Tag Archives: red lentils

Virtual Vegan Potluck: Red Lentil, Couscous, & Vegetable Stoup. Oil-free.

lentil soup in bowl(Yes, I did use a dreaded Rachel Ray word in the recipe title.  I apologize for that, but it fits for this recipe.  It starts out as a soup but turns into a stew the next day, as you can see from the photos.)

WELCOME TO THE FOURTH VIRTUAL VEGAN POTLUCK!  I’ve got some appreciation to take care of: First of all, thank you to every one who signed on to this craziness.  The directions are complicated, the reminder emails get annoying, and most of all, I know the amount of effort it takes to get a blog post to the Publish stage.  I truly appreciate your time and energy.  I’m always awed and inspired by what you create in the kitchen.

I made a few changes in implementation for this Potluck and it’s made all of the difference.  Having Mentors helping me communicate and coordinate with participants took a big weight off of my shoulders, so thank you thank you to my international crew: Rachael of Rubber Cowgirl, Keely of Gormandize, Barb of That Was Vegan?, Kamila of Sensual Appeal, Liezl of Spinach Revolution, and Angela of Canned Time.  Angela wore multiple hats and did a great job with the VVP Pinterest board.  And thanks to Lidia over at Vegan Bloggers Unite! for once again playing hostess to the Potluck.

Lastly, I want to share what I discovered shortly before I started work on this Potluck.  I realized that when I backed off of worrying about sponsorship and promotion, I enjoyed the process again: welcoming bloggers to their first Potluck; seeing old friends sign up for their fourth event; helping people choose a course or dish.  After all, my original inspiration was to carve out some space and time to share plant-based food with the blogging community – many of whom have become friends.  It’s about letting our creativity shine.  It’s about appreciating the unique perspective we all have.  And this November it was all about making everything from bread to desserts using beets…

Red Lentil, Couscous, & Vegetable Stoup
Serves 6-8

1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
Bragg Liquid Aminos – just a splash
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried onion flakes
pinch coriander
pinch black pepper
1 15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup dried red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 no-salt vegetable bouillon cube
1 15 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained
1 Italian vegan sausage link, homemade or use Field Roast brand, sliced
4 cups spinach, chopped
1/2 cup whole wheat couscous

In a large pot, sauté the onions, carrot, and celery in some vegetable broth and/or water.  Add a splash of Liquid Aminos, cover and cook the vegetables until soft.  After about 10 minutes, stir in the garlic, thyme, coriander, dried onion, and black pepper.  Stir for about a minute.

Pour in the tomatoes, zucchini, lentils, broth, water, veggie bouillon, and artichoke hearts.  Bring mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer; cover, and cook for about 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Stir in the sausage, spinach, and couscous and cook for about 20 more minutes.  Serve piping hot with vegan Parmesan-style cheese.

red lentil soup

Here’s what I shared in previous Potlucks:
May 2012: Sage & Rosemary Dinner Rolls with Roasted Garlic Coconut Butter
November 2012: Maple Creme & Mocha Spice Cake Trifle with Fresh Blueberries
May 2013: Sweet Potato Fries with Parsley, Garlic, & Lemon Zest

ONWARD!  There is a LOT more eating to do!

To go back to Juicy Dishes, click here or on the image below.

Go Back Button VVP

To move forward to Soulicious Life, click here or on the image below.

Go Forward VVP

To start at the very beginning, click here.

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VeganMoFo: Roasted Tomato and Red Lentil Soup with Pepita Gremolata

SoupAnother one of my favorite vegan-friendly restaurants in Salt Lake City is Mazza Cafe.  It’s also another great place for vegans and non-vegans to sit down together for some seriously good eats.  I’ve never been disappointed.  One of my favorites on the menu is their roasted tomato and red lentil soup.  It’s rich and dark and warmly-spiced.  I have no idea how they make it, but here’s my take on it.  Mine is also rich, dark and warmly-spiced.  They serve theirs unadorned, but I thought it would be pretty with a little green on top, so I modified the classic gremolata with crunchy pepitas.

VVP Logo

If you are vegan or vegan-friendly blogger and are looking to meet and greet with other foodies, be sure to sign up for the Virtual Vegan Potluck happening world-wide on November 1.  Go here!

Roasted Tomato and Red Lentil Soup with Pepita Gremolata
Serves 4-6

1 1/2-2 pounds Roma tomatoes, cut into two
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
8 cloves garlic, peeled (leave the cloves whole)
splash of vegetable broth or water and Bragg Liquid Aminos
ground black pepper, to taste
garlic powder, to taste

1 cup red lentils
1 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves, minced
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. white miso
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chile powder
1/2 tsp. coriander
ground black pepper, to taste
~ 4 cups water

big handful of parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
zest of one lemon

Roasted Tomatoes

Make the soup:
Preheat the oven to 425F.  In a deep-sided baking dish, toss the tomatoes, onions and garlic with the vegetable broth/water and Liquid Aminos.  Sprinkle with black pepper and garlic powder.  Roast, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes, onions and garlic are very soft and beginning to brown, 20-25 minutes.  Set aside to cool slightly.

When mixture has cooled for a bit, process in a blender until very smooth.  Set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, saute the carrots, onion, celery and garlic in a little bit of water.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until they begin to soften.  Stir in the soy sauce, miso, tomato paste and spices.  Add the lentils and 3 cups of the water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are extremely tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.  If beans are still firm, add liquid and continue to cook.  Set aside to cool slightly.

When lentils have cooled for a bit, process in a blender until very smooth.  Now combine the tomato and lentil mixtures in a big soup pot.  Add water to reach desired consistency.  Gently warm soup, divide among bowls and top with gremolata.

Make the gremolata:
In a food prep or processor, combine the pepitas, garlic, parsley and lemon zest.  Process until chunky.

Gremolata Ingredients


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(Eating Vegan) Under the Sheltering Sky

Two Cookie-cookies

It can be challenging enough to feed Kel and me while we are on the road, but what about feeding 10 or 11 or 15?  In a place with (count them) zero restaurants, convenience stores or a bright and shiny Whole Foods stocked with vegan salads, hummus and whole grain bread?  Now consider that most of those I’ll be feeding are carnivores.

To celebrate my brother’s life, a big group of us – including many camping greenhorns (I’m among that number) – are heading south into the desert of Ten Mile Wash for a few days to spend time in a place my brother loved.  And before we do that, we’re running, walking or strolling The Little Grand Canyon 10k.  An army fights on its stomach; we have to eat.  By my count we’ll have two breakfasts, two lunches and one dinner out in the boonies.  I’ve cooked in small kitchens before, but the camper kitchen is a little snug, so I’m planning on bringing everything down in a nearly-finished or finished state.  Coolers will be clearly marked with “breakfast,” “lunch” and “dinner.”  Plastic bins will have almond butter, mixed grains, trail mix, dried fruit, utensils, kitchen towels, wet wipes, foil, freezer bags, a cutting board, knives and of course, lots of dog food for Ike.  He has to eat, too.

I planned out my menu several weeks in advance and in the week before the trip, I’ve been preparing and pre-baking and -making what I can.  I started with dessert first (makes sense, right?) with crazy Cookie Cookies from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions.  Along with Double Chocolate Cookies with Blueberries and Mini Dark Chocolate Cashew Cheezcakes  (based on a recipe by Somer at Good Clean Food - who toiled away in her kitchen to develop these just for me; her selfless family did the taste-testing), our sweet teeth should be well-satisfied.

Mini Chocolate Cheezcakes

Mini CheezcakesBreakfasts will consist of mixed rolled grains with dried fruit and almond milk, whole grain bread with cashew and almond butters, apples, bananas and yummy raw bars featured in a previous post; plus the amazing Cookie Bites from a recipe by Erika at Good Clean Food.  My friend Sue specifically requested coffee so I’ll be bringing down a pound of Two Creek which serves up a proprietary blend from Jack Mormon Coffee.

Two Creeks Coffee

Cookie Bites

BBQ Tofu in TortillaFor lunch on the first day, we’ll have BBQ Baked Tofu Sandwiches from The Real Food Daily Cookbook, by Ann Gentry, served on Ezekial sprouted (wheat-free) tortillas (these are my new favorite thing) loaded with avocado, arugula, red onion and an amazing ranch dressing also from Real Food Daily.  Black bean potato salad with arugula pesto should compliment the sandwiches nicely.  That recipe is courtesy of the Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health cookbook.  We’ve got some gluten-intolerant folks coming along and I don’t want anyone to go hungry.

Macadamia Nut Cheez

Red Lentil Soup

We’ll start dinner off with a few slabs of Macadamia Nut Cheez, another recipe from the good folks at The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions.  It can get pretty chilly in the desert as the sun sets, so I’ll employ one of the camper’s burners to heat up a big pot of Red Lentil Soup also from the first Forks Over Knives cookbook.  I use green garbanzo beans instead of green beans and add mustard seeds and fresh spinach and cilantro.  It is such a flavorful and satisfying soup and I was able to freeze a big batch several days before the trip.  I’ll serve Curried Couscous Salad with the soup as well as whole grain rolls and the aforementioned mini Chocolate Cashew Cheezecakes.

I’m trying not to stress out too much, but there’s some pressure here.  Most of the people I will be feeding are not vegan and I want their eating experience to be satisfying, surprising (in a good way) and delicious.  I’d love to change some minds about what it means to eat plant-based.  I’d also like to be prepared enough that I can focus on why we are out in the desert.  This is all about remembering and celebrating my brother.

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Warming Up: Broccoli Dal Soup with Red Quinoa

Bowl of Broccoli Dal SoupIn the midst of days and days of skies filled with gray clouds and biting winds, a bright green, flavorful soup was nothing short of a necessity.  Something about cumin and garam masala just says warmth to me – so I went for a red lentil soup loaded with fresh broccoli.  This whips up super fast to address urgent cravings, empty stomachs and cold hands.  I thought the dark red quinoa made a lovely contrast to the rich green of the soup and the cilantro.

Broccoli Dal Soup with Red Quinoa
Serves 4

4 cups broccoli florets, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup red lentils
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
vegetable broth, as necessary for sauteing
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. mustard seeds
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. garam masala
cilantro, for garnish

Red quinoa, cooked (I made a cup which was enough for 4 servings, plus a little left over for a Quick Quinoa Salad, with no-fat vinaigrette.)

In a large pot, heat about 1/4 cup vegetable broth and saute the onion and garlic until soft.  Let the vegetable broth cook off, then add the cumin, mustard seeds and lentils and stir for a few minutes.  Add the broccoli, water (or broth) and the salt.  Cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the broccoli is soft.

Using a stick blender (or a blender), lightly puree some of the soup – make it as smooth or leave as chunky as you like.  Return the soup to the stove and add the soy milk, soy sauce, lemon juice, turmeric and garam masala.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Don’t boil the soup as this will cause the soy milk to break up.


(Another fantastic recipe from Lauren Ulm at VeganYumYum.  My adjustments are minor: using no oil to cook the veggies, adding garlic, pureeing, adding the quinoa garnish and using twice the amount of broccoli.)

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Red Lentil & Spinach Turnovers

Spinach & Lentil Turnovers on PlateAll that really needs to be said about these is: mmmmm.  Flaky pastry dough, spinach and creamy red lentils with a little bit of spice.  Yeah.   These make a perfect lunch along with a cool, crisp salad, or if made smaller, could be handily applied as an appetizer.  To get ahead of the meal game, make up a batch to the point of baking*, wrap well and pop into the freezer.  You can them bake them straight out of the freezer (removing the plastic or foil wrap, of course).

Red Lentil & Spinach Turnovers
Makes 6

Jar of Red Lentils2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
pinch salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup vegan shortening
4-6 tbsp. ice water
1 tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 cup red lentils
1 cup boiling water
8 oz. spinach
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Prepare the dough:
Place the flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse a few times to mix.  Add the shortening in pieces and pulse to incorporate.  Add the oil to the 6 tbsp. water and slowly pour into the dough while processing.  Only add as much water as needed to form a solid dough – a ball should form as the dough spins in the bowl.

Remove the dough and knead a few times if necessary.  Flatten and then wrap with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight.

Dough with Rolling Pin

Prepare the filling:
Heat the vegetable broth in a large saucepan and cook the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the cumin seeds and coriander and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.

Add the red lentils and stir in the boiling water.  Bring mixture to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until lentils are soft.  If necessary, uncover and gently cook until all the water has cooked off or been absorbed.  Set aside.

Steam the spinach until just tender.  Drain well and chop.  Add the spinach to the lentil mixture and stir well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator a few minutes before assembling the turnovers.  Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut out six 6″ rounds.  Divide lentil mixture between the circles and brush a bit of water around the edges.  Fold dough over to make a half circle and gently press the edge with the tines of a fork.  Prick each turnover a few times on the top.

Place the turnovers (3 to a pan) on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Open Turnover

* Before I wrap and freeze the unbaked turnovers, I line a baking pan with parchment and put the turnovers on the parchment then place the pan in the freezer for 15-30 minutes.  This firms up the dough.  Then I wrap the turnovers well in plastic and put them in gallon freezer bags.

(This recipe comes from Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Bible, mentioned many-a-time on this blog.  I didn’t change the pastry recipe at all, but I did do my usual veggie broth instead of oil saute for the filling.)

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Slow-Cooker Gingery Red Lentils

Red Lentil in BowlRecipes don’t come much easier than this one – and definitely not for the complexity of flavor that ends up in your bowl.  There are only 7 ingredients.  You put everything in a crock-pot and within 30 minutes, your kitchen smells like ginger and garlic.  By dinner time, there’s a thick stew waiting for you to ladle over a mound of steaming brown basmati rice; to sprinkle with copious amounts of fresh cilantro and sidle up next to some warm whole wheat pitas…Sigh.

Slow-Cooker Gingery Red Lentils
Serves 4-5

7 cups vegetable broth
9 cloves garlic, chopped
7 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
16 oz. red lentils
2 cups spinach, chopped
pinch ground black pepper

Turn on the crock-pot to low and add all of the ingredients except for the spinach.  Stir to combine, put the lid on and come back around in about 6 hours.  Stir in the chopped spinach for the last 15-30 minutes of cooking.  The end result will be thick, creamy and smelling like Zingiber officinal heaven.

(Thanks to Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease, by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD for this delicious recipe to which I made minor, minor tweaks.)

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