I absolutely love red lentil soup. I have made several versions and I have always been pleased with the results. It’s easy, healthy, and delicious. This version was incredibly creamy. I loved the pop of color from the flavorful toppings too.
This recipe was adapted from America’s Test Kitchen. I modified the proportions. We ate it with a green salad and warm naan- a perfect light dinner. Vegetable stock can be substituted for the chicken stock for a vegetarian version.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10
For the Soup:
4 T unsalted butter
2 large onions, chopped fine (I used a food processor)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 T tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups chicken stock (I used 4 cups chicken stock & 4 cups homemade turkey stock)
4 cups water
21 ounces (3 cups) red lentils, picked over and rinsed
4 T (1/4 cup, about 1 lemon) freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus extra for seasoning
For the Topping:
4 T unsalted butter
3 tsp dried mint, crumbled (I omitted it)
2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
To Make the Soup:
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat.
Add onion and 2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Add coriander, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in broth, water, and lentils and bring to simmer. Simmer vigorously, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft and about half are broken down, about 15 minutes.
Whisk soup vigorously until it is coarsely pureed, about 30 seconds. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and extra lemon juice to taste. Cover and keep warm. (Soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Thin soup with water, if desired, when reheating.)
To Make the Topping:
Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in small skillet or in the microwave. (I only did 1/2 of the topping because I froze 1/2 of the soup!)
Remove from heat and stir in mint and paprika, as desired.
Ladle soup into individual bowls, drizzle each portion with spiced butter (about 1 teaspoon), sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.
This is another weeknight dish loaded with spinach. I also incorporated my CSA turnip greens. It features many of the flavors of my favorite Greek dishes, including lemon zest, feta, and fresh herbs. I used parsley from my CSA share as well.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. It was very quick and easy to prepare. I used a large, wide enameled cast iron pot. I increased the amount of garlic and modified the cooking method.
Yield: 3 to 4 servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, divided
2 to 4 large garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces baby spinach leaves (8 cups), coarsely chopped (I used 6oz spinach and 2oz turnip greens)
3/4 cup crumbled feta (3 ounces), plus more for garnish
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup fresh dill, or use parsley or cilantro, chopped
Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium, then melt butter, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (I used a large and wide enameled cast iron pot.)
Stir in about three-quarters of the scallions (saving some of the green parts for garnish) and garlic, and cook until softened, stirring frequently, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in stock and bring to a simmer.
Stir in orzo, lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until orzo is nearly cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Stir in spinach (and other greens, if using), adding in batches if it doesn’t all fit in the pan at once, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.
Stir in cheese, peas, and dill/parsley/cilantro, cover the pan, and cook for another 1 minute, to finish cooking and warm the peas.
To serve, sprinkle with more cheese and the reserved scallions.
Everyone loves meatballs- right? These were a healthyish version packed with cilantro and spinach. We ate them over rice topped with dollops of garlicky Greek yogurt sauce with roasted cauliflower on the side. Yum.
My husband was gifted a meat grinder for Christmas. 🙂 This was the first time he used it, grinding chicken thighs for these full-flavored meatballs. He plans to make burgers with blended meats next. Fancy!
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I prepared the seasoned meat about 6 hours ahead of time but it can even sit overnight in the refrigerator so that the meat absorbs the seasoning. I baked the meatballs (in the same oven as the roasted cauliflower) and used red pepper flakes instead of a serrano chile. I also added a yogurt sauce for serving. Fantastic.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
For the Meatballs:
1pound spinach, washed
1 1/2pounds ground chicken (I used 5 freshly ground chicken thighs- medium grind)
2teaspoons kosher salt
1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2teaspoon lemon zest (I used the zest from 1/2 lemon)
pinch of ground cayenne
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1/2teaspoon crushed fennel seeds (I crushed them using a mortar and pestle)
pinch of ground cinnamon
1cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish
1serrano chile, with seeds, finely chopped or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1cup soft fresh bread crumbs, from about 4 slices of crustless sandwich bread (I used 3 slices of Trader Joe’s Tuscan Pane, crusts removed, pulsed in a food processor)
1/2cup heavy cream, half-and-half, milk, or ricotta cheese
extra-virgin olive oil, for the baking sheet
lemon wedges, for serving
cooked rice, for serving (I served the meatballs over white Basmati rice)
yogurt sauce (or store-bought tzatziki), for serving (see below)
For the Sauce:
1 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
pinch of ground cumin
1 garlic clove, finely grated or pressed through a garlic press
fresh dill, cilantro or parsley, finely minced, to taste
freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Blanch the spinach: Plunge leaves a handful at a time into a pot of boiling water. Leave just long enough to wilt, about 30 seconds, scoop out with a spider or slotted spoon and drain in a colander and cool under running water. Repeat until all of the spinach is wilted.
Remove and squeeze wilted leaves into a ball. I used a potato ricer and squeezed out the excess liquid in batches.
Using a large knife, roughly chop spinach on a cutting board — you should have about 2 cups.
Squeeze into a ball again to remove excess water. (This may be done several hours or up to a day in advance and refrigerated.) Again, I used a potato ricer and removed the excess liquid in batches.
If freshly grinding the chicken, grind into a large bowl using the medium grinding disc.
Combine the ground chicken, salt, pepper, lemon zest, cayenne, nutmeg, fennel seeds, cinnamon, spinach, cilantro, chile (or red pepper flakes), egg, bread crumbs and cream in a large bowl. Using your clean hands, knead everything together, mixing well. Leave to absorb seasoning for 15 minutes or overnight. (I refrigerated it for about 6 hours.)
Make the sauce: Combine all of the ingredients and refrigerate for flavors to develop.
Test for seasoning: Take a small amount and flatten into a thin patty. Quickly cook in a small skillet, about 1 minute per side. Taste, then adjust the mixture’s seasoning if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon, form 19 to 24 rough balls and place on a large plate. (The mixture will be soft.)
Using a brush, coat a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.
Lightly form the meatballs and position them on the prepared baking sheet. Along the long side of the pan, I placed them in rows of 5. (I had 19 meatballs.)
Bake meatballs until well browned underneath, about 15 minutes. Using a stiff metal spatula, pry up and turn over meatballs (they may want to stick a bit). Bake until browned on second side and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of each one registers at least 160°, about 4 to 5 minutes more.
Serve over rice garnished with chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve with sauce (or tzatziki) and lemon wedges.
This dish was a home run in my house. Everyone really enjoyed it. I served it over brown Basmati rice with warm naan and steamed spinach on the side. Perfect weeknight comfort food! It does take a while to cook but it is mostly unattended. Letting the finished dish sit for 20 minutes after cooking allows the flavors to soak into the chicken- perfect.
This recipe is from Desmond Tan and Kate Leahy of Burma Superstar in the San Francisco Bay Area and their book “Burma Superstar,” via The New York Times, adapted by Genevieve Ko. I used Maharajah curry powder and additional garlic. I also had Greek yogurt available to temper the spice.
2 large yellow onions, finely diced (I used a food processor)
4 to 8garlic cloves, minced
1(13-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2tablespoons fish sauce, plus more as needed
1teaspoon Madras curry powder (I used Maharajah curry powder)
1/2teaspoon ground cayenne
cooked rice or noodles, for serving (I used brown Basmati rice)
1cup cilantro sprigs, for serving
1lime or lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
warm naan, for serving
Greek yogurt, for serving, optional
Trim the chicken thighs of excess fat and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces; transfer to a bowl.
Add the paprika, turmeric and salt, and use your hands to mix well. Let the chicken marinate at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients, or cover and refrigerate overnight. (I marinated the chicken for 8 hours.)
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high. (I used an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Stir in the onions, lower the heat to medium-low and cook gently, stirring often to prevent scorching, until tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring often, until most of the water from the onions has been cooked out and a glossy layer of oil has risen to the surface, about 5 minutes more.
Add the marinated chicken and stir to release the spices into the onion.
Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a near boil. Let the coconut milk simmer briskly for about 4 minutes to thicken a bit.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add the fish sauce.
Stir in 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a near boil. The broth will thin out as the chicken starts to release its juices.
Lower to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Droplets of paprika-red oil will rise to the surface.
Stir in the curry powder and cayenne, simmer briefly and remove from the heat.
If time permits, let the curry sit for at least 20 minutes before serving. This allows the chicken to soak in more flavors as the curry cools.
Bring to a simmer again right before serving and taste, adding more salt or fish sauce if desired.
Serve over rice or noodles, with bowls of cilantro and lime wedges. A dollop of Greek yogurt to temper the spice is also lovely, if desired.
This is a healthy and hearty vegetarian stew. We ate it over brown Basmati rice with steamed spinach on the side. I loved that it was loaded with warm spices.
The recipe was adapted from Brooklyn’s Kos Kaffe via The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used farro instead of barley, used canned beans, and increased the amount of garlic. I also reduced the amount water to achieve a thicker consistency. Nice.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10
For the Baharat Spice Blend:
1 T sweet paprika
1/2 T ground coriander
1/2 T ground cumin
1/2 T ground turmeric
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground allspice
For the Stew:
5 T extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
2 leeks, white and green parts, diced
1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated
1 cup finely diced fennel, fronds reserved (1 medium or 1/2 large fennel bulb)
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons baharat spice blend
1 small (or 1/2 large) cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup pearled barley or farro (I used Trader Joe’s 10 minute farro)
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
large pinch saffron, crumbled
4 cups cooked beans or chickpeas (I used 2 15-oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash (1/2 large or 1 small squash)
3/4 cup peeled and diced turnip (1 medium)
1/2 cup red lentils
plain yogurt, for serving (I used Greek yogurt)
aleppo pepper or hot paprika, for serving
brown Basmati rice, for serving, optional
Make the baharat spice blend. Set aside.
Cut leeks in half, slice into half moons, and soak in a bowl of water. Drain and finely chop in a food processor.
In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and cook leeks until they begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
While the leeks cook, finely chop the cilantro stems, fennel and garlic in a food processor.
Stir the cilantro stems into the pot, along with diced fennel and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in baharat, cinnamon and tomato paste, and cook until paste begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes.
Stir in broth, 1 cup water (water can be omitted for a thicker consistency), the barley/farro, and the salt. Bring to a gentle boil, stir in saffron, if using, and reduce heat to medium. (The original recipe uses 3 cups of water- increase for a more soup-like consistency, as desired.)
Simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. (I simmered the stew for 20 minutes because I used par-cooked farro.)
Stir in beans, squash, turnip and lentils; cook until barley/farro and vegetables are tender, about another 30 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Remove cinnamon stick.
Ladle stew into bowls. (I served it over rice.)
Spoon a dollop of yogurt on top and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with cilantro leaves, fennel fronds and Aleppo pepper or paprika, as desired.
My daughter and I really enjoy watching Queer Eye on Netflix together. It is so positive and full of love. She is particularly a fan of Antoni, the chef. We were excited to check out his cookbook! 🙂
This fabulous chili recipe was adapted from Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski. I modified the proportions. It was rich, full-flavored, and hearty. We ate it with lots of toppings, cornbread muffins and green salad. I’m planning to make it again to serve on a really chilly evening. Everyone loved it.
Super Bowl 2021 Update: This chili was absolutely delicious served with beer bread.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
For the Chili:
1/3 to 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips (4-5 slices)
1 3/4 to 2 pounds ground turkey, preferably dark meat
2 T olive oil
2 medium or 1 1/2 large onions, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into small cubes
3 T tomato paste
5 to 8 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo, seeded (if desired), finely chopped, plus 1 to 2 T adobo sauce (I didn’t seed the chile)
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
2 (15-oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (12-oz) bottle dark beer (such as Guiness or Negra Modelo)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (scant 1/2 cup) (I used 72% cacao)
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 tsp molasses or dark brown sugar
For the Toppings:
chopped fresh cilantro
diced red or white onion
sour cream or Greek yogurt
In a large Dutch oven or other wide heavy pot with a lid, cook the bacon over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden, 5 to 7 minutes. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a large bowl.
Cook the turkey in the remaining bacon fat over high heat, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat into small bits with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Season turkey with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, then transfer and any juices to the bowl with the bacon.
Heat the oil in the same pot over medium to medium-high heat.
Add the onions and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and the onions are golden, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring, then stir in the chipotle and adobo sauce, oregano, cumin, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the beans, crushed tomatoes, beer, stock, chocolate, and turkey-bacon mixture. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chili is deeply flavorful, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vinegar and molasses or brown sugar.
Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Serve hot with toppings, as desired.
This is another incredible and full-flavored grilled meat dish. I used the marinade on boneless, skinless chicken thighs but it would also be wonderful with shrimp or flank or skirt steak according to the original recipe. I love that the residual marinade is cooked down into a sauce for serving.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Molly Baz. I marinated ten chicken thighs but would add up to five more next time. I also used a mixture of harissa and sambal oelek for heat. Fabulous.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger
5 large garlic cloves
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek and/or harissa)
Finely grate ginger and garlic into a medium bowl.
Add coconut milk, chili paste, lime juice, brown sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons oil and whisk to combine.
Add chicken and toss to coat. Let sit at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Remove chicken from marinade, letting excess drip back into bowl, and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
Pour marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2–3 minutes.
Clean and generously oil grate of grill (if there are a few flare-ups while you do so, not to worry, they will burn off).
Grill chicken, turning once and basting occasionally with marinade, until you see some good grill marks and chicken is cooked through, 8–10 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a platter. Brush with remaining marinade. Top with cilantro and serve with lime wedges alongside.