You’re nuts thinking your roasted, squashed avocado will curry more than a sugared glaze!

This week’s menu is:
Nutty Avocado Mango Raspberry Salad
Squash and Chickpea Curry with Coconut Milk
Roasted Bananas With Brown Sugar-Walnut Glaze

The time has come for a fresh, cool blast as a first course instead of a warm, curl up with a book and a blanket soup starter. We, as residents of northern climes, quickly forget how a nice, tangy salad consumed in a quaint sidewalk café while wearing a spaghetti string tank top with shorts was merely a reality from weeks ago. So, in order to bring back those glowing memories, the first course of this week’s menu will be dedicated to nostalgia.

Then, to further enliven your senses, the main course is in honour of the Hindu festival, Diwali, celebrated at this time of year, as well as Halloween’s love affair with pumpkins, gourds and squash. The degree of curry intensity is entirely in your hands . . . know who you are preparing this for and remember, you can always add but you can’t take away, so if you’ve chosen the “take the top of your head off” route you would be well advised to have slices of cucumber and/or natural yogourt on hand to extinguish the flames, and remember, NEVER take a gulp of water because you’ll just spread the joy throughout your mouth and gullet.

To bring things back to a more subtle level, we finish off with a classic, a simple roasted banana using the basics, butter (Becel), brown sugar and cinnamon. What could be easier, but, oh, so good?   

avocado Photo: Flickr

Nutty Avocado Mango Raspberry Salad

mango Photo: Flckr

¼     cup   safflower oil, or extra virgin olive oil (65 ml)
1½  cup   fresh raspberries, divided (375 ml)
¼     cup   red wine vinegar (65 ml)
1      clove garlic, chopped
¼     tsp    sea salt (1 ml)
to taste      freshly ground black pepper
8      cup   variety of salad greens such as spinach, dandelion etc. (2 litre)

raspberries Photo: Flickr

1                ripe mango, diced
1      small ripe avocado, diced
½     cup   red onion, finely sliced (125 ml)
¼     cup   hazelnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped (65 ml)    OR           

hazelnuts Photo: Flickr

                   almonds, slivered
Whisk/blend the oil with in a blender/food processor or with a hand blender until emulsified. Gradually add 1 cup (125ml) of the raspberries, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper until fully blended.

Combine salad greens, mango, avocado and onion in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing on top and toss gently to coat. Platter onto 4 salad plates. Sprinkle each with nuts and the remaining raspberries.

Serves 4

341 Calories, 219 Calories from Fat, 24.4g Total Fat, 3.2g Saturated Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 196 mg Sodium, 30.0g Carbohydrates, 8.0g Dietary Fibre, 10.9g Sugars, 6.2g Protein

Squash and Chickpea Curry with Coconut Milk

squash and chickpea curry Photo: Flickr

2      cups butternut squash, cubed, peeled and cooked (500 ml)
2      cups potatoes diced, peeled and cooked (500 ml)
19   oz       chickpeas, drained and rinsed (540 ml)
1      tbsp  canola oil (15 ml)
1      large onion diced
2      clove garlic, minced
1      tbsp  fresh ginger, minced, or 1 tsp ginger powder (15 ml)
1                jalapeno or green chilli pepper, seeded, minced * more if you like it hot!
1      cup   vegetable stock (250 ml)
¼     cup   smooth peanut butter (60 ml)
¼     tsp    sea salt (1 ml)
2      cups Swiss chard,or spinach (500 ml)
1      cup   frozen peas (250 ml)
1      cup   coconut milk (250 ml)
½     tub    soft cream cheese and } (125 ml)
¾     cup   milk                                     } (185 ml)
optional    fresh coriander (cilantro), course chopped
                  spring onion cut in thin rings


2-3   tbsp curry paste (15-45 ml)
1      tbsp  ground coriander seeds (15 ml)
1      tbsp  ground cumin (15 ml)
1½    tsp  ground turmeric (7.5 ml)
8-10          ground black peppercorns (put in a zipper bag and crushed using a rolling pin or pressing down
                    using the flat side of a knife, carefully, please)

In large skillet heat oil over medium heat; fry onions, garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden, approximately 7 minutes.

Add curry paste; cook stirring until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.

Add squash, potatoes, chickpeas, coconut milk (OR cream cheese and milk) and vegetable stock and stirring constantly.

Stir in Swiss chard and peas. Cover and cook on high for 10-15 minutes or until Swiss chard wilts

Sprinkle with fresh coriander and spring onion rings

Serves 6

With coconut milk:
645 Calories, 247 Calories from Fat, 27.4g Total Fat, 10.7g Saturated Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 352 mg Sodium, 81.4g Carbohydrates, 21.4g Dietary Fibre, 15.9g Sugars, 24.7g Protein

With cream cheese and milk:
617 Calories, 210 Calories from Fat, 23.4g Total Fat, 5.7g Saturated Fat, 18 mg Cholesterol, 400 mg Sodium, 80.9g Carbohydrates, 20.5g Dietary Fibre, 16.1g Sugars, 25.8g Protein

Roasted Bananas With Brown Sugar-Walnut Glaze

Photo: Flickr

1/3   cup   brown sugar (80 ml)
¼     cup   fresh lemon juice (60 ml)
2      tbsp  butter or Becel (30 ml)
¼     tsp    ground cinnamon (1 ml)
4      large ripe bananas (±1½ lbs/680g)                       
¼     cup   chopped walnuts, toasted (60 ml)
1½   cup   frozen vanilla yogourt (350 ml)

Preheat oven to 450°F (232ºC).

Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.

Cut bananas in half lengthwise. Place banana halves, cut sides up, on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 4 minutes.

Drizzle sugar mixture evenly over banana halves, and sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Bake an additional 3 minutes.

Cut each banana piece into thirds crosswise. Serve bananas with frozen yogurt; drizzle with any remaining sugar mixture.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: 4 banana pieces and 1/4 cup frozen yogurt)

263 Calories, 88 Calories from Fat, 9.8g Total Fat, 1.7g Saturated Fat, 5 mg Cholesterol, 61 mg Sodium, 44.1g Carbohydrates, 3.7g Dietary Fibre, 28.9g Sugars, 4.7g Protein


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Categories: Dinner for 4 for -$40, Food


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