Two Quick Dips/Spreads for Garlic and Cilantro Lovers

garlic cilantro dips - black bean or cottage cheese

Tex-Mex-inspired and budget-friendly, these two are delightful to dip into with some veggies, or marvellous to stuff into meatless burritos. One is a black bean dip, made over by toasted spices and additional love on the stove top. The other is humble cottage cheese disguised as a voluptuous green goddess.

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Gentle Turnip, Chicken and Carrot Soup

quick turnip, chicken, carrot soup

It’s cool autumn weather and cautious eating for me this month.  I’ve seen some beautiful recipes online for rich, spicy curries and slow-roasted, fatty cuts of meat, but I shouldn’t have them until I am healed.  It’s a tad frustrating.

Hope for my sanity is not lost with this satisfying and quick soup.  Turnips and carrots are good sources of soluble fibre (yay!)  Onion and celery contain insoluble fibre (meh) but provide flavour and vitamins.  A protein punch and a bit of fat from white chicken meat and olive oil, respectively, balance this meal out nutritionally and tastefully (though one or both ingredients can be eliminated if needed).

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Quick Tuna and Corn Pasta – Hot or Cold

Welcome back to the 18-Minute Egg with an open-minded student dish that can be served hot or cold. Comforting spaghetti is mixed with canned tuna, canned corn, and a few condiments you already have in the fridge to quickly give you a meal at the end of a long day or for your bagged lunch the next day. It has a weight and richness reminiscent of pasta carbonara, alfredo, or traditional pasta salad, but in actuality it is not nearly as heavy or dairy-soaked. The key to making this dish make you feel good afterwards is to not eat too much of it and to eat it with a big, leafy salad.

In a different light: this is my lower-cal take on Mama June’s tuna noodle casserole. Or: I hate macaroni salad, but this improved version is lighter and not as creepy-looking.

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Colourful Quinoa and Vegetable Salad with Aromatic Carrot Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

That carrot dressing. You know what I’m talking about, at least if you live in/around a somewhat large city in North America. The chunky, refreshing dressing is common atop green salads at Japanese-inspired restaurants and is a welcome change from rich cream dressings.

Here I have applied one variation of carrot salad dressing to a quinoa salad to yield a quick, meatless dinner and/or an energizing lunch for the work/school day. The ‘complete’ essential amino acid profiles of the quinoa and edamame plus the vitamins and minerals of the fresh vegetables (some technically fruits) make this filling salad an eye-catching and balanced meal.

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Black Bean & Corn Salad with Cilantro Cream Dressing (Gluten-Free)

black bean, corn, tomato salad with cilantro cream

The food services at the place in which I spend my weekdays are limited during spring and summer, so I have been forced to pack all of my lunches. Here is a hearty bean and corn salad that is great chilled or at room temperature. It has a slight Tex-Mex flair with a cilantro cream dressing that is quick and easy to prepare when you have the correct tools. This was well-received by my #1 test kitchen associate.

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Quick Corn, Edamame, and Brussels Sprouts (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Hello friends: I apologize for my somewhat prolonged absence. Some things in my life took top priority last month while other tasks needed to step down temporarily.

Concepts and buzzwords such as ‘farm-to-table’ and ‘shortest travel time’ are gaining good momentum this year. Awesome! But let’s be real here. It’s not always possible to obtain freshly-picked, in-season produce to meet our culinary and nutritional needs. Frozen or canned vegetables are better than no vegetables, as I’ve previously preached.

Here for you is a quick side dish/warm salad that uses frozen corn, edamame, and Brussels sprouts. I think it would make a nice bento component if you’re into that sort of thing.  For non-vegans, parmesan cheese would be great on top of this. Continue reading “Quick Corn, Edamame, and Brussels Sprouts (Vegan, Gluten-Free)”

Peas, Pea Shoots, and Leeks (Vegan, Gluten Free)

You know what I think is cool? Eating different parts of the same organism in one dish, or the body of the organism alongside its progeny or other bodily secretions. Like a curry spiced with coriander and topped with cilantro; beet roots served with beet greens; fried rice with chicken and eggs, or; a nice, steamy, all-American cheeseburger.

This quick side dish is a nice dose of edible greenery that spans generations. Pea shoots (or what some inaccurately call pea tendrils, a botanist’s term that describes only the curly, thread-like portion of the pea shoot) are tasty, leafy greens that shrink like spinach when cooked but retain more of a bite. Peas, as you may know, are the fleshy seeds of the pea plant. The aroma of both ingredients is paired nicely with the pleasant skunkiness of shallots and leeks, and further enhanced by a wee bit of fat and salt.

Serve this as a side with… anything! Tofu and rice. Meat and potatoes. Pasta and family. Love and justice!  Just be warned that pea shoots are one of the most expensive items in the produce section of the grocery mart. Continue reading “Peas, Pea Shoots, and Leeks (Vegan, Gluten Free)”

Miso Tofu with Mushrooms (Vegan)

Here is another quickie to ensure that one eats properly during busy times. Mild, sweet, salty, and savoury, this warm and silky dish is perfect with steamed rice and vegetables. The tofu and miso combined with brown rice (as I like to serve it) provide a hearty protein + complex carbohydrate punch to replenish your energy and satisfy your spirit.

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Garlic & Chili Green Beans with Chinese Mushrooms

spicy szechuan green beans vegetarian

I think this is a popular dish—popular with my family, at least, as it is a vegetable dish of choice when we go out.  This version of savoury fried green beans is a meatless take on the traditional version, which includes ground pork and those tasty little dried shrimps.

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