Cucumber and Dill Salad

A delicious and refreshing salad for the hot summer months. Super quick and easy, this is a perfect side dish for anything you throw on the barbecue, like veggie kebabs!

Prep time: ~10 minutes
Serves: 4-6
Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 2 English cucumbers, very thinly sliced.
  • 1 large handful dill.
  • 1 small handful mint.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar.
  • salt.
  • pepper.

Cooking Instructions:

Pick the leaves off of the dill and mint, leaving the larger stems behind. Tear the dill into smaller fronds, then finely slice the mint leaves.

In a large bowl, mix the cucumber with the oil, then add in the herbs, salt, and pepper. Toss well to coat, then stir in the vinegar. Give it one last toss, and it’s ready to go! You can also leave this salad in the fridge for a few hours to pickle in the vinegar if you’d like.

Roasted Potato Galettes

Crispy, herby, delicious little stacks of sliced potato. This recipe is a lovely little side for dinner parties, or if you’re cooking to impress someone special!

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

Ingredients:

  • 4 large potatoes, peeled if desired, scrubbed well and cut into very thin slices (a mandoline or food processor with a slicer attachment works best).
  • 3 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 small handful fresh thyme, leaves stripped off the stems and finely chopped.
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced.
  • salt.
  • pepper.
  • sea salt (optional).

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F/220 C.

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with the olive oil, making sure to coat each individual slice. Add in the herbs, garlic, and season well with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

To make the galettes nice and precise, take a cupcake/muffin tin and grease the cups. Layer up the potato slices in the cupcake cups, pushing them up the sides slightly so they’re taller around the edges. If you don’t have a cupcake tin, use a baking sheet with some parchment paper – the galettes won’t be quite as precise, but they’ll still taste delicious!

Sprinkle on top with a tiny bit of sea salt, and pop them in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until golden and crispy on the edges, and soft in the middle.

Enjoy!

Paprika-Garlic Potatoes

A delicious (and ridiculously simple) side dish for all kinds of meals, always very popular with my friends! This is one recipe where I like to leave on the potato skins – they go lovely and crispy.

This recipe is easily modified to be gluten-free, just use brown rice flour in place of the regular flour!

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

Ingredients:

  • 6 large potatoes (preferably red), washed and sliced into wedges.
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced.
  • 1 tbsp flour.
  • 1 tsp paprika.
  • salt.
  • pepper.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 small bunch parsely, finely chopped.
  • fresh lemon juice (optional).

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with a tiny bit of olive oil, then the garlic, paprika, flour, salt, and pepper.

Toss the coated potatoes in some more oil, then tumble them out onto the tray, spreading them out so there’s only one layer.

Pop them in the oven for 30-40 minutes, giving them a quick flip about halfway through the cooking.

When they come out of the oven, give them a quick toss with the chopped parsley and a tiny squeeze of lemon juice (if desired). Enjoy!

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.

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!

 

Kale and Cauliflower Salad

Another salad that incorporates roasted vegetables. A little more effort than usual, but I find that mixing the salad while the roasted vegetables are still warm helps the kale tenderize a little bit more and taste better. This particular salad uses cauliflower, red peppers, and carrots – only the cauliflower is roasted, though!

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

Ingredients:

  • 8 large handfuls of chopped kale.
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced.
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets.
  • 2 large carrots, peeled if desired, finely grated.
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard.
  • 1 tsp agave syrup.
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely grated.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper. Tumble all of your cauliflower florets onto the baking sheet, and season well with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until soft and cooked all the way through.

While the cauliflower cooks, it’s time to make the dressing. Mix together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, agave syrup, salt and pepper. You can blend everything together using an immersion blender, food processor, or standing blender, but you can also just mix it all by hand if you don’t mind the dressing being a little less smooth and uniform.

Once the cauliflower is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. This is a good time to dice up your red pepper and grate your carrots.

When the cauliflower is mostly cooled, but still a little bit warm, place all of your kale into a large bowl and mix in the cauliflower. This will allow the kale to wilt down slightly and become tender and easier to eat. Add in the bell pepper and carrots, and mix those through as well.

Dress well and serve immediately, or serve with dressing on the side to allow everyone to add as much or as little as they like!

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!

 

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!

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 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!