Veggies on the counter

Red Lentil and Cauliflower Stew

Posted in main courses by veggies on the counter on November 10, 2014

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As I’ve mentioned here countless times, autumn is my favourite season. Unlike most people, I like cold weather and absolutely love one-pot and soul warming stews and soups. This stew in particular is the kind of dish I often cook when colder days arrive, as it’s quick to make and I most likely already have all the ingredients I need for it in the pantry.

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It’s also very versatile: sometimes I use zucchini in place of the cauliflower and, even though I prefer the latter, it tastes lovely too. Other times, I substitute the water for coconut milk (or half of the amount of water) for a richer, creamier version. As with most curries and stews, this one tastes better the day after it’s made. The recipe below makes plenty of food, so I’m sure you’ll end up with leftovers for the next meal. I also really like to serve this dish with steamed brown rice (to soak up the sauce) and plenty of toasted cashews on top.

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Red Lentil and Cauliflower Stew

(serves 4 to 6)

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red chilli, finely chopped

210 g / 1 cup red lentils

375 ml / 1 ½ cups chopped canned tomatoes

500 ml / 2 cups water

175 g / 3 medium carrots, cubed

350 g / 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets

salt and black pepper to taste

In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the seeds for 5-6 minutes or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle and mash them until they’re finely ground.

In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, chilli, spices and carrots and fry for 1 minute or 2. Now add the lentils, canned tomatoes, water and cauliflower and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low-medium, cover the pan and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. At the last minute of cooking, add the salt (start with ½ teaspoon, taste, and increase if you need) and black pepper.

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Red Lentil and Cabbage Soup with Parsley Pistou

Posted in soups by veggies on the counter on March 6, 2014

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I’m sorry for posting again another soup recipe, but my soup fever has yet to stop. I know that, instead of thinking about ingredient combinations to try for soups and their toppings, I should seriously be thinking about making a dessert of some kind and posting it up here (this blog hasn’t seen one in sight for a couple of months now). I’m planning on working on that this upcoming weekend though, but until then, let’s (continue to) talk soup, shall we?

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I’ve been eating this soup as a meal in itself for supper the last couple of days. Thanks to the lentils, it’s quite filling and heartwarming. It’s also quite affordable and literally feeds a crowd. There are a couple specifics about it that I’d like to highlight though. The soup tastes delicious the moment it’s made but I think it improves after a day in the fridge – like most stews, the flavours have time to mingle and develop. It also thickens quite a bit after being refrigerated so, if reheating, feel free to add a couple tablespoons of water to thin it out a bit.

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The parsley pistou was a last minute addition that contributes with sharpness and freshness to the whole thing. You could make it by blending the ingredients together in a food processor, but my picky self thinks that chopping them by hand makes it more textured and encourages some flavours to be more prominent than others with each bite, instead of getting lost in an homogenized mixture. Enjoy the soup and see you soon! ;)

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Red Lentil and Cabbage Soup with Parsley Pistou

(serves 6)

For the soup:

220g / 2 medium sized yellow onions, cut into half-moons

8 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

300 g / 1 ½ cups red lentils, picked through

6 cups water or low sodium vegetable stock

400 g / 1 small head of cabbage, cut into thin strips (I used savoy)

¾ teaspoon salt (you might need less if using stock instead of water)

1 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper

For the parsley pistou:

35 g / 1 large bunch parsley

10 pitted green olives

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

7 tablespoons olive oil

For the soup: In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, onions and garlic cloves. Sautée for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.

Add the lentils and the water or stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and, once boiling, decrease the heat to low medium. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Working in batches (or transferring the soup to a large bowl and using a hand blender instead) purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, add the salt and black pepper and bring it to a boil. Add the shredded cabbage, reduce the heat to low and simmer for additional 15 minutes, or until the cabbage is very tender. Serve the soup with lots of pistou (recipe follows) on top and an extra pinch of black pepper.

For the pistou: Using a sharp knife, chop the parsley very finely. Chop the olives and garlic as well, mixing it, little by little, with the parsley. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the lemon juice and olive oil and whisk everything together. Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve over the soup.

Brown Rice and Lentil Bake with Caramelized Onions

Posted in baked goods, main courses by veggies on the counter on September 15, 2010

Usually, when it comes to cooking, I rarely plan ahead. That’s not a thing I’m proud of, as planning your meals ahead is the best way to save time and extra effort in the kitchen. The only thing I do that fits into the plan ahead sort of thing, is that everytime I cook beans or brown rice, I make sure I have leftovers. That way, I can throw the cooked beans and/or rice in the freezer and use it for another meals, or refrigerate them and use it that very same week in other preparations.

Last weekend, I’ve made a beetroot and brown rice salad (I’ll be soon posting the recipe), and got more leftovers of brown rice than I thought. Since then, I’ve used them in two different preparations and still have leftovers. One of those preparations wasn’t well succeeded: it was an attempt to make brown rice and spinach burgers, that although have turned ok in terms of structure, didn’t deliver in the taste department. Apart from this not very well succeeded burgers, I’ve made a brown rice and lentil bake, and that’s what I thought sharing today. It’s an easy, tasty and very versatile recipe: if you don’t have brown rice on hand, I’m almost sure you can substitute it for regular rice. On the other hand, and although I served this more as a sandwich, with caramelized onions in between two slices of the bake, I’m sure you can come up with more ideas. For instance, next time around I’m thinking of serving this alongside some stewed or pan fried veggies with a spoonful of tapenade on top, to make it more of a complete, nutritionally balanced main course.

Brown Rice and Lentil Bake

(serves 4)

1 cup ( 170 grams) red lentils

2 garlic cloves

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups (400 ml) light stock

½ finely cut red chili pepper

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 and 1/3 cups (190 grams) cooked brown rice

for the caramelized onions:

2 large white or red onions, thinly sliced into rounds

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

a pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a 20 x 20 centimeters baking dish with parchment paper, and brush it with olive oil.

2. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, red chili and thyme and fry for 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Wash the lentils under cold running water. Add the lentils to the pan, as well as the stock, and cook, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Season with the salt and black pepper.

4. Mix the brown rice with the lentils and put everything on the prepared baking pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.

5. For the caramelized onions, heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and sliced onions, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the onion starts caramelizing and browning a bit. On the last minute of cooking, add the balsamic vinegar and salt and stir well to incorporate.

6. Serve the caramelized onions in between two slices of the brown rice and lentil bake.