Spicy Swiss Chard Saute

Ingredients

1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

1 to 4 fresh green chillies, minced (according to desired heat level)

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and diced, leaves rough chopped (no, we will not waste the stems)

1 tomato, diced

1/4 cup split moong dhal, soaked at least 2 hours and drained

Salt to taste

Directions

1.  Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the cumin seeds.  When the cumin seeds just start to brown, add the green chillies and red chilli powder (make sure your exhaust fan is on and don’t breathe in the fumes… trust me).  Saute for just a minute and then add the turmeric powder, garlic, ginger, onions and chard stems. Add about a 1/2 tsp of salt at this time.  Saute until the chard stems are just beginning to soften.  If the mixture becomes too dry, you can add a tbsp or two of water.

2.  Add the chard leaves in batches, adding more to the pan as it wilts.  (I had some extra spinach when I made this, so I added that too.  However, it isn’t necessary for this recipe.)  Saute until the chard has wilted and the water has mostly cooked off.

3.  Add the tomato and saute for a few minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.  Stir in the moong dhal.  Serve warm as an accompaniment to rice and dhal, or Indian breads.

Vegetarian Lentil Soup

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 stalks celery, diced

3 carrots, diced

2 tbsp tomato paste

3 ripe tomatoes,diced (or one can peeled, diced tomatoes)

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

2 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

1 1/2 cups brown lentils

2 quarts cooking liquid (vegetable stock, water, or a mix)

Salt & pepper to taste

1 or 2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Directions

1.  In a large soup pot, heat the oil and saute the onion, garlic, celery and carrots until the vegetables are just starting to soften.  Add the tomato paste, mix well and continue to saute for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are just starting to stick to the bottom of the pot.  Add the fresh tomatoes and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft.

2.  Add the cumin powder, herbs, lentils, salt, pepper and cooking liquid.  Stir well.  Bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce the heat.  Continue to simmer until the lentils are cooked and soup has thickened (about 45 minutes).

3.  Taste and adjust seasonings per your preference.  Stir in the spinach leaves and red wine vinegar.  Serve hot with salad or crusty bread.

Tomato Vegetable Soup

This recipe is originally from the Canyon Ranch cookbook, with minor tweaks.  When you include just veggies, it’s a great, light soup.  Add some crushed red pepper for a spicy kick.  Stir in a bunch of whole spinach leaves at the end to add more green to your meal.  Add beans or potatoes to make it heartier, and some pasta to make it a one pot meal.

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 or 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 zucchini, unpeeled and diced

1 summer squash, unpeeled and diced

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (feel free to use a pinch or two dried)

1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (feel free to use 1 tsp dried)

2 cans peeled and diced tomatoes, including the liquid

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 quart vegetable stock

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Saute onions, carrots and celery until the veggies start to sweat and the onions are starting to soften.  Add the zucchini and herbs and mix well.  Saute for another five minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the diced tomatoes and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.  Add the cannellini beans and vegetable stock, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper, and mix thoroughly to combine.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.

3.  Remove from heat.  Stir in red wine vinegar.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.

Mixed Vegetable Curry… Or What To Do With Lonely Vegetables

Ever look in your pantry or refrigerator and see those random vegetables?  You know, the extra ones you bought just in case your recipe didn’t work out, or the ones you bought for the recipe you never tried but you used the other necessary ingredients so you can’t make it anyway?  Well, here’s a simple recipe to use up those lonely veggies.  You can use pretty much any vegetables for this.  Just be sure to pay attention to cook times so that some veggies don’t end up uncooked while others turn to mush.  Oh, and serve this with rice or any Indian bread.  Heck, have it with toast.  Still tastes good.

Ingredients

1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 to 3 tsp red chilli powder, depending on how spicy you like it

2 to 4 green chillies, chopped, depending on how spicy you like it

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced or grated

1 medium onion, chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

2 carrots, peeled and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 tsp salt

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Directions

1.  Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the cumin seeds and saute until just starting to brown.  Add the red chilli powder, saute for a few seconds, and then add the green chillies, garlic and ginger.  Try not to breathe the cooking fumes as the spice level will irritate your respiratory system.  Saute for a few more seconds and add the onions.  Saute until onions turn translucent.

2.  Add the carrots and potatoes and mix well.  Saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the bell peppers and saute a few more minutes.

3.  Add water to the pan, until the vegetables are just covered.  Add the salt and mix well.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and continue cooking for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are just tender.  Add water if needed.  By the time the vegetables are cooked, the liquid will reduce to nice gravy thickened by the starch from the potatoes.  (If your gravy is too watery, you can mix in a thin paste made of 1 tbsp rice flour and a 1/4 cup of water and cook for a few extra minutes.)

4.  Mix in the peas and continue to cook for about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with rice or bread.

Black Bean Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing

Here’s a simple, refreshing and healthy salad for the summer.  Just a few ingredients and homemade dressing.  Serve as is, or on a slice of toasted baguette rubbed with garlic, or rolled up in a warm tortilla.  Yum!

Ingredients

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

For the dressing:

1 ripe avocado, skin removed, pitted and roughly chopped

Juice from two small limes

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup cold water

Salt & pepper to taste

1 clove garlic (optional)

Directions

1.  Combine the black beans, tomato and onion in a large bowl.

2.  For the dressing, blend the avocado, lime juice, olive oil, water, salt & pepper, and garlic (if using) until it is creamy.  If it is too thick, add water in small amounts until you achieve the desired consistency.  I prefer the dressing a little thin, so the salad stays light.

3.  Pour dressing over the salad and stir gently to combine.  Serve garnished with fresh cilantro.

Note: It’s best to make the dressing just before serving.  However, the dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days without browning IF you keep it in a tightly sealed glass jar.