Lesser known are the milder, calmer, non-carnivorous dragons. This doesn’t mean they are any less interesting, but they are far less dangerous to the random traveler, and potentially more hospitable to those they meet. Their temper can still flare some, but they are less prone to fiery outbursts and devouring man and beast. May this warm, hearty, mildly fiery stew connect you with those dragons of the friendlier kind … or at least warm your belly.
Vegetable-Lentil Slow-Cooker Soup
- 1-1/2c red lentils
- 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1-1/2c celery, chopped
- 3 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 can chick peas
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1t salt
- 1t parsley
- 1t oregano
- 1/2t paprika (smoked works best!)
- 1/4t cayenne pepper
- 6-1/2c vegetable stock
- For same day cooking: place all ingredients in a slow cooker cauldron and pour in vegetable stock. Cook on high for 5 hours, or low for 8 hours.
- For next day cooking: prep everything except the garlic and seasonings. Store in root-cellar or appropriate substitute. On the next day, dump everything into the cauldron (base ingredients, seasonings, and broth), and cook as above.
- In preparation to cook another day: add all ingredients — except for broth — to a large magically zipping bag and place in ice box. When ready to use, remove the bag, dump contents into slow cooker, and add broth. Cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 8-9 (low can be better for frozen). Since the frozen contents may be uncooperative with being “dumped”, a brief period of thawing may be wise.
In the middle of the colder months, it can be nice to get some compilation of vegetable ingredients together, but too often they can come loaded with potatoes, rice, and other bulk imbuing starches. This aims to be something more salad-like in nature while also being warm and comforting against any chill in the air … or under foot.
Spinach and Kale Soup (aka Slaad Soup)
- ¾ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours up to overnight
- 1 cup water (not for soaking)
- 2-3T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups spinach leaves
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 1-2 carrots, diced
- 1-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1T Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ – ½ cup lemon juice
- 2T apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 2-3 green onion stalks, sliced thinly
- and/or replace with bell peppers
- 3-4T sesame seeds
- 1C chopped mushrooms
- To prepare Cashew Cream: Drain and rinse cashews a couple times. Pour into a blender along with water and blend, scraping the sides as needed, until totally smooth. Set aside.
- To prepare Soup: Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for a few minutes until softened.
- Stir in spinach, kale, carrots, and garlic. Season with Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 2-3 minutes more or until garlic is fragrant.
- Pour in vegetable broth, and mushrooms, and stir to combine; if adding bell peppers, add now. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until greens are wilted and carrots are tender.
- Remove soup from heat and stir in lemon juice, vinegar, and cashew cream. Soup can be served as is or blended using a food processor or blender for a richer, creamier soup.
- Garnish soup with green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!