Chocolate Coconut Black Bean Brownies

This is a treat I’ve been wanting to bake for the longest time. With last-minute dinner plan changes last week, I found myself with an extra can of low sodium black beans, so I figured I’d give it a go! I am so happy with the results; they are coconutty, chocolatey, super moist and don’t taste the slightest bit like beans! It really is astonishing how perfect they are as a brownie, not at all a pretty-good-healthy-substitute. I really hope you try to make these for yourself, or for any gluten-free/dairy-free guests you may have!

I wanted to keep these brownies as healthy and low calorie (only 68 cals per brownie) as possible, so they really aren’t very sweet, but if you’re craving more sugar, then mix some chocolate chips into the batter or sprinkle a handful over the top.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 – 540mL (19 fl oz) can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 tsp stevia
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

DIRECTIONS

  • Blend all ingredients well in a food processor or high-powered blender (LOVE my Vitamix!).
  • Pour batter into an 8″x8″ brownie pan sprayed with oil.
  • Bake at 35o degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 16 brownies.

Per brownie: 68 calories – 11 g carbs – 2 g fibre – 2 g fat – 3 g protein

Creamy Avocado Dip

Man is this post overdue! The past month went by in a flash, but not without some great memories: bike riding around one of the world’s greenest cities (Copenhagen), lunch at the world’s best restaurant (Noma), catching up with the best of friends (Stockholm), exploring one of the greatest capitals (Washington), and running a 10K PB through the Rockies (Banff).

Needless to say, I haven’t had much time in the kitchen, so Just Indulgence has been rather neglected. But I’m back home and back at it with a phenomenal recipe: creamy avocado dip!

I was not expecting this dip of a few veggies, avocados and greek yogurt to come out so decadent, but after tasting the spatula I was honestly torn between jumping for joy and going in for a re-dip. So huge thanks to Dave’s mom, Janis, for the recipe book that inspired such a beautiful creation.

I cut recipe’s salt in half and replaced the sour cream with non-fat greek yogurt, which couldn’t be a better substitute  – you cannot tell the difference! Plus it dilutes the heavy avocado calories and adds a punch of protein. Serve over rice cakes, on a sandwich, with veggies and pita chips or basically anywhere you’d throw traditional guacamole and you’ll honestly never go back!

A little tip to keep the avocado from going grey: save the pits and plop them into the finished dip. I have no idea how it works, but it’ll sure save the ascetics of your dip!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup 0% fat plain greek yogurt
  • 2 avocados, pitted and peeled

DIRECTIONS

  • Toss shallot, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice and salt into a food processor and blend well.
  • Add greek yogurt and blend until smooth.
  • Add avocados and blend until smooth.
  • Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving and then enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION 

Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Per tbsp: 19 calories, 1 g carbs, 2 g fat, 1g protein, 1 g fibre

Mediterranean Omelette

This is by far my new favorite way to eat eggs. I had had this for breakfast while on vacation last week and couldn’t wait to get home to make it in my own kitchen. Since Dave and I always eat the same thing for breakfast, I had to make them for dinner, which was a great excuse to whip up some kale tabbouleh on the side.

I used 4 whole eggs and about 4 egg whites, but you can swing the ratios to suit your calorie fat cholesterol protein profile.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 roma tomato, cut into eighths
  • 1/4 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 egg whites (1/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp crumbled light feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat olive oil in medium pan over medium heat.
  • Toss in tomato, red pepper, onion and garlic and stir until onion softens, about 3 minutes.
  • Crack eggs into pan and pour egg whites around edges and to fill in gaps.
  • Turn heat to low-medium, cover and let cook until eggs cook through to medium (or as long as desired), about 5 minutes. Toss in feta, mint and pepper 2 minutes before eggs are done.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 265 calories, 8 g carbs, 15 g fat, 24 g protein, 1 g fibre

Watermelon Mint Feta Salad

Who knew getting engaged would be so consuming! I can’t believe it’s been 2 weeks since it happened (meaning 2 weeks since my last post!) – it’s still setting in! Dave surprised the heck out of me with the proposal, but I couldn’t be happier or more excited to plan a wedding with the man of my dreams!

Here’s a refreshing salad my mother mentioned she’d made the other night. Perfect for a hot summer day when you’re feeling thirsty and sluggish – four ingredients and that’s it! Even more, it’s so delicious you could eat it as a healthy dessert.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 4.5 oz (130 g) light feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix together in a large bowl, chill until serving and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 6 servings of about 2.5 cups each.

Per serving: 168 calories, 29 g carbs, 4 g fat, 7 g protein, 2 g fibre

 

Jicama & Mango Salad

Dave and I had dinner at my cousin Karen and her husband Shaun’s place a few weeks ago in Vancouver. They prepared an unbelievable dinner for us including this light crunchy tangy sweet salad. Who knew 4 ingredients could make such a delightful dish! Make it as a side dish or throw in some chicken, shrimp or fish and make it a meal.

Dave and I were even thinking it’d even make a great popcorn substitute if we cut the jicama and mango a little larger, and if we ever get around to watching a movie…

I had never cooked with jicama (a.k.a. yambean) before and I’m really sorry I’ve been missing out! This stuff is awesome! I’d call the texture a cross between a raw potato and an apple – though more like an apple in terms of water content. It’s ever so slightly sweet and PACKED with fibre. Here’s how it stacks up to 120g each of apples and potatoes:

Jicama   Apple       Potato

Calories                  46             62             83

Carbs                   10.6g       17.2g       18.9g

Sugars                   2.2g        13.3g         1.2g

Fibre                      5.9g          3.9g         2.0g

Protein                  0.9g             0g          2.2g

Most people have trouble getting enough fibre into their diets, but this salad contains nearly all of your recommended daily intake (25 g in a 2,000 calorie diet) in one serving. For sure a new staple in my house!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 mangos, julienned
  • 2 large jicama, julienned
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix in a large salad bowl, serve and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 203 calories, 48 g carbs, 1 g fat, 3 g protein, 21 g fibre

Chocolate Coconut Clusters

Here’s another treat I made for the baby shower last weekend. Love that these are no-bake and totally remind me of chewy chocolate puffed-wheat squares, but coconutty and with a little more fibre. With only 69 calories per cluster, you can have a couple without feeling the least bit guilty.

I used sweetened coconut flakes, but I think you could get away with the unsweetened variety – these clusters were sweet enough!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups coconut palm sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup 2% evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (I like butter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix sugar, cocoa powder, milk, butter and vanilla in a medium pot.
  • Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly.Bring to a boil for 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and stir in oats and coconut.
  • Use a 1 1/2 tbsp to spoon clusters onto a baking sheet lined in parchment. Leave as messy clusters or shape to your desire.
  • Let cool in the fridge for 30 minutes and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes about 50 clusters.

Per cluster: 69 calories, 12 g carbs, 2 g fat, 1 g protein, 1 g fibre

Miso-Glazed Salmon

I came across a package of miso in the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t leave without it. Miso is one of my favorite restaurant flavours, plus it benefits from various enzymes, probiotics and vitamins, so I figure I had better explore its wonders in my own kitchen.

This salmon came out perfectly and was so easy to make that I would do it every night from now on but sadly that wouldn’t do much for this blog…

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb (450 g) wild salmon
  • 2 tbsp light miso paste
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger root
  • 1.5 tsp sesame oil
  • 5 drops hot pepper sauce
  • pepper to taste
  • pinch sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS

  • Place salmon fillet on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Mix remaining ingredients, except sesame seeds, in a small bowl.
  • Brush salmon with light layer of glaze.
  • Broil on high for 8 minutes.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds, serve with rice and steamed Chinese broccoli or bok choy, and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 200 calories, 4 g carbs, 9 g fat (the healthy kind!), 23 g protein, 1 g fibre

Shrimp & Tofu Red Thai Curry

When I see a thai curry on a menu I just can’t help but indulge myself, though I cringe to think of the hidden fats and salts seeping into me. Needless to say, this has been a dish that’s been on my learn-to-make-healthy list for a while. Using lite coconut milk and drastically cutting the fish sauce, this curry is actually really healthy and totally satisfying!

20120626-114449.jpg

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves or bay leaves
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 6 spears asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1/2 large zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 1 small can sliced bamboo shoots
  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 40 jumbo shrimp (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • red chili flakes to taste

Curry Paste

  • 1 shallot
  • 3 tbsp minced lemongrass
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar (or brown/white sugar)
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

DIRECTIONS

  • Place all curry paste ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Bring coconut milk, leaves and curry paste to a boil in a large pot.
  • Add in all vegetables, tofu and shrimp, cover and let simmer until shrimp are no longer pink, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat, serve over steamed rice and garnish with red chili flakes and cilantro. Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 351 calories, 20 g carbs (8.5 g sugars), 16 g fat, 32 g protein, 4 g fibre

Chicken Feta Fajita Salad

Hot summer days call for light summer salads! We were totally craving Mexican food yesterday to go along with all the heat, but figured we’d replace the carbs from the fajita tortilla shells with a couple of Coronas 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chicken breasts (450 g)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 10 drops tabasco sauce
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup sliced white mushrooms
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1 medium avocado, sliced
  • 60 g light feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime

DIRECTIONS

  • Slice chicken into long strips.
  • Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large frying pan.
  • Add chicken strips and stir until all sides are cooked, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add in chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne, pepper and tabasco.
  • Add bell pepper, onion and mushrooms. Stir and cook until vegetables soften. Remove from heat.
  • Divide baby spinach among serving plates and top with chicken and veggies, followed by avocado, feta and cilantro.
  • Serve with lime wedge on the side and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 386 calories, 18 g carbs (4 g sugar), 14 g fat, 43 g protein, 8 g fibre , 334 mg sodium

Jerk Chicken Mango Salad

I went over to my girlfriend Afshaan’s last night to plan her baby shower (baby due late August!) but naturally we ended up more focused on the food we were going to eat right then than the party we should have been planning… guess we’ll just have to get together for another girls night!

Afshaan mentioned she had had an awesome jerk chicken salad with mango and coconut at a restaurant in the city, so we took that as inspiration for this spicy and coconutty-sweet salad.

All I knew about jerk spice was that it was made up of a plethora of spices, so we just threw whatever sounded good into a bowl with a little white vinegar and olive oil and voila, jerk spice! It actually turned out REALLY tasty. I must say, we impressed ourselves.

The salad dressing was even more delicious and simply coconut milk, lemon juice, chives, red chili flakes, salt and pepper. Easy to whip up and only 30 calories per tbsp!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups spring mix salad greens (or spinach would be great too!)
  • 12 baby carrots, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 tbs crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbsp craisins
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 small mango, cut into bitesize pieces

Jerk Sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried chopped chives
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cardamon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad Dressing

  • 2 tsp coconut milk
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix all jerk spice ingredients together in a small bowl. Lay 1 tsp of sauce on baking sheet and place chicken breast over top. Pour remaining jerk sauce over chicken. Bake for 28 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Mix all salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Lay lettuce mix over serving plates followed by carrots, craisins, mango and feta. Top with salad dressing.
  • Remove cooked chicken from oven. Slice, lay over salad, serve and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 395 calories, 36 g carbs, 15 g fat, 36 g protein, 7 g fibre