the Menu: The New Year – Clean Eating Recipes (Part 2)

Last week, we started with clean eating breakfast and snack dishes. Here are a few of my favourite easy-to-prepare, healthy main dishes and desserts. You’ll feel happy, full and satisfied!

 

Main Dishes

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

butternut squash soup

1 butternut squash
2 tbsp ginger, finely minced (If you want a lighter ginger flavour, reduce this to just 1 tbsp)
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable stock or broth (Whatever you have on hand)
1/2 cup yogurt (Homemade, or store-bought Greek yogurt)
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Peel and remove the seeds of the butternut squash and chop the squash into even 1 inch cubes (even pieces ensures that all the squash cooks evenly).
2. Toss the squash with the oil and spices.
3. Spread out as a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes or until fork-tender. Once cooked, let the squash cool.
4. Toss the squash and the remaining ingredients into a food processor and blend until everything is well-incorporated and smooth. Do a taste test and adjust the seasoning as needed.

If you want a very velvety texture, strain the soup before serving. Enjoy this soup on its own, with a salad or a grilled cheese sandwich.

 

Quinoa and Lentil Cakes

quinoa cakes

1 cup of quinoa, cooked
1 cup of lentils or beans, cooked
1 carrot, shredded
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 handful of spinach, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 eggs
1/2 cup bread crumbs (Italian or Panko, whatever you have on hand)
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 tsp toasted cumin powder (can also use 1 tbsp lightly toasted cumin seeds)
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.  Prepare a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, very lightly oiled.
  2. Toss all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl (make sure the quinoa is cooled before you add it to the mixture). Incorporate all the ingredients well. If the mixture feels too wet, add some more bread crumbs to help bind the mixture better.
  3. Using your hands, create small cakes about the diameter of your palm. Mixture makes roughly 8 to 10 cakes.
  4. Place on a middle rack in the oven for 15 minutes. Check the cakes and they should be soft to the touch, crisped on the outside but not falling apart. Flip the cakes over and cook for about another 15 minutes so both sides are crispy and golden brown.

You can enjoy these on their own with some Greek yogurt or homemade tzatziki sauce; as a vegetarian burger; or as an appetizer in lieu of traditional aloo tikkis and chutney.

 

Thai-style Zucchini “Noodles” in a Coconut-Almond Sauce

photo (8)

1 zucchini, ends cut off
2 cups of chopped broccoli florets and diced broccoli stalks
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1/2 red onion, diced (same size as your broccoli stalks)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp organic almond butter (or peanut butter)
1/4 cup of organic coconut milk*
1 tsp organic coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp Thai seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp hemp seeds
Sriracha to taste (optional)

*If you don’t have coconut milk on hand, you can use whatever milk you have and add some coconut flakes to get the coconut flavour.

 

  1. For the zucchini — If you have a spiralizer or julienne peeler, use that to make long, strands of pasta-like noodles. Otherwise, cut your zucchini by hand, a box grater or a mandolin, making long, medium-thickness slices. Then, take your slices and julienne the zucchini.
  2. On medium-high heat, using a wok or deep frying pan, melt the oil and add the cumin seeds. Toast the cumin seeds for just a few seconds, until fragrant. Then add the onion, ginger, garlic and broccoli stalks and stir, making sure not to burn the garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions start to soften.
  3. Add the broccoli, and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the zucchini, carrots, all the seasonings and the Sriracha sauce, if desired. Mix well and cook for another few minutes. If the pan appears to be too dry, add a touch more oil.
  4. Add the almond butter and milk and toss everything together so that the almond butter melts and the dish becomes creamy. Lower the heat to medium and let everything cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the creamy sauce begins to lightly simmer. If you would like more sauce, add more almond butter and milk, a little at a time, to reach your desired consistency.
  5. Stir continuously. Once everything is well-tossed in the sauce, remove from heat.
  6. Serve topped with hemp seeds or your choice of unsalted, chopped nuts.

Makes about 2-3 servings

 

Desserts

These two desserts don’t make sense when you read the ingredients, but are surprisingly delicious. Made with healthier ingredients, you won’t have to feel guilty going for an extra serving.
Black Bean Brownies
Adapted from JoyousHealth.ca

IMG_28891 can of low sodium or no salt black beans, well-rinsed
2 eggs
1/3 cup organic coconut oil, softened
1/3 cup cacao powder or cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut sugar OR 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/3 cup raw honey
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp coconut flakes
2 tbsp slivered almonds or 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8” baking pan.
2. Toss all the ingredients except the chocolate chips, coconut flakes and nuts, in a food processor and blend together until all the ingredients are well-incorporated and the batter appears smooth (wipe down the sides of the processor as needed to make sure all ingredients get mixed).
3. Pour the batter into the pan. Evenly top the batter with the remaining ingredients.
4. Bake for about 30 minutes. Insert a clean toothpick in the middle of the brownie-cake — if it comes out clean, the brownies are ready. Cool before cutting into the brownies.

Note: These won’t be as decadently sweet the way you would expect “regular” (i.e. non-black bean brownies) to be.

 

Choco-cado Pudding
Adapted from JoyousHealth.ca

chocolate avocado pudding2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup of cacao powder or cocoa powder
1/2 cup raw honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 ripe banana (optional – if you don’t like banana flavour, omit this ingredient)

Toss all the ingredients into a food processor and blend together until smooth. Refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Makes about 1 1/2  cups.

This is great on its own, or with some fruit. It’s rich and thick enough that you could also try this as cupcake frosting.

 

the Menu is Jugni Style’s lifestyle column written by Naveen Atwal, bringing you details on what to eat and how to make it. Plus tips on entertaining like a pro – or at least pretending you are!