Sprouted Lentil Soup

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This sprouted lentil soup recipe was inspired by a similar one in ‘Raw Living: The Uncook Book’, by Juliano. It has become one of my favourite non-dairy cream-base soups. Apart from being delicious, I love that it can be eaten in its raw state or heated up, which satisfies my occasional raw-food whims. I almost always sprout my own lentils (scroll down for the method) but you can save time by picking up some lentil sprouts from your local grocery store. I think any type of sprouts or sprout-combo pack will work. You could also adapt the recipe and substitute chopped fresh asparagus spears or fresh or thawed frozen peas for the sprouts. 

If you decide to sprout your own lentils, you will want to start them 2 or 3 days before you  make the soup. 

Yield: 4 generous servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ cups sprouted lentils, (recipe follows)
  • 600 ml (2½ -3 cups) nut milk (recipe follows)
  • 200 grams (or about 2/3 cup chopped fresh tomato)
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ½ red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small avocado, or ½ a large avocado
  • 2 tbsp. fresh dill, reserve half for garnish
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • ½ tsp. Celtic or pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 small red chili, sliced in thin rings, optional
  • Dash paprika

DIRECTIONS

Set half of the sprouted lentils aside and put the other half in a high-speed blender. Place the remaining ingredients except the chilli and reserved fresh dill (1 tablespoon) in the blender and puree. (Does not have to be completely smooth.) Divide the remaining sprouted lentils between 4 bowls and pour equal amounts of soup over each. Garnish with fresh dill and sliced chili or finely chopped red pepper.

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Nut Milk

  • 250 grams (1 cup) raw, unsalted cashews (or almonds)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 750 ml water

Soak cashews in water for at least 4 hours. Rinse and drain. Place soaked nuts in a high-speed blender with enough water to cover (about 1 cup). Turn the blender on and blend until water and nuts have emulsified somewhat. Add 2 more cups water and blend until milk starts to look frothy, about a minute. Strain the nut mixture through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag into a clean pitcher. Use your hands to squeeze the pulp to release as much nut milk possible. Discard the pulp. 

Sprouted Lentils

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I like to use organic, regular green lentils, French lentils  or “lentilles du Puy” but any  lentils that hold their shape will work.  The photo above shows the lentils after 3-4 days of sprouting. You can see that the tails are at least an inch long or longer but that isn’t a necessity. They don’t need to be that long for this soup. When the lentil has softened enough for you to bite into it or dig you fingernail easily through the legume, they’re ready.  

  • 1/3 cup dry lentils
  • Water

Rinse lentils in cold filtered water until the water runs clear. Fill a clean bowl or jar with fresh water and soak the lentils for 8-16 hours. Then, strain the soaked lentils through a fine mesh sieve or double layer of cheesecloth. Cover with the cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Set the bowl or jar on the counter. Rinse and strain lentils twice a day for 24-72 hours or until lentils start sprouting little tails. When tail are ¼ – ½ -inch in length, lentils are ready to be eaten. Sprouted lentils should be refrigerated at this stage to slow the sprouting process.  

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Notes:

Nut Milk bags are available at health food stores but a double or triple layer of cheesecloth works just as well.

You do not need a Vita Mix to make the nut milk or for this soup recipe. The soup does not have to be completely smooth and I actually prefer it that way. I enjoy the colour and texture from small unprocessed bits of red pepper, tomato and dill. 

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Incredible No-Cook Curry Sauce

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The VitaMix makes light work of sauces. All kinds. This sauce contains a number of hard vegetables, including raw yams and carrots, and it easily blends them to a silky smooth consistency. I adore my VitaMix and I cannot imagine being without it. Of all my small kitchen appliances, my VitaMix is the one that gets the most use. Really. I use it for everything – sauces and smoothies, nut milks and nut butters, mayonnaise, hummus, and many of the things you might normally make in a food processor. 

This recipe is a breeze in a VitaMix – it is my take on a fast and easy yellow curry sauce that pairs well with raw or cooked vegetables to make a delightful meal. It was created with busy people in mind. On hot summer days, I pour the sauce over a bunch of raw vegetables, carefully chopped into bite-sized pieces and eat that as an entirely raw meal on it’s own. A unique variation on a salad, if you will. In winter, I gently warm up the sauce, steam the vegetables (just long enough to soften them slightly) and serve them over a bowl of steaming cooked brown rice. It’s excellent both ways. 

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This is by no means an authentic Indian or Thai curry sauce. It is not spicy at all, although you could certainly add a bit of fresh chilli if you wanted. The colour of the sauce is dazzling, is it not? I blended the ingredients to a velvety smooth texture but you can make the texture as smooth or chunky as you like by adjusting the length of time you blend the ingredients. Either way your sauce will be ready to eat in minutes! 

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A delicate blend of spices completely packs this sauce with flavour. One of my personal favourite spices is cardamom. I love, love, love cardamom! Cardamom imparts a bit of sweetness in this recipe and creates a blissfully fresh and fragrant aroma. 

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To make this dish, start by making the sauce. Then chop your veggies and stir them together. This dish keeps well for up to 3 days in the fridge, covered.

SAUCE INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium Roma tomatoes
  • 1 medium orange-flesh yam, peeled (about 1 ½ cups chopped)
  • 1 small carrot
  • ½ soft, ripe avocado, pit removed
  • ¼ small red onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. cardamom seeds, scrape seeds from 2 pods
  • ¼ tsp. chili flakes/powder
  • ¼ tsp. coriander seeds
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. pink Himalayan salt
  • 3/4 cup water

DIRECTIONS

Coarsely chop all of the vegetables and add to blender with the 1/2 cup of water. Puree to the desired consistency. If necessary, add more water to keep the mixture moving.

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TO MAKE THE MEAL 

  • 1 ½ cups diced or sliced zucchini
  • 1 cup broccoli, stems too
  • ½ yellow bell pepper
  • ½ red pepper
  • ½ cup frozen corn, thawed
  • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ stalk celery, finely sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Optional steamed vegetables to add: 1 cup chopped cauliflower; 1/2 cup fresh peas or green beans

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DIRECTIONS: 

Coarsely chop the vegetables and set aside in a large bowl until your sauce is blended. Use my list of vegetables as a guideline, substituting your favourites as you like. I am particularly fond of lightly steamed cauliflower and red/yellow bell peppers. 

Pour sauce over prepared chopped vegetables and eat straight away. Alternatively, gently warm the sauce and vegetables over a low heat and serve with cooked brown rice.

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Notes:

The comments I made about VitaMix in this post are my own. I am not paid to advertise for VitaMix, nor am I  affiliated with VitaMix or any of the other manufacturers of the brands or products I mention on this blog. 

Chickpea “Tuna” Sandwich

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Who didn’t grow up eating tuna fish sandwiches? I couldn’t begin to count the number of tuna sandwiches that were lovingly prepared by my parents and placed in my lunchbox throughout my school years. Without a doubt, I have made just as many for my own children as they were growing up too. This recipe is my spin on a variety of web-available recipes for chickpea tuna and it is always well-received my family and friends – even my non-vegan friends. I have another recipe for tuna salad on this blog where I combine sunflower seeds and walnuts with seasonings to develop the taste and texture of tuna fish. Although I like that recipe too, I find that using mashed chickpeas instead of seeds and nuts results in a lighter filling. This recipe conjures up memories of that classic tuna sandwich I ate when I was a child! Try it – I think this is a winner!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas 
  • 1-2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1-2  scallions, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. dulse flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. kelp powder
  • ½ cup fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Process chickpeas until finely ground. Combine with all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a fork until well-mixed. 

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Combine everything in a bowl and stir the ingredients with a fork. Adjust seasonings to taste.  (I sometimes add a few drops of lemon juice to help bring out the ‘fishy’ taste). 

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My favourite tuna sandwich is actually a toasted tuna sandwich, with a little yellow mustard spread evenly over one slice. In the photo below, I added avocado slices, sprouts and a little red onion to my sandwich. Yum! 

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NOTES: 

The bread in my photos is a yeast-free natural sourdough that I picked up at my local health food store, but substitute your favourite gluten free bread if you have gluten sensitivities. 

It’s a wrap!

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I made these several times last week! Once for dinner, twice for my lunch at work, and once for a 6-hour hike over the weekend. They’re so good! Just make sure you have a couple of napkins handy because they can be a bit drippy, but they’re really tasty!

For me, wraps are an excellent way to use up any vegetables and condiments I might have lurking around in my fridge. They just don’t require a special recipe or a lengthy list of ingredients. Any vegetables sliced and diced will work – seriously, use what you have. That said, you do need a tasty sauce, spread or condiment thrown in as these provide the flavour in a great tasting wrap. So pick your favourite hummus, vegan mayonnaise, pesto or dip and start emptying your fridge. I blended a couple of tablespoons of Kim chi with the mayo and that really added a punch of flavour to these wraps! They were over the top delicious!  Other dips and sauces you might consider are: tzatziki, guacamole, Thai pastes – the list is virtually endless. 

I like using collard leaves to hold everything together but I have also used chard and lettuce leaves. Try to find really large leaves and don’t overfill them. Collard leaves are stronger that lettuce and chard and won’t tear as easily.  Sometimes I cook the collard leaves to make them a bit more supple. Cooked collard leaves are easier to work with and help to pull the filling into a nice tight roll but they can be a little more fragile. 

The ingredients below are just what I had on hand and the measurements are approximate – you can use more or less of any ingredient listed here. You can also add your favourite foods or leftovers – just fill the wraps with whatever you have.

INGREDIENTS

2 large collard leaves (as large as you can find, pick ones with as few tears as possible) 

  • 1 mini cucumber, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, sliced or chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, red or yellow, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • ¼ cup pickled onions
  • Handful of fresh sprouts or micro greens 
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 4 tbsp. hummus, (try my zucchini hummus for a delicious raw hummus)
  • 4 tbsp. vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. Kim chi
  • 4 tbsp. sundried cranberries, (could use dried apricots or dates, chopped)

DIRECTIONS

I don’t usually cut out the stem of the collard leaves but if really thick, I shave them a little. Lay collard leaves, stem side up, on your cutting board and run the tip of a knife down the thickest part of the stem to thin it out a little. Leave the thinnest part of the stems alone – no need to shave them. This step just makes rolling the leaves around the filling a little easier.

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If cooking the collard leaves, fill a large pan with a little water and bring to a boil. Place the leaves in the pan and simmer for 6-8 minutes until supple and tender. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice-cold water. When the leaves are cooked, transfer them from the pan of simmering water to the bowl of ice-cold water using tongs, and leave them submerged for about 30 seconds. This will preserve the vibrant green colour. Lay the leaves on a clean towel or a couple of paper towels to dry completely.

If you are eating the wraps raw, just wash the leaves, pat them dry and start layering your filling ingredients.

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Blend the Kim chi with the mayonnaise just long enough to break up any really large chunks of vegetables in the Kim chi – the mixture doesn’t have to be completely smooth.

Spread the center of each leaf with ½ the hummus, ½ the mayonnaise, and ½ the pickled onions. Divide the remaining ingredients between 2 large leaves.  Fold in the ends of the leaves and tightly roll up as tightly as you can – like a burrito. Cut in half and eat – with plenty of napkins close by!!

If you chose raw collard leaves, it will be tricky to fold in the ends of the leaves to roll them up burrito style. Just wrap the filling as best you can and enclose the bottoms in a napkin or piece of parchment paper, and hold onto the wrapped end to eat. 

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