Tag Archives: Vegan

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.

 

 

July 2017 Cooking Class – Great Summer Salads

July 9, 2017

The theme for this month’s cooking class was Summer Salads. Summer means time for enjoying the outdoors and these quick and easy, cool and refreshing summer salads are a great way to reduce time in the kitchen. They can be used as a side dish or can easily be made into a whole meal by adding a whole grain roll or baked potato.  And they are great to take to barbecues and picnics.

This class we had a discussion on fats/oils in our diets. While a healthy diet includes fats, it is best we get them from whole foods like seeds, nuts, and avocado. This article by Kim Campbell provides some good reasons why to eliminate oil.

Thanks to James for taking pictures. I will update the post with them later.

Green Smoothie

As usual, our class started with a refreshing green smoothie. July’s smoothie was beet greens, picked fresh from my garden, apple, pineapple and frozen raspberries. Its a bit more tart than most of my smoothies but still delicious. The red in the beet greens and the raspberries combine to give this smoothie a beautiful red color.

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

Place in blender in order given. Blend until smooth.

Black Bean Salad

This salad is a long time favorite of mine for potlucks. It always gets rave reviews. It makes a great summer supper meal just by adding a baked potato. (Note: you can make great baked potatoes in your slow cooker. Just poke the potatoes, place in the cooker, cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high. No need to heat up your oven!)

If you are not a fan of cilantro or avocados, just leave them out.  I like adding the avocado just before serving to keep it from getting mushy or dark colored. Also, tomatoes taste best when not refrigerated, so I add the tomatoes before serving as well.

  • Two 16-ounce cans black beans drained and rinsed WELL!
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • 1 ½ cup canned or frozen corn
  • ½ Red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 1 large mango, diced (optional)
  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or more to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 very large tomato, chopped (or use cherry tomatoes cut in half)
  • 2 small avocados, diced (optional)

Combine all ingredients except for tomatoes and avocado in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Take the salad out of the fridge at least 1 hour before serving. Add tomatoes.  Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with a more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Modified from:  http://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/easy-black-bean-salad-recipe/  

Couscous Salad

This salad is a spin off from a quinoa tabbouleh salad. No grain is faster to prepare than couscous. And the hemp hearts add a boost of protein. You can easily substitute cooked quinoa for the couscous. Serve with a green salad for a full meal.

  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 2 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley (or more to taste)
  • ½ cup hemp hearts
  • 2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 8 green onions, diced (about ¾ cup)
  • ½ tsp salt, or to taste

Dressing

  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 clove garlic, minced

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add couscous. Cover and remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork . Cool.  Add remaining salad ingredients to the cooled couscous. Mix dressing and add to the salad and serve.

Options – you can substitute quinoa for the couscous. (1 cup quinoa to 1 ¾ cup water, simmer 15 minutes, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork. )

Caesar Salad

This salad is a spin off from one in Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows cookbook. She used almonds, but I prefer cashews. I was thrilled to find you can substitute cooked white beans (also called Navy Beans) for part of the cashews. Also, you can add a bit of kale to this classic romaine salad and know one will mind at all. Instead of bacon bits, I like to add sunflower seeds for a nice crunch and boost of protein.

Note: While I prefer to cook my beans using dry beans, you can buy cooked small white beans or Navy beans in a can. Since you only need 1/4 cup, drain and rinse the beans and freeze any leftovers to use in another dish. Or freeze in 1/4 cup packages for future Caesar Salads.

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup raw unsalted cashews and ¼ cup cooked white beans (or 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews)
  • 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

Salad:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Kale
  • Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Red onion, sliced thin
  • Sunflower seeds (raw or roasted and salted)
  • Whole grain croutons (optional)

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

Chop kale fine and massage for a few minutes to tenderize. Chop romaine and add to kale. Add dressing and toss. Add remaining ingredients and toss again.

If you can’t find raw unsalted cashews, you can use roasted unsalted ones as well.

Fruit Salad

A fruit salad makes a great summer dessert. It takes no heat to prepare and provides just the right amount of sweetness to finish off any meal. The salad is good on its own, but to dress it up for company, try this creamy ginger dressing made with coconut milk yogurt (also sold as Cultured Yogurt).

Feel free to mix this up with your favorite fruits and use the amount as a guide only. I managed to pick up a basket of fresh picked local strawberries so our salad had more strawberries than the 2 cups called for in the recipe.

  • 1 cup coconut milk yogurt, unsweetened
  • 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
  • 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 separate serving bowl.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Place oranges, apples and pineapple in a large bowl. Toss to coat apples with the liquid.  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.

Note: next class is not until September.

 

 

 

 

 

May 2017 Cooking Class – The Basics of Plant Based Eating

May 28, 2017

What a great class. We had 14 participants and 3 volunteers. Everyone had so much to share. Since we had a lot of new people this class, the focus was on the very basics of what to eat. We started the class in our usual way – with a green smoothie, one of my favorites – Kale Mango Banana. We also had a taste testing of one of my go to breakfasts – Overnight Oats. For dinner we made a Red Lentil, Carrot and Coconut Soup, a Kale and Apple Salad and Chia Pudding. I hope you enjoy the recipes as much as we all did.

Thanks Katherine for taking pictures.

Green Smoothie

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups greens (we used Kale)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit
    • (we used 1 fresh banana and 1 1/2 cups frozen mango cubes)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Place ingredients in a blender in the order above. Blend until smooth.

 

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats is the perfect breakfast dish, especially for the summer or for those days when you need to eat breakfast on the run. You mix everything up the night before  and in the morning, grab and go.

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

  • 1 cup rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 2 ½ cups plant based milk (almond, coconut, rice, cashew or soy)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
  • maple syrup (or other sweetener), to taste

In a small bowl, mash the banana and add oats, milk (we used cashew), chia seeds, cinnamon and dried fruit. Whisk together well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir the mixture and add a bit of maple syrup if desired.  Serve with a topping of fresh fruit, granola or hemp seed.

Need breakfast on the go? Spoon the overnight oats into a jar; add your toppings and seal. Throw it in your bag with a spoon.

Makes 3 servings

 

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Coconut

This is one of my all time favorite soups. Its fast and easy to make and contains basic ingredients I almost always have on hand. Serve with hearty whole grain bread and its a filling meal. (We had it with Ezekiel bread). We used 2 dried Thai chillies and the soup was very mild. If you like it spicier, crush your chillies or serve with some Sriracha or Garlic Chili sauce like Sambol Olek.

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 to 6 large carrots, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt (less if your bullion is salted)
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 Thai chillies, fresh or dried (optional)
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 large handful finely chopped kale or spinach (optional)
  • 1 can (14 oz/398 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar

Rinse lentils under cold water. Place lentils and all ingredients except kale,  coconut milk and lemon juice in a slow cooker or large pot. If using, leave chilli pepper whole for a slightly spicy soup, crush for more spice.  If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. If doing on the stove top, bring to a boil and simmer slowly until lentils are very well done and partially dissolved in the broth, about 1 hour. If using whole chilli peppers, remove from the soup. If using, add the kale or spinach and remove from heat.

Add coconut milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) and adjust seasonings to taste.

Kale and Apple Salad

This is a hearty salad that can easily be an entire meal. It makes a great supper paired with a baked potato.  The dressing is rich and creamy and bold enough to hold its own with kale. (if you are looking to reduce your nut intake, I have also done this dressing using 1/2 cup cashews and 1/2 cup cooked white beans.) If you are not a avid kale fan, be sure to cut your kale fine, don’t leave big pieces, and massage it well.

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

Place all ingredients in high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Pumpkin Parmesan

  •  ½ cup pumpkin seeds (or cashew, pecan or sesame seeds)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

In mini food processor or coffee grinder, combine pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast and salt. Process until crumbly. (or chop by hand) Sprinkle on top of your salad.

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

Place kale in large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. 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 a small amount of dressing and toss well.  Just before serving, add the romaine and toss with pumpkin seeds. Serve with a sprinkling of pecan parmesan.

Adapted from http://www.rawmazing.com/apple-and-kale-salad-with-oil-free-maple-dijon-dressing/

Chia Pudding

This is a recipe for a basic chia pudding. Add your choice of toppings or change it up by adding cocoa powder for a chocolate pudding, canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice for a pumpkin pie pudding.

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed; 1 tbsp maple syrup; or sweetener of choice
  • Optional add-ins – ¼ tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp cocoa, ¼ cup pumpkin puree & pumpkin pie spice
  • Optional toppings – coconut, fresh, frozen or dried fruit or berries, granola, nuts, hemp seeds

In a 2 cup jar, place milk, chia seeds and mashed banana or sweetener. (Optional, add vanilla, cocoa or pumpkin puree for a different flavour) Cover and shake well until combined. Let sit about 5 minutes and shake well again. Let sit another 5 minutes and shake well again. Let sit in the fridge for at least one hour before eating.  (For an instant pudding, blend pudding in a blender or use ground chia seeds.) Top with fruit, nuts, seeds or granola. Create a parfait by layering pudding with fruit and top with granola or nuts.

You can also replace 1 tbsp of chia seeds with 3 tbsp of rolled oats, and let sit overnight before eating. (oats take longer to soak)

 

 

 

Raw Food Weekend

April 25, 2017

I recently hosted a raw food and meditation retreat for a couple of friends. What a great experience. I have eaten raw for short periods of time before, but it has been a while. It was amazing how little we ate and yet always seemed to be content and full.

 

We did 3 full days raw. It was so much fun to try new recipes.  We experimented with a spiralizer making both zucchini and sweet potato noodles.

 

 

 

We started our mornings with a wheat grass shot after meditation and before the morning dog walk. A great way to get you energized for the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our morning walk with the dog, breakfasts were Overnight Oats, Raw Granola and Fresh Cashew Milk, and Green Smoothies. Lunches were a Kale and Apple Salad with Pecans, a Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup and a Cauliflower Salad, and a Gazpacho with raw crudities. Suppers included Spiralized Zucchini Noodles with Raw Tomato Marinera, Spiralized Sweet Potatoes with a couple of different sauces (Cashew Curry, Wasabi Aoili, Herbed Ranch Style Dressing) and Cauliflower Rice. For snacks we had soaked raw almonds, fruit salad, figs, dates and dried apricots, and fresh fruit. So much good food.

The recipes from the weekend are below. I hope you will try some of them, even if you don’t do an entire day raw. They would be great alongside a cooked dish and are all super delicious.

Since my raw weekend, I have been continuing to eat raw for breakfast and raw or mostly raw for dinner. Lunches I have been eating cooked food. I find the raw suppers to be lighter and easier to digest and I sleep better.

Overnight Oats

Note: for this dish to be fully raw, you will need to make our own fresh plant milk. We made a cashew milk as cashew milk is rich and creamy and does not require straining out the pulp as almond milk does. To make your own cashew milk, blend 1/2 cup soaked raw cashews and 2 cups water until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate and use within 3 days. If you want a sweeter milk, add a couple of pitted dates to the mixture before blending.

  • 1 cup rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 2 ½ cups plant based milk (almond, coconut, rice, cashew or soy)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
  • maple syrup (or other sweetener), to taste

In a small bowl, mash the banana and add oats, milk, chia seeds, cinnamon and dried fruit. Whisk together well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir the mixture and add a bit of maple syrup if desired.  Serve with a topping of fresh fruit, granola or hemp seed.

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

Raw Granola

This raw granola is similar to overnight oats in that is also soaked before eating. However, it doesn’t contain chia seeds and so has a different texture. The recipe says to soak for 2 to 3 hours, but it can be soaked overnight as well, which is easier if you want to eat it when you get up. We found the original recipe way too heavy on the nuts, and adding lots more oats and quinoa flakes to be a delicious and much lighter breakfast. Feel free to use your favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruit. I like this for breakfast with the addition of a chopped fresh apple. For a fully raw version, make your own fresh nut milk.

  • 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup sunflower seed
  • 1 cup pecan, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups raw oat flakes or quinoa flakes, or a mixture of the two
  • ½ cup goji berry
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • ½ cup hemp seed
  • 6-8 dates, chopped
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • big handful JOY ♥

Place everything in a jar. Each time you are hungry you take about ½  c of Granola, soak in just enough water to cover for 2-3 hrs and enjoy with cashew or almond milk.

Modified from Raw Solla’s recipe ebook.

Citrus Green Smoothie

We enjoyed quite a few smoothies over the weekend. My basic recipe is equal parts water, greens and fruit; however, we opted for an extra handful of greens in every smoothie, making them less sweet and more green.

  • two oranges, peeled
  • 2 bananas, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Kale and Apple Salad

This kale and apple salad is one of my favorites and I have made it many times, either as a meal on its own, or as a side. The recipe makes a lot of Oil Free Maple Mustard dressing, enough for several salads, but it is delicious an many other salads and even on a baked potato instead of the traditional butter and sour cream. It will keep well in the fridge for at least one week.

The original recipe called for roasting the pecans in maple syrup but in the interest of remaining raw, we used raw pecans.

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

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Salad

  • 3 medium bunches of kale, de-stemmed and shredded fine
  • 1 lemon, juice from
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 4 apples, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Julienned carrots
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Diced red pepper
  • pecans
  1. Place kale in large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Massage the lemon juice and salt into the kale for about 4 minutes.
  2. Add chopped apples, dried cranberries, carrots, onion, and red pepper. Toss.
  3. Add dressing (start with half and then add to your taste) and toss well.
  4. Top with pecans and serve.

Adapted from Raw Amazing.

Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup

This is a fast and easy raw soup that is very satisfying. If you have a good high performance blender, like a Vitamix, you don’t need to grate the carrots or ginger just throw in the blender in chunks.

After blending the soup it is warm, from the blending action, and it is delicious this way. If you have to store it in the fridge, you may want to warm it up carefully on the stove before eating.

 

  • 3 large carrots, grated
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Sea salt
  • Cilantro, to garnish

Place all ingredients except cilantro and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and add salt as needed. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

From The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier

Cauliflower Salad with Herb Cashew Dressing

This is another favorite salad of mine. Adding fresh parsley to the dressing makes a lovely green sauce. However, if you prefer your dressing to be whiter, use dried parsley (1 or 2 tbsp) and stir it into the finished dressing instead.

My original recipe used thawed frozen peas, but to keep it raw, we used chopped broccoli instead.  Try the pea version by adding 2 cups of green peas, thawed under hot water.

Herb Cashew Dressing

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 – 3 hours
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp whte miso
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to your taste

Adapted from The  PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli or asparagus
  • ½ cup green onions, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced fine
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds, soaked for ½ hour

Chop cauliflower and broccoli into small florets. Place chopped veggies in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix well. Add sunflower seeds.

Gazpacho

Finding a good gazpacho recipe can be tough, but we struck it lucky with this one from the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook.  We made a few changes to the original recipe. We eliminated the oil. We didn’t have a cucumber, so we used a zucchini in its place. To keep it raw we substituted sun dried tomatoes for the tomato juice. The recipe calls for chopped avocado as a topping but we found adding an avocado to the soup adding a creaminess without refined oil. And the avocado did not change the color of the soup substantially, it stayed a beautiful red. For a vibrant colored soup, be sure to use bright red tomatoes and red pepper and peel your cucumber (or zucchini in our case).

  • 675 g ripe tomatoes (1 ½ pounds)
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled (or zucchini)
  • ¼ cup sweet onion
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 cups tomato juice or cocktail (or ½ cup sun dried tomatoes and 2 cups water)
  • 1 avocado (optional)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 4 tsp to 3 tbsp red wine vinegar (or balsamic)
  • Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
  • Topping:
  • Diced avocado, cucumber, red pepper
  • Chopped fresh basil, parsley, cilantro

Roughly chop the veggies for the soup and add all ingredients to the blender. Blend until smooth, adjust seasonings to your taste.

For a chunkier soup texture, add only half the tomatoes and pepper to the blender. Blend until smooth, then add the remaining tomatoes and pepper and pulse until desired texture is reached.

Top with toppings of your choice.

Adapted from Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon

 

Spiralized Zucchini and Marinara Sauce

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spiralized zucchini is now a favorite of mine. It is delicious cold and I don’t find any need to heat up the dish at all if you keep your marinara sauce at room temperature. What a quick and easy way to make a spaghetti dinner!

The original marinara recipe called for 3/4 cup olive oil – holy cow, that’s a lot of oil. We eliminated the oil totally, using my homemade vegetable broth instead. It tasted great. When I made this the next time, I added an avocado, which gave it a smoother richer taste.

Finely shred or spiralize 2 zucchini so that it is angel-hair in appearance.

Marinara Sauce

  • 2 cups tomatoes
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp dried basil (or sub fresh)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano (or sub fresh)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 5 pitted olives (we used green)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 avocado, pitted (optional)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste. Serve over the zucchini pasta.

Adapted from Rawganique

 

Sweet Potato Noodles

The sweet potato noodles were a surprise for me. I didn’t even know you could eat sweet potatoes raw. I expected them to be starchy but they are crunchy and delicious. I have made this recipe a couple of times now and my favorite sauces are the curry and the wasabi. We also used the same Herbed Cashew Dressing as we used for the cauliflower salad. It is also great with the raw marinara sauce we used on the zucchini noodles.

Clockwise from 9 oclock – Curried Almond, Wasabi Aioli, Herbed Cashew

Spiralize your noodles and top with sauce of your choice. We tried a Curry Cashew Sauce, Wasabi  and Herb Cashew Dressing.

Curry Almond Sauce

  • ½ cup almond butter or cashew butter (we used cashew butter)
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 4 to 5  tsp curry powder
  • 1 to 2  tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp tamari

Place sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.  Garnish with  currents and walnuts.

Adapted from Jesse Lane Wellness.

Wasabi Aioli

The original recipe calls for less cashews and adds silken tofu. To keep this raw, we eliminated the tofu and added more cashews. (I also like this aioli as a topping on burgers.)

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 to 3 hours
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp wasabi paste
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp salt

Drain soaked cashews.  Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Adapted from The  PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell.

Herb Cashew Dressing

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 – 3 hours
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp whte miso
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to your taste

Adapted from The  PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell.

Cauliflower Rice

I have seen recipes for cauliflower rice pop up on Facebook more and more often lately. However, this was my first time trying it. Most of the recipes cook the cauliflower and veggies, but this one is fabulous raw. I love the sauce!

  • 1/2  head of cauliflower
  • 3 green onion tops
  • red bell pepper, chopped
  • diced celery
  • diced carrots
  • 2 tbsp parsley, fresh or dried
  • or substitute your favorite veggies

Sauce

  • 3 Green onion bulbs (the white part, use green tops for rice)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • juice of 1 lime (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp ginger (or 1 inch piece fresh ginger)
  • 1 tbsp broth (unsalted) or water
  1. Break cauliflower into florets and rinse well.
  2. Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until rice like in consistency.
  3. Place cauliflower rice in a bowl and stir in remaining rice ingredients.
  4. Blend all sauce ingredients, except parsley, pour over rice and mix thoroughly.
  5. Let rice sit for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Adapted from Raw Amanda

Jicima Fries

  • 1 jicima,
  • Lime juice
  • Chilli powder
  • salt

Peel the jicama and cut into French fry shape.  Toss with lime juice and sprinkle with chilli powder and salt. You could also add some garlic and onion powder if you like.

Raw Curly Salad

Since our retreat I have found this recipe which is absolutely delicious and can be modified in many ways. The dressing is orange based and so good on any salad including spring greens. The original recipe from the PlantPure Kitchen by Kim Campbell called for 1/2 cup of orange juice. I used one whole peeled orange instead. Using the whole orange gives you the benefit of the fibre in the orange but I also find it makes the dressing thicker.

This recipe makes a big salad. Feel free to use whatever veggies you have and make it to the size you need.

Orange Dressing

  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Salad

  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 cups, kale thinly sliced
  • 2 cups edamame beans or peas, thawed
  • 2 zucchini, made into noodle using a julienne peeler or spiralizer
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded or cut into thin noodles using a julienne peeler
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced (or 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, for garnish

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and garnish with sesame seeds.

I encourage you to add more raw food to your diet. And if you have the opportunity to go totally raw for a longer period, go for it. It was a wonderful experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.