Tag Archives: bbq

The BEST Veggie Burgers In Town!

IMG_2770My FAVORITE restaurant in Toronto is Fresh. It’s a Vegan restaurant and before you can say “ew cardboard and grass”- I can promise you this is the most amazing “healthy eating” you will find. Even my carnivorous partner and friends happily eat at this place.

I just spent 2 weeks in Toronto during the Toronto Film Festival and I think I ate there everyday (along with all the hollywood celebs in town! Some celeb spotting definitely goes on at this healthy joint!). Green juice for breakfast and everything else on the menu for lunch and dinner. Having a restaurant like this around the corner, with every item on the menu being super healthy,  makes it easy to eat well. You can basically order anything from the menu because you know it will be good for you. Unfortunately they only exist in Toronto (for now) so a great way to have easy access to healthy food quick, is to make it yourself and make extra so you can freeze it. My favorite veggie burger is made fresh there daily. I have recreated it at home, somewhat following the recipe, yet tweaking it a long the way. These burgers are BBQ ready and are actually vegan, however a sneaky slice of cheddar never hurt anyone 🙂 I’ve made about 6-8 out of this batch, so the rest I have wrapped individually and stored in the freezer. Just take one out a few hours before you are ready to eat and you’ll have fresh, homemade, HEALTHY, burgers ready to grill.

picisto-20130925141553-616492INGREDIENTS:

* You’ll need a food processor for this

  • 1 cup of mushrooms, cleaned
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 garlic clove
  • a handful of parsley
  • 1/4 cup each of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

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  • 1 tsp each of chili powder, curry powder, smoked chipotle powder and smoked paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp corn flour

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  • 1/2 cup each of split peas, quinoa and barley
  • 1 1/2 cups of water or veggie stock for the grains

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook the grains. Give all of the grains a good rinse, then add to a pot and cover with the water/stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce and cook on low for about 20 mins or until the water is absorbed.
  2. Three step food processor process: chop the mushrooms, then the seeds and then the vegetables all separately.
  3. In a pan over medium heat add a splash of oil. Once hot add in the mushrooms + the spices and tamari. Cook for about 5-7 mins.
  4. Remove mixture to a large bowl, add in the corn flour and corn starch + the chopped vegetable mixture. S&P.
  5. Add the cooked grains to the mixture and stir together.

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6. Time to get those hands dirty! Set out 2 rectangles of parchment paper. Begin to form balls a bit bigger then a golf ball in between your (clean!) hands and once perfectly round, smush down carefully to form a burger patty. NOTE: if the mixture is too wet and sticking to your hands like crazy, add in a bit more flour, if the mixture is too dry and crumbling apart add in a bit of water.

7. Make about 6-8 patties. Place side by side on the parchment paper and place the other piece over top. Use scissors to cut in between (3 pieces) and fold over so you have 2 patties wrapped up together, but with paper in between so they don’t touch. These can be frozen for up to 1 month.

8. To cook, you can grill for 5 mins on each side or fry or even broil. The toppings are up to you! I like mine messy 🙂

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Check out my favorite restaurant in Toronto, Canada. www.freshrestaurants.ca If you visit make sure to stop there for brunch on the weekend- they make delicious Vegan Banana Pancakes with Real Canadian Maple Syrup (what else?!) Mmmmm…

Super Quick Curry- Yogurt Veggie Skewers with Coriander Rice and Cumin Spiced Dip

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Its 7 o’clock in the evening, just walked through the door and am starved! Don’t have the energy to make anything grand but not into ordering take-out either.  So I open the fridge to find a handful of veggies, greek yogurt and halloumi cheese.  Perfect.  Dinner will be ready in 10 mins!

I always keep a package of halloumi cheese in the fridge, it’s a great vegetarian substitute and it’s perfect on the grill.

If you don’t have a BBQ you can always bake these in the oven on about 220C/420F for about 10 mins.

INGREDIENTS:

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  • 4 wooden skewers, soaked in water so they don’t burn.
  • any grill-able veggies you have on hand: for example: 1 zucchini, 1 red pepper, 2 small eggplants, handful of mushrooms.
  • 125g halloumi cheese (there is low-fat available).
  • 1 cup of low-fat organic yogurt.
  • 1 tbsp curry powder.
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder.
  • 1 clove of minced garlic.
  • s&p.
  • 1 cup basmati rice (rinsed).
  • 1 handful of fresh coriander.
  • 1 tsp of freshly grated lemon zest.
  • 2 cups of water.
  • 1/2 head of red cabbage, sliced thinly to make cole slaw-like strips.
  • drizzle of olive oil.
  • drizzle of apple cider vinegar.

INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. In a pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and then add in the basmati rice.  Turn heat to low and simmer for about 10 mins, until all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked and fluffy.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, add curry powder, minced garlic, and S&p to 1/2 cup of the yogurt, mix well.
  3. Chop up your veggies and halloumi into 1 inch pieces.
  4. Add veggies and cheese to yogurt mixture and stir well.
  5. Take your wooden skewers and fit as many veggies and cheese as you can onto each skewer.
  6. Grill veggie skewers for about 5 mins (turning after 2-3 mins).
  7. Meanwhile add the cumin, s&p to the remaining yogurt.  This will be your dipping sauce.
  8. Slice the cabbage and drizzle olive oil and apple cider vinegar, add s&p, toss well.
  9. Once the rice is cooked, fluff with a fork and add in the chopped fresh coriander and grated lemon zest.

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Ready to plate up!

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Maple Glazed Wild Salmon on the BBQ with SautĂ©ed Rosemary Green Beans and Wild Rice Pilaf

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Caramelized maple syrup with spicy Dijon mustard on crispy BBQ salmon. Mmmm…I picked this recipe up in my hometown, in Canada, making great use of wild Canadian Salmon and 100% pure Maple Syrup. It’s delicious and ready in 30 min, eh!

Ingredients:

2 organic/wild salmon fillets
3 tbsp of pure maple syrup
1 tbsp of Dijon mustard
2 handfuls of green beans
1 handful of cherry tomatoes
1 garlic clove
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 cup of wild rice plus lentils and barley, you can find this mix in the grocery store or make it yourself
2 cups of boiling water
1 tsp of veggie stock

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Instructions:

1. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Place in a pan and add 2 cups of boiling water. Bring to a boil, add the veggie stock and a pinch of salt, reduce heat to low, keep uncovered, cook for about 25-30 min.

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2. Rinse and pay dry your salmon and place on a plate. In a small jar add the maple syrup and Dijon mustard. Shake well. Salt and pepper the fish and then pour the marinade over top. Let sit in the fridge until ready to cook.

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3. Rinse and chop the ends off of the beans. Slice the garlic very thinly. Cut the tomatoes in half.

4. In a pan over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and once hot, add in the beans and rosemary. Sauté for about 7 min, tossing every few min. At the last 2 min add in the tomatoes and garlic. Toss and cook for about 2 min. You want the beans to be charred on the outside yet al dente. Before serving, s&p and remove the rosemary.

4. After about 20 min, check the rice. The water should be evaporated and the rice cooked. If it needs a little more time add more water and continue to cook. Remove from heat and set aside.

5. Turn on the BBQ to high and once hot place the salmon directly on the grill. Cook on each side for about 4-5 min.
If you don’t have a BBQ you can roast the salmon in the oven for about 12-15 min on 450 degrees.

Everything is ready to be plated and served. I like to have a half of lemon to squeeze over the green beans, a little acidity gives a nice kick. Enjoy! 🙂

Grill Time! Veggie & Halloumi Kebabs with Homemade Humus and Barley Couscous Salad

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BBQ Season!! My favorite way to cook! Finally some good weather, which means its time to bust out the BBQ.

I like making kebabs (veggies on a stick). If you make too many they can be frozen for an easy super at a later time, so make a little more. Use any veggies you like (mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, asparagus), with or without Halloumi cheese (vegan option).

I love Halloumi. It’s really salty and has a tough texture making it perfect for cooking. This cheese originates from Cyprus and is usually made with Sheep and Goats milk, it has a high melting point making it easy to fry or grill.

I use Barley Couscous instead of wheat, it has 10g (or 40% daily requirement) of Fiber per 100g. Its light and nutty in flavor and is so versatile you can use it in many dishes. Oh and did I mention that it takes 5 minutes to make? Amazing.

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Ingredients:

  • 200g Barley Couscous
  • 400 ml boiled water
  • 1/2 english cucumber
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 can of chick peas, drained
  • 1 yellow or red pepper
  • 6-8 button mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp Ras el Hanout spice – this is a Moroccan Spice blend, if you don’t have that you can use 1 tsp each of cumin, smoked paprika powder, and turmeric or chili powder will also work
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder (for the humus)
  • 1 tbsp of Tahini Paste or toasted sesame seeds
  • half packet of Halloumi cheese, cut up into cubes
  • 6-8 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 20 min
  • warmed whole wheat pita bread (optional)

Kitchen Tools:

A hand blender, blender or mini food processor for the Humus.

A BBQ or grill pan for the stove.

Instructions:

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  1. First start with the kebabs. Chop the pepper into 2 inch chunks, slice the mushrooms in half and the halloumi into 2 inch cubes.
  2. Alternate with the veggies and cheese on the skewers (make sure they were soaked before hand so they don’t burn on the grill)
  3. Make the marinade for the kebabs: on a plate or large bowl add 3 tbsp of light olive oil with the spices and mix together. Add the kebabs and incorporate the marinade, salt & pepper.
  4. Meanwhile heat the grill or grill pan.IMG_4510
  5. Boil the kettle and place the couscous in a large boil with a pinch of salt, add 400 ml of boiling water and cover with a dish towel or plate. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Chop the tomatoes in half and the cucumber into 1 inch cubes. Juice the lemon.
  7. Fluff the couscous with a fork and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes so it can cool down.
  8. Add the cucumber and tomatoes with the 1/2 of the lemon juice, S&P and a drizzle of good olive oil to the cooled couscous, mix together. IMG_4508
  9. In a food processor add the drained chick peas, 1 tbsp of Tahini paste (or 1 tbsp of sesame seeds), 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp of cumin powder, s&p, 1/2 of the lemon juice, drizzle of good olive oil and 3 tbsp of water. Blend until smooth. Add a little more water if need be.
  10. Cook the veggie kebabs for about 8 minutes, on high on the grill, make sure to turn several times so they don’t burn. Same idea for a grill pan.

What I like about this dish is the different consistencies. Creamy humus, with fluffy couscous, crunchy cool cucumber and spicy, fragrant crispy veggies.  Enjoy! 🙂

Health Benefits:

Garbonzo Beans or Chick Peas are extremely high in Fiber. 2 cups would provide you with the total daily requirement. They have been shown to reduce colon cancer, lower cholesterol, control blood sugar and insulin secretion and are helpful in maintaining a healthy digestive system.

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Chart from http://www.WHfoods.com