Toor Dal with Spinach

Toor Dal
Toor Dal with Spinach –

My Mother-in-Law made this soup while at my mom’s house in Montréal, over the summer. I did the measuring of everything as she was going, and noted the steps. I cooked it again this morning and it delivered! Dishes like this Toor Dal offer such warmth and provide the palate with a rich balance of flavors. You get the heat from the peppers, the bitterness from the lime. It makes for something calming, yet vibrant. Check it out for yourself!

  • 1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas), rinsed well
  • 5 cups water (plus more, if needed)
  • 1 large onion, diced finely
  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced finely
  • 1-2 serrano peppers, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach (hard stems removed)
  • Lime juice, to taste (I usually use a whole juicy lime)

For the tempering:

  • 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3-4 curry leaves (optional, but nice)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds (optional, but nice)

In a large pot, bring the toor dal and 3 cups water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer until the peas have lost their crunch, but still needing additional cooking, about 20-30 minutes. Then add the onion, tomatoes, serrano peppers, turmeric, salt, and 2 more cups of water. Cook for an additional 20-25 minutes, until the onion is cooked through, and the peas are soft. Add the spinach and heat through over low heat for 5 minutes. While the spinach is cooking, make the tempering.

Heat the grapeseed oil up to almost the smoke point. Add the garlic and spices, making sure they sizzle on contact with the oil. Some will pop. This can take 1-3 minutes depending on your pan and oil used. Don’t burn the garlic, just a golden touch. Add the tempering to the dal. It will make a sound! Stir well, while heating gently for a few minutes. Add the lime juice, taste and adjust. Let us know how yours turn out!

Note: you can switch out the spinach for pretty much any other vegetable you want. Vegetables such as chayote, squash, chard, even cucumbers are sublime in here! Just add them earlier, shortly after the onion, tomatoes and peppers. Cook until you like their consistency.

Bon appétit!


Green Split Pea Soup

Pea Soup
Green Split Pea Soup |

A few weeks ago, at the Farmers Market, McClendon’s, a 25-acre organic farm in Peoria, AZ, was selling some green split peas. There was also a lady giving away samples of a green split pea soup, but it was made with ham hocks, just like my mom used to do. Despite the fact that I couldn’t taste McClendon’s version, the memories were haunting me. I remember eating split pea soup around the Easter holidays, my mom using leftover ham to put together her smoky deliciousness.

My taste buds, at that point, were screaming for pea soup. During my childhood, yellow split peas were used, but the result is just the same with green split peas. The use of smoked paprika and liquid smoke is imperative in order to get the smokiness. Don’t be shy, get some liquid smoke from the grocery store or from Amazon. It is becoming easier and easier to find.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, in small dices
  • 1 large carrot, in small dices
  • 2 celery ribs, in small dices
  • 1 red bell pepper, in small dices
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4-5 drops liquid smoke
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups dried green split peas, well rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cup sweet potato, cubed
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • To garnish: minced spring or green onion, minced parsley, dusting of smoked paprika, lemon wedges

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Stir well, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 5-6 minutes, until the vegetables are tender, but not burnt, stirring occasionally.

Add the smoked paprika, oregano, and liquid smoke and mix well. Add the broth, split peas, bay leaf, and salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the peas and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. After 15 minutes of simmering, add the sweet potatoes.

Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove the soup from the heat and add the juice of half a lemon. Serve the soup garnished with the spring onions, parsley, and smoked paprika. Bon appétit!


Coconut Green Spring Soup

Spring Soup
Coconut Green Spring Soup |

This is it. It is now spring in Arizona. The fruit trees are starting to bud, the seeds are sprouting. And this weather inspired this refreshing Green Spring Soup. The flavors in the soup, based off of coconut milk, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass, scream nice weather. You could use other vegetables that cook somewhat quickly, as this soup is ready fast! Longest thing is mincing and chopping. I served my soup over some somen noodles by Hakubaku, an Australian company. It seems to be a cross between soba and ramen noodles. They were very good, but any type of Asian noodles would work here. Ramen, soba, pad thai noodles, all good choices! I hope you enjoy this soup as much as my family did!

  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass, minced
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into 1″ lengths
  • 2 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced thin into half moons
  • 3 heads baby bok choi, stems and leaves separated, stems diced and leaves torn if too big
  • 5 cups vegetable broth or mushroom stock
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons green curry paste
  • 4 cups shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thin, about 1/4″
  • 2 limes, cut into quarters
  • 1 jalapeño chile, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 10 oz package Asian noodles (soba, ramen, pad thai), cooked according to package directions
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • To garnish: fresh cilantro, fresh basil, mung bean sprouts, and raw peanuts, toasted

In a soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and lemongrass, and sauté for 2 minutes, while stirring.

Add the asparagus, the zucchini, and the bok choi stems, and cook, stirring, 3 minutes more.

Add broth, coconut milk, green curry paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and add mushrooms. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked.

Add the bok choi leaves and turn off the heat. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the juice of half a lime and add the chile.

To serve, put some noodles in a shallow bowl. Top with some soup and garnish with cilantro, basil, bean sprouts, toasted peanuts, and lime quarters. Bon appétit!

Karine |

Fruit Bliss® Sun-Ripened Tomato and Basil Soup

Tomato Soup
Sun-Ripened Tomato and Basil Soup |

This soup is a wonderful classic to which we add a kick of flavor with sun-ripened tomatoes. The use of heirloom tomatoes, or the best tomatoes you can get your hands on, is key to a balanced soup that’s just screaming for fresh basil and olive oil!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup shallots, diced
  • 1 small carrot, very finely chopped
  • 1 small celery sprig, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup Fruit Bliss® Turkish Tomato Halves (keep 1-2 halves from package to garnish)
  • 4 cups heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • Fresh thyme and parsley sprigs, tied with kitchen twine in a bouquet garni
  • 1 large handful fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • To serve: pumpernickel croutons, fresh basil, olive oil

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook, covered, until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes, stirring often to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Add the dried tomatoes, stir for one minute. Add the chopped heirloom tomatoes, vegetable broth, and bouquet garni. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes.

Discard the bouquet garni. Add the fresh basil leaves and maple syrup. Let cool. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer the soup back to the pot. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve with some croutons, some sun-ripened tomatoes, more fresh basil, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bon appétit!


Coconut Red Lentil Soup


Lentil Soup
Coconut Red Lentil Soup |

This soup is everything you were looking for. It is easy to make and tasty, with hints of ginger and coconut. This lentil soup would be wonderful for the Holidays too!

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, minced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • To serve: toasted coconut chips, fresh cilantro

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until vegetables begin to soften, 3-4 minutes.

Add the lentils and tomato paste and cook for one more minute. Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, curry powder, turmeric, sea salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer; reduce the heat and continue simmering, uncovered, about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Serve warm in soup bowl garnished with coconut chips and fresh cilantro. Bon appétit!


Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Fruit Bliss® Plum and Onion Jam Crostini

Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Plum and Onion Jam Crostini |

You might as well skip dessert! With its caramel undertones and its upbeat presentation, this butternut squash soup is sure to be the talk of the buffet line! If you have leftover plum and onion jam, it’s fabulous on toast the next day!

  • 1 4-lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1” cubes
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Fruit Bliss® French Agen plums, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can coconut milk (keep some aside for garnish)
  • Slices of pumpernickel or baguette, toasted
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • To serve: toasted pepitas, fresh apple slices

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

Place the squash cubes in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet large enough so that the squash is in one layer. Place in the oven and roast for about 50-60 minutes or until the squash is tender and browned in spots. Turn about halfway. Add the apples after about 40 minutes.

During the last 10 minutes of the squash and apples roasting, heat the 2 teaspoons olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until very soft and browned, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute more. Add the allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and plums. Cook for one minute. Remove half the plum and onion mixture to the bowl of a small food processor, or blender (You could also use a mortar/pestle here, assuming your onions really caramelized nicely).

Add the vegetable broth and the roasted squash and apples to the soup pot. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to blend. Let the soup cool slightly and transfer to a blender. You might need to blend your soup in batches. When you are done, return the soup to the pot and thin with the coconut milk, making sure to keep about ¼ cup for garnish.

While the soup is cooling, process the onion and plum mixture until you get a jam consistency, about 2 minutes. Spread the jam on the toasted pumpernickel or baguette slices. Serve with the soup.

Thai Coconut Curry Soup with Chickpeas and Potatoes

Thai Soup
Thai Coconut Curry Soup |

I adapted this Thai Coconut Curry Soup from a recipe I found in Street Vegan, the great cookbook from the Cinnamon Snail food truck! The book oozes with imaginative and fun recipes like Chickpea “Crab” Cakes and Tequila Lime Tostones! You can always find inspiration by just leafing through the pages.

Yesterday, I had a taste for Thai soup. But this soup needed to be a one-pot meal, substantial enough to feed the kids at lunch. So after looking through what I had left in the fridge and the pantry (hello potatoes!), I browsed through Street Vegan and found exactly what was needed. The potatoes and the chickpeas bring the heartiness, while the deep Thai spices make this dish a keeper. The kids loved it with some quinoa on the side. The next day, they wanted some again, but with rice.

The recipe is simple and straightforward. I only switched out the agave nectar for maple syrup (I more often than not use maple syrup as a sweetener) and since I didn’t have Thai basil on hand (I know, sacrilege!), I used Spicy Globe basil. It was just great! The broth is addictive, you’ll want to dip everything in it, from toast to fingers! Feel free to change up the vegetables, you can’t ruin anything that goes into this broth, seriously.

  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (Thai is great, but any basil will do), chopped
  • 8 makrut lime leaves, sliced into strips
  • 2-3 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
  • 7 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Heat the sesame oil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and ginger. Sauté for 3-4 minutes while stirring.

Add the coriander, cumin, red curry paste, basil, and lime leaves, and continue cooking for 2 more minutes, stirring often. Add the potatoes, vegetable broth, coconut milk, vinegar, maple syrup, tamari, and chickpeas. Bring to a boil. Continue to cook over high heat for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Serve with extra basil as a garnish. That’s it! Bon appétit!