Cauliflower and Kale Soup with Lentils

Brrr….it’s cold outside! So- that means it’s soup time!

This soup is sooooo good for you- cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens and legumes- what more could you want? It’s the ultimate comfort food.

INGREDIENTS:

3 TBS olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 stalks of celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 TBS tomato paste

1 cup crushed tomatoes

1 cup lentils

4 quarts of vegetable broth- you know, the ones you’ve made using my technique ūüôā If you don’t have vegetable broth, use water and increase the crushed tomatoes to one 14oz can.

6 cups cauliflower florets

1 bunch kale, woody stems removed, and chopped

salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

In a large soup pot, saute the onions, carrots and celery in the olive oil until soft.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.

Add the crushed tomatoes and lentils and cook for another 2 minutes.img_3941

Add the broth, salt and pepper to taste . Please note the amount of salt is dependent on the sodium content of what vegetable broth you use. My homemade broth has not salt- so I use about 2-3 tsp of salt for this recipe.

Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the kale and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes or more until the vegetables and the lentils are soft.

Enjoy!!

Hypopastemia

Sometime in the 1970’s, my father came across an article describing an Italian’s physical reaction to being deprived of pasta for more than two days. The syndrome was called “Hypopastemia”. It became the running by-word in our home when we missed our pasta for whatever reason and we were starting to get the “shakes”.

We ate some form of pasta 6 nights of the week – sometimes small pastina in soup, sometimes a tube shaped pasta with a meat sauce (aka gravy), sometimes spaghetti with clam sauce, but most often it was pasta with different vegetables. Saturday was reserved for steak and mashed potatoes, my grandparents concession to living in America.

So now after a long day at work the most comforting meal for me is a bowl of pasta with a lot of vegetables plus a large salad and sauteed beans.

Here is another quick recipe. I call this dish: Pasta Verdure (lush green vegetables).

PASTA VERDURE

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks

Zucchini Matchsticks
Zucchini Matchsticks

¬Ĺ red onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Small head of Kale or Swiss Chard, tough stems removed and coarsely chopped

1 cup of frozen peas

1 small bunch asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces

¬Ĺ cup Extra Virgin Olive oil (EVOO), divided

¬Ĺ pound Penne Pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

¬ľ tsp red pepper flakes

2 TBS balsamic vinegar

METHOD:

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan heat 2TBS of the EVOO.

Green Vegetables
Green Vegetables

Add the onion and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, cook another 2 minutes.

Add the zucchini. Sauté over medium high heat, until the vegetables are wilted and just cooked through. This should take about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, BUT for the last 3 minutes of cooking time add the kale, peas and asparagus. Reserve ¬ĺ cup of the pasta cooking water.

Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the sautéed vegetables.

Heat over medium heat- adding some of the EVOO and some of the pasta water to loosen the vegetables and make a ‚Äúsauce‚ÄĚ. Add the red pepper flakes, cook for 1 minute.

Add the balsamic vinegar.

Serve and enjoy!

Serves 3-4

Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes

This is a very easy, but very tasty meal for a busy person. Add a large green salad- and presto! Dinner is ready!

My preference is to use yellow fleshed sweet potatoes, otherwise known as Asian, Japanese or Korean sweet potatoes, available in specialty food ¬†or organic produce stores. I find them less “sweet” than the ¬†traditional orange flesh ones.

STUFFED BAKED SWEET POTATOES

Heat oven to 375.  Serves 2

Yellow Sweet Potatoes
Yellow Sweet Potatoes

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium sweet potatoes, preferably yellow fleshed.  Also known as Asian, Korean or Japanese sweet potatoes

1 can organic White Northern Beans

1 clove garlic, minced

1 medium bunch of kale, woody stems removed, thoroughly washed and coarsely chopped

3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Salt and Pepper to taste

¬ľ tsp Red Pepper flakes

METHOD:

Scrub the sweet potatoes, poke holes and place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.

Roast in the oven for about an hour or until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife.Kale and Beans

Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, cook the garlic over low heat in 2 TBS of the EVOO for about 2 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn.

Add the beans (do not drain) and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the kale, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until wilted.

Sprinkle with the red pepper flakes. And finish with a drizzle of the remaining EVOO

When the potatoes are done, split the potatoes season with salt and pepper.

Fill them with the bean mixture and enjoy!