Archive for vegetarian

new recipe september

quinoa lentil soup - nu roots nutrition

September is here! The month I have been patiently awaiting since my arrival in the Netherlands. The month that changes my life forever, it’s the month when I become a mama. With less than three weeks until my due date my nesting instincts have begun to kick in. I must make sure the house is spotless, baby’s clothes are washed and ready to wear, and to stock my freezer full of healthy soups and stews so that I don’t have to worry about cooking when the little one arrives.

Since I imagine it will be a rather busy month, I figured this was the perfect timing to introduce many of my clients favorite recommendation, one new recipe per week, an incredibly manageable request for even the busiest of people.

Changing over to a whole foods diet can be overwhelming, especially if you are just learning to cook, and trying to make every meal and snack from scratch. My advice is to start slow and integrate these changes into your life at a manageable pace.

If you’ve been following my blog this year, you’ll know we’ve been taking on a challenge (or resolution rather) every month. So this month your challenge is simple:

Make one new *healthy* whole food recipe (that you’ve never tried before) per week.

This challenge is great for those of you who are just getting into a whole foods diet, or anyone who is just stuck in a rut making the same meals over and over…which is kind of where I am at these days. Even those of us that love to cook can get in the occasional rut (perhaps it’s because my mind is all baby, all the time). It’s time to add some excitement to my kitchen, I hope you join me!

I will do my best at sharing the new recipes I try via Facebook, Twitter, or right here on my blog.

I’m going to start you off with the one I tried this week. It was inspired by a Barley Lentil Soup, but I needed to make it gluten free. It turned out awesome and is on it’s way to the freezer to await babe’s arrival.

Quinoa Lentil Soup

1 cup quinoa
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
6 cups soup stock (ideally homemade chicken or vegetable stock, or you can just use water)
1 cup green lentils
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp tamari  (gluten free if needed)
3 celery stalks, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon each: basil, oregano, thyme, sea salt
1/4 cup fresh dill
1/4 tsp cayenne (or more if you like extra spicy)

Directions

  • Soak quinoa for at least 15 minutes in a glass bowl
  • Soak lentils for at least 15 minutes in a separate glass bowl
  • In a large pot, heat coconut oil over low heat. Add onion, saute until translucent
  • Add stock and bring to a boil
  • Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, add them to the pot
  • Strain and rinse lentils, add them to the pot
  • Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes
  • Once quinoa and lentils are cooked, add the vegetables, herbs and spices and simmer for an additional 10 minutes
  • Add more water if needed to thin soup
  • Freezes well

All the best,

from the extremely excited (superfood) mama to be :)

coco-choco-chia pudding

Choco-coco-banana-chia-goji Pudding - nu roots nutrition

One of the many fabulous things about pregnancy (yes, it really can be FABULOUS) is that crazy late night cravings inspire creativity in the kitchen. Especially if you live in a city where all the stores are closed at 7pm and as much as you want to send your husband out on a wild goose chase around town looking for your favorite chocolate bar, it really won’t do you any good.

The solution; keep deliciously healthy superfoods well stocked in the house and use a little common sense to combine flavors you think would taste incredible together!

I make no attempt to hide my love and desire for dark chocolate (especially of the raw variety). It has been a staple superfood in my diet for the past 5 years or so. It should come as no surprise that it has been one of my most prominent pregnancy cravings, and I do admit, I indulge from time to time…or all the time, whatever.

My inspiration for this creation: Commercial Chocolate Pudding – healthy styles (of course!)

Coco-Choco-Chia Pudding

  • 1/2 cup organic coconut milk (full fat is where it’s at)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 large banana
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder (organic, fair trade and raw if possible)
  • 2 tsp unpastuerized honey (or pure maple syrup)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla or 1/2 whole vanilla bean – slice along one side and scrape out the beans
  • garnish with raw cacao nibs & goji berries (optional)

Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a personal blender (Magic Bullet type) or regular blender and blend until smooth. Use a spatula to make sure all the chia seeds don’t stick to the sides of the blender. Pour into small bowls or wine glasses and set in the fridge to thicken for at least half an hour. Garnish with goji berries and raw cacao nibs. Serves dessert for two.

In the fridge, the chia seeds will gelatinize and create a pudding-like consistency. This is due to the high water soluble fiber content in chia seeds, which will fill you up faster, ensure your blood sugar does not go soaring, pull toxins out of your body and help keep you regular.

Now let’s compare this to the “real deal”. I use this term sarcastically as obviously the above (my delicious recipe) is created using real food, and this “readily available commercial chocolate pudding”…well I’m not so sure there is any food in it at all.

Actual Commercial Chocolate Pudding…without naming names…

Ingredients: SUGAR, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, DISODIUM PHOSPHATE (FOR THICKENING), CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SALT, TETRASODIUM PYROPHOSPHATE (FOR THICKENING), MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES (PREVENT FOAMING), RED 40, YELLOW 5, BLUE 1, ARTIFICIAL COLOR, BHA (PRESERVATIVE)

Personally, this ingredient list makes me want to vomit, especially when I think of copious amounts of children downing this stuff daily. Notice how my recipe did not require any refined sugar, GMO’s (corn is often genetically modified), artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or anti-foaming agents?

But – there’s NO fat in it! Well it’s time that the no (or low) fat paradigm is done away with for good! It makes me want to scream (or maybe that’s just the hormones). Usually these types products are high in sugar and artificial chemicals, none of which are there to serve your health.

On the other hand, good fats, such as those that come from coconut, are incredibly nutritious and are are vital to your health (future post on good fats to come…stay tuned). In the meantime, don’t be so scared of fat, just make sure you are eating the right kinds.

Have I sold you on the healthy homemade version yet? I sure hope so! This recipe is so quick and easy to make and you will not be disappointed when it comes to flavor and satisfaction. Enjoy!

In health and happiness,

Sam

beet red cashew dip

IMG_3143

I figured it was time for a deliciously vibrant recipe post! Enough with all this pregnancy stuff already…right? Well, rest assured there is more of that coming too, but for the meantime, a little something for everyone!!

This recipe came to me when a friend visited us in the Netherlands all the way from Canada. You Alberta folks may know of a little vegetarian restaurant on Calgary’s 17th Ave called The Coup. If you haven’t been there, you must check it out. They are happy to accommodate all types of food allergies as well, my kind of place! Anyways this recipe comes from the cookbook they put out, and I think it is just divine. Besides, it allows you to do one of my most favorite things – dip veggies into more veggies! Sounds like fun, right? Trust me, it is!

Why should you eat this recipe?

Well I’ll tell you why…because it is chock full of nutrition! You may have guessed by the bright red colour of the beets there is something extra special about them nutritionally. Usually these deep or bright colours represent phytonutrients. Beets contain two phytonutrients called betanin and vulgaxanthin, which are known to be antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and can aid in detoxification. Sadly these nutrients are heat sensitive, so over cooking your beets will diminish their health promoting properties. Luckily for you, this recipe is raw (fewf) and you don’t have to worry about the integrity of these beneficial nutrients. Plus all raw fruits and veggies contain live enzymes to help you digest them!

Another benefit? Beets are high in folate, one of the most important nutrients for the early stages of pregnancy (okay sorry, I had to go there for just one second). This ever important vitamin helps to prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida, so load up on beets prior to conception and during the first 4 weeks of pregnancy.

Well let’s get to it then, it is super easy to make. All you need is a food processor.

Beet Red Cashew Dip – The Coup

1/2 cup soaked raw cashews
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3 small-med beets (if organic I leave the peels on, it’s up to you though!)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

  • Rinse and strain your soaked cashews (even soaking for an hour is better than nothing. This helps to increase digestibility).
  • Place cashews, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds into the food processor and process to a fine meal.
  • Chop the raw beets into quarters to ease the load on your food processor (no cooking necessary).
  • Place the rest of the ingredients in the the food processor, leaving the olive oil for last and watching for consistency, you may need a little more or a little less depending on how liquidy you like it, or how big the beets are.
  • Once desired consistency is reached (a touch of water could also be added), scrape this bold coloured dip into a bowl.
  • Consume with chopped fresh veggies, brown rice (or quinoa, or buckwheat) crackers, or use as a spread in a whole grain wrap, on a sandwich, or however you like!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! It has become another staple in our household.

convenience veg + a protein packed lunch

convenience kale

Every time I go to a new country I am always curious to see how the grocery stores are different from back home. One of the biggest differences here in the Netherlands is the size of the produce department in comparison to the rest of the grocery store. More accurately – there are less processed food aisles. You all know the rule right? Shop only on the perimeter of the grocery store! (Check this video from Michael Pollan).

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a fair share of junky fast foods in the Netherlands…(um have you heard about fast food from the wall?). Yeah…don’t ask, don’t try…I made that mistake 5 years ago on my first visit to the Netherlands (before I knew anything about healthy food).One of the main things I noticed in the relatively large produce departments is that a significant section is dedicated to what I call “convenience vegetables”. You know, pre-washed greens, pre-chopped broccoli, mini carrots, those kinds of things. In fact, it is rare to buy kale here in it’s whole big leaves, thick stem “normal” form. Occasionally they offer it this way at the farmers market, but most often it comes pre-washed, de-veined, chopped into tiny little bits, and ready to eat. I am most definitely not complaining, I do believe whole and as natural as possible is best, but since discovering ‘convenience kale’ I have to say my consumption has at least doubled. I kid you not, I have been scarfing that stuff straight from the bag…and it is damn good (for real). I must add that kale is an incredible source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and fibre…it’s basically every nutritionist’s favorite leafy green. (Have you seen “Shit Nutritionists Say”?)

Making your own convenience veggies is something I have always recommended to my clients. Buy fresh, local, organic produce (whenever possible), bring it home, wash and chop it so that it is ready to eat when you are hungry. If you come home starving and making a salad means you wont be eating for 15-20 minutes, then chips and dip are going to be all that much more appealing. On the other hand, if you have veggies and convenience kale all ready to go, your salad is in your mouth within minutes. Or you can dip your convenience veggies into hummus, or kale pesto (recipe coming). This makes achieving the seemingly unachievable 5-10 cups of veggies a day a breeze.

Now, don’t go whining about how your veggies aren’t going to last. Buy what you need for a few days, eat them fast (and you will if they are ready to go!), then go back to the grocery store to re-stock.

Marinated Tempeh & Portobello Mushrooms Salad

Now here is one of my favorite convenience kale recipes for your eating pleasure. Ever since I taught a raw pie making class with the lovely Lindsey from Tasty Living, I have fallen in love with a new snack – marinated portobello mushrooms (it was a raw pizza pie – ew can you imagine them in a dessert pie?). I have since turned this snack and my oh so handy dandy convenience veggies, into one of my favorite high protein lunches.

Tempeh is a fermented soybean product, I want to say “like tofu” but it is really much different, actually better, in consistency, taste, texture and nutritional profile (personally, I am not a big fan of tofu – I much prefer superior fermented soy). To find tempeh you will likely have to visit your local health foods store. You must marinate tempeh, like you would meat, and it will be incredible (cooked or raw). If not, you probably aren’t going to like it. The marinade below is so quick, easy, and delicious.

Fermented soy, like miso and tempeh, has the added benefit of adding good bacteria to your gut, it is higher in protein than non fermented soy, and is easier to digest. Remember, soy is often genetically modified, so you must buy it organic!

Marinated Portobello Mushrooms & Tempeh

1 block tempeh, chopped into 1-2 cm cubes
2 portobello mushrooms
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (acv)
2 tbsp GF tamari (or Bragg – but I cant find it in the Netherlands :( )
1 – 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
2 tsp dried basil
1-2 cloves raw garlic, chopped (optional but delightful and bad bacteria killing)

Mix together in a stainless steel or glass bowl and let sit for 8-12 hours.

….and the rest of the salad

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 red or other bell pepper, chopped
2-4 cups kale – or “convenience kale”

Add the rest of the ingredients, toss and use the left over marinade as a dressing (add more evoo, acv, and tamari if needed).