Maple Alps

vegan

Best Ever Vegan Lasagna

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

I have had this post in my draft folder for two years now. TWO WHOLE YEARS (ahem, and a few months)! I am so excited to FINALLY be able to share this vegan lasagna with you. I’m leaving the text below as it was because, well, it’s more or less relevant to my life, and the instructions are the same anyway.

School is back in session, and sometimes I'm out of my house for about twelve hours each day. The commute each way is about 45 minutes, I get there an hour early, and depending on the day, I stay pretty long afterward as well to grade and prep so that I can "sleep in" the next morning. My poor husband, though extremely supportive of me, has started missing my homemade food. It was a whirlwind summer with a lot of traveling and guests that left literally zero extra time to prepare my home for the school year. Those first few weeks, I was just waiting for the long weekend so I could get some meal prep done (but hey, at least my classroom stayed organized!). I decided to take some time early one Sunday morning to get some stuff baked for the week, and I defaulted to one of our favourites: vegan lasagna. 

Best Ever Vegan Lasagna  | www.maplealps.com

It doesn't take too long to make - the baking part takes the longest. It just requires four main elements: tofu ricotta (which I mix with spinach), cashew cream sauce, tomato sauce and lasagna noodles, of course. 

If you, like me, have had bad experiences with the dairy-free version of this classic comfort food, rest assured that this one is actually pretty darn delicious. The first time I made it, my husband didn't even miss the cheese!

Best Ever Vegan Lasagna  | www.maplealps.com

This lasagna freezes well, and you can even assemble and keep it in the fridge for a few days before baking if you need to plan ahead!

I actually pursued this lasagna hard. I remember having a terrible vegan lasagna experience and I never wanted something like that to be recreated in my kitchen. The kicker is that this bad experience was almost 15 years ago and I still remember it vividly. So I am very excited about this one and that it tastes great!

Best Ever Vegan Lasagna  | www.maplealps.com

You can use your favorite tomato sauce and noodles for this! I like the kind of noodle that you cook first before baking. The texture is just nicer to me. Plus, your sauce goes a bit further I find and you’ll have a saucier lasagna - which I prefer!

The recipe for the lasagna is for a pan that is smaller than 9x13, but I’ve included some changes for that size in the notes.

Best Ever Vegan Lasagna  | www.maplealps.com

Best Ever Vegan Lasagna

What you need:

  • 1 recipe of Vegan Tofu Ricotta (possibly 2 for 9x13 pan) 

  • 2 cups spinach (4 cups for 9x13 pan if double the ricotta)

  • 1 recipe of Cashew Cream Sauce

  • 1 package lasagna noodles of your choice

  • Your favourite tomato sauce (more for 9x13 pan)

What to do:

1) Preheat oven to 350ºF

2) Prepare the ricotta and cashew cream sauce

3) In a large bowl, mix spinach and ricotta well.

4) Begin layering by adding about 1 cup of the tomato sauce to the bottom of your baking dish. Top with noodles.

5) Add layer of ricotta and top with more sauce.

6) Drizzle cashew cream sauce 

7) Repeat layers (steps 4-6) until finished. Add a final layer of noodles and sauce

8) Bake covered for about 30 minutes. Add the rest of your cashew cream sauce to the top and bake, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Then broil, watching carefully, until top is a beautiful brown (Make sure you can broil with the pan you use)!

9) Let the lasagna cool for 15-20 minutes (very important so it doesn't fall apart!)

 

Don't you just love a good lasagna? 


 
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Best Ever Vegan Lasagna  | www.maplealps.com

Spinach + Artichoke Flatbread (vegan)

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps4 Comments

Well, Instagram has done it again! This post is brought to you by my IG page, after you all wanted the recipe for dinner I made earlier this month! According to my story, I made this yummy artichoke and spinach flatbread and we enjoyed it on the deck with some homemade lemonade for dinner. It was all great. And the weather was perfect, thanks for asking. Well, you all asked for the recipe, and since you asked, you are now receiving. The power of overwhelming me with the question on social media, hehe! This flatbread is seriously simple for summer, and can easily be grilled too!

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Spinach + Artichoke Flatbread (vegan) | www.maplealps.com

This recipe uses my favorite Alfredo sauce recipe. My mom used to make a very similar one, and I definitely had to keep the tradition of homemade Alfredo alive. It just doesn’t taste the same out of a jar. Plus, this one is vegan, so a much better option that still tastes yummy. I decided to go with a creamier sauce rather than the typical tomato-based one (or plain olive oil) I often see on flatbreads.

I’ve also had this almost obsession with artichokes lately and have been eating them up. I don’t hesitate to pick up a jar while browsing the aisles of the grocery store. Seriously so much yum! It’s not just the taste, it’s the texture too! Just. So. Good.

But I needed something to put them on. A few years ago, we went to this amazing Italian-Indian fusion place and had this delicious naan pizza with Indian inspired toppings. It was so good.

Enter naan.

Seriously, writing up this post is making me hungry, so I’ll get to the point.

You can use any naan or flatbread you want. If you want to do this on a pizza crust, by all means, do so! There probably won’t be anything left over once you serve this up!

And pro tip: eat it outside. It’ll make you feel fancy.

Spinach + Artichoke Flatbread (vegan) | www.maplealps.com

Spinach + Artichoke Flatbread

what you need for the Alfredo:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews

  • 1 TBSP all-purpose flour

  • 1 TBSP nutritional yeast flakes

  • 1/2 cube vegan seasoning (I have used this one from amazon)

  • 1 1/4 cup water

  • about 2 tsp dried basil


what to do:

1) Add first five ingredients to a blender and process until everything is well mixed.

2) Add mixture to pot, add basil, and bring to a slow simmer - constantly stirring until thick

what you need for the flatbread:

  • Your favorite Naan bread or flatbread

  • 1, 6oz. jar of artichoke hearts

  • 3 1/2 cups fresh spinach

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 TBSP olive oil

Optional garnishes:

  • your favorite shredded vegan cheese (optional)

  • roasted red peppers (optional)

  • red chili peppers (optional)

  • sea salt to taste (optional)

what to do:

1) Preheat the oven to 425ºF (I do so with a pizza stone in there - optional!)

2) Mix the garlic and olive oil. Brush mixture on one side and put the bread oil side down on a prepared pan (or on pizza stone) Bake for about 2 minutes and set aside.

3) Put the remaining garlic and oil mixture into a pan. Add artichokes and spinach and cook until spinach starts to wilt, being sure to not overcook the spinach. Remove from heat.

4) Top naan with Alfredo sauce and artichoke mixture.

5) Sprinkle some vegan cheese on top (optional) and place in oven.

6) Bake for 5-7 minutes, until cheese is melted and if you want, broil the top for a minute.

7) Garnish with some red chili, red peppers, and sea salt.

8) Cut and serve fresh! Enjoy!

 
vegan pantry | www.maplealps.com
 

Do you enjoy a good smoothie? What is your go-to? Let me know in the comments!


 
 
Spinach + Artichoke Flatbread (vegan) | www.maplealps.com

8 Things I've Learned as a Vegetarian

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time now. Over the years, I’ve had many people ask me about it and just the other day, I sat down and wrote out a few things I’ve learned from my experience. It’s so natural for me as I view it as a lifestyle rather than a dietary restriction. It has become second nature to me, and I feel better and more intentional with my food choices. Vegetarian is the only title I exclusively “subscribe” to when asked about my diet, though we mostly eat completely plant based at home.

There are a few things I’ve learned over the years, and I’m going to share 7 of them with you today!

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8 Things I've Learned as a Vegetarian | www.maplealps.com

Cravings Change, and so do taste bud preferences. This has definitely been true for me. Tastes and even certain smells (like meat cooking) that used to be so good to me now make me feel ill. I remember a time when I thought I could never go completely vegetarian, and I was totally wrong. Now, I can’t imagine going back.



One can still be an unhealthy vegetarian! I know a lot of people who are vegetarian who are unhealthy. I also know a lot of people who don’t understand that it really is possible to be healthy as a vegetarian. Crazy, right? Even as a vegetarian, it’s important to eat your daily servings of vegetables, fruits, and grains! Getting the nutrition one needs is important. Substitute meat products are oftentimes even less healthy than the actual stuff, so I’m careful about them and limit the amount of processed foods I consume. I’ve caught myself from time to time not eating as healthy as I could be, even as a vegetarian! Making sure I plan meals ahead helps reduce the amount of processed and unhealthy food we consume!

 
meal planning guide | www.maplealps.com



B12 is important. There are a few supplements to consider when going vegetarian. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak. Vitamin B12 is necessary for us to function properly, and yet it is hard to get on a vegetarian diet (and especially on a vegan diet).  Finding vegetarian supplements (I use this B12 from Amazon) and buying fortified nutritional yeast flakes to add to food help with B12 levels. A few other supplements I’ve needed as a vegetarian have been iron and vitamin D.



Protein is actually pretty easy to get enough of. Besides finding out that protein is easy to get, I found out that so many people became concerned with my protein levels once becoming vegetarian. It turns out, however, that protein is not the main concern when going vegetarian after all! I mean, of course cows get protein somewhere, right? It is indeed possible to get plenty of protein on a vegetarian diet. Some examples of some high protein foods are edamame, beans, dark leafy greens, and my favourite, tofu. By the way, my doctor of many years has never once asked me if I get enough protein and she knows I’m a vegetarian. She doesn’t seem too concerned.



Reading Food Labels is Key! It’s interesting what foods we may assume are vegetarian are indeed not! Reading food labels ensures food really is animal-product free or vegetarian-friendly. Barbeque chips, marshmallows, and even some vitamin capsules are just three examples of snacks that are not usually vegetarian-friendly. Ideally, one should be eating foods with no labels at all (fresh produce, bulk grains, etc.).



It is not that weird after all. When I first went vegetarian years ago, there were so many people who thought it was the strangest thing. Nowadays, there are a lot of people who choose to go vegetarian, either for health or ethical reasons. It is much easier to live and eat out and enjoy lots of different foods now. I enjoy food more because experimenting with foods is enthralling and fun! I’ve met so many new people who have taught me how to enjoy life as a vegetarian.



Being a vegetarian has made me more mindful. Instead of just being okay with everything I eat, once I decided to be vegetarian, I became more mindful of what I was putting in my body. I want to make sure that my food nourishes me, not just fills my stomach. Of course, you don’t need to be vegetarian to be mindful of your consumption habits, but it has helped me on the course of healthier living.



Vegetables are tasty AND pretty! I love experimenting with different vegetable combinations to make delicious meals! And I love the color that is added to my plate. because of them! If I have a meal that has too many brown tones, I immediately start to miss my fresh veggies - I can’t go without them!


Are you a vegetarian? What have you learned about it?


 
vegan pantry | www.maplealps.com
 

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps5 Comments

I don’t know how things were for you growing up, but for me, Brussels sprouts were the thing to avoid at all costs. All. Costs. I thought they were the most bland, disgusting things ever grown in someone’s garden.

Turns out, I just experienced a bad cook. Huh.

I’m never one to turn down food, especially if it’s a good roasted vegetable. I’ve come to learn that vegetables don’t have to be bland or boring. Foods that are good for you don’t have to taste awful (although medicine does, am I right?).

I remember when I first had some sprouts that tasted, well, good! I was shocked and amazed and I decided that Brussels sprouts and me could be friends again.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts | www.maplealps.com

This delicious side was inspired by my amazing Christmas vacation in Canada. It had been years since being able to go home to Canada for the holidays with my family, and I was over the moon at the miracle that occurred that allowed my hubby and me to go! We had a fantastic, albeit short, week.

Anyway, while there, my legendary mom whipped up some amazing Brussels sprouts. I had thirds.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts | www.maplealps.com

It has been a very long, and very cold Winter, so I’ve loved finding solace in these delicious sprouts - even back in the good old US of A. They are delicious hot or cold and the hint of sweetness makes it perfect. They are the perfect side for pretty much anything. Not going to lie - I’ve even put them inside of ramen. For breakfast. Don’t judge.

I’ll keep this short so you can get right to the good stuff!

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts  | www.maplealps.com

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts

What you need:

  • 1lb Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil (or vegan butter. alternatively, use water)

  • 1 TBSP Maple Syrup

  • 2 tsp Roasted Garlic and Red Peppers Seasoning (optional) (I use this brand from Amazon)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

What to do:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2) Wash and cut the sprouts in half. In a bowl, add all ingredients and toss until Brussels sprouts are completely coated

3) Spread your veggies on a prepped baking sheet

4) Bake for 45 minutes or until tender

 

How do you like your Brussels sprouts?


 
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Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts | www.maplealps.com

EZ Cheez-E Garlic Crackers (vegan)

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps15 Comments

I was not really allowed to snack as a child. If I was hungry before bed, my dad would let me have a spoonful of honey or a cracker. If I was really good, sometimes both. I do understand now - eating a ton before laying your head down to sleep is not the best thing for your body. Instead of getting the rest it needs, it spends the night digesting and creating crazy dreams with crazy plotlines. 

But I'm not here to tell you about eating before bed (or my crazy dreams). I'm here to talk about a cracker. The kind you eat with soup and dips, of course.

EZ Cheez-E Garlic Vegan Crackers | www.maplealps.com

Sometimes I get these wild ideas in the kitchen when I don't feel quite up to the task at hand - namely the dishes. This particular time, it was to see if I could make a cracker. I'm a tad tired of bread and spread (but not really). I like crunchy foods, and what is crunchier than a wafer of flour and olive oil? Really. 

But of course, me being me, I couldn't just make a plain cracker. Oh, no. I had to make an Italian cracker. I happened upon some flavoured olive oil in my cupboard and decided to use that to infuse some Italian deliciousness into my little snacks. It worked perfectly. Of course, if you do not have herb-infused oil, feel free to add the herbs directly to your dough! 

The yeast flakes were to add a little "cheesy" flavour and colour. I love nutritional yeast flakes and add them to pretty much everything I eat, so it was a natural choice, really. 

EZ Cheez-E Garlic Crackers | www.maplealps.com

I wonder who invented crackers. Was it a mistake? Was it some attempt to make bread last longer? I'm going to have to look that up some time. 

I am not sure why it took me so long to attempt making a cracker. After finding out how easy they are to whip up, I can't wait to experiement with more flavours and ingredients! 

I'm going to break these over some lentil soup! These would be great with a tomato and roasted almond dip too!

 

Related: Vegan Corn Chowder

EZ Cheez-E Garlic Crackers | www.maplealps.com

EZ Cheez-E Garlic Crackers (vegan)

what you need:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

  • 2 teaspoon ground flax seed

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 TBSP nutritional yeast flakes

  • 1/4 cup olive oil* (I used an infused one)

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 3 cloves garlic**

what to do:

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. 

2) Pour olive oil in slowly, mixing it together. Some clumps will be created, but don't worry about it - it will help make a flakier cracker.

3) If you are adding garlic and herbs, mix in now

4) Slowly add water, mixing well. The dough will be rough, but that is okay. Do not overwork it. Add a tablespoon or two if the dough is still dry.

5) Divide the dough into half and form them into a ball. 

6) Press the dough into a rectangle shape and place it in-between two pieces of parchment paper.

7) Roll the dough until about a quarter of an inch thick and the size of about half a baking sheet.

8) Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle garlic on top if so desired. You can cut the dough now, or wait until after cooling to break it apart as you desire.

9) Bake for 20-25 minutes, until edges are brown. Break apart once cooled if you chose not to cut them.
 

Notes:
* I used Italian-flavoured olive oil. If you would like that flavour, just add 1 teaspoon or so of Italian seasoning.
** You can mix the garlic into the dough, or brush the tops of the crackers before baking and sprinkle it on top.
 

 
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EZ Cheez-E Garlic Crackers (vegan) | www.maplealps.com