Easy Vegan Thai Sweet Basil & Coconut Lentils

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Lentils are cheap, versatile, comforting & good for you.   These can be made thick & served over a grain (like Basmati rice) or made a bit thinner & served as a soup.  They freeze well, too, so why not make a fuckton – like I did – and freeze a bunch for lazy days in the future?

I used sweet basil from Bangluck Thai market in Hollywood but hot basil or regular basil will do.  Were I to make this again – I would double the basil quantity.  I used a small amount of coconut milk in this so keep it lighter & less fattening but more coconut milk would make this creamier & yummier.  I also used a combination of lentils & dal & mung beans – seen below.  You can use all one kind or any combo you have handy.

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Easy Vegan Thai Sweet Basil & Coconut Lentils

Makes a large pot full

INGREDIENTS

Coconut oil

5 cups lentils (or dal or mung beans)

1 onion – diced

2 jalapenos – chopped (optional)

1-8 garlic cloves (to taste) – minced

1-2 TBS minced ginger

5 ounces (or more) coconut milk (a 15 oz can would not be too much – I just kept it light)

2 TBS rice vinegar

6 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

8 or more cups vegetable stock

1-2 cups fresh basil

GARNISH – cooked rice & more basil

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DIRECTIONS

Melt 1 or more TBS of coconut oil (or other cooking oil) in a large stock pot.  Add the onions & jalapenos & saute until soft.  Stir in the garlic & ginger for a minute & then add everything else – (except the fresh basil) – starting with only about 6 cups of the stock.  Bring to a boil & reduced heat to low.  Cover & simmer for 30-60 minutes or until your lentils are soft.  I used & immersion blender & mashed about 25% of the lentils.  Not necessary.  Add more stock for a thinner dish or a soup.  Heat it down if it is too thin.

Stir in the fresh basil & serve with additional basil as garnish.  Serve as it is or over cooked rice.

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Vegan Potato, Leek, Fennel & Turnip Soup with Carrots & Pepitas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This soup is very easy & guiltless & comforting & delicious.  I roasted the turnips because I was roasting other veggies & just included them.  Once they were done, I though – why not add them to this soup.  You could roast all the veggies n this soup first, if you wanted to, but that is not necessary.  There is enough flavor going on without that extra step.  The vegetables I used were random & included simply because I had them around.  You can add or delete ingredients according to your taste or what you have handy.

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Vegan Potato, Leek, Fennel & Turnip Soup with Carrots & Pepitas

Makes about 8 cups

INGREDIENTS

3 TBS vegan butter

1 large fennel bulb – chopped (reserve some fronds for garnish)

1 large leek – sliced

1 zucchini – sliced

2 celery stalks – chopped (reserve a few celery leaves for garnish

3 large potatoes – peeled & cubed

3 small turnips – chopped

4 carrots – sliced

4 cups vegetable stock

2 TBS fresh oregano (plus maybe a bit extra for garnish)

2 TBS fresh thyme (plus maybe a bit extra for garnish)

Vegan milk (I used unsweetened almond milk) – maybe a cup or so

S&P

Pepitas as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

I like a few chunks in my pureed soups so – if you do, too – take one carrot & one potato (both cubed) & boil until soft.  Drain & set aside.

If you want the soup completely pureed – skip that step.

Heat the butter in a large stock pot.  Add the chopped, raw veggies & saute until soft.  Add the stock & herbs (no need to chop the herbs) & bring to a boil.

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Very carefully, in batches, blend the soup smooth.  I added just enough almond milk to each batch so that it blended very smoothly.  Reheat.  Add the boiled carrots & potatoes.  Ladle into bowls & garnish with celery leaves or fennel fronds & some pepitas.  Add some cracked pepper.  Enjoy!

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Vegan Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut-Ginger Cream, Pistachios & Pomegranate Seeds

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This might – honestly – be the most delicious soup I have ever made and it is as easy as can be.  If you have a blender, food processor or immersion blender – you can wow the fuck out of your friends with this glorious, autumnal, light & healthy, rich & creamy soup!  I used all the random veggies that I had wilting in my vegetable bins.  You can add or subtract ingredients but I gotta say – this baby is kinda perfect!  Very little added oil & chock full of veggie nutrients.  The Coconut- ginger cream is certainly optional but it adds a nice level.  The pistachios & pomegranate were for texture & color – but they can go with little impact on this soup.  If you are not vegan – stirring in a little goat cheese might be a nice touch.

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Vegan Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut-Ginger Cream, Pistachios & Pomegranate Seeds

Serves 4 very well

INGREDIENTS

3 medium sweet potatoes – sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

3 bell peppers – halved & seeded

1/2 onion (or a leek or some shallots) – peeled & cut in half

10 small carrots – ends trimmed

1 jalapeno (optional)

1 TBS fresh lemon juice (optional)

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp red (or other) curry powder (or curry paste)

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne

Several fresh thyme sprigs (or 1/2 tsp dry thyme)

4 cups vegetable stock

olive oil (or coconut or other oil)

S&P

Garnish – pistachios and pomegranate seeds (optional)

for the coconut-ginger cream

5.5 ounces coconut milk

1-3 TBS minced ginger (I used a squeezable kind) – or to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Toss the vegetables in a bit of olive oil & spread in a single layer on cooking sheets (covered with either foil sprayed with cooking spray or parchment paper).  Salt & pepper liberally.  Cook for about 30+ minutes or until the veggies are soft.  Some might need to come out earlier than others.  I cooked an extra sweet potato to put in my dogs’ food tonight.  They LOVE sweet potatoes.  The bell peppers should blacken a little bit.  When the peppers are done – either put them in a tightly-closed container or wrap them in foil to cool a bit.  This will make them sweat & the skins should peel off nicely under running water.  Do not worry if all the skin does not come off.

Meanwhile – combine the coconut milk & ginger – adding ginger in increments – until it tastes good to you.  Set aside.

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Once you can handle the veggies (not the sweet potatoes) – chop them a little bit.  Seed the jalapeno to make it less spicy.  I used the seeds.

Heat a little olive oil in a large stock pot & add the chopped veggies & sweet potato and garlic.  Stir to combine & then add stock & spices.  Squeeze in about a TBS lemon juice.  Bring to a boil & turn off heat.

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Puree the soup in batches or with an immersion blender.  I added about 1-2 cups of water to thin it enough to puree in the blender.  Season with S&P.

Serve garnished with coconut-ginger cream, pistachios & pomegranate seeds.

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Vegan Creamy & Healthy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Cauliflower

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This one is easy & healthier than you might guess – because both the pasta & the sauce are chock full of cauliflower.  No cream is used & you can control the ratio of pasta to cauliflower to suit your tastes & needs but the cauliflower in the sauce is a great way to get extra veggies into your kids.

I used fresh roasted red bell peppers but you can used jarred.  It is not difficult to roast them.

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Fresh Roasted Red Bell Peppers

Ingredients

Red bell peppers

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DIRECTIONS

Roast on a grill or on the burners of your stove (or in the over at 500 degrees for 30-40 minutes) – turning often until completely black on all sides.  Wrap in foil & allow to sweat a few minutes.  Under cold running water – slide the skin off the peppers & remove the stem & seeds.  Done!

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Vegan Creamy & Healthy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Cauliflower

Feeds 4

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil

1 large head cauliflower – cut into florets

3-5 red bell peppers (The more you use the stronger the flavor & brighter the color.  I used 3 in this.) – roasted & peeled as described above OR an equivalent jarred roasted peppers.

1 large leek – sliced & washed (or onion or shallots) – pat them dry to avoid splattering the oil

1-6 cloves garlic (to taste) – chopped

1 – 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh basil (plus extra for garnish)

Crushed red pepper to taste

S&P

1-2 TBS nutritional yeast (optional)

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan

12 oz pasta

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta, drain & set aside.

Meanwhile, boil the cauliflower 5-7 minutes – until soft.  Drain & set aside.

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In a very large saute pan, heat about 1 TBS olive oil & saute the leeks until soft.  Add crushed red pepper & garlic and saute another minute.

Put the leeks, about 1/2 the cauliflower florets, roasted red peppers, nutritional yeast, vegan Parmesan, fresh basil and s&p (to taste) into a blender or food processor.  Puree adding as much milk as you need to get the sauce to a consistency you like.

Return the sauce to the pan & add pasta & remaining cauliflower.  Heat through & season to taste.  Serve with basil as garnish.

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Spicy Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash & Celery Root Soup

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Lots of my recent recipes have been born from the need to use the vegetables that Farm Fresh to You sends me every two week.   I had a butternut squash and, you guessed it, celery root.  Two.  HUGE.  Celery roots.  I love celery root but there are not really that many ways to use it (it ain’t no cauliflower – that’s all I’m saying) – but this soup is a perfect way.  Creamy & light & guiltless.  I ate it for lunch at work for ten days straight.  I am certain it will freeze well – so if variety is the pice of your life – get ready to freeze some of this stuff.

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Spicy Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash & Celery Root Soup

Serves 10+ depending on portions

INGREDIENTS

1 large butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

2 large celery roots – peeled & cubed

1 onion

3 celery stalks – sliced

5 carrots – sliced

1 jalapeno – seeded & chopped (I did not seed mine & the soup was delightfully spicy!)

1-2 TBS dry sage (add it in increments)

10 cups vegetable stock

1 cup almond (or other vegan) milk (option – skip the milk & add more stock)

olive oil

S&P

GARNISH OPTIONS – fresh chopped sage, fried sage, a dollop of vegan sour cream or lots of freshly cracked pepper

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DIRECTIONS

Heat a glug or two (2-3 TBS) of olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add the onions, carrots, celery & jalapeno until the onions just start to turn color – just a bit.  Add everything else except the almond milk.  Bring to a boil & cook until the squash & other veggies are VERY soft.

Puree in a blender in batches – putting the puree into a clean pan.   When it is all smoothly pureed, season with S&P & stir in the almond milk – or more stock – if you think it needs it.  Heat through.

Serve with whatever garnish you choose.

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Cold Vegan Soba Noodles & Spiralized Cucumber Noodles with Avocado & a Light Peanut Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Ugh – I am just having a shit couple of weeks.  The details are all, individually, mainly minor annoyances, disappointments & slights but – combined – they pack a wallop.   Add this to the triple-digit heat & the fact that I have no AC & you get a very despondent girl, thick with over-indulgence, self-pity & slimy sweat.  Ugh.

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So – at 7 am – I decided to get cooking – before it got too hot to do so.  My first effort was a mushroom & baby kale tofu frittata.   It looks OK there in the pan but it was, ultimately, very thin (less than half an inch deep) and would not have photographed well – so I ate some & saved the rest to add to my dogs’ dinner tonight.

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Next up, I wanted to use some stale French bread I had – so I attempted 4 little vegan maple-walnut bread puddings.  They started off looking promising – no?  But, even though I cooked them for nearly an hour – they never got crusty & when I let them cool, they collapsed in their centers & looked as defeated as I feel.  I tasted one.  Tasted good but they were definitely a no-go for the blog.

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By this time is was officially sizzling outside & I still wanted to make a blog entry – so – cold noodles!  These are really easy, really fast, customizable & light.  I added only 1 TBS of peanut butter to what would make 2 good-sized servings.  You can see that the noodles are not heavy with sauce – critical in whether like this.   I also added a good portion of spiralized cucumber noodles to lighten it up even more.   You can get these together in ten minutes.  I reviewed two different spiralizers in my Vegan Sweet and Spicy Spiralized Cucumber Salad with Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes post but I recommend the less expensive hand held version seen below.

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Cold Vegan Soba Noodles & Spiralized Cucumber Noodles with Avocado & a Light Peanut Sauce

Serves 2 very well.

INGREDIENTS

8.8 oz soba noodles – cooked & drained & run under cold water (drizzle with sesame oil to keep them from sticking)

Sesame oil

1 hothouse cucumber – spiralized (or cut into think matchsticks)

1 TBS tamari

2 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS ponzu sauce (or 2 TBS tamari & juice of 1/4 lemon)

1 TBS peanut butter

1 tsp sriracha for heat (optional)

GARNISH OPTIONS – sliced scallions, sliced avocado, sliced jalapeno, sliced cucumber, sliiced red cabbage, black and/or white sesame seeds, lime wedges, cilantro, basil, chili flakes

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DIRECTIONS

Spiralize (or slice up) the cucumber.  Cook the noodles.  Drain & run under cold when done (drizzle with sesame oil to keep them from sticking).

Meanwhile, whisk the tamari, rice vinegar, ponzu sauce, peanut butter & sriracha (if using).

Toss everything together & garnish with your selections.  Serve.

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4-Ingredient Vegan Creamy Avocado Pasta with Broccoli

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is as easy as easy gets.  If you can boil water & mash an avocado – you are IN!  I made this the other day with olive oil & garlic & shallots but I prefer this easier & cleaner version.   And it is a great way to make dinner on a hot day (and it has been hideously humid here, lately) and not heat up the whole kitchen.

The quantities of each ingredient are really up to you.  You might like a fuckton of broccoli & a heavier avocado sauce – or not.  So – feel free to improvise.

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4-Ingredient Vegan Creamy Avocado Pasta with Broccoli

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta (I used that fresh stuff from the refrigerator section)

Broccoli (I used one large head)

1 large avocado

1/2 a lemon or lime

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Boil water.  I quartered my broccoli & basically boiled it for about 5 minutes & fished it out with a slotted spoon an set aside & then cooked the pasta in the same water as directed on the package.  If you like your broccoli more al dente or mushier – adjust the cooking time & test the broccoli every minute or so.

Mash the avocado with fresh lemon or lime juice – to taste.  Start light with the juice so it doesn’t overpower the avocado.  Season with S&P.  I tried this in my blender but there was not enough bulk for the blender to work so I just mashed it by hand.  I added a tiny bit of water to thin it into a thick sauce rather than a basic guacamole.

Cut the broccoli into florets.

Drain the pasta & toss with the broccoli & some avocado – maybe reserving some avocado to top the dish.

Season with S&P & serve!

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