Categories
Soups Vegan Vegetarian

Body-Warming Thai Red Curry Noodle Soup with Veggies

Over the past few weeks, everyone in Colorado has been complaining about how unseasonably warm it has been this winter. All we have wished and hoped for is snow – lots of it. We have longed to ski, and sit under a blanket to watch TV, and eat warm soup. And obviously, we really want to break out our heavy sweaters, hats, and mittens. This week, our winter weather wishes were finally granted. It’s finally cold and snowy, and it’s pretty wonderful – mostly because I get to cook winter meals. 

Is there anything better than a hot meal after coming home from a snowy drive home from work? I think not. It doesn’t get much more soothing than this body-warming Thai red curry noodle soup with veggies. It’s jam-packed with tender noodles and immune-boosting veggies in a fragrant curry broth, making it ideal for blustery days like today that have, thankfully,  finally arrived for winter.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. avocado oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced

2 Tbsp. red curry paste

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

2 c. cabbage, shredded

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 15 oz. can of coconut milk

7 oz. rice noodles

2 Tbsp. fish sauce or vegan fish sauce

2 tsp. brown sugar

Salt to taste

Toppings:

Green onions, sliced

Cilantro, chopped

Lime juice

Sriracha sauce

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse them, and set aside. 

Heat the avocado oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the curry paste, garlic, and ginger and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the sweet potato cubes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Add the cabbage and continue to cook for another 2 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Stir to combine and heat through. Add salt.

Top with green onions, cilantro, lime juice, and sriracha sauce.

Categories
Salads Vegan Vegetarian

Vegan Chickpea and Avocado Salad

If you’re anything like me, you ate full force over the holidays and now it’s time to make better eating choices. Eating clean and healthy food doesn’t have to equal suffering, thankfully. Sometimes it’s even a huge relief to begin a healthy eating regimen after gorging yourself for a month – am I right?

This vegan chickpea and avocado salad is delicious and filling, and is a perfect back-to-work packable lunch that will help to clear out those heavy holiday foods from your body. I enjoy eating this salad wrapped up in large collard green leaves, but it also tastes great alone, on top of a green salad, or on a sandwich. Eat like this and you’ll shed some of those holiday pounds. No suffering required. 

Ingredients:

1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ avocado, diced

2 green onions, sliced

2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

2 Tbsp. Mexican crema or vegan sour cream

½  jalapeno or serrano pepper, chopped

1 tsp. cumin 

1 tsp. red chili powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

Squeeze of lime

Salt and pepper to taste

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place them in a bowl. Mash the chickpeas with a potato masher until they are mashed, but still a little chunky. Add the avocado and mash in with the chickpeas. Add the crema, green onions, cilantro, jalapeno, spices, and lime and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve on sandwich bread, inside of a collard green wrap, on a salad, or all alone!

Categories
Breakfast Vegetarian

French Onion Frittata

When I think about breakfast, the first thing that comes to mind definitely isn’t French onion soup. And while I find it more than acceptable to eat French onion soup for breakfast if that’s what your heart desires, this French onion frittata may fit the breakfast bill much better. 

This flavor-bomb breakfast frittata contains all of the best parts of French onion soup, from the gruyere to the caramelized onions to the bread, and makes for a savory, amazing meal that will surely allow you to start your day on a positive note. 

Best of all, this frittata is simple to make. Yes, I know, caramelized onions take time – but they can be made in advance and pulled out when you’re ready to enjoy your slow and lovely weekend brunch. Combine this with an arugula salad drizzled with shallot dressing, and everything will be perfect. 

Ingredients:

8 eggs 

⅓ c. heavy cream

1 tsp. herbes de Provence

2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. butter, unsalted

1 c. gruyere cheese, shredded

½ c. plain breadcrumbs

2 tsp. dried parsley

2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

First, you’ll need to make the caramelized onions (which is a bit time consuming, but worth it). Heat the butter over medium heat in a large, oven-safe skillet and add the onions. Cook them until they are starting to get soft. Lower the heat to low and continue cooking for 45-60 minutes, stirring periodically, until the onions are brown. Season with salt and herbes de Provence. Stir and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Heat another skillet over medium high heat and add the breadcrumbs, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Cook, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted. Set aside on a plate.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, cream, and salt and pepper. Whisk thoroughly.

Place the skillet containing the onions on the burner again and turn on the heat to medium. Spread out the onions evenly on the bottom of the pan. Top with ¾ c. gruyere and then pour the egg mixture on top of the onions and cheese. Sprinkle the top of the frittata with breadcrumb mixture and additional gruyere. Leave the skillet on the burner for about 2-3 minutes, or until the sides of the frittata are set. 

Place the skillet into the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the egg is completely set throughout the frittata. Serve warm with a green salad.

Categories
Vegetarian

Weeknight Veggie Yaki Udon

On those crazy-busy weeknights, many of us are tempted to order takeout or stop by a fast-casual noodle restaurant on the way home to grab something that is reasonably healthy and delicious. No judgement here. We all give into the temptation of not cooking sometimes, but this weeknight veggie yaki udon recipe can be ready in less time than it would take to grab a pre-made meal from a fast-casual restaurant across the street. 

In just 15 minutes or so, you can have a healthy, veggie-packed meal that is satisfying, yummy, and warm. While this meal seriously couldn’t be easier to whip up, it is so intensely savory and lip-smackingly scrumptious. So good, in fact, that I’m guessing you will find yourself reaching into the freezer for noodles more often instead of reaching for the phone to order out. 

Ingredients:

Noodles:

17 oz. frozen udon noodles, thawed, rinsed and drained

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 small onion, sliced

1 c. cabbage, shredded

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ c. carrot, shredded

8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced

3 green onions, chopped

Sesame seeds, for topping

Fried eggs, if desired

Sauce: 

2 Tbsp. oyster sauce

1 Tbsp. mirin

2 Tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tsp. honey or agave

1 Tbsp. water

2 tsp. chili sauce

Prepare the noodles according to package directions. 

Heat the sesame oil in a large wok over medium high heat. Cook the onions, cabbage, and carrots for 4-5 minutes, or until soft and beginning to turn brown. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for 1-2 more minutes. 

Add the noodles and toss. Add sauce, tossing and tasting, until the noodles are coated to your liking. Let the noodles cook for another minute so that the noodles can get a little firm and caramelized. Top with green onions, sesame seeds, and a fried egg, if desired.

Categories
Vegan Vegetarian

Aloo Palak (Spinach and Potato Curry)

Warm, satisfying, and comforting, aloo palak is a vegan favorite of Indian food lovers around the world for a reason. It’s absolutely delicious and incredibly healthy. This spinach-forward dish is a great way to squeeze in lots of extra greens into your diet. 

The really nice thing about this meal is that it is actually very filling and comforting, despite the fact that it packs in an entire pound of greens! The added spices and potatoes make this meal a winner for cold winter nights and will leave you feeling warm all over. 

While many people eat aloo palak as a side dish, I prefer it as a main dish served alongside warm naan and basmati and brown rice. An extra bonus is that leftover aloo palak tastes even better the next day. Next time you have extra spinach around, make this! 

Ingredients:

16 oz. spinach

1 large russet potato

1 medium onion, finely diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 inch piece of ginger, minced

1 large tomato, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. avocado oil

1 Tbsp. butter or ghee

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 serrano pepper, finely diced

1 tsp. coriander

2 tsp. cumin powder

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. red chili powder

1 tsp. garam masala

Salt to taste

Peel the potato and cut it into small cubes. Boil the cubes, along with salt, until they are tender. Drain and set aside. 

Process the spinach leaves in the food processor using the pulse function until they are very finely chopped. Set aside in a large bowl. 

Heat the avocado oil and butter in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the cumin seeds and stir for a few seconds, or until fragrant. Add the onion and cook until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the serrano, garlic, and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato and spices. Allow the mixture to cook for 3-4 minutes so the flavors can meld together. 

Add the spinach to the pan, along with about ¼ cup of water, and cook for 7-8 minutes, or until it is cooked through and most of the liquid is cooked off. Add the potatoes and stir to mix. 

Season with salt to taste and enjoy topped with yogurt, if desired, and serve with rice, naan, or roti.

Categories
Pork

Sweet-Garlicky Clementine and Milk-Braised Carnitas

If you’re a carnitas fan like me, it’s highly unlikely that you ever really tire of eating those tender, yet crispy morsels of heaven. You probably have a favorite recipe you use, and if it ain’t broke you don’t want to fix it, right? I get it, I do. But why not expand your carnitas horizon just a little?

With this recipe for sweet-garlicky clementine and milk-braised carnitas, the amazing pork morsels you love are still front and center, but with a fun and different spin. The milk tenderizes the pork as it cooks, resulting in a lovely tenderness that just cannot be explained. The plentiful incorporation of clementines makes these carnitas shine with a citrusy, tropical flavor. And the presence of lots of garlic, well . . . no explanation needed. It’s just delicious.  

Ingredients:

3 lb. pork shoulder 

5 clementines, halved

8 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 c. chicken broth

2 c. whole milk

⅓ c. olive oil

1 Tbsp. fresh oregano

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours, or until the pork is tender and can easily be shredded with a fork. 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cook the pork for 5-10 minutes, or until it gets a caramelized, crispy layer on top. Don’t be tempted to skip this step! Remove the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Categories
Sides Vegetarian

Savory Ancient Grains with Sweet Potato, Kale and Goat Cheese

Traditional Thanksgiving side dishes are amazing, I’m not gonna lie, but sometimes it’s good to mix it up a bit. This delightfully warm, healthy dish featuring savory ancient grains, sweet potato, kale, and goat cheese combines all of fall’s loveliest ingredients into one eye-and-palate-pleasing side dish that is sure to wow your guests. 

If mixing up Thanksgiving sides isn’t your jam, this lovely dish makes a wonderful side to any meal or is equally good served up as a main dish for a healthy, hearty lunch. However you choose to serve this, it will make you feel thankful. 

Ingredients:

¾ c. ancient grains, uncooked

1 ½ c. chicken broth or vegetable broth

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

2 c. kale, torn into bite-sized pieces

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Juice from ½ lemon

4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the diced sweet potatoes on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until soft and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside. 

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, cook the ancient grains according to package directions using the chicken broth in place of water. 

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the kale and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Set aside. 

In a large serving bowl, mix together the ancient grains, sweet potatoes, and kale. Toss to combine. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the goat cheese crumbles. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine and serve warm. 

Categories
Fish/Seafood

Poached Chilean Sea Bass in Saffron-Infused Broth

Are you looking for a solid recipe for a fancy date night or dinner party in? Have you reached the “I really want to impress you” point in your relationship and you want to make a dinner that is so perfectly divine that your date will be in awe of your skills? Do you want your friends to think you’re a genius in the kitchen?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you’re in luck, because this poached Chilean sea bass in saffron-infused broth is legendary. Yes, this meal is a bit spendy due to the cost of sea bass and saffron, but what’s a few extra dollars between friends (or more)? 

This utterly lovely meal is quick and simple to prepare, but very impressive when it comes to presentation and complex flavors. I like pairing this sea bass with rice or potatoes, a baguette (to soak up any amazing leftover broth), and a fresh vegetable like asparagus. It’s pretty much a perfect meal, so why stop the spendiness there? Thrown in an extra-nice bottle of wine and you’ve got yourself one awesome night in.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2-3 shallots, thinly sliced

4 fillets fresh Chilean sea bass

¾ c. cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 c. dry white wine

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. saffron threads

2 c. chicken or fish broth

3 green onions, sliced

Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Pat the sea bass fillets dry and season with salt and pepper on all sides.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft. Add the wine and simmer at medium low heat until reduced by half or so. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, chicken broth, and saffron and simmer for 5 more minutes.  Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. 

Place the sea bass fillets in the saffron broth, cover the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes. Turn the fish over carefully and cook for another 2 minutes (or until fish easily flakes with a fork. 

Serve the fillets in shallow bowls with a generous serving of broth. Top with green onions and serve hot.

Categories
Vegan Vegetarian

Takeout-Style Veggie Lo Mein Noodles

Next time you’re craving Chinese takeout, try to remember that this recipe exists. Before you pick up the phone to order delivery, stop and think. Do you really want to spend money ordering something that you can make yourself that will (seriously) taste every bit as delicious as the lo mein from your neighborhood Chinese restaurant AND will be ready in less time than the delivery person could possibly make it to your house?  Of course not, silly! 

This takeout-style lo mein is so yummy and is packed with healthy veggies. The noodles are bathed in a truly delicious sauce, and these lo mein noodles genuinely taste just like the ones you get at Chinese restaurants, thanks to the dark soy sauce and hefty dose of garlic and ginger. Don’t skip the dark soy sauce. It’s one of the Chinese cooks’ best secrets. Enjoy!

Ingredients:  

Noodles:

1 8 oz. package of lo mein noodles or vegan lo mein noodles

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 bunch green onions, sliced

½ c. shredded carrots

2 c. cabbage, chopped

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

Sauce:

2 Tbsp. dark soy sauce

1 Tbsp. light soy sauce

2 tsp. sriracha sauce (or more if you like)

1 inch knob of ginger, minced

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. sugar

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cold water (to prevent sticking), drain and set aside. 

Mix all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the sesame oil over medium high heat in a large wok or skillet. Add the bell pepper, cabbage, and carrots and cook until they are soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the green onions and cook for about 2 more minutes. 

Add the noodles to the wok and pour in the sauce. Cook, tossing and mixing continuously, until the garlic and ginger are fragrant. Serve immediately!

Categories
Soups

Soul-Warming Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham Soup

Split pea soup with ham is one of those meals that reminds you of the good old days when you’d come inside from playing in the snow and your mama would have a big, steaming bowl of deliciousness waiting for you. Split pea soup is not only tasty and comforting, it truly warms your body from the inside out. And since it’s officially soup season, this soup is currently top of mind in my world. 

This recipe for slow cooker split pea soup with ham couldn’t be any easier to make. All of the ingredients are thrown into the slow cooker and in just a few hours – voilà – you have a soul-warming soup that will surely bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your tummy. 

Ingredients:

1 lb. dried split peas

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

6 c. chicken broth

1 ham bone or 2 c. ham, diced

Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste

Place all ingredients, except for the salt and pepper, into a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. 

If you used a ham bone, remove it from the soup and shred the meat before adding it back into the slow cooker. Season the soup with salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste and serve warm.