Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Let’s talk through the story of my favorite lentil soup. Years ago, two of my neighbors hosted a soup party. It was an inspiring affair – big pots of simmering soups and stews, house full of chatty, friendly people. Part of what I liked was the simple premise. The hosts (David & Holly) made a number of soups, guests were asked to arrive with their drink of choice and one thing to share – salad, appetizer, or something sweet.
Coconut Red Lentil Soup

The Best Soup:

One of the vegetarian soups was a beautiful shade of yellow-orange. It was a light-bodied, curry-spiced coconut broth thickened with cooked red lentils and structured with yellow split peas. It appeared to be a beautiful take on lentil soup. When I asked Holly to tell me about it, she mentioned it was based on an Ayurvedic dal recipe in the Esalen Cookbook, a favorite of hers.

She happened to have an extra copy of the Esalen book, and sent me home with my belly full, a new cookbook tucked under my arm, and a few suggestions related to the soup. I still make this soup regularly, love it (so much!), and thought it might be fun to revisit it today in video form – enjoy! I’ve also included some notes related to adapting this soup to the Instant Pot.

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Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Other things worth noting related to this soup – the slivered green onions sauteed in butter or coconut oil. The golden raisins that plump up with curry broth. Back notes of ginger. Depth from a good dollop of tomato paste. It all comes together in one amazing bowl of restorative, lentil soup goodness.

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Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

I’m hoping a good number of you will give this mushroom salad a go. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it! This is a solid example of my favorite kind of recipe – quick, flavor forward, and endlessly adaptable. Are you a fan of mushrooms? Then this recipe is especially for you. Here’s how it goes. You sauté thinly sliced mushrooms in a splash of olive oil and cook them until they’re super golden and beautiful. Then you toss them in a bowl with fresh herbs, peanuts, freshly chopped herbs, serrano chile, a good amount of lime juice, and soy sauce. Done.
 Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

What kind of mushrooms?

This is a mixed mushroom salad (as pictured). I used cremini, king trumpet, and enoki mushrooms. That said, you can certainly make it with a single type of thinly sliced mushrooms. When you are preparing them just be sure to slice them consistent thickness – roughly 1/4-inch. These is a shot of the mushrooms pre-cooking (below). Followed by a photo of the color I like them to have when done cooking.

Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

Variations on this Mushroom Salad

  • Mushroom Salad with Tofu (as pictured): For more of a one-dish meal, I like to add a bit of crumbled tofu, or steamed tempeh.
  • Mushroom Salad over Rice: This is delicious over just about any type of rice you like. A simple bowl of brown jasmine, mixed rice & grains, or even congee!
  • Mushroom Salad over Noodles: Lots of things are great with noodles, and this is no exception! You can toss it rice or soba noodles along with the rest of the ingredients. Just bump up the amount of lime juice and soy sauce, so you have enough dressing. 

    Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

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Sriracha Rainbow Noodle Salad

This is a noodle salad you’ll crave every day. A radiant, color-flecked tangle of noodles, cabbage, shredded carrots, pickled sushi ginger, and an abundance of cilantro, basil, and scallions. It has tofu and peanuts, coconut, ginger, avocado, and hemp seeds. The dressing(!) – it’s simple but strong, and steps in with an assertive spicy sriracha-lime punch. This is one of those near-perfect one dish meals. You might not want to prep this many ingredients every day, but you’ll forget about that detail the minute you take a bite. And you can see exactly how it comes together in the video below. xx! -h

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Noodle Salad: Make Ahead Components

A couple of tips – you can make the dressing a few days in advance. You can also do much of the chopping and grating a day or two in advance. Cook the noodles to order, though.

Sriracha Rainbow Noodle Salad

Let me know if you try it, and please report back if you land on any seasonal adaptations that you are particularly excited about.

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Life Changing Green Rice Porridge (Instant Pot, Vegan)

I don’t use the term life changing lightly, but this rice porridge recipe fits the bill. It’s a one pot, effortless, green, nutrient-packed twist on one of my favorite things to eat. Congee, also commonly referred to as rice porridge. This version incorporates a lot of chopped spinach. A lot. Enough spinach that your body will notice.

Life Changing Green Rice Porridge Recipe

The Cooking Method

I make this porridge in an Instant Pot. You can also make it in a thick-bottomed pot on the stovetop – no Instant Pot necessary. Although, that method requires more babysitting. Similar to this Instant Pot Congee with Brown Rice and Turmeric, you put your rice into the pot, add water or broth, walk away, and start daydreaming about toppings.

Life Changing Green Rice Porridge Recipe

Let’s Talk about Toppings

Here you see lime, crushed kale chips and toasted nori, toasted pepitas, hemp seeds, and jungle peanuts. The tofu is sliced thinly, drizzled with shoyu, and draped over the porridge. Sometimes I spike the whole situation with sriracha sauce, sometimes I don’t.

Life Changing Green Rice Porridge Recipe

Getting the Rice Porridge Just Right

I’ve settled on a ratio of brown rice to white rice that works really well. You’ll see that reflected in the recipe. It’s one part white jasmine rice to two parts brown jasmine rice. You can optionally pepper that rice blend with 1/4 cup of other quick cooking grains or pulses if you like – French lentils, adzuki beans, Job’s tears, etc. Or not, totally your call!

Life Changing Green Rice Porridge Recipe

I know I say this often, but feel free to use this recipe and ratio as a jumping off point. Next time I might add a bunch of chopped herbs, and use another favorite broth in place of water.

I hope you love this rice porridge! It’s nutrient-packed and green. Simple to make. Made with whole foods. Delicious anytime of day. One pan magic. And, the perfect hearty, satisfying canvas to load up with your favorite toppings.

Lastly, for anyone looking for more Instant Pot recipe inspiration, I’ve set up an Instant Pot recipe category – all my favorite successes are featured there. And, for reference, this is the Instant Pot I used for this recipe: Instant Pot DUO Plus 6 Qt 9-in-1Enjoy!

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4 o’clock No-bake Energy Bites

Energy bites aren’t a new thing, but if you’re a person that grabs commercial power bars regularly, and you’re not already on board, give these a try as a DIY alternative. I make them for a 4 o’clock late afternoon snack to reach for when I’m at the studio, but they’re also a great travel option. Kids love them. Adults love them. The best part is that you’re in control of the ingredients, and they’re a breeze to make. That said, I deploy a few, small, but (I’ll argue) significant personal preferences when I set out to make energy bites.
No-bake Energy Bites

Energy Bite Strategy

Most recipes tend to use raw coconut flakes, and raw oats. I find a light toasting of both is worth the slight extra effort. I also like chia seeds here, and tend to use them as my seed of choice, but I first beat them up in a mortar and pestle a bit before adding them to the mix. Also, feel free to swap things up a bit – trade in alternate seeds, use whatever sweetener you prefer, add spices if you like, or an alternative nut butter, or keep things simple, and just go with this version – Enjoy!

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A quick side note, I make these with whatever nut butter I have on hand. Typically peanut or almond butter, but in the video up above you’ll see sunflower seed butter. All great!

No-bake Energy Bites

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Rainbow Cauliflower Rice Bowl

This is the sort of meal I crave after a travel stint. It’s when I end up lingering around the produce section even longer than usual in an effort to cherry-pick the most vibrant ingredients. In this case, rainbow chard with electric pink stems, a tight head of pale yellow cauliflower, just-cut chives – green, tall, and straight. The perfect avocado. I think we can all agree, these types of rainbow bowls are all about finding good ingredients. Here’s how it played out. Rainbow Cauliflower Rice Bowl
Lightly cooked cauliflower is chopped, then tossed with turmeric, cumin, cayenne, and a touch of ghee – although, you could certainly, use coconut or olive oil. The cauliflower is the base to which you add whatever else you might have at hand – sliced avocado, hard-boiled eggs, toasted seeds, rainbow chard stems, lettuces. While the cauliflower was steaming, I pureed the chives with olive oil for a finishing drizzle. It’s a bowl exploding with color and freshness, light and bright with enough substance to keep me feeling A+ throughout the afternoon….Enjoy! -h

Rainbow Cauliflower Rice Bowl

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The Creamiest Vegan Soup (Cauliflower)

If you’re looking to make a silky smooth, creamy vegan soup, today is your day. This gem caught my attention because it is quite different than most “creamy” vegan soups I come across. It uses a clever trick to achieve its signature texture. And the resulting soup doesn’t rely on heavy cream or lots of coconut milk. Bingo.
The Creamiest Vegan Soup Recipe
The lineage of this soup goes something like this. Genius recipe-spotter Kristen Miglore highlighted this Paul Bertolli recipe on Food52 back in 2011. The CAP Beauty ladies gave it a turmeric and mustard twist in their new book, and I went from there. Adding yellow split peas on top make it a one-bowl meal, nutritional yeast tees up some cheesy flavor notes. I also upped the quantity because, leftovers.

The Creamiest Vegan Soup Recipe

The Technique: Make a Vegan Soup Super Creamy

The base of this soup is cauliflower. I make cauliflower soup all the time. The thing that makes this recipe special is the cooking technique. You let the cauliflower steam, in the pot, for 15 minutes. You can do this with cauliflower and get tender delicious florets out of the process. When you do this with vegetables like asparagus you end up with sad, overcooked, off color asparagus. Long way of saying, cauliflower is a great ingredient for this technique. Carrot and sweet potato also love the steam approach. 

The Creamiest Vegan Soup Recipe

This is a vegan soup.  It is also gluten-free, boosted with turmeric, and relatively quick to make on a weeknight. Leftovers are great and endlessly adaptable.

Other Ideas

This version is spike with  turmeric and mustard. You can certainly explore other directions. Grated ginger would be a great addition. Or, if you have spices left over from chana masala, perfect! I even stir a cup of rice porridge into the leftovers, for an excellent rice soup.

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How To Make the Creamy, Toasted Coconut Milk of Your Dreams

Let me start by saying, if you already make your own nut milks at home, you have to try this. I mean – walk to your kitchen, turn the oven dial, and get some coconut in there. You have to trust me here. I started making homemade toasted coconut milk a few months ago, and it has become one of my favorite things. It’s creamy, rich, nutty, and intense. I enjoy it immensely on its own, and as an ingredient in other preparations as well. It’s a real flavor punch. Imagine all the ways you can use it to make some of your favorite preparations even better. It’s great in chai tea, in morning oatmeal, baked oatmeal(!). You can use it in a wild range of sweet preparations, but it’s also good as a way to add a little je ne sais quoi, to broths, soups, and weeknight curries.

You can see how it comes together in a video of the process here, and you can find the recipe down below, as well as a few notes. Let me know if you make it, and if you do, please let me know how you’re using it!

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A couple notes. If you want to totally geek out on this, play around with the toastiness of your coconut. If you toast coconut deeply, you’re going to have a different profile than a more lightly toasted coconut. I tend to ride the dark side of the spectrum, but it’s wild the difference between a milk made with lightly toasted versus dark. Both delicious, just different.

Toasted Coconut Milk

Toasted Coconut Milk

Also, like all pure coconut milk, it will separate. And it solidifies in the refrigerator. Use it as you would canned coconut milk, and expect it to behave similarly (i.e. you might need to warm it up a bit, and give it a good stir before using)…

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Spicy Tahini Noodles with Roasted Vegetables

This is my favorite kind of weeknight meal. Noodles tossed with a quick sauce, topped with an abundance of vegetables, and kissed with chile feistiness courtesy of the condiment shelf. Spicy tahini noodles. It’s in high-rotation around here at the moment, and I’ll mention some variations down below. The gist: make a simple, thinned-out tahini sauce, roast the vegetables while your pasta water is coming to a boil, toss and serve on one platter. If you like those old-school Chinese restaurant spicy peanut noodles, these are sort-of their tahini slathered distant cousins.

A couple things worth noting. I’ve made this with fresh udon noodles (delicious!), you see it pictured here made with whole wheat fettuccini (thumbs up), and I’m also convinced thick, wide rice noodles would be good. Feel free to experiment. I think the key is a substantial noodle – skip the angel hair, and soba for this round.

Spicy Tahini Noodles with Roasted Vegetables

Spicy Tahini Noodles with Roasted Vegetables

On the vegetable front, literally clean out your crisper, and play around with the different vegetables you use here. Just group them in neighborhoods. This way if some of the vegetables cook more quickly than others, you can just move them off the sheet pan.

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California Tom Yum Soup

This soup is a distant relative of the vibrant, brothy tom yum soup you likely know from many Thai restaurants. Part of its magic is the way (a good version) plays sweet off sour, balancing herbaceousness, feisty heat, and just the right amount of saltiness. There are infinite interpretations of it, but this is how I make it in my (California) kitchen. It has evolved over the years, and this version is vegetarian / vegan, made with a fresh tom yum paste, highlighting whatever seasonal produce is on hand. It evolves with with the seasons, and I like to use any leftover to the next day to add dimension to rice bowls, or as egg poaching liquid, or as the broth in a breakfast congee. Be sure to read the headnotes before you dive into this one. Enjoy! -h

California Tom Yum Soup

California Tom Yum Soup

California Tom Yum Soup

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