Nettie Cronish is a vegetarian and organic foods chef, culinary instructor and cookbook author. She is the author of 6 cookbooks: Nourish: Whole Food Recipes Featuring Seeds (which was co-authored with registered dietitian Cara Rosenbloom of Words to Eat By), Nuts & Beans, Flex Appeal: A Vegetarian Cookbook For Families With Meat-Eaters, Everyday Flexitarian: Recipes for Vegetarians & Meat Lovers Alike, New Vegetarian Basics, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being Vegetarian in Canada, and Nettie’s Vegetarian Kitchen.
For 25 years, Nettie was the resident culinary instructor at The Big Carrot Natural Foods store in Toronto, Canada. For the vegetarian and flexitarian curious, she also gives classes at Nella Cucina, President’s Choice Cooking School (Loblaws), the LCBO and Nature’s Emporium.
Nettie’s cooking philosophy is that “delicious is a pre-requisite for healthy”. As a busy mother of three, she has extensive experience getting dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. Below are three of her favourite recipes.
Stacked Tortilla & Bean Pie
"This recipe has a spectacular layered presentation and is great for a buffet table. This pie is delicious hot, cold or at room temperature, and it makes great leftovers." —Nettie
- 4 whole grain tortillas (10 inch/25 cm each), trimmed
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno chile, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
- ½ tsp (2 mL) sea salt
- ¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
- 19 oz (560 mL) can no-added-salt pinto beans, drained
- 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) dark beer or water
- 1 cup (250 mL) frozen corn niblets
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 cups (500 mL) shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup (60 mL) thinly sliced fresh chives
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Using a paring knife, trim the tortillas to fit a 9-inch (23 cm) spring-form pan.
- In a large skillet over medium, heat the oil. Add onion, jalapeno, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 6 minutes.
- Add the beans and beer to the skillet, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the liquid has evaporated, about 10–12 minutes. Stir in the corn and red pepper. Remove from heat.
- Place tortilla in bottom of the spring-form pan. Layer with a quarter of the beans and ½ cup (125 mL) cheese. Repeat three more times, finishing with cheese on the top layer.
- Bake until cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Unmold the pie; sprinkle with chives. Let stand for 10 minutes to set. Serve sliced into 6 wedges.
415 calories, 18 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 668 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrates, 7 g fibre, 4 g sugars, 18 g protein. Very high in fibre. Excellent source of calcium. Good source of riboflavin, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin C, magnesium, and iron.
Spring-form pans are not only for cakes! A spring-form pan is ideal for this tortilla pie as it helps to keep the layers intact without the filling falling out. Turn the bottom of the spring-form pan upside down before assembling the pie, since this side of the bottom has no lip, making it easier to slide the pie off after baking.
Colourful Quinoa Salad
Everyone enjoys this quinoa salad! It’s got a terrific crunch from the nuts and seeds, and peppery flavour from the radishes. Plus, it’s a great way to use both dried fruit and fresh vegetables. It’s a full meal in a bowl! Make a double batch if you’re taking it to a party—it will be a hit. —Nettie
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) raw unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
- 2 cups (500 mL) no-salt-added vegetable broth or water
- 1 tsp (5 mL) sea salt, divided
- 1 cup (250 mL) quinoa, rinsed
- ¼ cup (60 mL) fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup (60 mL) fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup (250 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ cup (125 mL) thinly sliced fresh chives
- 14 oz (410 mL) can no-salt added aduki beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 radishes, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 carrot, grated
- ½ cup (125 mL) dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Spread the seeds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast in the oven for 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Pour them into the bowl and set aside to cool.
- In a saucepan over high heat, bring broth, 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of salt and quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed. Let stand for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork. Transfer cooked quinoa to a large bowl.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the lime and lemon juice, oil, cilantro, chives, and remaining ½ tsp (2 mL) salt. Whisk well. Pour on top of quinoa. Stir to combine.
- Add the toasted seeds, aduki beans, radishes, red pepper, carrots and dried cranberries to the quinoa. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
- Taste for seasonings and add more salt if needed.
400 calories, 22 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 597 mg sodium, 42 g carbohydrates, 7 g fibre, 9 g sugars, 12 g protein. Very high in fibre. Excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, magnesium and iron. Good source of vitamin B6 and zinc.
Quinoa is naturally coated with a bitter substance called saponin, which protects it from birds and critters. Rinse off the saponin to remove the bitter taste. Use a fine mesh strainer to rinse your quinoa; it will fall through the holes in a regular strainer. Hold under cold running water for 3 minutes or until there are no more bubbles and the water runs clear.
Roasted chickpeas are so addictive and are a perfect snack or appetizer when combined with nuts and seeds. The reason we specifically recommend kosher salt in this recipe is because its coarse texture will add more of a crunch than the fine granules found in fine sea salt. This is a snack food, after all—you want to taste some salt! —Cara
- 14 oz (410 mL) can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
- 1 tsp (5 mL) paprika
- 1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt
- ½ tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup (250 mL) raw unsalted almonds, halved
- ¼ cup (60 mL) raw unsalted sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup (60 mL) raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
- Preheat the oven to 400°F
- In a medium bowl, combine the chickpeas, oil, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Add the almonds, stir and roast for another 10 minutes. Add sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Roast for 5–10 more minutes until brown and crisp. Remove from oven and pour into a medium-sized bowl. Season with extra salt, if needed, and serve immediately.
261 calories, 20 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 208 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrates, 5 g fibre, 1 g sugars, 8 g protein. High in fibre. Excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium and manganese. Good source of folate, zinc and copper.
You can follow Nettie Cronish on Twitter @nettiecronish and Whitecap Books @whitecapbooks.