"The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine."
- Hippocrates

January 27, 2010


I'd never had paella before this Christmas. We were staying at my Dad's and he sought out to make a vegan friendly dinner that everyone would enjoy. It was so simple, tasty and creamy, I was amazed that I'd never thought of trying it before! Who wouldn't love a dish with rice, beans, veggies and a slightly spicy tomato based flavour?! And don't we all need more Spanish influence in our lives?! So thank you Dad and Gisele for your introduction to this fantastic meal...it's since become one of our staples!!

Now, I did a bit of research about this dish because I was a little curious as to how "authentic" this recipe is. Well, turns out, not very! Apparently, to prepare paella, there are three basic rules to follow:

1. Cook Over a Fire - Hmmm...nope, not in this weather anyway!

2. Use a traditional Paella Pan - A paella pan is apparently a necessity. It's a large, flat, open round steel pan with handles. Again, nope!

3. Use Medium-Grain Rice - For best results, use a medium-grain rice rather than a long grain rice. The medium-grain rice absorbs a lot of liquid, which makes it particularly fitting for paella. Ok! Now this we can do!!

1 out of 3 ain't bad right? Give it a try and feel free to be flexible...paella is meant to be personal to the chef - that's you! So mix it up and see what you get!

    Makes approximately 6 servings

    3 tbsp olive oil
    5 cloves minced garlic
    1 large yellow onion
    4-5 cups vegetable stock
    2 cups medium grain brown rice
    1 28oz can diced tomatoes
    1 small red bell pepper, chopped
    1 small green bell pepper, chopped
    1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped
    1 tsp rosemary
    1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    2 tsp cumin powder
    1/2 tsp paprika
    1 can (about 2 cups) cooked black beans (or any other bean), drained
    1 cup frozen corn kernels

    Heat oil in a large high-sided frying pan or large saucepan. Add garlic and onion and saute until onions are translucent (about 5-7 min). At the same time, heat broth in a separate saucepan until simmering.

    Pour the rice in the pan and mix well. Fry for about 3 minutes, then add can tomatoes (with juice), spices, and bell peppers and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

    Add 3 cups of stock to begin with. Partially cover the pot and let simmer on low until the stock is mostly absorbed (anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on type of rice used). Once most of the stock is absorbed, add another cup of stock and leave the cover off as it simmers. You may need to add some or all of the final cup of stock depending on the rice and the tenderness you like. All together, the cooking process can take up to 40 minutes (white rice takes much less time to cook than brown rice).

    Once the rice is tender and there is still a bit of stock remaining to be absorbed, add the beans and frozen corn. Just heat through and serve!

    This recipe freezes really well and tastes great as leftovers!


    January 26, 2010

    Why vegan?

    Since changing my eating habits I've been asked countless times "but why?". Sometimes it's hard to eloquently express my many reasons without sounding too preachy or, on the other end, too apathetic about the subject. So, for those of you who are asking the same thing, I recently came across a few resources that succinctly explains it all quite well.

    Below Chef Tal Ronnen, author of The Conscious Cook, provides a good starting point. I've provided a few extra links for each subject if you'd like to read more.


    Without being preachy, here's a quick look at what veganism means to those who choose it. Even a step toward it -- say, going meatless three days a week -- lets you in on a lot of the benefits.

    Because cutting out animal products means virtually eliminating the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and several types of cancer. Your energy shoots up and your weight is likely to drop.
    Read more here

    Because most of us question the morality of eating animals, and many people who feel it's absolutely wrong do it anyway out of habit. Eating with a clear conscience -- feeling good about everything you put in your mouth -- lightens up your life.
    Read more here

    Because factory farming of animals consumes and pollutes insane quantities of water and demands so much feed that it threatens forests. And because greenhouse gases from animal emissions are destroying the atmosphere.
    Read more here and here

    Helping Others
    Because the grain fed to livestock could feed at least twice as many hungry people in third-world countries. Weakening the livestock industry by buying less or no meat is a step toward rejiggering resources to save lives.
    Read more here

    Because Albert Einstein Said So
    "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."

    Because Paul McCartney Said So
    "If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That's the single most important thing you can do."

    Here are a few others you might recognize...

    Actors, Actresses, Comedians, and Producers
    Alec Baldwin
    Alicia Silverstone
    Alyssa Milano
    Carrie Anne Moss
    Casey Affleck
    Casey Kasem
    Daryl Hannah
    Demi Moore
    Elijah Wood
    Ellen DeGeneres
    Emily Deschanel
    Gillian Anderson
    Ginnifer Goodwin
    Heather Mills
    James Cromwell
    Jason Schwartzman
    Jennifer Connelly
    Joaquin Phoenix
    Keenan Ivory Wayens
    Kevin Nealon
    Mayim Bialik (Blossom)
    Natalie Portman
    Pamela Anderson
    Portia de Rossi
    Sandra Oh
    Tea Leoni
    Toby Maguire
    Vanessa A. Williams
    Weird Al Yankovic
    Woody Harrelson
    Zooey Deschanel

    Alanis Morissette
    Anthony Kiedis
    Barry White
    Bryan Adams
    Jason Mraz
    Joan Jett
    K.D. Lang
    Michael Franti
    Phil Collins
    Shania Twain
    Sinead O'Connor

    Brendan Brazier (ironman triathlete)
    Carl Lewis (Olympic Track Star)
    Ed Templeton (pro skateboarder)
    George Laraque (NHL)
    Jack LaLaine (fitness guru)
    John Salley (former NBA player)
    Lucy Stephens (triathlete)
    Martina Navratilova (tennis)
    Pat Neshek (Minnesota Twins pitcher)

    Albert Schweitzer, theologian, philosopher, and physician
    Benjamin Spock, M.D.
    Henry David Thoreau
    Leonardo Da Vinci
    Mohandas Ghandi

    Hope that sheds some light on some of the reasons I've chosen to focus on eating a plant-based diet. If you'd like to know more or want to ask any specific questions feel free to email me - I'd love to chat!

    Now...back to cooking... :D

    January 21, 2010

    Blueberry Banana Pancakes

    When Jeff and I bought our first home, we had these romantic visions of lazy Saturday mornings at the dining room table, still cozy in our PJs, reading the newspaper for hours, passing the Arts and Lifestyle sections back and forth, all while sipping hot coffee from a seemingly endless pot. Alas, we've been living in our home for over two years and this fantasy has yet to be realized...Oh well, it's still nice to dream right??

    Although we're still waiting for our hours-long coffee and newspaper fest to materialize, we have been successful in establishing one cherished Saturday morning tradition - Pancakes!! And I highly recommend you try it. These pancakes are really easy to whip up and always turn out fantastic - not too dense or too light - all without the need for dairy or eggs!

    Not only do they taste great, but they are healthy too! Well, healthier than the average anyway... They're made with whole wheat flour (I've actually tried them with everyday white flour and they turned out a bit rubbery - so try them with whole wheat if you can), they have a whole banana and lots of blueberries! Plus, I suggest adding some chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds for extra health benefits (and great added texture)!

    Makes 4 medium sized pancakes

    1 cup whole wheat flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or almonds) (optional)
    1 ripe banana
    1 - 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk (soy, almond, rice, etc)
    1 tbsp sweetener such as maple syrup or sugar (optional)
    About 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
    About 1/4 cup vegetable oil for frying
    Lots of real maple syrup!!

    Put a serving dish in the oven and preheat to 210 degrees.

    Mix flour, baking powder and nuts in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mash banana with a fork or masher until most of the lumps are gone. Add 1 cup non-dairy milk and sweetener to the banana and mix well. Add the wet mixture to the dry and gently mix until just wet (don't beat this mixture or the batter will be rubbery). If you notice the batter is too thick, add up to 1/4 cup more non-dairy milk until you reach the desired consistency.

    Preheat your frying pan at about medium-high heat with a tablespoon of oil. When hot (tip: a drop of water should sizzle), drop 1/3 cup of batter into the pan then immediately drop the blueberries into the batter (add as little or as many as you want) - gently press them down into the batter while the pancake cooks. When the batter starts bubbling on the sides and in the middle you're ready to flip! Cook the other side for another 3 or 4 minutes to ensure the batter cooks around the blueberries.

    Once cooked through, transfer cooked pancake to the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.

    My humble tips for great pancakes:

    1) Use a small frying pan if you have one (e.g. 9 inch). This will keep all the oil inside the area where the pancake cooks - ensuring maximum outer crispiness and less waste!

    2) Drop any fruit pieces to the pancake batter AFTER you've poured it into the pan - otherwise you'll get lots of color from the fruit bleeding into the batter (not a bad thing, but just the way I like it).

    3) Use a measured amount of batter for each pancake for a uniform stack - and less fighting over who gets the largest pancake!

    4) Make sure your heat is just right - I keep adjusting the heat throughout the cooking process, the first pancake is cooked at the highest heat (about medium high) and I keep inching it down from there - by the time I get to my fourth one, the heat is usually set at medium low.

    5) Resist the urge to keep checking if the underside is cooked - give the pancake time to cook through a bit and get nice a crispy on the outside. Wait until you see bubbles all the way through the batter, then flip!

    6) Whenever you have a ripe banana lying around but don't necessarily want to cook with it right away, just freeze it! When you're ready to use it, defrost for about 45 seconds, cut off the top and squeeze the banana out of it's peel - super easy!

    Well, that's it for this week - geez, who knew simple pancakes could result in such a lengthy post! Have a great weekend!

    This recipe was adapted from How it all Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer

    January 15, 2010

    Soup's On!

    Last year Jeff (my husband) and I decided to do a 21-day cleanse wherein we omitted all meat, fish, eggs, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar and, as a result, shifted our eating toward more whole food including using new grains and lots of organic produce. This was based on the cleanse suggested in Kathy Freston's Quantum Wellness (see my reading list). Throughout the 21 days we were so surprised at how easy it was to eat this way--the food tasted amazing and we felt better (physically and mentally) almost instantly! After the three weeks, we decided to stick with this diet for the most part because we just couldn't come up with a good reason to go back to how we were eating before.

    Last week, I learned about a similar program being sponsored by the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). The 21-Day Vegan Kickstart is a "program is designed for anyone who wants to explore and experience the health benefits of a vegan diet". If you're interested, check-out their website, it's got some really fantastic resources including a full 21-day meal plan, personalized grocery shopping lists, tons of recipes, celebrity tips, and some great videos! In the spirit of the 21-Day Kickstart, I decided to test out a couple of the recipes on their site. I chose two soups because, well, it's winter, and soups do a great job at warming us up on those cold and snowy days! The pictures are from my own kitchen, so what you see is what you get!

    Butternut Soup with Cinnamon Cream
    Makes 4-6 servings

    This soup is sooooo good!! I'm a big fan of creamy soups and this one does not disappoint! It's super silky and creamy from the buttery squash and it's got just the right amount of flavour kick from the ginger and cinnamon. Best of all, it's really easy to prepare!! This soup would be a great starter for any meal. Or pair with a hearty salad and some crusty bread for a complete meal.

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 onion, finely chopped
    2 pounds butternut squash (about 6 cups), peeled and chopped
    1 carrot, chopped
    1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
    1 clove garlic, chopped (this wasn't original to the recipe--silly eh?)
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 tablespoon ground coriander
    3 cups vegetable stock
    1 cup soymilk (or any non-dairy milk)
    salt, to taste
    freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat oil over medium heat and sauté onion for 5 minutes, until golden. Add squash, carrot, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and coriander. Cook while stirring for 5 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables are browned.

    Add the vegetable stock and soymilk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring for 30 to 35 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Blend until smooth in a blender or food processor. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

    Lentil Barley Stew
    Makes 6 1-cup servings

    I love barley in soups! Well, I love barley in anything really, it's so chewy and hearty and pairs really well with beans and lentils. This soup is really tasty, it's got the exact right flavour that you'd expect from a lentil and barley stew...and it's got just a tiny bit of spice at the end to keep you coming back for more! This soup is a meal all on it's own, but paired with some fresh whole wheat crusty bread, it's over the top ;)

    1/2 cup dry lentils, rinsed
    1/4 cup dry hulled or pearl barley
    4 cups Vegetable Broth or water
    1 onion, chopped
    1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
    1 carrot, diced
    1 celery stalk, sliced
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt

    Place all ingredients except salt into a large pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils and barley are tender, about 1 hour. Add salt to taste.


    January 14, 2010


    Dips are great for all occasions... They are great as appetizers for a nice dinner party, as snacks to accompany your favourite TV shows (ahem, LOST anyone?), or as a healthy alternative to your everyday brown bag lunch. They are great dipped with crackers, potato chips, tortilla chips, pita bread or chopped veggies! You can even smear them on a tortilla, throw in some veggies and call it a wrap!

    These are your standard "go-to" dips that are a hit with pretty much anyone - Hummus, Guacamole, and Black Bean Dip - all are super easy, cheap and packed with healthy snacking nutrients!! Because everyone likes their dips a certain way (e.g., lemony hummus, garlicky guac, or chunky black bean dip), you should consider these recipes a guide...play with them, add more or less ingredients and find what makes you happy!


    1 can chickpeas, drained (Optional - reserve liquid for later)
    2 cloves fresh garlic, roughly chopped
    1/4 cup olive oil
    Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
    4-5 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
    2 tbsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp salt

    Add all ingredients in the food processor and blend. Keep checking and scraping the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything gets blended. If it seems dry, add - by the tablespoon - either the reserved chickpea liquid or water to thin it out (the chickpea liquid makes it a bit smoother, but it has more sodium, so if you're trying to avoid that just use water).

    Serve sprinkled with extra cumin or paprika and drizzled with olive oil. Variation There are a million variations on hummus, for example, try adding chopped fresh basil, roasted red pepper, or sundried tomatoes!

    Health Benefits
    Tahini is made of sesame seeds which are a very good source of manganese and copper, and a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fibre. Infact, just a quarter-cup of sesame seeds supplies 35.1% of the daily recommendation for calcium!!


    4 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded (Tip: to ripen avocados faster, put them in a paper bag with a banana, apple or tomato!)
    1-2 tsp ground cumin
    1 tomato, seeded and diced
    1/4 - 1/2 cup finely diced onion (red, white, or green - or a mix)
    2 serrano or jalapeno chilies, seeded and minced (optional)
    1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
    4 tbsp fresh lime juice
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped salt and pepper to taste

    - Cut avocado into large chunks and mash coarsely in a bowl with a fork.
    - Add remaining ingredients and mix gently. The guacamole does not have to be absolutely smooth - leaving some small avocado chunks is fine – more than fine actually!

    Health Benefits
    Avocados are a good source of vitamin K, fibre, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate and copper. Avocados are also a good source of potassium - they are actually higher in potassium than a medium banana!

    Black Bean Dip

    1 tsp olive oil
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    1 large clove garlic, chopped
    1 green pepper, chopped
    1/2 tsp coriander, ground cumin, and chili powder
    1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
    1 can (19oz) black beans, drained
    2 tbsp fresh lime juice
    3 tbsp fresh cilantro
    1 small tomato, chopped

    - Cook onion, garlic, and half the green pepper until tender (about 7 min). Stir in ground spices then remove from heat.
    - Briefly process beans and juice, add onion mixture, tomato and half the fresh cilantro - process until smooth. If it's too thick, add up to 1/4 cup water.
    - Serve topped with remaining cilantro and green pepper.

    Health Benefits
    Black beans are a very good source of dietary fibre, folate (one cup provides about 2/3 of the daily recommendation for folate), a good source of manganese, protein, magnesium, thiamin (vitamin B1), phosphorus and iron. In the case of protein, a one cup serving of cooked black beans provides about one third of a day's protein requirement.


    Super-Charge Me! Cookies

    These cookies have become a daily staple in my house. They replace all those “fake healthy” granola bars that we used to take to work as snacks. They’re packed with nutrition with natural peanut butter, flax meal and oatmeal! You’ll notice that there’s no refined white sugar, flour or tons of added fat in these babies; they’re better than that – and so are YOU!

    Tip: These cookies freeze really well, so they're great to make in big batches for the whole week!

    Makes 11–12 cookies

    Dry Ingredients
    2/3 cup spelt flour (you can use whole wheat flour, just reduce the total amount by about 3 tbsp)
    1 cup quick oats or rolled oats (I use half rolled and half quick)
    1/4 tsp (rounded) sea salt
    1/4 – 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/8 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    1/4 –1/3 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit (optional)
    3–4 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)
    1 tsp baking powder

    Wet Ingredients
    1/3 cup flax meal (not flax seed)
    1/2 cup pure maple syrup or agave
    3 tbsp peanut butter (may use cashew, almond, or hemp seed butter)
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 tbsp organic canola oil

    - Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
    - In a bowl, combine oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, coconut, raisins, and chocolate chips, sift in baking powder, and stir until well combined.
    - In a separate bowl, combine flax meal, syrup, almond butter, and vanilla and stir until well combined. Then stir in oil.
    - Add wet mixture to dry, and stir until just well combined (try not to overmix).
    - Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease lightly.
    - Spoon batter onto baking sheet evenly space apart, and lightly flatten.
    - Bake for 11-12 minutes (no longer, or they will dry out).
    - Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 1 minute (no longer), then transfer to a cooling rack.


    This recipe is taken from Eat, Drink and be Vegan by Dreena Burton

    Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadilla with Fresh Tropical Fruit Salsa

    Having a dinner party? Don't know what to serve? Looking for some inspiration to spice up a weeknight dinner at home? Why not whip up some yummy Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas with some Tropical Fruit Salsa? They're a nice (and healthy) variation on the standard chicken and cheese versions that are usually piled high with sour cream! Instead, opt to serve these babies with some fresh guacamole and a nice green salad. If you want to get really fancy, serve some basmati rice infused with lime and coconut milk with a side of fried plantains! Mmmm...so tropical!!! I can hear the steel drums now...

    Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas
    (makes 2 main-course, 6 snack-size or 12 appetizer servings)

    1 (8-ounce) sweet potato, peeled and cut into small pieces
    1/2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tsp lime juice
    1/4 tsp garlic salt (or one clove fresh garlic)
    1/4 tsp ground cumin
    Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
    1/2 tbsp diced canned mild green chilies, drained (you can find these in any grocery store with the taco seasonings)
    6 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
    3/4 cup rinsed and drained canned black beans

    Boil sweet potatoes until soft (about 10 minutes)
    Drain and return to saucepan. Add oil, lime juice, garlic salt, cumin, and black pepper. Mash well. Stir in chilies and mix well.
    Lay out one tortilla, cover with one third of the mashed sweet potato (about 1/4 cup), then top with 1/4 cup black beans.
    Cover with another tortilla, press. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
    Heat a frying pan over medium heat with a little oil.
    Press tortillas (one at a time) lightly with a spatula and cook until lightly browned, then turn over and repeat.

    Tropical Fruit Salsa

    2 cups tropical fruit of your choice (papaya, pineapple, mango), diced
    1 to 2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and finely chopped
    1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
    1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp lime juice
    1 tbsp red wine vinegar
    1 tsp sugar
    1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
    Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    Toss all ingredients together until combined. Serve.
    You can prepare ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to 1 day.

    Did you know?
    Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, a very good source of vitamin C and manganese, and a good source of copper, dietary fibre, vitamin B6, potassium and iron! Black beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fibre, as are most other legumes. In addition to lowering cholesterol, black beans' high fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal. When combined with whole grains (such as whole grain tortillas), black beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein! Wow!


    Both recipes are taken from
    The Tropical Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein

    January 13, 2010

    Bean & Corn Tortilla Lasagna with Avocado

    This recipe is one of my new favorites!! It combines my love of lasagna, mexican food, black beans and of course - Avocado! And it's got a crunchy topping which is welcomed at any meal! Even though the ingredient list looks long, it's actually very easy to assemble. It avoids the need to boil the lasagna noodles, which - even though simple - always seems to stop me from making lasagna more often...well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!!

    Hint: to make prep time even shorter...prepare the tomato sauce mixture ahead of time and freeze it. When you want to have it for dinner, just defrost the sauce and assemble!!

    1 can (14-oz/398 ml) plain tomato sauce
    1 tsp chili powder
    1 1/4 tsp cumin powder
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1/8 tsp allspice
    1/4 (rounded) salt
    freshly ground black pepper to taste
    1/2 tsp chipotle hot sauce (I use Tabasco brand)
    1/4 tsp sugar, agave or maple syrup (optional)
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/3 cup onion, finely diced
    1 can (14 oz/ 398 ml) black or pinto beans, rinsed (about 1 3/4 cups)
    2-3 large whole wheat tortillas
    1 large avocado (or 2 small ones), sliced thinly
    3/4 cup corn kernels
    1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
    1/2 cup tortilla chips
    grated vegan cheese (optional)
    Fresh cilantro for garnish

    - Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    - In a large bowl, combine tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, allspice, salt, pepper, hot sauce, agave or syrup, garlic, onion, and beans. Stir to mix well.
    - Lightly oil an 8x12-in baking dish. Pour half of mixture in baking dish and distribute evenly.
    - Place one of the tortillas on top of mixture (I cut the tortilla in half and place the straight edge along the long side of the dish. Then I fit the other half on the other long edge...there will be some overlap with the two halves - cut the overlap off the second half and use the extra pieces to cover the left and right sides).
    - Place avocado slices on top of tortilla, then evenly distribute corn over avocado. Drizzle this layer with lime juice.
    - Top with remaining tortillas, spread with remaining sauce, and sprinkle with crushed tortilla chips. You can add grated non-dairy cheese to the top if you like (but it's fine without it).
    - Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10 minutes or so until casserole is bubbling at edges.
    - Remove from oven, let sit for about 5-10 minutes, then cut into squares to serve. -- Sprinkle with fresh cilantro if desired.


    This recipe is taken from Eat, Drink and be Vegan by Dreena Burton

    January 12, 2010

    Vegetarian Burritos

    This week's recipe for Vegetarian Burritos is packed with yummy veggies, beans, rice, and salsa! They're in low fat, and have tons of fibre, protein and other healthy vitamins and minerals!! These burritos are super easy to make especially with the help of a food processor!! Feel free to play with the ingredients and spicing...that's the great thing with burritos, they're so versatile!

    I recommend making a double batch -- you can prepare, individually wrap in plastic and freeze them!! When you're ready for a great lunch or dinner, just pop them in the microwave, defrost for a few minutes on each side, then cook for 2-3 minutes...voila! They're excellent served with mashed avocado on the side!!

    This recipe was adapted from one given to me by my sister-in-law - Thanks Ellen!

    1 onion
    1 zucchini
    1 1/2 peppers (any colour)
    1 carrot
    garlic (2-3 cloves)
    2 T chili powder (or to taste - make sure it's not the super-hot stuff first!)
    2 T cumin powder (or to taste)
    1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
    1 can refried beans (any kind, e.g., pinto, black bean, soy bean...)
    about 1/2 large jar of salsa (or just to taste)
    1/2 cup cooked brown rice
    7-10 large whole wheat tortillas (depending on how full you stuff them)
    1 avocado

    - Chop veggies into big chunks, then process in food processor until desired 'chunkyness' (I usually use the grating attachment for the carrots). Fry veggies all together with spices and salt until softened (but still a little firm).
    - Add refried beans and mix well (using a little heat over the stove helps soften the beans a bit faster). Then add salsa and cooked rice, mix well.
    - Add about 3 heaping tablespoons of mixture to the large tortilla, fold in edges and roll up moving from the bottom up
    - If you're gonna serve them right away, add a little extra filling on top (if available), then top with non-dairy cheese (optional)
    - Cook at about 425 for about 15-20min
    - Serve with extra salsa and guacamole - or just some mashed avocado for those of us who don't want to get too fancy!