the taste space

Green Pea Curry (Mattar Masala)

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by Janet M on June 2, 2014

Green Peas Curry (Mattar Masala)

Rob did some more investigating. He found a program that would figure out if I had any duplicate files irregardless of the name.

WOO!  After three days, my program to find duplicate files on your external hard drive has completed.  It has found at least 172 GB of duplicate files.  We need to clean them up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

His emphasis, not mine.

So apparently, I come with baggage. Electronic baggage.

There used to be a time when I couldn’t fit everything on my hard drive, but once I had 1 Tb on my external hard drive, I haven’t thought much about my space usage.

Rob didn’t appreciate my old school way of culling my photos: copying them into a new folder. Sometimes I had 4-5 copies of the same photo with my disjointed backing up. Now we get to do some culling!

Green Peas Curry (Mattar Masala)
Rob is doing a great job tackling our leftover food stuffs. This was an absolutely, wonderfully delicious pea curry he made with the peas in the freezer and spices from the pantry. I am not saying that just because Rob made it and everything tastes better when someone else cooks for you, but honestly this was gourmet Indian and made me a pea-lover. I love beans but peas are not as high in my “love list” but this, guys, was incredible.

Creamy with a rich-tomato broth with bright green peas, this was a keeper. Sadly, this curry has a really long ingredient list, which seems almost disjointed and muddy, but have faith. This was delicious and completely worth the effort (and definitely Rob’s effort!).

Do you like peas?

PS. I am sharing this with Bookmarked Recipes.

(more…)

Pumpkin Pecan Frosted Cinnamon Buns

Posted in Desserts by Janet M on December 7, 2013

Pumpkin Pecan Butter Frosting

I consider my blog to be a public food journal. And as I share my favourite recipes, I may unearth some trends.

Right now, I seem to be all about pecans.

(As evidenced by my maple pecan shortbread cookies, vegan cheesecake with a pecan shortbread crust, baked caramelized banana & pecan oatmeal and even a savoury brussels sprouts slaw with pecans and cranberries)

I say pee-cans, but recently, I can catch myself with a Southern drawl muttering pe-cahns, too.

Pecans are a taste of the Southern United States, and I am trying to relish in all good things here.

Pumpkin Pecan Butter Frosting

Take this pumpkin pecan butter frosting.

I originally made this as a way to tame our consumption of nut butters… and cookie butters. Did I mention how fast my parents devoured the cookie butter? Three days, three people, finito.

Rob declared this spread tasting like a hug. With the warming cinnamon with a pumpkin backdrop, I could see why. This was not as rich as our regular nut butters (obviously!), but it worked remarkably well as a frosting. Thanks to Gaby and Max, we used it to frost Sinfull Bakery’s monster vegan cinnamon bun for a fall-inspired treat.

Pumpkin Pecan Butter Frosting

Now it is your turn: How do you pronounce pecan?

(more…)

Basmati Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Onions and Broccoli

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Sides by Janet M on April 16, 2013

Do you think there is an old school vegan cuisine?

Stereotypical tofu, broccoli and brown rice? Nutritional yeast?

What’s the new school vegan?

Kale, quinoa and Brussels sprouts? Miso?

I say what’s not the new school vegan? Variety is key! Everything is fair game!

I may choose chickpeas day in and day out for a few months (you have been warned, hehe), then I am loving lentils the following month and the next bit is all about black beans. By the time I eat chickpeas again, I have forgotten how wonderful they were and the cycle repeats itself ad nauseum.

Out of all the vegetables, we buy broccoli fairly routinely. Rob loves it. Steamed, it is a simple side for any meal Rob wants to healthify. Rob also loves adding broccoli stems to besan chilla and tofu scrambles and creamy broccoli dal continues to be one of our favourite meals.

However, as rated by my most popular tags on the blog, broccoli does not even make my sidebar!

Thus, it is time to diversify our broccoli uses.

This is a rice pilaf from 1000 Indian Recipes which is basically old-school vegan gone Indian! Brown rice and broccoli fragrant from Indian spices with sweet caramelized onions. Savoury spices like cardamom, cinnamon and cloves infuse the rice as it cooks and a tarka (spiced oil) is used at the end to get the mustard and cumin seeds to pop. Sadly, I didn’t find this dish as flavourful as I anticipated and was a bit disappointed. Next time, I would increase the spices and perhaps decrease the amount of rice. And likely add some beans for a complete meal.

What’s your take on broccoli? Common vegetable often in the shadows?

Other broccoli favourites on my blog:

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Lime and Cilantro (Whole Foods Detox Salad)
Lemon-Balsamic Glazed Chickpeas and Broccoli
Quinoa Falafels with a Cheezy Broccoli Bowl
Buddha Veggie Bowl with a Ginger-Miso-Lime Dressing
Confetti Veggie Salad with Mustard Curry Dressing
Forty Clove Chickpeas and Broccoli
Kelp Noodles, Baby Bok Choy, Broccoli and Red Pepper with a Coconut-Peanut Sauce
Spicy Peanut Udon Noodles with Tofu and Broccoli
Creamy Green on Green Pasta (aka Raw Kelp Noodles and Broccoli with a Creamy Lemon-Basil Whipped Avocado Sauce)
Broccoli and Red Pepper Stir Fry with Peanuts


This is my submission to this month’s Random Recipe, to this week’s Weekend Wellness and to Bloggers Around the World for India.

(more…)

Ethiopian Lentils in Berbere Sauce (Yemiser W’et) (& Vegan Eats World review)

Posted in Book Review, Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by Janet M on October 30, 2012

Last year, I teased you. I told you about all these delicious meals I was making but not sharing the recipes.

Russian Sauerkraut Soup (Shchi) – This was a favourite recipe and Isa has already shared the recipe here (I loved the book’s smokey version with liquid smoke, coriander seitan, sliced cabbage along with I also added some white beans)

Sesame Wow Greens, a spin on oshitashi – so simple, yet a delicious way to eat spinach. I should try it with chard and kale, too.

Luscious White Bean and Celery Root Puree – this was how I got hooked onto celeriac!

Rice Paper Rolls with Kale and Asian Pear with a Peanut Coconut Sauce – delicious in a zucchini wrap

Fastlane Cabbage Kimchi – I preferred the ginger version instead of the spicy version (did you know that kimchi normally has fish sauce or shrimp in it?)

White Bean Farro Soup with Chickpea Parmigiano – the topping is what made this dish special

All of the recipes were from Terry Hope Romero’s new book, Vegan Eats World which is available today! And those were only a few of the recipes, since I tested over 30.  This is a vegan cookbook geared at international cuisine, from Colombian Coconut Lentil Rice to Moroccan Vegetable Filo Pie (Bisteeya) and (Belgian) Beer Bathed Seitan Stew with Oven Frites (the latter were two of my recipe requests!). Terry tackled fun recipes from around the globe. She uses authentic ingredients while still putting her own spin to the dish.

One of the drawbacks of this cookbook is that she uses authentic ingredients. My cupboard explosion is partially due to Terry’s influence when I bought frozen pandan, Korean pepper flakes, canned jackfruit, freekeh and annatto seeds, among others. I can credit her with discovering many new favourite ingredients, too, including star anise, celeriac and freekeh.

As a recipe tester, I received my cookbook last week. It was captivating to read through the cookbook and discover even more recipes I want to try. There were so many recipes I couldn’t test them all.

Recipes in her book range from fancy to easy weeknight meals. Some are more involved (she has recipes for Afghan Pumpkin Ravioli with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Garlic Yogurt Sauce) or incredibly easy (like Coconut [Black Eyed] Bean Curry (Lobia). The marker of a good cookbook, though, is having repeater recipes. I even photographed this one before when we made it with red lentils instead of green. Lover of all things curry, Rob has adopted this into his Repeater Recipes as a quick and simple meal both of us enjoy. We may have moved across town, from one Little Ethiopia to another, so we have easy access to injera. Terry also has a recipe for (Almost) Instant Injera, along with other dishes to make your own Ethiopian feast.

While I encourage you to pick up your own copy of Vegan Eats World, thankfully, Terry agreed to me sharing her recipe for Ethiopian Lentils in Berbere Sauce (Yemiser W’et) and Berbere Spice Blend. Enjoy!

Here are some other Ethiopian dishes you might enjoy:

Ethiopian Split Pea Puree (Kik Alicha)

Ethiopian Warm Cabbage and Green Beans

Fasoulia (Ethiopian Carrots and Green Beans Simmered in a Tomato Sauce)

Ethiopian Split Pea and Kabocha Squash Stew with Collards

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Haalo, and to this week’s Healthy Vegan Friday.

(more…)

Pumpkin Masala Chai (Indian-Spiced Pumpkin Tea)

Posted in Drinks, Favourites by Janet M on September 23, 2012

I resisted.

I know it is fall.

I unearthed my long pants to cycle to work last week. I now don full-fingered gloves as well as my cycling hat.

But, it isn’t fall until the winter squashes come out. And the apples.

I have been relishing in the end-of-summer produce for the past few weeks. Tomatoes. Green beans. Beets. I bought some squashes but have yet to cook with them. I also got some canned pumpkin and resisted the onslaught of all things pumpkin. Until now.

Maybe I can blame it on the equinox?

Now that I’ve started, I don’t think it will stop. Not only because I have to plow through the monster of a pumpkin can but because I have found a glorious way to enjoy pumpkin.

In my morning brew.

I love my tea and usually enjoy a nice cup in the morning. Technically, I enjoy tisanes because I prefer herbal-based blends. I like rooibos but have started to shun all things with black teas. My favourite tea remains a chai-based concoction and surprisingly, I have yet to create my own home-grown spice medley. No better time than to start today with this cup.

Savoury spices, including cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom mellow nicely with the pumpkin with the peppercorns and ginger offering a nice kick of spice. I used pumpkin butter (from Trader Joe’s) as my sweetener but I look forward to fiddling with this for a less sweetened version. In any case, this was so good I had to share the recipe immediately. :)

I am also excited to make this pumpkin chili with the leftover pumpkin puree! It was so good last year! :)

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Wellness and Healthy Vegan Fridays.

(more…)

Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cashew Frosting

Posted in Desserts, Favourites by Janet M on August 23, 2012

I discovered where I inherited my veggie-loving genes.

You see, it skipped a generation.

I recently visited my grandparents. Not wanting to burden my grandmother with worrying about what I was going to eat, I took charge and delved into her kitchen to see what I could make….. While she typically makes traditional German food, I was delighted to discover she also had glass jars filled with oodles of dry beans, dried fruit, and whole grains (quinoa, millet, barley, rolled oats), a freezer filled with nuts and seeds, a pantry with tamari (my grandmother has tamari?!) and even things I have never eaten like Brewer’s yeast and soy lecithin. I almost forgot she also had a 20-year old juicer!!

My meal of the weekend was a double batch of my easy Curried Beans and Quinoa with Baby Bok Choy which was enjoyed by all.

However, my culinary bliss came when I juiced to my heart’s content. I juiced oodles of carrots, beets, apples, ginger and lemon to create the perfect breakfast juice. My first version had a strong kick from the ginger, but I held back on later versions.

All this juicing meant that I had lots of juice pulp. While my grandmother usually enriches her compost with the pulp, I wanted to make something a bit more creative edible with the leftovers.

With my leftover carrot pulp, I decided to make raw carrot cake cupcakes. Super simple, no dehydrator needed, it was uncanny how they tasted like an even better traditional carrot cake. I don’t even like traditional carrot cake since it is typically a heavy and dense cake with little flavour. However, simply blend together carrots, walnuts, dates and raisins with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, and you have a flavourful no-cook dessert. Moist and flavourful. Top it with the cashew-date frosting, and you have one sinfully delicious dessert. Way too addictive to keep in your fridge, if I may caution you in advance.

Even if you don’t have a juicer, do not fret. I am definitely going to try this again with grated carrots with the extra water squished out because I don’t have my own juicer.

I made some raw juice pulp crackers with the pulp from the beets, apples, and ginger. With a touch of curry powder, they were oddly good. More like a thin bread than a cracker, but still good. :)

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by A.B.C, to this week’s Raw Food Thursdays, to this week’s Healthy Vegan Fridays, to this week’s Potluck Party for Kid Friendly Foods and to this week’s Weekend Wellness.

(more…)

Five-Spice Pickled Cherries

Posted in Salads, Sides by Janet M on August 15, 2012

Am I the only one who gets into trouble during the summer? Trouble in my kitchen, I mean…

So many fruits and veggies to eat at their peak, sometimes I can’t decide what to eat first!

I recently was in Montreal and stopped at the Jean Talon farmer’s market. It was a good thing we didn’t use our bikes that day, because we came home with tons of fresh fruits and veggies. 5L of uber sweet wild blueberries from Lac Saint Jean. Rob and I demolished them within a week just eating them fresh. I also picked up 10 lbs of beets, peaches and carrots. We decided to stop before we bought some freshly picked corn, too. I like to think I have limits, but our list of purchases may suggest otherwise!

At home, I still had some cherries but wanted to focus on the blueberries. So what to do with the cherries? I really enjoyed them marinaded in balsamic vinegar, used both as a sandwich topper but also as a dressing (and topping) for quick salads.

This got me thinking about pickling my own cherries.

I found a few recipes but settled on a savoury pickling spice, filled with all the components of Chinese five spice (Szechuan peppercorns, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and fennel) along with bay leaves. I consulted with my Mom because I wanted to decrease the sugar and swap it for another sweetener, and she recommended not tinkering with the recipe because sugars and salts really help keep the proper preservation. So I didn’t… to be able to keep these pickled cherries for a while in my fridge once my fruit obsession has waned. However, if you want to consume the cherries within a week or so, I see no reason why you couldn’t omit the sugar or swap it for agave or maple syrup just like my simple balsamic marinaded cherries.

Since my cans are not sealed, I snuck in a taste and loved the cherries! A bit sweet, but with a nice savoury backdrop from the Chinese five spice. I plan on using them for salads, but I will let you know if I find other tasty ways to use them!

Next pickling project: Beets, I am looking at you! Anyone have good recipes for pickled beets without too much sugar?

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Lynne.

(more…)

Snowpeas, Snap Peas and Fava Beans in a Tomato-Cardamom Sauce

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by Janet M on June 18, 2012

I have yet to meet a bean I do not like.

Except for coffee beans…. but they don’t count. I don’t usually drink my beans. (they are also not technically a legume)

For a while, though, I thought I didn’t like fava beans (also known as broad beans).

For some, they herald the excitement of spring produce, amidst the stress of shelling and shucking the fresh beans.  When I found frozen fava beans, I thought I had hit jackpot: someone had done the shelling and shucking for me.

Last year, I made pomegranate-braised cabbage and fava beans but couldn’t get myself around the fava beans. I just didn’t like them.

The beans have been in my freezer since then. Untouched.

However, when I saw Ottolenghi had a recipe for Mixed Beans with Many Spices and Lovage which included fava beans, I decided it was worth checking them out again. Just in case I would like them this time. I also have to keep emptying my freezer. It also called for lovage, a new-to-me herb which my grandmother gifted me from her garden. It looked like a flavourful vegetable curry with an assortment of spring beans. His recipe combined my favourite unshelled beans (snow peas and snap peas) with fava beans smothered in a tomato-cardamom-lovage sauce.

The dish was great. It was my first time using lovage which has that Maggi taste, supposedly similar to celery. The flavours in the tomato sauce were a great spin off of a tomato curry and the beans were nicely cooked. Well, the snap peas and snow peas were nice. The fava beans, well, I still didn’t appreciate.

But then, it dawned on me. There was a creamy bean inside the fava shell.  My frozen beans hadn’t been shelled yet! I then dived back into my dish, scooping out all the fava beans and slipped off their shells.

I tasted. Lovely beans. Now I understood how people could enjoy fava beans… they are just a tad labour-intensive!

Oh, what I do for the most pleasing bean…. ;)

This is my submission to this month‘s Simple and in SeasonCookbooks Sundays and to this week’s Weekend Wellness.

(more…)

Tofu, Tempeh and Squash Peanut Mole

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by Janet M on April 27, 2012

Have you ever been drawn to a particular ingredient or appliance based on a recipe?

I do it all the time. Do you need chaat masala to make the Malai Kofta? Of course not, but I wanted to see what it tasted like with it. I remember my sister-in-law searching out maple sugar just to make Kevin’s Blueberry Maple Pecan Cinnamon Buns. (For the record, I don’t think it was worth it).

I first spotted this Tofu, Tempeh and Squash Peanut Mole a few years ago. Certainly not fat-free with the peanut butter, I knew that if Susan from Fat Free Vegan found it worthwhile sharing, then it must be special. Joanne loved it, too.

Problem: I had no slow cooker. So I stalled on the dish. I had tofu frozen for the longest time until I figured out how to make it sans slow cooker. I also needed to get over my fear of the chipotle chiles in adobo.

Then, I moved and my landlords graciously lent me their slow cooker.

It still took me a nearly a year to finally make it. Getting the boot from our home and leaving the slow cooker, was my impetuous for making this. Rather, highly suggesting Rob make it, as he likes spicy moles and in a slow cooker it couldn’t be any easier, right?

Wrong! The recipe was deceiving. Rob thought this was way too much work with all the blending and grinding prior to using the slow cooker. He ended up forgetting to use the chipotle chiles and the bread (nevermind the bread, it was thick enough).

We both tasted it and thought it was just ok. Not worth repeating. Not worth searching out a slow cooker.

In fact, the majority of the stuff I made in the slow cooker were beans, but I prefer them on the stove top so I can keep my eye on them. The problem with freshly dried beans (ie from Rancho Gordo) is that they can easily be overcooked! Rob’s slow cooker brisket was probably the biggest recipe winner. Our year with the slow cooker has taught us that we definitely do not need a slow cooker.

Perhaps a pressure cooker instead? Quicker beans, please!! ;)

This is my submission to this month’s My Kitchen, My World for Mexico, to Ricki’s Weekend Wellness, and to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes.

(more…)

Bengali Toasted Moong Dal with Spinach (Bhaja Moong Palak)

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by Janet M on March 12, 2012

I have talked about my inherited spice drawer before, but I did not tell you how I am positively smitten by it. It is a bit nonuniform as I haphazardly slotted in new spices in a hodge podge of old bottles, but the easy access to rows and rows of alphabetized spices is positively beguiling in its sheer simplicity. I used to have a rack of test-tubes filled with spices. As you can tell, though, my favourite spices cannot be contained within 12 test tubes. When I move, I need to devise a new spice system. The problem? I don’t know what my next kitchen will look like, or what the next one after that will look like… I need something practical, functional and most importantly: adaptable. The Kitchn has some great ideas but nothing that wows me. This one is really cute, but I want something that is both light-proof, air-tight and portable between kitchens. For now, I am thinking of finding similar white-top glass bottles (from Bulk Barn or Solutions) and storing them in a lightproof box.  Do you have a tried-and-true system?

Rob has suggested downsizing my cookbook collection before our move to the US. I suggested 20 cookbooks. He thought I could do better. I have over a year to figure things out or negotiate with him. hehehe.

Thank goodness he hasn’t capped my spices. I have over 50 spices, for sure. Cooking relies on fresh herbs and spices and it is much easier to move a box of spices instead of plants.

I am constantly amazed how a simple change in spices can lead to a completely different meal. In this case, I was curious about using 2 seemingly polar spices together in a savoury dal: cloves and fennel. Who knew that they would work so well together?

The Bengalis, that’s who!

This Toasted Moong Dal with Spinach is a Bengali curry adapted from 660 Curries. Not only is the strong fennel and cloves special to Bengali cuisine, but the lentils (moong dal) are toasted which firms them up. They do not disintegrate like red lentils. Rather, the toasting enhances their nuttiness allows them to keep their shape. This is known as a bhaja. Feel free to substitute your favourite green for the spinach.

Back to the spice issue at hand – what is your favourite way of storing your spices?


This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Ancutza, to this week’s Wellness Weekend and to This Week’s Cravings (Green).

(more…)

Iraqi-Inspired Eggplant and Seitan Stew

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by Janet M on October 26, 2011

Returning from vacation the day before you return to work is not a good idea. Jet-lag was one reason it took me so long to get back into the groove after returning from Iceland.

Thankfully, I was forward-thinking and froze a bunch of meals before we left. I had dal bhat waiting for me upon my return as well as this delicious Iraqi-Inspired Eggplant and Seitan Stew from Susan at Fat Free Vegan.

Just like dal bhat, this was a savoury, comforting stew. Filled with warming spices like nutmeg, smoked paprika, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin and cardamom, you have a winning combination with silky yellow split peas and chunks of seitan in a pomegranate-infused sauce. I modified it only slightly by using liquid smoke and substituting Aleppo chili flakes for the larger chilies.

I have made seitan, or wheat meat, once before as chorizo sausages. This recipe is neat because you make a batch of seitan specifically for this recipe. The results are chewy nuggets admixed within the cooked eggplant and split peas. A nice play of textures with a definite protein boost.

This was a delicious stew to return home to, especially since it was so cold upon our return. Curl up with a bowl of stew any day you need some a virtual warm hug from a bowl.


This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to E.A.T. World for Iraq and to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend.

(more…)

Dal Bhat (Nepalese Mountain Lentil Curry)

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by Janet M on August 29, 2011


My friend will be hiking up to the Mount Everest base camp in a few weeks. Last month, Rob and I joined her for a morning weekend hike starting at Hilton Falls. Rob picked out a nice trail. Just a short 8km hike, he told us. It will probably take 2 hours.

I love hiking, but let’s just say that I was woefully unprepared for this hike.

Never go unprepared, let’s just put it at that…

However, this wasn’t an 8km 2 hour hike.

It turned out to be a rocky 13km hike that took 4.5 hours!

I was hungry. And thirsty. And sore.. and tired, because I hadn’t slept well the night before, and by the end, cranky beyond belief. And positively pooped when we finished.  Good thing I am not hiking up Mount Everest just yet! Although hopefully I am ready for my upcoming hikes in Iceland {happy dance!}

Regardless, the scenery was nice, the route challenging and more importantly, we were able to chat about my friend’s impending trip.

Of course, we also talked about food. She’ll be eating a lot of dal bhat, which is Nepal’s traditional dish with lentils and rice.  She has yet to take us up on our offer to preview Nepalese cuisine, but after remembering what a nice, soothing dish it was, I asked Rob to make it when I was feeling unwell.


Rob did a double-take as well. Me? Asking for a curry when feeling sick? I wanted something soothing, comforting and porridge-like, akin to my quinoa and red lentil kitchari. I wanted something on the blander side but still with some flavour. Curries do not have to have lots of pepper (especially if you make them yourself), which is why dal bhat definitely hit the spot, and kicking off my week of beginner curries. Curries for people who don’t like curry.

This recipe was adapted from Mangoes and Curry Leaves, where we swapped in red lentils, decreased the water and fiddled with the chili peppers. Otherwise, the warming spices including coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom create a soothing palate. Quick cooking red lentils make this a nice meal that can easily be added to your meal rotation. Or if you are hiking up Mount Everest, a delicious meal to sustain you up the mountainous climb. As with all curries, the leftovers are even more wonderful as the flavours meld further and thicken up with the rice.


This is my submission to E.A.T. World for Nepal, to this week’s Potluck Party for Best Dish and to Ricki’s Summer Wellness Weekends.

(more…)

11-Spice Lentil Salad with Capers and Currants

Posted in Favourites, Salads by Janet M on August 8, 2011

What will it take to get you to make a recipe?

For me, I doddle between what I have already in my fridge, to what is on sale  at the grocery store, to really wanting to make a specific dish. I waver between recipes with a lot of positive reviews, or from my favourite cookbooks and blogs, to more unique recipes with my favourite ingredients. But mostly, it is dictated by what needs to be used up in the fridge. This is why I have a hard time making recipes that are purely from pantry staples (except after returning from vacation and being welcomed by an empty fridge).

I bookmarked The Best Lentil Salad, Ever at My New Roots last year. With a name like that, from a blog that I admire, how could I not want to make it? I adore lentils, especially French du Puy lentils in salads. Then Sarah posted it a second time this spring for her stint at Martha Stewart, and her friend commented:

This salad was the reason that I became friends with Sarah way back in Nutrition School. It is so delicious and easy to make. Don’t get intimidated by the amount of ingredients. This one is a keeper (just like Sarah!)

How cute is that?

Suffice it to say, it has been on my to-do list for a while and I was just waiting for the right opportunity.

It still took me a few months to break it out, but I made it for a recent potluck I hosted. Not that my fridge was bare, but the gathering came together a bit faster than my grocery shopping allowed. Perfect timing. Experimentation with friends.

I had witnesses. We unanimously agreed this was a wonderful lentil salad! Sweet, savoury, and salty, deep and complex, warming yet refreshing… and quite addictive! I stuck with the base of the recipe, tinkering only minorly with the spices (decreased the pepper and chili flakes), and thought the capers and currants were fabulous. The ingredient list is long, with 11 different spices, but they really blend harmoniously. To be honest, I was a bit worried when I first tasted the salad, but it was much better after an overnight marinade. If you can find the French du Puy lentils, they are incredible in stand alone lentil salads such as this. But if you cannot find the French variety, do not let that impede you from making the salad – green lentils would work, too. Furthermore, in case this becomes a staple recipe in your kitchen, feel free to experiment with your favourite dried fruit, vegetables, sprouts, nuts and seeds. Personally, I loved it as is, without too much distraction, and loved editions included some chopped apple and mixed greens too.

The Best Lentil Salad, Ever. For Sure. Make. This. Now.

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month‘s Bookmarked Recipes, and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Preeti.

(more…)

Sweet and Sour Lentils with Carrot and Bell Pepper over Arugula

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by Janet M on April 15, 2011


If last year was the year of Aleppo chili flakes, pomegranate molasses and bulgur, I already know what 2011 will be: year of the beans (and pea shoots!). Yes, I will be full (of beans) this year.

Chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans, lentils (of many colourful varieties), cranberry/Borlotti beans, lima beans, adzuki beans and edamame. If my recent trip to Kalustyan’s is any indication, I will also begin cooking with Anasazi beans, Appaloosa beans, Calypso beans, Christmas Lima beans, Jackson Wonder beans, Jumbo Lupini, Macedonian Tetovac, Rattlesnake beans, Scarlet Runner beans, Spanish Tolosana (Prince beans), Tepari beans, and my favourite (purely by name at this point) Tongues of Fire beans!

Just as Aleppo chili flakes revolutionized my cooking, cooking dry beans from scratch has also been eye-opening. They taste better. They have a better texture. You can flavour them as they cook, or leave them as a blank canvas. They are healthier. They are cheaper. And I bet you, Tongues of Fire beans cannot be found canned. (Aside, any clue where to buy dried heirloom beans in Toronto/Canada? I am envious of Americans and their Rancho Gordo heirloom bean supply)

Canned beans are definitely more convenient, and I do not poo-poo the canned variety in the slightest; canned beans are better than no beans at all. I even have canned beans stashed away for my emergency bean needs. ;)

For the less bean-savvy, lentils are great because they cook up quickly. They don’t require any pre-soaking, so everything can come together once the beans are finished cooking in 20-30 minutes.

I went with an orange theme for these sweet-and-sour lentils. Adapted from Mama’s Minutia, who in turn, adapted it from the More-with-Less Cookbook, these lentils have a sweet tang with a sour acidity.  For my veggies, I pulled out the orange in my fridge: carrots and an orange bell pepper. It tasted good with a pinch of cloves, but then I added a heavy dusting of Vietnamese cinnamon, and this was sublime. Paired with arugula for a touch of greenery and its peppery bite, this was a great meal. Full of beans, yet again. :)


This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Anh from A Food Lover’s Journey.

(more…)

Vegetarian Bulgur Chili (aka Moosewood’s Chili Fest Chili, adapted)

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by Janet M on January 26, 2011

One of my friends has a sulphite allergy. In short, she could have an anaphylaxis reaction (ie, really bad difficulties breathing) if she consumes sulphites. Sulphites are a commonly used preservative and found in a whole host of foods (processed food, beer, wine, dried fruit, etc). Canada is very good at making food producers label their products with any sulphites used, so I always check labels when I know my friend will be over.

In reality, though, I don’t make many things from processed foods, so I should be ok, right? Well, as it turns out, I have been cooking with a few sulphite-laden ingredients – vegetable broth (not homemade), coconut milk and even dried fruit were among the many culprits I have found in my recent dishes.

So when we needed an emergency girls night in, and when it was -28C outside (with the wind), I scoured for recipes I could make without venturing to the grocery store AND that had no sulphites AND that would taste best the next day as leftovers (since I wasn’t going to cook after work). A pretty onerous task, if I may say so myself!

I narrowed my choices to two options: The New Spanish Table‘s Lentil and Pumpkin Stew with Roasted Garlic OR the Chili Fest Chili from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. The chili was rife with savoury flavours like cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, paprika and oregano. Oh, and molasses! Considering it was so cold outside, the chili won out instantly.

I modified the original recipe by increasing the onions, red bell peppers and carrots while omitting the celery. I used the sweet paprika and Aleppo chili flakes for the heat (and omitted the chipotles in adobo sauce). I mixed up the bean variety by using both red kidney beans and black beans. But, the best addition, the secret ingredient, was bulgur! (I realize that my title gave it away….)

The result was a hearty chili with the mix of savoury flavours. Not my favourite chili, as something was a bit off and I prefer my chili with a bit more robust tomato flavour. Next time I might add some tomato paste. The bulgur, though, was excellent and a healthy way to get the mouth-feel of ground meat, without any meat at all. Other grains – millet, spelt, etc – could also be used. TVP is also an option. In any case, this is a nice way to warm up during the winter. Pair it with a leafy salad, some crusty bread, or just eat the chili plain. The original recipe called for a yogurt-cilantro topping to help with the heat. Personally, mine wasn’t a spicy chili but that’s because I didn’t put in the chipotle peppers!

I will have to find some more red peppers to make that lentil and squash stew, though… :)


This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging hosted byAstrid from Paulchens FoodBlog.

(more…)