Winter is here, and it’s FREEZING. What better way to warm up than cooking up some quick, easy comfort foods that are perfect for the wintertime?
These two recipes are perfect for the weather; they’re warm, tasty, cheap simple to cook, and make great leftovers. What’s more to love? Oh yes, they’re accidentally vegan! I’m not vegan (sorry) but sometimes you need a break from eating meat. With these recipes you don’t even miss it!
The first one is a traditional Middle Eastern lentil soup. All of my friends that have tried this have asked for the recipe and they all ended up making it (and not just to flatter me, isn’t that nice!).
The second recipe is a delicious vegetarian chilli. I made this for my dad, who is unconvinced by stews that don’t include meat but he absolutely loved it. It’s a simple, filling recipe that you can serve with whatever you fancy, and it’s great the next day!
If you want some more inspiration for tasty, quick and easy recipes (that will occasionally have an added Palestinian flair), check out my Instagram @foodblogdublin!
Servings: Roughly 6-7 bowls.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large white onion
- 1 large carrot
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 cup of red split lentils
- 3 cups of water (or more, amount varies depending on the brand of lentils)
- 3 small tomatoes/1 large tomato
- 1 teaspoon cumin, or to taste
- 1.5 teaspoons of salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried coriander
- Fresh chopped parsley and drizzle of olive oil, for garnish
- A squeeze of lemon juice for serving
- Wash the lentils between your hands once or twice, and drain. Set aside.
- Dice the onion and carrot into tiny cubes and mince the garlic.
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil for a minute on high heat.
- Add the onions and carrots into the pot and stir with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes, until the onions look soft and a little translucent. Add in the garlic and stir for a few seconds until fragrant, making sure not to burn.
- Add the washed lentils into the pot, and mix for a minute until combined.
- Add the 3 cups of water. You can always add more later as the soup cooks if you feel like it’s too thick.
- Cut the tomatoes into quarters and add into the pot. At this point you can use up any veggies you have leftover – I sometimes add bell peppers if I have some!
- Cover the pot and let it boil (this will take about 10 minutes, but make sure to keep an eye on it). Once boiling, lower the heat and set a timer for 30 minutes.
- Stir it every 5 minutes and make sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom. Don’t leave it for too long unstirred, because it burns very easily.
- If you feel it getting too thick too fast, add some more water. Some brands of lentils absorb water faster than others, so adding more is okay. It’s your soup, so you can make the consistency as thick as you want!
- Once you feel like its cooked, add the cumin, salt and dried coriander.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until it’s smooth. If you have a blender that handles hot liquids, that works too (please make sure of this, we don’t want any exploding hot soups on our hands!)
- Squeeze some lemon juice and add some parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve alone or with bread for dipping. Enjoy!
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 large onion
- 1 large carrot
- 2-3 stalks celery
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 chilli pepper (optional)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 1 veggie stock cube (or add 1 cup veggie stock instead of water)
- 1 400g can kidney beans
- 1 400g can black beans
- 1 400g can adzuki beans
- 1 400g can whole tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- Handful fresh coriander
- Spices: hot chilli powder, cayenne, cumin, dried coriander, paprika
- Salt and pepper
- Make sure your ingredients are all prepped before you start; this process is called mise en place. It makes it easier to cook if everything’s ready to go!
- Largely dice the onions, celery, carrot and pepper into roughly equal sizes, and dice the chilli a little smaller (if using).
- Mince the garlic
- Wash the beans and get all the excess gunk off them, then drain them
- Fry the onions in the oil for 10 minutes on medium-low heat – don’t let them brown, they’ll change the flavour of the whole dish!
- After they’re translucent, add the carrots, celery, bell pepper and chilli (if using) and let them soften for a few minutes
- Add the garlic and stir for a few seconds until fragrant, making sure not to burn it
- Add all your spices and let them toast in the oil for a few minutes – this releases their oils and allows them to bloom so their flavours are enhanced
- Add in the tomato paste and let it fry for a minute in the oil until it slightly darkens in colour
- Add in the can of tomatoes, and fill the can with water and add that in as well (this is where you can add the veggie stock instead of the water)
- Crumble in the stock cube (if not using veggie stock)
- Add in the washed and drained beans
- Mash the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon so they break up slightly
- Add the bay leaf and fresh coriander
- Let it simmer on medium-low for anything from 30 mins to a few hours. The longer the better!
- Once it’s ready, taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. The chilli reduces after a while so this is the optimal time to add the correct amount of salt!
- Serve with rice, tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream, potatoes, or anything else that your heart desires, and enjoy!