Laoo Dahl (Red Lentils with Zucchini)

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Red Lentils with Zucchini

Red Lentils with Zucchini

I get a box of organic produce delivered to my house every 2 weeks. In the last delivery there were three beautiful zucchini. Instead of turning to the internet, I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks, Extending the Table. This recipe is a new favorite! I loved the earthiness of the red lentils combined with the texture and firm freshness of the zucchini.

Laoo Dahl (Red Lentils with Zucchini)

My Tweaks: I used coconut oil and added some garlic paste and ginger paste, just because those are common flavor profiles for Indian food. I didn’t have a hot pepper, so I used aleppo pepper. I served it over brown rice couscous.

Grandmom’s Lentil Soup Recipe

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Grandmom's Lentil Soup

Grandmom’s Lentil Soup

According to my late Grandmom, it is Italian tradition to make lentil soup on New Year’s Day for good fortune. The lentils represent little coins. Here’s her recipe.

Grandmom’s Lentil Soup

2 cups (one pkg.) Jack Rabbit or Goya Lentils
2 small whole onions, peeled
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 carrots, chopped fine
2 ribs celery and leaves from inner ribs, chopped fine
8-ounce can Hunt’s tomato sauce
1 T. olive oil
1 bay leaf
3-5 qts. cold water  (depending on how soupy you like your soup)
8 oz small pasta – pastina, tubetini, or small elbows – cooked al dente before adding to the soup
salt to taste (after cooking)

Pick over lentils, wash and drain. Place in large soup pot with all of the above ingredients. Simmer until lentils are tender (one hour). When finished, add pasta, then salt to taste.

It’s a very simple soup, but very comforting.

My Tweaks:
To make this gluten-free, I use rice pasta instead of the regular pasta. I also like to DOUBLE the amount of carrots, celery, garlic and onion. I use 3 qts of water because I like a thicker soup. I also added some organic tuscan kale (leafy part – ribs discarded) in the last 10 minutes of cooking time. The kale adds the health benefits of dark, leafy greens. Another option would be to add escarole right at the end.  I find this needs lots of salt because it is made mostly with water, not broth or stock. I salt when serving or reheating. I could’ve used the pressure cooker for this, but I decided to cook it on the stovetop, the way my Grandmom always did.

Happy New Year!


Emergency Baked Beans

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Emergency Baked Beans

Emergency Baked Beans (photo from

I happened to stumble upon this recipe today on and it looked so good and easy. I’ve had a package of FIG brand organic cannellini beans in my cabinet for a few months and had all the other ingredients (or substitutes on hand).

I whipped it up in about 10 minutes and I can honestly say that these are the best baked beans I’ve ever had. I usually feel like baked beans taste like the can they came in, so this fresh version is a new favorite. I live on beans, so this will be a welcome addition to my repertoire.

Click here for the recipe:


My small revisions:
I used brown sugar in place of the rapadura sugar and also used up an open jar of pasta sauce (Rao’s Arrabiata Spicy Tomato Sauce) in place of the tomato puree. This added a little heat, which is great with the sweetness. Next time I might sauté some chopped onions at the start of the recipe to add a little crunch and texture.