Lentil salad

Delicious and super healthy Greek style lentil salad with feta cheese and yummy vegetables. This could be eaten as a side dish or a light vegetarian meal. The lentils are simmered until cooked and then coated with an oil and red wine vinegar dressing. So good. Lentils are a wonderful source of protein.

prep time 15 min     cook time 20 min (lentil cook time)
ingredients for 4
  • 400 lentils, picked and rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 red and yellow peppers, roasted and sliced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 200 g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • half a cucumber, sliced or chopped
  • handful fresh parsley or dill, chopped
  • optional: handful of fresh mint, chopped
  • 10 kalamata or other olives, pitted and sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 200 g feta cheese, crumbled
  • for the dressing:
  • 6 tables extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tables red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper

1. Rinse the lentils and cook them in a pot with water, add a bay leaf and salt. Cooking time varies for different varieties of lentils.

2. Cut the peppers into strips or slices, place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, sprinkle some oil on them and bake them in preheated oven to 200C for about 20 minutes until softened.

3. Whisk the oil, vinegar, minced garlic, salt and pepper for the dressing.

4. When the lentils are cooked, drain them in a colander and let cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, place them in a large serving bowl and toss with dressing. Add chopped onions, roasted peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives and crumbled feta andmix . Add the herbs right before serving.

BUON APPETITO!

Sausage and lentil stew

Sausages and lentils are a combination made in heaven. This is a one-pot hearty stew to share with friends and family. You can make ahead and freeze it if you prefer.

prep time 15 min     cook time  35-45 min
ingredients for 6
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g good quality pork sausages
  • 125g cubed pancetta or bacon
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, cut into rounds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, picked
  • 400g lentils
  • 750ml hot chicken or vegetable stock (or water)
  • 1 (200g) can crushed tomatoes
  • small bunch of flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • peperoncino flakes/seeds (optional)

1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large casserole or pan. Add pancetta and sausages and sizzle for 10 minutes, turning the sausages a few times until nicely browned. Scoop the sausages onto a plate.

2. Add the remaining oil and stir in the onions, carrots, pepper and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until the onions start to soften. Add also the peperoncino at this time if using.

3. Return sausages to the pan and add lentils, stock, tomatoes and picked rosemary. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and let simmer for 30 min or until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Check the cooking time for your lentils as it varies a lot depending on the type of lentils you use.

4. Leave covered for 5 minutes before seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

5. Scatter over the parsley and serve from the pan.

BUON APPETITO!

Turkey chili

This turkey chili is loaded with lean ground turkey making it healthier and lighter than traditional chili with beef, but just as hearty and satisfying.

prep time 10 min     cook time     1hr
ingredients for 6-8
  • 400-500g ground turkey
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 celery stalk, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • crushed chili flakes or peperoncino (the amount depends on how strong you want your chili)
  • sweet or smoked paprika
  • ground cumin (optional)
  • 1 (400g) can cannellini beans
  • 1 (400g) can kidney beans
  • 1 (400g) can red beans
  • 1 (400g) can lentils
  • 2 (400g) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 zucchini, cut into cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • flat leaf parsley

1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pot or a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Sauté onion, carrots, celery, garlic and peperoncino for a few minutes.

2. Add the remaining oil and brown the turkey for good 5 min breaking it up with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper, paprika and cumin if using.

3. Drain partially the beans and add to the pot together with the zucchini and chopped parsley.

4. Add tomato, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 45 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

5. Serve hot with brown rice or tortilla chips.

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

  • sour cream or whole Greek yogurt
  • avocado
  • cilantro sprigs or chopped cilantro
  • chopped red or green onions
  • shredded cheese
  • sliced jalapeños

Tip: you can use any combination of beans, red, kidney, butter beans, black beans, azuki beans, cannellini, lima beans.

BUON APPETITO!

Gigantes plaki – Greek baked beans

These large white or cream coloured beans (gigantes means “giant” in Greek) are a classic ingredient in Greek cooking. This recipe combines beans which are of course a great source of protein, antioxidants and fibre, while the addition of tomato not only makes them tastier but the vitamin C in the tomato helps increase the absorption of iron from the beans. Plaki refers to the method of cooking which means basically baking in the oven with a sauce made with tomato, onion, garlic and parsley. Satisfying and super healthy, enjoy this dish as a stew-like main course, as a side dish or even as a part of a meze with good chunky bread.

The recipe is easy and even though the cooking time is somewhat long, active prep time is very short. You basically soak the beans overnight, boil them, prepare the sauce, mix everything and bake.

prep time 10 min + soaking time    cook time 2hrs or more
ingredients
  • 500g dried gigantes beans
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 800 g ripe tomatoes, skinned, roughly chopped or 2 cans (400g each) of crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • dried oregano
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • chopped flat leaf parsley

1. Soak the beans overnight, drain and rinse and boil in water about 1 hr until tender but not mushy. Make sure you boil them enough, otherwise they will be too hard to eat even after baking.

2. In the meantime prepare the sauce. Sauté the onion and carrot in a bit of olive oil on low heat for a few minutes, then add the minced garlic.

3. Add tomato, tomato paste, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper and cinnamon and about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Let simmer until sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes.

4. Preheat oven at 180 C (350 F).

5. Once the beans have boiled, drain them and stir into the tomato sauce.

6. Tip into a large ovenproof dish, drizzle the remaining 1/4 olive oil on top and bake approximately 1 hr uncovered and without stirring until the beans are tender.

7. Serve with feta cheese if you so choose and good crusty bread.

Tip: you can substitute the gigantes beans with lima beans, Great Northern or even butter beans. Not the same but good enough 😉

BUON APPETITO!

Curry flavoured lentil soup

It is soup season. This curry flavoured lentil soup is thick, hearty and perfect for a chilly day. Not only it is full of nourishing vegetables and spices, but it is also packed with plant-based protein thanks to lentils. It will fill you up without weighing you down.

prep time 10 min     cook time 30 min
ingredients for 4
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3-4 potatoes, diced
  • 1-1,5 tbsp curry powder (preferably with no added salt)
  • 1-1,2 l vegetable broth
  • 200 g green lentils, thoroughly rinsed and drained
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • fennel fronds to garnish

1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onion and carrots. Cook for 3-5 minutes stirring frequently until onion is softened.

2. Add garlic, ginger  and curry powder, stir to coat and cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Next add potatoes, lentils and broth to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check the cooking time for your lentils.

4. Serve warm with crusty bread. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for5 days, frozen up to 2 month.

tip: you can replace the potatoes with small pasta adding that at the end.

BUON APPETITO!

Chicken veggie bean soup

This soup is easy to make like most of my recipes. It is full of flavour and very filling especially if you add rice or couscous or even tiny pasta to cover your grain/carb intake. You can easily add or substitute some of the veggies.

prep time 10 min     cook time 40 min
ingredients for 4
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 big onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 500g skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 green peppers
  • 125g baby spinach
  • 4-5 big button mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1 can (400g) drained red beans
  • 1 small can (200g) diced or crushed tomatoes + some water
  • peperoncino (optional)
  • basil and or parsley
  • salt and pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or a heavy bottom pot over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and chicken and sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

2. Add carrots, peppers, peperoncino if using, and tomatoes. Rinse the can and add the water on top. Bring to a boil and let simmer. Add salt and pepper.

3. After 15 minutes add drained beans and mushrooms and cook uncovered for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add baby spinach and basil (and/or parsley)for the last few minutes.

5. Serve hot adding the grain of your choice.

6. Keeps well in the fridge up to 2 days.

BUON APPETITO!

Chickpea salad

I have a yummy salad recipe for you today: chickpeas, leafy greens and eggplant. This is one of those salads where you can use whatever veggies you have at home, and it is always good and filling.

prep time 10 min
ingredients for 2
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas
  • roasted eggplant slices
  • 1 small cucumber
  • either a bag (125g) leafy greens or bag (125g)of baby spinach or both
  • handful of radishes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • balsamic vinegar

1. Place the leafy greens on your salad plate or bowl.

2. Drain the chickpeas and place the on top of the leafy greens.

3. Wash cucumber and radishes, slice them and add to the salad.

4. Halve the roasted eggplant slices and add to the bowl.

5. Make the dressing with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and toss the salad with it.

tip: like I said, you can use different ingredients. Here I have halved cherry tomatoes and celery rounds, but no radishes nor leafy greens.

BUON APPETITO!

Creamy curry lentil soup

Curried lentil soup makes a great choice for a meatless lunch or dinner. It is full of flavour, healthy and easy to make.

prep time 10 min     cook time 45 min
ingredients for 4
  • 300g (1,5 cups) lentils, rinsed and picked
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1,2-1,5 l vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • thyme
  • a few slices of grilled rustic bread

1. In a large pan or soup pot warm oil over medium heat. Cook onion carrot and celery, stirring often, about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, sauté for 1-2 minutes then add curry powder and sauté for another two minutes.

2. Stir in broth, lentils, potato. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover the pot, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are soft, about 25-30 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

3. Remove from heat and using  immersion blender, blend the soup to your liking either very smooth or a bit coarse . Check the salt.

4. Ladle the creamy soup into your soup bowl, add the bread and a little bit of fresh thyme.

BUON APPETITO!

Bean salad

This salad is a fantastic side dish but can also be served as a light lunch. Full of nutrients and healthy protein from the legumes and feta.

prep time 10 min
ingredients for 4
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas
  • 1 can (400g) beans
  • 1 red onion, diced or sliced thinly
  • 7-8 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 125 g cherry tomatoes
  • small cucumber, diced
  • a few artichoke hearts, pickled or in oil
  • 10 pitted olives
  • handful of dill, parsley and basil
  • olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper for the dressing
  • 150 g feta, crumbled

1.  Place all the ingredients except the feta and the dressing in a serving bowl.

2. Mix 5-6 tbls each of olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar, add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the salad and mix carefully. Add more dressing if needed.

3. Add crumbled feta and mix lightly.

4. Place in a fridge for 15-20 min before serving.

tip: I used red beans mainly for color, but you can use any beans of your choice

BUON APPETITO!

Chickpea and potato soup

An easy option for a quick, healthy and hearty soup. You can use cannellini beans instead of chickpeas if you want.

prep time 10 min     cook time 35 min
ingredients for 4
  • 500 g potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can (400 g) chickpeas
  • 1 l vegetable broth
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • grilled bread cubes or croutons (optional)
  • peperoncino oil (optional)

1. Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a large soup pot and add onion, carrots and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until onion is translucent.

2. Add potatoes and vegetable broth and cook for 25-30 min total. After 15 min add halved tomatoes and chickpeas as well as bay leaves and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with grated Parmesan cheese, croutons and a few drops of peperoncino oil for added taste.

BUON APPETITO!