Tag Archives: garlic

Vegan Thanksgiving Eats: Pumpkin and Cranberry Baked Beans

10 Oct

For the first time in 4 years, I’m not away at a conference over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Huzzah! I should have spent the weekend preparing for said conference (which is in a few weeks) but instead decided I would roast a turkey for a motley crew of friends and family.


My sister is vegetarian, so she offered to bring a dish that she likes to make on holidays where turkey is served: pumpkin baked beans. As a turkey lover who was vegetarian for a few short months, I can attest to the fact that they’re super satisfying and almost won’t make you miss meat. They’re sweet yet savoury, loaded with fibre and protein, and the flavours scream autumn. Prep is a cinch, and they can easily be made in advance. Everyone enjoyed them, so much so that J’s plan for a week’s worth of leftovers was thwarted.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Pumpkin and Cranberry Baked Beans
(from OhSheGlows.com)

You may be able to get away with reducing the maple sugar in half and cutting down on the salt for a slightly less sweet/more healthy version. If you’re using canned beans with salt added, you will definitely want to cut down on the added salt.

3 (15-oz) cans navy beans, drained and rinsed (preferably no-salt-added)
1 sweet onion, chopped finely
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp blackstrap molasses (use fancy molasses if you don’t want to buy blackstrap)
4 tbsp pure maple syrup, to taste
1-1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste

  1. In a pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cook over low heat until thick, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately, or for J’s variation: place in a slow cooker on high heat for 2 to 3 hours. The cranberries will plump up really nicely and the flavours will develop a little bit more. You can also make this the night before and leave it in the fridge, then reheat before serving.

Makes 6 generous servings. Per serving: 305 kcal, 2.6 g fat (0.3 g saturated), 60 g carbohydrate, 12.6 g fibre, 11.5 g protein, 490 mg sodium

Healthy Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip

30 Apr

Canada’s Food Guide recommends that we eat 7 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. For many people, getting in enough fruit is no problem. Sweet and portable, it makes an easy snack. Vegetables, on the other hand, tend to be harder to squeeze in. That’s where an easy, yet tasty and healthy dip comes in handy.


When I don’t have the energy to plan out my lunches for the week, I tend to throw together a picnic of sorts. This usually consists of an easy protein like hard boiled eggs or canned tuna, whole grain bread or crackers, and two to three cups of chopped veggies with dip to meet my daily quota. But it’s hard to find a truly healthy vegetable dip. Most are mayo or sour cream-based, and loaded with fat and calories. So I turned to the Internet in search of a tasty yet healthy make-at-home option.

I was initially drawn to this ranch seasoning recipe because of the blogger’s stunning photos (which I poorly tried to recreate at home). But once I tried it out, it became clear that this recipe is a winner. Buttermilk powder forms the base (found at bulk food stores) and is pumped up with onion and garlic powder, and dried herbs like parsley, dill, and chives. As a bonus, the seasoning mix can be made in bulk and stored in the fridge to be used whenever you need a quick and easy dip.



Low-fat Greek yogurt is the perfect foundation for any vegetable dip. It’s thick and creamy, yet low calories and high in protein. For the best flavour, I’ve found that adding a dollop of light mayo adds just the right amount of tang for a next-level vegetable dip. Low-fat sour cream can also act as a healthier dip base, but lacks the nutritional boost that Greek yogurt offers.

If you’re not meeting your recommended daily vegetable quota, try throwing together a batch of this skinny ranch dip. It will make raw veggies sing!


Healthy Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip

2 tbsp homemade ranch seasoning mix (see below)
1 cup 2% plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp light mayonnaise

  1. Mix ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Can be served immediately or left overnight for flavours to meld.

Makes 1-1/4 cups. Per 1/4 cup serving: 91 kcal, 3.3 g fat (1.4 g saturated), 7 g carbohydrate, 0.5 g fibre, 8 g protein, 106 mg sodium


Homemade Ranch Seasoning Mix (from www.gimmesomeoven.com)
1/3 cup dried buttermilk powder
2 tbsp dried parsley
1-1/2 tsp dried dill weed
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried chives
1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 months.

100-Mile Meal: Mediterranean-Inspired Fish

18 Sep

My local food box has been good to me this year.  Each week there seems to be a few standard items (salad greens, kale or swiss chard, onions) along with a handful of more exotic ingredients (a basil plant, coronation grapes, candy cane beets).  Having a fridge full of veggies that I otherwise wouldn’t purchase without a recipe in mind is a refreshing change from the norm.  It forces me to step outside of my comfort zone and get a little bit creative in the kitchen.



Dinner last Thursday was inspired by my most recent food box.  We received a few plum tomatoes that were starting to bruise (read: needed to be used ASAP) and my basil plant from last month had been staring at me longingly all week.  The Italian classic ‘Bruschetta’ immediately came to mind.  If it works on bread, certainly a mild fish will act as a good canvas, right?


The bruschetta-topping was delicate and mild enough in flavour to not overpower the fish.  Best of all, it was EASY as pie (by the way, who came up with that saying? Martha Stewart? Unless you’re Martha, pie is not easy to make).  So simple that I wrote a Haiku poem about it:

Loads of Tomatoes,
Garlic, Olive Oil, Basil.
Plop on fish and bake.

Okay, so poetry is not my strong suite.  This Mediterranean-inspired fish was paired with Ontario-grown patty pan squash sauteed with an Ontario red onion (both from my food box).  The rice and fish weren’t local, but Shh– nobody needs to know!


Bruschetta-Topped Fish
(a Lisa original)

400 g white fish (e.g. basa or tilapia)
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of basil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Place fish on a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Top with tomato mixture and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until fish flakes and is opaque throughout.  Top with remaining 1 tablespoon basil before serving.

Makes 4 servings.  Per serving: 140 kcal, 5.2 g fat, 20 g protein.

Eat Your (Collard) Greens!

7 Sep

Say the name ‘collard greens’ and I immediately think of Southern cooking. Since I’ve never purchased or cooked them before, it was a pleasant surprise to receive a bunch in my first basket from Fresh City Farms last week  (I’ll take photos of next week’s glorious basket, promise).

“Eat Greens for Health – Feed Right to Feel Right”
British poster, 1939-45
…a postcard given to me by a good friend

My initial fear was that the collard greens would be overly pungent, regardless of how they were cooked.  Thankfully I was wrong!  In this recipe, the combination of sauteed garlic and shallots subdued the natural bitterness of  the collard greens.  They were full of flavour with only the faintest bitter undertone, which actually enhanced the dish.

To accompany the braised greens, we took a walk on the wild side with an apple and fennel stuffed pork tenderloin that was artfully prepared by E.  Stay tuned for a guest post from him, entirely unedited.  Okay… maybe only slightly edited.

Braised collard greens + a sprinkling of turkey bacon


Braised Collard Greens with Garlic and Shallots
(from The New American Plate Cookbook)

Note: the turkey bacon was a good, but not great, addition.  Feel free to omit it.

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
3 medium shallots, minced (about 1/3 cup)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch (about 1 pound) collard greens, stems removed, leaves washed, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fat-free reduced sodium chicken (or vegetable) broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 strip turkey bacon, cut in half lengthwise, then across into 1/4-inch strips

  1. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots and saute for 1 minute.  Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in the greens, add the broth, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover the reduce the heat to low.  Cook for 10 minutes, until the greens are bright in colour and tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook the turkey bacon in the remaining 1 tsp of oil until crispy and golden, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  When the greens are done, stir in the turkey bacon and its pan drippings.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.  Per serving: 110 kcal, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 13 g carbohydrate, 3 g fibre, 5 g protein, 129 mg sodium.

Roasted Garlic Beer Bread

22 Nov

It’s funny how our taste buds change over time.  Like most little kids, I remember how disgusted I was after my first sip of beer.  How does Dad even drink that?!, I thought to myself.  The taste was appalling, even in pancakes.  No matter how much maple syrup I used, nothing could mask the awful taste of beer in beer batter pancakes.

Thankfully, many years later I have come to appreciate the slightly bitter yet incredibly refreshing taste of beer.  I’m certainly no connoisseur– very hoppy or dark brews still make me cringe a bit but over time I hope to train my palate to enjoy them.  For now, I will stick to my lagers and wheat beers.

Now onto food.  No longer ten years old, I can now appreciate the depth of flavour that beer lends to the food with which it’s cooked.  I came across an article on the health benefits of beer (yes, there are some) about a year ago and clipped the accompanying recipes because they looked so interesting.  This one, a roasted garlic beer bread with rosemary, was not nearly as labour-intensive as a yeast bread but did require a significant amount of time for roasting the garlic and then baking the bread.  On the bright side, there is very little hands-on time so you can keep yourself occupied while the oven is doing its thing.

Garlic: Before


The beer taste was subtle, as was the sweetness of the roasted garlic.  The fresh rosemary was definitely the dominant flavour in this bread, in a good way.  Texture-wise, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this bread.  It was dense and slightly crumbly, more closely resembling cornbread than yeast bread.  Pair this bread with a hearty vegetable stew for a delicious meal to combat the cold weather.

Roasted Garlic Beer Bread... with local beer!


Roasted Garlic Beer Bread  (from Women’s Health Magazine)

2 whole garlic bulbs
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 tsp salt
1- 1/2 cups lager or pilsner beer

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove the papery covering of the garlic and slice off the tops. Wrap heads in foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until garlic is very soft. Let cool.
  2. Grease a 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan. In a small bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl, squeeze out the soft garlic pulp and mix sugar, olive oil, and rosemary.  Add flour to garlic mixture and stir to combine.
  3. Add beer to flour/garlic mixture and stir until just combined (don’t overmix). Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before unmolding and slicing.

Makes 10 servings.  Per serving: 190 kcal, 3.5 g fat, 3 g fibre, 340 mg sodium