Breakfast Fajitas

Recipe by Aine Davis

Honestly, I’m pretty boring when it comes to breakfast. Every morning I have granola and almond milk or granola and vegan yogurt, or if I’m feeling a little adventurous, hummus on sourdough. Exciting. Every day. Wow. But I recently had a friend stay with me for a few nights and I wanted to impress her with my ~cooking skills~, so I whipped up this quick and healthy breakfast in less than 30 minutes so we still had time to go see the beautiful blossoming Sakura Trees in High Park. Here’s my recipe for my quick and easy breakfast fajitas:

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp Adobo seasoning*
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions

METHOD:

  1. Slice bell peppers and onions into long, thick strips.
  2. In a large pan, heat avocado oil on high heat. Once the pan is very hot, stir in the bell peppers and onions. It’s going to be very hot so make sure to stir often so it doesn’t burn!
  3. Stir in soy sauce, adobo seasoning, garlic powder and juice of half a lemon.
  4. Once cooked to your desired texture (I like the peppers to have a little bite and to be a little blackened), remove from heat and top with cilantro and scallions.
  5. Serve on your favourite corn tortillas with favourite sauces! I like mine with Mad Mexican Chunky Guacamole and Valentina Hot Sauce. Enjoy!
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Spicy Italian Arrabiata

Post by Aine Davis

Full disclosure: I’m not Italian. Not even close. But I am #1 Big Time Italian Food Fan Extreme. That being said, this is one of my favourite Italian dishes, I learned it when I was in Italy and over the years its grown into my own delicious concoction. If you’re looking for a carb-filled splendor well then look no further, and feast your eyes on my spicy Italian Arrabiata.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 660ml strained, crushed, organic tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil, divided in half
  • 1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1 tbsp dry red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 1 tsp dry parsley
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pasta of your choice, to serve 2

METHOD

  1. In a large, heavy bottom pot with a lid, over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. While the olive oil is heating, thinly slice the garlic cloves and rough chop the fresh basil.
  2. Once the olive oil is hot, add garlic, dry red pepper flakes, and freshly ground black pepper. Once the oil is fragrant and a little red from the dry red pepper flakes, add half of the fresh basil. Saute for about a minute.
  3. Add the tomato puree, olives, oregano, thyme, parsley and salt. Stir together until combined. Put the lid on the pot and simmer over medium-low heat, making sure to stir it every so often so that the bottom doesn’t burn.
  4. If you want extra yummy sauce, simmer for a few hours. If you’re in a time crunch, no problem! Prepare your pasta and by the time it’s ready, your sauce will be ready too.
  5. Once ready to serve, stir in the other half of the chopped basil. Serve immediately over pasta.

Enjoy! Serves 2.

Rice Bowl with Tofu in a Thai Peanut Sauce

Post by Megan Stulberg

My boyfriends works at PETA, which is basically a Vegan Girlfriend’s dream. He’s pretty great, for many reasons, but a bonus is that he used to do cooking videos for PETA2. I’m not going to link to it because he’d probably kill me, but there’s a super cute one he did about peanut butter a few years back and this sauce is in it. We made it together last month, and then I further modified it for this dish.

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INGREDIENTS: 

For the sauce…

  • 3/4 – 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup organic smooth peanut butter
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • Black pepper and sea salt, to taste

For the rest of it…

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu (non-GMO if possible)
  • 1 cup texmati rice
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Lime slices, for garnish
  • 2 tbsp cold-pressed EVOO

IMG_8569DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare tofu by pressing tofu in paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  2. Bring a pot of water (1 3/4 cup) to boil. Add rice, lower heat, then leave covered to cook for approximately 15 minutes. Every few minutes, stir rice with wooden spoon to prevent sticking. Remove from heat once all water has evaporated and set aside to cool.
  3. While rice is cooking, slice tofu into bite-size cubes. In large saucepan on high heat, add olive oil and wait for it to sizzle. Reduce to low heat, then add tofu to pan. Let tofu fry, flipping occasionally.
  4. Begin the sauce! Add coconut milk to another saucepan on medium heat, then lime juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper and soy sauce. Stir peanut butter like CRAZY before adding it — seriously, this is important or else it’ll be a pain to combine! Also, make sure the peanut butter is room temperature, or even pop it in the microwave for a few to melt it a bit. Anyways, add peanut butter by the tbsp, stirring as you go. The end result should be a creamy, pourable sauce.
  5. If tofu isn’t browned yet, raise to high heat for a minute or so. Add tofu to the other saucepan and thoroughly coat tofu in the peanut sauce.
  6. Serve tofu on a bed of rice, topped with fresh cilantro and lime slices for garnish.

Yum! Makes 4 lunch servings or 2 big dinner servings.

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Raspberry Chia Jam Bars

By contributor Alexandra Courts 

Ch-ch-ch-chia! Chia seeds are packed with fibre and healthy omega-3 fats.

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Ingredients:

For the base…

  • 1.5 cups medjool dates
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder

For the chia jam…

  • 1.5 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp white chia seeds

For the topping…

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Line a 9-inch square cake pan (bottom and sides) with plastic wrap.
  2. For the base: blend raw almonds, shredded coconut, cacao powder and flax meal. Add dates and blend until combined.
  3. Pack and level base mixture with fork tightly into bottom of pan.
  4. For the chia jam: blend raspberries, maple syrup, and water. Pour mixture into small bowl and mix with white chia seeds. Set jam aside in fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour until mixture obtains a gel consistency.
  5. For the topping: process ingredients listed above in high-speed blender until smooth.
  6. Remove jam from fridge and spread evenly across panned crust.
  7. Add topping layer. Top with frozen raspberry chunks. Let pan sit in freezer for 1 hour.
  8. Remove dessert from pan. Let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes before slicing. Serve and enjoy! Leftovers can be frozen.

Meg’s Favourite Vegan Restaurants in Toronto

Review & photos by Megan Stulberg

If you follow us on Instagram, then you know that we partake in the slightly annoying habit of photographing our food in public places. No shame! We love having the opportunity to help fellow vegans in Toronto find restaurants they can comfortably eat at.

Here it is! My top five favourite places to grab gluten-free vegan food in Toronto:

1. Hibiscus (Kensington Market) 

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Hibiscus is located at 238 Augusta Avenue in Kensington Market. Their entirely menu is gluten-free (bonus!) and they are well-known for having a variety of vegan crepe options to choose from. This is my favourite place to go to on lunch dates with new friends because the restaurant is usually pretty quiet and has lots of natural light. I always find the environment welcoming and friendly.

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WHAT I GET: I recently ordered the salad bowl on a whim and now I can’t stop. The dish includes quinoa, sweet potato, broccoli, beans, tofu, kale, carrots, beets, kelp, okara (okara is essentially creamy tofu) and a raw cracker. I usually pair this dish with a bowl of pumpkin ginger soup and an almond milk latte.

WHAT I RECOMMEND: Vegan crepes are hard to find, so if you’ve never been to Hibiscus then you should definitely get one! If you’re craving something savoury, try the crepe with vegan mozzarella, mushrooms, tomatoes, basil and spinach. If you’re craving something sweet, try a simple cinnamon lemon crepe and ask for a scoop (or two) of ice cream on top. All of their ice creams are dairy-free and made in house.

PRICE: Main dishes range from $6.70 to $10.70.

WEBSITE?: Here! 

MENU LISTED ONLINE? Yes.

2. Magic Oven (The Village) 

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When I first moved to Toronto three years ago, Magic Oven was one of the only restaurants I could eat at within walking distance. That being said, I ate there a lot.

Operating multiple locations in Toronto, Magic Oven serves pizza, pasta, sandwiches and more with tons of wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options available. If you have a friend that’s all “I want to hang out with you but please don’t make me eat kale”, then take them here.

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WHAT I GET: I love getting the ‘Vegan Magic’ personal pizza (tomato pesto, zucchini, artichokes, portobello mushrooms and roasted peppers) with added Daiya on a gluten-free crust. I usually get an order of oregano french fries on the side.

WHAT I’D RECOMMEND: I’d definitely suggest getting a pizza, as good vegan pizza is hard to come by. Magic Oven offers a variety of interesting toppings that you’d normally never be able to get on a pizza. Sweet potato? Avocado? Edible gold leaf?! Go crazy. Let your vegan freak flag fly.

PRICE: Relatively expensive, but considerably less expensive if you refrain from being an idiot and ordering martinis with your meal like myself.

WEBSITE? Here.

MENU LISTED ONLINE? Yup! For additional gluten-free/vegan options, ask your server.

3. Kupfert and Kim (Financial District) 

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Okay, Kupfert and Kim is technically not a restaurant…it’s a take-out spot but it’s really good, I promise. Their slogan “meatless and wheatless” sums up their entirely gluten-free and vegan menu. Kupfert and Kim offers filling grain bowls, hot drinks and raw desserts.

The only part I don’t entirely love about Kupfert and Kim is that they’re located in the financial district and therefore are only open on weekdays.

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WHAT I GET: I always get the First Canadian bowl — quinoa, tempeh, kale, pomegranate seeds, rainbow radish, purple cabbage, carrots, beets, roasted sweet potato, pea sprouts, sunflower and black sesame seeds.

WHAT I’D RECOMMEND: The Oaxaca bowl! It’s their most popular dish — brown rice, spiced black beans, kale, corn, beets, daikon, lime wedges, organic tortilla chips, hemp seeds, guacamole, spicy pico de gallo and cashew cream.

PRICE: About $9 a box.

WEBSITE? Here.

MENU AVAILABLE ONLINE? Yes.

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4. Rawlicious (Yorkville) 

Although I’ve been to both Rawlicious locations in Toronto, I prefer the one in Yorkville. A few weeks ago I went in by myself, ordered dinner, and then hung around for a few hours afterwards to avoid a thunderstorm and the staff was completely cool with it. Too sweet.

Everything on their menu is gluten-free, vegan, and raw. That’s right! Nothing cooked, just dehydrated.

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WHAT I GET: The pizza. Cashew nut cheese, tomato marinara sauce, and daily toppings on a sprouted buckwheat and flax seed crust. It’s so good that you’ll forget you’re eating something uncooked.

WHAT I’D RECOMMEND: Split an order of spring rolls as an appetizer with a friend, then try the soft corn tacos filled with walnut refried beans, romaine, sour cream, guacamole and salsa.

PRICE: Raw restaurants tend to be a little pricy, so expect to spend around $20 for an entree and a drink.

WEBSITE? Here.

MENU AVAILABLE ONLINE? Uh huh honey.

5. Live Organic Food Bar (the Annex)

Another raw food restaurant! Live Organic Food Bar operates a restaurant at Dupont and Spadina, a market in Liberty Village, and offers their products in grocery stores across Toronto and the GTA. The majority of their menu is raw, but they do offer a variety of cooked dishes if you’re a little skeptical.

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WHAT I GET: The tacos, always. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit. Flax corn wraps filled with sunflower refried beans, walnut taco meat, guacamole, corn & tomato salsa and cashew sour cream.

WHAT I’D RECOMMEND: If you’re indecisive like me, the ‘Raw Combo’ dish is perfect because it gives you the opportunity to taste their most popular dishes — the manicotti, pizza, tostados, and portobello steak. Want something cooked? Try the okonomiyaki, a savoury vegetable pancake I ogled all throughout my Japan trip last year.

PRICE: Entrees range from $15-20.

WEBSITE? Here.

MENU AVAILABLE ONLINE? Yes.

Te Amo, Te Aro

Post by Aine Davis

As a life long coffee lover, I felt like a kid in a candy shop when I moved to Toronto a few months ago. There are so many good things about Toronto cafés: the aroma, the atmosphere, the pastries.

As a recent vegan, I was miffed when it dawned on me that I wouldn’t be able to buy a treat with my coffee as easily as I used to. Vegan baking is difficult and I commend anyone who even attempts it! And yet, here I sit in Te Aro, sipping on a delicious soy cappuccino and chowing down on a tasty, moist, homemade banana rhubarb vegan muffin.

Not only does Te Aro bake their own tasty treats, but they roast their own coffee beans. Way too darn good. They’ve won a slew of awards this year including Roaster of the Year (2013) and Pilot Coffee Roasters. Their coffee? Undeniably amazing.

Te Aro (983 Queen Street East) is located in the quiet and charming neighborhood of Leslieville. It’s set back away from the hustle and bustle of Queen Street, giving it a calm and cozy feel. The interior is beautifully designed featuring slick black counters, hardwood tables and dangling exposed light bulbs. It’s pretty much like you’re sipping a coffee in the coolest log cabin of all time.

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With an ever changing seasonal menu, who needs Starbucks? Just look at all the options!

The kid’s menu is an interesting touch too and brings in quite the cute clientele. A popular drink among Te Aro’s youngest customers is the ‘Vanilla Fluffy’, which is steamed milk with vanilla syrup. Sounds delicious, right? Can adults order from the kid’s menu?! (I have asked and yes, in fact they can.)

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Te Aro offers a ton of different espresso options. You get to choose which espresso blend you would like for your drink. Personal recommendation? Big Bro.

Although I do not live in the east end, I enjoy heading out there to visit Te Aro from time to time. It’s like taking a mini vacation or visiting an old best friend. If you’re ever in the east end, do yourself a favour and stop in for a shot of espresso or two or fifty.