Posts

, ,

Roasted pumpkin and lentil salad with shiso leaves

I’ve only started using purple leaves or shiso leaves (also known as perilla leaves) a few months ago when I discovered this interesting looking plant amongst all the familiar herbs in the vegetables section. It has a very fragrant smell and it has this striking purple colour on one side of the leaf and a deep green colour on the other side. If you’re familiar with Japanese or Korean food, you may have come across this item without realising it (which I did). It is very popular in Korean cuisine in particular and is usually served pickled.

pumpkin-salad-3

It tastes somewhat like coriander (has a fragant note to it) but not as strong. At first, I didn’t know what to use it with so I experimented a fair bit. It seems to work on a lot of things. At the very least, it never ruined anything to which I added the shiso leaves. It adds an interesting flavour to Chinese stir-fries and it gives any salad I make a nice herbaceous twist.

It turns out that shiso leaves are rich in dietary fibre, essential minerals such as calcium, iron and potassium, and vitamins A, C and riboflavin, and the leaf components are undergoing research for potential anti-inflammatory properties. Needless to say, there are many reasons to try this delicious herb.

pumpkin-salad-1

One night recently I was rushed for time and had to make something quickly for dinner. So I made pumpkin and lentil salad with shiso leaves (among a few other things) and I was really surprised with how well it turned out. There’s not much preparation involved with this. Just roast the pumpkin (you can even leave the skin on if you can’t be bothered peeling it), cook the lentils, chop the shiso leaves, and combine everything in the bowl with olive oil and some seasonings. It is a great salad to have when you need something quick but more substantial than just salad greens.

Roasted pumpkin and lentil salad with shiso leaves
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Glutenfree, sugarfree, vegan and paleo
Author: Keren
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
A delicious and comforting salad that equally light and satisfying. It’s low in fat, high in fibers, vitamins and minerals and full of fresh flavours and aroma.
Ingredients
  • Half of butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into big chunks
  • 4 sprigs of shiro leaves (about 10 medium size leaves)
  • 1 cup of green lentils, rinse well
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of roasted pinenuts (optional but highly recommended)
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked pepper
Instructions
  1. Place pumpkin onto a nonstick roasting pan. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and generously sprinkle with sea salt. Toss to mix. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 25 minutes or until cooked (if you can pierce it using a fork, it’s done).
  2. Meanwhile, transfer the lentil into a pan and cover with water, add 1/2 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Turn down the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes until the lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain and rinse in cold water
  3. When the pumpkin is cooked, remove from the oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes until cool enough to handle. Chop into cubes.
  4. Pick shiso leaves from the sprigs. To chop the leaves,stack them on top of each other, roll them into a cigar and then slice thinly.
  5. Transfer all ingredients into a bowl, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Devour!
Notes
To roast pine nuts:[br]You can roast them in the oven for 15 minutes at 170C but the quickest way is on the stove. Heat a dry non-stick pan (no oil, no nothing) over medium heat for a couple minutes and add the pinenuts. Allow the pinenuts to toast for 30 – 45 seconds and then toss them in the pan. Repeat this process every 30 seconds until you start seeing them just turning brown, then remove and let them cool.[br][br]Be careful not to burn them.  They can go from nicely browned to burnt very quickly, so keep an eye on them.

pumpkin-salad-8

, ,

Curry Chickpea and Red Lentil Soup

Hi, my name is Keren and I am a soup addict.

Especially around this time of the year.

And by the way, I like my soup thick, rich and creamy. Bonus points if it’s healthy.

But most importantly, it needs to be thick. If I can drink it, then it is not thick enough.

Do I sound like a soup Nazi?

Curry Chickpeas Lentil Soup

I must say I was very proud of myself when I made this soup. This is the ultimate winter soup. It is easy to whip up and there’s not much to clean up as you’re just throwing everything into one pot… cook, blend, serve. Easy done.

This soup ticks all the boxes. Deliciously thick, rich, creamy and full of nutrients. It is high in protein, fiber, complex carbohydrate and very low in fat.  It contains chickpeas and lentils which are two of the best sources of vegetable proteins. It is mildly spiced with cumin seed and curry powder which contain antiflu, anti-inflamatory and antibacterial properties that help boost the immune system, detox the liver, and aid with digestion.

Soup doesn’t get any better than this.

So…

Are you hungry??

Cold?

In need of some hearty, protein-packed, nutrient-rich, delicious, creamy and thick soup?

Make this now.

Curry Chickpeas Lentil Soup

Curry Chickpea and Red Lentil Soup
Author: Keren
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
The Ultimate Winter Soup. Rich, creamy and hearty soup that is easy to make, full of nutrients, high in protein and low in fat. Best. Ever.
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 cup red split lentils
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 can tomatoes, whole or chopped
  • 2 cups of cooked chickpeas (about 1 1/2 can cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional, use if you like your soup with a bit of a heat)
  • 1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped (leave some to serve)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Non-dairy yogurt to serve (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Fry the cumin seeds for about a minute or until they start to ‘pop’ and release their aromas.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, curry powder and chilli flakes (optional) and cook for 5 mins.
  4. Stir in the lentils, vegetable stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 mins until the lentils have softened.
  5. Add chickpeas and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  6. Blend the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor until it is smooth.
  7. Reheat gently. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Stir in the coriander. Serve with a scoop of yogurt and coriander leaves.

So, tell me, do you have a favourite winter soup?