Tag Archives: PlantPure

June Cooking Class – Buddha Bowls

July 15, 2017

Thanks to Shirley for taking on the June cooking class while I visited my grandchildren. The theme of her class was Buddha Bowls. Buddha Bowls are a great whole meal-in-a-bowl and adaptable to whatever grain, veggies or salad fixings you have in the house.

As per our tradition, Shirley started the class with a Green Smoothie. This Digestive Green Smoothie is a favorite of mine.

Digestive Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup banana chunks, fresh or frozen
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger (or to taste)
  • 2 cups parsley
  • 2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

BUDDHA BOWL

The Buddha Bowls are many and varied but basically consist of:

  1. A cooked whole grain or noodle
  2. Cooked and/or raw veggies
  3. A flavorful sauce
  4. Topping

 

  1.  The grain layer – There are so many different choices for the base of your Buddha Bowl.  The most common are cooked brown rice (basmati, short grain, Jasmine, red or black rice are all great options) or noodles (soba, vermicelli, ramen or spaghetti noodles). However, any cooked whole grain can also be used, so don’t feel limited. Try pot barley, millet, quinoa or couscous for a change.
  2. The Veggie Layer – you will need about 2 cups of veggies for each person. Good choices are onions, peppers, carrots, celery, snow peas, broccoli and mushrooms. You can stir fry your veggies or add them raw, or use a mixture of cooked and raw. One of my favorite options is a stir fry onions, mushrooms peppers and broccoli then topping with raw shredded lettuce, cabbage and carrots. Raw cucumber or tomato are also options.
  3. Shirley presented two sauce options in the class – a teriyaki and a Thai Peanut Sauce. Both are fabulous.

TERIYAKI SAUCE:

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 4 teaspoons maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and store in a glass jar in the fridge.

 THAI PEANUT SAUCE:

  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 3 Tbsp natural smooth peanut butter or almond butter
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice, plus more as needed
  • 2 Tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • water

In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, tahini, peanut butter, ginger (if using), lime juice, tamari, maple syrup, and 2 to 3 tablespoons water. Process until combined. Taste and add more lime juice, if desired. Thin with water until desired consistency. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.

4.  Topping Layer – your choice of toppings is endless. My favorite are green onions, sesame or sunflower seeds, peanuts, marinated tofu, or edamame beans

MARINATED TOFU

  • 1 – 350 gram package of extra firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4  tsp dry ground ginger (or 1 tsp fresh)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup water

Drain tofu and slice into ¼ inch sticks. Place tamari, ginger, garlic and water in a non-stick frying pan and mix well. Add tofu and coat thoroughly in marinade. Slowly cook on very low heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid absorbed by the tofu; this will take about 30 minutes depending on the amount of heat used.
(Note, you can also make this in a low oven (250F). Store in the fridge, will keep for at least a week. It also freezes well.

To make your Buddha Bowl – prepare all your layers first – cook your grains or noodles, make your sauce, prepare your veggies and your toppings.  When ready to serve, warm up your grains or noodles (optional – you can add chopped onion, minced garlic, soy sauce and ground pepper to your grain). Serve in a bowl.

Buddha Bowls are also great for picky eaters – provide a choice of veggies and toppings, each in a separate bowl, and let them choose their favorites.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
For dessert, Shirley made a fruit crisp.  A lightened up version of everyone’s favorite strawberry rhubarb crisp with a delicious oat-pecan topping and a touch of vanilla. It can be made gluten free by using gluten free oats and oat flour.  Serve with your favorite ice cream or whipped coconut cream, if desired.

You can make this crisp oil free by substituting the coconut oil with apple sauce. The toping will be more of a cake consistency.

  • For the crisp topping:
    • 1 cup rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup oat flour
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
    • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • For the filling:
    • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered
    • 5 stalks rhubarb, diced into 1 inch pieces
    • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • seeds from 1 vanilla bean
    • 2 tablespoons oat flour

    Make the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, oat flour, cinnamon, pecans, coconut sugar and coconut oil; set aside.
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan with coconut oil (or line with parchment paper).
    In a large bowl, add coconut sugar, vanilla bean, strawberries, rhubarb and oat flour; toss a few times to evenly coat the fruit with the sugar and flour. Pour into prepared pan and evenly sprinkle the topping over the fruit.
    Bake for 30-35 minutes until the filling begins to bubble and the top is golden brown. Cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Top with your favorite ice cream, if desired. Serves 9.

You can also use softened or melted butter in place of the coconut oil if you are not vegan.

You can also use brown sugar in place of the coconut sugar if that’s what you have on hand. Recipe from The Ambitious Kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese Noodle Salad

July 15, 2017

More on the theme of great summer salads. The original recipe for this one called for chicken and a whole bunch of oil. I cut out both the chicken and oil and it is so tasty that Ken declared he could eat this everyday!

 

The recipe calls for those ramen noodles from a package of instant soup.   I substituted a Brown Rice and Millet whole food ramen (purchased at Costco). However, since they were not instant I soaked them in hot water first to soften them instead of putting them dry into the salad. (Boil 2 cups water and pour over 2 cakes of ramen noodles. Let stand a couple minutes until just tender. Drain, rinse with cold water and add to salad)

I made the salad again using the instant ramen noodles but while delicious, it was a bit too crunchy for my liking. I recommend letting the salad sit in the dressing for at least 1/2 hour before serving to allow the noodles to soften up a bit. I modified the recipe to add the lettuce and almonds just before serving so they don’t get soggy.

 

Chinese Noodle Salad

  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • ½ cup orange sections
  • 2packages ramen noodles, crushed **
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onion
  • 3 cups shredded lettuce
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Combine dressing ingredients together. Mix all salad ingredients, except lettuce and almonds, in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and let stand 30 minutes to allow the noodles to soak up some of the dressing and soften.

** Or substitute cold cooked noodles like the Brown Rice and Millet ones I used or soba noodles.

 

 

April 2017 Cooking Class – The Versatile Chickpea

April 2, 2017

Lasagne, salad and foccacia

April’s class featured the versatile chickpea. Chickpeas are not just for falafels and hummus. There is a myriad of different ways to cook with them. We enjoyed Roasted Chickpeas as a snack, Cauliflower Bites made with chickpea flour as an appetizer, a Tomato Based Lasagne with a chickpea ricotta, a White Lasagne using chickpeas blended into the white sauce. The meal was served with a green salad dressed with Oil Free Italian Dressing and Roasted Chickpea croutons and a sprouted grain focaccia. The meal was topped off with a frozen Pineapple Whip.

Chickpeas, also called garbonzo beans, re a powerhouse of nutrition. These legumes are a good source of dietary fiber, protein, iron, folate and magnesium (just 1 cup of chickpeas will provide 84% of your dietary requirement of magnesium)

Chickpeas can be purchased already cooked in tins or frozen. Or you can easily cook them from dry beans. Two of my favorite methods are:

  1. OVERNIGHT SOAK – Soak chickpeas overnight in a large pot with plenty of water. In the morning, drain the soaked chickpeas and cover with fresh water to about 1 inch above the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Drain and they are ready to use in any recipe.
  2. QUICK SOAK – Place the chickpeas in a large pot with plenty of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover. Let stand for 1 hour. Drain and cover with fresh water to about 1 inch over the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Drain and use.

I like to cook a large batch of the beans and once cooked and cooled, freeze on a rimmed baking sheet. Once frozen store in a freezer bag and you have cooked beans on hand for any time you need them. They can be quick thawed by placing them in a strainer and running hot water over them.

Besides the whole bean, chickpeas can also be used as a flour. It is common in Indian cooking, but I use it mainly for making an eggy batter for breading veggies like cauliflower (recipe below), eggplant and zucchini. I also use the flour for a vegan omelette and French toast.

As usual, our class started with a Green Smoothie. This month the smoothie was pineapple blueberry with parsley. I love parsley smoothies.

Pineapple Blueberry Parsley Smoothie

Pineapple Blueberry Parsley Smoothie

2 cups parsley

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups pineapple (fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

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

 

 

Breaded Cauliflower Bites

Cauliflower Bites

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • ½ cup unsweetened and unflavoured plant based milk (almond, cashew, soy, etc)
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour (also called besan, chana or gram flour)
  • Salt, onion powder, garlic powder, to taste (about 1/2 tsp each) and pepper (1/4 tsp)
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix milk, flour and spices in a large bowl until well blended. Add cauliflower florets and toss until well coated. Place bread crumbs in small dish. Dip cauliflower florets in bread crumbs and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Serve as is or with a dipping sauce. Use this same recipe for other veggies like eggplant and zucchini.

Tomato Based Lasagne

NOTE: You may not need all of the noodles, tomato sauce, cheese, or chickpea mixture that you make.

  • 1 pkg lasagne Noodles
    • Prepare according to package directions
  • Approximately 5 cups Tomato Sauce (make your own marinara or use purchased spaghetti sauce)
  • Cashew Cheese:
    • ½  cup cashews
    • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • ½  tsp garlic powder
    • ½  tsp onion powder
    • Juice of ½ lemon (or up to 1 lemon)
    • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • ½ cup water (plus more as needed)

Soak cashews for 2 hours or overnight. Place all ingredients except the water in a blender.  Add about ½ cup water and blend until smooth. If necessary, add a splash more water to keep it blending. Taste and adjust seasonings – add more salt, nutritional yeast, lemon juice or spices.

  • Chickpea Ricotta

    Chick peas:

    • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, mashed fine
    • ½  cup chopped spinach or kale
    • 1 tbsp miso (or substitute soy sauce)
    • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
    • Juice of ½ lemon
    • pepper

Mash chickpeas with a fork or by pulsing in a food processor till a fine texture. Mix miso with lemon juice and add to chickpeas.  Flavor the chickpeas with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. Mix in finely chopped kale or spinach. (if using frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze out excess water)

You can substitute your favourite hummus for the chickpea mixture.

  • Veggie Layer

    Veggies:

    • Mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 or 2  cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 large pepper (your choice of color), diced
    • 2 carrots, grated or chopped in a food processor
    • Salt and pepper
    • Also can use zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, cauli, etc

Dry fry veggies, without oil, until just tender crisp. If necessary, add a couple tablespoons of water or broth to keep it from sticking to the pan. Use any mixture of vegetables you like. You will need 4 to 6 cups of cooked veggies. Season with salt and pepper

To Assemble:

A standard baking dish will accommodate two layers plus the top layer of noodles and sauce.

  1. Assemble all ingredients, noodles, tomato sauce, cashew cheese, chickpea mixture, and cooked veggies.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. Line a large baking dish or lasagne pan with parchment paper
  4. In your parchment lined dish, spread a layer of your tomato sauce
  5. Spread noodles, 1 layer thick over the sauce. Break noodles if necessary to cover all areas
  6. A thin layer of chickpea mixture
  7. A layer of veggies
  8. A layer of cashew cheese
  9. A layer of tomato sauce
  10. Repeat noodles, chickpeas, veggies, cheese and tomato sauce
  11. Top with noodles and tomato sauce for final layer.

Cover with a lid or foil. (Covering the dish first with parchment then foil will keep the topping from sticking to the foil when you remove it.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbling.  Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

White Lasagne

Note: you may not use all the noodles or white sauce that you make.

  • 1 pgk Noodles (brown rice or whole grain)

Cook noodles according to the package directions

  • White Sauce
    • 3 cups cauliflower florets
    • 2 ½  cups water
    • ¾  cup cashews, soaked
    • ¾  cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    • ½  cup nutritional yeast
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • Juice of 1 ½  lemons
    • 1 ½  tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp salt

Boil cauliflower until tender. Drain and place cooked cauliflower in a blender. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

  • Veggies
    • 4 cups sliced Mushrooms
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 large pepper (yellow, orange or red), diced
    • 2 carrots, grated or chopped in a food processor
    • Finely chopped kale or spinach
    • Salt and pepper
    • Also can use zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, cauli, etc

Dry fry veggies until just tender crisp. If necessary, add a couple tablespoons of water or broth to keep it from sticking to the pan. Use any mixture of vegetables you like. Add kale or spinach at the end of cooking. You will need 4 to 6 cups of cooked veggies. Season with salt and pepper

To Assemble:

  1. A standard baking dish will accommodate 2 layers plus the top layer of noodles and sauce.
  2. Assemble all ingredients – noodles, white sauce  and cooked veggies.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F
  4. Line a large baking dish or lasagne pan with parchment paper
  5. In your parchment lined dish, spread a layer of white sauce
  6. Spread noodles, 1 layer thick over the sauce. Break noodles if necessary to cover all areas
  7. A layer of white sauce
  8. A layer of veggies
  9. A layer of white sauce
  10. Repeat noodles, white sauce,  veggies, white sauce
  11. Top with noodles and white sauce for final layer.
  12. Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake at 350F for 1 hour or until hot and bubbling.  Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

 

Oil Free Italian Dressing

  • 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 for 10 to 15 seconds on high speed.  From The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell.

Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 can (15 oz/425 g)  or 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of ½ lemon or lime
  • Spice option 1: 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp each salt and onion powder, ¼ tsp cayenne
  • Spice option 2: 1 tsp each garlic powder, cumin, curry, paprika, ½ tsp salt
  • Spice option 3: ½  tsp garlic powder, 2 tbsp onion powder; 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, ½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Drain and rinse chickpeas and place on a baking sheet. Bake until almost dry throughout, about 30 minutes, shaking the pan and tasting every 10 minutes. Transfer chickpeas to a large bowl. Add lemon or lime juice and toss until coated. In a small bowl, mix spices. Add spices to chickpeas and toss until coated. Roast for another 10 minutes being sure the spices don’t start to burn. Turn off oven and leave chickpeas in the oven until cool. If chickpeas are still moist inside after they cool, reheat oven to 200F and roast until dry.  Store in sealed glass jar. If they get moist, place in low oven until dry.   Use as a nutritious snack or in place of croutons to top a salad.

Pineapple Whip

Pineapple Whip

  • 1 ripe pineapple (or purchased frozen pineapple)
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 heaping tbsp agave or honey
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger (optional)
  • Toasted coconut for topping

Peel and core the pineapple. Chop and freeze on a cookie sheet overnight. Place can of coconut milk in fridge overnight. Open bottom of coconut milk can and pour off coconut water. (Reserve the coconut water for another use.) Place coconut milk solids, honey and ginger, if using, in a high powered blender. Blend until well combined. With blender running, slowly add frozen pineapple until mixture is thick and creamy, about the consistency of soft ice cream. . Transfer to a shallow container, cover and place in freezer to firm up for 2 to 4 hours.  Serve with toasted coconut on top. (If the whip freezes hard, let it rest in the fridge for ½ to 1 hour before serving.)

If your blender is not powerful enough to handle the frozen pineapple, thaw slightly before using and add a bit of pineapple juice to keep mixture moving.  Can also be made in a food processor.

Adapted from The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell

Pineapple Whip topped with Blueberries

 

 

Homemade Vegetable Stock or Broth

March 20, 2017

I make a lot of soups, stews and chowders, especially during the cooler months. And I also use stock for sautéing veggies, instead of oil. As a result I go through a lot of bullion cubes. I always assumed making your own stock was a waste of good veggies. Many recipes call for onions, garlic, carrots, celery and leeks. You boil these until a tasty stock results then strain out the veggies and throw them out. Why not just make a veggie soup and eat the veggies???

A short while ago, I had a chance conversation with a friend of my daughter’s. Turns out he also follows a plant based diet and loves to cook. He shared with me his method for stock and it changed my opinion on homemade stock. The next day, I began saving veggies for my own stock making. Thank you Shain Brown. I am forever in your debt. (Check out Shain’s Not-Meat Loaf and Creamy White Bean Soup recipes as well.)

Shain’s question to me was, “What do you do with your vegetable scraps?” I compost them, of course. He challenged me, “Why not make a broth with them, then compost them?” Now that makes perfect sense.

Returning home after our conversation I was gung-ho to start my stock. For two weeks I threw every veggie scrap into the pot. Almost nothing went in the compost pail.  It’s cold here in Manitoba right now, so I can keep my stock pot in the porch and the veggies stay frozen until I am ready to make stock. (You can store yours in a zip-lock bag in the freezer.) When the pot was over half full, I set out to make my stock. The result was not bad but not as good as I had hoped. I consulted Google and found that some veggies can produce a bitter broth, namely the crucifers – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussell sprouts. Quite a few of those had made it into my stock pot.

For my second batch, I was more choosy on my veggie scraps, opting for the trimmings from onion , tomato , garlic , carrot , parsnip , celery and leek. After a couple of weeks, I had enough to try again. Eureka! It was delicious. I am hooked on homemade stock now. If you are not convinced, read the ingredients on the box of your favorite bullion cubes. I used an organic, non-GMO boullion cube and the first ingredients are: corn starch, salt and palm oil. All of these before any veggies are listed. None of these in homemade stock.

I have now finished cooking my fourth batch of stock, still mostly the basic veggies – onion, garlic, leek, carrot, parsnip, celery and tomato.  (Mushroom stems can also be used, but I seldom have any to throw into the pot.)  I also add the insides of one jalapeño pepper (the pith and seeds left when you slice of the outer flesh). It gives the stock just the slightest hint of spiciness. But limit it to one pepper unless you want a spicy stock. Two makes a pretty fiery stock!

A few ground rules in making stock. Don’t use any veggie that you wouldn’t throw into a soup – that is, nothing dirty or rotten. Scrub your carrots and wash you leek and celery trimmings well to remove any dirt. Avoid cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts). Also they say potatoes, sweet potatoes and squashes will result in a cloudy stock. However, I now add small amounts of sweet potato and squash trimmings just because I love the flavor they bring. You can also add herb trimmings in small amounts – rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, but keep in mind how you use your stock and if these flavors will complement. You may not want a strong rosemary flavor in every soup you make. However, a handful of parsley or cilantro stems makes a good addition. A bay leaf is also a good addition to the pot, as is a pinch of peppercorns. I have also added the remnants after squeezing one organic lemon. It gave the stock a mild bit of zip.

You can add salt or not, depending on your preference. I prefer no salt in the stock, instead adding it to the final product to the desired degree. In my last batch I added a teaspoon of no-salt seasoning (like Mrs. Dash).

Watch this good video clip on making broth from scraps.

Vegetable Stock

  • clean vegetable trimmings – onion, garlic, leek, carrot, parsley, celery, mushroom, tomato
  • optional – small amount of sweet potato or squash trimmings
  • small amounts of herb trimmings – parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, etc (optional)
  • water
  • bay leaf, peppercorns (optional)

Save your vegetable trimmings and freeze until you have at least a few litres of trimmings. (Keep a plastic bag in the freezer for trimmings.) When you slice an onion, save the top and bottom you slice off as well as any fleshy leaves you peel off. The dry outer skin can be used in small amounts as it makes the broth darker. When you use garlic, save the bottom heal part you generally cut off. You can also add the garlic skins.  With leeks, wash well and toss in the top green parts you usually throw away.

When you are ready to make stock, place the trimmings in a large pot and add water to fully cover the veggies. Throw in a bay leaf and some peppercorns if desired. Bring to a boil and gently simmer for several hours. (about 5 hours) A crock pot set on low and simmered for 12 hours or more will also work. When the veggies are very soft turn off the heat and let the stock cool. Once cool, strain out the veggies. Taste the stock and if desired, you can continue to simmer the stock to reduce it to make a stronger, more concentrated stock. Compost the veggies.

Finish broth, with head space for freezing

Store the stock in containers in the fridge or freezer. If freezing, leave at least 1 inch of head space in the jar for expansion during freezing or your container will crack. You can also freeze the stock as ice cubes if you often use small amounts, or if you have made a very strong, concentrated stock. I like to keep one jar in the fridge at all times for oil free veggies sautéing,  If you are planning on making soup, take a few jars out the night before to thaw or place sealed jars in warm water to speed thawing. (Warm water not hot, as you don’t want glass jars to crack due to sudden temperature change)

 

 

 

 

Creamy White Bean Soup

March 19, 2017

This super simple, creamy soup is another recipe from Shain Brown. Its a basic recipe for a hearty filling soup that can be modified so many ways.

You can buy white beans (also called navy beans) in a can, but it is super simple to cook them from dry beans. And there are benefits to using dry beans – no BPA from the can, cheaper (about 50% cheaper), smaller carbon footprint (dry beans are lighter to transport than cans full of water)…and you don’t have to lug those heavy cans home after shopping or recycle them later.

One cup of dry beans makes three cups of cooked beans. Step 1 below outlines how to cook beans from scratch by soaking them first, then cooking. (You can cook the beans without soaking first, but soaking will remove more of the compounds that cause the gas issues common with bean consumption.)

I like to cook up a big batch of beans and then freeze the drained beans on cookie sheets. Once frozen , store in ziplock bags and whenever you need them for a recipe you can easily remove how much you need.

Shain’s basic recipe starts with dry beans, but you can easily substitute already cooked beans. I was out of frozen cooked white beans, so I cooked up another big batch to restock my freezer. If your beans are already cooked, you will skip Step 1 and start at Step 2.

I love this soup as it is so versatile. All you really need is white beans, and the rest you can modify. I had a leek in the fridge and some leftover squash that I added to the soup (in Step 2). I also added smoked paprika and liquid smoke to create a bacony flavor. Use your imagination and whatever you have in the fridge to create your own version.

Basic Creamy White Bean Soup

  • 1 cup dry white beans (or 3 cups cooked, or 2 15 ounce cans)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)
Cooking white beans

Step 1 – If using dry beans, soak the beans overnight. (In a hurry, no problem. Cover the beans with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes then remove from heat, cover and let sit 1 hour. You will get the same results as soaking overnight.)

Drain soaked beans and place in a large pot with about 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then gently simmer until the beans are tender but not mushy, about 1 hour. Drain beans. You should have about 3 cups of cooked beans.

 

 

Beans, leeks, squash and garlic simmering

Step 2 – Add vegetable broth, and garlic to the cooked beans. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes.

You can vary the soup up by adding other veggies at this point. I added one chopped leek and 1 cup of butternut squash. The squash gave the soup a nice golden color. You could also add diced carrots, sweet potatoes or onions at this point as well. Cook until your veggies are tender.

 

 

 

Puree using an emersion blender

Step 3 – Using an emersion blender, puree the beans until smooth.

Alternatively, you can puree the beans in a blender. Let the mixture cool slightly and be sure to vent the container to let the steam escape.

If you are not a fan of pureed soups, the soup is also delicious left chunky.

Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. For a smokey bacon-like taste, add a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a dash of liquid smoke, if you have it. If you like it spicy, add a 1/4 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder as well.

 

Step 4 – Dry fry mushrooms in a large non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Stir often and cook until nicely browned and slightly crispy.

To add a bit more texture and color to the soup, you can also dry fry up some diced onion and red pepper and add it to the soup.

The soup is also good with finely chopped kale in it. Add it after pureeing and let it simmer for 5 minutes to cook the kale.

Thin the soup out with additional broth or water to your desired thickness.

Step 5 – Serve soup with mushrooms on top. Or green onions.

 

 

Curried Chickpeas and Naan

March 14, 2017

I am preparing for the next cooking class on April 2. The theme of the class is The Versatile Chickpea. You can bet that we have been eating a whole lot of chickpeas lately, while getting the menu finalized. There are so many great chickpea recipes, we can’t do them all at the class. This curried chickpea will be not be demonstrated at the class, but not because it isn’t totally delicious. And paired with this delicious naan, it is totally to die for.

Curried Chickpeas and homemade naan

The original recipe for the curry comes from Jessica in the Kitchen. I modified it only slightly – removed the oil and added veggies to make it a one pot meal. It comes together quickly and is not very spicy at all. I added a jalapeño and red pepper flakes to mine to spice it up a bit.  If you are not a fan of hot spicy food, the basic curry is for you. If you like it spicy, add red pepper flakes or use a good curry paste, like a sriracha or harrisa, to spice it up at the table to everyone’s individual tastes.

I used peas and carrots in my curry. You can omit both for a plan chickpea curry and serve it with a vegetable side. Or add any other vegetable combination you like to the curry. Sweet potatoes, cauliflower and green beans would also work well.

The curry is delicious, but the real star of this meal is the naan. I have never been a big fan of naan – white flour and loads of butter. However, this recipe is so good and its whole grain and pretty much oil -free, except for the oil I used to coat the utensils. And it turns out Naan is really not that hard to make from scratch. I have not yet mastered chapatis or tortillas, but the naan came out great.

Curried Chickpeas

  • 2 mediums onions/1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1- 16 ounces/454g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed or 1 1/2 cups cooked
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1- 13.5 ounces/383g can coconut milk, full fat or lite
  • 2 teaspoons coconut flour
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 small lime

In a deep pot, add in the onions, tomatoes and carrots. Allow to simmer slowly until onions are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add in the chickpeas, garlic, garam masala, curry powder and cumin (and red chilli flakes if using). Stir to combine.

Add the coconut flour to the liquid of the coconut milk and stir until well combined. Add in the coconut milk and coconut flour mixture to the pot and stir. Bring the curry to a boil, and then reduce to medium-low so that the mixture continues to simmer for 10 to 12 more minutes.

Taste the curry and season with salt and pepper to taste. (How much you need will depend on whether or not your tomatoes and chickpeas were salted.) If you want a hotter curry, add a touch of hot chili powder or cayenne.  Thaw peas under hot water and add to curry. Remove the curry from the heat and squeeze a lime lightly over the top of the curry, stirring to combine. Serve.

This Naan Bread recipe comes from Kim Campbell’s The PlantPure Nation Cookbook. While the recipe does not call for any oil, the bread is moist and delicious.  I have altered the method for making the naan based on how I like to make bread. You can easily make this bread without a bread mixer by doing a bit of hand kneading. However, if you have a mixer, making the dough will be a piece of cake.

I used my tortilla press to press the dough out to the desired thickness and it worked like a charm. If you don’t have a press, roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thick using a rolling pin.

Whole Wheat Naan Bread

  • ½  cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • ½ cup hot water (tap water hot not boiling)
  • 1/3 cup agave, honey, brown rice syrup or brown sugar
  • ¾ cup plant based milk
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • About 4 cups whole wheat flour

In a small bowl, dissolve 1 tsp sugar in the warm water and sprinkle yeast on top. Stir to dissolve yeast and let stand in a warm place until frothy and doubled in size, about 5 to 10 minutes. (If your yeast does not froth up within 20 minutes, then either your water was too hot or cold, or your yeast was old. Throw out the mixture. Check the expiry on your yeast. Try again.)

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a bread mixer with dough hooks) add hot water, sweetener, milk, garlic powder, vinegar, salt and 1 cup of flour. (Note: I use hot water to counter the cold of the milk. Make sure this mixture is not too hot. You want it warm when you add the yeast. Too hot and it will kill the yeast.) Stir until well combined. Add an additional cup of flour and beat until well combined. Add the yeast mixture and beat until combined. Continue adding flour, a small amount at a time until a soft dough forms. (note you may use more or less than 4 cups when finished.) Knead dough for 6 to 8 minutes, either by hand or using the mixer.  

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a lid or damp towel. Let rest in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and divide it into 15 to 20 pieces (depending on how big you want your naan). I made 20 pieces of 6 inch naan breads. Keep in mind you will be cooking in a skillet so be sure your pieces will fit your pan.

Roll each piece of dough into a ball. Place on a tray and cover with a damp towel. Let rest in a warm place until double in size, about 30 minutes.

 

 

Heat a griddle pan on medium-high heat.  (I find cast iron works best. ) Roll one piece of dough out to about 1/8 inch thick. (If you have one, a tortilla press works perfectly. I use a cut open zip lock bag to prevent sticking to the press. Place dough ball on the plastic, cover with the plastic and close the press. Voila, a perfectly round dough. If necessary, lightly grease your hands to prevent the dough from sticking.)


 

 

 

 

 

 

To roll by hand, either lightly flour our dough to prevent sticking, or lightly oil the dough and roll between plastic. If using flour, add only small amounts so that your dough does not become too dry.

Place on the hot griddle and cover with a lid. Set a timer for 1 minute. After 1 minute, remove the cover. The dough should be puffy and golden on the bottom side.  If not, turn your heat up or down to adjust and cook until golden. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flip  the dough and press down lightly to get good contact with the dough and the pan.  Cover and cook 1 minute or until done.

 

 

 

Remove naan from pan and place on a dish and cover with a cloth.  

 

 

 

 

 

While your naan is cooking, roll out another piece of dough, ready to cook. Once the first piece is done, add the second piece to the pan. Cover, cook 1 minute, flip, cover, cook another minute. Repeat until all naan is cooked.

Naan freezes well in a tightly sealed zip lock bag. Thaw and serve the naan warm by quickly heating in a hot frying pan.

 

 

 

 

Baked Cauliflower Bites

March 9, 2017

Since discovering that chickpea flour makes a great ‘eggy’ batter I have been making these cauliflower bites often. Ken and I can easily polish off an entire large head of cauliflower in one sitting.  Coating the veggies in breadcrumbs and then baking produces a crisp crust without using any oil. These taste as good as any deep fried appetizer, but without any oil. And the same recipe will also work with other veggies, such as breaded eggplant or zucchini sticks. Use whatever spice mix your heart desires.

Chickpea flour can be found in the ethnic aisle of most grocery stores, with the East Indian staples. It is also referred to as Besan or Gram Flour. I also use it to make egg-less omelettes and French toast.

Baked Cauliflower Bites

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • ½ cup unsweetened and unflavoured plant based milk (I use almond or cashew)
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp each salt, onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dried whole grain bread crumbs (gluten free, if required)

Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix milk, flour and spices in a large bowl. Add cauliflower florets and toss until well coated.

 

Place breadcrumbs in a small bowl and roll each cauliflower floret in the bread crumbs to coat. 

 

Place florets on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until tender.

These are good just as they are, but try the dipping sauce below for a tasty treat.

 

Honey Garlic Dipping Sauce

  • 4 Tbsp honey (or substitute with Brown Rice Syrup for a vegan option)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 6 tbsp water mixed with 2 tsp corn starch (or arrowroot powder)

In a small saucepan, mix all ingredients until well combined.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat and serve over the baked cauliflower florets or as a dipping sauce.