Hearty Lentil Soup

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I am not sure if you have the same problem but in my fridge there are always some vegetable scraps like broccoli stems, some pieces of carrots lying around and drying tomatoes sitting on the counter. If you don’t pay attention to these vegetable scraps they often get moldy and thrown away in the compost. I cringe every time it happens. I just don’t like wasting food!

In order to save these food scraps I used to make lots of soups using the scraps but it didn’t really cut out for me. However, I found a simple trick that made the soup not only special but also very authentic in taste as well.

On the day that I was shooting, I was rummaging through my fridge and these were some of the vegetable scraps that I found which means that these ingredients are not exactly to be followed but to give as a reference. As you can see there are some broccoli stems, some left over carrot pieces (see the ‘kitchen tips’), celery head, some aging tomatoes and also, you cannot see them well, but some kale stems in the bottom of the pan.

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Now what is the secret ingredient that you add at the end to bring out the flavours in everything?

Kimchi!

Yes, I used the brine of fermented cabbage to fill the gap of bland taste in the broth. There’s no need to add any MSG ladened soup bouillon or salty seasonings. If you don’t have kimchi in your fridge, not to worry, any pickle brine would work such as Sauerkraut. Naturally occurring acidity in the pickle brine brings out the flavour of the soup and also adds umami to the broth.

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However, many store-bought pickles are drenched in a lot of sugar and vinegar to recreate the umami taste in fermented food but they are not exactly pickles in a strict sense. Unlike lemons which turns alkaline when it is consumed in our body, vinegar remains acidic in your stomach and affects the pH level in your stomach. Its use may not be good for your digestion, especially for those who have acid reflux.

Another trick that I would like to share is when you are making lentil soup, instead of boiling the lentil in the same pot as the soup, cook them separately in a different pot. I noticed that lentils absorb more liquid as time goes and the next day, it becomes very thick and mushy. By cooking lentils separately, vegetables are not overcooked and your end product is not just a hodge podge of everything. However, if you like thick soup that is great, you can cook them all at once.

Let me tell you something: Do you own a pressure cooker or instant pot? If you do that’s a bonus! It saves so much of your time and it’s so easy to use. The great thing about cooking beans in a pressure cooker is that you don’t have to watch the pot all the time and you can skip the process of soaking overnight.

Store away the lentils that are cooked separately in a container and add the desired amount of lentils on the soup before you warm it up. It looks like it was just made and still tastes great. In this picture, I added a little bit of pearl barley and cooked them together with the lentils to save time but if you have time in your hand, cook barley and lentils separately to make it more visually appealing.

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HEARTY LENTIL SOUP

(Yields 4 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 C kimchi brine

  • 4 white mushrooms

  • 2 tsp oil

  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 1/2 tsp thyme

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

  • cilantro to garnish

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 1 carrot

  • 2 stems of broccoli

  • 1 C celery diced

  • 1 onion diced

  • 3 tomatoes cubed

  • 1 C cooked brown lentil, unsalted

  • 1 C cooked pearl barley, unsalted

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directions

  1. Add 2 tsp of oil in a medium sized soup pot over medium high heat. Once the pot is heated, add chopped onion, carrots, broccoli stems, celery, mushrooms and crushed garlic. Add 1 1/2 tsp paprika and 1/2 tsp thyme with the vegetables to infuse the aroma of the herbs. Add pinch of salt to taste and to sweat the vegetable a little.

  2. When you see the brown bits (not burnt) of paprika and vegetables, add 1 tbsp of soy sauce to sizzle a little bit. By scalding the soy sauce it gets rid of the odour and enhances the flavour of the sauce.

  3. Once onions turn translucent, add cut tomatoes for a more sizzling sound. Add a pinch of salt on top of tomatoes. It is IMPORTANT to season every layer of the ingredients to bring out the flavours, not just dump the large amount of salt at the end to taste.

  4. When the water from the tomatoes evaporate a little bit and has thickened up, add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.

  5. Once the broth starts to boil, add 1 cup of kimchi brine and add 1tsp or more of salt to your taste. Since lentils and pearl barley are cooked without salt, even if the broth tastes a little saltier than your normal taste buds, it is okay because it will get neutralized once you add lentil and barley. Bring to boil again and remove the pot from the heat.

  6. Garnish the soup with coriander leaves, tofu sunflower sauce and top it off with warm lentils and barley. If you are reheating the soup from the fridge, add the desirable amount of lentils and barley in the same pot that you are warming the soup and bring to boil and serve.

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On a cold day like this when spring doesn’t seem to fully arrive yet, a bowl of lentil soup with some “pickled” banana pepper chopped on top will fill you and warm you up. Otherwise the soup is mild in taste and well balanced in flavour with no overpowering taste of kimchi brine. Hope you enjoy the recipe and let me know if you have any questions in comments or via email: info@pathwaystowholeness.ca

Kitchen tips - An Easy way to Garnish Salad with Carrots

I’ve had some people asking how I could cut carrots so uniformly and finely. This is a little gadget that I use to shred carrots but mind you I would say this gadget (called a Mandoline) is probably close to the most dangerous utensil you would encounter in the kitchen. I am always careful when I am using the Mandoline more so than when I am using the knife.

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As you can see here when I am shredding some carrots with the Mandoline, I don’t go to the tip of carrots in case I shred my fingers along with it. What do I do with the end pieces like those? Follow the link to find out. (Hearty Lentil Soup)

Vegan bowl

Hello everyone!

For those who missed the chance to attend the Dinner with the Doctor (DwD) event in April, it was a vegan bowl! Almost 100 guests attended the dinner event and we were so happy to see everyone enjoying the meal.

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I have seen many people uploading pictures of vegan bowls on SNS but never have I attempted myself to give it a try only because I just thought that it was too much work with the amount of toppings it had. Then our team decided to serve vegan bowl since the topic of the last DwD was on cancer. The goal was to incorporate as much antioxidant rich vegetables in our dinner as possible, and it did! I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to assemble once all the ingredients were prepared and also that this could easily turn into a lunch menu for the entire week. Really your imagination is the limit in terms of toppings you can choose from.

By the way you will be surprised by how big the bowl is in actuality. The picture does not do its justice. I have only used the big sized salad bowl for the picture quality but if you were to prepare it for yourself, you can choose 3 to 4 toppings max including, leafy greens, some proteins (i.e tofu, beans, seeds and etc.,) and some other vegetables you like because believe me, the bowl fills up pretty quickly.

Instead of going through all the recipes of toppings I have made here I would like to simply share two recipes I have used for the sauce only because there wasn’t much cooking involved for this particular dish and I believe the sauce makes a big difference in determining the flavour of the bowl.

My very first posting on the recipe blog also happened to be a sauce (without any oil). You can definitely use that sauce on this vegan bowl but if you are running out of time and want to whip up something quick, this recipe is a great help.

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Lemony Garlic Sauce

(3 Servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp garlic, grated

  • 11/2 tbsp Lemon juice

  • 1tsp water

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/3 C vegan mayonaise

Directions

  1. Use the microplane to grate 1 or 2 cloves of garlic and get 1 tsp of grated garlic.

  2. In a small bowl mix all the ingredients together and serve.

Ginger Sesame Sauce

(3 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp wild sesame seeds blended, or sesame seeds blended

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

  • 2 tsp maple syrup

  • 1/4 tsp soy sauce

  • 1 1/2 tsp water

  • 1/8 tsp of grated ginger

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and serve.


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Hope you enjoy these recipes! They are very versatile recipes that you can pretty much use for anything from dressings to dipping sauces, especially the lemony garlic one. Let me know what you think of the recipe. Send any questions, comments and suggestions to info@pathwaystowholeness.ca and we will be happy to answer you.

Your partner in wholeness,

No Added Oil Tofu White Sauce

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About two months ago at Dinner with Doctor event, we had a topic related to heart health. To emphasize the moderate use of healthy fat for a healthy heart, we decided to prepare the entire dinner with no oil. Out of all dinners we served, this recipe was probably requested the most by our guests and I made the promise to everyone that I would post the recipe on our website.

It took a while for me to get around, but finally the recipe is here. You will be surprised at how easy it is to make this recipe at a very low cost, and still enjoy the deliciousness of healthy food. There’s no need to use store-bought dressings laden with preservatives. For this particular recipe, I used home-made tofu because I had just made some fresh tofu and ran out of store-bought tofu.

This can be a base for many different type of dressings that you can make by adding more acidity (i.e. lemon juice or water), herbs or some spices. Use your imagination! If you are boiling potatoes save the water from potatoes and add that water into the sauce. It adds more flavour to it and no need to buy vegetable stock.

Just FYI, this recipe is adapted from a cookbook called ‘Amazing Health Cookbook’ by Barbara Watson who is a creative director of StepFast Lifestyle Design. I normally go through different cookbooks and websites to get inspirations and ideas before I plan a Dinner with Doctor menu, and her book has always been one of them.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup silken Tofu*

  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds

  • 1/3 cup vegetable stock

  • 3 1/2 tbsp lemon juice*

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp onion powder

Nutrients (per 2 Table spoons)

Calories: 49.5kcal

  • Total fat: 3.5g

  • Saturated fat: 0.3g

  • Total carbohydrates: 0.8g

  • Dietary fiber: 0.7 g

  • Sugar: 0.5 g

  • Protein: 2.4 g

  • Sodium: 22mg


Directions

(makes 1 1/3C)

  1. Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend until it reaches smooth consistency. You may add vegetable stock slowly to control the thickness of the sauce.

  2. Store in a refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. The sauce gets thickened as it gets chilled.

*Some silken tofu has more water content than the other. Use your judgement as you add vegetable stock

*You can use either freshly squeezed or bottled lemon juice


I hope this recipe helps in your journey to health and that your change of lifestyle may also have positive influence on others. If you are following us on instagram or facebook page please make comments on the next recipe that you would like to see. The link is embedded at the bottom of our web page. Or you may simply send us an email to info@pathwaystowholeness.ca for any inquiries.

Hope to see you at the Dinner with Doctor next Saturday.

From your partner towards wholeness,

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