Tag Archives: dinner

Artichoke and Lentil Salad

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Let’s add artichokes to my list of addictions. I will never be able to get enough of them. Initially, I wanted to undertake the great task of using a fresh artichoke. However, I guess I picked an extremely unripe one so in frustration I walked to Provigo and bought a jar of marinated artichoke hearts. It was a damn good idea.

The jar of artichoke hearts I bought were marinated in oregano so this tasted extremely similar to the lentil salad I posted in November, I chose to be lazy and used a bit of the oil they were marinated in as the dressing, and just added a huge squeeze of lemon juice. The major upgrade in this is the addition of a whole ton of fresh herbs.

If you’re like me, you have leftovers up the… yeah. So this comes together super easily when there are cooked lentils ready and waiting in the fridge. I suppose this could also work with a grain such as amaranth or rice (or quinoa!), but it would also work as a starter/ side salad for a bigger meal without the grain or lentils. VERSATILITY! I’ll just admit to being a bit of a lazy “cook/chef/baker” and say that I use whatever is in the fridge. I usually just go grocery shopping with flavours in mind, and get what’s on sale. I’m quite a compulsive grocery shopper… and yet I never buy cookies….. I digress. This salad is wonderful. The solid lentils and the slippery artichokes and the salty marinade/oil rock and lasted well the next day for lunch. 

ARTICHOKE AND LENTIL SALAD: serves 2

  • 3/4 cup – 1 cup cooked french lentils
  • 2 cups spring greens (or spinach, or chard, or kale, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly ripped
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly ripped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons artichoke marinade, (or olive oil with a sprinkle of dried oregano)
  • 4 whole marinated artichoke hearts, cut into quarters
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

In a large salad bowl, mix all ingredients except the artichoke heart segments, and a few leaves of each fresh herb. Divide the salad into two bowls and divide the artichoke segments equally. Garnish with the remaining fresh herbs and add a healthy grind of black pepper on top.

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Spicy Pumpkin Soup

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MY SEMESTER IS FINALLY OVER. Yet I don’t feel any weight has been lifted because I know I have to go back in a few weeks… sigh. I guess all I can do to comfort me is eat some wonderfully warming food (including lots of chocolate).

I know this isn’t very festive, but I’m not in the festive mood. And I had left over pumpkin puree in my freezer. And I was craving a velvety smooth soup. I contemplated having a pumpkin and ginger soup, but I feel a bit over loaded on ginger these days so I used cayenne pepper to add a hearty, spicy punch. The leftovers thickened up very nicely; I dipped crackers and veggies into it like a dip. I also had one serving of leftovers with wild rice and cilantro and pumpkin seeds – pictured at the end (it was nice having something a bit heartier in the soup to add texture, but I liked it better without the rice – maybe on top of brown rice or quinoa would be better?).

SPICY PUMPKIN SOUP: (serves 4)

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 4 small garlic cloves
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • scallions, for garnish
  • pepper, to taste

Method:

In a medium sauce pan, heat the grapeseed oil on medium heat an sautee the onions and garlic until the onions are transparent; about 3 minutes.

In a high speed blender, blend the cooked onions and garlic with the pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, turmeric and salt until very smooth. (I let the blender run for about 90 seconds)

Pour the puree into the medium sauce pan and warm on medium heat. It’ll only take 3-4 minutes to warm the soup up.

Garnish with chopped scallions and black pepper.

Leftovers with wild rice, cilantro and pumpkin seeds.

Leftovers with wild rice, cilantro and pumpkin seeds.

Za’atar Rice Pilaf

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Let’s talk about how little time there is. For me, my free time is spent reading articles for classes, writing essays, writing more essays, and making my lunch (and often dinner) for the next day. I had minimal time to celebrate my birthday last week (which is okay because the holidays are right around the corner). I have ten million essays due and six million exams this next week. I have practical exams in my technique classes. Essentially, my time is very scheduled these days. ALL THAT TO SAY: My meals lately have been simple to make. This is no exception!

Rice. Spinach. Tofu. Onion. Almonds. Dried Cranberries. Balsamic Vinegar. Za’atar. Tasty, easy, lasted for many meals, filling, wonderful.

ZA’ATAR RICE PILAF: serves 2

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup Long grain brown rice (basmati, or short grain brown, or wild rice would also rock)
  • 4 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 10oz package of tofu, crumbled,
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped (I used white, but purple onion or shallots would be good too)
  • 2 tablespoons raw almonds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon za’atar spice

Method:

In a medium sauce pan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add rice. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let cook for 20-25 minutes (until all the water as absorbed and the rice is… cooked).

Place the rice in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well and serve warm.

Here is a version I made for lunch with mushrooms and fried onions.

Here is a version I made for lunch with mushrooms and fried onions.

As all my recipes are, this can serve as a base for an infinite number of dishes. With a base of rice, add chopped veggies and onions, with some protein (it doesn’t have to be tofu) and some nuts or grains and top with any kind of spice. For example, you could add crumbled tempeh, kale, parsley, cucumber, tahini and top it with cayenne and chili flakes… I don’t know if that’d actually be good… I should try it… I digress, rice is a good base for simple meals.

On a side note: WE HAVE SNOW HERE! Time to pull out my parka and drink all the tea. Much love.

Lentil Salad

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LENTILS! What vegan doesn’t love them? I used this recipe from 101cookbooks, but I added almonds, hemp hearts and had the lentils on a bed of spring greens (even though it is not even close to spring time…).

This recipe was fabulous. The french lentils held their shape nicely and the simple dressing of oregano, olive oil, salt and lemon juice was satisfying. Sometimes it’s the simple things that are best. (Don’t get me wrong, making an extravagant dish is rewarding, but so is the humble olive oil). I sliced up half an avocado to have on the side with a squeeze of lemon. The amount of lentils I made lasted me for 3 days and it kept amazingly. By the third day, the oregano was super fragrant and delicious.

One last note, this recipe was EASY. Cooked the lentils, and that was pretty much it. I even did an outline for an essay while the lentils were cooking! If you don’t have time to cook your own lentils, no biggie. Just use two cans of lentils and make a little bit more dressing. If you want to learn how to cook lentils, check the note at the bottom!

LENTIL SALAD: serves 2

  • 1 cup dried lentils (or about 2 cups cooked)*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 handfuls of spring mix greenery (spinach, kale, chard or lettuce would also work)
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped

Method:

Rinse the lentils and pick out any stones or weird things. In a large pot, cover the lentils with two cups of water and cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Add water as needed to make sure the lentils are just barely covered. (Lentils are cooked as soon as they are tender and no longer crunchy.*)

Meanwhile, combine the oregano, olive oil, salt and lemon juice in a small bowl. Put two handfuls of greenery on each plate. Once the lentils are cooked, divide them onto each plate on top of the greenery.

Pour half of the dressing over each plate and garnish with almonds, hemp hearts and green onions. Add some extra salt, pepper or lemon juice (or avocado) as needed! Enjoy.

Much love and many easy meals as November… RUSHES INTO DECEMBER. OMG WHERE HAS THE YEAR GONE?

*Note: This is a great resource for how to cook lentils.

Pan Seared Sweet Potatoes and Ginger Fried Mung Beans

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This recipe is also called The Ugliest Dish that Tastes Like Heaven Itself. The horrid colour combination of the green mung beans and the golden raisins and the orange sweet potatoes and the pink shallots are atrocious. I mean, I’m sure you could plate everything to look WAY nicer (nicer than the tupperware…), but I don’t find it to be something visually appealing… at all.

Now that I’ve given you reason to leave my blog and not even look at the recipe, let me try redeem myself: the sweet potatoes, after being pan-seared then roasted for ten minutes, were so sweet and tender. The mung beans, fried in a copious amount of fresh ginger was so warming! All I can say is that the flavours worked together to bring a Cheshire cat-like smile to my face (and belly).

And as always, forgive my tupperware photos…

PAN-SEARED SWEET POTATOES AND GINGER FRIED MUNG BEANS: (serves two)

  • 1/3 cup dried mung beans
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped golden raisins
  • salt

Method:

In a medium bowl, soak the mung beans At least 1 1/2 cup water overnight.

Preheat oven to 375F and prep a baking pan with grapeseed or coconut oil, or parchment paper.

Heat the grapeseed oil in a large heavy skillet on medium-high heat. When a drop of water loudly sizzles in the oil, place the sweet potato rounds in the skillet and cover for about 3 minutes. Uncover and flip the sweet potatoes, cover and let cook for another 3 minutes. (Check the potatoes frequently to ensure they don’t burn but instead they crisp) Once the potatoes have browned to your desired browness/crispiness, transfer them to the prepped baking sheet and pop into the oven for 7-10 minutes.

In the same skillet, add a bit more grapeseed oil and reduce the heat (to medium). Toss in the ginger and the shallots and let cook until translucent (about 3 minutes). Drain and rinse the soaked mung beans, then add them to the skillet along with the golden raisins. Let cook another 3 minutes.

To serve, place some sweet potato rounds on a plate and top with the mung beans.

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I think next time I make this, I would caramelize the onions, or fry the onions up SUPER crispy. Over all, this was a supremely hearty and wholesome meal.

Cashew Ginger Carrot Soup

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HAPPY FRIDAY! What is better to soothe the soul and welcome in the chilly weather than a thick hearty soup? I saw this soup in Provigo in a premade tetra-pak (like you see veggie broth) that you just heat and serve, so I decided to try my luck with a nutty soup! I absolutely adore how the cashews make it super creamy and thick. The one thing I would do next time is increase the amount of ginger. That being said, I am a ginger fiend. I know many people might reduce the amount of ginger, but I really loved the punch it packed.

After having a fresh and warm bowl straight off the stove with a piece of toast, I put the remaining soup in the fridge. The next day I had it cold (with more tahini and lemon juice) and I dipped broccoli, zucchini, green beans and crackers into it. IT WAS AWESOME. It had thickened up in the fridge and made for a wonderful dip.

I want to make more soups to keep me warm that use nuts as a thickener, any suggestions? Pumpkin & ginger? Pumpkin & apple? Butternut squash & pear? Spinach & curry? I’LL JUST MAKE ALL THE SOUPS.

CASHEW GINGER CARROT SOUP (serves 4):

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for atleast 2 hours
  • 2 tablespoons grapseed oil
  • 2lbs carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon corriander
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock/broth
  • Optional: red wine vinegar to taste

To garnish:

  • small handful flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 teaspoons tahini
  • fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of sunflower seeds
  • fresh ground pepper

Method:

A few hours before cooking, soak 1/2 cup raw cashews in a bowl with enough water to cover them completely.

In a large pot, over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the carrots, celery, garlic fresh ginger, thyme, cumin, corriander, pinch of cayenne, and about 1 teaspoon salt to the pot; stirring occasionally, let the carrots brown with the lid on (about 10 minutes). They will become quite fragrant and begin to soften. Add the soaked cashews and let cook for another 2 or 3 minutes with the lid on.

Add the vegetable broth to the carrots, bring to a boil then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the carrots and celery are very tender (a fork should easily cut through).

Using an immersion blender, or by transferring into a blender in batched, puree the soup until thick and creamy! Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt or even red wine vinegar (I used 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar)

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with a sprinkling of parsley, a teaspoon of tahini, a big squeeze of lemon juice, a large pinch of sunflower seeds, and a healthy grind of pepper.

Devour!

How I Love Thee: Favorite Formulas

So this week, I’m pretty darned busy (that’s a lie, I’m ALWAYS RIDICULOUSLY BUSY). I just don’t have enough time to post this week so I’ve decided to share with you some of my favorite recipes I’ve tried!

1. Breakfast: Orange Pistachio Cinnamon Rolls: These cinnamon rolls are phenomenal. I made them in the summer with my dad and they turned out surprisingly well. We added extra orange juice and zest to the dough and we added LOTS of raisins to the filling (because everything I eat obviously must be packed with raisins…). They were perfect in the morning with a giant coffee (or green tea). And they were also perfect for lunch with a big salad. And again, they were perfect for dinner with a stir-fry and some quinoa…

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(My photo)

2. Lunch: Corn, Avocado, Blueberry, Kale Salad: Seriously simple, tasty and filling. For the dressing, I excluded mint (just because I didn’t have any), the 1/2 avocado, and the shallot (because I didn’t want to use the blender). I ended up chopping the shallot directly into the salad instead and I’m REALLY glad I did. I love shallots.

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(Photo Credit)

3. Dinner: Soba Noodles with Tahini Sauce: The recipe recommends you eat it chilled, but I’m a fan of it warm and fresh from the pot. I of course added frozen peas, but otherwise I made no changes! It was perfect to have after a long day at school, quick to make and oddly satisfying.

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(Photo Credit)

Well. There you go! Three for now, and another three will indubitably follow (Should this be a thing I do often?). I Hope you all have a wonderful week full of love and magic and MOST IMPORTANTLY good food.