Tag Archives: soup

Lentils and Potatoes with Curry recipe

4 May

It’s a dreary spring day here in NYC. With the rain pouring down, the only thing I want to do is cook a comforting meal and crawl in a corner with a good book. However, I’m on day three of the Blue Print Cleanse so no food for me, but I’ve been saving this recipe for this exact occasion. I made this Lentils and Potatoes with Curry recipe a couple days ago so I’d have leftovers for the hubbie to eat while I cleanse.  Although it’s delicious fresh, I actually think it’s better the second day. It resembles a stew, but is thicker, and a perfect accompaniment to a loaf of crusty bread and a glass of Chianti Classico. Plus it’s basically a four ingredient, one-pot recipe that comes together in less than 45 minutes.

Here’s hoping sunny days are ahead, but in the meantime, turn this doldrums day around by having this for lunch or dinner. You’ll even have enough leftovers to get you through another rainy day (if necessary).

What’s your favorite dreary day comfort food?

Lentils and Potatoes with Curry

slightly tweaked from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

1 cup dried lentils, washed and picked over

3 1/2 cups organic coconut milk (veg stock or filtered water can also be used)

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 lb new potatoes, halved (or 2 medium russet, peeled and cut into large chunks)

1 bay leaf

salt & freshly ground pepper

minced fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

1. Combine the lentils, liquid, and curry powder in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low so that the mixture bubbles gently, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils start to absorb the water a bit, about 15 minutes.

2. Add the potatoes and bay leaf. Cover the pan completely.

Cook, undisturbed, for 10 minutes or so, then stir gently and check to make sure the lentils aren’t too dry. If so, add a little more liquid. Add salt as the lentils become tender.

3. Cover and continue cooking until the lentils are soft and the potatoes are tender at the center, another 5 to 10 minutes, add liquid if necessary. It should be moist, but not soupy. Fish out the bay leaf. Add lots of black pepper, stir, then taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with cilantro (and soy or regular yogurt if desired).


three bean super bowl of chili

6 Feb

While most people are gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday, I’m 30,000 miles up on my way to VEGAS! Thank you Delta Gogo Inflight Internet! But I didn’t want to leave you hanging without sharing my favorite Super Bowl recipe.

When I worked on the first season of “Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger” on the Food Network, Ellie created this amazing chili that I really adore. It’s simple, budget-friendly, low-fat, full of veggies, and most importantly, TASTY! Click here for her recipe. I made a few adjustments, but if you’re omni, you could definitely use a lean organic beef or turkey as she recommends. And as always, please feel free to make this your own. Use whatever beans and veggies you have on hand, or try crumbled tempeh instead.

I sure wish I was eating a bowl of this instead of the $3 fruit plate and stale peanuts in front of me.

Oh and I almost forgot, I learned the darndest thing at Whole Foods last week. There were two piles of red bell peppers. One was clearly marked conventional, the other was not labeled. I asked an employee stocking zucchini if the unlabeled pile was organic. He came over and said, “let me show you something”.

He picked up the conventional red pepper and said “see this?” and pointed at the label. “Conventional has a 4-digit number.”

conventional red pepper

Then he went over and picked up a pepper from the unlabeled pile and said, “organic produce has a 5-digit code and it starts with a 9”. Check it out below…. he’s right. 5 digits, leading with the number 9.

organic pepper

Isn’t that crazy? Anyway, maybe I’m the only one who was in the dark about that, but I will remember this tip forever because I’m often uncertain about the labeling at Whole Foods. Not anymore!!!

Here’s the recipe, enjoy.

Three Bean Chili

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced (1 cup)

1 red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)

3 carrots, diced (1 cup)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

2 cups vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

1 garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press

1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeded and minced

2 teaspoons adobo sauce from the can of chipotles

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Salt & fresh ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in large pot or Dutch oven over moderate heat. Add the onion, cook until begins to turn translucent, 2-3 minutes.

2. Add bell pepper and carrots, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

carrots, onions, peppers

3. Add the cumin and garlic, stirring for 1 minute until fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable stock, chipotle and adobo sauce, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, stirring from time to time, for 30 minutes.

Be sure to scrape out the chipotle seeds, and mince the chipotle finely unless you want it really hot. I actually like the heat, but I think it’s a little too much for the average bear. You can always add hot sauce to your own bowl (or a little chipotle sauce) if you find it doesn’t have enough kick for you at the end.

chipotle seeds removed

4. Add the beans and cook partially covered for 15-20 minutes until soup is thickened and warmed through.

5. Serve with shredded mozzarella, cheddar or jalapeno cheese, sour cream, a dollop of guacamole, pita or tortilla chips, or a couple shakes of hot sauce (if you need it). I used Daiya dairy-free cheddar in mine and it rocked.

I added in some Daiya dairy-free cheddar cheese - it melts beautifully


It’s freakin freezin Mushroom-Barley Soup recipe

25 Jan

Day 23 – Soup’s on!

This week I’m all about soup. It was freakin 8 degrees yesterday morning and I am the idiot who never bought real gloves this year. I have those homeless person ones with no fingertips. Great for the iPhone or hitchhiking, bad for fingers.

On a trip to Whole Foods, I swung by the magazine section for some inspiration. Cook’s Illustrated, one of my favorite magazines, created by Christopher Kimball (of America’s Test Kitchen on Public TV) has a special issue out Soups & Stews. Perfect! Many are meat based, but salvageable. The Mushroom-Barley Soup caught my eye. I made very few adjustments to it. Overall, added more barley, shitake mushrooms, sage (Whole Foods didn’t have any thyme, bullsh*t), and used veg stock/water instead of chicken. The result? A delicious, hearty, dare I say meaty, soup to keep you warm on this frigid day. It also happens to be vegan. Enjoy!

NOTES: Recipe calls for 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms. I couldn’t find any so I used the “european blend” which was a combo of morels, porcini and others. It worked fine. Also, my scale is busted so I used a 1/2 cup instead of an ounce. Recipe also calls for a total of 9 cups liquid. I used 4 cups veg broth and 5 cups water. You could use 9 cups of veg broth, or if you’re a meat eater, 9 cups chicken broth. Lastly, recipe calls for 1 pound of mushrooms. Use whatever you want. I did 3/4 pound cremini, 1/4 pound shitake. Portabello and cremini are ideal as they produce meatier flavor.

Mushroom-Barley Soup

serves approximately 6

(slightly adjusted from Cook’s Illustrated, Soups & Stews 2011 issue)

1/2 ounce dried exotic mushrooms

4 cups vegetable broth

5 cups water

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped medium

1 leek, halved lengthwise then sliced

1 pound mushrooms

3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped medium

2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press

1 cup pearl barley

1 bay leaf

1 sprig sage

1/4 tsp crushed red chili pepper flakes

1. Place dried mushrooms in small bowl, cover with 1 1/2 cups hot vegetable broth and soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Save time and microwave the broth in a glass bowl (with enough room to add the mushrooms). Add the mushrooms pushing them down with a fork or spoon to ensure they’re submerged. Cover with plastic wrap for 20 minutes. Remove plastic and carefully lift mushrooms from liquid. If there’s any grit, strain the liquid and reserve to use later. Chop reconstituted mushrooms and reserve.

Get your mise en place ready to go!!!

mise en place

2. Heat oil in large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and leeks, stirring frequently, until translucent and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add fresh mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until mushrooms are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add carrots and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, but not browned, about 1 minute.


Onions, Leeks and Mushrooms


3. Add remaining 7 1/2 cups liquid (either all broth, all water, or combination of the two). Add dried mushroom soaking liquid, chopped reconstituted mushrooms, barley, bay leaf, sage, crushed red chilli pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until barley is tender, about 50 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.

Mushroom-Barley Soup

Winter Soup with Cannelini, Cremini & Kale

12 Jan

Day 10 – Baby, it’s cold outside

It’s snowy(ish), cold, and January. Perfect day to hunker down and make a big pot of soup. I’m taking a break from referencing the cookbook, 1,000 Vegan Recipes today. Ok technically I just referenced it, but I’m not going to use it for any recipes today. I’m broadening my horizons and using something you may have heard of, the internet. I was in the mood for a warm and hearty lunch. I love soups that are crammed with veggies, and are great for dipping crusty bread into. Sadly, I don’t have any, but that’s a good idea for those of you who do.

I found a Barley Stew with Leeks,  Mushrooms and Greens courtesy of the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen, that got my tail wagging. I replaced the barley with teeny tiny potatoes (yes, they’re really called that, you can find them at Trader Joe’s if you don’t believe me), and added in carrots, cannelini beans, and spices.  I’m getting ready to have another bowl now. Just goes to show that hearty doesn’t necessarily have to mean meaty.  Stay warm!!

Winter Soup with Cannelini, Cremini & Kale


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (about 2 small stalks; white and pale green parts only)
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced cremini (baby bella) mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 cup carrot, peeled and cut into bite size rounds
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups filtered water (or 2 more cups veg broth)
  • 2 cups kale, trimmed, center stalks removed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup teeny tiny potatoes, sliced in halves
  • 2 cans (15 ounce) cannelini beans, no salt added
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • chopped parsley, garnish


1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add leeks; sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until leeks begin to soften, stirring often, about 5 minutes.  Try to keep the leeks together so they “sweat” and cook to translucency without caramelizing and turning brown.

2. Add mushrooms, garlic, and chili pepper; increase heat to medium-high and sauté until mushrooms soften and begin to brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and saute about 3 minutes.

3. Add kale,  4 cups broth, 2 cups water and cook until kale is wilted, about 1 minute.

4. Be sure to rinse beans and wash potatoes before using. Add beans, potatoes, and bay leaf. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, about 20 minutes. If you eat dairy, add a leftover parmesan cheese rind to help give the broth body and add tremendous flavor.

5. Pull out cheese rind (if you used it). Using a paring knife, check that the potatoes are cooked. The knife should go in with no resistance. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread.


Wash vegetables and fruit with a spray rinse like this one from Healthy Harvest, available at Whole Foods and online.

Stay Warm!!

Inspired by recipe from the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen

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