Category: Vegan

Winter Rainbow Panzanella

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Dear colour. I miss you. Please come back soon.
Your pal,
Sarah B

I’ve joked before about the oh-so dark, single-toned, and super grey city Copenhagen becomes in the winter. After months upon months of this, I feel as if my eyes have turned into little slits, and only capable of seeing in black and white. Needing some kind of sign that I wasn’t turning into a subterranean mammal, I cycled down to the central market of Copenhagen last week to find some inspiration in the form of light and colour. I was pretty shocked when I arrived to see a plethora of vibrant veggies, all lined up and waiting for me take them home. I guess I’d gotten into such a routine with my shopping that I had failed to remember that winter does in fact offer a lot of brightly hued food, and that I am, undoubtedly, a human.

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Excited and hungry, I hurried home with a whack-load of produce and a plan brewing in my brain. Oh the colours! Oh the possibilities! Oh what a nerd I am! With some stale sourdough rye sitting on the counter and a knob of ginger in the fridge, a hearty, satisfying salad began to take shape in my mind, a rainbow swathe of vegetables stretched out before me like a beacon in a stubborn steel grey sky.

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Super Cool Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi is a mysterious and intimidating vegetable, don’t you agree? I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this prehistoric looking creature, as many of you out there seem to be quite scared of even taking it home!

Well fear not. Kohlrabi is not going to take off a finger or worse if you approach it with a knife. It is a rather gentle and yielding brassica, a cross between a cabbage and a turnip that can be enjoyed cooked or raw. Its pleasantly crisp texture is perfect julienned in salads, but it’s also a tender treat roasted in the oven in slices or batons. The flavour is somewhere near to broccoli but a tad milder and sweeter. I really like it in soups as well, blended up with white beans or chickpeas. The leaves are also edible and very delicious in salad or stir-fried with garlic like collards or Swiss chard.

Key nutrients in kohlrabi include vitamin C, for fighting infection, vitamin E for preventing arterial plaque build-up, and a range of B-vitamins for combating stress. The potassium in kohlrabi helps the body maintain proper fluid balance, while the calcium manages the acid/alkaline balance of our blood. Other minerals in kohlrabi include iron, magnesium and zinc.

When buying kohlrabi, look for bulbs that are firm, smooth and free of holes or cracks. Typically this part of the vegetable is pale green, but you can also find purple varieties like the one pictured above. The younger ones can be eaten with the skin on, but as their season (late fall to early spring) stretches, you’ll find peeling the more mature bulbs is a tastier choice. The leaves should be taut and unblemished. To prolong the kohlrabi’s shelf life, remove the leaves and wrap them in a damp towel, place them in a plastic bag in the fridge for up four days. The root bulb can be stored separately in the crisper as well, and will keep well for couple weeks.

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To the panzanella! Traditionally, this is a salad made with stale white bread and tomatoes, a popular dish in Tuscany. My version is a far, Nordic cry from the classic, but it’s a meal in itself and a very satisfying one at that, since there is just so. much. going. on.

The key to building this dish, or any dish for that matter is layers and balance; flavours, textures and of course, colours. Taking into consideration that the base of this dish would be hearty winter greens I knew that I needed something creamy and yielding, like roast veggies, and something dense and crusty, like the Garlic Sourdough Rye Bread Croutons to contrast and compliment. From a flavour perspective, especially in salads, balancing tastes is very important for success. Because the roast vegetables are so sweet, it’s important to have an acidic hit to add brightness. I made some very tasty Ginger-Pickled Carrots in advance, but capers would also be a nice touch if you are pressed for time. The point is to step back and look at your dish as a whole, then adjust all the levels of salt, sugar, and acid as needed tipping the scales until everything is just right.

And just a special note about these croutons, because they are so darn delish. I first came up with these in the good ol’ days when I was cooking at a very small café here in Copenhagen, inventing new dishes every day and being creative with what I had available. The odd time we had any leftover rye bread, I would make these garlic croutons, few of which actually made it onto any finished dishes because I would typically eat them all up before service with my kitchen mates. They are addictive. The kind of thing you wouldn’t necessarily think of as a terrific little snack, but wow, are they ever hard to stop eating! There is a high amount of garlic-to-bread ratio, but because Danish rye is so rich and flavourful, you’ll need that amount of garlic to be heard. If you’re using a lighter bread, a spelt loaf for instance, you can scale back just a touch unless you really love your garlic and/or not planning on making out with anyone for a couple days.

This dish may seem component-heavy, but most of these elements can be made in advance so the whole thing comes together when you’re ready. The only thing you need to do before serving in fact, is massaging the kale and kohlrabi leaves.

Now excuse me as I dive face first into this bowl of rainbow ecstasy! Okay, good-byyyyyyeeee!

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Hey guys! I have some very exciting news…I’m going on tour with my cookbook! Although we are still working out some of the hard details, I wanted to let you know when and where I’ll be so you can make a note of it. It would be so rad to meet you, and I hope that you can come out and celebrate! I will update this page and post the events on my Events page and Facebook as they are finalized. Looking forward to it, more than you know!

My New Roots - Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every SeasonTORONTO
April 9 – 14

VANCOUVER
April 15 – 17

LOS ANGELES
April 18 – 20

NEW YORK
April 22 + 23

I hope that everyone who has pre-ordered the book is enjoying the Bonus Pack of recipes! Thanks for all of your very positive feedback so far. There is still time to get yours if you’re interested…click here!

Deluxe Butternut Macaroni ‘n’ Tease

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I’m over winter, but winter definitely isn’t over. Although I really can’t complain about the balmy temps here in Denmark, it’s dark and damp and I would probably pay a lot of money to see the sun right about now. And my heart does go out to all my family and friends freezing their tooshies off stateside. Yikes! I’m here to help. Or at least, this recipe is here to help.

Like most kids, I ate a lot of macaroni and cheese growing up, the kind that came in a blue box with the magical, neon orange flavour powder. Sometimes my mom would toss in a few slices of bell peppers and cocktail wieners and my brother and I felt like kings. Kings! Those were the days. In fear of falling short of that level of awesomeness, I haven’t actually attempted to make mac ‘n’ cheese on my own past the days of high school. Until recently this winter, a gnawing hunger for warmth, comfort and nostalgia took hold and just wouldn’t let go. If you’re anything like me (a human) you’ll love tucking into this tasty meal every week until spring hits.

So, what makes this mac ‘n’ tease a tease? It’s vegan! Not one speck of cheese or milk or butter or cream in sight. Nope. Instead the delectable sauce is a winning combination of roasted butternut squash and garlic, creamy butter beans, and cheesy nutritional yeast. Although not exactly like the cheese sauce of yore, it is still completely smooth and creamy, rich, unctuous, and deeply satisfying when combined with fat noodles and the most amazing non-breadcrumb-topping made out of sunflower seeds. That’s right.

Deluxe Butternut Mac 'n' Cheese // My New Roots

Nutritional Yeast: A Cheesy Tease
Although the name is slightly unappealing, nutritional yeast is a delicious and versatile seasoning to have in your pantry. Made from a single-celled organism called, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, the yeast is grown on cane or beet molasses, fermented, then deactivated with heat to stop the growing process. The yeast is sold both as flakes and powder (use half the amount of powder if a recipe calls for flakes). The natural colour of nutritional yeast is vibrantly golden. The flavour is often described as cheesy, which makes it a perfect substitute for dairy products in dressing and sauces. I sprinkle nutritional yeast on popcorn, salads, sandwiches, soups, blend a little into hummus and other savory dips. Because of its high nutritional content, many people treat nutritional yeast as a food supplement.

First and foremost, nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B-vitamins, and in many cases B-12 (though not all brands, read the label to make sure). Our bodies need B-vitamins to convert food into energy, keep stress at bay, alleviate insomnia, nervousness, fatigue, PMS, and mood swings (so, kind of important). Nutritional yeast also contains high amounts of protein with 4 grams per tablespoon, and contains 18 amino acids. It is a good source of dietary fiber, folic acid, selenium, and zinc. It is gluten-free and vegan.

In North America nutritional yeast is available at natural grocers and bulk food stores. In the UK, it is sold under the brand name Engevita; in Australia, it is called savory yeast flakes; in Scandinavia it is sold as yeast flakes or B-yeast / B-gær (due to the high B-vitamin content). Among cool kids, nutritional yeast is referred to simply as nooch. Drop that bomb at your next vegan potluck for major street cred. It should also be noted that nutritional yeast is not the same as brewer’s yeast, dry active yeast or baking yeast. Do not use these as a substitute for nutritional yeast in any recipe. It will be gross.

If you suffer from Candida or suspect that you have yeast issues, not to worry. Nutritional yeast is totally safe and will not infect you or exacerbate yeast conditions. It should be avoided however by those that are allergic to yeast and yeast products, like bread products, grapes and beer.

Deluxe Butternut Mac 'n' Cheese // My New Roots

The shape of pasta you use for this really matters. I chose a large, deeply ridged, tubular pasta that said “macaroni” on the package, but it’s much closer to rigatoni if you ask me. Rigatoni, penne, classic macaroni, ziti, or even conchiglie (shells) would work here, as the ultimate goal is to get as much sauce in and around each noodle as humanly possible. In fact, I guarantee when you make the sauce you’ll be questioning my recipe amounts – there is a lot of it, people. But once you pour it over the cooked pasta and start stirring, it magically disappears into the nooks and crannies only reappear later in your mouth, like a rich and savoury flavour explosion from heaven. Tubes work best for obvious reasons, but I’ll let you decide how you want your sauce delivered. And I hope that it goes without saying that you should make an effort to find the most high-vibe pasta you can. There are so many on the market these days, even at regular grocery stores, so no excuses! No white pasta!

Deluxe Butternut Mac 'n' Cheese // My New Roots

And yes, there is topping. In keeping with the gluten-free theme I went with a Sunflower Crumble Topping that I am quite chuffed about. It’s savoury, crunchy, and totally takes this meal to the next level – better than breadcrumbs I tell ya! And it’s delicious not only on mac ‘n’ cheese, but garnishing avocado toast, grain salads, and roast veggies. You may have a little extra of the topping, but my casserole dish is relatively deep and narrow compared to most, and I wanted to make sure you had plenty to cover the top of yours. If you want to save time and skip steps, the pasta and sauce alone is super delish all on its own. But. The topping.

After cooking up this meal, I looked around the kitchen at the dish carnage and shrugged my shoulders. You know why? So worth it. Yes, you will use pretty much every cooking element and piece of equipment you own, but make it a Sunday project, invite some buds over and have them clean up. You did cook them a totally awesome meal after all, it’s the least they can do. 

Deluxe Butternut Mac 'n' Cheese // My New Roots

Seriously Super Cereal

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Seriously Super Cereal // My New Roots

If you were to nominate one meal a day for a facelift, would it be breakfast? I thought so. Breakfast can be a challenge for many people, including myself. I get into super groovin’ streaks with morning meals for weeks on end at times, feeling like I’m sooo on top of everything in my life. Then something happens, breakfast becomes less of a priority and I end up making the same smoothie or sourdough smeared with almond butter over and over again. Okay, now that I am writing this down, it really doesn’t sound all that dreadful, but for me, starting the day in not only a conscious, but enthusiastic way sets me up for the rest of my waking hours. It fuels me in ways that go beyond calories: it’s self-love, ceremony, and celebration.

Ironically, I make a very complete and healthy breakfast for my 14-month old every single day without even thinking about it. Before I go to bed at night, I soak whole grains, nuts and seeds, rinse them in the morning and cook them with fresh fruit, spices and superfoods. So, um, what about mum? Funny how it wasn’t until recently that I thought about myself and how I would like the break the fast. I guess that’s just “being a parent” sometimes, but I am now committed to making a change. It is a New Year after all.

Seriously Super Cereal // My New Roots

Serious Cereal and a Plea for Carbohydrates
When someone says that they eat “cereal” for breakfast, what do you picture? A bowl of steaming hot whole grains, or sugary flakes in milk? I tend to imagine the latter, and I suppose it’s because that was my breakfast growing up. We had a few kinds of packaged cereal, and not total junk food, but I do recall the odd time we could convince my mom to buy some rainbow-hued concoction in a moment of weakness. I get it: boxed cereal is mindlessly easy, requires no cooking, soaking, stirring or waiting.

But this. This is serious cereal. Real cereal. The kind that stands behind its name, and not the kind that has led us so far astray from what cereal actually is that we’ve mostly forgotten it’s meaning. It’s unprocessed, unrefined, completely whole and natural, and the real way we are meant to eat grains.

And while we’re on the subject, I would like to make a case for carbs. When yet another friend of mine felt the need to accuse all carbohydrates of being evil, I wonder how we’ve become prejudice against macronutrients?! It’s like the diet dark ages.

Carbohydrates are not the devil. Many modern eating plans out there vilify them for various reasons, but we need to remember that the majority of grains and grain-related products that people in developed counties consume are highly processed, refined, and stripped of nearly all their nutrients. This was originally done to prolong shelf life, but continues as we’ve developed a taste for them! It turns out we prefer sweeter food that is faster to cook and easier to chew (go figure). From a biological standpoint, this makes perfect sense, so it’s rather difficult trying to convince people to spend more money on food that spoils faster, takes longer to cook and eat! Argh. I can only promise you it is worth it. And once you start replacing refined grains with whole grains you will feel why. Eating them in balance with both fats and proteins is a much healthier and quite simply, a more sustainable way of living.

My point here is this: let’s stop looking at food in its respective parts (carbs, fats, proteins), and get back to the whole picture, the whole food. Choosing a balanced way of eating, as close to nature as possible is the most realistic plan for eating long term. Going to extremes (low-carb! no-carb! fat-free! high-protein!) is not a sustainable way of eating or living. What I propose instead is a sensible, flexible dietary strategy that we can incorporate successfully, and joyfully, over a lifetime.

McKel Hill wrote a couple stellar articles about carbohydrates over on her site, Nutrition Stripped. Check them out – very clear and thorough reads for those of you who want to know more!

Seriously Super Cereal // My New RootsI made this cereal blend with a few things in mind. For one, I wanted the mix to be gluten-free so that we can all enjoy it. I wanted something that could keep outside of the fridge, as rolled grains spoil relatively quickly if left at room temperature (how long have those quick oats been sittin’ in your cupboard, ya’ll?) so I chose only whole grains that are relatively shelf stable. And of course, I also wanted the cereal to actually taste good, which it does. The texture is also very pleasing, not mushy or glue-y like some of the other porridges I’ve tried. The sunflower seeds add a wonderful tooth and the grain size differences make for a satisfying mouthfeel (yes, I just used that word).

Although I highly recommend soaking the cereal overnight, you can of course cook it from raw the morning you are eating it. In both cases however, rinse the cereal under cool running water before cooking. I use a very fine mesh sieve for this, as the chia and amaranth seeds will fall through large holes.

Seriously Super Cereal // My New Roots

Once cooked, add whatever you like to the porridge. I love a little nut milk poured over the top for creaminess, plus a drizzle of maple syrup or honey, which makes everything delish. I made up a couple seasonal bowls in hopes of inspiring you: one with pear, roasted hazelnuts, and pomegranate seeds; the other with persimmon, toasted coconut flakes and bee pollen. Warming spices like cinnamon and cardamom are tasty stirred in, as are dried fruit, like apricots, raisins, goji berries, mulberries, or figs. Basically, this breakfast is infinitely customizable for every palate and season. Find your groove and just enjoy filling yourself with nourishing goodness from morning’s first light.

Seriously Super Cereal // My New Roots

The below batch recipe is a good starting amount, and will make 18-19 portions if you go with ¼ cup / 50g servings. I find this amount is perfect for me once I add in fruit, some nuts or seeds and superfoods, but if your calories needs are higher, go for 1/3 or 1/2 cup servings. If you want to double, triple or quadruple the batch amount, feel free to do so. I just recommend making this amount first and testing it to make sure you really like it, then you can make it your go-to cereal.

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My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season

For those of you that follow me on Instagram will know that I received the first hard copy of my cookbook this week! Eek! I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all SO MUCH for the incredible love and enthusiasm. I couldn’t write this post and not tell you how much I appreciate your words. Sheesh! I am bursting with gratitude.

I have to mention again that the book is only available for preorder at this time, here. The book drops in North America March 31, UK and Australia April 9, Denmark May 21, Netherlands in June and Germany this summer. Thanks everyone!!

with a full heart,
Sarah B

Show me your Seriously Super Cereal on Instagram: #seriouslysupercereal