Lentil Soup in a Homemade Veggie Broth

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February 9, 2014 By

It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Central Florida. After a rainy, disgusting week, it’s sunny and beautiful, with a high of 71 degrees. Oh Florida, it’s great to have you back!

After a stellar morning involving a morning run, yoga in the park, and some partner yoga with my best friend, I came home wanting a great lunch. We haven’t had a big grocery run in about a week, and we need to clear out the ripe veggies in the fridge to make way for the new ones. “Perfect for soup!” I thought.

Much to my dismay (initially), I realized that my stash of vegetable bouillon was all gone. What started out as a soupy defeat quickly turned into a chance to be creative. I didn’t have an hour to simmer my veggies to make stock (who does?), so I decided to use the same approach as I did to make my instant cashew cream: mill it up!

In order to successfully make this soup, you’ll need a really powerful food processor, or some type of milling device. If not, you’ll end up with a chunky broth, and nobody wants that.

This soup was tasty, quick, fridge-clearing, packed with nutrition, and didn’t take a lot of ingredients!

 

Lentil Soup in a Homemade Veggie Broth

Prep and Cook Time: 20 minutes combined

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

Broth:

  • 2 cups ripe tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes that were getting a bit wrinkly)
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbs sea salt
  • 1 cup water

Other Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of organic lentils, strained and rinsed
  • 8oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup white onion, chopped
  • 4oz quinoa pasta – OPTIONAL – (I used Ancient Harvest Garden Pagoda quinoa pasta)

 

STEP 1: Create the broth.

Prep your stove by setting your pot on medium-low heat. That way, when your broth is ready, you can make it instantly hot.

Take the broth ingredients, except the water and salt, and put them in your food processor. Mill those ingredients together until it has become completely smooth liquid.

Once your veggies are smooth, pour your soup onto the pot. Add the water and salt.

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STEP 2: Strain and rinse your lentils.

Add the lentils to the pot.

Why the canned lentils? I’ve tried raw lentils a countless amount of times through soaking, simmering, adding baking soda, and a combination of all three. No matter what I did, I couldn’t ever seem to get my lentils to be that puffy, soft consistency. They would ALWAYS turn out a bit crunchy. I finally gave in and bought organic lentils, and I haven’t looked back since! It doesn’t hurt that they’re also quick and easy.

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STEP 3 (optional)Prepare the pasta.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add in 4oz of quinoa pasta to boiling water, allowing the pasta to boil for 6 minutes. Strain and add to the pot when ready.

 

STEP 4: Add chopped veggies to the pot.

While the pasta water is heating up, increase the stove to medium heat. Chop the onion and mushrooms and add the two to the pot. Cover with a lid until you add in the pasta, about 6-8 minutes.

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STEP 5: Ready to eat!

We prepared Schar Gluten-free Ciabatta Rolls to dip into our soup.

By the way, it’s REALLY difficult to get a great picture of soup. Here is my best attempt.

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Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Hummus Pizza with Cucumber Cream Sauce

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February 9, 2014 By

After a year of veganism, I have grown to see pizza in a new light.

I’ve never been a huge fan of a ton of cheese on my pizza. In fact, I used to peel the cheese off 90% of the time. Nonetheless, at the beginning of my vegan journey, the thought of pizza without cheese forever seemed a bit tragic.

I tried to go the vegan “cheeze” route, but that was just a grave disappointment. I hate cheeze. You might melt, but you’re not cheese and you never will be, so please just stop.

Finally, I started experimenting with different base sauces. At that point, I finally felt like I had gotten somewhere! No longer does pizza require a tomato base and a cheesy topping. In fact, it’s a lot more interesting, eco-friendly, and humane without it. I’ve tried a refried bean base, garlicky coconut milk base, oil & garlic base, and now, a hummus base.

I can’t take credit for the entire thing. I had help from my sister’s boyfriend, Adam, who happens to be a chef.  He gave me some great tips to help give this pizza the wow factor.

Oh, and before you begin, just know that making this pizza is somewhat of a circus act. Between the homemade GF pizza crust (optional), pan-fried chickpeas, cucumber cream sauce, and the normal veggie-chopping prep, you’ll be preparing and cooking several things at one time, so an extra set of hands would be ideal. Don’t let it discourage you, though; this great-tasting pizza is totally worth it!

By the way, having cute pets in the kitchen always makes the cooking process more enjoyable.

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The big little sister.

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The little big brother.

 

Hummus Pizza

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 2-4

 

Ingredients

GF Crust: Bob’s Red Mill’s website provides my favorite GF pizza crust recipe here.

If you plan on using the recipe above, you’ll need the following

  • 2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Warm Water
  • 1 tbs flax seed, combined with 3 tbs warm water
  • 1 Tb Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 cups GF All Purpose Baking Flour
  • 2 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

Pan-Fried Chickpeas:

  • 4 tbs GF All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 can (or 7.5 oz) of organic chickpeas, rinsed and damp
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs coconut oil (for the pan)

Cucumber Cream Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup cashews, milled
  • 1 cup cucumber, pureed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Other Ingredients:

  • 8oz of your favorite hummus
  • 2 cups portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup spinach leaves, chopped

 

STEP 1: Prep the pizza crust.

If you’re making the GF pizza crust, follow the directions here. Once you allow the crust to rise, or when you’re putting the GF pizza crust in the first time (to solidify), you can get started with the other prep  work.

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STEP 2: Prepare the chickpeas.

Put the chickpeas in a strainer and rinse. Place the GF all purpose flour, salt, and pepper in a sandwich baggie. Here’s the fun part; place the damp chickpeas in the bag, seal, and shake it up! It’s satisfying to see them coated so perfectly. From there, throw the coconut oil on a skillet with the chickpeas and cook at medium heat for 20-30 minutes, shaking the chickpeas around often.

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The crispity, crunchy finished product.

STEP 3: Make the cucumber cream sauce.

To make the cucumber cream sauce, start with milling the cashews.

I’ve tried soaking cashews overnight to make cream sauces before, but for this last-minute cooking girl, it wasn’t an ideal situation. Not only that, but my soaked cashew result left me with cashew chunks in my cream, which was less than desirable. I found out that by milling the cashews to a pulp using the milling blade on my NutriBullet, I achieved a smooth, creamy finish instantly.

Once you mill the cashews, set aside. Puree the cucumbers until liquidy smooth. After that, mix the cucumber juice, cashews, salt, pepper, lemon juice, agave nectar, and lime juice together. When that’s all done, place your concoction in the refrigerator until your pizza is ready.

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Powdery goodness!

Powdery goodness!

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STEP 4: Cook the vegetable toppings.

Place the onions on a skillet with medium heat and the olive oil and cook for 1 or 2 minutes. After that, mix in your portobellos for about 5-8 minutes. Actually, the 5-8 minutes is an estimate, as I unprofessionally didn’t keep track. Squirtce on top of the mushrooms as they are cooking. Cook the mushrooms until they look like the picture below. They should be juicy and browned. Add in the minced garlic 2 minutes before you take the mushrooms off the heat. Oh, and don’t forget to squeeze lemon juice on them as they’re cooking.

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STEP 5: Prep the pizza crust for final cook.

Once you’re done prepping the mushrooms, phase 1 of the GF crust should be completed. Spread the hummus as the base, place the mushroom/onion/garlic on the pizza, and place in the oven. The pizza should stay in the oven until the crust has turned golden brown.

By the way, I bought this cheap, local hummus from Whole Foods. Basil and Tomato hummus? It doesn’t get much better than that.

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Hummus pizza in its pre-oven state.

STEP 6: Chop up raw vegetables (if you haven’t done so already).

While your pizza is in the oven, chop up your remaining veggies.

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The crust is golden, and soon, you will be, too. Take out that pizza and put the chickpeas and fresh veggies on top. Retrieve the cucumber cream, and by the spoonful, drizzle the cream on top until you’re satisfied. We like our pizza nice and wet, so at a glance, it looks pretty bizarre… bizarrely delicious, that is.

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Yum! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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