Isa’s Goddess Pasta a/k/a Tahini Linguini

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I think I have a girl crush on Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Or I should say a goddess crush because she is a kitchen goddess extraordinaire. Every recipe of hers that I’ve tried, I’ve loved. Here’s the latest – Goddess Pasta or as I am calling it, tahini linguini because if that not the name of a new Muppet, I don’t know what is.

Anyway… about this recipe. Isa promises it’s so ridiculously easy that she almost left it out of her cookbook, “Isa Does it”.  I’m glad she didn’t. This recipe IS(a) fast and easy. And despite what I thought was a lot of garlic and green onion (or chives), the dish is mild yet flavourful and creamy, crunchy and satisfying. I ate this dish hot, but I think it would even be great cold. So, without further ado, here’s how I made Isa’s Goddess Pasta. If you want to make it the way Isa does it, buy the book!

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Ingredients

12 oz linguini

The juice of 1 lemon

1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (a 15 ounce can)

1 bunch broccoli cut into bite sized pieces. I also peeled the stem and sliced it up.

3-4 spring onions chopped finely

4 cloves garlic minced

2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 tsp salt (I don’t salt my pasta water)

A few grinds of pepper

½ to 2/3 cup tahini (I didn’t measure exactly!)

½ cup hot water (I used the water from the boiling pasta)

1 Tbsp olive oil

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Directions

Boil the pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta is boiling, prep the sauce and other ingredients.

In a large bowl, blend together the green onion, lemon juice, salt, tahini, nutritional yeast, hot water and ground pepper. You will have a thickly creamy dressing. If the dressing is too thick, add more water.

In a large wok or frying pan, heat ½ tablespoon olive oil and sauté the garlic until it’s golden. Add the garlic to the sauce mixture.

Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan and heat. Add the broccoli and stir fry until the broccoli is bright green but still very crunchy.  Add the broccoli to the sauce mixture and add the chickpeas.

Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Toss everything to combine and serve up. Enjoy!

This recipe makes 4 servings.

p.s. I think next time I may even add some shredded carrot and julienned red pepper for extra colour.

 

 

 

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Samosa Pie – when East meets West, it’s the best

SamosaPie.jpgI love samosas and I love pie. Here’s the perfect marriage of the two with all the deliciousness of samosas and none of the fiddling with dough or deep frying.

A samosa pie is an impressive dish to serve up and guaranteed to make your mouth happy. Don’t let the list of ingredients or steps deter you; this is one worthy creation!

 Ingredients

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2 already-prepared, vegan pie crusts* left out to thaw for about 15-20 minutes.

1-2 Tbsp flour for rolling your dough

1 Tbsp flavorless oil – I use peanut oil

4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 small onion, diced (1/2 cup)

1 medium carrot, diced (½ cup)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup of chopped spinach

1 cup of cooked chickpeas (if using canned, drained and rinsed)

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

2 tsp. agave nectar or sugar

2 Tbs. unflavoured plant milk (I use almond milk)

The spices

1-2 teaspoons coriander seeds (if you hate coriander, use cumin seeds)

1 tsp. curry powder

1 Tbsp garam masala

1 tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground cumin

⅛ tsp. red pepper flakes, optional

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Directions 

In a large pot, boil the potatoes until they are fork tender. That will take about 15 minutes. Drain them and roughly mash them so that they are still quite lumpy.

While the potatoes boil, measure all your spices into a small bowl or cup.

Pre-heat your oven to 375F.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Sauté the onion, garlic and carrots until the onion is translucent. Push the onion/carrot mixture to the side of the pan and place the spices in the centre of the pan. Heat the spices until they become fragrant then turn off the heat and mix the spices in with the onion/carrot mixture.

Add this mixture to the mashed potatoes. Stir in the broth, frozen peas, chickpeas, spinach, soy or almond milk and sugar or agave and mix everything well.

Spoon this mixture into an 11” deep dish pie plate.

Using your hands wad the two pie crusts into a dough ball. Dust a rolling pin with flour and working on a floured surface, roll the dough out until you have an 11” disk.

Place this disk onto the samosa pie filling and press down the edges of the pie crust to seal in the pie. Use a knife to cut a few slits in the top of the pie crust to let steam vent.

Wrap the edges of the pie crust in tin foil so they don’t burn. The edges always seem to brown faster than the centre of the pie.

Bake your pie for 30 minutes then remove the foil from around the edge of the crust. Bake another 45 minutes. Let the pie stand for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with bottled tamarind sauce.

*Vegan pie crusts are quite common and use vegetable oil or vegetable shortening instead of lard.

Here’s an excellent recipe and instructions on making pie crust, if you’re inclined to bake right from scratch. It really isn’t hard at all and only takes a few extra minutes!

 

Buffalo “wing” salad

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Buffalo wings are one of those things that people go gaga over. I don’t think folks are actually that excited about the sad, bony, cartilaginous bits of chicken death, but rather they love the hot and spicy wing coating and the creamy and crunchy blend of dip with celery and carrot sticks.

I’ve recreated all the goodness of Buffalo wings with hot sauce, ranch dressing, celery and carrots and added fibre, minerals, micronutrients and a big old dose of compassion. Try this!

Ingredients

For the salad

5 -6 cups of kale washed and torn into bite-sized pieces (that’s one big bunch of kale)

2-3 carrots sliced into coins

2-3 ribs of celery sliced

 

For the buffalo chickpeas

1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (that’s one 15 oz can), rinsed and dried

½ cup Frank’s hot sauce

1 Tbsp neutral tasting oil (I use peanut oil since it can take high heat)

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp garlic powder

 

For the ranch dressing

1 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 Tbsp plant milk

2 tsp cider vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill*

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley*

Optional garnish – slices of avocado

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Directions

Turn the oven on to 400F. Mix the hot sauce, garlic powder, oil and salt in a bowl and toss the chickpeas in the dressing until they are coated. Turn them out onto a cookie sheet. Do NOT pour any remaining dressing that’s in the bowl onto the chickpeas, but just set it aside.

Bake the chickpeas for 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven, give them a stir, pour the remaining hot sauce dressing on them and then return them to the oven for another 40 minutes.

When they are done, just let the chickpeas cool on the cookie sheet.

You can make the roasted chickpeas ahead of time and store them in a sealed container in the fridge for 1-2 days.

While the chickpeas are baking, mix the kale, carrots and celery in a large salad bowl. Add the roasted chickpeas.

In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients. Taste. Swoon. Add all or some of the dressing to the salad (depending on how creamy you want it). Toss everything together and serve up your Buffalo wing salad. Enjoy!

*Here’s how I always have “fresh” herbs on hand. Store your fresh, clean herbs by the bunch in the freezer in freezer bags. Whenever you want fresh herbs for soups, sauces, stews, dips or dressings, just take some from your frozen supply. You won’t even need to chop – just crumble the frozen herbs. Frozen herbs do not work well as garnishes.

 

Chickpea and avocado spread – simply delicious!

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Various friends on Facebook have been sharing this recipe video over and over, so I decided to give it a go for myself. It just seemed too easy and too plain. Boy was I wrong. It’s simple and simply delicious!

My only change was to add Frank’s hot sauce to the mix and to put the salt and pepper right in the food processor. Otherwise, I made this dish just as shown. Here’s the recipe again:

Ingredients

15 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed

1 avocado

The juice of ½ a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste (I used about ¼ tsp each)

1 Tbsp Frank’s hot sauce (optional).

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Directions

Place everything in a food processor and mix until everything is smoothly combined. Serve on bread or in a wrap or on crackers. Here’s mine wrapped in an Afghani flat bread with spinach, tomato and cucumbers. SO GOOD.

And that’s a wrap!

 

 

 

Moroccan stew – the warmth of the sun in a bowl.

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When I make this stew, I find myself saying “redolent” over and over as in “this stew is redolent of a sunlit Moroccan bazaar.” It’s not the prettiest dish, but there’s nothing else like it when you want something rich, warmly spiced and satisfying.

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil or vegan margarine

1 onion chopped

1 cup shredded kale or spinach (optional)

4 ½ cups vegetable broth

1 cup of cooked chickpeas

1 cup of diced canned tomatoes

2 medium potatoes peeled and diced

1 sweet potato peeled and diced

2 carrots diced

½ cup dried red lentils

1/3 cup dried apricots chopped

1/3 cup wheat bulgur (optional – to help thicken the dish)

Spice mixture – combine in a small cup or bowl

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp ground turmeric

¼ tsp curry powder

Directions

Heat the oil or margarine in a large pot on medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until the onion is softened. Add the spice mixture and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add all the other ingredients except the kale or spinach. Stir to combine and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through. Stir in the kale/spinach and cook for another minute to let the greens wilt.

Serve up and enjoy!

This dish freezes well.

Classic hummus – the elevation of the chickpea!

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I really love chickpeas and hummus is the expression of all that is right and good about this humble, adorable legume. This savoury dip is great spread in sandwiches or served up with veggies and pita bread. It’s packed with fibre, protein, iron and magnesium.

My Lebanese pal, Roger, taught me how to take my hummus from good to great. Thank you, Roger!

You will need a food processor for this recipe (or the patience of a saint to mash and grind all your ingredients by hand). Okay, let’s go. You could have hummus in 5 minutes.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups chickpeas (that’s one 15 oz can drained and rinsed or ½ cup dried chickpeas cooked).

Juice of one lemon

1-2 cloves garlic cut in pieces

1 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup tahini

¼ to ½ tsp cumin

5-10 drops hot sauce (I use a chipotle hot sauce).

Directions

If you really want to show some love and have an extra 15 minutes, pop the skins off the chickpeas – just pinch the chickpea and the skin will come off. Removing the skins creates the most silky, smooth hummus you’ve ever had. Yes, it’s kind of tedious work but put on some great tunes and shed that skin (and discard them).

If you take the time to discard the skins you’ll have hummus in 20 minutes. If you skip this step, you’ll have hummus in 5!

If you leave the skins on, that’s cool too. You’ll have a more “rustic” texture. Roger confesses he far prefers the skinned chickpea version of hummus but rarely has the patience to do this step.

Put everything in your food processor and blend and blend and blend. You can add up to 1/3 cup water to make a creamier dip. Do NOT add olive oil at this stage. It can actually make the hummus a bit bitter.

Serve your hummus with a drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika.

Enjoy!

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry with Coconut and Sweet Potatoes

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Here’s a fragrant, flavourful curry that is just as delicious in summer as it is in winter. For winter cooking, I use frozen cauliflower, which is both affordable and appealing to lazy cooks like me.

There’s a little bit of chopping, a few cans to open and then all you have to do is let the curry cook itself. Easy!

Ingredients

1 Tbsp coconut or olive oil

1 onion diced

1-2 cloves garlic minced

1 red chili minced – see TIP below

1 Tbsp grated ginger root OR 1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 Tbsp garam masala

½ Tbsp curry powder

1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (that’s one 15 oz can drained and rinsed)

2 cups canned or boxed tomatoes (If you have any leftover tomatoes, just freeze them in a freezer bag).

1 sweet potato peeled and diced

2 cups cauliflower cut into florets

1 can coconut milk (397 ml or 13 oz)

1/3 cup vegetable broth (optional)

1-2 teaspoon salt (depending on your tomatoes and tastes)

1 cinnamon stick

1 lime leaf – see TIP below

1-2 cups chopped spinach – see TIP below

Directions

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the garlic, chili, onion and grated ginger, if using. Sauté until the onion is soft. Add the garam masala and curry and powdered ginger if using and stir to coat the onion/garlic mix and let the spices heat through.

Add all the other ingredients except the spinach and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 40 minutes. Add the spinach in the last few minutes of cooking.

Fish out the lime leaf and cinnamon stick.

I love this dish served over rice, especially jasmine rice. Enjoy!

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TIP – This recipe is a study in foods you can keep in your freezer so you always have them handy.

I buy my red chilies in bulk and then freeze them in a freezer bag. They’ll last for months in the freezer and are much easier to mince or grate frozen than they are to chop fresh.

If you have leftover fresh spinach or kale, throw it into a freezer bag and store it in the freezer. When I need a cup or two of spinach/kale for a cooked recipe like this, I just crush the greens before adding them to my recipe. There’s no chopping involved and I always have greens on hand for soups, stews, even omelettes.

I buy my lime leaves at an Asian grocery. They come in a bag with a couple dozen leaves in them – far more than is ever needed for any one recipe. The grocer told me to freeze the leftover leaves and use them as needed. Works perfectly!

You can always store other leftover fresh herbs (Do you ever use a whole bunch of cilantro because I don’t!) in freezer bags and then use the frozen herbs as you would fresh ones in stews and sauces and even salad dressings. As with the spinach or kale, you won’t even need to chop – just crumble the frozen herbs. Frozen herbs do not work well as garnishes.