Amazing Lentil and Dumpling Stew with Caramelized Onions

Harak bel-usba-o or Burn Your Finger is one of my favorite dishes.  I think the name came from women burning their fingers trying to drop the dumpling into the boiling lentil stew.   This dish can be eaten hot, room tempreture or cold. My mom used to serve it cold.  She would make it a day before serving and would sprinkle  the onion just before serving the dish.


Lentil and Dumpling Stew with Caramelized Onions

Vegetarian Main Dish Recipe

Lentil and Dumpling Stew with Caramelized Onions

serves 6-8

1       cup olive oil

4       medium onion, thinly sliced

1       pound lentils

6       cloves garlic, mashed

2       cups chopped cilantro

1/4  cup lemon juice

1/4  cup pomegranate molasses

salt and pepper to taste

2      4-inch dough balls, room temperature

1/2  cup pomegranate seeds, optional

-Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and saute 1/4 of the onion and saute for five minutes.  Wash the lentils and add to the onions.  Add 10 cups of water, salt and pepper and bring to boil.  Cook the lentil until they are cooked but not mushy.  Remove the lentil from the stove and set aside.

-In a frying pan, heat the rest of the olive oil and fry the onions until caramelized.  Line a tray with paper towels.  Using slotted spoon, remove the onions from the oil and place over the paper towel.  Remove the pan from the stove and allow the oil to cool.  Place the frying pan with the oil on top of the stove.  Add the garlic and the cilantro and saute for couple of minutes.  Add half of the garlic and cilantro mixture to the lentils.

-Place the lentils back on the stove, add the lemon juice and the pomegranate molasses.  Bring back to a boil.  Adjust the seasoning.

-By hand, cut the dough into 1/8-inch balls and drop into the boiling lentils.  Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

-Spoon the lentils into deep serving platter.  Sprinkle with the caramelized onion, the rest of the cooked  and the pomegranate seeds.

This vegetarian main dish will give you a very inexpensive source of protein, fiber, iron and satisfied bellies. Enjoy

Recipe for Vegan Thanksgiving Mold That You Can Stuff, Slice and Serve

For the stuffing

1/4       cups olive oil

2           medium onion, finely chopped

2           cups coarsely chopped walnuts

1           medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1          teaspoon crushed garlic

1          tablespoon ground cumin

1          tablespoon ground coriander

2          tablespoons chili paste or 1/2  teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4     cup pomegranate molasses

1/2     cup bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste

For the vegan mold

2         cups fine bulgur or number 1

1         potato, boiled until soft

1/4     small onion, chopped

1         cup mashed pumpkin

1/4    cup flour

1         teaspoon Spanish paprika

salt to taste

For the sauce

4       tablespoon olive oil

2       tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1/4   teaspoon chili paste

dash of coriander

-To make the sauce: Whisk the olive oil with the pomegranate molasses, the chili paste and the chili paste.

-To make the stuffing: Heat the olive oil and saute the onion for 5 minutes, add the walnuts and stir.

-Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, the salt and the pepper.  Stir and cook over medium heat for couple of minutes.  Add the butternut squash, chili paste and pomegranate molasses.

-Stir, adjust the seasoning and sprinkle the bread crumbs.  Mix well, remove from the heat and set aside.

-To make the mold: Soak the bulgur in cold water and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Squeeze the excess water from the bulgur and place in a food processor.

-Add the chopped onion and processes for 2 minutes.  Add the boiled potato and process until the potato is mashed and well mixed with the bulgur. Don’t over process otherwise the potato become very sticky and hard to work with.  Spoon this mixture into a bowl.

– Add the pumpkin, the flour, the paprika and salt.  Mix well until you have smooth dough like.  Brush large bread mold with olive oil.  Moisten your palms with olive oil and start taking chunk of the dough and line the mold.  You will have a mold within the bread mold.  Make it about 1/2 inch thick.  Leave 1/4 th of the dough to cover the top of the mold.

-Spoon the stuffing into the bulgur mold.  Now, using the rest of the bulgur dough to cover and seal the mold.

-Bake the mold in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

-To serve the mold: Place flat serving platter on top, hold the platter firmly and turn upside down.

-Brush the mold with the sauce.

Unique Spicy and Sweet Mashed Potato with Cilantro”

It is finally the season, and I cannot wait to start planning my Thanksgiving dinner. Although we—my friend and I-will be making the typical Thanksgiving dinner for the kids’s sake, we will also be making a vegan portion for the dinner. I will be making my vegetable rice, vegan stuffed kibbeh and this vegan spicy mashed sweet potatoes.  You can use yam or sweet potatoes to make this recipe. The color and the flavor will differ slightly. Collage kids can make this recipe easily in their dorm by cooking the potatoes in the microwave.

Vegan spicy and sweet mashed potato with cilantro and scallion

serves 4

6         sweet potatoes

4         tablespoons olive oil

1/3     cup lemon juice

1/4     cup chopped scallions

1         teaspoon grated fresh ginger

zest of two lemons

1        clove garlic, mashed

1/4    cup chopped cilantro

2        tablespoons chopped jalapeño or serrano

salt and pepper to taste

– Boil the the potato in water until they are soft.  You can wrap each potato in moist  kitchen towel and microwave each potato for 5 minutes.

-Peel the skin and mash the potatoes in bowl.

-Add the olive oil, the lemon juice, the salt and the garlic.  Mash into smooth paste.

-Add the rest of the ingredients except for 2 tablespoons cilantro into the mashed sweet potatoes and mix gently.

-Taste the potatoes, adjust the seasoning and then spoon into shallow serving platter.  Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and serve.

Vegetable and garbanzo bean soup

The first time I made this soup at the restaurant my customers were not sure how to feel about it. Hummus was the only garbanzo bean dish that they tried and liked. I ended up giving samples in order to win them over and it worked.  The soup is high in protein, nutrients, fiber and low fat. Garbanzo bean, cabbage, onion and chili makes this dish a nutrition power recipe. The best part is this soup can feed 4 people for less than $10.oo. Serve this soup with slice of bread and you will have  very healthy,  tasty and inexpensive complete protein.

Garbanzo Bean Soup

serves 6-8

6     cup cooked garbanzo beans

4     tablespoons olive oil

1     medium carrot, chopped

1     medium onion, chopped

1     celery, finely chopped

2     cloves garlic, mashed

2     cups chopped  green cabbage

1     teaspoon chili paste or chili powder

1     16-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1     teaspoon sage

2    medium ripe tomatoes, diced

4    tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin

salt to taste

-In a heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil, and then saute the onion, the carrot and the celery for five minutes.

-Add the garlic, the sage, the chili paste and the cabbage.  Stir and cook for couple of minutes.

-Add the crushed tomatoes, the salt, half of the cooked garbanzo beans and 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

-In a food processor, puree the rest of the garbanzo beans with 1 cup of water.  Add this puree into the soup.  Stir, adjust the seasoning and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

-Add the diced tomatoes, the lemon juice and the cumin.  Stir and turn off the heat.  I love this soup served over couple tablespoon of cooked rice. Enjoy

Chili Paste

Make 1 cup

3         cups dried red pepper

1/4     cup olive oil

1         teaspoon sea salt

-Bring 8 cups of water to a boil.  Drop the pepper in the pot, bring back to a boil. Boil for couple minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow the pepper to rest for 4 hours.

-Squeeze the water out of the pepper and place in a blender with the oil and salt.  Puree into smooth paste.  Scope into a jar, cover with little olive oil and place in the refrigerator.

Easy Recipe for Tofu Feta Cheese with Oregano and Carrot Salad

Tofu is my go-to ingredient when I have to make vegan dishes high in protein and calcium and low in fat.  I love tofu because of its versatility: you can stir fry it, drop it in soups, or in may cases replace cheeses, eggs, and heavy cream with it.  My favorite recipe is broiled or seared tofu, but usually try to adapt tofu to fit within traditional Mediterranean recipes.  In this recipe, I use vegan tofu feta cheese to add protein to this salad.  This salad contains an array of textures and flavors; however, what makes it more special is you can use it as stuffing for great sandwich.

Tofu Feta Cheese with Oregano and Carrot Salad

serves 4-6

4         carrots, peeled and cut into this slices

4         small cucumbers, diced

1         sweet onion, julienne

2         cup chopped fresh oregano

1         cup crumbled vegan feta cheese

1/4     cup lemon juice

6         tablespoons olive oil

zest of one lemon

-Place the vegetables in a chilled bowl and toss well.  Whisk the lemon juice with the olive oil and the lemon zest.  Drizzle the dressing over the vegetable and toss well.

-Sprinkle with the vegan feta and serve.

Recipe for Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant with Cilantro Pomegranate Sauce

I always say that the eyes eat before the mouth. This  eggplant dish has it all. It has the looks, the texture, the health and it tastes great.

Stuffed vegetarian eggplant

serves 4

4       inches long eggplants

1/4   cup olive oil

2       medium onion, chopped
1       cup crushed tomatoes

1/2   cup pomegranate molasses

1/2   teaspoon ground coriander

For the sauce

1       cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4   cup tahini paste*

4       cloves garlic, mashed

1/2   cup lemon juice

1/4   teaspoon ground cumin

salt to taste

For the topping:

1/2   cup cranberries

1       cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2  cup chopped scallions

1/4   cup  pine nuts

-Cut the eggplants lengthwise and place cut side up on cookie sheet.  Brush with olive oil and broil until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

-To make the stuffing: Heat couple tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onions for five minutes.  Add the coriander, half of the garlic and stir for few seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes, the pomegranate molasses, 1 cup of water, salt and pepper.  Bring to boil.  Adjust the seasoning, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

-To make the sauce: Whisk the rest of the garlic with the Greek yogurt, the tahini, the lemon juice, the cumin and the salt together into smooth paste.  Add little water if the sauce is too thick to spread.

-To make the topping: Heat the rest of the oil.  Stir in the pine nuts and toss for couple minutes.  Add the cilantro and the cranberries .  Mix and remove from the heat.

-Place the broiled eggplants cut sides up on baking dish.  Spoon the stuffing over the eggplants.  Cover with foil and bake in 395 F. degree oven for 25 minutes.

-Pour the yogurt tahini sauce over the eggplant, sprinkle with the topping and the scallions. Serve hot with rice.

How to Broil Tofu…and Loving it

Most people dislike tofu because it has no texture or taste; I love it for that reason.  You can adapt the tofu  to any flavor or texture.  I use the tofu instead of cream, cheese or mayonnaise. As for the texture, I either puree or broil to get different texture.  I found that freezing the tofu changes it texture and then, after broiling it firms up so it can be use like cheese slices for sandwich or cubes over salad.  The tofu will soak in the flavor of any marinade so get creative.

12       ounce firm silken tofu

2         clove garlic

4         tablespoons olive oil

2         tablespoons ketchup

1/4     teaspoon thyme

1/8    teaspoon freshly grind ginger

-Freeze the tofu for 24 hours.

-Remove from the freezer and allow the tofu to thaw for 4 hours.  Take the tofu to the sink, open the box and drain the water.

-Gently slice the tofu into 1/2 inch thick slice and place on kitchen towel.  Place another kitchen towel on top and press gently.

-In a bowl, mix the garlic with olive oil, the ketchup, the thyme, and the ginger.  Mix well.  Gently dip each slice of the tofu in this marinade, and then place on cookie sheet.

-Broil the tofu for 5 minutes or until the tofu is golden brown.  Remove, cool and serve over mixed baby green for great salad.