Yellow Lentil Dahl with Cauliflower and Spinach

February 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

One way that I jazz up a pot of dahl is to add veggies. In this recipe I use undercooked cauliflower to add crunch and spinach for the nutrients.  Lentils are extremely healthy and have the third highest protein by weight of any legume or nut after soy beans and hemp. Combined with a grain like brown rice, it makes a complete protein.

Cooking time 45 minutes
Serves 4

1 cup dry yellow lentil
5 cups (1.25 L) water
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1/2 tsp (2 ml) black mustard seeds
3 seeds of fenugreek
1/2 tsp (2 ml) cumin seeds
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp (5 ml) ground ginger
1/4 cup ( 60 ml) diced red onions
1/2 tsp (2 ml) turmeric
1/2 cup (125 ml) cauliflower florets
2 cups (500 ml) spinach leaves
1 1/2 tsp (8 ml) salt

1. Rinse the lentils and soak overnight. Drain and rinse the lentil and add water.
2. Bring the lentils to a boil and cook on medium heat until the lentil are soft, about 30 minutes or so. With a potato masher, mash the lentils.
3. Heat a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat and add the oil. Add the mustard seeds, cumin and fenugreek and cook until the seeds pop, 30 seconds to one minute.
4. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until golden about 30 seconds. Then add the onion and cook until caramelized.
5. Add the turmeric and stir quickly to prevent the turmeric from burning. Quickly add the cauliflower. Cook the cauliflower until the outside begins to soften and starts to turn transparent. Don’t over cook the cauliflower as it will continue to cook in the dahl.
6. Transfer the cauliflower into the pot of dahl. Add the spinach to the saucepan and cook until wilted.
7. Add the mixture from the saucepan to the dahl. Add the salt and enjoy.

Mixed Green Salad with Beets, Blueberries and Walnuts

February 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Salads that eat like a meal, like this one here, can be healthy snacks that tie down your appetite between meals. The combination of the sweet beets and blueberries with the savoury feta and walnuts, creates contrasting flavours that satisfies the palate. In the summer when I want something light for dinner, I often make this salad.

Prep time 10 minutes
Makes 1 salad

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) mixed greens
1/4 cup (60 ml) boiled and sliced beets
1/4 cup (60 ml) cherry tomatoes
1/8 cup (30 ml) feta (optional)
1/8 cup (30 ml) blueberries
1/8 cup (30 ml) roughly chopped walnuts.

1. Arrange the ingredients on a salad plate in the order listed above.
2. Drizzle with your favourite dressing and enjoy.

Winter Squash Curry

February 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

People often ask me how I cook with squash. It seems that there are two popular ways to cook squash, roasted in the oven with drizzled olive oil and salt or as a big pot of soup. Indians only have one way of cooking, they turn everything into a curry.  As a kid I detested squash curry. My mother a fanatic of squash, made it way to often for my liking.  As an adult I have learnt to appreciate the flavour of this curry and my kids love the sweetness and of it. Use a sweet squash for this recipe and serve with hot flatbread on the side.

Cooking time 60 minutes
Serves 4
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

4 cups (1 L) roasted squash
3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil
2 tsp (10 ml) black mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) cumin seeds
3 cloves
7 cardamom pods
1 tsp (5 ml) ginger
5 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup (125 ml) diced onions
1/2 tsp (2 ml) tumeric
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) salt

1. Cut the squash in half and take out the guts. Place on a lined baking tray and roast in the oven for half and hour or until the squash is cooked. Let cool. Peel of skin and chop into 1 inch pieces.

2. Add 1 tbsp of oil to a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat. Crush the cardamom and cloves and add to the hot oil along with the mustard and cumin seeds.

3. When the seeds pop add the garlic and ginger and sauté until they brown about 30 seconds. Add the onions and sauté until caramelized.

4. Add the turmeric, stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the squash and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Depending on how much moisture is in the squash, you may need to adjust the amount of oil that you need. Cook until the squash softens and all the flavours incorporate 5-10 minutes.

Black Olive Tapenade

February 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Olives are one of my favorite foods and I eat them almost every day. I like to make a platter with a handful of olives, cheese and crackers that  I eat for a snack or nibble on while I am cooking. To make olive tapenade all you do is throw a few things into a blender or food processor and it’s ready. Besides the obvious ways to use tapenade, you can easily dress up a sandwich by smearing on a layer of tapenade. Or you can mix a spoon of tapenade in a small bowl of plain vegan mayo and replace that with the plain mayo that you use in your sandwich.

1 small clove of garlic
1 tsp (5 ml) lemon juice
2 tsp (10 ml) olive oil
1/4 – 1/2 tsp (1 ml – 3 ml) salt (depends on the salt in the olives)
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped cilantro
1 cup (250 Ml) pitted kalamata olives

1. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil and garlic in a blender and blend together.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend on low being careful to not over process the olives.
3. Serves with crackers and cheese.

Alphabet Minestrone Soup

February 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

This soup is really easy to make and fun to eat. My son says that his favourite thing about this soup is making words on his spoon with the alphabet shapes. It takes me back to when I was a kid and would stick my fingers in my soup and do the same. I guess somethings don’t change.

I had to look around before I found organic alphabet pasta at a health food store. The pasta expands quite a bit when you cook it so you don’t need that much. The amount of water that you add may vary based on how much is absorbed by the pasta. To make an adult version of this soup, try it with hot sauce and fresh ground pepper.

Makes 4-6 servings
Cooking time 25 minutes

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 cup (125 ml) diced onions
2 1/2 cups (625 ml) diced tomatoes
1 cup (250 ml) diced carrots
1 cup (250 ml) corn
1 cup (250 ml) peas
1 cup (250 ml) broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups (398 ml) kidney beans
4 1/2 cups (1125 ml) boiling water
2 cups (500 ml) cooked alphabet pasta
1 tbsp (15 ml) salt

1. Heat a large stock pot on medium-high heat. When it’s hot add the olive oil. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds until the garlic browns.

2. Add the diced onions and cook until transparent, 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and turn the heat to high. Cook until the tomatoes turn to mush, you may need to add some water.

4. Add the vegetables and cook until they soften and the kidney beans.

5. Add the water, pasta and salt and bring to a boil. When the soup boils it’s ready to serve.

Root Vegetable Hashbrowns

February 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

These root vegetable hash browns are much healthier than eating just regular potatoes. For this recipe I use beets, purple and red potatoes and carrots. These hash browns are full of flavour and much lighter than the regular ones. Plus you still get that satisfying feeling after you eat them. I serve these on the side of tofu omelettes and sometimes eat them alone as a snack.

Cooking time 45 minutes
Makes 4 servings

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) beets
2 cups (500 ml) purple potatoes
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) carrots
3 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp (1 ml) tumeric
1/8 tsp (1 ml) oregano
1/2 tsp (3 ml) salt

1. Rinse and scrub the root vegetables with a brush.
2. Boil water in a kettle and transfer to a stock pot, this uses less energy.
3. Bring the water to a boil and add the beets.
4. Cook for the beets for about 10 – 15 minutes and then add the potatoes.
5. When a thin knife slides into the potatoes easily and when the potatoes are still firm add the carrots.
6. Cook for about 3-5 minutes and then drain the vegetables. Cut
7. Heat a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat and add the olive oil.
8. Add the beets and cook for about 3 minutes.
9. Add the potatoes and drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Grab the handle of the pan and toss the vegetables, this will make the veggies crispy on the outside.
10. Add the carrots and another 1 tbsp of olive oil. Toss the vegetables.
11. When the vegetables are nearly roasted add the spices, toss and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Croissant Veggie BLT

February 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Using a croissant instead of regular bread turns any sandwich into a gourmet one. The buttery flavour and flaky texture of the croissant, compliments the smokey flavour of the veggie bacon. I like to use spinach leaves in my sandwiches to add variety.

Cooking time 10 minutes

croissant cut in half
1/2 tsp (2 ml) olive oil
2-3 strips veggie bacon
thinly sliced tomato
fresh spinach leaves
vegan mayo (optional)

1. Cut the croissant in half and lay on a tray. Preheat the oven on low heat.
2. Prep the veggies and have the mayo ready.
3. Drizzle olive oil into a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat and add the veggie bacon. The veggie bacon cooks quickly so stay close by. When it starts to sizzle, flip over about a minute. Cook for another 30 seconds and place on croissant.
4. Add the toppings and eat while warm.

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