Summer Chickpea Salad with Chive Blossom Vinaigrette

Summer Chickpea Salad 

Hello all!  I hope you have been enjoying your summer.  It’s been beautiful in Montreal, and with the summer season being so short, I’ve been spending much less time behind the computer screen and more time camping, picnicking, playing in the park, and running through sprinklers with my boy.  So I hope you understand my slight absence from here. :)  And I hope you’ve been eating great nonetheless!  We just came back from a week of camping (and a bit of indulging on vegan sausages and campfire marhsmallows) so we’re back on track and feeling great – energizing with green smoothies and plant-based, whole meals.  When we returned, my chive blossom vinegar that I’ve been working on was vibrant, aromatic and ready to be used!  If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ve probably seen the life cycle of the vinegar, starting off with chive flowers from the garden mixed with white wine vinegar and canned for a couple of weeks. The process is so simple, and then you are left with a delicious vinegar to add to your summer salads.  I just love the colour so much, too!

The first salad the chive blossom vinaigrette was paired with is this summer chickpea salad.  It’s probably one of the easiest salads you can whip up, and the ingredients are filled with protein and nutrients.  My son would not stop saying how delicious it was, so when your five year old is happy, I think it’s worth sharing. :)

I’ll get straight to the vinegar recipe, and then the chickpea salad recipe below.  Enjoy, everyone, and have a happy Monday. 

I also wanted to mention that I have a great giveaway coming up for a bag of Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder by Kiss Me Organics.  I just received mine and I’ve been busy making smoothies and such and they were very generous in offering one lucky ready a free bag and free shipping as well (it’s sold exclusively on Amazon).  So, come back soon. :)

Thank you for reading,

Sophia xx

Chive Blossom Vinegar IMG_5850 IMG_6501

Chive Blossom Vinegar
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups chive blossoms, stems discarded
  2. 1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. Place the flowers in a large bowl of cold water and swish them around to remove any dirt or bugs. Pour the flowers into a colander and strain the excess water.
  2. Place the flowers into a mason jar. Pour the vinegar into the jar just enough to submerge the flowers. Place a small piece of parchment paper over the jar, then close the jar with the lid. You don't want the vinegar to come in contact with the metal as it will change the flavour of your vinegar.
  3. Allow the vinegar to steep for a minimum of 2 weeks, the longer the better. (The one pictured here was steeped for 1 month). Place the jar in a cool, dark place and allow it to brew.
  4. When the vinegar has brewed, pour it through a fine sieve into a glass bottle, and discard the flowers.
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 Summer Chickpea Salad

Summer Chickpea Salad with Chive Blossom Vinaigrette
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Ingredients
  1. 1 - 19oz can organic chickpeas
  2. 4 lebanese cucumbers - chopped
  3. 2 small red bell peppers - chopped
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  5. 1 tablespoon shelled hemp seeds
  6. 1/4 cup pepita seeds
  7. Vinaigrette
  8. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  9. juice of half a lemon
  10. 4 tablespoons chive blossom vinegar (see recipe in post above)
  11. 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  12. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  13. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Pour all ingredients into a jar, cover, and shake vigorously to combine all ingredients.
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Summer Chickpea Salad

Chickpea and Spinach Couscous (Vegan, Quick & Easy)

This is a dish that is on my ‘I have nothing in the fridge’ or ‘I have no time to cook‘ or ‘I want something healthy that my kid will love‘ recipe roster.  It’s something that I have been cooking for years and is still a family favourite.  I love the simplicity of it, and the versatility.  If you don’t have chickpeas, go ahead and use white navy beans or kidney beans.  If you don’t have spinach, use collard greens or kale.  Like I said, I’ve been making variations of this dish for a really long time, and it always works. :)

vegan chickpea and spinach couscous

You’ll love how quick this will be on your dinner table.  It’s ready in 25 minutes and devoured even quicker!  Since we’re looking to making this quick, we are using canned tomatoes and chickpeas.  Of course, if you have more time, by all means use fresh tomatoes and dried chickpeas.  Otherwise, it’s best to choose organic canned tomatoes.  If you’re new to vegetarianism or eating plant-based, or even looking to simply add more plant-based meals to your dinner menu, this is a super easy and delicious meal that will deliver!

vegan chickpea and spinach couscous

Chickpea and Spinach Couscous

Ingredients

  • 1 cup couscous (preferable whole wheat)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice (preferably organic)
  • 2 cups baby spinach, washed
  • 1 can (400 grams) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup cashews, lightly toasted

Instructions

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add your couscous, cover the pot and turn off the heat. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Remove lid, fluff up the couscous using a fork. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, paprika and lemon. Stir. Add tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add spinach and chickpeas. Stir, allowing the spinach to wilt. Taste, and adjust any seasonings if needed. In the meantime, lightly toast the cashews in a small pan on the stove top. Spread your nuts out in an even layer and heat over medium, shaking often – don't overcrowd your nuts. Keep stirring or shaking for about 5 minutes, or until nuts are fragrant and browned.
  4. To serve, spoon the couscous into a shallow bowl, then spoon the chickpea and spinach mix overtop. Top with toasted cashews.
  5. Enjoy!
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vegan chickpea and spinach couscous

vegan chickpea and spinach couscous

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sophia

Mint Chip Milkshake (Vegan, GF)

Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Milkshake

I do believe I just made the drink of my childhood dreams.  My all time favourite icecream flavour has always been mint chocolate chip, and today, it’s my son’s favourite as well.  He never, ever gets anything different, it’s mint chip all.the.time.  I was also a huge fan of milkshakes growing up (who wasn’t??) and thought of combining these two delicious childhood favourites into one leaner, greener drink.  

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I had so much fun making this and photograpphing it.  It was really hard not to take sips of it, but then I finally sat and enjoyed my awesome milkshake on the porch with a huge grin on my face.

There’s no artifical colour here, the beautiful green colour comes from healthy baby spinach.  The flavour has the perfect amount of mint, and you can top your milkshake with chocolate chips like I did, or cacao nibs for a less sweet, more bitter flavour.

Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Milkshake

Mint Chip Milkshake

Yield: 1 large milkshake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 1 large frozen banana
  • handful of fresh mint leaves, stems removed (about 10-15 sprigs)
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 1 tablespoon vegan chocolate chips for garnish

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with chocolate chips. Enjoy!
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sophia

Greek Lentil Salad

Greek Lentil Salad

Being Greek, I guess you can imagine I’ve had my fair share of Greek salads growing up.  I always loved the combination of fresh tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, salty olives and creamy feta.  It’s a staple at my mom’s house even today.  Today I am giving this classic salad a twist, and combining it with lentils.  This boosts the protein content, and makes it a filling meal for lunch or dinner.

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This meal went over really well with my son as well.  It’s funny, he started eating olives as a toddler and I found it a strange liking for a boy his age.  My father is from Kalamata, and he still has family living there, including his brother.  To this day, my family in Greece grows Kalamata olives and ships them to Canada for us.  We are so spoiled, because seriously, I have never tasted better quality cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.  We love drizzling it on fresh vegetable salads!

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This is a great summer salad that is really simple to whip up.  If you’re really short on time, you can use organic canned lentils instead of dried. It is essential, however, that you use fresh herbs! It gives great flavour to the feta and the rest of the salad.  I used garden oregano here, as my little garden is GROWING! Woohoo!

 You can also easily veganize this salad by either omitting the feta or making a plant-based feta such as this one from Happy Herbivore.

Greek Lentil Salad

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup du Puy lentils
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced then halved
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved and pitted
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 8 ounces organic feta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Place the lentils in a saucepan with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Strain and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, olives, oregano, feta, salt, pepper, and cooled lentils. Top with olive oil. Stir gently to combine.
  3. Place in the refrigerator to chill before serving.
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Greek Lentil Salad

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Potato & Grilled Corn Salad with Fresh Dill

IMG_5461-2 copy

Summer is pretty much in full swing in most parts, which means picnics, family bike rides, BBQs, and lots of dinners on the patio.  A popular summer salad which I was never really able to get behind is the traditional potato salad.  I just find it too heavy with mayo and much too creamy for my liking.  I do, however, love the idea of grilled corn, fresh dill and tangy mustard in my potato salad, and that’s just what I did to recreate this classic dish.  IMG_5441-2 We just planted our vegetable and herb garden last weekend.  I get so excited about this every year, digging up the dirt for our baby plants with my husband and nurturing them in the early mornings.  It’s such an amazing thing to do if you have the green space.  I really really do not have a green thumb (as my indoor plants can attest to), and we’ve had success every summer over the last three years.  If I can do it, you can, too. :) This year we planted red and yellow cherry tomatoes, big beef tomatoes, Lebanese cucumbers, jalapeños, purple and red bell peppers, and romaine hearts.  In our herb garden we have chives, basil, thai basil, oregano, cilantro, and fresh dill.  There’s really no better feeling than going right into your backyard to cut fresh herbs at the moment you need them.  So, that’s what I did for this salad, and coming from a potato salad loving hubby, this statement was a big one: “This is the best potato salad I’ve ever had. Totally. The best.” :) vegan potato salad

Potato & Grilled Corn Salad with Fresh Dill

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 organic cobs of corn, husked
  • 2 pounds small white potatoes, washed
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Instructions

  1. Place corn on grill over medium-high heat. Grill until tender and slightly charred, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, let cool slightly before handling, then cut off kernels using a sharp knife. Place into a large bowl.
  3. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and slice in half. Add to the bowl of corn, along with green onions, mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar and dill. Toss all to combine well.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
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This recipe makes for excellent leftovers, and it’s so easy to whip up to bring along to a lunch or dinner party.  It won’t leave anyone feeling weighed down by heavy mayo, and you can proudly say it’s vegan! vegan potato salad Potato and Grilled Corn Salad with Fresh Dill  IMG_5455-2If you’re new to Love and Lentils, hello :) and thank you for being here – feel free to join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Thanks so much for reading, sophia   

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