Craving Something Warm & Delicious?

Every winter when I enjoy my first bowl of lentil soup I’m reminded again how delicious and satisfying it is! Yesterday, while looking through my cupboards for ingredients to make a quick lunch I found a bag of red lentils, so I got to work creating a big pot of soup. Once you learn how to make soup from scratch you can make just about anything taste good…if you have the right mix of herbs and spices on hand.  Simple ingredients, simple to make, simply delicious!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 large carrots, sliced into 1/4″ disks
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped sweet potatoes
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup red lentils
5-6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1  teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 bay leaves
15-ounce can diced tomatoes

Instructions

In large pot heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped vegetables and saute 6-8 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally. Add spices and cook for another minute. Add tomatoes, broth and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 25 minutes until all vegetables are soft. Remove bay leaves.  Add beans and heat through. Turn heat to low. Use Immersion blender to blend soup to desired smoothness. Stir in lentils and cook 10-15 minutes. If soup is too thick add more broth. Serve with a nice green salad. Top with a dollop of creamy, plain yogurt if desired.

An Amazing Vegetarian Peanut Stew

This vegan stew with peanut butter, ginger, cumin and coriander is so delicious and very easy to prepare. I love the combination of spices and the creaminess of the peanut butter makes it irresistible! Serve with a nice green salad.

From a New York Times recipe by Julia Moskin

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-size eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • pinch cayenne
  • ¼ cup peanut oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1  jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cup tomato paste
  • 1 small (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, preferably roasted
  • 4 cups vegetable stock 
  • ½ cup natural unsweetened peanut butter 
  • 1 medium-size zucchini, 6 to 8 ounces, cut in quarters lengthwise, then sliced 1/2 -inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
  •  cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish
  •  Cooked rice, for serving
  •  Chopped roasted salted peanuts, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a colander, toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt; set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse, drain well and set aside. In a small bowl, combine cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne; set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and fry, stirring often, until soft, crisp and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a large bowl, leaving oil in pot. Raise heat to high and add eggplant. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with shallots.
  3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add ginger and jalapeno and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add spices and cook, stirring, 30 seconds more. Add onion and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  4. Add diced tomatoes, stock, eggplant, shallots and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Place peanut butter in a medium bowl, add one or two ladlefuls of hot soup, and stir until emulsified, then pour mixture back into soup.
  5. Reduce heat to a simmer, add zucchini, cover and cook 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Let cool slightly and taste; add salt if necessary. Serve in bowls with rice, garnished with cilantro leaves and chopped peanuts, if desired.

A Healing Vegan Chickpea Curry Soup

Aside from the super-rich delicious flavor, this soup is loaded with a very impressive list of health-promoting vitamins and nutrients!

Chickpeas are prized for their high protein and fiber content, and also contain potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B-6 to support heart health.

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also chock full of vitamin C, manganese, copper and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.

Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys and pancreas).

Spices like curry, coriander and turmeric all have strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Your body will thank you for making this soup!

chickpeacurrysoup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large beet, peeled and chopped into 1/2” chunks
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon sea salt or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 to 3 cups vegetable broth
15 ounces crushed tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons raisins
1 cup cooked rice, optional
3 to 4 cups baby spinach

Instructions

In a Dutch oven or heavy pot heat the oil and cook the onions 5 to 8 minutes until slightly golden. Add the garlic and cook another minute, stirring.

Add the spices: curry powder, coriander, turmeric, nutmeg, mustard powder, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook over medium-low heat for one minute, stirring.

To the pot add the crushed tomatoes, beets and sweet potatoes. Mix well, then add the broth and chickpeas. Add more broth if the soup is too thick. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the raisins and spinach and rice if desired and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remember that soup always tastes better the next day. Enjoy!

Get Your Daily Vegetables With This Monster Of A Veggie Burger!

I’ve tried so many veggie burgers I’ve lost track. The vast majority fall apart when I try to cook them or have way too many ingredients, so preparing them is a tremendous undertaking. I came across this recipe for the Green Monster Veggie Burger in a book I was reading about slowing down the aging process…a topic most of us are interested in!

I made just a few small changes and was delighted to discover that this burger is really delicious. I love that it’s made of mostly green veggies as opposed to the traditional veggie burger that often has beans as the main ingredient. My batch made eight burgers and I’ve been enjoying them ever since!

Green Monster Veggie Burger

Ingredients

2 cups frozen baby peas

5 ounces baby kale (one of the small bins)

1/2 broccoli head, cut into florets

1 large celery stalk or 2 small, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup almond meal

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1 teaspoon Italian spice mix

2 teaspoons tamari

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon black pepper or more to taste

Toppings

Your Choice:

1 small eggplant

1 red bell pepper

1 avocado, mashed

Salted plain Greek yogurt

Instructions

Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Put in the kale, then after two minutes add the frozen peas and cook for seven minutes. Two minutes before time is up add the broccoli florets. Drain and set aside to cool slightly before transferring to a food processor.

In the meantime, heat a tablespoon of olive oil ibrocpeaskaleinbowln a small pan and sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. 
Place the cooked vegetables together with the chopped celery into a food processor and pulse 4 or 5 times. Make sure to leave some texture.
Transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl and stir in the oats, almond meal, walnuts, and sautéed onion and garlic. Season with the Italian spice mix, soy sauce, mustard, salt and black pepper.
Form burger patties and set aside.
If you’re using grilled vegetables as a topping, cut the eggplant and red bell pepper into thin slices. Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet and roast them gently for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned.

In a large skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook the veggie patties over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Serve them with or without bread ( I like this Fitness Bread) with grilled veggies or your choice of toppings. Enjoy!

greenmonsterveggieburgers

Have You Tried Tempeh Yet?

Tempeh is a wonderful meat-free alternative that marinates nicely and has an amazing nutritional profile. It’s a fermented soy food that originated on the island of Java in Indonesia and is closest to soy in it’s whole food form. According to Whole Foods experts at whfoods.org “fermentation is desirable because it increases the digestibility of soy (especially its proteins), nutrient absorption from soy (including absorption of phytonutrient isoflavones like genistein and daidzein), and the concentration of bioactive peptides (formed during the breakdown of soy proteins during fermentation).”

Tempeh is a very good source of manganese, copper, phosphorus, vitamin B2, magnesium, iron and calcium. It also provides good fiber and protein.

You can usually find tempeh near the produce section.

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This recipe was adapted from 101 Cookbooks. You can use any healthy, whole grain bread but I like it with this thinly sliced Mestemacher Fitness Bread .

I served these open-faced sandwiches with a large green salad of chopped apples, red onions, avocado and sherry vinaigrette dressing. My judge gave this a score of 8 out of a possible 10!

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup tamari
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
1 eight-ounce package of tempeh cut into 1/4 inch slices

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup olive oil
large pinch sea salt

About 3 cups greens cut into ribbons
1-2 avocados, mashed with a pinch of sea salt
6-8 pieces thin, whole grain bread

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º

Whisk together the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, tamari, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and adobo sauce. Pour one-third of the marinade into an 8 X 8 baking dish or one that is just big enough to hold the tempeh in a single layer. Pour the remaining marinade over the top of the tempeh, cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight until ready to use.

While the tempeh is marinating, roast the tomatoes. Add tomatoes to a medium bowl and coat them with the olive oil and salt. Place in an oven-proof baking dish and bake for 45 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and sweet.

When the tempeh is done marinating uncover the dish and place in 350º oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

To make the sandwiches generously slather 3-4 pieces of bread with mashed avocado. Top with a bit of shredded lettuce, a few tomatoes, 2-3 slices of tempeh and a few more tomatoes.

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