Monday, August 31, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper, Lentil & Spinach Soup

Spinach is making a splash in my culinary life right now. I'm particularly interested in soups with spinach. Not cream of spinach soup but rather soups where the spinach is barely cooked, just thrown in at the end so you can really taste it.

This spinach variation on my Roasted Red Pepper & Red Lentil soup (see recipe variants below) was suggested to me by my work colleague, S.

I made a lighter version of the original recipe, reducing the lentils and eliminating the potatoes. The result was a wonderful combination I wouldn't have thought of myself! And this soup is full of healthy vegan protein!

Here's the recipe and I'd love to hear about your favorite vegetarian spinach recipe in the comments.

Roasted Red Pepper, Lentil & Spinach Soup:

1 -1/2 TBS olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tsp of ground cumin
generous pinch of cumin seeds
1/2 tsp of ground coriander
generous pinch of coriander seeds
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups of water
1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
7.5 oz jar roasted red peppers or 2 large roasted red peppers, skinned and seeded
1/3 jalapeno, deveined and finely chopped
spinach, baby, stems removed (as much as desired!)
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-low heat. Cook the onion for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently (avoid browning) . Add the the cumin, cumin seeds, coriander, coriander seeds, and a pinch of salt and stir well. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, water, red lentils and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the roasted red peppers and jalapeno. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until lentils loose their shape.
Remove the soup from the heat and puree using an immersion blender.

Adjust seasoning and add the spinach. Stir until wilted.

Other roasted red lentil soup recipes from Albion Cooks:

  • Roasted Red Pepper & Lentil Soup

  • Roasted Red Pepper, Lentil & Corn Soup

  • Red Lentil Soup with Ricotta Dumplings
  • Sunday, August 16, 2009

    Mushroom Pasta Salad with Parmesan

    I couldn't resist the Chef's Sampler Pack of mushrooms on my last visit to Whole Foods and wanted a simple dish that really highlighted the delicious pioppini's and King Trumpet mushrooms. I also wanted a dish I could share in a picnic setting with others.

    This very simple pasta salad with mushrooms and parmesan hit the mark!

    I sauteed the mushrooms (cutting the larger Trumpets into slices) with olive oil, minced garlic and some very finely chopped fresh rosemary. The pasta was cooked al dente and I added a little of my best quality olive oil. Fleur de Sel salt and freshly ground Terricherry pepper and some microplaned Parmesan and the dish was complete and wonderful!

    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    Beet Salad with Beet Greens, Feta & Walnuts

    I love beets, but had never used the beet greens, mostly because they rarely look fresh. However, I got a nice bunch of beets at the Farmers Market yesterday and the leaves looked pretty good, which led me to include them in this otherwise, common blend of beets, feta and walnuts.

    I cooked the beets in a 450 oven, wrapped in foil, for about an hour. I stemmed the beet greens and cut them into julienned slices and sauteed them with a little olive oil and minced garlic, just until wilted (which only took a couple of minutes). I combined the greens and the beets with a little delicious lemon olive oil (Sciabica's found at the SF Farmers Market). I tasted them and was about to add salt, when I realized feta was a better answer. A few crunchy walnut pieces for texture and this was a very tasty little salad. The beet greens were like a mild kale and shared kale's texture, but with only the faintest bitterness.

    And, although it was hard to get a clear shot of this dark pigmented salad, I think it is very pretty. And good for you too!

    Saturday, August 08, 2009

    Black Bean Salsa Soup

    With all those lovely heirlooms around, I have to admit, I haven't cooked much lately. But this smoky soup with corn, peppers, and tomatoes requires minimal cooking and makes good use of all that fabulous summer produce. It's a crowd pleaser, vegan, and full of nutrients!

    Black Bean Salsa Soup:
    1/2 large onion, cut into medium cubes
    1 tsp olive oil
    1 large jalapeno, deveined, seeded, and chopped
    1 red bell pepper, deveined, seeded and chopped
    2-3 small mulit-colored peppers, seeded and chopped
    1 large poblano pepper, roasted, skin scrapped, deseeded and chopped
    16 oz vegetable broth (I used Imagine organic)
    2 medium large tomatoes, chopped
    1 corn tortilla, julienned ( I used Food for Life's Sproutd Corn Tortillas)
    1 can black beans, rinsed
    1 bunch cilantro, chopped
    1 large ear corn kernels

    Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and cook the onions for 4-5 minutes over low heat. Add the jalapeno, red bell pepper, multi-colored peppers and the roasted poblano pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the tomatoes, corn tortilla, and black beans. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the cilantro and corn kernels. Cook 2-3 minutes, the serve!