Lentil Kebabs

Did you know that every March we celebrate nutrition month in Canada? This year the theme is “good for you”. It highlights that many factors, such as culture and food traditions, impact how healthy eating looks different for everyone. These lentil kebabs are a fun plant-based twist to traditional kebabs that are enjoyed in many cultures across the world. Serve them with your favorite vegetables, a brown rice pilaf, and yogurt garlic dip for a deliciously balanced meal! 

Serves 15 kebabs 

Ingredients 

3/4 cup raw green lentils

1/2 cup breadcrumbs 

1/2 medium onion, diced 

1/2 lemon 

2 tbsp ground flaxseeds

2 garlic cloves, minced (or 2 tsp garlic paste or 1/4 tsp garlic powder) 

2 tsp ground cumin 

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp garam masala 

1/2 inch ginger root, minced (or 1 tsp ginger paste or 1/8 tsp ginger powder)

1/2 tsp salt 

3 cups & 4 tbsp water

2 ½ tbsp vegetable oil 

Steps

Rinse lentils in water and remove any stones if necessary. Add rinsed lentils to a medium pot with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Allow the lentils to simmer until tender but not mushy (approximately 20 mins) 

While the lentils are cooking, add a tsp of oil and the chopped onions to a pan on medium heat. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions are translucent.

Make a “flax egg” (this provides the binding capacity like an egg with a boost of omega 3’s) by adding the ground flax seeds and 4 tbsp of water to a bowl. Stir them together gently and allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes until it becomes thick. 

When the lentils are done cooking, strain and rinse them once more with water. 

Add the strained lentils to a large mixing bowl with the breadcrumbs, sautéed onions, the thickened flax and water mixture, ginger, garlic, and spices. Mash everything together well with your hands or a spoon. 

Roll the mixture into 1–2-inch logs or patties with damp hands. Gently squish the kebabs together if needed to keep them secure. 

Fry the kebabs on the stove top with 1-2 tbsps of oil until the outer edges are crispy. Alternatively, brush the uncooked kebabs with a bit of oil, skewer them, and grill them or bake them in the oven. 

Allow the kebabs to cool and harden. Drizzle lemon juice from ½ a lemon evenly on the cooked kebabs.

Serve with a yogurt garlic dip and other sides as desired! 

Recipe by Sophia Jhajj (5th year UBC Dietetics student)

Spring Smoothie Bowl

As the days get warmer, you might start to crave cooler foods. A vibrant smoothie bowl can brighten your day and give you a boost of energy before heading outside to enjoy the spring weather. Smoothie bowls are a fun twist to your regular smoothies —it’s meant to be eaten with a spoon! It is also a great way to get in extra fruit and vegetables into your day. 

Serves 2

Smoothie Bowl

½ – 1 cup milk (or fortified soy beverage)

2 cups frozen mixed berries (for a more tropical flavour, use frozen mango and/or frozen pineapple)

2 frozen sliced ripe bananas

1 cup spinach 

Optional Toppings:

You can add any combination of toppings to your preference. Here are some ideas: shredded coconut flakes, granola, fresh or frozen fruit, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds

Add all ingredients into a blender and blend. Scrape down the sides as needed and continue to blend until smooth and thick. You can add some more milk until desired consistency is reached. Scoop into bowls and add your favorite toppings. Serve immediately or keep in the freezer for up to 1 week.

Recipe by Joy Wong (5th year UBC Dietetics student)

It’s Chili Day!

When we are feeling the chilly weather, what can be more warming and comforting than a bowl of hot chili? That’s why the 4th Thursday of February is deemed National Chili Day and this year, celebrate with making your first chili or trying a new variety! If beans are somewhat new to your family, experiment with the many different types like black, white, kidney, soy and garbanzo. Another idea to ease into beans is to puree the beans in the blender or food processor with some water, before adding to the chili, so they get a bit lost in the mix (or use a can of reduced sodium refried beans for convenience).

Serves 4-6

1 Tbsp olive oil 

1 onion, diced 

1 Tbsp ground cumin 

1 Tbsp chili powder 

3 cloves garlic, minced 

1 can (796mL) diced tomatoes 

3 cups sliced mushrooms 

2 large carrots, grated 

1/2 cup quinoa, optional (provides a meaty texture)

1 can (398 mL) black beans, drained (pureed if desired)

1 can (398 mL) pinto beans, drained (pureed if desired)

½ tsp salt 

Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add onion, spices and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add tomatoes, mushrooms and carrot and cook another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add quinoa if using and cook 10 more minutes then add the beans and salt. Cook for 10 minutes or up to 1 hour to let flavours develop, adding a little water if it gets too thick. Adjust seasonings.

Serve warm with toppings like chopped avocado, cilantro, fresh lime juice, grated cheese, a dollop of plain yogurt, hot sauce and some corn chips.

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

Mushroom Dumplings (Jiaozi)

Gung Hay Fat Choy! A common tradition to celebrate the Lunar New Year is to gather as a family to make dumplings. This version is a healthier and more sustainable alternative to some traditional varieties as the dumplings are steamed, not fried, and filled with veggies in place of meat. The mushrooms provide just as much great flavour and texture! Whether a long-standing tradition or a new experience, making an “assembly line” kind of dish that benefits from extra hands, is a great way to share cooking together.

Serves 4-6

1 Tbsp olive or other vegetable oil

1 lb (450 g) assorted fresh mushrooms, diced 

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated 

3 cloves garlic, minced 

2 cups Chinese or Napa cabbage, finely shredded 

2 green onions, diced 

2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced 

2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce 

2 tsp sesame oil 

1 egg, beaten 

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

48 wonton wrappers (12-ounce package) 

Cooking spray 

In a large skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add mushrooms and leave them be for 5 minutes or until they release their juices. Add ginger and garlic and sauté another 3-5 minutes until most water is evaporated, then stir in the cabbage and remove from heat. Cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine the cooked mushroom and cabbage with the green onions, cilantro, soy sauce, sesame oil, egg and pepper. Mix well.

Arrange 6 wonton wrappers at a time on a flat surface (don’t lay them all out or they will dry out). Place approximately 1 tablespoon of mushroom mixture onto each wonton wrapper. Using water-moistened fingers, moisten the edges of wrapper and fold over, forming triangles. Roll up edges slightly to seal in filling. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

Coat a bamboo or metal steamer with cooking spray and arrange dumplings on top. Steam, covered, for 15 minutes, until cooked through. If you don’t have a steamer, you can use a non-stick frying pan that has a lid—put a very small amount of oil in the pan on medium low heat, add the dumplings then 1-2 Tbsp of water, then cover and steam. Serve warm with dipping sauce made with reduced-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, minced garlic, honey and chili if desired.

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

Chickpea & Potato Curry (Chana Aloo)

Curries, a Westernized name for a variety of Indian stews, can be so comforting and nourishing and they are a cinch to put together and vary to your taste or what needs to get used up, once you know the basic formula for making a masala (the flavour base). Prioritize plant-based meals using legumes, nuts or seeds, like this one, a few times a week for optimal health. Serve with brown rice or whole grain chapati (flatbread) and a side of veggies.

Serves 4

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp ginger, minced (optional)

1 Tbsp cumin 

2 tsp ground coriander (or 2 Tbsp garam masala in lieu of cumin and coriander)

2 tsp turmeric

1 can (798 mL) diced tomatoes

2-3 large potatoes, peeled and chopped (or substitute sweet potatoes)

1 can (798 mL) chickpeas, drained (or 3 cups cooked)

1 tsp salt

½ tsp ground pepper

½ tsp cayenne (optional)

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil on medium low. Add onion, garlic and ginger if using, and sauté for 5 minutes until softening. Add cumin, coriander (or garam masala) and turmeric and sauté another 3-5 minutes stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until oil glistens slightly and all is combined with the masala (the flavour base for many Indian dishes; spices can vary).

Next add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender. You may need to turn the heat down a bit lower to a gentle simmer. Adjust seasonings if desired. Serve garnished with cilantro.

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

Warm Winter Salad

In the colder weather, we do not often feel like eating cold foods like salad. If that’s a common way your family eats vegetables, it could mean their intake gets reduced in the winter, not to mention the lack of local and seasonal vegetable options in our climate. Instead try a warm salad, which still gives you all the nutritional benefit, but feels more hearty and comforting. The vegetables included in this dish can be varied according to what you have or your family prefers, as long as they roast well. Adding crumbled blue or goat cheese really puts this dish over the top and turns it into a main meal; alternately serve with baked tofu or chicken.

Serves 4

3 large carrots, chopped in large pieces 

2 sweet potatoes, chopped in large pieces

2 beets, peeled & chopped in large pieces

2 bell peppers, seeded & chopped in large pieces

½ lb mushrooms, halved

Other veggie options (all peeled & chopped): squash, nugget or other potatoes, rutabaga, green beans, Brussel sprouts, fennel, onion

1 + 2 Tbsp olive oil

½ tsp salt and pepper

2 tsp balsamic or apple cider vinegar

1 tsp mustard

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

½ tsp salt and pepper

1 bunch kale, stemmed (or spinach)

1 cup seeds (e.g. hemp hearts, pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds)

Preheat oven to 350F. Place all veggies on a large baking tray, drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, make salad dressing with remaining oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Shake well to combine. Tear kale into bite-sized pieces and massage for 2 minutes to make it more tender. Lay out on a platter. Top with roasted veggies then drizzle with salad dressing and sprinkle with seed mixture.

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

This dessert is rich, satisfying and celebratory but yet light and airy after a big holiday meal. Avocado replaces (some of the) whipped cream providing much healthier fat and even a serving of veggies for dessert! It can also be made up to a day ahead to give you time to focus on cooking your main meal.

Serves 4

½ cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate

4 ripe avocados

1/3 cup maple syrup

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt

Fresh fruit, like raspberries, and perhaps a dollop of whipped cream if desired for garnish.

Place the chocolate in a double boiler (or use a small bowl placed over a saucepan of boiling water). Heat gently, stirring frequently until melted and smooth then set aside.

In a food processor, place the pitted and peeled avocados, maple syrup, cocoa, vanilla, salt and the melted chocolate. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Divide into 4 glasses or small bowls and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Garnish with fruit and whipped cream if desired.

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

A Twist on Traditional Turkey Dinner

Without the ability to gather ten or more people around the table, holiday dinners will look a little different this year. Take the opportunity to try some new things—they might stick around as new traditions. Turkey ‘with all the fixings’ can be a healthy dinner, with a few tweaks to classic recipes, and still maintain all the flavour and festiveness you love. And the best part is feeling good for a splurge on dessert!

Serves 4

Turkey breast (2-4 lbs, the higher amount being if it’s bone-in)

1 cup unsweetened apple cider

6 Tbsp olive oil

2 carrots, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 onion, chopped

2 sprigs rosemary

2 leaves sage

1 Tbsp flour

1 loaf whole grain bread (the more stale the better—you could even use all your bread ends from the freezer), cut into 1 inch cubes and dried in a low oven for 30 minutes

1 tsp each dried thyme, sage, parsley

Optional additions: 1 beaten egg, 1 apple, cored & diced; ½ cup chopped walnuts or hazelnuts; ½ cup water chestnuts

2 L chicken stock

1 lb russet potatoes

1 lb sweet potatoes (the orange ones!)

1 bulb garlic

Salt and pepper

1-2 lbs of your favourites (e.g. green beans, brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrots, rutabaga, fennel)

Preheat oven to 350F. Place turkey breast in a roasting pan and coat with 1 Tbsp olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 stalk celery (all chopped) and rosemary and sage around the turkey breast. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. At the same time, wrap the bulb of garlic in aluminum foil and bake in oven for 40 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, heat the apple cider in a small pot on the stove. Simmer for 15 minutes or until it is reduced by half. Whisk in 1 Tbsp olive oil. Use this to baste the turkey regularly after the initial 30 minutes. Continue cooking the turkey for 30-60 minutes, longer depending on the size and if it’s on the bone. Verify it’s done by a thermometer reading of 74C internal temperature.

To make the stuffing, grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. In a large bowl, combine the bread and remaining chopped onion, carrot and celery. Add the dried thyme, sage and parsley as well as 1 cup of stock and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add optional ingredients if using (a beaten egg gives a more creamy texture) and a small amount more stock if it seems dry and not holding together. Mix well then spread in the baking dish. Cover with foil then bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Prepare both types of potatoes by peeling and chopping them. Place in a large pot filled with water then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add 1 tsp salt and cook until tender. Drain water. Return to very low heat and add 1 cup of stock and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Remove roasted garlic from oven, discard foil and squeeze the roasted garlic out of the peel. Mash until very smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, prepare vegetables by chopping and spreading on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on the types of veggies, until tender.

Finally, when the turkey is done, place it on a cutting board and tent it with foil to rest for 10 minutes while making the gravy. Remove the vegetables and herbs and heat the roasting pan on the stovetop on medium low heat. When the oil in the pan starts to bubble lightly, sprinkle in the flour and stir well, smoothing out any lumps. After 1 or 2 minutes, add up to 2 cups of stock gradually, stirring continually. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper then transfer into a gravy boat. Slice the turkey and serve all immediately. Happy Holidays!

Serve with this tangy No Sugar Cranberry Sauce if desired for a gorgeous pop of colour on the plate!

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

 

 

Salmon Chowder

SOBO restaurant in Tofino is on my top 5 list of favourite restaurants and we’ve eaten many a meal there, gracefully welcomed despite camping attire and a gaggle of children. As much as I always want to try something new, I also have to have a bowl Chef Lisa’s chowder—the best I’ve ever eaten. I was sold on her cookbook as soon as I saw the recipe included and it is true to its origin. Although I love making it her way, it is a little rich for regularity and for my kids’ tastes. This is my homage in a version you could eat once a week and make a little faster. The smoked salmon really adds wonderful flavour but it’s delicious even without it.

Serves 6-8 (So you get lunch leftovers!)

3 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil

2 large onions, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 bell pepper, seeded and diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 lbs potatoes, chopped

1.5 litres stock or water

2 bay leaves

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp basil

2 tsp thyme

200 g smoked salmon (optional)

2 cups whole milk

1 lb boneless wild salmon

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1-3 tsp salt, less if stock and/or smoked salmon used

1/2 bunch dill, chopped

In a large pot, heat 3 Tbsp oil on medium low, then add onion, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring regularly, for 10 to 15 minutes until softened. Add bell pepper and garlic and sauté another 3 minutes, stirring continually. Add potatoes, stock, bay leaves and oregano. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are very tender. Add the smoked salmon, if using, and the milk and hold at a low heat. Meanwhile heat a large, preferably cast-iron skillet on medium heat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil then the salmon, skin side down. Season the salmon lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, until the flesh lifts easily off the skin. Cut gently into bite-sized pieces then add to the soup. Heat gently another 10 minutes, being careful not to bring to a boil. Adjust seasoning then serve garnished with heaps of fresh dill and hot sauce if desired. Consider whole grain cornbread and a side salad to accompany the soup.

 

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

No Sugar Squash Apple Muffins

These moist muffins are packed with fibre from whole grains, squash, apples and pecans. Although they don’t have any refined sugar, they do have a few tablespoons of molasses which provides some sweetness as well as minerals like calcium and iron. This is a great recipe to double so you can freeze some for easy breakfasts or packed lunches.

Makes 1 dozen

2 eggs

¼ cup plain yogurt

½ cup olive or avocado oil

3 Tbsp blackstrap molasses

¾ c cooked/pureed or canned squash (e.g. butternut, pumpkin)

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup whole grain flour

1 cup rolled oats

¼ tsp baking soda

1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 apple, diced or grated

½ cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F and prepare a muffin tin by greasing or lining. In a large bowl, combine eggs, yogurt, oil, molasses, squash and vanilla. Mix well. In a smaller bowl, combine flour, oats, soda, powder and spices and mix well. Stir this gently into the liquid mixture, being cautious not to over-mix. Fold in the apples and pecans. Spread evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes then remove from tin and cool a little longer.

 

By Nicole Fetterly, RD