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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Roasted vegetable crustless quiche

This recent meal got me wondering…

“What is the difference between a frittata and a crust-less quiche?”

I guess it has something to do with the fact that a frittata is generally started off in a frypan then finished in the oven, while this ‘quiche’ was simply poured into a baking dish and cooked in the oven? Yes that might just be it….

But in any event, we had ourselves a winner of a weeknight meal when we turned to a favourite ingredient.

The humble egg!

Humble, yes, but so very versatile. Be it scrambled or poached for a quick breakfast, an omelette for a speedy lunch or perhaps a couple boiled eggs thrown atop a salad… yes our house is rarely without a carton of eggs.

On this occasion I roasted a selection of vegetables – zucchini, capsicum and sweet potato.

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Placed in a greased baking dish, and covered with some eggs, milk, fresh herbs and goats cheese. Baked for 40 minutes or so, or until set in the middle.

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We kept things simple, and served slices of the ‘quiche’ with a green salad and some sourdough – finished with a good dollop of chilli jam.  It made for a delicious dinner, and also an easy lunch to take to work the next day.

img_1060 Roasted vegetable crustless quiche (serves 4 to 6)

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 1 yellow capsicum, diced
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano, basil…)
  • 100g goats cheese, crumbled
  • chilli jam, salad leaves and sourdough to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place vegetables onto tray, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
  2. Lightly grease a baking dish, and spread the roasted vegetables in the bottom.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk eggs and milk together. Stir through the fresh herbs.
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables, and scatter the goats cheese over the top.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set in the middle and golden. Allow to cool slightly, then cut into slices to serve.
  6. Top with a dollop of chilli jam, and serve alongside the salad and sourdough.

Turkey Avocado Cobb Salad (and how I cook perfectly boiled eggs)

img_0468It’s no secret that I am a fan of loaded salad bowls for dinner. Not only do they generally hit the ‘health’ target – they are a great way to use up leftover ingredients in the fridge (particularly at the end of the week when I find myself with lots of bits and pieces in the crisper drawer).

And so this Turkey and Avocado Cobb Salad came to be!

img_0460Lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, capsicum, avocado and tasty cheese. With some chopped turkey breast, a little bacon and a boiled egg for protein. A long ingredient list, yes, but so very easy to throw together at the end of a long work day. With the only things requiring any real attention are the boiled eggs and bacon!

As for a dressing – well this was pretty simple too. A little mayonnaise, jazzed up with some lime juice and chilli sauce.

img_0467And just like that – dinner was served.   I’d give you a recipe – but there really is no need. Just go with what you have, and enjoy!

Although I can share my method for boiling eggs with you – as I think I’ve now mastered it…

Place the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn off the heat and leave your eggs in the water for 4 minutes (covered). After 4 minutes, place the eggs in a bowl of iced water and leave for 5 minutes or so. Peel and enjoy!

BBQ Pork Rainbow Salad

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The slow cooker is well and truly ‘out’ on our kitchen bench at the moment, and a lot of curries and stews are appearing on our weekly menu. However, a review of my photo archives revealed a couple of salads that were simply too delicious not to share.

Such as this BBQ Pork Rainbow Salad, that was inspired by a Taste Magazine edition (although I can’t for the life of me find the actual recipe anywhere!)

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What  I do remember, is that it was super easy to throw together. Loaded with lots of different vegetable, textures and tastes. Resulting in a dinner that was not only nutritious, but also packed with flavour. And colour.

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I purchased the BBQ pork from our local Chinese takeaway, which sat perched atop a big salad – built with lettuce, avocado, red cabbage, celery, red onion, carrot and some sauteed bok choy. Finished with some chopped red chilli and ginger, to taste.

IMG_7588Definitely a salad that I will be making again!

‘throw it in’ cauli pie

Once upon a time, well quite a few months ago actually – it was the night before a grocery shop. As you can imagine, the fridge and pantry both looked more than a little bare, with the crisper only revealing the last few veggies from the week before. IMG_1758 I did, however, find some beef mince in the freezer – and a half head of cauliflower tucked away at the back of the fridge. And so this rather random ‘throw it in’ cauli pie came to be. Mince, carrots, celery, onions and tomatoes – diced and sautéed in a little olive oil, garlic and a good amount of seasoning. IMG_1759 Placed into a baking dish – then topped with cauliflower – that I had steamed then mashed with a little milk, oregano and parmesan cheese. IMG_1762IMG_1763 Baked for 30 to 40 minutes at 180C – and well we had ourselves quite a tasty little meal! IMG_1767IMG_1770 And we even managed to fool the littlest member of our family with the ‘hidden’ vegetable content! What about you? Cooked any random meals lately?

Quinoa and roasted vegetable “risotto”

IMG_0103 This meal, enjoyed some time ago, was certainly a winner. But then again, when there are roasted vegetables involved – you can’t really go wrong can you? It was called a ‘risotto’ but you had to keep an open mind. For it didn’t have the creaminess of a traditional risotto – but it did have a lot of flavour. First – the roast vegetables. In my case, I used pumpkin, capsicum and a couple mushrooms. Drizzled with olive oil and baked for 20 minutes or so. IMG_0090IMG_0094 Meanwhile – I sautéed some garlic in a little olive oil – then added a cup of quinoa – allowing the grains to be coated. Next, some vegetable stock, and cooked on low until the quinoa had absorbed the liquid. To finish – it couldn’t be simpler. In went the roasted vegetables, a good amount of baby spinach and thyme leaves, a little parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of lemon zest. IMG_0097 Piled high on a plate – and topped with a little extra parmesan. IMG_0101 We really enjoyed this vegetarian meal. Simple to prepare – and packed with flavour, I quickly declared that it was being added to “the list”. IMG_0100 And with quinoa as the base – you could really flavour the dish with whatever vegetables you had on hand. I think sweet potato or semi dried tomatoes would also work beautifully…. IMG_0105 What about you? Cooked any ‘winners’ recently?

Tray baked fish & vegetables

IMG_9710 I really can see the allure of ‘one pot’ meals. Be it a slow cooked stew, an aromatic curry or a tray baked dish such as this one. And I’m not just saying that because our 15 year old Vulcan dishwasher died last week. Ok maybe I am? Either way – I appreciated the simplicity and lack of dishes that this meal created. Just veggies (zucchini, pumpkin, onion and potato) tossed into a baking tray and drizzled with olive oil. IMG_9695 Cooked for 30 minutes…then topped with some pieces of ling – seasoned with Moroccan spices and a little spray of olive oil. IMG_9706 (Ps. Fishmongers make for a fun family adventure, it seems, as C had a ball running around looking at all the seafood on display – including the live fish!) Back into the oven for another 20 minutes and…well…dinner was served. IMG_9708 Finished simply with a “salsa” – made with tomatoes, coriander, capsicum, spring onions and lime juice. IMG_9707 Between the beautifully tender veggies, the moist fish and the zesty fresh-salsa – well my tastebuds were in heaven! IMG_9712 And the lack of dishes afterwards…well that was a welcomed sight too! What about you? Are you a dishwasher or ‘by-0hand’ person when it comes to washing dishes?

Tomato & veggie quinoa soup

IMG_9615 Sometimes – when it comes to meals -  you just know you have stumbled onto a winner. And not even when you are sitting down enjoying the finished product. No – it is when you come across the recipe and can just ‘feel’ that it will be a hit. I had one of these moments on the weekend. We’d had a big yum cha brunch, and our appetites by dinner were still far from raging. I flicked through a recent copy of the Healthy Food Guide (one of my favourites) and found a recipe for a tomato quinoa soup that immediately appealed. Then, with a few of my own tweaks, we soon found ourselves huddled over big bowls of steaming soup with the Season 4 finale of Breaking Bad on the TV. A perfect Sunday night really. But back to that soup. IMG_9588 I loved how full of vegetables this soup was. Carrot, celery, tomatoes – and I added some broccoli for good measure. IMG_9590 Into a pot with stock, herbs and garlic… and then simmered for 20 minutes or so (until the veggies were soft). IMG_9603 Then out came my trust stick-blender – converting the mix into a thick, hearty soup. IMG_9613 And the real winner?   IMG_9607 Ladling the soup over some quinoa that I had prepared separately – providing extra bulk and a bit of a protein kick. IMG_9617 I topped the soup with a mixture of shredded basil, parsley and mint, and seasoned well with black pepper. And the final star of the show? IMG_9618 Some gorgeously-chewy olive sourdough – from a favourite bakery. I know soup gets a bad wrap (kinda like salads in the warmer months) but I truly love them for their versatility, ease and the fact they can be thrown together so quickly. And this soup had even Mr BBB convinced! IMG_9621 Tomato & Veggie Quinoa Soup – Makes 2 generous serves

  • olive oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, broken into florets
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cups water
  • 1-2 tbs fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1cup cooked quinoa
  • Fresh herbs to serve – I used shredded mint, basil and parsley
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add the vegetables, garlic and oregano, and sauté for a few minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
  2. Add the tomatoes, stock, water and basil – and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Puree using a stick blender, then season with pepper to taste.
  4. Divide the quinoa between serving bowls. Spoon over the soup, and sprinkle with extra herbs.

What about you? Tried any new soup combinations lately?

A speedy stir-fry

Happy Monday lovely people! IMG_9340 Our weekend was, in fact, rather delightful. Nothing too extravagant planned, just time with family and friends, and embracing a somewhat slower-than-normal weekend. I took a look back at our dinners last week, and noticed a common theme. They were mostly quick to prepare – suggesting that perhaps I was short on time. I don’t feel like we are any busier than normal – but perhaps we are. Or perhaps we are still adjusting to the shorter daylight, and the chill in the air that greets us each morning. But speedy doesn’t have to mean boring, and our meals – although a little random – were still rather delicious. One such meal was this stir-fry. IMG_9339 Flavoured simply with soy and a little sherry – and packed with whatever vegetable I could find in the fridge (along with a little rumps teak I had in the freezer). IMG_9325IMG_9330 And, as it usual when it comes to stir-fries – all the work was in the preparation. For once the veggies and meat were sliced – it only took moments in the work to bring the dish together. IMG_9333IMG_9336 Simple – speedy – and delicious. IMG_9351 A perfect mid-week meal, really. What about you? What is your favourite ‘speedy meal’?

More couscous loving

Another evening, another quick dinner with my recent favourite ingredient… IMG_7632 Pearl Couscous! This time, I threw in a big range of veggies into a pan, and a good amount of this Moroccan seasoning… IMG_1349IMG_1350 Before adding the cooked couscous to really pump up the meal! Finished with some toasted Turkish bread on the side, and despite its speedy creation, this was a tasty dinner indeed. IMG_1357 Gotta love a hodge-podge veggie packed meal like this! IMG_1355 What about you? Cooked with couscous recently?