Spicy Lentil + Vegetable Soup

So, are you thinking I should just change the blog name to Soups and Sweets?  Or just Soups and Soups?  That would be a little more accurate, wouldn't it?  What can I say?  We make a big pot of soup every Sunday to eat throughout the week and they're too good not to share.  So here's one more:

Makes about 8 servings.

Spicy Lentil + Vegetable Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, peeled, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 cup french green lentils

1 14 oz tin diced tomatoes

1 bay leaf

about 2" x 2" piece parmesan rind

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon chile powder

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes (omit if you prefer low spice)

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

4 cups chopped collard greens, stems discarded

salt, to taste

juice of half a lemon

In a large pot, over low heat, sweat onions and garlic over low heat until soft and sticky, about 10 minutes.  Raise heat to medium.  Add carrots, celery, lentils, tomatoes, bay leaf, parmesan rind, cumin, pepper, chile powder, thyme leaves and chile flakes.  Give it a good stir and cook for 2 minutes.  Add stock.  Bring to a boil.  Add mushrooms and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.  Skim off and discard any foam that occurs on the surface.  Stir in collard greens, season with salt and lemon juice.  Remove parmesan rind and bay leaf before serving. 

Quinoa + Cauliflower Kosheri

Here's a weird one for you.  I had never used the middle eastern herb and spice blend za'atar before and was surprised by it's herbal earthiness.  It's the main flavor in this dish which I'm loosely calling a Quinoa Kosheri.  Kosheri is an vegetarian Egyptian dish made of grains and lentils.  

Roasted cauliflower is tossed with cooked quinoa, lentils, brown onions and a long chile pepper for a spicy healthy vegetarian, gluten free dinner.  

Serves 4.

Quinoa + Cauliflower Kosheri

1 tablespoon olive oil

s + p

zest of half a lemon

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces

1/3 cup red quinoa  (any color is ok)

1/2 cup green lentils

1 yellow onion, halved, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon za'atar

1 long hot chile pepper, thinly sliced

lemon juice, to taste

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon zest.  Arrange on baking tray.  Roast 20 minutes, toss and roast 15 minutes more or until cauliflower is tender. 

Combine quinoa with 2/3 cup water.  Boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook until water has evaporated and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. 

Combine lentils in a pot of water. Boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until lentils are tender but not falling apart.  Strain.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Once hot, add onions, cook until nicely browned.  Stir occasionally to prevent burning and promote even cooking.  Stir in garlic. Cook about 1 minutes, stirring.  Stir in za'atar, chile pepper, cooked cauliflower, cooked quinoa and cooked lentils.  Cook until hot throughout.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Garnish with chopped cilantro.