This soup is simple, but delicious. It's excellent for the fall and winter seasons. The veggie sausage is optional, but highly recommended--it makes the soup much hardier. When served with bread, this soup makes for a great meal.
Ingredients (5-6 servings)
Add olive oil to a large pot and bring to medium heat. Add in the onion and cook for 3--5 minutes, until onions begin to become translucent. Add in the celery and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
Stir in the sweet potatoes and lentils, then add the veggie broth and diced tomatoes. Stir in the spices and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté the veggie sausage and kale stems.
When the soup has finished simmering, stir in the kale leaves and add the red wine vinegar. Cook for 3 more minutes, then add the sautéed veggie sausage and kale stems.
This recipe is a spin on the delicious Indian dish palak paneer, substituting the cheese for tofu. Despite the chili peppers, it has only a mild level of spiciness, and goes excellently with rice. I use a food processor to blend the ingredients with the boiled spinach, but a blender would work just as well.
Ingredients (4-5 servings)
Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil the spinach leaves for about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse the leaves, then set aside.
Dice the onion, garlic, ginger, tumeric, and chili pepper, then saute with the cumin seeds in coconut oil over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Then add the diced tomato and cook for ~5 minutes, letting the tomato break down. Remove heat and let the ingredients cool before transferring to a food processor, along with the spinach, and blending to a puree.
In the pan, add some more oil and the rest of the spices and the salt. Then add the spinach paste and coconut cream. Simmer for ~5 minutes before adding to tofu (see below) and serving.
For the tofu: Preheat the oven to 400 F. After pressing the tofu bricks of liquid, cut them into bite-sized cubes and toss them with 2 teaspoons of salt, nutritional yeast, and black pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Mix the tofu with the rest of the dish before serving.
This is a recipe I've been making for years, but I only recently started cooking the chickpeas in the oven along with the red bell pepper. The capers, paprika, vinegar, and mint in this recipe give it a piquant quality that pairs well with the earthiness of the chickpeas and the sweetness of the pepper.
Ingredients (Servings: 5)
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and pour a little bit of olive oil on it. Preheat an oven to 400 F.
Cut the tops off the peppers, then cut in half lengthwise. Press down to flatten, brush the skins with olive oil, and place on the covered baking sheet, skin side facing up.
Drain the chickpeas, then toss with olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and lots of pepper. After coating, spread the seasoned chickpeas out on a separate baking sheet. Place both sheets in the oven. After 30 minutes, remove the peppers, but continue roasting the chickpeas for an additional 10-15 minutes, and allow the peppers to cool during this time.
After the peppers have cooled, press them of any liquid (use something heavy to set on top of them; I like to use my tofu press). If possible, try and capture the juices from the red bell peppers to use in the dressing in place of olive oil. Once the peppers have been pressed, chop them and toss them with the chickpeas, parsley, mint, and capers. Mix the dressing ingredients together, and add the dressing to the salad, mixing well.
Makes for a great summer dish!
This is a healthy, wholesome, warm, filling, and delicious dish that has Moroccan, North African, or Spanish vibes. The cinnamon gives a hint of sweetness to the tomatoes, while the chickpeas and eggplants each retain their texture and distinctiveness, so you get a full bouquet of flavors. The recipe is straightforward so I will link to it below. Medium difficulty to make as it involves several steps, but not hard. Essentially the eggplant is first baked on its own so it gets very creamy and a bit smokey. Then you simmer up some tomato sauce, then combine the eggplant, tomato and chickpeas into a 9x13 pan.
Here for the full recipe.
Notes: It makes 6 to 8 servings (the recipe says 4 to 6 but to eat 1/4 of this would be crazy). Also I think its not necessary to bake for 30 minutes, I felt it was super great at 20 minutes.
Super great served over couscous!
Roasted... chicken? I thought Sean was a hardcore vegetarian?
Well, I'm about 95% vegetarian. A couple times a year, we buy a whole chicken, or some bacon or sausage or lamb, from the farmers market. So, once every month or two, we'll cook a meat based meal. And this meal is a great way to make that meat go a long ways, and to share its flavor with the veggies.
Roast chicken might seem like an intimidating meal- isn't it much easier to grab a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store? What if I undercook it/ overcook it?
After a few tries now, I find that roasting a chicken on a bed of veggies is one of the easiest to prepare meals. It takes really about 15-20 minutes of prep time, and you get 6 or so one person meals out of it (plus the stock, if you use the bones to make a soup, but we'll leave that for another time).
There are lots of recipes that give instructions by the pound for cook time, and I've found that its pretty forgiving in terms of ten minutes plus or minus. If you are baking in the range of 350 to 375, it seems to be about 20 min per pound. Some recipes add a blast of heat at the beginning or end, I suppose for added crispiness. I took from this recipe.
-one chicken, preferably free range, about 4 pounds
-lots of rosemary, oregano- like several six inch branches of oregano. If using dried, at least a couple tablespoons of each.
-lots of salt and pepper
-five to ten large carrots
-seven to ten medium size (tennis ball or so) thin skin potatoes
-one or two small to medium onions (yellow)
Cut up the potatoes and carrots and onions to bite size pieces. Place these in a 9x13 metal pan. We use a non-stick Calphalon pan. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and several teaspoons of salt and a lot of fresh ground pepper and a sprinkle of rosemary and mix well with your fingers or a spatula.
Preheat the oven to 425 to 450. Defrost the bird thoroughly in the fridge (it takes 2 days). If its damp, you can pat it down with a paper towel. Stretch the bird out just a bit by pulling gently on the legs and wings. Place the bird on top of the potatoes and carrots. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil all over the bird (some people prefer butter, that is fine too) and massage the bird well with your fingers. If using garlic, take a sharp knife and make 5 to 8 incisions anywhere in the bird (breast, thighs are good). Peel and slightly smash the garlic. Tuck the garlic in the incisions.
Now to season. Don't be shy with salt, or oregano or rosemary. Especially rosemary. Scatter all over the bird, massage this into the bird, and repeat.
The bird should be breast side up. Place in the center and roast for 20 minutes at 450.
Now, turn the heat down to 350. Roast for another hour or hour and 15 min. The potatoes and carrots should be starting to get soft. If they aren't, leave it in for a little longer.
IMPORTANT. When you take it out, let the bird rest for 15-20 min before carving. The meat relaxes, and does something magic with the proteins and juices which I don't understand. But everyone says wait, so just do it!
This is a simple, healthy, and delicious salad that's great for warmer weather (like what the lab has been experiencing in Chicago lately!).
Prepare the quinoa: bring the quinoa and 4 cups of water to a boil, then let simmer for 10-15 minutes uncovered.
Dice the cilantro and chop the green onions, saving both the green and white parts of the onion. If the cherry tomatoes are large, cut them into halves; otherwise, if they are bite-sized, just include them in the salad whole. For the dressing, whisk the olive oil, juice of 3 limes, cumin, red pepper flakes, and salt together.
Once the quinoa has finished, combine it with the black beans, tomatoes, and green onions. Add the dressing, toss, then add the cilantro. Can be served at room temperature or cold.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion starts to soften - this will take about 5 minutes. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, 1 teaspoon of salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes, and then add the sweet potato and cook for another minute.
Add the can of coconut milk stir with a wooden spoon, making sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the lentils, the full can of tomatoes, 4 cups of water, and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer. Cook for 20 - 25 minutes until the lentils are soft, stirring occasionally.
For serving, add chopped cilantro and lime wedges.
Background: I admit I'm a bit into baking sweets these days. It's partly that we're in the tail end of covid, and its the depth of winter, but its mostly that we had a broken oven for about 8 months in our new house, and I'm making up for lost time baking! I like to bring treats around the department every month or two. I <try> to make them semi healthy, so finding this recipe stocked with oats and seeds and half whole wheat was exciting! Its also somewhat low on sugar. I've shared with many people in the department and everyone has been a big fan. They are described as chewy, nutty, and light. I admit I can eat four in a row. This recipe comes from NYTimes and is not changed much from their recipe
Now, the official recipe uses a stand mixer but I don't have one and it can totally be done by hand. So I will explain it with that method. You need a fork, two bowls, and two baking sheets.
Mix flours and baking soda in one bowl.
In another bowl, add butter, and cut roughly with a fork into 8 or 10 chunks. Add sugar. Now you do what is called 'cream' the butter and sugar. You repeatedly press the sugar and butter down with a fork until the butter basically absorbs the sugar and is more creamy almost like a frosting.
Add egg and vanilla and cream/ mix more until they are incorporated.
Add flour/ baking soda mix to butter mix and mix with a fork. Use a gentle turning motion, turning and cutting the lump of butter until it incorporates the flour and becomes a dough and you don't see specks of flour. It should only take a minute or two, don't do this for a long time.
Add seeds, oats and chocolate chunks and mix in gently with just 5 or 10 turns of the fork- again don't overmix.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (better than aluminum foil- very easy to remove).
Spoon dough with a small spoon, form into rough ball about 3/4 inch across, and place 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake 14 to 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking if you want to make them all evenly cooked though it doesn't make much difference in modern ovens which typically have a fan.
Remove from oven and slide parchment off the baking sheet and onto a work surface. Allow cookies to cool for at least 20 minutes before storing in an airtight container.
With coconut milk, roasted peanuts, brown sugar, potatoes and carrots, this is a hearty and rich curry recipe that I find ideal during the colder seasons. Massaman curry is a Thai recipe with influences from the Indian subcontinent and other regions, and has been considered in the past to be one of the world's greatest dishes! Traditionally made with chicken, this version is vegetarian (and, depending on the curry paste, can be vegan--many curry pastes include shrimp, but a few do not). I love to serve this with brown rice and roasted peanuts on top--truly decadent!
- Austin K., Research Assistant
Ingredients (5 servings)
Peel the carrots and potatoes. Slice the carrots into rounds and dice the potatoes into bite-sized chunks. Peel the skin off of the shallots and slice into rounds.
For the tofu: Preheat the oven to 375 F. After pressing the tofu bricks of liquid, cut them into bite-sized cubes and toss them with 2 teaspoons of salt. Pan fry the cubes at medium-high heat in a high temperature oil (I like to use peanut oil) until sides are lightly browned. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 - 17 minutes.
For the curry: In a large pan, heat the coconut oil and fry the shallots at medium-low for about 2 minutes. Add the cumin and coriander and cook for a couple more minutes. Then add the curry paste, and, after stirring it into the shallots, add the potatoes and carrots. Cook for 2 more minutes, then add the cinnamon, coconut milk, soy sauce, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Mix to combine, bring to a simmer, and then allow the curry to cook for 10 minutes.
Add the tofu, then let the curry cook for another 5 minutes before adding the juice of two limes and Thai basil. Sprinkle the roasted peanuts and cilantro on top of the curry.
2 and 1/2 cups ripe mashed banana (4 to 5 small bananas)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup yogurt (or little less)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup rye flour
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (also ok to replace 1/4 cup of this with whole wheat)
1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
2 to 3 tbsp ground flax seed (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
several handfuls of crushed or chopped walnuts
half a chocolate bar, crumbled (optional)
I like to get the day going early in the morning, and sometimes I like a quick breakfast, even one that I can take on the road to eat when I get into the office. BUT most muffins are really not so healthy (hello, Panera). I have tried and super enjoyed a 'harvest muffin' which uses carrots, zucchini and apples here, and I've tried and enjoyed a blueberry buckwheat recipe here (I didn't succeed so well on this zucchini muffin recipe here). But this banana nut muffin is probably my favorite! And I really support eating bananas, especially organic ones (non organic bananas can be really harmful to the environment). I actually read a book years ago that shifted my thinking about bananas and food and environmental impact. Its called How Bad Are Bananas? and its about the carbon impact of different activities. Short message- local food is not always better for the environment.
I got this recipe from Food and Wine (here) and made small changes. This recipe uses a lot of bananas and you can really tell- its super moist and super flavorful. The rye is a neat side flavor, but doesn't dominate the taste. Make sure to use ripe or over-ripe bananas and mash them up really well. This is great for using half price brown bananas that some grocery stores have! I also suggest playing with the nuts you add- you could try hazelnuts or sunflower seeds, which I think would be a good match.
(1) Mash the bananas. Mix in the oil, yogurt, eggs, vanilla
(2) In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, rye flour, all purpose flour, flax seed, baking soda, salt.
(3) Mix wet and dry ingredients as minimally as possible- don't overmix!
(4) Mix in nuts and chocolate if desired
(5) Add to greased muffin tin
(6) Bake 15 to 19 minutes then let sit in muffin tin for 10 minutes before using small spatula to take them out