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Slow Cooker Chipotle Lentils | The Full Helping

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As I mentioned not too long ago, this month of blog posts is dedicated to simple recipes, meal planning, and recipes that aren’t really recipes at all: in other words, ways of throwing together ingredients for the sake of quick, tasty, nutritious meals. These slow cooker chipotle lentils are a recipe, but because they’re made in the slow cooker, they couldn’t be easier.

What you do with the lentils? That can absolutely qualify as a non-recipe recipe. I made these over a month ago (I’ve just been really slow in posting them), and once I had them, I used them in bowls, tacos, on toast, and even tossed them with pasta and some cashew cream to create a quick chili mac.

Of everything I made with the lentils (and with the leftovers, some of which I froze right away, and defrosted in the coming weeks), these quick and easy tacos were my favorite. Lentils, roasted brussels sprouts (steamed would be fine, too), and some of the hemp chimichurri sauce from Power Plates. Easy. Peasy.

I’m used to adding cabbage slaw or kale to tacos, but I may be a Brussels-sprouts-in-tacos convert! The sprouts are toothsome and hearty, which makes them a good counterpoint to the soft lentils. With that said, you could make something similar with whatever vegetables you’ve got and would like to use: I think sautéed mushrooms, roasted cauliflower, and any kind of leafy green would be lovely.

Or, if you’re not in a taco mood, the lentils work perfectly with any whole grain and green you like. I’m a big fan of the grain + green + bean planning method for super simple vegan meals, and these legumes are a perfectly spicy, flavorful component.

Slow Cooker Chipotle Lentils

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Recipe type: side dish, main dish

Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free, tree nut free, no oil option

Author:

Prep time:

Cook time:

Total time:

Serves: 8-12 servings (recipe can be halved)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil (such as safflower or grapeseed)*
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 4 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 lb brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped (use 2 tablespoons if you prefer less spicy food)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave syrup (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. For most depth of flavor, begin by heating the oil in a roomy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, or until the onions are gently browning. Add the garlic and sauteé for one minute more. Add this mixture to the slow cooker (or a multi-cooker with a slow cooking function), then add all of the remaining ingredients.
  2. Alternately, add everything but the oil to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7-8 hours. If the lentils are too thick, add extra water to thin them to your liking (I like them to be thick, rather than soupy). Taste and adjust vinegar and salt to taste. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 6 weeks.

3.5.3251

I have a 7 quart slow cooker, so this recipe, like all of my recipes, makes a ton of food. If you have a 2 or 4 quart slow cooker or multi-cooker, feel free to cut the recipe in half! Or put your freezer to good use 😉

Life around here is slow and steady this week. I’m still recovering from a cold, but I’m in a nice place of taking good, mindful, restful care of my body. Sniffles and sleepiness aside, it feels good to move slowly, tune in, and allow myself to truly savor and inhabit the time off. I’ve got some tasty things planned for next week, including a tasty no-recipe pasta recipe, and a nutritious snack cookie that I can’t get enough of these days.

Sending you all love and warmth this week.

xo

 

 

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Caramelized Cabbage & Onion Pasta

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Caramelized Cabbage & Onion Pasta | The Full Helping

I’d originally thought of this as being a St. Patrick’s Day dish, thanks to the cabbage, but since that day has come and gone I’m just going to file it as another simple, flavorful, internship-inspired dinner idea.

I realized as I was making this caramelized cabbage & onion pasta that I make much more pasta in the summer than in the winter. I guess that’s not surprising—pasta lends itself so beautifully to burst fresh tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and other summer produce. This dish encouraged me to combine pasta with two vegetables that I don’t usually associate with it—onion and cabbage—and I was surprised by how much I loved the results.

Caramelized Cabbage & Onion Pasta | The Full Helping

The meal is incredibly easy to make. Simply caramelize some onions and cabbage (I started by cooking the onions for five minutes, then added the cabbage and allowed the whole thing to simmer for another ten minutes) and add some vegan bacon if you like. Olive oil is fine for caramelizing, but using a little bit of vegan butter definitely takes the meal to the next level.

While you do that, you cook the pasta, and at the end, you mix it all together. If you like, you can even prepare the onions and cabbage ahead of time, and simply boil the pasta and mix it up when you’re ready to eat! I’ve made this dish twice now, and that’s how I batch cooked it the second time I tried it.

Caramelized Cabbage & Onion Pasta | The Full Helping

The pasta is on the smoky/earthy side, so a little bit of fresh parsley and a tiny splash of vinegar are really nice to help brighten it up. The parsley adds color, too. If parsley isn’t your favorite, chives would be excellent, too. And, as I disclaim so often these days, you could easily add another chopped vegetable of choice (like leafy greens) to the mix.

Here’s the recipe.

Caramelized Cabbage & Onion Pasta | The Full Helping

Caramelized Cabbage & Onion Pasta

This simple pasta dish is full of smoky, earthy flavors thanks to paprika, cabbage, onion, and an (optional) few slices of vegan bacon. A perfect winter dish!

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time15 mins

Total Time25 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegan butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head (or 1/2 large head) green cabbage, shredded (about 4-5 cups)
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable or mushroom broth, plus extra as needed
  • 3-4 slices vegan bacon of choice, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (or 1 teaspoon sweet paprika)
  • 8 ounces pasta of choice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Small splash red or white balsamic vinegar, optional and to taste
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley, or as desired

Instructions

  • Heat the oil or butter in a large, roomy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring every now and then, for 5-7 minutes, or until the onions are gently browning. Add the cabbage, 1 cup vegetable broth, and vegan bacon if using. Continue cooking the vegetables for 10 minutes, stirring often, or until the onions have darkened and the cabbage is very tender. If the vegetables get at all dry, add a few extra splashes of broth.

  • While the onions and cabbage caramelize, cook the pasta according to package instructions. 

  • When the pasta and vegetables are both ready, drain the pasta and add it to the skillet. Once again, if the mixture gets a little dry, add an extra splash of broth. Warm all ingredients through. Taste, and then add salt, pepper, and/or vinegar to your taste. Serve the pasta right away with chopped parsley on top.

Caramelized Cabbage & Onion Pasta | The Full Helping

I began an oncology rotation on Monday, and I’ve already learned so much—clinical knowledge and life lessons both. More on that soon, but for now, rest. Have a wonderful evening, friends.

xo

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Weeknight Vegan Cashew Chickpea Korma

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Weeknight Vegan Cashew Chickpea Korma | The Full Helping

My latest dietetic internship rotation is at a community institution that has a teaching kitchen. Like many organizations with a farm-to-table emphasis, the teaching kitchen tries to encourage meatless meals, at least on a part-time basis (à la Meatless Monday). One of their go-to offerings is a vegetarian korma. When I first saw the recipe it occurred to me that I’d never posted a vegan korma here on the blog, in spite of having made many non-traditional versions of the dish at home.

I’m emphasizing the non-traditional bit because my understanding is that korma often involves a braised meat and a yogurt or cream-based sauce. Yet it’s also one of the Indian dishes I’ve most often seen veganized, which is what has encouraged me to try it over the years. I’ve appreciated how simple it is to make and how versatile. This vegan cashew chickpea korma (which I make with my homemade cashew cream) is the one that I turn to most often, even if the vegetables I use change all of the time.

I’m giving you two variations of this dish. The first is the recipe that I started with. It’s plenty simple, and the vegetables that it calls for can be adjusted to fit what you have at home. So long as they’re relatively quick-cooking, they should work as the recipe indicates (sweet potato or winter squash might take a bit longer).

Weeknight Vegan Cashew Chickpea Korma | The Full Helping

The second variation is the one I’ve been using since the DI started. This is probably a topic for a longer, batch cooking-themed post (which I’m planning on sharing), but frozen vegetables have been a lifesaver this year. Yes, fresh usually is crispier, and it’s often tastier. But right now the benefits of pre-cut vegetables that keep for a while, don’t require a lot of cleaning or prepping, and are super inexpensive to boot outweigh any strict adherence to fresh produce that I might have.

So, option #2 involves a couple bags of frozen veggies, which you can heat up in the microwave before starting the korma. Prepared this way, the recipe takes about 15 minutes to make–provided you’ve made the cashew cream beforehand, and substituting full fat coconut milk is an option, too. It’s a nutrient dense, flavorful meal that tastes as if it’s been simmering for a lot longer than it has. Piled over rice and topped with fresh herbs or green onions, it’s a perfect weeknight supper–one that’s kept me fed on many evenings when cooking felt insurmountable. Here’s the recipe.

Weeknight Vegan Cashew Chickpea Korma | The Full Helping

Weeknight Vegan Cashew Chickpea Korma

A quick, easy weeknight vegan cashew chickpea korma that you can modify with whatever fresh or frozen vegetables you have!

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time15 mins

Total Time25 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons neutral flavored vegetable oil (such as grapeseed or refined avocado) or a few tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 1 small or medium white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower or broccoli stems and florets (or a combination of both)
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cashew cream (substitute full fat, canned coconut milk)
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Chopped green onion tops or fresh cilantro (optional, for serving)

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet (or a medium sized pot) over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onion is clear and tender. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. 

  • Add the cauliflower, green beans, carrots, peas, chickpeas, broth, and cashew cream to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender. Stir in the baby spinach and lime juice and simmer for 2-3 more minutes, or until the spinach is tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Serve over cooked rice, quinoa, or another grain, or with a flatbread of choice. Top with chopped green onion tops or cilantro.

Notes

For a shortcut version: Replace the vegetables with 4-5 cups (about 2 bags) frozen, pre-cut vegetables of choice. I usually use any mix of cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, green beans, red peppers, and peas. During step 1, when the onion and jalapeno is cooking, cook the the vegetables in the microwave as instructed. Drain the vegetables and add them for step 2. Reduce the simmering time to 5 minutes instead of 10. Voila!

Weeknight Vegan Cashew Chickpea Korma | The Full Helping

Rice is my favorite serving option for this one–it soaks up all of the creamy, spicy sauce perfectly–but it’s also great with quinoa, whole grain pita, or even some of these homemade chapatis. Cashew cream is definitely my preference (I always make it in double batches and freeze some so that it can be as convenient as using canned coconut milk), but coconut milk is traditional and works well, too. Some of the newer, creamier cashew/nut milks (like Elmhurst 1925) might also be a good option.

Glad that this rotation prompted me to post a recipe that’s been a favorite at home for a while now. And hope that some of you might enjoy it and find it as convenient as I do!

Alright, friends: another busy day of the internship waits for me tomorrow, so it’s time for me to do a little unwinding. See you this weekend for the regular weekend roundup.

xo

 

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Simple Ginger Cinnamon Baked Apples

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It is still very much winter here in New York, which means that warm and cozy breakfasts are the name of the game. At the moment, cooked fruit is very appealing to me (baked bananas, warm blueberry sauce…you get the idea). These simple, baked gingery apples are my new favorite topping for oatmeal and toast, and they’re versatile enough to serve as a healthful dessert, too.

You can use any type of apples to make this recipe, but I was lucky enough to try Ambrosia apples for the first time. Ambrosias are quickly becoming prized for their sweetness, crispness, and beautiful bi-color exterior. They’ve got a honey-like flavor and aren’t very tart, which makes them especially nice for sweet recipes and treats.

Even though the Ambrosia apples are sweet, crisp and great to eat fresh out of hand, they’re also perfect for this baked apple recipe, which isn’t so different from making baked applesauce. I’d imagine it’s easy to make the recipe more or less complex: you could add a ton of different spices, add a little cornstarch to thicken it up, make it more or less sweet.

I’ve been using a ridiculously simple formula of 1 1/2 lbs peeled and chopped apples (you could leave the skin on if you wanted more fiber from the dish), a tablespoon of coconut sugar, a pinch of vanilla, a pinch of cinnamon, and two teaspoons of freshly grated ginger root. The ginger is adjustable: more or less would be just fine.

When I first made the apples, I used cornstarch, but I’ve found that the texture is just right without any thickener; I start by baking them with foil, so that they get nice and juicy, and then I bake them uncovered for 10-15 minutes so that they thicken up. In the end, they have a perfect texture: thicker than applesauce, softer and more spoonable than a whole baked apple would be. Here’s the recipe.

Simple Ginger Cinnamon Baked Apples

These simple, ginger cinnamon baked apples are so easy to make and so versatile. They’re perfect on oatmeal or with a scoop of dairy free ice cream for dessert!

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time45 mins

Total Time55 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds Ambrosia apples, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
  • 2-3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly oil a medium sized square or rectangular baking dish (mine was 7 x 13 inches; 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 square is fine, too). 

  • In a large mixing bowl, toss all ingredients together. Transfer the apples to your baking dish. Cover the dish with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Give the apples a stir, then remove the foil. Bake for another 15 or so minutes, or until the apples are tender, golden, and the juices have thickened up a bit. 

The apples are just perfect with warm oatmeal; that’s how I’ve been eating them the most often. But they also make for a nice, wholesome dessert, especially if you have a hankering for baked fruit but don’t particularly feel like making pie, crisp, or crumble. I like to serve them with a nice big scoop of vanilla vegan ice cream–yum!

If baked fruit isn’t your thing, or isn’t what you’re craving, the nice thing about the Ambrosia apples is that they naturally take longer to oxidize, so the freshness can be maintained for a while after the apples are cut or sliced. They’re great for fruit salad, or for serving to kids, who can be sensitive to the color of foods. You can learn more about the apples and how to enjoy them here!

I’m happy to have an easy, healthful way to sweeten and jazz up my breakfasts, desserts, and snacks. Speaking of which, a new week of my DI is in full swing, and I’d best get back to it. Till later this week!

xo

This post has been generously sponsored by Ambrosia Apples from BC Tree Fruits, home of the original. The opinions and language are my own and in no way do they reflect BC Tree Fruits. Thanks for your support!

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