Pea and Tarragon Soup

A lovely, refreshing soup that’s just as good served cold as it is hot. Don’t be scared off by the coconut milk – it doesn’t add much coconut flavour, just a lovely creaminess!

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

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, diced.
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 3 stalks celery, diced.
  • 500 g frozen peas (let defrost before adding to the soup).
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon (save a bit of the zest for garnish).
  • 2 cans coconut milk.
  • 4 cups vegetable stock/water.
  • 1 large bunch tarragon, finely chopped (save a few leaves for garnish).
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat a large pot over medium heat with the olive oil in the bottom. Once the oil is nice and hot, add in the onion and garlic.

Fry them off until soft and fragrant, then add the celery. Cook until the celery has softened and the onions and garlic have begun to caramelize slightly.

Next, add in all of the peas, the lemon juice and zest, the coconut milk, and vegetable stock.

Bring the whole thing up to a boil, then toss in the tarragon. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.

Puree the soup, strain if desired, and serve with a little extra lemon zest and tarragon as a garnish.

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Sage and Squash Soup

Butternut squash and sage: a classic combination. And one of my very favourites. If I learn how to make vegan pasta, you can bet I’ll be coming up with the best sage-and-butternut ravioli ever!

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

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash.
  • 3 tbsp olive oil.
  • 3 shallots, peeled and finely diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed/minced.
  • pinch of ground nutmeg.
  • 1 small handful fresh sage, leaves removed from the stalks and chopped.
  • 4 cups vegetable stock.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 425 F. Slice the butternut squash lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Rinse as much pulp off of the seeds as you can, then set them aside. We’ll roast those off later when the soup is almost ready!

Line a large baking tray or dish with foil, and place your squash on it. Rub the squash generously with olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes, until the squash is tender and cooked all the way through.

Take it out of the oven, then turn the oven down to 275 F.

When the squash is ready, start heating a large pot on medium heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil in the bottom. When the oil is hot, add in the shallot and the garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to caramelize slightly.

Scoop all of your squash into the pot, along with the nutmeg and sage. Mix well to combine, then add in the vegetable stock. Bring to a gentle simmer, and allow to bubble for about 15 minutes.

While the soup bubbles, make some roasted squash seeds: take the seeds you rinsed off earlier and pat them dry. Line a baking tray with some parchment paper. Toss the seeds with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and any spices you desire.

Pop them in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until they’re nice and toasty and begin to pop a little bit.

Once the soup’s been simmering for 15 minutes, season well with salt and pepper, and puree with an immersion blender. Serve with some of the roasted seeds and a sage leaf on top as a garnish!

 

Vegan Rice Bowl

Kind of similar to the Quinoa Black Bean Bowl I posted several months ago, this is a relatively easy recipe that can be tailored to your personal tastes!

I’ve included two variations of this style of bowl – one with brown rice, fried tofu, and fresh vegetables, and the other with a brown-and-wild rice medley with roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, and beans.

This recipe can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free soy sauce and substitute the flour for another gluten-free flour (I’ve used brown rice flour for this, and it works quite well).

Serves 6
Prep time: ~30 minutes for the tofu bowl, ~45 minutes for the sweet potato bowl.

Ingredients:

For the tofu bowl:

  • 200 g extra firm tofu.
  • 2 tsp sesame oil.
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice.
  • 2 tsp soy sauce.
  • 1 tsp grated ginger.
  • 1/2 – 1 cup flour, for coating the tofu.
  • pinch of black pepper.
  • 2 cups brown rice, rinsed.
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and grated into thin strips.
  • 2 large beets, peeled and grated into thin strips.
  • 1 bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow), sliced into very thin strips.
  • 6 large handfuls spinach (or other greens – bok choy would work nicely), washed.

For the sweet potato bowl:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 2 tsp Za’atar (Middle Eastern blend of herbs and sesame seeds), or other herbs.
  • 1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets.
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets.
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon.
  • 1.5 cups brown rice, rinsed.
  • 1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed.
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed.

For the dressing (goes with both bowls):

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce.
  • 1/3 cup apple cider/balsamic vinegar.
  • 2 tbsp tahini.
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped.
  • splash of hot sauce.
  • pinch of black pepper.
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (olive oil works well).

Cooking Instructions:

For the dressing:

Add the soy, vinegar, tahini, garlic, hot sauce, and vinegar to a blender/food processor. If you have an immersion blender, use the beaker that came with it. Blend the dressing, slowly dribbling in the oil.

Alternatively, mince the garlic very finely, and then just mix it all together in a bowl with a fork. Depends on how much effort you want to expend.

For the tofu bowl:

Cook your brown rice in a rice cooker, or in  a pot on the stove according to package directions. Add a splash of oil and a pinch of salt to the water. While it cooks, it’s time to press and marinate your tofu.

This is how I like to press my tofu – place it on a bed of paper towels on a large plate, then place another plate on top. Put something heavy on top of the plate (a couple of cans or a cookbook work well!), and allow it to press on the tofu for at least 10 minutes.

Once you’re done pressing the tofu, cut it into 1 cm cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl along with the sesame oil, soy sauce, five spice, and ginger, and mix well. Set aside to marinate for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, grate your carrots and beets. You want them to be as long as possible, but nice and thin! If you don’t have a grater, you can sliced them into a very fine julienne. Slice your peppers up too.

When the tofu is done marinating, get a large frying pan on high heat, and add enough oil to generously cover to bottom of the pan.

Prep a large shallow bowl with the flour. Add a pinch of black pepper to the flour for seasoning. Roll the tofu in the flour, tapping off the excess, and then add it to the pan. Fry the tofu, flipping it so it cooks evenly on all sides. Once the tofu is browned and crispy all over, remove it from the pan and pat off excess oil on a paper towel. You could also deep-fry the tofu, if you feel like going to the effort of it.

Serve with the brown rice in the bottom, then the spinach, then the sliced vegetables, then the tofu. Add as much or as little dressing as you like!

For the sweet potato bowl:

Mix the rice all together and cook either in a rice cooker, or on the stove. This amount of rice should use about 4 cups of water and take about 45 minutes. Add a splash of oil and a pinch of salt to the water used to cook the rice. Now, time to prep everything else.

Toss your sweet potatoes with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and the Za’atar. Pop them in an oven at 400 F/190 C for approx 30 minutes, until they’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

When the sweet potatoes have about 10 minutes left in the oven, heat a lidded frying pan over medium heat with a splash of oil in the bottom. When the oil is hot, add your broccoli and cauliflower. Cook, covered, for a couple minutes, then add your lemon juice. Stir every so often, keeping the lid on the pan, so that the vegetables steam in the lemon juice. When they become tender, season with salt and pepper, then take them off the heat.

Stir the black beans into the rice mixture, then serve with the rice on the bottom, then the broccoli and cauliflower, and top with the sweet potato. Add as much or as little dressing as you like!

 

Stuffed Bell Peppers

A simple dish that lends itself quite well to weeknights – most of the time it takes to cook this dish is in the oven, so there’s minimal time spent hovering around the stove waiting for it to cook!

You can also make the filling a few days in advance, then just hollow out the peppers, fill them, and pop them in the oven.

Prep time: ~60 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, diced.
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup rice, rinsed well to remove excess starch.
  • 2/3 cup lentils, rinsed well.
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, sliced, with the juice reserved.
  • 1 handful fresh oregano (or 2 tsp dried).
  • salt and pepper, to taste.
  • 4 large bell peppers.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F (180C)

Cook your rice and lentils. I like to cook them together in the same pot, but you can cook them separately if you like.

Heat a large frying pan on medium-low heat with the olive oil in it. Once the oil is hot, add the onion along with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften. Add the garlic, and reduce the heat slightly. Continue cooking, stirring every so often, until they begin to caramelize.

While the onions and garlic cook, cut the tops off of your peppers and hollow them out, being careful not to poke holes in them. I like to chop up the excess pepper bits and add them to the filling. Wrap the bottoms of the peppers with tinfoil, and place them in a large roasting dish. Make sure they’re stable and won’t fall over!

Add the leftover pepper bits to the onion and garlic, if you like, and continue cooking. Once the onions are lovely and caramelized, go ahead and dump in the tomatoes and oregano. Stir well to combine, then bring to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

When the rice and lentils are done, add everything to a large bowl and mix well. Spoon the filling into the peppers, making sure to fill them right to the brim. Drizzle the peppers with a bit of olive oil, then pop them in the oven for approx. 40 minutes, until the peppers are soft.

Serve right away, and enjoy!

 

Tomato, Kale, White Bean Soup

A slightly spicy soup with tons of amazing flavour. Inspired by a soup I had at work!

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

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly diced.
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed/finely minced.
  • 1-2 tsbp olive oil.
  • 2 tsp chili flakes (add as much or as little as you like, really).
  • 1 bunch kale, washed, stripped from the stem, and cut/torn into bite-sized pieces.
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, roughly chopped, with the juice reserved.
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 2 carrots, peeled if desired, sliced into thin half-moons.
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced.
  • 6 cups vegetable stock.
  • 1 small handful fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme).
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat a large pot on medium heat with the olive oil in it. When it’s nice and hot, toss in the onion. Cook until it begins to soften slightly, then add in the garlic.

When the onion is soft and translucent, and the garlic is fragrant, add the carrots and celery. Reduce the heat slightly and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to caramelize. Next, add the kale, and cook until it starts to wilt slightly.

Dump in the tomatoes, their juice, the beans, and the tomato paste. Stir well, until everything is combined. Allow to cook for a minute or two, then add the chili flakes and the thyme. Stir well, allowing everything to combine for a minute, then add the vegetable stock.

Bring the whole pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently until all of the vegetables are tender. Season well with salt and pepper, and serve piping hot!

 

 

Cannellini beans in Stewed Tomatoes

A light main course on its own, easily made a little more substantial by serving it on pasta, rice, or any grain of your choosing. I like a piece of bread to soak up what’s left of the sauce when I’m done.

If you don’t drink alcohol, replace the wine with a small cup of vegetable stock with a splash of apple cider or balsamic vinegar mixed in.

Prep time: ~30 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 2 cans whole tomatoes (if fresh tomatoes aren’t in season), roughly chopped, with the juice reserved.
  • 1 small glass white wine.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 2 shallots, finely diced.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 small bunch sage leaves (or 1 tsp dried sage).
  • 2 small sprigs rosemary (or 1 tsp dried rosemary).
  • dash of hot sauce or pinch of dried chili flakes, if desired.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat a medium saucepan or deep frying pan on medium-low heat with the olive oil in the bottom. Once the oil is hot, toss in the garlic and shallot. Stir frequently, until the garlic begins to toast slightly. Don’t let the garlic burn – it will make the dish taste bitter, which you don’t want!

Next, add the tomatoes and the herbs. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture starts to bubble. Add your beans, then reduce the heat slightly, and allow to simmer, reducing down to a thick stew-like consistency.

Serve hot. This dish is also nice when eaten cold as leftovers the next day.

Summer Tomato Salad

This is for anyone who misses summer. Since it’s the middle of January, I thought to myself, “Why not share a great summertime recipe?”

Even then, this is hardly a recipe. Super simple, just enough to compliment the natural flavours of the fresh tomatoes, and really easy to throw together. If you’re having guests over, this is a great little salad to make! Use some great Heirloom tomatoes of all different shapes, sizes, and colours, and people will be impressed, even though you didn’t do all that much!

Prep time: ~5 minutes.
Gluten-free
Raw
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • Several Heirloom tomatoes of different varieties.
  • 1-2 tbsp good olive oil.
  • Few leaves basil, sliced or shredded into small pieces.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions (haha)

Slice the tomatoes into roughly the same size and shape, then toss with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. If you’re feeling really fancy, lay them out in a pretty pattern on a plate.

 

Potato Leek Soup

One of my favorite soups ever. Super flavorful, it’s chock full of nutrients, and really easy to make!

Prep time: ~30 minutes
Serves 4-6
Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 2 large leeks, sliced into thin half-moons.
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed/finely minced.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 5 large potatoes, peeled if desired, cut into bite-sized chunks.
  • 4 large carrots, peeled if desired, sliced into half moons.
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thinly.
  • 1 large handful herbs (dill, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, whatever you like!).
  • 6 cups vegetable stock.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat a large pot on medium heat with the olive oil in it. When it’s nice and hot, toss in the leek. Cook until it begins to soften slightly, then add in the garlic.

When the leek is starting to become slightly translucent and the garlic is fragrant, toss in the carrots and celery. Reduce the heat slightly, then cook the vegetables until the leek and garlic caramelize nicely, stirring often.

Tumble in the potatoes, then continue cooking, again, stirring frequently. When the carrots begin to soften slightly, add the herbs, stir well, then add the vegetable stock.

Bring the soup to a boil, the reduce the heat, allowing the pot to simmer gently until all the vegetables are cooked through and tender. Puree the soup using an immersion blender or normal blender (careful not to splash yourself! I’ve done that so many times), then serve piping hot.

 

White Bean Soup

A soup made from white beans with leeks, carrots, celery, spinach, a squeeze of lemon, and plenty of herbs (thyme and oregano) to make it tasty. Add in some noodles at the end if you want, just make sure you add extra water to cook them with!

Prep Time
Gluten-free
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 large leek (or 2 small), sliced into thin half-moons.
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced/crushed.
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin half-moons.
  • 4 stalks celery, sliced thinly.
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 large bunch spinach, washed well.
  • 1 small handful each fresh thyme and oregano (or 2 tsp each dried).
  • Squeeze of lemon juice.
  • 6 cups vegetable stock.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. When the oil is hot enough, add in the carrot, celery, leek, and garlic. Stir frequently, and cook until slightly softened.

Next, add the beans, spinach and herbs, and fry with the other vegetables for a minute. Squeeze in the lemon juice, then add all of the vegetable stock.

Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat, until the soup is just simmering. Let simmer for at least 20 minutes, or until the carrots and celery are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Green Ratatouille

Another recipe I learned from my father – it’s similar to ratatouille, but uses green vegetables with more subtle flavors than your standard ratatouille.

Prep time: ~25 min
Gluten-free
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced into thin strips.
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips.
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced/crushed.
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into thin quarter-moons.
  • 2 medium leeks, sliced into thin half-moons.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 large pinch dried herbs (tarragon or herbes de provence work well).
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Place the oil into a medium-sized saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add the fennel when the oil is hot, and cook, with the lid on, until it just begins to soften, stirring often.

Toss in the garlic and bell pepper, stirring frequently.

Once the pepper starts to soften, add the zucchini and the leeks. When everything starts to become fragrant and soft, toss in the herbs, stir well, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the zucchini are tender, then serve and enjoy!