Nourishing, mild and earthy flavored lentils have been a part of our diets for thousands of years. Archaeological remains in modern-day Turkey, for example, suggest that farmers grew lentils as far back as 7000–8000 B.C. Highly nutritious and low in calories, lentils consist of over 25% protein, as well as being an excellent source of fiber, a good source of B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium.
Lentils come in a range of colors, including white, yellow, pink, red, brown, green and black. Brown lentils, the “everywhere lentil,” are the most common variety. Brown lentils are larger than most other varieties and have a flattened lens-like shape. They cook in about 30-40 minutes and hold their shape well. Older lentils take longer to soften.
What Makes a Dish Turkish?
Combining Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Central Asian influences, wonderfully spiced Turkish cuisine has been refined over many centuries. Here are a few of the main ingredients in the Turkish pantry. Almost all of them star in Turkish Carrot Lentil Stew.
♥ Olive oil (but of course!)
♥ Onions and garlic provide a flavorful base for many dishes
♥ Tomato paste adds color along with intense tomato flavor
♥ The most commonly used herbs and spices include Greek oregano, Turkish bay leaves, mint, parsley, dill, sumac, cumin, cinnamon, allspice and crushed red chili pepper flakes, such as Aleppo, Marash or Urfa
♥ Brown lentils, red lentils and chickpeas are included in many soups, stews and salads
♥ Pekmez: Grape, date, fig or pomegranate molasses
♥ Yogurt consumed plain or as a side dish is crucial to Turkish cuisine
Make a big batch of deeply flavored, vegetable soup throughout the year using this recipe template as your guide. Customize the ingredients to suit your taste, the season, and what’s in your pantry, refrigerator or garden. With this Versatile Vegetable Soup recipe in hand, you can easily prepare a healthy and delicious vegetable soup all year long. Your kitchen will smell wonderful; you’ll have a great pot of soup simmering on the stove and soon, a nurturing meal-in-a-bowl on the table.
Change Up the Grains, Lentils or Other Legumes
Cooking brown rice, quinoa, barley, farro, wild rice, lentils, etc. in some of the soup stock makes for a rich flavor and smooth-textured broth. When cooked, stir them into the soup about 5 minutes before adding the greens.
Customize Your Versatile Vegetable Soup
♥ Start with the basic vegetables, i.e., members of the onion family plus garlic, carrots and celery.
♥ Vary the rest of the vegetables, including longer-cooked (i.e., root vegetables and winter squashes), and faster-cooking vegetables (i.e., summer squash, green beans, broccoli, corn).
Shorter days of sunlight and cooler temperatures call for perfectly comforting, soul-satisfying, easy-to-make soup. Whether you’re feeling cold or have a cold, a steaming bowl of aromatic soup both increases your sense of well-being and calms inflammation.
Fall’s farmers’ market carrots are now tasting exceptionally sweet and flavorful (thank you, frost). Along with a high-powered blender, such bright, sweet, deeply colored carrots make a rich, delicious and velvety-golden Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup to fall in love with.
Today’s recipe makes a big batch. That way you’ll have enough delicious soup to add a container to your freezer plus enough to enjoy as a quick meal or two throughout the week.
During these past few months of staying-at-home-and-cooking days, most of us have had the opportunity to experiment with recipes and discover new favorites. With its complex flavor, chunky-smooth texture, and straightforward preparation, vegan Lentil Walnut Pâté is one of those recipes. Just as it has in our refrigerator, this pâté may soon replace the ubiquitous container of hummus in your refrigerator, too. Enjoy it enfolded in a lettuce leaf, or as a tasty, quick, and satisfying high-protein appetizer or snack. With the addition of a few sliced vegetables, that snack easily transforms into a light, nutrient-rich and healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Pâté (pah-TAY) can be creamy smooth, chunky, or molded. A pâté is usually a blend of seasoned, ground vegetables and poultry, seafood, or meat. Instead, Lentil Walnut Pâté is a richly flavored blend of lentils, toasted walnuts, cremini mushrooms, and fresh herbs. Its texture seems “meaty,” though it is vegan. The pâté can easily be made gluten-free with wheat-free tamari replacing the soy sauce. Thus, a pâté for most everyone!
“Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet. What matters most is not any particular nutrient, or even any particular food: it’s the act of cooking itself.”
Sheltering in place these past few months has certainly given us many opportunities to cook. We’re cooking a lot, whether it’s perfecting omelets, making one-pot meals or executing grand kitchen projects, such as baking sourdough bread, exploring fermentation or making big batches of soup. I’m guessing that along the way, you, too, have also discovered the joy of cooking and connecting with food. To engage in meal preparation can often be a great de-stresser. It keeps us centered in the moment, while activating and delighting each of our senses with visuals, aromas, tastes, touch and sounds. At these times, home cooking truly becomes a recipe for living a life well lived.
Along with versatility and flavor, cauliflower also brings its superfood pedigree to the table. As a cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower belongs to the same plant family as broccoli, kale, cabbage and collards. Each of these vegetables offers numerous anti-inflammatory benefits as well as support for our cardiovascular and digestive systems.
Cauliflower earns recognition as a superfood by being an excellent source of vitamins B6, C and K along with folate and pantothenic acid. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and manganese. And, along with minimal calories, cauliflower proves to be a good source of vitamins B1, B2 and B3, in addition to protein, niacin and magnesium. Whew, that’s a superfood!
An almost effortless recipe for amazing sweet potatoes. And a complete contrast from the hot oven method we’ve all used to roast sweet potatoes. Game changing actually, the way long, slow roasting at 275º enhances both the sweetness and texture of sweet potatoes. Israeli chef and restaurateur Michael Solomonov developed Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Garlic Labneh (strained yogurt) after being inspired by a meal he enjoyed in Tel Aviv. Lucky for the rest of us, he’s shared his inspiration.
SLOW ROASTED TO PERFECTION
Saveur Magazine explains that slow roasting “will convert more starches into sugars and caramelize more of those sugars for deeper browned flavor.”
Although usually associated with Thanksgiving, nutrient- and fiber-rich sweet potatoes deserve a place on our plate throughout the year.
Two joys of the harvest season include both biting into crisp and juicy new-crop apples and pears, and inhaling their unmistakably rich aroma when they’re baking. Most of us take for granted fall’s abundance and huge variety of apples and pears. Perhaps we forget that, along with their many colors, shapes, sizes, textures and sweet-to-tart tastes, apples and pears are also superbly nourishing.
AN APPLE A DAY… We all know the rest of this maxim. And, recent research finds that as long as you eat the peel, an apple a day does indeed help keep the doctor away. As with both apples and pears, the majority of their vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients are found in their peel. Peel the skin and you peel away much of what makes them so healthy—their fiber, nutrition and phytonutrients. Plus, aesthetically, the contrast of the peel with the flesh adds a welcome contrast of color and texture.
Lime Miso Cabbage Slaw puts a new spin on the classic American coleslaw with its fusion of Asian miso, rice vinegar, ginger and toasted sesame oil with Southwestern poblano peppers, cilantro and lime juice. Enjoy it as a delicious side salad for picnics and barbecues, a colorful and crunchy addition to tacos, and as a main dish salad. With cabbage as its star ingredient, fresh, crisp, flavorful, creamy and healthful Lime Miso Cabbage Slaw becomes a salad for all seasons.
Cabbage—Another Super-Healthy Cruciferous Vegetable
Both purple (for some reason called “red” cabbage) and green cabbage belong to the same food family and are closely related to nutritional power houses kale, broccoli, collards and Brussels sprouts. Actually, 2000 years ago, European wild cabbages didn’t form a head as they do today, and looked more like leafy kale and collards.
Living in Montana, we wait all year for Flathead cherry season. Throughout the state, Flathead cherries reign supreme. Memories are made from eating these luscious, large, dark, firm, meaty, juicy, and sweet-with-a-touch-of-tart cherries. You definitely can’t—nor would you want to—eat just one.
Although dark, sweet cherries from Washington have begun appearing in our local markets, we’ll begin seeing Flathead cherries a little later than usual this year, in late July.