Savoury Yogurt Bowl with Chickpeas and Roasted Vegetables

Round, shallow white bowl with a layer of Greek yogurt on the bottom, chickpeas, and roasted peppers, zucchini, and shallots. The dish is sitting on top of a brightly coloured batik tablecloth.

I love full fat plain Greek yogurt. I love it in salad dressings. I love it as a base for homemade frozen yogurt. I love it as a dip. I love it in breakfast parfaits. But you know what I’m especially loving lately? A savoury yogurt bowl.

Making the perfect savoury yogurt bowl: Everything you need to know

  • The sky’s the limit when it comes to toppings so you can feel free to flex your improvisational skills: Shredded chicken or pork, crispy diced tofu, sautéed greens, roasted vegetables, julienned fresh vegetables, chopped nuts, toasted seeds, nut butter, antipasto, refried beans, crumbled or grated cheese, tahini, pulses, hot sauce, tapenade, and any other topping you can dream of will work well on top of a savoury yogurt bowl.
  • Savoury yogurt bowls are incredibly easy to meal prep for several day’s worth of lunches or dinners. Keep each element separate and mix just before eating. You can also make the chickpea salad and roasted vegetables with Ras El Hanout in advance and store them in the fridge for a meal that comes together in less than five minutes.
  • Greek yogurt is a fantastic source of protein, making it ideal if you don’t eat poultry, meat, or fish.
  • Unlike a grain bowl, there’s no prep necessary (other than the toppings). Just grab a container of plain full fat Greek yogurt and you’re halfway to a satisfying meal.
  • Turn a savoury yogurt bowl into a simple yet elegant dinner by pairing it with a crisp green salad and fresh fruit.
Clear glass divided lunch container with three sections. One contains fresh blackberries, one contains roasted zucchini, red pepper, and shallots, and one contains chickpeas with a dollop of yogurt. The container is sitting on a colourful batik print table cloth.

What is Ras El Hanout?

Ras El Hanout is a North African spice blend containing (amongst other spices) cinnamon, cumin, ginger, peppercorn, rose petals, coriander, paprika, and dried chilies. A few years ago a friend brought some back for me from Morocco and I’ve been a fan ever since. Can’t find it at your local grocery store? Check your local specialty cooking or spice shop or buy it online. Because of the spice blend’s earthiness, warmth, and gently astringency, I love to use Ras El Hanout on roasted chicken, as a rub for white fish, in citrus-based salad dressings, and sprinkled on popcorn with melted butter.

Round, shallow white bowl with a layer of Greek yogurt on the bottom, chickpeas, and roasted peppers, zucchini, and shallots. The dish is sitting on top of a brightly coloured batik tablecloth.

Savoury Yogurt Bowl With Chickpeas And Roasted Vegetables

Yields:

3-4 generously sized savoury yogurt bowls

Ingredients:

Full fat Greek yogurt

Chickpea salad with lemon parsley dressing (see recipe below)

Roasted vegetables with Ras El Hanout (see recipe below)

Black sesame seeds

Nigella seeds

Dried red chilies

Special equipment:

3-4 shallow bowls

Method:

Add two to three dollops of Greek yogurt to each bowl. Top with the chickpea salad and then the roasted vegetables with Ras el Hanout. Liberally sprinkle with black sesame seeds, nigella seeds, and dried red chilies.

Clear glass divided lunch container with three sections. One contains fresh blackberries, one contains roasted zucchini, red pepper, and shallots, and one contains chickpeas with a dollop of yogurt. The container is sitting on a colourful batik print table cloth.

Simple Chickpea Salad With Lemon Parsley Dressing

Yields:

Enough for 3-4 generous savoury yogurt bowls

Ingredients:

1/2 cup fresh parley

2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Juice of half a lemon (or, a generous tablespoon of bottled lemon juice)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Special equipment:

Can opener

Medium-sized salad bowl

Measuring spoons

Food processor, blender, or mini-chopper

Spatula

Method:

  1. Add all of the ingredients except for the chickpeas to a food processor, blender, or mini-chopper and blitz until smooth. Taste for seasonings and readjust if needed.
  2. Toss the chickpeas with the salad dressing in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Set the chickpeas aside until you’re ready to assemble the savoury yogurt bowls. This salad can be stored in the fridge for up to three days, keeping in mind the pungency of the garlic will increase substantially.
Clear glass divided lunch container with three sections. One contains fresh blackberries, one contains roasted zucchini, red pepper, and shallots, and one contains chickpeas with a dollop of yogurt. The container is sitting on a colourful batik print table cloth.

Roasted Vegetables With Ras El Hanout

Yields:

Enough for 3-4 generous savoury yogurt bowls

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then into fairly thick half moons

1 red pepper, cut into chunky strips

4-5 shallots (depending on size), peeled and cut into quarters lengthwise

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. Ras El Hanout

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Special equipment:

Sharp knife

Cutting board

Large rimmed baking sheet

Measuring spoons

Parchment paper or silicon baking mat

Long-handled tongs

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread the vegetables in a single layer over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon baking mat.
  3. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and evenly distribute the Ras El Hanout and kosher salt, massaging the oil and spice mixture into the sliced vegetables.
  4. Roast the vegetables for 30 minutes, using long-handled kitchen tongs to stir everything three or four times throughout.
  5. Once the vegetables are lightly browned and soft they’re finished. Set them aside until you’re ready to make the savoury yogurt bowls or keep them covered, in the fridge, for up to four days.
Round, shallow white bowl with a layer of Greek yogurt on the bottom, chickpeas, and roasted peppers, zucchini, and shallots. The dish is sitting on top of a brightly coloured batik tablecloth.

What I’m listening to

Jazz from a strange celestial place. Hypnotic jazz. Give me some really good vibes jazz. Jazz for drinking a glass of wine and chopping up shallots. The kind of jazz that could score a montage of people coming home on Friday evening after work. As the late, stupendously great Carol Channing sang, “Cause I’m a jazz baby, little jazz baby that’s me.”

Alice Coltrane – Something About John Coltrane

Raspberry and Peach Frozen Greek Yogurt

Loaf pan full of bright magenta frozen Greek  yogurt on a red table cloth.

This frozen Greek yogurt was adapted as a sort of healthy alternative to regular ice cream and has become a staple in my freezer ever since I decided on this frozen fruit combination as my favourite. When I say “healthy” I suppose what I actually mean is less sweet, as I find most store bought ice cream and frozen yogurt cloyingly so.  I’ve almost completely lost my sweet tooth over the last couple of years so being able to adjust the added sugar is perfect. I prefer to let the tart flavours of the raspberries, lime juice, and Greek yogurt really shine, but feel free to use vanilla yogurt instead of plain and an extra generous amount of maple syrup (or honey!). This makes a generous amount so keep any leftovers frozen in a container – if it becomes too hard to scoop just let it thaw a little bit, pop it back into the food processor for a quick blitz, and then serve. I like to top mine with fresh or frozen raspberries, grated dark chocolate, and shredded coconut.

raspberry and peach frozen greek yogurt:

2 cups frozen peaches

1 cup frozen raspberries

Juice of half a lime

1/2 cup of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (or slightly more depending on how fruit concentrated you’d like your frozen yogurt to be)

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth. This usually takes a few minutes and involves a combination of patience and stopping the machine every 30 seconds or so to scrape down the sides.
  2. Pour the frozen yogurt into a loaf pan and smooth with a spatula. Freeze for at least an hour; if it’s very firm when you take it out of the freezer defrost for 10 minutes before serving.

I’m having one of those weeks (so far… it’s still only Monday) where EVERYTHING is making me feel agitated. Being in my head right now is nothing but a steady stream of complaining, swearing, complaining, and being a straight up curmudgeon. I thought I was going to start screaming on the crowded bus home tonight when no one would move to the back of the bus, I’m surprised I haven’t broken any teeth from gritting them so tightly. Luckily, I have Stan Getz providing the official score to this crabby swing in my mood. How can you explode when you have this to draw you back in?

Stan Getz – Body and Soul

 

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables and a Creamy Greek Yogurt and Orange Dressing

White dish full of quinoa and roasted vegetable salad beside a glass container containing creamy orange salad dressing.

This recipe is a testament to the infinite usefulness of leftovers; cold cooked quinoa and roasted vegetables from last night’s dinner form the framework for this hearty grain salad. I can’t think of a single vegetable that wouldn’t be a delicious addition, and for this particular version I used red onions, sweet peppers, fennel, carrots, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and mushrooms that had been roasted for 45 minutes at 375 degrees the previous evening (a massive plate of roasted vegetables on a rainy Friday night is my idea of heaven). The black sesame seeds and hemp hearts add a nutty flavour and extra texture, both could be substituted with other seeds or nuts or even omitted entirely. There’s something about the taste of fresh citrus on grain salads that I love, especially during December when all of the lovely oranges are beginning to appear at produce stands in Vancouver. I used a Cara Cara orange for this salad because I love their bitter and only slightly sweet flavour but any type would work well, including my two other favourites, clementines and blood oranges. Serve this salad at room temperature either as is, or with avocado and orange slices gently stirred in on a bed of mixed baby greens. This quinoa salad will keep in the fridge for several days and therefore makes a great portable lunch or reliable dinner at the end of a long day.

quinoa salad with roasted vegetables:

2 cups of cooked quinoa

About 2 generous cups worth of cold, leftover roasted vegetables

1 leek, the white part only cut into very thin half moons

1/2-3/4 cup of Italian parsley, finely shredded

1/4 cup of dried cranberries or cherries, minced

2 Tbsp. black sesame seeds

2 Tbsp. hemp hearts

creamy greek yogurt and orange salad dressing:

Juice and zest of 1 orange

2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

1/2 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. kosher salt

Generous pinch of freshly cracked pepper

  1. In a large salad bowl combine the quinoa, roasted vegetables, chopped leek, parsley, dried fruit, sesame seeds, and hemp hearts.
  2. Shake all of the salad dressing ingredients together in a glass jar and pour over the quinoa and roasted vegetable mixture stirring gently to cover.
  3. Allow the salad to sit for at least 15 minutes, serving at room temperature as is, garnished with orange and avocado slices, or on a large bed of mixed greens.

Hexagonal dish of quinoa salad with Christmas lights off to the side.

Of course I’m listening to A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack, good grief.

Skating – Vince Guaraldi Trio

 

Fresh Fig and Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

A tray full of pink fig and blueberry frozen yogurt covered with dried blueberries.It wasn’t until a few years ago that I fell in love with fresh figs, even then the path to get there was full of resistance. In truth, I can’t stand dried figs. Maybe this all stems from childhood, during the wild heyday of Fig Newtons. For some reason my mom refused to buy them and I would leverage trades with my lunch mates for the contraband Fig Newtons. The reason that I wanted one of these cookies up until that point was that I was sure it was filled with chocolate, not horribly seedy dried fig paste. You can imagine my surprise the first time I actually tasted a fresh fig, they have such a soft and delicate flavour, like bursting sweet bulbs full of sangria coloured fruit. I buy them up as I find them in mid-summer, quartering and freezing any excess figs before they become too soft. When frozen, they’re absolutely wonderful in salad dressing, smoothies, and homemade frozen yogurt, their pulpy pink interiors providing a creamy, thickening effect in your recipe. The dried blueberries are wonderfully chewy once frozen and then slightly defrosted but are not crucial to the overall success of the recipe.

case of green fresh figs

fresh fig and blueberry frozen yogurt:

1 cup frozen fresh figs, quartered

1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

2 Tbsp. honey + more for drizzling

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 cup dried blueberries

Combine all of the ingredients except for the dried blueberries in a food processor and blitz until a cohesive creamy texture. This might take a few minutes and include several rounds of scraping the sides down with a rubber spatula. Fold in the dried blueberries and transfer to a loaf baking tin in the freezer. Freeze for at least another 1/2 hour before topping with a small or generous amount of drizzled honey.

Pikauba with Fresh Figs on a plate

Bright bowl of fruit salad with figs, plums, and nectarines

Plate of fresh Brillat-Savarin with fresh figs.

 

It feels like fall here tonight, if only fleetingly (despite a fondness for summer fruit I am most at home nestled into a pile of pillows and books on a rainy autumn Sunday afternoon). Fall means the sadness of Broadcast and the warm coat of melancholia it inspires, if only in the most nostalgic sense of the word.

Broadcast – Corporeal

 

 

 

Greek Yogurt and Basil Salad Dressing

greek yogurt herb salad dressing

I make a LOT of salads. Salads for lunch at work, giant salads for dinner, salads forever. I think it’s the colours that draw me in every time, putting together a huge plate of fresh brightness is a lovely way to play in the kitchen. My standard dressing is sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper but when I have time I like to make this salad dressing with Greek yogurt and fresh basil. The basil can be easily substituted with a different fresh herb; parsley, dill, thyme, and even cilantro are all wonderful. You can make this salad dressing without the mayonnaise if you want to, but I find it really gives the recipe some heft – fat is always a great flavour booster and shouldn’t be feared.

greek yogurt and basil salad dressing:

1/2 cup of Greek yogurt (full fat will taste the best)

1/4 cup of mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of half a lemon

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/3 cup of fresh basil, cut in a fine chiffonade

1 tsp. kosher salt

Plenty of freshly cracked pepper

Combine all the ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes before using. This salad dressing will keep for 2 days in the fridge.

A beautiful spacey love song by Dntel to brighten your evening.

Dntel – Anyone Anywhere

On Crudités

Christmas crudites

There are few things that make me as happy as a beautiful plate of crudités. I’m aware of the ridiculous nature of that statement, but I’m one of those people who gets incredibly excited at the prospect of a salad bar well equipped with pre-cut vegetables and fruit (I was in absolute heaven on our honeymoon in Hawaii, each new morning meant mountains of fresh cut watermelon.)  If I’m being fussy and it’s my  get together I like to make a plate of crudités that focus around one or two colours, there’s so much room to be creative within those parameters. I also like to buy a tub of hummus and dress it up; in this photo I’ve added Greek yogurt, za’atar, cumin, a drizzle of olive oil, pomegranate seeds, lime juice, an extra pinch of kosher salt, and fresh cut mint leaves. Another combination I like is grilled or roasted and pureed eggplant, dark sesame oil, black sesame seeds, dried mint, za’atar, lemon juice and zest, Greek yogurt, and finely chopped black or green olives sprinkled on top. Sometimes when I know it’s just me for dinner I’ll make a massive platter of my favourite raw vegetables (endive, cucumber, red pepper strips, snap peas, cauliflower) and make a customized dip of some sort to accompany it and I’ll still arrange them in an aesthetically pleasing way. At the end of the day, if you have the inclination and the time, it can be wonderful to sit down to a plate of super fresh food featuring a wide array of colours and textures.

Blueberry and Lemon Yogurt Muffins

If I had to choose between a lifetime of cooking or a lifetime of baking I would without hesitation reply that my fate was to cook always from there on in. My baking repertoire therefore consists of items that don’t require very much patience and that almost always without fail, despite my lack of precision upon execution, come out perfectly each time I make them,. These blueberry and lemon yogurt muffins fall neatly into each of these categories – the lemon Greek yogurt ensures a dense, cake-like crumb (very appropriately as these are good muffins to have for dessert or with Earl Grey tea.) I am now blissfully surrounded by local blueberries that are deep navy blue and somehow sweetly tart when you bite into them – the brief sojourn in the oven intensifies the sweetness and makes them taste like a blueberry preserve. I like these hot out of the oven with some good salted butter or at room temperature with a cup of the aforementioned Earl Grey tea with lemon.

blueberry and lemon yogurt muffins:

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup of lemon flavoured Greek yogurt

1/3 cup of canola oil

The zest and juice of 1 large lemon

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of white granulated sugar

1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line or butter a 12-cup muffin tin.

2. Combine the lightly beaten egg, yogurt, oil and lemon juice and zest in a large bowl and whisk until mixture is glossy and smooth. In a separate bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder/soda and salt with a fork until completely mixed.

3. Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and stir in the blueberries. Very gently and with as few strokes as possible combine all the ingredients until the batter reaches a slightly undermixed yet cohesive whole.

4. Using 2 spoons drop the muffin batter into the muffin cups, there should be enough for each cup to receive a large scoop of the mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a fork comes out clean when inserted into the centre of a muffin.

Happy twee summer music at its best; I started loving this album in grade 11 and I have loved it ever since. For each season I tend to justify a reason to listen to this album over and over again but I really do think it’s most appropriate for an August Sunday afternoon spent baking muffins and drinking iced black coffees.

Belle and Sebastian – Ease Your Feet in the Sea