Build A Meal 2 – Three-Course Veggieful

Okay, there’s quite a bit of chopping going into this meal, but it’s worth the taste of tons of fresh vegetables.

Appetizer/Soup

Tomato Vegetable Soup

Main Course

Creamy Asparagus Penne

Salad/Side

Masoor Dhal Salad

Dessert (pick one)

Let’s go with the simple and healthy here… fruit salad.  You want to be a little bit unhealthy?  Add a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream or mascarpone cheese creamed with a little honey and lemon zest.

OR

For something quick and warm, try out my Sweet Pastry Bites.

Carrot Lentil Tahini Soup

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

4 to 5 large carrots, diced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 cups red lentils (masoor dhal)

1 quart vegetable stock or water

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tbsp tahini (sesame) paste

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Saute onions, celery and carrots in oil until just starting to soften.  Add lentils, spices, herbs and vegetable stock.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are soft and the carrots cooked through (about 30 minutes).

2.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the cilantro and tahini paste.  Puree using an immersion blender or, in batches, in a blender.

3.  Return to heat.  Adjust seasonings.  Bring to a simmer.  Serve hot, garnished with some more fresh cilantro.

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.

Creamy Corn Soup (Without the Cream)

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil or canola/vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1 quart vegetable stock

2 cans creamed corn

1 tsp red chilli flakes

Salt & pepper to taste

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

1.  Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Saute the onions until translucent.  Add the corn kernels and saute for a few minutes.  Add the vegetable stock and red chilli flakes and bring to a boil.  Simmer until the corn kernels are cooked through and soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.

2.  Thoroughly blend the soup, using either an immersion blender or in batches in a blender.  Return soup to stove.

3.  Add the creamed corn, salt and pepper and mix well.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Serve garnished with fresh cilantro.  This soup can also be served cold.  Allow the soup to cool and refrigerate for several hours before serving, garnished with fresh cilantro.