yellow split pea dal over rainbow chard


When Autumn arrives and the leaves start to fall along with night temperatures, I feel the cold even when my house thermometer says I should be comfortably warm. It doesn’t matter that I’m active and put on a comfy smart wool shirt and light down sweater coat. Afternoons I start to crave Good Earth herbal tea and savory dinners…

A heavy rainstorm forecast and yellow leaves swirling in the wind this last weekend made me think to make a yellow split pea dal with a kick of Indian spices. Happily it turned out delicious, and I never lost my power.

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One of the many great things about yellow split pea dal is that dried split peas don’t require soaking before cooking, and they cook in 30 minutes, a much shorter time required than for dried beans. They’re high in protein and dietary fiber, satisfying and healthy; I did the math and calculated this recipe has 310 calories per cup served over a cup of rainbow chard. I made a large pot of the dal, and served it on a bed of rainbow chard leaves cut into ribbons topped with 1/4 cup of Bhutanese Red Rice for an easy “one bowl” meal. Leftovers taste great, and it freezes well.

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup yellow split peas
  • 1 large jewel yam, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red Serrano pepper, diced with seeds
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 t black mustard seeds
  • 3/4 t cardamom
  • 1 1/2 t cumin
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t salt, black pepper to taste

instructions:

Cull through then rinse split peas well, cover with 4 cups fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer covered for about 25 minutes, until quite soft.

Cut thick stems out of rainbow chard. Chop the stems and set aside. Cut the chard leaves into thin ribbons and set aside.

In a large soup pot with 1-2 T olive oil over medium heat, add the mustard seeds and allow them to heat up til they just start to pop. Add onions, garlic, and all spices, and stir until onions begin to turn translucent. Add the chopped yam, stir to coat well with spices, add a few tablespoons of water, reduce heat and cover to simmer until softened, about 4 minutes. Add yellow peppers, celery, and chopped chard stems, cover and simmer another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. When split peas are soft, drain their water into a measuring cup to use later. Add split peas to large pot of spiced vegetables, stir to mix all together well, then add the cooking fluid from the split peas to obtain your desired consistency of dal.

Serve in a bowl over a lovely pile of chard cut into ribbons, and with Bhutanese red rice for a more substantial meal.

warming red lentil dal with ginger, yam & cauliflower


It’s the spring equinox today, a time to celebrate balance, warmth and hope. Today it’s also cool and wet, the sky dark gray, the earth and my garden muddy. Thinking about balance in our diet, and wanting to make a warming and bright meal to celebrate the equinox, I made this to share.

ingredients:

  • 1 cup red lentils IMG_1395
  • 2-3 shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 t turmeric
  • 1-2 t curry powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 2-3 t fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 jewel yam, cut into 1/4″rounds then pared, cut into chunks
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 head cauliflower
  • 6 oz coconut milk
  • 6 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed, for optional dressing

instructions:

Cull through and rinse lentils, then cover with 2 1/2 c fresh water. Add a dash of salt, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until fully softened and water is mostly absorbed. Set aside uncovered. Saute shallots in 2T or so of olive oil in a large frying pan until they start to turn translucent, then add chopped yam, minced garlic, turmeric, curry powder, cumin, and black pepper; continue to saute for another 2 minutes until spices are fragrant and yam is well coated with spices. Add several tablespoons of water, cover and reduce heat to steam yam for about 12 minutes until softened (but not dissolved into mush). When yam is soft, remove from pan into large casserole dish with lid, then stir in cooked lentils. Using same frying pan, saute chopped celery and cauliflower with minced ginger for about 2-3 minutes, then add the coconut milk and yellow pepper, stir to combine well, cover and steam for about 3 minutes until peppers turn bright and begin to soften. Add this to casserole dish, stir everything together well. Serve over fresh raw spinach.

hot peppers spiced yam soup


When I came down with the sniffles and felt a bit puny, I wanted a healthy warming soup… and came up with this from what I had in my cupboards and fridge. Yams and carrots are high in vitamin A and C, perfect for fighting off a head cold. The ginger and Merken (a smoked chile pepper spice from Chile) or seranno add some heat. The peanut butter is an inspiration from African cooking and adds a rich smoothness to the soup as well as a little protein. I served this in a deep round bowl over a little fresh arugula (fresh spinach would have been good in lieu) and topped with peanuts. Yum! And so quick and easy. I think this may be my new favorite winter soup recipe.

ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 t lemon thyme
  • 1/2 t merken or 1 serrano pepper, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 garnet or jewel yams, without skin, chopped
  • 2-3 T natural peanut butter, no added oil or salt
  • 1/8 t salt

instructions:

Saute the onion in 2 T olive oil for 2-3 minute over medium heat in a large soup pot, then add garlic and other spices; continue stirring until onion is almost translucent. Add celery, carrot and yam and continue to saute over medium heat for another 2-3 minutes. Dissolve 1/2 cube organic vegetable bouillon in 1 cup boiling water, then add it to the pot. Stir in peanut butter, mix all well, then add another 5-6 cups of fresh water. Cover and cook until yam and carrots are soft, checking and stirring frequently. It wont take long, 5 minutes or so if the yam and carrots are chopped reasonably thin and small. Set aside to cool, then puree in blender.

red lentil, yam & spinach dal


The weather forecast was my muse to look in my cupboards and get creative… IMG_3232

Thinking warm and moist would be a healthy choice on such a cold and windy day, I thought of dal… and saw I had on hand everything I’d want to make it except for cumin. That’s okay, I could readily work around that with the ingredients and spices I have on hand now.  #warmingfood #letitsnow

ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3t chile powder
  • 1 scant T tumeric
  • 2-3t curry powder
  • 2-3 t fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 large jewel yam, cut into 1/4″rounds then large rectangle chunks
  • 6 oz coconut milk
  • 1 cup cauliflower flowerettes
  • 5 cups fresh spinach, cut into thick ribbons
  • 1/2 lime, squeezed

instructions:

Cull through and rinse lentils, then cover with 2 1/2 c fresh water. Add a dash of salt, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until fully softened. Using a dutch oven to accommodate the bulk of spinach, saute chopped onion in 3T or so of olive oil until they start to turn translucent, then add minced garlic, chile powder, tumeric and curry powder and continue to saute for another 2 minutes until spices are fragrant. Add chopped yam and several tablespoons of the coconut milk, continue to stir for 2-3 minutes. Then add a little water, cover and reduce heat to steam yam for about 20 minutes until softened (but not dissolved into mush). Add cooked lentils including remaining cooking water, coconut milk, stir to combine well, then add spinach to pot. Cover and steam for about 3-4 minutes until spinach turns bright green and begins to soften. Squeeze lime over dal, remove from heat with lid on to continue spinach cooking gently without significantly reducing moisture of the dal. Serve over brown Basmati rice for a heartier meal.

butternut squash & white bean comfort soup


This soup is quick and easy to make. The beans provide both protein and fiber, and the melted Toscano pepper cheese turns it into fabulous comfort food.

ingredients:

  • 1/2 large butternut squash, cubed  IMG_2342
  • 1 jewel yam, cubed
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1T rosemary
  • 1-2t thyme
  • 1/2 cube Celifibr brand vegetable bouillon dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
  • 4 additional cups water
  • 2 cans white kidney beans, drained and well rinsed
  • Toscano black pepper cheese, grated garnish

instructions:

Pour 2-3 T olive oil into large soup pot. Slice yam into 1/4 inch rounds, peel away skin then cube. Chop butternut into 1/4 inch half rounds, remove skin then cube. Chop onion. Transfer these to soup pot to saute for 3-5 minutes, adding minced garlic and spices. Bring 1 cup water to boil, dissolve vegetable bouillon cube. Add to soup pot, cover, reduce heat and simmer until squash and yam are soft to fork test, about 10-15 minutes. Blend smooth using an immersion blender, or remove from heat and allow to cool before blending smooth in blender. Return to soup tureen, add drained and well rinsed white kidney beans. Serve topped with grated Toscano black pepper cheese.

Roasted Beets and Yam with Tempeh and Beet Greens


It’s June so I simply will not turn on the furnace, but I will turn on the oven to roast veggies as I work from home…

ingredients:

1 yam, sliced into 1/4 in rounds then peeled before roasting with rosemary.

1 bunch beets (4-5 medium sized), cut into quarters for roasting. Reserve greens.

1 12-16 oz pkg tempeh, chopped and sauted in 2-3 T olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Steamed beet greens

Balsalmic vinegar

instructions:

Roast beets and yam in 375F oven, stirring occasionally to ensure dont overcook. After roasting, cool, remove beet skins, then chop yams and beets into bite sized pieces. Season with pepper.

Chop beet greens (discarding any hard stems), then steam using 4T water, checking after 3-4 minutes. Dont overcook.

Serves four.

 

yam and mustard greens soup


This soup is simple and fast to make with few ingredients, but the flavors are complex and it will make your kitchen smell wonderful!

ingredients:

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t sage
  • 1 t thyme
  • 2 large yams, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 Celifibir brand vegetable bouillon cube dissolved in 1 c hot water
  • 3-4 additional c water
  • 4-5 c (packed) mustard greens, chopped into thin short ribbons
  • black pepper to taste

instructions:

Slice yams into 1/4 in rounds, then pare away skin and chop into bite sized pieces. In large soup pot, saute the diced onions in 2-3T olive oil for about 3 minutes until onions start to soften, add minced garlic and spices and saute 1-2 min more. Add dissolved bouillon, chopped yams and additional water. Bring to simmer point, reduce heat and cover with lid to simmer. Check yams with fork after 10 minutes, simmer until soft but not mushy about 10-15 minutes total. Using immersion blender, blend until smooth. Or allow to cool, then blend in half-full blender or food processor. Chop mustard greens into thin strips. Heat frying pan over medium heat, add and stir greens for 1-2 minutes until turn bright green, then add 1/4 c water, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes until just soft but not mushy. Add greens and their fluid to soup, stir well. Serve with black pepper.

Makes 5-6 dinner soup bowl servings. To make larger batch, add 1 additional yam, 1 additional small clove garlic, and 2 more c water.