Tag Archives: legumes

Chickpeas with Spinach

This recipe, Chickpeas with Spinach, has been one of my favorite quick meals to make recently.

Originally an appetizer, I decided it looked substantial enough for a meal. I felt the same way about the version of it I made several years ago, too. That version had more liquid than this, and took more time to make. Smitten Kitchen’s version as well had a few extra steps that I didn’t feel like doing. So I simplified it so it’s a one-pot dish, that involves no cutting (unless you slice your bread), that takes no more than 20 minutes to make from the time you begin to measure your ingredients to the time you place it on the table. This adaptation of Smitten Kitchen’s version omits the bread that you blend into it, uses tomato paste instead of sauce (which the bread used to soak up), and wilts the spinach in the pot at the end instead of cooking it first. (I tried frozen cooked spinach, but it wasn’t as good.) Oh, and this version uses much less olive oil.

The sauce is balanced with a dash of vinegar (I’ve used balsamic instead of red wine vinegar since that’s what I have), and there’s not so much sauce that it turns your toast to mush, which I can’t stand. It has negligible heat from the dash of red pepper, though you could boost that if you wanted to. You could probably omit the smoked paprika in a pinch, and the dish would come out fine. And you’re eating chickpeas and spinach, on toast – very healthy. This likely isn’t as rich as the tapas-version of Chickpeas with Spinach should be, but it’s very satisfying as a meal.

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Carrot Soup with Sesame and Chickpeas

One of the soups that I’ve made a few times recently(ish) is the Carrot Soup with Tahini and Chickpeas from Smitten Kitchen. It’s a healthy and delicious soup, and is pretty quick and easy to make.


The soup itself is lightly spiced. Do not skip the sesame-lemon drizzle! It provides a definite punch of flavor, making the soup anything but boring.  The addition of chickpeas also makes this more interesting than your usual blended veggie soup. In some ways, it’s like eating a soup version of hummus. As a meal, this soup is light but filling. It’s also vegetarian and vegan!

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Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Cooking is much easier with a one-year old than it was with a baby. It got better when she was able to sit upright and play with toys or watch me from her high chair. Now that she can toddle into and out of the kitchen, I can get much more done!

Still, I prefer to cook things that require minimal effort and time, things that I don’t have to focus on. This usually means using my slow cooker. Deb at Smitten Kitchen posted the perfect recipe earlier this year – a chicken chili made entirely in the slow cooker. No soaking beans. No browning meat.

I love this recipe. I just throw all the ingredients in the crockpot and let it cook until dinner. I only have to cut up an onion and a jalapeno (if I use a whole pepper instead of chili or pepper flakes, which I usually don’t). I don’t cut up my chicken first; after 10 hours in the slow cooker, I easily break it up with a sturdy serving spoon. And this chili even turns out if I forget that I’m out of onions when I make it (oops).

This was a great chili and a perfect slow cooker meal. It was delicious and not too spicy (as long as I added the amount of jalapeno I wanted). As a chili, it’s hearty and healthy. This is way, way better any of my attempts to make a chili with ground turkey. This recipe is not as tomatoey as when I make a chili on the stove, but that’s not a big deal. Leftovers are great. And my one-year-old absolutely devours it, meal after meal.

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Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

Now that fall is decidedly here (and winter too, it nearly seems), I can’t put off the urge to bake and make other autumn recipes. I regrettably haven’t had much time to cook within the past couple of months. I decided to take a class on nutrition, and while I’m enjoying learning (and will hopefully be able to apply it to my cooking, in some form or fashion), it sure takes up more time than I thought it would. Add to that a busy few months at work, a regular running schedule, friends’ weddings, concerts, and other fun things, and you can see why I haven’t cooked or written! I hope that I’ll have more time soon, since it’s getting too dark and cold to run in the evenings, and my race is this Sunday.

I made the time this evening to try a recipe I just found yesterday, and I’m glad I did. Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew sounded wholesome and warm, a nice contrast to the cool rainy weather we had today. This recipe is delicious, satisfying, and vegan. It came together easily, and was hands-off while it simmered, meaning I could do other things while it cooked. It was tasty enough that I put off my class reading for a change – I couldn’t wait to share this!

Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew
Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

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Lentil Soup with Sausage and Kale

Within the past few weeks, I made Lentil Soup with Sausage and Kale. The soup sounded hearty and warming during our recent cold snap when winter told St. Louis that spring was farther away than we hoped.

I only made a few changes to the recipe. I used a pound of bulk sweet Italian sausage that grocery stores in St. Louis (or maybe it’s just Schnucks) sell. I cut out the oil added to the soup – after all, sausage renders plenty of fat – and hardly used the garlic oil I made. (It’s going to be added to focaccia whenever I make it again.) I added all of the kale that I bought to go in the soup, rather than restricting it to 3-4 cups.

The soup was pretty easy to make. Brown sausage; add diced vegetables until softened; add lentils, tomatoes, bay leaves, water, salt, and pepper; cover and simmer until lentils are done; and add kale to wilt. It takes a little time for the lentils to cook (about 40 minutes), but it’s hands-off time – I took the time to sit down and read for a little while.

I forgot to take a picture of the soup when we ate it – every single time. But I can tell you that it looked like Deb’s pictures of the soup did – rich and red and earthy.

I’m not always a huge fan of sausage, but I was pleasantly surprised by this soup. It was warming and hearty. Alex and I thought that about a pound of sausage was the right amount for this soup – it flavored the soup well. The flavor was strong enough that the kale wasn’t too bitter for it. This is one of the few lentil soups that I’ve actually enjoyed, and I think that’s due to the flavor the sausage gave the broth.

All in all, this was a great soup to make. The ingredients are inexpensive; the recipe, easy to make; and the soup itself, satisfying. It’s definitely a recipe worth trying.

Curried Lentil-Stuffed Squash

Now that the weather has convinced me that it’s fall, I’ve begun making seasonally-appropriate recipes.

I’m not generally one for dishes that require presentation. I don’t put effort into how my food looks, as long as it looks tasty, and I’m more likely to make rustic-looking food than pretty, decorative food. I thought that Curried Lentil-Stuffed Squash sounded good, though, so I decided to try it, presentation and all.

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Poblano-Jalapeño Chili

Cooking with peppers is fun. It feels so… exotic and dangerous. I didn’t grow up with particularly spicy food, so I didn’t buy chili peppers to cook with until the past several years. I like spicy food, but just a little bit of spice will keep my face warm for a while.

I decided to make Poblano-Jalapeño Chili last month. I know that poblanos are decidedly not hot and jalapeños can range in how hot they are, so this is nothing too adventurous. That said, I like my usual hamburger+tomatoes+beans+chili powder version of chili, so I usually don’t try chili recipes. I think it was the inclusion of the beer and the peppers that drew me to this recipe and convinced me to give it a try.

Poblano-Jalapeño Chili
Poblano-Jalapeño Chili

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Black Bean Soup

My friend Theresa had a favorite recipe for black bean soup to share with me before I left my job last October. In an effort to eat healthily (and inexpensively – beans are cheap!), I decided I would go ahead and try it!

Black Bean Soup

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Lentil Soup with Lemon

I want to like lentils. They’re inexpensive, healthy, and quicker to cook than any beans around because you don’t have to soak them. I don’t use them often in part because I don’t know what to put them in. I’ve made a few lentil soups in the past, and I’ve generally found them to be boring. I’ve only ever made one that I really enjoyed, and that one had a liberal amount of curry powder in it.

But this week, I found another lentil soup I like! I was hopeful about the recipe for Red Lentil Soup with Lemon from the moment I saw it. It sounded healthy and simple to make.

I didn’t realize it when I decided to make the recipe, but it didn’t take broth – just water. I decided to try it with regular brown lentils you find in the grocery store. I simmered them with water, the tablespoon of butter (which I would probably omit next time), tumeric, and about 1.5 teaspoons sea salt. They were done after 20 minutes. Once they were done, I used a hand blender to puree the soup. While the lentils cooked, I sauteed onion with cumin and mustard seeds in olive oil for about 15 minutes. I added the cilantro and stirred the onion mixture into the soup. I added 6 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice to the soup, but I even might add a little more next time.

I sauteed some kale in olive oil to serve with the soup. We had brown rice with it. We got 6 servings from this recipe.

Lentil Soup with Lemon

This was a good soup. It was filling, flavorful, and bright from the lemon. Although the soup has Indian flavors, there’s nothing spicy about this soup. It’s vegetarian (and it doesn’t even need broth!), but you don’t miss meat. I really enjoyed this, and so did Molly and Jen, who we had over for dinner. I’d definitely make this soup again.

Smoky Black Bean Soup

Today I was tired after lunch and needed to have a Diet Dr Pepper this afternoon. This reminds me that I haven’t told you about the black bean soup that I made with coffee that helped keep me wide-eyed and alert in the afternoons.

I love coffee. I drink it every morning, and not just so that I won’t have caffeine withdrawal. I like the flavor. I don’t make a ton of coffee-themed foods, mostly because Alex doesn’t like coffee, and there’s a limit to how much coffee I could reasonable consume and be able to sleep at night.

You might imagine that I was excited and intrigued when I found the recipe for Smoky Black Bean Soup. Much like with lentil soup, I’ve never made a black bean soup I’ve really liked. I’ve had a hard time deciding what black bean soup recipes I should try, but I could definitely get behind one that took 2 cups of coffee! Aside from coffee, the soup had a great combination of onion, garlic, red bell pepper, celery, jalapeno, and cumin.

I soaked my beans overnight, rather than doing a quick soak. I didn’t have the optional ham hock but wanted the flavor, so I decided to fry some bacon to add to it. I sauteed my vegetables in the bacon grease rather than olive oil to give it a little extra flavor. I added the rest of the ingredients (although I can’t remember if I added the bacon now or later) and simmered it for about an hour and a half. I added the salt (which you don’t want to add while you cook the beans because it will toughen the skins.) I used an immersion blender to puree the soup, and actually pureed it about all the way, instead of only pureeing half of the soup like I had meant to. I didn’t have any for dinner that night, but I packaged it up for lunch the next day. I omitted the sour cream garnish but included as much cilantro as I wanted.

This was a good soup. The house smelled smoky from the simmering coffee, and I’m sure Alex is glad that he missed being here for that. The smoky aspect of the coffee contributed to the earthy background flavor of the soup. I actually didn’t care much for the cilantro on the soup. Without the sour cream, I should have come up with something else to contrast with the soup. I wish I’d had a ham hock. It would be a good vegetarian soup, but I think that it would be amazing as a ham and black bean soup.

I would like to note that 2 cups of coffee is 16 ounces, and is actually closer to 3 servings of coffee than you might realize (since “cups of coffee” are actually 6 ounces). If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you’d definitely want to use decaf in this soup. I think that the extra half cup of coffee I had in each bowl of soup I ate was enough to keep me alert and focused in the afternoon (and is coincidentally, about the amount of caffeine in a can of soda). I’m glad I thought twice about having this soup for dinner, because it would have made it difficult for me to fall asleep at night.

I liked this soup. Without the sour cream garnish, it needed a little something else. I think that next time I’d include ham, and I wouldn’t blend it all. I’d also think about garnishing it with red bell peppers or a chunky salsa. I’ll probably try this soup again sometime – but if I’m going to have it for dinner, I’ll have to make it decaf.