Marcelle, St. Germain

Step by Step, Big Ugly

How do you  fix lentils and chickpeas so that they taste good? Hopefully our healthy heart cooking workshop began to answer that question.  Lentils and chickpeas, both inexpensive foods (roughly $ .99  for a one pound bag), were the foundation for two of our recipes for our workshop held on April 14 (a week delay due to April snowfall!)  Rowan Zoeller, a current VISTA with Step By Step, with a degree in culinary art, and now pursuing a degree in nutrition, was our guest speaker and chef.

Rowan also cooked up a delicious butternut squash recipe (not complicated just roasted butternut squash with seasoning) which was a big hit among the gardeners.  One of our gardeners also presented a full size 4 lb butternut squash from the 2017 harvest noting how well this winter squash keeps over the course of the winter.  The combination of cooked squash and substantial produce still available 8 months after harvest, propelled almost all of the gardeners to take some butternut squash seeds home with them to grow in 2018.  (for many years we have encouraged gardeners to grow this winter squash but without any success)

Rowan talked to the gardeners about the importance of low sugar, low starch, multi-vitamin and mineral diet as a way to combat heart disease and a way to improve heart health on a daily basis.

The fresh treats also included sweet potato hummus with veggies.  And finally, to top off the meal, Rowan made fresh apple crisp with whole oats for a wonderful dessert treat.    Using whole oats and fresh apples, and some excellent spicing, Rowan topped off the afternoon with this dish hot out of the oven.

We also wonder if our Grow App friends and partners might like to start a recipe swap through the Grow App sites (and maybe find some desktop publishing whippersnapper to create a Grow App Cook book that we could share (and sell) through all of our sites.

Below are some recipes that Rowan used for our workshop.  Give these a try and you will enjoy your meal.

Lentil Dal with Hearty Greens

Home size (serves 4-6)

  • 1 1/2 cups dry lentils
  • 2 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 onions onion, diced
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs curry powder
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, rough chop
  • 6 cups shredded greens like turnip, beet top, Swiss Chard, spinach, kale
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Sweat onions and garlic in oil.  Stir in lentils and spices.  Heat until fragrant.  Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft.  Add enough water to cover lentils by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender.  Add more water if needed.  The mixture will get “creamy.”  Adjust consistency to as you’d like.  Once lentils are cooked, stir in greens and heat until greens are wilted, or done to your liking. 

Broccoli, Chickpea, Cranberry Salad

  • 8-10 servings
  • ½ lbs uncooked chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ½-3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup Fat Free plain yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced, or To Taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 5 cups bite-size broccoli florets (about 8 ounces)
  • 2/3 cups low-sugar dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2  Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Rinse chickpeas; put in large pot and cover by 6 inches cold water.  Simmer for 2 hours, or until tender.  Alternatively, use pressure cooker and cook for about 20 minutes. **Chickpeas absorb A LOT of water and grow 2x their size once cooked.**  Refrigerate until cold.

Put onions in a bowl, cover with cold water, let sit at least 10 minutes.  Put cumin in a small skillet and gently heat until fragrant, stirring constantly 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Combine yogurt, cumin, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Add chickpeas, broccoli, and onions to sauce and stir well.  Right before serving add in cranberries and sesame seeds.  Adjust seasoning.

Sweet Potato Hummus

  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 1 Tbs ground cumin, divided
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • (2 Tablespoons water)

Roast sweet potatoes until flesh is very soft.  Scoop out into a bowl.  Let cool.  Process flesh and garlic in food processor (Cuisinart) or blender until smooth.  **It may take several batches to complete.** 

Divide the sweet potato into roughly two equal amounts.  Put one half of the mix back into the food processor.  While on, add the tahini, half of the cumin, and oil.  Process until well blended.  Put into large mixing bowl.

Put remaining potato puree into the food processor.  While on, add remaining cumin, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Process until well blended.  Add to first batch of hummus.

Stir the hummus well to ensure everything is well mixed.  If the hummus is too thick, whisk in a little water at a time.  

**For more recipes, please email