vegetable diaries

Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

smoothie power!

Posted by vegetablediaries on May 29, 2013

strawberry & banana smoothie

strawberry & banana smoothie

it’s only been a few years since i started drinking green smoothies, and they usually consist of mostly greens, lots of berries, one beet, a little knob of ginger, one banana, other seasonal fruit, and spring water. they are super delicious and a major energy boost, so i like to pack them with me on my hikes. it wasn’t until this weekend that i ventured off my smoothie track and onto simple berry smoothies, and wow! i am so amazed at how blending up berries with a frozen banana (and a little bit of spring or filtered water) is instant pleasure, and instant energy, with no crash afterwards like typical caffeinated beverages. so, now i’m addicted to my berry smoothies.. my favourites are strawberry & banana, and blueberry & banana. i whipped up a raspberry & banana smoothie last night and it was certainly delicious but it had a lot of seeds still swirling around, so it didn’t turn out as creamy as my strawberry smoothie. maybe i needed to blend it longer. speaking of blenders! i use a vitamix, which i will forever swear by. i sometimes use my vitamix 5 or 6 times in a day! anyways, i hope you give these simple berry smoothies a whirl.. they will not disappoint!

blueberry & banana smoothie

blueberry & banana smoothie

i didn’t measure, but i used about a pint or more of fresh berries, and one frozen ripe banana. i added about 1 cup of spring water.. you can’t go wrong. you can make it thick or thin.

raspberry & banana smoothie

raspberry & banana smoothie


strawberry & banana smoothie

strawberry & banana smoothie

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, raw, recipes, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

spice up your butternut!

Posted by vegetablediaries on November 18, 2012

there are lots of butternuts hanging around right now.. and maybe there is even one lurking in your kitchen. thanksgiving is four days away, and if you’re wondering what to do with these little or not so little lovelies i strongly suggest you give this recipe a try! i love turning the butternuts into fries, roasts, and soups, and today i cooked up a dal-vegetable stew from madhu gadia’s cookbook, the indian vegan kitchen. i love her cookbook.. and it’s one where you will refer to again and again. you can learn more about her here. anyways, back to the dal. the result was a creamy, spicy, savory, minty (yes, minty!) and a little bit of tangy dal stew! i topped it off with a hint of fresh cilantro. i think this would be a perfect dish at a thanksgiving meal. i know first hand that vegans tend to miss out on t-u-r-k-e-y day; the day of EATING! i know that i certainly don’t want mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls for my t-day dinner. give this recipe a try and you will be sure to please your vegetable-eaters.

p.s. i doubled the recipe since i wanted to use my entire butternut squash, and i froze half of it. i also cooked it in a big pot, not a pressure cooker. i also only pre-soaked my lentils for about 1/2 hour.

p.s.s. this is by far one of my favourite dals!

Dal-Vegetable Stew (Dhan-Saak) from The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia


1/3 cup (split, hulled) toor dal

1/3 cup (split, hulled) mung dal

1/3 cup pink lentils

3 cups water

1 tsp turmeric

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 cups butternut or acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes


1 tbsp garlic, coarsely chopped

1 tbsp ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 cup tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2-1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

2 tbsp mint leaves, chopped

1 tsp tamarind paste or 2 tbsp tamarind sauce

1/4 cup water

3 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1. Combine toor dal, mung dal, and lentils. Wash in 3 to 4 changes of water and drain.

2. (For best results, cook in a pressure cooker. To cook in a skillet, see note below.) In a pressure cooker, add dal, 2 cups of water, turmeric, salt, squash, and eggplant. Cover the lid and put the pressure weight in place. Once pressure develops, reduce heat, and cook under pressure for 5 minutes. Cool the cooker until the pressure is removed. Open the lid carefully. The beans and vegetables should be very soft. Stir a few times.

3. In the meantime, prepare the paste: In a blender, combine garlic, ginger, tomatoes, cumin seeds, garam masala, coriander, cayenne pepper, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, cilantro, mint leaves, tamarind paste, and water. Grind to a smooth paste. Set aside.

4. In a large fry pan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and fry 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Add the paste and fry until oil separates, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

5. Add the dal mixture to the onion paste. Stir to coat dal mixture with the spices. Add 1/2 cup water, or more as needed, for desired consistency. (Mixture should have a thick, stew-like consistency.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low boil, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Serve hot over a bed of rice.

Note: To cook in a skillet:  After washing dals as instructed in step 1 above, soak the dals for 2 hours or longer. Drain dals. Combine drained dals, 4 cups of water, salt, turmeric, squash, and eggplant. Bring dal to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the dals and vegetables are very soft. Stir to smooth consistency. Follow steps 3 to 6 to finish cooking.

dal-vegetable stew

i also had a salad with fresh greens i bought from my local market.. i thinly sliced up some radishes and added balsamic vinegar, olive oil, cracked black pepper & salt. i couldn’t resist not taking a picture..

lettuces & paper thin radishes

Posted in cookbooks, gluten-free-friendly, indian, recipes, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

creamed cauliflower soup- recipe

Posted by vegetablediaries on January 17, 2010

creamed cauliflower soup

This recipe is inspired from Yamuna Devi’s recipe in her cookbook “The Vegetarian Table- India.” My version uses only cauliflower and no potatoes or rice. This is perfect for a rainy day or when your throat needs something soothing and your belly needs something delicious!

Serves 6 – 8


2 smallish cauliflower heads, cut into large florets
6 ½ cups water
½ tbsp ground coriander
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
2 serrano chilies, chopped
1 ½ tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
fresh ground pepper (to taste)
½ tsp black mustard seeds
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped cilantro


1. Combine the cauliflower, water, coriander, turmeric, ginger, and serrano chilies in a soup pot. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
2. When the vegetables are cooked, use an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender) puree until the mixture is smooth.
3. Reheat the soup.
4. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the mustards seeds to the soup and stir. Add the chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

creamed cauliflower soup

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, indian, recipes, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

ginger & garlicky tamari brussel sprouts- recipe

Posted by vegetablediaries on January 13, 2010

ginger & garlicky tamari brussel sprouts

welcome to my lunch! brussel sprouts are one of my favourites and this recipe is quick and easy to make. the results are amazing. for those people who aren’t fond brussel sprouts, i hope this recipe will turn you around!

Ginger & Garlicky Tamari Brussel Sprouts


1 lb. fresh Brussel sprouts, halved
3-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated with a microplane
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
lots of freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1 ½ tbsp wheat-free tamari (or to taste)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
freshly chopped cilantro for garish


Add the oil to a 10-inch skillet and heat the pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot add the ginger and garlic (don’t let them burn!). Next add the Brussel sprouts, cayenne and black pepper, then add the tamari and combine well. Turn the sprouts so that they are face down on the pan. Cover the pan and cook for five or so minutes, or until they start to brown. When the sprouts start to get nicely brown, stir and turn off the heat. I prefer my Brussel sprouts to have a nice bite (not soggy), so I don’t like to overcook them. A good rule of thumb is to aim for retaining their bright green colour. Add the sesame seeds and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

ginger & garlicky tamari brussel sprouts

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goodbye thanksgiving, hello shopping madness

Posted by vegetablediaries on November 29, 2009


brussel sprouts, parsnips, and butternut squash all ready for roasting

well, now that the big feast is behind us and the mad rush of shopping has begun i find it quite appealing to hole up in the house and roast the remaining year away! to start things off i roasted these vegetables on t-day with fresh thyme, olive oil, cracked black pepper and kosher salt. it’s so easy to just take a big bowl and dump all of your veggies in it, add the oil, etc. and toss with your hands. i line a baking sheet with foil and spread the vegetables evenly on it and bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes (depending on how big the veggies are). tonight i roasted brussel sprouts with whole cloves of garlic, et al. and it smelled so magical. everything gets so caramelized and delicious you will never want to leave the house!


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where’s the beef? and…

Posted by vegetablediaries on October 3, 2009

vegetable diaries' black bean and tempeh burger

vegetable diaries' black bean and tempeh burger

where’s the bun? here is just one of many ways to enjoy a meat-less, bun-less burger! i used black beans here but you can use whatever bean you prefer. as for the spices you can take out the dried basil and oregano and add BBQ seasoning, or whatever other spices you enjoy. i can imagine a blend of cumin, paprika, and coriander would make for a nice and spicy burger. lastly, you definitely want to get a blackened char on the patties. this will help you to flip the burger but it also makes it YUM. enjoy!

Black Bean Tempeh Burgers


15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained (you can use any kind of bean)
8 oz. package of tempeh
4 carrots, shredded
1 bunch of green scallions, chopped
8 tbsp more or less of tamari
1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper (i like a lot)
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried basil
½ tsp red chili flakes (or more)
2 or 3 tbsp water (more or less)


Once the black beans are rinsed and drained put them in a big bowl and mash. Next crumble the tempeh into small chunks with your hands and add to the beans. Add all of the remaining ingredients and combine well. I usually use my hands to get everything together. You can cook the burgers immediately, but you can also put the mixture in the fridge to marinade.

Heat your skillet to medium-high and add about 2 tbsp olive oil. The pan should be nice and hot. Next take about ½ cup of the burger mixture and create a patty with your hands. Cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side. The burgers should have a blackened char. Enjoy with lettuce and fresh tomatoes!

Serves 6

ed: i used 8 tbsp of San-J wheat-free organic tamari and did not find it to be salty. if you are concerned about the sodium, i recommend starting out with 4 or 5 tbsp of tamari and to taste as you go along. you can always add more tamari if you need it.

waiting for a mouth

waiting for a mouth

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, recipes, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

oh my dal- recipe

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 28, 2009

oh my dal with cilantro flower garnish

oh my dal with cilantro flower garnish

there are countless ways to prepare the indian classic, dal. however this recipe is simple and delicious, and only takes under 30 minutes from start to finish if you use a pressure cooker. i use a futura five liter pressure cooker and love it. you also won’t need a pantry full of spices; although this recipe is flavourful, it only contains a handful of ingredients. feel free to use any lentils you prefer. i used a combination of four of my favourite lentils and was quite pleased with the results. dal is something i subsist on daily and i encourage you to use this method when you’re looking for something fast, fresh and tasty! as an added bonus it’s also incredibly nutritious. serve this with chapati (indian griddle bread), rice or quinoa, or eat it like a soup. enjoy!

Oh My Dal

1/4 cup split urad dal
1/4 cup whole moong dal
1/4 cup masoor dal
1/4 cup toor dal
2 or 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, crushed (i use a microplane grater)
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 serrano chilies, sliced (if you like more heat, add more)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro

dry lentils- urad, whole moong, toor, and masoor

dry lentils- split urad, whole moong, masoor, and toor

Sort through the dry lentils and pick out any stones or debris, then rinse well and set aside. Heat the pressure cooker on a medium flame and add the olive oil. Once the pan is hot add the cumin seeds and cook until fragrant, about two minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and chiles and cook for about one minute. Then add the turmeric and cook for one minute. Add the lentils and roast them with the spices for a few minutes.

roasting lentils in the pressure cooker

roasting lentils in the pressure cooker

Next add the salt and 4 1/2 cups of water. Stir to combine, then seal the lid and adjust the flame to medium-high. When the pressure cooker starts to whistle, lower the flame and cook for 10 minutes. Let the pressure come down before opening the lid, then add the fresh tomatoes and cilantro…and eat! (about 6-8 servings)

oh my dal!

oh my dal!

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, indian, recipes, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

world food cafe 2 by chris & carolyn caldicott

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 26, 2009

marinated butternut squash & sweet peppers with hot tomato sauce- world food cafe 2 recipe

marinated butternut squash & sweet peppers with hot tomato sauce- world food cafe 2 recipe

well, i have been doing more garden-sitting and recently harvested butternut squash, bell peppers and tomatoes… with a few snips from the thyme shrub. i’ve been trying to use my cookbooks more and i found this great caribbean recipe from -world food cafe 2- by chris and carolyn caldicott. i also have their first cookbook, -world food cafe- and love it. the caldicotts are husband and wife globetrotters with voracious appetites! their cookbooks are filled with interesting vegetarian/vegan recipes from their excursions, with stellar photography by chris. their recipes span from cambodia, thailand, malaysia, north africa, sub-saharan africa, pakistan, india, maldives, sri lanka, french polynesia, central america, italy, and the caribbean! they also own the london eatery, -world food cafe-. because i had everything fresh from the garden i thought i would try out the recipe: marinated butternut squash and sweet peppers with hot tomato sauce. i’ve never made a caribbean dish, so i was curious to try something new. this is a fantastic summer meal! i strayed from the recipe and didn’t use the okra in the sauce because i didn’t have any on hand, and i also added 1 package of tempeh to the butternut squash and peppers. the lime and thyme really shine through and make this so refreshing on a hot day. i used a broiler to cook the vegetables and tempeh, but you can also cook it on the barbecue. here is the recipe:

Marinated Butternut Squash and Sweet Peppers with Hot Tomato Sauce from -World Food Cafe 2-

1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks (3 1/2–4 cups)
2 large red onions, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
3 red peppers, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch squares

For the marinade:
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon soy sauce (i used wheat-free tamari)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey (i used maple syrup)

For the tomato sauce:
2 tablespoons sunflower oil (i used olive oil)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2–1 Scotch bonnet chile, seeded and finely chopped (if unavailable, use another small hot chile)
4 ounces okra pods (about 16–18 okra), chopped in 1/2-inch rings
14 ounces ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks (2–2 1/2 cups)
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt and black pepper, to taste

Parboil the squash in a saucepan of boiling water until it is just starting to soften but is still firm. Drain and place in a large bowl with the onions, peppers, and marinade ingredients. Stir well to coat all the vegetables with the marinade and set to one side for 1 hour.

Meanwhile make the tomato sauce. Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan. When hot, add the onion, garlic, chile, and okra, and gently fry until soft. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and lime juice, and bring to a boil; cover the pan and simmer until the sauce has reduced and oil returns. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Skewer the onions, peppers, and butternut squash and cook either on the barbecue or under a hot broiler until brown on all sides. Any remaining marinade can be added to the tomato sauce and heated through. Serve the skewers topped with the sauce, with rice on the side.


-world food cafe 2- cookbook

-world food cafe 2- cookbook

Posted in caribbean, cookbooks, gluten-free-friendly, recipes, vegan-friendly | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »