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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.

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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.

photo 1 (2)

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.

photo (28)1 romaine heart, rough chop
8 radishes
2 corn cobs
1/2 bunch cilantro, rough chop
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
juice of 2 large limes
1/3 cup olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 avocado, thinly sliced or medium dice

1. Place the chopped romaine in a large bowl.
2. Using a mandoline, julienne the radishes and add to the bowl.
3. Stand the corn upright and cut off the kernels with a knife. Add kernels to the bowl.
4. Add the cilantro, tomatoes and scallions to the bowl.
5. Squeeze lime juice over the salad, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
6. Gently toss and garnish the top of the salad with avocado.

Enjoy this fresh, vegan salad with, well, ribs, of course! It’s the perfect foil to the slow-cooked meat.

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Okay, so, I really wanted to make this a vegan entree. BUT, the slaw just begged for a touch of mayonnaise. BEGGED! Either way, this is a fabulously easy vegetarian dinner that can be made vegan very simply with vegan mayonnaise. All it requires is a bit of prep work the night before.

photo (13)

juice 2 limes
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 10-oz package tofu, drained
1 red onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 lb carrots, peeled
1 jalapeño, de-seeded and minced
1 1/2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped

1. Whisk together the lime juice, soy sauce and sesame oil.
2. Slice the block of tofu lengthwise into 4 pieces and place into the lime and soy marinade.
3. Cover and marinate overnight.
4. Combine the sliced onions with the vinegar. Stir, cover and marinate overnight.
5. Shred the carrots using a grater or food processor, or julienne using a mandoline.
6. Combine the carrots with the jalapeño, mayonnaise and cilantro.
7. Add a few teaspoons of the lime and soy marinade to the carrot mixture, to taste. Cover and refrigerate.
8. The next day, plate the carrot slaw, top with pickled red onions and a slice of tofu, cut in half on a diagonal.