I like to cook, so it’s difficult to narrow this down to just 3 recipes, and I’ll probably end up slipping in a few extra bits.
Couscous or Quinoa salad
I use these guys interchangeably, sometimes together—and not in equal proportions; it depends on what’s on hand. I’ve served variations of this healthy recipe below to friends and family—the mint is a fresh surprise.
Get either the couscous or the quinoa cooked, according to the directions on the package—make enough to satisfy your needs. Let it cool.
Choose any or all of the following, and then keep separate from the grain, until they’re both the same temperature:
- Spring onion(s)–finely chopped
- grated carrot
- finely chopped celery stalk(s)
- coarsely chopped flat peas (each pod chopped into thirds)
- red, yellow or orange (bell) pepper, depending on your taste—and as much as you like.
- Broccoli flower bits, chopped
- blanched green beans, chopped into half inch pieces
- blanched asparagus—chop them like the green beans
- chopped cucumber
- finely chopped black or green (pitted) olives
- red or orange cherry (or grape) tomatoes (don’t chop these)
- some rinsed frozen peas
- EITHER OR: half to a third cup (or more) finely chopped mint leaves or basil leaves
Dressing: You can use Wishbone, or make up this:
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 3 minced garlic cloves (raw)
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all the stuff you want in your salad together, add the dressing, stir it up, taste and make adjustments, then put the whole lot into the fridge.
This salad can keep for a week, and can be combined with other things, like pickled beets, (For the beets, I steam quartered beets, peel, then coarsely chop and put in ½ cup each of the SAVED beet juice + balsamic and rice vinegar) freshly chopped avocado, chopped walnuts and put on a bed of dark green lettuce.
(Which I’m told could not be strictly termed coleslaw.)
Combine in a bowl:
- 1/3 head of cabbage, finely chopped
- Coarsely chop up two roma tomatoes.
- Chop up ½ or whole avocado.
- ½ to a full cup of chopped cilantro
- cucumber-peel it or not-chopped
- ½ to ¾ cup grated or crumbed blue cheese
Gently stir until mixed well.
- ½ cup cream cheese (light?)
- ½ cup sour cream (this could be switched with mayonnaise, depending on what you want your dressing to taste like. Or you could use less sour cream, then top up with a few spoons of mayo. And get the ‘light’ or ‘low fat’, so that you can eat healthier.)
- 1 Tablespoon of fresh lime juice
- Optional: ½ tsp of cayenne pepper.
- Spicier? Chop up a jalapeno pepper, after removing the seeds—or keep the seeds if you really like it hot. And don’t rub your eyes for about two days.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Stir the dressing into the coleslaw mixture, taste, make necessary adjustments and refrigerate.
Curried Lentil (Dahl)
My grandson asked me for this recipe, so it must be good! One can use split yellow lentils (peas) with the same result.
Quantities can be adjusted to your needs.
Rinse 1 or 2 cups lentils + 1 teaspoon salt. Cover with chicken or vegetable broth in a medium/large pot, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer (about 30 minutes) until the lentils are soft. The liquid shouldn’t disappear, so don’t go wandering off. Meanwhile:
Chop a whole onion, mince 6 (at least) cloves of garlic, grate 2 inches of ginger, mince 1 or 2 Serrano or jalapeno peppers. Set aside.
The following instruction, about the ‘dry heat’ can be eliminated if you don’t have enough time.
Cook in a frying pan over a medium flame, without any oil—dry heat, for about 5 minutes:
1 Teaspoon each of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds—until they’re aromatic and not burnt.
Grind them with a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder).
Cook in a frying pan over medium heat: a couple tablespoons of olive oil, (all the ground spices you just heated up,) plus: 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, coriander, turmeric and 2 teaspoons curry powder. Heat for about 3–5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, making certain not to let the oil get too smokey. When it’s aromatic, then add the onion mixture. You may need to add more oil in order to coat the onions et al. Cook for a further 5 minutes, until the onions are golden/translucent. You can add to the onions:
chopped celery stalk(s) and get all the vegetables coated with the mixture.
Combine everything into the pot with the lentils; you may need to add a bit more broth, but it should be a thickish kind of mixture. At this point you may add a couple spoons of tomato paste, plus a cinnamon stick or two. Cook over low heat until the carrots are tender. Salt and pepper to taste.
Ten minutes before serving: Add ½ to 1 Cup chopped cilantro.
Curried lentils (Dahl) is healthy, tasty and can be served over rice.