Lasagna is a vegetarian staple. It’s a great one dish meal and can be made in advance and cooked at a later time, so it’s great for busy cooks. The possibilities are endless when it comes to vegetable and flavor combinations that can be used in lasagna. You just need to know a few basics about lasagna-making, and then you can create an endless variety of dishes to suit your tastes. I love a classic Italian-style vegetable lasagna, but I also enjoy butternut squash lasagna, smoked salmon lasagna, mushroom lasagna, and others.
Ok, let’s go over the basics . . .
Continue reading Vegetarian Lasagna 101
Lapsang Souchong is a smoked black tea. I think of it as the scotch of tea. It is intensely smokey and rich and lends an amazing flavor to this hearty lentil soup. I happened to have leeks and swiss chard in the fridge when I made this, but you could substitute onion and spinach. This soup freezes well, so when I make it I make a large batch and freeze it in individual lunch-size portions.
Smoked Tea Lentil Soup
A hearty winter soup with an unusual twist from the smoked tea.
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1/2 leek, sliced in thirds lengthwise and then cut crosswise to create small pieces (just slicing crosswise to create half moons would create a stringy texture in the soup)
- 1/4 small onion, finely diced
- 1/4 small fennel bulb, finely diced
- 1 rib celery, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 3-4 leaves of swiss chard, stems removed and finely chopped, and leaves finely chopped (optional)
- 1 TBSP herbs de provance
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves removed
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup dry green or brown lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1 8oz can diced tomatoes or 4 large roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup strong brewed lapsang souchong tea
- 1 TBSP sherry vinegar
- 2 TBSP italian parsley, chopped
- In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil to medium heat.
- Add leeks, onion, celery, carrot and swiss chard stems (if using) and cook for about 5 minutes until vegetables to begin to release their liquid.
- Add herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add lentils, bay leaf and broth and tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and simmer for ~30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking to see if more liquid is needed. If soup begins to get too thick, add water or more broth to thin it out.
- When lentils are cooked and vegetables are soft, remove soup from heat and stir in the tea, sherry vinegar and parsley. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate or freeze for later use.
I ordered a red cabbage from Amazon fresh and I received two. That’s a lot of cabbage. After unsuccessfully trying to give one away, I decided to try to come up with some salads to make use of my abundance of cabbage.
Last weekend, because I was making falafel, I decided to check out a nearby mediterranean market, Goodies. Though I had sent my husband there in the past to get bulgarian feta (which, after trying once I decided was the only feta that I would ever eat again) I had never been inside myself. The market was great, with all kind of interesting ingredients that aren’t readily available at my usual grocery destinations. I got some sumac, which I have used on hummus, as well as some pomegranate molasses. The pomegranate molasses are basically a reduction of pomegranate juice, kind of like a balsamic reduction, but fruitier.
The molasses are key to this recipe, which is now going into my regular salad rotation.
Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
A delicious and unusual winter salad.
- 2 TBSP pomegranate molasses
- 2 TBSP lemon juice
- 2TBSP olive oil
- 1 medium apple, julianned*
- 1/4 small red cabbage, finely shredded
- 1/2 cup of pecan pieces, toasted
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
- 6-8 mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- salt and pepper
- Combine first three ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine.
- Toss dressing with remaining salad ingredients, season with salt and pepper and serve.
- I use the julianne attachment on my mandoline to do this.