why try vegan

I’ve always thought that having a Vegan diet would be impossible. Growing up, meat was always a huge part of my everyday meals. And up until last week I really thought Vegans were limited to boring old salads. BUT little did I know with some spunk, creativity and a whole lot of fresh (local) produce – Vegan is something I could try! Likely not full time but I think I could pull off some #MeatlessMondays that I always see on social media.

I recently had the chance to make some Vegan recipes at a cooking class – below I share my recipes + an AWESOME GIVEAWAY just for you!

Loblaws recently hosted a Vegan cooking class which featured the talented creator of YamChops – a Vegan butcher – yep you heard me a vegan butcher!

Essentially he turns produce into a ‘meat item you can find at a butcher (example ‘beet burgers’ instead of meat burgers). All products are plant-based. I really didn’t know what to expect but I was blown away by all the things you can do with fresh produce! Not to mention fresh produce that is Canadian grown.

FUN FACT: In high season, Loblaws actually has 40% of their produce coming from Canadian farmers.

I always loved the thought of eating local and am eager to support my country BUT figured living in the city I would have to venture all over to get my hands on Canadian-grown produce. Little did I know I could get it from Loblaws down the street.

My mom also grew up on the farm (Hi Mom, I know you are reading this!) and from her stories, I definitely appreciate the hard work that goes into farming. That being said the cooking class definitely made me more aware of supporting local, fresh produce in my everyday cooking adventures.

[GIVEAWAY] Is supporting local farmers important to you? Tell me why and you can win $100 to Loblaws to spend on all of their beautiful produce!!

Here is how:

STEP1:

STEP 2:

  • Comment on this blog post or my Instagram post to tell me WHY supporting local farmers is important to you!

The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to Loblaws! Winner will be chosen on Monday August 8th, 2016!

Wondering what you can make with all that produce?

Check out the vegan recipes I learned from my cooking class. I seriously couldn’t believe that all of these recipes are A) Vegan and B) full of fresh produce ingredients – including a chocolate putting….say whaaaa!

Here are two of my favourite recipes from the cooking class! Stay tuned, I’ll be sure to share more as I recreate them in my kitchen 🙂

TOMATO SUSHI WITH SUGARED WASABI

vegan sushi
I seriously couldn’t believe this was vegan sushi – the texture of the tomato and flavours made it taste like the real thing – not to mention I had a great time making it! You can serve
 tomato sushi as an appetizer or main during the warm summer months!

 Serves: 6 people (allow 2-3 per person)

Prep time: 45 minutes

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Chef: Michael Abramson, YamChops

 What you’ll need:

 Tomato Sushi

  • 2 medium PC® Flavour Burst Tomato of Yore Beefsteak Tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cup Water
  • 1 cup PC® Premium Medium Grain Sticky Rice

Marinade

  • ½ cup Rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup Sugar

Sugared Wasabi

  • 1 tsp Wasabi powder
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Water

How to make it!

 Tomato Filets

  1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath with water and ice cubes.
  2. Lightly score an “X” on the bottom end of the tomato (the end opposite the stem), just breaking the skin.
  3. Gently place tomato in boiling water for 30 seconds. Once the skin begins to lift where it has been scored, remove with slotted spoon and immediately place in ice bath to halt the cooking process.
  4. Gently lift the edge of the tomato skin and peel skin back to remove.
  5. Slice tomato in half and remove seeds. Gently flatten tomato and slice into 4 filets.
  6. Repeat with second tomato.

Marinade

  1. Mix vinegar and sugar in a small pot over low heat. Cook until sugar melts, whisking regularly.
  2. Place tomato filets in a bowl with the marinade. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Rice

  1. Bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil and add rice. Stir once. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and cook for 20 minutes until rice has absorbed all of the water.
  2. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, for an additional 10 minutes.
  3. Fluff rice with a fork and place in a large bowl to cool slightly. Gently mix in 3 tbsp of marinade.

Sugared Wasabi

  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Allow to rest for 15 minutes for flavours to meld.

Assembly

  1. Dampen hands and place a heaping tablespoon of rice in the palm of one hand. Gently squeeze into a football shape.
  2. Gently place one tomato filet on top.
  3. Top with ¼ tsp of sugared wasabi.

 CAULIFLOWER CHOCOLATE PUDDING
local produce

A tasty dessert, with no sugar added! YES PLEASE 🙂

These days everyone is looking for healthier options that still satisfy cravings. This is definitely one of those recipes – it’s made with cauliflower but I promise you can’t taste it at all!

Serves: 6 people
Prep time: 20 minutes
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Chef: Michael Abramson, YamChops

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups (385 g) Cauliflower, divided
  • 1 cup and ¼ cup Almond Milk
  • 1/3 cup Cocoa powder
  • 10 Medjool dates
  • 1 tbsp PC® 100% Pure Medium Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp PC® Pure Vanilla Extract

How to make it!

-Wash cauliflower and break into small florets.
-Steam cauliflower until very tender and easily pierced with a skewer.
-Pit dates.
-Add dates and steamed cauliflower to a high-speed blender along with one cup of almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla.
-Blend until very smooth. Thin to desired consistency with remaining ¼ cup almond milk.
-Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve. The pudding will thicken slightly in the refrigerator.

TIP: Cauliflower Chocolate Pudding may be kept covered in refrigerator for 3 days.

Suggested accompaniment: A big spoon.

All the things you can do with fresh, local produce who knew!