five ingredient vegan tomato soup.

Do you ever want soup that tastes like it’s been simmering away in the pot all afternoon, but you’re too tired to even think about preparing dinner? Today’s recipe is just what you need! Five ingredients (plus oil/salt/pepper), a half an hour, and minimal prep will yield a comforting bowl of vegan tomato  soup. *raises hand*.

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The title of this recipe assumes you have oil/salt/pepper as “freebies” in your ingredients list. These are pantry staples, and when choosing an oil, I recommend non-inflammatory oils such as grapeseed, coconut, avocado (<— all great for medium/high heat cooking), as well as olive and sesame oils, which are lovely for lower heat and for garnishing.

If you have those on hand, the following soup needs only vegetable stock, canned tomatoes (try and grab at least one can of fire roasted ones!), garlic, onion, and a carrot and we have a soup that will be on the table in 30 minutes, and tastes surprisingly complex for the simple ingredients. I have a few other tomato soup recipes on this site (see here for a version using fresh tomatoes, and here for a creamy version), but this one utilizes only a few pantry essentials and is vegan friendly! Love that.

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Many tomato soup recipes call for sugar to offset the acidity of the canned tomatoes, but I use the same technique here as I do for my red sauce: carrots. Carrots are naturally sweet, and either dice them small or shred them and cook them with the onions and garlic. The carrots will start to caramelize and offer a natural sweetness which will neutralize the tomatoes’ acidity.

Serve with a slice of toast or a simple green salad. Make a double batch – it freezes beautifully!

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five ingredient vegan tomato soup.

ingredients
28 ounce can whole tomatoes, hand crushed with their juices
14 ounce can diced fire roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced or shredded
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
sea salt and black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon each)
basil or parmesan cheese, to garnish (optional)

directions
Heat two tablespoons oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add diced onion, diced/shredded carrot, and garlic and saute over heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Allow vegetables to cook until they soften and become translucent. Adjust heat lower if the vegetables begin to darken.

Add the 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and pepper, cans of crushed and diced tomatoes and 3 cups vegetable stock. Increase heat to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, and partially cover. Allow the soup to simmer for 20-25 minutes longer, and then turn off heat.

Remove 3 cup of soup to blender, blend and then return to the soup pot. Alternatively, use a stick blender to puree about 1/4-1/3 of the soup. Stir together and add additional salt or pepper if needed.

Split amongst four bowls and garnish with parmesan or basil if desired.

Serves 4.

*Use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

japchae (Korean glass noodle stir fry) with beef.

Have you ever heard of japchae? I hadn’t, until I was standing amongst boxes and bags of noodles at the Asian section of my grocery store. I was intrigued by a small tube of sweet potato glass noodles. I am always on the lookout for gluten free noodles, as I try to limit my gluten intake as I tend to have an inflammatory reaction if I consume too much. On the package of the sweet potato noodles, there was a recipe for japchae, which was compromised of stir fried vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, squash), tossed with a simple soy and sesame sauce, served with thinly sliced beef. Sold! Once I got home, I did a little research into japchae, and immediately added it to list of must make dishes.

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I am so glad I did! Japchae is a dish that is typically served at parties and special occasions. It is so flexible! Can be served hot or cold, as a side dish with just the veggies and noodles, or served as a main dish, topped with meat, seafood or tofu, like I did here. You can use any vegetables that you have in your fridge, or that are in season. I used baby white mushrooms, julienned carrots, and napa cabbage, topped with scallions and sesame seeds. You can use any vegetable that you would use in a stir fry – bell pepper or green beans would be delicious here! I went veggie-heavy as per usual, but you can scale down or up to suit your ingredients and your preferences.

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These noodles are treated in a similar fashion to rice noodles. Soak them in warm but not boiling hot water for 30 minutes, and then once ready to use, you will cook them in boiling water for 30 seconds, and then add to the pan with the vegetables, beef and sauce. These are the brand of noodles I used:

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As a bonus, this dish is incredibly  travel friendly. It can be eaten hot, warm, room temperature, cold, you name it! I particularly enjoyed it straight out of the fridge; the flavors had time to meld and the texture of the noodles was best when cold. Enjoy this Korean specialty, all!

japchae with beef.

ingredients
4 ounces sweet potato glass noodles
1/4 cup low sodium tamari
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 tablespoon hot chili oil
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1/2 cup white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup napa cabbage leaves, sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 scallions, light and dark parts, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
8-10 ounces top sirloin or flank steak

directions
Soak noodles in room temperature water for at least 30 minutes. Cook in boiling water for 30 seconds, and drain. Run cool water over the cooked noodles to stop the cooking process and then toss with a half a teaspoon of sesame oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.

Combine tamari, coconut palm sugar, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside 2/3 of marinade. Use the remaining 1/3 to marinate the steak for at least one hour, but can leave up to 12.

To cook steak: Heat a grill or grill pan over medium high heat and sprinkle the steak with black pepper (no salt needed as the tamari is salty). Cook 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare, 5-6 minutes for medium/medium well. Remove, and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice very thinly against the grain. Set aside.

Heat the hot chili oil and grapeseed oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add the onion and carrots and stir fry for 1-2 minutes, and then add the cabbage and mushrooms. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes longer, just until vegetables soften slightly and get color to them. Add the steak, noodles and reserved marinade and reduce heat to medium, stir frying everything together for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Plate on a large serving bowl/platter, and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve immediately, or chill prior to serving.

Serves 2-3.

simple red lentil dal.

Have you ever had dal? Dals are an Indian staple, and come in a variety of styles. Today I am making a simple, classic red lentil dal that is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

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Dals are a staple in Indian cuisine and there are about a million different recipes out there. This is the first dal I ever made, and I always go back to it. At its simplest, it is lentils, tomatoes, and spices. Served with rice or naan, or both!, it is extremely flavorful, comforting and nutritious.

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Dal could keep me going for weeks, and I know if you try it, you’ll feel the exact same as I do. As a bonus, dals freeze incredibly well, so make a double batch, portion it out, and you can have a comforting Indian classic in less time it’ll take you to order takeout!

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simple red lentil dal.

ingredients
1 cup split red lentils, rinsed and drained
3 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup tomatoes, seeded (I used a combination of fresh and canned roma)
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red onion, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt
cooked brown or white basmati rice, for serving
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, for serving (optional)

directions
In a 3 quart saucepan/skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat and add the onion, ginger and garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes until the onion starts to become translucent and the garlic and ginger become fragrant.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the cumin, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, mustard seeds and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Stir frequently for 1-2 minutes, to allow the spices to toast and ‘bloom’ (you’ll know when they bloom as they become very fragrant and bright). Add the chopped tomatoes and lentils. Stir for a minute and then add the 3 cups of water or stock.

Increase the heat to a boil, reduce to a simmer and partially cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes, checking for the doneness of the lentils after 15. Lentils should be soft but not completely broken down. Stir and remove from heat; the dal will thicken as it stands.

Serve with steamed rice or naan if desired, and top with cilantro. Serves 4 for an entree.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

heirloom tomato + caramelized onion puff pastry tart.

As promised, I’m back! With the sunniest, freshest, and most delicious recipe that is almost absurdly simple. It’s savory tart time.

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After my return home from Hawaii (boo), I was excited to get back into my kitchen. I ate the most delicious food while away, but I do miss cooking while traveling. I hit up my local public market over the weekend, and found these gorgeous heirloom cherry tomatoes. Coupled with fresh basil, I knew I wanted more than the obvious caprese salad, as enticing as those are. I wrestled with the idea of making a galette, but the notion of rolling out pie dough was too much to handle on this lazy Sunday. I decided on prepared puff pastry – so simple to use, elegant, and deceptively light (hint: it’s not! We have to live).

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I thaw my puff pastry for about 30-40 minutes on a cutting board at room temperature before I plan to use. This allows for just enough time to thaw, but the pastry needs to still be chilled. Too warm and it gets gluey. Yuck.

Simply unroll when it’s ready (don’t force it!) and lightly brush with a touch of olive oil. We are then going to add a light coat of shredded fontina (any mix of good melting cheeses will do – gruyere would be a great option, as well as shredded mozzarella or an Italian blend), then the lightly caramelized onions (so much yummy sweetness!), and then the halved tomatoes. A quick bake for 20-25 minutes, and then top with fresh basil. The tomatoes will retain their juicy freshness, and the sweetness of the onions and basil are the perfect compliments.

This is a beautiful appetizer or light lunch that is wonderful warm, at room temperature, and cold! In fact, I’m eating it out of the fridge right now. Enjoy!

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heirloom tomato tart with caramelized onions.
adapted from Martha Stewart. 

ingredients
1 square sheet prepared puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
8 ounces cherry heirloom tomatoes, halved (can also use regular cherry tomatoes)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese (can use a mix of fontina, mild white cheddar, gruyere)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided plus more for drizzling
1.5 teaspoons sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon reserved
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

directions

Halve the cherry tomatoes and place in a colander/fine mesh strainer that is situated over a bowl. Sprinkle with one teaspoon of sea salt, and gently stir. Let sit for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Discard any liquid that collects in the bowl (this helps keep the tart crisp and not too wet).

While tomatoes are sitting, heat remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet, add the sliced onions, and cook over low-medium heat. Cook, stirring often, for 25-30 minutes, until onions are golden and soft and fragrant. Turn the heat down to ensure no browning.

Once puff pastry is defrosted, brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Top with 1/2 cup cheese, caramelized onions, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, drizzle a little of olive oil, and top with remaining salt and pepper.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, checking after 15. Remove once golden brown and top with basil. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

Serves 4 for lunch, 8 for appetizer.

**Please use organic ingredients**

 

 

Moroccan red lentil soup.

Hello lovelies! I’m back, after an unexpected hiatus. It’s been a whirlwind the past four weeks, fueled by scattered and sporadic eating, late nights, and so. much. homework. Graduate school is no joke!

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Is it summer where you are? It’s Memorial Day weekend, and here I am, your trusty soup-fiend, bringing you another delicious and absolutely, positively, insanely healthful vegan recipe. Because here in NY, it’s been rainy, windy, and chilly. I’m not complaining, summer can hold off for as long as it wants. The chilled Spring we’ve been having has been just splendid. Among other reason, grey rainy skies equal soup. Lentil soup to be precise. Pulses such as lentils are no strangers around here, but making the same recipes over and over can get a little (a lot) boring. Did you know that lentils are nutritional powerhouses? Full of antioxidants and protein and iron, all packed in that tiny little package. Today we’re going to infuse this soup with tons of flavorful spices that are going to create a warming, intoxicating soup.

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This soup is intoxicating thanks to the spices we’re going to use: cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, turmeric, cinnamon. If you want to really take this over the edge, top with a squeeze of lemon, garnished with parsley and cilantro. I skipped the herbs for these photos, but trust me, they add an amazing fresh, herbaceous flavor. Give your lentils a new spin!

Moroccan red lentil soup. 

ingredients
1 cup split red lentils
4 cups vegetable stock + 1.5-2 cups water
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon coconut/grapeseed oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger, minced
1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
pinch (1/8 teaspoon) cinnamon
3/4-1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
28 ounce can crushed or petite diced tomatoes with juices

optional to garnish:
fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped

directions

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and carrots and saute for five minutes or until softened and translucent; stirring frequently to prevent browning. Add cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper, stirring to allow to spices to “bloom” or become fragrant for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Add red lentils, 4 cups vegetable stock, 1 cup water, and tomatoes. Increase heat and allow the soup to come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer, partially cover and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes until lentils have softened but have not broken down. If too thick, add additional 1/2-1 cup water. Taste and add additional salt or pepper if desired.

Ladle into bowls and top with herbs and lemon before serving. Makes 6 servings.

*Please use organic ingredients where possible* 

easy weeknight posole.

Hi there! It appears that spring has finally sprung here in NY, and this weekend was a mixture of rain and sun, with temperatures climbing towards the upper 60s. Crazy!

Due to this spring weather, I should probably be showing you a super fresh, veggie heavy salad. Next time. 🙂 Instead, I’m going to show you a recipe that will repurpose leftover pulled pork into a whole new dish. You see, a few weekends ago I cooked up a pork shoulder and being only one person in the house, a pork shoulder always yields way more than I need! Naturally you can throw it in tortillas, top pizza, make burrito bowls, slather it with your favorite sauce, but I was wanting something decidedly different with the leftovers. Enter posole! A classic Mexican dish, made with cumin, chiles, tomato and hominy, and of course, some of that leftover pork stashed away in the freezer.

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Traditional recipes call for making a salsa/puree from dried chiles, and cooking that together with the raw pork, slowly over a low temperature. Absolutely delicious, but very time consuming. This recipe, adapted from Martha Stewart, takes less than 30 minutes to come together, as we’re using tomato paste and chile powder in lieu of the dried chiles, and already cooked meat. I also threw in a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes for some extra body, but you can leave them out if you so desire. Easy enough to be whipped together any weeknight evening, and tastes like you’ve been slaving away all day. Love that.

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Posole can be red or green (dependent upon chile type), and is typically very simple: pork and hominy. The garnishes really take it over the top. I garnished this simply with sliced radishes, some cilantro and a squeeze of lime. You can top with thinly sliced corn tortillas, sliced avocado, etc. The options are endless.

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easy weeknight red posole.
adapted from Martha Stewart, One Pot. 

ingredients
1.5-2 cups shredded pork (or chicken or beef), already cooked
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chile powder
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups water
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 14 ounce can of hominy, drained and rinsed
1 14 ounce fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 lime, cut into wedges for garnish
1/3 cup cilantro leaves chopped, for garnish
corn tortillas, cut into strips, for garnish

directions

Heat a soup pot over medium heat, add the oil and heat. Add the onion and garlic and let saute, 3-5 minutes, until translucent and soft. Add the chile power, stirring often, for an additional 2 minutes, being careful not to burn. Add cumin, salt, tomato paste and water, and stir to combine. Stir often and allow the mixture to come up to a simmer, thicken, and combine (this is basically an enchilada sauce!). The simmering/thickening process should take about 10 minutes.

Add the 4 cups chicken stock, cooked pork, drained hominy, and diced tomatoes. Bring mixture to boil, reduce to a simmer, and let the soup gently simmer for 20 minutes, or as long as you’d like. Ladle into bowls, and top with thinly sliced radishes, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

Serves 4-6.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

vegan chocolate mint milkshake.

I have a treat for us today! As you may know, I’m not a sweets person. Give me chips over cake any day of the week. There are exceptions. Growing up, before I learned of my dairy allergy, I LOVED milkshakes. I have fond memories of my younger brother and I making milkshakes in my mom’s house with her blender that was from 1972. Vanilla low-fat ice cream (hey, it was the 90s), skim milk, chocolate syrup… YUM. I’ve always been a super thick milkshake girl.

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The other day, I caught the milkshake craving. Since regular milk and ice cream haven’t graced my lips in over a decade, but I suddenly remembered that I had a vegan “ice cream” hanging out in my freezer from about a month ago when my friend brought it over. Any vegan and/or non-dairy frozen “ice cream” dessert will work for this, but the brand I used is here. I find that it has the best consistency; soy or coconut-based is fine. I used a 2:1 ratio of the frozen treat and cashew milk, a splash of vanilla extract, and a few springs of fresh mint, and gave it a whirl. The fresh mint is essential, as it provides such freshness. Don’t like mint? Try almond extract and a scoop of almond butter, or even peanut butter!

Even though non-dairy ice cream can be icy/not as lusciously creamy as traditional ice cream, adding in the nut milk yields an incredibly thick, creamy shake. Good news? One 8 ounce glass is under 200 calories! Now THAT is a dessert I can totally get behind.

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vegan chocolate mint shake.
a ‘PTL’ original. 

ingredients
1 pint of coconut or soy-based chocolate ice “cream”/frozen dessert
1 cup unsweetened cashew milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-5 fresh mint leaves, plus 4 for garnish

directions
Add all ingredients except for reserved mint leaves to a high speed blender. Blend, starting on medium speed, increasing to high. Blend for 1 minute, adding up to 1/4 cup additional cashew milk if needed/desired.

Divide between four glasses. Garnish each with a mint leaf. Serve immediately.