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:



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


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.



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)


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!


BE FREE Mac n’ Cheese July 3, 2009

Yes, this is a mac’n’cheese for the rest of us … soy, gluten, AND dairy free!!!  Some of the most common allergens and food intollerences out there these days.  Sad but true.  This certainly won’t replace Auntie Marg’s creamy gooey gorgeous baked version that has everyone in a coma for a few hours after enjoying, but hey, it’s better than the alternative of nothing.  It’s a pretty tasty and easy version of a classic that will satisfy any “freer” out there.  Enjoy!


1 1/4 cup uncooked brown rice macaroni

1 1/4 cup unsweetened rice milk

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp EACH onion powderand garlic powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp tumeric

1 tbsp tahini

Sprinking of smoked paprika for dusting (optional!!)



1. Cook pasta according to directions on the box (usually about 7-8 min).

2. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water, and set aside.

3. Whisk all remaining ingredients together in a medium sauce pan, and turn on heat on burner to medium.

4. Bring sauce to a near boil then turn down the heat to low – stirring occasionally, to allow sauce to thicken.

5. Remove from heat once thickened, and combine with cooked macaroni, stirring to coat completely.

6. Return to bruner, heat thoroughly and serve!


Kashmiri Kidney Beans and Turnips April 24, 2009

I LOVE Indian food – winter, spring, summer and fall. This fragrant and heart-warming dish is a winter staple in the Indian state of Kashmir (or so I hear – although it seems for Fall-like to me) – but can obviously be enjoyed any time of year. It is a straightforward recipe, and results in an immensely satisfying meal. It’s high in fibre and nutrients, and is low in fat and calories, so what more can a gal ask for? Serve over basmati rice – or with a warm piece of fresh Naan bread.


1 turnips, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp salt

1 (14.5 ounce) can kidney beans, drained (but save liquid for later)

1 tbsp and 1-1/2 tsp vegetable oil

1/4 tsp whole cumin seeds

1/4 tsp whole fennel seeds

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1/4 tsp minced fresh ginger root

1/4 tsp minced garlic

1 cup chopped tomatoes (or use canned if you want)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 tbsp water

1/4 tsp garam masala


1) Place turnip into a saucepan with water and salt, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the turnip is soft (about 5 min).

2) Once tender, stir in kidney beans, and cook 5 min more.

3) Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat – stir in cumin and fennel, and cook until the spices toast and become fragrant, about 1 min.

4) Stir in onion, and cook until it turns golden brown, about 5 min.

5) Stir in minced ginger and garlic, cook and stir for 30 seconds, then add tomatoes and salt, and continue cooking until the mixture turns pasty.

6) Finally, stir in paprika, turmeric, ground ginger, and a bit of water (about a tbsp) – cook 2 min more.

7) Add tomato mixture to turnip, and add back in liquid from kidney bean can, and simmer 10 min.

8] Season with garam masala before serving over a bed of basmati rice!



LENTIL DHAL August 13, 2008

Some of my all-time favourite dishes are Indian or Pakistani. So many veggie options and so rich and creamy. I would eat naan all day every day if I could! It outranks chocolate for me – now that’s quite a statement! Many of these dishes are easy to make, once you get the spices and technique down. Dhal is usually made with lentils, and can be served alone, over rice or in a naan or pita. It’s super healthy too, and can be full of heat or not … that’s up to you.


1 tbsp coconut oil (you can substitute canola here, but it will detract a bit from the overall flavour)

1 med brown onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp ginger, finely chopped

1 red chili, seeds removed and finely chopped

1 tsp Garam Masala

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes (plain is best)

2 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste


1) Heat coconut oil in a heavy pan, add onion, garlic, ginger and chili and sauté until the onion is golden

2) Add Garam Masala, turmeric and lentils and sauté for another minute.

3) Add tomatoes and water and bring to boil – then simmer, cover and cook for 15 min.

4) Salt and pepper to taste, and continue to cook until dhal has a thick consistency.

5) Serve hot! Garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley.


– keeps well in fridge for a few days

– serve over hot naan bread or over basmati rice

– for a spicier version, keep a few of the chili pepper seeds and add while simmering


Cauliflower Dahl January 20, 2008

Indian food is often a treat, as it’s mainly perceived as being super high in fats/carbs/sodium. So excuse me for being super excited about a really low fat and highly tasty version of cauliflower dal (PS: dal = red lentils). Most supermarkets now adays have many of the spices you’ll need, however if not you may need to make a trip to your local Indian grocer or Little India, if you’re lucky like me. It may seem like a lot of steps involved, but it’s actually quite easy to make, with minimal ingredients.

1 1/2 cups masoor dahl or red lentils
4 cups water
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp canola oil (or cooking spray)
1 tbsp panch phoran
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp ginger paste (or 1 tsp minced ginger)
16 ounces diced tomatoes (or 1 can)
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/2 cup water

1. Pick over and rinse the lentils and add them to a pot with the water and turmeric.
2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
3. Simmer until the dal is tender, about 20 to 35 minutes.
4. When done, add salt and set aside.
5. While the dal is cooking, chop and cook the vegetables – heat a large, deep skillet, and add the canola oil and shake it to spread it around.
6. Add panch phoran and stir.
7. When seeds begin to pop, add the onion, garlic, pepper flakes, and ginger paste (stir and cook until the onion softens, about 2-3 minutes).
8. Add the tomatoes, cauliflower, and water, and stir.
9. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes.
11. When the dal and cauliflower are both done, add the dal to the cauliflower mixture and stir well (you might want to take a quick taste to see if the seasoning is sufficient; add more salt if needed).
12. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
13. Serve hot (with or over basmatti rice is best).


Channa Masala-licious! January 16, 2008

Filed under: Indian — s mcdowall @ 3:28 am
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Indian food is definitely on my top 3 food cuisines, and it has almost everything to do with all that spice! I also love the fact that there are endless vegetarian options, often that are low fat and so full of flavour. Here’s my take on channa masala. I’ve tweaked this classic dish a wee bit, to make it a little friendlier on the waistline too. And for all you cheapos out there like me, this one is a very inexpensive dish to make (even better if you buy dried and make the beans yourself). You can adjust the power of the spice to whatever heat level you prefer.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-2 medium onions (peeled and minced)
1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon salt
½ lemon (juiced – optional)
2 chopped tomatoes
2 cans chickpeas, with liquid (I used 1.5, and saved the rest, but that’s up to you)

1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
2. Add onions and garlic and sauté over a medium heat until browned (3-5 minutes).
3. Turn heat to medium-low.
4. Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne and turmeric.
5. Stir for a few seconds.
6. Add the garam masala and salt – cook until it looses strong fragrance, then and lemon juice (if desired).
7. Add the tomatoes.
8. Cook the tomatoes until browned lightly.
9. Add chickpeas and liquid to desired consistency and stir (you can drain the liquid if you want to and add some water but the liquid from the can is tastier).
10. Cook covered for 10 minutes.
11. Remove the cover; stir and cook uncovered for 5 min.