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Archive for the ‘Sides’ Category

Broccoli Bites 2

(Looking for healthy dessert recipes, or tips for how to eat deliciously on a budget? Then check out my e-books here.)

Basil is one of those herbs I don’t use enough. It has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, along with a healthy dose of nutrients that fight pesky free radicals. Sounds like a super-herb to me.

My husband didn’t like these because he thought the basil came on too strong, but that is exactly why I found these surprisingly delightful. I was expecting an overwhelming broccoli flavour – which would have been awesome – and ended up with sweet, fragrant basil highlights.

Eat these on their own as a snack, fold them into a wrap or plop them onto your salad for an extra protein boost. Want to elevate the deliciousness factor? Daub them with my new obsession: roasted garlic tahini sauce. You won’t regret it.

Broccoli Basil Bean Bites
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, grain-free, five ingredients or less

2 cups cooked cannelini beans
2 crowns of broccoli, chopped finely (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Note: you can make this recipe without a food processor. Just finely chop the broccoli and mash the beans with a fork or potato masher. You’ll need a little more elbow grease, but you can get ‘er done.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor, finely chop the broccoli, then set it aside.

Place the beans in the processor and pulse them until they are well mashed, but still have some texture to them.

Add the broccoli, basil, salt and nutritional yeast (if you’re using it) to the processor and pulse everything together. You may need a tablespoon or two of water to bring everything together.

Using a tablespoon measure, scoop the mixture onto a prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly into patties.

Bake for 20-24 minutes, until patties are firm and lightly golden on the outside. They will harden as they cool.

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Beet Sliders 1

(Looking for healthy dessert recipes, or tips for how to eat deliciously on a budget? Then check out my e-books here.)

Beets are an incredibly healthful, detoxifying food.

Their gorgeous, deep pigment comes from a set of phytonutrients called betalains, which support the second step of liver detoxification by triggering the enzymes that neutralize toxins. Beets also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as an extra bonus.

Don’t worry if your pee or poop are tinged red after eating them – this is normal, you’re not bleeding internally. Well, you’re probably not bleeding internally. Check with your doctor if your poop is red and you haven’t been snacking on beets, okay?

Beet and Avocado Sliders
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, five ingredients or less

1 large beet (about half a pound)
1/2 an avocado, sliced
salt to taste

In a steamer basket, steam the beet for about 30-40 minutes, until it can be easily pierced with a fork.

When the beet is cool enough to handle, cut it into slices about 1/2-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to stamp out uniform rounds (save the scraps for snacking). I got about four pretty rounds from my beet, and plenty of scraps to snack on later.

Top each round with a slice of avocado, then sprinkle with salt.

Serve immediately.

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Red Rice Pilaf

Have you guys heard of Bhutanese red rice?

My rice awareness was essentially limited to the brown, wild and white varieties, until I read about the wide array of rice options in Alive Magazine.

If you’re so inclined, you can read further about red rice over at Lotus Foods, but here’s the Coles Notes version: it’s extremely high in potassium and magnesium, which are essential to stuff like muscle function, nerve function and blood pressure balance. It’s gluten-free. And it cooks it only 20 minutes. That means you can’t use ‘but white rice is faster’ as an excuse. Deal?

This simple pilaf is an utterly tasty mixture of sweetness from the rice and squash, tartness from the cranberries, and deliciously caramelized onion bits. Serve it as a side dish, or throw in some protein like chickpeas or lentils to create a substantial, satisfying meal.

Anyone else tried Bhutanese red rice before? What did you think of it, and what’s your favourite way to use it?

Red Rice Pilaf
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, five ingredients or less

3 cups cubed butternut squash
1/2 cup Bhutanese red rice
1 small onion, sliced into half moons
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large baking dish or pan, toss the squash cubes and onion with olive oil. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork.

While the veggies are roasting, bring the rice and one cup of water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes.

When the rice and veggies are done, stir them together, along with the cranberries and salt to taste.

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Kale and Broccoli Bowl 2

I love gourmet plant-based fare as much as the next health-loving, nutrition-focused foodie. People always tell the husband how lucky he is to be married to a nutritionist who adores experimenting in the kitchen.

And while it’s true I love creating new and inventive dishes, the way I eat most of the time is dead simple. Lots of steamed and roasted veg, quick-cooking whole grains, beany stews and soups, smoothies, basic dips, minimalist sauces and dressings.

I hesitate to even call this a recipe, since it’s so easy and flexible depending on your personal tastes. However, when I’m inspired to eat something three days in a row, I feel duty-bound to share the deliciousness with you.

Friends, this is fast food at its finest. Even with the chopping, this will take about 10 minutes from fridge to table. The vitamins and minerals are off the charts here, and with the extra special combo of healthy fats you will definitely feel satisfied.

I ate this for breakfast twice this week (yes, breakfast), though you can have it for lunch or dinner instead if you’re not into the savory stuff first thing in the morning.

How does that sound to you? Think you’d skip the take-out for a dish like this?

(Looking for healthy dessert recipes, or tips for how to eat deliciously on a budget? Then check out my e-books here.)

Quick Kale and Broccoli Bowl
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, five ingredients or less

2 large leaves of kale, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 of an avocado, cubed
1 tsp lemon juice, or more to taste
drizzle of hemp oil, or olive oil
sprinkle of hemp seeds, optional
salt to taste

Steam the kale and broccoli for three minutes, then put them in a bowl. Add the avocado, lemon juice, oil, salt and hemp seeds, if using. Toss gently until everything is combined. Taste and adjust lemon juice, oil or salt as needed.

Serves one, but you can easily expand the amounts for more people.

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Chickpea Fries 1

A few weeks ago, after I created these incredible baked avocado fries, a number of you suggested I attempt the same magic on chickpeas.

I was certainly game, except I’d never had chickpea fries before. Once I sampled them for the first time at a local nerdy pub, I instantly understood why you asked me to health-ify them. Wow, they were yum.

I was equally entranced by my baked version, which had a satisfying, crispy outside and creamy interior, along with a warm peppery-ness from the cumin.

This recipe is incredibly versatile, depending on what spices you add to it. Make ’em spicy with cayenne, fragrant with rosemary or thyme, or nutty with sesame oil.

Or change it up: I’m thinking I could use a cookie cutter to cut circles out of the dough, and transform them into grilled chickpea cakes served with a gravy or curry on top.

How would you make these your own?

(Looking for healthy dessert recipes, or tips for how to eat deliciously on a budget? Then check out my e-books here.)

Baked Chickpea Fries
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, five ingredients or less

2 cups water
1 cup chickpea flour
1/3 cup cooked chickpeas, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt, or to taste

Line an 8-inch square dish with parchment paper.

In a medium-sized pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the chickpea flour and whisk well to get rid of lumps.

Add the olive oil, cumin and salt, and cook for about five minutes, until the mixture is thick and slightly pulling away from the pot.

Take the pot off the heat and fold in the chopped chickpeas. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it as evenly as you can.

Put the pan in the fridge for 2-3 hours, until chilled and solid.

Cut the slab in half, then cut each half into slices (I got about two dozen slices, but you can make them as thick or thin as you’d like).

Bake at 400 degrees F for 22-25 minutes, until the fries are nice and crisp on the outside.

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Squash Fritters

I’ve never been a fritter person. It’s partially due to an ancient fear of fatty, fried foods and weight gain, and partly because I’ve never owned a great frying pan, which renders me inept at frying in the first place.

But I’ve been eating butternut squash for months in the same old ways and I wanted to try something new.

Hello, squash fritters. Thanks for being delicious.

This recipe is a snap to pull together, the flavours meld nicely and the fritters are very more-ish.

I fried half of the recipe and baked the other half. I bake most of my patty/burger-like items, and am usually happy with the results, though I must admit in this case I liked the frying pan version much better. They had an appealing, crispy coating and creamy interior, while the baked version was uniform in texture. I’ll let you decide which one you’d like to try!

Do you have any creative suggestions for using butternut squash?

(Looking for healthy dessert recipes, or tips for how to eat deliciously on a budget? Then check out my e-books here.)

Butternut Squash Fritters
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, five ingredients or less

1 cup puréed butternut squash
1/4 cup spinach, finely shredded
2 tbsp chickpea flour
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients together. Taste a bit of the mixture, and add more seasonings if necessary.

Using wet hands, grab the dough by the tablespoon and form into small, round patties. I got nine fritters from my batch, but you may get a few more or less.

Put the fritters in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to firm up.

If you’d like to fry them, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, then cook the fritters for 3-4 minutes on each side. Be careful when flipping them, as they are delicate.

If you’re using an oven, bake them at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.

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Avocado Fries 2

A nutritionist always has avocados on the brain. I’ll bet if you took a poll, more than 90% of us would name avocados as our favourite food.

There are few things more decadent than deep-fried avocado. I recently swooned over the ‘avocado frites’ at Vancouver’s newest vegetarian restaurant, Heirloom. Then the folks over at My Superhero School sent me a vacation snapshot of a fried avocado dish at Cafe Flora, my favourite veg restaurant in Seattle.

I believe anything deep-fried should be a once-in-a-blue-moon treat. Still, I couldn’t get avocado fries off my mind, so I created an amazing baked version.

You’re welcome.

I am so excited about this recipe! The crunch of the cornmeal combined with the smooth avocado deliciosity makes this one a winner.

The only change I would make next time around is the spices – the paprika flavour got a bit lost, so I would replace it with something like onion powder and garlic powder instead.

(Looking for healthy dessert recipes, or tips for how to eat deliciously on a budget? Then check out my e-books here.)

Avocado Fries
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free, five ingredients or less

2 small avocados
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp arrowroot or tapioca flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit, and peel them. Cut them into lengthwise slices.

In a shallow bowl, mix the vegetable broth and flour. In another shallow bowl, mix the cornmeal, paprika and salt.

Dip an avocado slice into the broth mixture, then dip it into the cornmeal. Coat the avocado slice with cornmeal, patting it gently to make sure the cornmeal sticks, and lay it on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining slices.

Bake for 22-25 minutes, until the cornmeal is lightly browned and crispy. Serve hot with a marinara dipping sauce, or another sauce you adore.

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