Sweet sesame wings – cauliflower can fly!

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Cauliflower wings are one of those magical vegan cooking tricks that knock my socks off. Today I tried a recipe closely based on one from Jessica in the Kitchen for sticky sesame “wings”. Oh… these are so delicious – sweet, salty, crunchy, spicy (or not if you prefer) and so satisfying.

Put on some music, gather your ingredients and chef-y vibe and just make these. You will be so glad you did.

My version is saucier and has a bit more seasoning than the original but the beauty of cooking from scratch is you can make things just the way you want.

Ingredients

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1 small head cauliflower washed and cut into florets (no stems!). You’ll have about 2 ½ – 3 cups of cauliflower florets. Make sure the cauliflower florets are completely dry before you start battering them.

For the batter and coating

3/4 cup besan or gram flour (a/k/a chickpea flour)

¾ cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

¾ teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional – leave out if you don’t like heat)

1 ½ cups bread crumbs (I used a mix of panko and gluten-free bread crumbs)

For the sweet sesame sauce

½ cup real maple syrup

¼ cup Braggs liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds. You can toast sesame seeds by spreading them on a sheet of tin foil or other small dish or pan and roasting them at 425F for 3-5 minutes. Watch them… they can burn easily. You need to know your oven, and with roasting seeds or nuts, less is always more! You can roast the seeds in your oven while it’s preheating, or use your toaster oven, if you have one (that’s what I do).

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

¾ teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder

2 chopped green onions

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Directions

Preheat your oven to 450F. Make sure your oven is completely heated up before you put the cauliflower in.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Put your breadcrumbs in a small bowl.

Combine the besan, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, red pepper flakes and ground pepper in a separate bowl and mix until you have a thin batter.

Now you’re going to work assembly-line style. Dip each cauliflower piece in the batter. Shake off any excess batter and roll the cauliflower in the bread crumbs to coat the piece. Place the piece on the cookie sheet.

Repeat until all of the cauliflower pieces are coated.

Bake for 20-22 minutes.

While the wings are baking, prepare the ingredients for the sauce by whisking all the ingredients together.

Remove the wings from the oven and spoon or brush a small amount of the sauce on each piece. Don’t douse the wings though or they’ll get soggy. If you have leftover sauce, you can spoon it over the wings when you serve them.

Enjoy!

Wasabi, lime and tahini dip

I enjoyed these wings with veggie sticks and a wasabi, lime and tahini dip. I mixed 1/3 cup tahini, the juice of one lime, 2 teaspoons wasabi paste and ½ cup water together.

 

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Red lentil dal – dishing up some red hot love

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I love Indian food, and lucky me, I got to spend a month in the south of India partaking of some of the best Indian meals any person has ever enjoyed.

This recipe for red lentil dal is highly westernized but no less flavourful and nourishing than the more exotic originals. What it is though, is faster to make using ingredients that are readily available in North America and Europe. Don’t let the long list of ingredients deter you – it’s mostly spices you likely already have in your cupboard.

Ingredients

2 cups red lentils

1 Tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)

1 large onion diced

2 Tbsp curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)

1 heaping Tbsp curry powder

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

3-4 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp sambal oelek (chili paste)

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cloves

397 ml can tomato paste (13.5 oz)

1 cup chopped spinach (optional)

2 tomatoes diced

Directions

Cook the lentils. You need 4 cups of liquid. I use a mix of vegetable broth and water. You can use just water or all vegetable broth. Bring the lentils and liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer covered. The lentils will only take about 15 minutes to cook. There may be a tiny amount of liquid in the pot and that’s okay. Set aside.

In a large pot, melt the coconut oil. Add the diced onion and cook on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are golden.

Add all the spices and seasonings: curry paste, curry powder, cumin, tumeric, chili powder, sambal oelek, garlic, sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger and heat through combining with the onion. Add the chopped tomato and combine. Add the tomato paste and spinach and combine. Last, add in the cooked lentils and mix everything together.

Serve with basmati rice, samosas and chapati bread. Mmmmm.

 

Oat groats and blueberries

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Nope, this isn’t oatmeal. These are groats – the whole oat before it’s been processed in any way other than having the inedible husk removed. Groats are loaded with insoluble fibre – the kind that’s great for lowering cholesterol.

Groats do take longer to cook than even steel cut oats, but you never end up with mush. Instead the groats are chewy and nutty.

You can find groats at your health food store (or probably a farm feed shop, but I don’t recommend that unless you want a 50 pound bag).

I make a few variations of my groats. This one is a mix of spices, nuts, applesauce and blueberries for a delicious, satisfying breakfast that will take you right through to lunch time.

You can make these groats on the stovetop or in a slow cooker overnight for a “wake up to a hot breakfast already made” day.

Ingredients

1 cup groats

2 ½ cups water

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cardamom

1 tsp vanilla

A pinch of ground cloves

2 Tbsp maple syrup (or more if you like it sweeter– my groats are not sweet at all)

2 Tbsp pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)

2 Tbsp walnuts

2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce

½ cup blueberries (I use frozen wild blueberries).

Directions

In a small, covered pot, combine the groats, water, vanilla and spices. Bring to a boil then simmer covered for 40 minutes.

Alternately, you can put everything in a small crockpot/slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours.

At 40 minutes you should have cooked groats with a bit of liquid left. Stir in the remaining ingredients and serve.

This dish makes 3 servings and can be served hot or cold. You can store the groats in a covered dish for up to 3 days in the fridge.