Perfect Lentil Soup

IMG_9475Ah, January. Normally I’d be talking about how gray and sad the weather’s been here in Seattle, but fortunately I’d be lying to you if I said that now. It’s been gorgeous here this winter. Maybe a tish warm, but sunny and not gray, so I think we’re all counting ourselves lucky. That said, it’s still prime soup season, and lentil soup is my go-to, MVP, championship soup. I make a big batch at least every 10 days or so and take it for lunch. It’s warm, filling, easy, keeps well, and is great for cleaning out the veggie drawer and just using whatever you have. It’s pictured above with my buckwheat-oat biscuits, a fine combo if you’re so inclined.

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What you need:

1 small white onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 inches of fresh ginger, chopped

1 russet potatoe, sweet potato, or whatever other potato you’ve got, chopped

Olive oil – roughly 3 Tbsp

1 can (the large one) of diced tomatoes (use fire-roasted tomatoes if you want a little extra zing- I highly recommend you try this)

1 cup of de Puy lentils, rinsed

6 cups of water

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

two zucchini, chopped

1 handful of green beans, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 tsp thyme

salt and pepper to taste

*Seriously, friends. Use whatever veggies you have on hand. Cauliflower, broccoli, sunchokes, whatever! It will be delicious.  Trust me.IMG_9450Start by sauteeing onion, garlic, carrot, ginger, and potato in olive oil until onions are golden brown and carrots and potato are soft.

Next, add your can of tomatoes and bring to boil. Then add water, bring it to boil, then add lentils. Let boil for about 1 minute, and then bring it back to a low boil/simmer for 30 minutes, covered.

Once the lentil are cooked, add veggies and cooke for another 5-10 minutes. Add thyme, salt, and pepper, let simmer another 5 minutes or so and then serve. Unlike Flava-Flav, the flavors will only get better over time. IMG_9477Eat up and enjoy! 🙂

A Lovely Fall Lentil Salad

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My friends, welcome to fall! This may be my favorite season – that crispness in the air, a slight bite to the wind, but the most dreamy color schemes a lady could ask for all around. It’s also time for a welcome return to roasted veggies and heartier meals. Huzzah!

This particular dish was photographed my Mr. Adam Reitano. He’s wonderful and incredibly talented, and you should definitely check out his website to see some of his other work.

Now, onto the food. There are two things that I love about lentils: 1) they’re tasty; and 2) they’re cheap. I’ll add a number 3: 3) they’re easy to make. If you haven’t spent time with my dear friends the de Puys or the browns, then please, please, go to your local market and meet them. You’ll like them.

This particular lentil salad is really a mish-mosh of whatever veggies you have on hand. The combination of some cooked veggies with some raw gives the dish some nice variety and texture. That said, you have sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes? Awesome! You have parsnips? Cool! You really don’t like radishes? Fine! Well, promise me you’ll at least try them sauteed before you axe them completely – they’re realllllly nice that way. You want to add green beans or broccoli? Do it! A handful of greens would also be sooooo good here. Same goes for spices, folks. Mix it up, be creative. This is a hard thing to totally mess up because there’s really no “right” way to do it.

What you need:

DSC_81812 cups rinsed and drained lentils (I like de Puys, but any type could be good here)

1 small onion, chopped and sauteed

6 cloves garlic, chopped and sauteed

2 russet potatoes, diced and roasted

1-2 cups white mushroomes, sliced and sauteed

1 head of cauliflower, chopped and either roasted or left raw (if I roast cauliflower, I eat it all in about 5 minutes, so it’s left raw in this recipe)

I bunch radishes, cleaned, sliced, and sauteed

1 tomato, diced

1 avocado, diced

1 yellow pepper, chopped

Handful cilantro, chopped

2 heaping Tbsp whole grain mustard

Olive oil, enough for lots of sauteeing and roasting and about an 2-3 Tbs for dressing

Champagne vinegar, about 1/8 cup

Salt and pepper to taste

Whew, that’s a lot of ingredients. Stay with me, this is easier than it seems.

What to do:

First, preheateth thine oven. To 375.

Second, begin boiling 5 cups of water on the stove. Once the boiling has occurred, put your rinsed and drained lentils into the pot, keep at a rollingboil for about 30 seconds, then reduce to a low boil, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes-ish. Keep checking back on these guys. If there seems to be too much water, take the lid off and let some evaporate off. The real thing to avoid here is mushy lentils.

This is how many people like a mushy lentil salad: 0. Ew. So, watch your lentils like little lentil-loving hawks!

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While your lentils cook, dice your potatoes, coat in about 1-2Tbsp olive oil and some salt and pepper, then spread out on a baking sheet. Place them in the oven when ready and roast for about 15-20 minutes, flip them, and roast another 5-10 minutes.

While these guys are roasting, begin the sautee.DSC_8265

Chop your onion, garlic, and sautee in olive oil (or veggie broth if you’d rather) until tender and golden brown, then add your mushrooms and radishes.DSC_8661

Once everything is tender and luscious looking in your sautee pan, remove from heat. Check your potatoes and your lentils. Once ready, remove both from heat as well. Chop the rest of your raw ingredients.DSC_8783

Mix it all in a bowl!DSC_8790

Add olive oil, vinegar, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, and eat! Serves about 4 as a main meal, or 6 as side dishes. Enjoy and happy fall, bloggernet!DSC_8809

Quinoa, Sweet Potato, and Zucchini Soup. Easy, Filling, and Delicious! (And GF and Vegan!)

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Friends, today I’d like to share a tasty, easy, and hearty soup that’s been a a hit in my house. It’s easily made with whatever veggies you have a round the house and the quinoa makes it a great source of protein. Also, sweet potatoes are magical. Let’s just acknowledge that now.IMG_9223IMG_9229

What you need:

1 large onion, chopped

1-2 large carrots, chopped

1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 inch piece of beautiful, gorgeous fresh ginger chopped

3 Tbsp Olive oil

1.5 cups quinoa

3 cups spinach, kale, chard, or whatever green you have on hand, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 large zucchini, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes (I used a 15 oz can)

8 cups of water or low-sodium veggie broth

1 Tbsp cumin

1 tsp thyme

A dash of paprika to taste is also luscious in here

salt and pepper to taste.IMG_9222What to do:

Put the olive oil, onion, garlic, ginger, carrot and sweet potato in a large soup pot on medium heat and sautee until soft and slightly brown. Once browned, add cumin and tomatoes. Stir for 1-2 minutes, then add water and bring to a boil.

Once the water is boiling, add the quinoa, cover and let cook for about 30 minutes until the quinoa is ready. Reduce heat and add the zucchini and let the pot simmer for a few minutes. Add greens and your salt and pepper just prior to serving. IMG_9219

This soup keeps very well in the fridge, but just remember that the quinoa will soak up some of the water during storage. I just add a little water right before reheating to keep it good and brothy. Eat up and enjoy! 🙂

Romesco Sauce, White Beans, Roasted Veggies for the Virtual Vegan Potluck!

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Hooray for another Virtual Vegan Potluck! It was such a blast participating in potluck last spring that I couldn’t pass up a chance to do it all again. So many incredible vegan recipes out there brought to you by some equally awesome bloggers and I’m proud to be a part of it!IMG_9171

For my entry, I present to you delicious, spicy Romesco sauce. It’s good with roasted veg, pasta, rice, crepes, pretty much most things. It’s also relatively easy to whip up is great at a party, not only for its mad skillz as a dip, but it’s a pretty great dancer too.

IMG_9191What you need for Romesco:

2 slices of gluten-free bread, pan-toasted in a little olive oil

2 large slicing tomatoes, cut in half and roasted

2 red bell peppers, cut in half and roasted

5-6 cloves of garlic, cut in half and roasted

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup pecans

1 handful italian parsely, chopped

3 Tbsp sherry vinegar

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp (or more, in my case more like 1 full tsp) red pepper flakes

Pinch of chili pepper

salt and pepper to tasteIMG_9154IMG_9158Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While heating, slice your tomatoes, peppers, and peel garlic cloves. Lay all on large baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, until soft, but not mushy.IMG_9156While roasting, toast thy bread to a lovely golden brown! Just make sure it’s in a non-stick skillet and with about 2 Tbsp olive oil. I used Essential Baking whole seed bread, but any non-glutinous (and non-sweet) bread will work. Focaccia would be primo!IMG_9157Gather the rest of your beautiful ingredients, such as lovely pecans. You could also use almonds or cashews here, but there’s something about the earthiness of pecans that I think really works.IMG_9168Put everything in a high speed blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. If you need more moisture, add 1 tbsp of water as needed, but it should be good, thick sauce. It’ll keep about a week in the fridge if you decide to make it beforehand.

Now, for the veg part! I apologize, because these photos were taken at night, which is always kind of a shame. What can you do? Seasons will be seasons after all.IMG_9152IMG_9160What you need:

1-2 shallots

1 bunch kale, chopped

1 handful white mushrooms, sliced

1 zucchini, sliced

1/2 cauliflower head, chopped

1-2 potatoes, chopped

2 beets, chopped

1 head romanesco broccoli

2-3 tsp olive oil

3 cups cooked white beans (I used some baby lima lovelies) or 2 cans, drained and rinsed

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 10.32.08 PMWhat to do:

First, soak your beans for at least 6 hours, then cook until tender. The water in the pot with the beans should be about 3 inches above the beans, and cooking will take about 45 minutes. If using cans, just drain and rinse.

While the oven is still nice and hot, toss your chopped potato, cauli, beets, and romanesco with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread evenly on a large cookie sheet.

Place the shallots, zucchini, and mushrooms in a non-stick skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil. Saute until brown and tender, then add kale with a handful of water. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes, then remove lid of skillet and cook to desired level of tenderness.IMG_9196Once roasted veggies are done, toss with sauteed goodies then pour on your lovely romesco sauce. If you made it ahead of time just be sure to reheat it before putting it all together.IMG_9185 IMG_9172

Enjoy the rest of the potluck and happy cooking!!!!!

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Easy White Bean Soup. It’s everything bean soup should be: Warm, delicious, and full of beans.

IMG_9146Today I bring you another soup, my interweb friends. Our fall here in Seattle has been insanely good until literally November 1st, when one wicked wind storm blew all the leaves off the trees and brought back our rain. Which isn’t a bad thing. It’s kind of nice to be all cozy like in the house, wearing the crap out of some sweaters, and simmering a little something on the stove. In fact I’ve got a big pot of chai base bubbling away right now and it smells epic. That, however, is not the recipe I want to share with you today.

Last night was a rainy, bone-chilling kind of night, and heading to the store sounded like pretty much the worst idea ever.  As such, this here soup was born. I don’t have more photos of prep because I honestly didn’t think it would be so good. IMG_9152Sweet baby lima beans are highly underrated (or lowly underrated). They’ve replaced great northern beans as my favorite white beans. WHAT?! YOU’RE SHOCKED! Just imagine how shocked I was when I realized that I actually spend enough time thinking about white beans to EVEN HAVE a displaced favorite. Yeah.

What you need:

2 cups white beans, soaked for at least 6 hours and cooked. (cans also fit in just dandy here)

3-4 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 potato, chopped

1 can of whole, peeled tomoatoes (the big can, that is)

4 cloves garlic

1.5 inches of fresh chopped ginger

6 cups of water

3 bay leaves

1 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 – 1 cup chopped kale per bowl

IMG_9150IMG_9149To make:

If soaking and cooking beans, soak your beans in water, making sure they’re covered by at least 1 inch. Drain and rinse, then place in a pot with enough water to cover them by 3 inches. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until tender, making sure not to cook to mush. Ain’t nobody got time for mush.

Place olive oil, onion, carrot, garlic, and ginger in a soup pot and saute until tender and slightly brown. Add potato and saute for another 5 minutes, adding some water to deglaze the pot as necessary.

Once soft, add your can of tomatoes and water and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and add beans, herbs, and bay leaves. Simmer for about 10 minutes (or longer if needed). The longer it simmers, the more the flavors will integrate. Add salt and pepper to taste.IMG_9153When ready to serve, place chopped kale in the bottom of a bowl and ladle on over some of your hot, beany soup. Enjoy and stay warm!IMG_9143

 

 

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. It’s delightful AND autumnal.

IMG_9124It’s been a while my food-loving friends, and I apologize! Late summer was filled with travels and basking in abundant laziness with my Master’s degree finished. Sure, I’m working full time, but man oh man, days off are sweet when they don’t have to be full of lectures and papers. I’ve been cooking all the while, but haven’t felt much like taking photos or writing anything. After a long respite, I’m happy to share this tasty little dish with you all.

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Ooooh, fall. How I love your colors and many squashes.

This soup is very simple to make, filled with spicy and sweet notes, and smooth as butta (as in buttanut…). It’s great for warming up after a chilly day outside.IMG_9109

What you need:

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 butternut squash, halved and roasted

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large apple, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 tbsp curry powder

1.5 cups de puy, brown, or red lentils, cooked

4 cups water or vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to tasteIMG_9120

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prepare the butternut by slicing it lengthwise, removing seeds, rubbing with olive oil, and laying flesh down on a baking sheet. The roasting will take 25-30 min, but it’ll be done when it’s soft and the flesh side is browned.

At the same time, cook your lentils by adding 2 cups of water to a pot, bringing to gentle boil, and adding rinsed lentils. Cover and let simmer until tender.IMG_9121

While the squash is roasting, add the chopped garlic, onion, and apple to a soup pot with the olive oil. Saute until lightly browned, then add curry powder and brown for 1 more minute. Add the water or veggie broth to deglaze.

Simmer until the squash is ready, then chop the squash into large chunks (including the skin). Add squash to the pot. Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth in batches (or use an immersion blender). Return blended soup to pot, simmer, and salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked lentils. Eat and be happy!IMG_9130

Summer Rolls! Fresh, tasty, fast, easy, and cheap! YES!

IMG_9085Summer in the PNW is the best. Days are long, luscious fruits and veggies are plentiful, and this has been a particularly sunny one so far. Warm days mean light fresh meals and one of our favorite summer dinners ins also one of the cheapest, easiest, and fastest things we make around here. Even better, it’s full of veggie goodness and can be based around whatever you have on hand for the most part.

IMG_9075Even just looking at the stuff that goes into it is nice!IMG_9081What you need:

Buckwheat noodles (if you’re doing this gluten-free)

Rice paper wrappers, about 3-4 per person

1 red bell peppers, sliced

1 carrot, sliced

1/2 cucumber, sliced

1 avocado, sliced

1 small head of green leave or romaine lettuce

1 package extra-firm tofu (I got mine at Trader Joe’s – the organic sprouted kind is so good!)

Handful of fresh cilantro

Handful of fresh basil

Hot (HOT!) water to soak the rice papers in

Peanut sauce!!!! – San J gluten-free peanut sauce is AMAZING!!!!!!IMG_9077Slice all them veggies just like you see here in this picture. Prepare your noodles per package instructions, normally about 8 minutes in boiling water will get them set.IMG_9083Soak a rice paper in HOT water. Add veggies, noodles, and tofu to taste, wrap it up and dip it in some peanut-y goodness. IMG_9087This one looks a little sad because by the time I remembered to take a picture, I was in a state of blissful unawareness of how badly my roll-making skillz had gotten. They’re just that tasty.

VIRTUAL VEGAN POTLUCK!!!! Green and White and Delicious All Over: Spring Salad with Shaved Fennel, Zucchini, Cauliflower, Peas, and Avocodo

IMG_9015I’m so proud to be participating in this years Virtual Vegan Potluck with so many fantastic food bloggers! Over 170 bloggers around the world are uniting to bring the veggie-friendly foodlovers of the world some deIiciousness. I RSVP’d that I’d “bring” a salad to this interweb party, and here’s what I’ve created….a little dish that’s quick to throw together and full of spring veggie goodness and starring my good friend fennel.IMG_9011What you need:

1 bulb fennel, THINLY sliced

1 zucchini, thinly sliced (yes, this is a trend…when in doubt, slice even thinner)

1/2 head cauliflower, thinly sliced

1 bunch asparagus, lightly steamed and chopped

1.5 avocados, thinly sliced

1 cup snap peas, chopped

1 head green romaine lettuce, roughly chopped

3 Tbsp good-quality olive oil

Juice of 2 lemons

Salt and pepper to tasteIMG_9012Start by very gently steaming your asparagus so that it remains crisp, but turns bright, beautiful green.IMG_9013

After that, slice and chop your way to vegetable perfection and toss it all in a bowl.IMG_9016Add lemon juice and olive oil to your salad bowl, toss so that everything is lightly coated. The dressing should be SUPER light to show-off all them veggies in their glory, but you could also add a little whole grain mustard to kick it up a notch. Salt and pepper to taste, and bam! You have a beautiful green salad for your potluck and your belly!IMG_9019Just look how happy this salad made Lori of Crown Hill Day by Day. (I won’t lie, the joy was also due to some incredibly fuzzy socks).

Happy potlucking friends!

For more tasty salad ideas go back to Emmy Cooks and forward to Veg Bon Vivant. To see the rest of the Virtual Vegan Potluck participants, click here. vvplogo

Back in Action With Spicy Slaw and Baked Plantain Chips. Woot! (Gf and Vegan)

IMG_8997Well, my friends, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and I apologize. I’ve been thinking about recipes, but the last couple of weeks have been, um, let’s say dynamic and challenging. That sounds diplomatic, right? Job changes (my new gig starts tomorrow!), forced entry into the constant pain-in-the-ass realm of real estate, and midterms. Whew. So, I won’t lie, I’ve been putting my energy into other things. 

The bug to cook and post came back today though. Hooray! So, I present you with this little dish. It’s light and spicy, but hearty enough to be lunch. It’s also fantastic on tacos and aside from a lot of chopping, it doesn’t take much. IMG_8994What you need:

For the plantains:

well, you need plantains. 🙂 2 medium very, very ripe (and pretty much black)

1 Tbsp melted coconut oil

For the slaw:

1/2 head of cabbage, chopped roughly

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 zucchini, diced

1/2 cucumber, diced

1 tomato, diced

1 avocado, chopped

1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped

1 mango, chopped

1.5 cups cooked pinto beans (or 1 can)

1/2 cup salsa verde, as spicy as you like

2 Tbsp white whine vinegar

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil

salt and pepper to tasteP1030173_2First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the plantains…remember, the thinner you slice them, the crispier they’ll be. I like mine slightly chewy, so they weren’t super thinly sliced. Pour melted coconut oil over slices and spread onto large baking sheet. Bake for about 25-30 min, flip plantains, and bake another 10 minutes. They should be golden brown or slightly darker. Soooooo delicious. IMG_8993P1030169To make the slaw, chop the veggies! I’ve started growing cilantro in my apartment, and it’s been so nice just  to walk over and grab what I need. Who knew indoor spices could grow so well? IMG_8996Once all the slaw fixings are chopped, add beans, salsa, oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper and toss. Serve with plantains and enjoy! 🙂IMG_8997

Broccoli Soba Bowl FTW! (Gf and Vegan)

P1030091_2There are 3 things that make this little lunch bowl fantastic: 1) It’s delicious; 2) It contains delicious things (okay, I guess that’s just reprising number 1, but still); 3) It’s cheap!; and 4) It takes literally 12 minutes to make. Also, broccoli is the best! I know, if you actually read these posts, I say a lot of things are the best, but I really, really, really love broccoli. I’ll stop talking about it soon, but somehow the broccoli, soba, sauce combo really is so satisfying and just light enough that you’re not hungry anymore, but not weighed down after lunch. It’s like magic. P1030086_2What you need (serves 1):

1 serving of soba noodles (I used sweet potato soba, but any soba or vermicelli could work)

1 head of broccoli, rinsed and stem removed

1Tbsp sliced almonds

For the dressing (serves more than 1):

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/2 of a green onion, chopped

1/2 inch of fresh ginger, chopped finely

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil

3 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp tamari

P1030088_2First, start two pots a’boiling, 1 to steam or blanch your broccoli in and 1 for soba. While waiting for water to boil, prepare dressing ingredients.P1030085_2Place all dressing ingredients in a food processor or Magic Bullet (that little thing is truly amazing) and blend together. I didn’t blend until liquid since I still wanted some ginger chunks, but find the texture that makes you happy. When water for broccoli and soba boils, place soba noodles in one pot and cook as according to package instructions. If you have a steamer pot, steam your broccoli for just 2-3 minutes (so it’s still nice and crisp) or place in boiling water and cook until bright green. Don’t overcook your broccoli or suddenly you’ll have green mush, and nobody likes mush of any color. Drain your noodles and broccoli, toss together with almonds, and dress to taste. Eat it up and marvel at how economical, fast, and delicious your lunch just was!P1030090_2P1030089_2