Scavenging for free food is a bit of a competitive sport among hungry McGill students.
If you are lucky, you might be able to score some from Midnight Kitchen, which is a by-donation, volunteer-driven food collective that churns out an array of vegan lunches to the ravenous masses in the Shatner Building every week day.
It’s a sweet deal: free food! Healthy food!
To your chagrin, likeminded people on campus have the same idea. You’ll have to arrive late and be patient or (to the best of your abilities and your VO2 max) arrive early, knocking over a few chairs in the process.
Stylishly jumping over park benches ahead of the line to Midnight Kitchen could have been your comparative advantage, but you didn’t capitalize on that weird Groupon for parkour classes this summer.
Bring your own Tupperware, wait in line, and hope for the best. Hope they don’t run out of that lentil soup. Or make your own, like we did!
Gentle Lentil Soup
Ingredients- Serves 6
2 cups water
1 cup lentils
2 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp paprika
Pinch of Italian seasoning (oregano, rosemary, basil)
2 vegetable stock cubes
2 large potatoes, diced. (leave the peel on!)
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 can chickpeas
If you like chunky soup like we do, make many lentils. The ratio is two cups water to 1 cup lentils. Boil till tender and stick a bay leaf in there, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
The onion and garlic go first. Cook with a smidge of olive oil over medium heat in an enormous pot. Add paprika, lentils, potato, carrots, and chickpeas. Dissolve your stock cubes in a litre of water and add to mixture. Simmer for about 40 minutes, or until potatoes are nice and tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Multiply this recipe if you want to feed people MK style. Great for potlucks!
The eggplant is an awkward vegetable. It’s purple, sports a strange and pointy green hat, and literally resembles a sore thumb. Poor thing.
Give it a bit of an edge. Dice it up and toss it with balsamic vinegar and a few chopped cherry tomatoes. The awkward aubergine will become an enigmatic eggplant as a member of the prestigious bruschetta trio.
Excellent finger food for parties or for dinner, give these bite-sized bites some confetti of their own by sprinkling them with a couple handfuls of shredded cheese before they make their complete retreat from the oven.
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 eggplant, about the size of a canteen
- Splashes of balsamic vinegar (3-4 tbsps)
- Olive oil
- Bit of italian seasoning (basil, oregano, rosemary)
- Pinch of chili flakes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 fresh baguette
- Shredded cheese (totally optional, if that floats your boat)
Heat oven to 350. Chop garlic and let it cook in a bit of olive oil just before turning golden. Add halved cherry tomatoes and a tiny bit of salt. Place a large lid over skillet and wait until tomatoes look kind of wrinkly.
Meanwhile, chop eggplant and add into mixture. Add couple splashes of balsamic vinegar and a coin of olive oil and cook until texture is spongy. Incorporate spices, salt, pepper.
Cut baguette into 1-2cm thick disks with a serrated knife (looks like it has shark teeth). Lay on a flat baking tray lined with either parchment or aluminum foil. Pat each with olive oil and a spoonful of bruschetta. Let cook in oven for about 7 minutes.
Take out of oven and add cheese. Crank the heat up to broil if you want to brulée your cheese. Re-insert into the fiery furnace for a minute or two. Watching cheese melt is like watching the sun set.
We love snacks. Like hobbits, we’re ready to graze on something at any given time during the day. We have made emergency provisions for a week filled with group meetings, essays, and midterms by (quite literally) stirring up a large batch of sweet potato hummus. Eat it with vegetables, crackers, or as a spread on your sandwich. Your taste buds will hum in delight at its velvety texture and notes of wholesome saccharine goodness.
Sweet Potato Hummus (Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon)
Fills 1 large yogurt container
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 6 tbsp tahini
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Begin by peeling the sweet potatoes and boiling them to an oblivion, or until soft and can be readily pierced with a fork.
Rinse and drain can of chickpeas and add sweet potatoes, garlic, tahini, and all spices. Blend together until smooth (we used our handy hand blender).
Stir in salt and pepper, to taste.
Yummy hummus! (Try saying that ten times fast)
Peter Piper’s pickled peppers are unappetizing. Allow your tongue to twist itself around this wonderful mosaic of colours and textures instead.
Buried within the recesses of these sweet red peppers are a mixture of pearly ancient grains, purple legumes, and leafy greens. Surrounded by a moat of spice-plenty tomato sauce, this meal is an impressive monument of flavour and charm.
The dairy can be omitted if you are vegan, however we strongly encourage sealing these capsicum capsules with a stringy, gooey, generous heap of cheese. You’ll utter a guttural and embarrassingly audible groan of satisfaction when you eat this. It’s love at first bite.
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 4 red bell peppers
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 handfuls fresh spinach
- 4 mushrooms, diced
- 1 can kidney beans
- mozzarella cheese, grated, to taste (optional)
Cumin-Spiked Tomato Sauce
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp italian herbs
- Chili flakes, to taste
- a few dashes montreal steak spice
- salt, to taste
Combine 1 cup water with 1/2 cup quinoa and bring to boil. Crank heat down to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the grains are translucent.
Meanwhile, take off the tops of the peppers and de-seed them. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the peppers for five minutes. Drain and let cool.
While the peppers are cooling, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Sauté the onions until translucent, then add the mushrooms and cook until tender. Add the kidney beans and spinach, and continue to sauté until the spinach has wilted. Add the cooked quinoa and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Simmer all ingredients until warmed through.
Place the peppers upright in a casserole dish. Stuff them to the brim with the quinoa and vegetable mixture, then coat them with ladles upon ladles of sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes has passed, sprinkle cheese on top and broil for an additional two to five minutes.
Spice up your life.
Although beets look like brains, they will fuel yours with the nutrients it needs to outlast the last of your midterms. Arm your hands with gloves lest you want your fingernails stained a bright fuchsia. These chips are easy to make and will be ready in ten minutes or less. You’ll never want to settle for an ordinary golden potato chip again when you can crunch and munch upon these vibrant half-moons of red delight.
- Olive oil
Line a long, flat pan with aluminum foil (if you have it) and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice beets thinly (width should be about 2 centimetres) and toss to coat with olive oil and salt. Lay on pan and bake for about 10 minutes, or until crunchy.
Beat that beet up and enjoy!!
Whenever you’re in a hurry, make some curry! It’s preparation is simple, especially when you have a sous-chef to chop everything up for you. It is also one of those impressive but deceptively easy “Hey, I know how to cook” meals. Vegetarian by design, this dish will the be magic Swiffer of your refrigerator by making good use of your leftover legumes.
While originally a tomato curry, we had the liberty of tossing whatever we felt necessary into our little simmering concoction. It’s like the devil’s snare, engulfing any and all vegetables with its flavours.
Make coconut rice to accompany this dish. It will cleanse your palette and soothe your stomach.
We have curried favour with this recipe and sincerely hope you do too.
Tomato Vegetable Curry (Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen)
Ingredients - Serves 5
- 2 onions
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- Couple handfuls of Asian vegetable mix— you can use any kinds of vegetables you want, really
- 1 tsp tandoori spice, cumin, paprika
Try not to cry while dicing the onions. Its a delicate dance with your knife. Score them a bit before slicing. Sweat them out with a smidgen of oil over medium heat until soft and translucent.
Add pint of cherry tomatoes. Let simmer with the onions, stirring occasionally, until they burst (hopefully not on you) and become saucy. Meanwhile, prepare coconut rice (below)
Add vegetables and spices. If your spices are not exactly the same, don’t worry too much. As long as it smells good. Cook until vegetables are cooked through. Serve over a bed of coconut rice.
- 1 can coconut milk
- 4-5 cups cooked rice
- Sesame seeds and seaweed, to garnish
Prepare rice in rice cooker, if you haven’t done so already
Place rice in pot. In a pyrex measuring glass mix coconut milk and fill the rest of the receptacle with water. Pour into rice and let simmer over medium heat until all liquid is absorbed.
Garnish with a bit of sesame seeds and/or seaweed!
C’est simple comme bonjour
The globe isn’t golden, and neither is our snack for tonight’s broadcast. Kale is a leafy specimen that merits a superlative in the scrapbook of our undergraduate existence. Its ridges are tiny finger-like projections that catch ALL of the olive oil and bathe in the oven’s rays of heat until crisp. Your palette will be humbled by these crunchy creations that are baked, not deep fried.
This is a three-ingredient, five-star recipe that will please even the worst of critics.
Salt these to your discretion—if you’re adventurous explore the world of spices and jump through your jungle of kale with different kinds of seasonings.
Kale comprises the tree of our lives and puts the ‘hip’ in our chips.
Kale Chips (Credit to Michelle!)
- A ton of kale
- Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 350ºC
Wash your kale, and tear it into pieces.
Pour a puddle of olive oil onto a baking sheet. Lightly dip a piece of kale into the oil, then use your fingers to smear the oil all over the leaf, on both sides. Continue for each leaf. You’ll have to bake several batches anyways, so don’t overcrowd the baking sheet – each leaf should touch the sheet as this is how they get crispy. Add salt to taste, then pop the sheet into the oven for exactly 8 minutes.
And don’t forget to check your teeth before you leave the house.
The great thing about the kitchen is that you can travel kilometres around the world without enlarging your carbon footprint to the size of King Kong’s paw. With our passports of flavour we were able to marry cuisines both Hispanic and Italian in a little casserole cathedral with our adaptation of Nigella Lawson’s Mexican Lasagna. Here, the chili flakes impart a heat comparable to the climates of the dish’s parent countries. We plan on making it again and again and safely agree that this was amore at first bite.
Mexican Lasagna (adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen)
Ingredients - serves 4
- 1 onion
- 1 red pepper
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1- 2 tsp chili flakes
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 “can” of water
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can sweetcorn
- 1 cup (or more…) Grated cheese
- 8 soft tortillas
Preheat oven to 400. Heat oil in pan and sweat onion and pepper until soft.
Add salt, spices, canned tomatoes and water. Allow to simmer over medium heat forever (10-15 minutes).
For the filling, mix beans and corn in a bowl and add most cheese, reserving some to layer on top.
Spoon 1/3 salsa into a casserole dish, spreading evenly. Then layer 2 tortillas so that they slightly overlap the sauce, as in a Venn Diagram.
Add 1/3 beans mixture, then a bit more salsa and another 2 tortillas.
Repeat twice more. On final layer sprinkle gratuitous amount of cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes. Let it stand for a bit. But we don’t blame you if you can’t.
Tis the season to be smitten with soup! Once you have prepared your first from scratch, your spoon will waltz more frequently with this homemade Cinderella. The canned variety is its evil step-sister; it will discover no perks in being a wallflower. Though we did not add the heavy cream that most recipes call for, if you are partial to a creamier consistency, whisk in 1 cup milk before serving. Be sure to have a hand-blender in your kitchen tool-belt. It’s excellent for purées and you will become soup-master supreme in no time.
Easy as Pea Soup (Adapted from Kitchen Scraps)
Ingredients- Serves 4
- 4 cups peas
- 30 mint leaves
- Juice + zest of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1L vegetable stock
Boil peas for 3-4 minutes and drain. Most should be floating to the top.
Combine with mint, oil, and peas and mash (preferably with hand-blender) until it forms a thick paste.
Over medium heat, combine with vegetable stock and heat until well-dissolved.
Serve each with a dusting of pepper and a dollop of plain yogourt (but not if you are vegan! Don’t worry, it will still taste wonderful).
Slurp your way to a smile.