Sweet Potato, Coconut, & Lime Soup

A soup I’ve had (and made) many a time at my work! It’s super creamy, a little bit sweet, and has a nice tang from the limes. Very easy to make, too! Served with a little sprig of coriander (if you like coriander, that is), it’s lovely and fresh.

Serves: 6-8
Prep time: ~45 minutes
Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced.
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced.
  • 1 tbsp ginger, peeled and diced.
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil.
  • salt.
  • pepper.
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped.
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped.
  • 2 cans coconut milk.
  • 4 cups vegetable stock.
  • zest and juice of 2 limes (add more if you want it super limey!).
  • 1 small bunch coriander (also called cilantro), finely chopped,plus more for garnish (optional).

Cooking Instructions:

In a large pot over medium heat, add the coconut oil, and once it’s hot, the onion, garlic, and ginger. Place the lid on and fry, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until everything becomes soft and fragrant.

Next, add in the sweet potatoes and the carrots, and cook them for a few minutes with the lid on, just until they start to soften a little bit. Season well with salt and pepper, then add in the coconut milk and the vegetable stock. Bring the whole thing up to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly and allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes.

Once the vegetables are soft enough that you can break them up with a fork, puree the soup until smooth. Add in the lime juice, zest, and coriander, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a leaf or two just before serving, and enjoy!

 

 

Hora’a Osbao – Syrian Lentil Stew

An absolutely incredible dish originating from Syria. I had it for the first time last year by chance, and had to ask what the name was, it was so amazing. It’s a fair amount of work, but the results are by far worth it.

According to my roommate, this is often served as a side dish, but it’s more than filling enough to serve as the main course!

This dish uses pomegranate molasses, also called dibis ramman, which was an entirely new ingredient to me. It’s tangy, sweet, and just flat-out delicious. My local grocery store carries it, but you might have to make the trek to a Middle-Eastern market to find it! If you can only find grape molasses (which has a similar flavour profile), you can use that in a pinch.

If you use gluten-free pasta, this dish can be gluten-free.

Prep time: ~1.5 hours.
Serves: 6-8, generously.

Ingredients:

  • 5 large white onions, peeled and cut into thin slices.
  • 2 cups vegetable oil (for frying the onions)
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed/minced.
  • 1 bunch coriander, half finely chopped, half with the leaves removed from the stems.
  • 2 pieces Arabic bread (pita works well), cut into small cubes.
  • 2 cups lentils, rinsed well.
  • 8 cups water.
  • 6 tsp cumin.
  • 150 grams fettuccine (or similar pasta).
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses.
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice.
  • 1 tbsp sugar.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.
  • pomegranate seeds, to garnish.

Cooking Instructions:

Start off by heating 2 cups of oil in a large saucepan or pot on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough that an onion slice starts to bubble when dropped in, but doesn’t go brown right away, add in all the onions.

Stir occasionally, and cook until browned and crispy, 25-35 minutes. Remove from the oil, pat off the excess oil with paper towels, and set them aside to cool.

While the onions cook, preheat the oven as hot as it will go. Toss the bread pieces with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, until they’re nicely coated, then spread on a tray and bake for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasted and brown. Set the croutons aside to cool.

Place your lentils in a large pot with the water and cumin, and place the pot on high heat. When it starts to boil, turn the heat down until they’re just simmering. Cook for 30 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking, heat a small pan on medium heat. When hot, add 2 tsp olive oil and the garlic. Turn the heat down to low immediately, and cook the garlic, stirring often, for 2 minutes.

Add in the chopped coriander, then turn off the heat, but keep the pan on the stove. Stir occasionally until it begins to cool down, then set aside. This is called the “takliye”.

Cook your pasta for half the time specified on the package, then drain the pasta, but reserve 3 cups of the pasta water.

Once the lentils have been simmering for 30 minutes, add in half of the pasta water, an all of the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and sugar. Stir well until combined.

Add the pasta, 2/3 of the crispy onions, and all of the takliye, stir well, and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, and taste to see if the lentils are done. If they’re still too firm, add some more of the pasta water and let simmer for a few minutes longer.

When the lentils are cooked and the stew has a nice, thick consistency, stir in the last coriander leaves. If you are serving this for others, place in a large serving dish and allow to cool slightly, then top with the croutons, pomegranate seeds,, and the remaining onions.

This dish can be eaten warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

 

Spiced Roasted Nuts

A great snack for low-energy days, these roasted nuts are full of protein and flavour! I’ve included two different ways to season them – one sweet, one savoury.

These also make a nice little appetizer/snack for dinner parties.

Gluten-free
Serves 8
Prep time: ~40 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups walnuts.
  • 2 cups pecans.
  • 2 cups almonds.
  • 1 cup cashews.
  • 1 cup peanuts.

For the sweet:

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil.
  • 1/2 cup sugar.
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup.
  • 2 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom.
  • generous pinch of salt.

For the savoury:

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil.
  • 1 tbsp sugar.
  • 2 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne.
  • 1 tsp salt.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 300 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (depending on the size of your oven, you might need to do this in two batches). Mix together the nuts, oil, and all of the spices.

Pop them in the oven for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oil has dried up and the nuts are crispy and toasted.

Allow to cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container.

 

Mango and Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Coleslaw, at least the traditional creamy kind with mayonnaise, isn’t my favourite. But throw in some fresh fruit and dress it up with a vinaigrette instead, and I’m in heaven! This particular variety uses mango, green apple, red cabbage, and carrots.

Use as much or as little of the dressing as you like.

Raw
Gluten-free
Serves 6-8
Prep time: ~20 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe mango.
  • 1 head red cabbage
  • 2 large carrots, peeled if desired.
  • 1 red onion.
  • 2 green apples.
  • 1 large handful fresh mint.
  • 1 large handful fresh coriander.
  • 1 lime, juiced.
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice.
  • 2/3 cup olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard.
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup.
  • 1 clove garlic.
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, about 2 cm square, peeled.

 

Cooking Instructions:

To make the dressing, place the ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, mustard, and maple syrup into a food processor/blender/use an immersion blender, and blend until combined.

Slowly stream in the olive oil until nicely emulsified. If you don’t feel like doing that, just do it by hand in a bowl.

Set the dressing aside. Slice the mango and the apple into thin strips. Use either a grater or a mandoline to shred the cabbage, red onion, and carrots. Chop the coriander and mint very finely.

Mix all of the vegetables in a large bowl, and add in the lime juice. Pour in the dressing and toss it all together.

Let sit in the fridge for a little while to let all the flavours mingle together, then serve!

Mulligatawny

An English soup, based off of an old Indian recipe. The name comes from the Tamil words “Milaku”, meaning pepper, and “Tannir”, meaning water.

This soup often has rice in it, but I personally prefer to use red lentils – they add a nice colour to the soup, and they’re chock full of nutrients!

You can puree this soup if desired, but I personally prefer to leave it as is.

Prep time: ~60 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup mild vegetable oil.
  • 1 onion, sliced into thin strips.
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced.
  • 1 zucchini, diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed/minced.
  • 1 thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and finely diced (or grated).
  • 2 small apples, peeled if desired, cubed.
  • 1 can tomatoes.
  • 2 tsp curry powder.
  • 2 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika.
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg.
  • 1 tsp crushed red peppers (or to taste).
  • 1/2 cup red lentils (uncooked).
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (you may want more).
  • 1 can coconut milk.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.
  • 1 small handful fresh coriander, to garnish.

Cooking Instructions:

 Place a large pot on medium heat, and add in the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic, zucchini, and carrots. Cook, stirring often, until the onions become soft and translucent. Next, add the ginger and the apples. Stir well, and cook for a few more minutes.
Dump in the tomatoes, along with all of your spices. Stir well, making sure the spices have been mixed throughout evenly. Now add in the lentils and your vegetable stock.
Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. When the lentils are cooked and the vegetables are soft, stir in the coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper, then serve piping hot, with a sprig of fresh coriander on top.

Black Bean Stew

Very loosely inspired by an incredible Brazilian dish called Feijoada. This is a very filling, hearty stew full of protein!

This recipe also contains a bonus recipe for pico de gallo! You can use it on tacos, in burritos, or even just serve it up with some tortilla chips. Super yummy and fresh.

Serves 4-6
Gluten-free
Prep time: ~60 minutes

Ingredients:

For the stew:

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 3 bell peppers (use whatever colours you like best), chopped into approx. 2 cm chunks.
  • 1 tsp paprika.
  • 2 red onions, roughly diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 2 cans black beans (not drained and rinsed, for once!)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock.
  • 1 small bunch coriander leaves (also called cilantro), finely chopped.
  • 2 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the pico de gallo:

  • 1 small red onion, finely diced.
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes, finely diced.
  • 1-2 serrano peppers (if you can’t find them, use jalapenos instead), finely chopped.
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves, finely chopped.
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced (zest is optional, but I like it!)
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

 

Cooking Instructions:

For the stew:

Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C). Toss your peppers with a generous amount of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and the paprika. Pop them in the oven for about 30 minutes, until they’re nice and soft.

While the peppers are in the oven, it’s time to start on the rest of the stew. Heat a large pan on medium-low heat with about 1 tbsp of olive oil in the bottom. When the oil is hot, toss in your onions and garlic, along with a good pinch of salt.

Cover with the lid and cook them, stirring often, until the onions are soft and nicely caramelized. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Add in the beans, vegetable stock, coriander, and cumin. Stir well to combine.

When the peppers are done, take them out of the oven and plop them straight into the stew. Stir them in, then toss in your coriander leaves. Allow the stew to simmer for about 20 minutes, until all the flavours are nicely mingled. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve piping hot!

You can also serve this stew on top of rice, if desired.

For the pico de gallo:

The amount of peppers you use will really depend on your spice tolerance. Start off with a little bit, then add more if it’s not spicy enough for you.

Toss the onion, tomatoes, and peppers into a large bowl and mix well. Add in the lime juice, lime zest, salt, pepper, and coriander leaves. Mix well until everything is nicely coated in lime juice. Taste, and adjust seasoning as desired.

You can serve this immediately, but I like to pop it in the fridge for a while to let the flavours mingle better. It gets a bit spicier if you leave it for a little while, so keep that in mind when you make it!

For this dish, I’d serve it immediately. Just place a nice little spoonful on top of the stew when you’re about to take it to the table!

Thai Curry Soup

A Thai-inspired soup. Not at all authentic, but still tasty! Slightly spicy, full of vegetables, and served with noodles. You could easily serve this soup with rice instead of noodles, if that’s what you’d prefer.

Prep time: ~45 minutes
Serves 4-6
Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tbsp sesame oil.
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced.
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 1 large carrot, peeled if desired, sliced into thin, long ovals.
  • 1 large Chinese eggplant (sometimes called Japanese eggplant), sliced into long ovals.
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced into thin, long ovals.
  • 1-2 Thai chilis, thinly sliced.
  • 2 large handfuls bean sprouts.
  • 1 bunch coriander, stalks and leaves separated, stalks finely sliced.
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced.
  • 2 tsp soy sauce (make sure to use gluten-free soy sauce if cooking for someone who can’t have gluten!)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder.
  • 1 can coconut milk.
  • 4 cups vegetable stock/water.
  • 1 handful per person rice/sweet potato noodles.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat a large pot on medium heat with the oil in the bottom. When hot, toss in the onion. Stir often until it begins to soften, then add the garlic.

Once the onion is soft and translucent and the garlic is fragrant, add the carrot, coriander stalks, and Thai chilis. Reduce the heat slightly and cook, stirring frequently, until the carrot begins to soften, then add the zucchini. When the zucchini starts to soften, add the eggplant.

Once all the vegetables are softened, add the soy sauce, coconut milk, and curry powder. Stir well, until the curry powder is fully mixed with everything else, then add the vegetable stock/water. I recommend using the stock/water to rinse the coconut milk can out, so you get everything you can out of it.

Bring the soup up to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently until all the flavours are acquainted. Taste, and season accordingly, adding more soy sauce if needed.

While the soup simmers, cook your rice/sweet potato noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, and set aside.

To serve, place the noodles at the bottom of a bowl, then layer some bean sprouts on top. pour in the soup, then garnish with a generous sprinkling of green onions and coriander leaves.

 

Red Lentil Dhal

A slow-cooked lentil stew of Indian origin, this dish is great to cook in large batches. It can be eaten on its own for a light meal, or served as a side dish or appetizer with other curries and the like. Very tasty, and even better served with naan.

Prep time: ~90 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup mild vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus some to taste.
  • approx 250 g red lentils, well-rinsed.
  • 6 cups vegetable stock.
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced.
  • 2 large carrots, peeled if desired, finely sliced.
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced.
  • 1 large handful fresh coriander (cilantro).
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the oil in a large pot on medium-low heat. Add your onion, garlic, and salt. Caramelize for approx. 40 minutes, until the onion and garlic are very soft and sweet.

about 20 minutes into this, start cooking your lentils in a pot with the stock, and microwave the carrots, bell pepper, and celery in a bowl of water until they start to become tender, about 15 minutes.

When the lentils are ready, add them along with the rest of the vegetables into the onion pot, stirring well to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Add your fresh coriander and cumin. Raise the heat slightly, until the soup is gently simmering, and cook for at least an hour.

Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Tagine

Tagines are wonderful. They’re a North African stew, named after the kind of pot you cook them in. I don’t own one, but my parents do, so here’s a picture of theirs:

Tagine dish

Very pretty, right?

If you don’t have a tagine pot, don’t run out and buy one unless you really want to. You can just as easily make this dish using a large pot!

This dish is traditionally served with couscous, but if you can’t eat gluten, use quinoa or buckwheat instead. If you don’t drink, use some vegetable stock and a splash of vinegar to imitate the effect the wine will have on the dish.

Prep time: ~70 minutes
Gluten-free (if serving without couscous)
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • ~350 g small potatoes, cut into chunks.
  • 1 bulb of fennel, trimmed, and sliced into chunks.
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled if desired, cut into chunks.
  • 1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), seeds removed and cut into chunks.
  • 1 large onion (red onion is best), cut into chunks.
  • 4 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly minced.
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, sliced, with the juice reserved.
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins.
  • 1 cup red wine.
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 large cinnamon stick.
  • Slivered almonds to garnish (optional).

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 400ºF (approx 200ºC). Place the potatoes, fennel, carrot, bell pepper, and onion in a large roasting tray (lined with foil if you want easy cleanup) with 3 tbsp of the olive oil, the cumin, coriander, and fennel. Season with salt and pepper, then toss everything well until the vegetables are thoroughly coated.

Roast the vegetables for 30 minutes, stirring twice to make sure they cook evenly, until the potatoes are cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium heat and add the last 1 tbsp of olive oil. When hot, fry the garlic until fragrant, then add the tomatoes, raisins, chickpeas, wine, orange zest and juice, wine, and the cinnamon stick. Bring the whole thing to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for about 20 minutes.

When the vegetables are done roasting, add them to the pot and stir well. Bring the tagine back to a simmer and cook for another 15-20 minutes.

While the tagine is simmering, it’s the perfect time to roast off some slivered almonds and prepare some couscous. Place a small frying pan on low heat and add your slivered almonds. Toast them, stirring frequently to prevent them from burning, until they’re a nice golden colour. For the couscous, your best bet is probably to follow the directions on the package. I do recommend adding a little salt and olive oil to the water for a little seasoning, though!

Serve the tagine on top of a bed of couscous (or couscous substitute), and sprinkle the slivered almonds on top. Enjoy!

Asian-Inspired Noodle Salad

This salad combines a ton of fresh flavors with rice noodles and mushrooms to help it be a little more filling. You can really use whatever mushrooms you like, but I recommend shiitake, oyster, and enokitake. Enokitake look pretty cool, and come in a bunch of different forms, but the cultivated kind have long, thin stalks and little tiny caps.

Prep time: ~15 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • ~200 g rice noodles.
  • 3 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced.
  • 2 red chilis, with the seeds and pith removed, finely sliced (use less if you don’t like spicy food!).
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger, about thumb sized, peeled and sliced into small, thin strips.
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into a fine julienne (about the size and width of a matchstick).
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced.
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil.
  • 1 small bunch coriander, stalks removed from the leaves.
  • 6 cups leafy greens (spinach, arugula, or bok choy would be nice).

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce/gluten-free soy sauce.
  • 2 tsp sweetener of your choice.
  • 2 tsp sesame oil.
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat a pan or wok on high heat. Add the sesame oil, and then toss in the mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften. Next, add the chili, garlic, ginger, zucchini, and green onions. Fry until they start to soften as well.

Meanwhile, cook your rice noodles according to package directions. When cooked, strain, and rinse with cold water to prevent them from overcooking and getting soggy.

Place all of your dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. When combined, add it to your frying pan/wok, and stir well, coating the vegetables and mushrooms well.

Take your frying pan/wok off the heat, and toss in the rice noodles, coriander, and leafy greens. Give it a quick toss, to mix it all together, and then serve.