Posts tagged with Vegan
Last week in our CSA, we received whole-wheat flour, pea greens, spinach, salad greens, chives and green onions.
You might look at that list and think it looks like one giant salad after another. And you might be right. We did use the salad greens for its intended purpose, while the spinach and pea greens went into smoothies.
But when I saw our pickup choices, one of the first things I thought was, “pizza.”
The local heritage winter wheat is just perfect for cutting with some regular old white/bread flour to make a heartier pizza crust. Add in the benefit of throwing leftover CSA goodies willy-nilly on top (green onions, spinach and chives were perfect for this) and you’ve got yourself a really useful medium for polishing off some of your CSA ingredients.
Later in the summer, pizza dough is even more helpful when we’re up to our ears in peppers, eggplant, zucchini and basil. If you think it’ll go well together, you can put it on top of your pizza. The whole dinner is super easy, especially if you make your dough ahead of time, freeze it and actually remember to pull out the frozen dough before you leave for work in the morning. (Sometimes I forget, and it makes me crazy sad.)
If you’ve never made homemade pizza before, you’re really missing out. It’s totally customizable, delicious, easy and incredibly cheap.
We have two favorite pizza crust recipes. Both are fabulous and have turned out well for us. So, pick whichever one you like and go for it!
And, if like us you get your hands on some local wheat through your CSA or the Farmers’ Market, try cutting it in. You don’t want to make a whole pie out of it (that would be a bit too dense) but try cutting it with half regular flour or two-thirds regular flour.
Note: You can use the first recipe with a pizza stone or a cookie sheet, while the second one, we only used with a cookie sheet.
Mark Bittman’s Pizza Dough (Adapted from www.markbittman.com)
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the oil through the feed tube.
Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is still dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. (In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time.)
Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let rise until the dough doubles in size, one to two hours. (You can cut this rising time short if you’re in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, in the refrigerator, for up to 6 or 8 hours.) Proceed to Step 4 or wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap or a zipper bag and freeze for up to a month. (Defrost in the bag or a covered bowl in the refrigerator or at room temperature; bring to room temperature before shaping.)
When the dough is ready, form it into a ball and divide it into two or more pieces if you like; roll each piece into a round ball. Put each ball on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle with flour, and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rest until they puff slightly, about 20 minutes.
Roll out, top and bake at 500 degrees until cooked through. We usually make two pies plus a little one for the kiddo with this recipe, baking each pizza for about 10 minutes. Note: To make pizza dough by hand or with a standing mixer, follow the directions, but use a bowl and a heavy wooden spoon or the mixer’s bowl and the paddle attachment instead of the food processor. When the dough becomes too heavy to stir, use your hands or exchange the mixer’s paddle for the dough hook and proceed with the recipe.
Chloe Coscarelli’s Pizza Dough (Adapted from www.chefchloe.com)
1 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or half all-purpose flour and half whole-wheat flour), plus extra for rolling
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar or maple syrup
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until bubbles form, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine flour, oil, salt, sugar and the yeast mixture. Using lightly floured hands or an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix until a stiff dough has formed. If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle extra flour 1 teaspoon at a time as needed. Place the dough in a large, well-oiled bowl and rotate the ball of dough so it is completely covered with the oil. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the bowl as it rises. Cover with a dry kitchen towel and place in a warm part of the kitchen until it has doubled in volume (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours). Place dough on a lightly floured work surface, shape into a disc, and knead for five minutes. Use dough immediately or cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze for a later use. Thaw to room temperature before using.
When ready to use: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a large rimmed baking sheet (approximately 9-by-13 inches) with oil.
Stretch pizza dough into a rectangle and fit it into the prepared baking sheet. Spread sauce and toppings on oiled dough. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, rotating midway, until the crust is slightly browned or golden.
Note: If crust is thick, you may need to leave it in for 30 minutes or more.
What’d we get at our CSA pickup this week? Red lettuce, spinach, pesto, garlic chives, green onions and carrots.
I've written a lot of smoothies over the years to this space. A LOT. And the majority of them have had some green element to them. They might not have actually been green, like the smoothie I wrote about last week, but they are green on the inside, even if another ingredient like blueberries or cocoa powder is covering up the evidence.
If this sounds disgusting to you, I'm sorry. If it doesn't, there's a chance you've already joined the green smoothie movement, which has been going on for years (I think I've been making them for at least five years). And if you haven't ever made one? I have news for you: now is the perfect time to start.
Here's the deal: Even if you don't have access to your CSA yet, or haven't joined one, you have an abundance of local greens available to you right now. The farmers markets and many of Lawrence's grocery stores are overflowing with local greens. From spinach, to kale to arugula to chard — you have a ton of greens to choose from. They're inexpensive, they're local and they're plentiful because they're in season.
So, if you haven't joined the green smoothie train, or did awhile back and eased off, I urge you to give it a go. It's a fabulous way to get your greens without being a total salad freak (like me) and if you are part of a CSA, it'll help you get through the giant bag of spinach you may acquire.
Now, you don't need a specific recipe to create a tasty green smoothie. Mine are probably different every morning, which is a good thing. To get as many nutrients as possible, it's great to alter your smoothies slightly, based on what you have on hand. This week, I had pea greens and spinach, and I used both in smoothies. I'm guessing there aren't that many smoothie recipes with pea greens out there, and that's exactly where you adapt.
The basic recipe I use is very simple. Take what you will from it, add in the extras if you like, and give it a try. Believe me, if I can get my kid to drink these (and he started at about 15 months), you can get anyone to drink them.
Basic Green Smoothie
2 large handfuls greens — spinach (great for beginners), tatsoi, de-stemmed kale, etc.
2 bananas or 1 mango
1 cup berries — strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. (optional)
1-2 scoops protein powder (I use vanilla or chocolate by Sun Warrior)
1.5 to 2 cups water
Additions: 1-3 tablespoons of hemp, chia or flaxseed; local bee pollen; maca; 1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder; pinch tumeric; pinch apple pie or pumpkin pie spice; splash of vanilla or almond extracts; one frozen packet acai juice
All you do is blend it up. That amount usually makes two servings (one large one for me, one smaller one for the kiddo), and is a great start to the day.
Now, what'd we get this week in our CSA? Whole-wheat flour, pea greens, spinach, salad greens, chives and green onions.
Last week, in our very first CSA pickup of the year from Rolling Prairie, we received spinach, green onions, salad mix, dried mushrooms and tofu (Central Soy's local tofu). It was a great and versatile mix of items we could’ve used in a number of ways.
Because it’s a total habit, I used most of the spinach and all of the salad mix in green smoothies during the week, though one turned out a bit brown (cocoa powder was a must that morning).
But the majority of our CSA went into an epic scramble that fed us for days. We had it both over spinach, wrapped in a tortilla and just plain.
And what’s great about this recipe, besides the major leftovers, is the fact that you can pretty much throw anything into it and be set. We used a bunch of half bags of leftover frozen vegetables, plus a bunch of our CSA goodies, including the spinach that didn’t make it into a smoothie. It really was the perfect way to clean out our fridge without even really trying. Plus, it tasted good.
Kitchen Sink Tofu Scramble
1 package Central Soy tofu
2 cups of spinach, separated
1/2 cup chickpeas (or other beans)
2 cups mixed frozen vegetables
1/2 cup dried mushrooms (not reconstituted)
Green onions, sliced thinly, to taste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper, to taste
Avocado and salsa for serving
Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic and vegetables. Add spices — tumeric, cumin and salt — and mix it up for 15 seconds or so. Add 1/4 cup water and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to get all the garlic and spices.
Crumble in tofu and mix well, but leave it chunky. Let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding splashes of water if necessary to keep it from sticking too much. Lower the heat a bit if you find that it is sticking. Add 1 cup of the spinach and the garbanzo beans and mix. Add nutritional yeast and mix it up. If it seems too dry add splashes of water. The moistness really depends on how much water the tofu was retaining before you added it.
Serve over a bed of spinach with salsa and slices of avocado. Serves 4-6.
This week, we got another great mix of items: parsley, green onions, pea greens, spinach and pesto.
I thought I was done with winter. You know, get out the gardening supplies, put the sweaters and boots away.
But, despite Punxsutawney Phil’s “forecast,” snow is on the ground, a chill is still in the air and that whole “out like a lamb” thing belongs in the same shaming hole as that groundhog.
Not really, but what else can we do but throw the calendar out the window, grab a sweater and make soup? That’s exactly what we did this weekend, and, for a change, we made soup with dried beans.
Normally, we’re a tad too impatient to do the soaking routine, even though we know it’s better for us and cheaper, too. But, in an effort to spice things up, we decided to give it a go (we normally only manage to soak garbanzos), choosing a recipe we’d never made before that starts with dried beans so they’re a blank canvas.
And you know what? Soup made this way really did taste different than all the other soups we make with canned black beans. And by taste, I don’t mean “salt level” (I buy salt-free canned beans). The texture was different — sturdier, almost.
Now, I know this recipe looks long, but it really isn’t much of a hassle. Also of note: Make sure to include one or two of garnishes at the bottom, they really kick this soup up a notch or two.
Black Bean-Vegetable Soup (Recipe from “Veganomicon” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)
1 pound dried black beans, rinsed, soaked for 6 to 8 hours or overnight
6 cups water
2 bay leaves
Pinch of baking soda
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium-size onions, diced finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced finely (we used 1 cup of a frozen mix of red, yellow and green peppers)
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 stalk celery, diced finely
1 carrot, peeled and diced finely
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3-4 cups vegetable stock
Garnishes for serving:
Minced fresh cilantro
Prepare the beans: Drain the soaked beans, rinse again, and place the beans in a large stockpot. Pour in the 6 cups of water and add the bay leaves and baking soda. Cover and bring to a boil, boil for about 3 minutes, and then lower the heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are tender and their skins are soft. Remove the bay leaves.
During the last 30 minutes of the beans’ cooking, prepare the vegetables. Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic in the oil until the garlic begins to sizzle, stir for 30 seconds and add the onions and bell pepper. Stir and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the onions and peppers are soft, then add the jalapeño, celery and carrot. Cook for another 10 minutes, until the carrot has begun to soften, then remove from the heat.
When the beans are completely tender, stir in the sauteed vegetables and any remaining oil, plus the cumin, oregano, thyme and vegetable stock. Cover the pot, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, until the carrot and celery are tender.
Remove from the heat, allow to cool 10 minutes, add the vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Like most soups, this soup will be richer and more flavorful the next day.
Garnish each serving of soup with chopped cilantro and chopped avocado. Serve with lime wedges.
You may have noticed from reading this blog, but I really, really like Brussels sprouts.
And though I usually like to roast or steam them, I thought it was about time to try them a new way (rather than just pairing them with new foods when I get bored).
I was feeling a bit daring last week, and decided to pair a heavy summer favorite with this winter favorite of mine. The results were spectacular and super yummy.
Everyone, I'd like you to meet the my special winter fajitas: Spiced Pepper and Brussels' Sprout Fajitas.
Sounds weird, tastes great. If you're not a Brussels sprout fan (and I know probably half of you aren't), you can try it with fresh broccoli or cauliflower. You'd get nutrients from the same family, and a slightly more mild flavor.
Spiced Pepper and Brussels Sprout Fajitas
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
8 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
Fajita Seasoning Mix (below)
Guacamole or avocado (optional)
Fajita-sized flour tortillas
Fajita Seasoning Mix
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Mix seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
Throw your peppers, onion and Brussels into a saucepan or large skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Saute until the veggies are soft.
Next, add all the seasoning mix and add about a 1/4-1/2 cup water to the pan. Continue to saute until the sauce thickens and coats the veggies (this should take a few minutes).
Once the veggies are cool enough to eat, layer them into flour tortillas with black beans, avocado (or guac), salsa and other optional toppings. Enjoy!
I’m not even going to pretend any of us are about to make something new for dinner tonight. We’ve all been cooped up far too long, we’ve eaten the same things for days and we’re all probably going for our well-known comfort foods.
But once the snow melts enough so that driving isn’t treacherous (let’s hope that’s soon), please run out and get the ingredients for this recipe. It’s creamy, healthy, comforting. Fact is, it’s so creamy that you don’t even need bread to dip into it. Seriously, and we’re huge “bread with soup” people. You can have it, but you won’t miss it if you neglect to grab a baguette.
Some tips: Start soaking the cashews before you leave for work, and if you have have a stick (immersion) blender, use that for the cashew cream instead of blender. Heed the directions at the bottom about adding water when reheating. We reheated it on the stovetop instead of the microwave and that seemed to work well.
Chickpea and Rice Soup With A Little Kale
3/4 cup cashews, soaked in water for two hours or overnight
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium, yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
3/4 cup rice, rinsed
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, diced chunky
5 cups vegetable broth
1 24 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 3 cups)
4 cups chopped kale
Thinly sliced green onion, for garnish
Drain the cashews and place them in a blender with one cup of water. Blend until completely smooth, scraping the sides of the food processor with a spatula occasionally to make sure you get everything. This could take one to five minutes depending on the strength of your blender. Preheat a stock pot over medium heat. Saute onion in olive oil with a pinch of salt for about five minutes, until translucent. Add garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and saute a minute more.
Add rice, celery and carrots and then pour in the broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring down to a simmer, add the chickpeas, and let cook for about 15 more minutes, until rice is cooked and carrots are tender.
Add the cashew cream and kale, and simmer until kale is wilted, three to five more minutes. You may need to add water to thin the soup if it seems too thick. Taste for salt and seasonings and let sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the flavors to marry. Serve topped with green onions.
It thickens as it cools, so if you have leftovers, just thin with a little water when you reheat.
— Recipe from www.theppk.com
We all know that it can be expensive to just suddenly try something new in the kitchen. Maybe you found a kick-butt, dinner-party-friendly entree but you have nothing in your pantry for it. So, you have to go to the store, hunt down each aisle for a long list of ingredients and come home with $70 worth of spices, canned goods and ingredients you’ve never used and may never use again.
Yes, that’s expensive. Especially if you end up with a total dinner fail and have to put your tail between your legs and order pizza for a full dining room.
Double dinner fail.
But here’s the thing: If you’re new to healthy cooking or new to cooking in general, you’re going to have to buy stuff. You’re probably going to try new recipes, and those recipes will call for things you don’t have and it’ll get expensive. Or it’ll at least seem a bit daunting and like it’s expensive, even if it’s not.
And there are ways to make this sort of transition less painful. A few of the best (which you’ve probably heard before from me or someone else):
Buy spices in bulk. Buy only a little, or exactly what you need (this goes for other dry goods like grains, nuts and seeds, too). That way you save yourself some dough, rather than buying a full bottle or box/bag of an ingredient.
Buy vegetables from the freezer section. Fresh vegetables are very expensive, yes, especially this time of year. To offset some of the cost (and make it impossible for you to have it wilt and die in your crisper), buy some of your vegetables in the frozen foods section. Unlike canned vegetables, frozen veggies don’t have any added ingredients (aka salt) and they’re comparable in nutritional value to their fresh counterparts. You can’t buy everything frozen, and you wouldn't want to depending on what you’re making, but this trick should help you a bit in the beginning (and next winter).
Make simple food. This is the biggest way to keep eating healthy from being expensive, in my humble opinion. If you make a dinner that has five ingredients, it might be inherently cheaper and easier than if you made a dinner with 18 ingredients. This isn’t always the case because five ingredients can be super pricey if they happen to be the right ones (grass-fed beef, high-quality cheese, medjool dates, anyone?). When browsing recipes, try to take into account not only flavor and health but also what you already have on hand and what you might need to buy to complete it.
Now that we’ve got that down, I’ll get to the real goal of this post: To help you get free resources besides this blog to help you eat better. And what’s better than resources on the Web? Nothing. There are so many free recipes and sites that it’s almost TOO much, if you know what I mean. So I figured I’d share some of my favorite blogs/easy, low-cost/healthy Web-based recipes. I’ll link to the recipes specifically, but I urge you to check out the whole site for some good advice and a chance to join a community.
I’ve scoured my resources to try to find the simplest (and hopefully cheapest) recipes from my favorite sites in hopes that they’ll be of help and inspiration. So, without further ado, five of the best:
Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie - http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/ggs/
Kimberly is a celebrity nutritionist, which might turn some of you off, but if you just can’t get into the whole green smoothie crazy, you really should give her recipe a go before giving up all together.
Gena Hamshaw’s Sweet Potato Breakfast Salad with Almond Butter Protein Dressing - http://www.choosingraw.com/sweet-potato-breakfast-salad-with-almond-butter-protein-dressing/
Gena is a med school student and her blog is a fabulous resource for those who want to eat whole foods on a budget. She’s very good at explaining the nutrition in her recipes and the benefits of particular ingredients. And because she’s a student — with little money or time — she doesn’t ever really go crazy with outrageous or time-eating ingredients.
Chloe Coscarelli’s Pad Thai Noodles - http://chefchloe.com/entrees/pad-thai-noodles.html
Chloe has a really great cookbook and a resume that includes winning “Cupcake Wars” with a vegan cupcake (against non-vegans). She doesn’t have a ton of recipes on her site (though she’s got hundreds in her two cookbooks), but this version of pad thai hits all the requirements above. Plus, it’s probably the very simplest recipe for pad thai I’ve ever personally made this side of a pre-prepared box.
Terry Walters’ Crispy Roasted Chickpeas - http://terrywalters.net/2011/03/crispy-roasted-chickpeas/
I have two of Terry’s cookbooks and I love them. That said, my husband calls them “elitist” cookbooks because they tend to call for ingredients we never have. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve suffered through a giant shopping list just to make one of her recipes. That said, her basic recipes like this one are totally awesome. And I think her cookbooks are great for when you’ve been eating healthy for awhile and want to try something new and maybe a bit more challenging.
Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Ancho Lentil Tacos - http://www.theppk.com/2011/05/ancho-lentil-tacos/
It’s no secret that Isa is my very favorite recipe source. There’s a good reason for that: Her food tastes great and my husband will try any of her recipes at least once. She’s really great at making vegetable-centric food pop and her dishes are often amazing (I don’t think we’ve ever been disappointed). But many of her recipes do involve several ingredients, though most of the time that’s because her recipes often contain a lot of different spices or herbs. If you have a good spice cabinet (or are willing to use that buying in bulk trick I mentioned above), you’ll be good to try any of her recipes without any sweat off your brow.
Good luck and I hope you try the recipes listed and maybe get other good ideas at those sites.
I’m probably jinxing myself by writing this column, but: So far, I’ve avoided the flu that has claimed so many of my friends and family this year.
Of course, the second after this appears in front of other eyeballs, I’ll probably come down with the dreaded illness, but until that happens, I’ll share my secret. Of course, I’m careful to wash my hands and not touch my face, and I’ve probably just gotten lucky, too, but I really do think I have a kitchen remedy that’s helped me stay in the clear.
Any night I’ve come home not feeling 100 percent, or just whenever I’ve had the time, I’ve made this green juice and chugged it down. It contains several illness-fighting ingredients: kale for vitamin A and overall leafy green awesomeness, cucumber and celery for extra special hydration, garlic (aka the inflammation killer also known as Italian penicillin), lemon for a bit of vitamin C, and the added benefit of a probiotic to keep the gut flora healthy.
Now, it’s not the tastiest juice ever (you might have guessed that already), but it’s actually kind of addictive. The garlic, lemon and sour probiotic help cut the “green” flavor and leave you with a savory drink that hits the right notes. You may want to add extra lemon or probiotic at first, or juice in some carrots or an apple or two to help with the flavor, but if you can go with the original, do. I actually like to savor it over 10 minutes or so, but there’s nothing wrong with splitting this serving in two, giving the other half to your significant other and seeing who can down it the fastest.
Don’t have a juicer? You can try chopping up and adding the same ingredients (though maybe not the full amount) to your blender with enough water to get it going and make an unsweetened green smoothie. You’ll get the added benefit of fiber, even if you can’t get in a full head of kale or celery in a single serving.
If I do end up with the flu just for having the audacity to say this juice helped me through the season, I’ll take the punishment fate deals out, just so that you all my have another secret weapon in your arsenals. Clearly, I'll do anything for you people. Now, bottoms up!
Flu Shot Green Juice
1 head celery, base removed
1 head kale
2 cloves garlic
1 lemon, rind removed
1 tablespoon (or more) liquid probiotic (I use coconut kefir)
Run all ingredients except the probiotic through a juicer. Stir in the probiotic. Chug it down (serves 1 to 2)
Alternatives: use 1-inch piece of fresh, peeled ginger instead of garlic. Add an apple or a couple of carrots for sweetness.
Dang, it’s cold out there. It’s just so classic “Kansas” that we went from 60 degrees one day (Friday) to hovering around freezing the next. Boo.
By the time we’d been through that horrible temperature swing, we were all for breaking out the slow cooker on Sunday morning. We adapted a recipe that was supposed to be made on the stovetop by just dumping everything in the slow cooker and crossing our fingers that it turned out right.
It did and it was delicious. I totally recommend making this soup when you feel like you want some chili to ward off the chill. Enjoy!
Classic Black Bean and Veggie Chili
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, diced small
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced small (We used an orange bell pepper)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, diced small
1 pound zucchini, cut into medium dice
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen (thaw first if frozen)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped (We didn’t use it)
2 teaspoons agave nectar (We used honey)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Put everything except the agave nectar and lime juice into a slow cooker. Cook, stirring occasionally, on high for five to six hours. When ready to serve, stir in agave/honey and lime. Serves six.
(Recipe adapted from “Appetite for Reduction,” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)
Confession: I'm not a huge chili person.
Yeah, yeah, this is a major flaw of mine. I mean, I know people who love chili better than anything else when it comes to winter. Better than snowflakes, hot chocolate or an open fire. Me? Not so much. Heck, even back when I ate meat, it wasn't a favorite. When everyone else was so excited about having a pot of chili, I would just kind of be like, "Meh. Where's the bread."
That said, as of late I might have to change my tune, however so slightly. Because I think I've found THE chili for me.
This chili isn't your cowboy "chuck wagon" variety, but even if you like that, I think you'll dig this. It's hearty, chunky and has a great combination of flavors. Plus, it is amazingly cheap for the amount of food and nutrition you get when you make it. Sweet potatoes, red lentils, onion, bell pepper, beans and spices all play together nicely, don't cost much at all and have great healthy benefits.
Honestly, the hubby and I made it on a weekend and it's all I can do not to make it again, even after days and days of eating it.
My only regret with this chili is that I didn't take a better pic. I was hungry and eager to dig in! Check out the link to the original post to get an idea of just how awesomely pretty the soup is.
Note: We made this in our slow cooker on a Sunday. Check the comments on The PPK post if you want to do it that way. It's slower, but, boy, did the house smell good all afternoon.
Red Lentil Thai Chili
Olive oil (1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons, however much you feel like using)
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, cut into ¾ inch chunks
1 cup dry red lentils
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups vegetable broth
2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 15-ounce can low fat coconut milk
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
½ cup fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Limes for garnish (optional)
Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute onions and pepper in oil with a pinch of salt, for 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and saute a minute more.
Add chili powder, sweet potatoes, lentils, salt and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When lentils are cooked and sweet potatoes are tender, add the remaining ingredients and heat through.
Taste for salt and seasoning, top with cilantro and lime and serve!