Pack a punch with this delicious home-made granola

Bittman's  granola, granola
I use this recipe for granola from time to time and have never been disappointed. It’s deliciously crunchy, it’s healthy, has the perfect amount and kind of fat and is a life saver on days when the the crave hits and we really want to behave. It’s also the perfect pre-workout food and is super amenable to adaptations.

Of course its origins can be traced back to superstar food writer Mark Bittman. I take the basic recipe and add my flair to it. Some zest and some herbs and it comes alive in a whole new way!

Here’s the recipe for the oh-so-delicious goodness:

For eight cups, you will need:

6 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)

2 cups mixed nuts and seeds: a combination of sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, etc.

1 cup shredded coconut (optional) 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste

Dash salt

1 /2 to 1 cup honey or maple syrup, or to taste

1 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit

A handful of  banana chips (optional)

I teaspoon of orange zest (optional – instead of coconut)

Chopped cilantro / parsley (optional – instead of coconut)

Method of preparation:

Heat the oven to 350°F. In a bowl, combine the oats, nuts and seeds, the coconut if you’re using it or zest and herbs, cinnamon, salt, and sweetener. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or a little longer, stirring occasionally. The mixture should brown evenly; the browner it gets without burning, the crunchier the granola will be.

Remove the pan from the oven and add the raisins or chopped dried fruit. Cool on a rack, stirring once in a while until the granola reaches room temperature. Transfer to a sealed container and store in the refrigerator; it will keep indefinitely.

Spinach pesto and fettuccine

By Shalini Kolluri

I used baby spinach here in order to get a milder tasting and soft pesto.  The pesto can be made up to 1 day in advance. Store it in a container and press plastic wrap on top of the pesto so that it’s touching the surface. Refrigerate until ready to use.

I love to add in some toasted pine nuts to my pesto in order to add some crunch while eating my pasta. You could use any kind of pasta. However, I chose spinach fettuccine because it is visually appealing.

Pine nuts have been enjoyed since ancient times. Pine nuts are not actually nuts at all!! They are seeds of pine trees!

A few awesome reasons to include pine nuts in your food are..

  • If you’re trying to lose weight, eating pine nuts may help. Research showed that fatty acids derived from pine nuts lead to the release of high amounts of cholecystokinin (CCK), an appetite-suppressing hormone.
  • Pine nuts are also a good source of magnesium, low levels of which can lead to fatigue.
  • They also contain a wealth of antioxidants, including vitamins A, B, C, D, and E.

I can not think of a better recipe that goes amazingly well with toasted pine nuts! Hope you like it!

 

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Ingredients :-

1 lb spinach fettuccine

1/4 cup walnuts/pine nuts

4 cloves garlic (minced)

1/2 lb baby spinach (about 10 cups)

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

black pepper

salt

1/4 teaspoons chili flakes

tablespoon grated lemon zest

Method :-

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the pine nuts and garlic until chopped.Add the spinach, 1 table spoon oil, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.Puree until smooth.

In a skillet heat 1 table spoon oil and add in the chili flakes and a few pine nuts. Once the pine nuts are roasted add in the pesto and stir for 2 minutes.

Stir in the pasta and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the lemon zest. Serve with warm toasted bread.

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Soy chunk veggie wrap

By Shalini Kolluri

What I love about wraps is how creative you could get with them. They can be healthy or unhealthy, light or greasy and heavy. I usually love whole wheat wraps with the right amount of crunch and moisture. The right spread can really make a healthy wrap easier to swallow. I added pickles in this recipe because it adds sourness that I really crave in a wrap. Hope you love it as much as I do.

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Whole wheat wrap:

Ingredients:-

2½ cups whole-wheat flour (I used King Arthur’s white whole-wheat flour)

½ cup canola oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup warm water

Method:-

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In the bowl pour in the flour, oil and salt. Beat with the paddle until crumbly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the sides as needed.

Add the warm water and continue mixing until the dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.

Take out the dough and divide it into 12 equal sized pieces. I do this by making the dough into a big log shape that is about 8 – 10 inches long. Then I cut it in the middle. Then I cut each of those pieces in the middle and so on until you have 12 pieces.Using the palms of your hand roll each piece into a round ball and flatten it out on a baking tray or board. Cover with a wet cloth and let rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

Heat a cast iron skillet, griddle or 12-inch skillet over med-high heat. The pan should be fairly hot before you begin cooking the tortillas.On a lightly floured board or counter top, use a rolling pin to turn each ball into a 8 to 10 inch flat circle or an even rectangle like I did here.

Grease the pan with a touch of oil  and then carefully transfer each tortilla, one at a time, to the pan and cook until puffy and slightly brown, about 30 to 45 seconds per side. Set aside on a plate to cool slightly. Eat within an hour, refrigerate or freeze.

Yogurt dressing :

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In 1/2 cup of low fat yogurt add salt, 3 minced garlic cloves and pepper. Mix it thoroughly but not for too long as it may become runny. Add a pinch of red chili powder (chili flakes) and 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro (optional)to it.

Stir fried soy chunk filling:

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After soaking in water, the soya chunks would appear double in volume. Squeeze all the water from the soya chunks. I prefer to cut soya chunk pieces into smaller ones.Marinate it with pepper powder, chilli powder, ginger(crushed), garlic(crushed) and salt for 10 minutes.

Heat oil in pan. Add marinated soy chunks and 1 cup water. Adjust salt. Cover and cook it for 15 minutes.Stir fry it well. Now open the lid and cook until the water evaporates. To have a perfect dry, add 1-2 teaspoons oil. Saute it well until it turns dark in color.

..and now..the wrap..

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I took the whole wheat tortilla and spread a generous amount of yogurt spread on the wrap (adds moisture to a dry wrap). To this I added soy chunks, a few pickle slices, stir fried onion slices/ raw onion, some lettuce or cabbage (adds crunch), green bell pepper slices and 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce. You could add any kind of vegetable and the sriracha can be substituted for a spoon full of tahini even. Roll it into a wrap and enjoy it!

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Two creamy vegan soups: Corn Cashew Chowder & Green Bean Almond

 It’s still cold in these parts of the world and sometimes  a creamy soup is exactly what you need to lift your spirits. And of course if it’s healthy and vegan, that’s a huge bonus to us conscientious eaters. Here’s presenting two simple nut and veggie based soups that had have a very very good chance of knocking your socks off:

1. Green Bean and Almond Soup

  

It’s hearty, it’s delicious and it’s resplendent in verdant notes. This recipe is adapted from one published by Paris’ Rose Bakery in the book Breakfast Lunch Tea.

To serve six, you will need:

4 tablespoons extra virgin oil

2 onions, diced

2 celery sticks, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

1 pound 2 ounces or 500 g of green beans, trimmed

( this comes up to about three large handfuls)

1 litre vegetable stock or water

100 grams ground almonds

Method of Preparation:

Heat oil in a saucepan and cook the onions, celery, carrots and garlic over a very low heat till the veggies soften and begin to turn golden. Add in the salt, pepper and sugar. Then the green beans and stir for five minutes. Pour in the water and cook with a lid 30 mins till the veggies soften. Add in the ground almonds and stir. 

Stir well, turn off the heat and let it cool down. Then, blend into a fine soup. Adjust consistency using water, if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning. 

2.  Corn and Cashew Chowder

 corn chowder, corn cashew soup 

This is another one of those quick-cook beauties that reminds you that simple can be gorgeous. It’s hearty, has layered notes when it comes to taste and is a smash hit with kids and adults alike.

To serve four, you will need:

 4 large ears of corn, lightly cooked and reduced to kernels

2 cups water

1/2 cup raw cashews

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small garlic clove

Up to 2 teaspoons of salt

Crushed pepper to taste

Chopped cilantro for garnish

Method of Preparation:

In a blender, combine 2 1/4 cups of lightly cooked corn with water, cashews, olive oil, garlic and salt and puree until smooth. Pour the soup into bowls. Garnish with the remaining corn kernels, the cilantro and a sprinkle of pepper. Serve.