THE HEALTHY HAG

I COOK … I EAT … I SHARE.

Lentil & Veggie Stew April 17, 2012

It may be spring and the birds might be chirping, but I still love a hot bowl of comfort food for dinner.  Now that time is of the essence more than ever (hello raving toddler), I have to make something that is quick and delish, and who’s fooling who, I loveeeeeee a stew!!!  I have made variations of this recipe, both in my Le Crueset Dutch Oven and in my slow cooker.  Both are totally yummy.
Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds fresh vegetables cut in bit-sized pieces (I used parsnips, mushrooms, carrots and zucchini)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can cooked lentils (you can use freshly cooked – about 1 1/2 cups with cooking liquid)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin or squash (canned or cooked – all water pressed out)
  • salt & black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook onion in a large, Dutch oven until browned, then add garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute.
  2. Add veggies, broth and spices and cook until vegetables are soft and it begins to boil.
  3. Add quinoa and cook on medium heat until tender (approx. 15 min), then add pumpkin and salt/pepper to taste and cook for 5 more min (adding a little water if too thick).
  4. Serve hot, with shredded cheddar and/or some large crusty bread with butter!

Notes:

– to use the slow cooker, but all ingredients into cooker and place on low for 6 hours.

– this freezes pretty well too.

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Easy Vegan Lentil “Burgers” March 30, 2010

And so the love affair with lentils continues.  I wanted something to compliment my other half’s MEAT night BBQ, seeing as it was an even 50/50 split for the veggies and the carnivores.  I’ve made a bunch of meatless burgers (or patties if you’re offended by that term), and it’s always a challenge to get them to stay in one piece and not crumble apart.  Well my dears, this worked beautifully!  I just modified a few of the usual methods/ingredients, and what resulted was a hearty, tasty and totally vegan lentil burg that I’ve been enjoying for 2 days now (yes, made a HUGE batch).  Anyhoodle, give these ones a go, and serve ’em with your FAVE sauces … and say HELLO to BBQ season!!!

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

 

1 cup dry red lentils
1 cup water
1 cup stock
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic gloves, minced
1 medium carrot or zucchini, diced
3 tbsp tomato sauce
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp curry OR chili powder (or any other spice you’d like)

Meal: ¾ cup bread crumbs OR rolled oats OR ground almonds mixed with nutritional yeast – finely ground

extra meal (about 2-3 tbsp)

 

DIRECTIONS:

 

 

1) Sauté the onion, garlic and zucchini (or carrots) in oil until soft, about 5 minutes.

2) Place the lentils, stock, water, tomato sauce, spices and salt in with onion/garlic, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 30-45 minutes, until water is nearly gone and lentils are very soft.

3) Stir in additional salt and pepper (per taste) and allow lentil mixture to cool (about 30 min) then mix in the ground “meal” of your choice.

4) Place additional “meal” in a small dish; form lentil mixture into “burgers” and coat with crumbs on all sides.

5) Cook and serve with zesty sauce (I used a delish vegan hemp mayonnaise by BFF made for me) Cooking options:
(A) In a frying pan, heat a bit of oil (do not use olive oil), place burgers on top and fry until brown (about 2 minutes per side).
(B) In a 400ºF oven, bake the burgers on a greased baking sheet until light brown (about 15 minutes total), flipping once mid-way through.

 

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Note – these store really well for up to a week!

 

The Weekly Soup – Red Lentil January 28, 2010

I live for lentils.  Okay not literally, but I get excited about lentils the way some people do about bacon.  I could add them to just about everything and be one happy camper.  Packed with flavour, protein and fiber (okay, and phosphorus, copper, thiamin and potassium, you get the point) lentils come in a variety of forms and typically are cheap cheap cheap.  Oh did I mention they are pretty darned easy to prepare too?  If you’re a lazypants, buy the canned, however you can really control the flavour and texture (and sodium!) if you buy them dried, and they’re even cheaper.  This soup is creamy, slightly sweet and hearty.  Perfect for fall, winter or a chilly summers night.  PS – it’s dairy free too!

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INGREDIENTS:
1 TBSP coconut oil (this is a great way to add more flavour, but you could use olive oil if you’re desparate)
1 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

2 cups red lentils
2 cans coconut milk (I use the powdered kind that you add to water – it’s handy to have, and less fatty)
4-6 cups water (enough to cover all ingredients)
1/2 cup carrot or zucchini, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced
2 cups sweet potato, diced
1 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 TBSP curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp pepper
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DIRECTIONS:
1. In a dutch oven or large stockpot over medium heat, sauté onion for 2 min in coconut oil, then add garlic and salt, stir, and cook for 1-2 min.
2. Add all remaining ingredients, combine and cover and bring to a boil.
3. Stir well, reduce heat to simmer, cover again, and cook on low for 30-45 min, until lentils are cooked through and creamy.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with your favourite naan or pita bread!

 

The Weekly Soup: All alone-ey Minestrone December 16, 2009

I found myself with a night of me me me, so what do I do?  Cook.  It was cold, wet, damp and miserable enough out that I was desperate for comfort food that would not infringe on my upcoming Christmas binging.  The result was another soup – one that was sooooo good it only lasted a day (no freezing possibilities were even a glimmer in anyone’s eye).  The best thing about this soup is its versatility.  Add or remove whatever you want or have or feel like – maybe double the batch so at least there’s a chance it may last for more than a day.

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INGREDIENTS:

1 TBSP olive or canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 tsp coarse salt

2 cups mushrooms, chopped

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1 pepper, chopped (red, yellow, orange will do)

1/2 can of sweet corn

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced)

4 cups good quality broth

1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz )

1 can mixed beans (19 oz)

2 TBSP tomato paste

2 tsps each of dried basil and dried parsley

1 tsp dried thyme

fresh pepper to taste

3-4 cups water

1 cup dried macaroni or shells

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oil in a large stove-top pot at med-high, add chopped onion and sauté until translucent.

2. Add all remaining vegetables to the pot and sauté until well cooked and softened (about 10 min).

3. Gradually add stock, tomatoes, mixed beans, tomato paste, spices, and water (add as much as you like until you get your desired consistency – I used 3 cups).

4. Cover with lid and simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes – stirring occasionally.

5. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil for macaroni or shells then add pasta to boiling water, and cook until al dente (just under the recommended time)

6. Add al dente pasta to soup and simmer for another 5 minutes.

7. Remove soup from heat, and serve sprinkled with fresh Parmesan and crusty bread.

 

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.

 

Out-of-Africa Stew September 23, 2008

Ah fall. Not only do we get to enjoy all the sights of this great time of year, but it’s also an amazing time for the foodies of the world. This tasty and perfect fall stew is modeled on traditional North African style stews – a perfect solution for any damp or chilly day.  This aromatic veggie main course can be served on it’s own or over brown rice.  Curl up and enjoy.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup dried chickpeas (or 1 can of ready to eat)
2 1/2 pounds kabocha squash (see note below) or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 large carrots or zucchini, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
5 cups vegetable broth or your favourite stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp saffron, shredded
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

1) Soak dried chickpeas in enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches, overnight (skip step if using canned).

2) Combine pre-soaked chickpeas, squash, carrots OR zucchini, quinoa, onion, lentils, broth, tomato paste, ginger, cumin, salt, saffron and pepper in a large pot (or slow cooker if you prefer).

3) Cook covered on low until chickpeas are tender and the lentils have begun to break down (anywhere from 1-2 hours). IF using canned chickpeas, only cook for about 30-40 minutes.

4) Once cooked, stir in lime juice, and serve sprinkled with peanuts and cilantro.

NOTE:
Kabocha is a hard, and knobbly-looking skinned squash that is shaped like a squatty pumpkin.  It has a dull coloured deep green skin with green and white colored stripes, with an intense yellow-orange color on the inside.  It is very similar to butternut squash but without the characteristic cup on the blossom end.

 

Detox-tastic Salad January 25, 2008

Crunchy and colourful veggies like parsnips, cucumbers, radishes, along with sweet tomatoes and lightly steamed zucchini combine to make one hellova cleansing salad! It packs quite the anti-oxidant and phyto-nutrient punch as well.  You’ll want to have this one on a regular basis, that’s for sure.  It can really help get you back on track after any holiday excess.
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INGREDIENTS:
3 medium zucchini, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 onion, sliced (I like red best)
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
2 parsnips, shredded (or carrots)
6 radishes, sliced thinly
1 cucumber, sliced (skin on)
4 tbsp olives (green or black are good)
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta (optional)
1/2 cup cooked beans (optional – any kind will do)
Lettuce leaves (any work well here, but I really love Boston ettuce leaves for this)
 

DIRECTIONS:
1) In a steamer or microwave, lightly steam zucchini and allow to completely cool.

2) Place in large mixing bowl, along with tomatoes, onion, and garlic, mix gently, and then add olive oil, salt, and cayenne.

3) Toss and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.

4) To serve, line a platter with lettuce leaves and scoop zucchini/tomato mixture on top; then arrange parsnips, radishes, cucumbers, and olives around the edges; then sprinkle cheese and/or beans on top; garnish with parsley.