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Cozy up with a warm bowl of this hearty superfood vegetarian chili recipe. Chock full of vegetables and spices, you’ll surely enrich your health with a flood of healing nutrients. Perfect as a make-ahead one pot wonder that’s also freezer-friendly. Vegan and gluten free.

When I was university, I was quite sick; I suffered from chronic fatigue, body aches and pains, and severe inflammation – so much so that it would be a struggle to get out of bed and walk. It was quite depressing.

It was the culmination of things that I did, to help me get better. And one of those things was manipulating my diet and incorporating foods and nutrients with medicinal properties.

And this nourishing chili bowl is one such recipe that’s bursting with good-for-you ingredients and has been a family favourite for as long as I can remember. Loaded with superfoods, the flavours are bold, earthy and aromatic.

Simply delicious.

The Superfood Ingredient list for Vegetarian Chili that Packs a Nutritional Punch Turmeric

A humble root, that’s definitely a leader in the superfood world. Turmeric has been valued for thousands of years in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has only recently received attention from the scientific community for its anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. The low bioavailability of curcumin is greatly enhanced with the addition of black pepper (piperine) in this recipe. Here’s another recipe you will love.

Ginger

This peppery superfood certainly has some high powered potential. Regarded to be a powerful anti-inflammatory, ginger has shown to provide relief from not only nausea and vomiting, but also as an effective and cheap treatment option for menstrual cramps and migraines. A word of caution: ginger may interfere with blood thinners and diabetes medications, so speak with your doctor.

Garlic

Regarded to be one of nature’s brightest bulbs, garlic (with the active compound allicin) has both antiviral and antibacterial properties, shown to help combat viruses and bacteria. Garlic is also rich in antioxidants, which work to combat free radicals to reduce inflammation.

Beans

Let me spill the beans on why this food is so deserving of the title, superfood. They’re nutritional powerhouses, packed with vitamins, minerals and nourishing nutrients to support good health and wellbeing. Fibre, found in beans has shown to help lower blood cholesterol levels and support digestive health. Not to mention, beans are so versatile, cheap and provide an incredible source of plant-based proteins.

Tomatoes

Whether you think it’s a fruit or vegetable, there’s no doubt tomatoes are a nutrient dense superfood we should all be eating more of. Vitamin C and other antioxidants, found in tomatoes may help to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Research in the area of prostate cancer is particularly promising.

Spinach

Popeye was definitely onto something before the superfood hype. Spinach is packed with powerful nutrients. One cup of raw spinach is an exceptional source of vitamins A and K. And, like other leafy greens, it also has folate, iron, fibre, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C.

To say this vegetarian chili recipe is LOADED, would be an understatement. Check out what other amazing ingredients (including a surprising one) make up this mouthwatering dish.

How to Make Vegetarian Chili – Step by Step

  1. Prepare all your ingredients and set aside. Add onion, garlic, ginger to a large pot and fry until golden (photos 1 and 2)
  2. Stir in carrots, celery, pepper, fennel and cook, stirring occasionally (photo 3). If the mixture begins to stick to the pot, add a small amount of stock.
  3. Add turmeric, cumin, black pepper, red chillies and salt. Stir to coat the vegetables.
  4. Add tomatoes, stock, kidney and black beans, and stir well. Bring to simmer, cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Add spinach, stir and cook for 5 minutes (photo 5).
  5. For the best texture and flavour, transfer 2 cups of the cooked chili to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the blended mixture back into the pot and stir (photo 6).
  6. Finish with lemon juice and garnish with cilantro
Chili Toppings

Chili is hearty, delicious and super comforting, especially with additional topping. You can opt for some avocado, thinly sliced on top, sour cream (non-dairy varieties are available), cheese (vegan, if you prefer), sliced olives, diced tomatoes, crunchy lettuce or even some salsa. 

You can really top your vegetarian chili with whatever you like and make it your own, it’s fun to set up a chili bar and let everyone choose their own toppings!

Tip: finishing the chili with a squeeze of lemon before serving really brings out all the flavours and adds a delicious freshness so don’t skip that part. It will help to reduce the amount of added salt – even more.

How to Store Leftover Vegetarian Chili

This chili tastes even better the next day, as all the flavors really get a chance to develop. So if you make it in advance or just have leftovers the chili will keep well in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days and in the freezer for 1 month.

Tip: Why not make a double batch and store one in the freezer to make dinner time super easy and quick?

Top Tips for Making Vegetarian Chili
  • Make sure to saute the vegetables until soft (around 10 minutes). This part adds a great depth of flavour to the chili so don’t be tempted to add the stock any sooner.
  • If the vegetables start to stick to the bottom of the pan before they are soft add a tiny amount of stock to loosen.
  • You can adjust the amount of heat by adding more or less chili.
  • Add the spinach at the last minute as it doesn’t take long to cook at all.
  • If you have any other vegetables that need using up, then feel free to add them to this recipe. It’s super versatile and a great way to use up leftover vegetables.
  • Blending some of the chili will give a thicker and creamier consistency. You can follow this recommendations or blend to your own preference.
  • If you don’t like coriander (cilantro) you could top the chili with fresh parsley.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer.
  • This chili can be prepped in advance and reheated, if tastes even better the next day.
More Healthy Dinner Recipes You Might Like:

If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and twitter!  Can’t wait to see your photos.

Desi~liciously Yours,
Shahzadi

Superfood Vegetarian Chili

Cozy up with a warm bowl of this hearty superfood vegetarian chili recipe. Chock full of vegetables and spices, you’ll surely enrich your health with a flood of healing nutrients. Perfect as a make-ahead one pot wonder that’s also freezer-friendly. Vegan and gluten free.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion (finely chopped)
  • 5 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 inch ginger (grated, 25 g)
  • 3 carrot (finely chopped)
  • 3 stalks celery (finely chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 fennel bulb (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 red chili (finely chopped (you can increase or reduce according to taste))
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt (or to taste)
  • 2 cups tomato (diced, you could use canned)
  • 1.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups cooked kidney beans
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 2 cups spinach (chopped)
Garnish
  • 4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup coriander (chopped )
  1. In a large pot, on medium heat, warm the olive oil
  2. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and fry until golden
  3. Stir in the carrots, celery, pepper, fennel and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture begins to stick to the pot, add a small amount of stock.
  4. Add the turmeric, cumin, black pepper, red chillies and salt. Stir to coat the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes
  5. Add the tomatoes, stock, kidney and black beans, and stir well. Bring to simmer, cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat as necessary to maintain a gently simmer for 25 minutes.
  6. Add the spinach, stir and cook for 5 minutes
  7. For the best texture and flavour, transfer 2 cups of the cooked chili to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the blended mixture back into the pot and stir.
  8. Finish with lemon juice and garnish with cilantro
  • Make sure to saute the vegetables until soft (around 10 minutes) this part adds a great depth of flavour to the chili so don’t be tempted to add the stock any sooner.
  • If the vegetables start to stick to the bottom of the pan before they are soft add a tiny amount of stock to loosen.
  • You can adjust the amount of heat by adding more or less chili.
  • Add the spinach at the last minute as it doesn’t take long to cook at all.
  • If you have any other vegetables that need using up then feel free to add them to this recipe is very versatile and a great way to use up leftover veg.
  • Blending some of the chili will give a thicker and creamier consistency you can follow my recommendations or blend to your own preference.
  • If you don’t like coriander (cilantro) you could top the chili with fresh parsley.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer.
  • This chili can be prepped in advance and reheated, if tastes even better the next day

The post Superfood Vegetarian Chili appeared first on Shahzadi Devje, Desi~licious RD.

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Dairy – There are few foods as controversial as dairy. I mean, it used to be an entire food group, right? And there are definitely some people who say you need it. But, there are others who say to avoid it. And no one disputes that some people react to it. And by “react,” I mean both dairy intolerance and dairy allergies. But whether you love it, hate it, react to it, or avoid it, I have an amazing dairy-free recipe for you. (It’s one of my favs).

Having a food intolerance is not fun. It can cause abdominal pain, discomfort, and nausea. It also causes embarrassing symptoms like flatulence and diarrhea. Other symptoms linked to food intolerances include muscle or joint pain, headaches, exhaustion, and even skin symptoms like rashes and eczema.

Dairy is just one of those foods that many people seem to be intolerant of. Let’s talk about the main components of milk that people react to: lactose, casein, and whey.

Dairy Intolerance: Milk sugar (lactose) intolerance

According to The National Institute of Health, it’s estimated that around 65 percent of people globally, have a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. Lactose intolerance in adulthood is most common in those of East Asian descent, along with those of West African, Arab, Jewish, Greek, and Italian descent. Apart from one’s ethnic background, there are other reasons that can contribute to lactose intolerance. For instance, issues with the digestive tract; such as inflammation (Crohn’s disease or celiac disease) can lead to a reduced production of the enzyme. Certain antibiotics or a bout of infection can interfere with one’s ability to product the lactase enzyme. Not to mention, as you age, the ability to produce lactase declines naturally.

Lactose is the carbohydrate “milk sugar” naturally found in most dairy products. Lactose intolerance is so common, that you can buy lactose-free milk in your regular grocery store. Lactose-free products are treated with the enzyme “lactase” that breaks the lactose down before you ingest it. It’s this lactase enzyme that is lacking in most people who are lactose intolerant.

The lactase enzyme is naturally released from your intestine as one of your digestive enzymes. It breaks down the lactose sugar in the gut. When someone doesn’t have enough lactase, the lactose doesn’t get broken down the way it should.  Undigested lactose ends up being food for the resident gut microbes. As they ferment the lactose, they create gases that cause bloating, flatulence, pain, and sometimes diarrhea.

Lactose is in dairy, but is in lower amounts, in fermented dairy (e.g. cheese & yogurt) and butter. Steering clear of lactose isn’t that easy as it is added to other foods like baked goods, soups, and sauces. And if you’re taking any medications or supplements, check to see if it’s in there too, as lactose is a common ingredient in them.

If you have symptoms of lactose intolerance, keep an eye on food, medication, and supplement labels.

Milk protein (casein & whey) allergy

Milk is a known, and common, food allergen. In Canada, it is considered a “priority allergen” and must be declared on food labels.

So, what are the allergens in milk? You’ve heard of “curds and whey?” Well, these are the two main proteins in milk. The solid bits are the curds (made of casein), and the liquid is the dissolved whey.

Unlike lactose intolerance, casein and whey can cause an actual immune response. It’s an allergy. And this immune response can cause inflammation. In fact, we don’t know how many people have these milk allergies, but most estimates put it far below that of lactose intolerance.

Dairy: Full of nutrition… or allergens? If you suspect you react to dairy in any way, check out this blog post to learn the most common compounds that cause issues, the differences between them, and how to avoid them. #dietitian…
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Like lactose, these allergenic milk proteins can be found in other products too. They’re not just in dairy but are often in protein powders as well (Have you heard of “whey” protein powders?).

Some of the symptoms of milk protein allergy differ from that of lactose intolerance; things like nasal congestion and mucus (phlegm) are more common here. And casein seems to be correlated with belly fat loss.

Interestingly, people who have gluten intolerance are often allergic to milk proteins like whey and casein as well. These can go hand-in-hand.

Like lactose intolerance, if you’re allergic to casein and whey, keep a close eye on food labels so you can avoid these.

If you get gassy, bloated, or diarrhea after eating dairy, you may have a lactose intolerance. If you often get a stuffy nose and mucus, then you may be allergic to casein and/or whey.

While dairy may be an entire food group, it is not an essential nutrient. All the nutrients in dairy are available in other foods. If you experience these symptoms, you can try removing dairy from your diet. You may find improved digestion and fewer gut issues. Or you may find improved nasal congestion.

Recipe (Dairy-free): Strawberry Kiwi Banana Nice Cream

Strawberry Kiwi Banana Nice Cream | DIY 3-minute, No Added Sugar Recipe

Learn how to make Strawberry Kiwi Banana Nice Cream. 3 minutes and 3 ingredients is all you need to whip up this super-simple and delicious treat – right at home. A light and refreshing dessert with zero added sugar, but tonnes of natural flavour. Can you resist?

  • 200 g frozen strawberries
  • 200 g frozen kiwi
  • 200 g frozen banana
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  2. Blend until very smooth and creamy, about 60 seconds on a blender’s full speed. If the blades are catching, add dash of water, to get the ingredients moving.
  3. Serve immediately, or transfer to a dish and freeze for 30 minutes to firm it up.
  • ou can use any frozen fruit for this recipe but don’t skip the banana as it adds a creamy texture.
  • The nice cream will store well in the freezer for up to 1 year
  • You can also add the nice cream to smoothies and drinks
  • Try topping with granola, nuts, seeds or even chocolate chips.

More Dairy-Free Recipes You May Like:
  1. Easy Golden Milk Turmeric Coffee 
  2. Caffeine-Free Chai Latte
  3. Chia Chocolate Pudding With Mint
  4. Superfood Green Smoothie Bowl
If you decide to (or have already) removed dairy from your diet, let me know your experience in the comments below.
Desi~liciously Yours,
Shahzadi
References:

Kids Health Organization: lactose intolerance 

Diet Vs Disease: how to get rid of bloating?

Diet Vs Disease: 11 warning signs you have a food intolerance?

Nutritionfacts.org: video – is milk and mucus a myth

Nutritionfacts.org: video – milk protein vs soy protein

Examine.com: supplements – casein protein

Examine.com: supplements – whey protein

Food Allergy Canada: about allergies – food allergens: milk

The post Signs You May Have Dairy Intolerance (Lactose, Casein & Whey) appeared first on Shahzadi Devje, Desi~licious RD.

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Now you can easily create your own homemade granola – minus the preservatives. A plant powered recipe, made with real pumpkin and fiber rich oats, heart healthy almonds and sunflower seeds, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup – this recipe is the perfect choice as a healthy breakfast or nourishing snack.

Food preservatives are common in our foods these days. It’s nearly impossible to stay away from them because of the number of processed foods there are. And granola is no exception; most store-bought granola is laden with sugar, fat, and other unnecessary ingredients, that you (and I) probably can’t pronounce.

Making a homemade granola recipe doesn’t have to be a fancy affair. I mean, you can whip up your own at home pretty quickly – using simple ingredients, that are most likely in your pantry anyway. Not to mention, you have total control over the type and amount of ingredients you add. What I love most, is this also leaves room for creativity; you can swap out certain ingredients to change up the flavor and add variety. What’s more, the pumpkin and spices make your home smell warm and earthy – signature scents of fall!

How to make Homemade Granola – Step by Step

This healthy pumpkin granola recipe is one of our family favourites – as a breakfast and snack option. Made with delicious and good-for-you ingredients, like whole grain rolled oats, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds and naturally sweetened with maple syrup – trust me, when I say, once you try my homemade granola, you won’t go back to store-bought varieties. 

Ready to make some?

I start by combining all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (photos 1-3).  Next, in a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients (photo 4). Make sure to mix well before incorporating with the dry ingredients (photo 5).  Stir well to ensure the oats are well coated with the wet mixture (photo 6). You want every bite to have heaps of flavor.

Tuck into this nourishing Homemade Pumpkin #Granola #recipe. Packed with #plantbased goodness and so easy to pull off. Can you resist? #dietitian
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Using a spatula, spread the mixture evenly on a large baking sheet (photo 7). I would use a rimmed baking sheet to prevent making a mess all over your counter top as you spread. Then send in the oven, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes. I stir halfway through – to get everything nice and toasty (photo 6). Bonus tip: for clumpy granola, make sure you get a uniform layer by pressing the granola down with your spatula. This will make a difference.

Health Benefits of Homemade Granola ingredients
  • Oats: Loaded with good-for-you fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, like folate, iron, B vitamins and magnesium, it’s fair to say – this wholegrain is pretty super duper. Remember to buy 100% pure whole rolled oats.
  • Almonds: unleash the crunch power in your granola and soak up the nutritional benefits with almonds. According to the Almond Board of California, almonds are a heart healthy choice; low in saturated fat, zero cholesterol and sodium free. Not to mention, they have a low glycemic index, meaning they can help to keep your blood sugars steady.
  • Sunflower seeds: An excellent source of protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, and fiber, sunflower seeds add so much flavor and nutrition to your granola.
  • Olive oil: The richest source of monounsaturated fat, olive oil consumption has been associated with lower blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol and may also raise HDL (good) cholesterol. Olive oil contains phytochemicals that may help dilate blood vessels, prevent blood clots and reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Pumpkin: Adding pumpkin not only helps to reduce the amount of fat used in this recipe, but you’re also getting some mighty nutritional perks. Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A, which helps to keep your eyes and skin healthy. Being an antioxidant, Vitamin A may help lower the risk of some diseases and fight the signs of aging.

Common mistakes to avoid when making Homemade Granola
  1. Going overboard with the sugar and fat – Make smart substitutions. What I love most about homemade granola is, you have the flexibility to make substitutions – to your heart’s content. Don’t like sunflower seeds, no worries – add flax. Prefer pecans? Great! Just remember, use wholesome nourishing ingredients to dial back on the sugar and fat.
  2. Go easy with the spices: Start small and assess the taste. Remember, it’s always easier to add more – than remove. Not to mention, spices do go a long way.
  3. Don’t over-bake – in an attempt to achieve the ultimate crunch. Slow and steady wins the race; bake at no more than 350 degrees Fahrenheit until golden and don’t forget: granola tends to harden after it cools.
Looking for more breakfast inspiration? Here are some recipes you may like: Will you be making a batch of my Homemade Granola? Tell me, what’s your favourite breakfast food to stay energized during the day? Leave me a comment below!

If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and twitter!  Can’t wait to see your photos.

Desi~liciously Yours,
Shahzadi
Homemade Granola | Easy, Healthy Breakfast

Now you can easily create your own homemade granola – minus the preservatives. A plant powered recipe, made with real pumpkin and fiber rich oats, heart healthy almonds and sunflower seeds, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup – this recipe is the perfect choice as a healthy breakfast or nourishing snack.

  • 2 cups rolled oats (100% whole grain)
  • 1 cup almonds (plain, sliced)
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (raw, hulled)
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, almonds, seeds, and spices. Stir to mix
  3. In a separate bowl, add the pumpkin, pour in the oil and maple syrup. Mix well.=
  4. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and stir well, ensuring all the oats are well coated
  5. Pour the granola mixture onto your baking sheet pan and use a large spatula to spread it evenly
  6. Bake until lightly golden, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway
  7. Let the granola cool completely. Top with dried fruit (if using) and enjoy

Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, or in a sealed freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. The dried fruit can freeze solid, so let it warm to room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

The post Homemade Granola | Easy, Healthy Breakfast appeared first on Shahzadi Devje, Desi~licious RD.

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You just can’t beat convenient no-fuss recipes, that taste mmm, mmm delish. These 4-ingredient no-bake cranberry bites pack a protein punch and are also gluten free. They taste heavenly and make an ideal snack before dinner or as an elegant sweet dessert.

I was on a mission to create an easy sweet treat, using wholesome ingredients. Like most mammas, with three cheeky monkeys at home, I’m often strapped for time and need (desperately!) a stach of healthy snacks. Not to mention, these serve me so well after my workout, and are perfect as an elegant holiday dessert!

I realize, I’m long overdue for a new energizing snack recipe. You may recall my 5-minute pistachio balls recipe.  And since cranberries seem to be on everyone’s minds this month, I thought it might be nice to have a super-simple recipe that you could lean on for snack time, and — yes — dessert too!

This recipe was practically invented for busy families — not only is it whipped up in no time, but it showcases an antioxidant-powerhouse – dried cranberries! Often referred to as a “super food,” the nutrients in cranberries have been commonly linked to a lower risk of urinary tract infections.

You can learn more about the health benefits of cranberries here.

Now the thing I love most about these cranberry bites, is that they have the perfect amount of natural sweetness – coupled with the tanginess from the cranberries. The addition of almonds, offers a lovely crunch and texture, together with a boost of protein and healthy fats. The best part? You never have to turn on the oven.

How to make no-bake cranberry bites – step by step

These cranberry bites are made with only *4 ingredients* which you can add to, omit, or change to your heart’s content:

  • Almonds
  • Dried apple
  • Dried cranberries
  • Cinnamon

The prep work couldn’t be easier; combine all the ingredients in a food processor, shape into balls, and chill (you can chill-ax too!). Store covered in the refrigerator or freeze. Better yet, grab one and dig in!

Guide to making the best no-bake bites
  • Oats

I rely on rolled oats if I’m looking for a more substantial snack bite. Oats is a top-notch choice; it’s filling, inexpensive, and so versatile.

  • Nuts or nut butters

You’re pretty spoilt for choice with nuts and nut butters; like peanut, almond, and cashew butter. They help add a boost of protein and healthy fats, can serve as great binders, along with providing a succulent texture.

  • Nature’s candy

 I use dried fruits the most; they offer the perfect amount of natural sweetness and heaps of nutritional benefits. Not to mention, the incredible flavour and colour profiles you can whip up. Some of my favourites are: dates, cranberries, prunes, apricots, raisins and more. Remember, to always opt for unsweetened dried fruits.

  • Add-ins!

Experiment with bonus ingredients, like seeds, adaptogens (maca, ashwagandha) and dark chocolate. Yes, I did mention chocolate.

You just can’t beat convenient no-fuss #recipes, that taste mmm, mmm delish. These 4-ingredient no-bake #cranberry bites pack a protein punch and are also #glutenfree.
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Got a sweet tooth? Here are some more snacks you may like: Will you be making a batch of my cranberry bites over the weekend? Tell me, what’s your favourite snack to stay energized during the day? Leave me a comment below!

If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and twitter!  Can’t wait to see your photos.

Desi~liciously Yours,
Shahzadi
No-Bake Cranberry Bites | Gluten Free Healthy Snack

You just can’t beat convenient no-fuss recipes, that taste mmm, mmm delish. These 4-ingredient no-bake cranberry bites pack a protein punch and are also gluten free. They taste heavenly and make an ideal snack before dinner or as an elegant sweet dessert.

  • 1 cup Dried apple (unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (powder)
  • 2 cups almonds
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor, until you achieve a granular texture (see above image)
  2. Shape into medium balls
  3. Store covered in the refrigerator or freeze.

Store in the fridge for 1 week and up to 3 months in the freezer.

The post No-Bake Cranberry Bites | Gluten Free Healthy Snack appeared first on Shahzadi Devje, Desi~licious RD.

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What could be a better dish for your holiday menu, then this simple yet sophisticated side of Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes with dried cranberries – full of flavour and natural sweetness! if you’re not a Brussels sprouts fan, this recipe will change your mind!

With Christmas round the corner (here before we knew it!), we’re kicking things off with this gluten free and absolutely delicious side of Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes with dried cranberries.

An easy, seven-ingredient dish that tastes like WHOA – minus the sweat. Does it get any better than that?

Seriously, this is my idea of a nourishing side-dish, that packs in nutrition and favour. I think it might just be my all-time favourite Brussels sprouts recipe. What’s more, it happens to tick off a lot of boxes: vegan, dairy free, gluten free, paleo. And packs a nutritional punch!

Health benefits of sweet potato

Ok, so here’s the deal folks, if you’ve never been a fan of Brussels sprouts, this recipe is worth a try. I find that roasting Brussels sprouts, alongside other sweeter vegetables does the trick. And there’s no better vegetable to accompany Brussels sprouts, than the humble sweet potato.

Not to mention, you’re also getting heaps more nutritional value by adding sweet potatoes. According to the American Sweet Potato Organization,  a medium sweet potato has:

  • over four times the recommended daily amount of Vitamin A
  • 37 percent of your daily value of Vitamin C
  • 4 grams of fibre – often more than a packet of oatmeal
  • 0 fat
  • is low in sodium (40 mg)
How to make roasted Brussels sprouts with sweet potatoes and cranberries – step by step

Start by washing and trimming the sprouts and peeling and dicing the potatoes. I halve my sprouts so they cook faster, and I love the roasted, golden coating. Nevertheless, they’ll taste just as delicious whole!

I begin with a large baking tray (you could use a casserole dish too), place the vegetables and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (photos 1-2). A sprinkle of salt and pepper(photos 3-4), and the bonus with fresh thyme (photo 6) is like icing on a cake.

I like to use my hands to dig in and give the veggies a good toss to fully coat (photo 5). These are then sent in the oven to roast for 20-25 minutes or until tender with a nice golden colour (photo 7).

The last step, is to go in with your *star* ingredient: dried cranberries (photo 8). These give this dish the WOW factor, add a tart and chewy texture and of course – give a festive flair.

I totally love the fact, that this is a one-pan dish, making the cleanup hassle free – perfect for holiday gatherings, right?! Get ready to eat these Brussels sprouts – right out of the pan!

And if you’re after more holiday menu ideas, you’ve must try my easy Plant-Based Holiday Platter and Filo Cups with Apple Cranberry Salsa.

Here are some more sides you may enjoy:

Grilled Mixed Vegetables

Thyme Roasted Sweet Potato Fries

Quinoa Lentil Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Are you a Brussels sprouts fan? What’s your favourite way to eat them? Let me what side is gracing your menu this holiday season?

If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and twitter!  Can’t wait to see your photos.

Desi~liciously Yours,
Shahzadi
Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Sweet Potatoes And Cranberries

What could be a better dish for your holiday menu, then this simple yet sophisticated side of Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes with dried cranberries – full of flavour and natural sweetness! if you’re not a Brussels sprouts fan, this recipe will change your mind!

  • 3 cups Brussels sprouts (washed, trimmed)
  • 1 sweet potato (large, diced in small cubes)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 5 thyme (fresh sprigs)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Spread Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes in large baking tray
  3. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and lay sprigs of thyme on top
  4. Roast for 20-25 minutes until tender
  5. Transfer to a large serving tray and stir in dried cranberries

The post Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Sweet Potatoes And Cranberries | Healthy Holiday Side appeared first on Shahzadi Devje, Desi~licious RD.

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Feast your eyes on this stunning and easy plant based holiday platter. With an assortment of fruits and vegetables – centred around a bowl of creamy and delicious Cranberry and Roasted Beet Hummus – super healthy and perfect as your holiday centrepiece.

During the holiday season, we get excited to enjoy foods we don’t normally get to eat during the less festive months. This year, I’ve gone all out, and created some of my favourite (and easy!) holiday dishes – like this holiday plant based platter. It’s delicious and perfect for entertaining – just before your exquisite holiday dinner! In fact, I’ve also taken this platter along, when attending parties. I would say, it’s party-perfect and couldn’t be simpler to pull off!

I love the addition of dried cranberries to a traditional hummus recipe – thanks to US Cranberries for this recipe. I’ve made a slight tweak to the recipe, by omitting the salt and pepper. This cranberry and roasted beet hummus brings such a festive twist. The taste WILL blow your mind. Not to mention, cranberries offer potential health benefits.

Did you know, research indicates that dried cranberries support heart and digestive health and may play a role in cancer prevention and diabetes management.

Wow, right?!

How to make plant-based holiday platter – step by step

We’re bringing the outdoor wreath – indoors. I create a wreath using long lettuce leaves, sprigs of rosemary and cucumber shavings. The shades of green are lush! You can certainly stack more depending on the number of guests and your design.

You know how much we love our fruits and veggies here. Lets be honest, what’s not to love? Tart apple slices, fresh berries, juicy tomatoes, sour cherries and savoury crackers – encircling a creamy dreamy dip of cranberry roasted beet hummus (recipe from US Cranberries). It’s the perfect combination for a plant based holiday platter – bursting with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre.

Excited?

Feast your eyes on this stunning and easy #plantbased #holiday platter. With an assortment of fruits and vegetables - centred around a bowl of creamy and delicious Cranberry and Roasted Beet #Hummus. #dietitian
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Here’s what I use for my platter:

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

  • 1 cup blackberries

  • 1 cup cherries

  • 1 green apple

  • 1 red apple

  • Selection of savoury crackers

  • 1 cucumber

  • 4-5 sprigs of rosemary

Now this hummus is not only tasty, it also gives an incredible pop of colour to your platter. What’s great, is that you can make the hummus ahead of time, and simply serve on the day (cheers to effortless hosting!).

The beets and shallots are roasted in the oven to intensify their flavours. And whilst the oven is busy at work, I prep the rest of the ingredients and create the platter.

Then, it’s a simple matter of throw in the ingredients, and process until you achieve a creamy texture. You may need a dash of water to create the right consistency – but take it slow and easy!

I have to confess, this cranberry and roasted beet hummus is homemade comfort at its best: chunks of beets and shallots nestled in a creamy tangle of chickpeas, dried cranberries and orange zest – it’s pretty incredible! You can certainly serve this with any items that take your fancy!

Tips to make the perfect holiday platter
  • Decide on a centrepiece that will compliment the other items on your platter
  • Introduce different textures to add variety
  • Prepare your platter last – to keep it fresh and vibrant
  • Always opt for *quality* ingredients – it’s worth it!
  • Make it colourful so it’s inviting
  • Think about the arrangement – you don’t want it to look like a collection of hodge podge
  • Keep it bite-sized

Have you made my plant based holiday platter before?

What are your favourite items on a holiday platter? Share with me in the comments below!

If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram and twitter!  Can’t wait to see your photos.

Desi~liciously Yours,
Shahzadi
Easy Plant-Based Holiday Platter | Healthy Christmas Menu

Feast your eyes on this stunning and easy plant based holiday platter. With an assortment of fruits and vegetables – centred around a bowl of creamy and delicious Cranberry and Roasted Beet Hummus – super healthy and perfect as your holiday centrepiece.

  • 1 cup shallots (approximately 5-6 shallots)
  • 1 cup olive oil (divided)
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 orange (zested)
  • 350 ml water
  • 4 cups beets (quartered, roasted)
  • 6 cups garbanzo beans (cooked)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (fresh)
  • 2 cups water (as needed)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Cut shallots into quarters. In small roasting pan, combine with 1/2 cup oil and cover with aluminum foil and roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 45 minutes, or until soft
  3. Combine dried cranberries, orange zest and 350 mL water and simmer uncovered until water has almost completely evaporated and cranberries rehydrate
  4. Toss beets in 1/2 cup oil, and roast on a sheet pan at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until edges become brown
  5. Place cooked garbanzo beans, rehydrated cranberries, shallots, roasted beets, 1 cup water and lemon juice in blender. Puree until smooth, add more water to loosen, if necessary
  6. Serve with your platter

Items for platter:

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

  • 1 cup blackberries

  • 1 cup cherries

  • 1 green apple

  • 1 red apple

  • Selection of savoury crackers

  • 1 cucumber

  • 4-5 sprigs of rosemary

The post Easy Plant Based Holiday Platter | Healthy Christmas Menu appeared first on Shahzadi Devje, Desi~licious RD.

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One of my favourite party tricks is filo cups! These elegant cranberry and apple cups are a cinch to make and perfect for entertaining.Tangy cranberry salsa made with green apple, fresh cilantro, and squeeze of lime juice. A light dessert idea that’s super delicious!

When I’m entertaining, especially during the holidays, I love to make Filo Cups using phyllo pastry – a versatile freezer staple. These cups are super-easy and you can prep them ahead of time. Everyone always loves them. What can I say, I’m all about easing the holiday time crunch by preparing recipes in advance.

These filo cups, filled with my favourite Cranberry Apple Salsa recipe, from US Cranberries, are the perfect combination of sweet, tangy, crispy and juicy. You can omit the honey (like I did) because the recipe was sweet enough for us.

Filo Cups for Cranberry Apple Salsa

Phyllo pastry is a life-saver item for easy hosting. You never know when that unexpected guest may show up, and you can be ready to pull off these delicious cups in no time.

Filo Cups, aka “leaf” in Greek, are made from layers of phyllo pastry. They’re delicate thin sheets, traditionally used in recipes such as baklava and spanakopita. 

Did you know, you can keep your baked phyllo cups about a week in an airtight container in the fridge, or several months in the freezer – no waste here.

The best way to work with Phyllo Pastry

The trick to success, when working with phyllo pastry is to:

  • Keep the layers moist and only use them when you’re ready. I prepare all the ingredients and keep the pastry covered until the last moment. A damp cloth may help
  • As you brush each layer with fat, keep the rest covered
  • Be patient and handle the pastry very carefully
  • Make sure your hands are as dry as possible
  • Defrost the pastry in the fridge and not on your counter top and remember to to handle when it’s at room temperature
How to Make Filo Cups for Cranberry Apple Salsa – Step by Step

Because the dough has minimal fat, the sheets are usually brushed with melted butter or oil (if you’re looking for a vegan option) and then layered together. Once baked, you end up with crispy, and flaky pastry.

I usually stack about 5-6 layers in total – any more and I find the layers don’t bake evenly; and some layers remain uncooked.

The layered dough is then cut into squares, fit into the wells of a muffin tin, and baked until golden and crispy – usually 10-15 minutes.

To serve this pretty dessert, all you need to do is fill ‘em up and hand them over.

I’ve amended US Cranberries’ Salsa recipe, by omitting the honey and oil. For me, the natural sweetness was perfect ‘as is’. And the fat and sugar used to make the filo cups, added a balanced compliment to the salsa. I also diced the apples last – to prevent discolouring.

This tasted super-delicious chilled!

Have you made my Filo Cups recipe before? Now tell me, what’s that one dessert you can’t resist during the holidays?

If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram and twitter!  Can’t wait to see your photos.

Desi~liciously Yours,
Shahzadi
Filo Cups with Apple Cranberry Salsa | Easy Holiday Recipe

One of my favourite party tricks is filo cups! These elegant cranberry and apple cups are a cinch to make and perfect for entertaining.Tangy cranberry salsa made with green apple, fresh cilantro, and squeeze of lime juice. A light dessert idea that’s super delicious!

  • 6 sheets phyllo pastry (thawed)
  • 2 tbsp butter (or cooking spray)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (fresh)
  • 1 tsp cilantro (fresh)
  • 1 green apple (diced)
  • 1/8 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper (optional)
Filo Cups
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Place a sheet of phyllo dough on parchment paper
  3. Lightly brush with butter or oil
  4. Place another sheet on top and repeat step 3. Repeat layering until you have a stack of 6 sheets
  5. Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut the stack into 12 equal pieces
  6. Press and fit each layer into cups of muffin tray
  7. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown
  8. Remove from oven and cool
  9. Remove filo cups from muffin tray and fill with salsa
Cranberry and Apple Salsa
  1. Combine diced cranberries and apple in a bowl. Toss with other ingredients, add salt and pepper (optional) to taste, then chill

The post Filo Cups with Apple Cranberry Salsa | Easy Holiday Recipe appeared first on Shahzadi Devje, Desi~licious RD.

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Mint Pea Soup | Vegan, Gluten Free

It’s just right! Sure, it’s Fall, but that also means soup season. Cozy up with a warm bowl of this Mint & Pea Soup from Chef Corbin’s New cook book “In Good Company”. It’s light and delicious, and perfect as a made-ahead recipe. I swapped the bacon with my favourite seeds for that crunch and plant power!

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 leek (small, washed and sliced)
  • 1 shallot (finely chopped)
  • 1 potato (yukon gold, large, cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (unsalted)
  • 1.5 cups peas (frozen)
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup mint (fresh, washed, finely chopped)
  • 1/2 lemon (fresh, juice)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  1. In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat butter and oil
  2. Add leeks and shallots and saute for 3-4 minutes, until tender
  3. Add potatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes
  4. Pour in stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender
  5. Stir in peas, spinach and mint. Cook for 15 minutes
  6. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir well
  7. Working in batches, transfer soup to high speed blender and puree until smooth
  8. Ladle into bowls and garnish with seeds

This soup can be served hot or cold.

The post Mint Pea Soup | Vegan, Gluten Free appeared first on Shahzadi Devje, Desi~licious RD.

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How healthy are food preservatives anyway? I dish the goods on a few key players to help you better understand the ingredients in your food. 

A food preservative is a substance added to foods to make them last longer; to “preserve” them. Preservatives are added to foods to slow spoilage, and have found themselves in all kinds of products in our grocery stores.

Preservatives work to preserve food in a few different ways. Some prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Others prevent delicate fats from going rancid.

There are so many preservatives out there. While preservatives added to foods should be “approved,” this doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to be safe for everyone always. And it doesn’t mean that the food is healthy.

Generally speaking, foods with preservatives are more-processed are less-nutritious. So, even if you don’t mind preservatives, you probably should cut down on these kinds of foods, anyway.

So, let’s learn more about a few common food preservatives.

Salt

That’s right – salt.

FUN FACT: The term “salary” is from the Latin word for salt. It’s thought that it came from the ancient Romans who would pay employees, allowing them to buy salt. Either that, or it was for their work conquering and/or guarding salt mines/roads. Either way, salt was sought because of its ability to preserve food before the advent of refrigeration.

In today’s day and age, with fridges and freezers in every home and grocery store, and refrigerated trucks, salt is not needed for food preservation as much. But our taste buds still seem to crave it on an epic scale. According to Health Canada, the average Canadian eats an estimated 2760 mg of sodium, which is higher than the established goal of 2300 milligrams (mg) per day.

Much of that is because it’s found in processed foods.

According to Harvard Health:

… reducing dietary salt (table salt that is only sodium, chloride and iodine) will lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, and save lives.

So, salt is one of those all-too-common food preservatives that most of us will do better with less of.

Nitrites (nitrates and nitrosamines)

Nitrites are preservatives added to processed meats. They’re not bad in and of themselves, but they do turn into harmful chemicals called nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are carcinogens found in cigarette smoke. Nitrites form nitrosamines when they’re cooked at high heat, and sometimes even when exposed to the high acid environment of the stomach.

Nitrites are added to meats to keep the pink-red colour and prevent “browning.” Mostly in bacon, ham, sausages and lunch meats. Since nitrites can change into nitrosamines, nitrites are one-step away from being the “bad guys.”

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency of the World Health Organization,  processed meat is classified as a carcinogen (something capable of causing cancer). And it has classified red meat as a probable carcinogen (something that probably causes cancer). Because of the nitrites? Perhaps, but either way, nitrosamines are a confirmed health-buster.

Since nitrosamines (from nitrites) are the bad guys and are formed by cooking nitrites at high heat, what are nitrates?

Nitrates are naturally found in many healthy foods like vegetables. They’re especially high in beets. Sometimes our enzymes or gut bacteria change these healthy nitrates into nitrites. However, they rarely form nitrosamines because they’re two-steps away from becoming these “bad guys.”

How healthy are food #preservatives anyway? Discover a few key players to help you better understand the ingredients in your #food. #dietitian
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BHA & BHT

Have you seen on packages “BHA/BHT has been added to the package to help maintain freshness?” Perhaps on cereal packages or in gum? Guess how these compounds maintain freshness? Because they’re preservatives. In fact, you can find BHA and BHT in potato chips, some cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy, jello to name a few.

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are antioxidants added to many processed foods. The main way BHA and BHT work is by preventing fats from going rancid. Are they safe? Well, they’re approved for use as a preservative at small doses. However, some studies show they can cause cancer in animals at high doses. Again, they’re added to processed pre-packaged foods, so it’s wise to avoid them nonetheless.

Ascorbic Acid

Ascobric acid, aka vitamin C, is present naturally in fruits and vegetables. You may have heard about its powerful antioxidant properties; fighting free radicals (molecules that are produced when the body processes foods or is exposed to cigarette smoke or pollution), to keep you healthy. It’s a Health Canada approved preservative, and found all over the grocery store. Typically, ascorbic acid is used to help prevent food spoilage in a wide range of products from canned fish, fruit to beer and wine. You can find the full list of Health Canada approved preservatives here. Heads up: It’s slightly overwhelming!

There are a lot of preservatives in our food supply. These compounds work by preventing the growth of bacteria and mold, or by preventing fats from going rancid. And they’re mostly found in processed foods. If you want to avoid them – eat fresh foods.

For those of you looking for a definitive answer about the safety of food preservatives, I’m afraid I don’t have one. Nutritional science is complicated and proving something with 100% confidence is not possible. However, what I would say is, if it does not cause harm, based on current research and expert consensus – that does not mean automatic safety. What we do know is that artificial food preservatives are labelled as “Generally Recognized As Safe”.  

Always shop for products that contain ingredients that you understand.  You can’t go wrong with wholesome ingredients that are as close to nature as possible.

Does this information make you want to read all your food ingredient labels now? What questions do you have about food preservatives? Let me know in the comments below. 
Desi~liciously Yours,
Shahzadi
Recipe (preservative-free): Homemade Granola
Homemade Granola | Easy, Healthy Breakfast
Now you can easily create your own homemade granola - minus the preservatives. A plant powered recipe, made with real pumpkin and fiber rich oats, heart healthy almonds and sunflower seeds, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup - this recipe is the perfect choice as a healthy breakfast or nourishing snack.
Servings6 people
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Passive Time20 minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, almonds, seeds, and spices. Stir to mix
  3. In a separate bowl, add the pumpkin, pour in the oil and maple syrup. Mix well.=
  4. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and stir well, ensuring all the oats are well coated
  5. Pour the granola mixture onto your baking sheet pan and use a large spatula to spread it evenly
  6. Bake until lightly golden, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway
  7. Let the granola cool completely. Top with dried fruit (if using) and enjoy
Recipe Notes

Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, or in a sealed freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. The dried fruit can freeze solid, so let it warm to room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

The post Are Food Preservatives Bad For My Health? appeared first on Shahzadi Devje, Desi~licious RD.

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