- Rice miso
- Brown rice
- Soy sauce
- Herbs & spices
- Sesame oil
Addressing some common myths can help us choose our foods
Let’s talk about soy! In this blog we will discuss some of the common myths about soy, the reasons why we love soy, and how you can eat it. We want to help you decide if soy is right for you! We believe it is very important to be transparent about the ingredients we use and why we use them, because we are here to provide nutritious and delicious vegan food to the community every day!
We use soy in some of our dishes at Green Cuisine, in the form of tofu, tempeh, soy milk, miso, or soy sauce. If you are soy-free, however, we do have lots of options for you too. We have learned a lot about soy and are excited to talk about it and share its delicious and nutritious benefits with you.
So why do we love soy?
Soy foods have a number of health benefits that are backed by credible scientific studies. Plus, it is delicious, versatile, and cruelty-free! It has been eaten for many years all over the world, and is a traditional food for many cultures.
Soy is a complete protein.
Soy is a plant protein that contains all of the essential amino acids, also known as a “complete protein.” It is cholesterol free, high in protein, and not any significant source of carbohydrate or fat so it can be a great addition to many different meals, or eaten as a snack on its own depending on your needs.
Is soy safe?
Yes, soy for human consumption is totally safe (and health-promoting) as long as it is organic and non-gmo. Almost all tofu and soy products on the market are organic and non-GMO. However, most soy grown for animal feed is heavily sprayed as well as genetically modified, so you are indirectly consuming unsafe soy if you are eating animal products such as meats and dairy. All soy foods at Green Cuisine are organic and non-GMO, and we even make our own Tofu and Tempeh ourselves.
Phytoestrogens & Estrogen Myth
Fortunately, soy is totally safe (and beneficial!) for people concerned about estrogen related disease. Because the estrogen in soy is a plant estrogen, called phytoestrogen, it does not cause estrogen production in males or females. It is a myth commonly perpetuated by meat and dairy industries, but fortunately, unbiased science has found that we do not have to have these concerns. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, and research has actually shown that the phytoestrogen can block excess estrogen production in breast cancer cells.
Who should avoid soy?
If you are allergic to soy, then it makes sense to avoid it. “A national survey found that only about 1 in 2,000 people report a soy allergy. That’s 40 times less than the most common allergen—dairy milk—and about ten times less than all the other common allergens—like fish, eggs, shellfish, nuts, wheat, or peanuts.” So, while soy allergies are uncommon, it is important to avoid it if you are allergic, because like with any allergen, small amounts ingested can still cause troubles depending on the severity. It is more common for children to have soy allergies than adults, with the majority of these allergies being outgrown as they age.
Some soy foods are fermented (miso, tempeh) and some are not (tofu, soy milk.) Fermented foods can be beneficial for feeding healthy gut bacteria. Our gut health is directly linked to many of our body systems, so it is important to keep track of our gut health. Tempeh (and other great foods like kimchi and sauerkraut) is a popular choice if you are looking for a probiotic powerhouse.
Is soy sustainable?
It is very important to us that we are enjoying our food as well as caring for our beautiful planet Earth. There is a common misconception that eating tofu and soy products harms our environment, when (fortunately) it just isn’t the case. It is true that there is soy related deforestation happening in the world, but this is for soy fed to animal livestock. The soy that humans consume in the form of tofu and other plant-based foods makes up only 6% of the global soy production. By eating plant-based soy foods, you are consuming far less soy than you would indirectly from consuming animal flesh foods. A recent study suggests that “if everyone in America were to remove meat from their diet, there would be enough extra grain grown to feed 1.4 billion people!”
Does it taste good?
Next time you come in to Green Cuisine, check out our refrigerator- we have many varieties of our own tempeh, tofu, and other yummy things (both with and without soy) that you can take home and cook yourself. Tofu comes in a variety of firmness levels, for different culinary uses. It can absorb the flavour of savoury dishes, and soft tofu can even be used in desserts, too. If you’re here to dine-in, our buffet has some tofu and tempeh dishes, which can be a great way to try out a few different ways of having soy foods to see what you like best. We love the versatility of these foods, and that tofu and tempeh can fit in with the flavour profiles of many different cuisine styles. You can view today’s restaurant menu here, and you can sort it by different categories based on your dietary preferences.
What do you think?
What’s your favourite soy food or drink? Do you eat soy every day?
Please take a look through this information as a starting point. There are so many more interesting facts to know about soy!
We asked Handy Andy to create an upcycled and efficient new waste management system out of old wood palettes. A beautiful and environmentally friendly waste management solution.
Have you seen our new waste separation system? We are over the moon with excitement about it!
For many years, we were separating our waste in the kitchen. Because of our old system, we had a lot of compostable food waste end up in the landfill container, which is not only difficult to separate, but can release methane when not disposed of correctly. Fortunately, one of our dear friends and regular customer, Jon (pictured below) had a great idea. He suggested that we try a different waste separation unit in the restaurant. His idea for the 3-unit separator not only saves us a lot of work, but protects our environment too!
So, with this great idea, the Green Cuisine team got to work putting the plan into place, and we knew exactly who to call: Andrew Strauss.
Andrew is a vegan carpenter, also known as Handy Andy. Andy made our beautiful and sustainable living edge wood table recently, so we were thrilled to work with him again.
We wanted to build this unit out of a sustainable material too, so we asked Andy to create an upcycled and efficient new waste management system out of old wood palettes. He was eager to help, and he did a truly fantastic job!
Once built, we knew we needed to label the different units, but we did not want to include any plastic lamination or harmful inks. Our solution was to label each of the 3 waste units with wooden chalkboard signs using water-based chalkboard pens.
Now, anytime you come into the restaurant you can see our waste separation units labelled as “Landfill,” “Compost,” and “Recyclables.” They are efficient, eco-conscious, and truly beautiful.
We would like to thank our wonderful community for providing us with eco-friendly suggestions! What green solution would you like to implement in your home or business? What should we work on next?
Andrew Strauss is on instagram! Check him out at @handyandyvictoria
Courtyard of Market Square
560 Johnson St, Victoria, BC
(250) 385 1809
Open Hours: 10AM to 8 PM
A lot of recipes ask for butter, but luckily, you don’t need anything from a mother cow. There are many vegan replacements! This blog can help you improve your baking repertoire.
Are you new to vegan baking? Or just want to learn more tips and tricks to improve your recipes? This post talks about replacing dairy in your recipes with plant-based options.
Replacing the Dairy in a Recipe
If the recipe calls for dairy milk, you can replace it with non-dairy milks instead. Always use unsweetened “plain” or “original” non-dairy milks, just incase the added sweetness or flavour from a Vanilla variety could ruin your finished recipe. If the recipe is for a creamier, thicker finished product, then you can use an equal amount of soy milk, oat, or coconut milk ideally. For other recipes, use an equal amount of almond milk or rice milk, both of which tend to be a little thinner.
What do you do if the recipe calls for buttermilk?
Not to worry, try this instead for one cup of buttermilk:
In a bowl, mix 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Whisk together until the mixture is creamy.
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Some recipes require those cans of sweetened, thickened dairy milk known as condensed milk. To replace with a non-dairy version, try this, it makes about 1 and 3/4 cups:
2 1/2 cups of unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons vegan margarine
a little bit of salt
Boil the soy milk. In another pan, melt the vegan margarine on medium heat. Then add the 1/2 cup of sugar to the melted margarine. As the sugar melts into the margarine, combine the hot soy milk. Add a pinch of salt. Boil this mixture slowly and stir for 5 minutes.
A lot of recipes ask for butter, but luckily, you don’t need anything from a mother cow. There are many vegan replacements! For starters, Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks for a pie crust. Coconut oil for apple crumble or a pie crust. I have replaced the butter in cookie recipes with coconut oil or sunflower oil or canola oil, and the cookies turned out wonderfully. Sometimes, vegan margarine is a good replacement, depending on your recipe.
If the recipe contains a lot of spice, such as gingerbread or spice cookies, you can use most vegetable oils to allow the flavours to come through. If you need to make shortbread cookies, you can use unrefined coconut oil and you will get a nice solid dough without the butter.
There are also vegan shortenings which can be used for a multitude of recipes! The possibilities are endless, just think about what texture and flavour you want to end up with to help you decide which dairy alternative will work best.
Canned coconut milk or coconut cream are great replacements for heavy cream or whipping cream. Or, you can blend together equal portions of cashews and water until the desired creamy consistency is reached. If you so desire, try some of the non-dairy creams available at your local grocery store.
For recipes which list yogurt as an ingredient, you can replace dairy yogurt with non-dairy yogourt. There are many varieties available in stores now, or you can even dive into making your own– there are some interesting resources online for making your own vegan yogurt at home.
Happy cruelty-free baking, everyone! What is your favourite dairy alternative for baking?
Breakfast is an important meal of the day. Sometimes breakfast meals can feel monotonous when we get in the morning routine of making the same things over again before work or school.
Breakfast is an important meal of the day. Sometimes breakfast meals can feel monotonous when we get in the morning routine of making the same things over again before work or school. For new vegans, sometimes breakfast can be a challenging meal because they are unsure of the amazing options available to us, and are used to eating eggs in the morning. We created this post to help you start your day with something delicious and healthy for you, and ideas of how to “vegan-ize” some old favourites. Fortunately, vegan versions of the traditional breakfast are lower in fat, cholesterol free, and best of all– animal cruelty-free!
Oatmeal is an underrated breakfast option! With a little creativity, you can make oatmeal into an exciting breakfast that you look forward to. Not only is it delicious and versatile, but it is healthy and satisfies hunger for the morning. Oatmeal is full of fibre, and is a great source of plant-based protein.
Please be mindful of which oats you are purchasing– we strongly recommend using organic oatmeal, as many GMO oats have been found to contain high levels of dangerous pesticide, Glyphosate.
There are organic instant oatmeal packets or old fashioned oats, just depends on how much time you want to spend in the morning and how many people you are cooking for.
Many people are even enjoying “overnight oats” which involves soaking the oats in plant milk overnight, rather than heating them.
However you cook your oatmeal, here are some ideas of toppings and mix-ins to keep it flavourful and interesting:
Experiment a bit and see what textures and flavours you like best. Let us know what you like the most.
Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seed pudding can be made in a similar way to overnight oats — combine chia seeds with your plant milk of choice and let it soak overnight. You can add fruits, spices, and sweeteners, similarly to your oatmeal. Chia seed pudding tastes great as it’s own breakfast or eaten as a side with a tofu scramble.
Tofu scrambles and chickpea-flour scrambles are wonderful for breakfast. In both scrambles, the key is the use of kala namak, which is an Indian black salt that gives a sulphurous, eggy flavour. Here is a savoury chickpea-flour scramble that is excellent for breakfast.
How’s this for a hearty breakfast with tofu scramble?
If you want a tofu scramble, then go here to find a delicious recipe.
These options are high in protein and flavour, and are reminiscent of old favourite meals without any of the negative.
Who could forget those fond childhood memories of eating pancakes in the morning? If you want a tasty, fluffy, vegan pancake, then look here. These are also delicious topped with some of those oatmeal toppings (or even mix them into the batter!)
You can have fluffy, scrumptious, vegan pancakes.
Here is a well-loved tofu bacon recipe (scroll to the end of this article on liquid smoke). You can have the smokiness and sizzle of bacon without any animal products by using this recipe. Some people like to pair the tofu bacon with a tofu or chickpea-flour scramble, with an avocado on the side.
A vegan version of French Toast is here. Yes, you can have French Toast without eggs. However, if you have store-bought “vegan egg replacer”, you can use that to make your French Toast too.
Vegan French Toast, with edible decorations.
You can mix potatoes with tempeh for your hash browns, as in this recipe. This could even work well as a lunch or dinner, just change up the accompaniments.
This one might seem too obvious, but we aren’t joking. Great breakfast toast comes from the delicious combination of toppings. Toast doesn’t need to be a side, it can be the star! You might even want to have it for a quick and easy dinner some busy nights, too! Try these spreads and toppings in any combination and see how filling your morning toast can be:
And many more!
Vegan Breakfasts Can Be Creative, Healthy, and Delicious
Fortunately, we don’t ever have to feel like we are missing out on the fun of traditional breakfasts– we have plenty of fun crafting vegan versions of the classics as well as coming up with totally new ideas. What traditional breakfast would you like to “vegan-ize” next? How do you like to spice up your breakfast staples?
Courtyard of Market Square
560 Johnson St, Victoria, BC
(250) 385 1809
Open Hours: 10AM to 8 PM
A staple in the vegan pantry, apple cider vinegar can add a sweet, sharp tang to your cooking.
We are here to tell you about Apple cider vinegar, also commonly referred to as ACV. We use it in many of our dishes and dressings here at Green Cuisine and want to tell you why we love it so much. A staple in the vegan pantry, apple cider vinegar can add a sweet, sharp tang to your cooking. ACV is made from apple cider which has been left to ferment until acetic acid-forming bacteria turns the cider into vinegar. It is also known to have some health benefits, such as helping to blunt blood sugar spikes. (Nutritionfacts.org)
Filtered or Unfiltered-Which Type Should You Choose?
Apple cider vinegar can be found filtered or unfiltered.
The unfiltered version contains the “mother of vinegar” which is a mixture of cellulose and acetic acid-forming bacteria (acetobacter aceti). This bacteria was what converted the alcohol in the cider into vinegar.
The filtered version simply has had the “mother of vinegar” removed. This version is more likely to have been pasteurized as well, and is a clearer liquid than the unfiltered vinegar.
Basically, if you want a raw product that has a more flavourful taste, then choose the unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Otherwise, they both can be used interchangeably when using apple cider vinegar in recipes.
What to Do with Apple Cider Vinegar?
Bean salads, grains, dressings, spreads, sauces, dips, can be enhanced by the addition of apple cider vinegar.
The key is not to add too much. An excessive amount of apple cider vinegar will overpower the other flavours of your food. Usually adding two tablespoons will be sufficient, and of course, you can add less according to your taste. Apple cider vinegar is so versatile, and can be indispensable in cooking. For instance, check out this delicious marinade which would not be the same without apple cider vinegar:
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
2 teaspoons molasses
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon chilli paste or a splash of chilli oil
1 block tofu (3/4 pound)
Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Cut up the block of tofu into 1 inch long strips. Add the tofu strips to the sauce, and marinade for ten minutes.
Here is another recipe starring apple cider vinegar:
Apple Cider Vinegar and Maple Dressing
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon (for the juice)
1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
Blend together the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup. Mix well. Then, add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Use this dressing for all kinds of salads, whether they are grain-based or simply greens. If you like, add some fruit to increase the sweetness.
Try adding in apple cider vinegar when making your own barbecue sauce, or use apple cider vinegar for your baking. Having apple cider vinegar in your pantry can certainly be useful!
How do you like to use your ACV? Give these dressings a try, and let us know what you think!
We love and respect bees and our environment, so it is important that they keep their food source.
We love and respect bees and our environment, so it is important that they keep their food source. One of our Green Cuisine team members shares their Honey knowledge here:
Honey: What is it?
Sure, you know what honey is. But do you know what happens behind the scenes?
The honey that is commercially produced is made by the honeybee. These bees store the honey that they make in their hive as a food reserve for the colony. The honey provides nutrients during times of scarcity, such as during bad weather conditions, and when the winter season hits.
One bee may visit up to 1,500 flowers to collect a sufficient amount of nectar (a sugary liquid derived from the flowers.) Bees siphon the nectar from flowers using their proboscis, and store the nectar in their extra stomach (crop), which contains enzymes that can break down the nectar and alter the substance’s pH.
The honeybee goes back home to the hive after visiting many flowers, where it regurgitates the contents of their crop into another bee’s mouth. The partially digested nectar is sequestered into a honeycomb inside the colony’s hive. The bees beat their wings to help evaporate water in the digested nectar so that it becomes viscous-it then becomes honey. The bees seal up the honeycomb using a secretion emitted from their abdominal region, and this seal becomes beeswax. Beeswax protects the honey from exposure to air and humidity so that the bees’ stash can be effectively stored for an indefinite period of time.
Each member in the beehive colony collectively works so that everyone gets enough honey. Each bee produces about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
When You Take Their Honey, You Are Hurting Bees
When our team member lived on a farm, there was a beekeeping section which she would often visit. What she found most disturbing was the crushed, dead bees whom were the casualties during the bee harvest. In fact, every time the farmer goes to “check” on the bees, they have to open up the frame, and each time the frame is closed, some bees get crushed. Some bees get stepped on. It is not a gentle, loving process that you would like to imagine. Far from it.
The bees want their honey and need their food source– they have all worked very hard for it.
Humans don’t need honey like bees do. In fact, there are so many alternatives to honey which you can use that you don’t even need honey at all. There is maple syrup, date syrup, date sugar, coconut nectar, apple honey (made from apples,) stevia, and many more…
What is your favourite sweetener?
Peanut butter recipes to treat yourself and your friends
We love to offer delicious, nutritious, and vegan dishes and desserts as much as we can. Those of us who can eat nuts are familiar with peanut butter, especially from the go-to peanut butter sandwich of our youth. We love that peanut butter is a healthy source of protein and fat– especially the all-natural peanut butter without sugar or other additives. Put it on celery, toast, oatmeals, or even in sauces– it’s versatile, too.
Here are some delicious recipes that put peanut butter in the spotlight.
Peanut Butter Balls
(Makes approximately 20 balls)
Combine the crunchy peanut butter, ripe bananas, and whole flaxseeds in a large bowl. Place the cocoa powder into another bowl. Make balls out of the peanut mixture, and dip the balls in the cocoa powder. Put the balls into a container and refrigerate for a few hours (until the desired firmness is achieved).
Peanut Butter Milkshake
Put the ingredients into a blender and blend. Add the water into the mixture and blend. If you want a thinner sauce, add more water. Add the chopped peanuts, and blend until dispersed.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Avocado Pudding
Chocolate Peanut Banana Smoothie
What did you think of these recipes? Are you a peanut butter lover too?
“How can you reforest with your hands while deforesting with your mouth? – Aviram, Founder of Sadhana Forest
Sadhana Forest is such a wonderful organization, it’s hard to decide where to begin with why we are so excited to support them!
We selected them to receive all Climate Action Discount Card funds raised this October and November because of their amazing work restoring and protecting beautiful forested land in India, Haiti, and Kenya while prioritizing human unity and connection. Sadhana Forest is committed to teaching others about sustainable living and food security through “ecological transformation, wasteland reclamation, and veganism.”
They started Sadhana Forest in Auroville, India, in December 2003, when it was totally barren land. By 2014, there were over 29 thousand trees, and even the most depleted soil was restored enough to have a 70% (and higher) plant survival rate. They are planting native species, securing water, and teaching the community all about sustainable living.
Over time, they have cultivated relationships with locals and neighbouring communities, and have even helped empower young children to take part in sustainable living and forest restoration. We love to support this kind of education for children! What an amazing world it will be if we have children who have grown up learning how to protect our environment by living sustainably.
Additionally, they were internationally recognized in 2010 with a third place Humanitarian Water and Food Award. This award shows the high quality of ecological restoration that Sadhana Forest is committed to.
Since 2010, they have expanded to Haiti where they have planted 80,000 food bearing trees with the ability to feed 70,000 people. Their newest project is in Kenya, in a place called Samburu County. Their project is to grow food forests to “help promote food security in an area that is often affected by droughts and malnutrition.”
Thank you, Sadhana Forest, for helping to restore the beautiful life on this planet, and helping the youngest generation take part in making our future a healthier and more sustainable one. We love and admire your commitment to human unity through compassionate and sustainable living.
To learn more about Sadhana Forest, please visit their website here: https://sadhanaforest.org/
Had you heard of Sadhana Forest before? What do you think of their work? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee? Level Ground Trading provides us with their amazing fair-traded coffee for our drip coffee at Green Cuisine.
Who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee? Level Ground Trading provides us with their Tanzania coffee for our drip coffee at Green Cuisine. A couple of our team members recently had a tour of the local facility, and we are so excited to share with you what we learned and why we love serving Level Ground Trading’s Tanzania coffee.
We love working with Level Ground Trading because their Direct Fair Trade premiums from Tanzania coffees help fund the HOPE Project, which trains farmers in organic methods as well as soil conservation. The premiums also help to fund healthcare for the coffee farmers and their families. We are so happy to support companies who help improve the lives of workers and health of our environment on a global scale.
The premiums also help to fund healthcare for the coffee farmers and their families.
Level Ground Trading is headquartered right here in Victoria, but works “to trade fairly and directly with small-scale producers in developing countries, offering customers ethical choices.” After a warm and friendly welcome, we learned that not only do they work fairly with farmers, but at home in Victoria they are working hard to reduce their carbon footprint!
They have invested in the latest technology to reduce their energy use– they are reusing the heat their roaster generates which reduces heat consumption by about 40%! They have an incentive system in place to reward their employees when they walk, bike, bus or carpool to work. On top of this, Level Ground asked for advice from Waste Management specialists change their facility to landfill-free. This means that all waste is properly separated on-site and recycled or composted using their facility. Old coffee bags are up-cycled into reusable shopping bags, and the large sacks that the coffee beans arrive in are picked up by Canadian farmers to reuse.
They compost over 20,000 lbs of matter and reclaim over 24,000 lbs of coffee packaging each year.
We really appreciate all of the sustainability efforts made by Level Ground Trading and we are so excited to brew their lovely coffee. Tanzania coffee is deep and boldly flavoured coffee, with hints of dark chocolate. Yum!
A cup of coffee that tastes delicious, cares for our Earth, and helps others thrive– it doesn’t get much better than this. Coffee date, anyone?
We’d love to know, what is your favourite fair-trade company?