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!

My Favorite Go-To Recipe

I’m not a vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or any philosophical type of eater. If there was such a thing as a wholefoodarian I guess that’s what I’d be! Don’t get me wrong; I believe that everyone should eat the way that feels good for their body and life….as long as you avoid chemicalized junk food at least most of the time. I’ve tried going vegan and being a strict vegetarian but neither worked for me.

I love (crave) foods from the earth and am always trying to come up with new ways to prepare them. I am not into complicated (Martha Stewart-like) recipes with a zillion ingredients that require over -night preparation and hours of cooking. Even if I did make something with those requirements I would never pass them along because I am fully aware that most of us have limited time to spend on food preparation.

On days that I am not feeling particularly creative and want something easy, tasty, quick and ,of course, healthy I turn to what I call “sloppy beans”. I made this one day when I had just found out we were heading to Nationals Stadium for the first time and I was unsure about what my food options would be (now I know…very limited!)

I quickly looked around the kitchen to see what I had available and threw this meal together. The result was really good and since then I’ve perfected it even more!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion diced

1 can black beans, rinsed

1 cup corn

1 bell pepper (any color), diced

2 teaspoons cumin

1-2 teaspoon chili powder

1 small 8 ounce can tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Vegetables stock for thinning

Ezekiel sprouted grain English muffins or brown rice

Avocado slices

Heat oil in large pot or skillet. Saute the corn on medium high heat until  golden brown, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add onion and peppers and saute 3 more minutes until soft.

Sprinkle cumin, chili powder and  salt over the mixture and stir to combine. To vegetables in the pot add tomato sauce and beans;bring to a boil then cover and cook on medium heat for at least 10 minutes. If mixture is too thick add a little broth.

Spoon bean mixture over toasted muffins or brown rice. Garnish with slices of avocado (I didn’t have any for this photo). Serve with a big ,colorful salad for a perfect meal!

How about sloppy beans over a baked sweet potato?!

This entire process only takes about 20 minutes. Remember if you’re serving brown rice to allow about 50 extra minutes for it to cook.  Better yet, make the rice the day before so it’s ready when you are!  Hope you like your sloppy beans!