Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Healthy Beet Carrot Tomato Soup

I’ve been reading about healthy eating from Dr. Sachin Patel and inspired by all the great recipes on his blog, yesterday I was craving veggies and a healthy dinner. My kitchen only had a few veggies available – beets, carrots and onions. But also had vegetable stock and tomato puree. So I searched some soup recipes and took inspiration from several to create this soup that turned out delish!

I had this with baked homemade garlic fries and it was perfect. The beets give a wonderful colour to the soup.


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 beet, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1 vegetable buillion cube
  • 1 1/2 cups water (or just 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat rigati pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 0.5 cm ginger, grated

Directions

  1. Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat
  2. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until onions are transluscent and carrots are soft.
  3. Dissolve buillion cube in water to make vegetable broth.
  4. Add beets, tomato puree, vegetable broth, pasta, ginger and seasonings. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Serve hot!

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Honey (Whole) Wheat Bread

Armed with the success of my first yeast product – the onion and cheddar pretzel, I wanted to find a easy whole wheat bread that I can make regularly for breakfast, etc. Allrecipes had a really positively reviewed recipe for a simple whole wheat bread that I decided to try out.

I made some small changes, make 1 loaf instead of 3 and all whole wheat flour, no bread flour and a little more honey. One glitch was that my yeast was not activated properly so it did not rise well, so I ended up with quite dense bread. Its a great with peanut or jam.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil or melted butter

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 2 tablespoons honey. Add 2 cups whole wheat flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.
  2. Mix in 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons honey, and salt. Stir in 1 cups whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky – just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.
  3. Punch down. Place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.
  4. Bake at 180 degrees C for 25 to 30 minutes; do not overbake. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with melted butter or olive oil when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely

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Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna (Eggless)

My first attempt at lasagna was a huge success and considering how easy it was, its not surprise that I was looking forward to making it again. This time, I decided to mix it up a little and make mexican lasagna (with lasagna noodles not tortillas) and it was another big hit =)

But unfortunately I didnt get a chance to take any pictures before it was eaten up. I decreased the cheese this time and you couldn’t tell the difference.

Hearty Healthy Vegetable Lasagna
makes 2 square 1.6L dishes, which is enough for atleast 8 people.

Ingredients

  • 12 lasagna noodles (I used no-bake noodles)
  • 1.5 green bell peppers, chopped (or 1 cup chopped)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped (or 1 cup chopped)
  • 3/4 cup onions
  • 3/4 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives (increase or decrease per preference)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 400 grams paneer, crumbled (or ricotta cheese)
  • 200 grams shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2.5 cups of salsa, pureed

Directions

  1. If using lasagna noodles that need to be cooked, cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Rinse with cold water, and drain.
  2. In a large saucepan, cook green peppers, onions, carrots and corn in oil. Stir in 1.5 cups of of pureed salsa and remove from heat. This is our vegetable salsa “sauce”.
  3. Crumble paneer and mix with olives.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Cover bottom of baking dish with pureed salsa (without vegetables) . Place 2 lasagna noodles on bottom, layer with 1/4 each of vegetable salsa sauce and paneer mix. Top with pureed salsa. Repeat lasagna noodle, vegetable salsa sauce, paneer mix and pureed salsa layers. Cover with 2 lasagna noodles. Top with pureed salsa and 1/4 of cheddar cheese. Garnish with sliced olives. Repeat with second tray.
  5. Cover tray with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

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Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

A super easy recipe that is delicious and quite healthy. You can mix and match the fruit according to the season or use frozen fruits for a tasty treat that can be dessert or an appetizer. Works best with a mix of atleast 3 fruits

Ingredients

    Note: Feel free to mix and match with whatever fruits you wish.

    • 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
    • handful of seedless grapes, cut in half
    • 8 ounces strawberries (or any fresh or frozen berries, thaw before using)
    • 100 g pineapple, diced
    • 3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor (cherry, orange or apricot jam or marmalade work well- try a different flavour from the fruits used)
    • 8 ounces raspberries or peaches or blueberries (fresh or frozen, thaw before using) – optional
    • 2 apples – peeled, cored and diced (optional)
    • mangoes or any soft fruits (optional)
    • 10 (10 inch) flour tortillasbutter flavored cooking spray or butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
    1. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix fruit and preserve. If using apples, add them last to minimize browning. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.
    2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    3. Coat both sidse of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray or brush with melted butter. Cut into wedges. Put the cinnamon mix into a large ziploc bag and add the tortilla wedges. Seal and shake to coat the buttered chips well. Remove and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
    4. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture.

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    Vegetable Lasagna (without riccotta and eggless)

    A good vegetarian lasagna is hard to come by, even in restaurants, unless they are the family owned Italian restaurants – but they often don’t have vegetarian lasagnas. In Ahmedabad, its even more difficult.

    My fridge was stocked with vegetables and the inspiration struck to attempt my first homemade lasagna and the results were quite tasty. I read a bunch of recipes and came up with this. You can make it healthy by reducing the cheese in half (which I would do next time). And don’t worry, the paneer turned out to be a really good substitute for ricotta (which is not available in India).

    Note: I did get some ingredients from our local import store, namely the lasagna noodles, pasta sauce and canned artichoke hearts. You can use whatever pasta sauce you like, it plays a large role in taste, so select well. If fresh artichokes are available, I would recommend it. The artichokes really thickened the vegetable filling.

    Hearty Healthy Vegetable Lasagna
    makes 2 square 1.6L dishes, which is enough for atleast 8 people.

    Ingredients

    • 12 lasagna noodles (I used no-bake noodles)
    • 1.5 green bell peppers, chopped (or 1 cup chopped)
    • 1 large carrot, chopped (or 1 cup chopped)
    • 4 drained artichoke hearts, chopped
    • 3/4 cup onions, chopped
    • 1 3/4 cup spinach, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon garlic paste (or 3-4 garlic cloves, minced)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)
    • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
    • 500 grams paneer (or ricotta cheese)
    • 350 grams shredded mozzarella cheese* (i used “cheeza”)
    • 2 10 oz jars of pasta sauce**

    * If you want to make it healthier, you can use less than 200 grams of cheese. Just use enough to cover the very top and do not use in the layers. Paneer is quite sufficient within the lasagna to give cheesy taste.
    ** Feel free to make your own pasta sauce. If you have wine, I would recommend the sauce from this chicken parmigiana recipe (no, you don’t need chicken for the sauce) from Pioneer Woman.

    Directions

    1. If using lasagna noodles that need to be cooked, cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Rinse with cold water, and drain.
    2. In a large saucepan, cook green peppers, carrots, onion, and garlic in oil. Add artichokes when almost cooked. Stir in 1 jar of pasta sauce. Add pepper and chili powder and stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. This is our vegetable sauce.
    3. Crumble paneer and mix in spinach.
    4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Cover bottom of baking dish with pasta sauce from jar. Place 2 lasagna noodles on bottom, layer with 1/4 each of vegetable sauce and paneer mix. Top with 1/8 mozzarella cheese and some pasta sauce from jar. Repeat lasagna noodle, vegetable sauce, paneer mix, mozzarella and pasta sauce layers. Cover with 2 lasagna noodles. Top with pasta sauce from jar and 1/4 of mozzarella cheese. Repeat with second tray.
    5. Cover tray with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

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    Food Rules by Michael Pollan


    Came across a great book by Michael Pollan called Food Rules.

    64 memorable rules on healthy eating compiled from suggestions by common people like you and me, grandmothers, dieticians and more.

    Some that I liked and try to follow:

    – The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead. (which I why I try to use whole wheat even in desserts that call for all-purpose or maida)

    – Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself. [Interesting way to curb on the junk food – of course french fries and cake take time to make]

    – The law of diminishing marginal utility or the banquet is in the first bite. [We get the most satisfaction from the first bites, so savour them. Less is more. The experience of switching from Lindt truffles to Lindt swiss thins supports this]

    – No second helpings. [Goes hand in hand with the above. I know that I have many many times wanted seconds because something tasted so good, but the second helping was an excess, I didn’t need it and consequently felt that overfull feeling afterwards and said to myself – shouldn’t have had that second helping… working on this one, its tough]

    – It’s not food if its called the same thing in different languages. [You have to think about this one – Doritos, Cheetos, Twinkies, etc]

    – If you are not hungry enough to eat an apple, you are not hungry. [Def guilty of this. Craving vs hunger]

    These were some of the ones I enjoyed. What are your food rules?

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