Archive | October, 2011

Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Red Lentil Soup with Ginger

27 Oct

With the weather now getting chillier, I’ve been craving soup.  More specifically, a hearty split pea soup.  I decided to pick up a package of green split peas on my way home from work yesterday so that I could whip up a soup for dinner.  First stop: Metro.  No green split peas in sight.  Afer perusing the price tags on the shelf, I realized that this particular Metro does not even SELL green split peas.  Geez.  I then swung by the Sobey’s upstairs that just opened last week.  Green split peas  = Sold out.  Oh the joys of downtown grocery stores.  On a related note, I also wanted to buy canned diced tomatoes and there was only one brand available… and they were charging $2.59 per can!!!! Outrageous!

Needless to say, I did not have soup for dinner last night.  Tonight was a different story, though.  I had red lentils on hand, along with a couple of sweet potatoes that have seen better days.  A search for “red lentil soup” led me to a recipe for a curried sweet potato, carrot, and red lentil soup with ginger. YUM.  You must make this soup!  Incredibly tasty, plus it’s full of heart-healthy soluble fibre (along with lots of other good stuff).  The spice from the curry powder perfectly balanced the sweetness of the sweet potato and carrots.

I was also really excited to use my not-so-new immersion blender for the first time.  I don’t know if I will go so far as to say that it was my best purchase ever, but it was much easier (and cleaner) than pureeing soup in batches using a food processor.  I’m definitely looking forward to making more soups this winter!

Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Red Lentil Soup with Ginger

Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Red Lentil Soup with Ginger

1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, coarsely minced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup dry red lentils, rinsed several times to remove excess starch
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed (approx 2 cups)
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tsp curry powder
4 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock, preferably low-sodium
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger for 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils, sweet potato, carrots, curry powder, and stock, along with 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  3. Add yogurt, season with salt and pepper to taste, and puree soup using an immersion blender.  Alternatively, allow soup to cool slightly then transfer it in batches to a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth.

Makes 4 servings.  Per serving: 220 kcal, 2.2 g fat, 8 g fibre


Healthy Oktoberfest Eats: Rotkraut

24 Oct

October is almost over and the German beer festival known as Oktoberfest has long been over.  So yes, this post is a little bit tardy.

In any case, I had my very own Oktoberfest correspondent this year and I thought it would be fun to transform a traditional Oktoberfest eat into something a little healthier.  When I asked Erin (who has been living in Munich for the past 6 weeks) about authentic Oktoberfest cuisine, she explained that the two most popular foods are sausages and pretzels.  I’m not big on sausages (tofusausage anyone?) and I was far too lazy to attempt a whole wheat pretzel.  Instead, I did some searching and decided I would try my hand at Rotkraut, also known as “red cabbage.”

Erin in her dirndl during Oktoberfest in Munich

The idea to make rotkraut came from my sister, who had purchased the jarred variety a few weeks prior.  In the three days that I stayed with her, I ended up devouring about half of the jar (sorry Jen).  Rotkraut is kind of like sauerkraut but purple-y red in colour and not fermented.  Sort of sweet, sort of sour.

The dish required very few ingredients and was pretty easy to make.  It would have been really easy if not for the apples, which were cut into thin julienne strips.  I had a hand cramp from cutting apples that persisted for the rest of the day (I need to learn proper knife skills!), but it meant having an easy side-dish for a week with no dishes to wash.  Well worth it, I’d say.

Red Cabbage Wedge

Itsy bitsy strips of apple...

One of the best things about this dish is the colour the cabbage takes on once cooked– a vibrant purple that contrasts beautifully with everything else on your plate.  The taste was a bit different from the jarred variety.  It was not as sour, and more aromatic due to the addition of cloves.  Since cabbage is so healthy, inexpensive, and shelf-stable, I may not wait until next “Oktober” to make this dish again.


Rotkraut, aka German Red Cabbage


German Red Cabbage (adapted from

1 head red cabbage
2 medium onions
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 bay leaves
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup vegetable stock
4 medium-sized tart apples, thinly julienned
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Discard outer leaves of cabbage.  Rinse.  Cut into quarters.  Discard core and coarsely shred by slicing somewhat thinly.
  2. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet.  Add onions and saute until tender.  Add all ingredients but the apple and simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in apple and cover skillet halfway with lid.  Continue to cook for 30 minutes or until tender.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Best eaten warm, but can be served cold.

Makes 8 generous servings. Per serving: 130 kcal, 4 g fibre, 2 g fat