Mediterranean Style Bean Salad

My all time favourite way of preparing vegetables is roasting them.  Depending on the vegetable, it could be a short or long process.  This salad includes roasted asparagus and grape tomatoes which really don’t take long at all.  Hence, a perfect weeknight meal.  If you follow Love and Lentils, you’ve probably realized my appreciation for simplicity, and I think that is seen in my meals as well.  Although this is so simple with few ingredients, the flavours are delicious together, and the best part is, you’ll have this on the dinner table in 25 minutes.  We had our bean salad with vegan smoked apple sage sausages by Field Roast (side note; best vegan sausages ever).  Not a single weird ingredient and absolutely delicious.  So, it was a lazy(ish) Monday…but it tasted amazing.

Mediterranean Style Bean Salad

Mediterranean Style Bean Salad

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 2 small 398 ml cans organic cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, rinsed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, roughly chopped
  • kosher sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  • Place asparagus and grape tomatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground pepper overtop.

IMG_3509-2

  • Place asparagus and tomatoes in the oven and roast for 15 minutes, or until asparagus is slightly tender and browned.
  • Prepare your vinaigrette by combining olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and salt and pepper.  Mix with a fork to combine.
  • Chop the asparagus into 2″ long spears and combine in a large bowl with beans and tomatoes.  Top with vinaigrette and mix gently to combine.
  • Serve with grilled lemon wedges (I did this using a pan on the stove).
  • Enjoy!

Mediterranean Style Bean Salad

Spicy Bulgur Chili

I’ll start by saying that this is not ideally something that you would cook up like I did on a weeknight after work.  It’s best done on the weekend, in big batches, and reheated throughout the week for a super delicious, hearty, vegan chili.  I say this because the cooking time is a little long, and the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.  So squeeze it into your weekend plans instead, k?
The second thing I must tell you about this chili is that it is most definitely the best vegan chili I’ve had.  My husband was skeptical, kind of bored of the idea of beans, but the addition of bulgur gives the chili a fabulous texture.  This recipe was created because we all needed a little bit of warming.  With temperatures close to -35ºC in Montreal, we needed some heat!  And heat we got!  My son is used to spicy food, so he enjoyed this, but you can always use less jalapeño to satisfy the whole family if they’re not used to the heat.

Spicy Vegan Bulgur Chili

Spicy Bulgur Chili Recipe
Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded carrot
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 10 fresh plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Directions:

  • Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and jalapeño and sauté, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  • Add the bulgur, chili powder, and cumin and stir until well combined.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. If you find it too thick, add a splash of water.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a sprinkling of cilantro.
  • Enjoy!

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash + Kale Rice Bowl

IMG_1431-2-2

Although we are nearing the holidays and I’d normally be dreaming up all kinds of chocolatey desserts, I have decided to take control of my sugar cravings and nip them in the butt before Christmas rolls in and the indulgences would start.  It really is unbelievable how little time it takes to kick the sugar habit, usually within 2-3 days I no longer crave it.  On this day though, I was trying to stick to my goal, but I wanted a little something sweet.  I decided rather than caving, I’d smother some squash in maple syrup and not beat myself up over it!  My husband said it was the best way he’s ever had butternut squash. I’d love to know what you think!

This meal went over well with my preschooler.  I’m always trying to sneak kale into his meals, and if you’re curious, I find the easiest most enjoyable way is to add it into soups.  That’s another blog post, though.  Back to the rice bowl.

The only pain in the butt about preparing this meal is peeling the squash.  I find the quickest way to do it is by cutting off the stem and bottom of squash, slicing the squash in half then placing it so a flat end is on the cutting board.  Then, using a vegetable peeler, peel in a downward motion.  Perhaps a tutorial would be helpful!  The rest of the process is very simple and fairly quick.

I also want to remind you all that there are five days left to enter my holiday giveaway.  Here is the link if you haven’t checked it out yet.  If you want your Vegan Bible, then I encourage you to enter!

IMG_1438-2-2

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash + Kale Rice Bowl

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1/4 cup cashews, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup brown rice (I used a mix of brown/wild rice)

IMG_1433-2

Directions:

  • Boil rice according to packaging directions.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Place the cubed squash in a large bowl.  Add maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and cayenne.  Using your hands or a silicone spatula, mix all the ingredients making sure the squash is well covered in the maple syrup and seasoning.
  • Spread out the cubes on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until fork tender.  Turn on the broiler and place baking sheet under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to really caramelize the squash.  Careful not to burn them!  Lower the heat back to 425°F and toast your cashews for approximately 5 minutes.
  • Steam your kale and top with onion flakes.
  • To assemble, scoop rice into bowl, top with kale, squash and toasted cashews.
  • Enjoy!

IMG_1426-2-2

Cauliflower Steaks With Mushroom Gravy

IMG_1201-3

This is one of the most satisfying vegan meals we make.  It’s a great option for non-veg friends as well.  We are always left very happily full.  I’ve been craving these for days, but at $3.99 per head of cauliflower, it was hard to justify.  Finally, I found some a little cheaper today.  These ‘steaks’ can be served on their own, but they jump very high on the taste scale when you top them with mushroom gravy.  You can find my recipe for the gravy here.

As for the rest of the meal, I steamed kale and topped it with onion flakes and some sriracha sauce.  This has been my go-to way of having a quick kale dish, and it’s all thanks to Lindsay from Happy Herbivore who posted a picture of her bowl of kale on Instagram about a month ago.  It’s to die for, you must try it!

Tonight was the first time I used my new 430EX II Speedlite Flash, which was a necessity for me since the sun has been setting before I even get home from work!  I am really satisfied with its results, and having a lot of fun shooting with it.  I’m sure you all know the result of a photo taken without natural sunlight (see last post 🙂 ), and this flash is a fabulous substitute for natural light.  There’s still so much to learn, but in the meanwhile, I think it’s hard to tell whether my photos were taken in the day or evening.  I highly recommend it if you are in the market for an external flash!

Back to the food…

IMG_1202-2

Cauliflower Steaks Recipe

Makes 2-3 ‘steaks’

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and leave the core intact.
  • Starting in the center, cut the cauliflower horizontally into 3/4″ thick steaks.  You should be able to get 3 intact steaks.  As for the rest of the cauliflower florets, we’ll roast these as well.
  • Season the cauliflower steaks with salt and pepper.
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add the steaks and sear on each side for about 3 minutes.
  • Drizzle remaining oil onto a baking sheet.  Transfer the steaks to the baking sheet and place the florets on the sheet as well.
  • Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, and top the steaks with mushroom gravy.
  • Serve the florets as a side, or save for another day!
  • Enjoy!

Cauliflower Steaks

Spaghetti Squash With Tomato Ragout + Lima Beans (plus an extra healthy snack)

Have you ever created something totally delicious in the kitchen that you weren’t expecting to be noteworthy, so you didn’t keep track of ingredients, no photos, no intentions of blogging it?  That happened to me a while back with a version of this meal.  Tonight I had a spaghetti squash in the fridge and thought back to that amazing meal.  I vaguely remember what it consisted of, but decided to recreate it as best I can.   It turned out so tasty, I highly recommend this one!  As for the original creation, we’ll just never really know.

With this meal, you get an added bonus of a healthy snack to munch on while you’re cooking – by simply roasting the squash seeds!  To do this, simply wash away the pulp from the seeds, toss the seeds in a bowl with 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon olive oil and a dash of sea salt.  Pop in the oven on a small baking sheet while you’re cooking the squash, but remove after 10 minutes, or when you see them beginning to brown and get crunchy.  You only get about a handful of seeds, but they’re so tasty and well worth it!

IMG_9515

Spaghetti Squash With Tomato Ragout + Lima Beans Recipe

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out
  • 1 can lima beans (can be substituted with white kidney beans, or other beans of your choice)
  • 4 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Drizzle sliced spaghetti squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Place onto a baking sheet, rind face up.  Place in the oven.
  • In a medium sized saucepan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat.   Add garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to brown the garlic.
  • Add tomatoes, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.  Stir and allow to cook for 20 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Add lima beans after 20 minutes, and cook for another 10 minutes to allow them to heat up.

To plate:

  • Using a fork, scoop out the stringy pulp from spaghetti squash and place on a large dish.

IMG_9523-2

  • Top with bean and tomato mixture.
  • Serve immediately.

IMG_9539-4