Recipe: Quick and Easy Tomato & Bean Soup

After a night of drinking and a morning of having a migraine aura, I felt like something filling, hearty, warm and comforting for dinner tonight. It also had to be easy and quick because I didn’t want to be in the kitchen so much so I quickly threw together this soup which was surprisingly delicious. The two kind of beans and pasta make is substantial and adding some fresh veggies makes it even more nutritious.

 Ingredients

Onion
Bell pepper
Olive oil
Vegetable stock
Pasta (preferable something smaller that works well in a soup, I used thin gobetti)
Mushrooms (I used canned but fresh would be better)
Can of diced tomatoes
Passata
Can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
Can of butter beans (or another white bean) (drained and rinsed)
Salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Start by sauteing the chopped onion and bell pepper in some olive oil. Add the vegetable stock (the amount depends on how much pasta you’re using) and add the pasta. Continue by adding the mushrooms, tomatoes and purée, let it all simmer for a while until the pasta gets softer and then add the beans. Let everything simmer for a while until the vegetables and pasta are completely done and add the salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Serve and enjoy!

I added some sriracha for an extra kick and you can also add some garlic with the onion and bell pepper if you like. It’s a really simple but tasty soup which can be whipped up in the blink of an eye basically. I improvised with what I had and wanted to keep it light on the spices but you can add more vegetables if you like or some more spices like oregano or basil.

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Recipe: Pasta with Kale and Beans

Ingredients

Pasta
Kale
Bell pepper
Cannellini Beans (drained and rinsed)
Onion
Garlic
Soy cream
Sriracha
Olive oil
Apple vinegar (white white or rice vinegar works as well)
Cane sugar or agave syrup (or your sweetener of choice)
Majoram
Basil
Origano
Rosemary
Cayenne pepper
Pepper
Salt
Cook the pasta and while it’s cooking heat some olive oil and saute the garlic, pepper and onion. Add the kale and keep stirring. I used frozen kale because I didn’t have any fresh one at hand but both work. Once everything is cooked through, add the beans and the spices and stir well. Then proceed by adding the cream (I used rice cream but next time I’m definitely using soy because the rice cream was too sweet for this dish) and stir everything together. Add a splash of vinegar and pinch of sugar or syrup (not to much of both, it’s just to even out the taste a bit, you could also leave out the sugar but I added it because I had made it just a bit too spicy). Because I wanted a bit of an extra kick, I added some Sriracha as well but this is completely optional. Once the pasta is cooked, spoon your sauce over it, serve and enjoy!

Recipe: Pasta with Lentil Ragout

I bought an awesome vegetarian cook book in the beginning stages of my vegetarianism and it really helped me to find some great new recipes and to understand more about what I should eat to have a well-rounded diet. A lot of these recipes in the books are not vegan but are very easily veganized so this recipes, which after the first time I made it became one of my favorites, is still something I regularly eat. The combination of sweet and spicy is really great and the yoghurt on the side rounds the whole dish off well. Also, pasta with a tomato lentil sauce is something even omnivores will like because the lentils give some bite to the dish and because lentils are tiny superstars, nobody has to worry about getting enough protein and iron either.

Besides veganizing the recipe by substituting the honey for agave syrup and the yoghurt by soy yoghurt, I also made some changes to the original recipe to make it easier to prepare in case I don’t have all the required ingredients at home.

Ingredients

Lentils (Dried or canned are both fine, when using dried lentils, it will take a bit longer to cook; when using dried lentils, beluga or puy lentils work best)
Spring onion
Onion
Tomatoes (I use canned tomatoes most of the time because I like the little extra juice from them and they’re easier and quicker to use)
Harissa paste (2 tsp)
Agave syrup (2 tsp)
Olive oil
Vegetable stock
Garlic
Fresh mint (I’m not a fan of it so I just use some dried chives instead)
Soy yoghurt
Garlic
Pasta (Penne works really well but I basically make this with any kind I have at hand)
Salt

Heat the oil in a skillet and then add the (spring) onion and lentils. Add the stock (when using canned lentils, I only add a little bit for some taste, when using dried lentils make sure to use enough so the lentils can cook properly) and tomatoes. Add the harissa and agave syrup (either go by the recipe or just add as much or less as you want, depending on your spicy and sweet tastes), cover and let it simmer for a while. In the meantime prepare your pasta and yoghurt. For the yoghurt, mash some garlic into it and add the mint (or chives in my case) and the green part of the spring onions. Mix all of that and add some salt to taste. When the lentil ragout is done, add some salt to taste and serve over the pasta with the yoghurt on the side.

Recipe: Pasta with Parsnip and Pumpkin

With fall arriving, the time to cook more warm dishes has arrived as well. I can’t wait to make warming winter soups and stews! When I saw pumpkins at the supermarket on Saturday, I had to get a butternut squash and many more will follow. As I still had parsnips as well, I decided that both vegetables would probably go well together. I had never eaten parsnips before but ever since I learned about the existence I wanted to try it, except they’re quite hard to get around here for some reason. I wasn’t a fan of the parsnips but I’ll definitely be making this dish with pumpkin alone again.
Ingredients
Pasta (I used rigatoni, I would recommend a smaller kind, farfalle or penne would be good. Rotini as well)
Parnsip
Pumpkin
Onion
Soy cream
Olive oil
Nutmeg
Allspice
Paprika
Black pepper
Salt
Peel and dice the parsnip and pumpkin. I sliced mine with a potato peeler because for some reason I thought that would be a good idea but next time I’ll be dicing, less work. Dice the onion finely and then start heating your olive oil. Put in the onion and saute and then add the pumpkin and parsnip. Make sure you keep an eye on it and in the meantime cook the pasta. Add the cream to the vegetables and start adding your spices to the vegetables (I’m bad at giving indications, just go with your taste buds). Once everything is done, serve the vegetable sauce over the pasta and enjoy!
As I said, I wasn’t fond of the parsnip taste but they do go well with the pumpkin so if you like them, go for it! Lastly, I would add some garlic as well, I didn’t this time because my mom had dinner with me, I didn’t because she doesn’t eat garlic. For the record, she really liked the dish and didn’t mind the parsnips so it’s all about taste.

Recipe: Time for Kale!

I never cooked with kale a lot or eaten it in a lot of different ways besides kale and potato mash or kale soup. As kale season has started I figured it was finally time to expand my kale experience so kale was on the menu twice this week. Basically because I had so much I had to cook with it twice but it gave me a chance to play around with it a bit. I know now that when sautéing kale, I should make the leaves a bit smaller than I did (and they were pretty small already!) and maybe cook them for 2 minutes or something like that before. That way hopefully the sauteing will take a bit less time and it will fit better in my pan; also I’m hoping it will make the chewing experience a bit less tiring. Another thing I learned the second time around, salt and pepper! The first day I didn’t use enough of it so the kale was rather tasteless but the second time around I put the salt and pepper in the pan before I put the kale in and it actually tasted like kale that time. Last thing I learned is that kale chips are kinda overrated, or I maybe put too much salt on mine, not sure. Maybe I should experiment with some other spices next time. And less salt. I made savoy cabbage chips earlier this year and I definitely liked those better than the kale chips, except for the batch that I burned because I put the temp of the oven up too high.

Anyway, on to what I cooked this week! For the first day I felt like having cous cous so I searched for some recipe ideas and came across two that I liked, roasted Chickpeas with kale and cous cous from Grit & Grapes and couscous with kale and green garlic dressing from Naturally Ella.I combined both recipes because I couldn’t decide, both looked kinda good and I like giving my own spin on things, either because I don’t have all the ingredients or because I don’t like something a recipe requires or like in this case I didn’t know which one to make. I ended up making cous cous with kale, chickpeas, feta and garlic dressing. It was quite good except that when I make it again I need to tend to the kale a bit differently so it will have more flavor.

Ingredients

Cous cous
Kale
Chickpeas
Onion
Garlic
Feta
Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
Balsamic vinegar (1 or 2 tablespoons depending on how you like it)
Honey (1 tablespoon)
Chili flakes
Salt
Pepper

Cook the cous cous and in the meantime sauté your onion and garlic. Add some salt, pepper and chili flakes before you add the kale in the pan (you can cook it a bit beforehand or throw it in and sauté it like that, which is what I did but next time I’m trying with cooking beforehand). Once the kale is almost done, throw in the chickpeas (obviously you can roast them before like the original recipe does but I was too lazy and hungry for that). While all of that is doing their thing in your pan, you can make the dressing. Mash some garlic and mix that with the oil, vinegar and honey. Add the feta to the onion, garlic, kale and chickpeas and let it melt a bit. Once everything is done serve with the cous cous and drizzle the dressing over your dish.

The next day I figured I wanted to try kale with pasta and I had some tomatoes in the fridge as well so I looked around and found a recipe that was basically what I was going to do anyway, except for the almonds but that gave me the idea of adding some pine nuts. I can see chickpeas work well with this dish as well but I opted out because I used those the night before already.

Ingredients

Pasta
Kale
Onion
Garlic
Tomatoes
Feta (optional, I used it because I still had some but I can really see any (Italian) hard cheese work well with this)
Pine nuts
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Chili flakes

Cook your pasta and in the meantime sauté the garlic and onion in some olive oil, add salt, pepper and chili flakes before adding the kale to the mix and sauté some more. Roast the pine nuts in another pan while all of that is cooking in the other one. At the end add the feta, the tomatoes and pine nuts. Toss with your pasta and serve.

I found the pasta dish a bit dry so I think I’ll be adding a can of diced tomatoes next time to make it just a bit more juicer, tomato sauce might also work but I think that might become a bit too overwhelming.

My next kale adventure will be curry with kale! Probably with some onion and chickpeas to make it less kale only. Maybe I’ll add some potatoes as well. But that will be sometime next week I think.

Recipe: Black Bean Adventures

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I had some black beans that I really wanted to try cooking with because I had never used them before. I did actually buy them to make a veggie burger I once saw a recipe for but then I stumbled across this Mexican Pasta recipe so I ended up trying that because it sounded delicious. I often stray away a bit from recipes either because I don’t have one of the ingredients or I don’t like one or I think something else would work better. This time I used dry beans (that I obviously soaked over night and cooked before using them) and I added a bit of sour cream to the sauce. Oh, and I didn’t have taco seasoning so I just seasoned it to my liking. It was delicious! The olives do take over the dish a bit so if you’re not all too fond of olives, I’d use a bit less of them but don’t leave them out completely because the whole dish together is an interesting mix of tastes. Next time I’ll probably add some garlic as well.

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Here’s the recipe as I made it:

Ingredients

Pasta
75 gr corn
50 gr black beans (dried)
35 gr black olives
1 can of peeled and diced tomatoes
1 onion
1 bell pepper
60 ml salsa sauce
salt
pepper
cayenne pepper
pesto mix
100 gr sour cream
Olive oil

Cook the pasta and in the meantime saute the onion and pepper in the oil, when they’re brown add the corn, beans, sliced olives and salsa and season as you like it. Lastly stir in the sour cream and then serve over the pasta.

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As I had soaked and cooked too many beans I decided to make a sandwich spread/dip with what was left over. Looking around online I found several recipes with several ingredients but a staple seemed to be beans, lemon or lime juice and sometimes olive oil. I decided to just throw in anything I had and thought would taste good. Started with the black beans which I mashed in the food processor adding some lemon juice and olive oil. I also had some corn left from dinner so I threw that in as well. I then proceeded with a fresh tomato and an onion. Added some salsa to make it more moist and then tasted with salt, pepper, cilantro, cayenne pepper and pesto mix. I did add some more olive oil and lemon juice as I went going by the texture and moistness it was getting. It ended up being delicious! I’ll definitely be playing around making these some more! Got a recipe for lentil spread and eggplant spread and I’m planning on making a chickpea spread.