October 20, 2018

Lentil Stuffed Pepper Soup

All the goodness and flavor of stuffed peppers but in easy, delicious soup form! This 10-ingredient Stuffed Pepper Lentil Soup is a healthy one-pot meal that's great for weeknights, meal prep, and leftovers! (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

Lentils; tiny but mighty! I've proclaimed my love for these little beauties before, but they're such nutritional powerhouses and so easy to cook (not to mention inexpensive!) So I'm continuously trying to find new ways to enjoy them. I've made several versions of this soup and this is my favorite one. It has a combination of red + brown lentils (though you could do all of one if desired) and I love how the classic stuffed pepper flavor really shines through in the thick, tomatoey broth. (Plus it's GREAT for meal prep and leftovers as it becomes even more flavorful the next day!)

Feel free to stir in some spinach or kale near the end of cooking for a boost of greens, or even some white beans if you'd like. For serving, I highly recommend spooning cooked brown rice (or quinoa) on top to complete the stuffed pepper ensemble. And if this finds you in the mood for some "real" stuffed pepper goodness try our favorite Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers - they're fun, festive, and easy to prepare!

PS - come join The Garden Grazer on Instagram 🍓 and share a pic if you make this! I absolutely love seeing your recreations.

Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free
Serves about 6

1 onion
1 large carrot
3 green bell peppers
4 cloves garlic
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
15 oz. can tomato sauce
6 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup brown lentils, uncooked
3/4 cup red lentils, uncooked
1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt to taste
Optional: spinach, zucchini, white beans, Italian seasoning (or basil/oregano) instead of smoked paprika
Serving suggestions: cooked brown rice or quinoa, hot sauce, chopped fresh parsley

Dice onion, carrot, and bell pepper (core and seeds removed).
In a large stockpot over med-high heat, saute onion for about 6-7 minutes. (I use 3 Tbsp. vegetable broth or water for no-oil saute method.)
Meanwhile, mince garlic.
Add garlic, smoked paprika, carrot, and bell pepper. Stir and saute for 1-2 minutes.
Add diced tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, and vegetable broth. Increase heat to high.
Meanwhile, rinse lentils and add to pot. Stir.
Bring to a light boil, then decrease heat to med-low, cover, and simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until lentils are cooked through.
Salt to taste. Serve as is or with cooked rice, quinoa, hot sauce, fresh parsley, etc.

Feel free to use 1 1/2 cups all brown or red lentils if desired. (If using all red lentils, you can decrease the cook time to about 15-20 minutes.)
If you're not a fan of smoked paprika, or would like to change up the flavor profile, try Italian seasoning (or basil/oregano) in place of smoked paprika.

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More lentil lovin'
Lentil Taco Soup (so good!)

September 26, 2018

Maple-Cinnamon Butternut Squash

This maple-glazed butternut squash roasted to perfection is an easy autumn side dish and no-fuss recipe for your Thanksgiving or holiday table. Warm, cozy, and a wonderful taste of fall! (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

Autumn arrived last week and right on cue I began roasting all the squash 💛 I really enjoy the fresh change of flavors and produce that each new season brings. Butternut squash is an autumn delight with it's sweet, nutty flavor and warm color that makes a welcome addition to Thanksgiving and holiday tables. This simple side dish roasts buttery squash cubes to tender perfection after being tossed in a sweet maple-glaze with a hint of cinnamon. Plus it fills the house with the most amazing, comforting aroma as it roasts... pure autumn bliss!

This past year my parents introduced me to Ceylon cinnamon. After some research, I discovered Ceylon cinnamon (from Sri Lanka) is known as "true" cinnamon while the more common cassia variety from China (which I'd been using) is lower in nutrients, and has been found to contain high amounts coumarin which is supposedly harmful in high doses. Most commercial cinnamon is the cassia variety unless it specifically says "Ceylon". If you're interested in reading about the benefits/differences between the two, check out this article from Livestrong.com - very interesting & informative. (I find I enjoy the taste of Ceylon cinnamon much more than cassia as well!)

Hope you enjoy this beautiful taste of autumn! Come join The Garden Grazer on Instagram 🍓 and share a pic if you make this. I love seeing your recreations!

Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free
Makes about 4-6 side servings

1 large butternut squash* (about 3 1/2 lbs.)
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
3/4 tsp. cinnamon (I use Ceylon cinnamon)
1 tsp. salt
Optional: dash of nutmeg
Garnishes if desired: pecans, cranberries, walnuts, fresh rosemary, etc.

Preheat oven to 400.
Line a large rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
Carefully cut the butternut squash into about 1-inch cubes (seeds removed and peeled).
Place cubes on pan.
Add maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Toss well to thoroughly combine.
Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until desired tenderness, turning halfway through.

If buying pre-cubed squash from the produce section, use roughly about 6-7 cups cubed (or alter other ingredients as needed.) It's a forgiving recipe so don't be too worried about precise measurements.
Feel free to increase the maple syrup for an even sweeter taste, or add a dash of nutmeg.
Ovens vary so keep an eye on them as they roast!

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September 24, 2018

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Garlic-Balsamic

Roasted Vegetables with Orzo tossed in a garlic-balsamic vinaigrette! Easy to modify, full of flavor, and great for packed lunches, picnics, potlucks, etc. (Vegan & oil-free, with gluten-free options)

We love this dish! Flavorful roasted veggies are tossed with fun-to-eat orzo, and finished with a quick & easy garlic balsamic herb dressing. It's only 9 simple ingredients, but bursting with beautiful colors, flavors, and textures galore. Plus it's an easy recipe to modify based on your own favorites (or what's in season). You can also try it with eggplant, asparagus, fresh herbs, or top it with some dairy-free feta or olives for a tangy, salty pop. (Yum!)

It's not only versatile in ingredients, but flexible in serving & usage too. You can either serve it right away while it's warm, or chill in the fridge for later to stash away for packed lunches, picnics, potlucks, etc. Hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Come join The Garden Grazer on Instagram 🍓 and share a pic if you make this! I love seeing your recreations.

Vegan, oil-free (gluten-free options below)
Serves about 4-5 (or 8-10 as a side)

1 medium zucchini
2 bell peppers
1 small onion (or 1/2 large)
8 oz. mushrooms
1 cup orzo, uncooked
3 roma tomatoes* (or cherry/grape tomatoes)
Optional: fresh parsley and/or basil for topping, chives, dairy-free feta, olives

{For the garlic-balsamic dressing}
3 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. salt, more to taste
Optional: try a lemon variation, replacing the balsamic vinegar with fresh lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons)!

Preheat oven to 425.
Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper (or Silpat).
Dice zucchini, onion, and bell peppers (cored) into small, bite-sized pieces. Halve/quarter mushrooms.
Place them all on the baking pan and salt if desired. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package instructions. (I simmer mine about 8-12 minutes or until tender.)
While orzo is cooking, make the dressing: mince garlic, and add all ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
Dice tomatoes and place in a large bowl.
When orzo is finished cooking, drain and place in large bowl with the tomatoes.
Immediately add the dressing and toss to combine.
When vegetables are done roasting, add to bowl and stir.
Salt to taste (or add more vinegar if desired.)
Serve warm immediately or chilled.

I also love using cherry/grape tomatoes and roasting them with the other veggies - it brings out incredible flavor!
For a gluten-free version, sub the orzo for your favorite gluten-free pasta or quinoa.
Roast your veggies to desired tenderness - if you like them very soft & tender, roast a little longer.

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Love orzo? Try it in our other favorites as well!

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