Red Lentil Stew with Tomatoes, Rice, and Coconut

This wholesome and earthy stew was adapted from The First Mess‘ beautiful and delicious extra recipe bundle that is available when you pre-order Laura Wright’s cookbook (which is by far and away the most inspirational cookbook I’ve bought in a while). I primarily adapted this because I didn’t have all of the ingredients in the house that I thought I did and so….But this is how inspired and new recipes are created.  A little bit of this and that added to the pot.  Stir it up and try it out on your guinea pigs (not that I refer to my loved ones as that usually ;-).

I haven’t come across a recipe in a long time that requires dirtying so few dishes.  It honestly was one pot, one knife, a chopping board, a measuring cup and one or two measuring spoons.  Gluten-free, nut-free, no sugar.

Red Lentil Stew with Tomatoes, Rice, and Coconut

Ingredients

Serves 6

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil or olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, rinsed and chopped

2 tsp ground turmeric

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp dried chili or red pepper flakes

1/2 cup dried red lentils, rinsed

1/2 cup dried arborio rice, rinsed

1 x 15 oz can diced tomatoes (preferably no salt added)

1 x 15 oz can crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce, which is what I used) – fire-roasted is suggested by Laura to be awesome

3 cups water

1 cup light coconut milk (or just over 1/2 a 15 oz can)

salt and pepper

1 Tbsp lemon juice

 

Directions

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat with the oil.  As the pot heats, chop up the onion, carrots, and celery. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, around 4-5 minutes.
  2. Once the onion is soft, add to the pot the turmeric and garlic. Stir to incorporate.
  3. Add the cumin and chili or red pepper flakes and stir. Let sit for 30 seconds as the spices become fragrant.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and water.  Raise the heat and bring the contents to a boil, then lower heat, cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes.  Stir every 5 minutes or so to make sure the lentils and rice do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Once the lentils and rice are cooked, it is time to puree the stew.  This is optional, but pureeing at least part of the stew will lend a creaminess to it.  Ladle around half of the stew into a blender with the coconut milk and puree to desired consistency.  I like mine a bit chunkier.  Add back the pureed mixture to the pot, mix, and reheat.  Add in the lemon juice and stir.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

See! So easy and so so delicious.  Until the next recipe….

Wholesome Spicy Lentil Soup

Here comes another great heart-warming soup from me to you.  With the help of Oh She Glows.  This recipe was adapted from the Glowing Spicy Lentil Soup recipe that I thought was originally delicious but I thought could be souped up by adding some of my favorite foods (get it?? souped up?).

I’ll keep this post simple like the soup itself.  You can make this soup on the weekend for meals throughout the week, or any time and freeze leftovers for days you don’t feel like cooking.  It is a wonderfully aromatic and creamy soup that takes only about 30 minutes to make.  I want to just keep making it back to back but think that it may be a sign of OCD 😉  Try this soup on the family and serve with toasted bread slathered in hummus or a baguette with melted cheese.  So simple and so beautiful.

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Wholesome Spicy Lentil Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

4 oz white or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

1 red pepper, chopped

2 white potatoes, roughly chopped

2 tsp ground turmeric

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 15oz can diced tomatoes

1 15 oz can coconut milk (full fat will result in a creamier soup)

3/4 cup uncooked red lentils, rinsed and drained

3 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 handfuls spinach

2 tsp lime juice

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat.  Once hot add in the oil and 30 seconds later add the onion.  Saute for a few minutes (around 4 min) and add the garlic, potatoes, and red pepper.  Cook another 3 or 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon and cook another minute, until fragrant.
  3. Add in the lentils, tomatoes, coconut milk, and veggie broth. Stir to combine.  Add 1/2 tsp salt and some ground pepper. Increase heat until the soup boils and then turn down to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for around 20 minutes uncovered, or until the lentils are cooked. Add in the spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted. Adjust seasoning and add more salt if needed.
  5. Before serving mix in the lime juice.

Enjoy!

 

 

Coconut Zucchini Chocolate Chip Loaf

For the first time in months I’m starting to feel like the sun is fighting back the clouds and that it brings warmth with it’s beautiful rays.  The snow is starting to fade from the mountains and everyone is taking a collective sigh that they made it through another winter.

I love winter.  Just like I love each season for what it brings us.  However, what I’m finding with each subsequent year here in the Pacific Northwest is that each winter becomes less and less wintery.  It’s less cold, or less cold for more often.  It’s less snowy and it seems to have shrunken by a month or so.  I know that many people will rejoice in the good fortune of climate change in the small way that they feel it may impact them now.  A month less snow.  A few less days of defrosting your car.   More sunshine to warm your face.  But I want everyone to realize the larger impacts of these changes over years.  It’s not just that the ski season will become so short that it’s not worth buying a pass.  It’s the larger but still very local impacts that will make you wish you had done something sooner to help.  Warmer temperatures means continued expansion of the Pine Beetle throughout BC.  It’s the lack of snowpack in the mountains to sustain streams throughout the summer.  It’s the seemingly slow, but actually very fast change of species and ecosystems all around the world.  We have put a huge stress on this planet.  If you can do anything today it is to acknowledge within yourself that we have changed the planet in irreparable ways.  So as much as I love the sun and the warmth and the knowledge that spring is coming, I think with each year that it’s happening too soon.  There’s no reason to speed up time when it’s already moving so fast.  So appreciate what winter has given us because who knows how the planet will change in the coming years.  Do what you can to understand the interconnection of the world and us within it. We are only a part of a larger story.  Let’s take care of the world we are using and respect nature for what it provides us.  Many trees will have been born before you and will continue to thrive once you are gone.  Make changes today to ensure that winter and all the seasons continue to be able to provide to us what we need to survive.

Educate yourself.  Read books, watch documentaries, eat plant-based, ask questions.  It’s important for all of us and for the future of the world. And while you’re doing all of that try making this delicious coconut zucchini chocolate chip loaf.  It changed my life and may change yours too.

Perpetual Flow - Coconut Zucchini Chocolate Chip Loaf Batter

This loaf can make you feel better even if the world were falling apart around you.  I changed it slightly from it’s original version on how sweet it is by Jessica Merchant.  The original recipe can be found here.

Perpetual Flow - Coconut Zucchini Chocolate Chip Loaf

Here is my version of the original loaf.  I usually decrease the oil and sugar in my foods because I grew up with a diabetic in the family and so am used to less sugary foods.  The oil thing is just because that’s how I like it and decreasing the oil never seems to change the flavour of a food.

If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour on hand you can also use whole wheat flour minus 2 Tbsp and add 2 Tbsp of cornstarch.  This is what I did when I made the recipe since I didn’t have any pastry flour on hand.

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or use whole wheat flour minus 2 Tbsp flour and add 2 Tbsp cornstarch), sifted

1/2 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup unsweetened coconut (flaked or shredded)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup coconut milk (canned)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp coconut extract

1/8 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup + 1/8 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 3/4 cup grated zucchini

2/3 cup dairyless chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil and set it aside or line with parchment paper and don’t use oil.  I used a 9×5 pan but I’m sure you could use other sizes that are similar if that’s what you have.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the coconut milk, vanilla and coconut extracts.  Gently stir the coconut milk and extracts together to mix and then stir into the dry ingredients.  Once it is mixed, stir in the coconut oil and apple sauce. Once combined and wet, stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Try not to over stir at this point. Pour the batter into the greased or lined loaf pan.

Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until the center of the loaf springs back if you push on it. If at any point the top of the bread begins to brown too much, tent it with aluminum foil. It may sink once it is cooled even though it is cooked all the way through.

Now top with a delicious nut butter and eat!!!

Perpetual Flow - Chocolate Chip Zucchini Coconut Loaf

Creamy Tomato Soup

I was sitting at work today searching through my go-to food blogs for something that would tickle my fancy and excite me for dinner.  I starting looking at photos, which is almost entirely how I base my opinions of food and I know is as bad as judging a book by it’s cover, but I realized that what I felt like without a doubt was a creamy tomato soup.

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Tomato Soup from Blissful Basil

I remember waaaay back when, I used to go to a baby sitters after school and my after school snack was usually bologna sandwiches and canned tomato soup.  Over time I learned to hate both of those things with a passion.  In fact, one day the sandwich and soup was placed in front of me and I burst into tears because I couldn’t bear eating it even one more time. Bologna was off the table as of that day and I still have a very serious aversion to Campbell’s canned tomato soup.

Anyway, far from the thought of canned soup I searched the internet for what looked like a delicious homemade tomato soup.  I dislike putting cashews in things so I stayed away from any recipes with cashew.  Low and behold I fell upon a recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Blissful Basil.  Their tomato soup recipe uses cauliflower to make the soup creamy instead of cashews.  Added benefit – cauliflower is cheaper than cashews and work just as well to cream up this soup!

Creamy Tomato Soup from Blissful Basil
Creamy Tomato Soup from Blissful Basil

I usually try a recipe for the first time without changing very much, just to see how I would alter it in the future, if I felt I wanted to make it more personalized to my tastes.  I’d say next time I’d remove the pepper, as I really don’t like them for some reason (I wish I did!) but for those of you who like them, add away!

You can find the recipe here.  Let me know if you make this recipe and what you may have changed to make it yours.  I added grilled cheese sandwiches.  I mean, that’s always a winning combination!