4 vegan recipes for dinner with perfect summer pairings from Loire Wines

From her new cookbook, Plant Magic, Desiree Nielsen shares four vegan recipes that bring out the best in summer flavours — and we add beautiful wine pairings from the Loire region.

Cooking vegan recipes can sometimes be daunting with all the ingredient swaps and required culinary know-how. That's partly why we're always so impressed by the culinary magic performed by the talented chefs at Toronto's best vegan restaurants. Desiree Nielsen, a registered dietitian and best-selling author of Eat More Plants, helps novice and experienced home cooks explore exciting ways to prepare their veggies and make vegan recipes with her new book Plant Magic: A Celebration of Plant-Based Cooking.

Vegan recipes for dinner | Plant Magic: A Celebration of Plant-Based Cooking

Available from Penguin Random House Canada ($34 in paperback).

Plant Magic is packed with hundreds of delicious vegan recipe ideas to make your veggies more exciting this summer, and to make hay on expanding your tastes while the sun shines on local vegetable growers.

Nielsens's vegan recipes are approachable, and include tips and tricks on how to coax the best out of your legumes and grains, and take your pantry game to the next level.

Plant Magic covers so much ground and every conceivable craving. From simple salads and noodle dishes to cakes and drinks, Nielsen takes readers through their paces with inexpensive and time-efficient vegan recipes. We've rounded up four delicious dishes from the new cookbook that call for a patio gathering. From luscious cauliflower starters to delectable desserts, plant-based cooking takes on an entirely new, lustworthy meaning.

This colourful cookbook goes way beyond offering simple and healthy meal ideas — it presents nourishing food you’ll yearn for. Whether you're looking to go plant-based on the regular or hoping to enhance some of the magic of Ontario's summer swag, Plant Magic will be your handbook this season.

Elevate Every Occasion with Loire Wines

With vines first planted over 2,000 years ago, the Loire is believed to be one of France’s oldest and most diverse wine regions. Stretching over 280 kilometres, and across terrain shaped by water or formed by lava, the Loire has an enviable depth of varieties and styles across its portfolio. The Loire’s distinct terroirs produce different flavours and varieties, from red, rosé and white, to sparkling and sweet wines. Its vineyards and UNESCO World Heritage-designated landscapes produce simple everyday wines all the way through to exclusive estate expressions meant to be saved and savoured. These wines of a lifetime are fresh, fruity, floral and fairly produced and bring out the natural beauty of the Loire region.

"With their vibrancy, precise palate structure, and diverse range of styles from bone-dry to sweet, Loire wines are the ultimate summer sippers. The Loire is a hot spot for white and sparkling wines, produced from a multitude of famous vineyard terroirs along the Loire River. A pioneering region for biodynamic viticulture, the Loire is known for its conscientious grape growers. Today, 70 per cent of Loire vineyards are certified organic or sustainable. From sushi and salads to quiches, grilled vegetables and apéritif platters, the fresh, fruity, floral wines of the Loire region are always a perfect pairing. Read on for delicious recipes perfect for Loire wines!" — Jacky Blisson, master of wine.

Share Your Experience:

Connect with fellow wine enthusiasts and share your moments with #LoireWines on social media. Follow @LoireWines.official on Instagram and @LoireWines on Facebook to stay updated on the latest news, events, and promotions.

Ready to experience the timeless elegance of Loire wines? Visit your nearest LCBO store to explore our curated selection of exceptional wines from the Loire region.

vinsdeloire.fr/en

Desiree Nielsen's Sumac-Roasted Eggplant with Maple Tahini Drizzle

Sumac's tarty sweetness is nicely balanced by the maple-and-tahini drizzle's rich flavours.

Vegan recipes for dinner | Desiree Nielsen's Sumac-Roasted Eggplant with Maple Tahini Drizzle

Serves 4

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 45 minutes

Ingredients

SUMAC-ROASTED EGGPLANT

  • 4 Chinese eggplants
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1¼ tsp ground sumac, plus more for serving
  • ½ tsp salt Black pepper, freshly cracked

MAPLE TAHINI DRIZZLE

  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ⅛ tsp salt

FOR SERVING

  • Flaky sea salt
  • ⅓ cup fresh mint leaves, packed and thinly sliced

Method

  1. Roast the eggplant: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Using a paring knife, score the halves diagonally, spaced 1 cm apart. Place the eggplant cut-side-up on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Brush the eggplant with the avocado oil. Sprinkle with the sumac, salt and lots of pepper. Turn the eggplant halves over so they are cut-side-down on the baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast until soft and golden brown on the cut side, about 45 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the maple tahini drizzle: In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, maple syrup, 1 Tbsp water and salt.
  5. To serve, pile the eggplant on a serving platter. Spoon the maple tahini drizzle over the eggplant. Sprinkle with a bit more sumac, flaky sea salt and mint.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. (Tip: Chop and fry the leftover eggplant, then add a bit of water and any leftover maple tahini drizzle until warmed through.)

Desiree Nielsen's Soba with Miso Pecan Butter

Quintessential Japanese flavours mix beautifully in this noodle bowl that's easy to make in a pinch.

Vegan recipes for dinner | Desiree Nielsen's Soba with Miso  Pecan Butter

Serves 4

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 package soba noodles, gluten-free if required
  • ½ batch miso pecan butter
  • Soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 English cucumber (15 cm), diced
  • Shichimi togarashi or red chili flakes, for sprinkling

MISO PECAN BUTTER

  • 2 cups raw pecans
  • 3 Tbsp red miso
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp hot water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Scatter the pecans on the prepared baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the pecans cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Toss the pecans into a food processor and blend until a smooth butter forms, 7 to 8 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso, maple syrup, and hot water. Add a dollop of pecan butter and whisk thoroughly. Add another dollop of pecan butter and whisk again. Add the remaining pecan butter and whisk until smooth and creamy. (If the mixture seizes and becomes too thick to mix, you can drizzle in a bit of avocado oil to fix it.) Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 week. The texture will change when stored. Revive the sauce by warming it in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it looks creamy again.
  4. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Drain in a colander, then give the noodles a quick rinse under cool running water. Set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix the miso pecan butter with 2 Tbsp of the reserved cooking liquid until smooth.
  6. Toss with the noodles to coat. If the soba looks dry, add more cooking liquid, 2 Tbsp at a time, until the sauce looks glossy.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning with a bit of soy sauce, if needed.
  8. Top with the green onions, cucumber and a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi or chili flakes. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat with a splash of water to rehydrate the sauce.

Desiree Nielsen's Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Green Olive Dressing

This colourful appetizer is a showstopper. The unique green olive and paprika flavour combination works wonderfully with cauliflower.

Vegan recipes for dinner | Desiree Nielsen's Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Green Olive Dressing

Serves 6

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 55 minutes

Ingredients

WHOLE ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

  • 2 lb head cauliflower, leaves removed and stem ends trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp salt

GREEN OLIVE DRESSING

  • ½ cup castelvetrano olives, pitted
  • ½ cup curly parsley leaves and tender stems, fresh and lightly packed
  • ¼ medium shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive or avocado oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Black pepper, freshly cracked, to taste
  • Red chili flakes, to taste

Method

  1. Roast the cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the avocado oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, coriander, cumin and salt. Using your hands or a silicone brush, rub the oil mixture all over the exterior of the cauliflower. Transfer to the oven and roast until the cauliflower is fork-tender but not falling apart, 50 to 55 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the green olive dressing: (It’s ideal to make the dressing right after you have popped the cauliflower in the oven, so the flavours have time to meld). In a small food processor, combine the olives, parsley, shallot and garlic. Pulse until finely chopped. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl.
  5. Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes into the olive mixture. The flavour of the shallot will mellow as the dressing sits until ready to use. Taste before serving; if you need to balance out an overly strong shallot, just add a pinch of sugar.
  6. Remove the roasted cauliflower from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Serve the cauliflower whole or cut into wedges on a medium platter, drizzled with the green olive dressing. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

Desiree Nielsen's Grilled Pineapple with Toasted Coconut

This is a go-to dessert for vegans or those with a sweet tooth. Add a pinch of extra cinnamon for more bite.

Vegan recipes for dinner | Desiree Nielsen's Grilled Pineapple with Toasted Coconut

Serves 4

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut, shredded
  • 1 pineapple, ripe
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dairy-free vanilla or coconut-flavoured ice cream, for serving (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (500 F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Heat a small dry skillet over medium-low heat. Toss in the coconut and toast, stirring constantly, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the coconut to a small bowl.
  3. Trim the pineapple ends and remove the peel and core. Cut the pineapple in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into 1 cm slices. Place the pineapple on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the avocado oil, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Brush both sides of the pineapple slices with the sugar mixture.
  5. Grill the pineapple: Place the pineapple slices on the hot grill, close the lid and grill until golden grill marks appear, 3 to 5 minutes per side.
  6. Serve the grilled pineapple topped with toasted coconut and a small scoop of ice cream, if desired. Store leftovers, with the coconut, in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

Excerpted from Plant Magic by Desiree Nielsen. Copyright © 2024 Desiree Nielsen. Photography and illustrations by Gabriel Cabrera. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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