Meatless Monday – World Vegan Month & Coconuts

Welcome to Meatless Monday and our secret ingredient feature.


This article was an assignment I did for my Food Writing class way back in 2012. We were tasked with writing about a particular food ingredient. The one I chose evokes images of indulgence, making many a vegan dessert rich, creamy and happily devoid of dairy.

Your vegan challenge this week
Read the article and find a product produced from this ingredient that you are unfamiliar with. Use it in a recipe you have never made before. It can be a recipe specifically designed for this ingredient or one that uses this ingredient as a substitute.

“Don’t know why, there’s no sun up in the sky…”

…soupy weather.
The heat and humidity of summer have given way to the cold and damp of autumn and pre-winter weather. It is time to alter eating habits and eat for the season: cold weather and soups go together well.

Soup makes for a great meal. It often contains all macronutrients (i.e. fat, protein and carbs), is nutritious and nurturing. It’s easy-to-make, adaptable to a wide variety of tastes and a great way to keep up your hydration levels.

Soup tips

  • If using prepared soup, opt for low-sodium. Add fresh veggies to the soup when heating it through to up your veggie quotient.
  • Use scraps from cutting veggies to make your own soup stock. Add a teaspoon of miso paste or marmite for an added flavour element.
  • Invest in a hand-held blender to make puréed soups.
  • Busy life? Toss all ingredients into a crock pot in the morning and enjoy a hot soup when you arrive home from work/school.
  • A thermos is an environmental and budget friendly option that allows you to bring a comforting soup along with you wherever you go.
  • Starches such as potato, rice and cashews help to thicken a soup without the use of high-fat dairy/non-dairy cream.
  • Magic ingredients that all soups must contain for optimum flavour: onion, garlic, salt and thyme.
  • Stumped for soup ideas? Just about anything goes with soup. Be inspired by your favourite salad ingredients, signature dishes from various cultures around the globe or simply search the internet.

Most Popular Vegetarian Soup Recipes

Meatless Monday – World Vegan Month: Cashews & Calcium

Meatless Monday, the vegan diet and calcium

A number of years ago,  I bought MimicCreme (pictured below on far right) and it was like magic. I used it in place of cream in pumpkin pie and Irish Cream and it helped produce a silky smooth texture.

The main ingredients in my homemade vegan Irish cream.
The main ingredients in my homemade vegan Irish cream.

This vegan cream substitute was made with nuts (almonds and cashews) and contained no lactose, gluten or soy. Sadly, it seems the company that made it is no longer.

However, cashews still exist and it is possible to make one’s own cashew cream. Simply soak 1 cup of cashews for at least a few hours. Drain then blend in a high-speed food processor with 3/4 cup of fresh water. Mix with some coconut milk or organic soy milk and add to soups, muffins and other recipes calling for dairy cream. And speaking of dairy…

People are often shocked to hear that you can get calcium from sources other than a cow. Leafy greens such as kale and collard, tempeh, tahini (sesame seed paste), blackstrap molasses, fortified drinks (i.e. non-dairy milk and orange juice), bok choy, broccoli and navy beans contain significant amounts of calcium. Make sure to have these foods with a source of vitamin D and some magnesium for better absorption. Calcium is best taken in a synergy.

Calcium in the vegan diet

Calcium and Vitamin D

25 Vegan Sources for Calcium

Your challenge this week:
Make cashew cream and use it in a recipe calling for dairy (either milk or cream).