Recipe Inspiration

Wait, what? All wines aren't vegan?

Post written by: Mike Fish, VegFest London Committee Member

Now, this might come as a surprise to you, I know it did to me. Did you know that not all wine is vegan? For something so simple (we’re talking 1 ingredient: grape juice), many people are shocked to learn that there might be animal by-products floating in their wine. Sadly it’s true.

Wait, what do you mean vegan friendly wines? For centuries, winemakers have been using animal based products during the production process. From Ox blood, to egg whites, these products are most commonly used to ‘fine’ a wine. That is, to remove protein solids suspended in a wine after fermentation.  This process is also used to clarify soups, turning them into a consommé.  The idea, is that the proteins in something like egg whites attract the organic sediment suspended in the wine and together they sink to the bottom of the tank or barrel. The winemaker can then rack (syphon) the wine off the sediment, leaving it behind in the tank, resulting in a clearer wine.  These methods aren’t unique to the wine world. Beers, spirits and some juices/soft drinks are often fined using similar techniques.  Many products used to fine beverages have harmless enough sounding names like isinglass (fish bladder) and casein (protein from cow’s milk) trace amounts (we’re talking parts per million) can find their way into a bottle of wine and cause problems for people with allergies, not to mention go against a vegan life philosophy.  

Now, all this being said, there seems to be a trend in the wine world to use more natural methods during production. There is, in fact, a ‘natural wine movement’, but that’s a topic for another week.  Bentonite clay & ceramic filters are more commonly being utilized as an alternative to animal products and do a great job ridding a wine of unwanted organic particles. At Glassroots, we have close to 15 wines available, all of them are high quality & vegan friendly. It’s a good time to be a vegan wine drinker.

So, how does one know if a wine is vegan-friendly? Unfortunately, wineries are not required to list any ingredients or fining agents used in their wines which makes it tricky. Much of the Canadian wine industry is without regulation and creates a bit of a ‘wine wild west’ situation. The only resource out there is which has an extensive list of vegan friendly wines, spirits & beers. So, now that you know what to look for and how to look for it, I urge you to seek out more ‘natural wines’. In my opinion they’re better wines anyway.

I encourage you to write to your favourite wineries and ask them if their wines are vegan friendly. If not, let them know that you would be interested in purchasing their product if they were and that clear labeling would compel more purchases. For local Canadian wines, look for producers like Karlo Estates, Creekside, Fielding and Henry of Pelham to name a few.

Mike Fish is a certified Canadian Wine Scholar and holds a Level 3 award through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and has recently entered the Court of Master Sommeliers. Mike was recently named VQA Promoter of the year by Brock University, he’s a freelance sommelier, the former vice-president of the Ontario Wine Society London Chapter and co-owner of Glassroots, a new downtown restaurant offering an extensive All-Canadian wine list. 


Passes are limited, purchase yours today!  You won't want to miss this inaugural London event.  

And here's a delicious and refreshing drink recipe, compliments of Mike, for these hot and hazy summer days...Rasp-Basil Booch Lemonade.


Rasp-Basil Booch Lemonade

Muddle fresh basil & lemon zest

1 oz Vodka

1/2 oz Elderflower Liqueur

1oz Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 oz simple syrup or preferred sweetener

3 oz Raspberry/Lemon Booch Organic Kombucha

Garnish with Lemon Twist & Fresh Basil Leaf

In a mixing glass, gently muddle the fresh basil and lemon zest. Add the vodka, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and simple syrup and shake with ice. Strain the mixture into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with Raspberry Lemon Booch and garnish with a lemon twist and fresh basil. Enjoy!

End of Summer Picnic

Though Labour Day has come and gone, summer does not officially end until later this month. Which means there is still lots of time to take advantage of the warm weather and let's be honest no gathering in the backyard or park is the same without vegan food (and LOTS of it).

Julia Childs once said "a party without a cake is just a meeting" and we sort of have to agree, after all you can't really have a VegFest London meeting without an epic vegan picnic. Members of our VegFest London committee recreated some of their favourite summer dishes and we've shared all of the links and recipes below for you to enjoy. 

Fuel for our brainstorming ;)


Click on the photos above for links to the recipes or choose from the list below.

Recipe Links
Spicy Chickpea Veggie Burger
Kale Caesar Salad 
Potato Salad
Fruit Salsa
Fudgy Chocolate Mousse Pie
Garlicky Avocado Spinach Dip

We'd love to know, what's your favourite vegan picnic recipe?



Fudgy Chocolate Mousse Pie


  • 1 9” graham cracker pie crust—ready made, or make your own—see below for crust recipe.
  • 340g or 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup very strong coffee
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 450g/15 oz silken tofu, drained and crumbled (organic is recommended)
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • ⅛ tsp salt

Makes one 9" pie


1. Combine chocolate chips, coffee and vanilla in a metal bowl. Place the metal bowl over a pot of simmering water, and frequently stir the chocolate mixture with a spatula until it's completely melted.
2. In a blender combine tofu, agave nectar, and chocolate mixture. Carefully blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. There should be absolutely no white chunks of tofu left.
3. Pour the mixture into your prepared crust, and refrigerate the pie for 2 hours, or until the pudding is firm. Serve with whipped coconut cream. *Can be made ahead of time and served the next day.

Cookie Crust


  • 1 16-ounce package vegan-friendly cookies (Oreo’s, Newman O’s, honey-free graham crackers, etc.)
  • 7 T. dairy-free margarine, melted
  • 1 T. sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lightly oil a 9" pie plate and set aside.
2. In a blender, process the cookies until the mixture resembles very fine crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a mixing bowl and combine with the melted dairy-free soy margarine and sugar until well blended. Press into the prepared pie plate and bake for about 10 minutes, or until evenly browned. Use for dairy-free cheesecakes or pies.

Recipe submitted by Brittany Bragg

Kale Caesar Salad

Parm Cheese

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • Salt to taste

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until nuts have ground down.

Click here for the caesar salad dressing recipe and here for the tempeh facon recipe.

Parm Cheese recipe submitted by Melanie Gamsby

Fruit Salsa Recipe


Salsa Ingredients

  • 1 quart of strawberries
  • 2 kiwis

  • 1 lime (juiced)

  • Optional add ins: zest from a lime/lemon, minced ginger, mint

Tortilla Chip Ingredients

  • 1 pkg of prepared small tortilla wraps

  • 4 teaspoons of cinnamon

  • Water


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Dice up strawberries and kiwi and place in a bowl with the juice from 1 lime. Mix. Set aside in the fridge.

  • Lightly spritz water with a spray bottle onto one tortilla wrap at a time. Sprinkle ¼ - ½ teaspoon of cinnamon on each tortilla wrap, over top of the water. Alternatively you can quickly run the tortilla wraps under the sink to dampen them.

  • Cut tortilla wraps into chips and place on a non-stick baking sheet or parchment lined sheet.

  • Bake chips for 5-7 minutes.

  • Begin dipping your chips and enjoy :)

Recipe submitted by Sheila Osterhout