Lentil Soup with Roasted Roots and Mint

The original inspiration for this hearty soup came from Love Soup, by Anna Thomas, but I’ve tweaked the formula in so many ways over years, that I no longer could tell you what that recipe looked like. This soup draws its sweetness from loads of roasted carrots and parsnips (though it has done well with potatoes, turnips and fennel). There is also a bright nuance to the flavor that’s often tricky for tasters to pinpoint — lemon and mint.

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Persian Appetizer of Bread, Cheese and Herbs (Nan-0 Panir-o Sabzi_

Herbs occupy an important place on the Persian table where they are offered with most every meal — radish, tarragon, basil, cilantro, mint, and parsley — whatever’s fresh and in season. Salty feta cheese is cut into cubes and thin lavash bread completes the combination. I also like to spread a yogurt and shallot mixture called mast-o-musir, even if it’s not traditional.


  • Assorted fresh herbs, rinsed and cut into sprigs (cilantro, mint, basil, parsley, tarragon, dill)
  • Radishes, rinsed, tops removed and sliced
  • Green onions, roots and stalks trimmed (optional)
  • Feta cheese, drained and cut into cubes
  • Lavash, cut into rectangles about 2 by 4 inches


  1. Arrange herbs, onions and radishes in the middle of a large platter.
  2. Add bread and cheese on either side.
  3. Eat by choosing which elements you want to put together. Lavash, a cube of feta, some herbs and a radish on top, for instance.

Note: For mast-o-musir mix strained, plain yogurt (or plain Greek yogurt) with finely minced shallot (to taste). Wonderful spread on any kind of bread.

Indian Mint and Cilantro Chutney (Pudina aur Dhaniya Chutney)

(Makes ½ cup)

This recipe is adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor’s How to Cook Indian, an excellent resource for anyone serious about learning to cook Indian food. Pair with potato samosas (make your own or purchase from an Indian market). Jazz up a sandwich or burger with a dollop.


  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2-3 green chiles, stemmed and chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt to taste


  1. Put the cilantro, mint and chiles into a small food processor or blender. Add ¼ cup water (or more depending on desired consistency) and sugar, and process to a smooth paste.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the lemon juice and season with salt to taste.

Quinoa Salad with Fresh Peaches and Herbs

I’m hooked on the light, fluffy whole grain, quinoa.  Blame it on the fabulous N.Y. Times food writer, Martha Rose Shulman (if blame must be placed), who recently featured this protein-packed whole grain in her Recipes for Health column. If you haven’t been following Ms. Shulman before now, check out her column for its nutritional information and recipes centered on fresh, seasonal and healthy food.

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Peach Salsa

Peaches and ginger have a natural affinity for each other as showcased in this spicy sweet salsa. We enjoy the sharp, spicy flavor of ginger, and use it liberally. If you prefer a milder flavor, use less ginger.

This salsa is wonderful with tortilla chips, on a taco or as an accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken.


  • 4 ripe peaches, diced
  • 3 Tbsp minced onion
  • 1 jalapeno (or to taste), minced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a serving bowl. Mash very lightly to release some juice. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  2. Serve with corn chips or as an accompaniment to grilled meats or fish.