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Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

When you start to see leaves turn golden colour you know we are in fall the season and you’ll see plenty of different varieties of squash and pumpkins showing up in markets. It’s time to stock your cellar with them as they will get you through the fall and winter season. Cooking with them is easy as they are high in potassium, fibre and it will fill you up with good calories and suitable for people with Diabetes, CVD, Celiac and Vegan diet. Here is a staple recipe as your family will enjoy the soup through the cold months.







Cooking time 40 min       Prep time 15 min              Serves 12

Chef’s Notes: This soup freezes well, make large quantities and store in the freezer for future use!

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup


1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 lbs Squash (medium sized) peeled, seeded and cubed

4 cups vegetable stock (low sodium)

1 large onion, chopped

2 celery stocks, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper for taste


  1. In a large stock pot heat the oil and add onion, celery and carrots and sauté well
  2. Add cinnamon and bay leaves, and sauté for another minute
  3. Add squash and sauté another minute
  4. Add stock and bring it to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes or until squash is tender
  5. Season the soup with salt and pepper
  6. Cool the soup, take out cinnamon stick and bay leaves
  7. In batches puree the soup in a blender and incorporate all the soup and add additional stock/water to desired consistency
  8. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seed or pumpkin oil and serve warm

Nutritional Analysis per 1 serving (8 oz/1 cup): Calories 83; Fat 2g; Fibre 2g; Carb 14g; Sodium 103 mg; Protein 3g

Beef Ribs and Chimichurri

Grilled Beef Ribs with Chimichurri Sauce

Summer BBQ is not complete without Grilled Beef ribs with Chimichurri sauce. It’s so easy to prepare and you’ll enjoy making this recipe many times in the summer. For the ribs, the simple dry rub (Columbian based) makes the beef ribs taste tender and juicy. The secret is the ingredient coffee, which makes the meat tender and it’s perfect for beef – works even better if it’s marinated over night. The grilled ribs are paired with Chimichurri (Argentinean sauce) which is so tangy, it’s a perfect combination.








Prep time 5 min                                Serves 6


2 tbsp ground coffee (really fine ground)

2 tbsp ground cumin

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp ground oregano

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

6” inch short beef ribs


  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients and deeply rub into the ribs, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight and take it out one hour before grilling.
  2. Heat the BBQ and cook both sides to desired taste and serve with Chimichurri sauce on the side




 Chimichurri Sauce

This is a great sauce that can accompany any kind of grilled meat or fish as its tangy and spicy!

Prep time 5 min                                Makes 1 cup


2 cups washed, stemmed flat leaf parsley

1 cup washed, stemmed green coriander

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp chili flakes

1 tbsp ground cumin

4 garlic cloves

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp ground pepper


  1. Mix all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a container and refrigerate for minimum 24 hrs

Nutritional Analysis per 1 serving: 2 tbsp (30 ml) = Calories 70; Carbohydrate 1g; Fibre 1g; Fat 7g, Sodium 161 mg; Protein 1g


Spaghetti with Lemon from the Amalfi Coast

Postcards from Positano

I’ve never tasted this pasta dish until I toured the Amalfi coast, the southern coast of Italy in 2009 and every household would have a lemon tree for making their famous Limoncello (liqueur made out of lemon zest) and for pasta and seafood.

Town of Positano

Town of Positano

Limoncello at markets

Limoncello at markets

Roadside market

Roadside market







We stayed in the town of Positano where the scenery is breathtaking and food is fresh from the vines and the sea. Try this easy recipe and its summer in a bowl. It can be a great main dish on pasta nights or as a side dish with grilled vegetables or meat or fish. Your family will love this classic recipe, giving a change from tomato or cream sauces.

Spaghetti Al Limone from Positano

Spaghetti al Limone

Spaghetti al Limone

Prep time 5 min                Cooking time 8 min         Serves 6 (as a side dish)


450 g spaghetti (dry pasta)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

3 green onions, finely chopped

2 lemons, juiced and zest grated separately

2 tbsp capers (optional)

½ tsp chili flakes (optional)

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

4 tbsp grated parmesan

Freshly ground pepper

Salt for taste

2 tbsp chopped parsley

2 tbsp chopped basil

¼ cup pasta water (save it before you drain the pasta)


  1. In a small bowl whisk together:  3 tbsp olive oil, the lemon juice, lemon zest, freshly ground pepper and salt for taste, parmesan and mix well and keep aside
  2. In a stock pot cook the spaghetti according to package direction – keep it al dente and warm (firm but not hard) *Save ¼ cup of pasta water for sauce. **Do not run cold water on the pasta after it’s been drained
  3. In the same stock pot – heat  1 tbsp of olive oil and add garlic and sauté, then add chili and green onions and sauté  – do not overcook, we just want the green onion softened a bit
  4. Add capers and turn off the heat and add lemon juice mixture and mix
  5. Toss the spaghetti with the lemon sauce little at a time, if its dry add pasta water, little at a time until you get the consistency you want and fold in the parsley and basil
  6. The pasta should taste lemony and fresh – if you like sprinkle more parmesan on top and serve immediately as it should be served warm

Nutritional Analysis per 1 serving as a side dish: 150 g (5 oz): Calories 207; Carbohydrate 24g; Fibre 1g; Fat 9g; Saturated fat 10g; Sodium 100 mg; Protein 5g


Fiddleheads Barley Risotto

Spring in the Epicurean world

Spring is one of my favourite seasons for amazing ingredients like wild leeks (ramps), fiddleheads and morals. Due to long cool spring this year, we had abundant supply of fiddleheads. One of my favourite dishes to make in the spring is fiddleheads risotto.

Risotto is like a kryptonite for me – as much as I love it, it doesn’t love me back.  Risotto is generally made with Italian Arborio rice (white short grain rice with a hard kernel) which is quite high in starch and its high GI – which really doesn’t agree with my type1 diabetes (T1D) where it elevates my blood glucose high.  At restaurants I usually get it as a side dish or take a lot of insulin for it.

Barley is a great substitute for Arborio rice even if you don’t have diabetes – as it gives it a rich firm texture without being so being high GI.  It’s making appearance in many high end restaurants in North America as it’s very popular in Italy. So here I am sharing my favourite Barley Risotto recipe and it’s not rich as it doesn’t need lot of butter, cream or cheese. It’s very light and perfect as a main dish or as a side dish.







Chefs Note: Pot barley has more fibre than pearl barley as they remove some of the bran.

Fiddlehead Barley Risotto

Fiddlehead Barley Risotto

Barley Risotto with Fiddleheads

Prep time 10 min              Cooking time 30 min                       Serves 4


1 tbsp extra light olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

1 cup pot parley (soaked 1 hr and washed, drained)

2 ½ cups vegetable stock (low sodium)

1 cup fiddleheads, whole (trimmed and washed)

1 tbsp chopped mint

1 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp low-fat parmesan

Salt and pepper for taste


Warm the oil in medium sauce pan over medium heat and sauté the onion and add bay leaf and cinnamon stick.

Add pot parley and sauté well until all ingredients are incorporated well and add vegetable stock and bring it boil. Add fiddleheads and reduce heat to low and cook 25 minutes or until almost all the water is absorbed.

Add butter and parmesan to arrest the cooking as the risotto will thicken once you add the parmesan, adjust taste with salt and pepper as you will need no salt at all (due to parmesan and stock) and fold in gently chopped mint and cover for 5 minutes.

Serve warm with a spinach or arugula salad as the combination is great!

Nutritional Analysis per 1 serving: 1/2 cup = 125 ml: Calories 238; Carbohydrate 32g; Fibre 3g; Fat 9g; Saturated fat 3g; Sodium 245 mg; Protein 8g

Flavours of Tuscany

Tuscan Kale Lentil Soup

When I was in Tuscany, Italy in the fall of 2007 kale was sold in many colours (black or purple) in the markets. Many restaurants served kale soup with lentils which was hardy and delicious with unsalted Tuscan bread. Many households make variations of this recipe with cooked ham or pancetta or low salt bacon as you want more flavour and less salt. I was able to acquire this recipe from a local restaurant.






This is a delicious soup that you can enjoy in the cold months of fall and winter and it’s healthy. It makes use of kale which is high in vitamin A and C and also makes good use of lentils which has a good balance of low GI carbohydrate, vegetable protein and fibre and its gluten free. This soup is suitable for people with diabetes, celiac and CVD (cardiovascular disease). It’s a perfect meal in a bowl since it has all the food groups and great for cold days.*For Vegetarian or vegan diet you can skip the pancetta

Tuscan Kale Lentil Soup

Tuscan Kale Lentil Soup

Tuscan Kale Lentil Soup

Prep time 10 min                       cooking time 50 min                       Serves 8 people (1 cup)


1 tbsp (15 ml) canola oil

4 slices (100 g) pancetta (or low salt bacon or cooked ham)

1 cup (250 ml) chopped onion

1 cup (250 ml) chopped celery

1 cup (250 ml) chopped carrots

1 cup (250 ml) chopped fennel (optional)*

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped garlic

2 large bay leafs

1 large cinnamon stick

1 cup (250 ml) dry lentils, washed and soaked over night

4 cups (1 L) low salt vegetable stock

2 large bunch kale, washed and chopped into ribbons

1 can of salt reduced canned tomatoes chopped with its liquid

2 tbsp (30 ml) tomato paste (low salt)

2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tbsp (15 ml) dried rosemary)

½ tsp (2.5 ml) chilli flakes (desired amount, optional)*

½ tsp (2.5 ml) ground black pepper

2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tbsp (15 ml) dried thyme)

1 tbsp (15 ml) balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh Italian parsley

Salt to taste (may not need it since we have tomato paste and vegetable stock)

Low fat parmesan – for sprinkling on top


1. Heat oil in a large stock pot and add pancetta (bacon or ham) and sweat them; add onions and sauté then add carrots, celery and fennel,  garlic and sauté then add bay leafs and cinnamon

2. Add washed lentils, kale and add stock and bring to a boil

3. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, rosemary, thyme, chilli flakes, ground pepper and cook in low heat for 45 minutes or until the lentils are cooked (don’t overcook the lentils)

4. Add vinegar, parsley and cook for another 10 min and adjust taste.

5. Serve soup in bowls and sprinkle with parmesan

Nutritional Value for 1 cup (250 ml): Calories 147g; Carbohydrates 21g; Fibre 6g; Sugar 4g; Protein 9g; Fat 4g; Cholesterol 4g; Sodium 320mg; Vitamin A 80%, Vitamin C 130%; Calcium 15%; Iron 15%


South Indian Spicy Legume Snack

“Everday can be Navarathri”

When I was a young girl growing up in South India, Sundal (various kinds of boiled legumes with spice) would be given as a healthy snack after school. During the month of October a big festival called Navarathri would be celebrated for 9 days. All 9 days, 9 different kinds of legumes will be made into Sundal with various spices and finishes. Kids sing songs and visit neighbours and collect Sundal for snack.

Typical South Indian Temple

Navarathri in Tamil Nadu

Diabetes meal at Dr. Mohan's clinic

Diabetes meal at Dr. Mohan’s clinic in Chennai







 “My childhood favourite healthy snack”

I’ve made this Sundal recipe with canned chickpea since it’s quick and easy to prepare. You can also make it with any kind of legumes by soaking the dry beans and boiling it. It’s healthy and suitable for people with diabetes, celiac and CVD (cardiovascular disease). It’s a nutritious snack packed with vegetable protein, high fibre and low GI carbohydrates, keeps in the refrigerator up to 5 days. If you don’t have all the ingredients you can still make it with minimum key ingredients. Perfect for take away snack and picnics!

Sundal - Spicy chickpea snack

Sundal – Spicy chickpea snack

Sundal – South Indian Spicy Legume Snack

Prep time: 3 min        Cook time:  5 min            Serves:  4

Chefs Notes: I am using canned chickpeas since I want to exhibit how quick and easy it is to prepare. If you are going to use canned beans, wash it under cold water 2 to 3 times to remove as much as salt as possible.


1 tsp (15 ml) canola oil

½ tsp (2.5 ml) mustard seeds (optional)*

½ tsp (2.5 ml) split mung bean (aka green gram, urad dhal) (optional)*

1 dried red chili (broken into few pieces)

1/8 tsp (.63 ml) asafetida (optional)*

1 can of chickpea – 540 ml (washed couple of times and drained)

¼ tsp (1.25 ml) salt

2 tbsp. (30 ml)  lemon juice or juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp. (15 ml) chopped fresh coriander or curry leaves*

1 tbsp. (15 ml) grated coconut (optional)

*You can get these ingredients in South Asian grocery stores


1. Heat the oil in a frying pan; temper the mustard seeds and wait for it to pop (put a cover so the seeds don’t escape) then add urad dhal and sauté few seconds

2. Add red chili and sauté well and add asafetida and mix well

3. Add the chickpea and sauté well

5. Add salt and lemon juice and mix well until all the ingredients are mixed

6. Adjust taste and add grated coconuts & fresh coriander (or curry leaves) and toss well

7. Serve warm or cold

Nutritional Information per serving: 1 serving = ½ cup (125ml): Calories 170; Carbohydrate 29g; Fibre 8g; Protein 10g; Fat 2.7g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 455 mg