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winter

Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

Often it’s the simplest dishes that make for the tastiest meals.

Fresh, seasonal ingredients, a pinch of spices and chopped herbs, and really that’s all you need to create a recipe that’s memorable, many times even more memorable than a combination that calls for hours upon hours of cooking.

Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

I’ve been getting into swimming lately, which generally leaves me ravishing upon arriving home.

My patience doesn’t have time for anything fancy when I show up to the kitchen counter. And when I have quality ingredients on-hand, I don’t need anything complicated either.

Luckily, my stockpile of winter squash has been conducive to all of this. A hearty tray of simply seasoned kabocha or a steaming baked sweet potato can really knock the edge off of hunger in a satisfying way. I find this to be one of the richest parts of winter.

Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

This recipe draws upon that heartiness of squash to create a nourishing meal that stays both light and satisfying. Baked with a little spice and tossed over crunchy, massaged kale to ever-so-slightly wilt the leaves, this becomes a powerful salad.

Salty chickpeas top it all off along with a creamy tahini dressing, where you’ll find the strength of fresh herbs kicking in.

Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

Serve with a slice of crusty bread, and feel free to sprinkle a few toasted nuts and seeds on top to give the meal a boost.

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Winter Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

We got our first snowstorm here in Philly last weekend. Everyone say hey to Jonas, which called for a snow-day Saturday chili cook-off session.

With plenty of time to slow down and savor, into the pot went every veggie and spice that makes chili shine, and onto the timer went plenty of minutes.

Vegetarian Chili

Snow brings time to chill. Time to chill brings patience. And patience brings flavor-making magic.

If you’ve got the minutes to spare, let this merger of ingredients mix and mingle for at least 45 minutes. The more time you give it, the more infusion of flavor in every bite you’ll receive.

In fact, it probably reaches its best not the night upon serving but in your bowl the next day.

Patience is a delicious virtue.

Vegetarian Chili

Serve over brown rice with some cheddar, on the sharp side, and/or fresh herbs. And if you seek to level up the whole experience, add a square of warm, buttered cornbread on a plate to its side.

We’ll thank Jonas for this one.

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Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

With 1-degree wind chills and the first dusting of snow, it only seemed natural to whip up a big pot of soup.

A little urban exploration and camera venture outdoors left my frigid hands wanting nothing more than a warm bowl to hold. My red cheeks were longing for that steam-filled facial, too.

And so began the soup-making.

Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

Originally, this was designed to be a ramen recipe. But when you get to the store and no ramen noodles are to be found, that needn’t be reason to abandon ship.

Instead, I found a funky package of raw kelp noodles laying on the shelf near the empty ramen spot. Resembling cooked rice noodles upon first look, I decided to give it a whirl. Plus, the package sold me on the claim of tons of trace minerals captured inside…

Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

The kelp strands were slightly crunchy – almost like a julienned cucumber – but also smooth and mild like a rice noodle.

I’d eat them again, and would recommend them for this recipe, especially if you’re seeking a light, New-Year-resolution-friendly, goodbye-sickness meal. Although, ramen or rice noodles will certainly work just as well – and play a heartier role.

Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

The broth here gets its flavor from kombu, one of my favorite seaweeds, and also from ginger, garlic and mushrooms. Feel free to play around with dried mushroom and other veggie combinations. But don’t skip the seaweed. It’s chock full of vitamins and minerals, and also able to develop an awesome, vegetarian umami flavor.

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Winter Lentil Loaf

Winter Lentil Loaf

Hello winter.

I wasn’t quite ready for you. Even after you dragged your feet. And let 60-degree days creep into my December. I am still not prepared for your arrival.

I’m sorry. I wish I liked you. I really do. But for now, I cope with comforting foods. And warm blankets and faces and seven layers of sweaters.

Winter Lentil Loaf

As a vegetarian, sometimes you just need something comforting, and it’s not always as easy to identify those quintessential items as it is in the meat kingdom.

Sure, there is soup. Which I adore.

But sometimes I want mashed potatoes, and gravy, and something hearty. And wholesome, too, of course.

This meal satisfies all of the above.

Winter Lentil Loaf

You could consider lentil loaf akin to meatloaf…that is, if you don’t think meatloaf is yucky.

It looks a little dull, but if prepared right, it’s oozing with herbs and umami flavor and warmth that radiates up from your plate.

It also happens to be packed with some rather superb ingredients, like lentils and walnuts, and in this case, tomatoes and collards, too. Those latter two actually bring some color to this particular lentil loaf recipe.

Winter Lentil Loaf

I like to serve lentil loaf alongside some of my other favorite wintry dishes of comfort. However, the sides for this dish are endless.

It must also be mentioned, my absolute favorite is to sandwich the leftovers between two slices of whole grain bread with a healthy handful of sprouts and good smear of ketchup and/or mustard on top. No reheating needed.

Ketchup isn’t a bad condiment for it when hot, either. I’m always torn between that and a veggie gravy. Try them both out, and decide what appeals most to you.

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Miso Tahini Soup

Miso Tahini Soup

Maybe I’m getting old. (But will forever want to draw at the kids’ table.) Maybe I had one too many Friendsgivings + Thanksgivings this year. (Forever thankful.) Maybe I just like soup best as December rolls in.

Likely it’s all of these and more – but regardless, I was ready to pass on all T-day leftovers this year. Another scoop of stuffing? No thank you.

Soup me, please.

Turnips

I was ready for a meal like this before the weekend even arrived. And whether you still need a few more days or not to reach that point, this remains one of my favorite cleansing, warming meals as the cool winter days set in.

It’s earthy. Light. Yet full of flavor that satisfies you within just one bowl.

I stumbled upon the recipe over on 101 Cookbooks after doing a quick Google search for turnips. They are still an item that leaves me clueless sometimes. (Although, lately I’ve learned a fast roast in the oven does wonders on the beauties.)

Miso Tahini Soup

This was first whipped up for a small gathering of friends, and again soon after in the week that followed. I look forward to utilizing the soup as the hefty holidays continue to roll forward.

Feel free to play around with the veggies you put into the pot. We did a steamed eggplant version the other night, which was wonderful. Just be sure to leave out anything too overpowering. There’s a delicateness to this soup that you won’t want to lose.

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