We’ve featured brussels sprouts on v:gourmet before. Grilled brussels sprouts with a thyme lemon dipping sauce. Roasted brussels sprouts with shallots and shitake. And we highlight George’s amazing curried brussels sprouts which never fail to please. But these brussels sprouts are my go-to and perhaps my favourite. A little sweet and smokey dijon, finely sliced shallots, roasted pecans and dried cranberries, with a hit of maple syrup and garlic. They roast up amazingly well and defy any brussels sprouts denier.


1 pound brussels sprouts

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tbsps sweet and smokey dijon (Kozlik’s is fabulous if you can find it)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 large shallot, peeled and sliced thinly

1/2 cup pecans, chopped coarsely

1/2 cup dried cranberries

sea salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim end off brussels sprouts and cut in half. Place in large mixing bowl.

Place olive oil, mustard, garlic and maple syrup in a small bowl. Mix well and then toss with brussels sprouts so they are all coated evenly.

Add sliced shallots, pecans, and cranberries. Mix well.

Place in a baking dish or on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Put in oven on middle rack and roast for approximately 20 – 25 minutes until they are tender and a little browned. Serve as a fabulous side to rice, nice and spicy marinated tofu, and just about anything else.


Delicata squash, also known as peanut squash, bohemian squash, or sweet potato squash, is a wonderful simple side dish because it is easy to clean, easy to cut, easy to prep, and you can eat the skin. Sprinkled with smoked paprika, and a little za’atar – a middle eastern herb mixture of dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, toasted sesame seeds, salt, and sometimes sumac – and these roasted morsels liven up the plate, the palate, and are pleasing to the eye. Which is important because we eat with our eyes as well as our mouths. So feast on these and watch them become a staple in your kitchen.


1 delicata squash

olive oil


smoked paprika

sea salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash the delicata squash well. Cut it in half and clean out the seeds from inside. Slide into 1/2 inch slices and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle with za’atar and smoked paprika, sea salt and pepper. Turn over and do the same on the other side.

Bake in the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, flipping them half way through until tender. Serve hot.


grilled brussels sprouts

September 12, 2014

grilled brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts, as we know them now, were grown possibly as early as the 13th century in what is now Belgium. They say that before that, the forerunners to modern Brussels sprouts were likely cultivated in ancient Rome. They came to North America in the 18th century, when French settlers brought them to Louisiana, which is a good thing because Brussels sprouts, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anticancer properties, not to mention that they contain good amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and dietary fibre. When boiled they loose some of their amazing healing power so why boil them? Grill them on the BBQ instead with a little thyme lemon dipping sauce on the side.

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cleaned and halved

2 tbsps olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tbsps maple syrup

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsps fresh thyme leaves

Preheat the BBQ. Thread halved Brussels sprouts onto metal or wooden skewers. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Grill over medium-high heat until still firm but tender and nicely browned, about 5 minutes each side.

While the Brussels sprouts are cooking, whisk together lemon juice, maple syrup, olive oil, and thyme in a small bowl. Set aside.

When ready, arrange sprouts on a platter. Serve warm with the dipping sauce at the ready.


green couscous

June 9, 2013

green couscous

Today I’m honouring healing, comfort, and simplicity. 3 words I will hold throughout the day. As the buddhist munks at Tassajara say “There is something very mysterious that happens when attentive minds prepare and cook food,” and I say bring it on. So in my preparation of this dish inspired by the fabulous Ottolenghi, and as I  head into the rest of the day, my attentive mind will rest on these truths. The reason I choose this dish is that it embodies healing, comfort, and simplicity: it’s packed full of nature’s medicine in the form of parsley, cilantro, dill and other healing herbs; it’s a comfort food right up there with the very best we all remember from our childhood; and it takes no time to prepare and is grounded in its list of basic, elemental ingredients. So cook, eat, be attentive, and fill the world with more of the things we need. “Be and be better.”

1 cup israeli couscous

¾ cup boiling water or vegetable stock

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 tbsp olive oil 

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground cumin

Herb paste:

1/3 cup chopped parsley

1 cup chopped cilantro

2 tbsp chopped tarragon

2 tbsp chopped dill

2 tbsp chopped mint

6 tbsp olive oil


½ cup unsalted pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped

3 green onions, finely sliced

1 fresh green chile, finely sliced

chives and chive flowers for garnish

Place the couscous in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water or stock. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry the onion in the olive oil on medium until golden and completely soft. Add the salt and cumin and mix well. Leave to cool slightly.

To make the herb paste, place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth.

Add the herb paste to the couscous and mix everything together well with a fork to fluff it up. Now add the cooked onion, the pistachios, green onions, and green chile and gently mix. Garnish with chives and chive flowers. Serve at room temperature.




We had a potluck dinner at my parents’ house the other day for my dad’s birthday. My sister was organizing it and decided to make sweet and sour tofu stir-fry as one of the main dishes; she asked me to bring a side. I had a pile of brussels sprouts that needed to be used up and decided to do an asian-inspired sprouts and ‘shroom dish with crispy shallots on top because after making them for the basmati and wild rice dish with chickpeas, currants, and herbs, we just can’t get enough. Deep flavours, different textures, roasted yumminess.

Pile of brussels sprouts, shaved finely

1/4 olive oil

5 cloves garlic minced

Pile of mixed mushrooms like miatake, shitake, oyster

4 tbsps soy or tamari sauce

2 tbsps brown rice vinegar

2 tbsps sesame oil

sea salt and pepper

1/2 cup sunflower oil

2 large shallots

3 tbsps flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Shave or slice brussels sprouts finely with a knife or mandolin. Add them to a a oven-proof baking dish. Toss with olive oil and minced garlic and bake for about 20 – 30 minutes until they are cooked through (this will depend on how thinly they are cut).

Meanwhile, chop mushrooms into strips. Cook in a skillet over medium-high heat until they begin to brown and release their juices. Once cooked, add tamari sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Let the mushrooms cook in the tamari mixture for a few moments to let the mushrooms soak up the liquid and to let the flavours meld.

Toss the mushrooms with the brussels sprouts. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Heat sunflower oil in a heavy skillet until quite hot. Slice shallots into rings. Toss in the flour. Add shallot rings to the hot sunflower oil and saute until they are golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon onto paper towel and let cool. Cook in batches so that the shallots brown evenly.

Garnish brussels sprouts and mushrooms with crispy shallots and serve warm.



Today is Thanksgiving Day and I’m making this stuffing in honour of all that I’m thankful for. Thankful? Let me count the ways: fall’s bounty; the healing power of herbs; collective flavours that are oh so much more than their individual parts; being stuffed with food grown by friends, shared with friends, and eaten in friendship; for Marci Babineau who was the originator of this recipe in yesterday’s Globe and Mail; and for the fine art of veganization that turns all good recipes into a showcase for a vegetable-based diet. For all of this, and more, I’m truly grateful.

1/4 cup olive oil

2 large onions, cut into chunks

1/2 bunch sage leaves, stems picked off and minced

1 1/2 large apples, cut into chunks

1/2 bunch kale, torn into large pieces

1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 loaf bread, cut or torn into chunks (I used Ace Bakery Cranberry Walnut loaf)

1/2 cup veggie stock

sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and cook for about 8 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add apple chunks, sage, kale, and walnuts and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in apple cider vinegar and remove from heat.

Put bread chunks in a large bowl and stir in onion mixture. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Spoon stuffing into a baking dish and pour stock over it. Bake until the top is browned (about 20 minutes).


vegan stuffed zucchini blossoms

Wendall Barry – a brilliant author/poet/thinker – wrote “We live the given life, not the planned.” Today I must agree. What I had planned was a vegan clafouti with carefully researched options and sourced ingredients. What I was given was some gorgeous zucchini blossoms fresh from the vine. The gift inspired me, I cooked up some savoury stuffing, and friends and family around the table fought over the last blossom of delight. These are delicate, interesting, uplifting, and versatile enough to go with any of your best-loved dishes. Check out your local farmers’ market and stuff away!

vegan stuffed zucchini blossoms

4 tbsps olive oil

1 onion, chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tbsps capers, chopped

6 olives, pitted and chopped

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

1/4 cup panko or course bread crumbs

3 tbsps fresh herbs, chopped

sea salt and pepper

10 zucchini blossoms

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed skillet. Add onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Add garlic and sauté another minute or two until garlic is fragrant. Add chopped capers and olives. Add quinoa and panko. Add fresh herbs as well as salt and pepper to taste. Let all the ingredients simmer away for a few minutes until well blended and cooked through.

Meanwhile, trim the stem at the bottom of the zucchini blossom. Carefully remove the stamen from inside the flower being careful not to rip the delicate flower. Add approximately 1 – 2 tsps of stuffing to each blossom and then twist the ends to seal in the goodness. Place stuffed blossoms on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

sesame kale

April 22, 2012

sesame kale, steamed kale, vegan side dish, vgourmet, Ruth Richardson

This is a completely versatile side dish that takes no time to make, boosts the nutritional content of your dinner significantly, goes with anything, and is surprisingly addictive. After meals are over and we’re still sitting at the table gabbing about the day, the entire family continues to pick at whatever leftovers happen to be in the bowl until, sadly and inevitably, it’s finished. It’s a perfect pairing to tomato cumin rice and spicy marinated tofu. But it’s very accommodating and can be taken out almost anywhere and will be sure to please the crowds.

1 bunch of kale, cleaned and leaves pulled off the stem

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

juice from 1/2 lemon

1 tsp sesame oil

sea salt to taste

handful of sesame or tamari pumpkin seeds

Steam the kale over high heat until done, still bright green but wilted, about 3 minutes. Don’t over-steam or the kale will become brown and limp. Once done, remove from the heat, place in a serving dish, and drizzle with olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and sesame oil. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and then top with sesame seeds or tamari pumpkin seeds.

tomato cumin rice

April 22, 2012

tomato cumin rice, vegan side dish, aromatic rice, Ruth Richardson, vgourmet

I was asked the other day about my favourite side dishes and thought I would add a few of our staples to vgourmet.ca. I was asked by mostly parents on the run, trying to figure out how to put a healthy, fast, and tasty dinner on the table at the end of the day. One of our go-to meals is this tomato cumin rice – aromatic, delicate, and earthy – with sesame kale, and spicy marinated tofu. We throw in an extra veg if we’re up to it (steamed beans or sautéed carrots). And when the occasion calls for it we’ll add a bit of meat like asian chicken or garlic tamari marinated pork to the menu. It’s all good and everyone gets what they want, vegan or no.

2 tbsps olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp cumin seeds

2 cups basmati rice

1 tsp salt

4 cups stewed tomatoes

1 cup water

In a heavy-bottom pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the garlic is fragrant, another 2 minutes approximately.

Meanwhile, roast the whole cumin seeds in a small skillet until they are browned slightly and aromatic but be sure not to burn them. Once done, crush them with a mortar and pestle if you have one, or if not, with a rolling pin. Add the cumin to the onions.

Add the rice and mix thoroughly with the onion mixture. Let simmer for a minute or two. Add salt, stewed tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat immediately and then let simmer until the rice is done, about 20 – 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve piping hot.

rosemary tomato skewers

December 17, 2011

These couldn’t be simpler, or more colourful and flavourful. They are a wonderful accompaniment to a holiday meal, especially with the pungency of rosemary which is welcome at any Christmas table of mine. And they are so easy to make – and are totally conducive to making head of time – thus allowing you to concentrate on everything else going on in the kitchen.

8 – 12 rosemary sprigs

32 – 40 small tomatoes

2 tbsps dijon mustard

2 tbsps olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

sea salt and pepper

Soak rosemary sprigs in water to ensure they are well hydrated. Meanwhile, combine mustard, olive oil, garlic and sea salt and pepper. Toss tomatoes in the mustard dressing. Feed tomatoes onto the rosemary skewers with 4 or 5 tomatoes on each. Grill over medium heat on the BBQ or roast in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.