CURRIED MUNG BEAN VEGETABLE RICE DISH

This recipe is similar to my Mung Bean Stew - with a few changes/additions.  It is said that mung beans are a legume that are heart healthy, they help to reduce cholesterol, are the least gas forming of all legumes, and they also assist in improving/balancing digestion.  It is my goal/hope for 2018 to eat this dish at least twice a week.  Eating vegetarian meals is an easy way for me to shed a few pounds - always a good thing, plus I love all lentils and curry so this should not get too boring. There is lots of flavor in this dish making it mighty tasty too.
If you soak the mung beans early in the morning or over nite (soak 8 hours) you are good to go.  In terms of preparation - it took about 40 minutes prep/saute time - then the rice was cooked separately, while the mung beans/vegetables took another 35-40 minutes to cook.  In my busy week, this should be something I can handle and with leftovers the next day that should reach my goal with a free day of cooking to make things easier.
2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tblsp. cumin powder
1/2 Tblsp. mustard seeds
1/2 Tblsp. coriander seeds
2 tsp. Madras curry powder - mine was not spicy hot
1/2 tsp. garahm masala
2/3 cups mung beans - soak 8 hours, and drain
1 large tomato, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tblsp. minced ginger - to taste
1 1/2 cups chopped orange yam
1 cup chopped carrots
salt to taste
3 cups water or vegetable stock
1 large bay leaf
3/4 cup frozen peas
huge handful of chopped cilantro
cook 1 1/4 cups Basmati rice in 2 1/2 cups water
Heat up a dutch oven on low medium heat with the EVOO.  Add the mustard and coriander seeds, sauteing until the mustard seeds start to pop.  Add in the cumin, curry powder, garaham masala and saute until fragrant.  Then add in the onions, garlic, ginger, tomato continuing to saute for another 5 min.
Pour in the water, adding in the mung beans, carrots, bay leaf and yams stirring well.  Season to taste with salt.  Bring to a simmer lid on for about 35 min., then while the rice is cooking, remove lid and keep on a simmer.  When rice is almost done add in the peas, and chopped cilantro to heat through and serve over the cooked rice.  A dollop of organic yogurt is a lovely addition.  This is a dish that will taste even better the next day.

I love lentils cooked any way - especially in soup.  The other day was a particularly busy day and on my way home from town I had one more stop to make at our local health food store.  Once in the door, something smelled heavenly (I was starving too as it was lunch time).
Our local health food store is owned by a lovely Iranian gentleman and his wife.  I asked him what smelled so good, and he pointed to a crock pot on the counter that was filled with Lentil Soup.  So then I asked him if it was gluten free.  He said all of his food is gluten free and this soup was also vegetarian and vegan.  Yayyyy gluten free soup!  He said that it was simple, good food.  Groceries in the bag, a take out bowl of soup in my other hand, time to go home.  Once the groceries were put away, I eagerly sat down to have the soup.  It was delicious!  Very simple flavors, in fact, I'm not even sure what kind of spices he used.
So today's recipe was inspired by this lovely gentleman's Lentil soup.  One thing is for sure:  I will definitely be going back to his store for more!
3/4 cup red lentils
3 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large shallots, chopped
3 large minced garlic cloves
2 Tblsp. finely chopped ginger
1 tsp. Curry Powder - I used my favorite - Cartwrites
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
1  28 oz. can whole tomatoes (place a sieve over an 8 cup glass measuring cup. slice up the tomatoes, give the sieve a good stir a few times and drain all the liquid into the measuring cup. This gave me 2 1/2 cups tomato liquid, then add enough water to reach the 7 cup level)  For a thicker soup, add 1/2 cup less water.
3/4 cup diced celery including leaves
1 cup diced carrots - about 1/2 inch in size
3 medium leeks, chopped
Heat up a frying pan on low medium heat with the EVOO.  Add the chopped shallots, garlic, and ginger.  Saute for 5 minutes, then add in the curry powder and continue to saute 1 more minute.  Season with salt.
Transfer to a med/large crock pot and add all of the remaining ingredients stirring well.  Cook on high for 1 hour, then turn to low and cook for 8 more hours.


UPDATE:  we had this again the other day, but we had run out of wild rice so had it without....and it was even better!
Recently I had read an article on the health benefits of cashew nuts.  When cashew nuts are soaked and pureed into a luscious smooth mixture it is a perfect addition to soups of all kinds. Then I found this recipe from Sarah, of Making Thyme For Health.  Wow, this takes cream of mushroom soup to a whole new level - it was truly delicious.  No need for real cream - personally I think this is better.
I did change the method, made it gluten free, and used a couple of different ingredients so will do a recap here. (If using a bouillon cube or powdered stock seasoning double check that it is gluten free - there are many on the market that are not) For the original recipe please check out Sarah's lovely blog Making Thyme For Health.  Many thanks Sarah, your recipe is a winner!
For the cashews it is recommended to use a high powered blender, which always makes me think of a Vita Mix or a Blendtec - neither of which I have.  I used my old faithful Cuisinart and it worked like a charm.
2/3 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup wild rice
2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large shallots, diced
3/4 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery with the leaves
4 minced garlic cloves
2 cups diced crimini mushrooms
1 tsp. salt
fresh cracked pepper
3 Tblsp. lite gluten free Tamari sauce
1 tsp. dried Thyme
2 tsp. fresh minced Sage
2 Tblsp. fresh minced Italian parsley
1 large Bay Leaf
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 Tblsp. nutritional yeast
1 Tblsp. arrowroot powder
1  1/2 cups homemade vegetable stock
If you did not want a Vegetarian/Vegan soup, organic chicken or beef stock would be lovely in this recipe too, just omit the nutritional yeast.  It would also make a great base for a seafood/clam chowder.
Cook the wild rice in 1 cup of water - on a low simmer, lid on for about 45 min.  Once cooked, and all the water is absorbed remove from the heat, lid on and set aside.
Add the cashew nuts to a medium sized heat proof bowl.  Cover with 2 1/2 cups boiling water and allow to soak 30-40 min.  Drain and add to your blender.  I added some of the almond milk a bit at a time and kept on liquefy until it was completely smooth (use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender with each blending process).  Once completely smooth, add in the rest of the almond milk, nutritional yeast, and arrowroot powder. Blend well, and transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Heat up a pot or dutch oven on low medium heat, and add in the EVOO.  Saute the mushrooms until nice and golden.  Season with the salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Add in the diced carrots, celery, shallot, garlic, thyme, fresh sage, fresh parsley and saute about 8 minutes.  Add in the homemade vegetable stock, tamari sauce and bay leaf, bring to a simmer, lid on and cook until the vegetables are tender - about 10-15 minutes.
Then add in the cashew/almond milk mixture, and the wild rice.  Stir well until combined and re-heat through - keep stirring as it will thicken.  Remove the bay leaf and serve piping hot with a sprinkle of fresh minced parsley.  Enjoy....we sure did!

Thought I would post this early as beautiful fresh tomatoes in our neck of the woods are not too far away. With an abundance of heirloom tomatoes making stewed tomatoes is a great way to use them up.  Although for weeks on end we just eat them fresh off the vine.
We do not do much in the way of canning in this household, but we do like to freeze as much fresh produce as we can.  This will be lovely in the dead of winter for soups, stews, and pasta dishes. (I made these last year too - so yummy!)
6 cups chopped tomatoes - slice in half, then quarters, then in half (I used a mix of yellow, red, green heirloom tomatoes)
1 large onion chopped
1 celery stalk with leaves, diced
3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup diced green pepper
a good handful of minced fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
pinch of sugar
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Wash the tomatoes and remove the outer core.  Peel the tomatoes with a soft peeler or blanch the tomatoes to remove the skin (here is a method to blanch tomatoes). Chop all of the ingredients and add to a big pot, then add seasonings.
Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Keep on a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  Taste for seasonings.  Remove from the heat, and after 30 minutes transfer to 2 cup sized jars and fill to 3/4 full.  This recipe made 3 jars...so double or triple up the recipe if you have tons of tomatoes.  Refrigerate until cold, then freeze until ready to use. This was so tasty, I could eat it right out of the jar!

As mentioned in previous posts, I have been cooking Vegetarian meals about twice sometimes three times a week.  Recently, we found this at our local grocery store:
No paid advertisement here....just wanting to share something yummy - a lovely basmati rice/quiona blend vegetarian meal. Next to dried pasta, this is the only thing in my pantry that comes in a box.  Even then, I completely change up the dish by adding a whole bunch of other delicious, fresh, organic ingredients.  By the way, any vegetable here will work:  diced green peppers, artichoke, zucchini, to name a few.
Admittedly my way of cooking this Vegetarian Paella takes about 30 minutes cooking time, if you prepare the vegetables and lentils ahead of time.  Still - a time saver compared to some dishes made from scratch. You will notice in the recipe to follow, I have added NO extra salt to this dish as it is salty enough.  By getting the ingredients ready ahead of time this makes for a delicious Vegetarian meal that is fairly quick and simple.  On that note:  I have made a discovery that is new to me.  I cook up 1 cup of green lentils ahead of time:  1 cup lentils, enough water to cover by 1 inch and 1 Bay Leaf.  Cook 20 minutes, lid on at a simmer, then drain and allow to cool.  Cooked lentils freeze beautifully so you can always have them on hand for any number of dishes.
For this dish the recipe is as follows:
2/3 cup cooked green lentils
1/2 a chopped onion
4-5 Tblsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup of diced carrots - dice small
3 Tblsp. diced celery
1 roma tomato - diced small
4 crimini mushrooms, diced
1 box of Vegetarian Paella
3 cups low or no sodium vegetable stock
fresh cracked pepper
In a medium sauce pan, bring the stock to a boil, and add in the Vegetarian Paella - stir with a fork to combine.  Then turn down to a simmer - simmer for 17 minutes lid off stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Turn off the heat, cover and let sit about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile heat up a medium sized dutch oven on low/medium heat with the EVOO.  Add in the carrots and celery.  Saute about 5 minute.  Then add in the onions, garlic, mushrooms, and fresh cracked pepper.  Continue to saute for 10 minutes.
Add in the diced tomato and continue to saute for another five minutes.
Now the Paella is cooked - add to the sauteed vegetables and mix well.  Serve alongside any side dish of vegetables.  We had lightly sauteed fresh Swiss Chard with this dish...fresh from the farm in February!  🙂

Do you love beets?  We have always loved beets in this household.  Back in the day, I used to buy canned Harvard Beets - thinking they were divine.  However, when you look at the ingredients and it says "modified cornstarch", that is definitely a no go in any gluten free household.  In Canada, fortunately all cornstarch is naturally Gluten Free.
In looking on the internet, I found a recipe that I used as a guideline, (keep paging down...it will show up) but then changed it up to add a "Danish" flare using some spices.  So yummmy!  This would be a lovely side dish to any meal, but I am thinking it may become a regular for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
3 cups organic beets diced
1 cup strained beet water
2 Tblsp. Organic Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tblsp. Pure White Vinegar
1 1/2 Tblsp. Coconut Sugar
1 1/2 Tblsp. cornstarch
pinch of ground cloves and ground allspice
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the top green parts off of the beets, leaving about 2 inches.  Scrub really well and place in a pot, whole, to boil.  I used about 8 medium sized beets.  (when cooking on a low steady simmer, lid on, my beets took 1 1/2 hrs. to cook - cooking time will depend on the size of your beets) Once cooked, drain the beet water through a strainer into a medium sized bowl and set aside.
Allow the beets to cool.  Once cool, peel and dice into 1/2 inch pieces.  In a medium sized pot, add the 1 cup of strained beet water, sugar, spices, salt and pepper, vinegars and cornstarch, whisking well to remove any lumps.
Place on medium low heat, whisking until thickened.  Add the diced beets, mixing well, and adjust for any seasonings.  Turn down to minimum stirring occasionally until ready to serve.

Oh how I miss oatmeal breakfast cereal.  I was never really big on breakfast cereals, but I sure loved oatmeal.  Even the gluten free oatmeal does not work for me...sigh.  I was also never a big fan of gluten free creamy rice cereal - at least not on it's own.
There used to be a good gluten free full grain breakfast cereal I could buy once in a while at our local Health Food Store - but now they no longer make it.  So, I decided to make my own.  It is delicious, full of flavor and texture.  It is somewhat like Sonny Boy cereal - but better.  Aside from being gluten free, it is sugar free, lactose free making it not only super healthy but Vegan friendly too.
This makes two quart sized jars full of cereal.  I will give the amounts first, then the recipe to make the cereal.
1 package (737 grams.) Bob's Red Mill Creamy Brown Rice Cereal
1 cup hulled Gluten Free Millet
3/4 cup Quinoa
2/3 cup Buckwheat Groats
Pour all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly - then transfer to jars and keep refrigerated.
As this cereal is whole grain, it does take about 20 minutes in total time to cook.  As a result, what I do is make enough cooked cereal to give 3 servings.  (DH is not a fan of cooked cereal, so I have one for breakfast, and refrigerate the other two servings to have the next two mornings)  However you decide to make this cereal the ratio is always 1 part cereal to 4 parts liquid.  Or in this case, just slightly under 1 part cereal to 4 parts liquid.  Also, it is much tastier if made with some kind of milk - we use soy, but coconut or almond would work nicely here too.
just under 2/3 cup of cereal
4  (2/3 cups) of soy milk or milk of your choice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. dry ginger
2 Tblsp. cracked flax seed
Add the dry ingredients to a medium sauce pan, whisking well to combine.  Pour in the milk whisking well.  Put onto medium heat.  Once it begins to bubble, stir well.  Once it is on a good simmer, turn down the heat to low, and continually stir for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, and add in Agave Nectar to sweeten and a small handful of raisins.  Mix well, and serve with milk.

We have been trying to have more Vegetarian meals in this household - we do not always succeed but tonight we did.  This curried mung bean stew was delicious.  I took some inspiration for this dish from this site.  The recipe also called for 1 can of full fat coconut milk to be added near the end of the cooking time to heat through.  Something I forgot to add - however it was still very tasty...and even better the next day.
You can read about the many health benefits of mung beans here.  A great addition of another legume to a healthy diet.
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 cup green mung beans
1 rounded  tsp. cumin
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
5 cardamon seeds - break open and remove seeds
28 oz. can of whole tomatoes and juice - whiz up in a food processor
4 cups vegetable stock
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 rounded tblsp. finely grated ginger
3 tblsp. olive oil
1/2 of a small cauliflower - cut small
1 small yam - cut into 1 inch pieces
3/4 cup green beans - I used wide green beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/4 cups vegetable stock (only use if it is looking really thick, then add slowly to a desired consistency, remembering that there will be 1 can of coconut milk added at the end.)
cilantro
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
1 can full fat coconut milk
Soak the brown rice in a bowl filled with water, and soak the mung beans in another bowl filled with water for 5 hours.  Drain.
Add the rice, mung beans, seasoning, whizzed up tomatoes and vegetable stock to your slow cooker.  Heat on low, stir to incorporate.  Slow cook on low for five hours.  At the 5 hr. mark, add in chopped cauliflower, yams, green beans and the extra vegetable stock if needed.  Stir to combine and turn to high.  Once bubbling, turn to low and cook another hour, or until the vegetables are tender.  Then add the coconut milk stirring to combine, check for seasonings and keep on low to heat through.
Heat up a frying pan on low medium heat.  Add in the chopped onion, garlic, and grated ginger.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Saute until the onions are translucent then add to the mung bean stew.
Remove the crock and stir in cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste. This makes a lot - we had it for dinner another nite, and for lunch the following day...gets tastier by the day!

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