"I just want to turn veggie eaters into veggie lovers," says the Sudbury, Ont.-based writer of the cookbook "Greens 24/7."
"So it was important to find a balance between the common and the uncommon and sort of tie it all together with big flavours."
Nadel, who calls herself a "passionate self-trained home cook," explored vegetarianism at age 10 and transitioned to a vegan diet about five years ago. In her cookbook, she showcases many ways of preparing meals with green vegetables, such as using spinach in pancakes, kale in cornbread, and parsley in vegan cheesecake.
She once tasted coconut "bacon" in a restaurant and was determined to make her own version.
"I thought about what bacon tastes like, what I remember it tasted like — it's a little bit sweet, and it's a little bit smoky and it's definitely salty and it's crunchy — or those were my favourite parts back in the day. And so using coconut — which is full of fat like meat is — as sort of the vessel and finding the right seasonings, it's awesome," she explains.
Here's her "bacon" recipe, along with a rhubarb pie that incorporates Swiss chard:
AVOCADO TOAST WITH COCONUT "BACON"
Nadel says she could eat this for breakfast every day. Any leftover "bacon" will keep for one month in an airtight container.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
8 slices multigrain bread
2 ripe avocados
For Coconut "Bacon"
37 ml (2 1/2 tbsp) gluten-free tamari
30 ml (2 tbsp) maple syrup
15 ml (1 tbsp) sesame oil
7 ml (1/2 tbsp) liquid smoke
1 l (4 cups) unsweetened flaked coconut
Pinch sea salt
Preheat oven to 160 C (325 F).
In a large bowl, place tamari, maple syrup, sesame oil and liquid smoke and whisk to combine. Fold in coconut flakes to coat them in mixture.
Spread coconut on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, stopping every 10 minutes to stir coconut and rotate pan. Once cooked, remove from oven, sprinkle with salt and let cool.
Toast bread and mash avocado with a fork. Spread avocado over toast, top each piece with coconut "bacon" and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 517 calories; 10.8 g protein; 36.9 g total fat (16.6 g saturated fat); 40.9 g carbohydrates; 14.2 g fibre; 9.3 g sugars; vitamin B6.
RHUBARB AND CHARD PIE
"This pie is one of my favourite recipes in the book, using those gorgeous stems from Swiss chard and using those in conjunction with rhubarb," says Nadel.
It's a great way to keep red chard stems from going to waste — they are almost indistinguishable from the rhubarb once everything is cooked. Any colour chard stem can be used, but the brightness of the red stems is especially pretty.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
75 ml (1/3 cup) coconut oil or 70 g (2 1/2 oz) vegan butter
250 ml (1 cup) all-purpose flour
50 ml (1/4 cup) powdered sugar
1 l (4 cups) chopped rhubarb
500 ml (2 cups) chard stems, chopped
250 ml (1 cup) unrefined cane sugar
45 ml (3 tbsp) all-purpose flour
15 ml (1 tbsp) cornstarch
Coconut milk ice cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).
Shortbread crust: Mix together oil or butter, flour and sugar with a fork or your fingers. Press into a 23-cm (9-inch) pie dish. Prick a few times with a fork. Bake for 12 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool.
Filling: In a saucepan, place rhubarb, chard stems and sugar. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until fruit has softened but still holds its shape.
Remove from heat and stir in flour and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Pour into prepared crust and bake for 20 minutes, until filling has firmed. Let cool and serve with a generous dollop of coconut milk ice cream.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 244 calories; 2.6 g protein; 8.3 g total fat (7 g saturated fat); 42.2 g carbohydrates; 1.6 g fibre; 26.1 g sugars; vitamin C.
Source: "Greens 24/7: More Than 100 Quick, Easy, and Delicious Recipes for Eating Leafy Greens and Other Green Vegetables at Every Meal, Every Day" by Jessica Nadel (The Experiment, 2014).