Category Archives: One Ingredient Many ways

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

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MY SEMESTER IS FINALLY OVER. Yet I don’t feel any weight has been lifted because I know I have to go back in a few weeks… sigh. I guess all I can do to comfort me is eat some wonderfully warming food (including lots of chocolate).

I know this isn’t very festive, but I’m not in the festive mood. And I had left over pumpkin puree in my freezer. And I was craving a velvety smooth soup. I contemplated having a pumpkin and ginger soup, but I feel a bit over loaded on ginger these days so I used cayenne pepper to add a hearty, spicy punch. The leftovers thickened up very nicely; I dipped crackers and veggies into it like a dip. I also had one serving of leftovers with wild rice and cilantro and pumpkin seeds – pictured at the end (it was nice having something a bit heartier in the soup to add texture, but I liked it better without the rice – maybe on top of brown rice or quinoa would be better?).

SPICY PUMPKIN SOUP: (serves 4)

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 4 small garlic cloves
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • scallions, for garnish
  • pepper, to taste

Method:

In a medium sauce pan, heat the grapeseed oil on medium heat an sautee the onions and garlic until the onions are transparent; about 3 minutes.

In a high speed blender, blend the cooked onions and garlic with the pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, turmeric and salt until very smooth. (I let the blender run for about 90 seconds)

Pour the puree into the medium sauce pan and warm on medium heat. It’ll only take 3-4 minutes to warm the soup up.

Garnish with chopped scallions and black pepper.

Leftovers with wild rice, cilantro and pumpkin seeds.

Leftovers with wild rice, cilantro and pumpkin seeds.

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Za’atar Rice Pilaf

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Let’s talk about how little time there is. For me, my free time is spent reading articles for classes, writing essays, writing more essays, and making my lunch (and often dinner) for the next day. I had minimal time to celebrate my birthday last week (which is okay because the holidays are right around the corner). I have ten million essays due and six million exams this next week. I have practical exams in my technique classes. Essentially, my time is very scheduled these days. ALL THAT TO SAY: My meals lately have been simple to make. This is no exception!

Rice. Spinach. Tofu. Onion. Almonds. Dried Cranberries. Balsamic Vinegar. Za’atar. Tasty, easy, lasted for many meals, filling, wonderful.

ZA’ATAR RICE PILAF: serves 2

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup Long grain brown rice (basmati, or short grain brown, or wild rice would also rock)
  • 4 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 10oz package of tofu, crumbled,
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped (I used white, but purple onion or shallots would be good too)
  • 2 tablespoons raw almonds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon za’atar spice

Method:

In a medium sauce pan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add rice. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let cook for 20-25 minutes (until all the water as absorbed and the rice is… cooked).

Place the rice in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well and serve warm.

Here is a version I made for lunch with mushrooms and fried onions.

Here is a version I made for lunch with mushrooms and fried onions.

As all my recipes are, this can serve as a base for an infinite number of dishes. With a base of rice, add chopped veggies and onions, with some protein (it doesn’t have to be tofu) and some nuts or grains and top with any kind of spice. For example, you could add crumbled tempeh, kale, parsley, cucumber, tahini and top it with cayenne and chili flakes… I don’t know if that’d actually be good… I should try it… I digress, rice is a good base for simple meals.

On a side note: WE HAVE SNOW HERE! Time to pull out my parka and drink all the tea. Much love.

Potatoes! Pt.2

On to the pesto & peas potato salad. Okay, I cannot lie, I really impressed myself with this one.

I ate this salad with some fried up Field Roast vegan frankfurters. Once again, this recipe was inspired by Ottolenghi’s “Plenty” book.

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Pesto & Peas Potato Salad (serves 4 as a side):

  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1lbs baby potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 table spoon lime juice
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • bunch of fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • pepper to taste

Method:

1) Place the potatoes into a pot of boiling water and let cook for 15-20 minutes.

DSC_02022) While the potatoes are cooking, place the chopped kale, parsley, basil, lemon and lime juice, avocado, garlic and salt into a food processor or blender. Once a sort of paste has formed, slowly pour in the olive oil to create a thick pesto. Pour into a small bowl.

3) Drain the potatoes and cut in two (or four) as soon as you can handle them. Pour over the apple cider vinegar then pour in the pesto and add the peas. Toss with the mint, slightly crushing the potatoes to help blend the flavors. Season with pepper and enjoy!

 

As I said, I served this with Field Roast brand Frankfurters (Check them out! http://www.fieldroast.com/products/retail/frankfurter/). I chopped them up and friend them with garlic and onions. Super tasty AND protein rich (Each ‘furter has 26 grams of protein!).

Potatoes!! Pt.1

I saw some ultra nice looking baby yellow potatoes the other day and HAD to make some potato salads. Really. I just had to…

The first one, a classic potato salad (with vegenaise), got a bit spicy with horseradish and curry. The second salad was a pesto based salad, it was more laborious to make but definitely worth the effort. Also, forgive the tupperware containers, I packed it for lunch!

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Curry Classic Potato Salad (serves 4 as a side):

  • 1 lb baby potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • large pinch of fresh dill
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • small handful snow peas or snap peas, chopped (about 15 pods)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons vegenaise (or other vegan mayonnaise alternative)
  • 1/2 teaspoon horseradish (this is all up to personal taste, I added an extra 1/2 tsp because I like it hot)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (or paste) *
  • pinch of dried chili flakes
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Method:

1) Place the whole baby potatoes into a pot of boiling water. Cook for 15-20 minutes (until they’re soft but not falling apart). Once cooked, drain the potatoes and place into a large bowl. Once the potatoes have cooled briefly, as hot as you can handle, cut each potato into two or four (half or quarter depending on size) then pour the apple cider vinegar on the steaming potato chunks, add the dill and stir to coat evenly.

2) Add the chopped onions and pea pods to the bowl with the potatoes.

3) In a small bowl mix together the vegenaise, horseradish, mustard, curry powder, and chili flakes. Add mixture to the potatoes and mix thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste.

4) Allow salad to cool in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving.

note*: Since “curry” is a blanket word and each curry is different, you’ll have to experiment with the amount of curry needed for your salad. You can always make your own blend including cumin, turmeric, coriander, ginger, mustard seed and cayenne pepper.

I ate this salad with a big garden salad on the side. Even though there was a lot of salad going on, it was a nicely filling lunch.

Check the next post for the other salad!