Indian Spiced Chickpea Skillet Cake


Here in Southern Ontario, the Greater Toronto Area to be exact, we experienced what is akin to a heat wave in winter this past weekend. Temperatures in the (low) double digits (Celsius that is) warmed our bodies and our souls and an abundance of sunshine made everything seemed brighter. Sigh, we collectively needed this! Or at least I needed this. Days like this weekend remind me that everything is going to be okay. Life will be okay. More than okay! Spring is around the corner, we just have to hang in there for a few more weeks.

You know what else warms the body and soul? Spicy, flavourful, easy dishes made with nourishing ingredients. You might have noticed that I love spice. A lot of spice. Like, all the spice in the world. And by spice I mean spices AND heat. In my world, the hotter the better. It’s like an addiction and I often crave spicy foods. My sister gets me. She’s just the same.


In this spiced chickpea skillet cake the spice comes from some wonderfully robust Indian inspired spices like cumin seeds and fresh ginger, as well as from green chilies which you can dial up or down based on your preferences. You can guess which direction I went! This skillet cake is modelled after an Indian dish called dhokla, if only in flavours and ingredients, not actual execution. Traditional dhokla requires a pressure cooker to make and yields a spongy, super light savoury cake. Like a cloud in your mouth! I rely on baking powder to help achieve a bit of this airiness, though my recipe creates something much more dense and filling. In any case, it’s taste is reminiscent of dhokla and that is all I can wish for. To make it a bit more traditional you could drizzle the finished skillet cake in black mustard seeds and chopped green chilies fried in oil. Alas, no mustard seeds in my cupboard and the stores were closed due to a holiday. I decided to go for it anyway!  


I love using chickpea flour as it is super cheap (I buy it at a bulk store) and packed with fibre, protein and a host of micronutrients. One 1/2 cup serving of chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo flour or besan) provides you with 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fibre, as well as about half of your daily folate and a quarter of your daily iron requirements. Please ask me where I get my protein from the next time you see me. It’s also naturally gluten-free (though if you have Celiac disease please buy it in sealed packages!)

Please excuse the seemingly long instructions but I get chatty. And also I needed to explain how I MacGyvered my skillet to have a snug lid to fit over top of it. Yup, using skills in the kitchen!


Indian Spiced Chickpea Skillet Cake

Serves 4-6

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 10-13 minutes


2 cups chickpea flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2  teaspoon ground turmeric

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups water

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 small lime)

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, packed

1 Tablespoon neutral-tasting oil (avocado, canola, grapeseed, refined coconut)

1 Tablespoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds (optional)

1 Tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger

1-2 chopped green chilies, leave seeds in

Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro, sliced green chilies, lime


1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk chickpea flour, baking powder, salt and pepper to combine. Add water and lime juice and whisk well, ensuring batter is smooth and lump free. Set aside.

2. Choose an oven-proof, non-stick frying pan or well seasoned cast iron skillet, for which you have a tight fitting lid (I used a lid from a large stock pot and used a couple of pieces of tin foil to plug the gaps along the rim of the skillet). Heat oil over medium-high, then add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ginger and chilies. Fry, stirring often, until fragrant and seeds begin to pop,  about 1-2 minutes.

3. Add fried spices, ginger and chilies to chickpea batter and whisk in. Don’t worry if you don’t get every seed and bit from skillet. Place skillet back on the stove and turn heat down to low. Carefully pour chickpea batter into the skillet and cover with the lid (no peeking – the key is to allow steam to build up and help in cooking the cake.) Cook over low heat for 6-8 minutes, until bubbles appear on surface and mixture starts to set (you will notice the top of the cake will start to dry out and become less jiggly.) Be careful not to burn the skillet cake! Low heat is key here. While cake is cooking on the stove top, set oven on to broil.

4. Once batter is mostly set, remove from heat, remove lid and place skillet on middle rack and broil for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully to ensure skillet cake does not burn! This is not the time to walk away and start a new task. Carefully remove skillet from the oven (it’s hot!) and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, you can flip the  skillet cake out of the pan onto a serving plate, or serve straight  form the skillet. Top with desired garnishes. It tastes best when warm, so eat right away! Or store leftovers in the fridge and reheat before eating.


And now for a PSA: Let me know if you make this recipe! Share with your friends! Like and comment below!


Enjoy life and good food and sunshine,


Double Dark Chocolate Truffles (Vegan)


img_3584-3Keeping it short and sweet today. Just like this recipe. A sweet, simple treat for Valentine’s Day. Or any day. Maybe every day? These decadent truffles taste like they came from a fancy chocolate shop but in fact require only four main ingredients and a bit of chilling time to make. Insanely rich, smooth and satisfyingly chocolaty, they will surely impress your sweetheart or whoever the lucky recipient may be.


I can’t say I always liked celebrating V Day. Totally jaded and turned off by the artificially manufactured saccharin sweetness of the whole thing made me indifferent at best. But I suppose over the years I have realized that celebrating anything in life is a good foil for the negativity and wretchedness of what goes on around us. The world needs more love. So why not honour it, even if it is with tacky cards and overpriced flowers. Better yet, with truffles. Double dark chocolate truffles. Vegan and easy at that. Make them and share them or hoard them for yourself. Love yourself. Love those around you. Love your family. Love life. And hey, love carnations too! They are in fact beautiful but for some reason have  been relegated to the bottom of the barrel for far too long. I love you carnations. You complete me.


Don’t be scared of the long instructions, I’ve just included tips that that I have found helpful along the way. And here are some pictures to help you out as well…

Chilled bowl of ganache:


Scooped ganache chillin’:


Rolled and ready for some cocoa lovin’:


Sprinkled with cocoa:


Rock and roll  time:


Double Dark Chocolate Truffles

Makes 16-18 truffles

Prep Time 30 minutes (total)

Chill Time 2 hours


200g dairy-free dark chocolate chips (1 cup + 2 Tablespoons chocolate chips)*

125ml light coconut milk

1 Tablespoon (15ml) virgin coconut oil

pinch of sea salt

2 Tablespoons (30ml) cocoa powder


1. Place chocolate chips in medium-sized bowl; find a plate that will fit over bowl to cover.

2. In a small saucepan combine coconut milk and coconut oil and  heat over medium heat until just starting to bubble. Pour the hot liquid over the chocolate chips (don’t mix yet!) and cover with the plate. After about 2 minutes, remove plate add the pinch of sea salt and stir chocolate mixture. The chocolate chips should have melted in the hot liquid, but if there is still some unmelted chocolate, microwave in 15 second intervals until fully melted. You have now  made ganache! Cover bowl with the plate again and refrigerate for about 2 hours, until mixture has firmed up.

3. Once mixture is cooled and firm, but still moldable, remove from fridge. Using a small ice cream scoop (a great tool for this part, mine holds just a little bit more than 1 Tablespoon), scoop out ganache, level off and turn out onto the plate that was covering the bowl. Repeat until you’ve used up all the ganache. The chilled plate helps to prevent the truffles from melting or becoming too soft. If you don’t have a small ice cream scoop, use a Tablespoon measuring spoon for this.

4. Now roll each ganache mound with your hands into an evenly shaped, smooth ball and place on a small rimmed cookie sheet or a shallow glass dish; line the cookie sheet or dish with parchment paper if you like. It helps to cool your hands under running cold water, then drying them thoroughly before rolling – this prevents the ganache from sticking to your hands. You may have to wash your hands once or twice during the rolling process if they become sticky.

5. Once all the truffles are rolled, scoop the cocoa powder into a small fine-meshed sieve and sift over the truffles. Next, roll the truffles around by shaking the cookie sheet or dish gently until the truffles are entirely coated. I’ve found this to be the most efficient way to coat the truffles in the cocoa powder.

6. Transfer the truffles into an airtight container and keep at room temperature for a few days or in the fridge for up to a week (if they last that long). Enjoy!

* I used Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels; you can also use 200g of your favourite bar chocolate finely chopped. Choose good-quality chocolate as it’s the star ingredient!


If  you do end up making these, share your creations on social media and tag with #soundbitesnutrition.

Have a lovely Valentine’s Day and eat lots of chocolate!




Smokey Chickpea Potato Soup

img_3127I’m on a mission. A mission to get people  to spend more time in their kitchens. Please don’t run away screaming just yet! Hear me out. We demand a lot from our bodies – vitality, energy, a healthy weight. We likely invest time and money in insuring our bodies against illness and ageing – gym  memberships, anti-aging products, yoga, meditation. Yet we are afraid of spending time in the kitchen. Think about it – we are constantly hearing messages about time-saving recipes, convenience foods, short cuts, prepared meals and so on. So much so that we have become averse to our appliances and all that equipment languishing in our cupboards. We drag our feet and protest against cooking, citing long lists of priorities. But preparing food is at the basic level of self-care. We should, in fact, be running towards our kitchens  instead of away from them. Cooking more is one of the ways, perhaps  the most important way, we will be able to resolve so many of our food and health issues. When we prioritize cooking for ourselves and our families, we declare that taking care of our bodies through whole, nourishing meals consumed at our dining tables in the company of our loved ones matters.

Now I get that spending more time in the kitchen doesn’t mean spending ALL of our time in the kitchen. We still want easy to prepare recipes that aren’t going to send  us on a wild goose chase trying to track down unusual spices. There is a time and place for that, and I do admit that I enjoy spending my time unearthing exotic foods and perusing aisles of newly discovered markets. But recognizing that’s not everyone’s cup of tea and with the mission to get people to cook more in mind, I decided to create a recipe that is made with simple ingredients and requires only fundamental cooking skills. In fact I challenged myself to create a recipe with items I already had on hand!


Soups are really at the very centre of convenience cooking. One pot, a bunch of familiar ingredients and a few spices to add flavour and flair, and a bit of idle time. That’s it. This soup contains potatoes, an often vilified vegetable (probably for its incarnations as chips  and fries) but actually delivers a bunch of nutrients in a pretty convenient package. One medium potato with the skin on provides a third of your B6 and a quarter of your potassium and vitamin C needs as well as 15%of your daily fibre requirement. Carrots add colour and beta carotene and chickpeas stand in as the filling, fibre-rich protein source. Despite usually being relegated to decoration, I added parsley as much for its flavour as for its surprising nutritional punch: a quarter cup of chopped parsley provides a quarter of your vitamin C and almost 300% (yes you read that right) of your vitamin K needs. Vitamin K is a powerful fat-soluble vitamin that is involved in the  blood clotting process, so you know, you don’t bleed to death!! Thank you vitamin K *gives high  five*.

As always, this recipe is plant-based but can be enjoyed by everyone. As with many soups and stews, this one tastes even better the next day – so perfect for leftovers! What is your favourite quick and easy to prepare meal that you often cook for yourself and your families?



Smokey Potato Chickpea Soup

Makes 6 servings

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes


2 Tablespoons avocado or extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon smoked paprika, hot or mild

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning*

3 medium potatoes, skin left on, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 5 cups)

3 carrots, peeled, sliced into rounds or half moons (about 3 cups)**

6-7 cups water

1 (19oz/540ml) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2-3/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1-2 teaspoons sea salt, to taste

1/2-3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1.       In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.

2.       Add the smoked paprika, sweet paprika, cumin, Italian seasoning and half of  the salt and pepper to the pot and stir for about a minute until fragrant.

3.       Add the potato, carrot and water, stir to combine. Increase heat  to high, bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and carrots are just fork-tender (be careful not to overcook!)

4.       Finally stir in the chickpeas and parsley, and adjust salt, pepper and seasonings to your taste.

 *If you  don’t have Italian seasoning on hand, just use any combination of thyme, oregano, basil, dried sage and rosemary.

**This soup will thicken as it stands (especially overnight), add extra water to thin it or just enjoy as is. I used 6 cups of water.


-I  add the onion and garlic to the pot off the heat as I chop them. Once I have all the other ingredients prepared, I add the oil and turn on the heat.

-I chop the parsley and rinse the chickpeas while the soup is simmering, to cut down on prep time.

-If this recipe leaves you with a bunch of leftover parsley, use it in salads, pasta and rice dishes, smoothies and sprinkle extra on the soup before serving.


Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola


Awww man, y’all are gonna lose your shhhh for this one! Believe it or not, this is only one of the very few times I have made my own granola. I’ve had every intention in the past, just zero execution. Confession: that could be said about other aspects of my life too, I suppose. Procrastination is the name of my game and I am VERY good at it (let it not be said that I don’t have any skills!) If putting things off until the last minute and figuring out ways to avoid what I need to do by doing everything else instead was a sport, I’d be a world champion. That’s not to say I’m lazy – just good at deferring. And even in the kitchen, I cook all the time but creating workable, tasty recipes that make sense and can be replicated is another thing on its own – that requires planning, forethought, precision, and measuring spoons. All of which just slow me down in the kitchen. But the desire to share good food that is delicious and nourishing in equal measures finally succeeded – and so I have hunkered down, with note pad and pen in one hand and measuring cups in the other (or something like that) and started not just making food, but actually developing recipes. Who am I?? Also, it helps that my recent foray into this was received so generously by my family and friends, one just can’t help but be inspired to go on.

So let’s get on with this recipe. There are some food pairings that just seem to be made for each other: peanut butter and jam, coconut and pineapple, lime and tequila. And of course chocolate plus cherries, the darlings of this recipe. I mean, when have chocolate and cherries together ever been a bad idea? Never. Am I right? Thought it has to be said that the cherries also go beautifully with the hazelnuts in this recipe, and the almonds, and well the chocolate goes with just about anything (chocolate + hazelnuts, enough said.) So what we end up with is a jar full of goodness that just loves to intermingle, and each ingredient, while good on its own, elevates the others. A metaphor for a utopian society dare I say? If granola can inspire a visionary world view, well all the better in my opinion.

I had some family and friends try this granola out on its first outing and the reviews were fantastic. On top of yogurt, paired with almond milk for breakfast, or straight up out of the jar by the fistful, everyone fell in love. The recipe is pretty simple too: you mix the dry ingredients together, and essentially make a raw chocolate to coat everything in. Mmm, a chocolate bath. I know that dried cherries can be quite pricy but a little goes a long way. In any case, feel free to substitute dried cranberries instead if that’s all you have on hand. That goes also for the nuts and seeds, change those up if you want but keep the amounts the same. It’s a pretty flexible recipe – and far better than most of the granola you can buy, both in taste and nutrition. Nourishing dried fruit, seeds, nuts and oats with antioxidant rich cocoa powder and a touch of maple syrup. That’s it.




Finally I have to say I chuckled a bit when naming this recipe. I though, once people read chocolate and cherries I will have them sold! They won’t even notice the word granola in there. Muahaha, got you!

Oh! One  more thing, as I was eating this bowl of granola I was rewarded with a delicious, rich chocolatey almond milk. Never a bad thing.



Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola

vegan, soy-free, gluten-free option

Makes about 6 cups

Prep time 10 minutes 

Cook time 30-35 minutes


1 1/2 cup large flake rolled oats, gluten-free if needed

1 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup hemp hearts

1/2 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped

scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 300˚F (150˚C) and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts and dried cherries and salt. Stir well.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt coconut oil, remove from heat and whisk in maple syrup, cocoa powder and vanilla.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture over the dry mixture and stir well until everything is well-coated.
  5. Tip the granola mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out into an even layer. Press down on the mixture with a spatula or wooden spoon so that it sticks together.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir, again spreading it our into an even layer and pressing it down. Bake for another 15-20 minutes. Let the granola cool completely on the baking sheet, it will harden as it cools. Break the granola up into clusters and transfer into an airtight container (I use glass jars).


You can chop the nuts by pulsing in a food processor.

Substitute equal amounts of other nuts, seeds, dried fruit as you wish.


Veggie and Rice Nori Bowl with Tempeh + Green Tahini Sauce

Summer weather is upon us, in my part of the world anyway. Somehow, despite the sunshine, I am coaxed back into the kitchen to create something fresh and vibrant to nourish my body. Most (sane) people avoid the kitchen when the thermometer shoots up. But, alas, sanity is not my strong suit. Fresh from an hour of weight training, I conjured up this bowl while driving home. Truthfully, minimum oven/stove time was on my mind. As a side note, I really need to start keeping a notebook close by for when inspiration hits – I often think up food ideas and then promptly forget to make them. And then forget all about them. Not this time! I got home, set the rice to cook, and got busy chopping veggies. I did my food prep outside to squeeze in every ounce of this warmth and long daytime hours  (it’s 9pm as I type and still light out!)



I must have had sushi on my mind (which, now that I think of it, makes sense – we’re planning a sushi night with friends) because the result definitely echoes deconstructed sushi (read: too lazy or inept to roll sushi so just gonna pile it all into a bowl.)


In any case, it turned out awesome! Filling, vibrant, verdant, nourishing. And fast.
I must note that the quantities of veggies seem big, but I LOVE my veggies, and leftover veggies aren’t really a bad thing, right? You might also have leftover sauce – just use on roasted veggies or cooked grains. Would be great on roasted potatoes.


Veggie and Rice Nori Bowl with Tempeh + Green Tahini Sauce
Makes 4-6 servings

Prep time 20 minutes, cook time 25 minutes (if rice starts cooking as you prep veggies)

Veggie and Rice Nori Bowl
1 cup short grain brown rice, dry
1 head of broccoli, chopped into bite size florets
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite size florets
1-2 zucchini, sliced
2-3 inch fresh ginger, julienned
2-4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 Tablespoon sesame or coconut oil
3-4 Tablespoons tamari sauce
3-4 Tablespoons water
Raw nori sheets for serving

1. Cook rice according to directions.
2. Heat oil in very large wok or skillet over medium-high heat, add ginger and garlic and stir fry for a minute.
3. Add cauliflower, broccoli, tamari and water. Stir fry for 6-8 minutes (until slightly cooked but still crisp). Add zucchini and stir fry another 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

1 block tempeh, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoon tamari

1. Heat oil in non-stick frying pan over medium-high. Lay tempeh slices in one layer on frying pan, cook 3-4 minutes per side, until golden.
2. Take off heat and sprinkle tamari over tempeh. Set aside.

Green Tahini Sauce
1 small bunch parsley, trimmed (can leave stalks)
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1-2 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon light miso
Fresh ground pepper to taste.

1. Place everything in blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Assemble bowl: place nori sheet in bowl, add rice, a generous amount of veggies, a few slices of tempeh and drizzle with sauce. Enjoy!

Variations: instead of rice you can use quinoa or millet; instead of tempeh you can use tofu, chickpeas or beans.

Grain and veggie bowls are about the easiest meal you can make and the combinations are endless! Enjoy 🙂



Easy Quinoa and Fennel Dinner…and a Whole Lotta Snow!

Ughh. Just as I sat down to write this post I spilled a glass of red wine…it splattered across almost the entire surface area of my kitchen floor and on part of a fabric covered chair. Lovely. What a waste. Good thing I wasn’t at the bottom of the bottle just yet.

So I’ve topped up my tipple and now on with it…

Doesn’t this look hearty?


Served up with a bit of insanely fiery homemade hot sauce…


Up close and personal.



This is the type of good-for-you dish with stick-to-your-ribs flavours that make sense on a day like this:


Yeah, you could say we got a bit of snow this past weekend. In my part of the world this equates to the biggest snow fall since 2008.


I wish I was in possession of that snow blower. But secretly I kind of like shoveling snow. It’s free exercise…I’m sure right about now I’ve convinced enough of you that I’m crazy 🙂


Also, not so secretly, all I wanted to do was go tobogganing…no brave soul wanted to join me.

But I digress, back to food. While I mentioned previously that I made this dish last week, it came to mind as the wind whipped shrapnel-like snow in my face.

Easy Quinoa and Fennel Dinner

This dish is choc-full of hearty, “meaty” flavours courtesy of the fennel, herbs and spicy vegetarian sausage. I use vegan meat substitutes sparingly but was in the mood for something like this. You could easily substitute the sausage with cubed extra firm tofu or tempeh. Be sure to press out the excess water from the tofu if using; a good marinating in some tamari, apple cider vinegar and olive oil wouldn’t hurt either the tofu or tempeh.

Serves 4

1 cup dry quinoa

3 Tablespoons good quality canola oil (I use Maison Orphee, it’s got a magical golden yellow colour)

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely sliced

2 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground (I use a pestle and mortar for this task, you could also use a coffee grinder dedicated to spices)

1 generous teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, or to taste

salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grindings of black pepper)

2 Italian Tofurky sausages, cut in half moons (or use extra firm tofu or tempeh)

1 cup frozen peas

Add quinoa to about 5-6 cups of boiling water. Boil for 10-11 minutes, drain well in a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.

Heat oil in a large frying pan (non-stick or cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add onions and fennel and cook, stirring now and then, until they start taking on a nice golden colour, about 8-10 minutes.

Add ground fennel, thyme, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Stir-fry until fragramt, about 30 seconds.

Next, push onion and fennel to the sides of the frying pan, add the sausage in the middle and cook until starting to brown, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the cooked quinoa and frozen peas (they defrost nicely in a minute or two). Combine everything together. Cook another few minutes until peas are ready and adjust flavours to your liking.

Enjoy with a dollop of hot sauce. Vegan sour cream, a squirt of lime juice or avocado works nicely here too.

IMG_1162 IMG_1146

I made the accompanying hot sauce a few months back using hot peppers of an unidentified variety purchased at the local farmers market. The farmer warned me they were peppy. He wasn’t kidding. I used a compilation of recipes to come up with this furiously scorching mixture. No joke this stuff is H.O.T. (and I say this as someone who thinks Frank’s Red Hot is tame). I put this homespun S&%@ on everything!

Now let me see if I can remember the ingredients in time for the upcoming but still-so-far-away farmers market season.

Peace, love and spiciness,