Apple Cinnamon Greens

Just a simple salad that I thought was d-lish so I wanted to share 🙂 It’s fresh, fruity and a little sweet, perfect for quenching a lunch time sweet tooth! Adjust the amount of ingredients as needed.

Salad

  • a bunch assorted greens (spinach, red & green leaf lettuce)
  • 1 apple, cored, quartered, then cut into thin chip-like slices
  • handful of whole raw almonds, roughly chopped (for extra nutritional value soak the almonds in water for a few hours. This makes them easier to digest)
  • small handful of dried cranberries, chopped
  • pumpkin seeds

Dressing (here’s some basics)

  • about 3 tbsp olive oil
  • about 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp tahini
  • 1 tsp honey
  • cinnamon to taste
  • dash of salt

Combine dressing ingredients in small container with a lid and shake, shake, shake!!! Drizzle on your salad & toss!

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The Basics of Homemade Veggie Broth

I’m sure that this trick is as old as time, but we just started doing it so we thought we would pass it along.

As a vegetarian we eat a lot of veg, and ended up throwing out a lot of ends of veg; things like the tops and bottoms of onions, tops and peels of carrots, ends of celery sticks, asparagus, broccoli. Almost anything you are putting down your garburator, or that’s edible and going into your garbage. If you compost, you can still do that when you are done with it! Instead of throwing out these odds and ends keep them in a container or bag until the end of the week, or you can freeze them and save for later if you can’t accumulate enough before things go bad. It takes us about 1-2 weeks to get enough veg to make about 10 cups of broth. Its hard to say how much veg exactly you need to have, but generally have enough to be just covered by the water.

To add flavour to the stock you can add a number of things. Most commonly we use the following:

  • 5-10 bay leaves
  • A palm-ful of black peppercorns
  • 1-2 Tbsp of salt (You can also go salt free, but it will be fairly bland)
  • A palm-ful of cumin seeds
  • any leftover herbs from the week
  • a couple whole garlic cloves

When you’ve simmered it all for a while and achieved some tasty broth, strain it to separate the liquid. Now you use it in recipes for the week or freeze it! You can even make your own broth cubes: continue to simmer just the liquid of the broth until it reduces a little then pour into ice cube trays!

~ Gregarious Greens & Lavish Legumes

Vegetable Tagine

My attempt at something Moroccan!

You are definitely welcome to improvise with this one and comment with helpful tips! I’ve made it a goal to go to Morocco and India to learn their delicious ways. For me they are two very flavorful, wonderful ethic foods that I can never seem to do well enough!

So the thing I’ve noticed about Moroccan is it’s unique mix of sweet and spicy, the sweet often coming from nuts and dried fruits like apricots, prunes, dates, etc. Whole spices are definitely important to the flavour of this dish.  Where the pestle and mortar falls short (ie: cinnamon sticks) I’ve found my electric coffee grinder is awesome!

(again, I don’t usually measure- these are kind of estimates, so just adjust to your taste!)

Vegetable Tagine

Spice blend

  • about 4-5 inches of cinnamon stick
  • 3 tsp anise seed
  • 3 tsp whole coriander
  • 1 tsp cardamom (I used ground)
  • 2 tbsp  ground coriander

I ground the cinnamon, anise, cardamom and coriander together into a fragrant blend, and you can make a little extra to have on hand for other things. But feel free to put whole green cardamom pods (maybe 4-6) in your dish, just warn people or pull them out… not that it tastes bad to chomp on one, just a little surprising! 🙂  …mmm cardamom!

  • olive oil
  • 2 large onions chopped in large chunks, like wedges (I used 1 yellow and 1 red)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped very fine
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced turmeric (or powdered if you don’t have fresh – it looks like ginger in case you’ve never purchased it before, it’s a little more burnt orange in colour)
  • 3 carrots, chopped on a bias about 1/4 ” thick
  • 4 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1-2 zucchini, chopped a little thicker than the carrots
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed, soaked and strained
  • about 2 cups of veggie broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • chili flakes or cayenne to taste
  • salt to taste
  • handful of dried apricots (halved or quartered)
  • handful of toasted almonds

Pull out that deep fry pan, and lid again… That is unless you have a nice clay tagine to bake it in! I really don’t know much about cooking Moroccan so please feel free to leave some comments! I just made this to satisfy my craving and it was quite yummy 🙂

Ok! Here we go: Heat some olive oil (about 4 tbsp) over medium-high heat. Toss in the onion and get the edges browning a little, then reduce to med heat and simmer until translucent. You can add the garlic before the onion is finished and get it a little toasted. Add the ginger, turmeric, and about half of the spice blend- stir and let the spices warm for about 1 min. Add the carrots and a half cup of broth and cook for another 5 min. Now add in the tomatoes, zucchini, chickpeas, remaining broth (should be the consistency of stew but not like a soup), bay leaves, and a pinch of cayenne and salt. Cover and allow to simmer for 15 min. Then taste and add more salt, cayenne, or spice blend as needed, as well as the almonds and apricots. If you prefer your almonds to be fully crunchy feel free to add them at the end. Simmer until the veggies are cooked through and serve over couscous.

Couscous

Make enough portions of couscous to serve. You can make with veg broth instead of water, and add a sprinkle of turmeric while it’s cooking for added flavour and colour! When it was finished, I tossed it with a some hemp seed, flax, pumpkin seeds and fresh chopped mint. (just be sure to crush the flax with a mortar and pestle so your body can break it down and use it properly)

Wild Rice and Red Wine Risotto

I can’t seem to get enough of Gregarious Greens’ delicious risottos! So I decided to try my hand at an improvised version. And, as I’ve mentioned before I always seem to have a little red wine in the house, so I thought I’d make one with red rather than white. It turned out so good. Enjoy!

For the rice feel free to use the traditional risotto rice, arborio if you wish, but I wanted to try something different so I used a country wild rice mix that has a blend of brown and wild rice. Cooking times and the amount of broth may vary depending on the rice you use but follow the same basic steps and just test it until it’s done.

Risotto

  • 3 cups        broth (homemade veg broth)
  • 3 tbsp         olive oil margarine
  • 3                  cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1                   medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup           wild rice mix
  • 1/2 cup       red wine (I had a med-full bodied blend)
  • 1/2 cup       organic canned peas
  • 2-3 tbsp      fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup       freshly grated parmesan cheese (save some for garnish!)
  • 1/4 cup       crumbled feta cheese
  • pinch          freshly ground black pepper to taste

Use a deep fry pan with a lid for this, a saucepan will also work if you don’t have one. I had started simmering some vegetable broth about an hour before and had it warming and ready to use on the side.

  1. Melt the margarine over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute until the onion becomes clear. (about 8 min)
  3. Add the garlic, stir and saute for about another minute.
  4. Now toss in the rice, stir and let it toast for about 5 min.
  5. Pour in the wine and cook until it is absorbed. (about 2 min)
  6. Now we begin adding the Broth a little at a time, so pour in 3/4 cup and let simmer until it is absorbed. (stir occasionally, about 8 min)
  7. Repeat step 6 (about 12 min)
  8. Add the rest of the broth and simmer for 10-15 min covered.
  9. Remove the lid and test the rice, continue to add more broth or simmer more if necessary.
  10. Over medium heat, add the peas, rosemary, cheese, and pepper and stir until heated through.
  11. Serve, sprinkle with some Parmesan for garnish, and…Voila! Risotto!

I served mine with blackened carrots and roasted asparagus! ~ To prep this while you make your risotto: Chop a few carrots on a bias, place in a backing dish at about 350F with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, toss occasionally. They are done when they reach your desired blackness. You can add the asparagus about 10 min before the carrots will be done.

Immersion Blender

Hey folks, sorry for the long no posting period. We went through moves to new houses and have been settling. We are hoping to have new posts on a more regular basis.

During this period I celebrated my birthday. One of the wonderful gifts that I received was an immersion blender. I have used it a few times now and I love it.

The main use that I have for it is for soup. If you look back at some of the soup posts on the blog you will notice that I mention pulsing the broth in a blender or food processor until smooth. This is great, but it can be hard to blend everything in the pot and creates quite the mess. Well no more! I simply place the immersion blender into the soup broth, pulse for 30 seconds and I have a smooth broth with little to no mess. I don’t have to clean the food processor or blender containers anymore! Immersion blenders run a range of prices but I am led to believe that the one that I received was well priced and it works great for me.

I got a cuisinart immersion blender. It also comes with a few other attachments such as a whisk and a mini food processor for quickly chopping small batches of veg that I have yet to use.

Do you have an immersion blender or thoughts on them? Let us know in the comments below.

Creamy Potato Soup with Salad


~ Tonight’s secret spice is Nutmeg! ~

This dish is so easy and has great simple flavour! Definitely comfort food 🙂

Soup

  • 2-3 yellow potatoes, skin on and diced into small cubes
  • 2 leeks, cut lengthwise (be sure to rinse out any sand) and thinly chopped
  • 1 onion, long thin slices
  • vegetable broth, about 2 cups (I had some homemade left over from Moroccan the night before)
  • almond milk (make sure it’s completely unsweetened! I used almond breeze)
  • about 4 tbsp butter (or we use olive oil margarine)
  • about 1-1.5 tbsp nutmeg

I like to use a deep frying pan with a lid for dishes like this so I can saute the vegetables first.

  1. Melt about 1 tbsp butter in the pan and add the onion on mid-high temp with the lid and let it sit until it starts to brown.
  2. Add the nutmeg and stir let it warm on the heat for 1-2 min.
  3. Stir and add the rest of the butter and the leak.
  4. Put the lid back on and cook until the leek starts to soften, stir occasionally.
  5. Add the potato and the veg broth with a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper.
  6. Let cook with the lid on until the potatoes start to soften (about 15 min).
  7. Stir in almond milk, add more nutmeg, salt or pepper to taste if needed.
  8. Heat through about 5 more min.

I mashed the potatoes a little at the end for thicker consistency, like a more rustic version of a blended soup. You could also blend this soup if you’d like


Salad

I wanted to make a salad that also had a bit of the nutmeg flavour. It tasted a little like carrot cake! Yum!!

  • red leaf lettuce
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • handful of pecans

Dressing

  • olive oil
  • apple cider vinegar
  • about 1 tbsp tahini
  • about 2 tsp honey (or agave syrup)
  • nutmeg to taste
  • salt to taste – and I threw in a pinch of some leftover blended spices from the Moroccan food (cinnamon, cardamom, coriander & anise)

Salsa Soup

I love salsa. This soup is inspired by salsa and my love for it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound tomatoes; chopped in half and roasted on a cookie sheet at 400F for about 30 minutes
  • 5 cups miso or veggie broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 bulbs garlic, minced
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1-2 Jalapeños, seeds removed and chopped finely
  • 2-4 tbsp Cumin
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Roast the tomatoes in the oven.
  2. Once they are done, fry the onions and garlic with olive oil in a deep pan until they start to soften.
  3. Add the tomatoes, jalapeños, half the black beans and broth.
  4. In an upright blender or food processor blend it in batches until it’s all smooth.
  5. Add the rest of the black beans, cumin, salt and pepper, and spice it up to your liking with the hot sauce.
  6. Heat and serve.

You can serve with a bit of cheese grated and/or tortilla chips broken up over top.

Other ingredients that would probably work (untested):

  • Cilantro; garnish with it or add it chopped up about 2 minutes before you serve the soup
  • Corn; add it after the blender or the same way the black beans were
  • Some salsa!
  • Roast the garlic with the tomatoes
  • Hemp or Sesame Seeds; add just before serving