Hearty Chickpea Soup with Fried Rosemary

Hearty Chickpea Soup with Fried Rosemary

Let’s talk about soup baby, let’s talk about you and me.  Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be (insert these 90s dance moves from Salt’n Peppa).

Okay, you probably know by now that I love soup but not all soups are good for you. Many of the tastiest soups out there are full of fat, cream, sodium, and hidden gluten. However, this hearty chickpea soup is easy, full of flavour and protein, and makes a huge batch so you can freeze some for later – perfect for busy folks.

spices

Also, this soup is vegan. There are no veganity-vioations in this soup, so if you are vegan, you can maintain your vegan powers. This soup is so great that regardless of your stance on eating milk, eggs, animal products, you will love it. Personally, I’m not a vegan but enjoy eating vegan meals fairly often.

roasted tomatoes

Roasting the tomatoes gives them until they are caramelized adds some depth of flavour to the soup. After they were done roasting, I just threw them in the pot with the stock and the rest of the ingredients to cook. While the soup was simmering, I fried up some rosemary sprigs in my tiny fraying pan and they shaped themselves into a little heart. So cute. I love fried rosemary leaves and they really add a little somethin’ somethin’ to this soup. What’s not to love about a tasty soup that fills you up without fattening you up?

fried rosemary heart

Hearty Chickpea Soup with Fried Rosemary

Okay, you probably know by now that I love soup but not all soups are good for you. Many of the tastiest soups out there are full of fat, cream, sodium, and hidden gluten. However, this hearty chickpea soup is easy, full of flavour and protein, and makes a huge batch so you can freeze some for later - perfect for busy folks.
Course: Appetizer, Soup
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, tomato
Servings: 6
Author: ness

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

  • Blender or immersion blender

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 Plum Roma tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili for powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 3" piece)
  • 3 cans chickpeas (14 ounce cans, rinsed and drained)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and place cut side facing up on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft caramelized.
  • Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add onions and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add cumin, paprika, cinnamon, chile powder, and stir for 2 minutes to toast the spices. Add the chickpeas, roasted tomatoes, and stock and stir to combine. Bring to boil, then reduce to heat to simmer. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until chickpeas are soft.
  • Meanwhile, fry rosemary. Heat a small non-stick frying pan on medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the rosemary sprigs, 2 at a time, and fry until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to paper towel lined tray to absorb excess oil. Remove leaves once they're cool enough to handle.
  • Once the soup is done simmering, remove from heat and let cool slightly. Remove about a quarter of the chickpeas and set aside. Puree the rest of the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender. Add the reserved chickpeas back to the soup and add fried rosemary leaves. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Recipe adapted from Soup of the Day.
Avocado Beet Carrot (ABC) Salad

Avocado Beet Carrot (ABC) Salad

I like happy things. This salad is a happy salad – it’s colourful, full of unexpected flavour, nutritious, and fast. What’s not to love? It’s bright and cheerful, just like my pal Jerrica who introduced me to this salad (and yes she is named after this gal).

Beets and carrots

Beets are so pretty, especially these candy cane and golden beets from my local market. Same goes for these purple and orange carrots. You can make this salad with normal beets and carrots, but these fancy ones happened to be available and well, I’m a sucker for pretty produce.

dressing

I was a little apprehensive when I first saw this original recipe for the salad dressing. Orange, balsamic vinegar, cumin, and lime zest? Together?  Definitely out of my comfort zone. But I trusted Jerrica’s recommendation and figured she wouldn’t steer me wrong. And of course, she was right.

salad close up 2

It turned out absolutely delicious. I loved every single bite. Not only was this salad super fast to whip up, it was E.A.S.Y. and satisfying too. It’s fancy enough to entertain with and filling enough for a light lunch. The avocado was nice and creamy against the crisp of the carrots and beets. The cilantro leaves added extra freshness and complimented the nicely balanced flavours of the dressing.

Now be warned, the balsamic turned the avocado a bit brown. Don’t be scared. It really adds amazing flavour and I wouldn’t substitute for a lighter vinegar just for aesthetics. Taste trumps pretty sometimes. Overall, this salad is colourful, unexpected, and delightful, just like the gal who introduced me to it.

salad with fork

Avocado Beet Carrot Salad (ABC Salad)

This salad is a happy salad – it’s colourful, full of unexpected flavour, nutritious, and fast. What’s not to love? It’s bright and cheerful, just like my pal Jerrica who introduced me to this salad.
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Snack
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, fast, nut-free, soy-free, vegetables
Author: ness

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 carrots (cut into 3 inch strips)
  • 2 beets (cut into 1 inch wedges)
  • 1 hass avocado (peeled, pitted and quartered)
  • 1/4 cups fresh cilantro leaves

Dressing

  • Juice from one orange (including some pulp)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons canola or sunflower oil or other neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (plus more for drizzling)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Bring a medium saucepan filled halfway with water to boil. Add carrots and beets and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until beets are tender enough to be pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside.
  • While beets and carrots are cooking, prepare dressing. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together. Add cooked and drained carrots and beets to dressing while they are still warm. Add fresh cilantro leaves and toss together to combine. Using a tong or slotted spoon, scoop out beets, carrots and cilantro and place on serving dish(es).
  • Add quartered avocado to the remaining dressing in mixing bowl and gently spoon dressing over the avocados. Gently place avocados on top of plated beets and carrots and spoon any remaining dressing over the avocado. Drizzle with extra balsamic and serve immediately.
If you use normal beets and carrots and boil them together, the beets will turn the carrots pink.  If this isnèt your thing, you can boil the beets and carrots separately.
Recipe adapted from Kitchen Experiments.
Italian Vegetable Soup with Cannellini Beans

Italian Vegetable Soup with Cannellini Beans

I wish I could say I was a more disciplined party-goer. You know, the ones who say ‘No thanks, I’ve had my quota of two fried thingies already. I’ll just drink water and eat carrot sticks now.’ Instead, I’m the one who’s helping to refill the chip bowl I just devoured, pouring the wine, and reaching for that extra piece of chocolate.

So you can imagine that after two weeks off work, endless holiday parties, epic amounts of eating and drinking, I have acquired a bit of a ‘turkey tummy’. Unlike ‘muffin top’, turkey tummy is more of a gut/pouch situation that is generally limited to the front area of the abdomen. It’s similar to a ‘beer belly’ but induced by high-calorie delicious food/sugar rather than beer. But despite my new profile, I don’t regret one single bite. Life’s too short to say no all the time. Besides, more to love right?

Italian Vegetable Soup with Cannellini Beans | Freshnessgf.com

The big challenge after the holidays is squeezing my added curves into my uniform of skinny jeans. I’m also on a budget for the new year, so buying a new collection of stretchy pants is not happening. To offset the few weeks of indulgence, I’m hitting the gym, wearing leggings a lot, and making hearty, healthy, homemade meals like this Italian soup. Jam-packed with flavour, it feels indulgent, especially with a touch of melt-y cheese on top, but it’s pretty light and full of protein and vegetables.

carrot celery onion

basil and thyme

This recipe is adapted from ‘Nourish Canyon Ranch’ Cookbook. Canyon Ranch is an award-winning luxury health resort spa in Arizona. Rumor has it that Madonna and Britney Spears are frequent visitors and Tiger Woods went there for his ‘rehab.’ I wonder if they had this soup while they were maybe there.

spinach chiffonade

To chiffonade: Lay several leaves of spinach on top of each other and roll to form a cigar-like roll. Slice across to create thin ribbons of spinach.

This soup is perfect as a starter or a light meal. If you like it spicy, pickled hot Italian peppers would be a great add-on. I enjoyed this soup on the weekend with some buttered gluten-free toast. I put the rest of the soup in the freezer to keep my insides warm all winter long and help combat that holiday turkey tummy.

Vegetable soup

Italian Vegetable Soup with Cannellini Beans

This soup is perfect as a starter or a light meal. If you like it spicy, pickled hot Italian peppers would be a great add-on. I enjoyed this soup on the weekend with some buttered gluten-free toast. I put the rest of the soup in the freezer to keep my insides warm all winter long and help combat that holiday turkey tummy.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: corn-free, egg-free, gluten-free, kid-friendly, nut-free, vegetables
Servings: 6
Author: ness

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup diced onions (1 large)
  • ½ cup diced celery (about 2 stalks)
  • ½ cup diced carrots (about 1 medium)
  • 1 ½ cup diced tomato (2 plum tomatoes)
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • ½ cup diced yellow pepper
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 chunk parmesan rind (optional)
  • 1 14 ounce can cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 3 cups spinach (chiffonade)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Freshly grated parmesan or Romano cheese to serve (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Add olive oil to large sauce pan on medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and sauté for 5 minutes. Then add zucchini and pepper and sauté for 5 more minutes
  • Add vegetable stock, oregano, thyme, parsley, bay leaves and parmesan rind, if using. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer for 1 hour.
  • Add cannellini beans, spinach, vinegar, and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove parmesan rinds and bay leaves and discard. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese and serve.
Parmesan rinds can be found in the cheese section of most supermarkets. They're dirt cheap and add a nice salty flavour to the soup. Omit all cheese for vegan option.
Recipe adapted from Nourish.
Baked Oatmeal and Quinoa (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

Baked Oatmeal and Quinoa (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

I remember my initial reaction when I was first found out that I had to eliminate gluten from my diet.  Naturally, I was devastated.  No more pizza?  Croissants?  NO BREAD?!?  NOOOOOOOOOO.  “Kill me now/What the hell am I going to eat?/I hate my life” were some of my initial reactions.   Once I stopped panicking, I started researching what I COULD eat, and the list was actually pretty long.  Potatoes, rice, and corn were all okay, as well as quinoa, buckwheat, and GF oats.  Not too shabby.  I realized I could definitely live pretty well off these carbs.  Plus, I’m lucky to live in a time and place where lots of gluten-free options are available.

breakfast bake with bowl

Something kind of unexpected happened when I stopped eating gluten.  My already huge love of food and all things delicious became even more profound.  I’ve always loved to eat, and going gluten-free deepened my appreciation for every delicious bite I ate.  My love for food also became about creating it too, and not just stuffing my face.  My new dietary restriction gave me an opportunity to try new recipes, learn to be a better cook, and more courageous in the kitchen.  It also gave me a springboard to share ideas and recipes with friends, family, and you, my awesome readers here on my blog.

Oatmeal ready to bake

American Thanksgiving is coming up this weekend and it’s got me thinking about what I’m thankful for.   As life has thrown me my share of challenges and sorrows, it’s also gifted me with opportunities and many blessings.  What I’ve realized is that being happy feels a choice we make.  It’s like if you opt to look on the bright side and choose gratitude daily, you’ll probably end up a whole lot happier.

I’m not saying I’m happy all the time, because really, that’s just insane.  Can you even imagine how annoying that would be?  It’s just at some point, when I stopped expecting my life to be a certain way, I became a whole lot happier and thankful for my life as it was.  I am blessed with a loving family and great friends, I married the best guy I know, and I’m healthy.  Life is good.  Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating.

breakfast bake and pears portrait

This recipe is the perfect make-ahead breakfast.  I made a batch on Sunday and will enjoy throughout the week.  It calls for quinoa flakes, which is a great complement to oatmeal.  This breakfast is packed with protein, slow burning carbs, fruit, fibre, and yumminess.  I’ve made it here with pears and vanilla bean, but it also works amazingly with apples and cinnamon.  I like to switch it up so I don’t get sick of the same thing.  I’m sure it’s great with bananas too (I’m a banana-hater, so I won’t be testing that anytime soon).   I like that it tastes like dessert for breakfast, which is my favourite way to start the day.

 Baked Oatmeal & Quinoa | freshnessgf.com

Baked Oatmeal and Quinoa (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

This recipe is the perfect make-ahead breakfast. I made a batch on Sunday and will enjoy throughout the week. It calls for quinoa flakes, which is a great complement to oatmeal. This breakfast is packed with protein, slow burning carbs, fruit, fibre, and yumminess.
Course: Breakfast
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: berries, corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, fruits, gluten-free, kid-friendly, nuts, quinoa, yeast-free
Servings: 6
Author: ness

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

  • 8" square baking dish

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups pear (peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (about 4 medium pears))
  • 1 vanilla bean pod or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups soy milk or other dairy-free milk
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, add pears, half the berries, and two tablespoons agave nectar. With a sharp knife, slice vanilla pod lengthwise. Scrape vanilla beans from inside pod and add to pear mixture. Stir to combine. Spread fruit in even layer in greased baking dish.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine oats, quinoa flakes, baking powder, and salt and stir to combine. Spread evenly over fruit mixture, pressing down slightly.
  • In another bowl, mix together milk, 4 tablespoons agave nectar, melted butter. Slowly drizzle mixture over oatmeal mixture, making sure milk moves through oats evenly. Scatter nuts and remaining berries over top.
  • Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown on top and mixture has set. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve with maple syrup if you prefer it to be sweeter. Serves 6 as main or 12 as a part of larger brunch spread.
Quinoa flakes are dried and similar to oatmeal and available at health food stores. If you can't find it, you can simply use all gluten-free oats instead. To make apple cinnamon version, use 4 cups of diced apples and 1 teaspoon cinnamon instead of pears and vanilla. (adapted from Lottie + Doof)
Japchae (Gluten-Free Korean Glass Noodles)

Japchae (Gluten-Free Korean Glass Noodles)

Do you bring a bagged lunch or do you buy?  With my dietary restrictions, I almost always bring my lunch.  If I’m not prepared, I’ll end up buying ginger ale and a bag chips or popcorn for lunch at the convenient store in my office.  Not ideal.  In the summer, I prepared fresh salads the night before but now that the weather has cooled down, I prefer hot lunches.   To avoid cooking lunches every night (and dinner) I’ve been trying to make big batches on Sundays.  The tricky thing is, I’m not a huge fan of leftovers. So it has to be pretty tasty for me to eat it for a couple of days straight.

Jap Chae (Gluten Free Korean Glass Noodles)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Korean japchae (or chapchae) glass noodles are one of my fave dishes and super easy to prepare.  The beauty of these noodles is that the sauce, a combination of soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil gets tossed into the noodles after they’re done boiling and vegetables are sauteed.  Simple to prepare, super delicious, and healthy. Since my version is meatless, this dish is vegetarian and vegan.

Japchae (Gluten-Free Korean Glass Noodles)

Japchae is normally served as a side or as a main with beef slices in it.  I enjoyed my japchae lunch with grilled coriander lime chicken and sizeable portions of kimchi.   The glass noodles are made of sweet potato starch (aka sweet potato vermicelli) and are gluten-free.  You can find them in the dried noodle aisle at your Asian grocery store.   Since the noodles themselves are sweet and salty but not spicy, I like to add some heat with kimchi (spicy Korean pickled cabbage), chili sauce and/or Japanese chili peppers (nanami togarashi).  I ate this three days straight for lunch and loved every bite.

 

Japchae (Gluten-Free Korean Glass Noodles)

Korean japchae (or chapchae) glass noodles are one of my fave dishes and super easy to prepare. The beauty of these noodles is that the sauce, a combination of soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil gets tossed into the noodles after they're done boiling and vegetables are sauteed. Simple to prepare, super delicious, and healthy. Since my version is meatless, this dish is vegetarian and vegan.
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, pasta, rice & grains, vegetables
Author: ness

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 300 gram package Sweet Potato Starch vermicelli noodles (Dangmyun)
  • 1 bunch spinach (washed)
  • 1 medium carrot (cut into matchstick thin strips)
  • 1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 package mushrooms (thinly sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 7 green onions (finely sliced)
  • Gluten free Tamari sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Corn or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Black pepper
  • Sesame seeds (Japanese chili peppers (nanami togarashi) for garnish (optional))

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Boil package of noodles in boiling water in a large pot for 3 to 5 minutes, or until noodles are soft. Drain and put in a large bowl.
  • Cut the noodles several times with scissors. Mix together 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce and 1 tablespoon sesame oil and pour over noodles. Mix and set aside.
  • In a non-stick pan on medium heat, add 1 teaspoon canola oil and add onions. Stir until onions is translucent. Add carrots to onions and stir to cook for 1 minute or until carrots are soft. Add onions and carrots to bowl of noodles.
  • Return pan to heat. Add another 1 teaspoon of canola oil and add mushrooms. Stir and cook for a few minutes or until mushrooms are soft. Add to bowl of noodles. Return pan to heat. Add another 1/2 teaspoon of oil and add spinach. Cook until wilted. Add to bowl of noodles.
  • Return pan to heat. Add another ½ teaspoon of canola oil and add green onions and garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute and add to bowl of noodles.
  • In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons sesame oil and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pour over noodles and vegetables and stir together. Garnish with sesame seeds and Japanese chili peppers if using. Serve with kimchi.
Nanami Togarashi is a blend of chili peppers, orange peel, black sesame seed, white sesame seed, Japanese pepper, ginger, seaweed. A delicious spice to add some heat to soups, stir fries, noodles, etc. Adapted from Maangchi

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