the way through.

While the cauliflower cooks, it’s time to make the dressing. Mix together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, agave syrup, salt and pepper. You can blend everything together using an immersion blender, food processor, or standing blender, but you can also just mix it all by hand if you don’t mind the dressing being a little less smooth and uniform.

Once the cauliflower is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. This is a good time to dice up your red pepper and grate your carrots.

When the cauliflower is mostly cooled, but still a little bit warm, place all of your kale into a large bowl and mix in the cauliflower. This will allow the kale to wilt down slightly and become tender and easier to eat. Add in the bell pepper and carrots, and mix those through as well.

Dress well and serve immediately, or serve with dressing on the side to allow everyone to add as much or as little as they like!

Vegan Rice Bowl

Kind of similar to the Quinoa Black Bean Bowl I posted several months ago, this is a relatively easy recipe that can be tailored to your personal tastes!

I’ve included two variations of this style of bowl – one with brown rice, fried tofu, and fresh vegetables, and the other with a brown-and-wild rice medley with roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, and beans.

This recipe can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free soy sauce and substitute the flour for another gluten-free flour (I’ve used brown rice flour for this, and it works quite well).

Serves 6
Prep time: ~30 minutes for the tofu bowl, ~45 minutes for the sweet potato bowl.

Ingredients:

For the tofu bowl:

  • 200 g extra firm tofu.
  • 2 tsp sesame oil.
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice.
  • 2 tsp soy sauce.
  • 1 tsp grated ginger.
  • 1/2 – 1 cup flour, for coating the tofu.
  • pinch of black pepper.
  • 2 cups brown rice, rinsed.
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and grated into thin strips.
  • 2 large beets, peeled and grated into thin strips.
  • 1 bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow), sliced into very thin strips.
  • 6 large handfuls spinach (or other greens – bok choy would work nicely), washed.

For the sweet potato bowl:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 2 tsp Za’atar (Middle Eastern blend of herbs and sesame seeds), or other herbs.
  • 1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets.
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets.
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon.
  • 1.5 cups brown rice, rinsed.
  • 1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed.
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed.

For the dressing (goes with both bowls):

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce.
  • 1/3 cup apple cider/balsamic vinegar.
  • 2 tbsp tahini.
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped.
  • splash of hot sauce.
  • pinch of black pepper.
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (olive oil works well).

Cooking Instructions:

For the dressing:

Add the soy, vinegar, tahini, garlic, hot sauce, and vinegar to a blender/food processor. If you have an immersion blender, use the beaker that came with it. Blend the dressing, slowly dribbling in the oil.

Alternatively, mince the garlic very finely, and then just mix it all together in a bowl with a fork. Depends on how much effort you want to expend.

For the tofu bowl:

Cook your brown rice in a rice cooker, or in  a pot on the stove according to package directions. Add a splash of oil and a pinch of salt to the water. While it cooks, it’s time to press and marinate your tofu.

This is how I like to press my tofu – place it on a bed of paper towels on a large plate, then place another plate on top. Put something heavy on top of the plate (a couple of cans or a cookbook work well!), and allow it to press on the tofu for at least 10 minutes.

Once you’re done pressing the tofu, cut it into 1 cm cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl along with the sesame oil, soy sauce, five spice, and ginger, and mix well. Set aside to marinate for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, grate your carrots and beets. You want them to be as long as possible, but nice and thin! If you don’t have a grater, you can sliced them into a very fine julienne. Slice your peppers up too.

When the tofu is done marinating, get a large frying pan on high heat, and add enough oil to generously cover to bottom of the pan.

Prep a large shallow bowl with the flour. Add a pinch of black pepper to the flour for seasoning. Roll the tofu in the flour, tapping off the excess, and then add it to the pan. Fry the tofu, flipping it so it cooks evenly on all sides. Once the tofu is browned and crispy all over, remove it from the pan and pat off excess oil on a paper towel. You could also deep-fry the tofu, if you feel like going to the effort of it.

Serve with the brown rice in the bottom, then the spinach, then the sliced vegetables, then the tofu. Add as much or as little dressing as you like!

For the sweet potato bowl:

Mix the rice all together and cook either in a rice cooker, or on the stove. This amount of rice should use about 4 cups of water and take about 45 minutes. Add a splash of oil and a pinch of salt to the water used to cook the rice. Now, time to prep everything else.

Toss your sweet potatoes with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and the Za’atar. Pop them in an oven at 400 F/190 C for approx 30 minutes, until they’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

When the sweet potatoes have about 10 minutes left in the oven, heat a lidded frying pan over medium heat with a splash of oil in the bottom. When the oil is hot, add your broccoli and cauliflower. Cook, covered, for a couple minutes, then add your lemon juice. Stir every so often, keeping the lid on the pan, so that the vegetables steam in the lemon juice. When they become tender, season with salt and pepper, then take them off the heat.

Stir the black beans into the rice mixture, then serve with the rice on the bottom, then the broccoli and cauliflower, and top with the sweet potato. Add as much or as little dressing as you like!

 

Super Simple Guac

I have a confession: I don’t usually like avocados. But I really, really like my friend Amani’s guacamole recipe, and she was kind enough to let me put it on this blog!

Serves 12
Gluten-free
Raw
Prep time: ~10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 ripe avocados.
  • 1 lemon, juiced.
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped (cherry tomatoes work best, but you can use any kind, as long as they’re nice and ripe).
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced.
  • 1 tsp garlic powder.
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Remove the stones and the skins from the avocados, and dump them in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Take a potato masher, and mash thoroughly, until the avocados reach the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Next, add in the tomatoes and red pepper. Stir well, then mash a little bit longer, until everything is nicely combined.

And that’s it! Super simple, but really tasty.

Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

What I like to call “hipster salad”. Very easy to make, all things considered, and quite tasty! I’ve made something similar at work before, and it was popular. If you’re serving to a larger group of people, I recommend using brightly coloured vegetables for a bit of contrast with the greens.

Prep time: ~30 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 6-8, generously

Ingredients:

  • Several large handfuls of greens (kale, arugula, spinach, mixed greens, whatever!)
  • An assortment of vegetables – red and yellow bell pepper, eggplant, and zucchini are nice.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • salt and pepper.
  • 1 cup quinoa (any kind of quinoa will do!)

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup apple cider or balsamic vinegar.
  • 1 shallot, finely diced/pureed.
  • 2 tbsp mustard (Dijon or whole grain are best).
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup.
  • 1 cup olive oil.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.
  • 1-2 cm ginger, peeled and finely diced/pureed.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C). Slice your vegetables quite thinly, you want them to roast off pretty quickly. Seperate the peppers from the other vegetables – you want to cook them for a little bit longer than everything else. Drizzle everything with olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, and toss briefly before popping it in the oven.

While the vegetables roast, time to cook the quinoa. Use 2 cups water for every 1 cup quinoa. Heat in a pot on high heat, with a splash of oil and a little pinch of salt, until boiling. Turn the heat down to low, and wait until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, then set aside to cool.

When your vegetables are nicely roasted (and you want your peppers to be nearly black!), take them out of the oven, and set aside to cool as well.

Now, make the dressing: place everything but the oil into a bowl, then slowly pour in the oil, mixing well as you go. You can also use a food processor or an immersion blender if you want it to emulsify perfectly. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as desired.

When the vegetables and quinoa are mostly cool, place them in a large bowl with the salad greens. Toss everything together. Add the salad dressing just as you serve, or better yet, have the dressing on the side, and allow everyone to add as much dressing as they like.

Black Bean Stew

Very loosely inspired by an incredible Brazilian dish called Feijoada. This is a very filling, hearty stew full of protein!

This recipe also contains a bonus recipe for pico de gallo! You can use it on tacos, in burritos, or even just serve it up with some tortilla chips. Super yummy and fresh.

Serves 4-6
Gluten-free
Prep time: ~60 minutes

Ingredients:

For the stew:

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 3 bell peppers (use whatever colours you like best), chopped into approx. 2 cm chunks.
  • 1 tsp paprika.
  • 2 red onions, roughly diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 2 cans black beans (not drained and rinsed, for once!)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock.
  • 1 small bunch coriander leaves (also called cilantro), finely chopped.
  • 2 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the pico de gallo:

  • 1 small red onion, finely diced.
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes, finely diced.
  • 1-2 serrano peppers (if you can’t find them, use jalapenos instead), finely chopped.
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves, finely chopped.
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced (zest is optional, but I like it!)
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

 

Cooking Instructions:

For the stew:

Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C). Toss your peppers with a generous amount of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and the paprika. Pop them in the oven for about 30 minutes, until they’re nice and soft.

While the peppers are in the oven, it’s time to start on the rest of the stew. Heat a large pan on medium-low heat with about 1 tbsp of olive oil in the bottom. When the oil is hot, toss in your onions and garlic, along with a good pinch of salt.

Cover with the lid and cook them, stirring often, until the onions are soft and nicely caramelized. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Add in the beans, vegetable stock, coriander, and cumin. Stir well to combine.

When the peppers are done, take them out of the oven and plop them straight into the stew. Stir them in, then toss in your coriander leaves. Allow the stew to simmer for about 20 minutes, until all the flavours are nicely mingled. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve piping hot!

You can also serve this stew on top of rice, if desired.

For the pico de gallo:

The amount of peppers you use will really depend on your spice tolerance. Start off with a little bit, then add more if it’s not spicy enough for you.

Toss the onion, tomatoes, and peppers into a large bowl and mix well. Add in the lime juice, lime zest, salt, pepper, and coriander leaves. Mix well until everything is nicely coated in lime juice. Taste, and adjust seasoning as desired.

You can serve this immediately, but I like to pop it in the fridge for a while to let the flavours mingle better. It gets a bit spicier if you leave it for a little while, so keep that in mind when you make it!

For this dish, I’d serve it immediately. Just place a nice little spoonful on top of the stew when you’re about to take it to the table!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

A simple dish that lends itself quite well to weeknights – most of the time it takes to cook this dish is in the oven, so there’s minimal time spent hovering around the stove waiting for it to cook!

You can also make the filling a few days in advance, then just hollow out the peppers, fill them, and pop them in the oven.

Prep time: ~60 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, diced.
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup rice, rinsed well to remove excess starch.
  • 2/3 cup lentils, rinsed well.
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, sliced, with the juice reserved.
  • 1 handful fresh oregano (or 2 tsp dried).
  • salt and pepper, to taste.
  • 4 large bell peppers.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F (180C)

Cook your rice and lentils. I like to cook them together in the same pot, but you can cook them separately if you like.

Heat a large frying pan on medium-low heat with the olive oil in it. Once the oil is hot, add the onion along with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften. Add the garlic, and reduce the heat slightly. Continue cooking, stirring every so often, until they begin to caramelize.

While the onions and garlic cook, cut the tops off of your peppers and hollow them out, being careful not to poke holes in them. I like to chop up the excess pepper bits and add them to the filling. Wrap the bottoms of the peppers with tinfoil, and place them in a large roasting dish. Make sure they’re stable and won’t fall over!

Add the leftover pepper bits to the onion and garlic, if you like, and continue cooking. Once the onions are lovely and caramelized, go ahead and dump in the tomatoes and oregano. Stir well to combine, then bring to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

When the rice and lentils are done, add everything to a large bowl and mix well. Spoon the filling into the peppers, making sure to fill them right to the brim. Drizzle the peppers with a bit of olive oil, then pop them in the oven for approx. 40 minutes, until the peppers are soft.

Serve right away, and enjoy!

 

Green Ratatouille

Another recipe I learned from my father – it’s similar to ratatouille, but uses green vegetables with more subtle flavors than your standard ratatouille.

Prep time: ~25 min
Gluten-free
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced into thin strips.
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips.
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced/crushed.
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into thin quarter-moons.
  • 2 medium leeks, sliced into thin half-moons.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 large pinch dried herbs (tarragon or herbes de provence work well).
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Place the oil into a medium-sized saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add the fennel when the oil is hot, and cook, with the lid on, until it just begins to soften, stirring often.

Toss in the garlic and bell pepper, stirring frequently.

Once the pepper starts to soften, add the zucchini and the leeks. When everything starts to become fragrant and soft, toss in the herbs, stir well, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the zucchini are tender, then serve and enjoy!

 

Red Lentil Dhal

A slow-cooked lentil stew of Indian origin, this dish is great to cook in large batches. It can be eaten on its own for a light meal, or served as a side dish or appetizer with other curries and the like. Very tasty, and even better served with naan.

Prep time: ~90 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup mild vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus some to taste.
  • approx 250 g red lentils, well-rinsed.
  • 6 cups vegetable stock.
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced.
  • 2 large carrots, peeled if desired, finely sliced.
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced.
  • 1 large handful fresh coriander (cilantro).
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the oil in a large pot on medium-low heat. Add your onion, garlic, and salt. Caramelize for approx. 40 minutes, until the onion and garlic are very soft and sweet.

about 20 minutes into this, start cooking your lentils in a pot with the stock, and microwave the carrots, bell pepper, and celery in a bowl of water until they start to become tender, about 15 minutes.

When the lentils are ready, add them along with the rest of the vegetables into the onion pot, stirring well to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Add your fresh coriander and cumin. Raise the heat slightly, until the soup is gently simmering, and cook for at least an hour.

Quick and Easy Risotto

Risotto is incredible. It’s a super creamy, delicious rice dish that’s easy to customize. It has a reputation for being tricky to cook, but as long as you keep an eye on it and keep stirring it, you shouldn’t have any trouble! My dad taught me to make risotto when I was 14, and I’ve since adjusted his recipe to make it vegan.

I’ve included two different variations in this recipe, since they’re both very yummy, but very different! You can add all sorts of things to risotto to make it interesting. Celery, peas, mushrooms, carrots… the list goes on and on. If you don’t drink alcohol, go ahead and add an extra cup of stock and a splash of vinegar to imitate the effect the wine has on the dish.

Prep time: ~30 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup arborio rice.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 small onion, finely diced.
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced.
  • ~3 cups vegetable stock (may need more or less, depends on how the rice behaves).
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

For the white wine and vegetable risotto:

  • 1 cup white wine.
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced into quarter-moons.
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, diced.

For the red wine and mushroom risotto:

  • 1 cup red wine.
  • 1 small handful dried mushrooms (porcini are the best, but a mixed variety is nice too).
  • drizzle of truffle oil to garnish (optional!).

Cooking Instructions:

Both of these risottos start out the same way: place a large saucepan on medium heat, and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the arborio rice and fry for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Next, add the onions and garlic and fry for another two minutes, stirring often to prevent everything from sticking. Add the wine and mix it into the rice well. Cook until the wine is absorbed into the rice, stirring often to make sure no rice gets stuck to the bottom of the pot.

If you’re making the vegetable risotto, now’s the time to add the bell pepper.

Add the vegetable stock in half-cup increments, waiting each time for the stock to get absorbed. Keep on stirring.

Once two cups of stock has been absorbed properly, it’s time to add the zucchini, if you’re making the vegetable risotto, or the mushrooms, if you’re making the mushroom risotto.

Keep adding the stock and stirring it until the rice is plump and tender. How much stock you’ll need to use with depend on your rice. Some brands need a lot of liquid before they’re properly cooked.

Season with salt and pepper, and serve piping hot! If you made the mushroom risotto, drizzle a little bit of truffle oil (or olive oil) over the top to be fancy.