Red Lentil Sauerkraut Soup

November 3, 2013 1 Comment

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This soup is called korhelyleves in Hungarian. Is is originally a meaty cabbage soup that is often eaten on New Year’s Day. Korhely often refers to a person who likes to drink alcohol and as a result is lazy and careless. Sour cabbage (sauerkraut) soup is thought to relieve the symptoms of a hangover, and this is probaby the reason why this traditional Hungarian soup is so popular on New Year’s Eve and also called korhelyleves.

Sauerkraut is made by a process of pickling called lacto-fermentation that is analogous to how traditional (not heat-treated) pickled cucumbers and kimchi are made. The cabbage is finely shredded, layered with salt and left to ferment. Fully cured sauerkraut keeps for several months in an airtight container stored at 15 °C (60 °F) or below. It is extremely high in vitamins C, B, and K; the fermentation process increases the bioavailability of nutrients rendering sauerkraut even more nutritious than the original cabbage. It is also low in calories and high in calcium and magnesium, and it is a very good source of dietary fiber, folate, iron, potassium, copper and manganese.

I love this soup especially during cold months so I cook it quiet often. Of course, mine is a vegan version and I usually add vegan what sausage to the soup which gives a great smoky flavor to the soup.

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Red Lentil Sauerkraut Soup

Ingredients (serves3-4)
– 1 onion, chopped
– 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
– 2 medium carrot, grated
– 200 g red lentil
– 200 g sauerkraut
– 1 and 1/2 liter water
– 2 bay leaves
– vegan wheat sausages (optional)
– salt
– sunflower oil
– sour cream/soy yoghurt for serving the soup

Wash the sauerkraut well in cold water and chop them.

In a pan heat 3-4 tablespouns sunflower oil and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes. Then add the grated carrot, red lentil and just enough water to cover. Season with salt, add bay leaves, wheat sausage (if you use) and sauerkraut. Put a lid on top and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve the soup with sour cream or soy yoghurt.

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Kale Tempeh Salad

October 29, 2013 0 Comments

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I cooked tempeh before but I still would like to try more tempeh recipes because I really love this ingredient. I didn’t know that tempeh comes originally from Indonesia (especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein). It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form.

Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but it is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins. It has a firm texture and an earthy flavor which becomes more pronounced as it ages. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian and cuisine.

This salad is very easy to make and if you would like to make it more filling, cook brown rice, quinoa or millet and serve it with the salad.

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Kale Tempeh Salad

Ingredients (serves 2)

For the salad
– a bunch of kale, leaves removed and torn into small pieces
– 2-3 spring onion, chopped
– 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
– 1/4 cup walnut, toasted in a dry pan and chopped
– 250 g tempeh, cut into small cubes
– 1 tablespoon soy sauce
– 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
– 1 teaspoon honey
– salt, pepper
– olive oil

For the dressing
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon honey
– 1 clove garlic, chopped
– 2 tablespoons tahini
– 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
– salt, pepper
– chili flakes
– water

Method

Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil and roast tempeh cubes for a few minutes. Add soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, honey and cook for 2-3 minutes and set aside.

In a bowl mix together olive oil, lemon juice, honey and garlic for the dressing. Season with salt, pepper, then add tahini, nutritional yeast, chili flakes and dilute with a bit of water.

Place kale leaves, parsley, sprin onion and walnut on a plate. Add roasted tempeh and sprinkle with the dressing.

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes With Vegan Gravy

October 23, 2013 2 Comments

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When it comes to comfort food what you would say? Mac and cheese, a bowl of soup, hamburger, chili, casserole, pie or mashed potatoes?

Comfort foods may be consumed to positively pique emotions, to relieve negative psychological effects or to increase positive feelings. The term was first used, according to Webster’s Dictionary, in 1977.

Comfort food for me is a meal that it’s easy to make, warms your heart and soul and it makes you feel you cooked something extraordinary. This mashed potatoes with caramelized onion and a vegan brown sauce is absolutely a worth-to-try meal and it can be a dinner on its own.

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I used nutritional yeast before added it to salads, pasta meals but making a gravy from it takes you to a new level. Nutritional yeast is a source of protein and vitamins, especially the B-complex vitamins, and is a complete protein. It is also naturally low in fat and sodium and is free of sugar, dairy, and gluten. Sometimes nutritional yeast is fortified with vitamin B12.

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes With Vegan Gravy
(Recipe inspiration: Daily Garnish)

Ingredients

For the mashed potatoes
– 8 pieces of medium potatoes (about 600 g), peeled and diced
– 2 large onion, chopped
– salt
– nutmeg
– milk (cow or non-dairy), butter, sour cream – as you request to make your mashed potatoes
– olive oil

For the gravy
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– 2 tablespoons soy sauce
– 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
– 3 talbespoons white spelt flour (or all-purpose flour)
– 250 ml water
– salt, pepper
– olive oil

Method

Heat 3-4 tablespoons olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add diced onion with a pinch of salt. Put a lid on your pan and keep cooking the onion over low heat. Stir often so the onions don’t stick to your pan. Cook for another 25-30 minutes until tender and light brown.

In the meantime cook the potates in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain the pan into a colander and add the potatoes to a bowl. Season with salt, nutmeg, then add milk, butter or sour cream to your taste and mash the potatoes.

In a small pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute the chopped garlic for about 3-4 minutes. Add soy sauce and nutritional yeast. he key to smooth gravy is working quickly so add flour to the pan and immediately start whisking the mixture. Pour water slowly, step-by-step, while continuing to whisk the mixture. If you work hard enough the gravy will be smooth after you added all the water. Bring the gravy to simmer and let it thicken in a few minutes. If you find it very thick, add a bit of water to it.

Serve the gravy by pouring it over the mashed potatoes.

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Spicy Butternut Squash Lentil Salad

October 15, 2013 2 Comments

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I love butternut squash. It’s a versatile vegetable that can be roasted, toasted, puréed for soups, or mashed and used in casseroles, breads, and muffins and cakes. I love that the squash has a sweet, nutty taste. It is also a good source of Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium and Magnesium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese. We should eat as much as we can during fall and winter.

This lentil salad is a good example to eat a bowl of healthy lunch full of protein, vitamins and minerals.  Did you know that lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp?

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Spicy Butternut Squash Lentil Salad

Ingredients (serves 2)

– 1 and 1/4 cups brown lentils
– 3 cups (about 430 g) peeled and cubed butternut squash
– 1 avocado, peeled, deseeded and cubed
– 1/2 red onion, chopped
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method

Soak the lentils for at least 3 hours (or overnight). Drain then put into a pan with fresh water and a pinch of salt and cook for about 20-30 minutes until tender.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

In a bowl mix together cubed butternut squash with 3 tablespoons olive oil, cinnamon, salt and chili powder. Place the mixture in the baking tray and bake at 170-180C (350F) until tender (about 20 minutes).

In a bowl mix together cooked lentils, baked butternut squash, chopped red onion and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season to your taste. Serve with avocado.

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Homemade Cashew Butter

October 7, 2013 4 Comments

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It started with a jar of cashew butter I had got from a friend of mine from the USA. I tasted it and I fell in love with it instantly. All this happened after Adam was born and I needed natural foods that increase breast milk production. And cashew is one of them that boosts lactation. I think it is important that if you have a low milk supply it’s always best to try first to increase milk production naturally through herbs, drinks or your daily food intake.

Raw almonds, cashews, walnuts, macadamia nuts are the best ones to snack on during breastfeeding. Choose raw nuts instead of salted or roasted ones!

Make sure that you are eating (leafy green vegetables; carrots; beets; whole wheat pasta; grains like oats, barley; garlic; ginger, etc.) enough calories through your day. This will help increase breastmilk quantity and quality in general.

And the most important advice from me is to drink enough water (at least 3 liters a day). Your body will need extra water to keep up with milk production and keeping you hydrated.

So after the whole jar of cashew butter was gone I was heart-broken. Cashew butter is not available at stores in Hungary. It’s not common to use nut butters in my country but thanks for the open minded people (like me! 🙂 ) who are willing to eat more healthier, nut butters are getting popular. The most common is peanut butter of course… it is availabe at few stores. I had to do something to have cashew butter in my pantry. I decided to make it on my own… I was so happy with the result. Since than I didn’t stop making it!

My favourite way to eat it: whole wheat bread slices are toasted, spreaded with cashew butter and I spoon my  mom’s homemade sugar free plum jam on top. Oh My!

Here are a few phase photos of the making from the beginning until it turns into creamy cashew butter…

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After 1 minute it will turn from whole cashews into cashew pieces. Spin 3-4 minutes more and it’ll turn almost flour.

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Another 3 minutes and you’ll see oiliness of the cashews. Keep the food processor spining and it’ll slowly stick together into a paste.

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Another 3-5 minutes and it really becomes a thick paste. It starts to look like a “dough ball”. Keep going, you are almost there! 🙂 In the meantime give your food processor a few breaks otherwise it’ll be ruined from the too much work!!!

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When the butter looks like a ball, stop the processor and push your finger into it. The consistency should be very soft. Turn the processor on and keep it spining. The ball will slowly fall into creamy butter after 3-4 minutes.

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And voila! Your cashew butter is made! Now give your food processor a rest!

Homemade Cashew Butter

Ingredients (makes about 250-300 ml = 1 cup)

– 400 g raw cashew

Method

Add cashew to the bowl of your food processor and process for a very long time, until creamy and smooth. Giving your processor a few breaks it’ll be ready in about 25 minutes.

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