Lentil and Sweet Potato Chili

Monday.  Let me tell you guys something…it is even harder to get excited about Mondays when you spent a weekend away in Las Vegas with friends.  Add to that the fact that it’s been raining all day and well let’s just say I was feeling cozy and lazy today.

Lentil and Sweet Potato Chili

This weekend was filled with pool time (think 80s and sunny), a few adult beverages, some gambling, lots of dancing, and even more laughter.  Seriously, I feel like Seattle and the relationships I have developed out here feel more like home every day :)  They say surround yourself with those on the same mission as you.   A room full of passionate, ambitious, young, and adventure-seeking humans… makes for one epic vacation.

Lentil and Sweet Potato Chili

Well now I am home, cozied up to a nice warm cup of green tea, reflecting on the weekend, and sharing this twist on chili with you.  I needed some veggies in my life, but with this rainy weather I wanted some comfort food.  Drum roll please…VEGAN CHILI.  I decided to avoid beans in this chili and stray even further from the traditional chili recipe.  Mainly because lentils are packed with fiber and protein and are a legume so they replace the beans that you normally find in chili.  If you really are craving that beany taste, feel free to add a can of rinsed kidney or black beans.   I kept my batch on the sweeter side (corn and sweet potatoes) and added heat and freshness by topping each serving with pickled jalapeño slices and cilantro.  This is a great hearty dish that will warm your soul.

Lentil and Sweet Potato Chili

As always,

Bon Appeteek

More nutritional tidbits about lentils: high in folate, thiamine, phosphorous, and iron.  I was shocked when I found out that Canada is the largest exporter of lentils in the world…who would have thought?!?!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4-6

The Players: 

1/2 red onion, diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (2 cups of cubed sweet potato)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
14.5 oz can  stewed mexican style tomatoes
1 C green whole lentils, rinsed
1 C frozen corn
3 C water (additional water if needed to thin out the chili)
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 heaping T ground cumin
2 t chili powder
1/2 t smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste

The Rules: 

  1. In a dutch oven, over medium high heat warm 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.  Cook onion, celery, and sweet potato for ~5 minutes, until sweet potato starts to brown/soften and onion is translucent.
  2. Add bell pepper and garlic and sauté an additional 1-2 minutes.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients in the dutch oven and bring to a rolling boil.  Cover dutch oven with lid and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add additional water if desired and adjust seasonings to taste.  Remove from heat and allow the chili to cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve warm with fresh cilantro and pickled jalapeños.

Reduced-Guilt Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Reduced-Guilt Broccoli Cheddar Soup

In my opinion the best soup for a cold, rainy day is a hearty one.   The idea for my creamy broccoli cheddar soup stems from my Nana’s love for this soup at Panera.  Every time that any of us grand-kids come home from college, my grandmother tells us to pick a day to go to Panera and without fail Nana always orders a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup with a whole-wheat baguette.  Some of my favorite memories with Nana include these lunch outings–catching up with her while enjoying a casual meal.  This is one of the few times Nana will relax and not fuss.

Reduced-Guilt Broccoli Cheddar SoupLook at how pretty those veggies look! 

Moving to Seattle, I knew that there would be plenty of these chilly days for soups and stews and re-creating this favorite of Nana’s was one of the first recipes I wanted to tackle.  I decided I would attempt to make it as healthy as possible and load it up with yummy veggies.  My boyfriend always gives me a hard time about how I am “justifying” how healthy a recipe is.  His rationale–nothing that tastes this good can be that healthy… so I will leave it up to you to decide if you want to view this recipe as a healthy weeknight meal or a guilty pleasure.

Reduced-guilt Broccoli Cheddar Soup

The fact that I spent most of my life growing up in Wisconsin, the cheese capitol of the U.S., only solidifies that the one ingredient I couldn’t skimp on is the CHEDDAR…I mean cheddar is in the title of the recipe.  I added deli-style, extra-sharp cheddar slices, but you could easily add 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups of freshly-grated, extra-sharp cheddar cheese.

Reduced-Guilt Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This soup did not last long in our house and Mr. “This can’t be that healthy” enjoyed seconds and took it to work for lunch the following day…guess it must taste good ;)

Reduced-Guilt Broccoli Cheddar SoupHow delicious does that bite look?

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4-6

The Players:

1 T coconut oil
2 carrots, shredded
1 parsnip, shredded
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T whole wheat flour
4 C low-sodium vegetable stock
1 C reduced-fat milk
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed (bite-size pieces)
5 C broccoli florets, rinsed
7 slices extra-sharp cheddar cheese (Alternatively 1 1/2 to 2 C freshly-grated)
Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

The Rules: 

  1. In a large stock pot, over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil.  Add the carrots, parsnip, onion and garlic.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Sprinkle the flour over the sautéed veggies, then whisk in milk and vegetable stock.
  3. Add the potatoes and broccoli and bring soup to a boil.  Replace lid and cook for ~10 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender.  Turn off the heat and remove pot from the burner.
  4. Transfer half the soup-veggie mixture to a bowl, set aside, and puree the remaining soup with an immersion blender.  (Note: you can puree more or less of the soup depending on the consistency you desire.  I like more broccoli pieces in my soup so I intentionally fish more of the broccoli out and do not puree it)
  5. Add the cheese to the pureed soup and whisk to combine.  Combine the soup-veggie mixture that was set aside with the pureed, cheesy soup base.  Stir gently to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Black beans are an amazing source of protein and fiber.  I like adding beans to salads, tacos, burritos, pretty much any Latin American food.  Why not make beans the star of a dish?

If anyone truly knows me they know that I am OBSESSED with soups.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

I could eat some variation of soup or stew Every. Single. Day.  I was inspired to create my own black bean stew, by my fit and fab friend Rebecca.  I was talking with Rebecca today and she told me she was going to meal prep for the week –one of those meals was a chipotle black bean soup.  Doesn’t that just sound fantastic?!

Spicy Black Bean Soup

At least I thought so and I decided to take a look in my pantry and dream up a vegan-friendly, hearty, SPICY, black bean soup for my own Sunday meal-prep.  You know what they say:

“Beans, beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
So we have beans at every meal!”

~Elementary school children

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Don’t let my crude sense of humor stop you from making this amazing soup!

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8

The Players: 

1 T coconut oil
1 red onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped (or any other color you have on hand)
2 carrots, sliced
1 jalapeno, minced (I included the seeds)
3 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
3 x 15 oz can low sodium black beans, drained not rinsed
4 C low sodium vegetable stock
1 T ground cumin
1 t chili powder
sea salt to taste

Optional toppings: cilantro, avocado, scallions, cotija cheese, lime, salsa, sour cream, cooked rice/quinoa/cous cous

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat a dutch oven or large stock pot over medium-high heat.  Once the pot is hot, add 1 tbsp coconut oil and allow to melt.
  2. Transfer the first seven ingredients to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the remaining soup ingredients to the pot, stir to combine, and turn burner to high heat.  Bring the soup to a boil then cover with lid.  Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Turn the burner off and remove the pot from the heat.  Using an immersion blender, puree some of the soup to desired consistency. (Note: you can use a food processor or blender to puree the soup, but you will need to allow the soup to cool first)

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

People ask all the time, “Does it really rain in Seattle all the time?”  Seattle may be known as the rainy city, but it does not rain all day, every day.  Rainy season definitely starts in November and sticks around until April or so.  But it’s more overcast, grey, misty, than it is Midwest-style downpours.  Think cozy days, curled up on your couch with a cup of tea, a good book, or a movie.  AND you can still go hiking, running, biking, seriously…Seattleites do not let a lil rain stop them from being uber-active.  I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THIS CITY.

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

We moved out here for my pharmacy residency and I never expected that this city would win my heart over.  I knew I wanted to live in the PNW for a chapter of my life, but this city is so much more than a few pages in the book of my life.   It’s where our relationship flourished, where I got my first big-girl Pharmacist dream job, where I made a family of friends, where I pursued my dreams and started a food blog.  It is where my heart is.  Seattle is my home.  I know super sappy, but I encourage anyone and everyone to come explore this corner of the U.S.

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

When you live in a city that has a surplus of cozy weekends, you tend to make a lot of hearty meals.  Hearty meals do not need to be cheesy, creamy, and rich.  I get just as much satisfaction, probably more, from a good soup or stew.  Ahh yes…what you’ve all been waiting for…the food.  This is a food blog after all.

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

Italian sausage and pasta are kind of meant to go together.  I love this combination and adding whatever veggies I have on hand to add some nutrients and vitamins to the dish.  Mushrooms accompany sausage very nicely and I love the earthy taste the root vegetables provide.  I only had one carrot on-hand, which is why I added the parsnip.  I love when last miute substitutions work out nicely :)  After all parsnip is pretty much carrot’s cousin.

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

I enjoyed two steamy bowls of this goodness.  Love when a meal makes you crave seconds before the last drop is enjoyed.

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4-6

The Players: 

1 lb Italian sausage
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
32 oz beef stock
1 large carrot, scrubbed and sliced (1/4-inch thick)
1 parsnip, scrubbed and sliced (1/4-inch thick)
10 crimini mushrooms, rinsed and sliced (1/4-inch thick)
1 t dried basil
1 t dried oregano
2 T fresh sage
10 oz fresh tortellini pasta (I used spinach and plain cheese-filled)
freshly grated parmesan as garnish

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the Italian sausage, break apart into smaller pieces, and cook until meat has browned (~10 minutes).
  2. Add the onions and garlic, cooking an additional 3-5 minutes until translucent.
  3. Add tomatoes and beef stock.  Bring to a boil then add mushrooms, carrot, parsnip, and spices.  Replace lid on pot and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir the soup and add tortellini.  Replace lid and cook an additional 7 minutes (until pasta is cooked and floats to top of soup).
  5. Allow soup to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.  Serve with freshly grated parmesan sprinkled on top.

Okra and Blackeye Pea Vegan Gumbo

Okra and Blackeye Pea Vegan Gumbo

Tonight felt like a gumbo night.  You know when you’re craving something that will stick to your ribs without layering on extra guilt…since you’ve been splurging on all the holiday desserts??? Come on, I know I’m not the only one in that boat this time of year ;)

Okra and Blackeye Pea Vegan Gumbo

We just came back from spending Thanksgiving weekend in Anchorage and boy did we eat!  We had THE MOST AMAZING scones from a local Anchorage bakery called Fireside Bakery and that was just the start of the Thanksgiving gorging.  Literally, we woke up Thursday morning and bee-lined it for the bakery.  I promise I will try to recreate the scone recipe soon!  After catching up on sleep and eating everything in sight, I needed to get back into the weekly routine of gym time and clean eats.

Okra and Blackeye Pea Vegan Gumbo

So that’s what I did…I went completely vegan with this gumbo recipe.  I rarely omit all three animal products: cheese, dairy, and meat from a recipe, but you know what they say, “go big, or go home.”  If I was going to start the week off “clean,” I might as well load up on the produce and organic goodies.  I don’t normally shop all organic, but I somehow ended up with organic beans, broth, and veggies.

Okra and Blackeye Pea Vegan Gumbo

I am going to be honest with you all.  We can’t have a trusting relationship if I omit truths.  I went to the gym. check. I made a vegan dinner. check. I poured myself a glass of wine. ruh-roh.  Yeah we all have our weaknesses–blame it on the Monday after the holiday weekend ;)

Okra and Blackeye Pea Vegan Gumbo

Oh well, nobody is perfect hehe.  I am enjoying said wine and blogging this wonderful and hearty recipe I hope you all enjoy.

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Servings: 6-8

The Players: 

1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
3.3 oz can fire-roasted, diced green chiles
32 oz organic vegetable broth
15 oz can organic kidney beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz frozen blackeye peas
12 oz frozen cut okra
1 T cajun seasoning
1 T fresh sage, minced
1 T fresh thyme, minced
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Optional serving suggestion:
cooked red or white quinoa for serving over
greek yogurt as garnish (for a vegetarian dish)
nutritional yeast or freshly grated cheese as garnish (for a vegetarian option)

The Rules: 

  1. Place a large dutch oven or stock pot on your cooktop over medium-high heat.  Allow to heat up then coat bottom of pot with non-stick cooking spray.  Add onions and garlic to pot, cooking until translucent ~3-5 minutes.
  2. Once onion is translucent add carrots, pepper, and jalapeno (if desired), cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes, diced chiles, and vegetable stock.  Turn heat up to high, replace lid on pot, and allow broth to come to a boil ~5 minutes.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients, stir to combine, bring to a boil; then replace lid, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook covered for 30 minutes.
  5. Optional serving suggestion: serve over cooked quinoa.  May garnish with greek yogurt/sour cream if opting for a vegetarian option or nutritional yeast if sticking to a vegan dish.