Posts tagged ‘main dish’

Palak Daal (Chickpeas with Spinach- SRC)

It snowed this week…yep, our first snow of the year already arrived! Growing up in a warmer Texas climate, the quick change of seasons in Montana never fails to catch me off guard🙂 As the temperature drops, I find myself in the mood for more comfort meals as I warm up to the idea that winter is starting to dig in it’s heels for the long haul. Lentils and chickpeas are comfort foods in my book…not only do they have a creamy texture, they’re hearty and filling and can accompany a warm pita or can be used in skillet meals, breakfast dishes and even dessert. This dish for chickpeas and spinach served over cozy rice hit the spot!
Another idea I am still warming up to is this post is the second to last for the Secret Recipe Club monthly reveals. Sadly, we got the news this month that the club is coming to an end after 5 years… and I have so enjoyed my 4+ years in the club, I can’t believe it’s been that long! For this month, I was assigned The Big Sweet Tooth blog, and what fun I had searching through recipes and getting to know her Rafeeda! Her blog has a huge variety of recipes, with an extensive collection of Indian dishes. Amongst the many that piqued my interest are her Ripe Plantain Lentil Sweet Curry (the combination of ingredients plus the sweet and savory aspect are intriguing), her South Indian Rice Cakes (these are naturally gluten free and fermented!), and her Egg-free Mango Chocolate Marble Cake (this is a perfect fall-looking cake).
In the end, I chose Rafeeda’s Palak Daal (Spinach Lentil Gravy) recipe when I craving greens and beans, AND I had many ingredients on hand.  If you enjoy curries and pulses (chickpeas/lentils etc), this is a definite keeper! I made a few adjustments based on the availability of ingredients: I used serrano peppers for the green chilis, swapped minced a garlic clove and 1/2 inch of fresh ginger instead of a ginger garlic paste and used chickpeas (chana dal) instead of red lentils as Rafeeda suggested. I also drizzled some lemon juice over the dish for acidity before serving since I love that extra little zing but feel free to omit if you prefer🙂
Palak Daak (Chickpeas or Lentils with Spinach) lightly adapted from The Big Sweet Tooth
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Nut-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free, Egg-free

Âľ cup masoor lentil (can use chickpeas, red lentils)*
ÂĽ tsp turmeric powder
sea salt to taste (I used 2 tsp)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
2 serrano peppers, deseeded and minced (or 2 green chilies)
1 tsp ginger garlic paste (I used 1 garlic clove and 1/2 tsp freshly minced ginger)
1 onion, minced
1 bunch spinach, chopped thinly
ÂĽ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilli powder (I found Kashmiri chili powder in the bulk section of our health food store)**
½ tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
Sea salt to taste
a drizzle of fresh lemon juice, lime juice or apple cider vinegar (I used roughly 2 tbsp)

  1. Pressure cook the lentils/chickpeas in sufficient water with turmeric and salt. (I’m not that familiar with pressure cooking though I own one so I followed these instructions for cooking but used 3/4 cup chickpeas and the tumeric and salt in the recipe above).
  2. In a saucepan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Crackle the cumin and mustard seeds.
  3. Add the serrano/green chillies and ginger garlic paste and saute until you smell a nice aroma.
  4. Add the onions and saute until wilted, then sprinkle with  little salt.
  5. Add in the spinach and masala powders (tumeric through garam masala) and saute till the spinach looks wilted.
  6. Add the cooked chickpeas/lentils into the sauteed masala, cover and simmer for five minutes.
  7. Add the fenugreek leaves and lemon/lime juice or apple cider vinegar and give a final mix. Taste and season with additional salt if desired.
  8. Serve warm with rice or rotis.
*You can use any daal of your choice instead of chana dal (chickpeas) – masoor dal (red lentils)  and moong daal (split green gram) 🙂
** If you cannot find the Kashmiri chili powder, you can substitute a mixture of paprika and cayenne pepper – about 3 parts paprika to 1 part cayenne pepper.
For other recipes from this month’s reveal, click the link below!

October 16, 2016 at 10:00 pm 8 comments

Farmer’s Market Skillet (SRC)

Strolling through our local farmer’s market is one of the highlights of my weekend. The local bee keeper selling his honey, the vibrant fresh flowers are on display in gorgeous bouquets, the scent of fresh-popped kettle corn is intoxicating, and the colorful vegetables…oh, the fresh garden vegetables remind me of a rainbow in food form!
farmers market skilletMy favorite stand is the organic Cedar Rose Farms run by a sweet and very knowledgable couple. I always buy several items that they have featured for the week. Carrots, spring onions and zucchini were featured the week I made this recipe (yum!)…which was ideal for this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal! I was thrilled to come across this Farmer’s Market Skillet from Heather’s blog Join Us, Pull Up a Chair and use up my farmer’s market goodies! It may not be the prettiest dish to photograph, but it was DELISH!

farmers market skillet vegI swapped out carrots for the corn since I didn’t find any at the market. I also incorporated goat feta cheese instead of cow’s for easier digestion my end (though you can swap out dairy-free cheese if needed OR use fresh avocado chunks and season with additional salt and lemon for a flavor boost) and used up the vegetable stock I had on hand to keep this a veggie-friendly main dish! I squeezed some additional lemon juice on top to amp up the acidity…which I’m about if you’ve been following me for a while🙂 This was a big hit! It can stand alone as a dinner, quick lunch (hot or cold) or a zesty side dish alongside your favorite protein. Swap in your favorite fresh veggies to your liking – fresh corn kernels, yellow squash, sweet potatoes, beets, bell peppers, etc. I think this dish would also be delicious with chickpeas and a few olives for fun too!
farmers market skillet1While I happily chose to make her Farmer’s Market Skillet, Heather’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Pretzel Bars had me singing “It’s Peanut Butter-Jelly Time” along with a impromtpu shameless celebration dance in my kitchen while ideas swirled in my head to make a healthier and allergen-friendly version at a later date. I loved her idea for Buffalo Chicken Rolls as a hand-held appetizer and a perfect game-day recipe for upcoming football gatherings and Heather’s Gazpacho with Basil Cornbread Croutons made me want to hold on to warm summer days and sunshine.

farmers market skillet2

Farmer’s Market Skillet (lightly adapted from Join Us Pull Up a Chair)
Gluten-free, Soy-free, Vegetarian, Nut-free, Vegan and Dairy-free Options, Refined Sugar-free, Corn-free, Egg-free


1 3/4 cup broth (vegetable for veggie-friendly OR chicken stock or broth if desired)
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil
2-3 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, quartered and sliced
2-3 green onions, chopped
1-2 medium-sized tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup feta cheese (I used goat’s feta – for dairy-free/vegan, use a shredded dairy-free cheese or choice, cashew cheese or substitute chunks of avocado)*
2-3 Tbsp chopped basil
salt and pepper

1 Tbsp lemon zest
2-3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 3 Tbsp bc I love acidity)
1 1/2 Tbsp honey, maple syrup or agave (do not use honey if strict vegan)
1 garlic clove, microplaned
1/2 tsp sea salt (or more to taste, if desired)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Using the broth or stock, cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. Once cooked, fluff the quiona with a fork and let cool slightly.

2. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette, whisk and set aside.

3. Using a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until golden brown.

3. Add the zucchini and green onions and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until just tender and then add the quinoa and half of the vinaigrette. Stir well and cook for an additional minute.

4. Add the remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, cheese/avocado and basil to the skillet. Stir well to combine. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and/or lemon juice if desired and enjoy!

If you want to make this a cold salad, do not combine the quinoa into the skillet. Let all ingredients cool separately and then combine the cooked quinoa, cooked vegetables, tomatoes, feta, basil and vingairette into a large bowl. Chill until you’re ready to serve.

*If you opt to substitute the cheese for avocado for an easy dairy-free swap, I suggest you add a bit more salt and lemon juice since the cheese adds a nice salty element to the dish and add the avocado right before serving. Enjoy!

farmers market skilletclose
For other recipes from this week’s reveal, click the link below!

September 18, 2016 at 10:00 pm 6 comments

ABC Cabbage Salad (Vegan)

ABC…easy as 1-2-3…that’s what this salad and dressing is! If you have these three ingredients on hand, you can whip a quick dressing up in less than a minute, and there’s no need for a blender, just a simple whisk (or a fork if you must!).

A for Almond butter (or your favorite nut or seed butter)
B for Braggs liquid aminos (or coconut aminos for Paleo, Whole30 and/or soy-free)
C for Apple Cider Vinegar
ABC cabbage salad1 For the salad itself, choose your favorite chopped greens along with some crunchy cabbage for the base. Toss in your preference of veggies, such a sliced grape tomatoes, diced bell pepper and chopped celery and there you have it! You can top it off with your favorite nuts and/or seeds, diced apple or coconut chips for some extra crunch and flavor.

This dressing is simple but SO good! For a touch of sweetness, either add a drizzle of maple syrup or agave or a spoonful of date paste. If you are looking for a quick lunch or light dinner, this is it! You can substitute the greens for chopped kale or swiss chard and keep it in the fridge for longer since it will hold up as opposed to wilt. ABC cabbage salad 1

Toss this dressing into a cup of cooked quinoa or brown rice to make it more filling or add your favorite protein for a hearty main course. I served this salad with grilled salmon burgers the other night, and it was a lovely combination or smoky, sweet, salty and tart. If you like sweeter dressings, dial down the amount of vinegar you use and use two drizzles of maple or agave. 

ABC Cabbage Salad 
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free Option, Vegetarian, Vegan, Sugar-free, Egg-free, Keto-friendly, Paleo-friendly option


For the Dressing:

2 Tbsp almond butter or your favorite nut or seed butter*
2-3 tsp Bragg’s liquid aminos (or coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari)
1 -2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
water to thin, if needed
Optional – for a sweeter dressing, drizzle in a teaspoon or so of agave, honey or maple syrup or date paste to taste. For a lower carb option, add a couple drops of liquid stevia

For the Salad:
1 handful of chopped purple cabbage
2 handfuls of chopped greens
5-6 grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/3 cup alfalfa sprouts
Or whichever salad ingredients you enjoy, this recipe is flexible!

Ideas for crunchy toppings
Diced apple
coconut chips
Chopped nuts or seeds

Makes 1 large salad or 2 smaller salads


  1. For the dressing: whisk almond butter/nut butter through vinegar in a small bowl until smooth. If it’s too thick, you can thin with a drizzle of water. I like my dressing on the acidic side so feel free to adjust to taste. Feel free to add in a
  2. For the salad: Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl. Toss with salad dressing until combined, if you like a lightly dressed salad drizzle a little at a time (leftover dressing can be saved). Sprinkle with topping options if desired and serve!

*The choice or nut or seed butter will determine the flavor or your dressing. I’ve tried this with peanut butter, sunflower seed butter and cashew butter along with the almond butter. A roasted nut/seed butter has a lovely depth of flavor that adds to the dressing. If you use a salted version, you may want to adjust the Bragg’s/aminos to your taste. If you use sunflower seed butter, it’s not as sweet as the almond/peanut/cashew options so adding a little sweetener will balance out the flavors nicely! This dressing is flexible so adapt it to suite your taste buds and your tummy!

ABC cabbage salad mixed

August 21, 2016 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment

Baked Duck Eggs in Portobello Caps (SRC)

Have you ever eaten duck eggs? Wow, they have quickly become my new food love. I stumbled across some at our farmer’s markets as well as a local health food store and it’s been a game changer for me. After some allergy testing and an elimination diet, I discovered that I react to chicken egg whites and despite being briefly bummed, I sought out alternatives and experimented with egg-free versions of my favorite recipes. After duck eggs were discovered, my foodie world expanded once again.

Here are a few highlights of the beloved duck egg and why you might want to get your hands (and forks) on some if possible:

1. The yolk of a duck egg is much larger than one of a chicken egg – yum!
2. Duck egg shells are harder to get a clean crack and are much tougher than chicken eggs, creating a longer shelf life.
2. Nutritionally speaking, they have a higher fat content (good fat!), higher in protein than chicken eggs and contain more vitamins and minerals (such as iron, B12, folate) and Omega-3 fatty acids
4. Just take care not to overcook the whites of duck eggs, they contain more protein and therefore can become more rubbery if cooked too long.
5. The yolks have a richer, almost buttery flavor, most likely attributed to the higher fat content.
6. Duck eggs contain more albumen, which gives them more structure, thus creating a very light, fluffy, and rich baked good with a higher lift than those made with chicken eggs.
poached egg close2I’ve been searching for more breakfast options and was itching to try out my new duck eggs in a recipe…so when I spotted Amy’s recipe for Baked Eggs in Portobello Mushroom Caps, I was sold. This recipe was lightly adapted from Amy’s Savory Moments blog that I was assigned to this month for the Secret Recipe Club reveal! I swapped out the chicken eggs for ducks eggs, used green bell pepper instead of the grilled piquillo and served the dish with sliced avocado and fresh basil for a bit of freshness. I left out the cheese for allergy purposes but but I sure that would a lovely addition if you can eat it. In short, I loved this recipe! Not only does it provide a hearty serving of veggies to start the day, it’s flavorful, simple ingredient and adaptable!
I was excited to learn more about Amy, and her passion really resonates with me. She started blogging to document her “…growth and progress over time to better cooking and healthier eating …and encourage others to eat local, eat healthy, eat seasonally when possible, but also to enjoy food, cooking, and food culture.” YES! This speaks to my heart 100% so Amy and I share the same enthusiasm around food. Her Rhubarb BarsBrazilian Shrimp Stew, and Currant and Lemon Cornmeal Pancakes also had me drooling as I bookmarked these beauties for future experimentation🙂 Thanks for the delicious recipes! poached egg

Baked Eggs in Portobello Caps (adapted from Savory Moments recipe)
2 large portobello mushroom caps
2 duck eggs or 2 large chicken eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp small diced onion
large handful of mixed greens or baby spinach (roughly 1 cup)
1/2 green bell pepper, small diced
about 1/3 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese or favorite non-dairy cheese (optional, I omitted)
pink Himalayan sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
paprika for garnishing
fresh avocado slices or guacamole for serving, optional
chopped fresh basil (or cilantro or parsley) for serving, optional
favorite fat or oil for cooking (coconut oil, olive oil or avocado oil)


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees and drizzle a bit of olive oil/fat in small baking dish. Wipe the dirt off your mushroom caps with a damp towel. Gently scrape the gills out from the underside of the mushrooms with a spoon. Place in the baking pan and drizzle a small amount of fat/oil on the mushrooms and a bit of black pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the begin to get soft and shrink up a little.
  2. While mushrooms are baking, heat some fat/oil in a small pan and saute the garlic, green pepper and onions for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the spinach and cook until it’s wilted. Add some salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Remove mushrooms from the oven and lower oven temp to 325F.
  4.  Discard all juice inside mushroom caps and wipe out all juice out of the baking dish. Take a towel and gently press the inside of the mushrooms to get out any excess juice. Place the mushrooms (bottom/cup facing up) back into the baking dish. Put half of the spinach mixture into each mushroom, and sprinkle with cheese if using. Try to leave a “hole” in the center so there is room for the egg yolk.
  5. Carefully crack an egg on top of each mushroom. Sprinkle with some salt, pepper, paprika, and some extra cheese. Carefully place the baking dish back into the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are cooked and the yolk is set. Garnish with paprika and serve with avocado slices and fresh basil or favorite herbs (optional).

poached egg close1

For more recipes from this month’s reveal, click the link below!

June 19, 2016 at 10:00 pm 10 comments

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