Filming a YouTube video about Inner Awakening in Thailand

Filming a YouTube video about Inner Awakening in Thailand

Monday, April 21, 2014

You're Invited to my Sattvic VEGAN Easter Dinner!

This is my first EVER "food blog." I've been a strict vegetarian from childhood, and a vegan from my early teen years on, but for me, the choice to "go veg" was always based on the well-being of animals, not the diet angle. Only in recent years, since I've discovered yoga, ayurveda, and the Vedic lifestyle, I've come to appreciate the myriad health benefits that come along with my ideal animal-friendly diet. In fact, it's not just a diet for me, but my passion! I'm passionate about the elevation veganism gives to health, the environmental benefits from the reduction on world resources, and especially, the right animals have to live their lives. If you're vegan, I'm sure you know exactly what I mean...

But what to do during holidays, when the celebration goes against the vegan way of life?

Easter represents the rise of Good over Evil; the triumph of Life over Death; the greatness of Compassion in a world full of suffering.

And yet, somehow, the way people celebrate Easter completely contradicts the joy and love spiritual celebrations are meant to engender for us. The "Chocolate Bunnies" now synonymous with the season are made with milk cruelly taken from cows who are raised in brutal captivity, whose calves are ripped away from them prematurely and killed for veal, and whose own bodies are turned into burger as soon as the milk stops flowing. The eggs people colour with their children are no less tainted than the milk in their chocolate counter-parts; the egg industry employs some of the most brutal practices known to modern farming, including battery cages, "debeaking" and the careless disposal of live baby chicks. Besides these sad "ingredients," Easter Sunday Dinner is often ham, (dead abused pig meat,) turkey, (dead abused turkey meat,) or the meat of some other horrendously killed animal.

As a vegan, it can be difficult to enjoy holidays because wherever we look, we are reminded of the pain and suffering experienced by our animal friends. Just seeing how many people teach their children to celebrate by eating sweets made of suffering is very sad; smelling the dead flesh of a once-living creature is sad; pretending not be offended at a social gathering where you might have to "pass a plate" feels like living a lie.

Of course, I don't want to depress you, my dear reader- I don't want to make you feel bad about this, or any, holiday, nor to "guilt" you if you haven't gone veg yet.

Instead, I want to offer you a solution:

Next time your family is getting ready for a holiday, offer to host the dinner! Not only will this make the feast guilt-free and enjoyable for you, but also, it will be a very special gift of nutritious and delicious veggie fare for those you love.

On that note, I'll get to the good stuff: our Menu and my Recipes!

                                                                  On the Menu:

-Jasmine Green Tea

-Spinach Salad with Super Green Goddess Dressing 

-Baked Ginger Tofu Strips 

-Super Rice

-Mixed Vegetable Curry

-Heart's Choices "Kung Pao vegan faux Chicken" 

-Coconut Lemon Bar

                                                                  Jasmine Green Tea

Boil (pure, fluoride free!) water, and pour over jasmine green tea. Let steep three to five minutes, and serve hot.

                                            Spinach Salad with Super Green Goddess Dressing

The Salad:

-Organic Baby Spinach Leaves
-Sunflower Seeds
-Balsamic Reduction (also called "Creme Basilica," thickened vinegar)

The Dressing:

-1 Avocado
-1 teaspoon Spirulina powder
-2 tablespoons fresh dill, or 1 tablespoon dried dill
-1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink crystal salt
-juice of 1 lemon (or 2/3 tablespoon lemon juice)
-2 tablespoons tahini
-dash extra virgin olive oil

(Green Goddess dressing was first invented in a high end hotel resort, but the original is neither healthy nor compassionate; it's full of mayonnaise... My variation is "super" because it includes the superfood Spirulina with other wonderfully flavourful raw vegan ingredients... delicious and healthy!)

This salad is extremely easy: just put the spinach in a bowl, and serve the balsamic reduction, seeds and olives on the side so your guests can customize their greens. Spinach is a superfood in it's own right, and makes a substantial salad, but of course, you can add any fresh vegetable you like to make it even tastier- sliced red pepper, cucumber, grated carrot, beet root, broccoli, whatever!

The dressing is also extremely easy! In a small mixing bowl, mash the avocado with a fork. Once it's really creamy, whisk in the tahini and olive oil, then add all the dry ingredients, stirring to prevent any clumps. As it is, the dressing is very thick, and makes a great sandwich spread, or dip for veggie sticks. 

If you prefer a runnier dressing, you can make this into a green-goddessey-vinaigrette. Instead of mashing the ingredients with a fork, mix them in a blender or food processor, along with about 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. For a lower far version, use just a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and 2 tablespoons (unsweetened!) non-dairy milk, like soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk, etc.

                                                          Baked Ginger Tofu Strips

These are always a crowd-pleaser! You can throw them into a stir-fry, add them to a sandwich or wrap, or munch on them just the way they are.

-1 package extra firm, organic, non-GMO tofu
-soy sauce
-minced ginger
-coconut oil

(The night before...) Slice tofu into strips; they should be thicker than matchsticks but thinner than baby carrots. Spread them out on a baking sheet that has been very lightly greased with coconut oil. Drizzle soy sauce over the whole batch, then smear each piece with minced ginger. I use about 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 2 teaspoons minced ginger, but you may prefer more or less depending on how salty and spicy you like your food.

(The day of...) Bake at 350 degrees for about thirty minutes, then broil the tops for one minute, until crispy.

                                                                 Super Rice

Easy to make, this protein-rich grain medley is a perfect side dish for any curry, vegetable stew, stir-fry or sauce.

-1 cup brown rice
-1/2 cup quinoa
-1/2 cup chia seeds
-dash Himalayan pink crystal salt
-1 teaspoon extra virgin coconut oil

This recipe is adaptable, and can be made with various ratios of the three grains. How you prepare it depends on the particular kind of rice you buy. Some rice requires more water, some less, so I've left the water measurement ambiguous. 

First, read your rice and quinoa packages to find out how much water to use, then, add the water for both into one pot, and bring to a boil. Add salt, coconut oil, rice and quinoa, reduce the heat to Low, and cover. In a small bowl, soak the chia seeds in 2 tablespoons water. Once the rice and quinoa are fully cooked and all water is absorbed, remove from heat. Strain the the chia seeds if they haven't absorbed all their water, then stir into the rice mix. 

Variation: for a rich, flavourful treat, substitute coconut water instead of water, and add a half cup shredded, dry, unsweetened coconut instead of chia seeds. No need to soak the coconut or add more water, just stir it in when rice is fully cooked and it will soften by itself.

                                                         Mixed Vegetable Curry

-10-15 miniature red potatoes, cut into fourths
-1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
-1 large zuccini, cut into rounds, then cut the rounds each in half
-2 medium tomatoes, chopped, or two handfuls cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
-2 large carrots, cut into rounds
-2/3 tablespoon turmeric
-curry paste (measure to your liking and pick one you enjoy; my favourite for flavour is "Madras Curry" but it contains some garlic and onions, which the Sattvic diet recommends only to take medicinally, and for a batch of this size, I usually use 3-4 heaping tablespoons! Spicy! If you don't have access to curry paste, substitute curry spice mix powder, adding one tablespoon at a time, and tasting before adding more.)
-two cups (or 1 can) coconut milk (make sure to buy organic, and if, like me, you live somewhere that only sells this good stuff in a can, check the label to make sure it's "BPA Free")
-fresh herbs
-1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink crystal salt
-two cups chickpeas (garbonzo beans/ channa) pre-cooked

Boil the potatoes until "almost cooked," then strain. In a large pot, add the coconut milk, turmeric and curry, stirring until fully blended. Add the cauliflower, carrots and mostly-cooked potatoes, stir, cover, and let sit on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender but not soft; about fifteen minutes. Reduce the heat to low, and add the chickpeas, as well as the herbs, (basil, parsley, dill, and cilantro are all lovely in a curry; experiment and see what you enjoy,) salt and any other spices you're tempted to throw in. Let sit on low hear stirring occasionally, for at least one hour. This will soften the vegetables, and allow the flavours to really blend and absorb. Enjoy!

                                       Heart's Choices Kung Pow VEGAN faux-Chicken

This is the only thing on my dinner menu that can't really be called "health food," since it's pre-packaged, not particularly high in protein or vitamins... but as a rare treat, and on a special occasion, it sure is tasty! Heart's Choices is a Calgary based company that specializes in Thai vegetarian and vegan food. They import these Kung Pao treats, which are made by strict vegetarian Buddhist monks in Thailand! If you're in Calgary, check them out at the Farmer's Market.

Literally, just open the package, and heat in a frying pan on medium until fully hot.

                                                       Coconut Lemon Bars

After having something similar to these at an amazing little vegan restaurant earlier this year, I decided to challenge myself to re-create the treats at home. These are easy to make, sugar free, and delicious! My new favourite raw vegan dessert! Enjoy!


-6-8 soft, pitted Medjool dates
-handful raw pecans
-small handful cashews
-large handful raw rolled oats
-small handful shredded dry coconut
-zest from one lemon (make sure to buy organic, and wash before zesting)


-1 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
-3 tablespoons coconut cream
-3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrop
-juice from three lemons (or 3 tablespoons lemon juice)


-dollop coconut cream (sweetened by stirring in maple syrup or agave nectar)
-sprinkle of shredded coconut and lemon zest

In a food processor, blend together all the "base" ingredients until the nuts are crushed, oats are blended and the mixture holds together like a thick cookie dough. If too dry, add another date, or a few drops of water. If (like me!) you don't have a food processor, with a little patience and hard work (much scraping down and restarting) you can make this base in a bowl with a hand-mixer.

In a double boiler, (or a tempered glass bowl nestled over a pot of boiled water) melt the coconut oil until fully liquified. Once liquified, add the coconut cream, maple syrup and lemon juice, and stir until well mixed.

Spread the base layer evenly in a small cake pan, lightly greased with coconut oil. Make sure to cover the entire bottom of the pan, then pour the filling over top. Leave it in the fridge overnight (or at least for a few hours) so the top layer solidifies. When you're ready to serve, flip the pan over into your hand, and be ready to flip it over again onto a cutting board. It's slick, so it slips right out of the pan very easily! Cut into squares, (not too big, as it's very rich!) plate, garnish and serve. These are really tasty!



You'll notice these recipes don't give precise measurements, cooking times or too-picky directions. That's because I cook more intuitively than methodically. Please feel free to customize, and make these dishes your own!

The meal includes all different flavours, colours and textures, making for a complete culinary experience, as outlined in the recommendations of a Sattvic Diet. The curry is spicy, the rice is mild, the salad dressing is pleasantly bitter, the olives are salty, the balsamic vinegar is tangy, and the lemon bars are sweet and sour. When we eat foods of all different flavours and textures, we stimulate every part of our palate, and this creates balance in life. Many of the ingredients used are labelled as "Super Foods" by modern nutritionists, including coconut oil, which is the perfect cooking oil as it's nutritional benefits don't diminish when it's heated; spinach, which is rich in calcium and vitamins; Spirulina, which is a powerhouse of vegan nutrition, rich in calcium, iron, protein, and vitamins... even B 12!; chia seeds and quinoa, which are both higher in protein than other more conventional grain options, and more. Since more than half the foods are raw (the salad, including the avocado dressing and sunflower seeds, as well as all the ingredients in the dessert,) the nutrients are easily digestible, and fully usable by the body.

 If you're thinking of going vegan, or if you're already vegan but looking to revamp your diet to make it more healthy, the rule of thumb is this: make sure each meal includes a protein, (here, the garbanzo beans, tofu and "Super Rice" are all great sources of protein,) vegetable and grain, and throughout the day, fill up on fresh fruits and veggies instead of packaged goods like crackers and pre-cooked packaged dinners. 

Compassionate food is nourishing for your body, mind and spirit; so try this out, share it, and enjoy!

So, here's how it all came together:

                                                                          The salad:

The Super Green Goddess Dressing:

The curry:
(Pardon the blur- it's an action shot, lol.)

The Kung Pao:

A finished Plate:
                                            (Note: you can see the super rice on the right!)

And... best for last... the dessert!

(And this one above, specially made for my diabetic auntie- with more oats and fewer dates in the base, liquid stevia instead of maple syrup in the topping, and all measured for proper diabetes-friendly portion control!)

If you try these yourself (which I recommend you do!) let me know how the recipes have worked for you in the comments! And, if you have a go-to vegan recipe you'd like to share, please do!


  1. Thank You so much <3 I will let you know how my dishes turn out that I try.

  2. The coconut lemon bars were splendid! I made them for my mom on Mother's Day and she loved them. She has taken a spiritual oath to forgo chocolate, cake, cookies, etc. so this was the perfect treat :)
    PS There's a yoga/meditation festival coming to your area. I didn't see you in the lineup...
    The light you give off could really open some ey3s

  3. Hey... My name is kanika from Delhi and from long time I also want to open my third eye. I really want to join the ashram. Please help me out.