Tag Archives: whole food

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

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

August 2016 Cooking Class – Cooking with Lentils

August 15, 2016

Our August cooking class focused on lentils. Lentils are little powerhouses of nutrition. Full of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. They are many different kinds of lentils, each with different properties.

I generally use red, green and black lentils. I love the red lentils for soups as they dissolve into the broth for a hearty, filling dish. Green lentils hold together better when cooked and are great for soups, stews and dishes where you want a bit more texture. And black lentils are very firm once cooked.  Cook up a batch of black lentils and leave them in the fridge. Add them to any dish your are cooking or sprinkle them on salads, or rice for an extra boost of protein and visual interest.

For the class we made a soup using red lentils and lentil-rice balls using green lentils. Of course the class also included a green smoothie and a dessert – apple crisp. I hope you will give the recipes below a try and enjoy them.

A big thank you goes out to Shirley who facilitated the class for me. I took an unfortunate tumble off my bicycle and am not getting around well right now. Shirley did not have time to pre-test my recipes and made them first time for the class. Thank you for taking on the challenge Shirley.

Our photographer, Michael, is away on vacation, so no pictures. I know a recipe is better with pictures, so I will try to add them later after I make these recipes again.

Kale Smoothie

This is my basic go to smoothie and I make it at least once every week. It follows the basic smoothie recipe from The Raw Family, 2 cups greens, 2 cups fruit, 2 cups water.

  • 2 cups kale
  • 2 cups frozen mango chunks
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 cups water

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Coconut

I have been making this lentil soup for years. Its from a cookbook my mother gave me, 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson. I have adapted it slightly over the years. I love this soup even in the hot summer months. The red lentils dissolve into the broth so even those who don’t like lentils will love it.

  • 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
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 Thai chillies, fresh or dried (optional)
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can (14 oz/398 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar

Rinse lentils under cold water and set aside. Place all ingredients except coconut milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) 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. If using whole chilli peppers, remove from the soup.

Add coconut milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) and it’s ready to serve.

Lentil Rice Patties or Balls

This Forks Over Knives recipe makes a great patty, ball or loaf. I have adapted the original recipe to add a bit more spices and flavorings. Its great as a burger or in a sandwich. If using the balls to top spaghetti or with gravy or a sauce, heat the balls separately in a frying pan. Don’t heat in the sauce as they will not hold their shape.

Don’t forget to add the oats when the rest of the mixture is quite hot as I find this helps bind the ingredients together well. You can use a food processor to partially mash the ingredients into a finer texture but it is not necessary. Just chop your veggies fine and mash everything together well.

  • 1¾ cups water
  • ½ cup brown-green lentils
  • ½ cup short-grain brown rice
  • 2 tsp dried poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 5 medium white or brown (cremini) mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 1 large rib celery, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp freshly minced garlic (about 5 medium cloves)
  • ¾ cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh sage leaf (or 1½ teaspoons dried, rubbed sage)
  • 1 tsp dried  thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh minced)
  • ¾  tsp dried ground rosemary (or 1 ½  teaspoon fresh minced)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tsp fresh minced)
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (regular contains anchovies)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
  • 2- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (or to taste)

In a medium saucepan on high heat, combine water, lentils, rice, poultry seasoning, and granulated onion. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer, and cook covered for 45 minutes. When done cooking, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes with the lid still on. (Prepare your remaining ingredients while the rice and lentils are cooking.)

In a medium skillet on high heat, add 1 tablespoon of water. When the water begins to sputter, add the chopped onion, mushrooms, and celery, and cook stirring for about 3 minutes, adding water just as needed to prevent sticking. Add the garlic, and cook stirring for an additional 2 minutes, until the vegetables have softened (adding water as needed). If you’re using dried herbs, stir them in with the garlic (if using fresh herbs, add them in next step). Remove from heat.

In a large bowl combine the oats, tomato paste, nuts, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and if you’re using fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano) add them now as well. When the cooked vegetables, and rice and lentils have cooled for about 10 minutes but are still very warm, add them to the bowl and  until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Adjust seasonings to taste (vinegar, soy sauce, spices).

If desired, place the mixture in a food processor and pulse just blended but still chunky.  Shape into patties or balls. Fry in a frying pan until crispy on both sides. Or bake in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes or until crispy. Also good as a loaf (bake 1 hour at 350).

Apple Crisp

Right now local apples are plentiful and this recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook is a great way to use them up. It is low in sugar and fat but super tasty. I have adapted the original recipe slightly to add more apples. I love this recipe for an easy dessert and then the leftovers for breakfast.

Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows has a new cookbook coming out in September 2016, next month. You can pre-order your copy of Oh She Glows Everyday from Amazon. I have mine ordered and one for each of the kids too. I love every recipe in her first cookbook.

Filling:

  • 10 to 12 heaping cups of apples, chopped but not peeled
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder or corn starch
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Toppiing:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup thinly sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 11 by 9 inch baking dish with coconut oil, or line with parchment paper.

Make filling. Place chopped apples in a large bowl and sprinkle arrowroot powder on top. Toss well to combine. Add the sugar, chia seeds, cinnamon and lemon juice and combine well. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth top out evenly.

Make topping: Place all ingredients in the same bowl you used for the apples and combine well. Sprinkle evenly over the apples in the prepared pan.

Cover dish with foil and poke a couple air holes in the foil. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the apples are just fork tender. Uncover dish and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more until topping is nicely browned.

Serve hot or cold, your preference. Great with a scoop of vegan ice cream or Whipped Coconut Cream. (Check out this step by step tutorial for making Whipped Coconut Cream by Oh She Glows) Leftovers are great for breakfast.

 

Bonus Recipe

We did not make this recipe in class, but its another great lentil soup recipe that I hope you will try. Its from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Cookbook (I told you I loved every recipe in  the book and I meant it). I adapted it slightly to increase the veggies. The best part about this soup is the delicious broth, I love the spice mixture.

Red Lentil Kale Soup

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 – 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large handfuls of destemmed kale, chopped very fine (or spinach)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat oil. Add onions, garlic, celery and carrots and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the spices, stir to combine and sauté for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes with their juices, broth and lentils. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper, discard bay leave. Stir in kale and cook for about 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Plant-Based Travel Through Ireland and Scotland

June 11, 2016

We have just returned from a bus tour through Ireland and Scotland.  This type of trip is highly organized and most of the meals are provided as part of the package. As my first bus tour, I had no idea how they would be able to accommodate our dietary needs. In our group of 36 travellers, we started with 2 plant-based (my husband and myself), 1 vegetarian, 1 celiac and 1 dairy free.  By the end of the tour, we were 3 plant-based, so I guess the plant-based meals were appealing.

The tour was arranged through Transat Holidays and they took care of the dietary restrictions. Since traditional Irish and Scottish food is animal protein heavy, I was expecting to eat more than a fair share of ‘chips’ (French Fries). I was pleasantly surprised with the variety and tastiness of the meals. Every pre-organized meal had a vegan option for us.

A full Irish breakfast was included in the package. A full Irish breakfast was generally eggs, several breakfast meats (included blood sausage, or black pudding, in Northern Ireland), grilled tomatoes, cereals, breads, and fruit. The vegan option were great; usually baked beans, potatoes, grilled tomatoes, toast, fresh and dried fruit. Never a problem leaving full after breakfast.

Lunch was generally on our own. Sometimes they were at a pre-organized venue specially designed to cater to bus groups. And they always had a vegan option, though often not noted on their menu, you had to ask for it. But at least they were all familiar with the request and were able to accommodate. These venues were well organized to get large groups in, fed and back out touring in short order. Their menus were generally simple with few options but the food was always very tasty and hot. I am not sure how they do it but the food was always served very hot. We never had a luke warm meal.

Arranged dinners were quite elaborate three-course affairs. A starter, a main and dessert. Since our dinners were often later in the evening, these were heavy meals to consume. I appreciated that the vegan options were lighter; a fruit plate or salad for a starter, rice or couscous and veggies for the main and another fruit plate for dessert.

About half of the dinners were on our own, which gave us the opportunity to search out a pub meal or local vegetarian restaurant.

We were really grateful for the wonderful meals. Sometimes we ended up eating a bit of dairy (Irish Soda Bread is usually made with buttermilk) and the meals were not whole food (white rice, oils). But we were able to get a goodly amount of fruit and veggies so we were happy.

So it is totally possible to travel plant based, and you don’t have to live on salads to do it. The important thing to remember is that if there are no options on the menu, ask. We would just ask for a plant based option and took whatever they offered.  You might be surprised at the tasty meals you will get.

Some of my favorite meals included:

Johnnie Foxs Tavern in Dublin – the veggie option was Colcannon Soup and a delicious bean stew. They even made a special vegan and gluten free birthday cake for the group so that everyone could enjoy it.

Mushy Peas and Chips – my favorite pub food.

2016_5_Galway juiceGalloway Street Market – Whole wheat samosa, curry and fresh squeezed carrot, ginger and apple juice. This was our first indication of a growing plant-based community in Ireland and I enjoyed chatting with the vendors.

 

 

 

Connaght Hotel in Galloway – Detox Salad with tofu and edamame beans

Jacksons Hotel in Ballybofey – I had a delicious roasted veg with baked potato. I got the meal by mistake as it was intended for the gluten free person; however, they quickly made her another and I enjoyed this simple tasty meal.

Green Smoothie – I was ecstatic to find a green smoothie on the menu at the little deli in Derry just outside the entrance to the old walled city. I was definitely missing my daily green smoothie and the glass of kale, cucumber, celery and pineapple goodness went down real well.

2016_9_Belfast_Raw Food Rebellion1Raw Food Rebellion in Belfast – this was our first long stretch of free time during the trip. Tired of souvenir shops and site seeing, we hopped a local bus in search of this gem we found on the internet. Our efforts were well rewarded as we found our best meal of the trip.

 

 

 

2016_9_Belfast_Orange Chocolate Cashew CheesecakeThe chef indulged us by offering a tasting of each of the menu items – Roasted Tomato Soup, Malaysian Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry, Raw Pad Thai, Roasted Chickpea Caesar Salad, Mighty Mexican Sandwich and Rebel Tacos. Combined with fresh made Kombucha and an Orange Chocolate Cashew Cheesecake and we were in heaven. If ever you find yourself in Belfast, be sure to check this place out.

2016_9_Belfast_Raw Food Rebellion

 

2016_9_Belfast_SlumsSlums in Belfast – after our large lunch at Raw Food Rebellion we had not planned on having dinner; however, we ran into the new vegan on the trip and decided to join her. We opted for a simple Indian restaurant, with vegetarian options, close to the Europa Hotel called Slums. You get a bowl meal with your choice of rice, protein and veggies. Loved the eclectic décor – corrugated metal sheeting, chip board and funky benches. I opted for pampodums and chutney.

 

 

Luna Rosa in Glasgow – Not a vegetarian restaurant but they served a delicious risotto.

Taco Manzama in Glasgow – Located in the train station in downtown Glasgow close to The Jury hotel, they offer vegan options. Ken had a Tofu burrito bowl and I had a Mushroom and Eggplant Taco Salad. Very tasty and we enjoyed people watching in the station as we enjoyed our dinner.

2016_11_Edinburgh_Baked PotatoThe Baked Potato in Edinburgh – Another vegetarian gem we found on the internet. Located just spitting distance off the Royal Mile is was super convenient while sightseeing. It was just a little hole in the wall that served Jacket Potatoes (baked potatoes)  with a variety of toppings. They have only one table with bench seating, but it was great for mixing with other tourists. We met a nice couple from Portland who were celebrating their 10th anniversary.

2016_11_Edinburgh_Haggis Baked Potato and SamosaKen opted for Vegan Haggis Samosas and I had a Jacket Potato with Haggis topping. I think if the rest of the group could have tried this haggis they would have loved it as the meat version was not a hit with anyone. This haggis was a combination of veggies, oatmeal and nuts (maybe lentils too but not sure). Will be trying to replicate this one as it was a great topping for a baked potato. They even had a Cherry Tiffan for dessert. Delicious.

April 2016 Plant Based Cooking Class

April 10, 2016

 

April mealThe theme for this month’s plant based cooking class was Cooking with Tofu. The 16 participants enjoyed a green smoothie, fried rice with scrambled tofu, stir fried veggies in Chinese Brown Sauce topped with marinated tofu, and a granola bar. All the items were whole, food plant based and no oil was used. The recipes for the class are below.

Digestive Green Smoothie

I believe one of the most important things you can do to improve your diet is to add more dark leafy greens to your diet, and one the best ways to do that is by consuming a green smoothie every day. Challenge yourself to a 30 day trial and see the difference it makes.

This green smoothie uses ingredients that are good for digestion – parsley, pineapple and ginger. It follows the basic green smoothie recipe from the Raw Family (see there website for great information on the importance of greens in your diet) of 2 cups greens, 2 cups fruit and 2 cups water.

SmoothieThe parsley makes this a stronger green tasting smoothie, so if you are new to green smoothies, feel free to substitute half the parlsey with spinach.

  • 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.

Scrambled Tofu

TofuScrambled tofu can be part of a hearty breakfast or lunch (served with pan fried potatoes and veggies) or can be added to a grain dish like fried rice for an extra protein punch. If using on its own for a meal, a little tofu goes a long way, so be sure to add lots of veggies to tofu.

For the class, we were using the scrambled tofu in the fried rice dish. Since the rice was already chock full of veggies, we didn’t add the kale or mushrooms to the scrambled tofu.

Feel free to use any combination of veggies you like. Asparagus would be great for a spring breakfast meal.

As demonstrated in class, dry frying without oil is not difficult. We used a non-stick electric frying pan and did not need to add any water to prevent sticking.

  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 red pepper, diced fine
  • 1 ½ cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups kale or spinach, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • Pinch turmeric
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 (350 gram) package firm or extra firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the tofu into small cubes and break apart with your hands (or rub on a grater or metal sieve) or a food processor into crumbles (do not puree).

Sauté onion and pepper, and mushrooms until tender in a frying pan on medium heat, without any oil. If mixture begins to stick, add a tablespoon of water at a time to keep it from sticking. Add kale, garlic, smoked paprika, turmeric and chilli flakes (if using) and mix well.  Add crumbled tofu and nutritional yeast and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.

The tofu scramble will keep in the fridge for 3 or 4 days, or in the freezer for about a month. If freezing, spread on a baking sheet and freeze then transfer to a air proof bag or container then when you need a scoopful for a stir fry you can just scoop out what you need.

Adapted from Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon, and from her Breakfast Burrito post.

Marinated Tofu

Marinated tofuI have been making this marinated tofu for over 30 years and it has always been a favorite with the kids as well as adults. You might even win over the most ardent tofu hater with these. They are great as toppings for a rice, grain or veggie dish. For the class, we topped the Veggies in Chinese Brown Sauce with it.

Note you can change up the spices in the marinade to your liking – add crushed chilies or cayenne for a spicier tofu.

For a bacon substitute, slice your tofu into 1 inch by 4 inch strips and add 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (or 1/4 tsp chipotle chili for a spicier option) to the marinade. These are great in sandwiches.

  • 1 (350 gram) package of extra firm tofu
  • 3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp dry ground ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ 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) Place tofu strips on parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake in a low oven (250F) for about 40 to 60 minutes or until desired firmness. (Give them a stir every 15 minutes. ) Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Also freezes well.

Fried Rice with Scrambled Tofu

Fried RiceThe whole grain, or brown, basmati rice is my favorite. Cooked as directed below, you get a light fluffy rice that kids and white rice lovers will enjoy. Remember, rice also freezes well, so cook up a big batch and freeze the left overs for a quick supper. (Freeze on a baking sheet and then transfer to a air tight bag or container. That way you can easily scoop out whatever you need.)

  • 1 cup whole grain basmati rice, uncooked
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 1 – 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • ½ cup scrambled tofu (optional)

To Cook Rice – Bring approximately 6 cups of water to boil in a saucepan. Add salt, if using. Add rice and boil uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes until just tender. Drain and set aside.

In a large frying pan, add onion, peppers, celery and carrot and stir fry until almost done. Add garlic, kale and soy sauce and cook a few minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Just before serving,, unthaw green peas by running under hot water. Add to the rice just before serving. If adding scrambled tofu, add just before serving.

Note, fried rice is also good with added marinated tofu pieces instead of the scrambled tofu.

Chinese Brown Sauce

Rather than buying low sodium soy sauce (which is about the same price as regular), I buy the regular and dilute it by about 1/2 for each recipe.

This sauce recipe, from the Forks Over Knives Cookbook, has become a staple in our household and I often use it for company dinners. I generally triple the recipe and keep a jar in the fridge for fast suppers.  For the class, we served this veggie dish topped with marinated tofu and alongside stir fried rice.  However, it is also fabulous as a topping on noodles. Feel free to change up the veggies and even use as a sauce with frozen veggie mixtures.

  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup brown rice syrup, honey, agave or sweetener of choice
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp arrowroot powder or corn starch

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened. Store in fridge in airtight container for up to 1 week.  Use with vegetable stir fries with grains or noodles.

Five Spice Sauce

 The Five Spice Sauce, from Forks Over Knives, The Cookbook, is our favorite takeoff on the Chinese Brown Sauce. It is especially good over noodles and veggies.

  • ½ cup Chinese Brown Sauce
  • ¾ tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • ¼ tsp crushed red chillies

Combine spices with the brown sauce. Use with stir fried veggies and grains or noodles.

Stir Fry Veggies

VeggiesFor the class, we used a simple combination of onion, red pepper, mushrooms and broccoli but any vegetable combination would do.  For a dish alongside rice, I like to dice the onion and pepper in large 1 inch square pieces and leave the mushrooms large by cutting them into quarters. But if I am serving this over noodles, I like to cut the onion and red peppers into thin strips and slice the mushrooms.

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 6 large mushrooms, cut into quarters (cremini or button mushrooms)
  • 1 head broccoli, stems removed and separated into small florets
  • Chinese brown sauce
  • Toppings – marinated tofu, roasted cashews or toasted sesame seeds

Peel broccoli stems and slice inner core into slices or match stick size pieces. In a large frying pan, non-stick preferred, add onion, peppers, mushrooms and broccoli stem pieces. Over medium heat, stir fry until almost done, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary to prevent sticking.  Add Chinese Brown Sauce and broccoli. Steam until broccoli is just bright green and tender crisp.  Serve topped with marinated tofu pieces, roasted cashews or toasted sesame seeds.

Veggie options – snow peas, cauliflower, carrots, gai lan, etc.

Oil-Free Granola Bars

Granola bar ingredientsThis is a very versatile recipe you make so many different ways. And unlike my previously posted granola bars, this one contains no oil and requires no baking time. Be sure to pack the mixture firmly into your pan to ensure the bars hold together well.

Granola barsThese bars have just the right amount of sweetness. They are perfect for a breakfast on the go (pair up with a green smoothie), a snack, for the lunchbox, or as a dessert.

  • 1 ½ cup rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 1 ¼ cup rice crisp cereal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup add-ins of your choice (see example list below)
  • ½ cup brown rice syrup
  • ¼ cup peanut or almond butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Add-In Examples:

  • Seeds – Hemp, Sunflower, Pumpkin, Sesame or Flax seeds
  • Shredded coconut
  • Chocolate – Cocoa nibs or small dark chocolate chips
  • Dried Fruit – Cranberries, Raisins, currants or chopped apricots
  • Chopped Nuts – pecans, almonds, peanuts or cashews

For the class I used ½ cup sliced almonds, ¼ cup currants, ¼ cup cocoa nibs.

Line a 9 inch square cake pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine oats, rice crisps, cinnamon and add-ins. (If using chocolate chips, add in later)

In a small saucepan, combine brown rice syrup and nut butter. Cook over medium heat until mixture bubbles, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Pour hot nut butter mixture over oat mixture, using a spatula to remove everything from the saucepan. Mix well until everything is evenly coated. If using chocolate chips, add once mixture has cooled slightly, or they will just melt. (It helps to freeze the chocolate chips) Transfer mixture onto the prepared pan and pack down well using wet hands (careful, it might be very hot). Using a rolling pin, pastry roller or your hands, compact the mixture firmly and evenly. Use your fingers to press the edges well. (This will help the bars stick together).

Place the pan, uncovered, in the freezer for 10 to 20 minutes or until firm enough to cut.  Using the parchment as a handle, lift the mixture out of the pan and cut into bars. Return the bars to the freezer or fridge for storage. If desired, you can individually wrap each bar for on the go snacks.

Double the recipe and pack into a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

From the Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

 

Bonus Recipe – Singapore Noodles

We didn’t make this recipe in the class, but it is one I often serve to company alongside fried rice and stir fried veggies in Chinese Brown Sauce.

  • 1 onion, cut into slices
  • 2 carrots, cut into match sticks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into thin slices
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 4 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder, or to taste
  • ¼ pound brown rice noodles, cooked
  • Ground black pepper

Stir fry onion, carrots, pepper and mushrooms in large skillet without any oil for 3 to 4 minutes. If necessary, add water 1 tbsp at a time to prevent sticking. Add vegetable broth, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and curry powder and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add cooked noodles and season with black pepper.

Change it up by substituting your favourite veggies.

From Forks Over Knives, The Cookbook