Curried Cauliflower Wraps

On September 28, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I’m always on the lookout for an easy, quick and delicious vegan recipe and this one caught my attention a couple months ago when I found it on Pinterest.  It only takes about 20-30 minutes start to finish.  The only thing that takes some time is roasting the cauliflower in the oven for 20 minutes, but that is pretty easy and definitely the first thing you should do.

There’s a lot of flavor with the lemon and oil dressing and the curry coating on the cauliflower.  I found some excellent pita wrap bread at Trader Joe’s that you can eat in the oven at the last 5 minutes of roasting.

Assembly is easy and prep is super simple.  They also made great leftovers for lunch the next day served cold. I’m definitely adding this to my frequent recipes list.

Enjoy!

Full Recipe: [Curried Cauliflower Wrap at Naturally Ella]

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I am on Day 30 of trying to complete 30 Days of Vegetarian eating. This was lunch. Meaning I only technically have one meal – dinner – and possibly an evening snack to go before I can successfully say I did 30 days with zero meat. So to not bury the lead, that is why I’m eating vegan bacon this lovely Thursday afternoon.

Vegan bacon is an odd thing. It looks like a thick dark brown popsicle stick that is slightly chewy and flavored with liquid smoke and a lot of salt. You know just like real bacon. No seriously, it’s bacon-ish at best. While bacon-ish is the best I can say about the vegan bacon itself, I am happy to share that the B.L.T.A. (Tempeh Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado) I ate it in was pretty good.

You’re probably scratching your head wondering how can a chewy, smoke, salt popsicle shaped substance taste good in anything? It’s a fair thing to wonder, but I swear it really does work in this vegan version of a B.L.T.A. sandwich.

The combination of the fresh ingredients and vegan mayonnaise with the grilled sourdough bread makes it a solid sandwich and one I’d definitely order again, even if I wasn’t doing a no meat personal challenge. Does that mean this sandwich is better than the real thing – a B.L.T.A. with real “B”?  Possibly. I’ve had some poorly executed real B.L.T.A. sandwiches that I’d pass for the vegan alternative. I still prefer real bacon and yes I did miss it in the rest of this perfectly executed sandwich. And that’s okay. I survived vegan bacon and it wasn’t that bad when the rest is right.

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The sandwich comes with a couple choices for sides including mixed green salad, coleslaw or potato salad. I went with the potato salad.  I prefered this vegan version over the typical potato salad with egg whites which is something I pick around, as I’m not much of a fan of eggs. It was a nice compliment to the sandwich as I’m sure the salad or coleslaw would be as well.

Overall, I enjoyed this quick lunch.  The sandwich was reasonably priced at $12 including the side.

I look forward to coming back and trying some more from the menu. The Burrito Fore and some of the vegan tacos sound delicious.

Learn more about Flore Vegan on their website: http://florevegan.com/

Address: 3818 W. Sunset Blvd. Silverlake, CA 90026

Phone: (323) 953-0611

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Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Quinoa

On May 16, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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If I’m being honest, this recipe is a bit “kitchen sink.” Meaning, I looked into the refrigerator wondering what to make with all the various vegetables I had after a stop this weekend at the La Canada Farmers Market and Whole Foods.

I then took a look at my pantry to figure out which grain or bean to use. After some back and forth with a bag of tri-color couscous and rainbow quinoa, I went quinoa. The choice was simple, since I barely had any couscous left.

What I like about this recipe is it’s flexibility. If you don’t have parsnips, use some peapods or maybe a potato. Just play around with it and experiment on your own.  You can even add some dried cranberries or almond slices.

Create away! Or not and follow the recipe below exactly as I have it.

Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Quinoa
Serves 2-3

1 cup quinoa, uncooked
2 cups water
pinch of saffron
salt

2 cups chopped kale
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, sliced 1/2-inch
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 teaspoons cumin
pinch of saffron
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven at 400 degrees. Add carrots, parsnip and red onion to a baking tray lined with foil. Toss together with 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon, ground cardamom, 1 teaspoon cumin, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add salt and pepper. Heat for 30 minutes in the oven. Turning every 10 minutes so the vegetables don’t stick or burn to the foil.

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Heat quinoa and water adding saffron and salt to a small pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Once at boil, reduce to a simmer and keep covered cooking for 15 minutes until the water is all absorbed. Turn off heat and set aside keeping covered to stay warm.

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Once the quinoa is done, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan and add celery and kale along with remaining teaspoon of turmeric, cardamom and cumin.  Toss and saute for 2 minutes. Don’t let the kale get wilted, keep it cooked but still firm. Remove from heat and set aside.

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Assemble dished with a small mound of quinoa and then place kale and celery mixture on quinoa.  Finally, add the roasted vegetables to complete. Optionally, you can add some chopped green onions or scallions.

Enjoy!

 

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From top left to right: (Sun Basket) Turkey Tacos with Roasted-Red Pepper Salsa, Chicken Breast with Honey-Roast Parsnips and Carrots, Warm Couscous Salad with Delicata Squash, (Green Chef) Mustard-Roasted Steak, Chard Paneer, Tuscan White Bean Soup, (The Purple Carrot) Black Bean Burgers, Roasted Vegetables with Quinoa, Saag Paneer, (Plated) Tartines with Squash, Tuscan Ribollita Vegetable Stew, Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas, (Gobble) Red Kuri Squash Fajitas, Moroccan Pistachio Chicken, Chicken Carbonara with Gemelli Pasta, (Blue Apron) Rice Noodles with Coconut-Matcha Broth, Beet & Barley Risotto, Roasted Sweet Potato and Carmelized Onion Pizza

A friend of mine posted on Facebook if any of her friends used services like Blue Apron. I had been considering it for sometime, but just never took the next step of committing to an order. With some renewed curiosity, I decided now was the time to look into a meal delivery service.

What I found immediately is how competitive the market is with a ton of companies trying to provide prep-ready uncooked meals for our busy lives. Since this blog and our decisions at home involve cooking with organic and mostly sustainable ingredients, I narrowed down the services I would try. All of the services here have a focus on local ingredients, though that is very loosely defined in some cases. Few services offer only organic and some dabble by occasionally including an organic ingredient.

I wanted to try a wide range of companies. I included the big ones: Blue Apron and Plated. Part of the experience included a vegan only service (The Purple Carrot) and an organic only service (Green Chef.)

Because the market is so competitive, you can get some amazing deals, at least for your first week of meals. The lowest I paid was only $9.95 for shipping only and 3 meals for 2 for free from Green Chef. Most give you the first two meals free.

Before this endeavor I read several reviews with most of them focusing on one service and every blogger I read had received meals for free. This review is not influenced by free food. The following is a review from someone who actually bought the food with his own money.

Here we go!

Sun Basket

What I Paid: $38.94

Offer: $30 off the first order.

Sun Basket and Green Chef were the two I was most interested in since they both focus on organic and small farm producers, but of the two I found Sun Basket’s meal choices to be slightly better.

The box arrived with instructions on how to recycle and return reusable items back to the company. Each meal was packed in its own bag to make it easy to pull from the refrigerator.

From top left to right: Sun Basket, Green Chef, The Purple Carrot, Plated, Gobble, Blue Apron

A stack of recipe cards arrived in the box with a full ingredients list and portions making it useful in case you want to make the dish again. I really like how they had another card focusing on one of the farmers they work with. The personal story, aka “supermarket pastoral” as author Michael Pollan calls it, is a nice touch since I have no personal connection to the source of the ingredients like I do when going to a farmers’ market.

Preparing the Chicken Breast with Honey-Roast Parsnips and Carrots recipe.

Sun Basket offers seven options each week. It’s a good mix of vegetarian and meat plus they share if it is Paleo, Gluten Free or Soy Free. I found the Sun Basket meals to be more to our family’s taste and all three of the recipes we tried tasted great. Not one was a disappointment.

My only issue is I wish they shared more about their ingredient sources. Green Chef offers more details on their website about suppliers and I would like to see the same from Sun Basket.

Green Chef

UPDATE: They have since added vegan and vegetarian box options. However, I highly do not recommend them as they do not send out notifications to check your weekly selections, so you may get a surprise box like I did without any notice. Others like Sun Basket, Hello Fresh and Purple Carrot all send out weekly emails asking to review the coming week selections before sending you anything.

What I Paid: $9.95 (shipping only)

Offer: Initially Order 2 Meals and get 4 Free Meals free. When checking out on the website they offered all 6 meals to me for free since I was in a geographic area where others are using their service.

After an impressive first week of meal delivery with Sun Basket, I was a bit surprised by how mediocre the next week was with Green Chef. The meal arrived in a box that was better packed with cold packs than Sun Basket, but the ingredients were put in the box without grouping them for each recipe. So every time I went to make something, I was looking throughout the refrigerator like any normal night cooking at home. I was a bit spoiled by Sun Basket who put each meal’s ingredients in a brown paper bag.

Food prep is a big help with meal delivery. Green Chef’s organic ingredients are nicely separated and labeled.

The sheets Green Chef provided for cooking the meal had simple step-by-step photos making it really easy for new home cooks. Unfortunately, they didn’t give you the recipe so you could make the meal again; though, it wasn’t difficult to figure out the recipe with the ingredients all measured out.

I made three meals and all of them were okay, but nothing I’d ever make again. Perhaps it was a weak week or I picked wrong. My wife kept telling me “when is this week over. None of these meals are good.”

The other issue we had with Green Chef were the portions. We didn’t really mind as I don’t make big meals, but I would guess most Americans wouldn’t be too happy getting a steak dinner for two with half a steak. Or a meal that was a vegetable soup with a French sandwich roll to split. None of the meals really felt big enough for dinner, more like lunch portions.

I did however like how Green Chef is focused on organic ingredients and their website was the best at showing the source of the foods. Unfortunately, nothing looked that great recipe wise and I decided to cancel my membership.

If you are Paleo, they do offer it as an option and you may also be happier with their recipe selection than I was. So give them a try, just know portions are small.

The Purple Carrot

What I Paid: $68.00

Offer: I was supposed to receive $20 off but the discount was never applied to my order. They are still offering a discount off your first order, but please make sure you get the discount when checking your bill.

My wife and I were really excited about receiving our order from The Purple Carrot, since there was a recipe for a black bean burger my wife had been eying since she made me aware of this service.

I should note that The Purple Carrot is a vegan only service. What also caught our attention was the recent collaboration with New York Times columnist Mark Bittman. A lot of my personal food changes came about from a combination of the documentary Food Inc. and Bittman’s 2008 article titled Rethinking The Meat Guzzler.

Unfortunately, our first meal kind of crumbled to pieces, literally. The black bean burger was just too wet and became quite the mess in the pan and was almost inedible, but we decided to not toss it and order pizza. In the end, it didn’t taste too bad, but was not a positive experience and has the unfortunate conclusion of being the only failed meal during this whole endeavor.

While edible, the Black Bean Burger wasn’t as pretty as the picture on the recipe card.

It was a good thing the next two meals ended up being big hits. The other was a roasted vegetable and quinoa dish and an Indian spiced tofu dish that we both really liked.

The black bean burger situation aside, I really liked The Purple Carrot and they provided beautiful recipe cards along with detailed instructions on how to prepare each recipe. They also used a good amount of organic ingredients. I’m watching to see how Mark Bittman’s influence continues to impact the recipes they offer.

The Purple Carrot had the most beautifully designed step-by-step visual and written instructions. Great for new cooks.

Plated

What I Paid: $48

Offer: Get to 2 free plates with purchase of 4. So basically you pay for 2 of the 3 meals they send with each meal serving two people.

Plated’s website talked about local producers and sustainably sourced ingredients. Like most of the food services they knew the right buzzwords and brought together home cooking with the other trend of farm-to-table.

The meals we received were pretty good. Not one was a miss and I really liked some of their vegetarian options, which were better than other services. The Tuscan Ribollita Vegetable Stew with White Beans and Kale and Squash Tartines were both delicious.

The Plated box did arrive with one minor issue. The butternut squash bag had a slit in it and several cubed squash pieces were roaming freely in the box. I contacted their help team and they made note of the issue. I said I was fine replacing it myself since it was $2 in product and I needed it the next evening. Considering all the food sent to our home over 7 weeks, one bag of cut squash was a minor casualty. The rest of the ingredients from Plated arrived fine.

Out of a total of 18 meals only one ingredients issue happened with a small bag of cut butternut squash.

Overall, I liked Plated but it didn’t make my list of ones to keep. I would love to see them do an all-organic offering, as I do like their meal selection. They also are the only other one with a mobile app making it easy to select meals or skip weeks (Blue Apron also has a mobile app, but there are limitations I didn’t care for regarding meal selection that are mentioned below.)

 Gobble

What I Paid: $23.90

Offer: First four meals free. You pay for one of the meals in a three meals for two people plan.

Similar to Green Chef, Gooble doesn’t share the recipe details for the dishes you make. They also provided the least amount of information about each recipe. For example, there was a cream sauce for Chicken Carbonara and some salsa for a fajita dish that came in containers with no information about what was in them. If you like the recipes, you’re out of luck with replicating them yourself without some guess work.

Individually wrapped and sealed ingredients along with everything showing up on your doorstep is a great convenience.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), the recipes were okay but nothing spectacular so I didn’t feel like I was missing out with recipe details. It’s not that the meals were bad. They just were not good enough to bother making again.

The recipes come packed in separate ingredient baggies and each recipes is bagged in its own separate large bag, making it easy to grab a recipe for cooking each night after work.

Gobble used the least amount of packaging material of all the services; though, it was enough to keep everything fresh and ready to put in the refrigerator when it arrived on our doorstep.

Blue Apron

What I Paid: $39.96

Offer: Two free meals on your first week’s order. You pay for two meals for two people. They give you the third meal for two people for free.

I almost didn’t order from Blue Apron for this review. I figured they were big and enough had been written about them already. Plus they didn’t fit my initial criteria, meal delivery services focusing on organic and/or sustainable small farm sources. Plated and Gobble both moved me away from that criteria too, so I opened up to see how the largest company in this segment does things.

There was a small carton of milk labeled organic. To be fair they don’t focus on organic, but it was nice to see at least a solitary attempt was made. All of the ingredients were in good shape with nothing damaged or bruised.

Blue Apron’s recipe sheets are full back-and-front pages showing the full recipe details and photographed step-by-step instructions are easy to follow along. Every recipe I made came out flawlessly.

The food all tasted great and they were really adventurous with one meal, a squash and onion pizza. That one took some work and more time than most delivery service meals. I found most meals take 30-minutes or less. The pizza from Blue Apron took almost a hour. Fortunately, I have a pizza oven that did the cooking faster at a 700-degree heat.

Blue Apron locks you out of some selections after you’ve made other choices. They were the only one to do this.

My main gripe with Blue Apron was during the meal selection process. Every service gives you around 4-8 meals to select from. Blue Apron was the only one that excluded certain meals after selecting other meals. They group your combinations and this forces you to select more of a group of recipes than say your three favorite recipes.

In Closing

Meal delivery cook at-home service is a great trend and one I hope survives the eventual Silicon Valley investment bubble. There are a lot of competitors in the market today offering very similar experiences, including some I didn’t get to review like Freshly and Hello Fresh.

It’s real food. You do the cooking and like all home cooking you control what goes into your meal.

It is definitely a luxury service. You have to have the luxury of paying for the convenience and the luxury of having time to cook at home. However, if you already do a lot of home cooking and don’t mind the additional $20-$35 fee each week that gets you meal planning, shopping, and delivery right at your doorstep then you won’t mind the cost of cooking this way.

You’ll also need to have some kitchen equipment like pans, knives, oils and on occasion a food processor.

Overall, I found I really like what meal delivery has to offer. I cook at home five to six nights a week already and having a service or two I love to select from on occasion makes planning considerably easier. In the end, I kept Sun Basket and The Purple Carrot active. Their recipe selection, quality and ingredients fit our family best. I’ll continue to watch how the industry matures and I definitely recommend trying a few services out since you get some great introductory week deals that work to your benefit.

Enjoy! Please share in the comments below any experiences you had or plan to have.

Kale, Apple and Pine Nut Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

On August 7, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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We are on vacation in Michigan enjoying not going out for every meal, so I’ve been making quick, easy vegetarian dishes that help us enjoy vacation even more.  Eating good, healthy food helps too.  This salad is a great example of something easy to make with just a few ingredients.

This morning was the Northport Farmer’s Market where I found some great purple kale for this salad and the bread too!

Kale, Apple and Pine Nut Salad with Maple Vinaigrette 
Serves 4

1 bunch purple kale
1 apple, diced into small cubes
1/2 red onion, diced into small cubes
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil

For Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste

Chop kale into thin strips and place in bowl along with the diced apple and red onion. Meanwhile heat a saute pan on medium heat with the olive oil in the pan. Add the pine nuts and sugar and let it cook for a couple minutes just before they begin to brown. Remove from heat and add to bowl with kale.

To make the dressing combine the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and maple syrup in a bowl and add the olive oil a couple tablespoons at a time whisking each time to combine.  Continue until all olive oil is added and then season with salt and pepper. Taste to make sure you are good with the mix. If too acidic, add some more olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the kale salad and mix to coat.  Serve with some fresh bread.

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Vegan Superfood Bowl for #SundaySupper

On July 4, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Bowls are a great way to enjoy vegan cooking. They can include anything.  If you have some vegetables leftover from the prior weekend’s Farmer’s Market finds, a bowl is a fantastic way to use your remaining vegetables.  They’re also easy to travel with whether that includes a meal for lunch at work, a day at the beach, or to bring along for long road trip so you can avoid fast food.  Packing a vegan bowl is easy and simple.

This week I wanted to experiment a bit with dressing.  I also wanted to incorporate something known as superfood.

So what are superfoods?

I wondered that too and did a little research to learn more.

In it’s simplest form a superfood is basically any food that is good for your health.  Well that seems pretty broad and inline with most of what I eat. There must be more to it than that, right?  There is more. Foods that are dense in nutritional content are considered superfoods. Examples include ingredients like hemp seeds, chia seeds, seaweed, and many other foods are rich in nutrients in a compact size.

There is no agreed upon definition when it comes to superfoods. That issue has been a key criticism from many who are quick to attack the term superfood as simply a marketing term, chosen be a few savvy companies who use the term to sell products using a small amount of a superfood as a way into questionably better health.

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I’m not a nutritionist nor do I pretend to be one like The Food Babe.  I honestly don’t really care about the use of superfoods as a nutritional edge.  The reality is most of the superfood products use so little of the superfood ingredients that the benefit is likely very small, if there is any real benefit at all.  Even this recipe uses only a small of amount of superfoods like maca powder and hemp seeds.

What I do know is that the recipe here is good for you. It uses only real foods and is loaded with fresh, unprocessed, organic ingredients.  You really can’t go wrong with this dish.  Is it super?  Maybe.  I know it is super in taste and that’s what is most important to me and my family.

 

Vegan SuperFood Bowl
Server 4

2 cups dried farro
8 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

4 red beets, 1-inch diced cubes
1 purple bell pepper, cut into strips
2 japanese sweet potatoes, 1-inch diced cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch kale, rough chop
3 carrots, peeled and grated into long strips

For dressing

¼ cup almond butter
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven at 375 degrees.

Bring water to a boil and add dried farro and salt. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed by the farro. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork while adding olive oil.

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Meanwhile, place the beat, jicama, and bell pepper on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil and add salt and pepper. Place in preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes.   Remove from oven and set aside. Should be ready about the same time as the farro.

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Make the dressing by placing all ingredients, except the water, into a VitaMix or blender and blend. Add half the water and blend. Continue to blend and check consistency then add more water as necessary. It should not be watery or paste-like. You want a smooth and creamy dressing.

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Place a generous spoonful of cooked farro in each serving bowl. Add some chopped kale and carrots to each bowl. Then divide the roasted vegetables between bowls and keep ingredients separated. Drizzle the dressing in each bowl then serve with some rustic bread and butter.

Enjoy!

 


 

Want more great food that will travel recipes? Checkout this week’s Sunday Supper posts from some really great food bloggers.

Adventurous Appetizers

Destination Desserts

Mains in Motion

Sightseeing Sides

Traveling Treats

More Tips

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more greatSunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

 

 

 

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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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Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup

On June 8, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Lentil soups are very hit or miss in my experience.  They are often too watery, lack flavor, or get too complex where the soup has too much going on to enjoy it.  Fortunately, this evening was a hit or as my wife said “this one’s a keeper.”

I love coconut milk based curry and with this recipe you could go 5 cups vegetable broth to 1 cup coconut milk, just make sure you eliminate the tomatoes.

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The richness of flavor starts early. Using coconut oil the onion, garlic and ginger are cooked for a few minutes to give the soup a strong, flavorful base. Combining the curry powder, tomato paste for some additional time before adding the liquid helps make this soup deep in its flavor profile.  I only added 1 tablespoon of curry powder, the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons. I also used a yellow curry powder that is of medium spice.

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The lentils are added with the carrots.  Everything cooks for only 20 minutes once all is combined. This time is recommended as you do not want the lentils to get too mushy.  Plus the flavors combine plenty in this short simmer.  I added some cilantro near the end and then topped each bowl with bean sprouts and chopped cilantro.

Full Recipe: [Coconut Curry Lentil Soup]

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Abundance Bowl

On April 28, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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We often take a long drive out to Ojai on Sundays to get out of the city and to experience one of our favorite Farmers’ Markets. There is a great selection of organic fruits and vegetables plus some great cheese vendors, but it’s more about the experience.  An experience of driving through the hills to eventually spend an afternoon enjoying the market and park in the center of town.

Our other stop is a great vegan restaurant called Hip Vegan, of course. Dumb name aside it really is a wonderful place to have lunch. One of our favorite options is choosing from some of the abundance bowls they serve.

What’s an abundance bowl?

It’s basically a bowl full of various vegetables along with some grains or beans and a dressing. I had been wanting to try a version at home since we only get out to Ojai maybe once every couple months. Thanks to Pinterest I found a pretty solid Abundance Bowl recipe.

The Garlic-Ginger Pumpkin Seed Sauce in this recipe from the blog My New Roots is a bit of a different take than what we get in Ojai at Hip Vegan.  However, it’s even a better take. You’ll love the dressing here and it does keep for about 2 weeks.

Enjoy!

Full Recipe: [My New Roots Winter Abundance Bowl]

 

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Vegetable Pearl Couscous

On April 27, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This is a dish that can be used to clear out your vegetable drawer.  Any vegetable will do fine in this and it is a great way to use some of the vegetables you just didn’t get to or that you found at the Farmers’ Market but didn’t have  a specific plan for.  Here I used a few items I still had left after making a few other dishes during the week.

I also find that pearl couscous has a great texture and better flavor than traditional durum wheat couscous. Pearl Couscous is also known as Israel Couscous. It has a soft, almost spongy feel. What I like most about it is it’s versatility too. It can be used for soups or eaten with just some fried onions and tomatoes as an excellent side dish.

The recipe here is a variation on one I found on the VegKitchen blog.  You can see the original recipe here: Seven-Vegetable Couscous.

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Vegetable Pearl Couscous
Serves 4

1 1/2 cups pearl couscous cooked using package’s directions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 red onion, thick chop
1/2 red cabbage, thick chop
1 head of broccoli, chopped
2 zucchini, diced bite-sized
1 medium turnip, diced bite-sized
1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup golden raisins

Cook the couscous according to the product packaging’s directions. I used Bob’s Red Mill Pearl Couscous but there are other options too.

For the vegetables, heat a saute pan on medium high heat with the olive oil. Add the onions and turmeric. Saute for a couple minutes until onions soften.  Add the turnip, broccoli, and zucchini and the rest of the spices.  Cook for about 5-8 minutes until the turnip is firm but a fork can puncture it easily.  Finally add the cabbage, chickpeas, and raisins and cook for another couple minutes. If you need more olive oil feel free to add a tablespoon to coat everything.

Plate the couscous first and add some vegetables on top. Drizzle some olive oil to finish. Enjoy.

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