Zoodles (Zucchini spirals) in creamy avocado sauce

Zoodles (Zucchini spirals) in creamy avocado sauce

Wondering what ‘ZOODLES’ are?? Zoodles= Zucchini noodles, or in other words noodles made by spiralizing zucchini (using a vegetable spiralizer). The resulting zoodles is a great low-carb substitute for any recipe that calls for noodles, pasta/spaghetti (or even rice)! You can even make zucchini sheets and use them instead of lasagna sheets. If you don’t have a vegetable spiralizer then use your vegetable peeler to make sheets, then cut the sheets into strips.

Zoodles (Zucchini noodles)

This is an easy no-cook recipe. Zoodles are now available in the salad section of the grocery store and you could pick up one if you are running late and don’t know what to cook for dinner. Avocados are great for making sauces because they are naturally thick and creamy. They are loaded with healthy fat (monounsaturated) and research has shown that people who eat avocados have higher levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol than those who do not. Other essential nutrients include fiber, vitamins, folic acid, vitamin E and potassium. Add some protein in the form of cheese (or paneer) and you have a wholesome and filling meal.

To learn more about avocados, read my article that was published in Complete Wellbeing: Why You Should Try Avocados (and how to buy them)

Ingredients for Zoodles in creamy avocado sauce:

  • Zucchinis (about 4 pounds): 6 large,  spiraled  into zoodles
  • Grape tomatoes: 8-10 nos. halfed ( or 1 medium tomato cubed)
  • Bocconcini: 6-8 nos (substitute: you can add grated cheese at the end )
  • For the sauce:
  •  Avocados :(about 3/4 pound total), peeled and pit removed
  • Fresh basil leaves (about 15 medium sized leaves): 1/4 cup packed
  • Ground black pepper: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Garlic: 3 cloves, minced
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 2 Tablespoons
  • Fresh lemon juice: 1 Tablespoon
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. To make the sauce, place all of the sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
  2. Toss the zoodles, bocconcini, grape tomatoes in the sauce. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.

You can also try adding some chili flakes if you want something spicier.


Oats Dosa (Savoury Oats Crepes)

Oats are rich in fibre, protein vitamin B1 and minerals like manganese, phosphorous, copper, selenium and zinc. It is made up of three types of starch mainly rapidly digested, slowly digested and resistant starch of which the resistant starch is important as it does not get digested and is seen to be beneficial to gut health. Oats is shown to be helpful in reducing cholesterol, increasing satiety as well as reducing constipation.

If a bowl of oats porridge isn’t your cup of tea, then try out this Oats Chilla or dosa recipe and you can still get the health benefits of oats.

Ingredients for Oats Dosa/chilla :

  • Rolled oats: 1 cup (powder in a mixie/blender)
  • Urad dal: 1/4 cup
  • Tur Dal: 1/4 cup
  • Channa dal: 1/4 cup
  • Moong dal: 1/4 cup
  • Ginger: 1/2 inch grated
  • Red chili powder:  1/4 tsp (add more if you like it spicy)
  • Cumin/Jeera seeds: 2 tsp
  • Cilantro/Coriander leaves: 4 tbsp (chopped)
  • Salt: to taste
  • Water: enough to make a smooth pourable batter
  • Oil/ghee: for making dosas (you can use a small onion cut into half breadth wise to dip and spread the oil on the tava)

Method:

  1. Wash and soak the dals for 4-5 hours. Then grind it together till you get a fine paste.
  2. In a big bowl whisk it with all the ingredients, add water and whisk again to make a smooth batter(add more water if the batter is too thick). Keep aside for at least 30 mins.
  3. Heat a tava, dip a cut onion in the oil and spread over the tava. Check if the tava is hot by sprinkling some water on top of it-if it sizzles, then the tava is ready.
  4. Take a ladleful of the batter into the centre of the tava and spread using the back of the ladle in circular movements, spreading the batter thinly over tha tava.
  5. Cover and cook for a few minutes over medium flame.
  6. Then remove the cover, add some oil to the sides of the dosa and cook till you see the dosa leaving the sides.
  7. Flip the dosa,add some oil and cook the dosa on the other sides for a few minutes.
  8. Flip back to the first side and let it cook again for a minute.
  9. Remove and serve hot with a spicy chutney.

 

 

 

 


Quinoa Pulav with mixed vegetables and green masala (How to make Quinoa Pilaf)

“Quinoa” (pronounced keen-wah) is a high protein ‘pseudo cereal’ (foods that are cooked and eaten like grains and have a similar nutrient profile). Quinoa is actually a seed and is rich in complete protein, fibre, the B vitamins and healthy monounsaturated fats. It is believed that substituting quinoa for grains like polished rice and wheat could improve the blood glucose levels in diabetics and the cholesterol levels . Also, since it has a high fibre content it is a good choice for those looking to lose weight (portion sizes still matter).

This pulav has a nice flavour since I used green masala( paste of coriander leaves, mint leaves, ginger and green chilies) and lots of vegetables.

Vegan Quinoa Pulav

Ingredients for Healthy Quinoa Pulav with green masala (Serves 4-5)

  • Quinoa: 1 1/2 cups *I use the cup that comes with the rice cooker (wash in several changes of water)
  • Mixed vegetables: 2 cups (green beans, carrots, broccoli, spinach)
  • Onions: 1 big (finely sliced)
  • Tomato: 1 no. (finely chopped)
  • Ginger+Garlic paste: 2 tsp
  • Pepper corns: 4-5nos.
  • Cardamom: 2 nos.
  • Cummin/Jeera seeds: 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon: 1/2″ piece
  • Bay leaf: 1 no.
  • Cloves: 2-3
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 2 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/2 tsp
  • Green chili: 1 slit
  • Water/ Chicken stock: 3 cups
  • Oil: 3tsp
  • Salt: to taste

For Green Masala ( Grind together):

  • Coriander leaves: 1 small bunch
  • Mint leaves : 10-12
  • Green chilies: 2-4nos. (adjust according to your heat tolerance)
  • Ginger: 1/2
  • Water: a little to grind

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a kadai, add the whole spices (jeera, cardamom, peppercorns,bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon), then add the turmeric, sliced onions, green chili and saute till the onions start turning golden brown.
  2. Then add the mixed vegetables, ginger+garlic paste and saute till the vegetables are half cooked.
  3. Add the tomatoes, 2-3 tbsp of the green masala, salt and cook till the tomatoes are all mashed up.
  4. Add the washed and soaked quinoa and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  5. Add 3 cups of water (or chicken stock) , taste for salt and cover and cook till it boils.
  6. Then turn down the flame and let it simmer till the quinoa is cooked and fluffy (sprinkle some water on top if needed). Stir occasionally and switch off when the quinoa is cooked.
  7. Fluff before serving. Serve with raita or with some gravy dish(paneer,chicken)

 

 


Bhindi Peanut Masala (Okra in peanut gravy)

This is a gravy style bhindi masala with peanuts. The peanuts add a lovely flavour to the gravy.

Ingredients for Bhindi in Peanut Masala: Serves 4-6

  • Bhindi/ Okra: 250gms (wash well and dry completely)
  • Roasted peanuts (skinned): a big handful
  • Tomatoes: 2 diced
  • Green chilies: 1-2 nos. (depending on your spice tolerance)
  • Garlic: 4-5 cloves
  • Ginger: 1/2 ” piece
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
  • Cumin powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/4 tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp (use more if you like it hot)
  • Bay leaf: 1 no.
  • Cumin seeds/ jeera: 1 tsp
  • Oil: 4 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Dry the okra/bhindi and cut into one inch pieces.
  2. Heat about 3 tsp oil in a kadai and add the bhindi pieces. Stir fry till the bhindi turns a little brown. remove from flame and keep aside.
  3. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes, peanuts, green chilies, garlic and ginger in a blender and blend to a fine paste (without adding water).
  4. Heat a teaspoon of oil in the same kadai, add the jeera , turmeric and the bay leaf then add the paste, salt, red chili powder, cumin powder, garam masala and coriander powder and saute till the oil leaves the sides.
  5. Then add the fried bhindi and mix well. Add about a cup of water and simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Check for salt (and spices), serve with rice and dal or with roti/phulkas.

 


Long Beans Masala (Alasande, karamani, barbati, chawli masala )

Long Beans (alsande in Kannada, chawli in marathi , chawli or barbati in hindi,  karamani in tamil) are rich in fibre, protein also contain some amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium, which are  essential for body metabolism.

The addition of curd increases the calcium and protein content of the dish and also gives a creamy texture to the gravy.

Ingredients for Long beans masala: Serves 4-6

  • Long beans /Chawli/Alasande: 250 gms ,break/cut into inch long pieces
  • Potato (optional) :1 medium, cubed
  • Tomato: 2 medium, chopped
  • Yogurt/ Curd: 1/2 cup, beaten
  • Ginger: 1 tsp (grated)
  • Garlic: 1 tsp (grated or finely chopped)
  • Water: 1 cup
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1/3 tsp
  • Hing/ Asafoetida: 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Chili powder: 1 tsp (add more if you like it spicy)
  • Coriander powder: 2 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/3 tsp
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add cumin and mustard seeds.
  2. When seeds start crackling add asafoetida, turmeric and then add chopped tomato , Grated ginger and garlic.
  3. Add salt and cook till the tomatoes become soft .
  4. Now add the  beaten yogurt/curd and chili powder,coriander powder, garam masala and stir fry  for a minute .
  5. Add chopped beans and potatoes (optional) and stir for a minute .
  6. Now add 3/4 cup water ,mix and you can either cover and cook or pressure cook on medium flame for 2- 3 whistles or till cooked well .
  7. Add more water if you want more gravy.
  8. Serve hot with roti or rice.

Ghiya (Lauki) Channa Dal recipe (Bottle Gourd/Doodhi and split Bengal Gram sabzi)

Bottle gourd is a vegetable high in water content and is a good source of vitamin C, K, fibre and calcium. This recipe is great for those who are in a hurry as it has both vegetable and a protein together in one dish.

Bottle Gourd/Lauki/Doodhi/Ghiya

Ingredients for Lauki Channa dal: Serve 4-6 

  • Bottle gourd/Lauki: 1 medium (peeled and cut into cubes)
  • Tomato: 2 medium chopped (or 1 tsp Amchur)
  • Onion: 1 medium sliced
  • Split Bengal gram/channa dal: 1/2 cup
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds:  1/2 tsp
  • Green chilies: 2-3nos. slit
  • Ginger: 1″ piece (grated)
  • Asafoetida/hing: a pinch
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1/2-1 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/2 tsp
  • Oil: 2 tsp
  • Salt: to taste
  • Cilantro/Coriander leaves: 2tbsp (chopped)
  • Water: 1 cup

Method:

  1. Wash and soak channa dal for one hour or more.
  2. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker. Add the cumin seeds. When seeds start to crack, add the asafoetida, turmeric and sliced onions. Stir till the onions become translucent.
  3. Add ginger,green chilies and stir for a few seconds. Then add the chopped tomatoes , garam masala, red chili powder and cook till the oil leaves the pan.
  4. Add the channa dal, bottle gourd, salt, and one cup of water .
  5. Cook the channa dal for 3-4 whistles . Turn off the heat, let the pressure drop, then open and add the cilantro. Stir and cover the pan for a few minutes before serving.
  6. Serve with hot phukas/roti or rice and a curry.

Spaghetti Squash (and a Low-carb dish)

So what’s so great about me putting up a photo of a plate of spaghetti??
Look more closely-that’s not your regular spaghetti-it’s a SQUASH!!!!! A couple of weeks back when I was chatting with my brother, he had mentioned that he had recently tried spaghetti squash and that got me intrigued and I quickly put it on my shopping list. I found it quite easily,but I wasn’t too sure if it was the right one as it looked no different from the rest of the squash where it was kept( I guess I was expecting something which at least vaguely resembled spaghetti),but the label on it very clearly said “Spaghetti Squash” and also had cooking instructions (thank you very much).

The instructions said that I could either bake it or microwave it-I microwaved it on high for about 7-8 minutes(after piercing the rind) and let it cool for sometime before cutting it open-and voila, there was the spaghetti just staring at me-beautiful!!!

Spaghetti squash

I hadn’t even thought of what to do with it. I could make spaghetti(after all it was named after it) or I could use it as noodles. Since this was the first time,I settled with a simple spaghetti dish with sauteed vegetables along with grated Parmesan cheese (you could try adding chicken, meatballs).  The result was a nice crunchy dish( and it was all vegetables!!) which was very filling.

Spaghetti Squash

Next time I’m going to be a little more adventurous and try out something new-maybe a salad, or maybe a stir-fry dish,or use it as noodles. Any suggestions??

Question: How would you like to try out Spaghetti squash?


Sabut Masoor ki dal (Whole Pink Lentil Soup)

In a move to popularize the use and intake, 2016 was declared by the United Nations as the ‘Year of the Pulses’. The aim of this was “to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition”.

Dals, pulses/legumes are a staple in the Indian diet for years, but it has not a popular food item internationally. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO): “In a balanced and diverse diet, the nutritious seeds can be consumed every day alongside fruit, vegetables, herbs, cereals and other fresh foods. Pulses provide an affordable alternative to animal protein. Additionally, they are rich in dietary fibre, vitamin B complex, and minerals, such as calcium, zinc, and iron.Food and nutrition education can promote the consumption of pulses.Food and nutrition education programs are crucial for teaching adequate pulse consumption in order to maximize the absorption of nutrients: For example, matching pulses with cereals to obtain a complete protein, consuming them with vitamin C (e.g. ascorbic acid) in order to increase iron absorption and avoiding to eat them with tea or coffee which, in contrast, would limit it “. Researchers have shown that eating whole pulses and lentils can lower cholesterol levels.

Ingredients for Sabut Masoor ki dal:

  • Whole pink lentil (sabut masoor): 1 cup (washed and soaked for an hour)
  • Onion: 2 medium (diced)
  • Tomatoes: 3 nos.
  • Ginger: 1 ‘ piece
  • Garlic: 3-4 nos.
  • Green chili: 1-2 (as per your heat tolerance)
  • Coriander/cilantro leaves: 3-4 tbsp chopped
  • Garam masala: 1 tsp
  • Chole Masala: 3 tsp (or as per your taste)
  • Oil: 2tsp
  • Jeera/cumin seeds: 2 tsp
  • Bay leaf: 1no.
  • turmeric: 1tsp
  • Hing/asafoetida: a pinch
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, when it is hot add the jeera/cumin seeds, bay leaf, turmeric powder and hing.
  2. Add the onions and fry till they start turning brown. In the meanwhile, puree the tomatoes with the ginger,garlic and green chilies.
  3. When the onions start to brown, add the puree, the garam masala, chole masala, salt and stir till the oil leaves the sides.
  4. Drain the soaked sabut masoor and add them to the masala. Mix well, then add two cups of water.
  5. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook for one whistle. Switch off.
  6. Let the pressure drop, then open the lid, check for spices, salt. If it’s too thick you can add a little water and simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice or rotis.

To make a soup– Follow the same method but add a cup of seasonal mixed vegetables (green beans, carrots, cauliflower, etc) and chopped spinach when you add the sabut masoor/pink lentils (Step 4). Then close and pressure cook for one whistle. When you open the cooker, add water to make it into a soup consistency  and let it simmer. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leave  and add a dash of lime. Serve hot. Makes a very filling soup.


Lima Beans curry (Double beans masala)

Lima Beans/ double beans (or butter beans) are rich in folate, thiamin as well as vitamin B6. It is also a good source of fibre, iron, manganese, potassium and magnesium.

This is a recipe using the same recipe that you would normally use for making chole (chickpeas in a tomato gravy) or rajma. You could also add cooked double beans to different sabzi’s to add a different flavour to the sabzi while also increasing the protein content of the dish. I don’t precook the double/lima beans but cook it with the gravy.

Ingredients for Lima Beans Curry:

  • Lima/Double beans: 1 cup (if using dried, then soak overnight)
  • Onion: 2 medium (diced)
  • Tomatoes: 3 nos.
  • Ginger: 1 ‘ piece
  • Garlic: 3-4 nos.
  • Green chili: 1-2 (as per your heat tolerance)
  • Coriander/cilantro leaves: 3-4 tbsp chopped
  • Garam masala: 1 tsp
  • Chole Masala: 3 tsp (or as per your taste)
  • Oil: 2tsp
  • Jeera/cumin seeds: 2 tsp
  • Bay leaf: 1no.
  • turmeric: 1tsp
  • Hing/asafoetida: a pinch
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, when it is hot add the jeera/cumin seeds, bay leaf, turmeric powder and hing.
  2. Add the onions and fry till they start turning brown. In the meanwhile, puree the tomatoes with the ginger,garlic and green chilies.
  3. When the onions start to brown, add the puree, the garam masala, chole masala, salt and stir till the oil leaves the sides.
  4. Drain the soaked lima/ double beans and add them to the masala. Mix well, then add two cups of water.
  5. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook for one whistle. Switch off.
  6. Let the pressure drop, then open the lid, check for spices, salt. If it’s too thick you can add a little water and simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice or rotis.

Green Beans and Moong Dal sabzi

This is a simple and quick dish. Upkari is a traditional Mangalorean stir-fry wherein chopped vegetables are added to the seasoning and cooked and freshly grated coconut added at the end. Adding some moong dal to  this recipe is a great way to increase the protein content of a dish. Moong dal cooks very quickly and also adds a great flavour to this dish. This dish is called “Beans Poriyal with Moong Dal” in Tamil Nadu. You could substitute the moong dal with sprouted whole green moong or any other cooked whole pulse (kabuli channa, lobia,etc) or even cooked channa dal.

French/ Green beans are loaded with antioxidants and flavanoids. A great source of fibre, protein, vitamins A,B(including folate and Vit.B 12), and minerals like iron, calcium, manganese and potassium.

Ingredients for Beans and Moong dal sabzi

  •    Green (French) Beans: 500 grams (cut into small pieces)
  •    Moong dal: 1/2 cup (wash and soak in water)
  •    Turmeric powder: a pinch
  •    Grated coconut :3-4 tbsp
  •    Green chilli – 2 slit
  •    Salt: to taste

For tempering:

  •   Oil -2 tsp 
  •    Mustard seeds -3/4 tsp
  •    Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  •    Red chilli – 1
  •    Asafoetida/Hing – a pinch

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds,urad dal when it splutters, add , hing, turmeric powder, curry leaves and green chilies.
  2.  Add chopped beans, saute for about 5 mins, then add salt and 1/4 cup of water.
  3. Keep the flame low and cover and cook for 10 mins.
  4.  Drain the moong dal and add to the green beans. Stir well and cover and cook for another 10 mins.
  5. Check if the beans are cooked, add some water if required .Try not to over cook the moong dal- it should still hold its shape and not be mashed up.
  6. Add grated coconut, mix well and switch off the flame.
  7. Serve it as an accompaniment with rice and dal or phulkas.