Saturday, October 20, 2018

Our October Suppers/#WFPB Meal Prep at St. Helena's

It was that time again, and we managed to make a lovely dinner, complete with soup and salad and a simple main dish of paella. In all, we spent $11.97 per person.

The Salad

1 head of green lettuce
1 bunch of water cress
1 purple onion
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 cup of cooked quinoa
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of parsley
6 shopped-up sun-dried tomatos

1/2/3 dressing: 1 measure of maple syrup, 2 measures of Dijon Mustard, 3 measures of balsamic vinegar. We forgot to put in a few spoonfuls of chia seeds, and milled flax seeds, but ideally you'd want to do that.

Clearly, everyone enjoyed the salad.

The Soup: Locro de Lentejas


1 lb whole lentils, optional other beans or you can make it thicker with 2 lb of beans.
1 lb young potatoes (the kind with the thin skin, either yukon gold or redskin), quartered or smaller, depending on the size and personal preference
1 small/medium green or savoy cabbage, quartered, stem removed and sliced in thin strips
1 white onion cut up in small pieces,
2-3 large red onions, sliced thin
1-2 yellow onions cut up
4 green chilis, sliced thin, with seeds
2 jalapeƱo peppers, sliced thin (without seeds)
6 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped fine.
2 packs of shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
1 tsp panch puran
1 teaspoon of savory
1 teaspoon of tarragon
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
5 bay leaves
2 pints of low sodium vegetable stock
3 pints of water
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
2-3 heaping tablespoons of miso paste dissolved in cold water and add at the end and use less liquid aminos
Braggs Liquid Aminos, to taste.

This was our second attempt at Locro de Lentejas, and it was clearly better than the first one, using a lot more spices. The discovery of panchpuran, thanks to our Bangladeshi neighbors is a welcome addition to the repertoire. You can get it either as a mixture of the five seeds (the meaning of the word Panch Puran is five spices), or as a powder. We used the powder today, but it tremendously enhances the flavor of the onions. The five spices are fenugreek seed, nigella seed, mustard seed, fennel seed, cumin seed.

 Wonderful instruction, though you can buy it pre-mixed, and evidently, we do not use any oil, but in our case it is a great ingredient that you can best add when you have browned the onions and are starting to add some broth or water to it. That's also when we added the other spices, and then the bay leaves last when you are adding in the rest of the vegetable broth.

I've also made this same soup with a mixture of 1lb of lentils and 1lb of 16 bean soup mix. Another option is to add a half a cup of barley. 


Dry fry the onions with the panch puran, I do it in two steps, 5 mins at 425F without stirring, and then 5 mins at 425F stirring it a little bit, then add chilis and jalapenos, and other spices and the mushrooms and cook for another 5 mins at 425F, while adding a splash of veggie broth as needed, so it does not stick to the pan.
Add garlic, the vegetable stock and the herbs, the lentils, let cook for 15 minutes.
Add the potatoes. Let cook for another 10-15 minutes.
Add the cabbage and let it cook for 5 minutes.
Add the chopped cilantro.
At the end, add some miso, dissolved in water.

  1. Some people would peel the potatoes, but if you buy thin-skinned potatoes, you can easily cook them in the skin, even cut-up: you lose less nutrition that way.
  2. Evidently, you can vary the herbs and spices to taste.
  3. Never boil the miso.)

The Vegan Paella

  • English:
  • Spanish:
A word of caution: This turned out to be one of these recipes with some ingredients that showed up in the cooking instructions out of thin air - they were not listed in the ingredient list.
Somehow we made it all work, and we had a very nice meal with the whole crew. This is clearly a dish that lends itself to any number of variations. But the whole idea of one of these one-dish meals is always attractive.

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