Monday, April 29, 2013

Savory Zucchini Pancakes

Zucchini is by far my favorite squash. It's mild flavor makes it incredibly versatile, and can be made into a variety of dishes. My favorite is my mother's zucchini fritters. It is the one recipe of hers that I can't seem to duplicate no matter how hard I try. She doesn't use any eggs, cornmeal, flour, or any binder to speak of. Simply relying on the high moisture of the zucchini, she adds salt, pepper, a little minced onion, and quickly shapes the shredded zucchini into cute little patties and fries them in a very shallow amount of oil. The result is sublime - crisp zucchini outside, perfectly tender and fresh tasting inside. I guess I'll just have to accept that what makes her fritters so lovely is her slight of hand, and hope that one day I'll be able to come close.

What I've come to depend on as being my zucchini staple is the savory pancake. I've made these from scratch, and I've also cheated by using a pancake mix. With a not-quite-yet-2 year old toddling about the house, I definitely rely on the cheat way pretty often lately. I don't feel any shame though, since I've never had any zucchini pancake quite this good. They come together in a flash, make a ton, and are very filling. Paired with some green onion and greek yogurt dip, they are exceptional.

If you have the luxury of planning ahead, I do recommend grating and draining the zucchini the night before. Simply add a heavy pinch of salt and place in a non-aluminum colander over a glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let hang out in the fridge. Saving the released pale green liquid and adding it to the liquid needed in order to mix up the pancake mix (or scratch pancake batter) really bumps up the freshness of these indulgent little babies. 

3 medium organic zucchini, 
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper,
depending on taste
1 large egg
1 cup water, or zucchini liquid mixed with water to make 1 cup
1 3/4 cup Trader Joe's Buttermilk Pancake Mix
Canola, grapeseed, or other neutral tasting oil

Grate the zucchini directly into a colander over a glass bowl. If you have the time, salt well and cover with plastic wrap and let hang out in the fridge over night. If not, add a healthy pinch of salt and let sit for 30 minutes. 

Using your hands, squeeze the zucchini out into the bowl, leaving the squeezed out zucchini in colander. Add the liquid to a liquid measuring cup and fill it the rest of the way with water (or other liquid of choice if making pancakes from scratch) till there is 1 cup of total liquid. Add the egg and beat lightly.
*An egg is called for in the mix, so I have it listed in the ingredients. If you don't use eggs in your pancake batter, there is no use for one. 

In a large bowl, add onion and garlic powders, pepper, cayenne, and pancake mix/dry ingredients. Pour in the egg/water/zucchini water into the dry ingredients and stir until not quite combined. Add the zucchini and mix till there are no streaks of the dry mix. 

Heat 1 - 2 tbsp oil in a large non-stick skillet, or well seasoned cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the batter in 1/4 cup increments to the oil, smoothing the batter on top with the bottom of your measuring cup. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes on the first side, 2 - 3 on the second till both sides are crisp and golden brown. Remove pancakes to paper towel lined plate and immediately sprinkle with kosher or coarse sea salt. Continue cooking up the pancakes till there is no batter reamaining. Yes, you need to add 1 - 2 tbsp of oil to the pan before each batch. There is a reason why these are so good.
You can serve these immediately, warm, or at room temperature. A super fast and thick sauce for these pancakes is kind of an essential in our house, and it helps cut through the richness of the cakes. Simply combine 1 cup of non-fat greek style yogurt, 1 green onion finely chopped, a pinch of salt and pepper, 1 tsp dried dill or 1 tbsp fresh, and a spritz of lemon juice.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chipotle Orange Chicken

This is a long lost recipe that is the first one I've ever written down. I'm usually an improvisational cook and have never measured or recorded dishes I've created. Until this chicken, there was never a need. This recipe has more ingredients than I normally use, therefore I had to document it in order to remember, since I had the feeling I wasn't going to be able to replicate it. Everyone who has tried this is relieved I did!

This chicken is super versatile, and can be used any where chicken is called for in most Mexican dishes - tacos, enchiladas, Mexican lasagna, tostadas, burritos - you name it. It has a pleasant spicy heat from the chipotle peppers that marries incredibly well with the orange. The flavors are kind of an infusion of a mole and carnitas, so some of the ingredients may seem a little odd. But trust me, it makes a mean dish! 

This makes a very large batch, which I think is the only way to go. It is perfect for feeding a crowd, and any leftovers freeze very well - up to 3 months in an airtight container.

1 Tbsp canola oil
3 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
zest of one large organic orange
juice of said orange
spent orange rind
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and smashed
5 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
1 onion, chopped
3 c low sodium chicken stock 
1 c evaporated milk

Heat oil in a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Thoroughly dry both sides of the chicken thighs and proceed to brown them in 2 batches. They do not need to be cooked through - just 5 minutes a side to get some color. While the chicken is cooking, place all the dried spices in a small bowl in order to add them all at once after the thighs have been seared. Keep thighs on a plate to the side.

Add onion and smashed garlic cloves to the pot. Saute for about 3 minutes, then add the dry spices. Stir continually for a minute to bloom the spices. Add the orange juice, zest, chicken stock and evaporated milk. If you want it extra spicy, add the remaining adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers. Toss in the orange rind and bay leaves, then nestle the thighs into the cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook on low heat for 45 minutes.

Remove thighs from pot and place on a cookie sheet in a single layer in order to expedite cooling. Once cool enough to handle, shred the chicken with your hands (its the best way!) into bite size pieces. Don't worry about a fine shred here - the chicken will break down more once it is mixed back into the sauce. Meanwhile, allow the cooking liquid to reduce over medium low heat until it is reduced by at least half. This should take about 20 - 30 minutes.

Once sauce has been concentrated, strain it through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Be sure to  stir and mash the pulpy bits against the sides of the strainer to break the softened garlic through and get all the concentrated flavors out. Scrape the outside of the strainer well to get it all into the bowl. Place sauce back into pot and add shredded chicken. Heat on low for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is heated back through.

I recommend serving this any way you please! Any of your favorite Mexican dishes that call for chicken - try this in place of your norm. It may breathe some new life into your favorite recipe. My favorite is the easiest and probably quickest way - corn tortilla, fat free greek style yogurt, lots of fresh cilantro and a healthy portion of the chicken. Unbeatable.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Endive with Mushrooms and Peas

This is such a refreshingly simple dish, and the vegetables play against each other very well. Endive that is slightly bitter, sweet petit pois, and the earthiness of the mushrooms really harmonize. This is the first time I've attempted at combining endive with other vegetables into a single dish - I usually cook them slowly in a bit of oil, butter, sugar and salt till they get utterly caramelized and are nearly falling apart. My father in-law always requests endive prepared in this fashion when he comes over for dinner. Every dinner. They really are that good.

I think he would adore this dish as well. It is enough for 4 as an accompaniment in an elegant meal for guests, or can be an entire meal for 2. I inhaled this for dinner the other night, and ended up pilfering some of my husband's since I immediately wished I had relished mine a bit slower. Oh well. It is almost the end of Belgian endive season, so I definitely plan on making this again sooner than later.


4 medium to large unblemished Belgian endive,  
   roots attached and quartered (ensure that the     
   root ends are white, not turning red which is a 
   sign of spoiling) 
1 10 oz package button mushrooms, cleaned well 
   and quartered

1 1/2 cup frozen french peas (petit pois)

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

salt and pepper

scant 1 tsp + healthy pinch sugar

1 Tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley (optional)

Place a large saute pan that has a tight fitting lid over medium heat. Add the oil and butter to the pan and once the butter is nearly melted, add the endive. Add a good pinch of salt, a couple turns from your pepper grinder (white or black, whichever you prefer), and the scant tsp of sugar. Cover and cook for 4-6 minutes while prepping the mushrooms.

 Add the mushrooms along with another pinch of salt and pepper, and cover. Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. Once the mushrooms have released all their liquid, remove the lid and cook uncovered till nearly all the liquid has evaporated.

Add the frozen peas with a pinch of sugar and give a thorough stir before covering to cook for an additional 3 minutes. 

Remove lid and add parsley if desired. Technically this should be served immediately, but is still quite good slightly warm.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cheddar Cheese Bread

I've decided that this amazing quick bread will be the final post for the ode to America's Test Kitchen week. Mainly because it is something that is easy enough to put together on a weekday, but indulgent enough to munch on over your weekend. 

People go nuts for this bread. I am not over exagerating. I have even used this bread as an appetizer by cutting it into large yet still bite sized cubes served with no accompaniments, and the entire loaf was gone before any of the other goodies. It has everything you want in a savory snack - its cheesy, crispy, chewy, salty, a little spicy... its incredible.

And I haven't even begun to rave about the toast - it is crazy good. I've been known to toast a piece of this bread as soon as it has cooled down enough to cut. This bread is really the best toasted, and it doesn't even need butter! Butter does make it over the top, but it remains ridiculously good with out. This bread will keep for 5 days in an airtight container or ziplock bag. It also freezes well for up to a month.


3 oz (1 cup) Parmesan cheese grated on large holes of box grater
3 c AP flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp black pepper
4 ounces (1 cup) extra-sharp cheddar cut into 1/2" cubes
1 1/4 c whole milk
3/4 c sour cream
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 ensuring there is a rack in the middle position. Sprits a 9 by 5" loaf pan with vegetable oil spray and sprinkle half of the Parmesan evenly over the bottom.

Whisk the flour, powder, salt, and peppers together in a large bowl. Add the cubed cheese and toss in the flour to ensure it is well coated. Whisk milk, sour cream, butter, and egg in a separate bowl. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry with a rubber spatula until it is just come together (no streaks of flour). The batter will be very thick, but do not over mix.

Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula. Evenly sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top. Bake 45 - 50 minutes until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs attached.

Allow the loaf to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan onto a cooling rack. Leave bread to cool for at least 1 hour - this is always the hardest part, but so worth it.

This recipe is from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pistachio Cardamom Scones

Another spin on a classic ATK recipe - the cream scone. This is a super traditional scone recipe, and more balanced than most I've tried. The combination of cardamom and pistachios was something I tried this winter for the first time at a local coffee joint who had recently began making their own baked goods. I had never made scones before and have eaten many, yet this particular scone broke me down and I had to make scones immediately... mainly since I can't afford to shell out the near $3 for one every day.

I did however splurge on really good cardamom at a local spice shop. Since I don't have a mortar and pestle yet, I regretfully couldn't get the exotic green cardamom pods. If you have the opportunity to make these with freshly ground pods, please do! I know that the little pieces infusing the dough would give an intoxicating scent and flavor. These were still good with the already ground I purchased, which was very fresh, fragrant, and with instructions to only use half of what a recipe calls for since it is more potent than most. I followed this advice and only used a 1/2 tsp instead of the full one that my instincts were shouting at me... and it was not quite enough. A full tsp would have been overdoing it a bit, yet a hefty 1/2 would have been perfect. 

Since this is such a simple recipe with few ingredients, it should be important to use higher quality dairy products - especially since there is so much of them. They should definitely be organic, and not on their last legs as far as shelf life.

As with all scones, these are best shortly out of the oven, but will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container, or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap.


2 c AP flour, + extra for counter
3 Tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
heaping 1/2 tsp Penzey's brand ground cardamom or heaping 1 tsp other brand
5 Tbsp unsalted organic butter, cut in to 1/2" cubes and chilled
1/2 shelled salted pistachio
1 c + 2 Tbsp heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and ensure there is a rack in middle of oven. Blend flour, sugar, powder, salt, and cardamom in food processor till well combined. Sprinkle butter evenly over the flour mixture and pulse till it resembles coarse cornmeal. A couple of larger lumps of butter is normal. Add the pistachios and pulse a few times.

Dump this mixture into a bowl and add 1 cup chilled cream. Stir with rubber spatula until the mixture just comes together. Empty out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead just until the dough comes together. Press the dough into a roughly 9 inch circle with your fingers, then cut into 8 triangular pieces using a sharp knife or a bench scraper. 

Carefully transfer scones (you may want to use your bench scraper or a spatula to do this) to a parchment or silicone mat lined cookie sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the 2 Tbsp cream, followed by a sprinkling of the 2 tsp sugar. 

Place into oven and bake for about 12 minutes or a tad longer, depending on your oven. They should be just golden brown. Let cool for about 10 minutes to ensure they set up properly before devouring. Or, eat immediately like we always do and never regret it. The texture is different, but in this case we don't care. Its still awesome.

This recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen's Cream Scones

Monday, April 15, 2013

Penne with Tomato and Almond Pesto (Pesto Alla Trapanese )

This week ended up being my ode to America's Test Kitchen. I've been revisiting some of my favorite recipes that they've put out over the years, and this is my favorite pasta dish next to their version of classic lasagna. It comes together in a snap, and is very fresh and bright. 

Normally I am not a huge pesto fan, mainly because of the amount of basil and oil used. I love basil, yet in such a concentrated form it brings out the licorice notes, and I am not a fan of licorice. There is also a lot less oil here. The juice from the grape tomatoes aides in the saucy consistency, rather than relying solely on oil.

You can really use any kind of pasta you'd prefer here - ATK recommends linguine or spaghetti, but I like to use Trader Joe's High Fiber Penne made with oat flour. I tend to shy away from whole wheat pastas since I'm not a fan of the texture. Try as I might, I can't seem to get over it. This pasta is an entirely different story - it cooks in only 6 minutes, and is light and tender with just enough firmness. It has a ton of fiber, therefore is very filling - a small plate of this with a salad for dinner is more than enough. 

This makes a large batch - plenty to feed a hungry family of 4 for dinner, or a couple of grown ups with a pasta loving toddler for a couple meals. It is so easy to make and perfectly balanced that I would bet it will become part of your weeknight meal arsenal. 

1/4 c slivered almonds
12 oz cherry or grape tomatoes
     (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1 medium garlic clove, minced
     (about 1 tsp)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
kosher salt
1/3 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb pasta
1 ounce grated Parmesan (about 1/2 c) + extra for serving

Place large pot of cold water with 1 tbsp kosher salt on the stove and bring to boil. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently until they are fragrant (about 3 minutes). Set aside to cool.

Process tomatoes, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, vinegar, cooled almonds, and 1 tsp salt until smooth (about 1 minute). After scraping down sides of bowl, slowly drizzle in oil through the feed tube with the machine running and let go for another 30 seconds. 

Add pasta to boiling water and cook till al dente, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Drain pasta and transfer back to pot.

Add the pesto and 1/2 cup of Parmesan to cooked pasta, adding the pasta water till the pasta is well coated with the pesto. Serve immediately with extra Parmesan on the side.

If you are more adverse to basil than myself, feel free to substitute another green. Arugula is recommended by ATK, but I've had pestos made with baby spinach greens that have been very tasty. You can also take liberty with the nuts you use. Pine nuts are a classic option, or walnuts can be a delicious variation as well.

This recipe is by America's Test Kitchen from season 10

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Green Beans with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

This is yet another dish inspired by my mother. As in most families, green bean casserole is a mainstay at holiday tables. The over salted, mushy veggies, and lack of mushroom flavor is unfortunately the main characteristics of what I grew up with; this dish couldn't be further from what we've come to know. When my mother made this for me to try, I couldn't believe how good it was - I ended up eating all of it with no accompaniments. Although I love green beans, this side will probably still please the most discernible pallets i.e. my 21 month old.

In the time it takes to make a traditional green bean casserole (probably less), you get tender crisp beans and lots of mushroom flavor. Best yet, the creamy texture and taste is provided by soy milk and nuts (either cashews or almonds).

The recipe makes a good sized batch, so it is plenty to dress green beans for a crowd. I freeze half of it when I make it for just the 3 of us, and it keeps for up to a month in the freezer in a tightly sealed container. Just place it in the fridge the night before you plan on using it to let it thaw, then warm it in the microwave.


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
10 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 small or 1/2 medium sweet onion finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme, or 1 tbsp fresh
1/4 c dry sherry
1 c soy milk**
1/2 c raw cashews or raw almonds
1 lb trimmed and cleaned green beans (or 2 to use the entire batch of sauce)
1 tbsp salt* for boiling water
pinch salt and pepper

If you plan on boiling your beans, fill a large pot 2/3 full of water and bring to boil. Add 1 tbsp of salt.

In a your largest skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and pepper and saute for 3 minutes. Add sliced creminis with another pinch of s & p, and saute till the liquid in the mushrooms starts to release.

Sprinkle the thyme over the mushrooms, breaking it up between your fingers if it is dry to help release some of the oils. Saute till all the liquid is gone (about 5 - 6 minutes) and add the sherry. Cook stirring occasionally till the sherry has nearly evaporated.

Once the water for the beans is boiling, add them to the pot and stir well. Once the water has come back to boil, let them boil gently for 3 minutes (or 2 if you like them a bit more crisp).

Meanwhile, add the soy milk and nuts to a food processor and blitz for about 30 seconds. I tend to prefer cashews here, although I know almonds are a very popular pairing with green beans. Since I already find a subtle almond nuttiness to the beans, I like to use the cashews since they are milder in flavor and allow the mushrooms to become more of a main flavor of the dish. If you are wild about almonds with green beans, those are still nice to use- whatever you prefer.

Add the cooked mushroom and onion mixture to the processor and run for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and blitz for 45 more seconds. Drain the beans and add back to the saute pan, and pour half of the sauce over the beans and stir till fully combined. Serve immediately, or let hang out in the pan (covered), and heat over low to rewarm them when you're ready to serve.

*I prefer to boil my green beans, but you can cook them in the same pan as the mushrooms and onions. Just add 1/3 c of water to the pan, cover and cook till they are done to your liking.

**An important note about the soy milk you plan on using - it must be plain and unsweetened. I like to use Trader Joe's Organic Unsweetened Soy Milk because not only is it vegan and gluten free, it is the only one that they carry that doesn't have carrageenan, which has been found to be a carcinogen.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Black Bean Hummus

When my mother first introduced me to this, I was a little skeptical. Especially when she said it had no oil in it (except for the oil in tahini). But this 'hummus' is so addicting and satisfying, you would never guess it doesn't contain the 1/2 cup of oil that a batch of traditional hummus normally calls for. 

You do need a food processor to make this - there really is no other way around it. I suppose it can be made in a blender (you'd need a really powerful one, aka expensive), although I've never attempted it. It is so easy to make and comes together in a couple of minutes - you will never go back to store bought hummus again. You may even never go back to traditional hummus! 

Not only does this dip bump up a crudités platter, I think its best served with roasted plantain or sweet potato chips. Its pictured here with the latter, and if you haven't already discovered the magic of black beans and sweet potatoes together, you are in for a treat. This hummus is vegan and GF, and remains so with Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Chips. 

1 15 oz can low sodium black beans
   drained and rinsed
1 tbsp tahini paste
1 large or 2 small-medium garlic cloves
1 tsp cumin 
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
juice of half a lemon or lime
2 - 3 tbsp water

Add all ingredients except the water to a food processor fitted with a normal blade attachment. Process for about 30 seconds, then stop to scrape down the sides of the processor. Turn on and slowly add the water through the feed tube 1 tbsp at a time until your hummus has your desired consistency. Let the processor go for another 30 seconds to minute after this, then serve! Keep the leftovers (unlikely) in a tightly covered bowl up to 1 week.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Peasant Stew

Let me just start by saying that I adore this stew. It is very delicious, can be dressed up or down, and is a good way to clean out some produce from the fridge. I think that is how we came up with the name - I always seem to make this dish when we're getting low on groceries. There are only a few items that are necessary for the stew, and the rest can be improvised. And it is a one pot meal. Which, if you haven't figured out already, is my favorite kind to make.

I've only made this stew the same way maybe twice. It loves to be adjusted to suit your tastes for the day; chicken thighs or breasts, peas and/or carrots, green beans or Lima beans, whatever! And it all tastes good. You pretty much can't go over the top with this, and as long as the basics of the recipe are covered, nearly anything you put in it will marry wonderfully with each other. 

I do highly recommend serving up some crusty baguette or sourdough bread with this in order to soak up the delectable broth - it really is that good, and not a drop should be wasted! I've suggested a few 'optional' or substitute ingredients that I've tried in the past and have worked really well. If you can't tolerate peas, or detest mushrooms, there are plenty of other goodies that can be swapped in their place.


1.5-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 medium red potatoes in 1/2" dice
10 oz cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 c frozen pearl onions, thawed
2 c frozen french style peas (petite pois)
1/2 c medium dry - dry sherry
6 c low sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp thyme
1 tbsp canola oil
1/4 c roughly chopped italian parsley (optional)


1 15 oz can cannelini beans
2 c fresh green beans, ends removed and halved
2 c peeled and sliced carrot
2 c frozen baby Lima beans, thawed
1 c French le puy green lentils
2 c sliced and well rinsed leeks 

Add the canola oil to a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot and heat over medium high. Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of thyme, and 1 of pepper. Place in pot and cook till golden brown on each side (about 6-7 minutes on the first, 4-5 on the other side). Remove from pot and place on a dish to the side. 

Add the potatoes, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp thyme to the pot. There should be plenty of oil left in the pot from the chicken, but if you find that the potatoes are sticking to the bottom, add up to 1 tbsp more. Cover and stir occasionally for 6 minutes. Remove potatoes from pot and place on top of the chicken set aside earlier. 

Add mushrooms and sherry to the pot, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom. Once most of the sherry has evaporated, add the onions. Stir occasionally for 6 - 8 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and add back the chicken and potatoes. Pop in the bay leaf and simmer the stew on medium low for 25 minutes.

This step is optional, but I recommend it if you will be sharing this stew with company since it makes it easier to eat. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and place it on a clean plate. Shred the chicken with 2 forks into large pieces, but small enough to be eaten in one bite. Add the chicken back to the pot.

Add the peas (still frozen) back to the pot and raise heat to medium. Bring to simmer uncovered and allow to perk away for 5 minutes. Add parsley and serve.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Curry Lentil Soup

This is one of the easiest soups, and so inexpensive to make. It always amazes me how just a few ingredients can transpire into something so tasty, and be vegan! My 21 month old daughter even loves this soup - I simply scoop out the veg with a slotted spoon (to cut down on the mess!) and let her go to town. If you need to de-veganize it, adding a fried or poached egg on top is a great addition, and really makes this soup a complete meal. Although, with a hunk of crusty bread, it already is. 


1 tbsp canola oil
4 c low sodium vegetable stock
4 c water
1 medium to large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3-4 carrots, peeled, halved, and sliced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 c lentils
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp of your favorite curry powder
2 bay leaves
1 15 oz can low fat coconut milk
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Add a pinch of s&p, stir well, then cover. Stir the veg every couple minutes for about 8 min total, till softened. 

Remove lid and add mushrooms, another pinch of s&p and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for 6 minutes. Add garlic, curry, and cumin. Stir and let cook for an additional minute. Add veggie stock, water, and bay leaves. 

Add lentils and bring the soup to a simmer. Do not boil. Once soup is brought to simmer, let cook for 20 minutes stirring often, allowing the lentils to uniformally cook. Add coconut milk and cook for 10 - 15 more minutes, or until lentils are done to your liking. I like mine still pretty firm, and not mushy. Add s&p to taste.