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* 

 

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* 

 

spicy cilantro lime lemonade.

If you’re a cilantro hater, you may want to look away. I’m so sorry, but today’s recipe is decidedly cilantro-centric. This herbaceous lemonade is refreshing, citrusy and gives a little kick to the back of your throat. That’s pretty much all I want in a summer beverage, how about you?

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If you do not have a mortar and pestle, fret not! You can simply combine the sugar and the cilantro in a mixing bowl and stir with a spatula, occasionally pressing the mixture against the sides of the bowl to get a similar effect before adding to the pitcher.

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I was discussing this recipe with my co-worker who immediately said “that needs tequila!”. Ha… well, of course this lemonade is easily made boozy, and I agree that tequila would be divine. You could even make two batches for a summer party — one recipe to satisfy all! All the spice and cilantro lovers, that it is! 🙂

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spicy cilantro lime lemonade.
adapted from Cooking Light.

ingredients
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 lime, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and halved, thinly sliced
4 cups filtered water

directions
In a motar and pestle, add the 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and using the pestle, grind for a minute or two until the mixture starts to combine but the leaves are still roughly in tact.

In a pitcher, add the lemon juice, cilantro sugar and four cups of water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the sliced limes and jalapeño. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and then serve chilled.

Can be made up to one day in advance. Makes four servings.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

cucumber, tomato + pineapple salad with chili lime dressing.

I love the flexibility of salads. Vegetables, fruit, grain, rice… the possibilities are endless and you can really let your creativity run wild. Today I have a light, bright and utterly refreshing option that will cool you down on even the hottest of summer days.

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Pineapple and cucumber make a beautiful pair, as evidenced in this agua fresca. We are adding in fresh mint and cilantro, which gently perfume the salad, and accent the slight citrusy heat of the dressing. This is an absolute cinch to put together, making it great for last minute entertaining. You can also make this ahead of time, but do not dress until ready to serve, as the garlic and lime can muddy the flavors of the fruit (yes! All three main ingredients are technically fruits!) and alter the texture.

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This was a hit at my dinner party the other evening, and I know you’ll love it, too!

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cucumber, tomato, + pineapple salad with chili-lime dressing.
adapted from epicurious.com 

ingredients
1/2 English seedless cucumber, sliced lengthwise and seeds scooped out
2 cups pineapple, quartered, sliced again lengthwise, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 roma tomato, seeds scooped out, sliced into strips, and diced
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint

dressing
2.5 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1-2 tablespoons jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
1/4 teaspoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

directions
Dressing: mince the garlic clove and then add the salt to the minced garlic. Smash back and forth with the flat side of a heavy chefs knife, mixing together to create a garlic paste (will not be smooth). Work with for a few minutes until the salt and garlic begin to combine. Add this to a small mason jar, and add the jalapeño, starting with one tablespoon (work your way up according to your heat preferences), sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and oil. Seal jar and shake vigorously to combine. Alternatively, add all to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. Refrigerate if making ahead of time.

Add cucumber, tomato, pineapple, cilantro and mint to a large bowl and pour dressing over (start with half and work up if you like a wetter salad). Stir gently, transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

Serves 2-3 as a starter/salad.

*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* 

herbed brown rice mujaddara.

Today we are headed to Lebanon for recipe inspiration. Mujaddara. Mujaddara is a classic Middle Eastern dish that consists of rice and lentils, cooked together, topped with caramelized onions and herbs.

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Commonly referred to as a ‘peasant dish’, this dish has been a staple dish for many communities for centuries, with the first recorded mention of mujaddara dating back to the 13th Century in Iraq! It’s with good reason this dish has stuck around for so long: It’s GOOD.

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Simply, this dish is rice, lentils, and caramelized onions. There are a plethora of recipes out there, some with herbs, some without. Some direct you to cook the rice and lentils together, some have them cook separately. My recipe has you cook the rice and lentils together, and then cook the onions while the rice mixture is simmering away. Caramelized onions may seem like a labor of love, and while they are time-consuming, all they need is a stir every few minutes, and perhaps a splash of water to prevent burning. You do not need to stand over the stove watching them continuously, a la this polenta!

I used brown rice, as it provides more flavor, fiber, and complex carbohydrates into the dish. Especially if you are eating this as a main dish as I did, it’s important to find ways to incorporate as many vitamins and minerals as you can at every opportunity.

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The herbs provide a major hit of herbaceous, vegetal deliciousness, but you can scale down to 1/2 cup to suit your preferences. I used a mix of parsley and cilantro (2:1), but feel free to use any combination you’d like! Whole cumin seeds are preferable, but if you only have ground cumin, just add that in with the salt and pepper instead of with the onions. If you’re feeling fun, top this with a fried egg! Mmmmm. At any rate, enjoy this classic. It’s lovely.

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herbed brown rice mujaddara.
adapted from Bon Appetit. 

ingredients
4.5 cups vegetables stock or water
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 cup green or brown lentils, rinsed
1 bay leaf
1.5 teaspoons each sea salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1.5 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 cup fresh mixed herbs (such as mint, parsley, and/or cilantro), chopped, divided

directions
Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rice, lentils, and bay leaf and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rice and lentils are tender, 35–40 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let sit 5–10 minutes (there should still be some broth remaining). If dry, add in a cup of additional broth and mix together. Discard bay leaf and season with salt and pepper and ground cumin if using instead of seeds. Set rice mixture aside.

While the rice and lentils are cooking, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cumin seeds and toss to coat. Cook, stirring often and adding water to pan as needed to prevent burning, until onions are golden brown and soft, 35-40 minutes.

Mix half of onion mixture and half of herbs into rice mixture; season with salt and pepper. Top mujadarra with remaining onions and herbs. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.

Makes 4-6 servings.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible*