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This is attempt #2 at testing this recipe. I think this newer version is better than this previous attempt.

1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp curry powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 stalks celery, medium dice
1 medium onion, medium dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch knob fresh ginger, minced
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 avocados, sliced or diced, for garnish (optional, but highly recommended)
Lime juice, for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Toss the carrots with 1 Tbsp olive oil, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Spread out on a sheet pan and roast for 25 minutes, or until dark brown and tender.
3. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add celery and onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add the carrots to the pot and cover by 1 inch with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
5. Puree the soup using an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and stir in coconut milk.
6. Garnish soup with avocado and freshly squeezed lime juice (optional). Fresh chopped cilantro would also be a great garnish.

Serves 4 (entree)-6 (appetizer)

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1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp curry powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth (or water)
1 cup lentils
1 small bunch parsley (or cilantro), roughly chopped
1 pomegranate, seeded
Lemon juice, for garnish
Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Toss cauliflower florets with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, curry powder, salt, and black pepper. Spread out on a sheet pan and roast for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly crispy.
3. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Saute the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes.
4. Add broth (or water) and lentils to the pot. Bring to a rapid simmer and then reduce to a low simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Stir in the parsley (or cilantro).
5. To plate, place lentils on plate or in bowl. Top with curried cauliflower, drizzle with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil, and garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Hopefully this recipe tests well the second time around, because it was ridiculously delicious, filling, and terribly healthy.

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3 T olive oil
1 onion, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
2 large carrots, peeled and small dice
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or substitute with water or vegetable broth for vegan soup)
1 cup red lentils
Garnish options: freshly squeezed lemon juice, chopped cilantro, sliced scallions, Greek yogurt, extra-virgin olive oil, spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne)…

1. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat and then add onion, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 6-8 minutes.
2. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
3. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often.
4. Pour broth into the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any bits.
5. Add the lentils to the pot.
6. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through.
7. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with garnish options of your choice, depending on taste and whether you are making the soup vegan.

Serve with whole wheat naan or pita bread and you’ll feed 3 hungry or 4 normal(ish) people.

red lentil soup

The best part about this recipe? It gets even better as it sits. Make plenty so that you have leftovers throughout the week.

A very very loose recipe, which should be adapted to your taste.

2-3 cloves garlic
1 small bunch fresh oregano, rough chop
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, rough chop
1 bunch fresh parsley, rough chop
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
kosher salt, to taste

1. Combine herbs, red pepper flakes and red wine vinegar in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
2. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the olive oil.
3. Season with salt, to taste.

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Serve atop grilled skirt steak and you will be happy happy happy.

A while back I posted my favorite guacamole recipe, which calls for little more than the avocados themselves. This is typically my go-to approach for this simple starter, but here I deviated a bit. The avocados I bought were, for some reason, on the bland side, so I added a few more ingredients to the mix.

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2 Hass avocados, medium dice
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tomato, small dice (I only had cherry tomatoes so feel free to use whatever  you have on hand)
1/4 small red onion, minced (or 1 shallot, minced)
kosher salt, to taste

1. Place the avocados into a medium bowl and, using 2 knives, cut the pieces so that the avocados break down. Be sure to leave some chunks (unless you prefer it smooth).
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the avocado and stir.
3. Adjust seasoning as needed.