Category Archives: Soup

Recipe: Bright & Lively Beet Borscht

Bright bowls of yum for these cold dark days of winter.

It’s definitely here. As winter creeps upon us and chills our insides, it is important to stay warm from the inside out.

This is the time of year that I reach for thick leggings versus pants, as I need extra layers of warmth like I need extra heat in my belly. This borscht recipe is one of my all time favorite ways to seek comfort, and I’ve been making it for the family ever since I’ve been lucky enough to have one (it’s been a few years).

A frugal favorite that is loaded with healthy veggies, this recipe stands the test of time by a mile.

Some might argue what actually makes borscht its authentic Ukrainian self (if that is actually its true origin). The cabbage? The beets? The dill?

In fact, I can never really decide what is even the best part of this soup. At the end of the day the combo of comforting soft potato, sweet and tender green cabbage, roasted sweet beets, zingy tomato, chopped carrots, and fresh dill make me swoon. Not to mention the sight of such a combination is about the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

An elderly Ukrainian friend (who we bought our house from) once shared her recipe with me and that is where I learned the best trick ever to making a great borscht: not too much beet, and what you do add, make sure they are sweet. So we roast them. Of course!

The Less:

Less heavy dairy based soups means more light, satisfying texture. Fewer beans means less starch and potential bloating and indigestion. Fewer meat-based hearty soups and stews means more fiber-loaded fueling, so warm and cozy comes at a comfortable cost.

The More:

More vegetable-based main courses means more fiber, vitamins, and fun. More beets in your diet means more sweetness and needed iron. More lively bright foods means more mood enhancing meal times, because what fun is eating without color?

Bright & Lively Beet Borscht:

  • (2) small-medium red beets for roasting, or one larger one
  • (3) tbsp olive oil
  • (1) tbsp salt
  • (2) cups yellow onion, chopped small (2 small or one large)
  • (3-4) medium carrots, peeled or unpeeled & chopped small (2 cups chopped)
  • (3) medium yellow fleshed potatoes, peeled and chopped small (3 cups chopped)
  • (3) cups canned tomatoes (1 796 ml can)
  • (4-5) cups water
  • (4+) cups chopped green or savoy cabbage, washed & chopped small
  • (4) tbsp honey
  • (1) tsp salt
  • (1/2) tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • (2-3) tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • (1) bunch fresh dill, or (2) tbsp dried dill

To start, heat the oven to 350 degrees. To roast beets, simply wrap them in foil one layer thick (no washing required) and prick them with a fork several times. Put the in the heated oven for 45-60 minutes or until tender when pushed. This step can be done days in advance of making this soup and the beets will keep well in the foil or in a container for up to a week or more.

Once the beets are done, put them in a bowl in the sink, unwrap each as you go and one by one with cold water running, rub the skins off the beets with your hands. They will simply slide right off under the water! Chop the beets into a 1/2 to on 1 inch dice and set aside.


To prepare the vegetables, peel and chop each veggie before starting, taking care to chop into a small dice, about 1/2 inch if possible, or bigger as your patience, skill, and desire dictates.

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onions and (3) tbsp salt and cook the onions until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes & (4) cups water and turn the heat to high. Bring the water to a boil and turn the heat down. Simmer the soup for 8-10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are just tender. Add the cabbage and cook a further 6-8 minutes, until all of the veggies are soft and starting to meld together.

To finish, add the chopped beets, honey, black pepper &Β remaining salt to taste. Stir and cook a few more minutes on medium heat until well blended and tasting amazing.

Next, using a blender, blend up to half of the soup to a smooth consistency (feel free to add up to a cup more of extra water to get the blending going), leaving the rest in its chunky form. Pour the blended soup into the pot and stir all to combine.

Stir in the chopped dill & cider vinegar at the end and taste to correct seasonings, reserving some to sprinkle on each bowl.

To serve, scoop into bowls and garnish with dill and more freshly ground black pepper & a small drop or two of cider vinegar. To me, the zing of the vinegar adds the most wonderful flavor boosting acidity and I highly recommend trying it this way.

That is one thing I did not learn from my Ukrainian friend, but I am sure I picked up that little tidbit somewhere or from someone along the way πŸ˜‰

Enjoy this super cozy and super nutritious soup on a cold night when you need a little love in your tummy. Snuggle up with a hot bowl and enjoy, these cold nights won’t last forever, and we want to remember them fondly when we are picnicking in the grass next summer πŸ™‚

  • What is your favorite winter soup?
  • Got a borscht recipe to share?

Wishing you a most wonderful few days, we are busy preparing as the next Not So Fast class is going full steam ahead in just two days, we’ll be cozying up with the kids and that rocking red lentil soup. Just when you thought we couldn’t get any warmer….

Yours in Less,

62 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Not So Fast Easy Red Lentil & Vegetable Soup

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

~ John Lennon

So it happened again (so many high fives)!

A group of folks got together to spend just under two hours with a group of kids from our fair city’s toughest neighborhood to cook together. To cook real food ~ food that needs no more than a few basic skills to make, skills like peeling, chopping, stirring, boiling, cutting, slicing, and best of all, caring.

There is nothing that could make me any happier, or more grateful to know that no matter where you find them, kids are always just kids. They need us. They need us to teach them how to live well, and that no matter what, they are worthy of every bit of our love and our attention. Each and every single one of them.

Just two nights ago we gathered in a small community center kitchen in Vancouver’s Eastside and cooked 4 healthy & nutritious dishes, one of them being this hearty, delicious soup.

We planned for 8, thought we had 6, and ended up with 12 (by the end of the night we had 9). Having such an immense amount of interest has been just incredibly encouraging, knowing kids are eager to learn how to have fun in the kitchen. And they are hungry for good food if it’s there.

This is the first of 3 classes we will be putting on, trying to reach as many youth & families as we can in the process. I’ll be posting the recipes from our classes one by one over the course of the next few weeks, starting with today’s soup, as we are repeating this menu for the next 2 classes coming up, and in the New Year we plan to offer another round with a new menu.

So stay tuned for more great recipes, stories, photos, and full hearts! If you’d like to support us, we’d love your help. A little or a lot, it doesn’t take much to fill a little tummy. You can donate here, and read up on Not So Fast here if you are new to IPOM and my story, thanks to all of you have been with me since the start!

The Less:

Less complicated, fussy food means more pleasure in doing simple things. Less heavy, meat based soups and stews means more high-fiber, easy digesting. Less cost for good food means more to go around, so everyone can come and sit at the table.

The More:

More simple recipes means more confidence and fun in the kitchen. More warm filling soups means more warm, happy bellies. More skills where it matters means more focus on priorities, because eating well should be easy & accessible for all.

I thought I’d share what the recipes looked like for the class Tuesday night (spelling error and all). Part of our goal in arming kids with knowledge is providing tools when we can as well, so we sent each participant home with a folder full of recipes for each dish we made. It’s a little thing, but you just never know πŸ™‚

I think my heart is so full it might last quite a while. And I can’t wait to do it all over again, surrounded by literally the best team of friends & volunteers any girl could wish for (so much love & gratitude for you all). Stay tuned for my next post and I’ll share the rest of what we all cooked, how we cooked it, and the laughs and smiles we had all along the way.

To make a donation in support of our efforts, however big or small (hint: there is no small!) you can do that here, your money goes a long way! Best to all for a super wonderful week, and thank you for joining me, I am one super-inspired happy camper.

Yours in Less,

59 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Children, Cooking, Feeding, Food, Food Insecurity, Gluten Free, Going Without, Inspiration, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Authentic Italian Chickpea Flat Bread

Healthy, delicious, vegan, gluten-free & Italian.

Need I say more? I mean, really? With so many wonderful things all packaged up into one, it might seem almost too good to be true. If I told you also, just how mind-bogglingly easy this recipe was, well you might just freak right out. Don’t do that. Instead, read on to find the recipe that could literally help you simplify your life, be healthier, all the while impressing your friends and family as well. Lofty promises I know.

I first posted a chickpea flat bread recipe back in September, fresh off our glorious family holiday in France. That recipe, as well as today’s, came directly from our time in a comfortable Provencal apartment, when on the last day there I chilled alone on the terrace with a (1/2) bottle of rose and a few of the apartment owner’s cookbooks (a most wonderful and sophisticated Australian woman).

A few hundred iphone shots later (not even kidding you) and I had what might be the best collection of authentic French and Italian recipes ever. Not to mention a never to be forgotten few quiet moments to myself in paradise.

And now I am so excited to share some of that paradise with all of you, with my surroundings slightly different of course, but you all know what I mean! Chickpea flour is fairly inexpensive and can be found in most any Asian, Indian, or health food store. So do seek it out, it will be well worth your while!

The Less:

Less wheat flour based diet staples less irritants for those sensitive. Less grains in the diet can mean less trouble for the stomach, digestion, and comfy body weight. Fewer ingredients in your food means more control of what you are eating, so sourcing ingredients of quality stays paramount.

The More:

More simple recipes to prepare means more reasons to make them. More old world foods means more old world wisdom. More alternatives to bread means more ways to feel satiated, without paying a price in equilibrium.

Authentic Italian Chickpea Flat Bread:

  • (2.5) cups chick-pea flour (also called gram or garbanzo flour)
  • (3.5) cups fresh cold water
  • (1 tsp) salt & black pepper, or to taste
  • (1/4) cup extra virgin olive oil

First, prepare to be blown away in a few hours, as this recipe calls for the mixed batter to sit a little while. I’ve made this recipe now several times and have had great success with mixing it up mid-day on a weekend for cooking in time for dinner.

In a large mixing bowl, pour in the flour. Add the water gradually as you whisk the flour to keep any lumps from forming. Once all the water has been added, mix until completely smooth and add salt and pepper as desired (just not too much salt and this recipe doesn’t need much).

Let the mixture stand on the counter for 3 hours or so. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Gently skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the mixture with a slotted spoon. Prepare a large rimmed cookie sheet by pouring the olive oil onto the bottom (if you can, do not be shy or skimpy here with the olive oil, it is wonderful in this recipe).

Once the oven is hot, pour in the batter, making a layer about (1/4) inch deep. Careful, this is going to move a lot when you pick it up! Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven when done and let cool a little before cutting & serving.

Now the original recipe (to which I have made no changes to) calls for the ‘cake’ (called chick pea cake or ‘Torta Di Ceci’) to be served piping hot. It is of course, completely delicious straight out of the oven, plain or with (just a little) grated Parmesan on top.

Personally, I think it is divine smothered in the Broccoli Pesto from my last post, but it would be equally good with my favorite Kale Pesto or a tomato based chutney or even a good sharp cheese (I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t ridiculous with Gruyere). The trick here is not to double up on the beans – for balance I would avoid hummus or any other bean related dip with this one, bit that might just be me πŸ™‚

This recipe makes a generous amount, and the good great news is it keeps incredibly well. Just cut and store in the fridge until needed. To heat, simply broil the amount you want until hot and brown. Perfect.

In addition to being amazing freshly baked, I was thrilled to learn that the textural integrity of this cake is still amazing with left overs. It is a heavenly and welcome substitute for pasta or beans in soup too and won’t dissolve or disintegrate when added to liquid and cooked. Simply cube and add to whatever liquid based sustenance you happen to have on hand.

My sustenance this weekend was just this. Hot, cozy tomato soup with cubed chickpea flat bread and a nice sprinkle of olive oil and black pepper. Perfect for a rainy winter weekend πŸ™‚

  • Have you cooked with chick pea flour before?
  • Have you tried the broccoli pesto yet?

Now you can do both at once!

Yours in Less,

92 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: Easy Coconut Kale Chickpea Curry

A nice simple curry for our (sometimes) complicated lives.

Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.

~ Lao Tzu

Hey everyone! I hope everyone had a great weekend!

I am sure many of you are enjoyed a nice rest and took some time to enjoy the rest of the delicious posts from Vegan Blogger’s Potluck that went down last week (with great success I might add). Great work and a giant fist bump to all involved!

Today’s recipe is another fave of ours, and it’s one that should make itself super comfy in anyone’s meal repertoire. Chock full of spicy delicious flavors, this classic straight out of Vikram Vij’s first cookbook won my heart straight away. I think you will soon see why!

I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

~ Thomas Edison

Ginger, tomato, jalapeno, cumin, and coconut…I mean what could be better?

Whipped up in just a few minutes, I challenge you to not want to curl right up into a warm bowl of this curry with a soft blanket and your favorite company…right away πŸ™‚

The Less:

Less complicated meals means easy & healthy are at your fingertips any day. Less heavy, dairy-based curry means more light plant-based goodness. Less heavy meat-based dinners means more satisfied tummies without digestive difficulty, so dinner time leaves you feeling spiced just right.

The More:

More high fiber chickpeas means more filling, hearty proteins. More spicy foods in winter means more warming for your insides. More warm bowls of nutrition means less clean up & complicated prep work, so one pot does the trick every time πŸ™‚

Easy Coconut Kale Chickpea Curry:

  • (1/2) cup canola oil
  • (1) tbsp cumin seeds
  • (1.5) cups finely chopped onions (1 large yellow should do)
  • (2-3) medium tomatoes, chopped
  • (1.5) tsp salt
  • (4-5) tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • (2) finely chopped fresh jalapeno peppers
  • (4) cups cooked chickpeas
  • (1) can coconut milk
  • (1) bunch green onions, chopped
  • (3-4) cups curly green kale, chopped very finely

Heat the oil in a medium to large pot on medium high for one minute. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 seconds (the seeds will start to sizzle and become fragrant). Add the chopped onions and continue to cook on medium high for about 8-10 minutes, until the onions are soft and brown.

Stir in the tomatoes, pepper, ginger and salt, and cook for a further 8-10 minutes, stirring well. THe oil should start to glisten on the top.

Add the chickpeas and coconut milk and stir well. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to medium low, keep the pot covered and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring here and there.

At the last minute, add the chopped green onions and kale and stir in well. Cook the mixture for one to two minutes further until the kale turns bright green.

Serve this curry right away to retain the color in the kale and enjoy it freshly cooked.

Slightly spicy (or quite spicy depending on your idea of spicy), the fresh jalapeno add a kick of warmth to jump-start digestion and the coconut milk and tomatoes make a comforting & delicious sauce to match it.

Serve this dish on its own, or with this delicious homemade Naan Bread…this fabulous and creative (vegan) recipe was originally brought to us by Vegan Richa and has recently been beautifully celebrated again over at Kristy’s wonderful blog. I’ve been looking for a homemade naan recipe to try, so I am excited for this one!

I’m looking forward to trying this at home soon and love the great inspiration that is coming in these days.

Stored in the fridge, leftovers will keep for up to a week and all this needs is a gentle re-heating for an easy and satisfying weekday lunch or dinner. Perfect for these cool (and dark) winter days (over here in North America anyways)!

The greatest wealth is to live content with little.

~ Plato

On another note..this is one busy month for me and the crew at Not So Fast!

We’ve got (2) cooking classes coming up this month, the first being on the horizon in precisely a week from today – November 13th marks the first class!

We’ll be cooking the basics of a healthy day of delicious food on a limited budget with 8 youth here in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. For those of you interested in supporting our efforts…feel free to send a donation our way..every little bit helps, and as little as $5 goes an awful long way towards filling little tummies!

I’ll be sharing all of the details for this as we go along….but for now wish us luck! (THANKS!)

  • What’s your favorite warm & spicy winter meal?
  • What would a ‘basic day’ of food necessities be to you?

We all have those things we can’t live without, I’d love to know what your ideal healthy food day would look like from a necessity stand point. I’ve a feeling a few of those things might be included in today’s recipe…

Wishing you all the very finest of weeks as always! Love all of your guts….

Yours in Less,

55 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Health, Not So Fast, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Hearty French Lentils

More Hearty. More Simple. More Good.

It’s really that easy.

But is it? I am telling you this girl thinks so!

In the midst of a busy life, many of us can too easily succumb to feelings of pressure ( I know I can).

Pressure to perform. Pressure to please. Pressure to be who we want to be. Maybe even pressure to be what we think others want us to be. Staying cool and calm amongst all these pressures can be tough. But it’s the only way to win (in my very humble opinion).

Staying grounded starts with good nutrition. If we are fed well, our brains work and our bodies work. We can see things for what they really are.

We are all alike, on the inside.

~ Mark Twain

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Being well fed need not be complicated.

Mixing together compatible ingredients that taste great, feed our bodies, and can be pulled together easily with (just a little) know how, is really all it takes.

The trick is to just keep it real . This recipe is the perfect start.

French lentils make beautiful firm mouthfuls out of this dish, but any green or brown lentil will do, though cooking time will vary.

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

~ Henry David Thoreau

The Less:

Less pressure to be fancy means more simple hearty foods. Less hard to find ingredients means more easily at hand meals. Less cooked, canned, and processed protein means good fuel is cheaper, cleaner, and more healthful. And when it’s this easy to cook, why not?

The More:

More hearty warm comfort food means more comfort for the soul. More easy ways to fill up means more reasons to make it habit. More simple herbs and spices means creating variety is easy, so making delicious out of (just a little) quickly becomes second nature.

Hearty French Lentils:

  • (2) tbsp good olive oil
  • (1) large onion, chopped medium (2 cups chopped)
  • (1 – 1.5) tsp salt, or to taste
  • (2) tsp ground cumin
  • (3-4) carrots, peeled and cubed
  • (2)Β  Tbsp garlic, minced (about 3-4 good-sized cloves)
  • (3) bay leaves
  • (2) tbsp tomato paste
  • (1) cup Puy or French lentils
  • (3-4) cups water (I used 3)

Start by putting up the olive oil to heat in a medium pot on medium high. When hot, add the chopped onion and salt, and cook, stirring for 5-8 minutes or so until the onions are translucent.

Add the carrots, cumin and garlic, and cook a further 5 minutes, stirring often, being careful not to let the garlic burn.

Once all the veggies are glistening and the cumin is smelling fragrant and delicious, add the water, lentils, tomato paste, and bay leaves and stir to incorporate.

Bring to a boil on high.

Once boiling, turn heat to medium low (not low) and cook with the lid on for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice from the bottom up. After the first 20 minutes, remove the lid and rest on the side of the pot so a little air can escape. Cook another 20 minutes (total of 40 minutes) stirring here and there.

Serve piping hot with crusty fresh bread, and top with your choice of olive oil, black pepper, fresh herbs, chopped chives or scallions, fresh tomato, or slices of red onion.

You really can’t go wrong.

This dish will keep for up to 5-6 days in your fridge (it gets better the longer it languishes) and freezes well too. So double it up if you want leftovers. Seriously!

It could be because I grew up eating lentils, but I don’t know of a greater comfort food than this. There are endless variations to the uses for them, limited only by what is in season, or what you have on hand.

They are cheap. They keep forever. They are for real.

Not all those who wander are lost.

~ J.R.R. Tolkien

This dish will make a special appearance at an even more special event this weekend, stay tuned for that – I’ll be sharing!

Let’s just say it all started with Chris & Carla πŸ˜‰ Read up about that here (you’ll be glad you did).

  • What is your ultimate easy comfort food?
  • Got a favorite way with lentils?

I’d love to hear how you keep it real from day-to-day.

Even with all the pressures we face, staying cool and calm is always helped by (just a little) of the right fuel at the right times.

And it needn’t ever be expensive or complicated (unless you want it to be).

I hope you’ll try this one!

On a small side note – apologies to all of my beloved blogging buds for falling behind (just a little) in my comments and visits this week, I’ve got a fairly big project on the go that is demanding my attention, one that I will be sharing with you all shortly! I’ll look forward to getting back in the groove with you all in good time πŸ™‚

Yours in Less,

93 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Red Lentil Vegetable Curry

Happy Monday Everyone!

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.

~ Albert Einstein

I hope you all had a truly fab weekend soaking up the spring sun and taking it all in!

As for us, we’ve got a new layer of topsoil in the garden and a clean fresh outlook – here’s to the new season…and Easter coming up!

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

~ Seneca

Today’s post is (once again) dedicated to the simple easy pleasures in life. Healthy food made delicious by the addition of simple (and rich) spices!

A vegetarian’s palette of inspiration is only as limited as the spice cupboard, and inexpensive staples can go from pretty meh to pretty mean in a few seconds with (just a little) bit of spice.

Indian spices in particular are so wonderfully varied, it’s almost impossible to go wrong with combos (but it can be done) – and there are a few easy ones that everyone should be familiar with.

They would be (for me): cumin (both ground and seeds), ginger, turmeric, black mustard seeds, coriander, garam masala (so many kinds!), cardamom..there are a few others – what are your classic faves?

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

~ Confucius

There are so many different spices to name but I’ve always had good luck preparing delicious veggie curries and bean dishes out of the ones listed above. They are known for being widely beneficial to digestion, and gentle and calming for the soul (maybe that part is just for me – anyone else?).

Side Note: Here in Vancouver – home to one of North America’s most widely celebrated Indian restaurants (Vij’s) – we are lucky to have a few high quality haunts (from budget to high-end) to frequent for a taste of the real thing. My recent (1st!) trip to London also brought me to Brick Lane, which was a very special experience, and I’ll never forget my 1st taste of that delicious lime pickle…amazing!

Alas, I don’t think a trip to India will ever be in the cards for me (but never say never), and I would never consider my home cooking a substitution for the real thing……but it isn’t all that hard, and cooking this way is:

Delicious, cheap, and good for you.

Straight up!

The Less:

Less complicated ingredients means you are more likely to make this. Less canned or jarred spice mixtures mean cleaner, simpler food. Less cream and animal based curries means lighter, cheaper meals. Less heavy beans means your body might not mind eating these (especially if you are sensitive to beans and legumes).

The More:

More flavorful vegetarian dishes in your repertoire means more yummy foods to cook often. More vibrantly colored food means more visual pleasure for your senses. More ginger and spices means more help for digestion. More cheap dinners means more money for other things. Straight up and simple, this dish a classic.

Red Lentil Vegetable Curry:

  • (2) tbsp olive oil, canola oil, or ghee
  • (2) tbsp black mustard seeds
  • (1) onion chopped (about one heaping cup)
  • (2) tsp salt
  • (2) tsp turmeric
  • (2) tsp cumin
  • (2) tbsp fresh chopped or grated ginger
  • (3) carrots, chopped (about one heaping cup)
  • (2) medium potatoes (about one heaping cup)
  • (1.5) cups canned diced tomatoes (1 398ml can)
  • (1) cup red lentils
  • (4) cups water
  • (1) lemon
  • black pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

The trick with this style of cooking is to have all of your spices ready and veggies chopped and ready to go.

Everything happens pretty quickly and even for experienced cooks it’s difficult to be prepping and measuring while the cameras are rolling. So be ready!

In a medium large pot, heat the oil on medium high. When hot, add the black mustard seeds and stir until they start to pop – don’t leave the stove – this takes about 30 seconds only!

Once the little seeds start dancing (and popping!), add the chopped onion and salt and cook, stirring about 5-6 minutes, or until golden. Add ginger and remaining dry spices and cook, stirring for one minute on medium heat. When spices are fragrant, add tomato and stir all well for about a minute or two until well integrated.

Hang tight – now you can almost step away….

Add lentils, chopped vegetables and water and stir all to well combine. Bring to a light boil on medium-high with the lid on. Once boiling temperature has been reached, turn the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 30-40 minutes stirring frequently to prevent the lentils from prevent sticking to bottom of the pot.

Once ready, add the juice of lemon. Simple, zesty, and ready to serve!

Serve with ground pepper, a dash of butter or olive oil, plenty of freshly ground pepper and chopped fresh cilantro – don’t forget the side of rice if desired and buttery naan bread too!

This will get more delicious the longer it sits in your fridge and I highly recommend making it a day before you serve it. I’ve been making this curry as long as I’ve been cooking it seems – it never gets tired, and it’s always incredible!

So there you have it! An easy dinner on a cold night, or a starter to a great Indian meal.

I’ve got a bit of this leftover and I am thinking tonight’s dinner may just consist of a bowl of curry..straight up and simple.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.

~ Dalai Lama

On another (slightly ironic and very sad) side note – we went to go for said Indian last night at our families favorite budget haunt here in town, only to find it had been destroyed by a fire!

Now we’re on the hunt for a new budget favorite – can’t wait to see what we find – and I hope they re-build and wish them well…lots of great memories and gratitude were had at that delicious place πŸ™‚

How about you?

  • What are your favorite curry dishes with lentils?
  • Got any spices we should all add to the list?

I hope you are all starting a wonderful week – anyone tried the recipes for the Sweet Life Chews or Lively Cilantro Sauce?

I’d love to know how they turned out. Drop us a line – we’ll be so happy you did!

Yours in Less,

66 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Family, Food, Gluten Free, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Honest Vegetable Soup

Everybody loves a good honest bowl of soup.

 

Doesn’t everyone love a good soup?

Anyone who tells a lie has not a pure heart, and cannot make a good soup.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ahhh, Saturday is here. It was a long week. Ain’t that the honest truth..

I’ve battled a cold (some say I get man-sick), and it’s been a tough weather week here in Vancouver – can you say endless grey and rain? Add to that a smattering of snow, slush, drizzle, mist, wind, and pretty much everything else and you’ve got a perfect reason to make:

A pot of Honest Soup!

“What?”

Yep, I am calling it Honest Soup because when it comes to making a killer soup, you don’t have to be a master in the kitchen, or even a super confident cook (in my humble opinion anyway).

Honestly, once you find a few tricks when it comes to proportions, you rarely even need recipes. And if you (like me and especially my family) enjoy reveling in a little flavor, you know that the secret to a delicious veggie soup is in the butter, the salt, and the cheese* (that’s for you, Charlie).

*unless you don’t.

I like dairy free soups too (all you wonderful vegans out there, that’s for you), and the same rule applies. A few tricks are all you need!**

But (let’s be honest here) what home cook doesn’t already know that?

All you need is:

  • (just a little) onion
  • (usually) potato or sweet potato for starch
  • a random selection of vegetables
  • a blender or hand blender
  • and (just a little) inspiration!

Since this blog is all about living with (just a little) less, last night was also a perfect opportunity to forego an unnecessary shopping trip to the market and clean out the fridge. All this blogging, recipe writing, and cooking has me pretty inspired, and I had a real beautiful mess of random veggies left in my crisper.

This is what it looked like to start (not terribly glamorous, folks!):

Honest Vegetable Soup:

  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium/large yellow onion)
  • 2 cups potatoes, chopped (skin on)
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli (including the stalks)
  • 1 lonely celery stalk, chopped (broken in 2 pieces!)
  • 2 cups green cabbage, chopped
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 cup heaping grated sharp cheese (tonight it was an English Dubliner Cheddar)(optional for vegan soup)
  • 1 cup milk (optional for vegan version)
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp butter (optional)
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • black pepper

Chop all your veggies and separate veggies in bowls according to cooking time.* Heat olive oil on medium high and add onion and one tbsp. of salt. Cook, stirring for 5-8 minutes until brown. Add chopped potatoes, and cook another 3-4 minutes, stirring. Add water and broccoli, broccoli stalks, and celery and bring the water to a very gentle boil on medium heat with the lid on. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes, until stalks are soft. Add cabbage and kale (stir them in gently) and cook, covered for another 5 minutes.

With your hand blender (or blender in batches), blend all to a very smooth puree in the same pot you cooked it in. Add grated cheese, milk, remaining salt, and pepper.

Anything tastes good with cheese, salt, and butter (but there are other ways too). And a good blender is a must.

Turn heat to low and stir until creamy and all the cheese is melted. Add butter if desired, and season to taste with pepper. Serve in bowls topped with chopped fresh herbs, more black pepper if desired, and (always) (just a little) swirl of olive oil.

*Always cook veggies according to their type: 2-3 minutes for leafy greens, 5-8 minutes for celery, carrots, cauli/broccoli, 10+ minutes for potatoes and starches.

**For a delicious vegan soup, I simply omit the additional milk after blending and add a few tbsp to taste of medium miso to the soup. This adds flavor, richness and a yummy salty kick in the pants (honestly). Top with green onions and olive or sesame oil.

Serve this soup with crusty bread or crackers, a good glass of wine, and an (honest) smile.

A warm bowl of soup on a cold night can’t be beat, and my fridge is looking pretty sweet this morning too.

Here I come kitchen πŸ™‚

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.

~ Thomas Jefferson

 

 

 

 

I’d love to know how you clean out your fridge and make use of the random bits that just don’t make it into your delicious creations throughout the week.

Stay tuned this week, I’ve got a killer kale pesto to share and another creative (and tasty) use for almond pulp!

Thanks to two of my favorite bloggers for the Versatile Blogger shout out – I’ll be reciprocating some of that love over the weekend…you guys are all amazing!

Happy Saturday folks!

Yours in Less,


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Filed under Cheap, Children, Cooking, Family, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Soup, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian