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:

Jun 12, 2015

"the abundance diet" + giveaway

After two long years of struggling with an accident, surgery, physical therapy, recipe development and testing, my good friend Somer McCowan, of Vedgedout,  has finally published her long-awaited cookbook, The Abundance Diet (Vegan Heritage Press, Amazon, B&N) and I couldn't be more proud of her achievement.

Somer has been a huge supporter of me and I am very happy to be able to return the love and take part in the kick-off of her amazing book!

The Abundance Diet is not your run-of-the-mill "diet" book, and, in fact, Somer makes the important distinction that this is decidedly not a diet book, but more of a healthier way to eat. Having said that, this book is a different way of eating in the sense that it is a plan with an end goal in mind - your improved health.

Blueberry Vanilla Green Smoothie, page 50.

I've had the pleasure (and benefit) of participating in Somer's Green Smoothie Challenge and I am pleased to see the entire program souped-up with added information, recipe sections, and components, and is now available in one convenient location. It sure beats having a bunch of papers scattered around to keep track of!

More than outlining the bones of the program, Somer teaches us how to best implement it, save time and money in the process, and how best to make it fit into today's busy lifestyle. If you are at all aware of Somer, you will know that she advocates a whole-foods eating habit and everyone knows that when you leave convenience foods behind, you begin making more and more things from scratch.

That's when her genius kicks in and she plans out the first four weeks for us, making it as easy as conveniently possible. Check out the 4-week menu plan and download it. I print out two copies, one I stick in the book and other I adhere magnets to and on the refrigerator they go!

It is a fact that when someone hits on a new way of eating (for some vegans that will be whole-foods, low/no oil, loads of fresh produce), the easiest way to implement it is to rotate meals for ease and happiness. The palate likes meals to roll back around to savor again so that some familiarity comforts us, even if that familiarity is rather new. Of course, you don't have to follow her menu plan; you can switch things up as much as you want.

As for the recipes, Somer obviously knows her way around the kitchen and she shares her abundance of knowledge and expertise. The dishes are delicious! Beginning with the smoothies themselves: I realize that smoothies are just a bunch of ingredients in a jar, but it sure is nice to have someone make smoothies that taste good! Just ask my kids; I happen to not be an ace in that hole.

Another inventive and smart way to organize your day is Somer's way. She breaks up the day into smoothies/breakfast, soup, salad, snack, main and dessert. It is comforting to have your meals organized into such precise categories because you know what to eat and what to look forward to. Of course, you can eat however you please, and there is no order to follow or time to eat to follow. If you like soup for breakfast, why not? Or soup and salad for lunch? or for dinner? Change it up; what to eat when is flexible and personal.

Here is Somer's Falafel Salad with Quinoa Tabbouleh. The freshness is radiating off the meal, and because it is in The Abundance Diet I know it is healthy, but a secret: it didn't taste like healthy food! So good!

Falafel Salad, page 104

As for the Main dishes, they are just as scrumptious. I made the "Cowboy Special" One-pot Pasta and it was so quick and easy to prepare and so tasty. By the way, those chips are homemade tortillas that were baked. Tortillas were from my upcoming, Vegan Bowls, cookbook. I found some really hard to get blue cornmeal and couldn't resist.

"Cowboy Special" One-pot Pasta, page 183.

To sum it up, if you are looking to change the way you eat, or just want to eat more healthfully, would like a one-stop shop for a program to help you achieve it, complete with recipes and ease of implement, this is your book: The Abundance Diet.

The best way to see if you like the recipes, is to try them out. Along Somer's Blog Tour you will find smoothies, salads, soups and snacks to sample. I'm sharing Somer's  BBQ Roasted Chickpea Snacks. Before I forget to mention, the gorgeous photos in the book are by none other than Annie Oliverio, of An Unrefined Vegan and Virtual Vegan Potluck and the new cookbook Crave Eat Heal (Amazon, B&N); another excellent addition to a whole-foods, plant-based, healthy diet.

Before you leave, make sure to get the recipe below and enter the contest to win a copy of The Abundance Diet. To be eligible to win you must be following this blog via email or RSS feed.
Contest is open to US residents only and is courtesy of Vegan Heritage Press. Contest ends on June 22, midnight. Good luck!

Photo by Ann Oliverio. Used with permission from VHP.

BBQ Roasted Chickpea Snack
I was tooling around in the kitchen making versions of chickpea bacon, but multiple people told me these taste like BBQ chickpeas instead of bacon. No loss, eh? These are absolutely fantastic for snacking on. You may want to make a double batch, as these are super addictive! They make a great salad topping. (Recipe from The Abundance Diet, © 2015 by Somer McCowan. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press LLC.)
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained, well rinsed and then blotted dry with a clean kitchen towel
Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a medium bowl, stir together the liquid smoke, sesame oil, black pepper, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, maple syrup, sherry, tamari, onion powder, and garlic powder. This is your marinade. Add the chickpeas to the marinade and stir to coat.
Transfer the chickpeas and marinade into an 8x8-inch baking dish lined with parchment paper. Bake the chickpeas for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. The chickpeas will get crispier as they cool. Store in a lidded container in the refrigerator. These are even better, if possible, on the second day.
Makes 4 servings

a Rafflecopter giveaway