Lemon Lentil Soup with Spinach

I really really like this soup from page 257 of Fresh Food Fast. It’s a standard in my winter soup rotation. My issue with most lentil soup is that it’s not interesting enough to eat all week. Since I usually cook two things each weekend and eat them all week, I don’t make recipes that can’t captivate my interest for days on end. This lentil soup recipe solves that problem by adding the textural interest of spinach and the hit-the-spot sourness of lemon juice mixed with tomatoes. It’s also mush prettier than the average lentil soup because the tomatoes, lentils, and spinach give it shades of red, yellow, and green. I can’t wait to try making it this year with homegrown spinach.


Balsamic Roasted Seitan with Cipollini Onions over Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips

My sister really likes this recipe from page 234 of Fresh Food Fast. For me it’s just okay. The idea sounds good but I find the onions overwhelming and wish there was another vegetable involved. Maybe mushrooms? I also find the sauce is a bit to vinegary for me. I have made it several times, so clearly I liked it enough to make it more than once. But definitely not one of my favorites from this cookbook. The better part of this meal is the garlic mashed potatoes and parsnips, which I like.

Masoor Dal

I have a very old, well-loved 1981 copy of Madhur Jeffry’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking. The pages are yellow and a whole chunk of the book has come unbound. Yet, it’s such a standby for me that I’d never think of replacing it. This week I wanted to make masoor dal and turned to Madhur Jeffry. Her very simple recipe for massor dal on page 96 did not disappoint. The recipe only contains 8 ingredients but the result was so interesting and full of flavor I would never have known.

The original version is meant to be made on the stove, but I adapted it to go in my slow cooker. Instead of adding the ginger an tumeric immediately after the lentils started boiling, I let the lentil cook in my slow cooker for an hour before adding them. In total the lentils were in my slow cooker for about 4 hours. Instead of turning off the heat before adding the fried cumin seeds and dried red pepper in asefetida, I left the slow cooker on for another 10 minutes after adding them. I’ll be making this again.

1 cup massor dal

1 quarter-sized slice of fresh ginger

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp vegetable oil

pinch of asafetida

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 whole, hot dried peppers

Pumpkin, Pear, and Fennel Soup

I’m kind of iffy on recipe that include pear. Which is probably why it took me so long to try this recipe from page 183 of Fresh Food Fast. But eventually the fennel drew me in. I really like fennel. I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe. It was very easy and quite yummy. The mixture of flavors was complex and soothing. I’ll be making it again once my winter squash is ready for harvest.

Black Bean Tostadas with Cherry Tomato Salsa

This recipe is from page 162 of Fresh Food Fast. I don’t actually make this recipe as intended, as tostadas. But the black bean seitan mixture is an all time favorite for me. About as meaty, fulfilling, and indulgent as vegetarian recipes get. I skip the tostada shells and just make the filling with cherry tomato salsa on the side. I make it with homemade seitan and dried black beans. You’re welcome. You’ll be eating this all week.

Fresh Corn Polenta with Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes

Well here we are again old friend. It’s me and a polenta (i.e. grits) recipe. Of course I’m going to make it. This particular recipe is from page 126 of Fresh Food Fast. I thought the idea of making polenta from fresh corn instead of traditional dried polenta was interesting. What I learned? Fresh Corn Polenta is not polenta. It wasn’t bad per say. But it wasn’t at all what I was expecting or looking for. I love fresh corn. Honestly, I’d rather it fresh corn in salad and leave the polenta to the regular dried variety.


Warm Chickpea Salad with Shallots and Red Wine Vinaigrette

This recipe from page 65 of Fresh Food Fast was fine, but not good enough to make again. Between the amount of shallots and the amount of vinegar in the recipe, it was too sharp for me. I cut the olive oil down from the 1/3 cup called for by Berley to 3 tbsp. As usual I used dry beans instead of canned.


Lemon Walnut Hummus

I’ve made hummus at home tons of time. It’s always good, never great. Then I ventured into this walnut hummus recipe from page 35 of Fresh Food Fast and…oh I couldn’t get enough. No more hummus leftovers growing mold in the back of my fridge. I think the secret of the amazing flavor is in toasting the walnuts before adding them to the hummus. It creates a surprising warmth of flavor that I don’t get in standard sesame hummus. I try to avoid using the oven in summer. I used the toaster oven to toast the walnuts and was happy with the results. I’ll definitely be making this again.

Charmoula Baked Tempeh with Vegetable Couscous

This recipe is from page 26 of Fresh Food Fast. It’s a mixed bag. I love this tempeh recipe. Oh so so delicious. Maybe my favorite tempeh recipe I’ve made. I’ve even made it without the cilantro when I’m short on fresh herbs and it’s good that way too. I cut the oil down by half. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of olive oil. I use 1/4 cup.

On the other hand, I only made this couscous recipe once. It was very unexciting and bland. I guess it’s intended to be bland to counterbalance the flavorful tempeh, but I skip it.