Arugula and Fig Salad with Toasted Walnut Sauce

Dinner tonight needed to be more on the light side. No pasta, no rice, just light and yummy. It needed a salad but it needed to be a salad that wasn’t chopped vegetables and an oil based dressing. I was wanting something different and I found it in this recipe.

There are only three ingredients to this salad which makes it even nicer to create. Unfortunately, I didn’t have fresh figs so I had to use dried ones. They obviously change the recipe a bit but were still quite good. I am looking forward to trying this with the fresh version. I made this dish as a side dish to the Asparagus Falafel (see Main Dishes). It complimented it nicely.

The Toasted Walnut Sauce was super easy to make and quite quick. The longest part was toasting the walnuts which took all of 7 minutes. So as not to have a clash of flavours, I chose to use the Toasted Walnut Sauce on the falafel as well. It turned out to be a good choice.

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With thanks to Sarah Britton and her cookbook Naturally Nourished

vegan, gluten-free, grain-free

Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side

Ingredients:
2 1/2oz (75g) arugula (I used mixed greens)
3 large ripe figs (I used dried figs)
1 small red onion or shallot
Toasted Walnut Sauce (see Other Yummy Stuff)
  1. Wash and dry the arugula.
  2. Slice the figs into quarters. Slice the onions into thin rounds.
  3. Divide all the ingredients among plates. Drizzle with Toasted Walnut Sauce.

Asparagus Falafel

Asparagus season is one of my favourite food times of the year. I love asparagus! I’ve sauteed it with lemon, I’ve grilled it on the barbecue, I’ve tossed it into risotto, I’ve stir fried it and more. For the meal we had tonight I wanted something different, something light but filling at the same time. I knew the meal had to have a salad so I settled upon a lovely Arugula and Fig Salad with Toasted Walnut Sauce (see Main Dishes). Then the question was then what to serve with it. Flipping through a Better Homes and Gardens Veggie-Full publication I cam across this tasty little number, Asparagus Falafel. I quite like falafel on a good day so throw in my beloved asparagus and how could it not be amazing?! These little guys were quick and easy to prep, although I did find that it took longer to cook them than the recipe said. Maybe I had made them too moist…? At any rate, after some patience and perseverance they were done and were plated beside the Arugula and Fig salad. I used the Toasted Walnut Sauce from the salad on the falafel. Both dishes were immediately family approved.

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With thanks to Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication: Veggie-Full 2016

Makes 4 servings     Start to Finish: 35 minutes

Ingredients:
6 oz asparagus, trimmed and cut up
1-15oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp snipped fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic, halved
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil
Fresh Asparagus Tips (optional)
  1.  In a food processor combine the first eight ingredients (through black pepper) and 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Cover and process until finely chopped and mixture holds together (should have some visible pieces of chickpeas and asparagus).
  2. Shape mixture into 12 patties. If desired, press asparagus tips into the tops of the patties. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties. Cook 4-6 minutes or until browned and heated, turning once.

Roasted Vegetables done 3 ways

Life is crazy around our house. Josh, our 17 year old, is now working 4-6 days a week at two different jobs (gotta pay for university), plus maintaining his studies in high school,  and John is off flying 3-4 times a month for 3-5 days at time. That leaves me standing looking in the fridge wondering what to make for lunches and dinner that would be       a) plant-based and healthy; b) quick and easy; c) good reheated for Josh; and d) good for one person, me.

Last week I found myself awake at 4:30 in the morning wishing I was still asleep but having no luck. So, what do you do at that hour… you go on Facebook. In doing so I found a great article about ways to eat healthy throughout the week by preparing food in advance. One of the recommendations was to roast vegetables at the beginning of the week and refrigerate them to have on hand. This sounded like a good idea so I gave it a try.

Now, you may be wondering how many times in one week you can eat roasted vegetables without getting tired of them. I found three different ways to serve and enjoy them that the family tried and liked. I don’t have any real measurements as I wasn’t sure how it would all go or what I was going to do with all those veggies. It just sort of happened!

My veggie list is from what we had in the house so it can certainly vary based on your personal likes and means and on what is in season.

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Prep Time: 15-20 minutes     Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients:
1 medium butternut squash
10-12 brussel sprouts
2 white turnips
1-2 carrots
1 medium zucchini
a bunch of asparagus
1-8oz package of cremini mushrooms
1 each of red and yellow peppers
half a cauliflower
2 onions, coarsely chopped
lots of garlic cloves
olive oil
fresh ground sea salt
herbs to taste (such as rosemary or thyme)

To roast the vegetables

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut up all of the vegetables into bite sized pieces.
  3. In a large bowl toss the vegetables in olive oil and sprinkle with fresh ground sea salt.
  4. Spread the vegetables out evenly on a cooking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes stirring every 10 minutes or so to ensure even cooking.
  5. Cool the vegetables on the stove top, place in a large container and refrigerate.

I do recommend using the veggies up within a few days. We don’t want any one getting sick or our hard work going to waste.

Meal Option #1 Roasted Veggie Pizza

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For this recipe you could make your own pizza crust or buy a pre-made crust like we did. If you really wanted to be creative you could try a cauliflower pizza crust. If you do let me know how that went!

Ingredients:
Store bought or homemade pizza crust
Pizza sauce
Pre-roasted vegetables
Fresh tomato, sliced
Fresh basil, torn into small pieces or chopped
Cheese, optional
Olive oil, optional
Sea salt, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread your favourite pizza sauce on the crust, add the roasted veggies and top with fresh sliced tomatoes and fresh chopped basil.
  3. We opted for a no cheese version but feel free to sprinkle your veggies with a cheese of your choosing or a light coating of freshly grated Parmesan for a nice Italian flair.
  4. Bake either on a stone, a baking sheet or directly on the rack in a 450 degree Fahrenheit oven for around 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it, so as not to overcook the vegetables.
  5. Remove the pizza from the oven, sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil and a little sea salt. Enjoy!

 

Meal Option #2 Roasted Vegetables with Quinoa and Garlic Onion Cashew Cream Sauce

As part of my getting ready for the week I pre-made a batch of quinoa to have in the fridge. So when I was looking for a quick lunch the other day I already had two-thirds of my meal prep done. All I had to do was make the cashew cream sauce and, voila, lunch!

Quinoa:
2 cups of water or vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  1. Add liquid and quinoa to a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer.
  3. Stir occasionally until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge until needed.
Garlic Onion Cashew Cream Sauce:
1 cup of whole, roasted cashews (these need to be pre-soaked, see below)
1/2 cup + more as needed unflavoured non-dairy milk, such as almond milk
1 Tbsp garlic powder, plus more to taste as needed
1 Tbsp onion powder, plus more to taste as needed
  1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight or for 8 hours if you have the time. For a quick-soak method, pour boiling water over the cashews and soak for 1 hour. Rinse and drain.
  2. Place the rinsed cashews in a high speed blender. Add the non-dairy milk and blend. Add more non-dairy milk as needed to get the consistency you want for your sauce. It should be able to be poured like a salad dressing.
  3. Add the garlic and onion powder and blend. Add more seasoning to achieve the taste you prefer.
  4. Use immediately, store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Putting It All Together:

Place the quinoa and roasted in vegetables in individual microwave safe bowls and heat through. Pour the cashew cream sauce over the heated veggies and enjoy.

 

Meal Option #3 Cream of Roasted Vegetable Soup

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To use up the remaining vegetables I thought it would be nice to switch up the texture and make a soup. Plus, I had some cashew cream left over and didn’t want it to go to waste. It turned out amazing and made a great meal served with some crusty bread.

Ingredients:
left-over roasted vegetables
4 cups of vegetable broth or water
remaining cashew cream ( I had about 3/4 cup left to use)
freshly ground black pepper
freshly ground sea salt
  1. Place the remaining vegetables and about half of the broth or water in a high speed blender. Blend until the vegetables are well puréed leaving some texture.
  2. Pour into a large saucepan and add the remaining broth or water.
  3. Warm on medium heat to prevent sticking.
  4. Add the cashew cream and stir to mix.
  5. Add freshly ground black pepper and freshly ground seal salt to taste.
  6. Heat through.
  7. Serve warm, with crusty bread and a side salad.

 

And there you have it! One freshly made cashew cream sauce, two pre-made items, three different meals. Healthy, and easy.

 

 

Empowered Noodle Bowl with Orange-Maple Miso

This recipe actually has two different options for dressings. Tonight I made the orange-maple miso version for my family. Outstanding! I served this dish cold which was pleasantly and surprisingly good. The cold noodles and veggies would be refreshing in the summer as either a main dish or a side salad. Warm noodles make a nice contrast to the cold fresh vegetables that are the topping. It’s nice to have options. Wondering about miso? Try this link to learn more about miso, its health benefits and ways to use it in cooking. Fermented foods are our friends. Just a note about the noodles… it is worth buying the real long, skinny raman noodles not the kind that come in the form of Mr. Noodles. Cooking them just until al dente and then rinsing them and running them under cold water stops the cooking process and keeps them from getting soft. After a rinse, I tossed them in sesame oil to add a bit of flavour and to keep them from sticking.

With thanks to Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows

Prep Time: 25 minutes     Cook Time: 5 to 9 minutes

gluten-free, nut-free option (Orange-Maple Miso Dressing), soy-free option

Serves 4

Ingredients:
For the Orange-Maple Miso Dressing:
3 Tbsp (45ml) light miso
2 Tbsp (30ml) rice vinegar
1 Tbsp (15ml) toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp (15ml) tahini
1/4 cup (60ml) fresh orange juice (I squeezed one orange and that was more than enough)
1 Tbsp (15ml) water
1 tsp (5ml) maple syrup
For the Thai Peanut Sauce:
1 large clove garlic
2 Tbsp (30ml) toasted sesame oil
3 Tbsp (45ml) natural smooth peanut butter or almond butter
2 tsp (10ml) grated fresh ginger (optional)
3 Tbsp (45 ml) fresh lime juice, plus more as needed
2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp (35ml) low-sodium tamari
1 to 2 tsp (5 to 10ml) granulated sugar
For the Salad:
4 oz (115g) gluten-free soba (buckwheat) noodles (I used raman noodles but they are not gluten-free)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for the noodles
1 (16oz/454g) bag frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 seedless (English) cucumber, diced
1 carrot, julienned
4 green onions, chopped, plus more for serving
1/4 cup (60ml) fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
sesame seeds, for serving
  1. Make your sauceOrange-Maple Miso Dressing: In a mini or regular food processor, combine the miso, vinegar, sesame oil, tahini, orange juice, water, and maple syrup and process until well combined.

     

    Thai Peanut Sauce: In a mini or regular food processor, combine the garlic, sesame oil, peanut butter, ginger (if using) lime juice, sugar (if using), and 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45ml) water. Process until smooth.

  2. Make the salad: Cook the soba noodles according to the instructions on the package. Be sure not to overcook them- they should only take 5 to 9 minutes, depending on the brand. Drain the noodles and rinse them under cold water. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl and toss them with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil (this prevents the noodles from sticking together).
  3. Add the edamame, bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, green onions, and cilantro to the bowl with the noodles and toss until well combined.
  4. Pour your desired amount of the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. (Any leftover dressing will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)
  5. Portion the salad into 4 bowls and garnish each serving with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and some green onion. Serve any leftover dressing on the table.

Angela’s Tips:

For a soy-free Thai Peanut Sauce, replace the tamari with coconut aminos. Tho make this dish completely soy-free, omit the edamame as well.

If you need a soy-free and gluten-free miso, look for chickpea miso. Angela’s go to brand is South River Miso and she says it is absolutely lovely in this sauce.

For a raw version, serve this noodle bowl with spiralized or julienned zucchini, instead of soba noodles.

Kathryn’s Tips:

Use raman noodles instead of soba noodles.

Instead of EVO, use sesame oil to coat your noodles.

I didn’t mix the veggies in with the noodles, instead I put the noodles in a bowl and then topped them with the veggies.

 

 

 

 

 

Porcini Mushroom and Truffle Ravioli

In the spirit of delicious meals that are quick and easy I MUST share this meal. No, it is not vegan but it is plant based. Today John and I went for a run late in the afternoon. We wanted something quick, easy and yummy to make after our run so we headed to the grocery store to load up on fresh ravioli and fresh greens. We had something else in mind but when we saw the porcini mushroom with truffles ravioli we knew our plan could be changed. And man, are we glad we changed it. This meal literally took the two of us 15 minutes to make including time to boil the water. Anyone who is in a hurry or is tired from a long run or a long day can appreciate a quick and easy meal.

About a month ago I went with John on a trip to Paris. One of the little treats we brought home was fresh butter with sea salt (shhh, don’t tell customs). I swear it made this meal. You could do your own version buy using butter (not margarine, hydrogenated oils are just not the same and aren’t good for you) and by adding fresh ground sea salt to the melted butter. The contrast of the crisp greens and tangy cherry tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing was heavenly. I think the whole meal was over in the same amount of time that it took to make it!

This dish is teenage boy approved. And that says a lot.

With thanks to John for making dinner with me!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
Pasta
2 pkgs of Presidents Choice Porcini Mushroom with Truffle Triangoli
3/4 cup butter, cut into smaller squares
sea salt to taste
3/4 to 1 cup of fresh chives, roughly chopped
Salad
1 pkg organic fresh greens
half a red onion, thinly sliced
a handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
fresh shaved Parmesan cheese
Dressing
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp salt, freshly ground
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  1. In a large pot, boil the pasta water as per the directions on the package.
  2. While the water is boiling, wash and dry the fresh greens. Slice the onions and tomatoes and layer them on top of the fresh greens. Shave the fresh Parmesan and layer it on top of the tomatoes and onions.
  3. Add the ravioli to the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir gently to prevent then pasta from sticking together.
  4. While the ravioli is cooking, melt the butter in a frying pan and sprinkle with freshly ground sea salt. Add the chopped chives and sauté gently.
  5. When the ravioli is cooked, drain it and put it in a large bowl. Pour the melted chive butter over the ravioli and toss gently.
  6. Pour the dressing over the salad, no need to toss it.
  7. Serve and enjoy.

 

 

Vegetable Pad Thai with Dry-Fried Tofu

This is so good. I’m not kidding you. It’s really, really good. My family devoured it, even the tofu (which really just adds some texture and the much debated protein). Don’t want tofu? Add shrimp instead, if you are so inclined. The whole process took me about an hour but you could make it easier on yourself by taking a few short cuts (I’ve included suggestions in the ingredients). The big thing is getting those noodles soaking so they are ready to go when it’s time to add them to the pan. Want it a little spicy? Each person can add some Sriracha to the final product on their own plate. We had this with a side spring roll but I’m not kidding you, this is super filling. A side may not be necessary for anything more than additional flavour and texture. Your call. One of the really nice features of this meal is that the vegetables are nice and crispy and still have lots of flavour. Tasty, saucy, crunchy, flavourful… do you need any more to convince you to try this recipe?

With thanks to the guys (and their motivational language) at Thug Kitchen

Makes enough for 4*

Ingredients:
Sauce
1/4 cup lime juice (save time, use real lime juice from the squeeze bottle)
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
3 Tbsp water
3Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
Noodles
14 oz package of rice noodles (about 1 package of 450g/1lb)
1 medium crown of broccoli (save time, buy this pre-chopped)
1/3 cup sliced shallots (or you can use a yellow onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced (save time, use the pre-minced out of a jar)
1 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
2 tsp neutral tasting oil (like grapeseed or safflower)
Dry-Fried Tofu (see recipe in Other Yummy Stuff)
Toppings
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage (red or green, but red adds nice colour. Save time, try the bagged coleslaw mix to save time)
1 carrot, thinly sliced into matchsticks (save time, buy them pre-cut or use the bagged coleslaw mix mentioned above)
1 cup bean sprouts
chopped peanuts (I used cashews)
Lime wedges
  1. Mix together all the stuff for the sauce in a medium glass (or a small bowl).
  2. Cook your noodles according to the package directions. Rinse with cold water. Chop up the broccoli into pieces no bigger than a quarter and get all the rest of your veggies and herbs on lock. Get ready to stir-fry.
  3. Now that you’ve got everything lined up, heat the oil over medium heat in a big skillet or wok. When the pan is hot, add the shallots and stir-fry those *&$%ers until they start to char around the edges, about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and keep that $%it up for another 2 minutes until the broccoli is kinda charred but isn’t limp as *&$%. Now add the garlic and fry it up for another 30 seconds. Gently add the noodles and 1/3 cup of the sauce and toss that *&$% all around to make sure the sauce is nice and absorbed. Keep adding more tablespoons of sauce until it is exactly how you like it. (I used all of the sauce and probably could have added more). Turn off the heat and fold in the green onions and cilantro.
  4. Serve this mound of deliciousness right away piled high on a plate next to (or covered with) the cabbages, carrots, bean sprouts, and topped with the peanuts. Have some lime wedges shoved in there and squeeze that *&$% over it before you dig in.

Kathryn’s tips

*To say this serves four is about right at our house with three grown men eating dinner. You may have some leftovers or wish you had made more depending on how your family eats.

 

 

 

Leek and Potato Soup

Smooth and creamy, a little sweet and full of flavour, this soup is a bowl full of goodness. I love how easy this was to make and how far it went. I chose to purée my soup but it could easily be served as whole vegetables in a broth. Either way, paired with a green salad and a hunk of hearty bread this soup makes a great dinner or lunch.

With thanks to Jamie Oliver from his cookbook Jamie’s Food Revolution

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 medium onions
1 pound leeks (about 3 large)
2 cloves of garlic
1 3/4 quarts (7 cups) chicken or vegetable broth, preferably organic*
1 pound potatoes (about 4)
olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
  1. Peel and roughly chop the carrots
  2. Slice the celery
  3. Peel and roughly chop the onions
  4. Cut the ends off the leeks, quarter them length wise, wash them under running water, and cut them into 1/4 inch slices
  5. Peel and slice the garlic
  6. Put the broth in a sauce pan and heat until boiling
  7. Place a large saucepan on a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  8. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon
  9. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened, but are still holding their shape, and the onion and leeks are lightly golden
  10. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4 inch cubes
  11. Add the boiling broth to the vegetables
  12. Add your potatoes
  13. Give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil
  14. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on

To serve

Remove the pan from the heat, season with salt and pepper. Serve like this or pulse until smooth using an immersion blender or liquidizer. Divide between your serving bowls.

Kathryn’s notes

*to keep this vegan and plant-based use vegetable broth