Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Za’atar Oil

Recipe adapted from Milk Street’s Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Aleppo Pepper Oil

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon salted butter (I use 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 medium yellow onion cut into 1/2 inch-dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup red lentils (picked over and rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons long-grain white rice
  • 5 cups water
  • kosher salt

For Serving

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper (I use za’atar)
  • Chopped fresh mint leaves, to serve (optional)
  • Lemon wedges, to serve (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium, melt the butter. Once it has stopped foaming, add the onion then sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, paprika and cumin, then sauté for 1 minute.
  2. Add the lentils, rice, water and 2 teaspoons salt, then bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. I like to use an immersion blender to puree the soup. I also like to boil it down until it is thickened a bit.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the Aleppo pepper or Za’atar and cook until a few bubbles appear and the oil is bright red. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  4. Serve the soup with Aleppo pepper or za’atar oil drizzled over each serving. Serve with mint and lemon wedges.

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DIRECTIONS

In a large saucepan over medium, melt the butter. Once it has stopped foaming, add the onion then sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, paprika and cumin, then sauté for 1 minute.

Add the lentils, rice, water and 2 teaspoons salt, then bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the Aleppo pepper and cook until a few bubbles appear and the oil is bright red. Remove from heat and set aside. Serve the soup with Aleppo pepper oil drizzled over each serving. Serve with mint and lemon wedges.

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White Beans in Tomato Sauce

This is a very simple dish that comes together in 10 minutes. It’s my son’s absolute favorite meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced (3/4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce (preferably Hunts)
  • 2 cans cannellini, great northern, or navy beans (or 1.5 cups dried beans soaked overnight in a brine of 1.5 tablespoons kosher salt to 3 quarts water)

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a medium pot, Dutch oven or stovetop pressure cooker.
  2. Add onions, salt, and pepper and cook, partially covered, until the onions are completely soft, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add tomato sauce and beans and bring to a boil. Cover and let cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you prefer the sauce to be thicker, uncover and simmer until desired consistency is reached. We like ours pretty saucy.
  5. Pressure cooker instructions: Sometimes, rather than using a regular pot, I’ll prepare this in my stovetop pressure cooker. I let it come to pressure for about 5 seconds and do a quick release. It’s amazing how much of an impact that makes on the final result.

Serve over rice.


Niran’s Vegan/Gluten Free Thin Mint Cookies

This is my friend, Niran’s wonderful recipe. Check out all of her amazing plant based recipes on Instagram at @niranfoodiegal.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil
  • 3 cups vegan chocolate

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350-F.
  2. In a bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix well to combine.
  3. Flatten the dough onto a plate and cover with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to shape the cookies into 2.5 inch rounds.
  5. Bake for 11 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool.
  6. In a double boiler, melt 3 cups of vegan chocolate. Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon peppermint oil.
  7. Dip the cookies into the melted chocolate to fully coat.
  8. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to allow the cookies to set.
  9. Place remaining melted chocolate into a piping bag (or use a ziplock with the corner cut out). Drizzle the chocolate over the top of the cookie.
  10. Place in the refrigerator to set again for about 10 minutes.
  11. These are best stored in the refrigerator. They are a bit hard straight out of the fridge (my preference), but will soften up at room temperature.

Healthy Pumpkin Oat Muffins (vegan/gluten free)

Vegan, gluten free, no refined sugar, and no oil! Each bar contains only 92 calories and has 3 grams of fiber.

Adapted from Detoxinista

Makes 12 mini muffins.

Ingredients

  • 8-9 pitted medjool dates (6 oz)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 flax “egg” (1 tablespoon flax mixed with 2.5 tablespoons water—let sit for 3 minutes) OR USE 1 EGG
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350-F.
  2. In a food processor mix the dates, pumpkin, flax “egg” (or regular egg), water, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and vanilla until well blended. Add the oats and blend until a batter is formed. If the mixture seems very thick add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to help thin it out a bit.
  3. Stir in the pumpkin seeds and cranberries, leaving out a few to sprinkle on top.
  4. Fill mini muffin tins almost all the way to the top or use a 1/4 cup to to fill regular sized muffin cups. Bake until the muffins have risen and feel firm when you lightly touch them in the center, about 15 minutes for mini and 20 minutes for regular Let them cool for at least 20 minutes in the pan before serving or ideally serve cold for best flavor.
  5. To make into bars: Spread the batter evenly on a parchment lined baking pan or dish. I use one approximately 8 x 9.5. Sprinkle with a few cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Store in the refrigerate for a few weeks. They taste best cold.
Nutrition Facts
Servings 12.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 78 
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2 g2 %
Saturated Fat 0 g1 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
Sodium 2 mg0 %
Potassium 101 mg3 %
Total Carbohydrate15 g5 %
Dietary Fiber 3 g11 %
Sugars 7 g
Protein 2 g4 %
Vitamin A 24 %
Vitamin C 1 %
Calcium 8 %
Iron 3 %


Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad

The farro is simmered in apple cider, which adds a wonderful, sweet, tart flavor that will make you want to eat it on its own. The peppery arugula and the crunchy pistachios contrast wonderfully with the chew of the farro.  This salad is incredibly nutritious and hearty, boasting 18 grams if protein and 5 grams of fiber per serving! 

From NY Times Cooking

Ingredients

For the Farro

  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • 2 bay leaves

For the Salad

  • 70 grams Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler (1/2 cup)
  • 70 grams chopped pistachio nuts (1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups arugula leaves (I prefer baby arugula)
  • 1 cup basil leaves, torn
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • ¾ cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced radish
  • Maldon or other flaky sea salt, for finishing

For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I use 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring farro, apple cider, salt, bay leaves and 2 cups water to a simmer. Cook at a gentle boil until farro has doubled in size, is very tender, and all liquid evaporated (pearled farro takes about 30 minutes while regular takes about an hour). If all the liquid evaporates before the farro is done, add a little more water. Let farro cool, then discard bay leaves.
  2. In a salad bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Add farro and mix well.
  3. Just before serving, fold in arugula, herbs, tomatoes, cheese and pistachio nuts and mix well. Add flaky salt to taste.