Smoky Potato Sweetcorn Soup

Flavoursome and with a hint of smokiness, this budget soup takes about 10 minutes to prepare. If you don’t have access to a blender, it’s equally delicious unblended. Serves 2-3.

Ingredients

1 yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
100g mushrooms, chopped or sliced, as desired
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large potato, unpeeled and diced
800ml vegetable broth
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Sauté the onion, mushrooms, and bell peppers over a medium-heat until the mushrooms start to release their juices. Add the garlic and sauté for a further 30 seconds.
2. Add the potato, broth, and smoked paprika. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for about 7 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
3. Serve as is, seasoned with salt and pepper as desired, or remove about a third of the soup to blend it before returning it to the pot to reheat.

Tomato, Spinach, and Bean Soup

This speedy, budget soup is chunky and nutritious. It serves 8 and is ready in under 15 minutes.

Ingredients

1 onion, medium dice
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable stock
3 cans chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp suitable-for-vegans sugar or maple syrup
1 tbsp vinegar of choice (balsamic is preferable, but apple cider, white wine, red wine, etc. will also work)
2 large handfuls spinach, chopped
1 x 400g can beans of choice
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 generous bunch basil
More freshly ground black pepper, to serve

Method

1. Sauté the onion over a medium low heat in a large soup pot until lightly coloured (2-3 minutes). Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup of the stock and stir to deglaze the pot.
2. Add the rest of the stock, tomatoes, purée, sweetener, vinegar (if using), spinach, beans, and the 1/2 tsp black pepper.
3. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add the chopped basil and season with black pepper to taste.

Beetroot Hummus

This beetroot hummus is incredibly inexpensive, and makes a large batch. Because it is oil-free, it will separate in the fridge; just stir it all back together again.

Ingredients

1 medium cooked beetroot, chopped
2 cups chickpeas, cooked
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp tahini OR sesame seeds
1/2 cup water, or as much needed to purée ingredients
1/4-1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Directions

1. Blend the beetroot, chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, and tahini or sesame seeds. Add more water if necessary, and, if using a jug blender, stop occasionally to scrape down the sides.
2. Season and serve.

Sweet Potato Confetti Toast

A colourful, simple lunch or side that takes under 20 minutes to make. This serves 2 people.

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato, peeled
1/4 each red, yellow, and orange bell pepper (or just use 3/4 of one colour of your choice if you prefer), finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 avocado
1/2 tsp each garlic powder and onion granules
1 tsp lime juice
1 pinch red chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Cut the potato into four long, 1/2-cm thick slices. To stop the potato rolling around as you try to cut it, take a thin slice from one side, and use this flattened side as the base to stabilize the potato.

Place the potato in a preheated health grill for 15 minutes, turning once. Alternatively, run it through the toaster for two rounds.

Meanwhile, mash the avocado with the garlic powder, onion granules, lime juice, chilli flakes, and salt and pepper.

Top the toasted sweet potato with the avocado, and sprinkle on the bell peppers and onion.

Dark chocolate, chocolate chip cookie dough nice cream

Simple and satisfying.

Ingredients

For the cookie dough
1 1/2T cashew butter
1T whole wheat flour
2t cocoa powder (I use a fairly traded Dutch process brand)
1 1/2T coconut sugar
A pinch coarse sea salt
1-3t unsweetened plant milk (I use soy)
5g bittersweet chocolate, chipped (I use an organic, fairly traded bar)
Sweetener to taste

For the bananas
2 medium frozen bananas (about 2 cups)
1/2t vanilla extract
Sweetener to taste

Optional: 1t powdered maca root. Trade the wheat flour for an appropriate gluten free flour (e.g., sorghum). The coconut sugar crystals give the right texture, but other sweeteners will work. You can also use a few prepackaged chocolate chips.

Method

Combine the cashew butter, flour, salt, sugar,and cocoa until crumbly. Add the plant milk starting with 2t until a smooth dough forms. If too dry, add plant milk one teaspoon at at time until you have a smooth dough (it shouldn’t require more than 3t). Mix in the chipped chocolate. Set aside.

Blend the bananas with the vanilla until smooth. Sweeten to taste (if necessary) with dates, maple syrup, agave nectar or stevia. Add 1T cookie dough and blend with the bananas for a more consistent flavour; leave them separate for more contrast. Break the cookie dough into 1/2 – 1t sized bites, add to the bananas and stir once or twice to distribute. Spoon out and serve!

Black lentil mezzaluna in a sesame white sauce with oyster mushrooms and kale

Similar to pierogi, mezzaluna are a lovely and decorative pasta, filled here with a lightly spicy combination of black beluga lentils, poblano peppers and Brussels sprouts, served in and a rich sauce of white miso, sesame seed butter and oyster mushrooms. This makes an appetizer portion for 4 or large plate for 2.

Ingredients

For the filling
1/4 cups black lentils
2/3 cups water
1 ‘sprig’ dried kombu (about 1/2″)
1T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
1 scallion, minced (3″ – 4″ green reserved for garnish)
1/4 cup poblano pepper, chopped finely
2 Brussels sprouts (about 1/4 cup scant), minced (or green cabbage)
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste
For the dough
1 cup semolina flour
A pinch sea salt
1/3 cup water
1t olive oil
2 liters water and 2t coarse sea salt for boiling
For the sauce
1T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
1/2t dried basil, rubbed
1/4t dried oregano, rubbed
1T fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup oyster mushroom, wiped and finely chopped
1/2T lemon juice
1 cup unsweetened plant milk
1T sesame seed butter (I use a fairly traded brand)
1 cup green curly kale, finely chopped
1T arrowroot flour dissolved in 1T cold water
1/2T white miso
2T nutritional yeast
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: Replace the Brussel sprouts with sun-dried tomatoes for something slightly more flavourful.

Method

Start the filling first, then the pasta, then the sauce. In a small pan with a lid, bring the water to a boil. Add the lentils. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender. When the lentils are done, remove the kombu, rinse the lentils and set aside.

While the lentils simmer, make the pasta dough. Mix the flour and salt. Mix the water and oil. Mix the wet and the dry. The dough may seem too dry initially. Keep mixing, and then knead until as a smooth elastic dough forms, and then another 2-3 minutes. Cover with a warm wet tea towel and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.

When the lentils are ready, in a medium frying pan, bring the oil to eat on medium high. Add the cooking oil and sea salt. Add the scallion. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the pepper and Brussels sprouts and saute for 5 minutes. Add the lentils and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Set aside covered to cool.

Roll out the dough on a floured board in a large rectangle about 1/10″ thin. Cut small circles about 2 1/2″ round. Bunch up leftover dough, roll out and cut. Repeat until all of the dough has been used. Aim for 16 circles.

When the dough has been cut, add a heaping tablespoon of filling to each in an oblong shape in the middle. Carefully pinch closed, starting with the top, one side, and then the other. Squeeze out any excess air. Crimp both sides of the seam with a fork. Let sit to dry lightly while you make the sauce.

In a large pan with a lid, bring the cooking oil and sea salt to heat with the sea salt on medium high. Add the green herbs and saute for 1 minute. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the oyster mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan. Add the soy milk. Bring the pan to a light simmer. Add the sesame seed butter and stir to dissolve. Simmer lightly, stirring occasionally while you finish the pasta.

In a large pot, bring the 2 liters water to a boil with the sea salt. Add the mezzaluna carefully to the water and boil lightly until they float (should be 3-5 minutes). They’ll float when done. Don’t overcook. Drain them carefully in a colander, reserving 2T of the pasta water. Rinse the pasta gently with cool water.

Add the pasta water and the kale to the sauce and stir to combine. Simmer another 2 minutes. Stirring continuously, add the arrowroot mixture until it thickens. Remove from heat. Add the white miso and stir until dissolved. Rinse the mezzaluna with hot water, drain and add them to the sauce. Stir gently to coat. Let stand 2-3 minutes to cool. Season to taste.

When lightly cooled, plate the mezzaluna and pour sauce over them. Add the scallion greens sliced on an angle. Dust with nutritional yeast, and serve.

Miso noodle soup with kale and mushrooms

Simple and satisfying with nourishing miso and chewy noodles simmered in the broth. This recipe easily doubles.

Ingredients

For the soup
2T water
1/4t coarse sea salt
1 scallion, minced (2″ – 3″ green reserved for garnish)
75g cremini mushrooms, 1/4″ slices
1/2T lemon juice
1/2T tamari
2 cups water
1 ‘sprig’ dried kombu (about 1″)
1-2T red soy miso (to taste)
1 cup green kale, coarsely chopped
Coarse sea salt (or tamari) and black pepper to taste

For the noodles
1/4 cup whole wheat bread flour
2-3T cold water
A pinch sea salt

Optional: Additional sea vegetables will go well in this soup, as would sesame seeds for garnish. Replace the cremini mushrooms with shiitake mushrooms if you prefer. Use white miso or just 1T red miso for something a little more neutral in taste. Add a few drops of toasted sesame oil with the scallions for a little additional flavour.

Method

Make the noodles first, then the soup. Mix the flour, salt and water together until a smooth dough forms. If you need to add extra water, do so a teaspoon at a time. Knead for 3 minutes and set aside in a bowl covered with a warm, moist tea towel. Let rest for at least 10 minutes. Knead another 3 minutes. Return to the bowl for another 10 minutes to rest. Knead another 3 minutes. Return to the bowl for a final 10 minutes.

On a floured board, roll the dough out to a large rectangle, about 1/8″ thick and no less than 9″ long. Using a wheeled pastry cutter, cut 1/4″ noodles, or fold very gently length-wise into thirds (in an S-curve) and cut the noodles with a knife if you prefer. Let the noodles rest while you make the soup.
Bring a large pan with a lid to heat on medium high. Add the water, sea salt, scallions, and mushrooms. Stir fry for 3-5 minutes, or until the pan is starting to brown and the mushrooms are softening. Add the lemon and tamari and deglaze the pan. Stir fry another 2 minutes. Add the water and kombu, and return the pan to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

At the 10 minute mark, add the noodles and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the kale and simmer another two minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 2 minutes to cool. Add the miso and stir to combine. Season to taste. Ladle out, garnish with scallions sliced on an angle, and serve.

Freshly baked garlic, herb bagels

Although it’s the extreme dry heat of a professional oven that makes the absolute best bagels, it’s possible to make a good bagel at home. Many bagels made at corner shops are made with egg wash, honey, or other ingredients. Commercial bagels are often made with micro-ingredients, such as l-cysteine, and they lack the satisfying chew of a freshly baked bagel. This recipe makes half a dozen, but easily shrinks or doubles.

Ingredients

3 cups whole wheat bread flour
A pinch coarse sea salt
1 1/2 – 2 cups warm water
1 1/2T yeast
1/2T green herbs (I use herbes de Provence)
1/2t garlic powder
2 liter water
1T baking soda
1T blackstrap molasses
2T unsweetened plant milk

Optional: There are a lot of variations for bagels. You can braid the dough for something more European. You can make them smaller with a larger hole and sprinkle them sesame seeds for a bagel in the Montreal style. You can also flavour your bagels as you like (e.g., with onion or cinnamon and raising, etc.), but be careful of interrupting the yeast.

For a plain bagel, leave out the garlic and herbs. Unbleached, all purpose flour will give you a bit more fluff (but you made need less water). You can also sprinkle sesame seeds and other toppings toward the end of the baking. You can also change the sweetener, but be careful about changing the pH balance of the water too much — it’s partly what makes the bagel chewy.

Method

Note, to get the fluffiest, chewiest bagels you can, it’s helpful to have a baking stone for this recipe. If you don’t have one, sprinkle a lightly oiled baking sheet with 1/2T coarse yellow corn meal instead. Or, if you have baking paper rated to 450F, use that. You want a hot, dry oven.

It’s also best if you have a pan large enough to boil them all at once. The longer the bagels sit between the boiling and the baking, the longer they lose their heat and the fluff that goes with it. If you have to do the boiling in batches, remove each to a clean, dry cutting board sprinkled with a little corn meal while you do the remainder.

Start by mixing the flour and salt. Mix the water and yeast according to its instructions. Add the wet to the dry and mix until a smooth dough forms. Add additional water as necessary 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead for about 10 minutes. Let the dough rise covered with a warm, moist tea towel for 2 hours, punching down periodically. Roll out on a floured board. Fold in the garlic powder and herbs. Knead for a minute or so.

When the dough is ready, break into 6 equal parts. If you want large, sandwiched sized bagels, break the dough into 4 parts. Roll the dough out to a long thing tube, about 6″ long and 1 1/2″ in diameter, between your palms.

Once rolled, connect both ends of the tube securely into a bagel shape. The size of the hole varies by style. I make mine about 1 1/2″, and I twirl it on my index finger. Repeat until all your bagels are ready. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes or so. Don’t let them over-rise.

In a large pan, bring the water to a light boil. Preheat your oven to 500F (or 450F if your oven doesn’t reach 500F). Add the baking soda and molasses to the water and return to a light boil. Add the bagels, simmering them in the mixture for about 1 minute, turning over and boiling another 30 seconds or so. Remove the bagels from the water with a slotted spoon.

Add your bagels to your baking stone or sheet. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until they are starting to brown lightly (depending on the temperature and whether you use a stone, a baking sheet, etc.). Ovens vary; use the colour and texture of your bagel as a guide.

When the bagels are starting to lightly brown, brush each with a little plant milk. Sprinkle any additional toppings at this point. Bake for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Or, let cool completely and then package up for later.

Black lentil and amaranth soup with sesame and roasted kale

Warm and satisfying, and with the amaranth, a fairly nutrient dense soup. This make a large bowl for 1, small bowls for 2, and easily doubles.

Ingredients

For the soup
3T dried black beluga lentils
3T dried amaranth
2 cups water
1 ‘spring’ kombu (about 1/2″)
1 scallion, minced (1t set aside for garnish)
1T fresh garlic, minced (1/4t reserved for garnish)
1/2t fresh ginger, grated and minced
3T tomato passata (or puree)
1t sriracha
1t prepared brown mustard
1t balsamic vinegar
1/4t black pepper, freshly cracked (or to taste)
1/4t blackstrap molasses
1/2T green herbs (I used herbes de Provence)
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the kale
1 cup green curly kale, chopped
1t scallion (as noted above)
A pinch coarse sea salt
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the sesame ribbon
1t sesame seed butter
1/2t lemon juice
1/4t fresh garlic, minced (as noted above)
A pinch coarse sea salt
1t cold water

Optional: Add a tablespoon nutritional yeast to the kale after roasting for some additional flavor and nutrition.

Method

In a medium pan with a lid, bring the water to a light simmer. Add the black lentils and kombu. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer. At the 10 minute mark, add the amaranth.

Simmer until the amaranth has dissolved into the soup (about 20 – 30 minutes). Remove the kombu. Add the remainder of the ingredients for the soup. Stir to combine. Return to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer another 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450F. Toss the kale with the scallion, garlic and sea salt. Roast in a thin layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan for 6-10 minutes until the kale is lightly wilted and a vibrant green. Ovens vary; use the colour and texture of the kale as a guide. When done, remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk together the ingredients for the sesame ribbon in order until the sesame becomes a little fluffy. Set aside until the soup is done.

When everything is ready, season the soup and the kale to taste. Ladle out. Pour the sesame ribbon out in the design of your choice. Add the kale in the center, and serve.

Pillowy, chili-garlic, gluten free potato gnocchi

A simple, gluten free variation of the traditional potato pasta, the tapioca helps keep the softness of the original dish. Shown here with sauteed kale, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, gnocchi goes well with a variety of sauces.

Ingredients

1 large floury potato (about 1 1/2 cups, mashed — I use organic russets)
1T fresh garlic, minced
1t dried basil, rubbed
1/2t dried oregano, rubbed
1/4t dried red chilis (or to taste; I use 1/2t)
1/4t black pepper
Up to 1/2 cup tapioca flour (see the note below)
1/4 cup brown rice flour
Coarse sea salt to taste
2 liters water with 2t coarse sea salt for boiling

Optional: Add a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast to the dough for some additional flavour and nutrition or dust with the nutritional yeast when drained. Traditionally, you would peel the potato once it has cooled, but I don’t. A lot of the fiber and other nutrients are in the skin, the skin provides a lot of the starch, etc. It’s also traditional to add a little nutmeg, but it would be overpowered here.

Method

Boil the potato unpeeled in enough water to cover for about 30 minutes. Drain and chill uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Puree smooth. Add the herbs, 1/4 cup tapioca, and brown rice flour until a soft dough forms. Add salt to taste (depending on the sauce you’ll use).

Roll out gently into lines about 1/2″ thick and cut into 1″ segments or roll 1T sized bits of dough between your palms for more of a dumpling shape. Lines are more traditional. Decorate each gnocchi with a gentle fork press (striation helps to hold the sauce with the pasta).

In a large pan, bring the 2 liters water and salt to a light boil on high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add the gnocchi and swirl the pan to avoid sticking. Simmer the gnocchi until they float. Don’t overcook. Drain carefully. If you have to leave the gnocchi before saucing, rinse gently but thoroughly with cold water. If not, toss with your sauce and serve!

Note, this makes a soft, light, fairly traditionally textured gnocchi. However, because of the size of the potato, the type, the exact amount of water it absorbs, its age, and how much it dehydrates while cooling, gnocchi often takes a few tries to get the texture you prefer.

If you find your dough doesn’t come together, add more tapioca flour one tablespoon at a time. But start with 1/4 cup. If you’ve never made gnocchi and don’t know from the touch of the dough whether it will hang together, you can also always test one piece and see what the resulting texture is like before committing.