Wild Leek Cauliflower Burger, photograph by Jared Sych.

While meat tends to get all the attention when it comes to summer barbecuing, the intense heat of the grill is also perfect for vegetables. The Coup (pronounced “coo”) in Calgary, Alta., has been serving plant-based meals since 2004, with a focus on local, organic, environmentally friendly and sustainable fare.

Spring and summer are the most inspiring times for chef Adam Ryan, who looks forward to rhubarb, asparagus, wild leeks, mushrooms, berries, soft leafy greens and maple syrup.

“When I’m looking for inspiration to make anything—whether it be a plant-based burger, something to cook for dinner or a new menu item—my first thought is what’s in season and what is grown in Canada?” Ryan says.

Recipe: Wild Leek Cauliflower Burgers

Serves 4-6


  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 ½ cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 ¼ cups white cheese curds
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp molasses
  • ½ tsp dried chili flakes
  • 220 g smoked tempeh
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • ½ cup thinly sliced wild leeks (white part only)
  • 2 to 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp thyme, finely chopped
  • Canola oil, for cooking
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 to 6 soft burger buns


1. Soak the cashews in cold water for 24 hours, or boil them for 10 minutes; drain well. Put them in a food processor with the cauliflower, cheese curds, vinegar, molasses and chili flakes. Pulse the mixture until it forms a smooth paste. Add the crumbled tempeh, sunflower seeds, green onions, leeks and thyme and stir together.

2. Shape the mixture into four to six patties and chill on a piece of parchment paper in the refrigerator for three hours. When ready to cook, rub each with a little canola oil, season with salt and pepper and grill on both sides until the patties are caramelize. Serve on soft buns with a mixture of condiments and toppings.

Substitution: Go vegan by switching out the cheese curds with semi-firm tofu.

Tip: If the vegetable patties seem soft, cook them in a cast-iron skillet set on the grill.

[This story appears in the July 2019 issue of WestJet Magazine]