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!


Gazpacho-so July 10, 2008

I have been meaning to post this simply incredible recipe for months now. I keep getting distracted by new ventures in the kitchen! This is based on a birthday menu my brother in law put together for me 2 years ago, and I’ve been making it steadily ever since. If you can’t be bothered with the roasting, this tastes just as good sans cooking!


1 pound cherry, grape, or small tomatoes
1 small red bell pepper
1/2 large cucumber, chunked
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce, to taste
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1/4 cup cold water
3-4 ice cubes


1] Preheat oven to 425F, spray an 8×8-inch baking dish lightly with olive oil and place the tomatoes in it in a single layer.

2] Spray a smaller dish, and place the whole pepper in it, and roast for 15 minutes.

3] Stir tomatoes, turn pepper, and roast for 10 more minutes (hint: when tomatoes are wrinkled and have leaked their juice, remove them from the oven to cool.

4] Turn the pepper and continue to roast until the skin has darkened on all sides, then remove it from the oven and seal it in a storage container until it is cool enough to handle.

5] Peel off pepper skin, discard the seeds and stem, and cut it in half.

6] Once tomatoes are cool, put in blender.

7] Add half of peeled pepper and half of the cucumber, cut into chunks, setting the remaining bell pepper and cucumber aside.

8] Add all of the remaining ingredients, except ice cubes, and puree until vegetables are finely chopped.

9] Refrigerate until chilled.

10] When ready to serve, finely chop the remaining bell pepper and cucumber and add it to gazpacho, along with a few ice cubes, and serve!

NOTE: this looks really sharp when served in stemless martini or parfait glasses (or any fancy glass for that matter). It is a great starter on a hot summer night. Garnishing with a fresh mint leaf or small slice of avacado make a nice touch too.


No-fussin’ Russian Potato Salad January 25, 2008

A twist on an all time classic.  It’s even vegan and filled with all the goodness of a rainbow of veggies.  Bring along this ‘good-for-you’ version for your next potluck, picnic, or BBQ.


1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, boiled, peeled, and chopped
3 medium beets, boiled, peeled, and chopped
2 medium parsnips (or carrots), minced
1 cup fresh green beans, briefly blanched, and chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas (briefly blanched, if using fresh)
1 cup chopped fresh dill

1)   Puree onion and vinegar in a blender.

2)   Then, on low speed, gradually add oil, salt and pepper.

3)   In a separate large bowl, add all the vegetables and chopped dill.

4)   Add vinaigrette to veggies, and toss.

5)   Serve as a side or starter!


Grilled Eggplant “Burgers”

If a burger could taste like an Italian summer, I think this one would be it. Barbequing all year long is a great way to cook, but if there isn’t one in sight, this recipe is very broiler, fry-an, indoor grill friendly. Whatever way you choose, this is a healthy and flavorful meatless meal. Vegans can omit the cheese.

1 large eggplant, sliced into 16 1/4-inch rounds (not the Asian kind)
8 thin slices of cheese (such as havarti, provolone, or smoked Gouda)
2 tomatoes, thinly-sliced, OR 4 large pieces roasted red bell pepper
8-10 leaves of large fresh basil
freshly-ground pepper (to taste)

For the seasoning oil:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp vinegar (wine or balsamic work best)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Whisk all seasoning oil ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Brush eggplant slices with seasoning oil and place over medium-high heat on closed-lid grill.

3. Cook until tender, turning occasionally and brushing with remaining seasoning oil (approx. 5-10 min).

4. Remove from grill and place 1 slice of cheese on 1 eggplant slice, then top with another eggplant slice. Top this with 2 tomato slices (or 1 piece of roasted red pepper), then put 2-4 basil leaves on top of that. Top with third eggplant slice, then another slice of cheese. Top with a fourth eggplant slice. Finish with a grind of pepper.

5. Repeat process to make 4 separate stacks. Place stacks back on grill, close lid, and cook for about 2 minutes, turning once.

6. Serve immediately, or make into sandwiches on buns or bread (to serve chilled – wrap tightly and chilled several hours or overnight).


Bean Salad Extravaganza! January 23, 2008

There are so many bean salad recipes out there that I’ve tried more than my intestines care to recall. The beauty of any bean salad is that you can just keep adding ingredients until you have run out of ideas. Endless combinations, really (see bottom list for suggestions). There are 4 basic ingredients in any bean salad: beans, oils/vinegars, veggies, and spices. It’s totally up to you when it comes to canned or dried beans. I prefer the dried/soaked versions, as I am picky about my sodium intake.

2 cups mixed beans
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup of vinegar
1-2 slices red onion
1/4 cup orange pepper, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp each oregano, basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup sugar (optional)

1) Place beans in a large bowl (drain can of beans if using).
2) Chop vegetables, mince garlic and mix with beans.
3) Mix oil and vinegar with herbs and spices.
4) Add dressing to bowl, stir and marinate in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight if possible.
5) Drain some of the dressing and transfer salad to a serving bowl.
6) Eat!

Red or white kidney
Black eyed peas
Green or waxed

Extra virgin, or virgin olive

Rice wine
Flavoured (blueberry, raspberry, mango)

Lime or lemon juice
Wherchestire sauce
Mustards (hot, honey)
Hot sauces
Sugars (brown, natural)

Garlic powder/salt

Olives (green, black)
Onions (sweet, green)
Peppers (red, orange, yellow, green, hot)
Cucumber (omit seeds)
Artichoke hearts