Red Lentil Dhal

A slow-cooked lentil stew of Indian origin, this dish is great to cook in large batches. It can be eaten on its own for a light meal, or served as a side dish or appetizer with other curries and the like. Very tasty, and even better served with naan.

Prep time: ~90 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup mild vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus some to taste.
  • approx 250 g red lentils, well-rinsed.
  • 6 cups vegetable stock.
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced.
  • 2 large carrots, peeled if desired, finely sliced.
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced.
  • 1 large handful fresh coriander (cilantro).
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the oil in a large pot on medium-low heat. Add your onion, garlic, and salt. Caramelize for approx. 40 minutes, until the onion and garlic are very soft and sweet.

about 20 minutes into this, start cooking your lentils in a pot with the stock, and microwave the carrots, bell pepper, and celery in a bowl of water until they start to become tender, about 15 minutes.

When the lentils are ready, add them along with the rest of the vegetables into the onion pot, stirring well to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Add your fresh coriander and cumin. Raise the heat slightly, until the soup is gently simmering, and cook for at least an hour.

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Papa’s Fagioli Soup

My father’s fagioli soup recipe. Great for cold winter days when you want something really warm and hearty. This soup is full of vegetables, and has very little fat, so it’s quite healthy! Goes great with bread to sop up the juices.

This dish can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free pasta.

Prep time: ~40 minutes
Gluten-free (if using gluten-free pasta)
Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced.
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced.
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely sliced.
  • 6 cups vegetable stock.
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, sliced, with the juice reserved.
  • 400 g pasta/gluten-free pasta (traditionally, ditalini or elbow macaroni, but farfalle works well too).
  • 1 small handful fresh herbs, chopped (basil and oregano work nicely).
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add the onions, and saute for 2 minutes. Then add your garlic, and saute until both the onions and garlic are soft and fragrant. Toss in the green pepper and celery, and cook until they begin to soften. At the same time, place your sliced carrots in a large bowl filled with water, and microwave for a few minutes, until they start to become tender.

Add the carrots to the pot, along with all the vegetable stock. Next, add your beans and the tomatoes (with all their juice). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer until everything is soft and nicely acquainted. Then add your pasta, along with a few cups of boiling water, to prevent the pasta from sucking up all the liquid.

When the pasta is just cooked, add the herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for another minute or two, then serve. Enjoy!

Vegan Hot Pot

There are loads of great hot pot restaurants where I live, but you might not be so lucky. If you want to re-create that experience at home, here’s a recipe! If you have a hot plate or something similar that allows you to keep the broth bubbling at the table, then everyone can take turns cooking their ingredients, which is a lot of fun. If, like me, you don’t have a hot plate, just cook it all on the stove. Less fun, but just as tasty.

This is a really quick dish, great for a weeknight.

Prep time: ~30 minutes.
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 package rice noodles
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 200 grams mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, and chanterelle mushrooms are all nice), stems discarded, with the caps sliced thinly.
  • at least 6 cups vegetable stock, more if you’re doing it at the table.
  • 2/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce/gluten-free soy sauce.
  • 2 tbsp ginger, peeled and grated (pro tip – peel your ginger using a small spoon, it makes it super easy!).
  • hot sauce, to taste.
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced.
  • 4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • 200 grams green beans, cut into ~4 cm pieces.
  • 1 small bunch coriander (also called cilantro), leaves removed from the stalks.
  • 4 small bunches bok choy, leaves removed from the roots.
  • 1 lime

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the sesame oil in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Add the stock, soy sauce, hot sauce, and ginger, and stir well. Bring to a boil.

Once the stock is boiling, add the green onions, carrots, and green beans. Turn the heat down, and simmer the vegetables for about 4 minutes. Next, add the rice noodles, the coriander, and the bok choy. Simmer until the noodles are just cooked.

Ladle the soup into bowls, and squeeze a little bit of lime juice over the top of each. Enjoy!

Death Pasta

So named because it is incredibly filling, and eating too much will leave you in a food coma. Another recipe I learned from Amr (Elaine’s boyfriend). Very delicious, despite the dangers of overindulging in this dish, and sort of like a vegan pasta bolognaise. Also quite healthy! This dish can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free pasta.

Prep time: ~40 minutes
Gluten-free (if using gluten-free pasta)
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, cooked.
  • 1 can beans, drained and rinsed (black beans are best, but use whatever beans you like!)
  • 400 g pasta/gluten-free pasta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced.
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced.
  • 1 large onion, chopped.
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed.
  • 1 can tomatoes, pureed.
  • 2 tsp Baharat (see Spices for the recipe!).
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or hot sauce to taste.
  • 1 small handful fresh basil, shredded, or 1 tsp dried basil.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Next add the garlic, and cook until both onions and garlic are soft and fragrant.

Add the carrots and celery, and cook with the lid on until the carrots begin to soften. Next, toss in all the lentils, and give it all a good stir. Add in the tomatoes and Middle Eastern spice mix and stir well.

Bring to a bubble, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Toss in the basil, beans, red pepper flakes or hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Continue to stir and let simmer for as long as you want, but at least until the carrots are thoroughly cooked.

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, drain, and toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent it from sticking together. Serve hot, and don’t eat too much! Seriously, don’t eat too much.

Oven-roasted Root Vegetable Medley

A very simple way to cook root vegetables, but delicious and pretty hard to mess up. Mix up the vegetables you use based on personal preference and what’s in season! A nice mix of colorful vegetables looks nice, especially if you’re serving this to people at a dinner party or the like.

Prep time: ~1 hour
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups various root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, etc), peeled if desired, chopped into roughly bite-sized pieces.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Herbs of your choice (rosemary, thyme, tarragon, and dill all work nicely).

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the vegetables in a large roasting tray or baking dish, and toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle on your salt, pepper, and herbs, and toss again. Cook for at least 30 minutes, or however long it takes to make the vegetables soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. This will depend on the kinds of veggies you use, and how large you cut them.