Posts in Lunch
Masala Millet Bowl

It's no secret that I LOVE Indian food. I adore the flavour combinations, not to mention the healing benefits of the spices and ingredients used. The flavour base for most Indian dishes contains Turmeric, well known for it's positive effects on digestive health as well as it's anti-inflammatory properties. 

Back in October I had the pleasure of attending a South-Indian inspired cooking class taught by the lovely Reena at the Westboro Brainery. That magical food inspired this dish! I have only made minor changes to her original recipes in order to pump up the nutritional value of this already very healing and super delicious food! 

I hope you enjoy this Masala bowl, packed with detoxifying greens, plant based proteins, and the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric.

Oh man, I'm getting so hungry just looking at this mouthwatering Picture by  Miaou Photgraphy .

Oh man, I'm getting so hungry just looking at this mouthwatering Picture by Miaou Photgraphy.

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, or one large can
  • 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • pinch cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350f. 
  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas, pat dry with a towel, for a toastier, crispier result. 
  3. Toss all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until chickpeas are well coated. 
  4. line a baking sheet with parchment paper or reusable silicone baking pad and spread chickpeas in a single layer. Bake for 20-25  minutes until desired crunchiness is achieved. 

*While chickpeas bake, prepare the Potato and Kale Masala. 

Potato Kale Masala 

Ingredients 

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 potatoes, washed, diced and steamed (no need to peel) 
  • 6 curry leaves (the fresh ones are  better, they are hard to find so use 8 dried if you only have access to dried) 
  • 2 tsp dried turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice (approximately the juice from one lemon, freshly squeezed)
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • one small bunch of kale washed and chopped (approximately 3 cups) 

Method

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil on medium high heat. Add cumin and mustard seeds.
  2. Once the seeds begin to pop add onions and salt.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, stir and let cook for 3 minutes, until onions are soft. 
  4. Add the potatoes and the remaining spices. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add chopped kale and cover. Cook for 2-3 minutes until kale is bright green and slightly wilted. 
  6. turn off the heat and add more salt if needed, lemon juice and cilantro, stir to combine. 

*I have also used collard greens and Swiss chard in this recipe instead of kale with tasty results! 

*I have also used 3 cups of baby potatoes cut into halves, instead of regular potatoes... also delicious! 

Coconut Cashew Cilantro Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened, unflavoured coconut yogurt 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried or fresh coconut. 
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked in hot water for one hour)
  • 2 green chillies, if you like spice, or omit for a more cooling, refreshing sauce
  • 2 tsp Pink salt, or sea salt
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (about the juice from one medium lemon)
  • 1/3 cup water, or more as needed. 

Method 

  1. Add all ingredients to high speed blender. Blend on high until creamy and smooth. 

To assemble the bowl...

  1. Choose a nice looking bowl.
  2. Add about 1/3 cup of cooked millet. (I like to cook millet in advance, and toss it with a little fresh lemon juice and olive oil, and store it in the fridge- up to 5 days). Quinoa also works well here. 
  3. Spoon in the Potato Kale Masala.
  4. Add 1/4-1/3 cup of the chickpeas
  5. Garnish with fresh cilantro, coconut chips and a generous drizzle of the Coconut Cashew Cilantro sauce.
  6. ENJOY! 

#NOMNOM 

All photos courtesy of  Miaou Photography.

All photos courtesy of Miaou Photography.

 

 

G-Ma's Chilli Meatballs Re-Invented
 

From a young age (7 or so) I was a black sheep in my family and I stopped wanting to eat meat. To my parents I was a challenging child, head strong and a picky eater. On my 11th birthday, my mom sat me down and gave me a book on vegetarian nutrition and told me if I could stick to the principles in that book, I would not have to eat meat anymore. Well, when I found out I'd have to eat beans... I turned my nose up and said no! (I have since changed my tune on that one.)  We struck a compromise however, and I no longer had to eat red meat or pork. 

At the same time my grandparents were very involved in our lives and I was particularly close to my paternal grandmother (whom I affectionately called G-Ma). She was an amazing cook, and the only way she could convince me to eat beef was in her legendary CHILI MEATBALLS. She would make the meatballs from scratch, and slow simmer them in a simple sauce made from tomato soup and some spices. Then she would serve them with rice or mashed potatoes and my favourite, steamed broccoli. (Told you a was strange kid!) 

Today I have crafted a whole food, vegan, gluten free chili meatball recipe reminiscent of her delightfully tasty classic. Protein packed and high in fibre, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron and Folate. I'm sure she would approve if she were around today. This one is for you G-Ma, I know you are smiling wherever you are! 

Just look at these tasty little guys... no one can resist their magnetic pull...   Photo courtesy of Miaou Photography

Just look at these tasty little guys... no one can resist their magnetic pull... 

Photo courtesy of Miaou Photography

G-Ma's Chili Meatballs

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes 
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt or more to taste
  • pinch of cayenne (optional)

Meatball Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked black beans or one can
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/3 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbls Taco seasoning mix (You can use store bought or make your own. I use the taco seasoning recipe from "Yum Universe" By: Heather Crosby- page 202)
  • 1 tbls Tamari or coconut aminos
  • 1 Tbls fresh chopped parsley or Cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Flax egg (1 Tbls ground flax seeds + 3 tbls warm water)
  • 1-2 tbls olive oil

For the sauce

  1. I recommend making the sauce first, while it simmers, through the meatballs together. 
  2. Crank the oven up to 400 and line a cookie sheet with parchment. Cut the peppers in half and place cut side down along with the peeled Garlic cloves, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt ans pepper.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Remove Peppers from oven and allow to cool. once cooled. peel all the loose skin off the pepper. 
  5. Transfer peppers and garlic to a food processor or a Vitamix. Add the tomatoes and blend until smooth. 
  6. Transfer the mixture to a small sauce pan, add remaining seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat ans simmer for at least 20 minutes. 

*This sauce freezes well, make in advance and warm when needed. 

For the Meatballs

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Drain and rinse black beans, and place in a large mixing bowl. Smash the beans with a potato masher or a wooden spoon. 
  3. Add all other ingredients and mix well.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment or reusable non-stick silicone pad. 
  5. With damp hands, for the mixture into 1-1 1/2 inch balls and place on prepared cookie sheet. 
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping gently partway through. 

*Serve with quinoa, mashed potatoes, salad, coleslaw or your favorite steamed veggies. 

*Meatballs store well in the Freezer #mealprep

 

 

 

 
Supreme Veggie Bars
 

When I was young, my mom used to make these amazing party snacks, she called "veggie bars". I think she found the recipe in a Kraft ad, or on the back of a Philadelphia cream cheese box. Either way, I'm sure you can imagine they weren't as healthy as the name would imply. 

Pre-made pastry out of a tube, topped with pillowy cream cheesy ranch goodness, finely chopped veggies, and you guessed it- more cheese! MMmMM! SO GOOD! Although not a healthy choice, they sure were delicious, and having them evokes fond memories of family gatherings, holidays and parties. Always a huge hit, there were rarely any leftovers! 

This holiday season, I just had to re-imagine this perfect comfort food recipe so that Eric and I could enjoy it alongside our family and friends. 

Try serving these at your next party/shindig/holiday gathering... or try it as a weekend meal. I'm sure there won't be any leftovers at your place either! 

Supreme Veggie Bars

crust ingredients

  • 1  cup almond flour
  • 1 cup all purpose gluten free flour (I use Pete's Gluten Free)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbls coconut oil
  • 3 tbls cold water

crust method

  1. Preheat oven to 325°c and lay two baking sheet sized pieces of parchment paper on the counter.
  2. With a fork, mix together crust ingredients until it crumbles and dough begins to stick together. use your hands to form a ball and place between the two sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a square roughly 1/4 inch thick. Peel back the top layer of parchment paper gently and with a knife, clean up the edges and sculpt into desired shape. Use a fork to pretty up those edges. Slide the parchment paper (with dough on top) onto a cookie sheet and pre-bake crust for 10 minutes. 
  3. While crust is baking, put together the "Creamy cashew Ranch".
IMG_4592.jpg

Creamy cashew Ranch

ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked and drained)

  • 1/3 cup coconut milk

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 tbs finely chopped onion 

  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (or more to taste)

  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper (or more to taste)

  • 2 tbs finely chopped chives

  • 1 tbs finely chopped parsley

  • 1 tbs finely chopped fresh dill

Method

  1. Soak cashews in boiling water for at least 1 hour. Drain and rinse.

  2. Add cashews, coconut milk, garlic, chopped onion, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a high speed blender and blend on high until creamy and smooth. 

  3. Pour into a small mixing bowl and fold in the chives, parsley and dill.

  4. Pour the "Creamy Cashew Ranch" over the pre-baked crust and spread around as if it were a pizza, creating a 1/4 inch thick layer.

Toppings

  • 2.5 cups of finely chopped assorted veggies such as bell peppers (red, green, yellow or orange) broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomato (seeds removed) and zucchini.
  • 2 finely chopped green onions
  • dairy free cheddar cheese (optional)

method

  1. Load up on toppings, don't be stingy!
  2. Sprinkle the cheddar last.
  3. Return to oven for an additional 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted.
  4. Use a pizza cutter to cut into small squares or triangles.
  5. Serve warm or cold, both are delicious!
All photos courtesy of  Miaou Photography.

All photos courtesy of Miaou Photography.

*Crust recipe borrowed from Heather Crosby of Yum Universe, cookbook pg. 239.

 

 

 
Best Baked Falafel

Falafel is one of my favourite uses of chickpeas! Those delicious crispy patties are not just bursting with flavour, they are also packed with fibre and protein. A simple and perfect addition to any salad, sandwich or wrap. However, traditionally falafel is deep fried which makes it a little less desirable. I set out to create a baked version that could taste just as good as the real deal. The texture of this falafel is a little different than that of it's deep fried counterpart, but still crisp and full of flavour. Please enjoy my Best Baked Falafel, a delicious alternative to deep fried and so easy to make at home!

Photos courtesy of Miaou Photography

Best Baked Falafel

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked or sprouted chick peas
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch cayenne (optional)

method

  1. preheat oven to 375°
  2. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender or a food processor and blend until a fine meal is formed, and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and with damp hands, begin forming the dough into 1-1.5 inch balls or patties. The dough will fall apart easily so press firmly and be patient.
  4. Placed formed balls on the cookie sheet and brush with a small amount of olive oil.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, remove from oven and gently flip. Brush with a small amount of oil and return to the oven for an additional 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
Falafel bowl featuring: Baby spinach, cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes, quinoa,  Best Baked Falafel  and drizzled with  Creamy Garlic Dressing . Photo courtesy of  Miaou Photography. 

Falafel bowl featuring: Baby spinach, cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes, quinoa, Best Baked Falafel and drizzled with Creamy Garlic Dressing. Photo courtesy of Miaou Photography. 

*These falafels freeze very well, making this a perfect meal prep recipe!

*Serve with your favourite veggies or salad.

*Makes 12-14 felafel. 2-3 falafel = a serving.