Archive for Vegan

Pasta a la Pomarola {Vegan}

a dish of penne pasta with tomato sauce

I have been obsessed, obsessed, I tell you, with the new series Searching for Italy with Stanley Tucci that’s been airing on CNN on Sunday nights (ps it just got renewed for Season 2!!).

First of all, Tucci is 7 different kinds of amazing, and Big Night is one of my top 10 movies of all time. But also, there’s something about this series that helps to fill the hole in my heart left by Anthony Boudain.

Also, c’mon! It’s Italy! It’s food! We can’t travel right now! It’s everything we need.

In the first episode, Tucci talked about San Marzano tomatoes. Now, of course I knew about San Marzanos. I’d likely had them on a pizza or two. But I’d never gone out of my way to buy them, nor did I realize there was a black market for them.

So after viewing that episode, I was determined to find authentic San Marzanos and cook with them. You know, for science.

For a city with such a big Italian population, you’d think they’d be easier to find, but not so much. I did finally source them at Donald’s Market, and, surprisingly, Costco. Costco was the better deal (shocker). Here’s how to know if your San Marzanos are the real deal.

Cans of tomatoes

Now it was time to cook. For inspiration, I turned to Samin Nosrat. This is a recipe adapted from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.

Pasta a la Pomarola is a super simple, pantry-staple Tuscan-inspired tomato sauce that’s perfect for these days. We can’t travel, we have to be careful and not go to the grocery store too often, and we want something comforting and soul-satisfying. This checks all those boxes.

Pasta a la Pomarola takes a while to make, but it’s not hard. It just needs a little time to make its particular brand of magic.

I added spinach to mine, though it’s not traditional.

And if you, like me, are dreaming and planning for when this pandemic is over and you can finally get to Italy, you’ll need this. And in the mean time, here are 6 recipes from the show. 

a plate of pasta

Pasta a la Pomarola


  • 1/2 cup Good quality EVOO (divided)
  • 1 large yellow or red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can San Marzano Tomatoes, placed in a bowl and squished with your hands
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil, leaves chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, packed
  • 250 g pasta (I used penne)
  • parmesan or pecorino (or the vegan equivalent), optional


  1. In a large dutch oven over medium heat, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil, just enough to cover the bottom. Heat until the oil shimmers, then add your onions. Season with salt and reduce the heat. Allow to sweat out until the onions are soft and translucent. This will take about 10 minutes. If the onions start to brown, reduce the heat some more and add a little water.
  2. Once the onions are cooked, add the garlic and cook for a few seconds, just until fragrant, then add the tomatoes. Fill the can that the tomatoes were in about halfway up with water, and swish it around well to get all the juices, then add that to the pot as well. Bring back up to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the basil, season with salt and pepper, and stir well.
  3. Allow the sauce to cook for about 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, and making sure it is just simmering, as you don’t want it to burn.
  4. Once the tomatoes are cooked and have turned a darker red, become thicker and don’t taste raw anymore, turn up the heat and stir in 1/3 cup olive oil as well as the spinach. Stir and boil until the sauce is glossy and smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Cover and set aside on the back of the stove to keep warm.
  5. In a medium saucepan, heat up to the boil a large quantity of well-salted water. When the water boils, add your pasta to it and stir well. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta but reserve the cooking water.
  6. Place the pasta back into the pot over low heat and start adding tomato sauce to it by the ladleful, adding pasta water as well. Stir and mix together until you get your desired consistency of sauce.
  7. Spoon into bowls and serve with gratings of your desired cheese.

Vegan Yeasted Waffles

Oh the transformation!

I wasn’t able to post a new recipe last week because *drum roll please* my kitchen was getting a mini makeover!

It’s very exciting.

I got new countertops and also a new faucet, two things that badly needed doing. Next up, I’m buying a few new appliances (just the small ones) and I want to replace the hardware on the cabinet doors, as well as tile a backsplash.

I love how much brighter and cleaner my kitchen looks now!


This Thursday, March 25, is International Waffle Day. Yes, I don’t know who comes up with these things, but you know what? I’m all in on waffles.

I’ve done overnight yeasted waffles before (not vegan), and I quite like them. You basically make the batter the night before and then set them in the fridge to do a slow rise overnight. In the morning, you make the waffles.

Most waffle recipes are leavened by a couple (or both) things: baking powder and/or egg whites. Whipping the egg whites (or you can use aquafaba if you’re doing a vegan version) and then folding them into the batter at the last moment creates a light, crispy waffle. Here, the dough is leavened with yeast. That means it takes more time to make because you have to wait for it rise, but the overnight version works pretty well.

This recipe comes from Chef Bryan Satterford at Beetbox. Beetbox is a local Vancouver platn-based comfort food eatery, and they serve my favourite vegan chicken. It’s just perfection.

A hand pouring maple syrup on a plate of chicken and waffles

They’re doing a special Chick-un and Waffles feature all this weekend to celebrate International Waffle Day, but the Chef kindly agreed to share with me his waffle recipe.

This is a solid waffle. It reminded me a lot of a liege waffle, the kind you buy on the street and munch in hand as you’re strolling. They certainly have that kind of strength. You need something substantial to stand up to chicken if you’re doing a chicken and waffles (even if it’s vegan). Nobody, and I say NOBODY wants a soggy waffle. The end.

So here’s the recipe to make the waffles yourself, or, if you’re feeling lazy, just head to Beetbox between March 25 and March 28 and get the chef to make you some.

a stack of waffles

Vegan Yeasted Waffles

By Beetbox Chef/Co-Owner Bryan Satterford

Yield: roughly one dozen 4-5 inch waffles


  • 8 g Dried Yeast
  • 15 g Organic cane sugar
  • 275 ml Unsweetened pea protein milk (I used oat)
  • ½ Cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 Cardamom pods
  • 60 g Water
  • 20 ml Avocado oil (I used canola)
  • 15 ml Vanilla
  • 7 g Ground flax seed
  • 450 g AP flour
  • 4 g Kosher salt
  • 5 g Baking powder
  • 225 g Refined/de-scented coconut oil (broken into ½ inch pieces and hardened in the fridge)


  1. Heat the plant-based milk in a small saucepan with the spices until just below a simmer. Turn off the heat and allow milk to cool to 40C (roughly body temperature), remove the spices from the milk and add the yeast and allow to bloom.
  2. While the milk is cooling, gather the rest of your ingredients. Mix flax seed together with water, oil, and vanilla and allow the flax to thicken. Assemble the dry ingredients together in a mixer bowl.
  3. To assemble, dissolve flax mixture to the yeasted milk then add both to the mixing bowl with the flour, salt and baking powder. Mix with a dough hook on medium until a smooth dough has formed, about 3-5 minutes. Turn the mixer down to medium low and slowly start adding in the chilled coconut oil piece by piece. This process should take a few minutes — the idea is to emulsify the chilled oil into the dough. Once all the oil is fully emulsified, you should be left with a smooth, elastic dough.
  4. Allow dough to rise on the countertop until it doubles in size. (Alternatively, dough can be made ahead and allowed to rise in the fridge overnight). Punch down the dough and separate into 12 portions (roughly 75-80 g each).
  5. With an inverted cupped hand roll each portion into balls and allow to rise again until pillowy, roughly an hour. Cook on waffle iron according to manufacturers instructions and enjoy with maple syrup and whatever other topping you wish to add!
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