Lentil Leftover Burrito

Corey and I were recently invited over to a friends where we were served a super tasty vegan Shepard’s Pie-filled with lentils and covered in yummy mashed potatoes. I decided I need to branch out and find new ways of serve grains and pulses. Here is my first attempt. A burrito filled with many of the same ingredients as usual but made in a slightly different way. Burritos are a great way to finish up what is left in your fridge from the night before–adding a new flair to whatever it is you are trying to eat up.

Lentil-Burrito

Lentil Leftover Burrito

(serves 2-3)

Lentils:

  • 2 cups of brown lentils, soaked for a few hours
  • 1 veggie broth cube
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • dash of cayenne
  • dash of salt

Burrito:

  • chopped tomato or canned salsa
  • 3 cups spinach
  • roasted veggies (whatever you have on hand – I used cauliflower, broccoli, chopped cabbage, cashew nuts, onion and carrots )
  • 1/2 cup tahini (prepared with 1 finely chopped garlic clove, 1/2 tsp za’atar spice, 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup lemon juice)
  • 4-6 tortilla shells (plain, whole wheat, or brown rice if you can’t have gluten)
  1. Presoak lentils for about 2 hours to make them easier to digest. (Usually I just set some out after breakfast and leave them for the day so they are ready for dinner preparation).
  2. Preheat oven at 180C or 350F for veggies.
  3. Drain lentils and place in a saucepan covered with about two inches of water. Add a mashed up broth cube. Bring to a boil and let simmer (half covered) for about 45 minutes or until the water has boiled away and the lentils are cooked through.
  4. Add soy sauce, cumin, coriander, a dash of cayenne and salt to the saucepan. Mix together and add extra of any of the ingredients to taste. Set aside.
  5. Wash and chop veggies and nuts (if using) into bite sized pieces. Cover with olive oil, a pinch of salt and a few grids of pepper. Place on roasting pan and cook for half and hour to 45 minutes until slightly brown.
  6. Chop tomato or open can of salsa.
  7. Place the spinach into a frying pan on medium heat with a few tbs of water. Let the spinach wilt for a few minutes and remove.
  8. Prepare tahini with fresh lemon juice, 1 chopped garlic clove, za’atar and water. Whisk together ingredients in a bowl. Add more of ingredients to desired taste and texture.
  9. Place a frying pan on low/medium heat. Add a tortilla shell and warm for a minute or two. Flipping to get both sides.
  10. Remove the shell from the pan and fill the middle of the tortilla with ingredients (including tahini). Roll into a burrito (folding in the bottom and sides-sticking a toothpick in the tortilla, if needed, to hold together)
  11. Place the burrito back on the frying pan and let the it fry for a few more minutes (flipping, if possible) until slightly browned (or just lightly warm depending on what you like).
  12. Repeat for each burrito and serve with extra tahini.

Note: You can really add whatever you like with the lentils and burrito shell. Perhaps one of the cashew sauces found earlier in the blog in place of the tahini–like this cashew lime sour cream.

Warm Winter Pasta and Pesto

Hello again. I am sorry for my long absence. It has been a crazy few months. I am now four and a half months pregnant! Wow. And as thrilling being pregnant is… I have to admit that the first three months of pregnancy were not so wonderful. I was horribly sick and even the thought of food made me gag -I basically survived on bagels and cream cheese- hence the abrupt end to my blogging. But now things are starting to get interesting again; although my taste buds are still drawn to fairly bland comfort foods. I will do my best to post every now and again if I can find something other than Annie’s Shells and Cheddar and Haggen Daz mint ice cream to excite my palate. As I said to a good friend, “The all whole foods earth mother approach quickly goes out the window when the smell of rice and quinoa make you sick. All we can do is our best.” Great lessons to learn even before the baby arrives.

Needless to say, here is a tasty and quick recipe that is great for the winter months (or use it in the summer and serve chilled). Filling and healthy and super simple, this recipe is hard to beat. My husband was convinced there was parmesan hidden in the pesto but I told him it was vegan to the core. He was impressed by it’s creamy texture. I hope you will be too. Enjoy.

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Warm Winter Pasta and Pesto

Serves 3-4

Pesto-

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • handful of fresh basil (around 15-20 large washed leaves)
  • 2 cloves of peeled garlic
  • 1/2-2/3 cup olive oil (it is key to have really good first cold pressed olive oil)
  • 4 tbs lemon juice or one whole lemon squeezed
  • a few grinds of fresh pepper and a pinch of salt

Pasta-

  • half a bag of pasta or more depending on number of people (whatever kind you prefer)
  • four cups of fresh spinach
  • head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  1. Place the ingredients for the pesto into a food processor or blender and blend until desired consistency. I prefer something that still has some body to it as opposed to a pesto that is totally smooth. Add more olive oil to get your desired consistency. Set aside. (I tend to make this in the morning so the flavors have time to set but you can also do it while you are preparing the rest of the ingredients).
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boiling temperature and cook pasta as indicated on it’s package.
  3. Bring another pot of water to boil and place spinach and broccoli in a colander above the boiling water. Cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes so that the spinach wilts slightly and the broccoli tenderizes but is still crisp.
  4. Wash and shred the carrot.
  5. Place cooked pasta in a bowl. Add the veggies and pesto and mix.
  6. Eat up!

Note: you can add whatever veggies you have in your fridge to complete the dish. You don’t have to use spinach and broccoli.

One Pot Mujadara and Pickled Indian Eggplant

Hello again! I am finally back in London after quite a hiatus. It is such a gift to be cooking in my own kitchen again–surrounded by my pots and pans and jars of dried goods. My husband seems thrilled too–as he should be.

This dish is chickpea free–per request of my Uncle Jeff. It is an easy single pot meal that will warm your belly as the fall chill sets in (although it certainly hasn’t set itself in London yet!). It goes extremely well with Pickled Indian Eggplant (or a store bought pickled something) and/or Tangy Cashew Miso Sauce (left over from another meal–I will post promptly). The Pickled Eggplant is easier to make than you would think… as is the Mujadara. So dive in and eat up.

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(image and recipe from the Holy Cow Vegan Recipe Blog)

One Pot Mujadara

Serves 3-4 (4 if there is another dish on the menu)

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks, chopped (or one large onion)
  • 1 cup brown lentils (soaked for a few hours or overnight)
  • 3/4 cup basmati rice
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp allspice powder
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt and more to sprinkle
  • 4 cups leafy greens (I used Kale – stems removed and finely slice)
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add leek (or onion) and sauté until brown and crispy (8 to 10 minutes). Make sure to stir the leek as it is browning to keep from burning.
  2. Remove half the leeks to a bowl, sprinkle with salt and set aside.
  3. Add the minced garlic and bay leaves to the pot with the remaining leek and stir for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the cumin, allspice and cayenne to the mixture and stir to coat the mixture.
  5. Add the rice to the pot and stir for another minute or until the rice slightly changes color (or becomes more opaque if using white).
  6. Add the drained lentils, cinnamon and salt. Mix everything together then add 4 cups of water.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil and then cover the pot and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
  8. Uncover and add an even layer of greens to the top. Simmer covered for another 5 minutes.
  9. Take the lid off and let the extra water evaporate through steam (about 5 minutes). Turn off the heat and replace the cover to let the mujadara sit for about 10 minutes.
  10. Add the rest of the browned leeks, sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper and serve on its own or with coconut yogurt, miso sauce, or Pickled Indian Eggplant.

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(image and recipe from Green Kitchen Stories)

Pickled Indian Eggplant

Makes about two small jars

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp (and a pinch) dried red chili flakes
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 6 – 10 curry leaves (or lime leaves)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 medium sized eggplant, cut into small cubes
  • 2 inches ginger, minced
  • 1½ tbsp tumeric
  1. Heat the olive oil in a thick pot, add fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds.
  2. Let it boil for a short while and then add garlic and stir until it has turned light brown
  3. When it has turned light brown add a pinch of red chili flakes, the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Fry while stirring over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the apple cider vinegar, water and salt and stir briefly.
  5. Add eggplant, ginger, tumeric and 1/4 tsp of red chili flakes. Let it boil for least 25-30 minutes–or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Cool off and pour into glass jars. Store them in the fridge.

Note: If you store the eggplant in an airtight jar, the mixture will last for a few weeks. Once you have opened the jar it needs to be eaten in 3-4 days.

Note: Supposedly this is a good side dish to help kick a cold.

Curried Chickpea Salad

Yet another salad creation made with tahini, chickpeas and carrots. The variations are endless. This one is another winner and it is super easy to make. Toss it together and serve on a bed of greens, add it to a sandwich, or serve it with cut up veggies as an appetizer. It is simple, versatile, and yummy. The base of the recipe comes from The Simple Veganista. As usual, I added, subtracted and mixed it all up.

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(image taken from The Simple Veganista)

Curried Chickpea Salad

Serves 4

Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup fresh tahini
  • 3 tbs lemon juice (or juice of one lemon)
  • 1 tbs curry powder
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup water

Salad:

  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 5 green onion/scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds or cashews
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 1/2 avocado, sliced
  1. For the sauce: In a small bowl whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, curry powder, garlic powder and sea salt. The mixture will be thick. Slowly pour in the water (a few tbs at a time) and whisk until you reach a consistency that is slightly pourable but still thick. Set aside.
  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas (about three cups) and place them in a large mixing bowl. Using a large fork, mash about half of the chickpeas. Remove the excess skins that appear in the bowl.
  3. Add the shredded carrots, raisins, scallions, nuts and cilantro and mix together.
  4. Pour the dressing on top and mix until the veggies are lightly coated.
  5. Place the avocado slices on top of the salad with a bit of salt, pepper, and extra cilantro flakes. Serve, as suggested above, on a bed of greens or any way you like.

Chickpea sauté with Swiss Chard and Celery

A lovely friend of ours gave us two large bunches of swiss chard from her garden (THANK YOU Nataleigh-the amazing chef behind Gumbo Galley) and I jumped at the chance to create something yummy. The inspiration came from an Ottolenghi recipe “Chickpea Saute with Greek Yoghurt,” but of course I had a few other things I wanted to use up in the fridge and so this is what I came up with…

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Chickpea sauté with Swiss Chard and Celery

Serves 3-4 as a main course

  • 2 large bunches of swiss chard (about 300 grams or 8 cups)
  • 2 tbs olive oil plus extra to finish
  • 3-4 medium carrots
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup chickpeas (or one can, drained)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper
  • Greek or coconut yoghurt to serve
  1. 1. Separate the chard stalks from the leaves and chop into 3/4″ pieces. Chop the leaves separately. Blanch the stalks in boiling water for 3 minutes, add the leaves and cook for another 2 minutes. Drain everything, refresh under cold water, and squeeze to dry.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat up 2 tbs olive oil on medium heat. Add the peeled and diced carrots and caraway seeds and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the diced celery stalks, chopped onion and chickpeas. Cook for about 4-5 more minutes.
  4. Add cumin, sumac, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and blanched chard stalks and leaves. Mix in and let sauté for another minute or two.
  5. Remove from heat, mix in a tablespoon or two more olive oil, add the mint and cilantro and let cool a bit. Taste and adjust seasoning as you prefer. Separate into serving dishes, add a dollop of yoghurt on top of each sauté (and maybe a bit more mint/cilantro) and serve.

Carrot Salad with Tahini Dressing and Roasted Chickpeas

I really wanted to try this recipe in order to make the roasted chickpeas. I have heard they are a great protein snack. I made come extra in order to keep them on hand for the next few days. Let’s see if they disappear.

The basis for this dish comes from a Smitten Kitchen recipe. I added a few things to the dressing and the salad itself in order to finish up the veggies in our fridge. I have included the extra veggies as EXTRAS at the bottom of the ingredients list. Of course, you can add, subtract anything you like.

I have talked about tahini before, but I want to reiterate that fresh tahini paste is nothing like what most westerners think of as tahini. After trying tahini I brought back from Israel, Corey says that regular tahini now tastes rancid to him. I don’t think it is quite that bad and it is fine to use in recipes, but the flavor of real tahini paste is infinitely better. You can find it in Middle Eastern stores or order it online–it will be worth the effort (and if you get two containers they will last you for a month or two). If you are in the states, here is a link to a recommended brand. If you are in London, there is a great store called Green Valley near Marble Arch that sells a good brand of tahini paste. (While you are there pick up spices such as Za’atar and Sumac).

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Image taken from Smitten Kitchen

Carrot Salad with Tahini Dressing and Roasted Chickpeas

Serves 4 or 6 as a side

Dressing

  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup well-stirred tahini (see above)
  • 2 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 tsp honey or agave
  • If available: 1/2 tsp za’atar and sumac

Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-ounce can, drained / patted dry on towels
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Salad

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro (or on hand fresh herb)
  • 1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped (or on hand nut)

Salad Extras

  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 cup chopped beet
  • 1/3 cup chopped sundried tomato (in oil)
  • 2 cups pre made brown rice
  1. Turn the oven on to 425 F. Line a baking pan with tinfoil.
  2. Blend the ingredients of the dressing together. Taste and add spice as desired.
  3. Toss the chickpeas with olive oil, sea salt, cumin until covered. Spread out on the baking pan and roast until they are browned and crispy. This will take between 15 and 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them, tossing occasionally to make sure they cook evenly. Set aside.
  4. Grate carrots. Mix with cilantro, chopped pistachios, a large handful of roasted chickpeas and dressing. Stir until well mixed.
  5. IF USING: roast cauliflower and beet at 425 F for about 15 minutes (using same process as chickpeas). Add cauliflower, beet and sundered tomato to salad mixture.

NOTE: Salad will keep in the fridge for a few days but add chickpeas and pistachios just before eating so they stay nice and crunchy.

Broccoli & Cashew Quinoa Burrito

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this recipe. This version is based on a recipe I discovered in my new favorite cookbook: The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon. (You can find it on amazon.com or at Barnes and Noble.) I pretty much followed the recipe as it is written but added in a bit of my own flair. Corey and I took this dish to a dinner party without trying it first. I was a bit nervous about the cashew sauce aspect but it met with a resounding “Yummmm.” The recipe list might look overwhelming but the recipe itself is super easy.

In the recipe book the sauce is called cashew-cheese sauce but we both decided it is better to label things as they are instead of pretending that they are something that you miss or no longer enjoy. The sauce has a great flavor in its own right but calling it a cheese substitute does both the sauce and cheese a disservice. So on my blog, I am just going to call it cashew sauce. Enjoy.

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(image taken from The Oh She Glows Cookbook)

Broccoli & Cashew Quinoa Burrito (adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook)

Serves 4-5

  • 1 pkg of tortillas (or large lettuce leaves)

Cashew Sauce

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight-or for a few hours)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or any non-dairy alternative)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/4 small onion (or 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt (or 1/2 tsp regular salt)
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

Burrito

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (or quinoa/rice mixture or whatever grain you like)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped (about 2 small onions)
  • 3/4 cup finely sliced celery (about 2-3 stalks)
  • 2 cups diced broccoli florets (chopped into small pieces)
  • 4-5 oil soaked sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (about 4-5 tbs)
  • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped (make your own for use from a jar)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • fresh greens (I like baby spinach but you can use what you like)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Note: You can add in any veggies you like so feel free to switch up the ingredients depending on what you have in your fridge.

  1. Make the Cashew Sauce: In a food processor or blender, combine all the Cashew Sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. The sauce will be quite thick and can keep in an air-tight jar in the fridge for 4-5 days.
  2. Place the dry quinoa in a sauce pan with 2 1/4 cups of water and a pinch of salt (or a bouillon cube for more flavor). Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until water is all gone (about 15 minutes).
  3. In a large pan heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and let sauté until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Add in some salt and pepper to season.
  4. Stir in the celery, broccoli, and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook until broccoli is bright green but still a bit crisp.
  5. Add chopped roasted peppers, quinoa, and Cashew Sauce and mix.
  6. Cook until heated through. Stir the basil into the mixture.
  7. Turn oven to 350 F or 140 C and heat up the burrito wraps until they are warm (keep an eye on them and don’t let them crisp). This should only take a few minutes.
  8. Spoon mixture onto tortillas, add some fresh greens and whatever other condiments you like (salsa, etc). Fold the burrito and serve. You can also grill or press the burrito if you like.