Tag Archives: lentils

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie from the new Canadian Living Vegetarian Cookbook

I love flipping through Canadian Living Magazine!

They have the best recipes.

In fact, my mother-in-law gave me a whole stack of last year’s magazines to peruse and seek out new vegetarian recipes.  Now Canadian Living has made searching for their vegetarian recipes easier by including a selection of delicious sounding meals in their newest “tested til perfect” cookbook  The Vegetarian Collection.  Even though I have secured a copy of this cookbook  that doesn’t mean I won’t continue to flip through the old magazine editions!  Plus, this cookbook does not feature any deserts, so those old magazines will come in handy.

I had been eyeing this cookbook for a few weeks in Coles bookstore downtown.

Should I pick up, or shouldn’t I?

Then one day while looking through cookbooks in Winners I found a copy of the coveted cookbook for only $14.99.  Well, that settled it.

It was tough for me to decide on the first recipe that I would make from my newest acquisition. Would it be Rustic Spinach and Feta Galette, Squash Couscous, or Smoked Cheese Risotto?  Instead I decided on an adaptation of the Canadian Living version of vegetarian shepherd’s pie.

With a mix of yam and potato for the topping and a stew of lentils and veggie ground round beneath this shepherd’s pie was absolutely delicious.  I must confess it beat the pants off of a shepherd’s pie recipe that I posted previously. This one takes a bit longer to make, so if you have time to spare give it a try. Though you could use canned lentils instead of dried one to speed things up.

I think the mix of yam and potato with the grated cheese on top is what makes this shepherd’s pie so fantastic !

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dried brown lentils, soaked overnight then rinsed and drained (or one can of lentils)
1 340g package of Yves Veggie Ground Round
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 -28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup of water
2 zucchini diced

4 (1 kg) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch dice
4 (1 kg) yams, peeled and cut into 2 inch dice
1/3 cup of milk
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

  • In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions, celery, carrot and garlic.  Cook until softened, about 6 minutes.
  • Add lentils, cumin, and oregano and cook for 3 minutes
  • Stir in tomatoes and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  • Add the zucchini and cook for 30 minutes more until the lentils are tender.  If you are using canned lentils cut the cooking time at this point to 10 minutes.
  • Add the Veggie Ground Round and stir to mix.
  • While the mixture is cooking  add the potatoes and yams to a large pot of boiling water and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°C
  • Drain the potatoes and yams and rinse the pot.  Return the potatoes and yams to the pot and mash with milk, yogurt, salt and pepper.
  • Add 1/2 cup of grated cheese to the potato-yam mash
  • Scoop lentil mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish and spread the potato-yam mash on top.  Top with the remaining cheese and bake at 375°C for 30 minutes

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The tang of lemon and feta: Greek Lentil Soup

I took a look at this recipe and thought that sounds good: I love lentils and who doesn’t like feta cheese!

It was better than I expected.   I figured that it would be good, after all I have never had a lentil soup I did not like, but it was better than good.   Mediterranean style lentil soups are nothing new, but I am not sure whether it was the lemon or the feta, or both, that took the flavour of this soup out my taste experience.

When you have eaten a lot of lentil soups like I have, finding one that charts out a new taste territory is a good thing.

That is all I have to say.


Try the soup.

Greek Lentil Soup (adapted from Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowicz)

To make it vegan leave out the cheese.  If opting for a gluten-free option make sure your vegetable broth is GF.

2 cups of red lentils, rinsed well and drained
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups of carrots, diced
1 cup of potato, diced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, ground or minced (I crushed mine with a mortar and pestle)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 bay leaves
7 cups of vegetable stock
a couple handfuls of fresh spinach
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
salt to taste (remember the feta will add some saltiness)

2/3 cup of crumbled feta cheese
1/4 teaspoon mint
freshly ground pepper to taste

  • In a large soup pot warm the oil over medium heat and saute the onions until translucent.
  • Add the garlic, carrot, potato, pepper, chilies, rosemary, oregano and 2 bay leaves and saute for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the lentils and the stock and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until the lentils are soft.
  • Add the spinach and cook until wilted
  • Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and salt and pepper.
  • In a small bowl stir the feta with the mint and freshly ground pepper.
  • Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top with the feta mixture.

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Crochet-topped kitchen towels and Jack Bishop’s Polenta with Lentils in Tomato Sauce

I am back.

EPC and I were away on holidays and then we both caught a cold.  Not by choice, of course, so perhaps it is more accurate to say the cold caught up with us!  Anyway, there is nothing worse than a summer cold.  So,  although we returned home last week, I didn’t get around to cooking anything blog-worthy until this past weekend.

We had a good time on our holiday. We went to Saskatoon, the “Paris of the Prairies”, and spent our time hanging out with friends and relaxing. I went to the Saskatoon Farmer’s Market where I was able to pick up some handmade crochet-topped kitchen towels and a couple of beautiful aprons. We also cooked up some fresh asparagus that evening on the BBQ – delicious!

If any of you plan on heading to Saskatoon this summer, aside from visiting the farmer’s market, I suggest stopping in at Museo – the coffee shop adjacent to the Medel Art Gallery and Conservatory.  They have wonderful lattes and serve almond butter with their toasted bagels!  The gallery is located along the South Saskatchewan River and is adjacent to the wonderful Meewasin Trail system.   It you keep walking along the trail towards downtown you will come to the Victoria Street Bridge.  Just across this bridge from downtown is Las Palapas restaurant.  Here I had some wonderful pozole soup. The great thing about Las Palapas, other than the food, is that it is located right next to Homestead Ice Cream. They have traditional flavours and some unique ones like Avocado, Roses and Honey, and Dill Pickle (can you believe it?). I stuck with the slightly more traditional Butter Brickle and Dad’s Oatmeal Cookie on top of my cone.

Of course I can’t forget Christie’s Bakery on Saskatoon’s west side (they are opening a second location on Broadway this summer). We picked up a delicious Saskatoon berry pie, some wonderful lemon tarts, and a monstrous loaf of potato bread.

Yes, I certainly ate a lot on our trip! Which in why we stuck to simple hearty meals when we returned.

Now that I got our trip to Saskatoon out my system, onto the Jack Bishop part of the post.

I found out about Jack Bishop from a blog that I love to read: Cook and the Books. In one of her posts she recommended that readers check out his Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen cookbook, which I did, and then I promptly checked out his Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook from the library as well. It was hard to pick a recipe, but I settled on Polenta with Lentils and Tomato Sauce.  It was fantastic, simple to make and very flavourful. As I am sure you can tell by the photo, it is also an impressive meal to serve guests.

Because it was so warm out this past weekend, I broiled the polenta in our toaster oven, which took a little longer than it would have in the oven, but delicious all the same. I think if you were in a rush you could get away with canned lentils and store-bought polenta, but make the recipe as is if you can.

Polenta with Lentils and Tomato Sauce

1 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup green lentils, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf
4 medium garlic cloves,  (2 whole and 2 minced)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 celery stalk, peeled and finely diced
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons of parsley, minced
Freshly grated Parmesan for garnish

  • Bring 8 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan and add the lentils, bay leaf and 2 whole cloves of garlic.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender – about 25 minutes
  • While the lentils are simmering you can prepare the polenta – see below
  • When the lentils are tender drain and discard the bay leaf and garlic cloves.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and saute the onion, carrot and celery until tender – about 10 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the lentils and cook for 2 minutes until the sauce is heated and the flavours have mingled.
  • Stir in the parsley and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Spoon the lentils over 3 polenta triangles, garnish with cheese and serve.


    • Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan.
    • When the water comes to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt and  lower the heat to medium
    • Slowly whisk the cornmeal into the pot in a steady stream.  This should take about 1 minute.  If you add the cornmeal to quickly it will form lumps.
    • Whisk the cornmeal continuously to prevents lumps and simmer until the polenta starts to thicken – about 1 to 2 minutes.
    • Reduce the heat to low and cook very slowly, stirring frequently for 15 minutes.
    • Pour into a lightly oiled 8 x 12 pan, smooth the top and let cool.
    • You can make this the day before and keep in the fridge covered in plastic wrap.
    • When the polenta has cooled and is firm (about 30 minutes), turn the polenta onto a cutting board and cut into 8 squares.  Cut each square in half to form a triangle.
    • Place on a baking sheet and spray each triangle lightly with oil and broil until lightly browned.  Turn and broil the second side.

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    Chipotle Lentil and Tofu Burritos from Antia Stewart’s Canada

    Anita Stewart’s Canada, what a fantastic cookbook!  I have  my best friend to thank for introducing me to this wonderful cookbook.  And what are friends for, if not for introducing you to great food, or in this case a tool to make great food!

    Twice a year my friend heads out to Ontario for a trade show and stays at a wonderful bed and breakfast in Elora.  A recipe from this bed and breakfast is featured in the cookbook, so my friend decided to pick up a copy as a souvenir.  After flipping through it and tasting the fantastic Oatmeal and Whole Wheat Waffles that she and her husband whipped up for breakfast one weekend, I decided to pick up a copy for myself and another as a gift.

    This cookbook is probably one of my favourites, not solely for the recipes (I have only tried three), but because of the wonderful stories within.  In fact, after I have gone to bed for the night you can often find this cookbook on the floor beside the bed.  The cookbook contains a wonderful representation of Canadian recipes from coast to coast that Anita has picked up, searched out and compiled with their corresponding stories.  There is a fair bit of meat, seafood and fish featured in the book, but it also showcases fruit, vegetables, legumes, quick and yeasted breads and wonderful desserts.  For example, a recipe for The Best Perogies, Nova Scotian Rhubarb Cobbler, Coconut Roti, and Nettie Stanoyev’s Fabulous Fresh Bean Soup are just a few of the gems found within.

    Of course, the Soy and Lentil Burritos is another great recipe sure to please vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.  My husband loves burritos, so I knew that I had to try this dish.    They turned out wonderful with a bit of Monterey Jack cheese and guacamole.  Fresh tomatoes or pico de gallo would have been a nice addition as well.  They also taste really great the next day for lunch!

    With regard to the canned chipotle pepper, I added one with the required amount of adobe sauce, but found that it needed a few shakes of chipotle chili powder and cayenne to raise the heat to our liking.

    Oh, I almost forgot!  Make sure you follow the recipe and use frozen tofu.  It adds an interesting texture to the dish, quite unlike fresh tofu.

    Chipotle Lentil and Tofu Burritos

    1 package of firm tofu, frozen
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    1/2 medium onion, chopped
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    2 teaspoons chili powder
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 19 ounce can of lentils, rinsed and drained
    1/4- 1/2 cup water
    1 cup of canned diced tomatoes, drained
    1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, seeded and chopped plus 2 teaspoons of adobe sauce.
    2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
    6 large whole wheat tortillas, warmed in a skillet

    garnish: cheese, guacamole, salsa, cilantro, lettuce, tomato, etc.

    • Bring 1 inch of water to boil in a saucepan, remove the tofu from its packaging and add to the pot.  Cover and reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
    • Drain the tofu and let it cool.  Cut the tofu into quarters and squeeze firmly to get rid of excess water.  Crumble tofu with your hands into small pieces.
    • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
    • Add the chili powder and cumin and stir to coat the onions.
    • Add the tofu and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
    • Add lentils, 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water, tomatoes, chipotle and adobe sauce and stir well.
    • Heat until bubbling and reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Add coriander before serving.
    • Spoon into the centre of a skillet warmed tortilla and top with garnishes of your choice.

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    What a complex blend of flavours!

    This lentil and vegetable dish is absolutely divine: red lentils, coconut milk, carrots, garlic, mint, cardamom, cinnamon, curry, cumin, cilantro and even paneer!

    Can it get any better?

    Well, just wait until you taste it!

    I have had Troth Wells’ The World in Your Kitchen since I moved to Calgary in the early 1990’s and after tasting the dish that I made tonight I have regrets.

    I regret not making this dish sooner.

    On cool and rainy spring day this dish was just what I needed.  I had enjoyed a warming bowl of vegetarian chili for lunch at the Upper Crust, before having to slog back to work with a firm grip on the edge of my umbrella so the wind wouldn’t take it away.  After walking home from the bus stop tonight, this dish had the same warming effect (or perhaps it was because I kept standing over the hot stove  sampling the Dhansak as it simmered away)!

    I cooked and ate alone tonight, as EPC was out with a friend for dinner.  I am sure that he had a great time, but I think once he gets a taste of what I had for dinner he may have regrets as well.


    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    1 cinnamon stick
    6 green cardamom pods
    1 medium onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 carrot, thinly sliced and quartered
    3 tomatoes, chopped
    1 red pepper, chopped
    1 cup red lentils, cooked *see instructions below
    1 tablespoon mild curry powder
    1/2 cup coconut milk
    4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
    2 tablespoons, fresh mint, chopped
    1 cup of paneer cheese
    2 tablespoons of cashews
    1 tablespoon of lemon juice
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt

    • Heat the oil over medium heat and stir fry the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cinnamon stick, and m pods for a few seconds.
    • Add the onion, garlic and carrot and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes
    • Add the tomatoes and bell peppers.  Raise the heat and then simmer for 10 minutes.
    • Add the cooked lentils, curry powder, coconut milk, cilantro, mint and salt and stir well.
    • Add the paneer and cashews and cook for 10 minutes.
    • Add the lemon juice and stir before serving

    *Rinse and drain the lentils.  Put them in a pot with 2 cups of water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender – about 20 minutes.  Drain and reserve.

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    Red Lentil and Vegetable Lasagna

    Lentils and fresh basil.  What a great idea!

    I found this recipe on Eat This – a gluten-free recipe blog – and I thought it looked delicious.

    Actually, let me rephrase that. I thought it looked and sounded fantastically delicious!  So much so, that I couldn’t wait to make it.  And for whatever reason ( I have no good excuse) I had not yet made lasagna this winter.  I guess I was just waiting for the right one to come along.

    When I make lasagna, I will often throw some veggie ground round in, but it does seem a little boring, changing what could be an imaginative vegetarian lasagna into a “meat” lasagna.  Furthermore,  having a dish with canned tomatoes, cheese and veggie ground round can make the meal a bit too salty,  and as the dish was intended, the lentils make this a wonderful protein-rich gluten-free meal for those who need it.  In case there are any lentils haters out there, you do not even notice that they are there; this nutritious addition hides easily from picky eaters or self-proclaimed lasagna traditionalists.

    The other thing that is so wonderful about this lasagna is the addition of torn leaves of fresh basil to every layer.  As I write this, the lasagna is baking in the oven and the smell of basil is appetizer enough for EPC and I.

    This next point may not win me any fans, but this lasagna goes easy on the cheese.   Oh sure, there is a 1 1/4 cups of ricotta cheese in the mix, but with 15 % of your daily calcium and only 5 grams of fat per half cup, it doesn’t really count.  I am sure you could tell from the photo that cheese topping is sparse, but that way you can see the flecks of green basil and, best of all, you won’t feel bad about having seconds.

    Red Lentil and Vegetable Lasagna
    (I changed this a bit from the original post at Eat This due to my lack of an 8 x 8 pan)

    1 tablespoon of olive oil
    1 onion, diced
    6 garlic cloves minced
    1 celery stalk, diced
    1 small carrot, diced
    1 small zucchini, diced
    1/3 cup red lentils, rinsed
    1 can 28 ounce crushed tomatoes
    1 cup water
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    2 teaspoons dried oregano
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    10-12 whole wheat or brown rice lasagna noodles
    1 1/4 cups of ricotta cheese
    10 basil leaves, torn (or more to taste)
    1/2 cup of grated old cheddar, monterey jack, or mozarella cheese

    • Saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat.  Cook until softened.
    • Add celery, carrot, and zucchini and stir.
    • Add lentils, crushed tomatoes, water, tomato paste, and spices and simmer for 40 minutes.
    • Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the balsamic vinegar
    • While the sauce simmers, cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions
    • Place a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.  Add a layer of noodles and half of the ricotta cheese, 1/3 of the basil, and a 1/3 of the sauce.  Repeat
    • Top with the remaining pasta, sauce and basil.  Sprinkle with grated cheese.
    • Bake at 350° C for 30-40 minutes

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    Marcus Samuelsson’s Ethiopian Cuisine, vegetarian of course!

    “This tastes just like it came from an Ethiopian restaurant, except it isn’t as oily.”

    True story.

    This past weekend my best friend and her husband came up from Calgary for a visit.  Since they would be arriving after lunch on Saturday, I had the morning to prepare a couple of dishes for dinner that evening.  That way I would avoid spending precious time cooking and enjoy the afternoon and evening visiting with our guests.  I had not seen them since I visited Calgary in October. Their November trip to Edmonton got canceled due to a snow storm.

    Ah, the joys of a Canadian winter.

    After being introduced to Marcus Samuelsson’s  Soul of a New Cuisine on the popular blog Gluten Free Girl and the Chef, I had promised our friends that I would prepare some of the great Ethiopian recipes from Samulesson’s book.  My husband and I were excited for the meal ourselves, as I had prepared both dishes a couple of times; my husband dreamed of  the Chunky Mashed Vegetables, while I languished in memories of the Lentil Stew’s tangy bite.

    I always like to take the easy road with cooking, if I can.  Fortunately there is a great Ethiopian shop in my neighborhood where I am able to pick up berberé powder and fresh injera.  Without having to worry about making my own spice blend or finding a pan large enough to cook injera, both these recipes come together with minimal effort.

    Minimal effort and maximum taste.  Isn’t that what every cook wants to hear?

    The nice thing about both of these stew-like dishes is that they can be prepared in advance and reheated before serving.  Both dishes taste great reheated.  My husband and I can attest to this as we greedily finished off the leftovers last night for dinner.

    Lentil Stew

    1 cup red lentils, rinsed well and drained
    3 tablespoons of olive oil
    1 medium red onion, minced
    2 garlic gloves, minced
    3 tomatoes roughly chopped, or one 15 oz can diced tomatoes (I use canned)
    ½ cup  of canned fava beans
    Juice of 2 lemons
    2-4 teaspoon berberé (I use about 4 teaspoons – the amount depends on the berberé used)
    1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
    ½ teaspoon salt

    • Combine lentils with 3 cups of water in a large sauce pan.  Bring lentils to a boil in 3 cups of water, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender.
    • Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 mins.
    • Stir in the tomatoes, lentils, fava beans, lemon juice, berberé, parsley, and salt and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the flavours have blended.  The stew thickens up as it cooks

    4 servings

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    Chunky Mashed Vegetables

    6 garlic cloves, peeled
    2 yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
    1/4 – ½ cup peanut oil (I use all the oil here)
    1 pound of cut frozen green beans (not french cut)
    4 tablespoons butter
    One 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
    3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
    1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
    2 jalapeño chilies, seeded and finely chopped
    1 ½ cups water
    1 tablespoon berberé
    1 teaspoon salt

    • Preheat oven to 350°C.
    • Toss the garlic and yams with peanut oil in a roasting pan.  Roast for 25 -35 minutes, or until fork tender.
    • When the yams are done, transfer them to a large bowl and mash them with a potato masher to a chunky consistency.
    • Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the ginger, carrots, onion, and jalapeño and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 1o minutes.
    • Stir in the water and bring to a simmer, add the frozen green beans, then reduce the heat and simmer gently until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.
    • Stir in the berberé and mashed yam and cook, stirring, until heated through.  Stir in the salt.
    • Serve

    Serves 4

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