Lentils

Sultry Soup: Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

When I think of Mediterranean cuisine, one word comes to mind: sultry. What appeals to me about this food is how somewhat common herbs, spices and aromatics get blended into a dish in an exotic way. A few weeks ago, Bruce and I tried out a restaurant that I’ve been wanting to go to for a long time. The Mediterranean Grille serves tasty food with a Moroccan and Turkish influence. We ordered a vegetable tagine, Zalouk (eggplant dip) and Turkish Red Lentil Soup. Everything was so delicious that I couldn’t wait to come up with my own versions. Why am I so excited about this soup? Well, it’s made with one of my favorite legumes, red lentils. It contains bulgur, a grain that I’ve wanted to include in my recipes but haven’t gotten around to. And, I love the flavors of Mediterranean cuisine. It comes together quickly, cooks in one hour and fills your home with an enticing aroma. You can round out your meal with some olives, a bowl of your favorite hummus and warm pita or rustic bread. Oh, this is so good.Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

makes about 3 quarts

1/2 cup soaked bulgur (see notes)
2 onions, finely chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon coriander
1 cup red lentils
2 tablespoons tomato paste
12 cups vegetable stock or water
Lemon slices for serving

Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots and garlic and cook until they are golden, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, cumin, coriander, lentils and bulgur into the onions and stir to coat. Add the tomato paste and water or vegetable stock; bring to a boil, then cover and cook until soft and creamy, about 1 hour. Ladle into bowls and garnish with lemon slices.

To soak bulger: Place ¼ cup dry bulgur in small bowl and cover with ¼ cup boiling water. Let stand 1 hour. This should yield ½ cup of soaked bulgur.

 

25 Jan 2017

Growing on Me: Red Lentil, Swiss Chard & Sweet Potato Stew

Red Lentil, Swiss Chard & Sweet Potato Stew

Red Lentil, Swiss Chard & Sweet Potato Stew

Sometimes I wonder why I do the things I do. For instance, I planted a row of Swiss chard again this year. As much as I want to love eating greens, I’ve never been a big fan unless they were swimming in a sea of olive oil. I guess I keep planting them in the hopes that they’ll start to grow on me, OR, that I’ll find a way to prepare them that will make me love them. I’ve been adding a handful of spinach to my Thai Curry Red Lentils. It’s been a nice addition, so I figured I’d try some chard with it. Since I have lots of chard, I gave it a bigger presence in the stew. I usually serve this stew over rice, but I wanted to introduce a different starch to the dish and added some potatoes. I replaced the Thai curry paste with cumin, chili powder, turmeric and cinnamon for more of an Indian influence. I can’t say enough about this stew. It’s colorful, creamy, savory, spicy and exotic. It’s hearty enough to eat on it’s own, but feel free to serve it with some rice so you can spread the love even further. If you like to garden, try planting this perpetual Swiss chard. It’s resistant to bolting so you can enjoy it all summer long and even into late fall. Even if you don’t grow your own Swiss chard, this stew is bound to grow on you. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Perpetual Swiss Chard

Perpetual Swiss Chard

Red Lentil, Swiss Chard & Sweet Potato Stew

1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons turmeric
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup dried red lentils
3 small sweet potatoes cut into 1″ chunks (about 4 cups)
12 oz. Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves cut crosswise into strips
1 cup lite coconut milk
Salt to taste
Cilantro for garnish
Cooked rice (optional)

Heat 2 tablespoons of water in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and beginning to color. Stir in ginger, garlic and seasonings. Cook one minute, stirring constantly. Add broth, curry paste, lentils and potatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes until potatoes are cooked through and lentils are soft. Add chard and coconut milk and cook another five minutes. Serve over rice if desired.

03 Oct 2016

Tasty Thai Curry Red Lentils

Thai Curry Red Lentils

Thai Curry Red Lentils

Don’t judge a lentil by its color. Every time I make red lentils they come out with a greenish hue making them look like every other lentil dish ever made. But once you close your eyes and taste the exotic flavors of Thai Curry Red Lentils you’ll see past its color. The ingredient list for this recipe looks a little daunting, but it’s really not a lot of work once you have the Red Thai Curry Paste done. In fact, the curry paste is so potent that you could probably skip the ginger, onions and garlic. You could certainly use a store-bought curry paste if you like. Thai curry paste is available in green, yellow (Massaman), panang and red. Have some fun and try using a different one each time you make this recipe and see which one you like the most. I like lentils that have the consistency of porridge, but you can add more water to make lentil soup. The lentils cook in about 20 minutes, so this is perfect for a weeknight dinner with plenty of leftovers. I served it over fresh baby spinach and Jasmine rice. These spicy and flavorful lentils are certainly an eye-opener. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Thai Curry Red Lentils

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon  minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried red lentils, not split lentils
  • 1 cup lite coconut milk
  • fresh spinach for serving
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Cooked rice (optional)

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and beginning to color, adding water if necessary to prevent sticking. Stir in ginger and garlic. Cook one minute, then add curry paste, stirring constantly. Add broth, curry paste and lentils. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer about 20 minutes until lentils are soft. Add coconut milk and cook another five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.

Place a handful of spinach in bottom of soup bowl, then place a ladle-full of lentils on top. Garnish with cilantro, if desired. If you opt to serve the lentils with rice, place a spoonful of rice in bowl, then the spinach and lentils.

 

24 Apr 2016

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