Asparagus & Mushroom Quiche with Herbed Almond Meal Crust (GF, Vegan)

Vegan Asparagus Mushroom Quiche Gluten Free

I seriously dance around in my kitchen when I come up with healthy, delicious alternatives to much-loved less healthy counterparts.  Take this quiche for example.  Usually, we see quiche filled with tons of eggs and cream, on a buttery crust.  The sound of that wreaks havoc in my belly, but I still want and must have quiche!  Are ya with me?

asparagus

 

asparagus

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Roasted Sweet Potato Lentil-Quinoa Pilaf

The title should be even longer.  Roasted Sweet Potato Lentil-Quinoa Pilaf with Chili-Maple Vinaigrette.  But that’s a mouthful, right? I just want to mention every amazing flavour in this dish!

Sweet Potato Lentil Quinoa Pilaf - Vegan

So, January is almost over…how is your quest for healthy living going?  I, for one, am really focusing on eating the foods which will help me deal with my condition, PCOS.  I don’t want to bore you with a huge science lesson, but basically, this is a condition for which there is no cure.  The only treatment is medication or diet, or a combination of both.  I have chosen to work solely with my diet, and so far, so good.  The thing is, I am to avoid processed foods, wheat, sugar, and dairy (the most important ones).  Foods which cause inflammation are to be completely avoided.  Foods with a high Glycemic Index which contribute to type 2 Diabetes, also need to be kept off your plate because people living with PCOS are at higher risk for developing type 2 Diabetes in their lifetime.   I find the hardest one to really abstain from is sugar, but that’s only because it’s so darn addictive.  Like, truly, physically addictive.  So, I focused on eliminating it completely over the last two weeks, and, luckily – there are dates.  Nature’s candy.  To the rescue! 🙂  What does a PCOS diet consist of?  Lots of fruit and vegetables that are low in GI, beans, nuts, legumes, tofu, brown rice, whole grains, lots of high fiber foods, and good fats like avocado and nut butters.

So, all this has led to even bigger plates of veggies and whole grains, and truly, I know this is how I am supposed to eat.  I feel much better.  Less bloated.  My skin feels better.  I feel like I am exactly where I need to be.  If PCOS is something you are also living with, do feel free to share your experiences!  I am happy to discuss it with whoever is interested. 🙂 [Read more…]

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!
http://loveandlentils.com/2014/06/22/chickpea-and-spinach-couscous-vegan-quick-easy/

vegan chickpea and spinach couscous

vegan chickpea and spinach couscous

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Lentil Mushroom ‘Meatballs’ (Vegan)

With spring teasing us and winter seeming endless in Montreal, I’ve been craving comfort foods and pasta seems to be on the top of that list.  One of my son’s favourite meals is spaghetti, so I thought it would be an interesting challenge to add meatballs to our spaghetti, minus the meat and in a super healthy way.   

I’m also entering these lentil mushroom meatballs in the Best of Main Dishes in Canadian Lentils Recipe Revelation Challenge! If you like this recipe, it would be so appreciated if you would go to their Facebook page and ‘like’ my recipe.  The prizes are incredible, the biggest one being $2000!  

Vegan Lentil Meatballs

Vegan Lentil Mushroom Meatballs

I thought back to the traditional recipes I recreated to be meat-free, such as my Good Shepperd’s Pie  and realized lentils are a delicious, healthy substitute that work really well.   These ‘meatballs’ are savoury and satisfying and can be incorporated into your spaghetti dishes or even in a pita sandwich or sub.  They also make delicious leftovers, tasting even better after a little while!IMG_4188-2

IMG_4196-2I took my time making these on a Sunday afternoon, since they yield about 15 meatballs, I figured they are perfect for weeknight meals and work lunches.  I still haven’t really mastered cooking up a storm on the weekends to make my weekdays a little easier, but with my son starting school this fall, I know I’ll have no choice but to start!

Vegan Lentil Meatballs

Lentil Mushroom Meatballs (Vegan)
Yields 15
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons flax meal + 6 tablespoons water)
  2. 1 cup dried green lentils, rinsed and picked over
  3. 1 bay leaf
  4. 2 cups vegetable broth
  5. 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced
  6. ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  7. ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  8. 1 teaspoon dried sage
  9. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  10. 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  11. ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  12. ½ teaspoon dried terragon
  13. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  14. 1 medium white onion, chopped
  15. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  16. 3 tablespoons red wine
  17. 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
  18. kosher sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Begin by preparing your flax egg. Grind flax seeds in a coffee grinder, you need about 1 1/2 tablespoons of flax seeds to end up with 2 tablespoons flax meal. Pour 2 tablespoons flax meal into a small bowl, top with 6 tablespoons of water and whisk with a fork for a few minutes. Place in the fridge for use later.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine lentils, bay leaf, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. You want your lentils to be al dente.
  4. Remove from heat, drain, and discard the bay leaf.
  5. In a food processor, combine the lentils with the mushrooms, oats, parsley and spices. Pulse, making sure not to overdo it and end up with a mushy mixture. See photo for texture you want.
  6. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute or two. Add the lentil-mushroom mixture to the skillet and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
  7. Add red wine and soy sauce to skillet. Continue to cook, stirring often, until liquid has been absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir.
  8. Remove from heat and allow to cool until it is comfortable to handle.
  9. Remove flax eggs from the fridge and pour into a medium sized bowl. Add the lentil-mushroom mixture and mix well to combine.
  10. Use your hands to form a golf ball-sized ball. Place each 'meatball' onto the baking sheet, leaving an inch of space between each one. You should have about 15 'meatballs'.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Love and Lentils http://loveandlentils.com/
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I hope you all had a nice, relaxing weekend, and a Happy St. Patty’s Day to you all today!   

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Cauliflower ‘Risotto’

One of my favourite meals to make in the kitchen is risotto.  I actually don’t mind the laborious process, it’s quite meditative and helps slow you down.  A little splash of water, a stir, a sip of wine – so relaxing!  But it’s just not realistic on a weeknight when time is limited and there’s a lot going on (and you’ve been fighting a cold!).  I had heard about people using cauliflower as risotto, which is not only super quick, but also so much more nutritious.  It turned out so well, and unlike typical risotto which leaves you feeling a little guilty and heavy, this is incredibly satisfying, yet light and fresh.  We had our risotto with a side of roasted asparagus (chopping it and stirring it in is also an option) but you can easily adapt this risotto with ingredients you have on hand; add mushrooms,  peas, tomatoes, basil, or other veggies and herbs you may be craving.

Cauliflower 'Risotto'

Cauliflower 'Risotto'
Serves 3
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  2. 5 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 2 green onions, chopped
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  5. 1 can (15 oz) white beans, rinsed and drained
  6. 1 cup vegetable broth
  7. 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  8. 1 head of cauliflower, chopped to small rice-like pieces in a food processor
  9. 2 cups spinach, chopped
  10. 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and thyme and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add beans, vegetable broth (and nutritional yeast if you are using it, it gives a slight cheesy flavour) into the pot, stir, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Using an immersion (handheld) blender, blend the ingredients to a creamy consistency.
  4. Add cauliflower and spinach, stir. Cover with a lid and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir, spoon into bowls and garnish with toasted pine nuts.
  6. Enjoy!
Love and Lentils http://loveandlentils.com/
Cauliflower 'Risotto'

Cauliflower 'Risotto'

 

Cauliflower 'Risotto'