Challenge: Vegan Ginger Beef and Broccoli


There are few dishes as synonymous with Alberta summers as ginger beef. Every festival you go to you’ll see lines as long as the eye can see all waiting to get their hands on a big plate full of crispy beef strips drenched in a sticky, spicy and gingery sauce all flecked with red chillies.

I’ve always looked a bit longingly at it waiting for a vegetarian version to make its way to “beef country”.  And, although it never materialized in a plant based version while I was in Alberta, it’s now being featured in my kitchen in Brighton! Not exactly the same ambience as a summer festival in your bare feet, but the meal is amazing. It hits all the right notes. And, as a bonus,  you don’t have to wait 30 minutes in line for the port-a-potty.

The challenge:

Ginger beef with broccoli

The plan:

The meaty strips are made from a new seitan recipe I have been working on where the seitan is baked instead of simmered. It takes very little time to make and you can make your own beef-y and chicken-y strips in bulk and freeze them for later meals!

But you can use any home-made or store bought seitan.

The sauce is made thick and sticky by reducing golden syrup and spices together before tossing with the rest of the mix.

Although the original recipe doesn’t have broccoli in it, what recipe isn’t made better by the addition of greens?!

_MG_8016 The result:

Amazing. The strips turned out perfectly meaty, the sauce was sticky, sweet and spicy and the dish worked incredibly well together. Eating it with the sun shining in brought back many memories of the barefooted summers of my childhood.

Ben’s Verdict:

Yup, loved this one as well. Thick sticky sweet sauce, well textured strips of ‘meat’ and I even enjoyed the contrasting crunch of the vegetables. I would happily eat this at home, at a restaurant, at a festival in Western Canada or cold for lunch the next day- which I actually did.

I am coming to love seitan for its taste as well as its cool name. SDLogotiltRed



Challenge: Ginger Beef and Broccoli
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup (125 g) vital wheat gluten
  • 3 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP flavourless oil (sunflower, canola etc)
  • ½ cup (120 ml) water or low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup (60 ml) low sodium vegetable stock
  • ½ cup (60 g) all purpose (plain flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 red chili peppers, diced
  • 2 TBSP fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ½ cup (120 ml) golden syrup
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut in to florets
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 - 5 tablespoons oil for frying
  1. Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F).
  2. Mix gluten and nutritional yeast in a bowl
  3. In a separate bowl, mix water or vegetable stock, soy sauce, and oil.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients evenly, and stir together making the ball of gluten.
  5. Turn out on to a counter and knead for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Flatten the ball of gluten and cut the gluten into thin strips.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment and and place the strips on the cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip them over and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  9. Since the gluten will have risen in the oven slightly, cut your gluten in to your desired size for this recipe.
  10. Mix together soy sauce, ½ cup of vegetable broth and rice wine vinegar.
  11. Add strips to liquid and marinate for 20 minutes.
  12. Add flour and salt to a large zip top bag.
  13. Remove strips from marinade and add to bag. Shake to coat strips thoroughly.
  14. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the strips until crispy and golden brown. You may have to do this in small batches to avoid over crowding the pan.
  15. Remove strips and set aside.
  16. To make the sauce, add the marinade from earlier to a small pot along with sesame oil, ginger, garlic, red chilis and golden syrup. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until it begins to reduce.
  17. Add onion to a heated pan, cook until onion is soft and translucent. Add the broccoli and spring onions.
  18. Once broccoli is lightly cooked, add strips back to pan.
  19. Pour sauce over top of the dish and toss to ensure even coating.
  20. Serve hot with rice


Gingerbread Cake


Both my mom and Ben’s mum have been feeling very unwell lately. It’s hard enough watching a loved one go through an illness when you live in the same city as them, but it’s especially hard when you live on a different continent!

I feel a bit helpless. And, unfortunately that helplessness coincides with an age I seem to have reached where I nag my mom more than she nags me.

It’s not pretty.

I am coming to close to harassment.

Sending unsolicited nursing advice through my various technologies: “Are you doing your deep breathing? Have you taken your medication? Are you eating well? What are you eating? Why are you eating that?”

Every time I open my mouth, my mom from 15 years ago comes out. It’s obnoxious, it’s uncalled for, but it’s a little sweet… right, Mom?!

And while I can’t do much more than worry about her and nag her, when Ben’s mom isn’t feeling well, I can at least do the things for her that I would do for my own mom if she were close enough.

I can bake for her.

And, because she is my (very) soon-to-be mother in law, and I’m still trying to impress her, I won’t even nag her.

Well, not personally, anyway. No, because I’m my mother’s daughter, I’ll nag Ben to do it instead.


Gingerbread Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10
  • 2½ cups (220g) all purpose (plain) flour
  • 1½ tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (112 g) vegan butter or refined coconut oil, room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 g) dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (250 ml) molasses (treacle)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) very hot water
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (350°F).
  2. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and salt in large bowl.
  4. In another bowl whisk butter until fluffy, gradually incorporating brown sugar. Add vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Combine molasses, vinegar and hot water together and then gradually stir mixture into liquids.
  6. Add dry mix and mix to combine. Mix only until flour is no longer visible.
  7. Batter will be quite thin.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  9. Bake 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then invert on to a cooling rack.
  11. Allow to cool completely before cutting.