Homemade Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie is a very special part of our Thanksgiving traditions.  If we could only pick one dish to prepare that represents this sacred family event for us, Pumpkin Pie would win.

It’s so very special to us that we start making it in late summer by harvesting Red Kuri Squash (Hokkaidokürbis) at the end of September and processing them into pumpkin purée that we make our filling with.

Pumpkin Purée

Makes 450g / Prep Time 20 min / Total Time 45 min

600g Red Kuri Squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
Water to cover
1 teaspoon Sunflower Oil

Place squash in a large pot and cover with water.  Add oil.
Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer on medium-low
heat for 15-20 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft.
Drain off liquid, purée, and let cool.  It can either be used right away,
or frozen in portions for future use.


Vegan Pumpkin Pie:

Serves 8 – 12 / Prep Time 15 min / Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

1 Pie Dough Round
1T Flax Seed Flour
110mL Water
150g Sugar
1/2t Salt
1t Cinnamon
1/2t ground Ginger
1/4t ground Cloves
450g Pumpkin Purée
340g Almond Milk

Preheat oven to 218°C.
Prepare your pie dough in a pie dish and place in the refrigerator.

In a tall measuring cup, purée flax seed flour and water with a wand mixer
until smooth. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin purée and flax seed mixture.
Whisk in sugar mixture and then almond milk until smooth.

Pour into prepared pie shell, cover dough edges with a pie crust shield,
and bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce temperature to 177°C, and continue to bake for 70 minutes,
or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from oven, and allow to cool for 12 hours before serving.


Simple Tomato Pastries

I rarely watch tv…I mean really rarely.  Every once in a while I enjoy watching a documentary, and recently discovered Chef’s Table.  I love watching the well thought out moves of the kitchen staff, and find the presentation of the different style fascinating: the delicate moves, the precision of every wielded knife, the vibrant colors of fresh ingredients…I love it.  I have worked in a few kitchens in my life…but none as nice and the ones in the show.
So, when I watched Alain Passard from L’Arpège (in Paris) roll out a homemade sheet of puff pastry, lightly brush it in butter, and cover it in a colorful mixture of thick-sliced heirloom tomatoes – my mouth began to water.  He has such an amazing garden that produces fresh fruits and vegetables for his kitchen – a dream.  One day I will get around to making my own puff pastry…it’s been on my bucket list for years, but will have to stay there a little longer.  Luckily, my local grocery store sells vegan puff pastry, so I picked up some San Marzano tomatoes from my local farmer’s market and got right to it.
This is a really simple recipe, and my kids love eating these delicious crunchy pillows.  The lightly caramelized tomato gives this savory snack a silky sweetness.

Simple Tomato Pastries

Serves 4 (Snack) – 12 (Amuse bouche) / Prep Time 5 min / Total Time 25 min
1 sheet vegan Puff Pastry, cut into 12 rectangles
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/8 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/8 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Fleur de Sel
6 San Marzano Tomatoes (can substitute with Roma), halved
1 pinch of Sugar
1 pinch of table Salt
1 hand full fresh Basil, chopped
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Remove the wire rack from your oven and line it with parchment paper.  Place the rectangles of puff pastry on the parchment paper, making sure that they are not touching each other.
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, and fleur de sel.  Brush each piece of pastry with the mixture, and place a tomato half on each piece of pastry – cut-side up.  Larger tomato halves can be cut again in half to help them bake more evenly.
Brush the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the
tomatoes, and sprinkle each tomato with a small amount of sugar and salt.
Place the wire rack on the very bottom of your oven and bake for 10 minutes.  The, set the wire rack in the center of the oven and continue to bake for another 10 minutes.  Baking the pastries at the bottom of the oven allows the bottom of the pastry to become really crunchy.  If we had a pizza oven, we could skip this step.  Take care not to leave the pastries in for too long as the puff pastry goes from golden-baked to charcoal-black rather quickly.
Once done, remove immediately from oven and allow to cool slightly before sprinkling with fresh basil.
The pastries can be stored for 2 days at (cool) room temperature and still taste great.  These guys always taste great…breakfast..lunch…dinner…or in between meals.

Buddha Bowl

This is one of my favorite dishes.  It’s crunchy and creamy and full of flavour.  So, what is so peacefull about this buddah bowl?  Well, other than the meditative mode that you will enter will enjoying the combination of flavours and textures, is that it is really a bowl of vegan leftovers.  Yes, it is the whole last week of little bits and scraps leftover after every meal ever so gently layed into a bowl, drizzled with a delicious tangy homemade sesame dressing that pulls the whole thing together.  Inner peace – another day not having to slave in the kitchen.
However, if you are all leftovers-out, or you find inner-peace in cooking (as I do), you can still put this delicious dish together in an uncomplicated amount of time.
So, make it for lunch or dinner, take it to work, or spread out all the ingredients buffet-style and let your family or guests put their bowl together as they wish.  It’s flexible and kid-friendly.

Buddha Bowl

Serves 4 / Prep Time 20 min / Total Time 1 hour

2 Cups Cooked Rice (recipe bellow)
1 Portion Crispy Chickpeas (recipe bellow)
2 Cups Micro Greens
1 large Carrot, julienned
1 Avocado, quartered, and sliced
16 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1/2 Cup Mung bean Sprouts
4 leaves Chicory
1 Green Onion, whites only, sliced
1 Portion Sesame Dressing (recipe bellow)
1 Tablespoon Black Caraway Seeds
Divide up your ingredients among 4 wide bowls.
Start by layering the rice down the middle.  Then, work your way clock-wise starting with the micro greens and ending with the sliced avocado – gently nestling in each small portion.
Nudge in a whole chicory leaf on top of the rice, and scoop in a few spoon fulls of crispy chickpeas.
Drizzle each bowl with a good amount of dressing, and garnish with some chopped green onions and black caraway seeds.
Leave out what you like.  Add what you like. Enjoy.

Simple White Rice

Serves 4 / Prep Time 3 min / Total Time 15 min
1 Cup Long Grain Rice
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Water
Place the dry, uncooked rice in a small pot and through in the salt.  Give it a whirl with your hand to disperse the salt.
Pour in the water – do not mix – do not stir – just pour it in.
Cook over high heat.  The rice will come to a boil and the water will start to reduce.  Once the water is even with the level of rice and it gives the appearance of foamy soap bubbles emerging from large holes between the rice, reduce the heat to low.
Cover and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
To check for doneness, after the 10 minutes are done, pierce the surface of the rice with a spoon until it reaches the bottom of the pot.  Pull it.  If it is shiny and slightly wet, then cover it back up and cook for another 3 minutes.  If it’s mat and dry and only slightly pasty, then it’s done.
Fluff the rice while hot with a spoon or fork to loosen the grains.


Crispy Chickpeas

Serves 4 / Prep Time 5 min / Total Time 50 min

400 grams canned Chickpeas, drained, rinsed
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Pimenton de la Vera (Spanish Smoked Paprika)
Preheat oven to 250°C (480°F).
Layer a baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients by hand.  Make sure with get the spices all over each chickpea!
Spread the chickpeas out in a single layer on the baking pan.  Bake on the top rack of the oven for 45 minutes, or until the chickpeas are nice and crispy, but not black.
Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before enjoying.

Tangy Sesame Dressing

Serves 4 / Prep Time 5 min / Total Time 10 min
1/3 Cup Tahini
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons sugar (or agave syrup)
2 teaspoons Rice Vinegar
Zest from 1/2 a Lime
Juice from 1 Lime
1 Knob of Ginger (the size of your thumb!), peeled, and grated
1 teaspoon Siracha (or Frank’s Red Hot)
1 pinch of Pepper
1 pinch of crushed Red Pepper flakes
Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.  Let sit to allow flavors to develop.
Find peace in this explosion of flavors!