Vegetarian Harira

This is a vegetarian version of Harira, a traditional, savory Moroccan soup. It is incredibly full-flavored- loaded with spices and legumes.

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I added fresh lemon juice, used canned San Marzano tomatoes, dried garbanzo beans, and increased the amount of garlic. Tanis recommends serving the soup the day after it is prepared in order to allow the flavors to meld.

We ate it with warm naan and green salad. It was hearty, healthy, filling, and delicious.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced, about 2 cups
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon crumbled saffron
  • 1 (3-inch) piece cinnamon stick or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups diced ripe tomato, fresh or canned (I used 2 28-oz cans San Marzano tomatoes, drained)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped celery leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • coarse salt
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup peeled dried fava beans or 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • ¼ pound angel hair pasta or vermicelli, broken into 1-inch pieces
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Put olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly colored, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic, ginger, pepper, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, saffron and cinnamon. Cook for about 2 minutes more.
  4. Add tomatoes, celery leaves and cilantro and bring to a brisk simmer.
  5. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes, until mixture thickens somewhat, then add 1 teaspoon salt, the brown lentils, red lentils and dried faves or soaked chickpeas.
  6. Add 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer, covered with the lid ajar.
  7. Let soup simmer for 30 minutes, then taste broth and adjust salt.
  8. Cook for 1 hour more at a gentle simmer, until the legumes are soft and creamy. It may be necessary to add more liquid from time to time to keep soup from being too porridge-like. It should be on the thick side, but with a pourable consistency. (With every addition of water, taste and adjust for salt.)
  9. Just before serving, add pasta and let cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Add fresh lemon juice.
  11. Ladle soup into small bowls and pass lemon wedges for squeezing, as desired.
Note: The soup may be made in advance and refrigerated. (This is recommended!) If it thickens, thin with water or broth when reheating, and adjust the salt.

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Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

This was casserole was truly a one-dish meal. It is so loaded with vegetables, I didn’t feet the need to serve it with a salad or other green on the side. 🙂 We enjoyed it as our celebratory St. Patrick’s Day dinner this year. The “meaty” combination of lentils and mushrooms in this dish made my meat-loving family members happy. Don’t worry… they had corned beef sandwiches for lunch too.

My riced-potato topped casserole was filled with lentils, mushrooms, fresh herbs, as well as roasted cauliflower, butternut squash, and carrots. The sauce was flavored with dried porcini mushrooms, wine, onions, and loads of garlic. It was fabulously saucy with layers of rich flavor.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit. Next time, I would prepare the components of the dish a day in advance, as much as possible. The potato topping would ideally be prepared in advance at the very least. This delicious dish was absolutely worth the work and the wait! Great.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

For the Topping:

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled
  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
  • about 3/4 to 1 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
  • coarse salt

For the Filling:

  • ¾ cup brown or French green lentils
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 17 garlic cloves, divided
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped (about 3-4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock (I incorporated 4 cups homemade Turkey Stock)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce or 2 tablespoons white miso
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 cups ½-inch pieces peeled fall/winter vegetables (such as squash, turnips, carrots, and parsnips) (I used 1 medium butternut squash, 1 head of cauliflower, & 2 carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed, halved
  • 2 4-inch sprigs rosemary
  • 10 oz (about 2 cups) bite-size pieces mixed fresh mushrooms (I used sliced cremini & white button mushrooms)
  • ¼ cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, chives, and sage)

To Make the Topping:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°, preferably on convection.
  2. Bake potatoes on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet until tender, about 40 minutes for the gold potatoes and 1 hour for the russet potatoes.
  3. Let cool slightly, then peel.
  4. Press potatoes through a ricer, food mill, or colander into a large bowl.
  5. Add butter; stir until well blended.
  6. Stir in milk until desired consistency is achieved.
  7. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.

DO AHEAD: Potatoes can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool, press plastic wrap directly onto potatoes, and chill.

To Prepare the Lentils:

  1. Combine lentils, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp salt, and 4 cups water in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender but not mushy, 15–25 minutes.
  3. Drain lentils and discard garlic. Set aside.

To Make the Sauce:

  1. Soak dried porcini in 3 cups hot water; set aside.
  2. Heat 3 T olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. (I used an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
  3. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add 10 cloves of chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until tomato paste is caramelized, 2–3 minutes.
  6. Add bay leaves and wine; stir, scraping up any browned bits.
  7. Stir in porcini, slowly pouring porcini soaking liquid into pan but leaving any sediment behind.
  8. Bring to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  9. Stir in broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  10. Strain mixture into a large bowl with a spout. Discard the solids.
  11. Wipe Dutch oven clean and returned strained sauce to pot; bring to a boil. (I had 5 cups of strained sauce.)
  12. Stir cornstarch and 3 T water in a small bowl to dissolve.
  13. Add cornstarch mixture to hot sauce; simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  14. Whisk in soy sauce/miso.
  15. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To Make the Vegetable Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Toss vegetables and pearl onions with remaining 2 T oil, 6 garlic cloves, and rosemary sprigs in a large bowl or on 2 parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheets; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide evenly between the 2 rimmed baking sheets. Roast, stirring once, until tender, 20–25 minutes.
  4. Transfer garlic cloves to a small bowl; mash well with a fork and stir into sauce.
  5. Discard rosemary.

DO AHEAD: Lentils, sauce, and vegetables can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill.

To Finish the Dish:

  1. Arrange lentils in an even layer in a 3-qt. baking dish; set dish on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Toss roasted vegetables with fresh mushrooms and chopped herbs; layer on top of lentils.
  3. Pour sauce over vegetables.
  4. Spoon potato mixture evenly over. Swirl decoratively.
  5. Bake at 425°, preferably on convection, until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking process.
  6. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

I’m sharing my St. Patrick’s Day feast at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #163 this week. Enjoy!!

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Four Years Ago:

Salmon with French Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter

This may need to become a gold standard dinner party dish. (I really need to have more dinner parties!!) It was healthy (maybe?), elegant, and absolutely delicious. We ate it for Easter dinner this year- the salmon was very flavorful and everyone was begging for more lentils. What a great crowd! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Gourmet, contributed by Shelley Wiseman, via Epicurious.com. I increased the amount of leeks. We ate it with Asparagus and Fava Beans with Toasted Almonds. Wonderful!

Yield: Serves 6

For the Mustard-Herb Butter:

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
  • 3 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

For the Lentils:

  • 1 1/2 cups French green lentils
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 medium to large leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the Salmon:

  • 6 (6-ounce) pieces skinless salmon fillet (I portioned a 2-ish pound salmon fillet)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Make mustard-herb butter:

  1. Stir together all ingredients with heaping 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

Cook the lentils:

  1. Bring lentils, water, and 1 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup cooking liquid, then drain lentils.
  3. While lentils cook, chop leeks, then wash and drain. Cook leeks in butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add lentils with reserved cooking liquid to leeks along with scant 5 tablespoons mustard-herb butter and cook, stirring, until lentils are heated through and butter is melted.
  5. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and keep warm, covered.

Sauté salmon while leeks cook:

  1. Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper (total).
  2. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sauté salmon, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.
  3. Serve salmon, topped with remaining mustard-herb butter, over lentils. (I placed the mustard-herb butter over the warm fish on the plates prior to serving.)

Notes:

  • Mustard-herb butter can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Soften at room temperature before using (1 hour).
  • Lentils can be cooked (but not drained) 1 day ahead and chilled in cooking liquid, covered (once cool).

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Khatti Dal (Sour Lentils), Hyderabad-Style

IMG_7091

I have finally completed my mission to make all four types of dal described in the New York Times article “New York Dals.” This last one, Khatti Dal, may have been the fastest to make. I did not have the toor dal (yellow lentils) called for in the recipe and substituted chana dal (split chickpeas).  Once again, I used a balloon whisk as a stand-in for an Indian mathani to puree the dal; the resulting dish had a little more texture than the others. The “sour” comes from the addition of lime juice or tamarind concentrate- nice! This recipe is from the New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. I doubled the recipe (to ensure plenty of leftovers), and served it over brown basmati rice with green salad (instead of sautéed spinach) and naan on the side. Delicious vegetarian comfort food- I am ready to start the rotation over again!  🙂

Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: about 4 servings
  • 1 cup yellow lentils (toor dal) or chana dal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon green chili or jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup tamarind concentrate or 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil, or other neutral oil such as grape seed
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (1-2 cloves)
  • 12 curry leaves (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Combine the dal, turmeric, chili, salt and 4 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles aggressively and steadily and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
  2. Add the tamarind concentrate and 1/2 cup additional water, and let bubble for another minute. Turn off the heat. Use an Indian mathani (or whisk) to purée the dal for about 1 minute; the dal should be saucy but not soupy. IMG_7084
  3. To make the tadka, heat the oil in a small saucepan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cover the pan; let the seeds pop and sizzle. When the popping begins to subside, add the garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 15 seconds. Add the curry leaves, if you’re using them. Cover the pan (to prevent spattering) and cook for about 10 seconds, allowing flavors to meld.
  4. Pour the tadka into the dal; stir gently to combine. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

One Year Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

French Green Lentil & Beet Salad with Orange-Mustard Vinaigrette

IMG_4978

My husband was on vacation last week and really wanted to grill a steak (for himself!) for dinner. When he made his special (out of the ordinary – for us) dinner, I made this special lentil salad for my dinner. 🙂 He ate it as a side dish too. I had orange beets from my CSA share to include in the salad, although red beets may have added more contrast in the finished dish. We ate the beet greens sautéed with CSA Swiss chard and leeks on the side. This recipe was adapted from Saveur. The dressing has a bright, wonderful flavor; I substituted Herbs de Provence for lavender.

  • 3/4 to 1 pound beets, scrubbed clean
  • 7 T olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups French green lentils
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice (about 6 Valencia oranges)
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (1/8″ mandolin)
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Rub beets with 2 T olive oil, salt, and pepper in a 8″-square baking dish and cover with foil; cook until tender, about 1 hour on convection roast. Let cool, then peel beets and chop; set aside.
  2. Bring lentils, bay leaves, and 4 cups of water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until tender but not mushy, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain, discarding liquid and bay leaves.
  3. Toast mustard seeds in a 10″ or 12″ skillet over medium-high heat until they begin to pop, 1-2 minutes. Add juice; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add Herbs de Provence.; cook until juice is reduced to about 1/2 cup, 20-30  minutes. Whisk in honey and remaining 5 T oil.
  4. Add beets, lentils, red onion, salt and pepper; toss to combine. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

Warm Lentil Salad with Seared Tuna & Fresh Herb Vinaigrette

IMG_4244

This was a wonderful dinner salad to serve using my abundance of CSA salad greens. The herb vinaigrette was terrific. My son wanted seconds of the lentils!! 🙂 I believe that the original source for this recipe was the Chicago Tribune (I have had the recipe for a LONG time). I used brown lentils, red and green romaine lettuce, radicchio, and parsley with a little bit of basil in the vinaigrette. A healthy and quick dinner.

Serves: 3 to 4 as a main course

  • 1 cup lentils, preferably French green lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 1/2 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley and basil (or mint, if desired)
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh tuna
  • 6 ounces mixed salad greens
  1. Combine lentils, bay leaf and water in a medium saucepan. Add 1 1/2 tsp of the salt; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer until lentils are barely tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, chop and combine the shallot, herbs, vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper to taste in a mini-food processor. Add the olive oil and combine. Set aside.
  3. Combine the remaining salt with about 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper. Season tuna on both sides with this mixture.
  4. Place a non-stick grill pan or lightly oiled skillet over high heat. Sear tuna about 2 minutes (or less) on each side. Transfer to a warmed plate.
  5. Toss the greens with about 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette. Combine drained lentils with remaining vinaigrette.
  6. Portion greens among 3-4 serving plates; pile the lentils on top. Slice tuna into thin strips; fan out over the lentils.

Lebanese One-Pot Mujadara with Spring Greens

IMG_4047

I love lentils and I love vegetarian comfort food from other countries. One of my favorite comfort foods are dals from India. Like dal, this Lebanese dish is bean (lentil) based and is really flavorful. Unlike dal, this is dish is very quick to make. It was my first mujadara, a great variation with the addition of fresh greens, the recipe from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used to be adverse to keeping white rice in my pantry, but when making a one-pot dish it is much more foolproof to use white rather than brown rice. The increased cooking time required for the brown rice could result in mushy lentils.

This dinner also became a wonderful CSA box in one meal. We ate this dish with roasted beets, carrots and fennel on the side, as well as with hummus (made with CSA parsley) and flatbread. I used beet greens and chard for the spring greens in the main dish (I also increased the amount). Healthy, quick, flavorful, and good. It would be nice with a dollop of greek yogurt on top.

TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes
YIELD: 6 to 8 servings
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, roots trimmed
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt, more as needed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup long-grain rice (I used white basmati rice)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cups trimmed and chopped spring greens (chard leaves, spinach, kale, mustard or a combination)(I used 6-8 cups chard and beet greens)
1.
Place lentils in a large bowl and add warm tap water to cover by 1 inch. Let soak.
2.
Meanwhile, halve leeks lengthwise; run under warm water to release any grit. Thinly slice leeks crosswise.
3.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer half the leeks to a bowl to use for garnish and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
4.
Stir garlic into the pot with the remaining leeks and cook for 15 seconds until fragrant. Stir in rice and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in cumin, allspice and cayenne; sauté 30 seconds.
5.
Drain lentils and stir into pot. Add 4 1/4 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Rinse greens in a colander and spread damp leaves over lentil mixture. Cover and cook 5 minutes more, until rice and lentils are tender and greens are wilted. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with reserved crispy leeks.

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