Soups

Lentil Soup with Ribbons of Kale

I was researching fun new ways to use kale one day and came across this recipe from cookbook author Robin Robertson. I got really excited. The recipe sounds simple and delicious, plus I’ve always wondered whether or not I’d like a Robin Robertson cookbook. Your shopping list for this recipe is below, but the link to the recipe on her website is above. I wasn’t disappointed in this. It was a great hearty soup to come home to at the end of a long day.

Lentil Soup with Ribbons of Kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups dried brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 or 5 large kale leaves, tough stems removed

 

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Lentil Soup with Ribbons of Kale. Robin Robertson.

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Appetizers, Salads, Side Dishes

Barley Salad

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Barley Salad

I adapted this from a recipe in the Vegetarian Slow Cooker Cookbook and made it for Christmas dinner. Yes, Christmas. In case you haven’t already guessed, my life has been so incredibly hectic (for various reasons) that I have been sitting on a ton of recipes that need to be posted. I am trying to be better. I really loved this salad. It was garlicky and oniony and wonderful. I love those flavors. Most of the family wasn’t as excited about it as me because there are so many other wonderful, comfort-food-type things at a Christmas dinner, but I was proud to provide a healthy, fresh offering for those who wanted it. I haven’t made this since, but I have a feeling it’s going to appear often this summer when the air is full of heat and a chilled salad with a little bulk would be well-appreciated.

Barley Salad
1 cup uncooked barley
3 cups water or vegetable broth
1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
6 green onions, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cook the barley in the water or vegetable broth till tender. Let it cool completely.
2. Mix the barley, kidney beans, tomatoes, green onions, and celery in a large bowl.
3. In a lidded jar, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper. Shake well.
4. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix.
5. Let it sit at least 2 hours (the longer it sits the better it is). Serve room temperature or chilled.

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Soups

Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili

Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili

Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili

This is my last recipe for 2014. I wanted it to be a good one and I have to say this one is a really amazing doozy of a recipe. This recipe for Vegan Cranberry Chili comes from the Bitter Sweet blog, and as usual I’ll provide you with a list of ingredients below but you’ll have to go to her blog to see the construction. Trust me on this: construction of this chili is key. There are some science-y things going on here with cranberries and pectin that only she can explain. Also, her pictures are way better than mine. I’ve never been the best picture-taker.
Now you might be wanting to ask me: “Erin, why are you calling your version of this “Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili”? Isn’t that a weird name?” Well not really. It’s really a nod to the way I live my food life every day. Since my partner is NOT a vegetarian and I am, I mainly cook vegetarian. Every once in a while I’ll make something with meat in it if I have a lot of leftovers for me to munch on. But most of the time I live my life this way: I made this blah blah blah. It’s vegetarian. But if you want, I can make some meat to go alongside it. My partner has different eating habits and needs and I recognize that. He has never once actually complained (he complains a lot, jokingly, but all it is is a joke) because the food I make is good (usually) and interesting and because I respect his food choices as well. So you can make this recipe vegan. You can make it vegetarian. Or you can say forget all that, and add in beef. I cooked up some ground moose alongside this and he topped his bowl with that. I also fried up a bunch of mushrooms on the side for myself (because he doesn’t like mushrooms). I skipped the salsa in the original recipe and added in some TVP to up the protein components for me. In the end, make this the way that makes the most sense to your palate. If you hate bulgur, try brown rice or barley. Not a fan of pinto beans? The original author used cranberry beans (I didn’t have any on hand the day I made this).
I can see the doubt in your eyes as you scan this page. Cranberries. In Chili. You’re a darn fool idiot. I will say this now: this chili was absolutely amazing and complex and breathtaking. If I could give all of the kudos in the world to the Bitter Sweet blog I would. I would steal everyone else’s kudos and give them to her. That is how oddly amazing this recipe is. The flavors are so perfectly balanced that it’s going to blow your mind how much you love it. I’m serious. This is the best choice you could possibly make for a New Years dinner, either to end 2014 or celebrate in 2015.
Here is your shopping list…

Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
1 small carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces (1 Bag) fresh cranberries
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
3–4 tablespoons chili powder
28-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, firmly packed
4 cups cooked pinto beans
1/2 cup coarse bulgur
1/2 cup TVP
1 cup water
salt, to taste

Optional Topping Suggestions:
thinly sliced scallions
sautéed mushrooms
Shredded Vegan Cheese
Vegan Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt
ground beef (or moose!)

…now with toppings!

…now with toppings!

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Soups

Lentil-Quinoa Stew

Lentil-Quinoa Stew

Lentil-Quinoa Stew

I made this recipe from the “La Dolce Vegan” cookbook before leaving Tucson. Once again, we spent a significant amount of time those last 2 months packing, using up food and figuring stuff out. This was quite tasty. I am a huge fan of both lentils (particularly red lentils) and quinoa so having them both in the same dish was absolutely heavenly. This stew has weaseled its way into our permanent rotation. Most stews and soups do unless they’re god awful. We are really big soup people, Jake and I. Now that we’re living in Fairbanks we’re going to need all the warm soupy recipes we can find! It’s going to get way chilly here in the winter time.

Lentil-Quinoa Stew
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 small carrots, diced
3 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup dry red lentils
1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1. Saute the onion and garlic till translucent in a medium soup pot on medium-high heat.
2. Add the celery and carrots and sauté another 5 minutes.
3. Add the red lentils, quinoa, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix well and let it cook 3 minutes.
4. Add vegetable broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat. Simmer 20-25 minutes.
5. Add the cilantro and apple cider vinegar and cook 3 minutes more.
6. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.

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Main Course, Sandwiches

Speedy Burgers

Speedy Burgers

Speedy Burgers

I’ve been eyeing this recipe in the “Vegetarian Planet” cookbook for a bit now. When my old roommate and new vegan Adam was in town and came over for dinner I had the perfect chance to test the recipe. This really was a pretty fast and easy recipe and the burgers themselves grilled up quite lovely (as you can see in the photo) and stayed together really well through grilling. I was actually rather surprised they grilled so well. This recipe was an all-around success. Even Jake tried a bit of my veggie burger and said it was pretty good, which is definitely a compliment coming from a man who loves his hamburger as much as Jake does. I am surprised that I really have no serious notes on this burger, other than that I think grilling this veggie burger is the absolute best cooking option for it. I loved the bit of char Jake managed to get on this thing with his Grillmaster magic. I think it was a big part of what made this burger so delicious…the ingredients in this were really perfect for a bit of grill char.

Speedy Burgers
4 slices toasted bread, whirled into crumbs
1/2 cup almonds, chopped fine
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 small onion, diced
1 cup celery, chopped
3/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons rolled oats
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, more as needed

1. Place the bread crumbs into a large bowl and set aside.
2. Toast the almonds and coriander in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly till the almonds are lightly toasted.
3. Place the toasted almond into the bread crumb bowl.
4. Add the cloves to the bowl.
5. Add the chopped veggies to the bread crumb bowl.
6. Mash the black beans most of the way and add them to the bowl.
7. Add the oats, salt, and pepper to the bowl and mix well. If the mixture is too dry add water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
8. Flour your hands well and form the mixture into patties. You should be able to get about 6 from this, depending on what size you make them.
9. Brush your grill with the olive oil (use more if needed) and grill the burgers till brown and glorious.
10. Serve on a thick bun, or maybe an onion bagel, with your favorite burger toppings.

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Soups

Lively Lentil Stew

Lively Lentil Stew

Lively Lentil Stew

This recipe from the “How it all Vegan” cookbook was pretty tasty. Pretty tasty, but not my most favorite. Granted, it might have had something to do with the celery. I am not a huge celery fan and usually avoid it. But every once in a while I’ll buy a stalk and force myself to eat it because I know it’s good for me. Must be my mother’s voice in my head telling me to do so. One thing I WILL say for this soup though, is that it was rather lighter than I’d expected it to be and I didn’t feel as stuffed as I sometimes do after eating a bowl of a more “serious” soup. Maybe that’s why they chose to call it “lively,” as I had plenty of strength left over to clean up the kitchen afterwards. Haha! I do need to make a confession: this isn’t the exact recipe that’s in the book. There were things I didn’t have on hand the evening I made this and so I just left them out of the soup. I didn’t suffer for this. The soup did not suffer for this.

Lively Lentil Stew
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dry green or brown lentils
3 cups vegetable broth
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 small potato, diced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons parsley

1. In a large pot, saute the onions, celery and carrots in the oil on medium heat till the onions are soft.
2. Add the lentils, broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, potatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
3. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 30-45 minutes. Stir frequently till the lentils are tender.
4. Stir in the parsley and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve hot.

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Main Course

Potato-Topped Lentil Bake

That's a desert of potato crust I'd walk over any time!

That’s a desert of potato crust I’d walk over any time!

I made this super filling recipe from the “1000 Vegetarian Recipes from Around the World” cookbook for dinner last week. It was a great choice for Jake’s first day of work. That’s right, Jake got a job! Poor kid has been having a hard time since my job means we’re geographically cemented to Tucson for a while. Tucson isn’t the greatest place to look for a job at the moment, but then again that tune plays well in most areas of the country. Times are tough. And we work hard here, whether we’re at our respective places of employment or not. So filling recipes are key in these tough times. Good food makes hard days softer and long days shorter. It’s magic. To make this recipe go more quickly, make EXTRA mashed potatoes the next time you cook them and save some to make this recipe the next day. And don’t worry about mashing them perfectly. A few chunks are just fine for this recipe. You can switch up the veggies in this recipe, maybe add in a little ham if you’re a meat eater. I think the original recipe called for broccoli, but I didn’t have any. I did have a lot of peas and some cauliflower I needed to use up. This is a really great recipe for using up leftover veggies that you may have a little bit of here and there. It lends itself well to a mish-mash of plant matter. By the way, my favorite part of the photo below is that I took it after I cut the very first piece and you can see the steam rising from the slice and blurring the top edges. Awesome.

Potato-Topped Lentil Bake
for the topping:
4 1/2 cups diced potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2 tablespoons thyme

for the filling:
3/4 cups red lentils
1/2 cup yellow lentils
1/4 cup butter
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 1/4 cups peas florets
6 oz. extra firm tofu, cubed
a couple drops liquid smoke
2 teaspoons tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste

1. To make the topping, boil the potatoes in just enough salted water to cover till tender. Mash with the butter, milk, and thyme, mixing in the flax seed once the potatoes are mashed.
2. While the potatoes are boiling, cook the lentils in boiling water 20-30 minutes or till tender. Drain and set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 400F.
4. In a medium skillet, saute the onion, garlic, celery, and peas in the butter till soft, stirring frequently.
5. Add the tofu, liquid smoke, salt, pepper and tomato paste to the skillet and mix well. Cook another 3 minutes.
6. Combine the lentils with the tofu mixture and mix well.
7. Spread the lentil-tofu mixture in a 9-inch baking dish and top it with the mashed potatoes, smoothing to cover.
8. Pop the baking dish in the oven and bake 30-35 minutes till the top is golden brown. Broil to finish if you aren’t satisfied with your crust. Serve hot.

Potato-Topped Lentil Bake

Potato-Topped Lentil Bake

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Quick and Easy, Salads

Chickpea “Egg” Salad

Here’s another fun chickpea recipe from “PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook” that I decided to try for this week at work. And…get ready for it…it actually tastes awesome. This is not usually the case with recipes from this cookbook. Now this is a stretch for me. I don’t really like celery a lot. But it is quite healthy and easy to make and filling…perfect for lunch at work. I also don’t like mayo a lot except for in things like potato salad. And oddly enough I don’t like egg salad. So why the heck do I adore this?! I think it’s the simple fact that it is normally a recipe (egg salad) that is really not healthy, but the addition of chickpeas packs a punch of protein and fiber and also kicks the calorie count down. And since the taste of chickpeas is so gentle, it really does taste like you’re eating egg salad.

Chickpea “Egg” Salad


This is a special post today, as in, I wasn’t actually going to post at all today because I’m way busy. But certain colleagues at my internship (Allie and Anne) expressed some interest in the recipe, so I thought I’d leave them with it for the weekend. Maybe I’ll come into work next week and they’ll both have it in their lunches. When I told them that this was a vegan friendly “egg” salad, one of them wanted to know more about Vegenaise, which, for all of you non-vegetarians out there is possibly the most popular brand of vegan mayo. Vegenaise is made by the Follow Your Heart company, and it’s one of many interesting products they offer. I was never a fan of mayo, but I actually will eat Vegenaise (not often, but sometimes) because I know exactly what is in it and it doesn’t scare me like thinking about eggs sometimes does. If you have never tried it, you should. If you end up hating it, I’m sure you have a vegetarian friend somewhere in your life you can gift it to.

Chickpea “Egg” Salad
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup celery, finely chopped
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
dill pickle relish, to taste
salt, to taste
vegan mayo, to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients except the mayo together, mashing the chickpeas slightly as you mix. Once it’s mixed to a soft, spreadable consistency, add the mayo until the salad is as moist as you like.
2. Eat it plain or, even better, spread it between some slices of bread with some yummy fresh sliced tomatoes. DIG IN!

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Soups

Mexican Corn Stew

This recipe reminded me a little of a creation of my own for Fiesta Bell Soup, which featured bell peppers. In this recipe the spotlight is on corn rather than bell peppers. I tackled this recipe from my “Vegetarian Times Cookbook” on a particularly hot day this week. It was not the most wonderful day to be slaving over a sultry oven waiting on a stewing stew. The end product however, was well worth the effort. I wish there had been more toppings available for this in my fridge, but this was the day before we went to the grocery. We made do with crushed, cut cherry tomatoes and carrot stick-like slices of medium Cheddar cheese. This was quite yummy and satisfying and though we finished the rest of it off the next day as leftovers, I could see a million different uses for leftovers. It could be used as a dip for tortilla chips, like a chunky salsa. It would work well over baked potatoes smothered in cheese. With eggs and chorizo (or soyrizo, if you’re a vegetarian) and toast as a makeshift Mexican breakfast. I think there are a lot of possibilities here. In any case, I’m certain you’ll never have leftovers for long.

Mexican Corn Stew
1 15-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small jalapeno pepper, diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
6 cups vegetable stock
3 cups frozen whole kernel corn
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
dash cayenne pepper

Soup topping:
Your choice of:
salsa, plain yogurt, avocado, tortilla chips, grated Cheddar cheese, or fresh chopped tomatoes

1. In a large pot over medium high heat. Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil till tender.
2. Add the jalapenos, carrots, celery, and bell peppers and cook 3 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the cilantro, water, corn, cumin, coriander and beans.
4. Cover and cook on low heat till the beans are tender and the soup is thick, around 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
5. Add cayenne and stir well.
6. Serve topped with your choice of toppings above.

Mexican Corn Stew

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Side Dishes

Warm Spicy Dal

Jake and I decided a few weeks ago that we need to start making more curry. Practice makes perfect and we’d love to say we make good Indian food. Jake started off with a great vegetable curry and we’ve been eating curry or dal once a week since then. This recipe for a really simple dal is from my favorite cookbook, “The Encyclopedia of Vegetables and Vegetarian Cooking.” We didn’t have the bell pepper the original recipe called for, but we did have a bunch of celery. So we subbed that in. It was pretty tasty that way, so I can’t wait to see how good it is with the bell pepper in it. We have a few more Indian recipes up our sleeve to try in the next few weeks. It should be a tasty spring here.

Warm Spicy Dal
8 oz. yellow split peas
2 onions, chopped
1 large bay leaf
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
salt and black pepper
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
1-inch cube fresh ginger, grated
2 stalks celery, diced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
3 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
fresh cilantro, to serve

1. Put the split peas, 1 onion and the bay leaf into a saucepan with the stock and cover.
2. Simmer 25 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper towards the end of the cooking time.
3. In a separate large wok, fry the mustard seeds in the butter 30 seconds, or till they start to pop.
4. Add the remaining onion to the pan as well as the garlic, grated ginger and celery.
5. Saute 5 minutes. Add in the remaining spices and fry a few seconds more.
6. Add the split pea mixture, tomatoes, and a little extra water, if needed to the wok.
7. Cover and simmer another 10 minutes or till liquids are mostly absorbed.
8. Check the seasoning and serve hot garnished with the cilantro.

Warm Spicy Dal

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