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Healthy BBQ Recipes and Ideas

natural health vancouver healthy bbq foodsSummer is flying by, and we want to take full advantage of it, making time for barbeques and picnics, ballgames and beaches. Personally, I’ve put my yoga studio membership on hold so I can spend my active time outdoors–hiking, doing the Grouse Grind, kayaking, and cycling. So far, I’ve also been to one Vancouver Canadians game and one Whitecaps game. There simply isn’t enough time to do as much as I’d like (which means my blogging has also fallen by the wayside, as this is my first for the month of July).

I love the summer and all it’s glorious fresh food options. My fridge is full of berries. Right now I have strawberries, blueberries, and tayberries (yes, tayberries–so many delicious berry options!). Farmer’s markets are in full swing, so you can stock up on watermelon, corn on the cob, peaches, cherries, a wide array of greens, and perhaps some foods you’ve never tried.

Healthy BBQ Recipes and ideas healthy foodBut, sometimes I feel like food options are so limited when I head to a ballgame or barbeque. Would you like a burger or hotdog? Vegetarians (sometimes) get the choice of veggie burger or veggie hotdog. I find it a bit crazy that Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is encouraging people to host one of 150 BBQs as a fundraiser this summer. Don’t get me wrong. They do great work to raise awareness and funds for research and treatment, and BBQs are not a bad idea. But their image for it shows foods that would be hard for most IBD sufferers to handle–steak, hotdog, burger, and sausage. What about all the other options for barbequing? Or BBQ side dishes? Haven’t they read the research on cancer as a result of the chemicals produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures, like barbequed meat?

Here are some healthy things you can bring or do at the next BBQ, ballgame, or picnic you attend.

Other BBQable foods

While the charred parts of barbequed foods are delicious to many of us, you really shouldn’t eat too many of those, as those yummy burnt bits may contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). BBQ’d (and cured/smoked) meat is even worse, as it also contains heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Since both PAHs and HCAs can cause changes in your DNA that may result in cancer (not mutant superpowers), you want to avoid those. Or, at the very least, limit them.

If you want to enjoy BBQ food, here are some simple options:

  • Don’t overly char any of the following. You can scrape off the bigger burnt bits too.
  • Grill skewered veggies (so many choices for grillable veggies, from zucchini, cauliflower, and asparagus to eggplant, squash, and even romaine lettuce). Marinated or not, they are delicious, and you can get just a very light char and still enjoy them.
  • Speaking of grilled vegetables, portobello mushrooms make the best burgers! I’ve shared this portobello burger recipe already.
  • I like the mushroom burger I just mentioned because it’s super easy. I’m a bit too lazy to make my own veggie burgers, but if you’re a better chef than me (you probably are), here’s a great vegan, gluten-free black bean burger option. Or, try this one even I managed to make awhile back. Or, get creative and give this pumpkin burger a try (let me know what it’s like, if you make this one!).
  • Grill fruit. Yup. So many options. Peaches, watermelon, avocado (drooling now), even berries on a skewer. 
  • Make tin foil packets of fish and veggies to throw on the BBQ.
  • Grilled veggies gazpacho. Yes, gazpacho is normally made with raw veggies, but then there’s this. A bit more effort, but yum.
  • Salsa is delicious year-round, but the use of fresh seasonal corn makes it that much more scrumptious. Grilled corn salsa, get in my belly!

Potato salad and coleslaw alternatives

Yes, I like both of these. But, no, I don’t like them saturated in mayonnaise. I find I lose the subtle flavours of the fresh produce if someone is overly generous with the mayo. Here are some recipes I found that would make great side (or main) dishes at a picnic or barbeque.

Snacks to take (sneak) into the ballgame

Ok, so don’t blame me if you get caught carrying in food at a “no outside food allowed” event. But, if you’re allowed (or really good at hiding contraband food), here are some finger foods you can enjoy. 

  • Crispy roasted chickpeas. This site lists a bunch of recipes. Or look for great options of pre-made ones in your local grocery store.
  • Your own mixed nuts and seeds or bulk food bin gorp (i.e. trail mix). Mine always has to have just a bit of dark chocolate (unless the temp outside is too hot and melty for the mix), and I also love to add in goji berries.
  • Bean chips, rice chips, crispy peas. There are a growing number of choices for healthier (in small amounts still) or bagged snacks.
  • Protein balls. This one with a nut butter base or this also modifiable one I’ve made many times over. I usually press them into a square or rectangular pan and then cut them into squares, instead of rolling into balls (takes longer).
  • If you can take in a cooler, and if it’s a hot day and you’re craving a freezie, make your own with tea or juice. I made kombucha popsicles.

healthy summer food recipes natural health

 

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Happy Canada Day Smoothie Bowl

150 years. I know that compared with much of the world, that’s not very long for a country. But still, it’s longer than any of us have been around! This recipe is a modification of a Vega Protein powder recipe.

Happy Canada Day Smoothie Bowl
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Ingredients
  1. Ingredients for white layer
  2. 1 frozen banana (it's better frozen because it will make it thicker instead of shake-like)
  3. 1/8 cup coconut milk or almond milk
  4. Shredded coconut
  5. Ingredients for red layers
  6. 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  7. 1/2 cup frozen cherries (or strawberries)
  8. 1/4 cup coconut milk or almond milk
  9. 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  10. Optional for topping
  11. Granola
  12. Hemp seeds
  13. Chia seeds
  14. Coconut flakes
  15. Cacao nibs
  16. Fresh fruit
Instructions
  1. Blend all white layer ingredients in a blender
  2. If it's too thick, slowly add in more liquid
  3. Set aside in a chilled glass bowl
  4. Blend all red layer ingredients
  5. If it's too thick, slowly add in more liquid
  6. In a chilled glass bowl, add in red layer, then white, then another red
  7. Optional to add your toppings
Adapted from Vega recipe
Adapted from Vega recipe
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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Sauteed mushrooms and mashed sweet potatoes recipes

mashed sweet potato and sauteed mushroom healthy easy recipe nutrition vancouverWant a delicious side dish that will support your immune system? And, want that dish to be easy to make? This is it! I usually eat fewer root veggies as the weather warms, but today I was craving sweet potatoes, and though I would normally roast them, seasonal changes mean I’d try something different. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine rates different cooking methods as adding different levels of heat to the food. If you experience a lot of cold signs, like poor blood circulation, feeling cold, slow digestion, and pale complexion, then you should add more warming foods. If you tend toward more heat symptoms like feeling hot, sweating easily, fast metabolism, and flushed complexion, then cooling foods are a better call for you. Roasting adds a lot more warmth than boiling, so as the weather is starting to warm, I’m pulling back on how much roasted food I consume, adding in more steamed, boiled, and juiced. Because I still tend toward cold, I still limit how much raw food I eat.

Sweet potatoes are a rich source of vitamins A, C, Bs, potassium, copper, and fibre–great for strengthening the immune and digestive systems. Mushrooms are often used to support the immune system too. While spring is here, cold and flus are still circulating, so it helps to have immune supportive foods to keep a spring cold at bay.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Better than mashed potatoes, I think.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 sweet potatoes (you could use yams instead if you like, but though people often use the names interchangeably, they are different vegetables)
  2. 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  3. 1/4 cup of almond milk
  4. 2-6 Tbsp of maple syrup (depends on your sweet tooth)
  5. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into cubes
  2. Boil in water until soft, 20-30 minutes
  3. Drain out water
  4. Mash sweet potatoes with a potato masher, fork, or hand blender
  5. Stir in coconut oil
  6. Add in almond milk so it's the consistency you like
  7. Add in maple syrup to taste
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
Mushroom Saute
Mushrooms should always be cooked. But the cooking of them can be super simple. Like this.
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Ingredients
  1. Mushrooms, 1/2 cup sliced (instead, I rehydrated a bag of West Coast Wild Foods mixed mushrooms)
  2. 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I used Copper Kettle Fine Foods small batch handmade sauce)
  3. 1 Tbsp coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Heat oil at medium heat
  2. Add mushrooms and saute a few minutes
  3. Add Worcestershire sauce (took me a long time to learn how to spell that; still can't pronounce it!)
  4. Saute another few minutes
  5. Optional to serve on top of mashed sweet potatoes
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/

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Quick and easy tropical smoothie bowl recipe

healthy smoothie bowl recipe healthy food vancouverMay 1. I think. One moment it’s sunny and dry. The next it’s raining and cold. Hard to know what to wear when you head outside. It’s also hard to know what to eat, if you follow treating to eat with the seasonal cues. The last recipe I shared was a warming soup. Today wasn’t warm out, but after the rain cleared for a bit and the sun came out, I felt like having something cool and refreshing. Thus, my smoothie bowl recipe.

Smoothie bowl recipes are all over the internet. But I find some of them too complicated, too many ingredients and things I need to slice. Now, I normally recommend local, seasonally available foods. But, that’s what to emphasize, not hard core. Every now and then you might want something tropical. Like mango.

Mango is rich in antioxidants, fibre, vitamin C, carotenes, vitamin A, potassium, and more.

What I love about smoothies and smoothie bowls is that you really don’t need a recipe (even though I’m going to give you one). Modify it to contain what you want. Smoothie bowls are basically super thick smoothies. 

Quick and Easy Tropical Smoothie Bowl
Couldn't get much simpler.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 large mangoes
  2. 1 cup coconut water
  3. 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  4. 1 tray ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Peel and cut up the mango small enough to put in your blender (I have a Vitamix, so I don't need to chop very much)
  2. Add coconut water, protein powder, and ice cubes to blender
  3. Blend until smooth. If too thin, add more ice. If too thick, add more water or coconut water.
Notes
  1. If you're using frozen mango, you may not need as much ice.
  2. Optional to add coconut flakes on top. Or, if you want, sliced fruit.
  3. Note that this makes a lot. For me it's 4-5 servings because I treat this as a treat, not a meal.
Adapted from nope
Adapted from nope
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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Carrot Ginger Immune and Digestive Support Vegan Soup Recipe

carrot ginger immune boosting digestive health easy vegan soup recipeI know, that’s a very long title for a recipe: Carrot Ginger Immune and Digestive Support Vegan Soup Recipe. But I wanted to say a bit about why I chose to make and share this one. My poor husband has had a fair amount of dental work done recently. Most people don’t particularly enjoy having someone drill in their head, but for him, it’s particularly anxiety-provoking, as I’m sure many of you can relate. All that stress was taking a toll on both his immune and his digestive systems–as stress does. Plus, he wasn’t able to chew very well.

Now, I’m not much of a cook, I’ll easily admit. So, anything I do make needs to be pretty easy and quick. I’m mostly not much of a cook not because I can’t cook well, but because I’m impatient when it comes to getting food ready. When I want food…cue Queen’s song…I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now.

As you probably know, carrots are good for you. Rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, they are immune system supportive. They support the digestive system with a rich source of fibre. Combine that with anti-inflammatory, digestive supporting ginger, and you’ve got a powerhouse of health.

So, here it is, the no-chewing-required, immune-boosting, digestion-supporting, vegan-friendly, make-it-easy recipe.

Vegan Soup Recipe

Carrot Ginger Immune Boosting Digestive Supporting Healthy Vegan Soup Recipe
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 3 tablespoons minced ginger (I did closer to 4-5 Tbsp and it was super gingery, but delish!)
  4. 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander (I used cumin because I thought I was out of coriander)
  5. 4-5 cups diced carrots
  6. 3 cups vegetable broth
  7. 1 cup coconut milk
  8. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat
  2. Add onions
  3. Saute until onions are translucent (about 4 minutes)
  4. Add ginger
  5. Saute for another 4 minutes (until softened and fragrant)
  6. Add coriander (or cumin)
  7. Add carrots
  8. Stir
  9. Add vegetable broth
  10. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are completely softened (about 30 minutes)
  11. Remove from heat and let cool for 20 minutes
  12. Blend soup until smooth, using either an emulsion blender in the pot or put into a blender in batches (my Vitamix did it all in one go)
  13. Return soup to pot
  14. Stir in coconut milk
  15. Add salt and pepper to taste
Notes
  1. Even better the 2nd day, if you have leftovers!
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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Paella recipe: How do you say “paella”? I say it paeyum!

Paella recipeWhile I prepared to share this paella recipe, I thought, “How do you pronounce paella?” Yes, it has “l”s in it, but no, you don’t pronounce them. In Spain, it would be pronounced pa-ey-ya. But last week my good friend, Chef Luisa Rios, came over to my place to teach my husband and me how to make it (and learn some knife skills). Chef Luisa is from Columbia, and in some areas of South America, the “l” is said like a “j,” making it pa-ey-ja.

As we sat down to eat the dish, however, my thoughts were that it should be called paeyum!

The wonderful thing about making this dish is that you can modify it to suit your tastes, like a pizza! In fact, the way that it’s served it often looks somewhat like a pizza, in a round shallow pan with colourful pieces of food nicely placed in/on it.

The original paella recipe was from Jamie Oliver and included fennel, green pepper, chorizo, pancetta, and bacon, but to fit everyone’s preferences, this is what we made.

Paella Recipe

Paeyum Paella
I'm not kidding, it really is "paeyum"!
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Ingredients
  1. • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  2. • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  3. • 1 bunch asparagus, quartered
  4. • 1 jar artichokes, sliced
  5. • 2 chicken thighs (or 1 chicken breast) boneless, skinless
  6. • 1 onion, finely chopped
  7. • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  8. • 2 cups chicken stock, more if needed (we ended up adding in about another 2/3 cups)
  9. • 1 pinch saffron, about 1/4 teaspoon
  10. • 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked is best for this)
  11. • 1 cup paella rice, arborio rice, or carnaroli rice
  12. • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  13. • 1 cup frozen peas
  14. • 12 prawns
  15. • salt and pepper, to taste
  16. • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
Instructions
  1. Bring stock to a boil. Turn off heat and add saffron to infuse. Keep warm.
  2. Pull peas from the freezer and let thaw.
  3. Dice chicken into 3/4" cubes.
  4. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add oil.
  5. Add chicken to the pan and sauté until cooked through and golden brown on all sides. Remove from skillet and set aside. (It will still be raw on the inside, but will be cooked later with the rice and veggies.)
  6. Add onions and sauté until translucent (at least 5 minutes).
  7. Add peppers and asparagus to skillet and start to sauté about 3 minutes.
  8. Add garlic and saute for 20 seconds.
  9. Return seared chicken to the skillet.
  10. Add paprika, a pinch of salt, and rice, stirring to coat.
  11. Add 1.5 cups of stock to the skillet and stir.
  12. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until rice is almost cooked through. Stir periodically.
  13. Taste rice to see if it's sufficiently cooked. Add more stock to cook longer, if needed. Rice should be moist, but not too wet.
  14. Add raw prawns and allow to cook another few minutes (only takes 2-3 minutes, otherwise the prawns will get rubbery).
  15. Add thawed peas.
  16. Add parsley and artichokes.
  17. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
Notes
  1. Serve with lemon wedges
Adapted from from Jamie Oliver
Adapted from from Jamie Oliver
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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Easy and Healthy Christmas Breakfast

easy healthy Christmas breakfast

My aunt made these. Aren’t they beautiful?!

Sometimes people think that I eat healthy 24-7-365. I do eat healthy. But I do also indulge. Especially this time of year. It’s hard not to when sweets and treats are all around. And, why would I want to miss out? I don’t!

But sometimes even the delicious goodies get tiresome. I start to dislike feeling the sugar highs and lows. I remember why I like to eat healthy–I feel better! So, I back away from the boxes of chocolate, the decorated cookies, and the egg nog (I like the almond milk or coconut milk versions). And I look for my usual healthy food.

Healthy Christmas Breakfast

Oatmeal is my usual breakfast. I’ve mentioned that a few times in my blogs, and I use my rice cooker to make my oatmeal overnight

But sometimes I want to fancy it up a bit. This recipe offers a balance of healthy, while feeling like it’s a treat. I think I’m going to make this easy and healthy Christmas breakfast.

Apple Pie Oatmeal in a Slow Cooker
Healthy and easy enough to have every day. But yummy enough to feel like a treat.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup steel-cut oats (choose gluten-free if you want or need to)
  2. 4 cups unsweetened almond milk
  3. 2 medium apples, chopped
  4. 1 tsp coconut oil
  5. 1 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  7. 2 T maple syrup (or honey) * you can modify the amount based on your own sweet tooth
Instructions
  1. Add everything to your slow cooker
  2. Stir
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4 hours)
  4. Stir it again before serving in bowls and adding your fave topping (raisins, slices of apple, pear, cacao nibs, your choice)
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Recipe Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry and Coconut Rice

easy vegan slow cooker recipe healthy food vegetarian natural healthOk, so we’re on a slow cooker kick and this month’s easy vegan slow cooker recipe is a reflection of that. The squash curry I posted last month was delicious, but I find cutting up squash to be a lot of work (and I’m scared to lose a finger!). This month I’m sharing another curry in the slow cooker recipe, but it uses one of my favourite vegetables, sweet potato.

Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) and vitamin C, both excellent immune system support nutrients. They are also a good source of B vitamins, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, and dietary fibre. My friend who we shared this curry with was really happy that I added sweet potato, as people often mix up yams with sweet potato. They’re both delicious, but I think this easy vegan slow cooker recipe is better with sweet potatoes.  

I also substituted the basmati rice that was called for with Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice, a black rice that’s rich in antioxidants and is considered a blood tonic in TCM.

Sadly, I forgot to add the spinach, though I did have it ready in my fridge. And we were so psyched to eat that I forgot to take a picture of the food for this blog until after we had already packaged it up for leftovers (that are now also eaten). So, here’s my not so stylized picture of what was a delicious meal!

Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Recipe

Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry & Coconut Rice
Warms you up from the inside!
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Curry
  1. 1 teaspoon olive oil or coconut oil
  2. 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  3. 1 clove garlic, minced
  4. 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  5. 15-ounce can chickpeas (about 1 1/2 cups)
  6. 2 cups canned or boxed chopped tomatoes
  7. 2 cups small cauliflower florets
  8. 3-5 carrots, sliced
  9. 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  10. 1 can coconut milk
  11. 1 cup vegetable broth
  12. 1 tablespoon garam masala
  13. 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
  14. 1 teaspoon salt
  15. 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach, chopped
Coconut rice
  1. 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice (I used Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice, a black rice)
  2. 1 can light coconut milk
  3. 1/2 cup water
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
Curry Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a pan
  2. Sauté onions, garlic, and fresh ginger for 7 minutes or until lightly browned
  3. Transfer onion/garlic/ginger mix to your slow cooker
  4. Add remaining ingredients, except for the spinach
  5. Heat on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours
  6. Before serving, stir in the spinach, and heat for 5 more minutes.
Rice Directions
  1. Add the rice, coconut milk, water, and salt to a saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes
  4. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to sit covered for 10 minutes
OR
  1. Put rice ingredients in a rice cooker and let that do the job (that's what I did)
Adapted from Pop Sugar Fitness
Adapted from Pop Sugar Fitness
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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Squash and Chickpea Curry Slow Cooker Vegetarian Recipe

slow cooker vegetarian recipe healthy squash chickpea curryI made this slow cooker vegetarian recipe, and my husband and I both liked it so much that we actually had it 4 nights in a row! Part of the reason for that was being busy and perhaps lazy, but another part of it was definitely the taste. Yum!

Plus, as the weather cools downs and so many are fighting colds, this recipe is like a panacea–boosting the immune system, decreasing inflammation, stabilizing blood sugar, and so much more.

Slow Cooker Squash and Chickpea Curry
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash
  2. 2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
  3. 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  4. 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  5. 1 onion, diced
  6. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  8. 3 Tbsp mild curry paste
  9. 1 can light coconut milk
  10. 1 cup vegetable stock
  11. 1/4 cup natural cashew butter or peanut butter
  12. 1/4 tsp salt
  13. 2 cups packed shredded Swiss chard or kale
  14. 1 cup frozen green peas
Instructions
  1. In slow cooker, combine squash, potato and chickpeas.
  2. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
  3. Stirfry onion, garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally, until onion is light golden, about 7 minutes.
  4. Add curry paste; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add to slow cooker.
  6. Add coconut milk and stock to slow cooker.
  7. Stir in cashew butter and salt.
  8. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours or until vegetables are tender.
  9. Stir in Swiss chard and peas.
  10. Cover and cook on high for about 15 minutes or until Swiss chard wilts.
Notes
  1. I've also done this stovetop when I have less time. It freezes great and makes for even tastier leftovers.
Adapted from Canadian Living, December 2006
Adapted from Canadian Living, December 2006
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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Black Bean Mushroom Vegetarian Chili in a Slow Cooker Recipe

Black bean chili vegetarian slow cooker recipeIt’s that time of year again. I know I can use my slow cooker year-round, but I find I put it away when summer arrives, and take it out again when the temperatures drop. This vegetarian slow cooker recipe is just screaming to be made on a crisp fall day, and you can make it time and again over the fall and winter months.

Healthy Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipe

Black Bean Mushroom Chili in a Slow Cooker
When I look at this recipe I think cozy, comforting, warming, and nourishing.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups dried black beans, rinsed
  2. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 1/4 cup mustard seeds
  4. 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, or ground cumin
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, or ground cardamom
  7. 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  8. 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  9. 8 ounces tomatillos, husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped *
  10. 1/4 cup water
  11. 5 1/2 cups mushroom broth, or vegetable broth
  12. 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  13. 1-2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I don't like spicy, so I skip this)
  14. 1 1/4 cups grated Monterey Jack, or pepper Jack cheese (optional--I skip the cheese, but you could also use a dairy-free cheese substitute like Daiya)
  15. 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream (optional--I skip this too)
  16. 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional--I love cilantro, but not everyone does; it's a love it or hate it herb)
  17. 2 limes, cut into wedges
Instructions
  1. Soak beans overnight in 2 litres of water.
  2. Drain the beans, discarding soaking liquid (unless you want your chili to be very gassy!)
  3. Combine oil, mustard seeds, chili powder, cumin and cardamom in a pot.
  4. Place over high heat and stir until the spices sizzle, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add onions, mushrooms, tomatillos and water.
  6. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are juicy, 5 to 7 minutes.
  7. Uncover and stir often until the juices evaporate and the vegetables are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.
  8. Add broth, tomato paste and chipotles; mix well.
  9. Place the beans in a 4.7 L or larger slow cooker.
  10. Pour the hot vegetable mixture over the beans.
  11. Turn heat to high.
  12. Put the lid on and cook until the beans are creamy, 5 to 8 hours.
If you want
  1. Garnish each serving with cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cilantro.
  2. Serve with lime wedges.
Notes
  1. * Apparently, if you can't find fresh tomatillos, you can either look for canned ones or use under-ripe tomatoes and add lime juice
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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