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Sweet Potato Daal

Listen up because this is the best lentil side dish I’ve ever made. How on earth can lentils taste this good! Daal actually means lentil but it can also mean a thick lentil stew often prepared in Indian cuisine. The way Daal is prepared makes it seem like a hybrid between a lentil soup and a lentil stew. But stew is definitely the right word, it’s great for cold fall days when you need something substantial but light.

With the right balance of spices, a hint of coconut oil and a low and slow cooking method, you can be on your way to eating creamy lentils in no time! I think the key here is to make sure to toast the spices, if you skip this step, it could end up tasting more along the lines of cardboard than a Bombay dream.

There are many different kinds of Daal ( or lentils), there’s red, green, brown and black. I find red takes less time to soak (only 30 minutes), so if you want your Daal sooner than later, it’s best to choose the red variety. Most Daal recipes call for butter, but I decided to substitute it out for coconut oil. I also added sweet potatoes which provided a sweet flavour and went quite well with the spices.

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1 cup red lentils

2 cups water

1 white onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced

4 vine tomatoes (or 2 medium tomatoes), chopped

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp chili flakes (optional)

Salt and pepper to season

Soak lentils in water for 30 minutes, then rinse and drain. Bring water, lentils, onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes to a boil, then cover and reduce to low, cook for 30-40 minutes. Refrain from adding salt at this stage because it will prevent lentils from getting tender and soft. Halfway through cooking, add sweet potatoes. Heat a non-stick skillet to med-low, add in 1 tbsp of oil. Once oil is well heated, add in mustard seeds and cumin seeds, cover skillet with lid and let them splutter for 30 seconds. Shake skillet to prevent burning. Remove from heat immediately. Once lentil/tomato mixture is cooked, whisk mixture vigorously to release starch, add in mustard/cumin oil, seeds and all. Add in turmeric powder, chili powder and chili flakes, add in an additional teaspoon of coconut oil if desired (for extra creaminess!). Salt and pepper to season. Chop up cilantro and garnish. Serve with rice as a main dish or serve as a side dish. Makes 4 main portions.

 

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Ultimate Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Tempeh Bacon

This is what vegan mac and cheese dreams are made of. I’m telling you RIGHT NOW. It’s rich and creamy and actually tastes like cheese! Who would have thunk? You can safely serve this to someone who turns up their nose at “healthy food” and they won’t even know what hit them. The cheese sauce is multi-purpose, so you could use it as a Queso dip for chips and veggies as well. Hold on to your hats, here is the Mac and Cheese recipe of your dreams.

What you’ll need:

16oz of quinoa, brown rice, whatever kind of pasta (cooked until aldente)

For the cheese sauce:

1/2 cup tahini

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp sea salt

For the tempeh bacon:

1 block tempeh, crumbled

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

5-6 dashes liquid smoke

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Mix the cheese sauce ingredients together, set aside. For the tempeh bacon, combine all ingredients in a bowl and allow to marinate for at least a half hour. Dump into a hot pan and fry until golden and crispy. Place pasta in a bowl and mix in the cheese sauce and tempeh bacon. You can stop here and serve it in small bowls, or you can take it a cut above and bake it in the oven with cracker crumbs. We used Mary’s Crackers and mixed it with a little bit of oil and patted it on top of the mac. Bake for 15 minutes on 350F. Serve!

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 Tempeh bacon all crispy and stuff

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“Butter” Chickpeas with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

It was so cold and rainy today so Jac and I decided to make a curry to warm us up! After searching the net, we found a recipe on Jamie’s Food Tube by Maunika Gowardhan for butter chicken. We didn’t have any chicken, but we did have chickpeas! The result was a hearty curry dish we will definitely be making again. We tweaked it a bit to make it dairy-free and we had to use salsa instead of tomato puree but it all turned out perfect!

1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil

5 green cardamom pods, bashed up

1 cinnamon stick

4 whole cloves

1 small onion, finely sliced

1 tbsp of grated ginger

2 green chilies, de-seeded and sliced lengthwise

1 tsp of paprika

3 tbsp tomato puree (or 4 tbsp salsa)

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 cup of full fat coconut milk

1 tbsp fenugreek powder

Sea salt, to taste

About 2 cups of chickpeas

1/2 large sweet potato, cubed and steamed

4 leaves of kale, de-stemed and steamed

To start off you’re going to steam the sweet potatoes and kale and then set aside (you will definitely want to cook these veggies before hand until the sweet potatoes are almost fork tender because the kale takes a while to tender-up!).

Heat a large heavy saucepan. Add coconut oil, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon stick. Fry up for about 20 seconds. Add in sliced onion and saute until golden (about 5-7 minutes). Add ginger and chilies, fry for a couple more minutes. Add garam masala and tomato puree and stir well until combined. Add in coconut milk and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in fenugreek. Add in chickpeas, kale and sweer potatoes. Simmer for 8-10 minutes. Serve!

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Retro Ginger Shortbread Cookies

We are in the holiday SPIRIT. Everywhere you look there’s lights and presents and candy canes. It brings back so many warm and fuzzy memories as well as not so warm last minute shopping anxieties…One thing that will always bring the jolly is…cookies! Today we have made for you a cross between a gingerbread cookie and a shortbread. We used to make this recipe all the time and it’s always a no-fail. It has very few ingredients and comes together in a snap.

I don’t know if anyone has ever flicked through a 1960’s Betty Crocker Cookbook. These cookies were definitely inspired by the slightly creepy baked goods you would find among-st the sandwich loaves and jello molds. We think we succeeded on the creepy front. But don’t be too scared! These cookies will give you a rumbly in your tumbly this holiday season even if they’re kinda strange….

2 cups brown rice flour

2/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

Pinch of sea salt

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cloves

2 tsp cinnamon

Combine flour, salt and spices. Make a well in the middle and dump in maple syrup and oil. Stir until a dough forms. Form into flat cookie shapes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Decorate as you wish. Bake for 12 minutes at 350F. Makes about 20.

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Say hello to Snowy!

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Peanuts and Coconut Chips

Japanese Salad Nicoise

Every now and then I find an ingredient that throws me into a whirlwind of inspiration. I found these beautiful black string beans at the store, which made me think of a salad nicoise, which is a traditional french salad made of eggs, tuna, green beans, olives and anchovies. I knew I had to make something insane with these insane beans which reminded me of hijiki, an almost black looking seaweed used in Japanese cuisine. You can probably see where this is going…you guessed it. I made a Japanese Salad Nicoise! Now this isn’t just a throw together, grab and go kinda thing. It involves quite a bit of prep, but the reward is the most beautiful salad you will ever eat. You will need the following elements:

  • Pink pickled radishes (thinly slice about four radishes in a 50/50 solution of rice vinegar and warm water for a minimum of 12 hours in the fridge. Make sure you add some sea salt and honey and a couple pieces of red cabbage to make it pink.)
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Tuna
  • 2 soy eggs (soak hard boiled eggs in a 50/50 mixture of soy sauce and water. Add a generous squeeze of honey as well. Marinate for a minimum of two hours.)
  • Yellow carrot strips
  • Black string beans (blanched for just a few seconds)
  • Green onion
  • Crispy Taro Chips (boil two taro roots for about 18 minutes or until you can poke a fork through. Peel off skin and slice into discs. Coat in oil and salt. Bake for 10 mins on 350F and then broil for 8 minutes flipping halfway in between.)

I made a simple dressing of sesame oil, rice vinegar and soy sauce. It definitely does the trick! This salad has a lot of interesting textures happening and I love it! The taro chips are kind of like a crunchy crouton, the pickled radish is like that burst of vinegar you would get from the olive and soy eggs are sweet and salty bites. Yum!

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Pineapple-Cilantro Juice

Cilantro reigns supreme when it comes to juicing. Not only is it rich in essential minerals, it just tastes plain old good. It’s a little zesty, a little floral and a tiny bit sweet. It pushes your boring ol’ veggie juice over the edge. I have heard that some people hate the taste of cilantro because of their genetics. I think I have the gene that makes you obsessed with it. DNA is weird.

This juice combo is my favourite. Ya got pineapple which adds the sweet, cucumber which adds the mellow, lime which add the tang and finally, cilantro; which adds the “yes please”! (You can quote me on that line)

Of course, if you are one of those people who just can’t handle cilantro, use parsley, mint or even basil!

For one rather tall glass of juice, I used:

  • 1/4 of a whole pineapple
  • 1 whole english cucumber
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 lime

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Fresh juice is the best way to start the morning. It makes me feel refreshed and buzzy.