Moroccan lentil soup

Soup use this one.jpg

The LA Times reported that the top food trends for 2018 spotted on Pinterest include Moroccan cuisine, plant-based proteins and soup. So here’s an on trend recipe that’s easy to make and delicious. It’s also ridiculously good for you with garlic, ginger, turmeric and iron-and-fibre-rich lentils.

My first thought when I encountered this recipe, which is from Healthy Starts Here, was “This is just weird enough to work.” And it certainly does with a hint of tanginess, a touch of sweetness from the apricots and mellow spices.

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Ingredients

1 tbsp canola or peanut oil

2 onions diced

4 cloves garlic minced

1-2 inches of ginger root peeled and grated

3 stalks of celery sliced

1 cup of red lentils

1 cup of water

4 cups of vegetable broth

28 oz can diced tomatoes

8 dried apricots

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp turmeric

¼ tsp allspice

Optional but awesome – a cup of fresh kale, chard or spinach torn to bite sized pieces.

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You can add some fresh leafy greens for extra colour, texture and nutrition.

Directions

Measure out your spices and have the garlic and ginger prepped.

Sauté the onion and celery in a very large pot for about 5 minutes until the onion gets a bit golden. Add the spices, garlic and ginger and stir for another minute, heating everything through. Add all the other ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.

If you’re adding any leafy greens, add them after the soup is done cooking, but while it’s still hot. You want to wilt, but not cook the greens.

This recipe makes 4-6 servings and freezes well. I love it with warm pita bread.

 

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Fennel and apple soup – elegant and satisfying

fennelsoup

Now that autumn weather is definitely here, it’s soup season. This fennel and apple soup is easy to make, has a rich taste and texture and is elegant enough for company.

There are two recipes in one here – one for the soup and another for the cashew cream.

Soup ingredients

1 bulb fennel cleaned and diced (reserve some fronds for garnish)

1 large apple cored, peeled and diced

1 shallot sliced

1 rib celery sliced

2 cups of vegetable stock

the juice of ½ lemon

salt and pepper to taste (about 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper)

1 tsp Dijon mustard (I used grainy mustard)

1 cup cashew cream (see below)*

Directions

Place the fennel, apple, shallot, celery, stock and salt and pepper in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes.

When the vegetables are tender enough to easily pierce with a fork, turn off the heat and blend the soup mixture. I use a hand-held immersion blender, but you can also use a regular blender, working in batches.

Add the lemon juice, Dijon mustard and cashew cream and stir together. Taste and adjust the salt, if needed.

Serve with a bit of fennel frond for garnish.

Makes 4 servings. The soup will last for up to 3 days in the fridge.

*Ingredients and directions for the cashew cream

1 cup raw cashews

2/3 cup water

Juice of ½ lemon

¾ tsp salt

Soak the raw cashews in water for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 8 hours. Drain the cashews and blend in a high-speed blender with the remaining ingredients. The cream will thicken as it sits and will last in your fridge for up to 3 days. You will have about 1 ½ cups of cashew cream – more than you need for the fennel and apple soup – so reserve the remaining amount to have with borscht or perogies or natchos/tacos or wherever else you’d use sour cream.

Hola! It’s Aztec soup – spices, veggies and lentils sing in a bowl.

AztecSoup

Here’s a hearty, flavourful soup that’s easy to make and satisfying. I love it with side of toast and sliced avocado sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Alas, this delicious soup that’s loaded with great flavours and textures photographs badly. You’ll just have to trust me that this ugly duckling is beautiful on the inside (of your tummy).

This recipe makes four dinner-sized bowls. Mmmm.

Ingredients

1 medium onion chopped

1 cup (250 ml) red lentils

1 red or green pepper diced

2 carrots sliced into half-moon coins.

1 stalk celery sliced

½ cup fresh or frozen corn

1 large jalapeno pepper minced

2 cloves garlic minced

½ Tbsp olive or coconut oil

4 cups vegetable broth

1 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the carrot, celery, onion, jalapeno and garlic and sauté on medium heat until the onion softens about 5 minutes. Add the diced pepper and sauté a few more minutes. Add all the other ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

This soup will keep covered in the fridge for about 3-4 days and freezes well. It will last for 3 months in the freezer, but even better share with neighbours and friends.

Happy cows’ French onion soup

Fr.OnionSoup

Makes 3 servings

French onion soup… who doesn’t love this gooey, cheesey, savoury bowl of deliciousness?

Cows and cardiologists, that’s who. The original recipe is made with beef broth, cheese and butter.

My vegan version has all the flavour, heartiness and cheesy yum of the original recipe AND it keeps our bovine pals and your arteries happy.

While I’m not a big fan of packaged foods, I have to give a big shout out to Daiya for making an excellent product that tastes and acts like cheese. In this recipe, the shredded Daiya mozzarella and smoked Gouda flavoured products even give the broth the delightful creaminess I loved in the original recipe.

Big bonus – in just 45 minutes you will go from a bag of onions to a bowl of this soup. Half that time involves ignoring the soup pot while it simmers. It doesn’t get much easier!

Ingredients

4 cups vegetable broth

2 large onions, peeled, quartered and cut into thin slices.

2 cloves garlic minced

½ tsp sugar (even brown sugar is fine)

1 ½ Tbsp vegan margarine

1 bay leaf

1 sprig thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme

1 Tbsp sherry (optional)

1 Tbsp A-1 Sauce (a/k/a brown sauce)

1 Tbsp soya sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

3 slices stale bread (I use Ezekiel bread)

1 – 1 ½ cups shredded Daiya cheese or other vegan cheese that melts when heated

Directions

In a large pot, melt the margarine. Add the onions, garlic and sugar and sauté the onions for about 10 minutes until they start turning golden. Add all the other ingredients except the bread and Daiya cheese and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 25 minutes. Fish out the bay leaf and the twig of thyme, if using.

Ladle the soup into three ovenproof bowls. Add a slice of bread to each bowl and sprinkle with a third of the shredded Daiya. Place the bowls in the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and turning golden.

Serve up and enjoy!

Lemon-garlic soup with lentils and rice

LemonGarlicSoup

Are you feeling a little less than spectacular after a holiday season of indulgences? Here’s the perfect bowl to perk you up. The garlic, lemon, turmeric and parsley are all ready to give you a detox and boost your immune system. This is also a bright, refreshing soup full of great flavour and textures, and you can whip it up in just 30 minutes. Mmmmm.

Ingredients

4-6 cups vegetable broth

The juice from 2-3 lemons (about ½ cup juice)

1 tsp grated lemon rind

1 tsp turmeric

4-5 cloves garlic. Mince half the cloves and slice the other half.

1 bay leaf

1 piece star anise (optional, but I love the tang it gives)

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (see TIP below)

1 cup cooked lentils. II used ½ cup dried beluga lentils (also called black lentils) because they taste great and cook in 15 minutes.

1 cup cooked brown rice (about ½ cup before it’s cooked)

2 carrots sliced

salt to taste (You probably will need none, but depends on your broth.)

Directions

Put all the ingredients except the rice, lentils and parsley in a pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 10 minutes so the carrots cook. Remove the bay leaf and the star anise. Add the lentils, rice and parsley. Heat through and serve. Enjoy!

TIP: You can freeze your fresh parsley to use in cooking. Make sure it’s clean and dry and place the whole bunch in a zippered freezer bag. When you need fresh parsley for a recipe, simply break off however much you need and crumble it into your dish. No chopping required. Frozen parsley will lose some of its brightness and firmness so I don’t recommend using frozen parsley for garnishes or in dishes such as tabouli.

Squash and coconut soup – spicy, exotic and velvety

CoconutSquashSoup

I receive a weekly produce box from a local farmers’ co-op. Every week is a surprise; we get whatever is in season and ready for harvest. As the season passes from June to November, we move from strawberries and rhubarb and endless lettuce to cabbages, apples, potatoes and squashes. And squashes. And squashes.

So, I made up a huge pot of this soup to share with my neighbours and to enjoy myself. The soup is flavourful and with a touch of heat from chilis. The coconut milk makes it velvety and creamy. I think this is the best soup I’ve ever made.

Ingredients

4 cups of uncooked yellow-fleshed squash – butternut, delicata, spaghetti, buttercup – whatever you have or prefer.

2 cups of peeled, diced sweet potato and carrots. I used 1 medium sweet potato and 2 carrots.

1 large white onion diced

2 cloves garlic minced

1 red chili pepper – minced but don’t remove the seeds; they provide nice heat

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Salt to taste

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 can coconut milk (approximate 500 ml or 2 cups – it’s okay if it’s a bit more or less)

6 cups of vegetable broth

1 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil

Directions

TIP: True to their name, delicata squash are delicate and don’t travel well so you probably won’t find them in a large grocery store. However, they are a wonderful, mild, thin-skinned squash that you can cook simply by removing the seeds – no peeling required.

To easily remove the flesh of other, firmer squashes, pierce the whole squash a few times with a knife (this allows steam to escape) and microwave the vegetable for 4 – 6 minutes. That should be enough to soften the squash and make it easy to cut open, deseed, peel and dice.

Sauté the onion, garlic and chili in the oil until just soft. Add the curry powder, ginger and cumin and stir through to heat the spices. Add the ground black pepper, broth, squash, carrot and sweet potato and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes. You want all the vegetables soft enough that they will be blend-able. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree the vegetables and broth.

Once you have a smooth mixture, stir in the maple syrup and taste. Add salt if necessary. Add the coconut milk and stir.

Get a BIG bowl and a BIG spoon and enjoy!

This recipe makes about 9 cups of soup. Mmmm.

Borscht with cashew cream

Borscht

This is a winter soup that always makes me feel nourished and well loved. Traditionally borscht, a beet-based soup, is eaten with sour cream. When the two are stirred together, the borscht turns a glorious, creamy fuchsia. The cashew cream has the same effect and adds protein and healthy fat (there is no fat in borscht) to this nutritionally potent soup. Borscht is extremely easy to make and lasts for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Ingredients for the borscht

4 medium sized beets – peeled and cubed. You should end up with 3 cups of beets.

1 medium carrot, washed and chopped.

1 onion diced

1 19oz can diced tomatoes

½ head cabbage shredded (about 3 cups). I often use red cabbage for an extra vibrant borscht, but today I only had a Chinese cabbage so that is what went in.

4 cups vegetable broth

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon raw sugar (white sugar is not vegan)

1 tablespoon white vinegar (or use cider vinegar if that’s what you have).

Directions

In a large pot combine the onion, carrot, beets, bay leaf, broth, salt, sugar, pepper and vinegar. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and the cabbage and return to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 40 minutes.

This recipe makes 6 large servings.

For the cashew cream

Ingredients

1 cup raw cashew pieces – soaked in water in the fridge for 2-8 hours and then drained.

½ to ¾ cups water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Directions

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend on high until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. Store in a sealed container for up to 3 days. This recipe makes about 1 cup of cream.