Lentil-Potato Dal

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Dal – spelled daal, dhal and dahl as well – is a term used for legumes (that is, lentils, beans and peas) in the Indian subcontinent. It also refers to a variety of soups or stews prepared with any of the said ingredients. Most commonly, one tends to associate dal with a curry-laden lentil concoction, and that goes for us too. In our opinion, that’s just the best. Sometimes we make it without potatoes and serve it over rice instead (which, we’re not going to lie, is ridiculously yummy), but with potatoes already in there, it turns into a one-pot complete meal AND a much more eco-friendly alternative (naturally, buying locally grown potatoes is a far better choice than imported rice). Another great alternative is to serve it over wheat berries, which gives you some rice-like chewiness from a far more sustainable food source (at least for us up here in the north).

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Vegan Lemon Cheesecake

I’ve never been a huge fan of classic cheesecake, to be honest. If we hadn’t already moved away from NYC, they sure would have kicked me out by now, headfirst. You know how a lot of things (read: sweet treats) fall into that category of perfectly acceptable in dire times but nothing you would waste stomach space on if given other alternatives? A distinction as important as any, if you’d ask my beloved mother a.k.a. our indisputable expert on all things sweet. Anyway, cheesecake falls into that category for me. But this one, everyone. This one has somehow sailed to the very top of my list of favorite desserts. It gracefully balances that precious line between sweetness and tartness, its consistency is nothing short of velvety AND it has a rather generous amount of nutrients packed into the mix. There’s no wobbliness, there’s no getting overly stuffed. There’s really just plenty of enjoyment, from the simple how-to all the way to licking the last bits off your spoon.

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Broccoli Coconut Soup

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Until I was 19 years old, I couldn’t stand broccoli. I don’t know what the heck I was thinking back then, but I do remember being served some steamed florets at a restaurant in Costa Rica – at the age of 19 – and I just loved it, all of a sudden. Weird, isn’t it? I was also one of those cilantro-haters until I moved to New York, where I had some the first week, immediately loved it and couldn’t understand what I’d been complaining about all those years. Also weird, right? My theory is that both my Costa Rica-trip (my first long backpacking trip without family) and my move to NYC changed me so fundamentally even my taste buds got tweaked. And hey, it was awesome! Now I’m a happy grower of both broccoli and cilantro and treat them as if my own babies!

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Carrot-Ginger Soup with Sweet Potatoes

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How many recipes for carrot-ginger soup do you think there are out there, spinning around in cyberspace? Many, for sure. Can we agree the reason probably is because it’s pretty darn delicious and everyone wants to take a stab at making their personal favorite? That’s what we’ve been thinking, at least, and here we are. Carrot soup is probably one of the lighter meals you’ll ever serve yourself (unless you add a generous amount of heavy cream, which some people do), and it sure doesn’t hold us over for very long. Therefore, we took it upon ourselves to make a little heartier of a version. Maybe not hearty enough to make up a full meal for the active person, or for the runner who just kicked off their wet shoes after hours worth of training in the November rain (we hear you), but enough to make up the base for a dinner (or lunch). We recommend serving this with pita wedges (which you can make from making this flatbread) and some sort of bean spread (such as the white bean “hummus”), or simply as a starter.

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Kichadi (Vegan Indian Stew)

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Kichadi – sometimes spelled e.g. khichdi or kitchari – is a well-known Indian stew, cooked with plenty of spices and said to possess purifying and detoxing properties according to Ayurvedic traditions. There’s no 100% set formula, it seems like, but most versions come with mung beans, rice and a variety of vegetables, in addition to e.g. mustard seeds, cumin, ginger etc. Kichadi is sometimes used as a reset button for the digestive system, and some people eat it solely for a few days in order to give the body a fresh new start. We’ve never tried doing something like that (nor have we ever tried fasting), but this dish does feel very warming, nourishing and overall grounding. The fact that you only have to get one pot dirty is also a huge bonus! Once you’ve chopped up all the veggies (you can go for a rough chop here, nothing needs to be too small), your work is more or less done, and you’ll end up with a good chunk of leftovers too. It reheats very well, even after some time in the freezer.

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Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Tahini Dressing

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Does the world really need another kale salad, you might wonder? Well, that can indeed be debated. But it seems we just have to share the one that we return to time upon time – the one that manages to satisfy all (ok, most) food cravings, whether you’re longing for greens and vegetables or something filling, scrumptious and creamy. Making this salad will get all those boxes checked! Green curly kale is a staple around here, and I must say it’s our favorite kale variety for this type of salad. When we lived in NYC, we bought all of our produce at the Union Square Farmers Market and the one thing that ALWAYS found its way into my backpack (yep, I packed up everything in my backpack because schlepping a whole week’s worth of fruit and veggies 12 street blocks and 5 avenues would literally make my arms fall off) was green curly kale. In the midst of winter and crazy storms (fellow New Yorkers, you know what I’m talking about), I’d dig out the bunches from underneath the snow and they’d be as tasty as ever. I know there’s a lot of kale talk (heck, even kale sweaters), but I do love it. How could you not adore something so pretty, easy to grow (well, if you keep checking for cabbage worms) and mind-blowingly nutritious? While declaring your love for kale has ‘pretentious’ written all over it… I just can’t help myself. It’s awesome.

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