Chickpea, Feta & Beetroot Couscous Salad

Chickpea, Feta & Beetroot Couscous Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

I can never pass up anything with beets in it. Since its summer and it is the time for lighter, fresh and fast dishes this was a great lovely light meal.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 25-30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 red beetroots
• 2 golden beetroots
• 2 chioggia (candy cane) beetroots
• 250g of couscous
• 1 ¼ cup vegetable stock
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• Zest and juice from one lemon
• Handful of pine nuts
• 540g chickpeas, rinsed & drained
• Handful of parsley, chopped
• Handful of mint, chopped
• Pinch of paprika
• 1/2 crumbled feta
• Salt, to taste
• Pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Wrap beets in foil and roast for 30 minutes until tender.
3. Prepare couscous. (follow the instructions on the box); but use vegetable stock instead of water.
4. Fluff couscous with a fork and add in olive oil, lemon zest and juice.
5. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl.
6. Using a small frying pan over medium-high heat toast pine nuts. Ensure you don’t take your eyes off the skillet as the pine nuts will brown fast.
7. Peel beets and cut into large small wedges.
8. Stir in the couscous with the chickpeas, chopped herbs and spice.
9. Crumble feta over top and sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts.
10. Serve warm.

Tips
• Add chicken breast for protein with harissa.
• Top with halloumi instead of feta.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is a very filling an flavourful dish without the meat. I enjoyed my dish without the meat ad this will be a great addition to my menu. My guests thoroughly enjoyed this dish. There are many components to this dish and yet not one ingredient overpowers the next and each beets has a distinct taste, which is wonderful.

Chickpea, Feta & Beetroot Couscous Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

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Deconstructed Levantine Fattoush with Chickpeas (Pita Bread Salad)

Deconstructed Levantine Fattoush with Chickpeas (Pita Bread Salad) – Candy Coated Culinista

This is salad with a twist. I love to make this recipe when I want something light yet flavourful. Fattoush is an Arabic dish that likes to make use of pitas that have gone stale. So when I came across this recipe it was right up my alley as I hate wasting food. You can use any vegetables you want or have on hand; which is why I love this recipe so much.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Salad

• 270g chickpeas rinsed & drained (half a can)
• 175g of grape tomatoes. Halved
• 1 green onion, finely sliced
• Radishes, trimed and thinly sliced`
• ½ English cucumber, quartered
• Romaine lettuce, shredded
• Kale leaves, shredded
• Handful of spinach, rough chopped
• 1 sprig of mint, chopped
• 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
• Pomegranate seeds, (optional)
• Carrot ribbons, (optional)
• Handful of whole black olives, (optional)
• Mini pita’s
Vinaigrette
• The juice of 1 lemon
• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
• 1 tsp sumac
• 125 ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
• 10 ml (1 teaspoons) fresh mint, chopped
• 5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) fresh thyme, chopped
• Salt, to taste
• Pepper, to taste

Tips
• Serve pita on the side so you can have non-soggy leftovers or toast them in oven at 350°F for 5 minutes if desired to warm them up.
• Add chicken breast for some protein.

Assembly/Method
1. In a bowl, combine all the salad ingredients.
2. In another bowl, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients.
3. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and combine.

My thoughts
This is a quick, fast and always tasty recipe. Now I must admit I have only even made it once with stale pita’s. Pitas never go stale in my house because I love a carb. Every time I make it, I find another ingredient to add in like the optional ingredients listed above. I have been making this recipe for 5 years now and now that I am starting to enjoy chickpeas I thought this would be the perfect recipe to incorporate them into as it works with Middle Eastern dish. The combination of ingredients add a freshness and that lemony sumac is splendid.

U is for … Udon Noodle Soup

U is for … Udon Noodle Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 6 cups beef broth
• 2 celery stalks, chopped
• 1 medium onion, diced
• Handful of Italian parsley, rough chop
• 2 green onions, chopped
• 7 cloves of garlic, finely diced
• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
• One knob of ginger, minced
• ½ cup sugar snap peas, halved
• 2 tbsp, mint leaves
• 200g, 1 package of pre-cooked udon noodles
• 1 baby bok choy, halved down the length of the leaf
• 6 dashes, fish sauce
• 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Assembly
1. Cook the udon noodles according the package then drain and set aside.
2. Using a large saucepan pour in the beef broth and bring to a boil.
3. Add in celery, onion, parsley, green onions, garlic, carrots, ginger, snap peas, mint leaves and let cook for five minutes.
4. Add in the udon noodles along with fish sauce and apple cider vinegar and cook for five more minutes.
5. Turn down the temperature to simmer and add in the bok choy and let cook for 10 more minutes.
6. Serve

Tips
• Use vegetable broth to make this a vegetarian, vegan dish.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I usually love the soup I make; but so far the Asian inspired soups I haven’t really been a fan of. It tasted fine, but just not to my style.

Sweet Potato Wedges with Tahini dressing and Hummus

Sweet Potato Wedges with Tahini dressing and Hummus – Candy Coated Culinista

A delicious side with a Middle Eastern flair.

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: approx. 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Slightly altered from Cherry Bombe

Ingredients
• 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1tsp sea salt
• Chives, finely chopped, handful
• ¼ cup chopped cilantro
• ¼ cup chopped basil
• ¼ cup chopped parsley
• 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
Dressing
• 1/3 cup tahini
• ¼ cup honey
• 2 lemons, freshly squeezed
• 2 tsp toasted ginger garlic sesame seed oil
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• Cumin, to taste
Hummus
• 1 red pepper, roasted
• ¾ cups chickpeas
• 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
• 6 tbsp tahini
• 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• ½ tsp Kosher salt
• ½ tsp Black pepper

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a small roasting pan place red pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and roast until the wedges are complete.
3. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into wedges.
4. In a medium sized bowl combine extra virgin olive oil and salt with wedges.
5. Place onto another large sized baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes on one side and then turn and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until brown and creamy in the centre.
6. In a small bowl whisk all the ingredients for the tahini dressing and set aside.
7. Cut red pepper in half and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
8. Roast for 1 hour and set aside to cool.
9. Pour chickpeas, garlic, tahini, extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper in a food processor and blend.
10. Add in the red peppers and blend once again.
11. Once mixture is smooth, set aside in a small bowl.
12. Arrange wedges on a serving platter, drizzle with dressing and hummus and sprinkle with basil, chives, parsley, cumin and black sesame seeds.
13. Serve dressing and hummus on the side.

Tips
• Parboil the sweet potato whole first, let cool and then cut into wedges and toss in extra virgin olive oil and then bake is another option, if your like me and don’t enjoy sweet potato wedges cooked only in the oven.
• Add a little water to dressing if too thick.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I was making homemade burgers for dinner and wanted to add a different and tasty but familiar side. Well this sweet potato fries made the best accompaniment. I also made some more of my roasted red pepper hummus as a dipping sauce to keep that Middle Eastern theme going. I wasn’t that much of a fan of the tahini dressing, so I added the hummus for my own selfish reasons. Tahini is an odd thing to me; I love it in shawarma; but when I tasted it in this dressing or on its own I just couldn’t get on board. The original recipe called for cilantro, mint and scallions; but I used chives, basil and parsley instead. I also sprinkled in a touch of cumin and I used black sesame seeds as I prefer and always have those in my pantry. I can’t wait to make this again; just without the tahini dressing sadly.

Herby Vegan Compound Butter

Herby Vegan Compound Butter - Candy Coated Culinsta

Herby Vegan Compound Butter – Candy Coated Culinsta

I love compound butter; but I don’t necessarily want to partake in all the yummy delicious artery clogging full fat butter. Therefore, here is my version of compound butter that I use on veggies and on proteins.

Prep Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 400g vegan margarine
• 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
• 1 tbsp fresh thyme
• Handful fresh dill
• Handful fresh parsley
• 2 tbsp fresh oregano

Assembly
1. Using a food processor chop fresh herbs
2. Place vegan margarine in food processor.
3. Blend herbs and butter together.
4. On a long piece of wax paper place butter in the middle and form butter into a cylinder.
5. Twist the edges and place in freezer for 30 minutes.
6. Take butter out of the freezer and cut butter into discs and roll back up and use as needed on vegetables or meat.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I love having a stack of discs in my freezer to use whenever I want. It is handy and an excellent way to use up all those fresh herbs that may be about to turn.

Turkey Stock

Turkey Stock – Candy Coated Culinista

Another great make ahead Thanksgiving or Christmas recipe that can be used in stuffing, gravy and day after soup.

Yield/Serving: 1 litre
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 4 hours, plus
Difficulty level is: Easy, time consuming

Slightly altered from No Crumb Left

Ingredients
• 6-8 turkey pieces; combo of wings and drumsticks
• 10 cups of water
• 1 large onion. Sliced into rings
• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 2 celery sticks, chopped
• Fresh parsley, handful
• Fresh chives, handful
• Fresh thyme, handful

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Place turkey pieces into a roasting pan and bake for 60 minutes. (Just ensure all sides of the turkey are a golden brown)
3. Check every 30 minutes and flip.
4. Meanwhile using a large stock pot add ten cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat.
5. Once turkey is done, tear apart the wings and place all the turkey pieces along with the vegetable into the stock pot.
6. Scrape the brown bits from the roasting pan with a wooden spoon and add to the stock pot. (If it hasn’t all deglazed; just turn on the burner and add some water and let boil and scrap the turkey pieces off)
7. Gently simmer over low heat for 4 hours. The stock will reduce down.
8. Let cool and pour into jars and chill.

Tips
• Use the leftover turkey for whatever you like. I saved the drum sticks for dinner as they remained whole and the turkey wings were put in a quick turkey soup with the rest of the veg.
• You can also freeze this stock.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Not going to lie here this is a lot of work for stock; but then there are no preservatives, sodium or salt and chemicals. So start this in the morning and go about your day in the house and let this reduce while you’re doing chores and other baking. There is no salt in this recipe so it won’t be as flavourful as you expect; but it’s best to salt whatever dish you put this into after the fact.

Herbaceous Pattypan Squash

Herbaceous Pattypan Squash – Candy Coated Culinista

A visit to the local farmers markets always gets the creative juices flowing. This summer and fall season I’m lucky enough to have a new farmer’s market just steps from my door and I intend to take full advantage of what they have to offer. Heirloom tomatoes, fresh snap green beans, golden and purple beets, gourmet popsicles and pizza, fresh loaves of bread, honey, cheese and so much more. I found these lovely Pattypan squash for the second time in two years and I wanted to make a simple recipe to highlight and respect the local ingredients.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 tbsp vegetarian butter
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 6 large sized pattypan squash, cut into quarters and eights
• Fresh thyme, finely diced
• Fresh dill, finely diced
• Fresh parsley, finely diced
• Fresh rosemary, finely diced
• Fresh Oregano, finely diced

Assembly
1. Over medium-high heat let butter and extra virgin olive oil get to the temperature of the pan and melt.
2. Add pattypan squash along with fresh herbs.
3. Cook for 5 min, ensuring squash stays crunchy.
4. Serve immediately.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I enjoyed pattypan squash for the first time last month when I visited the CN Tower 360 revolving restaurant. I hadn’t managed to buy the squash I saw last year, so I was very happy to come across it again this year. Simple summer sides are a delight to make especially with the farmers markets finest produce. The squash was buttery and herby and the aroma was delightful. I love a good crunchy vegetable and this was the perfect side to my dinner last night.

P is for … Pea Risotto

P is for … Pea Risotto - Candy Coated Culinista

P is for … Pea Risotto – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 20-22 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 900ml low sodium chicken stock
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 cup Arborio rice
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 1/3 cup fresh peas
• 1 tbsp unsalted butter
• Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste
• Handful of parsley, finely diced

Assembly
1. Pour chicken stock into a large saucepan over high heat and boil.
2. Once the chicken stock has boiled, turn down to low heat to keep warm.
3. In a medium saucepan heat extra virgin olive oil and pour in the onion and cook for three minutes.
4. Add in the garlic and continue cooking for another 3 minutes until soft and translucent.
5. Stir in one cup of Arborio rice along with sea salt and black pepper stirring constantly for two minutes.
6. Ladle in a half cup of chicken stock to the rice until the liquid is absorbed.
7. Continue adding chicken stock a half cup at a time until rice is tender with a firm centre and the risotto is creamy, about 20 to 22 minutes.
8. Add in the peas and butter in the last 3 minutes of cooking.
9. Stir in the parsley and grate some Parmigiano Reggiano to taste.
10. Serve immediately.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
A slow but well worth it process. Creamy and aldente with the fresh peas and parsley along with the Parmigiano Reggiano made this a rich dish.

Pasta with Fried Lemons and Chili Flakes

Pasta with Fried Lemons & Chile Flakes – Candy Coated Culinista

Lemons, lemons and more lemons! If you are a lemon lover this recipe is for you.

Diner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

Ingredients
• 4 lemons
• 1 pound linguine or spaghetti
• 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzle
• Pinch of sugar
• 3 tbsp unsalted butter
• ¾ tsp chili flakes. More to taste
• 2/3 cup parmigiana-reggiano cheese, plus more to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• ½ cup celery leaves, coarsely chopped (optional)
• 1/3 cup parsley, coarsely chopped (optional)
• Flaky sea salt, for garnish

Assembly
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
2. Zest finely 2 lemons and set aside.
3. Trim the top and bottom off the other two lemons and cut lengthwise into quarters and remove any seeds.
4. Thinly slice the quarters into triangles and blanch lemon pieces in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Then transfer using a slotted spoon to a paper towel to dry.
5. In the same boiling water add pasta and cook until al dente.
6. Drain water; but reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
7. Using a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat.
8. Add the dried lemon pieces and season with a pinch of salt and sugar.
9. Cook until the lemons are caramelized, for 3 to 5 minutes and then transfer to a plate.
10. Over medium heat melt butter in the leftover oil and add the chili flakes and lemon zest of both lemons until fragrant.
11. Whisk in the reserved pasta water.
12. Toss in pasta, the juice of one lemon, cheese, black pepper and the remaining salt.
13. Cook until pasta is coated with sauce and add in the caramelized lemon.
14. Add celery leaves and parsley if desired.
15. Taste and add more lemon juice, drizzle olive oil and cheese if desired.
16. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I wasn’t a fan of this recipe. The caramelized lemons and the lemon zest, lemon water, lemon juice. It was all too much lemon for me. I could handle almost all that lemon except the caramelized lemon. All I could taste was lemon rind, so I took that out and enjoyed the dish a little more. The combination of black pepper, chilli flakes and cheese and lemon; this mixture had a tendency to clump together and not be

Gluten-free Minestrone

Gluten-free Minestrone - Candy Coated Culinista

Gluten-free Minestrone – Candy Coated Culinista

A cold weekend is ahead and I have been craving soup in a bad way.

Yield/Serving: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: (beginning to end) 1 ½ hour
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Red onion, half diced
• 3 carrots, peeled & chopped
• 2 zucchini, cut into half circles
• 1 pound button mushrooms, quartered
• 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 1 small red bell pepper, diced
• 1 small green bell pepper, diced
• 3 tbsp tomato paste
• 2 tsp dried oregano
• 2 litres vegetable stock, reduced sodium
• 1 can red kidney beans
• 2 tomatoes, cut into pieces
• 2 cups gluten-free farfalle pasta
• ½ cup parmesan cheese
• 2 handfuls of parsley, chopped

Assembly
1. In a large heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat, pour extra virgin olive oil and brown onions, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, red pepper and green pepper and let brown slightly, 5 minutes.
2. Stir in tomato paste, oregano, vegetable stock, kidney beans and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
3. Add in the gluten-free pasta and let simmer until pasta is aldente.
4. Continue to let simmer and add in parmesan cheese and parsley.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Such a great fall soup. Zucchini is a summer vegetable but in Ontario it can be readily found up until October and I fully took advantage of that. I have always wanted to make a minestone and this was so delicious I didn’t even miss the protein. The carrots and zucchini were still crunchy and this recipe is perfect for freezing.

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