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Posts tagged ‘Legumes’

Fast and Simple Black Bean Soup

I haven’t been doing much cooking lately, so it’s about time I got back in the kitchen and whipped up something comforting yet healthy.  And usually when I want something comforting yet healthy, I look to my long list of “soup recipes I’ve been meaning to try.”

Black bean soup has always been a favorite, and I’m so glad I found this recipe.  The soup is lovely, even though it takes less than an hour to make, from prep to table.  I served mine with sliced avocado, low-fat sour cream, and a big pinch of cayenne, but some cojita or shredded cheddar is also great addition.  I would eat this soup all year long, but if you’re in one of the many parts of the country currently suffering from extreme cold and snow storms, you should definitely move this to the top of your To-Do list.

Plus this soup freezes well, which means I’ll have some easy, healthy lunches ready to go in the near future!

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Black Bean Soup

Adapted from Dave Lieberman

Serves 6

Total time: 1 hour

When the soup was done, I hit it with my immersion blender for several pulses, until the soup was creamier but still had plenty of whole beans throughout.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can take 1 cup of the finished soup and puree in a blender or food processor, then mix the pureed soup back in with the rest of the soup.

Ingredients

8 slices bacon (optional, or adjusted to your taste!), finely chopped
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
6 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth (or water to make it vegetarian)
1 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
4 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
Sour cream, avocado, chopped tomatoes, and/or grated cheddar for garnish

1. Put the bacon into a large heavy pot and place it over medium heat. Cook the bacon until it starts to give up its fat, about 4 minutes. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes, if using, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the broth, tomatoes, Worcestershire, and chili powder, and stir to combine. Then stir in the beans, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

2. While soup is simmering, pick off all the thick stems from the cilantro, wash, and then and shake dry. Chop the cilantro coarsely and stir it into the soup once it has been simmering 10 minutes. Cook another 5 minutes, or until the soup is thickened. If you want to blend or puree a portion of the soup, do so now (see note above).  Stir in the lime juice, then serve with the garnishes.

Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard and Pecornio

Pâte à Chew lives!  Sorry, I’ve been terribly busy with life lately, and haven’t been cooking much (or at all).  But I made time this past holiday weekend to make a quick and hearty soup to keep us warm during this cold northeast winter.

I love lentil soup.  It’s healthy, it’s easy to make, it comes together fast.  And it can be changed into a unique soup each time you make it by the addition of a few new ingredients.  For example, I make it a French lentil soup by adding fresh thyme and a drizzle of sweet balsamic vinegar to finish.  This time, the few new ingredients were Italian sausage and some gorgeous rainbow-colored Swiss chard.

Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard and Pecornio

The addition of meat and Swiss chard make this a heartier, comforting meal.  I personally loved it, and will be making it again soon. And of course, the soup can easily be adjusted to your taste.  Use turkey sausage to lower the fat content.  Leave out the sausage to make this vegetarian.  Leave out the cheese as well to make this vegan.  The possibilities are endless!

Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard and Pecornio

One year ago: Chicken with Apples, Rosemary, and Blue Cheese, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili, Hazelnut Linzer Cookies, and Salmon with Lentils
Two years ago: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Pasta e Ceci, Homemade Oreo Cookies, and Lasagna + Garlic Bread

Lentil Soup

Adapted from Secrets of the Best Chefs, where it was provided by Gina DePalma, via smitten kitchen

Serves 6

Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil, divided
4 large links of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (use half of this if you prefer that the sausage not dominate the soup’s flavor)
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced (reserve half for later in recipe)
Kosher salt
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned Swiss chard leaves or kale
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to finish

1.  Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (or enough to coat bottom of pot) in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes.  Next, add the onion, celery, carrots, first two garlic cloves, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook with the sausage until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water (6 cups is 2 empty 28-ounce cans), more salt and black pepper to taste.  Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 30-40 minutes.  It might be necessary to add more water if the soup gets too thick.

2.  When the lentils are cooked, add the chard and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes more. Discard the bay leaves.

3.  To finish, add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 garlic cloves to a small skillet and heat over medium until the garlic softens and hisses. Divide soup into bowls, then drizzle each with a little garlic oil, and top with fresh Pecorino, passing more at the table. Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.

Three-Pea Chicken Salad

mayo-less chicken salad, no mayo chicken salad, chicken salad without mayo

It’s now officially Spring!  I may still have a few more Winter-y posts up my sleeve, but now that the official start of Spring has passed, I think we’re all in the mood to see some green.  This chicken salad just screams Spring – three types of bright green peas, and a naturally creamy but low-fat dressing.  It is both gorgeous and delicious.  And the best part?  No mayo!  You may recall my hatred of mayonnaise from my French Potato Salad post.  I hate the taste of mayo, and all the fat it brings to a dish, and this chicken salad avoids both those things!

One note – this recipe is heavy on fresh tarragon, which I despise, so I left it out.  With the chives, parsley, shallots, garlic, and my own additions of a little red wine vinegar and mustard, I didn’t think the salad needed any more herbs or flavoring.  But if you like tarragon, you should absolutely add some!

mayo-less chicken salad, no-mayo chicken salad, chicken salad without mayo

One year ago: Lemon Chicken + Roasted Asparagus

Three-Pea Chicken Salad

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 4

Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

2 large shallots, 1 halved, 1 minced
3 garlic cloves, 2 smashed, 1 minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon or stone-ground mustard, or more to taste
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
1/2 pound thinly sliced stringed sugar snap peas
1 cup shelled fresh English (or frozen, thawed) peas
1/2 cup thinly sliced stringed snow peas
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
8 slices toasted whole grain bread and/or lettuce leaves

1.  Place halved shallot, smashed garlic cloves, and chicken in a medium saucepan.  Add water to cover by 1 inch and season with salt and pepper. Bring water to a boil; remove pan from heat, cover, and let stand until chicken is just cooked through, 15–25 minutes, depending on size of chicken breasts. Transfer chicken to a plate and let cool. Shred or dice the chicken.

2.  Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, oil, minced shallot, minced garlic clove, mustard, and red wine vinegar in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.

3.  Combine all peas in a medium bowl.  Add chicken, dressing, parsley, chives, lemon zest, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; toss to coat.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice, if desired.  Serve over toasted bread and/or lettuce leaves.

Orecchiette with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Pimentón

March is a tough month.  It’s still winter up in New York City, and people start to go a little stir crazy.  Luckily, I just returned from a mini vacation to the Sunshine State.  And let me tell you, it is hard being back in New York.  Sure, we’ve been having a pretty mild winter here, but nothing beats 75 and sunny every day for 5 days straight!

Speaking of sun, while we might have a good month or two of cold weather ahead of us, bathing suit season will be here before you know it.  I made this dish a while ago, and it falls into the “quick and healthy dinner” category of recipes.  Whole wheat pasta (or plain if you prefer), chickpeas, and spinach – all combined with plenty of garlic and a fun spice called pimentón.  Pimentón is Spanish paprika, and has a sweet, smokey flavor and bright orange hue.  I bought pimentón some time ago and finally got around to trying it.  Thank you to Food & Style for the recipe, it turned out lovely.

This makes a lot of pasta (6 big servings), and I found that I liked the dish more after it had been sitting in the fridge a day or two!  If you can, definitely use the Manchengo cheese – it’s one of my favorites, and the nutty flavor goes perfectly with the smokey pimentón.

One year ago: Banana Daiquiris

Orecchiette with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Pimentón

Adapted from Food & Style

Makes 6 servings

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 tablespoon sea salt for the pasta water
12 oz dried orecchiette pasta (I used whole wheat)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, skinned and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons pimentón dulce (Spanish smoked, sweet paprika)
2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 15 oz canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed) (I used canned)
12 oz baby spinach, rinsed and spun dry
1/3 cup cooking liquid from chickpeas or pasta water
1 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Manchengo, shredded, for garnish

1.  Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil. Once waters is boiling, add a few big pinches of kosher salt and the pasta.  Cook pasta until tender but still al dente. Drain well.

2.  While the orecchiette is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the olive oil and garlic.  Sauté for 30 seconds until the garlic begins to sizzle, stirring constantly and making sure it doesn’t brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Just before the pasta is ready, reheat the garlic oil over high heat. As soon as the garlic sizzles, add the cayenne, pimentón, chickpeas, and spinach. Toss the mixture together until the spinach starts to wilt, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Next, add the pasta, cooking liquid from chickpeas or pasta water, sea salt, and pepper. Toss quickly and remove from heat.

4.  Spoon orecchiette into bowls, and garnish with Manchego, drizzle with a little olive oil and serve immediately.

Salmon with Lentils

There isn’t much new to report from the Pâte à Chew Kitchen – I’ve been spending these cold winter days primarily working a lot, spending quality time at the gym, and thinking about new and fun recipes to try.  I’m also still focused on staying healthy (I promise I didn’t eat too many of the delicious Linzer Cookies I posted last week!).  This week I decided to try my hand at a traditional French favorite of mine: salmon with lentils.

This has to be one of my favorite light dishes, as it’s filling and satisfying but not heavy in butter or oil.  Plus, it’s got a ton of flavor – red onion, garlic, vinegar, and whole-grain mustard (one of my favorite ingredients!) ensure the lentils aren’t bland or boring.  It’s a simple but elegant dish!

One year ago: Lasagna and Garlic Bread

Salmon with Lentils

A mash-up of recipes adapted from Anne Burrell and Ina Garten

Total time: 1 hour

Serves 4-6

The lentils are great on their own.  To keep vegetarian (actually, vegan) obviously leave out the salmon and bacon.  I left out the bacon because I’m trying to be healthy, and I think the lentils are absolutely fabulous without it.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups green or black lentils
1/2 red onion, peeled, root end left on
1/2 carrot, peeled
1 stalk celery
2 bay leaves
1 small bundle thyme
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Salt

For the lentil garnish:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 slices bacon, cut into lardons (optional)
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1/2 cup carrot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Kosher salt

4 or 6-ounce salmon filets

1.  To cook the lentils:

In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients; add water to the pot until it covers the ingredients by about 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Remove the pot from the heat and season the water with salt. Taste the water to make sure it is seasoned. Let the lentils sit in the salty water for about 10 to 15 minutes. This will allow the lentils to absorb the seasoned water. Ladle off 1 cup of the lentil cooking water and reserve.

Remove all the vegetables and thyme from the lentils and discard.  Strain the lentils from the water.

2.  To assemble the lentils:

Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  If using bacon, add the bacon lardons.  When the bacon has rendered off a lot of fat and has become brown and crispy, add the onions.  If not using the bacon, just add the diced onions to the heated oil.  Season the onions with salt and sweat them until they become very soft and aromatic, about 10 minutes.

Add the celery and carrot. Season with salt and saute over medium heat until the vegetables start to become soft and aromatic, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the cooked lentils, 1/4 of the reserved lentil cooking water, the mustard and vinegar. Cook until most of the liquid has reduced. Taste for seasoning, add salt or more vinegar, if needed. Serve hot or at room temperature.

3.  For the salmon:

While assembling the lentils, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

For the salmon, heat a dry oven-proof saute pan over high heat for 4 minutes.  Meanwhile, rub both sides of the salmon fillets with olive oil and season the tops very liberally with salt and pepper.  When the pan is very hot, place the salmon fillets seasoning-sides down in the pan and cook over medium heat without moving them for 2 minutes, until very browned. Turn the fillets and place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salmon is cooked rare.  Spoon a mound of lentils on each plate and place a salmon fillet on top.  Serve hot.

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