Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

I have no idea why it has taken me so long to come across this blog, but I’m ranking it up there with a few others as my go-to for weekday meals.  I find that once you start cooking, it becomes more and more difficult to find simple, easy, and delicious recipes to make that don’t require an hour in the kitchen.  I know most people don’t have too much time during the weekday evenings to throw something together, so getting some basic recipes that you can keep coming back to when you’re standing in the grocery store, not knowing what to make, is really, really important.  However, what I’ve found over time is that these types of recipes, that are few in ingredients, but delicious to taste are rare.  There are a lot that have few ingredients but then end up tasting bland, or conversely look like they have a thousand things in them, plus dirty a bazillion dishes, to taste heavenly but have taken up an entire afternoon to make.

In the throws of trying to find some new inspiration, I came across Cookie and Kate, a vegetarian blog that sets out to celebrate whole foods – which I’m totally down with!  Her photography is clean and simple and the blog makes you just want to try everything and is easy to navigate.  I applaud her style.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I wanted to make something not fussy for dinner and came across her recipe for Crunchy Thai Peanut & Quinoa Salad. It is delicious, easy, and quick. All things I love in a recipe!

This is my version of the same salad.  My suggestion, now that I’ve tried it, is to add in triangles of baked tofu, and I used parsley instead of cilantro because I’m not a big fan of cilantro.  Easy peasy!

Red Lentil Stew with Tomatoes, Rice, and Coconut

This wholesome and earthy stew was adapted from The First Mess‘ beautiful and delicious extra recipe bundle that is available when you pre-order Laura Wright’s cookbook (which is by far and away the most inspirational cookbook I’ve bought in a while). I primarily adapted this because I didn’t have all of the ingredients in the house that I thought I did and so….But this is how inspired and new recipes are created.  A little bit of this and that added to the pot.  Stir it up and try it out on your guinea pigs (not that I refer to my loved ones as that usually ;-).

I haven’t come across a recipe in a long time that requires dirtying so few dishes.  It honestly was one pot, one knife, a chopping board, a measuring cup and one or two measuring spoons.  Gluten-free, nut-free, no sugar.

Red Lentil Stew with Tomatoes, Rice, and Coconut

Ingredients

Serves 6

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil or olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, rinsed and chopped

2 tsp ground turmeric

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp dried chili or red pepper flakes

1/2 cup dried red lentils, rinsed

1/2 cup dried arborio rice, rinsed

1 x 15 oz can diced tomatoes (preferably no salt added)

1 x 15 oz can crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce, which is what I used) – fire-roasted is suggested by Laura to be awesome

3 cups water

1 cup light coconut milk (or just over 1/2 a 15 oz can)

salt and pepper

1 Tbsp lemon juice

 

Directions

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat with the oil.  As the pot heats, chop up the onion, carrots, and celery. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, around 4-5 minutes.
  2. Once the onion is soft, add to the pot the turmeric and garlic. Stir to incorporate.
  3. Add the cumin and chili or red pepper flakes and stir. Let sit for 30 seconds as the spices become fragrant.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and water.  Raise the heat and bring the contents to a boil, then lower heat, cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes.  Stir every 5 minutes or so to make sure the lentils and rice do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Once the lentils and rice are cooked, it is time to puree the stew.  This is optional, but pureeing at least part of the stew will lend a creaminess to it.  Ladle around half of the stew into a blender with the coconut milk and puree to desired consistency.  I like mine a bit chunkier.  Add back the pureed mixture to the pot, mix, and reheat.  Add in the lemon juice and stir.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

See! So easy and so so delicious.  Until the next recipe….

Simple Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Last week I had a carbohydrate craving like no other.  Bagels in the morning.  Sometimes bagels at night.  On the weekend I felt like a holiday feast and made Leftover Thanksgiving Burgers and Cornbread Stuffing, as if thanksgiving wasn’t over a month ago.  And I gave in to it all.  So what happened?  I can’t bear the site of carbs this week.  Not bread, not potatoes, and not even yams!  So I’m listening to my body and eating mostly veggies and fruits.  I’ve even leaned away from legumes which is weird because I LOVE legumes.  Anyway, after a long day of work and already having had a salad for lunch I ended up throwing together this simple and delicious spaghetti squash ‘lasagna’.  In no way shape or form does this need to be layered, you could even just convert it into a casserole. And what’s the BEST is the fact that you can adjust this in whatever way you like!  If you love peppers, saute those up and throw them in!  Lentils? No problem, boil them up and in they go.  Sub basil for parsley if that’s what you have on hand.  Use any kind of cheese you love.  Have fun with it!

plan spaghetti squash lasagna

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 medium to large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil, or similar

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

5 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 14 oz tomato sauce, or pasta sauce

1 14 oz can chickpeas, strained and rinsed

2 handfuls spinach, rinsed

1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1 cup grated cheese (I used daiya mozzarella)

salt and pepper

 

Directions

  1. Heat over to 350 C. Place the spaghetti squash on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper or a silicon mat, cut side down.  Place in heated over for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the squash.  When cooked the skin of the squash should be slightly squishy.
  2. While the squash is cooking, prep the remaining ingredients and heat a pan on the stove over medium heat.  Add the oil, onion, and mushrooms.  Saute for 8-10 minutes until soft. The mushrooms shouldn’t have lost all of their moisture. Add salt and pepper. Saute any other veggies that may require softening prior to baking.
  3. When the squash is cooked, use a fork to scrape out half of the squash into a casserole or baking dish.  Add half of the tomato sauce, half of the mushroom and veggie mixture, half of the cheese, half of the spinach and half of the parsley.
  4. Repeat the layering with the remaining ingredients.  Top with extra cheese if you’d like or sprinkle with some breadcrumbs.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Enjoy!!

Creamy Tomato Soup

I was sitting at work today searching through my go-to food blogs for something that would tickle my fancy and excite me for dinner.  I starting looking at photos, which is almost entirely how I base my opinions of food and I know is as bad as judging a book by it’s cover, but I realized that what I felt like without a doubt was a creamy tomato soup.

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Tomato Soup from Blissful Basil

I remember waaaay back when, I used to go to a baby sitters after school and my after school snack was usually bologna sandwiches and canned tomato soup.  Over time I learned to hate both of those things with a passion.  In fact, one day the sandwich and soup was placed in front of me and I burst into tears because I couldn’t bear eating it even one more time. Bologna was off the table as of that day and I still have a very serious aversion to Campbell’s canned tomato soup.

Anyway, far from the thought of canned soup I searched the internet for what looked like a delicious homemade tomato soup.  I dislike putting cashews in things so I stayed away from any recipes with cashew.  Low and behold I fell upon a recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Blissful Basil.  Their tomato soup recipe uses cauliflower to make the soup creamy instead of cashews.  Added benefit – cauliflower is cheaper than cashews and work just as well to cream up this soup!

Creamy Tomato Soup from Blissful Basil
Creamy Tomato Soup from Blissful Basil

I usually try a recipe for the first time without changing very much, just to see how I would alter it in the future, if I felt I wanted to make it more personalized to my tastes.  I’d say next time I’d remove the pepper, as I really don’t like them for some reason (I wish I did!) but for those of you who like them, add away!

You can find the recipe here.  Let me know if you make this recipe and what you may have changed to make it yours.  I added grilled cheese sandwiches.  I mean, that’s always a winning combination!