Tag Archives: tomato

Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce with Lentils

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My week in England is coming to an end today. I have had a great time visiting family and perusing the British countryside.  My diet this week has been anything but healthy, but I couldn’t resist dipping into the local fare that I haven’t eaten in years.

I leave early in the morning for my first ever visit to Italy. We will be staying about 30 minutes outside of Rome in a villa.  We will be a huge gang of friends and family out to celebrate my uncle’s 60th birthday.

As you can imagine I am incredibly excited for my visit as I  am a huge fan of Italian food.  All of it.  Whether we eat at the villa or out at a trattoria I am expecting the food to be excellent.

Pasta with tomato sauce is one of the most popular comfort foods in North America, and in many other parts of the world as well. Nevertheless,despite its popularity, it has become one of the most controversial foods in recent years.  The combination of carbs and gluten together seem to be taboo these days.

For those of us who do still dabble in some carbs and gluten, this is my healthy version of pasta with tomato sauce.  Not to worry, still comforting, delicious and hearty.  The lentils make a nice substitute for the traditional bolognese sauce.  Don’t forget the basil, an essential compliment to the tomato and garlic sauce.

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Here is what the spelt looks like when it is cooked.

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You know I love my mason jars. I store my lentils and spelt in mason jars, as well as all my other dry goods. Check out my post on Building a Healthy Pantry  ( if you are curious about what I keep in my pantry) which allows me to be able to whip up a healthy meal at any time.

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Here are a few pictures from my visit in England over the past week.

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Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce with Lentils

2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
700 g jar tomato passata
1/2 cup water, (rinse the passata jar with the water to avoid waste)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
a few sprigs of fresh basil
optional: one chopped dried chili, or chili pepper flakes to taste

1/2 cup french dupuy lentils, sorted and rinsed

1 cup of spelt or wheat berries, or pasta of choice

Note: Don’t forget to bring some water to a boil for your pasta or whole-grain. If cooking a whole grain such as wheat berries or spelt berries, be sure to get these cooking a bit before because they take 40-60 minutes.

1. Cover the lentils with water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil on medium for 20 minutes or until cooked, but still a bit firm. Be sure not to overcook. Be careful because different lentils can take different lengths of time to cook. Drain and set aside

2. Once the lentils are on, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes until onions and carrots have softened.

3. Add the bay leaf, jar of tomato passata, and water. Stir, lay the cover ajar, and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper again if necessary.

4. Add the lentils to the sauce and stir. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.

5. Tear the fresh basil leaves into the sauce.

6. Serve pasta and sauce in bowls, with  more fresh basil leaves torn into the bowl.

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Appetizer Guaranteed to Please the Party: Tomato Basil Bruschetta

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Undeniably delicious. Scrumptiously satisfying. Tantalizingly tasty. Straight up really good!

A few simple ingredients come together on a crispy piece of bread for a party in your mouth. A party that will keep the guests at your party coming back for more. This is one of the most crowd pleasing appetizers in my repertoire. My smoky black bean dip being another one vying for top spot.

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Bruschetta is simply grilled bread rubbed with olive oil and garlic. Tomato basil is probably the most popular topping here in North America for bruschetta. Another one of my favourite toppings is mashed white beans with garlic and rosemary. So many possibilities!

I wonder what they do in Italy. I will have to investigate when I go there for the first time in a week! That’s right, I am going to Italy! Continue reading

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Smoky Tomatoes, Roasted Plantains, and Crumbled Tempeh Recipe from “The Inspired Vegan”

I feel that The Inspired Vegan is a very fitting title for Bryant Terry’s latest book. I say this because since buying his previous book titled Vegan Soul Kitchen, I have found Terry’s books incredibly inspiring.  He is actually one of my biggest inspirations and one of the reasons I started this blog.  His passion inspired me to do something with my passion for creating and sharing delicious tasting, healthy recipes made with whole food, plant based ingredients.

Bryant’s passion for cooking great food, for music, and food justice is quite simply amazing.  He is incredibly knowledgeable about food history and current food practices.  Not only are his books a great source for delicious creative recipes, they are interesting to read and informative.

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Tomato, Avocado, Hummus, Swiss Chard & Dill Sandwich Recipe

This is my version of a sandwich that brings back a lot of memories.  It represents a time where my eating habits began to shift dramatically.

This is a sandwich my friend John and roommate at the time, made for me when we were living together circa 2007-2008.  The original sandwich was hummus, tomatoes, avocados.  When we moved in together I didn’t like tomatoes, hummus or avocados.

You can imagine what my reaction was when he asked if I wanted one when he was making one for himself. I was a picky eater and it wasn’t easy to convince me to eat things I didn’t like.

I ate the sandwich.  I loved the sandwich.   The rest is history.  This was our go to meal on weeknights. We worked together and worked long hours.  This sandwich was perfect because it was really fast to make.  I don’t think in the entire time I lived with John I ever made this sandwich.

When I stopped living with John I started making this sandwich.  I also fell in love with hummus, tomatoes and avocados.  Well the truth is I still can’t bite into a raw tomato like an apple.  But hey.  I have come a long way. Now I am inspiring others to eat foods they never thought they would. Wild.

I hadn’t made this sandwich for a while and then last week it was the first time I added swiss chard and dill. Amazing.

Then, a few days later when I got home from a late round of golf with my friend Justin, I suggested we make sandwiches for dinner. Bam.  Hit the spot big time.

Give this simple healthy sandwich a try and let me know how you like it.

 

 

Tomato, Avocado, Hummus, Swiss Chard & Dill Sandwich

These are the approximate quantities for 2 sandwiches.

4 slices of fresh multi grain bread
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced
1 swiss chard leaf, torn in small pieces
1/2 cup of hummus
a couple sprigs of fresh dill
salt and pepper (optional)

Toast the slices of bread.
Spread some hummus on each one side of each piece.

Then layer the ingredients on a piece of bread and top with another piece of bread.

I suggest:
swiss chard
tomato
dill
avocado
salt and pepper (if you want)

The sandwich is still delicious without dill but the dill adds a nice touch. You can try other herbs as well.

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Kale, White Beans, & Tomato

Kale and white beans. Hearty and filling. This an incredibly tasty, nutritious and simple meal.  It is a very simple dish to prepare.  You can’t go wrong with onions, garlic, good quality tomatoes. Guaranteed to make the kitchen smell good and usually makes for a tasty dish.

Adding kale to a dish like this one is a great way to add more greens to your diet.  My twist on a simple yet classic italian meal. All types of greens can be added to different dishes without changing the flavour of a dish too much but adding lots of nutrients.

Kale, swiss chard, spinach and collard greens are my favourite greens to add to dishes like this. Try adding any of these greens to different chilis, stews, salads, curries and more.

Greens aren’t just for salads and smoothies. Next time you go food shopping be sure to load up on greens that you don’t normally buy and give them a try.

Kale, White Beans, & Tomato

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
4 cups tomato pasatta
1 bunch kale, stems removed, roughly chopped
1 can white kidney beans (cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
1 medium zucchini, cut in chunks
1 small sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
olive oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

1. Sauté onions, carrots and garlic in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add tomato passata, rosemary and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 20 mins.

3. Add the kale, zuchinni, and white beans. Cook for 25 minutes.

This dish goes nicely with some creamy polenta.

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Greek Style Baked Lima Beans

These are good. I mean really good. If you have tried gigantes in a greek restaurant before or made them yourself you know what I am talking about.

If you think you don’t like lima beans, like a lot of people, you need to try this recipe.

Tomato, onion, garlic, fresh parsley, olive oil. You get my point? Good. As in, really tasty.  Continue reading

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