Are you cooking with herbs and spices? Or are they sitting and collecting dust on the lids of those cute little jars, unused for six months or more?
If so, I get it. You’re not alone.
Herbs and spices are the most underused ingredients in cooking
I often quip that people who say they “could never be vegan” because the food is “too bland” haven’t stopped to think about the fact that they flavor their meat with plants: ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, relish, vinegars, oils, horseradish, hot sauces, chutneys, jellies, jams, salsa, soy sauce, wasabi, curries, tahini, pickles, garlic, ginger, onions, lemons, limes, and an endless array of spices and herbs.
But truly, aside from the most widely used commercially prepared condiments, even vegetarians and vegans are not taking advantage of the thousands of herbs and spices available that add flavor, color, texture, warmth, and excitement to their dishes.
In this episode I explain why message for eating healthfully can be narrowed down into three little words:eat by color. The pigments in plant foods are a key to their nutritional benefits.
BANANA OAT “COOKIES” These couldn’t be more simple and more delicious. There is no added fat, no added sugar — only the protein, nutrients, and natural sweetness from the banana and cinnamon. Mash up 1 banana in a bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup oats (quick-cooking or rolled), some cinnamon, and a dash of salt. Use a spoon to drop 4 cookie-shaped dollops onto a parchment-lined baking tray, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until they are a golden brown. (I just use my toaster oven.) Let cool (or not!), and enjoy. (I’ve also made variations where I press a couple blueberries in before baking!!)
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This is one of my go-to recipes whenever I want something quick and delicious. It’s also a perfect New Year’s dish, as the lentils represent prosperity and luck in the coming year. If the apricots seem weird to you in a soup, trust me! They add a touch of sweetness and cook down into melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
2 tablespoons oil or water, for sautéing 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup halved dried apricots 1-1/2 cups red lentils, picked through and rinsed 5 cups vegetable stock 3 Roma (plum) tomatoes, seeded and chopped 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1 -15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
Heat up the oil or water in a large soup pot. Add the onion, garlic, and apricots, and cook for about 7 minutes over medium heat, until the onions begin to turn translucent. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Add the lentils and stock. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, cumin, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Puree 1/2 of the stew in a blender or food processor (or using a stick/immersion blender), then return to the pot. Add the chickpeas, cooking until they’re heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Did you make this soup? Let me know how it turned out in the comments below!
Want To Learn More Easy and Delicious Recipes?
Join me in my online cooking classes!
I have an on-demand soups and stews class and a pressure cooker class where I discuss the whys and hows, and the whats and wherefores of cooking with a pressure cooker and include a recipe for a brown lentil soup!