Category Archives: Salad

June 2018 Cooking Class – Burger Time

June 10, 2018

Burger and a salad

Just in time for summer, June’s cooking class focused on summer favorites – burgers, Caesar Salad and a cool frozen dessert. This month we continued our talk on the importance of fibre in our diet, and the great source of fibre and protein found in beans.

Our smoothie of the month was ‘berry delicious’, a combination of kale, banana, mango, orange and blueberries with added nutritional value from turmeric, ginger and flax.

Green Smoothie

• 2 cups greens (we used kale)
• 2 cups water
• ¼ tsp turmeric
• 1 inch piece ginger
• 1 tbsp ground flax
• 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (we used a combination of banana, mango, blueberries, and an orange)

Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth.

Making Burgers

Summer is burger time, but burgers also make great fast meals any time of the year. This is a great burger as it holds together well, but it is important to let it sit to thicken up. It best if you make the burger mix and let it sit for at least 1/2 hour before forming the burgers. However, in a pinch you can make them up right away, just be gentle when cooking. I prefer to bake the burgers then freeze them for later use. However, in class we make the burgers and fried them up immediately. They were a bit more fragile but still delicious. If you plan to throw these on the barbecue, I recommend baking ahead of time, then warming on the grill. We made our burgers with grated beets which gave them a real ‘meaty’ look; however, they are also great make with grated carrot.

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Grillable Veggie Burgers
• 1 cup cooked brown rice (I use short grain rice, or substitute couscous, millet or quinoa)
• 1 cup raw walnuts (or substitute sunflower seeds, bread crumbs or oatmeal)
• 1/2 white onion (about 3/4 cup), finely diced
• 1 beet or carrot, grated fine
• 1 pepper (red, yellow, orange, green or poblano), diced fine
• 1 to 2 cups mushrooms, diced fine
• 1 1/2 cups (227 g) cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• 2 tbsp ground flax soaked in 6 tbsp water
• 1 cup oatmeal (old fashioned, large flake)
• 4-5 Tbsp vegan BBQ sauce
• 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
• 1 Tbsp each chili powder and smoked paprika
• 1 tsp garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and salt
• 1/2 tsp black pepper

Grating beets

Chop walnuts fine in a food processor, coffee mill or by hand.
In a skillet, over medium heat, sauté onion, beets, pepper, and mushroom for 3-4 minutes or until tender, adding small amounts of water or broth to keep it from sticking to the pan. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a food processor, place chickpeas and process until slightly mashed but not a mushy puree. Alternatively you can mash with a fork.
In a large bowl, add the ground flax and water and let soak for 5 minutes. Once soaked, add cooked rice, chopped walnuts, sautéed veggies, mashed chickpeas, oatmeal, BBQ sauce, nutritional yeast, seasonings. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes, or until a moldable dough forms.
If too dry, add extra 1-2 Tbsp BBQ sauce. If too wet, add more oatmeal. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Let sit in fridge for several hours or overnight. Form into patties using wet hands. (I use 1/3 cup mixture per patty – will make about 14 or 15 burgers). This is important to make sure the burgers hold together well for grilling. (for best grilling results, bake at 350 for 20 minutes then freeze for later grilling)
If grilling, heat the grill at this time and brush the grill surface with oil to ease cooking. Otherwise, cook in a skillet or bake (20 minutes at 350F).
Remove burgers from heat and allow to cool slightly before serving.

An all time favorite at our house is Caesar Salad with this creamy picante dressing.

Caesar Salad Dressing
• ½ cup raw cashews
• ¼ cup water
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• 2 cloves garlic
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• 1 ½ tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
• ¼ cup nutritional yeast
• ½ tsp black pepper
• 1 tbsp miso (or ½ tsp salt)

Soak cashews for 2 or more hours. Drain cashews and place in blender with all other ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.

Nothing says summer like ice cream. This creamy frozen dessert is a favorite, and is my take off on a traditional Indian Mango Lassi beverage. Since I always keep coconut milk and frozen banana and mangos in stock, I can whip this one up quickly. You can substitute any frozen fruit you like for the mango – blueberry, strawberry, etc.

Mango Lassi
• 1 can full fat coconut cream
• 1 frozen banana
• 2 cups frozen mango
• 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
• ¼ tsp turmeric
Place coconut cream in a blender or food processor. Add ginger and frozen fruit. Blend until smooth. Keep in a freezer until ready to serve. Best if made 2 to 3 hours before serving. If frozen hard, let sit in the fridge for ½ hour before serving.
Substitute other fruit for the mango (blueberry, raspberry, cherry, peaches, etc) or other seasonings for the ginger (cinnamon, nutmeg). For a sweeter dessert, add an extra banana or some date paste.

Thanks to James for the great pictures. And thanks to my granddaughter Katie who was a great assistant.

 

 

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May 2018 Cooking Class – Beans, Greens and Berries

May 2018

I know I am terrible late in posting the recipes for the May class, but its garden season. Now that the garden is in, I have time to catch up on my posts.

May cooking class meal

May’s class focused on beans, greens and berries, three important foods that you should try to add to your daily diet. They offer great fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. All that wonderful fibre is great for feeding those lovely probiotic bacteria in your gut. Happy guts, happy life!

Berry Banana Green Smoothie

As usual, we started the class with my favorite – the green smoothie. I used to love my smoothies green, real green. However, smoothies are a great way to add berries as well as greens to your diet. So now, most of my smoothies are more muddy colored than green. But they still taste delicious. This months smoothie was a mixture of kale, bananas and blueberries with the addition of an orange and some ginger and turmeric. When I can find it, I buy fresh turmeric, chop it up and freeze it for use in smoothies and salad dressings. However, ground turmeric works just as well, just don’t add too much.

Berry Banana Green Smoothie
• 2 cup water
• 2 cups leafy greens (kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro, etc)
• 1 orange, peeled and quartered
• ¼ tsp ground turmeric or ½ inch fresh turmeric root
• ½ inch fresh ginger root
• 3 fresh or frozen bananas
• 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries or mixed berries

Put all ingredients in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth.

One Pot Mexican Quinoa

Our main dish this class was a bean and quinoa dish that only requires one pot to make it in as the quinoa cooks right in the pot. Fast, simple and delicious. While most quinoa that you buy has been prewashed, its always a good idea to rinse your quinoa before cooking to make sure all the bitter soponins on the seed have been washed off. The saponins are the plants natural defence mechanism, to keep the birds from eating all the delicious seed.

One Pot Mexican Quinoa
• 1 onion, diced
• ½ jalepeno, chopped fine
• 1 pepper, diced (your choice, red, yellow orange or green)
• 1 carrot, diced fine
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
• 1 can beans, drained and rinsed (your choice black, pinto, kidney or mixed beans)
• 1 cup tomatoes, tomato sauce or salsa
• ¾ cup quinoa, rinsed
• 1 tsp chilli powder
• ½ tsp cumin
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 cup vegetable broth

In saucepan, sauté onion, jalepeno, pepper, carrot and garlic with a small amount of water or broth until onion is softened. Add corn, beans, tomato and spices. Add quinoa and broth and simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with diced avocado and tomatoes.

Chop Salad with Vegan Ranch Dressing

Our salad dressing for this month is a creamy Ranch type dressing. It goes great on the chopped salad below, but also good on any salad. The recipe is from Dr. Michael Greger’s How Not To Die Cookbook. The recipe uses Dr. Greger’s Savory Spice Blend, a favorite in many of his recipes. I’ve included the recipe for the spice blend as well, as it is good in almost any recipe you are making. However, if you don’t want to make a whole batch just use a couple of teaspoons of nutritional yeast.

Chopped Vegetable Salad
• 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped into bite sized bits
• 2 radishes, chopped
• 1 ripe tomato, chopped
• 1 cup chopped cucumber
• ½ small red or orange bell pepper, chopped
• ½ cup chopped celery
• 1 ½ cup cooked cannellini beans, cooked and rinsed

• Ranch Dressing (recipe following)

In a large bowl, combine all veggie ingredients. Add Ranch Dressing and toss until well coated.

Ranch Dressing
• ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 or more hours
• 2 cloves garlic
• ½ cup almond milk, unsweetened and unflavoured
• 3 tbsp rice vinegar
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 2 tsp savory spice blend (recipe below)
• 1 tbsp white miso paste
• 1 tsp date paste
• 1 tbsp fresh parsley, or 1 tsp dried
• 1 tsp fresh dill or ¼ tsp dried

In a high speed blender, combine all ingredients except parsley and dill. Blend until smooth. Add parsley and dill and pulse just until mixed in. Transfer to a glass jar and let sit at least 1 hour to let flavors develop. Stir or shake before using.

Savory Spice Blend
• 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
• 1 tbsp onion powder
• 1 tbsp dried parlsey
• 1 tbsp dried basil
• 2 tsp dried thyme
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• 2 tsp dry mustard powder
• 2 tsp paprika
• ½ tsp ground turmeric
• ½ tsp celery seeds
Combine all ingredients in a spice grinder, coffee grinder or blender. Blend until pulverized. Store in a tightly sealed container.

BlueBerry Cobbler

And of course, no class would be complete without a dessert. My criteria for a great dessert is that it should be nutritious enough so that you can eat the leftovers for breakfast without any guilt. The blueberry cobbler fits the bill perfectly. It is chock full of blueberries and has only a small amount of sweetener added and no oil. The original recipe, from Kim Campbell’s PlantPure Kitchen, uses whole wheat flour, but I prefer to use oat flour instead. I make my own oat flour by blending old fashioned slow cook oats in a blender until smooth. (use certified only oats for a gluten free dessert)

Berry Cobbler
• 6 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (or mixed berries)
• 1 tbsp brown sugar
• ¼ cup water
• 2 tsp lemon juice
• 2 ½ tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
• 1 ½ cups old fashioned oatmeal (blended in blender until fine)
• 2 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp nutmeg
• ½ cup unsweetened plant milk
• 2 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400F

Blueberry Filling cooking

In medium saucepan, combine berries, brown sugar, water, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat until bubbling and thickened. Spread berry mixture evenly in an 8 inch square baking pan.
In medium mixing bowl, mix oat flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add milk and maple syrup and stir until combined. Drop dough mixture by the tablespoon over the berry mixture. You should be able to cover most of the berries.
Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve warm.

 

Hope you enjoy the recipes. Thanks James for the great photos.

Make Ahead Meals

February 1, 2018

In our busy lives, it is sometimes hard to make time everyday to cook meals from scratch. However, there are ways to optimize your cooking time so you are not spending all your free time in the kitchen. Some strategies to use are:

  1. When you cook a dish, make a double batch. That way you can eat one now and freeze one for later. Generally, it doesn’t take that much longer to double the batch. This works great for soups, stews, chilies, and many main dishes.
  2. Make a double or triple batches of salad dressings to have on hand.
  3. Make a big batch of your favorite stir fry sauce. They will generally keep in the fridge for over a week, or you can freeze the in serving size amounts. Frozen mixed veggies are a great time saver. Add brown rice or whole grain noodles for a quick meal. Top with chick peas, toasted cashews, tofu or sesame seeds for an extra nutritional boost.
  4. For fast and easy breakfasts, prepare overnight oats the night before. In the morning, add plant milk and extra toppings and go. Or make a triple batch and have enough for three days.
  5. Keep hummus on hand for sandwiches, wraps and baked potatoes. Hummus is easy to make and freezes well.
Baking with Jacob

In January, I spent three weeks with the grandkids, so I did quite a bit of food prep for the hubby back home before leaving. That way he could spend more time on my “Honey Do List” instead of cooking, LOL. In the week before leaving, I made extra of each dish I cooked, freezing one or two meals for later. I made several salad dressings, so throwing together a big Caesar, Spinach or Kale salad is a simple process. I also made a litre of Chinese 5 Spice stir fry sauce, to go with frozen veggies, rice or noodles. And for a treat, I made a batch of Sweet Potato Brownies which freeze really well. See below for the links and recipes.

SOUPS

Red Lentil Carrot and Coconut Soup

Soups are a regular go to lunch meal for us in the winter, and I often make up several different soups each week. Since a pot of soup is generally three meals for us, it is easy to eat one and freeze two. Served with whole grain bread, a hearty soup is a comforting winter lunch. In the week before I left, I made four soups – Red Lentil Carrot and Coconut Soup, South American Black Bean Soup, 13 Bean Soup, and Caribbean Pepper Pot Soup. The recipes can be found here. 

Hummus

Astrid licking the spatula with hummus

Hummus is another staple in our house. We use it instead of margarine or butter as a spread on bread or for topping a baked potato. Our favorite hummus is made with chickpeas (or while navy beans) and roasted sweet potato. I generally make a large batch and freeze it is smaller containers so we always have it on hand. This rich and creamy hummus, paired with a baked potato and green salad makes a delicious, easy to prepare and satisfying meal. It is also good as a pasta sauce.

The recipe for Sweet Potato Hummus can be found here. The recipe calls for cayenne pepper and is quite spicy. However, you can eliminate the cayenne all together for a delicious hummus for kids or those not fond of spices. This recipe, without the cayenne, is taste tested and approved by my granddaughter Astrid.

Stir Fry

Another great quick and easy meal is a stir fry. Make a big batch of your favorite sauce and keep it on hand in the fridge, or freeze it.  Frozen mixed vegetables are a real time saver.  All you need to do is make a pot of rice or noodles and sauté the frozen veggies in a bit of broth and add the sauce. Top with cashews or sesame seeds and your set.

Don’t forget that rice also freezes well. When you cook rice, make a big pot. You can keep enough for a week in the fridge and freeze the rest in one meal portions.

My favorite recipe for Chinese Brown Sauce can be found at this link, along the recipe for Chinese 5 Spice Sauce, a spicier version of the same sauce. These sauces will keep in the fridge for at least 1 week. However, you can make a big batch and freeze in 1 meal portions.

Chilli

A big pot of chilli makes a filling meal and is one of those dishes that tastes better the next day. While most chillis are meat based, they are also easy to make without any animal products. If you have a favorite recipe, make a plant based version using the same sauce and spice mixture. Add beans, lentils, veggies or mashed tofu to replace the meat. One of my favorite chilli recipe can be found here. Make up a big pot and freeze the leftovers for a later meal.

One Pot Meals

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

One pot meals are real time savers – in prep, cooking and cleanup. Chop up your veggies and throw them into a pot with the sauce, simmer and serve. Great when you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry.

Two of my favorite one pot meals are:

Rotini in a Coconut Sauce – I love this recipe because the pasta cooks in the sauce. No need to dirty another pot to cook pasta.

Mexican Quinoa – Quinoa is a quick cooking seed that packs a nutritional punch and has a pleasant nutty taste. This Mexican dish can be spiced up or down to suit everyone’s taste.

Salad Dressings 

Salads make great quick, easy and hearty meals. Keep a couple of your favorite oil free salad dressings on hand in the fridge at all times. A great meal is a simple as tossing some greens with additional veggies, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, grains or beans. A salad with a baked potato or slice of hearty whole grain bread is a great meal. Oil free dressings are flavorful, easy to make and offer plenty of nutrition without the heavy calorie count. The recipes for some of my favorite salad dressings can be found here.

Sweet Potato Brownies 

Sweet Potato Brownies

Its always nice to have a little something sweet in the freezer for capping off a meal. These brownies are just sweet enough to satisfy and nutritious enough to be served at any everyday meal. They are packed with sweet potato, dates, oats and almond flour. I find them perfect just as they are: however, if you wish, you can increase the maple syrup to make them a bit sweeter.

The recipe makes a large cookie sheet or about 30 brownie squares, so they last a while. Slice them up and freeze them. They are great straight out of the freezer. Find the recipe here.

 

Oil Free Salad Dressings

January 16, 2018

The vast array of pre-packaged salad dressings in the grocery store is amazing. There are so many different kinds. However, the vast majority are full of oil and sugar. Although we often think of bought salad dressing as a huge convenience, it is remarkably simple to make your own dressings. My favorites are Mayo, Caesar, Italian, Maple Mustard, Tahini and Cole Slaw Dressing and I like to have at least a couple on hand in the fridge at all times. Homemade salad dressings, full of vinegars, will keep in the fridge for a week or two at least. In fact, I have never had one go bad on me.

Many of my oil free dressings are cashew or tahini based, so rather than just providing a whack of empty calories, they pack a nutritional punch.  Salads make great quick but hearty last minute meals. Mix your choice of greens with additional veggies, grains and/or beans and top with chopped nuts. A slice of whole grain bread and you are set.

Mayo

Oil free, vegan mayo is actually easier to make than the original version containing raw egg. Before giving up oil and eggs, I used to make my own mayo. It was finicky and many, many times it failed to thicken up. However, with this vegan mayo, you just throw all the ingredients in a blender and in a few seconds you have a thick and creamy mayo, every time. And no danger of salmonella poisoning from raw egg.

The version below is a variation of Kim Campbell’s PlantPure Recipes. However, she uses a mix of cashews and tofu to make hers. I prefer to just use cashews. If you would like a lower fat version, try the original recipe with tofu, in the link above, or use 1/4 cup cashews and 1/4 cup cooked small white beans (navy beans).

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 2 hours
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey, agave or sweetener of your choice
  • 2 tbsp water

Soak cashews for at least 2 hours. Drain and place in a blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings. If you like your mayo with a nice tang, like I do, add a touch more white vinegar.  This mayo is great used as a base for other salad dressings like the creamy Cole Slaw dressing below. Or add some diced dill pickle, onion and ketchup for a quick and easy Thousand Island Dressing.

Caesar Dressing

Caesar salads are our absolute favorite. Lots of bright green romaine lettuce, a handful of fresh kale, thinly sliced onion, cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of toasted sunflower seeds. It makes a great meal or side dish. My go to recipe is a modification of Angela Liddon’s recipe in her Oh She Glows Cookbook.

• ½ cup unsalted cashews (or ¼ cup cashews and ¼ cup cooked white beans)
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• ¼ cup water
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (vegan)
• 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Soak cashews for 2 to 8 hours, drain. Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Italian Dressing

This dressing is also based on one of Kim Campbell’s recipes in The PlantPure Nation Cookbook. I use chia seeds to thicken the dressing instead of xanthum gum.

• 1 cup vegetable broth
• ¼ cup red wine vinegar, or to taste (or substitute your vinegar of choice)
• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1 ½ tsp agave, honey, brown rice syrup or raw sugar
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 tsp Italian seasonings (or to taste)
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp pepper
• ¼ tsp paprika
• 2 tsp chia seeds

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. The dressing will thicken as the chia seeds absorb liquid.

Spinach Salad Dressing

My dressing of choice for a spinach salad is a thick creamy tomato based one. By adding 1/4 cup ketchup to the above Italian Dressing, you get the perfect dressing for a spinach, mushroom and red onion salad.

Maple Mustard Dressing  

This dressing is my all time favorite for kale salads. It has a bold taste and works best with robust greens like kale, chard and even spinach.

o 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft, drained and rinsed
o 3/4 cup water
o 1/3 cup maple syrup
o 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
o 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
o 1/2 lemon, juice from
o 2 cloves garlic, minced
Soak cashews for 2 to 12 hours. Drain cashews and place all ingredients in high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Sweet Tahini  Dressing

This dressing is great on any green, but also works well as a dip for falafels.  It is also from Kim Campbell’s PlantPure Nation Cookbook.

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp white miso paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender, or whisk until smooth.

Cole Slaw Dressing

This is a smooth creamy cole slaw dressing with plenty of flavor from Kim Campbell’s PlantPure Nation Cookbook. Top shredded cabbage, carrots, onion and apples with it.

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (see recipe above)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave, honey or sugar

Combine all ingredients well.

 

Convert your favorite recipe to oil free

Many of my favorite oil free dressings are from the PlantPure cookbooks. And the intranet is also a great place to find oil free versions of your favorite dressings. However, you can also convert old family favorites by substituting for the oil in your recipes. I find replacing the oil with half as much tahini (and a bit of water to thin it out) works in most recipes. If the recipe is dairy based, substitute with a cashew cream (blend cashews and water). Or substitute water for the oil and add chia seeds (as in the Italian recipe above) to thicken.

Once you get used to oil free dressings, the regular oil ones will begin to taste heavy and oily to you.

 

 

Eat More Greens

October 14, 2017

I firmly believe that one of the most important things you should do to improve your diet is to eat more greens. All kinds of greens, especially leafy greens. Kale, spinach, Swiss Chard, collards, beet greens, bok choy, gai lan, parsley, cilantro as well as broccoli, peas, snap peas, and green beans. In fact, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, recommends his patients eat greens at every meal. Recently I have been trying to implement this recommendation – trying to find ways to incorporate greens into every meal.

Breakfast My favorite way to consume a serving or two of greens every morning is a green smoothie or a wheat grass shot.  This fall, I planted several rows of wheat grass in my garden. A couple ounces of wheat grass juice is an amazing way to start the day.

Green smoothies are a terrific way to get leafy greens into the little guys

My go to recipe for a green smoothie is simple – 2 cups water, 2 cups greens and 2 cups fruit. This combination produces a flavorful smoothie with a significant amount of greens in every glass. My favorite combination is kale, banana and mango, but the combinations are endless. As you learn to love your green smoothie, start increasing the amount of greens (eg 2 cups water 3 cups greens and 2 cups fruit.

 

 

Cooked Greens

Steaming or boiling greens quickly reduces a big pile of raw greens into a small bowl of green goodness. As a kid, I remember hating cooked greens, but now have learned to like them. The trick is not to over cook them and to season them well. One of my favorite ways to eat cooked greens is a simple side dish of steamed greens (kale, Swiss Chard or beet greens) seasoned with salt and a dash of lemon or balsamic vinegar.

Greens are also great added to casseroles, burgers, stir fries, soups and stews. Chop them up fine and you can sneak them into most dishes. And don’t forget lots of bright greens in your salad. Try to have several servings (1 cup of chopped raw greens is one serving) of raw and cooked greens every day. They are loaded with protein, calcium and a whole host of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

A few of my favorite recipes are below.

Penne with Swiss Chard, Olives and Currants

serves 4

  • 4 large shallots, peeled and diced small (or substitute onion)
  • 2 bunches Swiss Chard
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced (or 1/2 tsp dry)
  • 1 pound whole grain penne, cooked
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup currants
Penne with Swiss Chard, Olives and Currants

Remove stems from Swiss Chard and chop the stems into small pieces. Slice the leaves into thin strips. Cook penne until just tender. Drain and keep warm. While pasta is cooking, sauté shallots and chopped stems for a few minutes. Add garlic and thyme and sauté a few minutes longer. Add a tbsp of water if needed to prevent sticking to the pan. Add sliced Swiss Chard leaves and a couple tablespoons of water. Cover and let steam until chard is cooked and tender. Add olives and currants. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. Toss with penne and serve immediately.

From The Forks Over Knives Cookbook by Dell Sroufe

Mushrooms Kale and Potatoes

Serves 2 to 3

  • 3 cups chopped potatoes (Yukon Gold or Red)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 6 cups Kale, chopped and stems removed
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili paste (like Sambol Olek or substitute crushed chili peppers)
  • black pepper
Kale, Potatoes and Mushrooms

In a saucepan, sauté onion, garlic and mushrooms until onion is translucent. Add a tablespoon or two of water if necessary to keep from sticking to the pan. Add potatoes and a small amount of water. Cover and let cook until potatoes are tender. Add more water as necessary to keep from sticking and form a gravy. When potatoes are tender, add kale, cover and steam until kale is bright green and tender.  Add soy sauce and chili paste and stir until combined. Season with black pepper and serve immediately.

from Forks Over Knives, The How To Companion to the Feature Documentary Forks Over Knives 

Greens with Maple Mustard

  • Greens, chopped and stems removed (Beet greens, kale or Swiss Chard)
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt

Mix mustard, maple syrup and lemon juice together. Boil or steam greens just until bright green and tender. Drain and drizzle with a bit of maple mustard sauce. Season with salt and serve.

Kale and Miraculous Walnut Sauce

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • kale, chopped and stems removed

In a blender, combine walnuts, garlic, soy sauce and water. Blend until smooth. In a large pot, bring a quart of water to boil. Add kale and cook covered for 3 to 5 minutes, until kale is bright green and tender. Drain and serve with walnut sauce. This is great on  baked or mashed potatoes instead of the usual butter and sour cream.

Salad Greens

In salads, try to choose salad greens that are bright green over pale ones –  like romaine over iceberg lettuce. Don’t limit your salad greens to lettuce only. Kale, beet greens and spinach are great in salads.  When introducing more robust greens, add them in small amounts along with your regular lettuce. A Caesar salad made with romaine and kale is a great way to get your family to eat kale.

When using kale in salads, chop it fine and sprinkle a bit of lemon juice on it. Massage it with your hands for a minute or so to tenderize it.  Some people find kale bitter and tough and I find this helps counteract this.

You can find my favorite kale salads at the following links:

Kale and Apple Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing

Caesar Salad with Romaine and Kale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bean and Barley Salad

August 2, 2017

This is another new salad from my visit to Edmonton, this time made by my Auntie Shirley. After she made it we misplaced the recipe so this is my recreation of the dish. It is great served on a bed of lettuce or alongside a green salad. Colorful, filling and delicious.

Bean and Barley Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

I am sure the original recipe used oil, but I used tahini instead.

Dressing

  • 3/4 cup lime juice (roughly the juice of 4 limes)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)

Salad

  • 6-7 green onions (chopped)
  • 1 red onion (finely diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 Large tomato (seeded and chopped) or tiny tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 3 cups water or vegetable broth

Directions

Salad

  1. Bring the water or vegetable broth to a boil and then add the pearl barley and turn the heat down to a simmer and cover. Let simmer (just like rice) until all of the liquid is gone, roughly 45-50 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and let cool.
  2. Combine all of your salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Dressing

  1. Whisk together salad dressing components in a medium bowl, until combined.
  2. Pour salad dressing over the salad and toss together until combined. Serve immediately or put in the fridge and eat whenever you are ready!

Edmonton July 2017 Class

July 22, 2017

I had a wonderful opportunity this month to hold a class in Edmonton. It was great to meet both fellow vegetarians and those looking to make their diet more plant strong. We had a great discussion on the reasons for eating more plants – health, environment, compassion and spiritual.

For the class we used kale three different ways – in a green smoothie, in a main dish of rice and beans, and in a salad. For dessert, we had a simple fruit salad – no added sugar needed. The meal was delicious, simple to prepare and budget conscious – proving once again that it is not necessary to spend the day in the kitchen, have a lot of cooking skills or break the bank to enjoy a good, wholesome, home cooked meal.

Green Smoothie

One of the most important things you can do to improve your health is to add more greens to your diet. While it is best to chew your food, rather than drink it, I still find green smoothies the easiest way for most of us to increase the amount of green leafy veggies we consume. Since smoothies are well blended, the sugar from the fruit enters your blood stream faster than chewing the fruit, so it is best to sip it slowly and try to mix as much saliva with it as possible. My basic recipe for a green smoothie is below. For the class we used my favorite mix – kale for the greens, anana,  orange and mango for the fruit, and a squeeze of lemon.

  • 2 cups greens (kale, spinach, Swiss chard, parsley, cilantro, beet greens, collards, etc)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (banana, mango, pineapple, orange, apple, berries, etc)
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Place all ingredients in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth.

Tex Mex Casserole

This recipe which I have adapted from the Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon, is a mainstay in my house. It is fast and simple to prepare and always gets good reviews. I like to use the leftovers to make burritos, and they freeze well too. Just roll in a flour tortilla, wrap in parchment paper and freeze for a later meal.

When making this casserole for a crowd, I usually to omit the jalapeño. The cayenne in the spice mix gives it a tiny bit of a kick, but not too much.  Serve with a spicy salsa so guests who like the heat can spice it up a bit.

The cheese in this recipe is not essential for the casserole, but if you decide to add you can use a plant based cheese like Daiya shredded cheese or add 1/4 cup of cashew cheese sauce to it.

While the recipe calls for everything to be prepared in a frying pan and then popped in the oven to heat, it can easily be served straight from the frying pan, as we did in class. Or prepare it ahead of time and pop it in the oven the next day to reheat. We skipped the topping of cheese and taco chips on top and served it straight from the pan with taco chips on the side.

Spice blend:

  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika (or ½ tsp regular paprika)
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander

Casserole:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced fine (optional)
  • ½ cup corn kernals (fresh, canned or frozen)
  • 1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 – 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale leaves or spinach
  • 2 cups cooked  black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 3 cups cooked rice (brown rice or a brown and wild rice mix, we used short grain brown rice)
  • ½ cup cheese or cheese substitute (optional)
  • tortilla chips

Combine spice mix and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375F, oil a large casserole dish (4 to 5 quart)

In a large pan, add onion, garlic, peppers and sauté until softened. If necessary, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent sticking. Stir in spice mix and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant. Add corn, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, kale, beans and rice. Sauté until heated through and season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, mix in ¼ cup of shredded cheese, cheese substitute or cashew cheese sauce.

If desired, you can pour mixture into prepared casserole dish, sprinkle on crushed tortilla chips (and the other ¼ cup of shredded cheese if desired), cover and bake 15 minutes.  Or you can serve straight from the pan. Serve with optional toppings such as chopped avocado, salsa, taco chips or green onions.

 

Kale and Apple Salad

This recipe is another of my go to recipes. For those who are new to using kale, massaging the kale with a squeeze of lemon and/or sprinkle of salt help make it more tender and less bitter. Also, making this with a mix of kale and romaine is a good way to introduce kale to the menu. If you love kale, like I do, skip the romaine and use all kale.

This recipe is my adaptation of the original from Raw Amazing 

Dressing:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juice from
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Soak cashews for 2 to 12 hours. Drain cashews and place all ingredients in high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Salad:

  • 1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and shredded fine
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • ¼  cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced thinly and separated into rings
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (hulled, you can use raw or roasted and salted)

Place kale in large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice and a dash of salt. Massage the lemon juice and salt into the kale for a few minutes.  Add chopped apples, dried cranberries, sliced red onion, julienned carrots. Toss. Add enough dressing to coat the salad, toss well.  Just before serving, add the romaine and top with pumpkin seeds.

Fruit Salad

This is the same fruit salad we made at our July Winnipeg class. By varying the fruit combination, you get a different dessert every time.

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk yogurt (cultured coconut milk), or plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp finely minced ginger (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 4 mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 2 cups pineapple, diced
  • o   2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup seedless grapes
  • 2 cups strawberries, cut in half

Mix yogurt, minced ginger and maple syrup and place in a small serving bowl.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Place oranges, apples and pineapple in a large bowl. Toss to coat apples with the liquid to prevent browing.  Add blueberries, grapes and strawberries and gently stir to combine.  Serve fruit with a dollop of ginger yogurt on top.

You can change this salad up by using any mixture of your favourite fruit. Change up the yogurt sauce by omitting the ginger, using cane sugar and adding ½ tsp vanilla.