Vegetable and Lentil Soup with Spiced Eggplant

One of my favourite meals to make in the cooler months is soup. For it is both easy, and versatile, and almost certainly guarantees that those last few veggies in your crisper drawer are used up at the end of the week.

I find that soup is also a particularly good option on the days when I know that the husband will be home late from work. I make a batch during the day and eat early with the kids. Then his serve can easily be re-heated when he arrives home – without the worry of it being mis-timed or overcooked.

On this occasion, I found inspiration in Taste Magazine – in the form of a tomato based vegetable and lentil soup – that was topped with spicy eggplant. And we all know how much I like my eggplant! 

The addition of lentils resulted in a hearty soup, that warmed us up from the inside out. The eggplant was quite the star too – and definitely not short on spice!

From memory we served the soup with some toasted sourdough with lashings of butter (of course).  The perfect soup ‘dipper’.

What about you? Do you have a favourite soup?

(ps. I hope you are enjoying the new ‘printer’ friendly versions of my recipes, which I think you can also adjust to suit what serving size you are after. Let me know what you think!)

Print Recipe
Vegetable and Lentil Soup with Spiced Eggplant
Course Soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the leek, carrots and zucchini, and cook for a few minutes (or starting to soften). Add the garlic and spices, and stir until fragrant.
  3. Add the lentils, tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Season the soup, and divide among serving bowls. Top with fresh parsley and the spiced eggplant.
For the Spiced Eggplant:
  1. Preheat oven to 200C, and line a tray with baking paper. Dice an eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Combine 1tsp garam masala, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes and 1/4 tsp turmeric in a bowl. Add the eggplant and toss to coat. Spread onto the lined tray and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown.
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Grilled eggplant and lentil salad

I’m going through a bit of a phase.

An eggplant phase.

Yes not the normal sort of phase you might find yourself going through, but its a recent craving that I’ve been more than happy to satisfy.

I suspect it has something do with eggplant’s heartiness. It feels like it adds a bit of bulk to dishes – particularly when you are using it in place of meat, for example.

Take this salad, for instance. So simple to prepare, but quite easily a stand-alone meal (although it would almost certainly work as a tasty side dish too).

I thinly sliced the eggplant, and grilled the slices for 5 minutes or so until soft and golden. Then it was simply a matter of combining the eggplant slices with baby spinach, lentils, capsicum, cucumber and feta – and finishing the dish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

I’d give you a recipe – but there really is no more to it. Just lots of simple, fresh flavours – that come together to make a tasty meal.  Not to mention colourful!

Lamb, lentil and sweet potato curry

It’s safe to say, that the next few months will feature many dishes like this. IMG_9079 Slow-cooked. Rich. Comforting. All those things that I tend to crave when the cooler months arrive. This recipe came courtesy of a recent HFG mag, and it did not disappoint. IMG_9065IMG_9067 A beautiful mixture of vegetables, korma curry paste, tomatoes and lentils – with a big handful of silverbeet thrown in at the end. IMG_9074 Slow cooked for 3 hours, until the lamb was beautifully tender. Then served with a couple pappadums on the side. IMG_9080 A lovely little belly warmer to kick off the chilly season! What about you? Cooked any interesting curries lately?

A so-so soup

IMG_6638 I had high hopes for this soup. Few ingredients. IMG_6625 Simple to prepare. IMG_6626 And left to simmer throughout the afternoon. IMG_6627 Aka – another make ahead meal! IMG_6628 Sadly, however, it turned out rather ‘meh’. IMG_6629 A little too salty (from the bacon and stock), and even the addition of a little crème fraiche when served could not save the flavour. IMG_6630 So I’m calling this soup a “work in progress”. IMG_6633 For now at least Smile What about you? Had any kitchen ‘fails’ lately?

Make ahead meal – Curried lentils and sweet potato

(Disclaimer – This post was typed with one hand, and a sleeping baby on my chest. So apologies in advance for any typos!)  IMG_6257 When looking for inspiration for a make ahead meal, I tend to gravitate towards slow cooked meat dishes. However, as I also like to have at least a couple of meatless dinners throughout the week, coming up with a make ahead vegetarian meal was my aim yesterday. IMG_6244 Lentils and vegetables seemed the most logical choice. And when Charlotte went down for a nap in the afternoon – well I got to work. IMG_6246 Veggies – diced. Sautéed with some spices, then simmered slowly with lentils and vegetable stock until the lentils were tender. IMG_6247 Later that evening, I put the dish back on the stove and simmered it uncovered to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. Then threw in a good amount of spinach and allowed it to wilt. IMG_6249 The result? IMG_6252 A thick stew-like dinner, packed with goodness. IMG_6253 Finished with one of my favourite stew toppers. IMG_6256 Natural yoghurt! And a sprinkle of parsley – for some extra green. IMG_6259 I loved how the sweet potato had broken down owing to the long cooking time. It gave the dish a nice hearty consistency. IMG_6260 And between the curry powder and cayenne pepper, the dish also had a bit of a spicy kick to it. IMG_6261 Mellowed, of course, by the yoghurt. IMG_6264 I think this dish, or at least a version of it, will be making regular appearances in the BBB household. Curried lentils and sweet potato (serves 4-6)

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1tsp minced garlic
  • 1- 2 tbs curry powder (to taste)
  • 1 tsp garam masalsa
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • Few handfuls of spinach
  • Natural yoghurt and fresh parsley to serve
  1. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add vegetables, garlic and spices, and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils, vegetable stock and water, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour. (At this point I took the dish off the stove, then reheated it just before serving a few hours later).
  3. Before serving, add spinach and simmer until the liquid has evaporated and you have the desired consistency.
  4. Divide among serving bowls, and top with a spoonful of yoghurt and a sprinkle of parsley.

What about you? Are you a fan of lentils? I most certainly am, and should cook with them more!

Lemon garlic lamb with lentil and tomato salad

Thankyou all for your sweet comments re my pregnancy and exercise post. It certainly has been an interesting few months for me, but slowly I feel that I am finding my groove again. And, with no magpie swoops on any of our walks thus far, I am hoping this is something that continues into the future. _____ It seems lamb has been a bit of a theme this week, with tonight’s dinner also including lamb. This time, however, instead of kebabs, it was lemon garlic lamb with a lentil and tomato salad… IMG_2746 (courtesy of the latest Healthy Food Guide magazine). As is becoming quite the norm, while Mr BBB and I were our for our evening walk, I had a gorgeous (but expensive) backstrap of lamb marinating… IMG_2744 In a simple mixture of lemon juice, garlic and oregano. IMG_2745 Then, when we got home, the rest of the meal came together relatively quickly.  While Mr BBB got his grill on outside, I worked on the salad inside. IMG_2748 Just tinned lentils, fresh tomato and spinach… IMG_2756 A squeeze of lemon juice…. IMG_2757 And our salad was complete. IMG_2758 Topped with slices of the marinated lamb (being sure that this pregnant gal’s was properly cooked through…) IMG_2760 And last, but not least, a drizzle of lemon yoghurt to complete the meal. IMG_2761 Just natural yoghurt, lemon juice and some cracked pepper. IMG_2392 While I am not a huge fan of natural yoghurt or greek yoghurt by itself straight out of the tub, I LOVE using it to top savoury dishes like this. It has so much flavour, without any scary ingredients, and can easily be jazzed up with a some fresh herbs or a good amount of cracked pepper. IMG_2764 Overall – this was a very tasty weeknight meal, with the added bonus being that it was super speedy to put together. IMG_2762   My favourite part was probably the lentil / tomato salad, which was packed with flavour despite only having a few ingredients. I think the key was using good quality tomatoes, as their juices released throughout the lentils and spinach wonderfully. IMG_2768 I think this is a dish that would work well if cooked en masse, and on a big platter in the middle of the table….banquet style. An idea for a summer BBQ perhaps???? But anyway – that would require Mr BBB to clear out our living room first…. IMG_2753  Which currently looks more like a bike shed than a living room?! Grrrrrr. And yes, we do have a garage……. What about you? What is your favourite way to use natural yoghurt when cooking?

Lovely lentil stew with lemony herb yoghurt

Happy Friday lovely people! I don’t know about you, but I am so very happy that it is Friday. It probably has something to do with the fact that I have thought the last two days were Friday, when obviously they weren’t. So a part of me is feeling a little ‘finally’ about the whole thing! And to kick of the weekend, I headed to the gym for some elliptical action after work, enjoying the fact that is is never too busy on a Friday evening. Then, after picking up my (hopefully) fixed PC from the repair shop, I arrived home on quite the high. I am just ignoring the fact that I broke my favourite sunglasses today. My Friday night high continued when Mr BBB declared it a no cooking night, and arrived home with a tasty take away dinner in hand. And, as I am sure you have seen a takeaway GF pizza  before, I thought I might share last night’s dinner creation with you instead. IMG_2402  Because, really, it ended up being a very tasty (albeit random) addition to our weekly dinner menu! IMG_2390 With leftover vegetables as a starting point, the addition of lentils for some bulk and a variety of spices for some punch, this one pot stew came together really easily. IMG_2383 I really do love lentils, in all their hippy stereotype glory. I particularly appreciate how quickly they cook, as opposed to many other dried legumes or pulses, making them a good (and healthy!) dinner option when time is limited. IMG_2388 Aside from sautéing the onions and garlic first, I literally threw all the remaining ingredients for this meal in a pot, added some stock, covered it and let it cook slowly for 45 minutes or so. IMG_2398 I actually had the stew slowly cooking on the stove while Mr BBB and I took our evening walk last night, meaning that by the time we arrived home, all I had to do was pop some GF bread in the toaster to serve on the side, and make a lemony herb yoghurt to dollop on the top of the lentils. IMG_2399 Which in itself took a matter of moments. IMG_2392 Just Greek yoghurt, lemon zest and some finely chopped parsley. Picnik collage Served atop the bowl of lentils… IMG_2401 Adding just the right amount of extra "zing" to an already flavoursome dish. IMG_2404 We both practically licked our bowls clean, so I am recording this little lentil dish as a win! IMG_2402 There was, however, room for dessert… IMG_2406 Lovely lentil stew with lemony herb yoghurt (serves 2) This is a lovely little one-pot stew, that comes together quite quickly, making it a worthwhile addition to a weeknight meal plan. I served mine with a few slices of GF toast on the side, however it depends on your appetite. While I used carrots, celery and cauliflower, feel free to experiment and use whatever vegetables you have on hand. The recipe makes enough to feed 2 people, however you could easily double (or triple!) the quantities, to have tasty leftovers the next day.

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/4 head cauliflower, separated into small florets
  • 2 cups stock
  • Handful chopped parsley (+ extra 1-2 tbs finely chopped parsley for yoghurt)
  • 150g Greek yoghurt
  • Rind of 1 lemon (or more or less to taste)
  1. To make the lemony herb yoghurt, combine the Greek yoghurt, lemon rind and chopped parsley in a small bowl. Cover and place in the fridge.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sautee until the onion starts to soften.
  3. Add the spices and cook, stirring, for 15 seconds.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well to combined.
  5. Cover, lower heat, and cook slowly for 45 minutes – until the lentils have softened an soaked up most of the liquid. Stir through handful of chopped parsley.
  6. Divide among serving bowls, and top with a dollop of the lemony herb yoghurt.

What about you? What is your favourite way to use lentils?

Indian Feast – Part 2

Training: Upper body weights / Elliptical 30mins IMG_7966 So yesterday I shared with you the first two dishes served at our Indian Feast. Paneer with mushrooms and peas.  IMG_7958 And a refreshing tomato, cucumber and onion salad. IMG_7937 But the real star of the show – actually came care of a free magazine I picked up at our local health food shop. Lentil Potato Dahl with Cashew Almond Sauce. I doubled the recipe, and it ended up being quite the generous dish. So much so that Mr BBB and I had leftovers for 2 nights afterwards. That’s a lot of dahl. Like so many wonderful Indian dishes, the magic came with time. IMG_7807 Once the ingredients were measured, into a pot they went, then it was all a matter of  time. IMG_7835 Time to simmer. IMG_7838 And time to let the flavours develop. And, as is often the case with dishes like these – it was even better over the next few days. Finished with a nutty yoghurt sauce.. IMG_7840 Almonds, cashews, yoghurt and cayenne pepper. IMG_7843 Blended, then stirred through the dahl… IMG_7966 Topped with a generous amount of fresh parsley and coriander, and a sprinkle of flaked almonds. IMG_7970 The result? IMG_7964 A spicy, hearty and fragrant vegetarian dish. IMG_7980 Packed with flavour and nutrition, IMG_7981 (2)  And a perfect addition to our Indian Feast! But, of course, our feast did not stop there. For what feast would be complete without a little sweet treat to end the meal? Particularly one that involves oranges and almonds…. Part 3 to follow…. What about you? Do you have a favourite Indian dish? Happy Baking 🙂

Maple-tahini Lentil Salad (and an updated recipe page!)

Training: Run 5km With the temperatures dropping more and more with each passing day, and owing to my declaration of ‘Salad week‘ yesterday, I wanted to create a salad with a little Spring flair this evening. And then my neighbour dropped in a big plate of spelt spanakopita that his mother had made for us, so I wanted to keep our salad light. Starting with tomatoes, capsicum and cucumber. IMG_6802 Followed by lentils and corn… IMG_6803 Finished with fresh herbs… IMG_6808 Parsley and mint! IMG_6811 Combined then piled high. IMG_6812 Now, while this salad was quite tasty on its own, IMG_6814 Particularly with the sweet corn kernels, IMG_6818 And the tomato / fresh herb combination, IMG_6822 It called for something extra. Thus, this salad went from a plain lentil salad, to a maple-tahini lentil salad in a matter of seconds. The secret? IMG_6799 A quick and easy maple tahini dressing! IMG_6791 4 ingredients – resulting resulting in a rich and creamy dressing… IMG_6795 Drizzled over the salad for the perfect finishing touch. IMG_6851 IMG_6852 A super easy no fuss addition to my Salad Week. IMG_6850 Served with a  few slices of the homemade spanakopita. IMG_6829 Delish! Maple-tahini Lentil Salad (serves 2)

  • 1.5 cups cooked lentils
  • 6 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 1 cob corn, kernels only
  • handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • handful fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tbs tahini
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 4 tbs water
  1. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Divide between two serving dishes.
  2. To make the sauce, whisk together the tahini, maple syrup and dijon mustard. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well to combine.
  3. Drizzle a generous portion of the dressing over the salad to serve.

What about you? Do you know your neighbours? We are lucky enough to live next to two very generous Greek neighbours who love to surprise us with authentic Greek dishes (and figs!) on a regular basis. We are very lucky indeed! PS – I finally updated my recipe page! Click here to check it out and let me know if you think any are missing. Happy Baking 🙂

Lovin’ the loaf…

It seems the last few days of workouts + gardening + moving furniture have well and truly caught up with me! My shoulders and back were so very stiff and sore when I woke up this morning, and 9+ hours sitting at my desk at work did nothing to help. I think I need to book myself a massage. STAT. Dinner In lieu of sore muscles, a protein packed dinner was just what I was craving. I had a small amount of lean beef mince in the fridge, a heap of veggies and a can of lentils in the pantry. IMG_4186  IMG_4188  Hence this tasty little beef and vegetable loaf was born. IMG_4196 IMG_4198 IMG_4200 Although I guess you could also call it meatloaf, BBB style 😉 IMG_4233 This dish pretty much has all the telltale signs of a weekday BBB dinner. IMG_4235    Easy, fuss-free, but packed to the brim with healthy ingredients.  IMG_4246    And, the best part…. Leftovers for future lunch and dinners!  IMG_4254 We served slices of the loaf with steamed carrots and asparagus. And a good spoonful of homemade tomato and chilli relish. IMG_4252  But you will have to stay tuned for my easy relish recipe. I’ll be sharing it with you in the next few days… BBB’s Beef and Vegetable loaf (GF)

  • 450g lean beef mince
  • 1 bag baby spinach leaves
  • 1.5 cups cooked lentils*
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 60ml  organic tomato sauce
  • 30ml  GF worcestershire sauce
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • olive oil cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease base and sides of a loaf pan, and line with baking paper (allowing the paper to overhang at both long ends)
  2. Heat spinach in a frypan until wilted. Squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible and finely chop.
  3. In a large bowl, combine spinach, mince, lentils, onion, garlic, carrot, corn and chia seeds.
  4. Add eggs, herbs and sauces and mix until well combined (you might want to use your hands for this!)
  5. Press into the prepared loaf tin.
  6. Place zucchini strips in a separate bowl and spray with a little olive oil spray. Toss to coat then spoon atop the loaf.
  7. Bake for 60 minutes or until meatloaf is firm.  Stand for 10 minutes then slice and serve.

* I cheated and used the canned variety, well rinsed and drained. If you had the time, you could, of course, use dried lentils simmered in water until soft. What about you? Do you like meatloaf? I am not the hugest fan of meatloaf when in its ‘traditional’ form, but when it’s packed with veggies and herbs I am a convert! Happy Baking 🙂