Veggie Lentil Bowls

Three weeks guys. Three. Weeks. That’s when the semester is officially over! It’s been a good run, but I’m pretty ready to be done.

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And I have a pretty rad summer lined up, so that just makes everything better! You guessed it – I’ll be traveling. I’m headed back to Nairobi this summer to work with KDI again, this time with the help of AECOM. Eric will once again have a summer filled with frozen turkey burgers and weekend nights on which he stays up past 9pm. Lucky guy! This time around, I have one month for work, and one month for fun and travel through Kenya and Uganda.

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And when I get back – besides looking for a job – we’ll hopefully be traveling some more. Eric and I are about two weeks away from getting our hands on a Southwest Companion Pass, so we have lots of weekend trips planned. Portland, Utah, Atlanta, Charleston, Puerto Rico, Key West, Philly, and Carlsbad Caverns are all on the list. When the Air Trans/Southwest merger takes full effect, we’ll be adding Mexico City. Sooo many places. Since we have the companion pass until the end of 2014, we’ll hopefully be able to squeeze all these and more into our schedule!

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I’ve been making veggie bowls a lot lately. And salad bowls. Basically just a lot of big bowls of vegetables. The varieties are endless, but I really liked this one that I concocted the other day using walnut and sun-dried tomato pesto courtesy of Licking the Plate. I like all my veggies chopped into small, bite-sized pieces. Makes it easier to dig into with a spoon.

Veggie Lentil Bowl with Strained Yogurt and Walnut-Sun-Dried-Tomato Pesto

1 cup green or French lentils
1 crown broccoli, finely chopped
1 bunch asparagus, finely chopped
1-2 large handfuls of arugula
1/2 red onion, finely sliced and soaked in cold water
walnut and sun-dried tomato pesto
strained plain yogurt

The day before, empty a large container of plain yogurt into a cheese cloth and let strain for 24 hours. Refrigerate and set aside.

Put the lentils in a sauce pan with 2 cups of water. Bring water to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered for approximately 20 minutes, or until tender. If there is any liquid still in the pan, strain the lentils and stir with salt to taste.

Meanwhile, bring another pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli and asparagus and cook for one minute. Remove from heat and strain, immediately putting the veggies into a cold water bath. Set aside.

When all the prep has been completed, combine everything into a bowl – the asparagus and broccoli, the lentils, arugula, and onions. Top with the pesto and yogurt, Add a bit more salt to taste.

*There are many variations you could take with this recipe. Regular pesto would work well, as would harissa. Feeling lazy? Just drizzle olive oil and balsamic over the mixture. Want some grains? Add farro or buckwheat. Don’t want to take the time to strain the yogurt? Fine, just dollop regular plain yogurt on top. Try roasting the veggies instead of blanching them. Top it with a poached or soft-boiled egg. Add some olives. Sprinkle on some roasted kale. Once the farmer’s market opens, I’ll be making this with whatever is available there. Yum.

Pea and Asparagus Pesto

Sorry for the absence. I’ve been so busy and not really cooking anything memorable lately, so I figured I’d share one last spring pesto. This one is one of my favorites.


This past weekend we were in Boston, eating more food than the human body should normally be able to handle and visiting my lovely soon-to-be brother-in-law and his lovely girlfriend. You can read more about that over at Hungry City Blogs tomorrow, but I will tell you that I love Boston not only because I get to see two people I adore, but also because it seems like every single corner in that city is covered by trendy restaurants and bars – good food and beer everywhere you look. My kind of city.

Picnik collage

So this pesto. I promise it’s the last one! Especially since my quasi-CSA informed me today that this is the last week of local asparagus. This pesto is so great though. The flavor is sort of mild and understated, yet subtly sweet. Perfect with some whole wheat pasta and more asparagus.

Pea and Asparagus Pesto

1 cup frozen or fresh peas
1/2 bunch fresh asparagus, woody ends removed
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 of a lemon
salt and pepper

whole wheat pasta – I love thin spaghetti
handful or more of spinach
other 1/2 bunch of fresh asparagus, woody ends removed

Cook the asparagus and peas in boiling water for just a few minutes – enough for the peas to un-freeze and the asparagus to get just tender but not mushy. Toss those in a food processor with the rest of the pesto ingredients and blend to combine.

Picnik collage

Cook the pasta according to package directions, tossing the rest of the asparagus in about half way through. When you turn off the heat, submerge the spinach then quickly drain, preserving a bit of the pasta water. In a saute pan on medium high heat, heat the pesto then combine with the asparagus, pasta, spinach, and a splash of pasta water (add more water until you get a consistency you want). When pesto sticks to pasta nicely, serve.