Sesame Soba Noodles

Well somehow it’s been three months since I last posted… But it’s now halfway through spring quarter and I have three midterms this week, so this is as good a time as any, right?

In any case, the sun does indeed exist in Seattle! Who knew? But it’s poked it’s head out pretty consistently for the past week (minus a couple thunderstorms here and there) and I think that spring has finally sprung. I went on a hike a couple weeks ago with some classmates after our Friday afternoon class and the mountain was out! It was a beautiful day in Issaquah, and here’s the view we got on the way up the Chirico Trail to Poo Poo Point. ¬†DSCN7762.jpg

My backyard is also blooming! Our tulips opened up to welcome the sun ūüôā

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But now to more important things: the food. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I feel less of a need to make soups and hearty, warm comfort food. So I tried these sesame noodles, and made up a sauce and added whatever vegetables looked good and were on sale. So this is what I came up with! I personally like my vegetables a little bit cooked so they’re tender, but you could also just slice them thin and leave them raw. It’s a versatile recipe, so feel free to adjust the sauce to your taste, and use whatever veggies you desire! This¬†tastes great when served chilled, so it’s a great one to make as the weather warms up, and it would be a great addition to an outdoor barbecue or potluck. Also, I just noticed that this recipe happens to be vegan, so it’s great for people with dietary restrictions ūüôā

Sesame Soba Noodles

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

3 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

¬ľ cup rice wine vinegar

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

14oz soba noodles

2 tsp olive oil

6-8 green onions, sliced

1 cup carrots, sliced into matchsticks

1 bell pepper, sliced

2 cups shelled edamame

1 large cucumber, sliced into matchsticks

Sesame seeds

Directions

In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. Add in the minced garlic and minced ginger. Allow to refrigerate overnight if you have time, but this is not necessary.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the soba noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain and run cold water over the noodles, toss with half of the sesame sauce, then set aside to cool, or put in the fridge to chill.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the green onions and cook a minute or two, then add the carrots. Cover and allow the carrots to soften for a couple minutes. Add the bell pepper and edamame, then add the remainder of the sesame sauce to the vegetables. Cook until vegetables are your desired tenderness.

Toss together the noodle, cooked vegetables, and cucumber. Serve warm or chilled, sprinkled with sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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Roasted Fall Vegetable and Lentil Soup

Happy Sunday everyone! I’m taking a study break, and I wanted to share a recipe for a soup I made earlier this week that turned out better than I expected. I was making some pumpkin cookies, and I was going to have some pumpkin puree left over, so I started thinking of way to use it, and settled on making some soup. I added the lentils to give it some protein and make it hearty enough for a full meal, and roasted a bunch of vegetables to add to the pumpkin. This is a recipe where an immersion blender comes in extremely handy, since once I had all the ingredients in my pot, rather than blending it in shifts, I was able to just whir my immersion blender through it all and it became wonderfully smooth. It’s a great recipe for a chilly fall evening, and I’ve been having it with some toasted baguette on the side for the last few days. Here’s the recipe!

Roasted Fall Vegetable and Lentil Soup

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil (approximately)

1 acorn squash

1 sweet onion

4-6 oz carrots (I used baby carrots I had in the fridge)

1 1/2 cups split red lentils

4 cups vegetable broth

2-3 cups water (more or less depending your desired consistency)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (this is what I had left in the can, you could do more or less, or omit if you don’t have it on hand)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425ňöF and line a couple baking sheets with foil.¬†Cut the acorn squash in half, drizzle with olive oil, and place cut side down on one of the¬†baking sheets. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, until fork-tender.

Chop the onion and carrots, toss with olive oil, and spread out on the other baking sheet sheet. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until fork-tender.

While the vegetables are roasting, put the lentils, vegetable broth, and 2 cups of the water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow the lentils to cook until soft, then add the pumpkin puree.

Once the vegetables are roasted, add them to the pot and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Add more water if you want a thinner consistency. Serve with crackers or toasted baguette and enjoy!

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Curry Lentil-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Well, I had my first final today. Which means that I should start studying for my other two next week, but instead I’m going to take a break and talk a little bit about food. To all my fellow quarter-system college students-good luck studying!

I decided to make some acorn squash, since I’ve used a lot of butternut squash and sweet potatoes, but I feel like I neglect this fall squash. It’s not my favorite, since it’s not quite as sweet at butternut squash or sweet potatoes, but it sure is pretty. When you cut the squash crosswise into rings, they make nice little flowery rings, and I just had to do something with that, so here we are!

For this dish, I made some curry lentils in the slow cooker, then I roasted the acorn squash, some cauliflower, and onions. I put a scoop of lentils inside the acorn squash rings, then topped the whole thing off with the roasted vegetables. The result? A delicious meal, packed with fall flavors. The slightly sweet squash, combined with the spicy curry, and the savory roasted vegetables all complement each other to make a wonderfully balanced meal. It does take some waiting, for the vegetables and lentils to cook, but the hands on time is pretty minimal. In any case, this is a dish worth trying!

Curry Lentil-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups red split lentils

1 14oz can lite coconut milk

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 tbsp curry powder

2 tbsp olive oil

2 acorn squash, sliced crosswise, seeds removed

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets

1 sweet onion, sliced

Directions

Mix together the lentils, coconut milk, vegetable broth, and curry powder in the slow cooker. Turn on low and allow to cook for 4-5 hours, until the lentils are cooked through and soft. This can also be done on the stove. Simply combine all ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are soft.

Preheat the oven to 400ňöF. On one baking sheet, toss the acorn rounds with half the olive oil, then place in the oven. On another baking sheet, toss the cauliflower and onion with the other half of the olive oil, then place on the sheet. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through.

To assemble, place an acorn squash ring (or two or three) on a plate, then place a scoop of lentils in the middle. Top with the roasted cauliflower and onions. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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A delicious fall meal! It happens to be vegan too ūüôā

Slow Cooker Fall Lentil Salad with Caramelized Onions and Tahini Maple Dressing

Well, fall hasn’t quite hit LA with its full force. The temperatures are back in the 80s for this week, so I guess it’ll be a while still before¬†I start wearing cool-weather clothes. However, for those of you who live in places with real weather,¬†this recipe is for you! A warm lentil salad with butternut¬†squash, sweet caramelized onions, and a fall-flavored tahini-maple dressing, is just the thing to hit the spot on a chilly autumn¬†night.

I used the slow cooker for this recipe, which made the prep much easier! I just threw the lentils and butternut squash in, left it for a few hours, then later made the caramelized onions and the dressing and placed it on a bed of fresh spinach. Super easy! Caramelized onions only take 10-15 minutes to make, and are definitely worth the extra time. Finishing it off with the maple tahini dressing really gave it a fall flavor, and a touch of nutty sweetness as well. I preferred this salad served warm over fresh spinach, but I¬†also tried¬†it cold and the flavors were still good. Here’s the recipe!

Slow Cooker Fall Lentil Salad with Caramelized Onions and Tahini Maple Dressing

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

Lentil Salad

1 1/2 cups lentils (I used a mixture of green and split red lentils)

2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup water

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1 inch chunks

2 tsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 sweet onions, sliced

6 cups salad greens (I used baby spinach)

Dressing

1/4 cup tahini

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 clove garlic

Water, as needed for consistency (I used about 3 tbsp)

Directions

Pour the lentils in the slow cooker, then pour the vegetable broth and water over them, and stir together. Place the diced butternut squash over the lentils. Turn the slow cooker on to high, then cook for 4-6 hours, until all the liquid has been absorbed.

In the meantime, make the caramelized onions. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and stir to coat with oil. Cook the onions until caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low if the onions start to burn.

Once the lentils are cooked through and the butternut squash is soft, add the caramelized onions and mix until evenly distributed. Set aside to cool while you make the dressing.

To make the dressing, place all ingredients except water in a blender or food processor and run until smooth. Add warm water and blend until the desired consistency is reached.

Place a bed of greens on a plate, about 1 cup per serving. Spoon the lentil mixture over the greens, the drizzle dressing over the top. This can be served warm or cold. Enjoy!

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Throw it in the slow cooker…

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… a few hours later, it’s all cooked!

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Mmm, I love caramelized onions

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Tahini-Maple Dressing!

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Place the salad on a bed of fresh baby lettuce

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Drizzle some dressing over the top

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Take a taste of fall!

Pumpkin Sage Brown Rice Risotto

It’s officially fall! With my¬†first pumpkin recipe post this year, say hello to pumpkin season! It was actually a little chilly this evening in LA, and I had to wear a sweater. GASP, I know, SoCal does indeed have seasons! Or a very mild form of them, in any case. Looks like this week will only be in the high 70s, rather than 80s and 90s, so I guess it’s time to call it fall. Anyway, the inspiration for this recipe came more from necessity than any kind of inspiration. I wanted to make a fall meal, and one of my friends left some sage in my fridge, and I had half a can of pumpkin leftover from a cake I made (it wasn’t good enough to merit posting, I’m sorry to say), and I feel like I’ve seen lots of pumpkin sage recipes on the internet, so it must be a good combination, right? Well, it is. I love the blend of savory pumpkin and bright, fresh sage flavors in this dish. I added some apples and raisins for sweetness, onion for flavor, and kidney beans for protein.

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All the ingredients!

I was pleasantly surprised that the risotto method of cooking the brown rice actually gave it a creamier texture. It wasn’t quite as creamy as normal arborio rice, but it was creamier than traditional brown rice, and it makes me feel like I’m eating a bit healthier. I also used the cheating way of cooking risotto, so it really wasn’t much work at all. Overall, I’m very pleased with this recipe, especially since it fits quite well into the fall season. It’s delicious fresh from the pot, and also made for a great week of lunches. Enjoy my first fall meal recipe!

Pumpkin Sage Brown Rice Risotto

Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 a yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup uncooked brown rice

1/2 cup white wine

1 quart (4 cups) vegetable broth

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 sweet apples (I used gala), diced

1/2 cup raisins

1 15oz can kidney beans, drained

15-20 leaves fresh sage

Directions

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Add the rice and saute until translucent. Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until all the liquid is absorbed.

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Add 1 cup of the vegetable broth and stir occasionally until the liquid is absorbed.

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Add the pumpkin puree and the rest of the broth and stir to combine.

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Cover and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid has been absorbed.

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Once there is a little liquid left, add the apples, raisins, beans, and sage leaves. Stir until the remaining liquid is absorbed. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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A lovely fall meal!

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Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Garlic Pesto

Today is my last day of free time before volleyball starts up tomorrow with team meetings. This is the last day I get to sleep in till whenever I want and sit on my butt in front of the computer. I’m pretty excited to work with the team again this year. It was a lot of fun last year, and it’ll give me something to do with my days. However, it does mean a little less time to cook and try new recipes. But before I sell my soul to volleyball, here’s one more great summer recipe for you!

I decided to use summer vegetables, eggplant and green beans, toss them with some navy beans and quinoa to make a salad, and flavor it with a bright, garlicky pesto, using fresh basil from my basil plant! I love pesto, and the garlic just adds a nice little kick to it. Next time I might try roasting the garlic first, to give it a more mellow¬†flavor, but I like the fresh garlic just fine, although it may be a bit strong for some. You could also switch out the eggplant and green beans for other summer vegetables, like summer squash or zucchini, tomatoes, or whatever else strikes your fancy. This dish is so simple and easy¬†to pull together, and it’s one of those recipes that makes me fall in love with my food processor all over again. It just makes everything so easy and fast! This is also a vegan recipe, since I use nutritional yeast in the pesto for a cheesy flavor rather than cheese. You could also just throw in some Parmesan or other strong flavored cheese, but I didn’t have any in the fridge, so I went with the nutritional yeast. In any case, here’s the recipe! Hope everyone is enjoying their summer while it lasts!

Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Garlic Pesto

Ingredients

Quinoa Salad

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 1/4 cups water

Salt, pepper, and seasonings, to taste

1 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 eggplant, diced

1 15oz can navy beans, or beans of your choice, drained

Pesto

1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup walnuts

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2-3 cloves fresh garlic

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

In a pot, bring the quinoa, water, and seasonings to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet that has a cover. Add the garlic and saute until golden, then add the green beans and eggplant. Saute for a few minutes, until tender, then add a few tablespoons of water, cover, and allow to steam cook for a few minutes. If you prefer your green beans crispy, omit this step, but I like mine a little soft. When the vegetables are cooked to your liking, remove from heat. Stir in the quinoa and beans until combined.

For the pesto, combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Drizzle over quinoa salad. Serve warm or cold, either is delicious. Enjoy!

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Lentil Walnut Loaf

I made this recipe a long time ago, but¬†it’s not Thursday, so I can’t say Throwback Thursday. Luckily, I have a friend who’s clever with words and she came up with Way Back Wednesday, so that’s what today is going to be. Way Back Wednesday.

It’s hot here in LA (surprise, surprise), so I’m just going to post this recipe I made in the winter and pretend like that’ll bring cool weather back. Wishful thinking, I know, but whatever, I have to try anyway.¬†What’s a vegetarian to do when meatloaf is all the rage, and all you want is a warm, filling meal for the winter? Make this lentil walnut loaf, of course! I found this recipe over at Oh She Glows¬†and decided to use it for my first attempt at a vegetarian meatloaf. I don’t keep oat flour or breadcrumbs on hand, so I just used oats and flour. As for the rest, it’s pretty much the same. The crisp apple add a touch of sweetness to this hearty loaf, and the carrots and celery add flavor and texture, while the lentils make up the “meat,” so to speak, of the dish. This isn’t a particularly quick dish to make, as it takes a bit of prep and lots of baking time, but it is quite tasty. If you ever have a couple hours to spare, I would suggest trying it. This might also be a nice vegetarian option for a Thanksgiving dinner or another winter holiday meal. It’s quite filling, flavorful, and full of healthy ingredients. Here’s the recipe!

Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf

Adapted from Oh She Glows

Makes 2 8×4 loaves

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked lentils

1 cup walnuts, chopped

3 tbsp flax seed + 6 tbsp warm water

1 tsp olive oil

3 tbsp crushed garlic

1 onion, diced

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup celery, diced

2 small apples, diced (I left the peel on)

1/3 cup raisins

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Herbs and seasonings, to taste

Balsamic Glaze

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tbsp agave nectar

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions

Cook the lentils according to package directions. Slightly overcook them, so they are easier to mash. This can be done beforehand.

Toast the walnuts at 350ňöF for 7-10 minutes, until fragrant.

Pour the warm water over the flax seed and allow to sit while you combine the other ingredients. This is making a flax egg.

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for a minute or so, until fragrant. Add the carrots and celery and cook for about five more minutes, until the vegetables are slightly tender. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, mash the lentils slightly, then add the onions, carrots, celery, apple, and raisins. Stir to combine. Add the oats, flour, and flax egg, and stir until thoroughly combined.

Preheat the oven to 350ňöF. Line 2 loaf pans (8×4 for taller loaves, 9×5 for flatter loaves) with parchment paper. Press half the mixture into each loaf pan.

To make the glaze, whisk together all glaze ingredients. Spread evenly over the top of each loaf.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until edges are slightly brown. Remove from oven and allow the loaves to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing. Allow loaves to cool completely, then cut into slices. Serve with greens and cornbread, or your favorite sides. Enjoy!

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Such a colorful loaf!

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I made it a meal with some sauteed kale, sweet potato fries, and cornbread. Yum!