Archive for November, 2021

This recipe from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi is a colourful and delicious side dish or vegetarian main dish. Roast parsnips and onions with herbs and garlic, add sweet potatoes and cherry tomatoes and then dress the tender and caramelized vegetables with lemon juice, capers, maple syrup and Dijon mustard.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice and 100 per cent pure maple syrup. I use Unico capers and President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon, which are additive-free.

Start by roasting the parsnips and onions

Add the sweet potatoes, roast until tender and top with the dressing


4 parsnips (1½ lbs/680 g total)

4 medium red onions

2/3 cup (165 ml) extra virgin olive oil

4 thyme sprigs

2 rosemary sprigs

1 head garlic, halved horizontally

Salt and black pepper

2 medium sweet potatoes (1¼ lbs/568 g total)

30 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice

4 tbsp (60 ml) small capers (roughly chopped if large)

½ tbsp (7.5 ml) maple syrup

½ tsp (2.5 ml) Dijon mustard

1 tbsp (15 ml) toasted sesame seeds (optional)


Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Peel the parsnips and cut into two or three segments, depending on their lengths. Then cut each piece lengthways into two or four. You want pieces roughly 2 inches (5 cm) long and ½-inch (1.27 cm) wide. Peel the onions and cut each into six wedges.

Place the parsnips and onions in a large mixing bowl and add ½ cup (125 ml) of the extra virgin olive oil, the thyme, rosemary, garlic, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt and some pepper. Mix well and spread out in a large roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes.

While the parsnips are cooking, trim both ends of the sweet potatoes. Cut them (with their skins) widthways in half, then each half into six wedges. Add the potatoes to the pan with the parsnips and onion and stir well. Return to the oven to roast for a further 40 to 50 minutes.

When all the vegetables are cooked through and have taken on a golden color, stir in the halved tomatoes. Roast for 10 minutes more. Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, capers, maple syrup, mustard, remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt.

Pour the dressing over the roasted vegetables as soon as you take them out of the oven. Stir well, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Scatter the sesame seeds over the vegetables if using and serve at the table in the roasting pan. Serves 4.

From Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

This recipe from Real Simple is a tasty one-pot meal featuring chicken thighs, Israeli couscous (a small, pea-shaped pasta), shallots, olives, dates and spices. Brown the chicken and set aside. Combine couscous, shallots, olives, dates, spices and water in the same pan, bring to a simmer and add the chicken back to the pan. Bake until the chicken is done and the couscous is tender. Run under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the chicken and garnish with pomegranate seeds and cilantro. Cook’s note: I used chopped red pepper instead of pomegranate seeds and made the recipe with eight chicken thighs instead of six.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used President’s Choice garlic-stuffed green olives, which are additive-free. Parnoosh brand dried dates are additive-free. Check the dried spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Brown chicken and set aside

Add couscous, shallots, olives, dates, spices and water to skillet and bring to a simmer

Return chicken to pan and roast until couscous is tender and chicken is done

Chicken thighs with couscous and olives


6 6-oz. (170 g) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) kosher salt, divided

1 cup (250 ml) uncooked Israeli couscous

½ cup (125 ml) chopped shallots (from 1 shallot)

½ cup (125 ml) Castelvetrano olives, coarsely chopped

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped dried dates

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground cinnamon

½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped fresh cilantro

¼ cup (60 ml) pomegranate seeds


Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C) with rack 8 inches (20 cm) from heat. Sprinkle skin of chicken thighs with ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt. Place chicken, skin side down, in a large, broiler-safe skillet. Cook over medium, undisturbed, until chicken skin is crisp and light golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer chicken, skin side up, to a plate. Discard drippings in skillet.

Add couscous, shallots, olives, dates, cumin, cinnamon, and remaining 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt to skillet. Stir in 1⅓ cups (332 ml) water and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Nestle chicken, skin side up, in couscous mixture. Cover skillet with aluminum foil and transfer to oven. Bake until chicken is cooked through, a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of thighs registers at least 165°F (74°C), and couscous is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to broil. Uncover skillet; broil until chicken skin is crisp, about 5 minutes. Top with cilantro and pomegranate seeds. Serves 4.

From Real Simple

This Canadian Living recipe for pasta e fagioli—pasta and beans—is great comfort food on a chilly fall night. Cook pancetta, onion, celery, carrots, rosemary and garlic, mix in tomatoes, beans, pasta and broth and simmer until the pasta is done. Top with hot pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil and serve with crusty bread.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for pancetta or bacon preserved with celery salt instead of nitrates. Unico crushed tomatoes and white beans are additive-free. I used Imagine Organic chicken stock. Check the hot pepper flakes to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Genuine Parmesan cheese is additive-free—check for the name stamped on the rind.

Cook pancetta and vegetables

Add tomatoes, beans, pasta and stock and simmer

One-pot pasta e fagioli


2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

4 oz (113 g) pancetta or bacon, diced

1 onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp/5 ml dried rosemary)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 18-fluid oz (540 ml) can crushed tomatoes

2 18-fluid oz (540 ml) cans white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

8 oz (225 g) shell pasta (about 2 cups/500 ml)

4 cups (1 L) sodium-reduced chicken broth

Salt and pepper

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) hot pepper flakes

Grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh basil leaves, chopped


In large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook pancetta, onion, celery, carrots and rosemary, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Mix in tomatoes, beans, pasta and broth; bring to boil. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until pasta is tender but still slightly firm, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes, Parmesan, and basil. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

This recipe from NYT Cooking combines savoury chicken with sweet pears and spicy arugula. Rub chicken and pears with ginger and spices and roast on a sheet pan. Scatter the arugula on top and serve. Cook’s note: I served the arugula on the side and did not use sunflower seeds.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the spices do not contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Rub the chicken and pears with the spice mixture and roast

Sheet-pan roast chicken with pears and arugula


6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (2 ½ to 3 pounds/1.13 to 1.36 kg)

Kosher salt and black pepper

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) red-pepper flakes

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin

1 teaspoon (5 ml) coriander

1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated fresh ginger from a 2-inch (5-cm) piece

3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil

2 firm, semi-ripe Bartlett or Bosc pears, cored and quartered lengthwise

2 tablespoons (30 ml) raw, unsalted sunflower seeds

2 packed cups (500 ml) baby arugula

1 lemon, halved

¼ cup (60 ml) fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped (optional)


Heat the oven to 450 degrees F (232 degrees C) with a rack in the center.

Pat the chicken dry and trim excess fat and skin. Sprinkle all over with 2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt, and season with pepper. In a small bowl, mix together the red-pepper flakes, cumin, coriander, ginger and oil.

On a sheet pan, rub the chicken and pears all over with the mixture. Arrange chicken skin-side up and pears skin-side down. Cook until the chicken is cooked through (165 degrees F/74 degrees C at the thickest part) and the pears are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. During the last 5 minutes, add the sunflower seeds to the pan. If there’s a lot of fat when finished cooking, tilt the pan and spoon it off until there’s a light coating on the surface of the pan.

Scatter the arugula on top and squeeze the juice of ½ lemon over the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with herbs, if using. Cut the remaining lemon half in quarters and serve. Serves 4.

From NYT Cooking