Smoky marinated cremini mushrooms and peas are tossed with spaghetti in a silky tofu and cashew sauce to create this decadently delicious vegan carbonara.

I waited tables all throughout college. By that time, I’d been a vegetarian for quite a while, but none of the establishments that I served in were meatless. Things could get awkward. I felt weird about telling customers I was vegetarian, but at the same time it wasn’t like I could go and suggest the filet mignon. I got some odd looks from people upon telling them that my favorite dish was a dinner salad with a side of mashed potatoes.

The last place I worked at was Italian. We did not have spaghetti carbonara, but I did have a customer ask for it once, and when I didn’t know what it was, she went into great detail explaining the dish and how freaking amazing it was, but it was all kind of lost on me. Bacon and eggs are two things I was never down with, in my early meat eating days.



For the Mushroom Bacon

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 lb. cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and sliced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

For the Spaghetti Carbonara

  • 1 lb. dried spaghetti noodles
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours and drained
  • 1 lb. silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup unflavored soy or almond milk
  • 2-3 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes , to taste (optional, but adds a really nice flavor)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste

For Serving

  • cashew Parmesan (optional)
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • kala namak (optional, for eggy flavor)


  1. Stir soy sauce, maple syrup, cider vinegar and liquid smoke together in a small bowl. Add sliced mushrooms and toss to coat. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally to recoat.
  2. While the mushrooms marinate, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook spaghetti according to package directions, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water, then drain pasta into a colander. Return to pot and toss with a bit of olive oil.
  3. Place cashews, silken tofu, milk and nutritional yeast flakes into food processor bowl and blend until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

You can find complete recipes of this VEGAN SPAGHETTI CARBONARA in

Caramelized Onion Dip

Caramelized Onion Dip

One thing you might miss when switching to a plant-based diet is classic chip dip! But, of course, we’ve figured out a way to make this taste better than the real thing, using only real ingredients, plus only good fats, and lots of flavour from adding caramelized onions and shallots.

We were inspired by Better Than Bouillon to make this party appetizer because of what a great flavour base their organic vegetable bouillon creates for so many recipe ideas beyond soups and sauces. We wanted to think beyond typical uses for bouillon, since most of us have a product like this in the fridge or cupboard at all times anyway!

What we love even more is that the vegetarian Better Than Bouillon products are all vegan-certified! Follow us on Instagram @hotforfood and check out our latest post for a chance to win a $100 Sobey’s gift card and Better Than Bouillon products!

If giveaways aren’t your thing, use the code ‘hotforfood15’ to recieve 15% off of your online purchase of Better Than Bouillon here.

Caramelized Onion Dip
Caramelized Onion Dip


  • 3 yellow onions, halved & thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 3/4 C raw cashews (soaked for 20 minutes in hot water)
  • 2 C silken tofu
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Better Than Bouillon organic vegetable base
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 2tbsp chives, finely chopped


  1. Allow raw cashews to soak in boiling hot water for 20 minutes. This will soften them, and allow them to blend easily. You can also leave them soaking in water overnight in the fridge.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat sauté onions with 1 tbsp of olive oil for about 14-16 minutes. Then add in shallots, thyme, and another tablespoon of olive oil if the pan seems dry. Continue to caramelize, stirring occasionally, for another 14-16 minutes until the mixture is a deep golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse the cashews from the soaking water and drain well. Then add them to a high-powered blender along with tofu, lemon juice, Better Than Bouillon base, garlic powder, and ground pepper. Blend on high until very smooth.

You can find complete recipes of this Caramelized Onion Dip in



I’d be a liar and you’d never believe a thing I said if I told you that this vegan spinach dip tastes exactly like the full fat, full cheese, full mayo version. But I’d be an equally big fibber if I neglected to convey just how ridiculously good this spinach dip is.

To help you get the picture, let me start by sharing my mental dialog as I devour a normal batch of spinach dip at a party:

Bite 1: “OMG!!! This is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!”

Bites 2-5: “Ohhh… I reaalllly shouldn’t… but I can’t help myself”

Bites 6-10: “Now I’m thirsty, let me wash it down with a giant red Solo cup of soda.”

Bites 11-∞:”It’s gone and I ate most of it… What have I done… How could I have been so weeeak…”

Perhaps you can relate? Well, here’s the internal dialog I had with myself as I scarfed down this vegan spinach dip:

Bite 1: “hmm… not quite the same….”

Bite 2-5: ” But… this is pretty damn good!”

Bites 6-10: “Wow! I can’t {MUNCH}… stop…{DIP}…eating… {CHOMP}… it”

Bites 11-∞: ” It’s gone… but I just ate 189% of my daily Vitamin A, 94% of my Iron, 82% of my Calcium, 72% of my magnesium, 57% of my protein, 56% of my vitamin C, 50% of my fiber for the day…”

And while I can’t promise you won’t feel any guilt at all (especially if you hijack that part of the buffet and slap away hungry hands trying to get a taste), but I can tell you that you won’t have to go to confession at your cardiologist’s office.



  • 400 grams Soft tofu
  • 100 grams Raw cashew nuts (3/4 cup soaked in water overnight and drained)
  • 25 grams Nutritional yeast (~1/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons Apple cider vinegar
  • 3 grams Salt (~1/2 teaspoon)
  • 260 grams Spinach (175 grams cooked and squeezed)
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 175 grams Onion (1 medium onion)
  • 2 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 100 grams Water chestnuts (diced)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Smoked paprika


  1. Add the tofu, soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, vinegar, and salt to the bowl of a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix) and blend until it forms a smooth puree. If the blender won’t spin, try adding a little water (or coconut milk) at a time and use the tamper to help it along. The mixture should have the consistency of pudding.
  2. Chop the roots off the spinach and put it into a large bowl. Wash the spinach under running water while agitating it with your fingers until the water is no longer muddy. Then, stop the water and give any remaining grit a chance to settle to the bottom of the water.
  3. Lift the floating spinach off the top of the water, leaving any remaining sand at the bottom of the bowl.

You can find complete recipes of this VEGAN SPINACH DIP in




I can’t believe I’m even writing this post, because I used to HATE tofu. I hated the texture, the taste, the look of the stuff – I hated everything about it. Basically, immediately after tofu and I made acquaintances years ago, I made up my mind that we’d never get along.

Then one day, I decided to make Eggplant Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream and much to my dismay, the recipe calls for tofu. It looked and sounded so delicious, I decided I’d be cheating myself out of an epic meal if I passed it up, so I went for it. And I was right, it’s one hell of a dish — tofu and all.

From time to time I’d make the moussaka recipe, but played it safe and didn’t get too involved with my tofu affair — until Ben (my husband) came along. Before I explain why, we have to talk about lasagna.

One night about five years ago, the wind was howling outside and we were cozied up in Ben’s bedroom of his rental house. It was wintertime and the insulation in that place was terrible, so we were on his bed, beneath a stacked layer of blankets, cuddling to keep warm while watching Planet Earth. He went downstairs to get a snack and brought up two pieces of lasagna. This will sound completely crazy, but up until this point I had never tried lasagna. My mum always made hers with meat sauce and since I took to the veggies as a wee one, I hadn’t tried hers. He offered me a bite and I still remember how delicious it was. Such a simple, satisfying discovery I had gone without for so many years!



  • 1 block of extra firm organic tofu
  • 1/2 cup tamari sauce
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp crushed coriander seed
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Carefully remove tofu from the package and place it on a towel. Wrap the towel around the tofu and evenly (and gently) press down onto it to remove any excess liquid. Be very careful while doing this because you don’t want the tofu to break apart.
  2. In a large bowl, combine tamari sauce, chili flakes, coriander and water and stir.
  3. Place tofu on a cutting board and cut it into strips.

You can find complete recipes of this HOW TO MARINATE TOFU LIKE A BOSS in

Quick Nori Roll with Cucumber and Avocado Recipe

Quick Nori Roll with Cucumber and Avocado Recipe

It all started a month ago with this photo on Gena’s Instagram feed. Gena is the author of the excellent blog The Full Helping, and she has long extolled the virtues of the vegetable nori roll as a quickly and easily assembled snack: her site offers almost a dozen examples, including this latest version.

The process is not unlike that which leads to maki, but here you forgo the seasoned rice altogether — this saves time and effort, and also means you don’t have to plan ahead — in favor of fresh vegetables, lots of them.

I was so inspired by that latest shot that I went out and got some cucumbers and sprouts the very next day to make my own, and I have been weaving variations on that theme about twice a week since then — that’s how enthused I am.

Although Gena likes to apply a thick layer of some sort of spread — think hummus or cashew cheese — directly on the nori sheet, I start with the sliced cucumbers as I prefer my nori to stay as crisp as possible* — the drier, the crisper — and find it most pleasing to bite into the crunchy layer of cucumbers first.

Quick Nori Roll with Cucumber and Avocado Recipe
Quick Nori Roll with Cucumber and Avocado Recipe


  • 4 sheets nori seaweed (available from natural food stores and Japanese markets)
  • 450 grams (1 pound) cucumbers, thinly sliced with a mandolin slicer (I don’t peel my cucumbers; see note)
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • ground chili powder (optional)
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced into thin wedges
  • 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) tofu, or cooked chicken, or fish (raw and super fresh, or cooked), cut into strips
  • long-stem sprouts or sprouted seeds
  • soy sauce, for serving

Optional additions

  • simple tahini sauce
  • raw cashew cheese or other spread
  • pink radishes, thinly sliced with a mandolin slicer
  • large handful of small salad leaves, such as baby spinach or baby kale
  • fresh herbs, especially shiso or cilantro
  • 1/2 ripe mango, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 small jicama, peeled and cut into strips


  1. Have all the ingredients ready and portioned out into four equal servings before you begin, and have a small bowl or glass of water close at hand.
  2. Place a sheet of nori on a clean and dry cutting board, shiny side facing down and longest edge facing you.
  3. Starting from the left edge, arrange the cucumber slices in overlapping rows on the nori, leaving a 3-cm (1-inch) margin of uncovered nori at right.
  4. Sprinkle with sesame and ground chili powder, if using.
  5. If using tahini sauce or cashew cheese, drizzle or smear over the cucumber now.
  6. If using sliced radishes or salad leaves, arrange in a single layer on top of the cucumber now.

You can find complete recipes of this Quick Nori Roll with Cucumber and Avocado Recipe in



I could eat sweet spicy peanut sauce on anything and everything. Besides eating it with Vegetable Spring Rolls, I have made it into a thicker sauce in Thai Pinwheels. When I can find new ways to eat it, I do. So I thought, why not make a Thai Pizza with peanut sauce. What a great idea, indeed!
This pizza has all the components of vegetable spring rolls: red pepper, carrots, and cilantro. Add some ginger garlic tofu, a pizza crust, and voilà; Thai Pizza is born. This could be eaten hot or cold. I remember days of eating cold pizza for breakfast. I have not done that in years, but this could work for that. I personally liked it hot better.



peanut sauce

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium gluten free tamari
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha

ginger garlic tofu

  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium gluten free tamari
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil + a little more for cooking
  • 14 oz. firm tofu

pizza – for a 9″ pizza

  • gluten free mix or dough – I used Namaste
  • 2 tablespoons peanut sauce + more for drizzling on top
  • 4 tablespoons crumbled ginger garlic tofu
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped carrots
  • 3 tablespoons chopped red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Peanut sauce: Mix all peanut sauce ingredients in a high speed blender or NutriBullet until garlic and ginger are well blended. If you don’t have either, then make sure garlic and ginger are very finely minced before blending. Refrigerate for at least an hour so that sauce thickens.
  3. Ginger Garlic Tofu: Combine minced ginger and garlic with tamari, and sesame oil.
  4. Press tofu with a tofu press or wrapped in a towel with a heavy object on top of tofu for at least 15 minutes to get water out.

You can find complete recipes of this Thai Pizza in

Quinoa Crusted Tofu Nuggets (Tofu “Chicken” Nuggets!)

Quinoa Crusted Tofu Nuggets (Tofu “Chicken” Nuggets!)

Let’s celebrate everything healthy with these quinoa crusted tofu nuggets (or tofu “chicken” nuggets as I like to call them!) What a great way to start off Tofu Week here at The Cookie Writer!

I love tofu. Even if I was not a vegetarian I would have no issues eating this protein. I actually started experimenting with tofu at a young age while I still lived at home. My dad would often make a huge meat chili, and while I loved chili, I was not the craziest meat-eater. I decided to make my own batch alongside my dad and added tofu. Now, of course at the time I did not realize there was a difference between all the different tofu out there, but I have learned. I worked with silken tofu which basically fell apart in my chili. Still delicious, but not the texture I wanted at all. For most recipes you will find yourself working with firm or extra firm, like I did here with these quinoa crusted tofu nuggets.

Extra firm would be best, but I got away with using firm tofu. Now, tofu holds A LOT of water. A lot. So you want to do something about that because it will inhibit your tofu from nicely browning/absorbing those wonderful flavours. I tend to wrap my tofu in paper towel and set heavy objects on top to push out the water. You may have to do it a couple of times, but trust me, so worth it. My favourite tool is my cast iron pan. Once that prep is out of the way, working with tofu is a breeze!

I was totally inspired by the idea of tofu nuggets and really liked this one recipe from Forbidden Rice Blog. But since January is the month of health awareness (ohhh how the gyms love January!) I wanted to go a healthier route. Replacing the breadcrumbs with cooked quinoa seemed so perfect, and while I did not think the ingredients would stick together, it miraculously worked! And you know what?! These quinoa crusted tofu nuggets were devoured by my husband! Yes, that is right, the meat-eating husband loved these so much he only managed to save one nugget for my daughter, and one for myself. To be fair, Dan enjoys tofu and his coworkers love teasing him when they see his meat-free lunch 🙂

Quinoa Crusted Tofu Nuggets (Tofu “Chicken” Nuggets!)
Quinoa Crusted Tofu Nuggets (Tofu “Chicken” Nuggets!)


  • 1 lb firm or extra firm tofu, drained and pressed of any water
  • Bottle of your favourite BBQ sauce (or any healthy, thick sauce.)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa


  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Add a wired rack on top (not necessary but I like this because the heat can get underneath the nuggets.)

You can find complete recipes of this QUINOA CRUSTED TOFU NUGGETS (TOFU “CHICKEN” NUGGETS!) in

Vegan Pad Thai

Vegan Pad Thai

I’m so happy because I love this recipe so much and I wanted to share with you since I made it for the first time. This vegan Pad Thai is to die for, actually it’s one of my favorite recipes at the moment and is super healthy.

Pad Thai is a typical Thai recipe, which is a stir-fry rice noodle dish. As I’m trying to eat clean and avoid refined grains and flours, I used buckwheat noodles instead (they’re also gluten-free, yay!) and zoodles (zucchini noodles). I couldn’t live without my Spiralizer, I use it a lot! Healthy gluten-free pastas are usually expensive, so I combine them with spiralized veggies to save money and enjoy healthier pasta dishes.

I also made other changes: I used raw cashews instead of peanuts, red cabbage sprouts instead of soy sprouts, the sauce is different, but it’s still spicy and bittersweet and is also a cruelty-free recipe. You should make this vegan Pad Thai, it’s absolutely delicious!

Vegan Pad Thai
Vegan Pad Thai


  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • 5 oz firm tofu, thinly sliced and patted dry (140 g)
  • 2.6 oz buckwheat noodles (75 g)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ onion, julienned
  • ¼ red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 zucchini, spiralized

For the sauce:

  • 3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp water or vegetable broth
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne powder
  • For garnish: red cabbage sprouts, raw cashews (chopped), fresh cilantro and lime


  1. Heat some olive oil in a skillet and cook the tofu until golden brown on both sides, about 2 or 3 minutes each side.
  2. Cook the noodles according to package directions.
  3. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a wok and when it’s hot, add the veggies and stir fry for 2 or 3 minutes until tender-crisp. Stir occasionally.

You can find complete recipes of this VEGAN PAD THAI in