Stuffed Mushrooms

Kids can cook! Engaging them in the kitchen, as early as possible, helps to set them up for a lifetime of healthy eating, by increasing their food literacy and confidence in cooking. Start by getting them to participate in the menu planning and grocery list so they have some choice over what they’re making. 

These stuffed mushrooms were completely Nora’s idea and she developed the recipe on the fly! They are savoury and delicious and add even more veggies to your plate.

Serves 4

12 large button mushrooms

½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 Tbsp parsley, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ lemon, juiced

½ cup parmesan and/or cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a baking dish. Carefully remove the stems from the mushrooms without breaking the caps then lay the caps upside down in the baking dish. Combine the nuts, feta, parsley, garlic and lemon in a mixing bowl then fill the caps. Top with the parmesan and/or cheddar. Bake for 20-30 minutes until mushrooms are tender and cheese is bubbly. Serve warm.

Recipe by Nora Crowley (age 11) and her mom, Nicole Fetterly RD

Stinging Nettle Soup

Stinging nettle is a plant that emerges in the spring throughout the forests of BC and has been used by our indigenous communities for centuries. The ‘sting’ comes from tiny needles on the plant that contain an acid that irritates our skin. Gardening gloves must be worn for harvesting but once nettles are cooked, the ‘sting’ goes away. For more information, check out http://mapping.uvic.ca/section/stinging-nettle

Always use caution when wild foraging for food and be sure you know what you’re looking for and how to harvest and prepare it safely.

Stinging nettle is often used to make tea but can also be used in most applications as a substitute for spinach.

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

½ pound stinging nettles, washed (or substitute spinach)

1 pound potatoes, peeled and chopped

6 cups stock or water

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

¼ tsp nutmeg

Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish (optional)

Heat a large pot on medium-low then add the olive oil and onion. Sauté for 5-10 minutes until onion is soft and golden. Add nettles, potatoes, water, salt and pepper. Cook for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly then blend until smooth and creamy, in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender in the pot. Add nutmeg and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately, topped with Greek yogurt or sour cream if desired, and with bread and a spring salad.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Vegetable Stock 101

Making your own stock adds so much richness and depth to a soup and is a great way to minimize waste and cook ‘nose-to-tail’ whether you eat animals or not. The key is to keep a container or bag in the freezer and add the parts of plants we normally compost like celery leaves and carrot ends. For those consuming animal proteins, buy whole chickens rather than pieces and save the bones after cooking, then reduce the amount of vegetables in the recipe below and add the bones with the water.

Once you’ve made the stock, fill it with your favourite soup ingredients, like fresh spring vegetables, cooked legumes and whole grains.

Makes about 2 Litres

1 Tbsp olive oil

4- 6 cups vegetable ends or peels from celery, carrot, leeks, scallions, garlic, fennel, chard, lettuce, potatoes, parsnips, green beans, squash, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, and asparagus, corn cobs, winter squash, beet greens, and herbs like parsley and cilantro (*be mindful of onion skins and beet peels as they will colour the stock and cruciferous veg like cauliflower, sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and turnip that are too strong)

OR use 1 chopped onion and any of the above vegetables

12 cups water

2 bay leaves

2 tsp salt

Optional ingredients: using a reusable tea-style infuser, fill with spices like allspice, coriander seed, peppercorns and perhaps star anise if you’re going to make pho.

In a large pot, heat oil on medium low heat. Add vegetables and stir occasionally for 5-10 minutes until softening and golden. Add bones if using. Top with water, generously covering all of the vegetables (and bones). Add the bay leaves, salt and other spices. Turn up heat to bring to a boil then lower to simmer for at least an hour. Drain solids. Use immediately or cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Kid-Made Quesadilla

Quesadillas are a great recipe to start children making, as early as 7 or 8 years old, and they work well for lunch, snacks or dinner. Using black or refried beans adds a dose of plant-based protein, iron and fibre which will keep kids satisfied longer. They can be made on the stove top or in the microwave with adult supervision (remember to teach them not to use metal in the microwave!).

Serves 2

2 large whole grain tortillas (or 4 corn tortillas)

½ cup grated or crumbled cheese

½ cup black or refried beans

Salsa, guacamole or hot sauce as desired

In a large skillet (or on a large microwave-safe plate), place 1 tortilla. Cover with the cheese then sprinkle the beans evenly over top. If using refried beans, they can be spread on the other tortilla. Place the second tortilla on top of the cheese and beans. Turn stove on to medium low and heat quesadilla for approximately 5 minutes on one side then carefully flip and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes. If microwaving, cook on high for 2 minutes or until cheese is fully melted. Be careful removing the hot plate from the microwave or the quesadilla from the skillet. Using clean kitchen scissors, cut the quesadilla into 8 even pieces. Enjoy with salsa and guacamole or your other favourite vegetables!

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Feel the Beet!

It’s Valentine’s Day and you want to show your love without focusing on candy and chocolates. What’s the answer? Beet it! One of the most colourful vegetables in the world, the pink hue of beets can bring the Valentine’s spirit to any meal. Here are a few ideas to try:

Breakfast:

  • Pretty in Pink Smoothie: add one or two peeled beets to a smoothie made with raspberries or strawberries and yogurt, kefir or milk. Hemp hearts can add extra protein, fibre and healthy fats.
  • Pink Pancakes: peel and grate a beet and add to the batter of your favourite whole grain or potato pancakes.

Lunch: 

  • Love Soup: make borscht, a traditional Russian beet soup. Add other veggies like potato and carrot to mellow the flavour for those new to beets and consider pureeing it for a smooth texture. Serve topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh dill.
  • Beet Hummus: add roasted beets to your favourite hummus recipe (or save time and use store-bought). Serve with veggies for dipping and whole grain pita or crackers.

Dinner: 

  • Valentine’s Mash: add a peeled, chopped beet to your potatoes as you cook them and watch the magic of them turning pink! Serve with beautifully pink wild salmon and pickled red onions.
  • Beet Bowls: add grated beet to your favourite grain bowl, along with other cooked and/or raw veggies and plant-based protein like smoked or baked tofu, tempeh, edamame, nuts or seeds.

Dessert:

  • Okay, maybe we do need a little sweet treat on Valentines! Healthify it with whole grains and beets in mini Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes. Colour the cream cheese frosting with beet juice made by grating and squeezing beets rather than artificial food colouring.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Med Spread

Eating like they do in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea has been shown to have positive effects on chronic disease risk and mental health. The Mediterranean diet is founded in a daily abundance of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes, olive oil and unrefined grains. They also add seafood, poultry, cheese and yogurt a few times per week but limit sweets and meat to occasional consumption. Celebrate the Mediterranean way of eating with your family by filling the table with an assortment of traditional dishes:

  • Hummus—easy to make at home from chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, garlic and lemon (or pick up a locally made one). Also consider trying another dip like Baba Ghanoush, made from roasted eggplant.
  • Feta or goat cheese—experiment with cheeses made from goat or sheep’s milk for variety and flavour.
  • Olives—choose an assortment of different sizes and colours.
  • Veggies—roasted, pureed into dips, tossed in a salad or try mushrooms sautéed in garlic and white wine. Be sure to include 3 or 4 different vegetables.
  • Olive oil—as a dip for bread, drizzled on veggies or legumes—the greener the better for loads of antioxidants called polyphenols.
  • Grain salad—try our recipe for Warm Walnut Barley salad or experiment with other whole grains like farro or millet.
  • Whole grain pita bread—although a refined grain product, many kinds have very few ingredients.
  • Fruit—figs, grapes and dates are nature’s candy and pair well with cheese—enjoy dessert while you’re eating dinner!

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Stir Fried Veggies & Tofu

A stir fry is a great way to use up veggies from the fridge and fill your plate with plants! The key is to group your vegetables according to cooking time so they get added to the pan or wok at the right time to achieve the right texture (e.g. not too crunchy, not too mushy). The tofu is also another conundrum—if you’ve ever had bland, improperly cooked tofu, it’s possibly turned you off for life! But tofu can be so delicious, as long as it has time to absorb some flavour. This can be done by marinating it in advance or to save time, try using smoked tofu which already has great texture and flavour. 

Serves 4

1 Tbsp high-heat cooking oil (e.g. peanut, grapeseed, coconut, canola)

6-8 cups of vegetables

2 packages firm, extra-firm or smoked tofu

1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar or lime juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger, grated or finely minced (optional)

2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Tofu Marinade (unless using smoked tofu):

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

Juice of 1 lemon or lime

2 Tbsps fresh herbs (e.g. cilantro, parsley, basil)

 

1. If using firm or extra-firm tofu, marinate it for 1 hour at room temperature (or in the fridge for a few hours or overnight) prior to cooking. Simply combine marinade ingredients in a shallow dish then add 1- inch cubes of tofu and swirl gently to coat the tofu.

2. Meanwhile, prepare your veggies. It’s key to have everything cut in small enough pieces that they cook quickly but not diced so small it turns to a mushy stew. So quarter or halve mushrooms, slice peppers, onion and cabbage, tear or slice greens, cut broccoli into small florets, trim the ends off green beans. Make the sauce by combing the soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar or lime, garlic and ginger then set aside. 

3. When everything is ready, heat your large pan or wok on medium-high heat then add the cooking oil. Add one drop of water to the pan to test if it sizzles and pops, meaning it’s ready First cook the heartier veggies like broccoli, carrots and onion, stirring continually. After 3 minutes, add the tofu, drained of any remaining marinade. After 3 more minutes, add the next round of veggies like peppers, cabbage and mushrooms. After another 3 minutes, continuously stirring, add the remaining veggies like green beans and leafy greens and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the sauce, stirring to coat everything in the pan. Serve garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro over a bed of brown rice.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Salmon en Papillote (in paper)

Eating fatty fish like salmon at least twice a week is the best way to ensure your family is getting the essential omega 3 fatty acids they need for a healthy brain, heart and immune system. By cooking the fish in parchment (or foil), it keeps it very moist and flavourful, not to mention saving on the clean-up time!

Serves 4

4 filets (~150 g each) of wild Pacific or steelhead salmon
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
½ tsp salt
1 lemon, sliced thinly in rounds

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Take 4 (~45 cm) sheets of parchment paper (or foil if necessary) and lay out on a large baking tray. Place one filet of salmon in the center of each piece.

2. In a small bowl, combine the mustard, oil, parsley, garlic and salt. Brush evenly over each piece of salmon then top with slices of lemon.

3. Fold the parchment up and over the salmon and fold and pinch the edges together to make a loose seal (like you’re wrapping a present). Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes until fish flakes easily with a fork.

4. Remove from parchment and lay fish on a bed of brown rice. Serve with steamed veggies or a salad.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Creamy Carrot Soup with Peanut Drizzle

Carrots are an easy and affordable vegetable to find at this dark time of year because they store well over the winter. Adding a drizzle of flavourful peanut sauce (or simply chopped peanuts to save time) takes this comforting soup to the next level!

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
4 medium carrots, sliced
2 cups low sodium stock or water
¼ cup short grain brown or Arborio rice
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ cup whole milk
¼ cup peanut sauce (homemade or bottled)
2 tbsp parsley or cilantro, finely chopped

1. In a large pot, heat oil on medium then add onion, celery and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in carrots, stock and rice then bring to a boil. Reduce heat simmer, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes or until carrots and rice are tender.

2. In a blender or food processor, puree soup in batches until smooth and creamy. Return to pot and heat until hot. Stir in salt, pepper and milk. 

3. Ladle into warmed bowls and garnish with a drizzle of peanut sauce (or chopped peanuts) and parsley or cilantro.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Warm Walnut and Barley Salad

A flavourful and satisfying vegetarian meal or side-dish packed with nutrients, like fibre, antioxidants and healthy fats to keep your heart and brain healthy. Walnut oil provides a warm, nutty finish that complements hearty barley and sharp goat feta. Serve with a green salad alone, with grilled salmon or even as a new addition to a holiday dinner.

Serves 4

1 cup hulled or pearl barley
1 1/2 cups mushroom or other vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup walnut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch spinach, chopped
1 cup goat feta, crumbled
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Place barley, stock and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, to make the dressing, whisk together the walnut oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, salt and garlic. Set aside,
allowing the flavours to combine. When the barley is cooked, remove from heat and stir in spinach to wilt from the heat of the barley. Add the dressing, feta and walnuts and mix well. Serve warm, although it also keeps beautifully for 3 – 5 days in the fridge and can be eaten as a cold salad.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD