Heartwood by the Sea, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

I’m enjoying a holiday in Nova Scotia. I’m travelling to a few different places in the province and have already found quite a few nice gluten free and vegan foods and meals. One of my favourite meals was lunch at Heartwood by the Sea in downtown Halifax.

There are two Heartwood restaurants in Halifax which serve a selection of vegan and vegetarian foods including a number of gluten free options. I’m going to check out the restaurants on Quinpool road and Göttingen whilst I am here but today I enjoyed lunch at the pop up on the waterfront.

The menu is fairly extensive and includes vegan bowls as well as baked goods like cookies and energy bars.

I discovered veganism after diagnosis I was lactose intolerant. I found it easy to embrace as a vegetarian and having a coeliac disease too but sometimes it can feel frustrating looking for places I can eat safely.

I explained my dietary requirements including my nut allergy and was recommended to try the rainbow bowl. The rainbow bowl has brown rice, steamed green vegetables, roasted sweet potato and beetroots and tofu. All served up with a choice of sauce. As I’m allergic to nuts I went for the spicy tomato sauce. The food was delicious and suited my allergies and requirements perfectly.

Also impressive was the commitment to environmental responsibility. With biodegradable straws, bowls and cutlery as well as organic ingredients Heartwood by the Sea definitely won me over. And the little birds enjoyed the leftover rice too.

Tamari Tofu and Aubergine

Tofu is such a perfect food. Loved by vegans it brings protein and nutrients as well as a tasty staple and focus of a meal.

This meal is so easy cook. Start by marinating sliced aubergine and tofu in tamari sauce. I’m using the Kikkoman gluten free tamari.

Then heat a large griddle pan. To reduce fat I use Fry Light Coconut spray rather than a full oil. Cook chopped tofu and aubergine on the hot griddle turning half way through. It will only take a few minutes to cook the tofu and aubergine.

Just before cooking is completed add chopped spring onions to fry lightly.

Serve with steamed mange tout for a tasty vegan treat.

Tofu and Tamari Greens

Tamari is a great flavour for coeliacs, unlike soya sauce which contains wheat there is no gluten and Tamari will make food taste excellent without the illness.

With protein from the tofu this dish is also excellent for vegan coeliacs like myself.

Start by cubing the tofu and adding to a heated wok. I’m using sesame oil to cook as although I’m allergic to nuts I can (and do) enjoy sesame.

Cook the tofu evenly until starting to go lightly golden. Then add garlic and coriander. Continue to cook for a few minutes stirring frequently.

Add prepared vegetables. I’m adding tenderstem broccoli, Pak choi, spring greens, mange tout and red onion.

Continue to stir fry for 10 minutes then add a few splashes of Tamari. I use the Clearspring Tamari as it is organic as well as veggie and gluten free.

I love this tofu packed stir fry and hope you will too.

Steamed Vegetable Quinoa

Healthy January is here. I’m loving seeing so many fresh vegetables when I’m shopping. This is a really tasty combination of vegetables and quinoa with a simple lemon twist. Perfect lunch. 

Start by cooking quinoa. Ensure there is plenty of water in the pan, bring to the boil, add the quinoa and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Quinoa is a great staple for me as a coeliac vegan. Quinoa contains high volumes of protein is a complete protein containing many more amino structures and amino acids. It’s also one of few grains free from gluten. 

Whilst the quinoa is cooking it’s a great time to prep and steam the veg. Chop courgette into slices and then halves, chop broccoli into florets and prepare broad beans. I’ve bought prepared and podded broad beans so all I need to do is steam. Steam the vegetables. I like them all denote with a little crunch and I’m sure you will too. 

When the quinoa is cooked and the vegetables are steamed stir through so they are evenly mixed. Add a small drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some black pepper. 

This dish is lovely warm but also makes a delicious lunch cold as a packed lunch. I hope you love it as much as I do and the bright, fresh flavour helps you chase away the January blues! 

10 Minute Vegan Dinnertime

Having invested in a spiraliser this week it seems likely that I will be eating (and you will be reading about) plenty of curly fruit and vegetables over the next few weeks.

Post 33 Photo

It has already had a big impact and meant I can cook an amazing, coeliac friendly, vegan dinner in 10 minutes flat – heaven for mid week meals. I’ve started off simple with courgette spaghetti and popped together a quick chilli, tomato and avocado dressing.

Start by spiralising 2 medium courgettes, courgette are a really healthy green food, they are high in vitamin C and antioxidants but really low in calories and fat. I always find they have a mellow and almost creamy taste which is why I’ve chosen them as my gluten free spaghetti replacement. I found that chopping the courgettes in half made it easier to spiralise but the whole process took a couple of minutes even though it was my first time.

Steaming vegetables is a much healthier way to cook vegetables and maintain their nutritional value. I have a great microwave steamer and popped the courgette straight in and on for 4 minutes on 800 watts. Some steamers and some vegetables require water to cook but courgette has such a high water content there is no need to use any additional water.

Whilst the courgette spaghetti steams I whipped up a really quick and rustic tomato suace which takes about 5 minutes to cook. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a small pan on a high heat and a handful of chopped cherry tomatoes, a small amount of chopped chilli and a clove of chopped garlic. I also used a tiny bit of ground rock salt and black pepper to add some more flavour, keep cooking on a high heat. At the same time as that cooks I whizz into action chopping an avocado.

Once the courgette spaghetti and the sauce has cooked serve straight away with the tomato sauce and avocado; a really delicious spirally vegetable dish – certainly the first of many!