Category: Whole Grain Recipes

Add a handful of basil and parsley, a few shavings of garlic, salt, pepper, two teaspoons of yogurt and a dash of oil to roti flour / whole wheat flour ( about two and a half cups) to make a dough that will make some flavourful rotis that will leave a fresh aftertaste in your mouth!image image image image

Purple Cabbage and Sesame Pizza

Red Cabbage and Sesame Pizza

What I love about pizza is that you can play with it! This time I went the Asian route with cabbage, green onions and sesame. You could add mushrooms or bok choy in the mix too! Using well-seasoned veggies on a whole wheat crust is a guaranteed way to have a delicious and healthy meal:).

For those who want to replicate my creation, here’s the recipe: Make a whole wheat crust using  Wolfgang Puck’s Pizza Dough Recipe. I use whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour.  Once the dough is ready to be used, cut the red cabbage into thin strips. Mix it with some chopped green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 500 F or 260 C. Roll out the dough to the desired size and shape and, brush with oil. Spread the vegetable mixture onto the pizza. Top off with a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds. Bake the pizza in the oven for seven minutes. Then add, some tomato slices to the pizza and bake the pizza for another 5-6 minutes. Add a drizzle of soy sauce and / sesame oil to the pizza before eating.

Quinoa Salad

Red Quinoa Salad with a generous dose of veggies:)

Quinoa, packed with protein and loaded with fibre, is one the more popular superfoods of the day. Anyone who has eaten quinoa is almost always thankful that this yummy food, which comes in red and white, is good for you :)!

Today, I made this oil-free  light yet filling quinoa salad that looked as good as it tasted. And when I ate it for lunch this afternoon, it kept me full till the evening. It’s super easy to make so here goes the recipe  (for two meal-sized servings) —

Cook quinoa in water as per the instructions on the packet. I cooked one cup of raw quinoa. Then, chop half a large onion, two medium-sized tomatoes and a generous handful of coriander leaves aka cilantro. Cook two corn cobs in the microwave or grill. Shave the corn kernels and mix them with chopped vegetables and 200 g of cooked black beans. Season with salt, lemon juice and five finely chopped small green chilies. Add quinoa to the vegetable mix, a little at a time. Stop when you have the desired ratio of quinoa to veggies. Mix and adjust the seasoning. Serve the quinoa salad cold.

Needless to say, you could add peppers, cucumbers, avocado, sliced radishes or anything else you wish to the quinoa salad.

Lunch boxes simply rock! Anybody battling weight or cholesterol issues will enthusiastically second that. Though most of us love the concept, we get lost in the hectic pace of our workdays and never get around to actually cooking and packing lunches. Beginning with this blog, Lean Streak will give some simple ideas that could help you make healthy and hearty homemade lunches happen.

Lean Lunch Box Idea 1: Whole Wheat Penne with Tomato Sauce and Roasted Vegetables

Whole Wheat Penne with Tomato Sauce and Roasted Vegetables

Lean Lunch Box: Whole Wheat Penne with Tomato Sauce and Roasted Veggies

I love this pairing because though the cooking involves a few steps, it is passive cooking. What I mean by that is that you don’t have to be around as the tomato sauce reduces over the stove or the vegetables roast in the oven. Of course the pasta may need a little more attention but that’s only a matter of 10 minutes or so. This kind of passive cooking allows you to plug away at other chores or chat away with family while playing Top Chef.

Method of preparation: Everybody has a favourite tomato sauce recipe, use yours. What I do is saute half a chopped onion with a fat pod of garlic (crushed) and half a teaspoon of chilli flakes. Once the onions cook, I add in three chopped Roma tomatoes (or one and a half large Steak tomatoes) and about six-seven basil leaves. I season with salt and pepper and let the sauce cook for at least half an hour. Then, I  puree it. If you are using a blender, and not an immersion blender, don’t forget to let the tomato-onion mixture cool before you blend. If the sauce is too thin, reduce it further over a  flame.  The measurements I mentioned usually work for about three servings. However, it is best to make a large amount of tomato sauce at a time because it’s so damn versatile.

Cook the whole wheat / brown rice pasta of your choice in boiling salted water. For this meal, I used whole wheat penne. Also, roast whatever vegetables you like with your pasta. I like starting my veggies off on the stove and transferring it to the oven. This saves time because the veggies cook while the oven heats up. But of course, roasting seasoned and lightly oiled veggies wholly in the oven is perfectly fine too. For this meal, I roasted baby asparagus, green beans, carrots and brussels sprouts at 500 F (260 C).

Toss the cooked pasta in tomato sauce and top it with roasted veggies!

Having lived in the United States for several years and having travelled extensively within the country, I have eaten, and continue to eat, a LOT of American food. Though I LOVE my Southern barbecue and my New York Style Pizza, my FAVOURITE American food has to be the Louisiana Creole classic JAMBALAYA!

A self-proclaimed Jambalaya lover, I began cooking Jambalaya from the box! Judge me all you want but as a rookie cook, Zatarain’s Jambalaya Mix was a quick fix for the Jamba junkie in me. Over the years, my culinary prowess has increased considerably (my husband will attest to that :) ), enabling me to make a pretty kick-ass Jambalaya. Today I blog a recipe for a healthier Jambalaya that uses brown rice but is just as delicious.

For eight servings, you will need:

Five tablespoons of olive oil

One and a half medium-sized onions, chopped fine

Three fat pods of garlic, chopped

A generous pinch of oregano

Three bay leaves

Two jalapenos, chopped

Two cups of brown rice

Four cups of low-sodium chicken broth / water or a mix

Five ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped small

Half a green bell pepper + half a red bell pepper, chopped

Four boneless chicken thighs, cubed

One and a half sausages, chopped (Andouille prefered, I used Chourico)

Four handfuls of frozen squid cut into rings (Shrimp is commonly used)

Paprika, one tablespoon

Red chili powder, one tablespoon (You could use ground pepper instead)

Hot sauce, one tablespoon

Worcestershire Sauce, one tablespoon

Salt, to taste

Handful of Coriander leaves / cilantro, chopped

Two green onions, chopped

Method of Preparation:

Coat the bottom of a pot / dutch oven with a thin layer of olive oil and heat over a medium flame. Add in a generous pinch of oregano, bay leaves, chopped onions, jalapenos and garlic. Stir occasionally. Once the onions brown, add in pieces of four tomatoes. Keep one for a little later. Once the tomatoes become tender, add in the bell pepper pieces and the rest of the tomato pieces. Add in the chicken and sausage pieces. After a couple of minutes, add in the squid rings and stir in the brown rice. Add in the water/ broth, salt, paprika, chili powder and  the sauces, and let in cook over a low to medium flame for about 40 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the liquid is reduced. Taste and adjust for salt.

Once cooked, stir in the chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and serve hot. Bon Appetit!

Today, I give the recipe of a slightly modified version of a dish I grew up with — Rava Upma. Traditionally made with semolina (rava) and vegetables, this comforting dish is a staple in South Indian households. While the recipe I give departs slightly from the authentic from time to time, I can confidently say that it unmistakably tastes like a really good upma. In fact if I may dare say, it is better than the semolina version because bulgar wheat has a nutty flavor, a delightful texture and nutritional value that is off the charts.

Bulgur wheat, a cereal made by cracking steamed and toasted whole wheat kernels, makes an excellent base for upma because it comes really close and even manages to upstage the cracked wheat upma that the health conscious eat in India. Cracked wheat, a cracked whole wheat cereal made from raw whole wheat, is also often used as a rice substitute by diabetic patients in India.

Here’s the recipe for the moist and well-spiced bulgar upma that I just made. I will also give you tips on how to jazz up the upma South Indian style. Hope you guys enjoy it!

Bulgur upma with low-fat yoghurt

Bulgur wheat upma with home-made low-fat yoghurt

To make this dish, you will need:

Essential ingredients:

About five tablespoons of canola oil, three and a half cups of cooked bulgur wheat, two small onions, one and a half-inch cube of grated / crushed ginger, three medium-sized tomatoes, three slender carrots, a handful of peas, two handfuls of baby spinach leaves, a sprinkling of chopped coriander leaves (cilantro), salt and red chili powder.

Optional ingredients (Add a more distinct South Indian flair):

A pinch of cumin seeds, a pinch of mustard seeds, a dash of turmeric, a handful of curry leaves and raw peanuts or cashew nuts. You can also add vegetables such as chopped cauliflower, green beans or bell peppers. To gourmet it up, you could add cooked chickpeas in place of nuts. If decadence is what you are in the mood for, add a spoonful butter or ghee (Indian clarified butter).


Chop the onions fine and coat a skillet with oil and heat on a medium flame. Add in a dash mustard, cumin seeds and a handful of chopped cashews or whole peanuts if you like. Once they splutter a little and the nuts roast, add in the curry leaves. Once an aroma develops, add the chopped onions and ginger, and let them cook till they brown slightly. While the onions cook, peel and chop the carrots and cut the tomatoes.

When the onions slightly brown, add in the carrots and stir. After a minute or so, add in the tomato pieces and peas. Let the vegetables cook till the tomatoes become soft and ooze some juice. Once this happens, add one and a quarter tablespoon of red chili powder, a pinch of turmeric and a tablespoon and a half of salt. Mix and add in the cooked bulgur. Stir and let it cook over a low flame. Add in the baby spinach leaves and coriander leaves (cilantro), mix and cook for a couple of minutes. Once the baby spinach leaves become tender, turn off the heat. Taste and adjust for salt and spice.

Serve hot with low-fat yoghurt.

Who wants to slave in the kitchen in the morning? Not me. But I’m not happy with sugary cereal either. A few days ago, I came across this simple Asian-inspired savory breakfast preparation from New York Times’ Mark Bittman. I’ve tried it four times or so with different whole grains and I’m glad to say that this recipe works, especially if you LOVE green onions like I do.

Mark Bittman's savory breakfast made with bulgur

Bulgur Breakfast à la Mark Bittman

Bittman adds scallions, sesame oil and soy sauce to whole grains to make this non-greasy delightful savory breakfast cereal. When I first saw Bittman’s demo, I feared that the dish may be one-note because of the soy and the lack of a spice but the stars of the dish ended up being the scallions and the whole grains. Also, when I am hungry, I add some scrambled egg or diced avocado to the cereal!

The only note of caution I would add is that if you don’t add enough soy, the cereal is a little dry and bland. I usually add a little soy, mix, taste and add some more depending on how much I need.

Watch Bittman weave his magic with wheat berries:

Rotini is a type of helix- or corkscrew-shaped pasta that originates from Northern Italy. The tight twists of the pasta are said to help it retain sauces better. Though rotini is often made from refined wheat flour, in the spirit of Lean Streak, I use whole wheat rotini in this filling and flavorful dish.

To make this simple and flavorful dish, you will need:

350 g of whole wheat rotini, cooked.

Four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Four small dried red chillies

Vegetables, chopped: One onion, two fat garlic pods, half a red pepper, half a green pepper

two cooked sweet corns, two tomatoes

Half a tablespoon of oregano

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

A dash of lemon juice

One cup of 2 % milk

Method of preparation:

Cook the rotini as per the instructions on the box. Don’t forget to add salt to the water in which you cook the pasta. Adding salt during this step will ensure that the pasta doesn’t taste bland. The slightly nutty flavour of the whole wheat pasta definitely deserves to be showcased in all its glory.

While the pasta is cooking, add oil to a saucepan and heat it. Then, add in the dried chilies (whole or broken), chopped onion and minced garlic. Once the onions turn translucent and the aroma develops, add in the chopped red and green peppers. While these get cooked, microwave, grill or boil the corn. Once the peppers are done, add in the chopped tomatoes and stir occasionally for even cooking. After the tomatoes become tender, add in the cooked corn kernels and season with salt, pepper and oregano. Stir and let all the ingredients marry to make a harmonious sauce. After a couple of minutes of cooking, turn off the stove and slowly add in the milk while simultaneously stirring.

Cook the sauce with the milk on a  low flame. After about five minutes, add in the cooked pasta, squeeze in a dash of lemon juice and mix. Cook the pasta-sauce mix over a low-medium flame for three minutes or so. Taste and adjust seasoning. If the pasta is too dry, add in a few tablespoons of milk.

Serve warm. Makes a perfect dinner / lunch.


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