Friday, October 30, 2009

Quinoa and Bean Salad

Quinoa was one of the best discoveries I made when I first gave up wheat.  Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a complete protein source, and can be eaten anywhere you'd have rice.  It cooks just like rice but in a fraction of the time, which is especially nice when you want a grain with dinner but don't have an hour to cook.  It can be found in bulk and health food stores.

This recipe is great year round, but is especially nice and light for summer.  I like it instead of a pasta salad at a barbeque, or as a light lunch on it's own.  Plenty of substitutions can be made as well.  Use black or kidney beans on their own if you don't have mixed beans, and if you're avoiding dairy leave the feta out or substitute avocado cubes.


4 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 cup quinoa
1 can mixed beans (or use black or kidney beans if you don't have mixed)
1/2 can chick peas
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup each green, red and yellow pepper slivers
1 cup green peas, cooked
crumbled feta cheese

Put quinoa in 2 cups water and bring to a boil, then stir, cover with lid and turn heat down to low.  Cook until water is gone, approximately 15 minutes.  Mix cooked quinoa, beans, vegetables and feta in large bowl.  Combine oil, lemon juice, oregano and salt and pepper, and shake in a bottle to mix.  Pour over salad and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Acorn Squash with Pine Nuts and Green Onions

And now presenting, my second original recipe!  My girlfriend and I were in need of a light meal option tonight and she suggested squash.  With just a few bits tossed on top, Voila!  We had ourselves a simple yet delicious vegetarian meal.  If you're hungrier, this would make a good side dish for fish or chicken.


1 acorn squash, halved with seeds scooped out
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 green onion, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. each basil and oregano
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Place squash cut side down on a microwave safe plate with a bit of water.  Cook until soft, approximately 10 minutes.  While squash is cooking, saute nuts, and onion in olive oil.  Cook until nuts are slightly browned, then remove from heat.  Add basil and oregano and mix.

Once squash is soft scoop pulp out with a spoon into individual portions.  Top with nut mixture.

Serves 2.

Beet Treat

It seems like a stretch to call this cooking, but I thought I'd post it anyway because it's surprisingly good and the fastest thing ever to prepare.  It's hard to believe how different beets taste with some lemon juice on them.  They end up tasting sweet!  This recipe is also taken from Eating Alive.  Sometimes I sprinkle a bit of dried parsley on top.

1-3 grated beets (or sliced canned beets if you want it to be really simple)
1-2 lemons, juiced

Mix the beets and juice together and serve on a lettuce leaf or with an avocado half.  Yum!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lentil and Veggie Soup

Lentil soup is one of those things I can love or be totally indifferent about.  I like mine thick, and with the lentils falling apart.  This recipe is really easy, and freezes well.  I usually double it so I have lots left over.  I'll post the recipe here as it was published in Eating Alive, but will say I usually have a much heavier hand when it comes to the seasonings.  I add cumin and turmeric, and add more of each spice to taste.

Since I can't have wheat crackers, I like to eat this with crushed rice cakes or rice crackers.  Yum!


4 cups water or stock
1 cup brown lentils (I've used other colours too with good results)
4-6 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. wheat-free tamari sauce (see Tamari Baked Salmon for info on tamari)
2 Tbsp. butter or oil
3 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. each: basil, oregano, thyme
1/8 tsp. cayenne red pepper
Several dashes of kelp
1/2 tsp. dill weed (optional)

Bring the lentils, vegetables and water or stock to a boil on high heat, then simmer for 1 hour on low heat or until the lentils are very tender.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer another 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Keeps 7 days in the fridge or may be frozen for later use.

Serves 4.

Tamari Baked Salmon

This salmon recipe is one of our very favourites for so many reasons.  It's fast, easy, and it's good enough to serve to company.  My brother once told me that if I wanted to impress a date that this is what I should cook. I've also cooked rainbow trout this way and it was great too.

If you're not familiar with tamari, it's a type of soy sauce you can find easily in health food stores or the healthy section of some grocery stores.  There is a wheat-free type, which is what I use.  If you don't have a problem with gluten you can substitute regular soy sauce.

The recipe was published in a booklet put out by the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition called Healing Leaky Gut.  Doesn't sound too appetizing, does it?!  But trust me, this recipe is fantastic!


4 salmon filets
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup tamari sauce
1 tbsp. olive oil

Place washed salmon filets in baking dish.  Mix remaining ingredients and pour over salmon.  This dish works best if the dish fits snuggly around the filets, so the fish is "swimming" in the sauce.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 min on each side.  Put it in for longer if the fish still looks shiny inside.  As soon as it's opaque though, it's done.  It will be very tender and delicious.

Serves 4.

Black Bean Tacos

In an attempt to decrease inflammation I've been following some food combining rules lately.  In particular, I don't eat meat with complex carbohydrates.  If I want to be nice and cook for my partner too though, I need to make an added consideration: she is a meat lover, and veggie meals don't satisfy her.  So, I've been on the lookout for recipes that can be adapted for meat-eaters or vegetarians alike.  This one fits the bill.  I can make the black bean filling for myself, and she can cook up ground beef for her own.  Making the black bean filling in advance is handy, so that when dinner time comes you just have to throw some in taco shells or tortillas and add a few garnishes.

This Black Bean Filling recipe comes from the vegetarian restaurant Fresh, in Toronto.  It's one of my favourite places to eat when I'm in my home city.  They've put out a few cookbooks.  In this case, it's from reFresh : Contemporary Vegan Recipes from the Award-Winning Fresh Restaurants.

Ingredients (for filling):

6 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled and diced
4 cloved of garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground (I've substituted dried cumin and it tastes great)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar (white vinegar seems to do the trick as well)
1 tsp. sea salt
4 cups canned or cooked black beans

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until soft.  Add remaining ingredients except beans and simmer for 5 minutes.  While cooking, puree black beans in food processor or mash as smoothly as possible by hand.  (I've used my hand mixer.)  Add black beans to mixture.  Stir until heated through.

For tacos:

1 pkg. taco shells or gluten-free tortillas
Toppings of your choice: salsa, avocado slices, chopped green onions, or whatever you can dream up!

Serves 4.

Fish and Sauteed Greens for Breakfast

So here it is, my first published recipe.  I am a pretty new cook, mostly motivated by my desire to get healthy in a natural way.  The thing is though, I LOVE tasty food.  I also crave variety, as my partner has helped me to notice.  I like all types of food, but I limit certain foods due to sensitivities.

This recipe was born from a desire to incorporate more dairy-free, calcium rich foods into my diet.  Both sardines and spinach are good sources of calcium, and they're cheap and easy to store.  I usually keep frozen spinach on hand, but fresh spinach is great too.  If you don't have either on hand I've found frozen mixed veggies to be great in it as well.  I've also substituted leftover fish for the sardines.  Salmon and rainbow trout are both fantastic.

Also, a note on the spices.  Powdered or flakes of kelp can be found in health food stores, and is a good thing to use in combination with sea salt, as it provides iodine that is usually found in standard iodized table salt.


1/2 bag of frozen spinach (or other mixed veggies if preferred)
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 can of sardines
1 tsp olive oil
A few dashes each of turmeric, cumin, chili powder, kelp
Sea salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped (optional) 
1 lemon wedge (optional)

Saute garlic, spinach and onion in oil.  Drain sardines.  Place desired amount of cooked veggies in bowl, and using a fork, mash sardines with veggies.  Add turmeric, cumin, chili powder, kelp, salt and pepper to taste, and mix again.  Use fresh squeezed lemon for added flavour if desired.  Enjoy!

Serves 2.