curried lentil soup with cilantro yogurt

I would be lying if I told you that when the Taster asked, “What’s for dinner tonight?” and “Lentil soup” was the answer, that he was exactly thrilled.  In my constant struggle to not eat as much meat, I had planned this vegetarian dinner and my meat-loving husband-to-be wasn’t exactly feeling “Meatless Monday.”

The warm and creamy flavor, the flavorful spices and good for you lentils make for a very healthy, high in fiber and protein, low-fat soup. The cilantro yogurt adds an extra dose of protein and flavor, definitely not an addition you want to leave out. And while lentil soup may not be for everyone, it turned out to be a perfectly satisfying meal – without any meat.

Turns out we had a leftover truffle burger so the Taster ate that along with the soup, it tastes much more amazing than it looks, and everyone was happy. Tout est bien qui finit bien. (All’s well that ends well)

Curried Lentil Soup with Cilantro Yogurt - 6 servings – adapted from Bon Appétit

  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 carrots, cut on a diagonal
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 1/2 cups red lentils
  • 8 cups broth (chicken or veggie)
  • 1 head kale, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cups greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander

To Prepare Soup:

Heat olive oil in large pot. Add onions, garlic and carrots, sauteing for about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent.

Add spices and saute for about 2 minutes.

Add lentils and broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes.

Add kale to soup and season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for another 15-20 minutes.

To Prepare Cilantro Yogurt:

Combine yogurt, cilantro and coriander. Set aside until serving.


review: annie chun’s pho

At times I find myself with the skepticism of my Father and Annie Chun’s packaged Pho was the most recent to fall prey to my budding skepticism. As in, I really didn’t have high hopes. My favorite soup out of a plastic cornstarch bowl? My favorite soup that I couldn’t even get right after hours and hours over the stove? But, I’ll try anything once for the sake of my readers. ;) And my curiosity.

Well, I’m here to say that I was wrong on my early skepticism. This was surprisingly good. Sure, it didn’t have wierd meatballs, fresh bean sprouts or herbs, but the flavor was so close to the Pho I love and I slurped with content.

Fan of:

  • the surprisingly, savory pho flavor
  • requires only boiling water
  • packaging is made of corn starch instead of plastic

Wished:

  • there wasn’t so much sodium – it is 80% of the daily value!
  • there was more protein (I think I’ll try adding some tofu next time)
  • it was a bit more filling (I need to balance the meal better and add a little fat – I had it with a salad which just wasn’t enough – hummus and veggies next time!)

 

Here’s the issue that I have – the nutrition stats are ok – for an entire lunch but I still questioned how this would leave me feeling after I ate it.  Hungry 5 minutes after eating it? Hungry in an hour? My recent trip to Haiti however makes me think twice about my “hunger” so I decided to slow down, have a cup of tea and then decide how I felt. Partially because I think there are times when I think I’m hungry but it isn’t really hunger that I’m feeling and partially because I was really crossing my fingers that this would keep me full enough to add into the lunch rotation.

It wasn’t as filling as I would like my lunches to be, but next time I’ll try adding some protein or pairing it with something more filling. I think this Pho can have its place – every once in a while.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/2 Bowl (85g)
Servings Per Container About 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 220  Calories from Fat 10
%Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 970mg 40%
Total Carbohydrates 45g 15%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 3g  
Protein 6g  
Vitamin A 2% Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 2% Iron 4%
*Percentage Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

What do you think of the nutrition stats? Would this be an acceptable lunch for you?

review: amy’s no chicken noodle soup

It’s been said that homemade chicken noodle soup warms our heart and soul; imparts the comfort of home and makes us feel infinitely better when we aren’t feeling our best. While I believe all of this may be true, I know that when I’m not feeling my best the last thing I want to do is put my apron on and make some soup.

Naturally, a canned version that takes minutes to heat, sounds very promising but the flavor can often be lacking. I’ve never been a fan of  the “chicken” in canned soup either but when I was feeling under-the-weather this week and in the mood for some chicken noodle soup, I decided to try out the Amy’s vegan version.

Fan of:

  • good chicken soup flavor, without the chicken
  • non-mushy noodles
  • low in calorie
  • requires nothing more than a few minutes in the microwave
  • the tofu “chicken” – I wasn’t expecting to like these but they turned out to be a nice addition and of course add to the protein content
  • it’s vegan!

Wished there:

  • wasn’t so much sodium (but alas it is a canned food)
  • was some saltine crackers that came along with it, I was majorly pining for some ;)

By the way, holding a ridiculous amount of ridiculously cute (but sick) babies and kids, was SO worth getting sick for. But next time I hope to get the soup just because its cold outside – or because I’ve gone back to Haiti and babies are involved :)

restaurant: Pho79

I don’t know what it is about Pho (actually pronounced fuh), but I’ve been beyond obsessed. My post for Project Food Blog Challenge #2 was all about Pho, but it started long before that challenge.

My first experience was in Boston, where thankfully we had a pro guiding us along. And then a more recent amazing bowl at Pho Nam in Madison, WI. If you live in Wisconsin, visit this restaurant – it opened a few weeks ago, but the Pho was amazing!

So I’ve decided, that much like Lynn’s BVSLA quest, I’m on a quest for the best pho in Minneapolis. Or maybe the world, I’m not going to close any doors. Let’s begin with Pho79, shall we?

Pho79 is a restaurant that clearly focuses more on the food than the decor. I love a fancy restaurant with contemporary bathrooms as much as the next person, but there are instances when it’s just not necessary. Slurping pho is a perfect example. Located on the popular “Eat Street” neighborhood (free parking!) of Minneapolis, authentic and ethnic restaurants populate the streets.

It wasn’t very busy, on a cloudy Thursday evening, but it was early in the night. The fact that one of the other tables brought the staff cupcakes from a local bakery spoke more to what we were in store for than the fact that it was quite empty at 6:00pm. The service was quick and the prices worth smiling about – $8/meal. (I took half of my pho home too)

The menu is extensive, and could be a bit overwhelming, but when it comes to Pho, I need only one page and tend to narrow it down pretty quickly. Tripe and soft tendon? No thanks! The taster has been sticking with Bún Rice Vermicelli Salads, in particular, #38, which is topped with grilled, marinated pork and jumbo shrimp. The pork was delicious and the shrimp? Calling them jumbo is a bit of an exaggeration, but still delicious. I was more focused on the pho, sticking wtih pho tai, sach which comes with well done flank and skirt steak.

I always add all of the bean sprouts, jalapeños and lemongrass leaves, along with a heavy squirt of sriracha. It makes for a fiery, salty, steaming bowl of what can only be described as the most comforting, yet exciting bowl of soups I’ve ever found. How does the Pho at Pho79 rank? Considering I have no Twin Cities restaurants to compare it to yet, it’s #1 and would require an extra-delicious bowl of Pho to beat it.

Have any Pho recommendations for me?