Middle Eastern Red Lentil Soup

This is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever made.  It’s one of those “wow this is so good I can’t believe I made this” moments.  It’s crazy flavorful and it’s easy to make.  Proof that amazingly delicious good food doesn’t have to be complicated with fancy schmancy ingredients and techniques.  One of my secrets to this is a good vegetable broth.  Some have zero flavor.  I happen to love Edward and Son’s Not-Chick’n bullion cubes that I get at Whole Foods.  I use one cube dissolved in three cups of water for this recipe (package says one cube in two cups water but I reduce the sodium).

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

5-6 baby carrots diced (that’s what I always have on hand or use 1 carrot)

3 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

1 Tbsp tomato paste

3/4 cups red lentils

3 cups vegetable broth (see note)

Juice of half a lemon (about 1 Tbsp)

Salt and black pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper for heat (optional)

Method

Add olive oil to saucepan and heat over medium-low.  Add onion and carrots with a dash of salt and cook 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and cook 2 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste and the lentils, then add the broth and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil then reduce to low and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes.

Season with salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper to taste.

Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender.

Note: recommend using a quality, flavorful broth such as Edward and Son’s Not-Chick’n bullion cubes. Dissolve one cube in three cups hot water for this recipe.

10 Vegetable Soup

img_5005

 

A hearty, veggie packed with soup with carrot, celery, onion, tomato, potato, cauliflower, zucchini, kale, peas and lima beans (I guess these are technically a legume but I’ll just count them as a vegetable too).  This soup will freeze well too! I created a batch with 6 servings and for some of the vegetables I only used smaller amounts so here are some tips to getting the most out of some of the fresh vegetables:

Carrots:  With a bunch of whole carrots cut up the extra for snacking or use baby carrots.

Celery: I get it off the salad bar because I never end up using a whole bunch.

Zucchini: I also got this off the salad bar but if you don’t use a whole zucchini, saute extra with olive oil and add to pasta and sauce.

Printer Friendly

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 small onion, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 cup diced zucchini

1 small yukon gold or red potato, cubed (about 1/2inch)

1 can diced tomato w/ juice

4-5 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 cup small cauliflower florets

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen lima beans

1 large kale leaf, rib removed, chopped into small pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Add oil to a large soup pot and warm over medium heat for a minute.  Add onion, celery and carrot with a pinch of salt.  Cook 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and basil and cook another 2 minutes.

Add zucchini, potato, cauliflower and toss to coat; cook for a minute.  Add tomatoes and 4 cups of broth.  Increase heat and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add peas and lima beans, cook 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in kale. Season with salt and pepper.

Gazpacho

IMG_3918 (1)

I’m a soup addict, to the point I’ll even eat hot soup during the triple digit heat of DC in August.  However, it is a nice treat to have a flavourful soup that is cold and refreshing!  I came across this recipe in my Vitamix recipe book and made some tweaks based on what I had available.

Printer Friendly

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 cups V8 original or plain tomato juice

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

2 large tomatoes, cut into chunks

1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks

1/2 medium onion, peeled and cut into chunks

1 small zucchini, ends trimmed, cut into chunks

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks

1 garlic clove, peeled

Dash of hot sauce (or more)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Add all ingredients to blender in order listed.  Puree to desired consistency and serve topped with avocado or croutons and a drizzle of olive oil.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

This is my way of duplicating my favorite Lara Bar.  I figured they’re so simple with just a couple ingredients that I could just make my own.  There’s no sugar in these either, well except for the chocolate chips.  I like to keep them in the freezer and eat them cold.   Warning: these are addictive!

Makes about 20 squares or tablespoon size ball

Ingredients

20 dried dates, soaked in hot water 15-20 minutes

1/2 cup natural peanut butter, divided (no other ingredients except peanuts and salt!)

2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1/4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Method

After soaking your dates they should be soft and pliable.  Add them to a food processor with half the peanut butter, and the cocoa.  Process until it’s all combined and smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining peanut butter, chopped peanuts, and chocolate chips.

You can either scoop tablespoon size amount of the mixture and roll into balls or take the mixture and press into a 1/4 inch thick disc on parchment paper.  Lay another piece of parchment and press on top so it is flat. Try a large cast iron skillet or just use your hands.  Chill in the freezer an hour or so.

Remove from freezer, with a knife trim edges so they’re straight (optional) and then cut into squares.  With the extra you’ve trimmed, you can roll into balls or just eat right then!

Store in the freezer.