It was only half way into my winter break that my soul was crushed, my heart was broken, and I was forced to contemplate my life trajectory. After over a year of struggling to self-diagnose what my constant nausea was, I went to a see a naturopath. I met with her a mere 48 hours after my final exam. On the Friday before Christmas, I was informed that I was not only intolerant to dairy and gluten (a common misfortune) but that I was also intolerant to my closest confidant: eggs.
I have been a pescatarian, a fish-eating vegetarian, since I was an angsty tween who wanted to prove a point to my dad. With eggs, dairy, and most bread off the table, I now needed to become a fish-eating and gluten reduced vegan. Tragic.
On top of all these dietary restrictions, last semester was the first time that all of my friends and I lived in our own homes, so also the first time that many of them stopped eating three meals a day. This doesn’t mean that people have stopped eating entirely, but “meals” began to consist of veggies and dip, a croissant from PM, or,if you’re my roommate, Sarah Farb, Bounce Protein Balls and coffee. This lifestyle – eating being a chore and the thought of cooking triggering instant anxiety – is not how I operate.
It shouldn’t take a naturopath to eat a little better at school.
Food has been my best-friend since as long as I can remember. It’s there for me when I need an energy boost in the middle of the day, a spurt of joy, or a container of ice cream to cry on. And I love to cook. So, soldiering through my dietary restrictions, I thought I would share some of my 20-minute recipes with the world. Since they’re vegan, low-gluten, fast, and easy, there are few people in our caffeine-fuelled McGill community who would have an excuse to skip them. It shouldn’t take a naturopath to eat a little better at school.
So for my first recipe, we’re going for curry. It sounds complicated, but all it takes is one pot and twenty minutes. I promise it is so, so worth it. But first, you will need to head out and grab:
- Cooking oil of choice (I like to use coconut oil)
- 1 head of broccoli
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 can of chickpeas or ½ cup of lentils
- 1 zucchini
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- Ginger powder
- Garlic powder
- Turmeric powder
- Curry powder
- Chilli flakes
- Lime and cilantro (for garnish)
Once you have picked up your groceries and are both cold and sweaty in weird places, chop all the veggies and place them in the pan with some oil. Let them cook for about five (5) minutes, i.e. until it looks like some light could pass through the onions– this is called “sweating the onions” and now you’ve learned something else. Then, add in your coconut milk, diced tomatoes, and a little splash of water. From there, add your spices to your own taste (I usually eyeball this and just sample as it am cooking; remember it’s always easier to add than to take away).
Now, you just let it sit. Maybe call your family and say a quick hello, or update your roommates on your random library run-in of the day. After about 15 minutes, you can see if your veggies are cooked to your liking. If not, or if you’re not starving, I would leave it simmering on a low heat for another 15-25 minutes.
And boom! Just like that, you have dinner for the whole week. Make some rice or quinoa to make it more filling, or even just to spread out the curry over a longer period of time. I will warn you though, roommates will take some forkfuls from your container in the fridge because yes, it is just that good.
*One more tip: add a bit of water every time you heat it up because the vegetables will continue to absorb the liquid.