Curried Sweet Potato Soup

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For this being only the second week of spring it has been dark and gloomy. I understand it has to rain in order for “April showers [to] bring May flowers,” but does it have to make everything seem so sad?

I was hoping to celebrate spring outdoors instead of camping in my living room. It was nice the first couple of days cuddling up with my pug, Pickle, and reading Garlic and Sapphires, but now I want some sunshine damnit!

If there’s a sliver lining in all this it’s this soup. It’s not only flavorful and colorful, but simple to make using only a few ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 small white onion diced
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1.5 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of paprika for garnish

Directions

In a medium sauté pan warm the oil and add the diced onion. Cook until translucent- adding the chopped garlic towards the end. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium stock pot add the 3 cups of water and sweet potatoes and bring to a boil.  Add more water if the sweet potatoes are not submerged. Once boiling reduce to medium heat and cook an additional 20-25mins.

The sweet potato should be tender at this time so remove from heat, drain, and place in a separate bowl to cool for 10mins. Once cooled, transfer to a blender or food processor and and add the onions garlic mixture, milk, curry powder, garam masala, turmeric, and salt to taste. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture back into the stock pot and cook on medium heat to rewarm.

When serving, top with a pinch of paprika for color. Enjoy!

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Persian Lentil Soup

Even though February has been crazy since there’s been 68 degree weather and snow in the same week, BUT now that winter is back to acting like winter we can cozy up with this soup.  This Persian lentil soup has sweet potato, which is completely not normal, but when you have left overs you get creative. Besides the whole sweet potato addition this recipe is pretty traditional, and did I mention it’s vegetarian, simple, and healthy as heck?

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There’s a ton of fiber from the lentils and sweet potatoes and there’s nothing processed added. But, that doesn’t mean it’s bland. No way– not when there’s all these warm spices like cumin, coriander, sumac, and cinnamon. I really wanted to make this meal since I just got my hands on some home ground sumac from my dad’s personal pantry. Sumac has a peppery, flowery smell which I love, and it has a tart taste to it.

Also, though there’s cinnamon in the soup, it’s not sweet- cinnamon is not sweet. If you don’t believe me, try a dab of it alone. Maybe you’ll perceive as sweet, but that’s only due to the constant paring of cinnamon with sweet things so you’ve trained your brain to expect it!

Ingredients

  • 1lb sweet potato
  • 1 small white onion diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup of uncooked lentils (I used green)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • lemon- to squeeze on top

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While it’s preheating peel and dice the sweet potato into medium size cubes. Place on a sheet pan and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and a dash of salt. Cook for 20minutes or until the sweet potato is tender, but not mushy. Note if you cut the pieces too small and try roasting them they will be mushy and fall apart in the soup! So don’t do that!

In a medium sized stock pot warm the tsp of olive oil on medium heat. Add the white onion and sauté until translucent- not caramelized. Add the spices and warm up for a minute in order for them to release their oils and “wake up” the flavor. Next, add the vegetable broth and water and bring to a boil. Add the diced tomatoes and lentils to the mixture and reduce to medium-low heat. Let the soup cook for 25-30minutes until the lentils are tender. Salt to taste.

Enjoy!

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Vegan Pumpkin Chili & Broccoli Cornbread

When the chili recipes start coming out you know winter is near. Try finding a food blog which doesn’t talk about how this hearty dish warms you on cold days. You know what else you will find? Secret ingredients people swear by- cumin, chocolate chips, cocoa powder- which make the dish. Unlike what the title would lead you to believe, my special ingredient isn’t pumpkin… it’s chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Though the pumpkin puree adds a lot in terms of texture by thickening the sauce, it doesn’t do much to affect the flavor. The chipotle peppers on the other hand, create a smoky depth to the flavor along with the added kick of spice.

For the die hard chili fans you won’t miss the beef from the chili. I know that’s a bold statement, but the bulgur will plump up, mimic the texture of the beef, and will be just as hearty and satisfying. Try it out for yourself –I promise it’ll hit the spot!

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Chili Ingredients (vegan):

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 cup uncooked bulgur
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 jalapeño sliced into rings
  • 4-5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 3/4 cup frozen green beans
  • 1 packet chili seasoning

Cornbread Ingredients (non vegan):

  • 4 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 box cornbread mix
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli
  • 1 single serving greek yogurt
  • 1 sliced jalapeno

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Instructions

Heat the oil into a soup pot and add the diced onion, sauté until translucent. Add the cup of bulgur, give it a stir and add the remainder of the ingredients. Be sure to drain and rinse all the canned and frozen vegetables (besides the chipotle peppers), otherwise you’ll have too much liquid for the chili. Stir ingredients well making sure the pumpkin puree has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil then turn down the heat and let simmer for 35-40mins.

While the chili is cooking preheat the oven to 400 F and melt the butter in a sauce pan. Sauté the onion until it’s translucent. Prepare the cornbread mix according to the package. Run the frozen broccoli under hot water in a strainer otherwise there will be excess water in the mix. Add the thawed broccoli and the single serving greek yogurt. Mix until just combined. Empty the mixture into a 9 x 9 casserole dish. Place the sliced jalapeños on top and cook for 25mins.

Enjoy!

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