Remarkable Root Soup

I cannot wait for this long weekend. Yesterday, I was given the opportunity (aka nightmare) to give a speech about being a Radiologic Technologist to a large group of high schoolers with a specific interest in the healthcare field. Public speaking and I do not exactly go hand-in-hand. We don't even see eye-to-eye. In fact, I pretty much completely pretend to ignore such a thing even exists. Public speaking is my nemesis. Okay, let's be real...just talking to people in general is my weakness. I'm terribly socially awkward. If you've ever had a conversation with me, there's a lot of holding my breath, trembling words, and shaky hands. Does anyone else have this problem or am I just a complete freak? During this speech I was pretty sure I would stop breathing altogether (it happens...a lot) and shake so violently that I would just pass out of the floor, convulsing while 16 year old punks laughed at me. That didn't happen, but it's kind of a miracle it didn't. Anyways, my point is, after two foreboding weeks of not-so-innocuous tummy troubles and sleepless nights due to the stress of giving said speech, I am definitely looking forward to recovering during this three day weekend. I'm just going to lay in bed and sleep and dream of MLK. 

Okay that's not true, I actually had something else planned. Todd went to a rural village in Alaska about a week or so ago for work and when this happens he's usually granted a day off from work because he has to spend the night there. I had a secret trip planned to go nordic skiing during this long weekend and now I find out he's not taking his day off! I think steam is still escaping from my ears. Needless to say, I am completely filled to the brim with sorrow. So, I will have to live vicariously through you all. Please, please, tell me about all the fun things you're going to do with your long weekend. I'll just be bummin'...alone...all by myself.

On the plus side I made this soup a few days ago, and let me tell you, it's pretty darn remarkable. Who'd think that a few red potatoes, onions and one ugly-ass celery root would make such a deliciously, silky soup? Those peasants knew what was up. 

Produce On Parade - Remarkable Root SoupHave you ever cooked with celery root, aka celeriac? When Todd saw it, he was like, "Ugh! What is that ugly thing?!" He was pretty surprised when I told him I was going to make a soup out of it. I actually think he's a pretty awesome little guy (the celeriac). Makes me sad to think everyone's going about saying how wretched looking he is. Yes, in case you weren't sure...celery root is male. Obviously.

Produce On Parade - Remarkable Root SoupI like all his weird little knobs and crannies....that sounded a bit vulgar, I'm sorry for that. 

Remarkable Root Soup

Serves 4 

  • 1/2 cup dry red lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 1 medium celery root (celeriac) about 2 lbs, peeled and diced
  • 3 medium red potatoes about 1.5 lbs, diced
  •  pinch of kosher salt
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. miso paste

Notes: If using brown or green lentils, they may need longer to cook. The celery root needs the peel removed. It's very easy, I just use a knife. 

In a small saucepan, bring the lentils and water to a boil. Reduce to low, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Drain and set aside for later.

Produce On Parade - Remarkable Root SoupIn a very large frying pan or soup pot heat the coconut oil over medium. Add the paprika and saute for about 30 seconds. 

Now, add the onions, garlic, and bay leaves. Saute for about 10 minutes, until the onions become soft.

Produce On Parade - Remarkable Root Soup

Then, add the celery root and potatoes. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and saute for another 10 minutes. 

Produce On Parade - Remarkable Root SoupNow, pour in the broth, deglazing the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and cover. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes and celery root are soft. 

Remove the bay leaves and carefully transfer the chunky soup to a blender. Add the miso paste and blend on high for a few minutes, until the soup is silky smooth.

Transfer back into the large frying pan or soup pot and stir in the lentils. 

Produce On Parade - Remarkable Root SoupServe hot and sprinkled with a bit of paprika and olive oil. 

Produce On Parade - Remarkable Root Soup Produce On Parade - Remarkable Root SoupListening to Dillon – Thirteen Thirty-Five

[yumprint-recipe id='65']

Vegan Spanakopita

Hello! How have your Holidays been so far this year? Mine have been terribly busy. And also quite frankly, a smidgen frustrating...I'm looking at you, UPS, Shutterfly, and West Elm! However, there were times of relaxation that included walks in the snow and watching Dracula on Hulu. You know, the one on NBC with Jonathan Rhys Meyers? How they are allowed to show that on normal television is waaaay beyond me, but after watching The Tudors, I'm down for anything with Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Even if it is watching scary Dracula...around Christmastime. Oh well. If you haven't seen either of these shows, first, shame on you. And second, what are you waiting for?!  For Christmas morning brunch at my Grandparents' house, I made this. Sooooo amazing. And for Christmas dinner I brought along my favorite drink ever and this Spanakopita! Spank-eee-o-pita. I was informed this is not the correct pronunciation of this dish. It's spa-na-ko-pi-ta, which, now that I look at it...makes a lot more sense. I have no idea where I got my pronunciation of it. 

My family never made this dish, growing up. Honestly, I think I've only had it a couple times. My BFF used to make it a lot and I remember liking it, though I obviously never learned how to properly pronounce it. I had some leftover phyllo dough in the fridge, which of course, I couldn't bear to waste and I thought might be a sign that it was time to take on the spank-eee-o-pita. 

Produce On Parade - Vegan Spanakopita

Traditionally, I believe it involves feta. But don't freta (hah hah hah), feta doesn't make an appearance in this spanakopita! The flavor and texture of feta, however, is mimicked by a combination of chickpeas, nutritional yeast, tahini, vinegar, and lemon juice. Yes, this dish has all the wonderful flavors of the traditional, but with a little more benevolence. It's friendlier to the earth, to the cows, the chickens and to your body! I should've called it Friendly Spanakopita! 

Vegan Spanakopita 

Serves 8

  • Filling:
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 8 green onion stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach packages, thawed
  • 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and mashed
  • 3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, de-pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, juiced (divided into 1/4 cup and remainder)
  • 12 phyllo dough sheets
  • Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice 
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seed

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-low. Add in the chopped onion and green onions and saute for a few minutes, until the onions have started to soften. Now, add in the garlic and continue to saute a few more minutes, until the onions have become translucent. 

Produce On Parade - Vegan Spanakopita

Add the spinach to the onion mixture and turn the heat up to medium. Allow the spinach to cook until all the water has evaporated, stirring occasionally. This will take some time, about 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile, mash up the chickpeas.

Produce On Parade - Vegan Spanakopita

Once all the water is gone, add in the rest of the filling ingredients, including the remainder of the lemon juice once 1/4 cup has been set aside, but excluding the phyllo dough. Combine well and allow to cook for another 5-10 minutes, until thoroughly heated while stirring occasionally. 

Produce On Parade - Vegan Spanakopita

See my reindeer dish towel?? Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F and whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with a nonstick cooking spray and place one sheet of the phyllo dough on the bottom of the pan. Lightly brush with the glaze to coat, then place another sheet on top of that and glaze. Repeat with an additional four sheets. There should now be six sheets stacked, total.

Now, spoon the filling into the dish and smooth over so it's even, ensuring to fill the corners. Place a sheet of phyllo dough on top of the filling and continue the glazing process with the other half of the phyllo dough sheets. There should now be six on the bottom of the dish, followed by the filling, followed by six more phyllo dough sheets. Be sure to brush the very top sheet and even spray it with some nonstick cooking spray. 

Produce On Parade - Vegan Spanakopita

Bake for about 35 minutes at 350 F. Remove from oven and allow to rest for five minutes.

Produce On Parade - Vegan SpanakopitaThen, slice into eight rectangles and serve hot! Scrumptious!

Produce On Parade - Vegan SpanakopitaWiggling to George Ezra – Budapest

[yumprint-recipe id='56']Adapted from Virtually Vegan Mama