How To: Recipe Makeover – Vegetarian Cobb Salad

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I know this title may read like an oxymoron.

Bacon and chicken are two of the ingredients typically found in a Cobb salad, joining eggs, blue cheese, tomatoes, and avocados. But who says you can’t deviate from the original now and then? What would life be like if we were all the same, right?

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When I posted this picture of my unique cobb salad creation on instagram, one person commented this was definitely not a cobb salad. It may not be typical, but it is MY cobb salad, my VEGETARIAN cobb salad to boot!

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Instead of chicken and bacon, we’ve got black beans and sweet potatoes. Instead of blue cheese, creamy and tangy goat cheese. Instead of eggs, sweet beets. I’ve kept the usual avocado and tomatoes. And when all of these ingredients are arranged oh so prettily on top of a bed of romaine, a vegetarian cobb salad is born. Top it all of with an herby mustard vinaigrette and you’ve got one heck of a delicious summer meal.

So call it what you want – a vegetarian cobb salad, a fully loaded salad, a rainbow salad, or just an extremely tasty salad. Bottom line, make this salad.

Dara

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Vegetarian Cobb Salad

Serves 2-4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of romaine
  • 2 sweet potatoes (chopped)
  • 1 can of sliced beets (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 large avocado (diced)
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese (crumbled)

Salad Dressing

  • 1 Tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Note

This may not be your typical cobb salad, but it is just as delicious. Feel free to sub the usual blue cheese for the goat cheese, or feta would also work well. Chickpeas or kidney beans can replace the black beans. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 and toss sweet potatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, or until brown and tender. Set aside.
2. On a large plate place a layer of romaine lettuce. Top evenly in rows with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, black beans, avocado, goat cheese, and beets. Top with dressing or serve on the side for everyone to toss themselves.
Salad Dressing
3. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined.

Nourish: Cookbook Review and Giveaway!

Hey guys! Welcome to our first cookbook review!

We’re so pumped to have been invited to join an incredible group of Canadian bloggers for this cookbook blog hop. What’s that you say? It’s a really really (really) cool group of bloggers who collaborate to review the same cookbook via their blogs at the same time.  We help get the good word out about good cookbooks.

We receive a copy of the book from the publisher (Hi, Whitecap! Thanks for the book!) and get a chance to cook through the book at our leisure and write a review of the recipes we test. Some of us will even give you a teaser recipe if you’re super duper lucky (that’s you).

Not only that, our readers get a chance to win a copy for themselves. Booya!

Let’s get down to biz.

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The cookbook is Nourish. The authors are Nettie Cronish, a vegetarian chef and culinary instructor and Cara Rosenbloom, Registered Dietitian and President of Words to Eat By Nutrition Communications. The concept is 100+ whole food recipes featuring seeds, nuts and beans.  Chapters include Breakfasts/Brunch, Salads, Soups/Stews, Entrées and Snacks & Desserts among others.  Overall there is a big emphasis on plant-based recipes, although there are a number of fish-focused entrées and a small number of dishes based around meat, too.  Each recipe features nuts, seeds or beans in some way. Obvs.

2016 being the international year of pulses, these gals NAILED the timing of this book.

Naturally, I also LOVE that this one’s been written by a fellow RD.

Here are some other great things about this book:

  • Chapter 1: Cara’s ‘Nutrition: Quick & Simple’ sets the tone for the book in the best way. “People eat food, not nutrients” is the framework that allows her and her family to “embrace food for its potential to nourish us while we enjoy it”.  Her big picture thinking is exactly in line with How to Eat’s MO and why we started blogging to begin with. This chapter also includes a ‘healthy pantry’ checklist which word for word, lists almost every staple I have in my own cupboard.  Talk about a cookbook up my alley.
  • The guide to buying, soaking and cooking beans from scratch. It’s a simple chart that gives any legume newbie the confidence to give dried beans a whirl.
  • The nutrition, preparation, storage and serving ‘Tip’ boxes peppered throughout the book.  Here’s one I didn’t know: If you’re making a dish with cashews and want to freeze it, it’s best to reserve them and add them once you’ve defrosted it to avoid an unappetizing colour change.  Mind. Blown.
  • There is a Snack and Desserts chapter.  Yes, we’re dietitians. Yes, we eat them.  That is all.

I went 3/3 for recipes in this book. Here’s what I made:

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Savoury Chickpea Patties with Tzatziki:  Reminiscent of falafel, a quick zip of all the ingredients, including chickpeas, oats, sesame and flax seeds in a food processor makes this recipe ideal for a weeknight meal.  Nearly all of the ingredients are pantry staples, too. I served them with our very own Asparagus and Quinoa Salad.  The patties were flavourful, hearty and kept well for lunch the next day.

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The Quinoa Tuna Casserole: A remake of the classic comfort dish, this version is loaded with a variety of vegetables and comes together beautifully with quinoa rather than pasta. The cheese sauce provides the perfect level of creaminess, without being insanely indulgent.

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Nut and Seed Brittle: A variety of nuts and seeds suspended in candy. CANDY, guys! Here’s where I spoil you with a photo tutorial recipe.

But wait! Before you rush to the bulk store to stock up on plenty of nuts and seeds, enter our giveaway.  Simply leave a comment telling us how you plan to celebrate the International Year of Pulses in your kitchen and click on the Rafflecopter link below.

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Nut and Seed Brittle

Serves Makes about 2 dozen, 2 oz servings
Cook time 30 minutes
From book Nourish: Whole Food Recipes featuring Seeds, Nuts & Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup pecans
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped unsalted pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons raw unsalted sunflower seeds

Note

I've written the recipe exactly as it is in the book.  I did make one small (and important in my opinion) adjustment for my batch, though.  Once I poured the candy out on to the baking sheet, I sprinkled the whole slab with about ½ teaspoon of sea salt.  Sweet and salty heaven.

Directions

1. Line a 10 x 15inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease pan with butter. Set aside.
2. Put the sugar in a large saucepan and slowly add the water taking care not to splash. Stir just to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Let the liquified sugar simmer until it turns an amber or reddish-brown. Watch it very closely to prevent burning. It should take about 17 minutes. Remove immediately from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.
3. Pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Let cool.
4. When brittle is cool, invert to remove from pan. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Want to see what the rest of the food blogging posse tried from the book? See below for a list and have yourself a nice little blog hop!

Looking forward to our next review already!

Erin

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kelly from Kelly Neil
Photography

Tiffany from Eating Niagara

Regina from Leelalicious

Redawna from Nutmeg Disrupted

Gwen from Devour and Conquer

Hilary from Cocoa Bean, the Vegetable

Jo-Anna from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

Stephanie from Kitchen Frolic

Caroline from Do it All Working Mom

Libby from Libby Roach

Katrina from Kitchen Trials

Laureen from Art and the Kitchen

Emily from Best of this Life

Lauren from Lauren Follett Nutrition

Zannat from Food for Happiness

Sarah from Kiwi and Bean

Charmian from The Messy Baker

Heather from The Tasty Gardener

This giveaway is open to all legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority at the time of the contest in the province or territory in which they reside.

 No purchase necessary to enter.

Giveaway will run from Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 12:01am to end on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 11:59pm. Winner is chosen at random via Rafflecopter. Winner will be contacted via email and given 48 hours to respond.  If not, a new winner will be chosen. Winner selected MUST correctly answer a skill-testing mathematical question. Winner’s name will be displayed on Rafflecopter widget. Email address will never be given out to any third party or anyone for that matter.

 Prize value is approximately $30CDN.

How To: Slow Cooker – Mexican Shredded Chicken

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For every recipe you see me post on this blog, I can promise you there were at least one or two others that I thought would be hits, but instead were major recipe flops.

While I love my slow cooker for chicken, meat, and the occasional vegetarian curry, it does have the tendency to turn some veg dishes into plain old mush. This was clearly evident when a batch of slow cooker broccoli cheddar soup I was sure would be a hit with my cheese loving fam went untouched, leading to me having to dispose of almost an entire slow cooker of overcooked broccoli and gummy cheese stew. Appetizing, I know!

But this chicken – a hit!

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Really anything that can be topped with mounds of guacamole and scooped up with way too many to mention tortilla chips can’t be bad. Whoops!

And it can even count as a one bowl meal – black beans, corn, canned tomatoes, and broth turn it into an almost stew-like dish. Serve it plain, over rice, or on top of a salad and load it up with all the taco fixings you can dream of.

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Thankfully I have now redeemed myself in the eyes of my family with this slow cooker hit.

Enjoy!

Dara

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Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken

Serves 8
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable
Website Adapted from Skinnytaste

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 32oz can diced stewed tomatoes with chili seasoning
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 Cups frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 4 green onions (chopped)
  • 2 Cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 Tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 Tsp cumin
  • pinch cayenne (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Note

This makes a large batch of shredded chicken, but leftovers will freeze great so I recommend making the entire batch. Chopped tomatoes, diced avocado or guacamole, salsa, and corn tortilla chips make excellent toppings. It's great served as is, on top of rice or a salad, or rolled in soft tortillas.

Directions

1. Combine tomatoes, broth, green onions, cilantro, beans, corn, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne in a slow cooker. Lay chicken breasts on top and season with salt and pepper.
2. Cook on low for 8 hours. Before serving, remove chicken and shred with a fork. Return to slow cooker and stir to mix with the rest of the ingredients. Serve on top of rice, tortillas, chopped romaine, or eat as is and top with you favourite taco fixings.

 

How To: Quickie Meal – One Pan Burrito Bowls

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You may notice my recipes now have a bit of a theme – slow cooker, one pot, stove top only.

Yes, I’m going the quick and easy, low maintenance, less clean up route, as per my last post the ever hunger newborn prevents me from cooking any meal that requires any sort of involved prep or cooking. But the fact that our oven has been broken for the past three weeks and will likely not be fixed for another three has also lead me to look to other methods of cooking to get dinner on the table.

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I didn’t realize how much I rely on my oven – throwing a bunch of veggies, sweet potatoes, and protein of my choice on a pan to roast is my usual go-to “quickie” meal. So looking for ways that are just as quick without the use of the oven is what lead me to this delicious find.

We love our burritos on how to eat – so it should come as no surprise that I absolutely fell in love with this one pot burrito bowl. All the usual burrito fixings minus the tortilla. Which means more fillings and toppings – which is all the good stuff!

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Rice, beans, corn, peppers, onions, tomatoes, spices, and some vegetarian ground round all cook together in one pot. Any ground meat of your choice will do here, or just double up on the beans. After about a 25 minute simmer and a couple handfuls of cheese, you add your favourite toppings and dinner is served.

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I sure don’t miss my oven when I’m digging into this bowl of deliciousness, but I sure do miss it when the cookie craving hits! If anyone is baking cookies, I will gladly accept! Burrito bowls for cookies seem like a fair trade, no?

Dara

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One Pan Burrito Bowls

Serves 4-6 (depends on how hungry you are!)
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from I Heart Nap Time

Ingredients

  • 2 shallots (diced)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Package yves vegetarian ground round
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can corn (drained)
  • 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • 1 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 Tsp chili powder
  • 2 Cups water
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Note

I kept these bowls vegetarian, but you could sub ground chicken, turkey, or beef for the soy ground round if you prefer. Top with your favourite taco or nacho fixings - chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sour cream or Greek yogurt, avocado, additional cheese and salsa, green onions, some hot sauce would all be great additions.

Directions

1. Heat olive oil in a large non stick skillet over medium high heat and add shallots and red peppers. Saute for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add yves ground round and break it up into small pieces with a spoon.
2. Add black beans, corn, salsa, tomatoes, rice, taco seasoning, and chili powder to skillet and mix to combine. Add in water and bring to a boil. Cover pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer until all the water is absorbed and rice is cooked and soft, about 25-30 minutes.
3. Remove lid, add cheese, cover and cook until cheese is melted. This should only take another couple minutes.
4. Spoon into bowls and serve topped with lettuce, chopped avocado, Greek yogurt, and additional salsa.

How To: Big Batch – Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

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After making this recipe three times over the past two weeks, I thought it could now definitely be deemed “blog worthy.”

I loved it so much that the last time I made it, I doubled the recipe and made an extra pan to store in the freezer. Yes, at just over 38 weeks pregnant I am in full on nesting mode. And I know that having this delicious and filling lasagna ready to pop into the oven with a 2.5 year old and newborn at home will surely be a lifesaver.

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But I must say, this Mexican lasagna comes together so fast, it is the perfect weeknight meal. Just like our enchilada casserole, corn tortillas replace the standard lasagna noodles. Instead of the Italian tomato sauce, your favourite salsa is used to cover the bean, spinach, and cheesy layers.

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If I say this is worthy of a triple recipe repeat in a mere two weeks, you owe it to yourself to at least give it a go once!

Dara

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Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

Serves 6
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable
Website Adapted from Kiwi and Bean

Ingredients

  • 10 Oz bag spinach
  • 1 Large jar of salsa
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped)
  • 1 Small log goat cheese
  • 1 1/2 Tsp chili powder
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese

Note

I like serving this casserole with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a squeeze of lime, and a mixed green salad with avocado and tomatoes. This dish also freezes very well so it makes a great make ahead option.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pyrex dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Cook spinach in pan until wilted and set aside.
3. Spread about 1/3 of the jar of salsa evenly over the bottom of the pyrex dish. Lay 6 tortillas evenly on top. Spread another 1/3 of salsa on top of the tortillas and top with spinach, beans, red pepper, chili powder, and goat cheese. Lay remaining 6 tortillas on top and cover with remaining salsa and cheddar cheese.
4. Cover pan with foil and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. If the cheese isn't browned yet, broil for another 5 minutes. Serve topped with sour cream or greek yogurt and guacamole.