myfavouritedinners

Zain’s Raw Vegan Zucchini Pasta with Tomato and Basil Sauce

Looking for new ways to spice up your main meals?  Try my delicious spring inspired zucchini pasta, packed with vitamins and nutrients.  Easy to make, this dish will very quickly become one of your healthy favourites!

*Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients:

2 Zucchinis ends removed

1 Large Tomato

¼ Cup Fresh Basil Leaves

1/8 White Onion (diced)

½ Clove Garlic (minced)

¼ Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes (soaked in boiling water for 3-5 mins)

¼ Cup Nutritional Yeast

1 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds OR Walnuts (chopped)

2 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)

1 tsp dried oregano

Himalayan Crystal Salt and Ground Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  1. Using a food processor, blend all ingredients except pumpkin seeds and zucchini, until smooth then top with chopped pumpkin seeds.
  2. For zucchini pasta, use a food processor to slice OR cut zucchini in half lengthwise and use a spiral slicer or hand grater. 
  3. Plate shredded zucchini pasta and top with tomato, basil sauce. Sprinkle whole or chopped pumpkin seeds or walnuts and a tsp of extra virgin olive oil per serving if desired.

*Note, this recipe is delicious with tofu or tempeh for a complete meal

Zain’s Wonderland Salad

I don’t even know how to name this beast.  I created it on a whim and have been eating it every single day since.  It’s like, 6pm comes and I go slightly mad and the only thing that seems to appease me is this incredible salad.

This is the best salad I think I’ve ever made.

Juicy, sweet strawberries, buttery avocado & walnuts are just the beginning.  As you go deeper, you will discover grilled crimini mushrooms, organic goat’s cheese, chargrilled zucchini AND poached sablefish.

I know, right?

Ingredients:

2.5 oz Wild Sablefish (poached in water) OR 70g Non-GMO Tofu (vegan)

1 Tsp Raw Unpasteurized Honey (only if using fish)

3 Cups Organic Spinach

½ Cup Strawberries Sliced

11/2 Cups Organic Crimini Mushrooms

1 Small Organic Zucchini sliced

½ Cup Organic Cucumber

½ Cup Organic Grape Tomatoes

¼ Organic Red Onion

1 Tbsp Organic Walnuts

1oz Organic Avocado

1oz Organic Low-Fat Goat’s Cheese (optional)

Handful of Alfalfa Sprouts

Splash of Braggs

Ground Black Pepper To Taste

Dressing:

1 Tbsp Balsamic Reduction

2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (I use Balsamic Fig Vinegar)

2 Tsp Walnut Oil

1/16 Tsp Stevia OR 1 Tsp Raw Unpasteurized Honey (I use stevia)

½ Tbsp Unsweetened Strawberry Jam

Directions:

1. Poach Sablefish for 5-7 minutes in boiling water and pour 1 tsp of honey over top, set aside.

2. In a non-stick saucepan, grill zucchini, mushrooms, red onion and walnuts in a pan with a splash of Braggs.

3. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for dressing and mix well.

4. Assemble all remaining ingredients on your plate, toss with a bit of dressing and then add the grilled veg and sablefish to top.  Mix well and add the remaining dressing. 

*Note: I cannot be held responsible for your addiction to this salad.  za

Zain’s Raw Vegan Zucchini Pasta with Tomato and Pesto Sauce

Looking for new ways to spice up your main meals?  Try my delicious spring inspired zucchini pasta, packed with vitamins and nutrients.  Easy to make, this dish will very quickly become one of your healthy favourites!

*Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients:

2-4 Zucchinis (ends removed)

11/2 Cup Grape Tomatoes

¼ Cup Fresh Basil Leaves

1/8 White Onion (diced)

½ Clove Garlic (minced)

¼ Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes (soaked in boiling water for 3-5 mins)

¼ Cup Nutritional Yeast

1 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds OR Walnuts (chopped)

2 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)

1 tsp dried oregano

Himalayan Crystal Salt and Ground Pepper to Taste

Directions:

1. Prepare tomato & pesto sauce using a food processor to blend all ingredients - except pumpkin seeds and zucchini - until smooth.

2. For zucchini pasta, use a food processor, to slice OR cut zucchini in half lengthwise and use a spiral slicer, mandolin or hand grater. 

3. Plate shredded zucchini pasta and top with tomato, basil sauce. Sprinkle whole or chopped pumpkin seeds or walnuts and a tsp of extra virgin olive oil per serving if desired.

*Note, this recipe is delicious with non-GMO tofu or ground tempeh for a complete meal but the meal would not be completely raw.

Zain’s Homestyle Chickpea and Tofu Curry

Another one of my mom’s recipes made super healthy with fat busting, nutrient-rich plant-based, whole foods.

This recipe literally takes 15 minutes to whip up and make for a delicious dinner with a whole wheat roti and a huge salad on the side.

*makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

2 Cups Chickpeas (soaked overnight)

½ Block Extra Firm Tofu

2 Tbsp Tomato Paste (BPA free can or glass bottle variety)

1/8 Tsp Whole Mustard Seeds

¼ Tsp Curry Powder

1/8 Tsp Coriander Powder

1/8 Tsp Cumin Seeds

1" Fresh Ginger (minced)

1 Cover Garlic (minced)

¼ Yellow Onion

¼ Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

Himalayan Crystal Salt to Taste

1/16 Tsp Red Chilli Powder 

1/16 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

Few Sprigs Fresh Coriander

1 Tsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Directions:

1. Melt coconut oil in a saucepan on high heat until it sizzles.  Add mustard seeds, cumin, garlic, ginger and onion, reduce heat, cover and simmer until seeds pop.

2. Add tofu and cook until golden and slightly crispy then add tomato paste, soaked chickpeas, almond milk and remaining powdered spices, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes until thoroughly cooked.

3. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh coriander, serve hot.


Zain’s Homestyle Indian Naan

Earlier today I posted one of my favourite recipes ever, my mom’s Channa Masala (Chickpea Curry) made super healthy without all of the ghee and oil that normally accompanies Indian food. 

I received several messages requesting a healthy naan bread recipe to accompany the curry dish so I just had to jump to the challenge!

It turns out crispy, fluffy and kinda sorta rivals mom’s…shhhhhh!

Ingredients:

2 and ¾ Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

½ Cup Greek Yogurt (for Vegan Sub Coconut Yogurt or sub for ¼ Cup more Applesauce)

1 Tsp Baking Soda

2 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro

¼ Tsp Cumin OR 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Coconut (both are optional but use one or the other not both)

½ Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

¼ Cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce

¼ Tsp Himalayan Crystal Salt or Sea Salt

1 Tbsp Garlic Powder (if using coconut, do not add this)

Coconut Oil for Grill (optional but sooooo yummy)

Directions:

1.In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients until well combined. 

2. Then add all wet ingredients and knead dough with your hands.

3. Scoop out a small ball of dough and roll it with your hand and then with a rolling pin until desired shape/thickness is reached  - I like mine about ¼ inch thick and roughly about 5 inches in diameter.

4. Heat non-stick skillet or cast-iron pan and add a drop of coconut oil if using.

5. Place flattened dough into the heated skillet and cook until edges are golden then flip until both sides are golden.

6. Add a bit more fresh cilantro to top if desired.

7. Enjoy with Zain’s Homestyle Channa Masala Curry!

4

Zain’s Homemade Veggie Burger & Chunky Parsnip Fries

So we are just over a week into the New Year and I am sure that you are holding steadfast to your resolutions of health and fitness.  After all of the indulging over the holidays it can be difficult to make the switch to simpler tastes and salad based meals.  

I wanted to share a super healthy and delicious recipe that you can sink your teeth into without worrying that it will mess up all of your hard work, not to mention, this recipe is one that you can prepare in advance, freeze or refrigerate and heat up to take for your packed lunch the following day.

Zain’s Homemade Sweet Potato & Nut Veggie Burger

Ingredients:

*Makes 4 Burgers, Takes 20 Minutes

14oz Can Unsalted Pinto Beans (I use Eden Organics)

8oz Baked Yam (skin removed)

32g Walnuts (finely chopped, roasted)

4 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds (roasted)

Dash of Bragg’s Seasoning

1 Whole Egg (slightly beaten) OR 2 Tbsp Egg Replacement

¼ White Onion (diced)

½ Tsp Ground Cumin

1/16 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/8 Tsp Onion Powder

1/8 Tsp Garlic Powder

1/8 Tsp Cayenne Powder

¼ Tsp Baking Powder

Optional Toppings:

Iceberg Lettuce (chopped), Tomato (sliced), Avocado (sliced), Sprouts, Whole Grain Mustard, Clean Ketchup (½ Cup tomato paste, 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, ¼ Tsp Garlic Powder, ¼ Tsp Onion Powder, 11/2 Packets Stevia, Salt to taste), Low-Sodium Pickles

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. On a sprayed baking sheet, roast walnuts and sunflower seeds  with Bragg’s seasoning, for 7-9 minutes or until golden. Set aside

2. Mash pinto beans with fork or in food processor and mix with baked yam, walnuts, sunflower seeds and egg or egg replacement.  Add all spices and baking powder and mix well.

3. Roll mixture into balls and flatten with hands into 4 patties.

4. Heat and spray pan or grill and cook the burgers until golden and slightly crispy on each side. Meanwhile, prepare mango chutney by mixing all ingredients together well and allow to chill until serving.

5. Wrap in 2-4 large lettuce leaves (rather than buns) and top with mango chutney.

Zain’s Chunky Parsnip Fries

5 Large Parsnips

2 Tsp Olive Oil

1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary Or Dill (optional)

Himalayan Crystal Salt & Ground Pepper 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Toss parsnips with oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper.

3. Roast on top rack for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. 

Zain’s Homemade Wild Mushroom, Pesto and Goat Cheese Pizza

Eating clean does not have to mean missing out on your favourite foods.  This super simple and delicious pizza recipe is not only easy but it turns out amazing every time.

Ingredients:

2 Cups Grated Cauliflower (I use a food processor but hand grater is fine too)

¼ Cup Egg Whites

¼ Cup Oats

1 Clove Garlic

1 Tbsp Pistachios OR Pinenuts (optional, I use them because they offer a gorgeous taste)

1 oz Skimmed Mozzarella

1 Tsp Oregano

2 Tsp Parsley

1/8 Tsp Brewer’s Yeast (optional, but gives a richer flavour)

Himalayan Salt and Pepper to taste

Cooking Spray

Toppings:

2 Tbsp Pesto (from bottle or 4-5 leaves fresh bunch basil, ½ bunch coriander, 1/8 tsp brewers yeast, juice of ½ lemon, 1 tsp Olive Oil, ½ Tbsp pine nuts, salt and pepper to taste all blended.)

1 Tbsp Pizza Sauce (from bottle or tomato paste blended with oregano, garlic, salt and pepper)

½ Cup Wild Mushrooms OR Portabello

1 oz Low Fat Goat’s Cheese OR Feta Cheese OR Skimmed Mozzarella

*Feel free to add ½ cup peppers, onions, spinach, tomatoes or any other veggies of your choice as well as protein such as tofu, chicken, seitan etc.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 F and spray cookie sheet with cooking spray or use parchment paper

2. Pan fry grated cauliflower in a sprayed frying pan over medium heat and cook until it becomes translucent. Meanwhile, place all other ingredients for crust in a food processor and blend until smooth

3. In a bowl combine cooked cauliflower and blended ingredients and spread dough out over cookie sheet

4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.  Meanwhile, prepare and pan fry remaining optional toppings and veggies until cooked.

5. Remove the crust from the oven and add. Add pizza sauce and pesto and top with mushrooms, optional toppings, and cheese.

6. Place back in the oven for 3-5 minutes until cheese melts slightly. Serve warm!

Break out the BBQ and the Mariachi, because this recipe is sure to get the fiesta started!  

I have been sharing some of my all-time favourite healthy Mexican recipes in honour of Cinco de Mayo today and I know you guys are going to LOVE this one!

*Makes 2 Servings

Zain’s Baja Fish (OR Tofu) Tacos

Ingredients:

8oz Fresh Wild White Cod OR Halibut *Vegans sub for non-GMO Tofu

2 Organic Sprouted Grain OR Stone Ground Corn Tortillas 

½ White Onion Chopped

¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro

¾ Cup Pinto Beans (mashed)

2 Tsp Cumin Powder (divided)

Himalayan Crystal Salt

¼ Tsp Chili Powder

Juice of 2 Limes

1 Tsp Raw Honey

1 Jalapeno (minced)

2 Cloves Garlic (minced)

Directions:

1. Marinate the fish for at least an hour in lime juice and spices, refrigerate.

2. If using the bbq, heat to required temperature.  Wrap fish in foil and place on top wire to cook.

3. Meanwhile mince and chop veggies and lightly sautee them in a pan.  

4. In a bowl, mix mashed pinto beans with ½ cumin & a pinch of salt, set aside.

5. Once fish is cooked, lightly toast tortilla shells and assemble by spreading pinto beans then fish on the tortillas and topping with lightly sauteed veggies and herbs.

Serve with Zain’s Skinny Sangria, Zain’s Classic Chunky Guacamole and Zain’s Pineapple Salsa!!

Zain’s Homestyle Channa (Chickpea) Masala Curry

Adapted from my mom’s recipe (actually probably about 6 generations ago), this curry dish is one of my favourite clean eating carbs and makes a spicy traditional Indian meal when served with brown basmati rice.

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients:

1 Can Organic Chickpeas (unsalted, I use Eden Organics)

½ Cup Greek Yogurt (for Vegan sub Coconut Yogurt or leave out)

2 Tbsp Tomato Paste

¼ Tsp Curry Powder

1/8 Tsp Black Mustard Seeds

1/8 Tsp Cumin Seeds

1/8 Tsp Garam Masala

1” Fresh Ginger (minced)

1 Clove Garlic (minced)

1 Red or Green Chilli (minced, optional)

½ Cup Butternut Squash (roasted, mashed)

1/16 Yellow Onion (chopped)

¼ Red or Green Pepper

1 Tsp Coconut Oil 

Himalayan Crystal Salt, to taste

¼ Cup Fresh Coriander to top (chopped)

Directions:

1. In a saucepan, heat oil on high heat and once bubbling add black mustard seeds and cumin and cover until seeds pop. Reduce heat to low-medium.

2. Lift lid and add onions, ginger, garlic and chilli to the mix, cover and simmer until slightly browned. 

3. Lift lid and add chickpeas, peppers, squash tomato paste and other dry spices, mix well, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Add yogurt cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

5. Serve on a bed of warm brown basmati rice OR try Zain’s Brown Rice Pilaf

Zain’s **Load It Up Anyway You Like It** Gluten-Free Pizza 

COMFORT FOOD ALERT!!

If you are feeling like I am, nothing is more inviting on cold, dark days than warm and delicious comfort food.

Pizza is most definitely one of those foods and eating clean most definitely does not mean missing out on your favourites, it just means getting a little creative.

What I love about this recipe is its versatility.  The crust is made with delicious cauliflower so it is gluten-free and great for a lower carb evening meal.

Top it anyway you like!

**Note, you can also make this recipe vegan by following the added directions below and substituting the dairy cheese for vegan or almond cheese.

Ingredients:

Crust

2 Cups Grated Cauliflower (I use a food processor but hand grater is fine too)

¼ Cup Egg Whites OR for ** Vegan Version combine 1 Tbsp Flax Seeds + 1/8 cup warm water and allow to sit then use like the egg in the recipe

¼ Cup Uncontaminated Oats

2 Scoops SUNWARRIOR Natura Protein Powder OR Natural Protein Powder of your Choice (optional)

1 Clove Garlic

1 Tbsp Walnuts

1 oz Skimmed Organic Mozzarella OR for **Vegan Version use Vegan Cheese, Almond Paste or Omit

1 Tsp Oregano

2 Tsp Parsley

1/8 Tsp Brewer’s Yeast (optional, but gives a richer flavour)

Himalayan Salt and Pepper to taste

Cooking Spray

Toppings

2 Tbsp Pesto (from bottle or 4-5 leaves fresh bunch basil, ½ bunch coriander, 1/8 tsp brewers yeast, juice of ½ lemon, 1 tsp Olive Oil, ½ Tbsp pine nuts, salt and pepper to taste all blended.)

1 Tbsp Organic BPA Free Pizza Sauce (from bottle or tomato paste blended with oregano, garlic, salt and pepper)

Optional Toppings

½ Cup Wild Mushrooms OR Portabello, 1 oz Low Fat Goat’s Cheese OR Feta Cheese OR Skimmed Mozzarella, Boccacini, Raw Cheeses, 1/2 Cup Peppers, Onions, Spinach, Tomatoes Or Any Other Veggies Of Your Choice, 6oz-8oz Prawns,  Chicken, Ground Meat, Fish, 140g Vegetarian Protein – Non-GMO Tofu, Seitan, Textured Vegetable Protein, 1/2 Cup Pineapple, Herbs such as Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Chives, Banana Peppers, 2 Tbsp Olives, Butternut Squash Puree OR Pumpkin Puree

Or get creative!

irections:

1. Preheat oven to 450 F and spray cookie sheet with cooking spray or use parchment paper

2. Pan fry grated cauliflower in a sprayed frying pan over medium heat and cook until it becomes translucent. Meanwhile, place all other ingredients for crust in a food processor and blend until smooth

3. In a bowl combine cooked cauliflower and blended ingredients and spread dough out over cookie sheet

4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden. OR use a forno oven if you have one an bake for 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare and pan fry remaining optional toppings and veggies until cooked.

5. Remove the crust from the oven and add. Add pizza sauce and pesto and top with mushrooms, optional toppings, and cheese.

6. Place back in the oven for 3-5 minutes until cheese melts slightly. Serve warm!

Traditional Indian Kitchari:

When it comes to health, nutrition and amazing recipes, I am so grateful to my mom, grandmother and our Indian heritage for the foundation of Ayurveda (medicinal knowledge) and all of its richness.

I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by the incredible use of healing spices, oils, methods of cooking and food combinations that have naturally become second nature to me.  What fascinates me most, is that now, as an adult who was born and raised in Canada, I see articles and studies conducted on these ingredients and methods and their benefits and it amazes me how vast the knowledge of Ayurveda truly is and that it predates scientific study which is now only starting to prove its benefits.

This is one traditional Ayurvedic Indian recipe that is considered a cleansing, balancing, and detoxifying meal enriched with complete proteins and complementary of any vegan/vegetarian diet.  It is a healthy combination of grains, lentils, oils and spices and many who are recovering from serious illness and follow Ayurveda, use this meal as a staple.  For those of us who are just enamoured by a healthy lifestyle and of clean eating, traditional indian kitchari is a dish that I highly recommend for taste, energy, vitality and internal cleansing.

This is a great dish to keep prepared as a clean carb source for the week, one pot goes a long way!

Check out my recipe adapted of course from my mom’s:

*Makes 2 ½ Cup Servings

Ingredients:

½ Cup Brown Basmati Rice

1 Cup Mung Dal (split yellow lentils)

3.5 Cups Water (approx)

2 Tsp Coconut Oil OR Ghee (clarified butter, I use Nanak Brand)

1 Tsp Black Mustard Seeds

½ Tsp Cumin Seeds

1 Tsp Tumeric Powder

1 Tsp Coriander Powder 

1 Tsp Fennel Powder

1 Pinch Hing (Asofoetida Powder)

Sprigs Coriander 

2 Tbsp Cashews (chopped)

Directions:

1. Soak rice and lentils for at least 30 minutes, separately and rinse.

2. Add coconut oil OR ghee to heated pan until simmering. Add seed spices and cover pan with lid, until seeds begin to pop.  Add remaining spices, lentils and salt, cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes or until the lentils are nearly cooked.

3. Meanwhile, chop vegetables and add them to the pot after 30 minutes then add the drained rice stirring and adding a little more water if necessary.  Cook for at least 25 minutes or until rice is fully cooked (some water may still remain in which case, remove from heat and cover until water steams off).

4. Garnish with cilantro leaves and chopped cashew nuts, serve warm alone or as a side dish to another protein source.

Zain’s Tamarind & Chili Tilapia and Veggies

One of the most unique and delicious flavours from my culture has to be tamarind, a sweet and tangy sauce made from the tamarind fruit that is used as a chutney or marinade for many dishes.  It gives a complexity to the most basic of meals and I love to use it as a clean sauce for fish and vegetables alike.

You can purchase tamarind at most stores these days in ready made sauces but be aware of added sugars and salt as this is often the case.  Aly’s makes a great version with added dates (I count it as a fruit) and/or you can pick up the sour paste, blend it with water and create your own delicious sauce.

Ingredients:

51/2oz Tilapia

1 Tsp Coconut Oil

3 Tbsp Tamarind Sauce (divided)

Pinch Himalayan Crystal Salt

1’ Ginger (minced)

1/8 Tsp Coriander Powder

1/8 Tsp Cumin Powder

1/8 Tsp Curry Powder

1/16 Tsp Sambal Oelek OR Chilli Powder

1 Tsp Honey

1 Cup Broccoli

½ Cup Cauliflower

¼ Zucchini 

¼ Red Pepper

¼ Red Onion

1 Tbsp Cashews 

Directions:

1. Marinate fish in ½ tamarind sauce, ginger and spices (I marinate overnight but 30 minutes is fine)

2. In a grill pan, add coconut oil and heat until it begins to pop.  Reduce heat and saute vegetables until half way cooked then add marinated fish.  Cover and cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes.

3. Uncover and flip fish and stir veggies then add remaining tamarind sauce, honey,  and cashews and mix well.

4. Serve warm with a squeeze of lime.  This dish is wonderful over brown rice as well.

Zain’s Vegan Chunky Chili

Hands down this chili recipe is probably one of my favourite clean meals.   It’s the perfect comfort food for cool November evenings as each bite of this will nourish and warm your insides.

Filled with delicious and healthy vegan protein sources and slow digesting carbohydrates, a little of this goes along way so you can pack some for lunch the following day…yep, lazy leftovers baby!

The best part is, you can rock it in a crockpot OR cook it on the stove!

Makes 4-5 Servings

Ingredients:

11/2 Cups Organic Vine Ripened Tomatoes (diced) OR 2 Cans BPA Free Sodium-Free Diced Tomatoes

½ Small Can BPA Free Tomato Paste

1 Can BPA Free Kidney Beans (I use Eden Organics)

1 Can BPA Free Navy Beans (I use Eden Organics)

5-6 Garlic Cloves (minced)

1 Large Red Onion (chopped)

1 Sweet Potato (boiled & mashed)

2 Cups Organic Peaches & Creme Corn

1 Large Yellow Pepper

2 Tbsp Cumin Powder

½ Tsp Coriander

½ Tbsp Chili Powder

¾ Cup Sodium-Free Vegetable Stock

Cooking Spray

Directions for Slow Cooker: 

1.  In a non-stick sprayed pan saute the garlic, pepper and onion

2. Combine all ingredients in your crockpot

3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Note: Get to know your crock pot! Some newer models will cook in shorter time allotments, while older models tend to need more time (up to 1-2 hours!) Adjust cooking times appropriately.

Directions for Stove Top: 

1. In a large, sprayed pot, saute the garlic, pepper and onion.

2. Stir in cumin, coriander and chili powder.

3. Pour in the vegetable stock and stir in the cumin, coriander and chili powder.

4. Add the sweet potato, beans, corn, tomatoes and tomato paste and boil on low for about 10 minutes (add more vegetable broth if needed)

5. Serve warm, topped with avocado or enjoy with organic blue corn crackers.

Zain’s Indonesian Stirfry

With pre-cooked brown rice, this clean, exotic dish literally took me 7 minutes to prepare and will take you right out of your convenient cooking rut with a blend of Indonesian spices and flavours.

*Note if you are staying away from carbs after a certain time, you may omit the brown rice and substitue for extra vegetables.  This dish can be made vegetarian/vegan by swapping the prawns for extra-firm tofu.

Ingredients:

4oz Jumbo Prawns

¾ Cup Brown Rice (cooked)

¼ Cup Light Coconut Milk

1 Cup Broccoli (flowered)

1 Cup Bok Choi (stemmed)

¼ Cup Red Pepper (sliced)

1 Green Onion (sliced)

½ Cup Crimini Mushrooms (whole)

¼ Cup Zucchini (sliced)

¼" Ginger (minced)

1 Clove Garlic (minced)

¼ Tsp Bragg’s Seasoning

1 Tbsp Crunchy Peanut Butter

1/16 Tsp Red Chili Powder OR 1 Green Chili

1 Tbsp Honey

1 Tsp Peanut Oil

Directions:

1. In a small sauce pan, bring coconut milk, peanut butter, honey and Braggs to a slow simmer, whisking well. Add vegetables, cover and simmer until tender. Remove from heat, set aside.

2. In a wok, add peanut oil until hot then sautee prawns with ginger, garlic and onion for 3-5 minutes until prawns are cooked.

3. Pour coconut sauce and vegetables into wok and stirfry for another 1-2 minutes then add rice and cook for another 2 minutes.  Serve warm.

Zain’s Clean and Comforting Saffron and Lobster (OR Tofu) Mac n’ Cheese

I’m not sure about how the weather is where you are but today is a typical grey and rainy Vancouver Saturday and the desire for comfort food is probably quite high.  This recipe is one of my favourites, especially on days like this.

Ingredients:

* Makes 2 servings

1 Cup Whole Wheat or Brown Rice Elbow Macaroni Pasta

10oz Fresh Lobster Meat OR 186g Extra Firm Organic Tofu

*I recommend buying uncooked or frozen lobster tails and removing the meat from the shell.

1 Pinch Saffron

1 Clove Garlic (minced)

½ Cup Fat-Free Greek Yogurt

½ Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

½ Onion (Un-chopped)

¼ Cup Cauliflower (Pureed)

1/8 Cup Oat Flour (Oats Blended in Magic Bullet or Food Processor)

1 Tsp Cornflour

2 Babybel Light Cheese 

1 oz Low Fat Swiss Cheese (I use Emmenthal) 

Pinch of Salt

Ground Pepper to Taste

1/8 tsp Nutmeg

Directions:

1. Place almond milk and ½ un-chopped onion in saucepan on LOW heat and let warm but remove from heat just as it starts to simmer and let the milk cool with the onion for at least 10 minutes then remove onion and pour milk into a cup.

2. Grate Babybel and Swiss Cheese and set aside.

2a. Boil cauliflower and puree.

3. In a large pot of water with a pinch of salt, cook pasta until al dente (cooked but slightly firm) and place in a baking dish.

4. On low heat, In the same saucepan used to heat the almond milk, pour 5 table spoons of water into the pot and whisk in corn flour and HALF of the oat flour until it becomes a thick paste or ‘roux.’

5. Slowly pour the almond milk mixture into the saucepan over the roux and as it continues to thicken add Greek Yogurt, nutmeg, pepper and pinch of salt if necessary. Boil for about 5 minutes.

*If using tofu, panfry cubes with cooking spray pepper, saffron and garlic and add to the milk mixture once golden and slightly crispy.

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

7. Add ¾ of the cheese to the milk mixture and stir until melted and add nutmeg, pepper, and a pinch of salt if necessary.

8. Pour this mixture over the cooked pasta, add cauliflower puree and mix thoroughly, bake for 15 minutes.

10. Boil lobster pieces in very little water with garlic, and saffron for 2-3 minutes, remove pasta from oven and stir in lobster mixture.  Top pasta with remaining cheese and oat flour and bake for another 5-7 minutes until golden.

Dinner at Mom’s

I cannot tell you how grateful I am for my Mother’s incredible Indian soul food.

As I have transitioned through my eating disorder back to health, my mother has worked to constantly learn how to reinvent her traditional Indian recipes free of oil and ghee (clarified butter) so that I may enjoy them.

Tonight’s dinner was in honour of my fiancées birthday and mom made two incredible curries, one with cauliflower and the other with okra. She also made coconut curry basa for me and made some traditional south Indian dosas (potato curry wrapped in rice crepes).

My mom has been used to cooking these dishes her way for years and I am so honoured that she has learned how to cook these dishes in a healthier way for all of us to enjoy. There is nothing as healing as mom’s home cooking.

I would love to hear what you consider as soul food. Do you have a favourite dish or meal? Is there a way that you can make it healthier and ‘relearn’ the recipe?

4

Dinner with Friends

Yesterday evening, I hosted dinner at my place for two of our very close friends.  It was the perfect end to a relaxing day because for me, there is nothing that I enjoy more than cooking a delicious, fragrant meal to enjoy with my fiancee and friends. 

The smells and creativity that go into my meals make me feel like an artist at work.  I truly thrive on creating this way and the best part is that all of the dishes are clean and work perfectly within my plan.

I had lots of exciting news to share with them (will be sharing with you soon), and they loved the authentic Thai meal that I prepared for them.  On the menu?

Zain’s Clean Thai Green Curry and Coconut Rice

Zain’s Chilli and Lime Baked Tofu with Homemade Peanut Sauce

Zain’s Thai Papaya Salad

and for dessert,

Zain’s Clean Vanilla Pudding with Banana and Hazelnuts

Anyone interested in recipes for these dishes?

Home Made Masala Prawn (or Tofu) Curry

Indian food is one of my specialtiesand is the main inspiration behind many of my most treasured recipes.  Growing up in an Indian home meant learning to work with lots of spices and although mom and my grandma cooked relatively healthy food, there was always use of oil or ghee (clarified butter) and me being the health freak I am, I became dedicated to transforming all of my family’s best recipes into clean ones.  Hope you enjoy this one!

Ingredients:

8oz Jumbo/Tiger Prawns (pre-cooked and frozen 

OR ½ Block Extra Firm Tofu

87g Greek Yogurt Plain

11/2 Tbsp Non Fat Sour Cream

2 tbsp Tomato Paste or ½ cup Crushed Tomatoes

¼ Yellow Onion

1 Clove Garlic Minced

¼ Tsp Ginger Minced

1/8 tsp Mustard Seeds (black)

1/8 tsp Cumin Seeds

¼ tsp Yellow Curry Powder

1/8 tsp Tumeric Powder

1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/8 tsp Garam Masala

2 Red Chilis or 1/8 tsp Ground Chili Powder

3-5 sprigs Corriander

½ Cup Light Coconut Milk

15g Shredded Unsweetened Coconut

2 tbsp Cashews Crushed (optional)

2 tbsp Water

Salt to taste


Directions:

 1. Thaw prawns in a bowl or cut tofu into 1 inch thick cubes. In a frying pan on high heat add 2 tbsp water. Once the water boils, add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds until they pop.

2. Add the tomato paste or crushed tomatoes then ALL of the spices.

3. Once spices are mixed and tomatoes slightly cooked, add the onions, garlic, ginger and prawn, cover and cook for 2 minutes OR if using tofu cook for 5-7 minutes or until tofu is golden.

4. Add the Coconut milk and cook for 3 more minutes.

5. Uncover, remove from heat and stir in the yogurt and sour cream, cover.

6. When ready, top with Cashews, Shredded Coconut and serve with brown rice.

Zain’s All-Star Veggie Nut Burger with Homemade Mango Chutney


Perfect for those cosy Saturday game nights, throw them on the grill and they are good to go!

*Makes 4 Burgers, Takes 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

14oz Can Unsalted Pinto Beans (I use Eden Organics)

8oz Baked Yam (skin removed)

32g Walnuts (finely chopped, roasted)

4 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds (roasted)

Dash of Bragg’s Seasoning

1 Whole Egg (slightly beaten) OR 2 Tbsp Egg Replacement

¼ White Onion (diced)

½ Tsp Ground Cumin

1/16 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/8 Tsp Onion Powder

1/8 Tsp Garlic Powder

1/8 Tsp Cayenne Powder

¼ Tsp Baking Powder

¼ Head Iceberg Lettuce

Chutney

2 Ataulfo Mango (diced)

1/8 Red Onion (diced)

2 Tbsp White Vinegar

1 Packet Splenda/Stevia OR ½ Tbsp Honey

1/8 Tsp Mustard Seeds

1/8 Tsp Curry Powder

1/16 Tsp Red Chilli Powder

¼ Clove Garlic (pressed)

¼" Ginger (minced)

1/16 Tsp Nutmeg

1/8 Tsp Himalayan Crystal Salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. On a sprayed baking sheet, roast walnuts and sunflower seeds  with Bragg’s seasoning, for 7-9 minutes or until golden. Set aside

2. Mash pinto beans with fork or in food processor and mix with baked yam, walnuts, sunflower seeds and egg or egg replacement.  Add all spices and baking powder and mix well.

3. Roll mixture into balls and flatten with hands into 4 patties.

4. Heat and spray pan or grill and cook the burgers until golden and slightly crispy on each side. Meanwhile, prepare mango chutney by mixing all ingredients together well and allow to chill until serving.

5. Wrap in 2-4 large lettuce leaves (rather than buns) and top with mango chutney.

*Other toppings include: Tomato, avocado, pickles, banana peppers, mustard, low sodium ketchup, horseradish, relish


2

Zain’s Tokyo Salad

My Indian heritage comes out in really funny ways.  I love jamming out to the random cheesy Bollywood tune in my car whilst sipping chai, I love eating with my hands and most of all I love sharing food from the same plate as my loved ones…family style baby!

This meal is inspired by my Indian roots in some bizarre way…yes I know it says Tokyo Salad but follow my logic here for a second…with Indian food, we are used to having a large ‘family style’ plate with different curries and using a flat bread called 'roti’ to scoop up the curry.

In this way, I use raw (un-toasted) Japanese sushi nori as my roti and the marinated, grilled fish and veggies as my curry and wow is it ever delicious.

Here’s how to create this amazing meal..

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients:

2 X 5oz Wild Basa Fillets

4 Cups Organic Black and Green Kale (leaves)

½ Zucchini (sliced)

½ Organic Red Onion (sliced thinly)

1'2 Inch Ginger Root (minced)

1 Cup Crimini and Oyster Mushrooms 

4 Tsp Braggs Amino Acids (divided)

2 Tsp Sesame Oil

4 Tsp Sesame Seeds 

1 Tbsp Agave Syrup OR 1 Packet Stevia

½ Avocado

2 Tbsp Sushi Ginger

Dipping Sauces:

option 1 - 

1 Tbsp Sambal Oelek + 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar

option 2 - 

2 Tbsp Braggs + ½ Tsp Wasabi

or use both (like chutney…see, Indian again!)

Directions:

1. Marinate the basa in ginger and 2 tsp braggs

2. In a non-stick pan heat sesame oil and toast seeds until they begin to brown then add onions and mushrooms allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes before adding remaining veggies, basa, braggs and sweetener of your choice

3. Grill for 5 minutes and flip basa until it is cooked fully then plate

4. Top with avocado and sushi ginger and use nori to create 'wraps’ with the basa and veggies.  Enjoy with dipping sauces