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.

 

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Easy Granola

Breakfast: the most important meal of the day. Unless you, like me, wake up at 4 am for work and can’t really eat anything before 6 am. That bakery life. But I do like a quick bite in the morning before I head out for the day, and a handful of granola makes a good snack later on in the day too!

This is similar to the granola we make at my workplace, but with a few twists to make it to my liking.

This recipe can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free oats. Sidenote: while oats themselves don’t contain gluten, the vast majority of oats are processed in a way that contaminates them with gluten. So don’t feed regular oats to your Celiac friends!

Serves 8
Prep time: ~40 minutes, largely unattended.

Ingredients:

  • 5 1/2 cups rolled oats.
  • 2 cups walnuts, crushed up into bite-sized pieces.
  • 2 cups slivered almonds.
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds – the kind without the shell.
  • 1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, dates, raisins – you decide!).
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom.
  • 2 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt.
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar.
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup.
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, to bind it all together.
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 325 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (depending on the size of your baking sheet/oven, you might need to do this in two batches).

Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add in the sugar and spices, and mix well. Pour in the wet ingredients, mix it all together, then dump it out onto the baking sheet, spreading it out into a thin layer.

Bake for approx. 3o minutes, stirring every 10 minutes with a spatula, until the granola is nicely browned and mostly dry. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Break up any larger chunks, and store in an airtight container. Voila!

 

Stuffed Acorn Squash

I love squash. And I love stuffing vegetables with things  (stuffed bell peppers and tomatoes are some of my favourites), so this is a great combination for me and all other squash lovers!

Squash have a very long shelf life, and tend to be fairly inexpensive. So if you, like me, are having trouble finding affordable produce because you live in Canada (where nothing grows between October and March), keeping a couple squash around can make planning dinner easier!

I chose acorn squash for this recipe mostly because they’re small and easy to handle, and because a couple of acorn squash can easily feed 4 people. Or 2 very hungry people.

Gluten-free
Serves 4
Prep time: ~60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 small acorn squash, sliced in half and de-seeded.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil of your choice (olive oil, butternut squash seed oil, you decide!).
  • 1 large onion, diced.
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced/crushed.
  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed.
  • 2 cups vegetable stock.
  • 500 g mushrooms, finely sliced.
  • 1 handful walnuts, crushed.
  • 1 handful pecans, crushed.
  • 1 small handful dried fruit (raisins, currants, etc – optional).
  • 1 small handful fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tsp dried).
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg.
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste).
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375 F/185 C. Line a large baking tray with aluminium foil. See if your squash halves will rest hollow-side-up without falling over. If so, great! If not, slice a little bit off the back side to make sure it won’t topple over later.

Rub the inside of your squash generously with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then place the halves hollow-side-down on your baking sheet. Bake for approx 30-45 minutes, until the squash is nice and tender. This will depend on how big your squash is.

Meanwhile, making the stuffing – start out by heating a large pot on medium heat with a tablespoon or so of oil in the bottom. when the oil is hot, add in your onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent and the mushrooms are nicely cooked, this should take 5-10 minutes.

Stir in the nuts, dried fruit, thyme, nutmeg, and cayenne. Next, add in the rice and vegetable stock. Simmer until the liquid is all absorbed and the rice is cooked, about 20 minutes.

When the squash is done, remove it from the oven and flip it hollow-side-up. If the cavity is smaller than you’d like, scoop out some of the squash and mix it in with your filling. Spoon your filling into the squash, being careful not to poke holes in the skin. If you do poke a hole, seal it up with a bit of tinfoil.

Cover the squash with tinfoil as best as you can, to keep it from burning, and pop it back into the oven for about 10 minutes. Serve piping hot!

 

Cabbage Rolls

This is a rather time-consuming dish, but easy to make in bulk. It’s good to make if you’re having friends around for food, or if you want to have lunch for the rest of the week! These rolls can be made beforehand, frozen, and then finished off in the oven if you don’t have enough time to do it all at once.

Traditionally, cabbage rolls are made with ground beef or pork, but I’ve replaced that with lentils and walnuts for extra flavor and nutrition. Lentils are extremely nutritious, full of fiber, protein, and iron, which are all very important, especially if you’re on a meatless diet.

Prep Time: ~120 minutes

Gluten-free

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 16 large cabbage leaves, washed.
  • A whole lotta toothpicks
  • 2 cans of whole tomatoes.
  • 1 onion, chopped.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced.
  • 1/4 tsp caraway seeds, crushed.
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Filling:

  • 2 cups rice, cooked and cooled.
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, cooked and cooled.
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, crushed.
  • 2 tsp olive oil.
  • 2 onions, chopped.
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme.
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper.
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped.
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh (or 1 tsp dried) dill.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Fill a large pot with water, salt lightly, and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add in your cabbage leaves a few at a time. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until soft and flexible. Set aside to cool.

For the sauce: Place a large pot on medium heat, add the olive oil. When hot, toss in the onion and garlic, saute until soft and translucent. Next, add the caraway seeds and brown sugar, stir until well combined. Puree the tomatoes, then add to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the whole pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to cook for at least half an hour.

For the filling: In a skillet or frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and saute until soft. Toss in the thyme, cayenne, parsley, and dill, and stir well. Once combined, take off the heat. Place into a large bowl with the rice, lentils, and walnuts. Mix thoroughly, and season well with salt and pepper.

Place a heaping spoon or two of the filling into each cabbage leaf. fold the edges of the leaf over, then use a toothpick (or two or three) to seal it shut. Place into a roasting dish (lined with foil for easy cleanup). When all the cabbage leaves are filled and in the tray, pour several ladles of tomato sauce over the rolls.

Pop the roasting dish into the oven for an hour, then take out the cabbage rolls, and serve!