Showing posts with label lentil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lentil. Show all posts

Jun 5, 2021

hearty middle eastern lentil soup


Time: 45 minutes 
Dishes: large pot, immersion or regular blender 

Hello, hello Dear Readers!

If you are looking for a fantastic and easy to make lentil soup, you've found it. And even if you aren't you should give this a try. Lentils are nutritious and hearty, so it is definitely worth a try. 

This soup uses dried lentils - green or brown - but, you can use French, if you like. Do not use red lentils because they are meant to fall apart during cooking. This recipe makes sure that your lentils stay whole and not mushy. 

To accomplish that, I used the Indian method of cooking lentils - sweating them. You cook the lentils for 10 minute without liquid, before adding the water and broth mix. This makes sure that your lentils stay whole after the simmering time.  

The last step is to puree as much of the tender lentils as you like, which gives the soup a nice body and texture. You can do this using an immersion blender or a standard blender. 

To finish the soup, you add a bit of lemon juice or yogurt - I went with yogurt, which adds an equal amount of acid to the soup, brightening it up.

The one issue you might encounter is the age of your lentils. I get my lentils from Azure Standard, so they are amazingly fresh. My lentils were tender after 15 minutes of simmering, but I have had lentils stay tough well into the 30 minute mark. The older your legumes, the longer they will take to cook. 

This was a really delicious soup that is hearty and creamy. Grab a bag and get cooking. 

If you need inspiration for your weekly menu, check out ours HERE.


Speedy Cooking Tips:

  • Gather your ingredients
  • Add the vegetables and herbs as they are ready
  • Wash and pick over the lentils while the vegetables cook
  • Mince fresh herbs while lentils cook

(Printer-friendly doesn't seem to be so friendly. Just select the text between the arrows (including the white space to add margin on the top), right-click, select Print, and now it's printer-friendly. Can also be saved as PDF:  choose Save as PDF in Destination drop-down, instead of a printer.)

Hearty Middle Eastern Lentil Soup

Makes 4 servings 


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin 

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained 

1 teaspoon liquid smoke (if not using smoked salt)

1 cup dry brown or green lentils, rinsed and picked over

1 teaspoon salt or smoked salt 

6 cups water

2 tablespoons Easy Savory Broth Mix

2 teaspoons lemon juice or 1/4 cup unsweetened plain nondairy yogurt

2 tablespoons minced parsley or cilantro

1. Base: Add the oil, onion, carrot, garlic, bay, thyme, coriander and cumin to a large pot over medium heat. Stir and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes. 

2. Lentils: Stir in the tomatoes, smoke, if using, lentils and salt to the Base. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes. Stir halfway through.  

3. Soup: Add the water and broth mix to the Lentils. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and black pepper. Bring to boil over high heat, reduce to medium, partly cover and cook until the lentils are tender, about 15 to 40 minutes.  

4. Puree: Remove and discard the bay leaf. Remove and puree 3 cups of the soup in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree as much as you like. Add the lemon juice and parsley and serve. If using yogurt, stir into each bowl 

© 2021 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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vegan vegetarian meatless plant-based

Oct 24, 2020

creamy lemon pasta with cripsy lentils


Time: 30 minutes
Dishes: medium pot, large pasta, air-fryer

Heads Up! lemon and lentils

Hello, hello Dear Readers!

How about a little sunshine as the sun begins to recede to winter? Lemon is a fall/winter crop, so this is actually a perfect meatless, vegetarian and vegan dish for this time of year. This is lemony but nothing overwhelming, and it is creamy and delicious. The crispy lentils give it a nice contrast. Together they provide protein, iron and Vitamin C. All good things!

Make sure to zest your lemon before you juice it to save headache later. To zest, I just used a peeler and made sure to only get the yellow part of the fruit and not the white pith, which is bitter. Then I used a knife to mince the peels. 

The juice is added to the cooked and drained pasta so it absorbs the flavor perfectly. 

If you want (I would have but I didn't have any at the time) add 8 ounces of baby spinach to the pasta water a minute before you drain it, for some leafy green action. 

I air-fried the lentils, which proving to be very effective at making it crispy, but take care not to overdo it. I accidentally left them in the fryer for 15 minutes and they became a bit too crispy. Eight to thirteen minutes should suffice, but keep an eye on them and use your judgement.

All in all, an easy dish to prepare that was fast and tasty. 


Speedy Cooking Tips:

  • Start the water for the pasta first. The water needs to boil and the pasta will take about 10 minutes to cook. 
  • Drain the lentils while the air-fryer preheats. 
  • Cut the onion first, start cooking it. Then peel and mince the zest. Garlic can come last.
  • Use a lid for all pots.
  • Always zest before you juice the citrus.

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Crispy Lentils

Makes 4 servings 


Preheat air-fryer to 400-F

1. Pasta: Cook the pasta in a medium pot of salted boiling water, until   al dente. Drain the pasta, return to the pot and add the lemon juice. Stir well; the pasta will absorb the juice:

12 ounces fettuccine or spaghetti

2 tablespoons lemon juice (zest lemon first) **

2. Lentils: Rinse and drain the lentils. Add to the basket of an air-fryer and season with salt. Cook until crisp but not dried out, about 8 to 12 minutes:

1 (15-ounce) can green or brown lentils

3. Onions: Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and lemon zest. Cover with a lid and cook until the onions are golden, about 10 minutes. Stir as needed.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 lemon zested**

4. Sauce: add the flour to the Onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the milk and stir until there are no lumps. Add the rest of the milk and the cheese, if using, and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. needed.

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups plain, unsweetened nondairy milk

2 slices or 1/4 cup shredded vegan cheese (optional)

5. Serve: Add the Sauce to the Pasta and season with black pepper. Toss well and divide into bowls. Top with Lentils and serve.  

** 1 lemon. Use a peeler to peel zest very thin, not peeling any white pith. Then mince the zest strips. Then juice the lemon.

© 2020 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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Aug 26, 2016

lentil-pepita pate

This is an amazing, healthy and flavorful pate. It is ready in about 20 minutes flat. Serve this delicious pate on crackers, cucumbers, in bahn mi sandwiches, in pita, with cucumber or tortilla chips. Very versatile.

This pate uses toasted pepita seeds  -- which, by the way,  boast one the highest protein counts, and sauteed onion and garlic. Adding some oregano and thyme make this spread burst with flavor and umami - which is a flavor profile linked with savoriness or meatiness. 

After the onions are golden and delicious (about 14 minutes), add the whole shebang to the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy, adding a bit of water or cooking lentil liquid.

That's it! Chill and serve!

Lentil and Pepita Pate
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

3/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 medium onion, minced
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 1/2 cups cooked brown or green lentils (rinse and drain, if canned)
2 teaspoons mellow white miso
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste

*If cooking lentils from scratch, reserve about 3 tablespoons of cooking liquid. 

1.  Heat a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the pepitas and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and toasted, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside in a medium bowl to cool. Once cool, add the seeds to the bowl of a food processor.
2. Heat the oil in the now empty skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion and garlic. Cook, covered, until the onions are golden brown and tender, about 10 to 14 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a tablespoon of vegetable broth or water, as needed, if the onions are beginning to stick. Keep the skillet covered to minimize cooking time and loss of liquid.
3. Add the thyme and sage and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Transfer the onion mixture to the food processor, along with the lentils, miso, salt and black pepper. Process the mixture until smooth as possible, about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. To make the pate creamy, add a few tablespoons of cooking liquid* or water, a little at a time. Do not add too much liquid, just enough to make the pate creamy. 
4. Transfer to an air-tight lid once cooled and chill for at least an hour before serving.
5. Serve with crackers, raw vegetable sticks, toasted pita bread or on a cheese plate. Serve with thin slices of raw onion and thin slices of dill pickle.

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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Jun 18, 2015

zuppa toscanan

Zuppa Toscana is an Italian soup made of sausage, potatoes, kale and cream. I made a simple bechamel sauce to replace the cream, which is nothing more than cooking some flour in a little oil and adding the liquid. The flour-based roux thickens the soup and makes it creamy, therefore replacing the need for the cream.

I used ground Tofurkey sausage in this, along with seasoned lentils, but you can use either with equally great results.

I garnished my soup with some leftover Bacon Tofu from Everyday Vegan Eats (page 134) because I made a quadruple batch earlier in the week and I had a little bit leftover. The crisp vegan bacon was quite delicious in this soup and I recommend it highly.

If you have EVE and haven't tried the bacon, I urge you to do so...but go full out and pan-fry it because it gets crispy and crunchy and oh! so tasty.

Zuppa Toscana
Serves 4

3 tablespoons  olive oil, divided
½ medium onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups ground vegan sausage (such as Tofurkey Italian sausage) OR 2 cups cooked lentils (see note)
3 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1 ½ cups unsweetened plain vegan milk
3 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf (if not using seasoned lentils)
1 pound red potatoes, chopped
8 ounces kale, tough stems removed and chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
1 cup chopped prepared vegan bacon (such as Bacon Tofu from Everyday Vegan Eats)
½ cup minced fresh basil
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium high. Add the onion, garlic and sausage, if using. Cook until golden,about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
2. Add the remaining oil and the flour. Cook the flour for 2 minutes and add the milk. Whisk well to prevent lumps. Add the broth, bay leaf, if using, the potatoes and kale. Season with salt and black pepper.  Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Serve the soup garnished with  bacon and basil.

Note: Cook the lentils with 1 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds and 1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes.

© 2015 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

Jun 14, 2015

middle eastern red lentil soup (shorbat adas)

Red dal is the quickest cooking lentil. Dal is split lentils and red dal is red lentils that are split in half. They take about 15 minutes to cook and taste delicious.

Sharpa adas is a very popular Middle Eastern soup of lentils that is seasoned with lemon, cumin and olive oil and is served with pita.

I add collard greens to this dish to boost it's nutrition; collards contain the highest amount of calcium of all the dark leafy greens. Because they are so bitter, it is a good idea to cook the collards in a pot of water until they are tender before using them in a recipe, about 15 minutes - the time it takes to cook the soup.

I serve this soup with seasoned pita croutons, adding flavor and texture to the soup. The pita is spiked with za'atar, a Middle Eastern spice mix of sesame seeds, thyme and sumac. If you don't have za'atar, season the croutons with 1/2 teaspoon thyme and 2 teaspoons sesame seeds.  

Overall, this is a tasty, nutritious, easy and quick soup to get on the lunch table.

ALSO: If you haven't already entered my contest to win Somer McCowan's new cookbook, The Abundance Diet, make sure to do so, HERE. Contest ends June 22.

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup (Shorbat Adas)
Serves 4

8 ounces collard greens, tough stems removed, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, grated
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons chicken-free broth mix (Savory Broth Mix from Everyday Vegan Eats)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon turmeric
6 cups vegetable broth
1 ½ cups red dal, rinsed and picked over
Sea salt and black pepper
Lemon wedges

Pita Croutons:
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons za’atar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
3 pita breads, cut into 1-inch squares

1. Soup: Cook the collards in a medium pot of salted water until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and chop well. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the carrot, onion and garlic. Cook until softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomato breaks down, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth mix, cumin, paprika and turmeric. Stir in the broth and dal. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cook until the dal is tender. 

3. Croutons: Preheat the toaster oven or oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the oil, lemon juice, za’atar and salt in a medium bowl. Add the pita squares and toss well. transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Stir and continue to bake for another 10 minutes until crisp.

4. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Season the soup with salt and black pepper. Serve with lemon wedges and croutons.

© 2015 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

I'm entering this post into the linky blog party over at Kimmy's blog:

Apr 6, 2015

dump dinner: lentil and kale stew

Since my new book, Vegan Bowls, B&N / Amazon, will be published soon (although not soon enough, if you ask me!), I am no longer really focusing on bowl recipes - which are flavor-packed complete meals in a bowl. Well, that's not really true as bowl foods are simply amazing because they are no-brainers - you don't have to think of something else to make to balance out the meal.

The truth is that I am still making bowls, just not telling the family that they are "bowls." As you can imagine, during recipe development and testing, bowls were at every meal, at least 3 meals, but at times up to 4 or 5 meals!

Thanks to the advice of Tami Noyes, of The Great Vegan Protein cookbook, I am the proud owner of an Instant Pot pressure cooker. If you purchase one, get the coupon code - worth around $50!

This machine is amazing! My favorite aspect of this thing is that the pot is stainless steel. I had an electric pressure cooker in the past which I used only seldom because the pot was nonstick. This is an electric pressure cooker that is also a slow cooker, steamer and yogurt maker. I love it!

Now that Vegan Bowls is almost ready, I can get back to experimenting and cooking with my Instant Pot. Of course, you don't need an Instant Pot in order to cook pressure cooker recipes, but since I have it, I will be using it more often now.

I'd like to start a series of Astonishingly Easy Dinners or Dump Dinners using either a slow cooker or pressure cooker.  I recently saw a commercial for Dump Dinners and looked though the preview and the reviews on Amazon. Just as the commercial indicated, the recipes were based on processed ingredients and were nothing to write home about.

Still, I liked the idea of just dumping food into a pot and letting it go. There are some awesome books on the market now, like Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson, if you are looking for a great slow cooker book, but I'd like to start a series that is even easier than Robin's. Quite the challenge, I know, because I also want to make everything taste like you really spent a lot of time preparing things.

Dump Dinners is not a new concept, as evidenced by a quick Amazon search:


Unfortunately, not only are they not vegan, but the super processed aspect - dumping frozen raviolis and jarred tomato sauce into a pot, for instance - turned me off. I want more scratch-made recipes that are healthy, use less plastic (the plastic that ingredients are packaged in, especially processed ingredients) and are made with more whole foods. My first offering in this new series I'll temporarily dub "Dump Dinners" is French Lentil and Kale Stew.

French Lentil and Kale Stew
Serves 4
Prep Time: 8 minutes of chopping
Cook Time: 35 minutes

4 medium carrots, chopped
3 spring onions, or 1 large yellow or red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable broth or 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 cup French lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 pound kale, tough stems removed and chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
Sea salt and black pepper

1. Heat a large pot over medium heat or set the Instant Pot to saute. Add the carrots, onions, garlic and jalapeno to the pot. Add splashes of vegetable broth as needed to keep the vegetables from burning. Stir in the bay leaves and cumin seeds. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Add the lentils, kale and broth. Cover and cook over medium heat until the lentils and kale are tender, about 30 minutes. Alternatively, using a pressure cooker, cook the stew for 20 minutes under High Pressure.
3. Season the soup with salt and black pepper, as needed. Serve with whole grain bread and/or cayenne pepper.

Quick Tip: Chop near the stove or the pressure cooker. If using oil, add the oil to the pot first. Add the vegetables as they are chopped. If using vegetable broth to saute, add splashes of the broth as needed.

© 2015 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.