Dal is my go-to comfort food. A warm, savory, nourishing meal, filled with creamy, protein-rich lentils and healing turmeric–tempered with cumin seeds, ginger and garlic.
GOLDEN DAL SOUP
½ CUP RED LENTILS
3 CUPS WATER
1 TSP SALT
½ TSP TURMERIC
⅛ TSP CAYENNE PEPPER
2 TBSP CANOLA OIL
½ TSP CUMIN SEEDS
1 TBSP MINCED GARLIC
1 TBSP GINGER, GRATED
½ CUP ONION, YELLOW, FINE DICE
½ CUP TOMATOES, CANNED, FINE DICE
2. STIR IN SALT, TURMERIC AND CAYENNE AND BRING TO ROLLING BOIL OVER MEDIUM HEAT. SKIM OFF AND DISCARD THE CLOUDY WHITE FOAM THAT APPEARS ON THE SURFACE. :
3. REDUCE HEAT TO LOW AND SIMMER, UNCOVERED, FOR 20 MINUTES, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY.:
4. MEANWHILE, HEAT OIL IN FRYING PAN OVER HIGH HEAT FOR ABOUT 30 SECONDS. ADD CUMIN SEEDS AND COOK FOR 1 MINUTE, UNTIL SEEDS BEGIN TO SIZZLE AND POP.:
5. ADD GARLIC, GINGER, ONION AND TOMATO AND TOSS GENTLY FOR 1 MINUTE. REDUCE HEAT TO MEDIUM AND COOK 5 MINUTES, TOSSING OCCASIONALLY. SET ASIDE.:
6. ADD ONION MIXTURE TO LENTILS AND CONTINUE COOKING 5-10 MINUTES, OR UNTIL LENTILS ARE COOKED. STIR WELL AND REMOVE FROM HEAT. TASTE FOR SALT AND SERVE IMMEDIATELY OR HOLD WARM.
NOTE: IF YOU PREFER A SMOOTHER TEXTURE, PULSE WITH AN IMMERSION BLENDER OR POUR INTO A COUNTERTOP BLENDER AND PUREE. I OFTEN PUREE HALF TO PRESERVE SOME TEXTURE, OR PUREE THE LENTILS BEFORE ADDING THE AROMATICS.
This alternative to traditional chili is a thick and hearty stew of white beans, yellow squash, onions and yellow bell peppers mingled with cumin, garlic and chili powder. You can spice it up or keep it mild.
½ Sweet onion, diced
½ Yellow squash, diced
½ Jalapeno pepper, diced, with seeds
½ Yellow bell pepper, diced
Pinch Rosemary, dried
Pinch Oregano, dried
2 cloves Garlic , minced
1.2 tablespoons Olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon Cumin
½ teaspoon Chili powder
2 cups Veg stock
2 cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon Lime Juice
1.5 tablespoons Cornstarch, Mix w/ 6 T cold water
2 Corn tortillas, Julienned
1 tablespoon Cilantro, chopped
1. In large stockpot, saute vegetables in 2 T oil over medium-high heat 13 minutes.
2. Stir in cumin, chili powder and salt
3. Once veggies are soft, add 2 cups broth and bring to a simmer over low heat.
4. Puree 1 can of beans in a food processor until smooth. Stir into soup until well incorporated. Stir in remaining beans, lime juice and cornstarch mixture. Cook for additional 10 minutes over medium-high heat until thickened, stirring occasionally.
5.Garnish with crisp-fried tortilla strips and cilantro.
Lentil is one of my favorite high-protein meal soups. It’s simple and low maintenance, and comes together in just a few minutes.
I enjoy cooking soup on the stove—that aromatic slow-simmering, stirring, tending, nurturing activity.
But, during the work week I usually don’t have that kind of time. The last thing I want to read in a crockpot recipe is the direction to sauté vegetables before adding them to the crockpot. If I had time to do that, well I would probably take it all the way on the stove!
Instead, I left my crock pot in charge this morning, and brisked out the door for work. By lunch time I had a rich, satisfying stew, and lots of it. I think about what a prepared cup of soup costs, about $3. For less than that, I could feed a family of four, dinner sized portions of this hearty, healthful, tasty meal. Just saying…
Hearty Lentil Soup
1 ½ cups raw brown lentils, rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
2 or 3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 or 3 stalks celery, diced
Handful of celery tops (optional)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
Big sprig of fresh thyme (or 2 tsp. ground)
5-6 cups vegetable broth (or water)
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Prepare all ingredients and add to crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Stir and check for seasonings. Depending on your broth, you may wish to add salt. With a pair of tongs or a fork, fish out and discard the bay leaves, thyme stems and celery tops, if used. Add a generous grind of pepper and add broth if needed, depending on how “soupy” you like it.
Yield: 4-6 big servings
Pasta fagioli is a classic Italian soup combining hearty white beans and pasta in a savory tomato broth with fresh thyme and a hint of garlic. It makes a perfectly filling dinner and reheats well for lunch the next day.
Adapted from a recipe by Chloe Coscarelli
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup water
4 ounces tomato sauce
2 cups cooked cannellini beans
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup pasta shells or other small dried pasta, cooked and cooled
Saute onion and carrot in olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add broth, water, tomato sauce and thyme. Bring to boil and simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes. Add beans and pasta and simmer until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Another weeknight meal I pulled off with minimal work! This soup didn’t even require any vegetable chopping! Can it get any easier?
I fired up the crockpot and added a few ingredients and let it cook on low for four hours. Dinner. Done.
Spicy Black Bean Soup
4 cups cooked black beans
3 cups vegetable broth
16 ounces of your favorite tomato salsa
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Place all ingredients in crockpot and cook, covered, on low for 4 hours. Feel free to add a cup or so of frozen corn or other vegetables near the end of the cook time. Make it your own!
Yield: 4 – 6 servings