Curried Lentil Hummus

My pantry is filled with a large variety of legumes that I bought with the good intentions to cook amazing dishes or to sprout. But as tends to happen, life got in the way. I’ve been working full time and haven’t had the chance to cook what I had wanted, and that includes the blogging that I’ve been wanting to do. Fortunately I have a couple of months off before going back to work, and I plan on getting everything done that I’ve been saying that I would do. That includes cooking amazing dishes and blogging about them!

The other night as my husband was getting ready to go to work, he mentioned that he would like me to cook some of the lentils that were in the pantry. I had the plan to make a cool summer salad, then the idea to make a nice soup or chili. As I got ready to cook the lentils up, I thought of the tahini that I had in the fridge and how we had just finished off the last of the hummus. I changed my mind and decided to make a hummus.

Being that it would be a lentil hummus, I immediately thought of Indian food, which brought to mind curry. That is how this recipe developed in my mind. I threw in a bell pepper because I thought it would add a little extra flavor and this is what I came up with. Try using a different type of pepper or zucchini possibly and see what comes of it!

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I used red lentils for this recipe but you can use any type you’d like.

TIME: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup lentils

3 cups water

1/2 cup tahini

1 orange bell pepper chopped (about 1 cup)

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/4 cup minced parsley

2 tablespoons lemon juice

YIELDS: 3 cups

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Place the lentils in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until done. Most of the water should be absorbed but if there is an extra amount, then rinse them.

Once the lentils have cooled enough, place them in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Chill until ready to be eaten.

You can serve this on pita bread, with cracker, veggies, or as a spread.

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Strawberry Banana Bliss

Over the past couple of months I’ve been working as a full time cook and have been leaving the house pretty early in the morning. I was always starving by 9:00 am and needed to take a break to eat, but often times didn’t get a break until 11:00. I think a shift happened when I decided to really take control of my life and get healthy, because I’d lost my healthy lifestyle over the past couple of years. That’s when I decided to start juicing in the morning, and something miraculous happened! I stopped getting hungry by 9:00.

You would think that going from a fairly large breakfast of eggs and toast, or oatmeal, or whatever else I had on hand, to eating a purely liquid breakfast would be really hard for me and cause me to be even more hungry. The opposite happened. All of the sudden I was filled with energy that would sustain me for the whole of the morning! No more hunger, no more grouchiness, no more crashing!

Now I have been laid off for the summer and will be going back to work in September. Because of this schedule change I feel like I can have my juice any time in the day and maybe I could start the day with a healthy smoothie. This morning I put it to the test and drank this delicious smoothie before going to the community garden to work on my lovely new plot. I was sustained with energy and didn’t have a snack until two hours of gardening had passed. Here’s the recipe and I hope it works for you too!

TIME: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

2 Cups frozen strawberries

2 Cups unsweetened almond milk

1 banana

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 tablespoon honey

YIELDS: 4 cups

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Try mixing it up a little by using almond butter or a  different type of nondairy milk.

Healthy Mediterranean Linguine 

I created this recipe as a healthy version of a comfort food. It’s filled with healthy, plant based ingredients with no heavy or complicated sauces. You can whip this up in less than thirty minutes for a meal that you can enjoy with you family and that will make you feel satisfied for the night. If you’re a vegetarian you can top it with parmesan cheese and if you’re a vegan you can use nutritional yeast like I do, to add a nice cheesy flavor.

 

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TIME: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

one 16 ounce box of linguine

1 tablespoon olive oil for sauteing, plus 1/3 cup olive oil for the finish

1 cup diced yellow onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

one 8.5 ounce can of artichoke hearts in brine, drained and roughly chopped

1/2 cup kalamata olives in brine, drained and roughly chopped

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes

3 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup julienned basil

YIELDS: 8 cups

 

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Begin by preparing linguine according to the instructions on the package, it usually takes about 12 minutes to cook linguine.

While linguine is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and saute onion and garlic on medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until they cook down.

Once the mushroom have cooked down add the artichoke hearts, olives, and sun dried tomatoes and saute for another five minutes.

When pasta is ready, drain and place in a large mixing bowl or the pan that the other ingredients are cooked in if there is enough space. Add salt, nutritional yeast, pine nuts, olive oil and basil and mix well.

Garnish with additional basil and pine nuts.

Your pasta is ready to be served!

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Walnut Tacos

I used to work at a vegan restaurant that sold walnut meat tacos and just used some salt and curry powder for their seasoning. They were a huge hit and people came just to eat them. So I decided to make my own version of the recipe using more mexican style taco seasoning ingredients. When my Mexican husband came home he loved them so much he said they reminded him of his Mom’s tacos from childhood and ate five of them!

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TIME: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups soaked walnuts

1 tablespoon coconut oil or other high heat oil

1/2 cup diced yellow onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup diced tomato

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon cumin

YIELDS: 2 cups

Soak the walnuts anywhere from one hour to overnight in the fridge. When you’re ready to prepare your meat place them in a food processor and process until they’re crumbles and look similar to ground beef.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute onions and garlic for about five minutes until the onions become translucent and begin to brown a little.

Add tomatoes and cook for 30 seconds to one minutes until they become well cooked and juicy.

Add processed walnuts and remaining spices and mix well. Heat only long enough for the meat to be warm but you don’t want to cook it.

Serve on a tortilla with avocado, salsa, green onions and cilantro or your favorite taco toppings!

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Strawberry Pineapple Paradise

Another great smoothie for those days you wish you were at the beach, but instead it’s snowing outside!

TIME: five minutes

Ingredients:

1 Cup frozen pineapple

1 banana

1 Cup coconut milk (non dairy milk substitute by the soy milk, not the canned kind)

2 medjool dates

1 Cup frozen strawberries

YIELDS: 2.5 cups

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend well. Enjoy!

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Veggie Chow Mein

My husband loves chow mein and I often wake up in the morning and find empty Panda Express containers in the trash, so I decided to make my own cheaper, tastier and healthier version. Here it is!

TIME: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon high heat oil for sauteeing

12 ounce bag of chow mein noodles from the asian section of the market

1 cup half moon sliced yellow onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 cup sliced green or napa cabbage

1 cup julienned carrot

1 cup sliced celery

1 cup snow peas

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon Mirin (optional)

1 tablespoon sesame oil

YIELDS: 8 cups

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I included these pictures of the ingredients if they are unfamiliar to any of my readers. I chose to use dry chow mein noodles from the Asian section of the supermarket, not the pasta section where you find italian noodles. If you want to make this dish even faster or easier, you can usually go to the vegetarian refrigerated section of the market where they sell tofu, or sometimes the produce department and buy precooked chow mein noodles. If you buy the precooked noodles, I think all you have to do is heat them up.

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I also chose to use hot pepper sesame seed oil in my sauce just because we like spice in my house, but that is completely optional for you and is not by any means a requirement. You can use any sesame oil you want. Mirin is also completely optional but adds a nice flavor.

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Make sure you slice all your vegetables before you start cooking because the cooking goes pretty fast. Before starting the veggies you also want to go ahead and cook the noodles if you use the dry noodles. Follow the instructions carefully because they are nothing like other pasta noodles. You must first bring the water to a boil and add noodles. Allow the noodles to begin to boil over and add a cup of cold water. Allow the water to begin to boil over again and remove from heat, draining immediately and rinsing under cold water to prevent them from further cooking. The process takes about six to seven minutes and requires you to watch it carefully. This is how the noodles I used were prepared but make sure you follow the instructions carefully on what ever packet you use.

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Once your noodles are fully cooked and cooled, heat the oil in a pan at medium high and add onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and starting to brown but not overly cooked. Add the rest of the veggies and continue to saute for about 5 more minutes until the are cooked but still firm.

In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, and sesame oil and whisk well. Add the noodles to the veggies and top with the sauce mix. Stir well so the sauce gets on all the noodles and the veggies are mixed in well.

Garnish with pepper flakes or green onions if you choose!