Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cups

Vegan Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cups

Science states that the ultimate flavour combination of life is chocolate and peanut butter.  Today I am here to tell you otherwise.  Chocolate and hazelnut is where it’s at.  Think Nutella.  And while you’re thinking of Nutella, make my healthier vegan sugar-free version here



Back to the chocolate hazelnut cups.  Honestly, the only thing better than baking up delicious chocolatey treats is un-baking delicious chocolatey treats.  These are completely raw and take less than 20 minutes to prepare (not including the time in the freezer).  They are also naturally sweetened, using dates and maple syrup.  

They are definitely a delectable treat, so go easy. ;)  I’m just going to cut to the chase here and share the recipe!

Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cups
Yields 10
Raw, vegan chocolate hazelnut cups that are naturally sweetened and quick to prepare!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
The base
  1. 1 cup hazelnuts
  2. 1/2 cup rolled oats
  3. 5 medjool dates
  4. 2 tablespoons water
  5. 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
The topping
  1. 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  2. 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  3. 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  4. 1 tablespoon hazelnut butter
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  1. In a food processor, add all the ingredients for the base. Process until you have a crumbly, sticky texture. It should hold together when you press it between your fingers.
  2. Line a muffin tin with silicone liners. Paper liners will also work.
  3. Portion the mixture (approx. 1 tablepoon) into each muffin cup and press down with your fingers to even it out.
  4. Rinse out the food processor to make your chocolate topping. Place all ingredients for the topping into your food processor. Process until well combined and there are no clumps.
  5. Spoon chocolate sauce over each cup.
  6. Place in the freezer for 35 minutes to allow everything to firm up and for the chocolate to harden.
  7. Pop them out of the silicone liners. You can top them with some shredded coconut or chopped hazelnuts.
  1. Keep these in the freezer until you are ready to serve them.
Love and Lentils http://loveandlentils.com/
 My hubby thought they tasted like nainamo bars – I guess because of the coconut oil and chocolate combo!

 Vegan Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cups 


Vegan Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cups

My little hand model.


My little hand model having a taste.


Okay, guys – so if you make these, which you NEED to – snap a photo and share it on Instagram! Tag it #loveandlentils and I will definitely share it on my page. :) It always puts a smile on my face seeing the recipes made in your kitchen.

Thanks for reading!


But I Could Never Go Vegan! Review, Recipe & Giveaway

but i could never go vegan

What does your cookbook collection look like?  Are your shelves spilling over with books that have stained, dog-eared pages showing that they are truly loved?  Mine keeps on growing, but sometimes, there’s just that one book that you can’t wait to get your hands on and cook through!  Kristy Turner’s But I Could Never Go Vegan! was that book for me this year.  They say not to judge a book by its cover, but the manly BBQ Bacon Burger with pickled red cabbage and blue cheese is a feast for the eyes.  That’s just the beginning.  As I flipped through the book, the gorgeous photos by Chris Miller (a talented and inspiring photographer who also happens to be Kristy’s husband) gave me an inviting and comforting feel.  Kristy’s story-telling makes it feel like you are BFFs and you are welcomed right into her world!  But, most of all – the FOOD.  It’s brilliant.  

You are probably already familiar with Kristy’s popular vegan blog, Keepin’ It Kind.  It has been a source of inspiration for me as a blogger – given the tantalizing and inventive recipes and beautiful and enticing photography that is Keeepin’ It Kind.  I’ve never tried something from her blog that I didn’t enjoy, and her writing style is so inviting, humourous and fun.

But I Could Never Go Vegan! is divided into chapters with hilarious titles, such as “Tofu Doesn’t Taste Like Anything”, “Fake ‘Foods’ Freak Me Out”, and “But I Hate [Insert Vegetable Here]”.  Each chapter takes on the challenge and seriously does not disappoint.  I love Kristy’s playful view on vegan cooking: if it’s completely new to you, just dive right in.  Embrace new ingredients.  Try new techniques.  If you make a mistake, no big deal!  The book makes it even easier to navigate through, with symbols for gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, made to go, or plan ahead options.  Kristy also walks you through the basics, like how to press tofu, make cashew cheese, and cook beans and grains.  Along with the 125 recipes, the beautiful and appealing photos throughout the book will definitely have you inspired to be in your kitchen.

As soon as I received my copy, I sat with my little guy and flipped through the pages.  Actually, it was more of a fight of “let me see, let me see!!!”, but we played nice.  We shared. :)  


Besides the fact that I cooked solely from this book for about a week straight, I also knew I wanted to make at least 3 or 4 recipes from it to review it well for you guys!

I started from the chapter “Vegan Cooking is Too Hard” and made Chickpea Omelets.  I was quite new to using chickpea flour to make omelets, and it turns out to be so easy to do!  The recipe calls for kala namak (black salt) which gives a true egg-like flavour to the omelets.  They are really versatile to make, and Kristy offers variations on which veggies to use, as well as making sandwiches with them.  They were delicious served with a salad on the side and with some hot sauce (we love it hot!).

chickpea omelet but i could never go vegan

On to the chapter, “But It’s All Rabbit Food”. (LOL!)  I made the Crispy Baked Onion Rings and holy smokes!  I really had no choice but to make these.  When my five-year old spotted them in the book, he insisted on having them.  That was at 7am.  I made them for dinner to go along with the BBQ Cauliflower Salad with Zesty Ranch Dressing (to die for!).  The onion rings are: crispy, crunchy, baked-not-fried, easy to make, and totally delectable.  It was hard to share these.  I highly recommend these, and they are so kid-friendly.  Fun to get your littles to help you make these as well.  Expect a bit of a mess.

baked onion rings but i could never go vegan

 For lunch, I made Tofu “Bravas” from the chapter, “Tofu Doesn’t Taste Like Anything”.  Can I please take a moment to add that I used to think the same thing about tofu?  I didn’t like it one bit.  Over the years, I discovered amazing ways to prepare it, and now I always have at least one block in my fridge.  I am a huge tofu-lover!  Even the little guy has grown to really like it as well.  The bravas sauce from the book is incredible.  My husband couldn’t stop talking about this one.  Yes, it’s amazing over the tofu.  But, the recipe left me with quite a bit of leftover sauce which was not in any way an issue. ;) We poured this over everything.  It’s amazing over pasta noodles!

tofu bravas

 I am really excited to keep making more recipes from the book, especially from the chapter “Can’t I Be Pescatarian Instead?”.  Seriously, an entire chapter on seafood-inspired dishes.  I’m dying to try the Artichoke Crab Cakes with Sriracha Tartar Sauce!  

I’ve got great news, the folks over at The Experiment have given me permission to share a recipe from the book with you all, and also a giveaway copy of But I Could Never Go Vegan!.  The giveaway is open to all in Canada and USA.


Image by Chris Miller


BBQ Cauliflower Salad with Zesty Ranch Dressing

Serves 4 Gluten-Free | Plan-Ahead

You know those big BBQ sandwiches stuffed with onion rings? Imagine taking away the bread, dumping everything else into a bowl with some lettuce, and dousing it with ranch dressing. That’s what this salad is all about. Roasted cauliflower coated in Barbecue Sauce makes an unforgettable replacement for meat and is an instant favorite of all who try it (even cauliflower-phobes). Topped with corn, tomatoes, and Crispy Baked Onion Rings this salad is for everyone who thinks a salad can’t be hearty, satisfying, and downright mouthwatering. All that, and it’s vegan!

Prep Time: 15 minutes (not including time to prepare Onion Rings and Zesty Ranch Dressing)

Cook Time: 30 minutes

BBQ cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets

Olive oil spray

1 tablespoon liquid aminos

½ teaspoon liquid smoke

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

Salt and black pepper to taste

Juice of ½ lemon

1 cup (250 ml) Barbecue Sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch


4 cups (120 g) mixed greens or lettuce

1½ cups (210 g) corn kernels

1½ cups (240 g) diced tomatoes

1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped into chunks

Zesty Ranch Dressing (recipe below)

Crispy Baked Onion Rings (recipe below)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Spread the cauliflower florets on the sheet. Lightly spray with olive oil. Drizzle with the liquid aminos and liquid smoke and sprinkle with the cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Squeeze the lemon juice over them. Toss to fully coat each piece. Roast for 20 minutes, tossing once halfway through to ensure even cooking.
  3. Mix the Barbecue Sauce and cornstarch in a cup. After 20 minutes, remove the cauliflower from the oven, add the sauce, and toss. Bake 5 to 10 minutes more, until most of the BBQ sauce has dried.
  4. Toss together the greens, corn, tomatoes, and avocado in a bowl. Divide the salad among four bowls, top with the BBQ cauliflower, drizzle with the dressing, and top with the onion rings. Serve immediately.

Zesty Ranch Dressing

Makes 1½ cups Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Plan Ahead

What doesn’t taste good dipped into ranch dressing? What salad doesn’t benefit from that cool, rich, creamy sauce? Okay, okay, there are probably a few, but I can’t think of one. It is my belief that a ranch dressing is best when it’s thick, luscious, and full of bold flavor. This recipe fits the description to a T. Raw veggies, French fries, anything BBQish—it’s all taken up a notch when dipped into this stuff. It’s also your salad’s new BFF. 

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Down Time: 3 to 4 hours (while cashews soak)

½ cup (80 g) raw cashews, soaked in water 3 to 4 hours, water reserved

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon agave syrup

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon celery seed

¼ teaspoon dried dill

Place all ingredients in a food processor with 5 tablespoons of the reserved soaking water. Process until smooth. Chill until ready to use. It will thicken as it chills, so if you need to thin it (to drizzle on a salad, for example), you may need to stir in a couple teaspoons of water. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 7 days.

Crispy Baked Onion Rings

Serves 2 to 3 Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free

“Baked onion rings?,” you may be exclaiming. “For shame!” Now, before you go slamming this book shut, listen up. It is possible to get crisp baked onion rings with a crunchy, crumbly exterior and a soft interior. It is possible for said baked onion rings to satisfy your greasy, fast-food-style onion ring craving. It is possible for these onion rings to be just as delectable as the fried version while being healthier for you. It’s called having your onion rings and eating them, too.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 large sweet onion

1 cup (250 ml) unsweetened nondairy milk

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup (140 g) arrowroot powder or cornstarch

2 cups (80 g) panko bread crumbs (gluten-free if necessary)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

Olive oil spray

Vegan ketchup, Barbecue Sauce, or Zesty Ranch Dressing, optional

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Slice the onion into almost ½-inch (1 cm) slices. Separate into rings.
  3. In one shallow bowl, combine the non-dairy milk and lemon juice. Pour the arrowroot powder into another shallow bowl. In a third, larger shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, salt, garlic powder, and paprika. (You may have to stir a few more times during the coating process.)
  4. One at a time, place an onion ring in the milk mixture, coating it completely (see tips). Then dredge it in the arrowroot powder, coating it completely. Tap off the excess powder before dipping it quickly back into the milk. Dredge the ring through the bread crumbs, making sure to coat each one well. Place on one of the prepared baking sheets. Continue with the remaining rings.
  5. Spray the onion rings with olive oil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp and golden. Serve immediately with ketchup or other dip of choice.


  • To prevent your fingers from becoming sticky messes, use one hand for dipping in the milk and the other hand for dipping in the arrowroot powder and bread crumbs.
  • It’s very important to tap the excess arrowroot powder off the onion ring before transferring it back to the milk. Too much arrowroot will make the onion rings dry.
  • To maximize baking sheet space, place smaller onion rings inside the larger ones.

Recipe from But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It’s Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over Dinner, copyright © Kristy Turner, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. 


Canada & US Giveaway

Kristy and her publisher, The Experiment are giving away a copy But I Could Never Go Vegan!  Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good luck everyone, and thanks so much for reading!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Simple One Bowl Vegan Brownies

Vegan. One Bowl. Chocolatey. Fudgy. Ooey Gooey. Brownies!

Now that I’ve got your attention, join me in my excitement. There’s really nothing better (in my books) than super quick, easy, healthier alternatives to our loved favourites.  Take the brownie, for example.  You’ve eaten boxes and boxes of the packaged ones, right? Just me? Hope not…. ;)  Well, those were my younger years, and now that I’m older (and a bit wiser), with a little human who’s under my care, I like to create homemade versions.

Vegan One Bowl Simple Brownies

The little one was asking for a chocolatey treat, and I can’t deny that I was also craving something sweet.  So, I got in the kitchen and whipped up a bowl of dairy and refined sugar-free brownies.  They were pretty awesome, but not perfect.  Not fudgy enough.  As a blogger (and a bit of a perfectionist), I went at it again the very next night and really nailed it. Chewy edges, fudgy centers, lots of chocolate, chopped nuts, all combined to make a sweet little brownie indeed.

Vegan One Bowl Simple Brownies

Here’s how to make ‘em at home. :)

Simple One Bowl Vegan Brownies
Super fudgy vegan brownies with no refined sugars or flours.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 2 cups whole spelt flour (or whole wheat flour)
  2. 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  5. 1 1/2 cups plain almond milk (or soy milk)
  6. 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  7. 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  8. 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  9. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  10. 3/4 cup dairy free chocolate chips + 1/4 cup for topping
  11. 3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 12" glass pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all your dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add the almond milk, applesauce, maple syrup, oil and vanilla. Mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Pour into your prepared pan. Top with remaining chocolate chips and pecans.
  4. Place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked on the outside and they spring back slightly. Let cool for 10 minutes and then cut into squares. They will have a gooey center, just the way brownies should be. Enjoy!
  1. Store cooled brownies in a sealed plastic bag or container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Love and Lentils http://loveandlentils.com/
Vegan One Bowl Simple Brownies

 As always, I’d love if you would share a photo if you make these brownies in your kitchen.  Tag it #loveandlentils and I’ll be happy to share it on my Instagram page!


Thanks for reading! xx


Asparagus & Mushroom Quiche with Herbed Almond Meal Crust (GF, Vegan)

Vegan Asparagus Mushroom Quiche Gluten Free

I seriously dance around in my kitchen when I come up with healthy, delicious alternatives to much-loved less healthy counterparts.  Take this quiche for example.  Usually, we see quiche filled with tons of eggs and cream, on a buttery crust.  The sound of that wreaks havoc in my belly, but I still want and must have quiche!  Are ya with me?




This is so nutritious and packed with protein.  Besides all that good-for-you stuff, it’s darn delicious!  We’re making this quiche with tofu, along with black salt (kala namak) and turmeric for that egg flavour and appearance we’re used to with quiche.  We’re also making this on a gluten-free almond meal crust, which is savory and beautiful thanks to some lovely herbs.

Also, trust me, it’s so easy to whip up.  I only started making tofu quiche three trials ago. :)  Now I have this easy recipe for you to nail on the first shot!

Vegan Mushroom Asparagus Quiche IMG_8670 IMG_8674

Asparagus & Mushroom Quiche with Herbed Almond Meal Crust
Serves 6
A savoury, nutrition-packed vegetable tofu quiche on a delicious gluten-free crust.
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  1. 2 cups almond meal
  2. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  3. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  4. 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  7. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  8. 1 tablespoon water (or more if needed)
  1. 1 block (14 oz) extra firm tofu, drained
  2. 2 tablespoons plain almond milk (or other non-dairy milk of your choice)
  3. 1/4 teaspoon black salt (kala namak)
  4. 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  5. 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  6. 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  7. 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  8. 3 cups (8 oz) cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced
  9. 1 bunch (1 lb) asparagus, washed and trimmed
  10. 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  11. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  12. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 10-inch pie pan or glass pie dish with olive oil.
  2. Press your tofu by wrapping it in a tea towel, placing a cutting board on top of it, and then laying a few heavy books overtop.
Prepare your crust
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the almond meal, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add in the olive oil and 1 tbsp of water. The mixture should stick together when you press it. If it's too dry, add 1 more tbsp of water.
  2. Place the dough over the base of your prepared pan/dish. Press the dough evenly into the pan (from center working your way outwards).
  3. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside.
Prepare your filling
  1. Break your tofu in half and place into a food processor. Add almond milk, black salt, and turmeric. Process until smooth.
  2. Slice approximately 2 1/2 inches from the top of your asparagus, and set aside. Slice stems into 1/2 inch pieces.
  3. In a large pan over medium heat, heat 1 tsp of olive oil. Add garlic and green onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and asparagus stems along with basil, salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high heat for approx. 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the tofu until all is well combined. Spoon the filling into your crust and smooth out with the back of a spoon. Arrange the asparagus tips over top (in a wheel design, or whatever you desire). Spray lightly with olive oil.
  4. Bake quiche in preheated oven at 375°F for 35 minutes, or until the quiche has firmed up. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.
  1. Can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days and reheated in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.
Love and Lentils http://loveandlentils.com/
 As for kid-friendliness, my boy has never been a fan of quiche so he won’t go near it. Haha! But the hubby said he would eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and really, please do just that, eat it whenever your little heart desires. :)

Vegan Asparagus Mushroom Quiche Gluten Free


Vegan Asparagus Mushroom Quiche Gluten Free

If you make the quiche in your kitchen, I’d love if you would take a photo and tag it with #loveandlentils on Instagram (that’s where us cool kids have all the fun), I love to share your take on the recipes!

Thanks for reading, friends.


Mango Lentil Salad With Cilantro-Lime Dressing

One of the best things about salad is you can really try combining ingredients that you wouldn’t normally pair up, and it usually works wonderfully.  There was a time when my husband did all the cooking in our home, having a restaurant background, he just kind of fit the role.  He always came up with the best combinations of food, and I always asked, how did you think of that?  His response is, he likes these two foods, so why not pair them up?  Well, yesterday I had a perfectly ripe, juicy mango begging to be eaten, and I was really in the mood for a lentil salad.  So I cooked up some french lentils and started thinking up some awesome flavour combinations for this salad.  French lentils, also known as du Puy lentils, are really the best type of lentil to use in salads.  Green, brown, and red lentils are perfect in soups because they are soft and tend to fall apart, while du Puy lentils work better in salads than in soups and stews because they hold their shape really well when cooked properly.

Mango Lentil Salad

I find this salad very unique, with Indian flavours from the cumin and coriander, to Mexican flavours with the mango and lime.  All in all, a refreshing salad, with a great sustenance from the lentils.

Have you ever combined lentils with fruit in your salad? What did you think?

I wanted to add something funny, this morning as I was getting dressed, I actually found a french lentil in my hair.  It was a hippy moment, to say the least. :)

Also, I am submitting this recipe to Canadian Lentils Recipe Revelations Challenge!  I would love if you would head over to their Pinterest page and either like/share/pin my post to help a fellow lentil-lovin’ girl out. :)  Thanks so much!

Mango Lentil Salad

Mango Lentil Salad With Cilantro-Lime Dressing

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 1/2 cup dry du Puy lentils (about 2 cups cooked)
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves + more for garnish


  1. Put the lentils in a fine strainer and pick through them, discarding any bits of stone that may be present. Rinse under cold running water. Place in a pot and cover with 3-4 inches of water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Check lentils after 15-20 minutes, they should have slight tooth, you want them al dente. Remove from heat, drain and place under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled slightly, combine the lentils with mango and onion in a large bowl.
  2. In a small jar or bowl, combine the olive oil, coriander, cumin, lime juice and cilantro leaves. Pour over the lentils, mango, and onion. Toss to combine. Garnish with some more cilantro leaves. Serve.

Mango Lentil Salad IMG_5223-2

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