Now, Bon Appetit magazine might not be the first place to look for vegan recipes, but I found two in the latest issue while I was perusing it in the car as we waited for the 3 PM ferry. I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner last night, so I was open to ideas. Also, we had gone out to lunch with my mother and a friend, and ate too richly, I'm afraid! So I wanted something healthful and fairly simple. Soup and a salad sounded perfect. I opened a page, and there was an article about the "perfect" lentil soup, which intrigued me because I love lentils. As I read on (and it sounded good), I was further intrigued by the use of blended, cooked chickpeas to thicken the soup and provide a creamy base. I had to try it! I knew that I had chickpeas in the freezer and everything else I needed. I thought I had French lentils, too, but I found out when I searched the pantry that I had used them up. But I was determined, so I decided to take a chance and use regular green lentils.
It was fairly simple and quick to make (the lentils cook in about 30 minutes), even after putting all the grocery shopping away, etc.. I may not classify it as the "perfect" lentil soup, but it's delicious and creamy and I'll make it again! It has also opened up new possibilities for using pureed legumes as a thickener and to add creaminess. Yes, I have used pureed white beans and potatoes instead of cream in soups, but I need to be more adventurous!
My version of the following delicious soup:
BON APPETIT'S CURRIED LENTIL SOUP (with a few minor changes)
Curry powders vary in flavor and heat; begin with two tablespoons and add more according to your taste. (My changes in italics.)
1/ 15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed(I used home-cooked chickpeas that I had in the freezer--1 1/2 cups or so.)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter (I used Earth Balance non-hydrogenated margarine)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
French green lentils are small, dark green, and speckled with black; they can be found at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add half of chopped garlic; stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add 2 tablespoons curry powder; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lentils and 4 cups water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, puree chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and remaining garlic in processor.
Add chickpea puree and butter to lentil soup. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional curry powder, if desired. Add water by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency.
DO AHEAD Soup can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Rewarm before continuing.
Divide soup among bowls. Sprinkle with thinly sliced green onions and serve with lemon wedges.
One serving contains: Calories (kcal) 289.2 %Calories from Fat 37.9 Fat (g) 12.2 Saturated Fat (g) 3.4 Cholesterol (mg) 10.0 Carbohydrates (g) 35.6 Dietary Fiber (g) 9.0 Total Sugars (g) 3.5 Net Carbs (g) 26.5 Protein (g) 11.1 Sodium (mg) 30.4
The second recipe I wanted to make was a lovely looking beet and tangerine salad with a cranberry dressing. I didn't have any tangerines, but I had some mandarin oranges that needed using. I had beets. I didn't have watercress, but I could use Romaine lettuce, and I didn't have red onion, so what I ended up doing was soaking thinly-sliced yellow onion in red wine vinegar, to both give it a slight pink color and to get ride of some of the sulfur compounds in the onion. I also had no cranberry juice concentrate for the dressing, but I had my own Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette already made in the refrigerator. So, I improvised and it was both beautiful and delicious!
BON APPETIT'S BEET AND TANGERINE SALAD WITH CRANBERRY DRESSING (with, actually, several changes from yours truly!)
For this colorful and festive starter, be sure to grate the peel from the tangerines before cutting off the rind and slicing them into rounds.(My changes in italics.)
3 large tangerines (such as Murcott) (I used 6 mandarin oranges.)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/3 cup paper-thin slices red onion (I used yellow onion and I soaked it in red wine vinegar for about 30 minutes, rinsed and drained it.)
1 large bunch watercress, thick stems trimmed (I used crisp, torn Romaine lettuce.)
NOTE from BCG: For the dressing, I had no cranberry juice concentrate, so I used 7 tablespoons of homemade Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette that I had in the refrigerator, and I added finely-grated mandarin orange zest.The recipe is here.
Place beets in deep large microwave-safe bowl. Add enough water to reach depth of 1 inch. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high until beets are tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely grate enough peel from tangerines to measure 2 teaspoons. Cut top and bottom off each tangerine. Cut off all peel and white pith, following contour of fruit. Cut each tangerine horizontally into 1/3-inch-thick rounds, removing any seeds. Whisk oil, cranberry juice concentrate, vinegar, and reserved tangerine peel in small bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in onion.
Hold 1 beet under cold running water and rub off skin. Repeat with remaining 2 beets. Cut beets horizontally into 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick rounds. Sprinkle beets with salt and pepper.
Arrange watercress sprigs on large platter to cover. Arrange beet rounds and tangerine rounds atop watercress. Using fork, lift onion slices from dressing and arrange over salad. Drizzle with dressing.
One serving contains the following: Calories (kcal) 133.5 %Calories from Fat 49.1 Fat (g) 7.3 Saturated Fat (g) 1.0 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 17.0 Dietary Fiber (g) 2.5 Total Sugars (g) 13.4 Net Carbs (g) 14.6 Protein (g) 1.8 Sodium (mg) 44.7