• What Does Food Have To Do With Gut Health?

    We've just finished up a heart health series on In My Plant-Based Kitchen and I've had a few requests for a gut health series, so I've started that this week on the channel.

    Anyone who knows me knows that this is one of my FAVOURITE topics! The microbiome is absolutely fascinating, and what we eat has a huge impact on the health of our microbiome. In turn the health of our microbiome determines SO MUCH about our overall state of health!

    In this series we're going to get into the details, and of course I'll share gut health recipes, tips and inspiration along the way.

    In Episode 32 of In My Plant-Based Kitchen (Part 1 of Nutrition For A Healthy Gut series) we are setting the stage. We cover:

    • what is the microbiome, and why is it important
    • why does it matter who is living in our gut?
    • how do we encourage healthy microorganisms to thrive in our gut?
    • what does it MEAN to have a healthy gut?
    • and we made this Sweet Chili Hummus (below) HINT -- this is a great way to add some legume diversity into your diet, which your gut will thank you for!

    Ready to get cooking? Here's the recipe:

    Sweet Chili Hummus
    (makes about 1.5 cups)

    • ½ cup sweet potato (cooked)
    • ½ cup dried red lentils, rinsed
    • ½ cup water
    • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1 tsp maple syrup
    • 1-2 tsp ancho chili powder/another chili powder of your choice (or if you have chiles in sauce these are great too -- I used 1 tbsp)
    • ¼ tsp sea salt (or salt alternative), to taste


    1. Combine the red lentils and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once they have boiled turn heat to low and cook just until lentils are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
    2. If necessary cook a sweet potato*
    3. Place garlic clove in food processor and mince.
    4. Place the rest of the ingredients in the food processor and process until everything is smooth and creamy.
    5. Adjust salt/alternative and chili powder to taste.

    *Sweet potatoes make great snacks, and are a wonderful addition to many plant-based dinners, so I love to batch bake a bunch of them all at once, and pre-cooked is ideal for this recipe.

  • A Feast of Antioxidants: Zingy Black Bean Salad

    For the past few weeks of In My Plant-Based Kitchen we've been talking about nutrition and recipes to keep your heart healthy and strong! 

    In episode 31 (part 3) we're talking free radicals, antioxidants, oxidative stress, inflammation, and how they're all related to heart health. Oh, and we make a scrumptious antioxidant (and nutrient)-rich Zingy Black Bean Salad too (recipe below)!

    In this episode we cover:

    • what oxidative stress is, how it is created in your body, and how it contributes to inflammation
    • how free radicals work in your body, and they part they play in oxidative stress
    • how antioxidants are related to oxidative stress
    • how we can keep our bodies in a state of oxidative balance, and why that's important
    • which foods are helpful and harmful when it comes to creating free radicals in your body
    • where you find antioxidants, and ideas for getting more of them into your daily diet
    • and more!

    This is an info-packed session, and I hope you enjoy it!

    Zingy Black Bean Salad

    Serves 4

    • Ingredients
    • 2 handfuls of spinach/mixed greens, roughly chopped if necessary
    • 1 15-ounce can black beans
    • 1 lime, juiced (about 2 tbsp)
    • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
    • 2 green onions, white parts thinly sliced, green parts julienned
    • 1 roma tomato, diced small
    • 1 yellow/orange pepper, diced small
    • ½ tsp smoked paprika
    • ½ tsp chili powder
    • ¼ - ½ tsp salt, to taste
    • 1 large avocado, diced


    1. Drain and rinse the beans thoroughly and chop the rest of the ingredients.
    2. In a large bowl add the greens, beans, cilantro, onions, tomato and peppers and toss well.
    3. Add lime juice, smoked paprika, chili powder and salt (or salt alternative). Toss again until well mixed/
    4. Add avocado and serve!

    NOTE: I love to put a bit of tomato, pepper and avocado aside to top the dish to make it look a bit brighter presentation-wise.



  • What's all the fuss about Nooch?

    If you've been around the vegan world for a while you have undoubtedly come across the ingredient nutritional yeast, otherwise known as NOOCH. Many people love it, some people hate it. But it's an undeniably handy and nutritious ingredient that you'll want to know a bit more about, if you're not already familiar. 

    I often get questions about nutritional yeast:

    • What is it?
    • Is it different from Brewer's/Baker's Yeast?
    • Do you have to refrigerate it?
    • Is it good for you? (and if so why)?
    • What are some ways to include it in your diet?
    • Can you eat it if you have Candida or a yeast allergy?

    I answered some of those questions as part of this week's episode of In My Plant-Based Kitchen

    But I thought I'd also provide some of the answers in a blog post here today. AND I'm going to share one of my favourite recipes featuring nutritional yeast, my NOOCH Dressing.

    So, what is Nutritional Yeast? And is it different from Brewer's/Baker's Yeast?

    In a word nutritional yeast is the deactivated form of yeast that you’d use to make bread (baker’s yeast) or beer (brewer’s yeast). Nutritional yeast is grown specifically as a food product and it tastes very different from baker's or brewer’s yeast, which tend to be bitter -- so don't buy one of those and put it on your popcorn! They are NOT the same.

    Nutritional yeast Is grown on cane sugar and molasses, then harvested, washed and dried into flakes. After harvesting it is washed and pasteurized to make sure it won’t keep growing.

    Is it good for you? (and if so why)?

    Yes! It's very...well nutritional! Or nutritious, let's say :-) It's an excellent source of protein and a rich source of B vitamins, which are important for energy production, helpful in the metabolism of protein, fats and carbs (meaning they help us to better use the fuel from our food), and they're important for helping us to manage stress too. Nooch is known for its B12 content (notable since B12 is difficult to get without supplementation on a vegan or vegetarian diet); however, since B12 deficiency is not something you want to wrangle with don't rely solely on nooch for your intake -- just take a supplement. :-)

    Finally, nooch contains a variety of antioxidants, which we can all use a little more of.

    It IS important to note though, that some nooch is fortified with additional nutrients, and some are not, so read your labels to make sure you know what you're getting.

    Nooch is thought to be helpful for immune health, heart health, liver health and more. In short, yes! It's very good for you! Eat it!

    What are some ways to include it in your diet?

    Nooch has a delightful cheesy, nutty flavour that is great

    • on popcorn (sprinkle with apple cider vinegar first to make it stick)
    • in dressings and sauces (see recipe below)
    • sprinkled on salads or savoury oatmeal
    • mixed into anything you want to add a little cheesi-ness too
    • used to make lots of vegan cheeses
    • great as part of a coating on air-fried or roasted tofu!

    Can you eat it if you have Candida or a yeast allergy?

    Though the yeast cells of nutritional yeast are killed during manufacturing, to be on the safe side people who are allergic or sensitive to yeast are advised to avoid nooch. 

    Do you have to refrigerate it?

    You don’t need to keep it in the fridge, but do store in a cool dark place and it will last for about 2 years.

    Now that you know all about Nutritional Yeast, time for a recipe!

    Nooch Sauce/Dressing

    Makes about 600 ml


    • ½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
    • ¾ cup water
    • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
    • ½ cup cooked chickpeas
    • 1/3 cup braggs soy alternative or coconut aminos (lower sodium)
    • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 2 cloves garlic


    Place all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. Make sure you give this enough blender time to get SUPER creamy – you will know it is ready when a little bit between your fingers feel smooth and not at all gritty. Use as a salad dressing, over steamed broccoli or cauliflower, roasted vegetables, rice bowls, or even as a vegetable dip. Keeps in the fridge for a week; also freezes well.



  • Veganuary - week 2 - what's for lunch?

    It's week 2 of Veganuary! How's it going so far? Have you mastered vegan breakfast? Did you try the savoury oats? I'd love to hear how it's going for you!

    This week let's talk about lunch...

    Lunch can be a challenge for people when they are transitioning, especially if you're used to whipping up a sandwich for lunch. So, it's time to think a bit outside the box!

    In this week's episode of In My Plant-Based Kitchen (Episode 25!) I dish (get it? haha) about...

    • 🥦the place of "transition foods" i.e. vegan lunch meats/cheeses/animal food replacements in a healthy diet (pros and cons)
    • 🥦lunch ideas and inspiration
    • 🥦tips for making healthy lunches easy
    • 🥦I walk you through making a template meal "grain salad" (I make a Mediterranean version, but share tips and ideas on how you can switch things up to use what you've got in your fridge and/or what you like). This is a great, versatile meal idea to keep in your pocket for dinner, and then use the leftovers for lunch!

    Even though we talk about lunch ideas in more details in the video I wanted to share a few of my faves with you here:

    • 🥦Leftovers - chilis, curries, soups/stews, loaves -- anything that can be portioned up into lunch containers and reheats well!
    • 🥦Wraps -- stuff with greens, hummus, and veggies -- or leftovers!
    • 🥦Keep it simple – hummus and veggies – if you cut the veggies up ahead of time and keep them in water (this works well with harder veggies like carrots and celery, not as well with peppers) this can be a great grab and go lunch!
    • 🥦No “tuna” salad – this is my favourite oil-free version - great to use in sandwiches and wraps

    And the grain bowl we made in the video is another favourite! Here is today's version:

    And here is the recipe/template:

    (as I cover in the video, this is completely versatile - you can use different grains/beans, and vegetables (cooked and/or raw), even dressings - the idea is just to use the grain as the base and make sure you get a good diversity of foods in there -- see the video for more details.)


    Combine (amounts are simply guidelines -- I'd keep the grain and beans about the same, but use more/less of other things, depending on what you have/like):

    • 1 cup uncooked quinoa or another grain of your choice (makes about 3 cups cooked) *
    • 1 1/2 cups or 1 can chickpeas, roasted with italian seasoning mix (roasting is optional)
    •  ½ head cauliflower, roasted with Italian seasoning mix
    • 1 small-med zucchini, roasted with Italain seasoning mix
    • 1 orange pepper, diced
    • 2 stalks celery, diced
    • 1 bunch green onions, sliced (white part) and julienned (green part)
    • 1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, chopped (or sundried tomatoes, rehydrated
    • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes. halved

    * I like to cook my quinoa with a ratio of 1 cup dry quinoa: 1 ¾ cups water (with the juice of 1 lemon/lime incorporated into the water)

    Dress with a combination of:

    • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tbsp aquafaba or olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste (I usually use about 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper)

    Once everything is mixed up garnish with additional tomatoes, chopped cashews and/or some vegan feta

    A few key tips for lunch success:

    1) Plan ahead - I can't stress this enough! Taking a few minutes on the weekend or in the evenings to think about the types of lunches you might want to have makes a BIG difference. Even thinking about it the night before and packaging up some leftovers in a wrap or container that you can grab on your way out the door in the morning really helps.

    2) Batch cook so you have leftovers - get in the habit of making a few more servings than you need, and portion them out for lunch. This makes lunch SO EASY. WRAPS are one of my favourite ways to make leftovers/batched cooked food feel like something different and new for lunch. :-)

    3) Get yourself a good thermos that will keep things warm for you, if you're not in a place you can heat your lunch up.

    Do you have a great lunch tip/recipe to share? Leave it in the comments below!

  • A Plant-Based Thanksgiving - Menu included!

    As the holidays approach I wanted to offer a few tips and recipes to help you make them healthier, kinder and more delicious than ever! 

    In this week's episode of In My Plant-Based Kitchen (Episode 11) I talk about

    • how to veganize and "healthify" some traditional family favourites
    • how to plan a plant-based holiday meal (including ideas for mains)
    • what's on my menu for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday dinner (see my holiday recipe ebook here)
    • I walk you through my Naturally Sweetened Holiday Cranberry Sauce recipe (so good)! Here's that recipe:

    Naturally Sweetened Holiday Spice Cranberry Sauce


    • 1 c water
    • ½ c freshly squeezed orange juice
    • 2 c fresh/frozen cranberries
    • 2 c dried cranberries
    • ½ c raisins
    • ¾ c tart dried cherries
    • 3 tbsp agave syrup or maple syrup
    • 1 tbsp orange zest
    • 1 tsp ginger, peeled and minced
    • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • ¼ tsp ground cloves (optional – or use another spice like nutmeg/anise, etc)


    1. Place water, juice, cranberries, raisins and cherries in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Depending on how much water your cranberries release, you may need to add a bit more water or orange juice. If you're feeling the sauce is dry, add up to another 1/2 - 3/4 cup (you can do this later in the process too - the main thing is to give the fruit enough liquid to steep and become soft in).

    2. Turn the heat down to med-low and simmer for about 10 minutes, until some of the cranberries start to burst open, stirring occasionally. Some will burst and others won’t, which gives the sauce nice texture.

    3. Now add the agave/maple syrup, ginger, orange zest, cinnamon and cloves and simmer for a few more minutes, stirring regularly, until everything is starting to come together and the sauce has thickened to your preferred consistency (keep in mind the sauce will thicken up more as it cools).

    4. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Once everything has cooled, you can blend the sauce partially if you like a smoother sauce.

    5. Chill in the fridge or serve at room temperature.

    *Note, the flavours in this sauce really come together on day 2, so this is a great thing to make the day before your big meal. If you have leftovers, store in an airtight container in the fridge and it will keep for a couple of weeks (if it lasts that long)!

    Want more recipes? Check out my HOLIDAY RECIPE EBOOK HERE.

    Enjoy! Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy, Kind Thanksgiving.

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