Tag Archives: soup

Lemon Chickpea Lentil Soup

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Dreena Burton is the master–er, mistress–of vegan soups. You might not know it because she’s more commonly known for her hummus, which occupies an entire chapter of her newest book, Eat, Drink & Be Vegan; but believe me, she is. In fact, the three best soups I’ve ever had have come from that very book.

The first two–Puréed Spicy Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew with Chickpeas and White Bean Rosemary Soup–have made frequent appearances in my kitchen, especially during my cold winter abroad in Scotland! If you know anything about me, the first one really should not come as a surprise given that it’s basically my three favorite foods having a party.

My new Dreena favorite is a little humbler, but no less delicious: Lemon Chickpea Lentil Soup. It has a base of chickpeas, red lentils, zucchini, celery, and onions, all of which is puréed before additional chickpeas and fresh lemon juice are added. Garnished with additional lemon juice (I couldn’t get enough!) and parsley, you have yourself a little bowl of Mediterranean-inspired heaven.

This soup is hearty while still being light, thanks to the vibrant lemon and hidden vegetables. However, in 112° Arizona, it’s still a little hot for soup, no matter how light it is. I solved that problem by enjoying my mug of soup with a little bit of unsweetened Wildwood Probiotic Soyogurt. The cool tangy bite of the yogurt tempered the warmth of the soup just enough to make it refreshing after a long day of photography errands.

If you don’t own any of Dreena’s books, what are you waiting for? Insane vegan soup is just a click or two away (on Amazon, that is!). Or, check out some of the recipes she’s posted on her blog.

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Kabocha Soup

Want something cheery to fill up your belly in these cold winter months? Okay, well, it was actually about 70 degrees here in Tempe today, but still–for most of you, I’m sure this sunshine yellow soup would hit the spot.

Plus, it’s made with the king of all squash: kabocha!

Sherried Kabocha Soup with Spiced Pepitas
(from The Vegetarian Times, January 2009)
Serves 6

Spiced Pepitas:
½ cup pepitas or shelled pumpkin seeds
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. agave nectar
½ tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro

Soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1½ pound kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

To make Spiced Pepitas: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss together pepitas, olive oil, agave nectar, paprika, and salt in small bowl. Spread on prepared baking sheet, and bake 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally. Cool. Break pepitas apart, and toss with cilantro.

To make Soup: Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, sauté 5 to 7 minutes, then stir in garlic, smoked paprika, and bay leaf. Cook 1 minute more. Add sherry, and cook 2 minutes. Add squash, vegetable broth, and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 25 minutes, or until squash is tender.

Remove bay leaf, and purée soup in food processor or blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve sprinkled with Spiced Pepitas.

This recipe is soup-er easy to make, but with its vibrant colors and fancy pepita-cilantro garnish, everyone will think you’re a culinary genius. The leftover spiced pepitas would be delicious atop salad too!

Sweet Potato Lentil Chili

What better way to ring in the new year than a giant pot of chili? It may seem random, but if you think about it, chili is hearty, warming, and perfect for sharing communally with all your friends and family.

That was my thinking when I made a triple recipe of Dreena’s Sweet Potato Lentil Chili from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan last Friday for our family’s all-day New Year’s open house.

This recipe’s been on my “to-make” list for ages, so I was glad that when I could finally make it, I could make it for 100 people!

Naturally, we have an insane amount of leftovers (even when I thought I’d finished them, my mom informed me that there’s more in the freezer…). As you can see, I’ve been enjoying them with TJ’s tortilla chips. This chili is chunky and perfect for dipping.

Sick Days

As it often happens, my rainy day was followed by a sick day, or two (maybe three–we’ll see how I feel tomorrow). Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure that my current bout of sickness has a lot more to do with my sick–yet wonderful!–suitemate and extreme levels of stress than it does the rain, but I like having a natural sequence to my posts. :)

I have a super sore throat, and last night I was running a bit of a fever, as far as I could tell. I hate, hate, hate taking conventional medicine unless it’s absolutely necessary, so I’ve been doing what any antibiotic-weary, holistically-minded vegan would do: loading up on vitamins and stuffing my face with ridiculously healthy food.

When I first woke up yesterday morning, I knew I’d need a fresh veggie juice. I basically asked for everything except for fruit, and ended up with kale/spinach/dandelion/parsley/garlic/ginger/lemon/bell pepper/cucumber/carrot juice! Whoa! Lotsa great cold/virus-fighting ingredients in there–especially the garlic, ginger, and lemon!

I followed that up with a Raw Greens Salad, to go.

It’s almost like my juice, deconstructed! Dandelion, kale, collard greens, cucumber, green onion, carrot, lemon, olive oil, garlic, and sea salt. Fresh and invigorating.

I really miss not having my leafy greens in the dining halls, so every once in a while, it’s nice to splurge on an overpriced salad like this.

I also picked up some Amy’s Split Pea Soup, because who wants anything but liquefied food when it feels like your throat is being shredded from the inside out? Even my raw salad was a bit hard to get down.

Anddd, more garlic and ginger. I’ve been taking garlic in the form of minced raw cloves for its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, and making lots of fresh ginger tea for its anti-inflammatory properties. Wow, can you tell I worked for Dr. Weil much? I’ve also been drinking more than my fair share of coconut water (vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes!) and hot water with lemon.

Finally, I couldn’t resist buying a kabocha squash at the health food store. Besides soup, roasted squash has to be the perfect sick day food. Comforting, warm, and filling, but still light and easy to digest.

I sliced it up, slathered it in coconut oil, sprinkled it with sea salt, and popped it into a 400 F oven for exactly 40 minutes. It came out perfectly.

And yeah, the only thing better than roasted vegetables is roasted vegetables with hummus! (Well, peanut butter is better than everything, but that’s besides the point).

I just puréed some chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon, cumin, sea salt, and a splash of water in my Magic Bullet, and voilà! Fresh hummus! (I stopped eating the hummus in the dining hall when I found out from my friend who did a “Real Food” assessment of our school for her thesis that its ingredients include a ton of weird additives and modified food starches–blech!)

If you haven’t tried roasted vegetables (especially squash, sweet potatoes, and potatoes) with hummus, you’re seriously missing out. It’s one of those food combinations that I wouldn’t mind living off of. I just love the contrast of the warm, chewy veggies and the cool, creamy hummus. Broccoli and cauliflower also rock with hummus because the florets soak it all up!

The last delicious bite.

Cheese and Chocolate

No, not together. And not real cheese either. Obviously.

So the chocolate fest began on Monday night when my mom commissioned me to make dessert for an early birthday bash for my dad (his actual birthday’s tomorrow, but my sister Livie left for college on Tuesday, so we had to push it up a couple days…). I only recently acquired My Sweet Vegan, and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to take it for a spin. I wish I could say that I chose to make the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie because it’s my dad’s favorite, or something adorably sentimental like that, but really, it was the first decent recipe I found for which we had all the ingredients. :) It was dayummm good though! Here’s my pops blowing out his candles:

Okay, you got me. He’s not 23. Just like my recipe choice, the pie toppers were dictated by what was available.

Mmm. This is definitely a special occasion pie, as it’s LOADED with Earth Balance and sugar, but it was so delicious. I think next time I made it, I would just use the concept of this recipe, but use a super healthy cookie dough recipe like Dreena’s. But it was fun to make this once!

Something else I made recently – okay, so it’s not chocolate, but carob is close enough – Oatmeal Muffins from Eat’n Veg’n. Look at these cuties:

They’re super dense and healthy (mine were especially dense because I only made 10 muffins instead of 18), but in a good way! And they’re wheat/flour-free and sugar-free (besides the carob chips I added). They’re literally just bananas, peanut butter, oats, carob chips, cinnamon, raisins, and a little baking powder! And those, my friends, are a lot of my favorite things. :) They also make a fun template – you can switch up the nut butter, spices, and mix-ins easily.

Okay, another real chocolate recipe. Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Cookies from Simple Treats. This was my first time using this cookbook as well, though I can’t for the life of me imagine why! It’s right up my alley – delicious and healthy baked goods free of refined sugar and flour (they use barley flour instead of wheat flour in all the recipes).

I followed the recipe, but just swirled in a little peanut butter at the end to make them pretty. Did I do a good job? ;) That is not a rhetorical question.

It’s been a long time since I’ve made a cookie where I didn’t replace half the oil with applesauce or something, so this recipe was a welcome change because, with a cup of peanut butter and a bit of canola oil, these cookies achieved a “buttery,” flaky texture that my baking often lacks. I think I generally prefer “hippier,” chewier baked goods, but these were amazing and reminded me of these chocolate almond cookies my mom used to always make for me when I was pulling all-nighters writing papers in high school before I was vegan. :)

Enough chocolate! You want “cheese,” right? Thought so.

Macaroni and “Cheese” Casserole from The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook. Look at that cute little curious noodle poking it’s noochy head up into the wide world from it’s cozy bed of bread crumbs:

I didn’t actually have any of this because I was helping my mom out by making it for one of her sick friends. Her friend loves Mac ‘n Cheese apparently, and my mom was going to make her some until I stepped in and set things right. :) It sure smelled good though. If I ever make this for myself however, I will probably quarter the fat or something. Lots and lots of Earth Balance and oil. I was too afraid to alter it for my mom’s omnivore friend because I didn’t want to lower the fat too much and give vegan food a bad rap since I have no experience with this recipe.

Naturally, I wanted something cheesy after making that dish for someone else, so I made the Zucchini Chedda Soup from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook with the optional brown rice added for extra comfort food power.

I’m not really sure I can accurately recall the taste of real cheese, but this tasted pretty freaking cheesy to me. Seriously, if someone else served this soup to me, I would’ve been like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, what are you trying to pull?” The cheddar-cheese color comes from roasted red bell peppers blended up with a lot of nooch and other delicious things. I added a little turmeric and mustard for extra color, too. Look, it even stretches like cheese!

That’s it, except for some bonus smoothies! Here’s a blueberry-banana-cinnamon:

And here’s a yummy green monster, with mango, banana, kale, spinach, spirulina, hemp and flax.

Green smoothies really are the perfect breakfast. I need to have them more like every other day than once a week, which is what I do now. It’s insane how much nutrition you can pack into one Magic Bullet cup.

Did this post acquit me of my laziness in the past few days? I hope so! Oh, and Ruby Red Vegan, I sent your Weil bars out today!

Moussaka and Miraval

Sorry for the long absence, dear bloggies! It was a busy weekend, starting on Thursday, when I became a level 7 vegan. You know those famous recipes that stand out among the many within the vegan (blogging) community? I know you know what I’m talking about – Chickpea Cutlets, Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, Tofu Ricotta, Smlove Pie. I could go on, but they’re those recipes that almost every vegan has either tried, been meaning to try for as long as their (algae-derived supplement provided) omega-3-powered mind can remember, or have given up on trying because they seem too complicated. Anyways, one of those recipes is the Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream from Veganomicon. I’ve had the page dog-eared ever since I bought the book, but was always too lazy or didn’t have the time to make this decadently rich Mediterranean feast of a meal. But I’m proud to announce that I finally overcame that lameness and kicked some serious moussaka a**!

I made the sauce and pine nut cream and roasted the vegetables the night before, so the day of I only had to assemble it, which was super easy. I thought this would be a fun recipe to do a step-by-step preparation series for:

Tomato sauce and (whole wheat) bread crumb layer over the initial layering of eggplant and potatoes:

And zucchini over that:

After the second and final layer of tomato sauce and bread crumbs, the celebrated pine nut cream:

Spreadage:

Topped with pine nuts!

All golden-browned and luscious right out of the oven:

Sorry I don’t have any gooey inside shots! It was for a dinner party, and I didn’t have the time or light to snap a picture!

Anyways, the moussaka totally lived up to the hype, and my dad even said it might be the best thing I’ve ever made! The subtly cinnamon-spiked tomato sauce was to die for, and the pine nut cream was thick, tangy, rich, and downright cheesy. Who needs noodles when you can make a lasagne-like dish as good as this with only layers of vegetables? This is definitely a “make again.” Hooray for vegan milestones!

Early the next morning, and still in slight food comas from the night before (okay, maybe that was just me?), my mom, sister, and I drove up to Miraval Resort in Tucson, my mom’s favorite spa getaway!

It was my sister and I’s first time there, and I was very excited after hearing my mom rave about it the last time she went. You basically get to live in the lap of luxury for the duration of your stay, and because it’s a pre-paid package deal, eat however much, and do whatever classes and activities you like! I did Morning Yoga, Body Conditioning, Yogilates, the Evening Photography Walk, Swing and a Prayer (a ropes course challenge!), and Dream Yoga, and attended a Cooking Demo, an Introduction to Ayurveda, Tea Here Now (a two-hour class on tea that included an authentic Chinese tea ceremony!), and a class called Changing Your Metabolism. It was such a great experience, and as you can guess, I was absolutely exhausted afterwards (wait, wasn’t this supposed to be a relaxation resort?)

The food was delicious and healthy of course, with calorie counts on everything – you might think that would make eating stressful, but it was more just an affirmation of the lifestyle that Miraval represented. Over the course of two days I enjoyed a huge variety of fresh produce and salads, delicious vegetable juice blends, plenty of baked sweet potato (which I smothered with cinnamon and Miraval’s reduced fat peanut butter that’s made by blending PB with carrots), delicious mango-mint soup, and this (the one thing I got a picture of…), tofu-vegetable stir-fry with sweet plum sauce over brown rice:

I can only hope I’m lucky enough to go again someday! In the meantime, here are some cool pictures I took during my photography walk there:

This was actually a sign for the Agave Center, where yoga was held, but being the food blogger/health nut nerd that I am, I had to get this shot:

I never got a chance to go swimming, but this guy and his happy feet make me wish I had…

Mesquite pods! We have a tree in my front yard actually, and I really want to try grinding my own mesquite flour soon! They smell heavenly, especially when it rains. All sweet ‘n smoky.

The night we got back from Miraval, I wanted a quick and easy yet delicious meal–and a warm, cooked one that would address the vata imbalance I found out I had in my ayurveda class (I’m a vata-pitta by the way, but, given that like increases like in ayurveda, my vata is totally out of control and needs some kapha to tone it down…). Just ignore me if you think I’m crazy! To get to the point, it seemed like something like pumpkin soup would fit the kapha bill, so I decided to try the Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Soup from The Vegan Table:

I could say I followed the recipe except for a couple of changes, but that’s not really true. I changed a lot. I added a Tbs of peanut butter because I’m me. I also added extra cinnamon and cumin, and even put in some curry powder because the strong cardamom flavor was tripping me out. I generally love unique and unexpected sweet/savory combos, but for some reason, the cardamom in this soup was too much for me. And, because I hate to let a meal go by without anything green in it, I added a few cups of baby spinach. I think it’s better with the spinach actually. Without it, the soup’s a little one dimensional. Still, though, this is a good recipe! And it does benefit from a day in the fridge – as most things do, right?

Finally, my breakfast after the longest run of my life on Sunday (9.5ish miles): a young coconut!

And not just any young coconut…a frozen young coconut! I had it in the freezer because I wasn’t sure if it could go bad since I’d never had one before. I took it out to thaw before my run and assumed it would have melted, but I cracked it open to find a coconut ice ball! It sucked because I had to wait awhile to eat it, but once it softened a little, I just broke it up and it turned into a delicious and refreshing coconut slushie. It’s like nature’s icee! The true vitamin water if you will. Full of electrolytes, vitamins, and nutrients, I think I’ve finally found my perfect post-run recharge meal! Screw Vitamin Water. This is vitamin water.

Raw Week So Far

Hey guys! I’ve been wanting to update for about 2 days now, but I’ve been transitioning from Photoshop to Aperture and having some issues therein with uploading my photos. Anyways, as I said in my last post, I’m eating 100 % raw this week–well, just Monday to Friday because my mom and sister and I are going to a spa with wonderful (non-raw) vegan food in Tucson this weekend. My main reason being a general cleanse, I guess, but honestly I just think it’s fun and I have some raw cookbooks/recipes I’ve wanted to dabble in.

So far, it’s been great! And I’m sure under normal circumstances, I would be able to report feeling amazing eating only living foods, but it just so happens that I’ve sorta been having appetite/digestion issues the past few weeks, so I honestly feel pretty crummy. I went to my doctor about it today, so hopefully they clear up and I regain my desire and physical ability to pig out on amazing vegan food soon!

I started Monday morning with a Green Smoothie with spirulina! This was my first time trying spirulina, and I was a little squeamish of a potential fishy taste, but you really couldn’t tell it was there once blended with the other ingredients, which were mango, banana, spinach, and enough water to blend.

Spirulina, for those of you not in the know, is a supposed superfood–blue-green algae with unusually high amounts of protein (and a complete protein at that!), essential fatty acids, B vitamins (including B-12), various minerals, and healthy photosynthetic pigments. It really does turn smoothies a vibrant shade of deep green!

I think I just had a salad for lunch, but for dinner, I pulled out all the stops and made raw sushi: Carpe Diem Carrot Almond Paté Nori Rolls from Vegan Fusion World Cuisine, which has a lot of living recipes. Pre-rolling:

I filled ’em with zuchinni, carrot, and cucumber matchsticks, alfalfa sprouts, and cilanttro leaves. I also made an impromtu sauce to accompany them out of raw almonds, pineapple, shoyu, coconut extract, garlic, and some spices. It was pretty good if I don’t say so myself!

The paté was delicious–gingery carrot almond dill deliciousness!–and I thought the whole roll was good at first…but after a piece or two, I started to get some little gag reflexes, and I realized that I just can’t stomach the fishy taste of nori, which I’ve never had if you can believe it! I never even had fish as an omni (only shrimp), so that characteristic fishy taste is just really foreign and revolting to me. I can take it in small quanities, like in miso soup, but this didn’t fly! Thankfully, my dad promised to eat the other three servings it made in the near future, so I don’t have to feel wasteful.

We had some really good friends over for dinner that night, our old neighbors, Kerry and Jen, and their adorable kids, Jackson and Frannie. For the dinner party, I made Isa’s Raw Strawberry Cheesecake from the PPK blog. I halved the recipe because she said it made 16 servings (!), and as a result, mine was much thinner than hers…and less pretty, I know! :(

It’s basically a pecan-almond-date crust with cashew-strawberry-agave filling. I even messed up a bit, putting too many cashews (the ones meant for the frosting) into the filling, and it was still delicious! I was worried everyone would be too weirded out by a raw dessert, but thankfully I couldn’t have been more wrong–everyone loved it!

The crust is totally the best part. The sea salt in it makes all the difference, and contrasts perfectly with the sweetness of everything else.

Served in a pool of Strawberry Coulis:

For Tuesday’s breakfast, I had a yummy raw fruit bowl with mashed banana, mango, raspberries, figs, and dates, topped with leftover strawberry cheesecake filling and live granola that I made myself: Queen Esther’s Live Granola Funk from Vegan Fusion (seriously, what’s with these recipe names?!) It’s soaked buckwheat groats mixed with blended soaked dried fruit, spices, and sea salt. And the coolest part is that I don’t even own a dehydrator. Instead, I used the most natural dehydrator in the world: the sun! Living in Arizona has its perks! Most raw recipes call for dehydration between 104-115° F, which is pretty much all day, every day here!

My granola was a little too bland, but I think that’s because I used dried cherries instead of dates (thereby decreasing the sweetness a lot). Plus, in the bowl, you don’t even notice. You just get a nice crunch!

For dinner that night I made Aiyah’s Garden Living Corn Chowder from Vegan Fusion again! This was absolutely fab. Raw corn, avocado, onion, ginger, garlic, and cayenne blended into oblivion and topped with more fresh corn, red bell pepper, and flavorful cilantro. Dayummm. This soup makes me feel light and happy. Perfect for summer!

The only changes I made were subbing cucumber for celery and leaving out the jalapeño (and adding extra cayenne) because I didn’t have any of either. I don’t think it lost anything in translation! Tomorrow I plan on making raw chili and sweet potato chips! Yay! :)

I’ll try not to be better about posting from now on! I think all my photo importing/organizing/editing/uploading should be a lot quicker and easier with Aperture.