Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Lentil Bowl #3- Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro

Lentil Bowl #3- Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro over Oven Baked Potato Sticks

(Serves 8-12, and can be halved).


  • 2 C. Red Lentils 
  • 4 C. Water 
  • 2 T. Coconut Oil 
  • 2 Onions, chopped fine (I did mine in Food Processor) 
  • 2 C. Celery, finely chopped (also did in Food Processor) 
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped 
  • 1-2T Garlic, minced (for DIY jar mince, go here ) 
  • 1/2 tsp. ground Turmeric 
  • 2 tsp. ground Cumin (grind the seed in a Coffee Bean Grinder) 
  • 2 tsp. Chipotle spice (or Chili Powder) 
  • 2 cans roasted tomatoes or Organic Roma Tomato Sauce (Costco)
  •  2 C. Vegetable Broth 
  • Celtic Sea Salt to taste 
  • 1/2 C. fresh-squeezed Juice of Lime 
  • 1+ C. chopped fresh Cilantro 
  1.  Put rinsed and drained Lentils into a medium pot and add 4 cups water. Bring just to a boil, turn heat off, and put lid on. Let lentils sit for 30 minutes. 
  2.  While lentils sit for 30 minutes, chop onions, celery and red bell pepper. I used my geriatric (but lovable)(and still high functioning)Cuisinart Food Processor (that I bought several years ago from a Priest off Craigslist). 
  3. Next, mince garlic (or add in a teaspoon + from a jar of mince garlic.) 
  4. Melt the Coconut Oil on medium-low heat in a heavy dutch oven or soup pot, and saute the onion, celery and bell pepper just long enough to soften(about 3-5 minutes). 
  5. Add garlic and stir around for a few more minutes. 
  6. Add the spices-- ground turmeric, ground cumin, and chile powder-- and stir for about a couple of extra minutes. 
  7.  Add canned tomatoes and vegetable broth. 
  8. Add lentils and stir in well (no lumps). Allow the stew to simmer for 15 minutes to a half hour(30 minutes). 
  9.  While the Lentil mix cooks, rinse off the Cilantro and chop it finely. 
  10.  Squeeze limes. When it looks like the simmering pot is almost done, add the Cilantro and Lime Juice, stirring in. 
  11.  When the fragrance is overwhelming and the lentils have blended into the rest of the stew, it's ready! 
  12. Serve hot, with additional cut limes, additional garnish of Cilantro, and hot sauce for whoever is into that. 
*Hot sauce and additonal Chili powder may be added during the cooking process if desired.
 **There are several versions of Mexican Lentils online. I would like to acknowledge that this recipe has been most closely adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Lazy Enchilada Casserole (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Lazy Enchilada Casserole (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

I am all for wonderful lazy casseroles (one of my faves is lazy cabbage rolls)-- this enchilada casserole means that you get the same wonderful flavour and texture without actually having to mess around with making the enchilada rolls (unless you are really great at doing them, in which case, go to it!).  You just put down a thin layer of the vegan cheese (queso or kay-so) on the bottom of the casserole pan (either covered already covered with parchment, or oiled), a layer of tortillas, the enchalada filling, a top layer of tortillas, and then the rest of the queso!  You can see how it is pretty much a piece of cake / pastel(?)  Have fun, and enjoy this luscious recipe!  It makes a fantastic potluck entree that will be much appreciated!

To make this again I would start by assembling the ingredients the day before, and I would cook the beans (separately, the white beans and the pinto beans) and put them in mason jars (or other containers) in the fridge, ready to go!  The next thing I would do is to make the Vegan Cashew-White Bean Cheese.  This can be done on the day of the making the casserole, but before you actually get going with all the other prep.

How to Make the Vegan Cashew-White Bean Cheese/Queso:
Put the following into your blender carafe and mix up together until smooth and silky.  If it is not quite as pourable as you need it to be (like thick melted cheese, a little thicker than hollandaise sauce), then add another 1/2 C. of non-dairy mylk.

  • 269 g / 1.5 C. soft cooked White Beans (I use a small piece of *kombu while cooking)
  • 70 g  /    .5 C raw Cashew pieces (the pieces are less expensive than the intact nuts)
  • 24 g /    1/4C Nutritional Yeast
  • 120ml/   .5 C.Non-dairy Mylk 
  • 1 tsp.             Chili Powder or Chipotle Powder
  • 1 tsp.             Celtic Sea Salt
  • (optional: 1-2 T. of chopped chillies or pickled jalapeno-- if you know how they taste)
Set aside the Queso in the Blender Carafe if you have a food processor available to make the tomato sauce, otherwise, pour the Queso into a pitcher.

Making the Enchilada Casserole:
*Preheat your oven to 350F /180C, and either oil an 11x8 inch (28x20cm) pan, or lay parchment down (makes cleanup so much easier!)

*Assemble the following ingredients:
  • 2 T. Coconut Oil
  • 1 large Onion, minced
  • 2 small Red Bell Peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 3-6 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. Cumin seed, ground in your Coffee Grinder
  • 1-2 tsp. Chili Powder or Chipotle Powder
  • 4 diced fresh, ripe, organic Roma Tomatoes (or 1 1/2 C diced Tomatoes)
  • 1-2 T. Celtic Sea Salt
  • 2 - 15-oz (425 g) each cans of Pinto Beans, or 3 Cups if you've cooked them yourself
  • 1 diced Zucchini (about 1 1/2 C.)
  • 12 6"/15cm Corn Tortillas
  1. In a Wok or griddle, SAUTĒ the onions and the bell pepper for 5 minutes in the Coconut Oil on medium heat.  Add in the Garlic, Cumin, Chili powder, for a minute more.  Then add in the Tomatoes and cook, uncovered on medium, for about another 15 minutes.
  2. Transfer all of the sauté to a Food Processor, and PROCESS until smooth, adding in Celtic Sea Salt-- add extra to your taste at this time.
  3. MIX the tomato sauce and the Zucchini and Pinto Beans in a large mixing bowl.
  4. POUR a thin layer of Queso onto the Parchment in the casserole pan and spread around.
  5. POUR the Tomato, Bean, and Zucchini Mixture over the thin layer of Queso in the pan, and even out, into the corners, etc.
  6. Place the rest of the Tortillas evenly  (overlapping is fine) over the Enchilada Filling.
  7. POUR the rest of the Queso over the top of the Tortillas.
  8. COVER with Aluminum Foil
  9. BAKE until heated all the way through, 30 - 45 Minutes
  10. SERVE with a tender greens or cabbage salad, and GARNISH with chopped Cilantro.
This recipe is an adaptation of the "Inside-Out Enchilada Casserole" in The Great Bean Book by Kathy Hester.  All bean-lovers and new vegans need to get hold of this excellent cookbook!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lentil Bowl #2 with Mushrooms,Caramelized Onions and Quinoa (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Lentil Bowl #2 with Mushrooms, Carmelized Onions, and Quinoa - on a bed of Baby Greens

I got the idea for Lentil Bowl #2 by googling "mushrooms lentils"-- it seemed to me to be a lovely mix.  Of course there are thousands of variations online.  I chose the one with the image that showed a heap of mouth-watering carmelized onions on top of the lentil dish.  Then I went about making changes based on what I had to work with and what I prefer (eg., I added in the quinoa vs. a bed of rice, and amped up the portions so that this recipe makes enough for four to six servings.)

Lentil Bowl #2 with Mushrooms,Caramelized Onions and Quinoa

Precooked lentils and starches are a boon when it comes to the series of "Lentil Bowls" that I am featuring here on Organic Granny. If you soak and cook extra lentils you will speed up the whole maddeningly* fragrant cooking process the next time, and you will save a ton of money by not buying the tinned organic lentils. Just stick the left-over pre-cooked lentils and quinoa or rice into the fridge or freezer after it has cooled. What a feeling of bounty! (NB:  the scent of the carmelized onions and the mushrooms cooking will drive you mad if you don't get to eat them within the hour!)  This recipe was inspired by one at http://markbittman.com/  The recipe they used originated in Mark's The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living .


2 T. Coconut Oil, (or more as needed)

2 large organic Onions, halved and sliced thinly

1.5 lb./600+ g Mini Bella Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (or your choice of mushroom)

3 C. cooked brown or green Lentils, drained

1 tablespoon Dill Weed, dried (more if fresh Dill is used)

1/2 to 1 C. Boiling Broth (Mushroom boullion cube is nice)

2 C. pre-cooked Quinoa (can be cooked at the same time in another pot)

Salt and black Pepper

1. I use a Dutch Oven to cook in.  You could use a very large skillet or wok.  Put 2 tablespoons coconut oil in one pot over medium heat. Add the onions when hot and stir frequently as they cook until they are honey brown (but never let them burn), for maybe 15-20 minutes; remove to a warm bowl.

2.Add the fresh mushrooms next, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and let the mushrooms cook, with no stirring or peeking until they release their liquid (about 5-10 minutes). Remove the lid. Stir occasionally, continuing to cook until the mushrooms are somewhat shrunken, dry and even a little crisp, (up to about 10 minutes).

3. Stir in the lentils, the boiled broth, Quinoa, and the dill weed; add salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, to warm everything through, for about ten minutes (or more, and stirring more, if your lentils are frozen). Serve garnished with the caramelized onions over a bed of tender greens-- a splash of Balsalmic Vinegar on the greens will tend to gently "cook" them (and adds a little more flavour).  Bon Appetit!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Lentil Bowl #1: Pineapple Lentils over Coconut Lime Sweet Potato (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Even if you are not a huge fan of lentils, this particular recipe will answer a deep need on a cool winter's night when you have put out all day for the Man and are just ready for something comforting and satisfying!  It will feed 2 - 4 diners, depending on the hunger and the usual inputs.  I'm calling this Lentil Bowl #1, so expect some more quick and yummy one-dish lentil recipes!

The potatoes in the above picture are white 'sweet potatoes' and not the bright orange yams we expect when we say 'sweet potato'.  They have the texture of  sweet potato, and they ARE very sweet (ooze syrup when baked) but they have a more neutral flavour.  Yams work extremely well also, so use either.

Ingredients for the Lentil part:

1 T. Coconut Oil
1/2 Small Onion, chopped fine
2    Garlic Cloves, minced
1 C. Pineapple, chopped small (I use Costco's frozen Organic Pineapple-- smells like the tropics!)
3 C. cooked Brown or Green Lentils
2 T. Maple Syrup
Shot of Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. Marjoram
1 tsp. ground Cumin
Celtic Sea Salt, to taste
Black Pepper, fresh ground, to taste
Cayenne Pepper, to taste

  1. Heat Coconut Oil on medium and add in onions and garlic, saute-ing until translucent.  About 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. Add other ingredients up to the Salt and cook until simmering.  Decrease heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 20-35 minutes until the flavours mix and the fragrance drives you crazy. Season with Salt, Pepper and Cayenne.
  3. Serve over 4 medium sweet potatoes (if they are yams) or 8 smaller sweet potatoes (like the ones used in this recipe-- small, thinner tubers) that have been baked, then scraped from the skins into a hot bowl with 1/4 C. of Coconut Dream or other light coconut milk, and the juice of one large lime is mixed well into the potato.  Add salt and pepper, taste, and then taste again and add more coconut milk or lime juice as desired.  

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