vegan bacon avocado toast

Vegan Bacon Avocado Toast

I love avocado toast. My basic avocado toast recipe is usually enough to satisfy the craving, but sometimes I want to craft something “fancier.” Whether it’s a relaxing Sunday brunch or a breakfast option with extra protein before a busy day, this tempeh-topped vegan bacon avocado toast is a delicious version of this millennial favourite. Admittedly, I very much fit that cliche. 

Jump to Recipe

For a low-spoon, wait-free version of this recipe, you could use Lightlife’s smoky tempeh strips as your “bacon.” I haven’t tried it in this context, but I love them on their own! I have no doubt this would be just as tasty.

Or, you could switch out this simple avocado mash with the seasoned version from our brunch-worthy avocado toast. This version is ready for brunch already, but the extra flavour would take it up a notch!

Similarly, feel free to use the tempeh bacon from this recipe as a side for your other favourite brunch dishes. It’s plenty delicious on its own, too, of course.

Add a hot sauce drizzle or make your version of a vegan BLT. Make this recipe your own! All that matters is that you love the final, tasty result.

vegan tempeh bacon avocado toast

Vegan Bacon-Topped Avocado Toast

Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 8 slices

Equipment

  • Skillet or griddle

Ingredients
  

  • 1 package tempeh sliced thin
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice optional
  • 8 slices bread of choice

Vegan Bacon Marinade

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce or substitute
  • 3/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup sugar-free, if desired
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • black pepper to taste
  • paprika to taste
  • nutritional yeast optional, for topping

Instructions
 

  • Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  • Coat tempeh slices in sauce, ensuring each slice is submerged. Allow them to soak for at least half an hour, but preferably an hour or longer for optimal flavor.
  • Grease skillet, if necessary and cook tempeh “bacon” over medium-high heat.
  • Toast chosen bread. While it’s toasting, mash avocado, adding lemon juice to preserve colour if desired.
  • Top toast with mashed avocado, then finish with slices of tempeh bacon.
  • Optional: Sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
  • Serve & enjoy!
Keyword Avocado, Tempeh, Vegan, Vegan Bacon

Let us know in the comments if you’ve tried this vegan bacon-topped avocado toast, or tag us @anideallifeblog on your favourite social media platform!

vegan barbecue ideas plant-based picnic

Vegan Barbecue Ideas: The Perfect Plant-Based Picnic

With Memorial Day coming up, and July 4th and Labor Day following close behind, picnic season is officially upon us. From family reunions to graduation parties and other celebrations, there’s nothing quite like firing up the grill and bbq-ing your favourite foods. Even plant-based picnickers can get in on the fun with a vegan barbecue!

Growing up, family picnics were a staple of summertime on my mom’s side and dad’s side alike. We’d gather at my great uncle and aunt’s house, reuniting the most distant cousins over the “famous” family bean soup, or meet in my parents’ home, where food would sizzle on the grill alongside coolers full of drinks on ice and bowls of chips, pretzels, and sides like pasta salad and fresh fruit.

When I went vegan nearly a decade ago, I was far more worried about missing out on moments like these than skipping bacon and cheese. Thankfully, there are plenty of vegan versions of my favourite barbecue foods, from store-bought veggie burgers to homemade sides.

If you’d prefer a plant-based picnic this season, you’re in luck—so many vegan barbecue ideas are out there! Pulling up a delicious recipe through Pinterest or keeping things simple with a ready-made option, your vegan picnic can be your most delicious BBQ yet.

On the Grill

Fire up that barbecue (or stove, griddle, etc.) and let’s get cooking!

Baked Black Bean and Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers (JoyFoodsunShine)

Baked Black Bean and Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers - JoyFoodsunShine
Photo via JoyFoodSunshine

I made a spin-off of this recipe a while back (in fact, a photo of just that went live on Instagram yesterday!). Even with the swaps I made, these black bean burgers were delicious. I have no doubt they’re just as good, if not better, with the recipe as written!

These are a softer burger (as expected!), so do be careful if you’re trying them on a literal grill. I haven’t tried it myself! The recipe itself calls for baking, which is super simple. Too hot to fathom turning on the oven? A countertop option like my Nostalgia Electrics MyMini griddle should get the job done, too!

Or, for a more low-effort black bean burger, try Aldi’s Earth Grown Black Bean Chipotle Burger! Have it delivered via Instacart, and use our referral link for $10 off your first order. 

Portobello Mushrooms (MasterClass)

Portobello Mushrooms Grill Pixabay
Image by Joshua Choate from Pixabay

I am very much not a fan of mushrooms. 99.9% of the time. But, while I was living in Bath, a roasted portobello mushroom was part of the vegan brekky at my favourite cafe. In all the times I visited the Green Rocket, I’d never met a menu item I didn’t like. So, I gave it a shot and guess what? I liked it!

I can’t say just how they prepared my brunch, but the methods above from MasterClass seem plenty effective. After all, who can we trust if not a Master?

Learn even more skills (including plenty of culinary arts) with a MasterClass subscription!

Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich (An Ideal Life)

Closeup Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich

This recipe is a long-time favourite. In fact, it was one of the very first I shared on my previous blog! It’s since found a new home here and is just waiting to enjoyed, whether at a picnic or an everyday lunch hour.

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks (Well Plated by Erin)

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks Well-Plated
Photo via Well-Plated

I love all things cauliflower, so it’s no surprise that this one caught my eye!

Extra cauliflower left over? Try our buffalo cauliflower wings for a similar flavour or branch out with our dijon-roasted cauliflower!

Carrot Hot Dogs (Where You Get Your Protein)

Carrot Hot Dogs
Photo via Where You Get Your Protein

Picnicking or just because, carrot dogs are one of my favourite veggie dishes! This recipe from Marlena is no exception. I’m excited to try my vegan versions of Antoni’s hot dog toppings from Queer Eye’s season one with these, but feel free to add your toppings of choice or enjoy these tasty vegan hot dogs as-is.

Skewers

Vegetable Skewers Grill Pixabay
Image by RitaE from Pixabay

You can find plenty of vegan skewer recipes on Pinterest (are you following us there?) or your favourite recipe platform, or DIY your own with some of your go-to ingredients. Gardein’s beefless tips would be a great meat substitute, as well as tofu, your favourite vegetables, and whatever marinade or spices you’d like.

Faux-Meat Burgers

Empower Burger Plant-Based Picnic

There are plenty of substitutes that make for an almost-instant option that even meat eaters might be tempted to try. Go for a Beyond Burger, Impossible Burger, or Aldi’s Earth-Grown Empower burger and enjoy a tasty option that’s perfect for a vegan barbecue, and super easy, too.

Off the Grill

The main event of your plant-based picnic doesn’t always have to be fresh off the grill. There are plenty of options on the cooler side of things!

Better Than Tuna Chickpea Salad (Full of Beans)

Photo via Full of Beans

Before I recently discovered my chickpea sensitivity, this “tuna” salad sandwich was one of my go-to recipes! It’s absolutely perfect for a picnic.

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Sweet Potato Sandwiches (The Healthy Toast)

Photo via The Healthy Toast

I make something similar to this with my tempeh bacon-topped avocado toast, but this takes it a step further with a delicious sweet potato sandwich!

White Bean-Avocado Salad Sandwich (An Ideal Life)

White Bean Basil Avocado Salad Toast

This simple salad is delicious over toast or topping a salad—and it’s just as good in sandwich form! Try this as an alternative to the typical tuna or chicken salad, and save any leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

Tofurky Sandwiches

Image via Instacart

Tofurky or your faux deli meat of choice makes for a perfect, simple sandwich. I love it for simple takes on lunchbox classics!

Sides

Does your vegan barbecue even count as a cookout if you don’t have plates piled high with sides?

Mom’s Bean Soup Made Vegan (An Ideal Life)

Vegan Bean Soup

Though the original recipe is simple, bean soup was a summertime sample passed down through my family. My mom was the most recent recipient of the family “secret” until she helped me make our favourite bean soup vegan. Now, it can continue to be a picnic classic!

1-Pot BBQ Baked Beans (Minimalist Baker)

Photo via Minimalist Baker

Baked beans are a picnic staple, and this recipe from Minimalist Baker looks delicious! You could always turn to a veg-friendly canned variety for an even easier option (Heinz vegetarian baked beans are my go-to low-spoon variety), but I’m confident these will be a crowd pleaser.

Easy Vegan Potato Salad (It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken)

Vegan Potato Salad
Photo via It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

I haven’t tried this potato salad yet myself, but I’ve never been disappointed by one of Sam’s recipes!

Vegan Macaroni Salad (This Savory Vegan)

Vegan Macaroni Salad
Photo via This Savory Vegan

Rene is another vegan blogger who simply doesn’t disappoint. How delicious does this macaroni salad look?

Vegan Caprese Pasta Salad (An Ideal Life)

Closeup Caprese Pasta

This is one of the simplest recipes in my arsenal, can be made the night before, and offers a lovely result in an aesthetic sense. That sounds like a win-win-win situation to me!

Salad Stuffed Shells (An Ideal Life)

Closeup Salad Stuffed Shells

Another ridiculously easy recipe, another one focused on pasta. Take a conventional green salad and mix it with a simple pasta salad and you’ve got these salad stuffed shells, an unconventional addition to your vegan barbecue.

Spicy Buffalo White Bean Hummus (The Vegan 8)

Photo via The Vegan 8

Hummus has been one of my favourite foods for ages, but I recently found out that a chickpea sensitivity is behind a few of my ever-growing list of health issues. Since then, I’ve been on the lookout for alternative dips, and this one seems like a perfect fit!

Homemade Baked Potato Chips (One Green Planet)

OneGreenPlanet Potato Chips
Photo via OneGreenPlanet

These homemade potato chips are a healthier version of a snack time favourite, and seem super simple.

For an even easier option, though, you can browse Thrive Market, Instacart, or your local Walmart Grocery service for vegan or “accidentally vegan” varieties!

Vegan Deviled Eggs (Forks Over Knives)

Vegan Deviled Eggs Potatoes
Photo via Forks Over Knives

There are no actual eggs in this recipe—it’s made with potatoes! Just about anything potato-based is a win in my book, and I’m dying to try these.

Stand-Alone Veggies

vegetables
Image by Zhen Li from Pixabay

Who says every item on your barbecue menu needs a recipe? Throw some veggies on the grill solo or with your favourite seasonings or marinade. Or,  keep things even simpler with some raw carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, or other vege. Add a dip like Tasty’s vegan ranch dip and enjoy!

Sweets

No vegan barbecue would be complete without dessert!

1 Bowl Vegan Flag Cake (Nora Cooks)

Photo via Nora Cooks

If I made a ranked list of Pinterest-worthy vegan desserts, this beautiful fruit-topped cake would be one of the first on it!

Vegan and Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Balls (Oh She Glows)

Photo via Oh She Glows

Since realising that I am, in fact, sensitive to gluten, I’ve struggled to move away from my pasta-laden diet. Recipes like these make the transition a whole lot tastier—er, easier. And how gosh-darn adorable would these look decorated in red, white, and blue?

Creamy Vegan Ambrosia (The Spruce Eats)

Photo via The Spruce Eats

I loved ambrosia as a kid, long before becoming vegan. Our local Chinese buffet served it alongside the fruits and other cold items and it was always a special treat to enjoy the “food of the gods.” I can hardly wait to give this vegan version a try!

Vegan Brownies (Chocolate-Covered Katie)

Photo via Chocolate Covered Katie

Can a dessert roundup even be considered one if it doesn’t include brownies? I don’t think so. And who better to fill that slot than Chocolate-Covered Katie? Make these brownies or your go-to recipe, top it with some vegan ice cream, and end your plant-based picnic on a sweet note.

Stand-Alone Fruits

fruit berries
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Like vege, plain ol’ fruits can be a great addition to your vegan barbecue. Serve some watermelon slices or mixed berries, and try a dip like this dairy-free cheesecake dip to give it a little something special.

Drinks

*Content Warning: alcohol*

And, of course, you need something to wash this all down! Treat yourself to a drink, whether that’s a cocktail or your favourite non-alcoholic beverage.

Lavender-Infused Lemonade (The Nut-Free Vegan)

Photo via The Nut-Free Vegan

I love all things lavender, and that most definitely includes lavender lemonade. I haven’t tried this particular recipe (yet!) but it sounds scrumptious!

Berry Sangria (EatingWell)

Photo via EatingWell

I love a good sangria, and I turn into quite the berry fan come summertime. This is the best of both these ingredients!

Southern Sweet Iced Tea (Bless Your Vegan Heart)

Photo via Bless Your Vegan Heart

I’ve been turning to sugar-free or alternatively sweetened options more and more lately, but I still have a soft spot for southern-style sweet tea. This version from Bless Your Vegan Heart sounds delicious, and might just join my own plant-based picnic menu this summer.

Prosecco

prosecco by the pool
Image by Eschtar M. from Pixabay

Fortunately for this vegan, in particular, most prosecco is vegan-friendly! When your barbecue or picnic is celebrating a certain occasion, some bubbles are an ideal addition.

Watermelon Slushie (Real Food Real Deals)

Photo via Real Food Real Deals

It’s hard to beat the nostalgic appeal of a slushie, and even more difficult to eclipse the perfection that is watermelon come summertime. So a watermelon slushie? Yes, please!

Soda Pop

coca cola
Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

When in doubt, many popular sodas are vegan-friendly, including Coca Cola (my personal go-to)!

Whatever you’re serving at your plant-based picnics this summer, these vegan barbecue ideas will help make sure you have plenty of delicious, cruelty-free dishes to enjoy!

White Bean-Avocado Salad

Like many people, I enjoy a cold sandwich option come summertime. It’s just too darn warm out to eat many hot options. And turning on the oven to cook? Ugh. For non-vegans, these are often made with simple deli meats or chicken, tuna, or egg salads. We vegans can use substitutes like Tofurky’s deli slices to replicate an omni sandwich. And, if you’ve used our referral link to order them through Instacart, you’ve saved $10 in the process! Or, we’ll use out signature creativity to come up with recipes like chickpea “tuna” or tofu “egg” salad…or this white bean-avocado salad.

Jump to Recipe

My go-to white bean-avocado salad can be eaten in a sandwich. But, really, the options are endless. This would be great atop a standard green salad, over toast, or even as a dip, especially if mashed a little extra! I’ve put guac on tortilla chips, I’ve put bean dips and hummus on tortilla chips, but not this white bean-avocado salad (yet)!

However you serve, I genuinely think you’ll enjoy this gluten-free/vegan recipe. The creamy avocado blends beautifully with the mashed beans, while the dijon and basil lend it a remarkable spice. Even the lemon juice, included primarily to keep the avocado from browning, offers a refreshing tang!

As with any of my recipes, I encourage you to add, substitute, and otherwise adjust the ingredients and methods to make a dish you’ll absolutely love. Be sure to share in the comments or @anideallifeblog if you find an especially tasty version of this or another An Ideal Life recipe!

 

White Bean-Avocado Salad

It may not be the prettiest dish on its own, but this white bean-avocado salad is a tasty, refreshing option for topping salads, making sandwiches, and more!
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 sandwiches

Equipment

  • Potato masher or large fork

Ingredients
  

  • 2 15 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed or alternate white bean of choice
  • 2-3 avocados diced adjust according to size of fruits & personal preference
  • 1 tbsp dried basil or substitute 2-3 tbsp fresh basil
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dijon mustard to taste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt, pepper, or preferred spices optional, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Toss diced avocado in lemon juice to coat thoroughly.
  • Mash half of the white beans thoroughly, until mostly smooth.
  • Add avocado and remaining white beans to the puree and stir lightly to combine.
  • Begin mashing the mixture, then add dijon and basil or additional herbs.
  • Continue mashing, making sure to evenly distribute spices.
  • Chill until ready to serve, then enjoy atop a green salad, on a sandwich, over toast, or as a tasty dip!
Keyword Avocado, Dijon, White Bean, White Beans

Serve this at your next summer picnic or whip up a batch for an easy lunch. However you make it, it’s sure to be delicious!


Vegan Bean Soup

Mom’s Bean Soup Made Vegan

My family has been making variations of this simple, budget-friendly bean soup for decades. It’s been passed through generations with a swap or two every few years. As I was growing up, it was an absolute staple during our family picnics! Most recently, my mom and I set out to make this family recipe vegan. Today, I’m sharing the “secret” with you!

Jump to Recipe

Getting the right ingredients

Hurst’s bean soup mix offers a batch of 15 different beans, adding plenty of dimension to this soup. Even better, Hurst writes, “Currently, none of our seasonings contain animal products. Therefore, you can use our entire line of products in vegetarian recipes with delicious results.” This means the included seasoning packet is perfect for this meal! If you purchase a different brand, any vegan ham flavoured broth base can be added to taste. Or you can even substitute the water in this recipe for vegetable broth.

Like your soups extra creamy? Use an immersion blender on a portion of the soup. Prefer a bit of bite? Skip that step and enjoy your bean soup whole. Add your vegan bean soup to a bowl or mug and top it with some freshly ground black pepper or your spice of choice.

When to serve this vegan BEAN SOUP

While I always associate this soup with summertime thanks to our family tradition, it’s also perfect for winter. Can you imagine coming home from the cold to a crockpot of this waiting and steaming? Cosy and delicious!

A snowy winter day by the fire or a breezy summer afternoon at a picnic, this vegan bean soup offers homey flavour, room for customisation, and enough bulk to fill you up on its own. Or, it can be the perfect complement to the rest of a meal!

Vegan Bean Soup

Mom’s Bean Soup Made Vegan

My family has been making a simple, budget-friendly bean soup for decades. Then, my mom and I made this family recipe vegan!
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 12

Equipment

  • Immersion blender (optional)

Ingredients
  

  • one 20 oz. bag mixed beans soaked overnight
  • vegan ham seasoning to taste (if not included with beans)
  • 2-3 cans whole new potatoes, halved or quartered according to personal preference
  • black pepper to taste (sprinkle just before serving)
  • 8 cups water approximately

Instructions
 

  • Drain your soaked beans and add to the pot, along with water, potatoes, and seasonings.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for at least one hour.
  • Serve with black pepper and enjoy!
Keyword Beans, Cosy, Family, Soup


If you try this vegan bean soup, be sure to let us know in the comments or at @anideallifeblog. We’re so excited to see this family recipe move on to others!

antoni-inspired vegan hot dogs

Antoni’s Fancy Queer Eye Hot Dogs Made Vegan

I love Netflix’s Queer Eye and, while each of the Fab Five has something wonderful to offer, food and wine expert Antoni Porowski is my personal favourite. When he took the basic hot dog and made it “special” for Season 1, Episode 8’s fundraiser, I knew I’d have to try these unique topping options. Of course, hot dogs and each of these toppings are pretty far from vegan. That could only mean one thing—I would have to take Antoni’s fancy Queer Eye hot dogs and make them vegan!

antoni hot dogs queer eye

All rights belong to their respective parties—my recipe is inspired by Antoni’s but I lay no claim to the original, nor to related materials and images. 

Quick-Pickled Carrots & Sweet Dijon: Jump to Recipe

Chipotle Mayo & Potato Chips: Jump to Recipe

I’ve only tried these with Aldi’s Earth Grown veggie dogs so far (sorry, Antoni), but I’m sure the toppings would be delicious on carrot dogs or a similar substitute, too. Is topping a marinated carrot with pickled carrots an excess of said vegetable? Maybe, but, in my book, there’s no such thing as too much carrot!

Put your hot dogs on the grill for a vegan barbecue or simply heat them up indoors for a delicious lunch or dinner option.

Create your veggie dogs from scratch or buy them in a premade pack. Pick up your carrots pre-pickled, go all-out with your own pickling, or use a quick pickle like the one I use below, based on a recipe from The Minimalist Baker. Make your own aquafaba mayo or buy a jar of your favourite vegan brand and add chipotle. Make whatever accommodations you need to (especially if you’re low on spoons), but be sure to try these veggie dogs.


Inspired-by-Antoni Veggie Dogs with Quick-Pickled Carrots and Sweet Dijon

When Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski made “fancy” hot dogs for a fundraiser in Season One, I knew I had to try a vegan version. This is an adaptation of his honey mustard/pickled carrot-topped hot dog!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 4 veggie dogs premade meat substitute or plant-based option of choice (like carrot dogs!)
  • 4 buns gluten-free or otherwise (optional)

Quick-Pickled Carrots

  • 1 cup carrots cut small
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt or salt substitute
  • 2 tsp sugar or sugar substitute

Sweet Dijon

  • 3 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp agave

Instructions
 

Quick-Pickled Carrots (make ahead)

  • Combine all ingredients but carrots in a saucepan and simmer until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  • Pour hot brine over carrots. Add additional water or vinegar as needed to cover them completely.
  • Seal the lid tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, optimally 24 or more.

Sweet Dijon

  • Mix together dijon and agave until thoroughly combined.

Top your veggie dogs!

  • Cook veggie dogs as required/preferred, using an optional butterfly cut to help contain toppings.
  • If using bun or bread, drizzle with sweetened dijon before adding veggie dog.
  • Top cooked veggie dogs with pickled carrots, then drizzle with [more] sweet dijon to taste.
  • Serve & enjoy!

Notes

I tend to dice my carrots for a sort of pseudo-relish, while Antoni uses a julienne (“matchstick”) cut. Or, get your pickled carrots pre-made for a low-spoon option!
Extra pickled carrots? Enjoy them as a side, on their own as a snack, or in a different recipe!
Keyword Barbecue, Dijon, Vegan, Veggie

 

chipotle mayo veggie dog

Inspired-by-Antoni Veggie Dogs with Potato Chips and Chipotle Mayo

When Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski made “fancy” hot dogs for a fundraiser in Season One, I knew I had to try a vegan version. This is an adaptation of his chipotle mayo/potato chip-topped hot dog!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 4 veggie dogs premade meat substitute or plant-based option of choice (like carrot dogs!)
  • 4 buns gluten-free if preferred optional
  • 1/2-1 cup potato chips, crushed make your own or use your go-to vegan-friendly brand.

Chipotle Mayo

  • 1 tbsp adobe sauce adjust to taste
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayo use a store-bought brand or make your own (like aquafaba mayo)

Instructions
 

  • Prepare vegan mayo if necessary, and stir in adobo sauce until well-combined.
  • Cook your veggie dogs as instructed/preferred, using an optional butterfly cut to help hold your toppings.
  • If using a bun, spread with a bit of chipotle mayo before placing your cooked veggie dog.
  • Add [more] chipotle mayo to taste, then top with crumbled potato chips.
  • Serve & enjoy!

Notes

Antoni uses ridged potato chips (my personal favourite), but I’m sure other varieties would be delicious, too!
Pick up a can of chipotle in adobo sauce for this recipe and save the rest for another recipe. Or, try your hand at making your own!
Keyword Barbecue, Vegan, Veggie

I hope to make these again soon, giving carrot dogs and some other veggie options a try and getting some more/higher-quality photos for this post. And, of course, I’m just plain looking forward to enjoying these Antoni-inspired veggie dogs once again!

Queer Eye Season 6 is currently filming and anticipated to premiere in fall 2021. Seasons 1-5 can be viewed on Netflix. Follow Antoni on Instagram for food, his cute pup, Neon, and plenty of the model-actor-chef himself, or pick up a copy of his cookbook, Antoni in the Kitchen.

The Best Online Tea Shops

I love tea. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved tea in various forms—hot or iced, sweetened or highlighting just the right combination of herbs for a flavour that doesn’t need add-ins to be delicious. From the local dairy that sells iced tea with a cult following to the never-ending search for a perfect Earl Grey, I’m always looking for new teas to try. As a result, I’m constantly seeking the best online tea shops. 

I’ve been lucky enough to find a few lovely tea shops in person over the years, like Voila! in Frederick, MD. But, in each case, it’s not local, meaning I can’t restock very often. And, of course, I can find enough tea to satiate a craving. The options are then limited—basically an assortment of black or green tea bags and likely a chai or decaf option. If I’m lucky, there might be a few herbal varieties and a Yogi tea or two (Yogi makes some of my favourites!). 

Recently, I replaced my electric kettle, which disappeared in my last move. That could only mean one thing—I need more tea! So, I took to the web, seeking out the best tea I could find online. I turned to a few sites I usually use, as well as a new addition or two. And I’m excited to share these fantastic online tea shops here on the blog! 

Harney & Sons

I discovered Harney teas a while back and quickly fell in love with their beautiful tins and delicious blends. And, when you use my referral link, you can save $5 on your first order of $30 or more! 

My favourites:

Best for: an aesthetically pleasing, indulgent tea cabinet

Sips by

I was eyeing Sips by for quite a while before I finally took the plunge and signed up for a customised box. I skip months more often than I get the month’s order but, whenever I do, I’m thrilled with the results! Few things bring me as much joy as a box of happiness waiting in the mail, and Sips by is one of the happiest. 

Get your Sips by Box here.

Best for: finding new teas you’re sure to love. 

Dollar Tea Club

Dollar Tea Club is the newest online tea shop I’ve tried out, and I love it so far. I haven’t tried much of the tea just yet but, with my second order arriving next week, I’m looking forward to identifying my favourites! I do especially love my mesh heart infuser, though. I picked out that and a ball infuser with my first order—the latter arrived without its hook on the end, but a paperclip quickly fixed any inconvenience. Both work beautifully!

Use code REFHT2MVXYBDC for $1 off your first order!

Dollar Tea Club Referral Code

Best for: Anyone trying out tea or wanting to find what they like most

Snarky tea

My mom introduced me to Snarky Tea with their Just Chill Out relaxing tea. It’s quickly become one of my favourites and, by far, has the most profound effect on me out of all my teas. It’s hard not to fall asleep soon after I’ve finished a cup! I haven’t tried their other blends yet, but I have no doubt they’ll be wonderful if Just Chill Out is any indication.

Best for: Anyone wanting a side of sass with their tea

Adagio Teas

Adagio Teas have been on my wish list since college when a friend recommended them. They offered such a glowing reference that I knew I’d be in for a treat once I finally try it! I actually have a cart waiting for my very first order—I’ll be sure to report back with my thoughts once I’ve given Adagio’s tea a try.

My wish list: 

Schmerbals Herbals

I stumbled across Schmerbals Herbals on Etsy while browsing for witchy supplies (I’ll have another post in the queue soon outlining my findings there!). I love their wide range of organic herbs—with affordable prices! This shop is another I haven’t tried for myself just yet, but I’ll report back once I have. I’m excited to try my hand at creating my own blends!

My Wish List: 

Mini - An Ideal Life

I love a good cup of tea, so few things excite me as much as finding the best online tea shops to replenish my supply. Any suggestions? Let me know of any recommendations in the comments!

Mini - An Ideal Life

Vegan Sausage Pasta Bake

Vegan Sausage Pasta Bake

Recently, a local market had a sudden influx of plant-based options—Lightlife Smoky Bacon Tempeh, Plant-Based Bratwurst, and Gardein sliced Italian saus’ge. This shop has constantly revolving inventory, so I knew I had to stock up, and stock up I did! I found that the “bacon” was quite tasty on its own (I love tempeh) and the bratwurst went beautifully with some simple broccoli. The Italian saus’ge slices reminded me of meatball pizza (which I had to make, of course). But that led to a bit of an Italian food streak, including a vegan sausage pasta bake.

Jump to Recipe

Now, I’m a big fan of pasta. I eat some sort of it at least once a week. More realistically, it’s far more often. Usually, it’s simple pasta with sauce, and maybe some Earth Grown (Aldi) or Gardein meatballs. Sometimes it’s my go-to vegan alfredo recipe. Now, it just might be this vegan sausage pasta bake!

Looking for some other vegan-friendly recipes? Check out our archive! 

Besides eating far too much of it, my favourite experience with this pasta bake actually has to do with my non-vegan sister. I made a dish of this pasta for the first time and sat it on the stove to cool a bit before diving in. I left the room and my sister went into the kitchen for something. When she saw the casserole dish of warm pasta, she thought it was something our mom had made. She had no idea it was vegan, and even commented on how good it looked! My family doesn’t quite “get” my veganism, so this was a huge win. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that it taste pretty great.

Vegan Sausage Pasta Bake

I recently tried some new-to-me plant-based foods, including Gardein's sliced Italian sausage, which led to this easy vegan sausage pasta bake!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Casserole Dish, greased

Ingredients
  

  • 16 ounces pasta prepared
  • 24 ounces tomato sauce
  • 12 ounces non-dairy milk
  • 6-8 ounces vegan mozzarella
  • 4 ounces Gardein plant-based sliced italian saus'ge lightly browned
  • to taste oregano

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Add tomato sauce, milk, cooked pasta, and oregano to greased casserole dish and stir to coat.
  • Add sausage slices and cheese to taste (saving some cheese for topping) and stir to combine.
  • Top with cheese and extra oregano, if desired.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is brown and melted.
  • Serve & enjoy!

Notes

  1. I like to pour the non-dairy milk directly into the tomato sauce jar & shake to get the remnants in there!
  2. I typically use Earth Grown mozzarella shreds. But remember, some vegan cheese won't melt as well as their non-vegan counterparts—but they'll be delicious nevertheless! 
  3. Can substitute Italian seasoning blend in place of oregano, if preferred. 
Keyword Baked, Pasta


Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Have you made your own version of this pasta bake or another of my vegan recipes? Comment below or tag me at @anideallifeblog if you share on social media!

Brunch-Worthy Basic Avocado Toast

Like so many posts here on I’ve written, the story behind this recipe take place in England.  Really, avocado toast was my primary sustenance while living abroad (save, perhaps, for chips with a drizzle of vinegar)!  Whether I met up with a friend for brunch at Boston Tea Party or needed a filling breakfast before class, it was quick and delicious!  Over time, I’ve made my avocado toast recipe my own.

Jump to Recipe

The amounts below are largely estimated, since I “wing it” every time.  That being said, this recipe is extremely customisable. Originally, I topped it with a light sprinkle of red pepper flakes, but I soon realised I prefer it without. I’d occasionally try it with a bit of cumin or chili, but this is plenty delicious topping-free.  When I later discovered Aldi’s Who Needs the Bagel? seasoning, it was my go-to for a while. That’s the version pictured below!

Get your favourite Aldi seasonings delivered to your door with Instacart—and use our referral link for $10 off your first order!

In short, adjust to your heart’s content! A drizzle of sriracha would add some tasty spice, or you could add some other veggies for something even more nutritious. Or, try my tempeh-topped vegan bacon avocado toast for a version with more bulk and smoky flavour.

basic avocado toast

Basic Avocado Toast

Enjoy brunch-worth avocado toast without leaving home!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Servings 2 slices

Ingredients
  

  • 1 avocado large, ripe
  • 2 slices bread
  • 3/4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice approximately
  • 1/2 tsp salt approximately
  • 1/2 tsp cumin approximately
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder approximately
  • 1/2 tsp paprika approximately
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder approximately; can substitute garlic salt, but I usually hold the regular salt!
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper optional
  • 1 pinch everything bagel seasoning optional

Instructions
 

  • Toast bread. 
  • While toasting, halve avocado and scoop out the fruit. Mash with fork. 
  • Add oil and lemon juice, combine. 
  • Add salt, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and garlic powder.  
  • Scoop out half of the avocado mixture and spread on toast. Add remaining mixture to second piece of toast.  
  • Top with crushed red pepper flakes, everything bagel seasoning, or your preferred topping, if desired.  

Tried it?  Let us know what you think and be sure to share your version of my basic avoocado toast in the comments below or @anideallifeblog!

Vegan Ice Cream to Beat the Heat

Vegan Ice Cream Options to Beat the Heat

I’m not much of a fan of warm weather to begin with, but when summer hits here in Pennsylvania, I’m already waiting for autumn.  But, in the meantime, ice cream is the perfect treat to make even the most sweltering summertime heat a little more bearable. Luckily, there are lots of vegan ice cream options for us dairy-free folks!

Store-Bought

Believe it or not, some of your favourite ice cream brands offer a non-dairy option—or a variety of flavours!  Here are a few of my favourites:

So Delicious

So Delicious is a huge player in non-dairy products, and for good reason!  They have dozens of options for dairy-free frozen desserts, with an assortment of “milk” bases.

Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry’s is a long-time favourite for so many people, and their vegan options are delicious!  Chocolate Fudge Brownie is a personal favourite.

Baskin-Robbins

Baskin-Robbins was a later addition to the vegan-friendy ice cream game, but better late than never! Try their non-dairy options, including strawberry streusel or chocolate chip cookie dough, at a BR near you for a cool, convenient treat.

Halo Top

Halo Top’s non-dairy options are some of my personal favourites!  Chocolate-covered banana is probably my top pick, but they’ve got more than a dozen flavours to choose from.  Candy bar was another favourite before we discovered my peanut allergy!

Häagen-Dazs

I actually had no idea that Häagen-Dazs had vegan options, before researching this post!  These are some I’ll definitely have to try ASAP.

Tofutti

Tofutti’s ice cream sandwiches were actually the very first kind I tried after going vegan!  They were available in my college dining hall, of all places.  I’m afraid I haven’t tried many of their many options since, but those cuties will always hold a special place in my heart!

Breyers

This is another one that came as a total surprise to me!  Breyers truly seems to be everywhere, so I have no idea how I never knew they had vegan options.  I’m on a mission to find that non-dairy Oreo!

Recipes

Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream, Loving It Vegan

A classic!

Cold Brew Coffee & Coconut Milk Ice Cream, Feed Your Beauty

Coffee is always the answer.

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream, Elephantastic Vegan

Bananas are a super common ingredient in “nice cream,” so this pairing is a must!

5-Minute Vegan Creamsicles, It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

Creamsicles have got to be one of the refreshing desserts out there!

Vegan Lavender Ice Cream, Homegrown Provisions

I love, love, love lavender, so this is one I’ll definitely have to try soon!

Vegan Key Lime Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches, Rabbit and Wolves

Merging delicious desserts can only make another delicious dessert, right?

Healthy Coconut Strawberry Banana “Ice Cream,” Tastefulventure

Strawberry banana is one of my favourite combinations!

Vegan Cookie Dough Ice Cream, The Loopy Whisk

Like coffee and chocolate, cookie dough is always a good idea.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream, Create Mindfully

Remember how I mentioned being ready for autumn?  This is the perfect transition dessert!

Aquafaba Ice Cream, The Hidden Veggies

Aquafaba is pretty much a vegan miracle ingredient!

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, Wallflower Kitchen

I always think of my first college roommate when I think of mint chocolate chip—it was her favourite!

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars, Vegan Huggs

My memory’s a bit fuzzy, but I think they used to have the “normal” version of these at school every so often! It’s super exciting to find a vegan option, and the chance to have a taste of nostalgia.

Vegan Turmeric Ginger Ice Cream, Jessi’s Kitchen

Turmeric and ginger are both chock-full of health benefits…so this means ice cream can be healthy, right?

Chocolate Malted Vegan Ice Cream, The Cheeky Chickpea

I never liked malt as a kid, but I discovered it just before going vegan and have jumped on every chance to try a vegan sort since!

Local options Near You

Don’t want to make your own, but don’t want to run to the store either?  Keep an eye out for local vegan options!  Here in Pennsylvania, Vegan Treats offers delicious vegan soft serve, and I recently found out that Yogurt City in Dickson City offers vegan options, too!  As vegan offerings grow internationally, there’s a decent chance that you can find local options that are closer than you’d expect.  And, if not, you’ve got these brands and recipes on hand to keep you well-stocked through the rest of the summer!

Which vegan ice cream option is your favourite? Let us know in the comments!

Homemade (Accidentally Vegan) Cranberry Sauce

Homemade (Accidentally Vegan) Cranberry Sauce

I was never really a fan of cranberry sauce when growing up.  Besides just being a picky kid, I always pictured the gelatinous canned kind.  That was hardly appealing! But, when I discovered the homemade type, I was hooked.

Jump to Recipe

 

Ever since then, I’ve demanded (okay, maybe I asked rather nicely) we have my go-to homemade recipe alongside the jellied kind, if not as the main event (well, the main event in terms of cranberry-based dishes).

This yummy cranberry sauce is a billion times better than the canned version (in my clearly unbiased opinion).  And, with a bit of care in choosing your ingredients, it’s accidentally vegan, too! Pay attention to your marmalade, in particular—you want one that uses pectin rather than gelatin (which is non-vegan and, unfortunately, very prevalent).

cranberry sauce ingredients

Orange is a perfect flavour complement to the tangy cranberries.  Together, they’re the perfect accent to a heavy Thanksgiving dinner! And, though I associate this with Thanksgiving and the holiday season at large, you could make this any time of year, really.

Best of all, this recipe couldn’t be much simpler. Once you’ve got your cranberries hot enough & popping, you can largely relax while the sauce simmers. On Thanksgiving, in particular, that’s a welcome concept. We have enough food to prepare otherwise! You can even prepare your cranberry sauce the night before and refrigerate it until the big event.

Try it and let us know what you think!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

This tangy-sweet topping is the perfect addition to Thanksgiving or any occasion!
Prep Time 0 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 20

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Stovetop

Ingredients
  

  • 24 ounces cranberries whole, fresh
  • 16 ounces orange marmalade vegan
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Add all ingredients to saucepan and heat on high, stirring frequently for 15 minutes.
  • Once cranberries start to pop, reduce heat and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, let cool, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Keyword Thanksgiving

 

cranberry sauce ingredients - stovetop

Mini - An Ideal Life