Cozy Spiced Lentil Soup

Years ago, a friend shared this supremely cozy soup at a potluck. Ever since, I’ve found myself making it every few weeks throughout the winter. I usually have the ingredients on-hand, and it’s easy to shop for 2 batches at once.

This recipe is adapted from The Traveler’s Lunchbox (who reinterpreted it from Once Upon a Tart by Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau). Here, in its third generation, it gets double coconut milk (#sorrynotsorry), extra greens, and a dash of fire cider vinegar for brightness.

Serves: 3-4

1 1/2 cups (275g) green or brown lentils
6 cups (1.5l) vegetable or chicken stock
1 bushy sprig fresh thyme (1 tsp. dried thyme does in a pinch)
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
3 tablespoons butter, vegetable or coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of freshly-ground nutmeg
1 can (400 ml) coconut milk, or to taste
2-4 cups (your preference) fresh spinach, kale, or chard, washed, tough stems discarded and cut into ribbons
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

dash of Fire Cider Vinegar, or apple cider vinegar, to taste

Rinse the lentils and pick out any debris. Combine them in a pot with the stock, thyme and tumeric and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the lentils are soft, about 20 minutes. Fish out the thyme.

While the lentils are cooking, heat the butter or oil in a smallish skillet and sauté the onion over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned and caramelized in places, about 12-15 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and fry just until deeply aromatic, about 30 seconds. Scrape the contents of the skillet into the pot with the lentils, and add the coconut milk and greens. Bring everything back to a gentle boil and cook another 10 minutes, or until the flavors have blended and the greens are tender. Season with salt and pepper, and add a dash of Fire Cider Vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) to taste.

Serve hot.

Ming’s Chili Recipe

Recently my friend Ming invited some friends over for a casual dinner. Winter being what it is, and I being who I am, I could not resist a bowl of deeply flavored, super savory, warm and toasty chili. And please believe me when I say that Ming’s (vegan) chili was damn good. He was gracious enough to share his recipe.

Hot sauce pairings: Carrot Habanero; Serrano Cilantro Lime; Orange Habanero.

2 T olive oil
1 pound Impossible ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced

3 T chili powder
2 T ground cumin
1 T garlic powder
1 T oregano

1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper* -(optional)

2 C vegetable broth
2 (12 oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes
1 (12 oz.) can pinto beans, drained
2 (12 oz.) can black beans, drained

Add 1 T olive oil to a large soup pot and place it over medium-high heat for two minutes. Add the ground beef to the pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from pot and put aside.

Add 1 T olive oil to large soup pot and place on medium-high heat. Add the onions, peppers, carrots, and celery. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the ground beef, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne (if using). Stir until well combined.
Add the broth, diced tomatoes (with their juice), and drained beans. Stir well.

Bring the liquid to a low boil. Then, reduce the heat (low to medium-low) to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy with your favorite chili garnishes: cilantro? sour cream? and obviously, plenty of hot sauce.

Adapted from