Lentil Soup with Roasted Tomatoes

Lentils are a healthy staple of the vegetarian diet, and a cheap, versatile protein source for anyone—meat-free or not.  They cook up quickly and add hearty body to a simple soup. I like Umbrian lentils from Italy—they hold their shape well with cooking—but any brown lentil will do. The flavor of this soup is amped up with a pint of roasted cherry tomatoes.  You could toss most any leafy green into the pot—kale, collards, mustard greens, chard.  Substantial leaves will need a bit more simmering to soften.  Try some chopped fresh herbs for serving—especially cilantro or mint.  And a last minute drizzle of fruity olive oil.

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Vegetarian Kale and Romaine Caesar

Raw kale is the perfect foil for garlic and lemon-laced Caesar dressing.  The substantial leaves stand up to the thick, flavorful mix.  I like to add some lettuce, too—to soften up the overall mouthful. You might add another green as well, perhaps a bit of spinach or arugula, or a few herbs. I developed the egg and anchovy-free dressing for my egg-avoiding, vegetarian husband.  You’ll hardly miss either.  The dressing is thick, fragrant and packs a lemony punch.  Just what you’d expect with Caesar.

Try adding some ripe avocado to the bowl—it adds a pleasant creaminess to balance the crunch and chew.

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Emerald Smoothie

A vitamin-laden cupful — kale and lettuce offer vibrant green color as well as bright, fresh flavor. You can vary the fruit — add an apple, pear, or even fresh pineapple. Try tangerines instead of oranges. Purée in the blender for a thick fiber-rich pour or toss into a fruit and vegetable juicer for a smoother drink. The optional ginger offers a tropical, sweet-spicy boost that compliments the mango. You can vary the green as you like — a touch of arugula lends a peppery kick, spinach offers a more delicate texture and deeper green hue. Continue reading

Ruby Smoothie

This vegetable and fruit-packed drink can be made in either a blender or a juicer. In a blender you’ll get a thicker mix, peppered with tiny vegetable bits that lend texture and substance. In the juicer the drink comes out thin and smooth — more palatable for kids (and the kale-wary) but you’ll lose some of the fabulous fiber to the filter. If you don’t mind dirtying another appliance try half-and-half — purée the ingredients in the blender, then put half of it through the juicer. Or put the kale through the juicer and most everything else into the blender, and mix together in a glass. Any way you choose to mix it this rose-hued drink is not only beautiful, but packed with vitamins and minerals, plus a kicky hint of ginger and refreshing mint. During berry season pop a few red ones into the mix. Continue reading