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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

I made this recipe for the first time during a recent Mom’s/Ladies Wine Evening at my place.  Our wine theme for this event was California and so I went with a healthy, bite sized salad.  I’ve been to California many times and it is many things to me (special memories) so I also decided to make some Pico De Gallo & Guacamole to represent all the incredible Mexican food I’ve tasted in Southern California. 

The ladies loved this Lentil Salad and so I’m sharing the recipe.

Note I served this salad in shot glasses. Quite often I serve mini salad or pureed soups in shot glasses when having people over for dinner.  It’s simple and it’s Fun.

Adapted from Canadian Living

Feta & Lentil Salad

1/4 cup slivered, toasted almonds
1 cup dried green lentils
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp (or more) fresh oregano, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste (1/4 tsp each)
1 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 cup roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Toast your almonds in a pan over medium heat watching and stirring often until they start to brown. Set aside to cool.

Bring large pot of water to a boil.  Add whole garlic cloves and lentils.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Remove garlic cloves and continue to allow lentils to drain in colander.

Whisk together oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.  Add lentils, feta, cucumber, onion, parsley and tomatoes stirring to combine.  When ready to serve sprinkle with toasted almonds.

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So impressed was I that hubby really enjoyed this salad. So much so he took it for lunch today.  Now if only I could get the kidlets to enjoy quinoa since it is a complete protein and good for you.   Here’s hoping one day!

This is a quick-lunch, side dish or even meal for one. Add some roasted/grilled chicken  if you wish or it as is. Yum.

Quinoa, Cucumber & Mint Salad

1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup cucumber, quartered and sliced
3-4 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Add water, quinoa and salt to pot, bring to a boil. Reduce, cover and simmer until water has been absorbed and quinoa tender (about 12-15 minutes). Scoop into a bowl and set aside to cool.

In a cup, or small bowl whisk together vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Pour it on quinoa and add cucumber, green onions, parsley & mint.  Mix well.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  Pairs nicely with grilled meat.

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Chickpeas, also known as: ceci bean, garbanzo bean, chana, sanagalu Indian pea and Bengal gram are very good for you.  They contain Vitamins, Iron, Minerals, Fiber, Calcium and Protein to name a few. For a more detailed breakdown on the nutritional value of chickpeas go to the Nutrient Analysis

You can use them in stews, chili’s, roasted, toasted, pureed, dips, soups, salads…the possibilities are endless.

I recently made this recipe for a BBQ.  Simple and delicious made this salad a winner.

Chickpea & Artichoke Salad

1 can (19oz) chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (or grape), halved
1/2 cup pepper (any colour), diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 jar marinated (in oil) artichoke hearts
salt & pepper to taste

Drain artichokes in a bowl, keeping liquid. Cut into quarters. Set aside.

Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add artichokes and reserved liquid to bowl. Add a good amount of pepper and sprinkle of salt, tossing to combine.

You can let salad sit in fridge and marinate or you can serve immediately.

Feta and kalamata olives would be a nice addition to this salad.

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This pizza recipe brings back memories from my days living in Vancouver.  I made it quite a few times since it was easy and I like easy. Fresh seasonal fruit, with a tasty cream cheese icing on a shortbread base makes for a perfect summer dessert.

Little hands can easily help with this recipe.

 

Fruit Pizza

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 cup butter, softened

Icing
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Glaze
1/3 cup Apricot Jam
1 tbsp water

Fresh fruit

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix first 5 ingredients together in a bowl until it comes together and you can form a ball. Press onto bottom of pizza pan. If you lay parchment down first it will allow you to remove pizza easily to a cake platter.

Bake for approx 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

Tip: On a hot summer day you can cook the crust on your BBQ instead of turning your oven on.

To make icing beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Spread evenly over pizza crust.

Arrange your fruit on top.

Mix together apricot jam & water. If you wish you can run it through a sieve to remove chunks of apricot. I left the apricot pieces in this time.

Pour glaze over fruit and serve.

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I thought yesterday’s pizza creation was pretty tasty and since today is pizza day for lunch, the inspiration carried over and I wanted to create another yummy pizza.

I always use pita pockets to make pizzas for lunch for the kids.  They are the perfect size for little hands/people and hold the ingredients well.   Looking around my kitchen for inspiration I discovered some uncooked squash that needed to be used up.  Not enough time to grill it, I steamed it instead.  Being a lover of all things squash but never having had it on pizza I was up for the challenge.  I looked through the fridge and fished out some basil and goat cheese.  A new recipe was born.

Note: If you like goat cheese but do not care for a lot of pepper buy a plain or perhaps herb goat cheese and omit the additional cracked pepper I added at the end.

I can honestly say I had a Clinton Kelly moment when I took my first bite.  (If you ever watch The Chew….love that show…whenever Clinton tastes something he adores he becomes incoherent).  Yes I felt that way, this pizza rocked my socks off.  Trying to figure out what to call this pizza was my biggest challenge. 

If you are up for a new pizza and like the ingredients…try it, you will not be disappointed.  I didn’t calore count this one but I’m pretty sure since there are fewer ingredients it is well under 500 calories.

Squash & Goat Cheese Pita Pizza

1 Byblos Garlic Greek Pita Pocket
1-2 tbsp Soft Unripened Peppercorn Goat Cheese, broken up
Olive Oil
2-3 sprigs Fresh Basil, chiffonade
1/2 cup cooked butternut squash (grill or steam), chopped into smaller pieces
1-2 tbsp Asiago Cheese, shredded
Cracked Black Pepper

Drizzle a little olive oil onto your pita. Spread with a pastry brush.

Next add your cut, cooked butternut squash and your goat cheese. Sprinkle on your basil and some Asiago cheese.

Broil on pizza stone for 2-3 minutes or until Asiago cheese melts a little and edges of pita brown. Remove from oven and let sit a few minutes.  If you do not have a pizza stone a pizza pan or cookie sheet works just as well.

Just before serving (to myself) I added additional Asiago & basil on top and some fresh cracked black pepper.

For me this taste combination was a winner…one the next time the family wants pizza for supper…I will happily oblige.

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There are many ways to make Bruschetta and all of them equally divine.  My first time sampling these delicious little bites was in the early 90’s when my boss’s wife made them for a function she was hosting at her house.  I called them Kathy’s Crostini’s when she gave me the recipe.  She added goat cheese to hers which is equally delicious. Over the years the recipe has changed. Husband loves Bruschetta and orders it often as an appetizer when we eat out. 

I recently made Bruschetta the same night we had Arugula & Prosciutto Crostini knowing he would prefer the Bruschetta.  Bonus points for wifey ;).

My version goes like this….

Simple Bruschetta

2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 large, ripe tomatoes (red, orange, yellow, mixed)
1/4 cup basil, chiffonade/sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
1 baguette or focaccia, sliced 1/2 inch
olive oil (extra)

Preheat oven to 400F. Ensure top rack is moved up in oven. Place sliced baguette on cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Put in oven and toast 4-5 minutes or until starting to brown. Turn them over, drizzle a little more olive oil and give them another minute in the oven. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a bowl mix together tomatoes, garlic, basil, 1-2 tbsp olive oil, fresh cracked pepper and salt. Mix and taste for seasoning. Add in a little more salt as needed. Set bowl aside until ready to serve.

When ready to serve put bruschetta mixture on toasted baguette pieces and serve immediately.   This also pairs nicely with a Moscato D’Asti (wine).

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I’ve made these skewers too many times to count over the years.  Oddly enough I have never posted the recipe to the blog.   

The photo is not the best and taken just after the kabobs came off the grill.  (Husband skewered them which is why they appear unevenly skewered.) Sometimes when you have guests waiting and smelling the food, trying to get the perfect shot doesn’t always work.  And sometimes husband grabs the camera and starts taking pictures without thinking about the end result (keener to get a better shot than me).  Will try and take a better photo next time.

This mushroom kabob is a delicious accompaniment to any grilled meat.

 

Adapted from ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen

Mushroom & Green Onion Skewers
 

1/3 cup soy sauce (your favourite kind)
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp white wine, dry
2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp dried ginger (fresh works if you have it)
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
6 green onions
20 large fresh mushrooms

small bamboo skewers

Soak bamboo skewers in water for minimum 30 minutes.

Combine soy sauce thru hot pepper sauce in a small pot. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir regularly until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and set aside. This is your sauce.

Cut your green onions into 1-1/2 inch pieces. Clean your mushrooms.

Thread mushrooms onto skewer, stem end first followed by a piece of green onion placed crosswise. Do not overcrowd mushrooms but continue until you have filled your skewers.

Brush mushrooms/onions with sauce.  Grill over medium heat, basting regularly with sauce until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes.

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I came across this recipe a couple of weeks ago and thought what a great way to start the day.  It takes about 30 minutes from start to finish so allow time to make it if you have a busy morning.

Also note you can add whatever toppings you like or have in your pantry. I used cranberries, raisins, apricots and almonds.  I’m happy to have found another super food to add into the breakfast rotation of egg whites, oatmeal, red river cereal and yogurt!  This is a very filling breakfast. Quinoa is also a great source of protein/iron.

This makes a couple of servings.

 
Quinoa Porridge


1 cup milk (1%, 2%, almond, soy)
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 tsp cardamom OR cinnamon (don’t use both together)

Toppings:
Nuts (toasted walnuts, pecans or slivered almonds)
Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, mango & apricots | slice bigger pieces)
Fresh fruit (berries, bananas)
Honey or maple syrup

Pour your milk into a sauce pan and heat over medium high heating watching & stirring regularly so as not to burn the milk. Bring to a light boil and then turn heat down to a simmer. Add in your spice if using and then add your quinoa. Cover pot and simmer for 12 minutes. Again watching so your milk does not boil over (yes this happened to me!).

At 12 minutes remove from heat, fluff and let sit covered for an additional 15 minutes.

Spoon cooked quinoa into a bowl. You can add more milk if you wish and whatever toppings you want. Drizzle a little honey or maple syrup on top and more cinnamon if using. Yum!

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I really like bulgur wheat.  I’ve been eating it in tabouleh for over 20 years.  One more thing I can thank my mom for since she is the one who first ventured into the world of tabouleh and healthy eating many moons ago.

Thing is you can add almost anything to grains and make them yummy. I would eat them every day if I could.

This combination of flavours is lovely.  The grapes add sweetness.  The feta is salty and tangy lime. The toasted walnuts bring a whole new flavour profile of nutty goodness to the salad. And the arugula brings a tangy zest that does not overpower or get overpowered by the rest of the family. Simply Delicious.

Adapted from ATCO Blue Flame

Bulgur Salad with Arugula & Grapes
 
3/4 cup fine Bulgur wheat
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tsp lime zest
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup feta crumbled
1 cup red, seedless grapes, halved
1 cup toasted walnuts
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 cup arugula

Place bulgur in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and give a quick stir. Cover bowl and let sit 20-30 minutes or until water is absorbed and bulgur tender.

Stir in lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add your cheese, grapes, walnuts and green onions. Mixing well.  Spoon into a bowl or on a plate and top with a good handful of arugula.  Serve immediately.

Serves 3-4

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Hard to believe I’ve gone over a decade without making a gazpacho.  It’s a cold summer soup with a delicious blend of flavours.  I also find it sort of a palate cleanser.  It was a last minute addition to my dinner Saturday night and as such I served it as a gazpacho shooter.  It was divine.

Note salt is important in this soup to bring out the flavours. So do not skimp on the salt!

This makes at least 4-6 servings if you are not serving it in a shooter glass.  If you are going with the shooter theme it makes at least 8 cups or too many soup shooters to count.

Gazpacho Soup

6 large red, ripe tomatoes
1 cup peeled, seeded cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup red onion
1 yellow pepper, seeded & chopped
1 clove garlic
1/3-1/2 cup white wine, dry
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 – 1 tsp salt

Let’s begin….
Halve tomatoes crosswise and squeeze out juice/seeds into strainer set over bowl (you want to keep the juice, not the seeds). Reserve juice.  Dice tomato and put into bowl with juice.

In bowl add cucumber through salt. Give a quick mix and then pour into a blender. Pulse and blend until smooth. You made need to do this in 2 batches. Pour into a covered bowl or tupperware type container and refrigerate for a minimum 4 hours.

Dice some cucumber, tomato and red onion.  Place in a bowl and set aside as a garnish.

Take soup out, stir and when ready to serve pour into a bowl or in my case shot glasses (I love serving soup this way).  Sprinkle some of the garnish on top and serve with a small spoon.  This soup is a little thicker and as such a small spoon may be required.

Besides the added salt this is a very healthy soup.

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