Monday, March 26, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Quinoa Salsa

(recipe from Whole Living magazine)

Serves 4 to 6.

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
pinch red pepper flakes
4 red bell peppers
3 cups vegetable broth
coarse salt
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 small onion, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 Tbsp. freshly chopped cilantro
1 lime

Char peppers over flame of a gas stove, turning, until blackened and blistering.  Transfer to a bowl, cover with a plate, and let stand until cool.  Scrape skins off with a paring knife and clean with a paper towel.  Then remove stems, ribs, and seeds.  Avoid running the peppers under the faucet; water quickly dulls their flavor.  Cut peppers into quarters.

Heat 1/2 cup broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.  Add roasted peppers and rest of broth.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, 10 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then puree in a blender until smooth.  Season with salt.

In a small bowl, mix together quinoa, red onion, avocado, and cilantro.  Season with salt.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top with quinoa salsa, and squeeze with lime.

(This soup is delicious!  So refreshing!  I think the quinoa salsa would be good on its own with chips, etc.)

Quinoa with Watercress, Pears, and Pomegranates

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Serves 4.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 bunch watercress, stems removed and leaves sliced (about 1 1/2 cups packed leaves)
2 ripe pears, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. pomegranate juice
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until quinoa is tender and all of the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.  Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl with watercress, pears, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, juice and vinegar.  Stir to combine, then serve.

(This is a simple and delicious salad!)

Green Curry Noodles

(recipe from

Serves 1 or 2.

3 cups veggie broth
Green Thai curry paste, added to taste and preferred heat level (start with 1/2 tsp.)
4 oz. rice noodles
1 cup greens (pak choy, bok choy, napa cabbage, chard, or spinach)
1 cup broccoli, cut into bite-size flowerets, stems peeled and chopped
Chopped cilantro for topping (or basil, or green onions)

Optional additions: Splash of soy sauce, fish sauce, or Sriacha sauce to taste.  Squeeze of lime juice.

Cook the noodles in boiling water according to package directions, drain and rinse, set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a strong simmer and add the green curry paste.  Start with 1/2 tsp. and then add little by little until desired level of flavor and heat.  Stir to allow the curry paste to dissolve completely.  At this point, add a few drops of soy sauce, fish sauce, or lime juice, if desired.

Add the cooked noodles to the curry broth; stir to detangle.  Add the broccoli; stir and allow to simmer for 1 minute.  Add the chopped greens; stir and remove from heat.  Add a sprinkle of cilantro (or other herb of your choice), serve immediately.

(I made a version of this non-soupy, too:  just sauteed in a small amount of broth in a skillet.  Very tasty and easy!)

Spinach and Mushroom Salad with Cumin Dressing

(recipe from Food & Wine magazine)

8 servings.

1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, lightly toasted
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/4 lbs. firm white mushrooms, stems trimmed, sliced
freshly ground pepper
2 lbs. spinach, large stems discarded, leaves torn into large pieces
8 small scallions, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

In a spice grinder or mortar, crush the cumin seeds to a powder.  In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, and garlic with 1 tsp. salt.  Whisk in the cumin, paprika, and coriander, then whisk in the olive oil.

In a medium bowl, toss the mushrooms with 1/2 cup of the dressing and season with salt and pepper.  In a large bowl, toss the spinach with the scallions, cilantro and the remainng dressing.  Add the mushrooms and toss well.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

(Delicious spiced dressing!)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hearty Morning Cereal

(recipe from Yoga Living)

1/2 cup amaranth
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Lightly toast all of the above ingredients in a dry skillet.  Toast only until a distinct nutty aroma is apparent. Allow cooling.  Grind all ingredients in a food processor, until fine.  Keep mixture in the refrigerator or freezer.

Cook 1/2 cup of the ground cereal with 1 cup milk or water in a small pan over medium heat.  Cook until thick.  Stir frequently to avoid burning.

(I found that this does not cook terribly quickly, and that you may need to add more mixture to the milk till your preferred thickness.  Tastes good, though.  I added some chopped prunes and maple syrup on top.)

White Bean and Kale Soup with "Sausage"

(adaption of a recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Serves 8 to 10.

8 cups vegetable broth
1 package Gimme Lean vegetarian sausage, sliced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
salt & pepper to taste
7 cups cooked white beans (cannellini, navy, or great northern)
1 bunch kale, stems and tough ribs removed, leaves roughly chopped

Heat 1/4 cup broth in a large pot over medium heat.  Add sausage slices and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and sausage is just browned, about 10 minutes.  Add onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes more.  (Add a generous splash of broth to the pot if the onions begin to stick.)

Meanwhile, put 3 cups beans and 2 cups broth into a blender and puree until smooth; set aside.  Add remaining broth to sausage mixture in pot and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits.  Add kale, reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until wilted and softened, about 5 minutes.  Uncover, add remaining 4 cups beans, bean puree, salt and pepper and simmer until hot throughout, about 5 minutes more.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sweet Potatoes with Collards and Adzuki Beans

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
4 green onions, sliced and dark green parts reserved for garnish
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 bunch collard greens, thick stems removed and leaves sliced 1-inch wide
1 (15 oz.) can adzuki beans, rinsed and drained (or about 2 cups cooked)
4 tsp. toasted sunflower seeds
juice of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 400F.  Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until tender when pierced with a fork, 45 minutes to an hour.  Let cool, then peel and cut into 1-inch chunks.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, bring 1/2 cup broth to a simmer over medium high heat.  Add white and light green parts of green onions and red bell pepper and cook about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.  Reduce heat to medium and stir in remaining 1/2 cup broth, collards, and beans.  Cover and cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until collards are wilted and tender, stirring occasionally.

Divide greens between 2 bowls.  Top with potatoes, sliced reserved green onions, sunflower seeds and lime wedges and serve.

(I made this to bring for my lunches, so did not plate as recommended.  Instead, I mixed the potato chunks, sunflower seeds, and lime juice into the peppers, collards, and beans after they'd cooked.  This dish was really good - very delicious vegetable combination, which didn't need much in the way of salt and pepper.)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Better Than Chicken Soup

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Serves 4.

1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp. ground turmeric
8 fresh shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups julienned fresh kale
1 cup cubed butternut squash
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger (or minced)
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
1 tsp. miso

In a pot, over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in 1/2 cup broth.  Add turmeric and mushrooms.  Saute 2 minutes.  Add broth, kale, squash, ginger, and cayenne.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly, add lemon juice and miso (adding miso when still very hot will diminish its probiotic benefits).  Cover and let sit 5 minutes before serving.

(I also added 1 small chopped sunchoke to this soup.  Good soup, very spicy!)

Pumpkin Pecan Cookies

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Makes about 30 cookies.

2 cups pecans, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1 Tbsp. orange zest (from 2 small oranges)
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from 3 small oranges)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped, pitted dates

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Put pecans and oats in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until a fine meal forms, about 25 times.  Add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves and pulse another 20 times to combine all the ingredients.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add pumpkin, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla extract and dates to the food processor.  Blend until a smooth puree forms, scraping the sides down occasionally, about 1 minute.  Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Scrape the pumpkin mixture into the well and fold all the ingredients together with a spatula.

Scoop little heaps (about 2 Tbsp.) of batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Flatten the batter slightly.  Bake 20 minutes, until the bottoms are just browned.  Remove to a cooling rack and cool slightly before serving.  Store in an airtight container.

(I made these on Christmas day.  They are nice little cookies, spiced not sweet.  Everyone loved them.)

Veggie Chowder

(based on a recipe from Whole Foods Market for Salmon Chowder)

Serves 4.

1 large yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup celery
2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cups vegetable broth (maybe more, if chowder seems too thick)
1/2 cup milk alternative (I used coconut milk)
1/2 cup silken tofu, blended with a small amount of water till creamy
2 cups cooked white beans (I used navy beans)
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup cooked millet
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. dried dill
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. minced chives for garnish

Saute onion and celery in a soup pot with 1/2 cup of the broth, until onion is translucent.  Add potatoes and saute about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Do not brown.  Add carrots and remaining broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are fork tender, about 10 minutes.

Add milk, tofu, beans, mushrooms, millet, parsley, dill and pepper.  Simmer over low heat 5 to 8 minutes.  Add more dill, pepper, or salt to taste.  Garnish with chives.

(This was tasty enough, and seemed to get better after a day or two.  In hindsight, instead of the silken tofu, I might use some blended, soaked cashews next time I am looking for creaminess in a recipe.  I believe cashews add a "buttery" quality, which may work well in this type of chowder.  I added the mushrooms, beans, and millet in place of the salmon in the recipe, which seemed to work well.)