I have to tell you the story of this dish…because it was inspired by something I ate in Ottawa. Holy cow, I cannot believe it has been six weeks since I wrapped on Urban Vegetarian. It seems like yesterday and forever ago. Actually, that’s the story of my 2016 in a nutshell.
Anyway, my last day on set was a photo shoot and when we finished, I felt like I needed to do something to celebrate. But I was also so bone-tired that being social seemed entirely out of the question (introvert alert!).
So, after debating the point in my head for a half hour, I ventured out at 5:30PM to this little wine bar that was literally around the corner from my home-away-from-home and proceeded to celebrate. By myself. In blissful silence. I think the server probably thought I was insane. I ordered a ridiculous amount of food and wine for one person (and almost finished it all!!)
In the midst of the feast, I ate this Bollywood-spiced chèvre that was like other level good. So I decided to recreate my own version for the holidays…because who doesn’t like a good cheese plate around the holidays???
Never fear, my plant-based friends. This recipe works no matter what your poison: goat cheese, cream cheese or a lovely nut-based option would all be delicious. This is holiday entertaining, Desiree-style: lovely flavour, crazy easy to make.
Happy Holidays everyone…I hope you have the most wonderful close to your year.
This will be my last post of 2016 as I start gearing up for a jam-packed January. My new show will air on Gusto early in January, the paperback edition of my book launches January 3rd and I hope you’ll join me for a totally diet-free January mindful eating challenge, starting January 2nd. xo
Moroccan-inspired Spiced Chèvre
Super simple and easily adjustable chevre! A great dish for the holiday parties!
Bring orange juice and spices to a boil. Reduce temperature to a gentle boil until the orange juice is reduced to the consistency of light syrup (about ten minutes). The mixture will reduce by half but still look like liquid.
Let cool to room temp and the mixture will thicken further.
Spread your fave cheese across a serving bowl or plate, drizzle with orange reduction and top with dates and almonds. Serve with your favourite bread or crackers.
Note: if using vegan ricotta, whip in a little more water as it processes to have a lighter, creamier texture!
Whatever your take on this whole girl dinner situation, sometimes we all need to just sit down to something low effort and delicious. Like a snack plate with some veggies, crackers and a good dip.
And this creamy dill dip is a WIN 🏆 It takes 5 minutes to blend up with nutrient-dense cashews and it will keep all week in the fridge - so you can throw together a snack plate, or pour it over leftover roasted veggies or even pasta for a low effort meal that still tastes good.
Dill is so freaking underrated…probably because it was considered the height of sophistication in the 90s, along with balsamic vinegar and I know we’d like to feel we’ve evolved but I kind of think both are ripe for a comeback.
Dill has such an incredible flavour – it’s warm, sweet, grassy and kind of licorice-y all at once and deserved to be more than just (my favourite) chip flavour.
So while we’re all heralding the return of 90s staples like lunchables (AKA girl dinner), supermodels and NSYNC, I humbly vote for a dill…the herbal underdog that deserves a bigger spot on your plate.
Give yourself a boost with this yummy iced matcha latte with California strawberries (AD)
As the days start to get shorter, the mid-afternoon slump gets REAL…so I’m excited to partner with @castrawberries to bring you this delicious iced strawberry matcha latte that you can whip up in minutes to help power you through your day.
The caffeine and l-theanine in matcha will give you a lift, while sweet, juicy, California strawberries offer plenty of nutrition to keep you feeling energized.
DYK: strawberries are a brilliant food for brain health!
Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids, which may help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease - and a recent study in the Annals of Neurology suggests that eating berries more than twice a week appears to delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years.
A serving of 8 California strawberries is the perfect addition to any snack or meal, whether you’re looking for a mid-morning energy boost, healthy evening snack or a juicy addition to your favourite recipes…like this nutrient-dense iced latte!
Start by prepping the strawberry hemp milk: blend 3 cups water, 2 cups California strawberries, ½ cup hemp hearts, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tsp vanilla and a pinch of salt on high until smooth. This will make enough for 4-5 lattes!
Then, whisk 1 tsp of matcha with a few tbsp of just boiled water until smooth. Add ice to a tall glass, pour over your strawberry hemp milk and then your matcha. Sweeten to taste and enjoy.
Refrigerate leftover strawberry hemp milk for 3-4 days. Just shake (separation is normal!) and enjoy.
Give blackberries the attention they deserve and make this!
Last time I checked, we’re still 17 days from the equinox so until then, it’s still summer in my books and this is firmly a pumpkin-free zone! That’s my solemn promise to you 🙏
I love September in Vancouver…and not just because it’s my birthday month.
The weather is usually surprisingly good and there are like a million blackberries growing, RIGHT OUT IN THE OPEN, FOR FREE
And there is nothing sweeter than free food…except when you put that free food in a crispy, rustic galette that you threw together in like 15 minutes of hands on time, waiting out the baking while you lay in the sun with a cup of chai or apple cider.
It’s so easy to make, you simply can’t mess it up and the pastry is crisp every single time, with no soggy bottoms!
You can make this with just blackberries if you’ve got a pail full or mix 50:50 with peaches. Also still in season…just saying. It’s perfect for when you’re having people over and leftovers make a nice breakfast the next day.
For the recipe, just Google “blackberry galette desiree” or grab the direct link in my profile 👋
As a gut health dietitian, I know that taking care of your gut health means piling a variety of whole plant foods on your plate.
Plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes contain fibres that help regulate digestion and fermentable carbohydrates to feed your gut microbiota…
…but it doesn’t hurt to add a few fun gut boosters into the mix, namely sources of beneficial bacteria and the foods that feed them AKA probiotics and prebiotics!
Here are my picks:
🥤 @covedrinks Gut Healthy Soda - zero sugar, super yummy retro pop flavours, 1 Billion probiotics per can (you better believe I checked the strains, research checks out!), added vitamin C and sweetened with stevia and erythritol.
🥬 Raw fermented sauerkraut or kimchi – live fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria that help to promote a healthy digestive system, plus cabbage is a source of fiber and glutamine, an amino acid important for gut cell health.
🌾 Oats – oats are fibre-rich and contain a special soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which is thought to act as a prebiotic, feeding beneficial bacteria in the gut. Make oatmeal, overnight oats, or add to smoothies and baking!
🌱 Cashews – cashews contain two types of fermentable carbohydrates (fructans + GOS) to feed your gut bacteria - I use them all the time to make cream sauces and dips without dairy and they are half the price when you buy them at Costco.
🍿 Popcorn – popcorn is the ultimate gut-friendly salty snack…and could you ever imagine that a bowl of popcorn has 9 grams of fiber???
What are some of your favourite gut healthy grocery items??
PS…Cove is now available nationwide at Costco!! as well as select Safeways, Thriftys and Costcos here in BC (Check their website for locations)
If I have a cooking style, it’s this: making classic-ish recipes with ingredients you don’t normally think of to boost flavour and nutrition.
Like these savoury zucchini waffles…that are kind of like falafel made with zucchini but in waffle form.
These aren’t just a cute 30 minute dinner for when you don’t feel like cooking…or a genius meal prep because you can just toss them in the toaster for a quick lunch.
They’re also a gut health super hero because they are made with powerful microbiome boosters like chickpeas, chickpea flour and shallots.
Each little waffle contains about 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fibre, and a ton of fermentable carbohydrates that boost gut bacteria.
So if you’re new to that fibre life, start with just 1 waffle!
Yep, they’re vegan. And gluten free. And nut free…so everyone can enjoy them. And they are SO easy to make. Blend and toss them in the waffle iron.
In fact, the only hitch is that because I’m making nutrient dense waffles with no flour BUT ALSO want them to be tender and delicious, they take a wee bit longer to cook in order to firm them up. Like 8-9 minutes. Luckily, you don’t have to be around for that, just set your timer and sit back with a good book (highly recommend Biography of X as I can’t put it down right now!)
Lemme know if you make these!! Just Google “zucchini waffles Desiree” or find them via the link in my bio right now
I’m a plant-based dietitian who doesn’t love bars…so finding a quick plant-based nutritious meal or snack isn’t always easy!
Sperri: If I’m out all day hiking, or on a road trip, having a plant-based meal replacement like @sperri.ca is a HUGE help.
Sperri isn’t a protein shake - it’s a meal replacement, which meets very stringent national standards for complete nutrition, like vitamins, minerals, protein and omega 3 fats.
It’s low FODMAP (1/2 bottle), free of common allergies like sulphites and soy, and it contains 100mg of plant-based DHA and 16 grams of protein per serving!
⚡️ Roasted Chickpeas: I love packing snacks with crunch, and roasted chickpeas offer great chip-inspired flavours and plenty of protein, minerals and fibre. A ¼ cup typically has 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fibre!
🌱 Almonds: whether plain or flavoured, almonds offer 7 ½ grams of protein and 4 ½ grams of fibre in just ¼ cup. That makes them an easy way to boost protein and fibre on the road…the two things plant-based eating on the go tends to lack!
⚡️ Vegan jerky: not all vegan jerkies are protein rich. Pick a soy-based jerky that may have as much as 10-15 grams of protein per bag.
🌱 Lupini beans: something I grew up eating, I had no idea that they were so good for you! Lupinis are super rich in protein, with 9 grams per snack-sized bag.
What are your favourite on-the-go snacks? And if you’re curious about Sperri, snag 20% off at www.sperri.ca with the code DESIREEN20…link in my bio!
As a fries and mayo girl for life, partnering with @cavendish.farms and @hellmannscanada makes me feel SEEN! In fact, the minute Hellmann’s Vegan came out, it became our house mayo…because it’s the only one my non-vegan family loves as much as the original!
Serve up the perfect pair with these amazing garlic fries and spiced paprika mayo!
The recipe couldn’t be simpler: just 5 or so minutes of prep to take this classic side dish to a whole other level. No vampires here!
Garlic Fries 🧄
1 pkg @cavendish.farms Restaurant Style Waffle Fries 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp minced parsley Salt, to taste
Place garlic and oil in a small pot and place on low heat to soften and infuse the oil while the fries cook. Meanwhile, cook fries according to package directions.
When fries are done, drizzle over the garlic and oil and toss with parsley and salt.
Spiced Paprika Mayo
⅔ cup @hellmannscanada Vegan Mayo 2 tsp hot sauce 2 tsp nutritional yeast ½ tsp onion powder ½ tsp paprika ¼ tsp salt
And for more recipes, as well as a coupon, head to https://www.hellmanns.com/ca/en/cavendish.html or the link in my bio!
Eat More Plants Cookbook turns 4 this weekend (!!!) so I thought I’d talk a little bit about chronic inflammation…which is increasingly rare around here because honestly, the space has become so dominated by pseudoscience and fearmongering that I kind of want to wash my hands of it.
But chronic inflammation is STILL important. It’s a factor in many chronic diseases, from rheumatoid arthritis to Crohn’s disease to heart disease so let’s talk about what an anti-inflammatory diet is…and isn’t.
What it is:
A dietary PATTERN that is high in whole plant foods, with fewer hyper-processed foods, red meat, high fat dairy, added sugars and alcohol.
What it isn’t:
Grain free. Sugar free. Seed oil free. Lectin free….and whatever other thing the internet comes up with.
There is actually no one gold-standard “anti-inflammatory” diet in the research. But there are different dietary patterns that have been researched for their beneficial effects, like the Mediterranean Diet.
Yes, there are some foods – like turmeric, berries and greens – that have been studied for their anti-inflammatory nature but they don’t work like a magic eraser. Consider them a boost to your dietary pattern.
And diet is not the only driver of inflammation. Think stress. Inactivity. Gut microbiome. Certain disease states (including infections). And definitely lack of sleep.
The simplest – and most profound – thing you can do make your diet more anti-inflammatory is to start eating more whole plant foods. That’s it. Simple to say…but it takes commitment! Make half your plate veggies at dinner. Snack on a handful of almonds or pumpkin seeds. Pile berries and hemp hearts on your bowl of oats.
If you’re curious about anti-inflammatory nutrition, pick up a copy of Eat More Plants at your local bookshop or library, and in the fall, look out for a free webinar that I am working on with Diabetes Canada, specifically for those with diabetes.
The information on this site is intended as educational only and cannot replace one-on-one consultation with a registered dietitian.
We respectfully acknowledge that we live and work on the ancestral and unceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nation.