Lemon Red Lentil Soup

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, more to taste
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable bouillon, optional
  • 1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or 1 tablespoon dried cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon

Heat oil in a large saucepan on high until shimmering. Sauté onion and garlic until golden, 4 minutes. Add tomato paste, cumin, turmeric, salt, black pepper and cayenne; sauté 2 minutes. Add broth, water, bouillon if using, lentils, carrot, and dried cilantro if using. Bring to a simmer, then simmer, partially covered, until lentils are soft, 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. Using an immersion or countertop blender, purée half the soup. Reheat if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and fresh cilantro if using.

Lentil Butternut Stew

Serves 8

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, if using stovetop method
  • 3 large stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 2 1/2 pounds (1 large) butternut squash or sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch dice; if less than 2 1/2 pounds, add a sweet potato
  • 1 pound brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups vegetable broth or water and bouillon (enough to just cover vegetables)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste (less if using salted broth or bouillon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, or 4 teaspoons dried parsley
  • For serving: hot cooked rice, potatoes, or crusty bread

STOVETOP METHOD:  In a 6-quart saucepan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté onion and celery until softened. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.
SLOW COOKER METHOD:  Combine all ingredients in the crock of a 6-quart slow cooker, cover and cook on LOW 8 hours.
Serve over rice or potatoes, or with bread.

Moroccan Stew

Moroccan Stew
Serves 6

SEASONINGS

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

STEW

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds (2 large or 3 medium) sweet potatoes, diced (6 cups)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 pound greens, tough ribs removed, chopped or shredded (kale, spinach, chard, green cabbage)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • Bread or hot cooked rice for serving

In a large saucepan heat oil, add seasonings and cook, stirring, over medium heat 2 minutes. Add water, onion, sweet potato, and garlic. Mix to coat well with spices. Cover and cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until onions have started to soften, 10 minutes. Add beans, chickpeas, lentils, and broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 25 minutes. During simmering time, add greens according to their texture -- in the last 15 minutes for tough greens such as cabbage to become tender, or in the last 5 minutes for delicate greens such as spinach just to wilt. Add greens by placing them on the surface of the stew, and covering, so they will steam. In the last 2 minutes, add ginger and mix well. Stew is done when lentils are fully dissolved and vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust salt or cayenne if needed. Serve with bread or hot rice.

Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Soup)

Tom Kha Gai 
Bangkok Center Grocery in NYC's Chinatown is the best place to find fresh lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal root, and Thai basil.

Serves 4

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, trimmed, pounded to release flavor
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • 6 thin slices fresh peeled galangal root or ginger root
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or vegan fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/2 block firm tofu, drained, pressed, and diced, optional
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup Thai basil (not Italian or sweet basil), roughly chopped
  • Thinly sliced scallions for garnish, optional

In a large saucepan on medium-high, bring broth to a boil. Add coconut milk, lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal, mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, fish sauce, lime juice, chili flakes, and tofu. Simmer 15 minutes; turn off heat. Remove lemongrass stalks and kaffir lime leaves. Stir in tomato, basil and cilantro. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately, topped with scallions.

Easy Pad Thai

Easy Pad Thai
Serves 6

FOR SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha or Tabasco, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tamarind paste

FOR SAUTE

  • 1 pound dry banh pho -- Thai or Vietnamese flat rice noodles a.k.a. rice sticks or chantaboon
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen stir-fry vegetable mixture such as Birds Eye Sugar Snap Stir-Fry (sugar snap peas, mushrooms, onions, carrots)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 (5 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 (5 ounce) can bean sprouts, drained
  • 1/2 block firm tofu, drained, pressed, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped peanuts, for serving

Directly into a 4-cup measure, using marks as a guide, pour peanut oil, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and lemon juice. This will equal 1 1/4 cups. Add peanut butter to the 2-cup mark. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, and sriracha. Using an immersion blender, blend until peanut butter is incorporated. Add tamarind paste and blend until smooth. Sauce may be mixed in advance and refrigerated.

Meanwhile, submerge banh pho in a bowl of cold water and soak 15 to 30 minutes and bring a saucepan of water to a full boil. When noodles are flexible, drain, then add to boiling water. Stir and untangle noodles. When noodles are soft but still somewhat chewy, 2 to 3 minutes, drain. (Alternatively, soak noodles in warm water 15 to 20 minutes.) Rinse noodles in cold water and return them to pan. Add sauce to noodles and toss to fully coat; set aside.

In a large skillet on medium, heat oil and warm frozen vegetables until thawed. Add water chestnuts, bean sprouts, tofu, garlic and cilantro and cook until heated through. Add noodles, scraping pan to get all the sauce, and toss with vegetables until well mixed and heated through.

Serve sprinkled with chopped peanuts.