Cauliflower recipe roundup

Six delicious ways to cook up this nutritional powerhouse!

Much like squash and cabbage, many cauliflowers are grown to a substantial size, making them ideal for several meals and therefore economical (at least at the reasonable prices are seeing in March 2020). Often described as a nutritional powerhouse, cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, and is naturally high in fiber and B-vitamins. It’s also loaded with antioxidants and cancer-fighting phytonutrients, as well as choline which is essential for learning and memory. When I was growing up, cauliflower was only ever served plain, smothered in cheese sauce, or boiled into oblivion for soup. I’ve enjoyed coming up with far more delicious ways to prepare it as it lends itself well to lots of different flavour profiles. Here are a few of my favourites; just click on the titles to below to jump to the recipes. You can find additional cauliflower recipes on this website by using the search bar.

Roasted cauliflower with spicy peanut sauce

20 minute red curry vegetable soup

autumn cauliflower soup with red curry paste

Pan-roasted cauliflower with Tex-Mex seasoning

Grilled cauliflower on a can with sweet and spicy BBQ sauce  

Healthy honey-garlic cauliflower bites

cauliflower nuggets with honey-garlic sauce

Cauliflower ‘n cheese bake

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Microwave mug muffin

A fun treat kids can make all by themselves!

Remember the mug cake craze from a few years ago? Coming up with new flavour combinations was a favourite after-school pastime for my kids; their creations were inventive and usually loaded with chocolate and sugar but I let them have their fun. Thinking about how much they enjoyed making mug treats, I decided to come up with a healthier version that is more like a muffin than a cake. One of the things I love best about this recipe is that it requires very small amounts of ingredients and no eggs! Be advised that cooking time will depend upon your microwave’s power and note that it’s easy to make a vegan version by using vegetable oil and non-dairy milk instead of yogurt and regular milk. This recipe is delicious as is, but even more delightful with a dollop of whipped cream, whipped coconut cream or even a spoonful of ice cream on top. Who says you can’t have a little fun at breakfast?

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (37 mL) all-purpose flour (regular or gluten-free)
  • 1/8 teaspoon (.6 mL) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon (16 mL) sour cream, plain yogurt or vegetable oil
  • 4 teaspoons (20 mL) milk (regular or non-dairy)
  • 1/8 teaspoon (.6 mL) vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping tablespoon (17 mL) fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries, or sliced bananas
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) ground cinnamon

Method

  • Spray a microwave-safe mug or teacup with cooking spray or grease with a little vegetable oil poured onto a piece of paper towel.
  • Put flour, salt, baking powder, sour cream (or yogurt or oil), milk, and vanilla in the mug and stir until combined. Sprinkle fruit on top of the batter and stir gently to blend.
  • In a separate small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon then sprinkle that mixture on top of the cake batter.
  • Microwave on high power for 45 seconds then check for doneness (a toothpick inserted should come out clean); if needed microwave for 15 seconds more and test again. Repeat as needed.
  • Let cool for 1 minute before eating right out of the mug.

Makes 1 mug muffin.

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Chickpea recipe roundup

Ways to enjoy this terrific source of protein and nutrients!

Whether you call them pulses, legumes or garbanzo beans, chickpeas are a rich source of  vitamins, minerals and fibre. They also are known for improving digestion, assisting with weight management and reducing the risk of several diseases including diabetes and heart disease. As well, chickpeas are a favourite with vegetarians and vegans because they are high in protein and low in fat. Some of my favourite recipes call for canned chickpeas while others start with dried ones. Be aware that if you are working with dried chickpeas (which are super inexpensive and have a long shelf life), you will need to soak and cook them first. Just click on the titles below to jump to each recipe.

Baked falafel bowls with lemon tahini dressing

Greek-style tomato, chickpea and spinach stew

Hearty Greek-style stew made with chickpeas, tomatoes, spinach, mint and lemon

Buddha bowl with roasted vegetables and crispy chickpeas

Hearty Pasta with Tomatoes and Chickpeas

Crispy Cider Vinegar and Sea Salt Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted chickpea and sweet potato salad

Hearty seafood and chickpea stew

 

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Easy homemade granola

A delicious and nutritious meal the whole family will love!

I will be the first to admit that I have bought more than my share of artisanal granola over the years. I love it and can’t resist trying out new flavour combinations or different makers. While there is sometimes something really special or unique about these small-batch, commercially-prepared granolas, I have to say that I still keep coming back to my tried-and-true, make-at-home recipe which has been floating around in my family for decades. Each of us seems to tweak it a little to suit our tastes and that is the true beauty of granola. As long as you respect the oil-sweetener-oats ratio (as indicated below), the sky really is the limit in terms of what you want to add in. Chopped cashews and peanuts are terrific, for example. Carob chips could also be added to the cooled, cooked granola for a fun little flavour party. It’s the perfect recipe to use up little bits of things in your pantry to make a big batch of delicious, wholesome granola that lasts for weeks (if your family doesn’t devour it all sooner).

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) maple syrup, honey or agave syrup *
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) raw sunflower seeds or sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) raw slivered almonds or chopped pecans or chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) (optional but delicious)
  • 3 cups (750 mL) quick or large-flake oats (not instant/minute oats)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded coconut (optional but delicious)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped dried cranberries or currants or raisins or other chopped dried fruit such as cherries, apricots, blueberries, etc. (optional)

* If none of these are available, mix 1/4 cup (60 mL) brown sugar with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of water as a substitute

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 x 12 inch (22.5 x 30 cm) baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a very large microwave-safe bowl, heat the oil and maple syrup, honey or agave on medium power just until the mixture has become more liquid (about 30 seconds). You can also do this is a very large pot, over medium heat on the stove.
  • Remove bowl or pot from heat then stir in vanilla and cinnamon. Add nuts/seeds and stir well.  Add oats and stir again till oats have become uniformly dampened by the oil and syrup mixture.
  • Transfer oat mixture to the prepared baking pan.
  • Total baking time will be 20 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, add the shredded coconut (if using) and be sure to stir the mixture thoroughly so portions that are browning at edge of pan get transferred to the middle.
  • Continue to bake, stirring again every 5 minutes.
  • Let cool in pan for about 1/2 hour before adding cranberries, currants or raisins, if using.
  • Store in airtight container for up to a month.

Makes approximately 5 cups (1.25 L)

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Squash recipe roundup

Five great ways to enjoy a flavourful,  nutritious vegetable!

We cook with squash a lot over here in the Constantly Cooking kitchen. It’s economical and sometime the butternut squashes in particular are so huge they can be used to make several meals. I find them the most versatile but I also love the flavour of acorn squash too. Squash is so nutritious and fibre-rich that just three tablespoons of cooked squash equals one serving of vegetables, if you’re keeping track of that sort of thing.  Here are some of my favourite ways to prepare squash (click on the titles to jump to the recipes).

Baked butternut squash rounds

Southwestern-style turkey and squash stew

Roasted Acorn Squash with Cardamom and Maple Syrup

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Squash, cranberry and feta tarts

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Zucchini recipe roundup

Fresh new ways to prepare this nutritious vegetable!

Zucchini’s a bit of an odd one. It’s got a terrific colour on the outside, but it’s pale on the inside. It’s got some crunch when eaten raw, but can turn to mush when cooked.  In the U.K., it’s called marrow, which might be rather off-putting to non-meat eaters. Despite these potential shortcomings, it’s a great low-calorie vegetable that’s also packed with minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and plenty of potassium. I’m a big fan and I use a lot of zucchini in my cooking. It’s a favourite ingredient in soups and stir-fries; I love to include it in grilled vegetable medleys too. Here are a few recipes in case you’re looking for some fresh zucchini inspiration (click on the title to jump to the recipe).

Crispy baked zucchini sticks  

Raw zucchini noodles with spicy peanut sauce

Cheesy Zucchini-Apple Tian

Cheesy Zucchini-Apple Casserole

Chicken soup with spiralized zucchini noodles  

gluten-free chicken soup

Zucchini Salad with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette

 

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Lentils: a recipe roundup

Enjoy one of Canada’s great homegrown ingredients!

Did you know that Canada is the world’s largest producer  and exporter of lentils? There are over 5,000 lentil farmers across our great land, and 95% of Canada’s lentils are grown in Saskatchewan. Annually, Canadian farmers plant over 3 million acres of lentils, giving us a great homegrown supply of this terrific and inexpensive ingredient. Lentils are a great source of protein and iron, plus they are packed with B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium. No wonder vegans and vegetarians love them so much – and you can too! Here are some of my favourite ways to cook with lentils (click on the titles to jump to the recipes).

Curried Coconut Lentil Soup Mix

Plant-powered pasta sauce

This plant powered pasta sauce is packed with lentils and loads of vegetables

Luscious Lentil Soup

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

 

Lentil-Sweet Potato Soup

 

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