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You know you’re onto something when your own mother says “This tastes better than my shepherd’s pie.” This means something coming from a woman who has a lifetime of experience making hearty home-cooked European meals made with meat, potatoes and veggies. Imagine that? And not only is there no meat in there, you can whip it up in a minimal amount of time and fuss for a fraction of the cost of making a conventional shepherds pie with ground beef. This recipe is incredibly easy. Teach it to your son or daughter who is heading off to college this year, or send them off with a load of single-portion frozen meals for a go-to dinner.

Vegan shepherds pie

    • 1 540-ml can of mixed bean medley – chick peas, kidney beans, romano beans and black beans are a nice combo
    • 4 potatoes
    • 1 can of organic non-GMO corn
    • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
    • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
    • A few tablespoons of olive oil
    • Salt and seasonings of choice (garlic powder, sage, onion powder, paprika, thyme, parsley)*

*Do not use store-bought shepherd’s pie seasoning made with chemicals, caramel colour and other nasties.

Peel and cut potatoes into chunks and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, chop onion and mince garlic. Drizzle oil in a pan and sauté onion and garlic till transparent. Mash the beans with a potato masher until no chunks remain. Stir into pan with onions. Add seasonings and blend well, and leave to simmer on low for about five minutes.

Boil potatoes till soft, drain, leaving a bit of extra water from the boiled potatoes to mash them with. Spread the bean mixture in a lightly oiled baking dish. Top with corn. Spread mashed potato on top. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with nutritional yeast, if desired.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Easy vegan, raw pesto

By Carmen Scott, RHN

    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 2 bunches of green onions
    • 1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped
    • 2 bunches of basil
    • 1 bunch of cilantro
    • 2 bunches of dill
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Instructions:

Process ingredients in a food processor in order of hardest to softest, starting with green onion and red onion. Scoop into jar and seal and store in refrigerator for up to four days.

Variations

Add a different twist to your pesto with the following ideas:

    • Blend in sundried or oven roasted tomatoes.
    • Blend in roasted red peppers.
    • Blend in fresh strawberries.
    • Grate in a touch of lemon zest and lemon juice to taste. Swap half of the olive oil for truffle oil.
    • Change up the proportions of the greens, putting more basil for a basil pesto, etc.
    • At the end, blend in 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds for a different flavor and some crunch.

Ideas for adding pesto to foods

    • Use as a pizza sauce in lieu of tomato sauce.
    • Use as a sandwich spread.
    • Spread on toast, a scone or an English muffin
    • Use in a pasta dish as the sauce.
    • Mix into rice and veggie dishes.
    • Drizzle over top of roasted root vegetables.
    • Scoop inside a roasted potato for a flavourful twist.

Carmen Scott is a registered holistic nutritionist in British Columbia.

Bushwacker healthy bites

Garden Berry Muffins

By Carmen Scott, RHN

The chia seeds and protein powder make these muffins a great post-workout snack.

    • 1 ½ cups spelt flour ½ cup vanilla protein powder ½ cup coconut sugar ½ tsp sea salt 1 tsp salt 2 tsp baking powder 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp melted coconut oil 1 chia egg (1 tbsp chia seeds with 3 tbsp water) 1 cup almond milk 1 cup seasonal berries

Preheat oven at 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine chia seeds and water. Stir and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, protein powder, coconut sugar, sea salt and baking powder.

In a medium bowl, stir together the melted coconut oil, chia egg and almond milk. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in berries. Divide batter into greased muffin tins. Bake for 21 to 25 minutes. Enjoy right out of the oven with a dab of coconut oil on top.

Carmen Scott is a registered holistic nutritionist in British Columbia.

Sugar-Free Morning Glory Muffins

By Carmen Scott, RHN

I wanted to make a muffin that had no sugar added to satisfy my morning ritual needs and this turned out awesome! Stewed prunes are my sweetener, and work like a charm to replace liquid sweetener in nearly any recipe.

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup stewed prunes
  • 2 parts egg replacer (I use Ener-G, and find it yields a fluffier muffin than flax or chia eggs)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk (for a nut-free version use soy milk)
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour or spelt flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease six muffin tins, or use paper liners.

Put coconut oil, stewed prunes, egg replacer and almond milk in a blender and mix until smooth.

Pour into a large bowl and add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, shredded coconut and spices. Add the carrots, raisins and walnuts. Stir with a large wooden spoon until just combined. Avoid over mixing. Bake 23 minutes for regular muffin size, and 30 minutes for large muffins.

Carmen Scott is a registered holistic nutritionist in British Columbia.

The perfect Vegan chocolate chip cookie

By Sari Huhtala

Change doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it has taken 27 years to perfect this chocolate chip cookie recipe. As I evolved in my awareness of healthier options, so too did the cookie – becoming healthier than the average commercial breakfast cereal on the market. And it’s a nourishing treat that kids will devour.

    • 1 cup coconut oil
    • 11/2 cups coconut sugar
    • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp water
    • 1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 tsp hot water
    • 2 1/4 cups spelt flour
    • 1 cup organic chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Blend coconut oil and sugar. Mix flax seeds with 3 tbsp of water and set aside for 20 seconds to make a gel egg. Add to oil and sugar and mix. Add baking soda dissolved in water and mix. Add spelt flour and blend well. Add chocolate chips and blend. Spoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Cookies will spread slightly while baking. Bake for 13-14 minutes (You may need to adjust oven temperature and time). Cool on rack. Makes approximately 20 cookies.

Vegan mac & cheese

  • 1 large potato boiled
  • 1 large carrot boiled
  • 1/2 cup of water reserved from boiled veggies
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance (vegan butter option)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp coconut, soy or almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp each salt, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

Place boiled carrot and potato, and onion in food processor and blend well. Add water reserved from boiled potato and carrot, along with rest of ingredients. Blend well. Pour over casserole dish filled with choice of pasta. Quinoa and brown rice macaroni works well in this dish. Spread over pasta and sprinkle with bread crumbs if desired. Bake in oven at 350 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes to brown.

Vegan Chili

By Sari Huhtala

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red or green pepper, diced
  • 2 large cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup kidney beans
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • jalapeno pepper (optional)

Instructions:

Saute onions, garlic and spices in olive oil in large pot over low to medium heat. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Bring to boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve with non GMO organic tortilla chips or crackers.