Tag Archives: sweet potato

Spiced Cabbage Soup with Lentils and Sweet Potato

7 Jan

Happy New Year! I’m not the greatest at making (or keeping) New Years resolutions, but most years I have vague aspirations to engage in some sort of healthier behaviour. This year, I’m motivated to do more batch cooking so that I’m not left scrambling to buy my lunch or pull together a last minute dinner after a busy day.

Thanks to having an extra-long weekend with not just one but TWO days to recover from New Year’s Eve, I was able to kick-start my pseudo-resolution with a simple yet flavourful cabbage soup from the new Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook. The cookbook was a Christmas present stolen from me (then lent to me) by my oh-so-generous brother, so I plan to churn out as many dishes from it as I possibly can before he asks for it back.

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If you’re groaning at the thought of another watery, bland cabbage soup, take note: this one’s anything but. It has lentils for added protein and fibre, sweet potato (because every soup can use a little sweet potato), and a 9-spice mix containing both sweet and smoked paprika. It’s simple to prepare but full of flavour. And perfect for the horribly cold weather that we’ve been hit with this week. For an easy make-ahead lunch, pair it with whole grain bread or crackers.

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Metabolism-Revving Spicy Cabbage Soup
(from Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook)

4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons 9-Spice Mix, or more to taste (recipe below)
1 pound (1/4 large head) green cabbage, cored and finely shredded (about 5 cups)
14-oz (398mL) can diced tomatoes, with juices
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup uncooked red lentils
1 sweet potato, chopped into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 5-6 minutes, until the onion is softened. Stir in 2 tablespoons 9-Spice Mix and cook for a minute or so, until fragrant.
  2. Add the cabbage and diced tomatoes with their juices. Simmer over medium to high heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, red lentils, and sweet potato. Stir. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils and sweet potato are tender.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste, or add more 9-Spice Mix. Serve with a dollop of Cashew Sour Cream, if using (for a non-vegan option, use plain yogurt or sour cream). The soup keeps in the fridge for a week, and freezes well for 1-2 months.

Makes 4 large servings. Per serving: 278 kcal, 5 g fat, 47 g carbohydrate, 14 g fibre, 11 g protein, 596 mg sodium

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9-Spice Mix (makes approximately 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

The Truth About Carbs (feat. an epic Chickpea Bulgur Salad)

26 Sep

In some circles, carbs have a really bad rap. I can’t count the number of times someone has told me they’ve cut out “all carbs” from their diet for weight loss (only to then learn that they’re still eating fruit, vegetables and dairy. NEWS ALERT: those foods contain carbs, too).

Let’s investigate some of the arguments against carbs that I’ve heard.

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“Carbs will make me gain weight” or “I lost 10 pounds in one week when I cut starch from my diet.” Sorry honey, that weight you lost was all water. Study after study has shown that weight loss is equivalent in subjects following a low-fat diet vs. a low carb-diet vs. a high protein diet, assuming the same number of calories are consumed. Carbohydrate contains 4 calories per gram, which is the same as protein and significantly less than fat which clocks in at 9 calories per gram. A balance of all three makes up a healthy diet— more precisely, 10-35% of your calories should come from protein, 20-35% from fat, and 45-65% of your total caloric intake should come from carbohydrate. A major imbalance in these ratios can increase your risk of chronic disease and negatively impact micronutrient status.

“Eating carbs will give me diabetes.” This is probably the #1 diabetes myth. When carbohydrate is consumed, it’s naturally broken down by the body into a type of sugar called glucose. Insulin is then released so that your body can use glucose as a source of energy. Diabetes happens when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or is unable to use insulin properly. Major risk factors for diabetes are genetic predisposition, older age, being overweight, and inactivity. If you don’t have risk factors for diabetes, your pancreas will be able to handle a significant glucose load without any problem. On the other hand, eating too many calories from carbs can cause weight gain which puts you at risk for developing diabetes. But that’s a completely different story.

Grains have toxins that bind good nutrients in other foods, making them unabsorbable.” Every Paleo fanatic will tell you this, but they fail to disclose all relevant details. Grains are rich in many nutrients: B vitamins like niacin and thiamin, magnesium, manganese, and selenium. Grains also contain phytates, which can bind some minerals (particularly iron and zinc), making them unavailable for absorption. Paleo subscribers state that humans who eat grains are at risk of nutrient deficiencies because of the “anti-nutrient” phytate. What they fail to disclose is that heme iron absorption (the kind we get from meat) is not affected by phytate, and zinc is well-absorbed from meat even in the presence of phytates. So if you eat meat, you don’t need to worry about phytates impacting your micronutrient status. Paleo dieters also fail to tell you that phytate has health benefits: it acts as an antioxidant and may protect against kidney stones and decrease cancer risk.

Lectin is another “anti-nutrient” that Paleo followers caution against. I won’t get into the details here, but this article summarizes the evidence nicely:  https://authoritynutrition.com/dietary-lectins/

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In my opinion, the most valid argument against carbohydrates is that they’re easy to overeat. And this can lead to weight gain. A standard 1/2 cup serving of pasta or rice seems measly on your plate, so many people end up doling out portions more consistent with what they’ve become accustomed to at their favourite restaurants. Stick to reasonable portions and carbs become part of a healthy diet.

The benefits of carbohydrates extend beyond their nutritional profile. A low-carb diet can be taxing on the environment if calories from carbs are replaced with animal protein. And carbohydrate ingestion leads to the production of serotonin which is a feel-good neurotransmitter that gives us pleasure. If you’ve spent any length of time with a no-carb dieter, you will know that they can become irritable and cranky at the drop of a hat. No fun.

In honour of today’s carb-loving rant, I present you with a salad that is full of healthy carbs: bulgur, sweet potato, chickpeas, and pomegranate.  My sister made this salad for our parents’ retirement party in the spring and it was a hit. Salty feta cheese is balanced nicely with refreshing mint and sweet, juicy pomegranate (which adds incredible texture to any dish). You really can’t go wrong with these flavours.

It’s carberific.

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Happy Retirement Mom and Dad!

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Chickpea Bulgur Salad with Mint, Pomegranate, and Feta
(adapted from an original recipe created by J’s friend SF)

If you’ve never de-seeded a pomegranate, it’s easier than it seems! This video shows you how to do it like a pro: http://bit.ly/2cxE35T

¾ cup uncooked bulgur
1½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large sweet potato, chopped into bite-sized cubes
1 pomegranate, de-seeded
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup chopped mint (or to taste)
Juice from 1/2 lemon (approx. 2 tbsp)
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/8 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Additional salt, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. On a baking sheet, toss chopped sweet potato with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/8 tsp salt. Bake until soft (approximately 30 minutes), stirring once partway through.
  2. Combine bulgur and vegetable stock in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cover until all liquid is absorbed (approximately 20 minutes).
  3. Once cooked, let the bulgur and sweet potato cool to room temperature in a bowl.
  4. Add chickpeas, pomegranate seeds, green onions, feta and mint to the bowl of cooled bulgur and sweet potato.
  5. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add dressing to salad. Season with pepper (and salt, if needed) to taste.
  6. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. This salad tastes best if made a few hours (or the night) before.  Use as a side, or over a bed of spinach as a meal.

Makes 8 servings. Per 1 cup serving: 225 kcal, 7.1 g fat (2.1 g saturated), 34 g carbohydrate, 6 g fibre, 6.8 g protein, 265 mg sodium

Spiced Sweet Potato Salad with Pecans and Raisins

14 Sep

What happened to August?  It disappeared in the blink of an eye, leaving little time for blog posts (among other things).  Cora didn’t help the matter when she decided to chew not one, not two, but THREE power cords in the course of a week.  That left both myself and E without power to our trusty laptops, meaning no blog posts and certainly no after-hours work.  Probably part of her ploy to steal us away from our screens for more play-time.  Thankfully she’s lost most of her baby teeth so the biting seems to be winding down.  I think.

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Last month I had two dear friends over for a weeknight dinner before one moved out of the city to return to school in BC.  I needed something that could be prepared in advance since prep time is minimal after a day of work.  Overnight-marinated chicken that goes straight from fridge to oven? Yes.  A quick green salad made the day-of? Easy enough. But I was stumped on the starch. Quinoa salad was the first idea that popped into my mind except I had cooked my go-to recipe the last time these girls were over.  Too much of a good thing is not a great thing.  Then I remembered a wonderful sweet potato recipe given to me by a friend.  It’s both sweet and savory, and can be served hot or cold.

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The beauty in this dish is that it can be easily adjusted based on what you have in your pantry.  Each time I’ve omitted slightly different ingredients,  yet the final product comes out tasting similar to the original.  One exception to this rule is the sherry vinegar.  It has a unique taste so finding a substitute can be challenging. I caved by purchasing a bottle, but some sources say either cider vinegar or rice vinegar can be used if you’re in a bind.

Even though I served this dish in the summer, the ingredients scream AUTUMN: cinnamon, raisins, pecans, ginger, orange, and sweet potatoes.  Perfect for the cooler weather that’s just around the corner!

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Raisins
(Original source unknown)

You can double the dressing if you want stronger flavours.  This recipe can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold.

4 medium sweet potatoes (~500 g total), unpeeled and chopped into 2 cm cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tablespoons pecans, chopped
4 green onions, roughly chopped
¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Dressing:
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spread the chopped sweet potato out on a baking tray and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, mix well with your hands, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until just tender. Gently turn them over halfway through cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, toast pecans in a skillet over medium heat until aromatic and lightly browned.
  3. Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.
  4. When the potatoes are ready, transfer them to a large bowl while still hot. Add the green onion, cilantro (if using), chili flakes, pecans, and raisins. Pour the dressing over the potato mixture and toss gently to blend, then season to taste.  Can be served hot, at room temperature, or refrigerated overnight and served cold.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 170 kcal, 3 g fibre, 10 g fat.

Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins – Healthful or Harmful?

15 Mar

Muffins can be deceiving little things. How can something that sounds so nutritious be so horribly unhealthy? Exhibit A: a Tim Horton’s Raisin Bran muffin contains 410 calories, 13 grams of fat, and a whopping 40 grams of sugar—that’s 8 teaspoons to be exact.  To put things into perspective for you non-Canadians, a Starbucks Zucchini Walnut muffin contains 490 calories and 28 grams of fat. Hardly a snack! And not a very healthy breakfast, either.

The Toronto Star’s “The Dish” column recently analyzed an organic, vegan, sweet potato and date muffin from a local restaurant.  Sounds semi-healthy, right?  Far surpassing both Timmy’s and Starbucks, the muffin contains 986 calories and 38 grams of fat. My jaw fell to the floor. How is that even possible?!

Sarah, my friend who sent me “The Dish” article, passed along a similar muffin recipe but with a fraction of the calories and fat.  Being in a baking mood last weekend, I set aside a bit of time to make my first ever sweet potato muffin.  Naturally, a few small substitutions were made: I replaced the all-purpose flour with whole wheat and reduced the sugar a touch.  The muffin was yearning for pecans or raisins for texture but sadly my pantry was devoid of these staple ingredients.  Au natural, they still tasted pretty darn good.  Not a super sweet muffin, but not a bland one either.

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Tip: to reduce the number of dirty dishes you end up with, cook the sweet potato in the microwave.  Dampen a paper towel with water and wrap around a sweet potato that has been poked generously with a fork.  Microwave for 7-10 minutes. Remove from microwave and allow to cool slightly. Peel off the skin (which makes a delicious snack) then mash the flesh.

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As per Martha: “Preheating the oven at a higher temperature, then lowering the heat when the muffins go in, gives the batter an initial blast of hot air that helps form that beautiful domed top.” It’s true. The muffins had a gorgeous top that I rarely see with my usual muffin recipes.

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Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins
(from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Blog)

Note: these muffins are best if eaten within 3 days.  Any longer and the tops will turn soggy.  Freeze half of the batch if you’re a small household!

1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose whole wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners; lightly coat liners with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together sweet potato, buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and fold until just combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly among cups. Reduce heat to 375°. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. (Store in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.)

Makes 12 muffins.  Per muffin (following the original recipe): 168 kcal, 5 g fat (1 g sat fat), 4 g protein, 28 g carb, 1 g fiber

‘Souper’ Easy, Hearty and Healthy Lentil Soup

7 Jan

Celery, carrots, and onion are a trio commonly known as a ‘mirepoix.’ During the winter, I like to make sure my kitchen is always stocked with these three staple ingredients which together form the basis for a wide variety of soups and stews. You’d be surprised how long celery and carrots will last in the fridge. If they start to wilt, store them in a bowl of cold water and watch them spring back to life. It’s like magic!

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We’re one week into 2013 and so far I’ve managed to keep my New Year’s resolution. I cooked one of my favourite hearty soups yesterday afternoon, a soup that my Mom first made during my university years. It brings back fond memories; years of dismal cooking spotted with frozen homemade meals that I would always save for when I was craving a taste of home.

This isn’t your ordinary lentil soup. Sweet potato chunks are little gems of bliss (I’ve been known to pick out all of the pieces from the pot!) and contrast nicely with the robust cumin, coriander, and oregano. It’s thick, hearty, and an easy one-dish meal.  Bonus: it makes a LARGE pot, so you’ll have plenty of leftovers plus several portions that can be frozen.

Now I get to sit back and relax because lunch for the week is made!

Fundalentilly delicious!

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Fundalentil Soup
(from Crazy Plates)

Feel free to substitute the can of tomato soup for a can of tomato paste + a bit of sugar or honey for just the right amount of sweetness.  Add the water or broth last.  My soup pot is not quite large enough to hold all of the ingredients so I often use a fraction of the fluid at first, then add the rest once I’ve eaten a bowl or two.

1 tsp olive oil
1-1/2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
7 cups low-fat chicken or vegetable broth, preferably low-sodium
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained (preferably no-salt-added)
1 can (10-3/4 oz) reduced-fat tomato soup, undiluted
2 cups dried brown or green lentils
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups peeled, diced sweet potatoes (I left the skin on this time)
2 tsp dried oregano
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp each ground coriander and salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups packed, chopped, fresh spinach (I like to use an entire 227 g bag of spinach)

  1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and garlic. Cook and stir for 3 or 4 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients, except spinach. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add spinach and simmer for 15 more minutes.  Serve hot.

Makes 12 servings.  Per serving: 198 calories, 2 g fat (0.1 g saturated), 12 g protein, 35 g carbohydrate, 12 g fibre, 355 mg sodium.

A Hearty Moroccan Stew to Satisfy your New Year’s Resolutions

1 Jan

Happy 2013!  Do you have a resolution for the New Year?  The surplus of Weight Watchers commercials on TV yesterday served as a reminder that weight loss is one of the most common goals set by individuals at the start of a new year.  According to a recent study, 38% of resolutions are weight-related.  Unfortunately, only 8% of all people are successful in achieving their resolutions—and this number is not limited to those who strive for weight loss.

Soups and stews are the perfect vehicle for New Year’s resolutions that revolve around any of the following:  to lose weight, to eat more vegetables, to cook more often, and the list goes on.

The liquid in soups make them filling, meaning less room in your stomach for more calorie dense foods.  Research has shown that when individuals consume a low-energy soup before a meal (e.g. broth-based vegetable soup), they eat 20% fewer total calories at that sitting.  This can translate to weight loss of half a pound every two weeks if soup is eaten before a single meal each day.  Soups are also an easy way to meet your vegetable quota for the day: coarsely chop what you have in the fridge and throw into a pot. The more colourful, the better.  Canada’s Food Guide recommends that most adults eat a minimum of 7 servings of fruit and vegetables per day (preferably more vegetables than fruits).  One serving is ½ cup cooked vegetables. Finally, soups are easy. Even the least skilled home cook can ‘wing it’ and end up with a tasty meal. Bonus: no fancy knife skills needed.

Up until now, I didn’t plan on making a resolution.  But as I sit here and write, I’ve decided that my resolution will be to cook more soups and stews. Partly because I haven’t been cooking as often as I’d like to and partly because I find them warm and comforting, particularly as we enter the depths of the cold winter months.  Since any goal must be SMART to be successful, my goal will be to cook a large soup or stew with a variety of vegetables and at least one good source of protein once a week (ideally Sunday) for the next 6 weeks. As a bonus, this will provide me with ample inspiration for upcoming blog posts.

The recipe below is for a hearty, one-pot Moroccan stew that I made over the holidays for a ‘chili/stew cook-off’ between several families.  Chickpeas, sweet potato, peanut butter, and earthy spices (cumin, coriander, curry powder) are truly a match made in heaven!  I tend to use generous amounts of onion, pepper, and celery to boost the veggie content.  Next time I’d like to try substituting squash for the sweet potato.  Or adding several handfuls of spinach or kale.  The possibilities are endless…

Soup’s on!

Moroccan Stew sans cilantro thanks to my sister J

Moroccan Stew (sans cilantro, thanks to my sister J)

 

Rockin’ Moroccan Stew
(from The Looneyspoons Collection)

2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup each diced celery and chopped green bell pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp grated ginger root
1 tsp each ground cumin, curry powder, ground coriander and chili powder
3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
3 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup raisins
2 Tbsp each light peanut butter and minced fresh cilantro

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, green pepper and garlic. Cook and stir until the vegetables begin to soften, about three minutes. Add ginger root, cumin, curry powder, coriander and chili powder. Cook for 30 more seconds.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the raisins, peanut butter and cilantro. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in raisins, peanut butter and cilantro. Mix well. Simmer for five more minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.  Per serving: 253 calories, 5.3 g fat, (0.8 g saturated fat), 8 g protein, 44 g carbohydrate, 6.9 g fiber, 355 mg sodium.

Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Red Lentil Soup with Ginger

27 Oct

With the weather now getting chillier, I’ve been craving soup.  More specifically, a hearty split pea soup.  I decided to pick up a package of green split peas on my way home from work yesterday so that I could whip up a soup for dinner.  First stop: Metro.  No green split peas in sight.  Afer perusing the price tags on the shelf, I realized that this particular Metro does not even SELL green split peas.  Geez.  I then swung by the Sobey’s upstairs that just opened last week.  Green split peas  = Sold out.  Oh the joys of downtown grocery stores.  On a related note, I also wanted to buy canned diced tomatoes and there was only one brand available… and they were charging $2.59 per can!!!! Outrageous!

Needless to say, I did not have soup for dinner last night.  Tonight was a different story, though.  I had red lentils on hand, along with a couple of sweet potatoes that have seen better days.  A search for “red lentil soup” led me to a recipe for a curried sweet potato, carrot, and red lentil soup with ginger. YUM.  You must make this soup!  Incredibly tasty, plus it’s full of heart-healthy soluble fibre (along with lots of other good stuff).  The spice from the curry powder perfectly balanced the sweetness of the sweet potato and carrots.

I was also really excited to use my not-so-new immersion blender for the first time.  I don’t know if I will go so far as to say that it was my best purchase ever, but it was much easier (and cleaner) than pureeing soup in batches using a food processor.  I’m definitely looking forward to making more soups this winter!

Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Red Lentil Soup with Ginger

Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Red Lentil Soup with Ginger
(from DinnerwithJulie.com)

1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, coarsely minced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup dry red lentils, rinsed several times to remove excess starch
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed (approx 2 cups)
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tsp curry powder
4 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock, preferably low-sodium
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger for 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils, sweet potato, carrots, curry powder, and stock, along with 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  3. Add yogurt, season with salt and pepper to taste, and puree soup using an immersion blender.  Alternatively, allow soup to cool slightly then transfer it in batches to a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth.

Makes 4 servings.  Per serving: 220 kcal, 2.2 g fat, 8 g fibre

Autumn Root Vegetable Mash

19 Sep

Autumn is in the air.  Although it’s still officially summer, the days are getting cooler and I no longer live a life of leisure (tear!).  While I’m sad to part with the joys of summer, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about Autumn that I love.  New beginnings, leaves changing colours, warm vests, Thanksgiving.  And the food!  Pumpkin, squash, apples, root vegetables…  the list goes on.

To pay homage to the beginnings of autumn, I thought I would stray from my typical dinnertime starches (rice, quinoa, pasta) and make a root vegetable mash.  The trio of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips alone would have been tasty but the recipe called for the addition of roasted garlic cloves and caramelized onions.  You can never go wrong with a combination like that.

Root Vegetables: Sweet Potato, Parsnip, Potato

Preparing this dish required a bit more effort than ordinary mashed potatoes but it helped dress up an otherwise simple meal of steamed broccoli and Cajun salmon (more on that another day).  As a bonus, the dish can be made in advance and re-heated gently on the stovetop just before serving.  I’d say the results were well worth the effort!

Mashed Root Vegetables with Roasted Garlic

 

Mashed Root Vegetables with Roasted Garlic  (adapted from Rose Reisman’s Family Favorites)

8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
1-1/2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
1-1/2 cups peeled and cubed parsnips
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped Vidalia onion (about half of a large onion)
1-1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
freshly chopped parsley (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Individually wrap the garlic cloves in foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes or until tender.  Allow to cool, remove the skin and set aside.
  2. Place the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips in 3 separate large pots with enough cold water to cover them.  Bring the water to a boil over high heat and boil the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender, the sweet potatoes for 10 minutes or until tender, and the parsnips for 20 minutes or until tender.  Drain and place in 1 large pot, cover and set aside.  Alternatively, if you have time you can cook in batches using one pot, e.g. first cook potatoes then drain and set aside, next cook sweet potatoes, etc.  This saves on dishwashing!
  3. Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray, add the oil, and set over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and saute for 10 minutes or until softened and browned.  Reduce the heat to low, add the brown sugar and garlic, and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  4. Partially mash the potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and roasted garlic using a potato masher.  Add the sauteed onion, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Garnish with parsley (optional) and serve immediately.  Can be prepared up to one day in advance.  Reheat gently on the stove until warm.

Makes 4 generous servings.  Per serving: 240 kcal, 6.5 g fat, 5.1 g fibre, 100 mg sodium