Mediterranean Spicy Spinach Lentil Soup

On April 12, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I love when I find something easy and new to make.  Pinterest has been a goldmine.  I ran across this easy to make lentil soup recipe last weekend before heading to the market. It only took about 40 minutes to make, making it a good recipe for a busy weekday meal after work.

You can add additional vegetables too. I went with a couple carrots I added some color and more flavor to the dish.

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The recipe has some kick that mostly comes from the crushed red pepper. So go easy on that if you want less punch.  The rest of the recipe is pretty straight forward.  I found the flavors meld better over time as the soup tasted even better a day or two after I made it and used the leftovers for some lunches at work.

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Thanks to The Mediterranean Dish for the delicious recipe! I’ll definitely have to try some more from her blog.

Full Recipe: [Mediterranean Spicy Spinach Lentil Soup]

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Lentil Salad

On June 9, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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If you are looking for a simple vegan salad to take to the beach or enjoy for lunch, this simple salad is sure to please.  It takes only about 20 minutes to make, most of the time is waiting for the lentils to cook.  It’s easy and full of flavor with the maple syrup that is the hidden secret in the dressing. You can also play with the ingredients if you don’t have cherries or wish to use dried instead.  Don’t worry about it. Just use what you have and enjoy!

Lentil Salad
Serves 2

1 cup green lentils, uncooked
4 cups water

1 bunch purple kale, rough chop
10 cherries, pitted and halved
10 dried apricots, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Dressing
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the lentils and water together by bringing to a boil and then reducing heat to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove and drain any excess liquid. You want the lentils to be firm, not soft or hard.

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While the lentils simmer, heat olive oil in a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add kale and cook for 2 minutes until soft. Then add the cherries, apricots, and carrots to the pan with the kale and cook for 3 minutes. Set vegetables aside if lentils are still cooking.

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Add cooked lentils and vegetables in a bowl. Make the dressing by combining the vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking as you add it so it combines perfectly. Pour the dressing into the lentil and vegetables and stir.

Serve with bread.

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Lentil and Feta Spinach Salad

On December 27, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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There are a few go to dishes I have when making a quick lunch or needing something for a picnic or potluck.  This dish is one of those go to options. It only take about 30 minutes to prepare and most important it tastes great.  The dijon vinaigrette adds a lot of flavor that adheres well to the lentils and cheese.

It’s also a great alternative to a pasta dish for weekday night dinners. Serve it with a side salad and some fresh bread to make a more complete meal.

You can substitute the feta with goat cheese or substitute the spinach with kale.  There are a lot of options here to fit what you may have available in your garden or fridge.

Lentil and Feta Kale Salad
Serves 4

1 cups lentils, dry
4 cups water

1 bunch spinach, rough chop
2 celery stalks, 1/4 inch cut
2 carrots, 1/4 inch cut
1 bell pepper, 1/4 inch cubed cuts
1/2 red onion, diced
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon vinegar
coarse ground black pepper

Cook lentils in a pot with 8 cups of water, or follow your package directions.  Heat to a boil and then simmer covered for 20 minutes.  You want them firm, not mushy. Drain and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to saute pan on medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes then add the carrots, bell pepper. and celery. Cook for an additional 3 minutes and add chopped spinach cooking down the kale for about 2-4 minutes.

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In a small bowl, mix the balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. Combine slowly the olive oil continuing to stir to keep the dressing thick. Add more olive oil if necessary.

Finally, in a large bowl combine the lentils and vegetable saute mixture.  Pour over the dressing and add half of the crumbled feta cheese.  Mix.  Finally, add the remaining feta to the top of the dish and serve.

 

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German Lentil Soup

On January 14, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I lived in Portland, Oregon for 12 years growing up and one of my favorite places was The Rheinlander.  Our family would often do their Sunday Brunch, which is still the best brunch I’ve ever had. The restaurant also has an amazing cheese fondue that was reason number one to go there.  With so many great things, it was easy to overlook one of their best dishes – Lentil Soup.

Fortunately, chef Horst Mager published a cookbook years ago and I was sure to buy one last time I was in town.

Someone posted the recipe for the Lentil Soup on AllRecipes.com.  I highly recommend cooking this one and put up against your favorite lentil soup. If you have found better, please share. Otherwise, enjoy this wonderful German version then make some Wiener Schnitzel and Cheese Fondue.

Full Recipe: Rheinlander Lentil Soup.

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Lentils with Turnip, Leek, and Carrots

On January 30, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This dish is adapted from a recipe found on Barefoot Contessa’s website.

Last week a friend shared how she made the original version along with some grilled salmon.  I love lentils and had been looking for something new to do with them. Plus I really like the use of a turnip, which is a neglected yet delicious vegetable.

I served this dish as a main course and added some sautéed bok choy  as a side to give the meal some added texture and flavor.

Lentils with Turnip, Leek and Carrots
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup good olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts, sliced ¼ inch thick
2 carrots, scrubbed and ½-inch-diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup green lentils
1 medium red onion, diced
1 white turnip, peeled and cut into small bite-sized cubes
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan, add the leek and carrots, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute and set aside.

Cook the lentils in 4 cups of water with the onion, turnip, and ground cloves in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are almost tender. Drain any little amount of water left in the saucepan.  Now add the leek and carrot mixture to the saucepan with the lentil mixture.  Add butter and combine until melted. Turn off heat.

Whisk together the ¼ cup of olive oil, the mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the vinaigrette to the lentils saucepan.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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Squash Casserole

On November 2, 2011, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I have to admit before moving to a more vegetarian diet, I really didn’t find many uses for squash (or zucchini.) It’s kind of a dull, often mushy vegetable. Fortunately, vegetarian cooking has caused me to rediscover how great squash can be and dishes like this one put the vegetable to good use with minimal effort.

Of course, the big secret here is a nice thick crust of mozzarella cheese. You can use soy mozzarella cheese if you are vegan. That’s the only change to the recipe below necessary to go from vegetarian to vegan.

Squash Casserole
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
3-4 yellow squash or zucchini, chopped into 1-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can of cooked lentils, drained
1/2 cup cooked brown rice

Preheat oven to 350. In a casserole dish, combine all of the ingredients but only 1/2 a cup of the cheese. Stir it together and pat it flat. Now add the other cup of shredded cheese to cover mixture. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes, watching to get a good brown coloring on the cheese.

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Sweet Potato and Chard Stew

On March 19, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This by no means is a favorite dish, but it is a good choice to mixup a week’s meals with a vegetarian selection that uses a couple vegetables that are not often used – sweet potato and chard. The coconut milk adds a rich flavor and the squeeze of lime juice makes this more of a Spring dish than a Fall or Winter month choice.

Sweet Potato and Chard Stew
serves 4

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups yellow onion, diced
1 large sweet potato
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1Tbs. fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. Curry powder
1 1/2 cups water
1 can (14oz.) coconut milk
1 bunch of Swiss chard
squeeze of lime for garnish

Directions:

Warm the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan; add the onion and a bit of salt. Cook while stirring for about 4 minutes.

Add sweet potato, garlic, pepper, ginger, spices and sauté for a minute or two.

Add 1 1/2 cups of water, coconut milk and a bit of salt; bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes, covered.

Add the chard, and continue cooking for about 8-10 minutes until the chard

Serve over quinoa or jasmine rice. I used a quinoa and lentil mixture sold by Trader Joe’s

 

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