THE HEALTHY HAG

I COOK … I EAT … I SHARE.

Lentils, lentils and more lentils … oh my! March 22, 2010

I’m a lover of the lentil … have you guessed yet?  How could anyone hate these glorious little gems?  So easy to cook, so versatile, so delish, so cheap!  There are so many kinds to choose from too – keeping the boredom at bay.  So, after weeks of adding lentils to just about anything and everything (okay, I was on a bit of a bender you see), here two of my faves, that are ridiculously quick and beyond simple to compile:

QUINOA LENTIL SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup dried green lentils

1 bay leaf

1 cup quinoa

1 tsp each turmeric, salt and coriander

¾ cup raisins or cranberries

¾ cup walnuts

2 green onions, diced

¼ cup fresh parsley (or half the amount dried)

4 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp  white wine vinegar

¼ tsp salt

3 Tbsp olive oil

Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1. Add add lentils and bay leaf to 3 cups of water and cook thoroughly (read package for specific timing).

2. Meanwhile quinoa, tumeric, coriander and salt to 2 cups of water,  bring to a boil, cover and simmer, 10-12 min.

3. Once both pots are cooked, cool then mix together.

4. In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon juice, honey, vinegar, salt, oil and pepper,

5. Stir in dressing to main grains, then add chopped walnuts, cranberries, chopped green onion and minced parsley and combine thoroughly.

CURRIED LENTILS AND BEANS

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium onion

2 Tbsp veggie broth

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp salt

1 cup tomatoes, diced

½ cup chickpeas (canned)

½ cup mixed beans (canned) – I used black eyed peas

1 cup cooked lentils (red cook the fastest but almost dissolve completely)

1 ½ cups water

1 cup leafy greens (I used baby spinach)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Sauté onion in oil for 3 min, then add garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, tomatoes, broth, beans and lentils, simmering covered, until ingredients are softened and flavours are well combined (approx 5-10  min).

2. Add 1 cup greens, simmer again for 2 more minutes.

3. Serve hot over rice, naan, pr pita!

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Incredible Italiano Veggie Lasagna December 1, 2009

Making homemade lasagna may seem like an exercise in blood sweat and tears – but it’s all well worth it in the end, and once you’ve made it a few times, it’ll all come together in a snap.  I’ve tried to make the process as simple as possible here, without sacrificing any of the necessary steps required for a tasty dish that will leave you and your guests sated and elated beyond belief!  You could skip making the homemade sauce and use pre-cooked noodles and get a good result … but if you want the spectacular … you’re just going to have to be patient.  Have a BIG glass of wine and play your favourite tunes right through the process – and enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 box of good quality lasagna noodles

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp olive oil

1 head broccoli, finely chopped

1 large zucchini, finely chopped

12 crimini or button mushrooms, finely chopped

2 cups baby spinach, chopped

1 tsp each dried basil and parsley

1 tsp salt

Pepper

1 x 16 oz can diced tomatoes

1 x 3 oz can tomato paste

1 x 500ml tub of ricotta cheese

2 eggs

2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated

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DIRECTIONS:

1)  Boil water and follow the package cooking directions of the lasagna noodles – and set aside once cooked.

2)  Chop onion and garlic, and sauté in a very large saucepan along with olive oil until well browned and translucent.

3)  Add the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and dried herbs to the onion and garlic pan, and simmer until well heated (about 10 min).

4)  In a separate pan, heat to medium-high and sauté broccoli, zucchini and mushroom in a bit of olive oil until softened and vibrant in colour – near the end sprinkle with salt and pepper, add the spinach and cook until wilted.

5)  In a large bowl, slightly beat the 2 eggs, then mix in ricotta cheese, and combine until smooth.

6)  Using a 13 x 9 glass baking dish, spoon the simmered tomato sauce into the bottom to barely cover – set aside 2-3 tbsp of sauce for the very end.

7)  Layer noodles into pan, then follow with 1/3 of the roasted vegetables, then 1/3 of the ricotta/egg mixture, then 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese, then 1/3 of the tomato sauce.

8)  Repeat these layers until you are left with only the top layer of the noodles – then drizzle with the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

9)  Bake in a 350F oven for 40 minutes, until nice and bubbly.

10) Remove from heat and allow to set for at least 20-30 minutes!  NOTE – You can re-heat slightly if it’s too cool, but it needs to set in order to slice properly.

11)  Serve in gorgeous big bowls and enjoy with some crusty bread!

NOTES:

– Feel free to swap in and out any vegetables you like.  Carrots can be swapped for the zucchini, and you could add cauliflower or eggplant for a nice switch too.

– Using fat-free cheese won’t work really, but you can get away with using lower-fat version.  If you can’t find ricotta, use cottage cheese instead, but always go for the ricotta if you can.

 

Mutt Soup July 10, 2008

Mutts?  This soup contains a hodge-podge of ingredients – it all depends on your mood and what you can find in your freezer.  Most veggies go well together, so be creative.  Soup is a very forgiving place to start if you’re nervous in the kitchen.  Just remember a few simples rules: you need a nice base or broth; add in veggies; add in spices; simmer.  That’s about it.  Soup also tends to taste better the next day, so make LOTS!  Plus, using frozen veggies is a cheap and convinient alternative to fresh.

 

INGREDIENTS:

5-6 cups vegetable broth (or homemade if you’re really cheffy)
1 x 16 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 x 16 ounce cans beans, rinsed and drained (I love chickpeas, butter beans or a mixed variety)
2 x 1 pound bags of frozen vegetables (you can buy the pre mixed versions, or come up with a blend yourself – try green beans, broccoli, red peppers, cauliflower)
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsps dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
a few drops of hot pepper sauce (a readily available option is Tabasco)
black pepper and salt to taste
Optional: 1/2 cup small pasta OR 2 cups diced potatoes OR 1 cup frozen corn OR 1/2 cup of quick-cooking grain (pearled barley, quinoa, cooked rice)

 

DIRECTIONS:
1) Put 5 cups of vegetable broth and all remaining ingredients into a large pot and cook until vegetables are done (approx. 20-30 min).  If soup seems too thick, add more broth.

2) Taste and adjust seasonings before serving.

 

Home-style Veggie/Vegan Broth January 18, 2008

Buying pre-made broth is convenient and tasty, but making your own is satisfying and economical! You can use many other veggies such as carrots (not for me!), potatoes, squash or even mushrooms. The key is to ensure that there is enough water to cover everything that’s in the pot. Other herbs work well here too, such as rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, and peppercorns for a sharper broth.
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Ingredients:
1 large zucchini, peeled and roughly chopped
1-2 sticks of celery, peeled and roughly chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large onion, skin included, roughly chopped
3 whole clove garlic, crushed or fined chopped
2 leeks, cleaned VERY well and roughly chopped
1 loosely packed cup of fresh parsley
1 loosely packed cup fresh dill
1 tbsp olive oil
9 cups water (approx.)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Directions:
1) Heat the oil in a large stockpot.
2) Sauté onions for about 5 minutes, until transparent, on medium heat.
3) Add in all remaining ingredients and bring broth to a boil.
4) Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour and a half, uncovered.
5) Let broth cool and mash with hand masher (you can also hand blend with a blender for a thicker base, and add more water to dilute to desired consistency).

Note:
This is a great broth to freeze for up to 3 months, in tightly sealed containers.