Healthy Options

Beans – Butternut Squash soup

bean-butternut squash

Temperatures are dropping here way too quickly. This kind of weather calls for some hot soup. So I thought of posting this recipe which we love so much. I have been cooking with lots of vegetables lately.  This soup is a one pot, wholesome dish in itself. I have prepared this couple of times for potlucks and it is loved by both kids and adults alike. The butternut squash gives a sweet taste to this. This freezes beautifully, so this can be prepared in a big pot and frozen for later use.

1/2 cup beans (I use bean mix which has lot of different beans, barley)
3 cups butternut squash (or pumpkin) pieces
2 cups carrot pieces
1/2 cup onion
2 tea spns chopped ginger
1/2 tea spn cumin powder
1/2 tea spn chili flakes
1 finely chopped green chilli
1/2 cup red bellpepper
3 cups vegetable stock or water
1 cup chopped tomatoes
Olive oil
1 tbl spn finely chopped coriander leaves

Soak beans for atleast 4-5hrs.
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In a pan, heat some oil and add chopped green chillies and ginger. Fry for a minute and then add onion, garlic, bellpepper, carrots and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add salt, cumin powder, chilli flakes, tomatoes. Fry for few more minutes.
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Now add beans, butternut squash, stock/water, coriander leaves and cook till vegetables and beans are completely cooked (I do this step in rice cooker or pressure cooker. This can also be done in slow cooker. Just make sure the squash still holds its shape when done).
Serve hot.

Serves : 6-7
Preparation time : 1hr

PS: I frequently cook broccoli and carrots in salted boiling water for about 3-4mins for different pasta sauces that I make for Ishaan. I take out the vegetables and save the water to use in soups. Instead of making the stock for the soup or buying stock, I use this water in this soup.

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Beetroot Leaves – Potato Soup

beetroot leaves-potato soup

Hope you all had a fun-filled Diwali. I have been reading about the great food many of my friends made. I was lucky enough to get a small Diwali Faral package from a friend, who got it from India. I finished it without giving a morsel to anybody :).

Now after all that eating, do you want to start eating something healthy again? Many of you asked me to post the recipes of soups. I have been making a lot of soups these days. I try my best to make one every day for V’s lunchbox. This is one such soup which we liked very much. When I got fresh beets last week, I wanted to use up the gorgeous leaves and stems. So I prepared this. I wrote it down immediately because I did not want to forget about it.

2 cups chopped beetroot leaves and stems
1/2 cup onion
1 tea spn chopped garlic
1/2 cup lentils (I used 16 bean mix with barley) soaked
1 cup chopped potatoes
1/2 tea spn cumin powder
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tea spn lemon pepper seasoning (or use lemon juice and pepper)

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Heat oil and add onion, garlic, a little salt. Fry till onions are soft.
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Add the beetroot leaves and stems and let them cook down a bit.
Add potatoes, lentils, cumin powder, broth. Cook till lentils are soft (I cook in either rice cooker or pressure cooker).
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When done, add lemon pepper seasoning (or lemon juice and pepper).
Serve hot with some grated cheese (optional).

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 30 mins

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16 Bean Vegetable Soup

16 bean soup

It was around 3 years ago, I found a packet of 16 bean soup mix while doing some grocery shopping. The inspiration came from this post. It was very interesting to see so many types of beans in one packet. Since then, I have bought this very regularly. I have tried different combinations of veggies, sauces, spices in this soup. I make it for our lunch. This makes a very hearty and filling lunch.

I have been down with very bad cold for more than 2 weeks now. So yesterday I made this. I thought I would note down recipe as this must be my favorite version so far. If you cannot find this soup mix, just mix all kinds of beans and dals – like red kidney beans(rajma), chickpeas, white navy beans, brown lentils, black eyed peas (alsande), dried peas(vatana), chana dal, etc, – you have at home.

1 cup 16 bean soup mix
2 cups vegetables – carrot, green peas, corn, celery, green beans, yellow pepper
1/2 cup sauce (recipe below)
1/2 tea spn dried basil
1/2 cup elbow pasta
1/4 cup barley
1/4 tea spn chilli flakes
1/2 tea spn chilli powder
1/2 tea spn pepper powder
1 tea spn chopped garlic

Cook 2 tomatoes and 1 carrot, chopped in big pieces, in water. Grind to a smooth paste.
Heat oil and add 1/4 cup onion. Now add the ground paste, a little sugar(optional), salt, dried basil. Cook till the sauce becomes thick.
Store in airtight container.
(This sauce can also be used with spaghetti or any other pasta).

Soak the beans in water overnight. They increase considerably in volume.
Heat a little oil and fry the vegetables for 3-4mins. Now add the beans, barley, chilli flakes, basil, salt, pepper. Add the sauce. Add about 2 cups water. Cook till the beans are soft – I use either pressure cooker or rice cooker to cook this. You could also use a slow cooker if you have one.
Separately, cook the pasta with salt. Add the pasta to the soup and cook it again for another 1-2mins.
Serve hot.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 30mins

Pictorial :

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Spicy Salmon Kababs

spicy salmon kabab

I have been trying to include more fish and chicken in our diet. It took a while for us to get used to the smelly fish – salmon. Since this is one of the healthiest fishes available in the market here, I try to make something with it atleast once a week. Recently I tried 2 types of kababs with them. I think they looked kinda cool. So Ishaan was ready to try these. The pieces get marinated very well as they are cut into small pieces.

1 lb salmon cut into 2×2 inch pieces
1 tbl spn chopped coriander leaves
Lemon wedges

Marinade : Make a smooth paste of following
1/2 cup thick yogurt
1 tea spn ginger
1 tea spn garlic
1 tea spn chilli powder
A pinch turmeric
1/2 tea spn coriander powder
1/2 tea spn cumin powder
1/2 tea spn amchoor powder

Apply the marinade to salmon pieces. Add the coriander leaves. Leave it aside for atleast 2hrs.
Arrange the pieces on skewers. Grill them till done. I use my cast iron grill pan for grilling.
Serve hot with lemon. Serve it as a starter or as a main dish with some rice and a simple dal.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 30mins


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Cracked Wheat Pulav

cracked wheat pulav

I am trying to switch to a healthy diet these days. After discussing with some of my friends, I tried couple of healthy replacements to white rice like quinoa, brown rice etc. But the thing we all liked the most is cracked wheat. So instead of using white rice/basmati rice, I use cracked wheat for our daily meals. It goes very well with all the gravies/dals, in pulavs, pongals/khichdis etc. I remember few years ago, aayi mentioning she uses this to make a kind of congee(Pej). I never thought I would start using it so soon – to be very frank, I did not think we would like it when I saw it first time.

1 cup cracked wheat
1 cup vegetables (corn, green beans, green peas, carrots)
1/2 cup onion
1 tea spn ginger garlic paste
1/2 tea spn red chilli powder
1/2 tea spn coriander powder
1 tbl spn grated coconut(optional)
1/2 tea spn cumin powder
1 tbl spn lemon juice

Heat ghee/oil and fry onion, ginger-garlic paste. When the onions turn translucent, add vegetables, cracked wheat, coconut, chilli powder, coriander-cumin powder, salt. Fry very well for 2-3mins. Add 2 and 1/2 cups of water. Cook in pressure cooker – for about 3-4 whistles. Take off the heat. Add lemon juice and mix well. Serve hot.

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 25mins


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cracked wheat pulav

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