Coconut Red Lentil Soup and Socca

Coconut Red Lentil Soup~ A Stack of DishesI’ve gotten onto a bit of an Indian food spree lately. This is a direct result from my trip to NYC a few weeks ago. When Pam and I go to larger cities we often seek out Thai restaurants. After living in Thailand for 5 years Thai food has become comfort food for Pam. So during our first week in NYC we ate Thai just about every day. We have a few favorite restaurants that we return to often when in town, and this time we found a few new places. All quite good for American Thai. We had some delicious Gai Yang, plenty of Kraw Pao Gai, and piles of Som Tam. None had the nose-running spiciness that we adore when in Chiang Mai, but no complaints.

During our second week in NYC we stayed with our friend Claire, and for a switch we all went out for Indian food around the corner from her apartment. The dishes were a new symphony of spices and spiciness that our bellies just adored. Warm curries, cinnamon, cardamom, oniony naan and earthy vegetables.

The delight of the new flavor profiles was doubly enhanced by our visiting with our friend. Claire has done the remarkable thing of completely transforming her self and health over the past couple of years, and a lot of that started with a change in her diet. After years of aches and pains and stubborn weight, Claire shied away from gluten and refined sugars and then ultimately became a Vegan. {well actually a 95% vegan as she calls it, she is not militant. It turns out she enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner just like any good Pilgrim} 

I had not seen Claire much during this transformation phase, but each morning, sitting at her kitchen table while she ate her porridge of grits and lentils, I couldn’t help but be blown away. Claire now has a significantly more svelte physique, but more importantly a lightness of spirit and energy. No- it’s more than that, I dare say that she is somewhat radiant. This from a woman who was gray skies and wore dreary black every day.

After a week of Thanksgiving indulgences, and in the glow of Claire’s revival, you might see how one might fall in love with bowls of Daal.

Coconut Lentil Soup and Socca~ A Stack of DishesBefore leaving NY I tucked into my suitcase fresh spices to bring back home. BTW- spices DO stale in time, so a revamp of your spice rack once a year of so is in order. You’ll be amazed in the difference fresh spices can make to a dish.

So here you have it. A soul satisfying Red Lentil soup made with coconut milk. In addition I fried up a batch of Socca. These are a chickpea flour pancake that have a wonderful creamy texture to them. For you gluten free folks, this is one for the recipe file. I tossed in some black sesame seeds into mine, but like any pancake, they are a blank canvas for any flavor combination. They also take no time at all, so for those nights when you hanker for a starch but don’t want to wait for rice to cook, this would be a fantastic go-to.

Coconut Red Lentil Soup
I made a huge pot of this and kept it in the fridge. During these cold days and holiday indulgences a friendly bowl of healthy Daal and rice is heaven.
311 calories
34 g
0 g
15 g
14 g
13 g
333 g
621 g
3 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 311
Calories from Fat 127
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g
Saturated Fat 13g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 621mg
Total Carbohydrates 34g
Dietary Fiber 10g
Sugars 3g
Protein 14g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 cup yellow split peas
  2. 1 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
  3. 7 cups water
  4. 1 medium carrot, sliced into 1/4" coins
  5. 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  6. 2 Tablespoons Bolt's curry powder (I used hot)
  7. 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  8. 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  9. 1/3 vup tomato paste
  10. 1 14oz can light coconut milk (full fat coconut milk makes a creamier dish)
  11. 2 teaspoons salt
  12. 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, rough chopped
  1. Thoroughly rinse the lentils and peas, picking through to remove any debris or stones. Place them in a large pot and add the water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, add the carrot and half the ginger. Cover and cook until tender, abut 30 minutes. While the lentils and peas cook, in a small dry skillet over low heat, toast the curry powder. Take care not to burn it. You will get a burst of curry aroma coming from the pan, remove from the heat and scrape the powder into a bowl. Add the coconut oil to the pan and add half of the scallions and the remaining ginger. Saute for 2-3 minutes then add the tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add the toasted curry powder and stir to combine. Add the contents of the pan to the lentils along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add more water if the consistency gets too thick. Serve with Socca and top with the remaining scallion and a dollop of yogurt if you like.
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
A Stack of Dishes
Socca~ Chickpea Pancakes
These cakes are gluten free and have a lovely creamy texture to them that is addicting.
266 calories
31 g
0 g
12 g
10 g
7 g
121 g
162 g
5 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 266
Calories from Fat 102
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
Saturated Fat 7g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 162mg
Total Carbohydrates 31g
Dietary Fiber 9g
Sugars 5g
Protein 10g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 2 tablespoons warmed coconut oil
  4. 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  5. 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. coconut oil for frying
  1. Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and stir thoroughly. Allow the batter to sit for at least 15 minutes for the flour to completely hydrate. You may adjust the thickness of the batter by adding more water if necessary.
  2. Place a large skillet over a medium flame and prepare with either cooking spray or a small amount of coconut oil. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes then flip and cook another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Like any pancake you can make them any size you desire.
  1. The pancakes are best served warm, but I honestly have no complaints with them being at room temperature. You may make them up in advance and then simply rewarm then in a dry pan for a minute or two before serving.
A Stack of Dishes

Lentil and Kale Salad with Carmelized Parsnips

Lentil Kale Salad with Parsnips~A Stack of DishesOh the maligned Parsnip. Surely the pale cousin of the carrot, and certainly less sweet- but a still a darling in my opinion. I love the earthier taste of parsnips, and when cooked slowly and carmelized they are delightful.

This salad is a take off of a recipe from River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes, who’s recipes and photos of vegetable dishes are drool worthy. There is a wonderful heartiness to this dish, and the honey in the dressing mellows the bite of too much acidity. Lentils are power packed with protein and fiber, which makes this salad a perfect stand alone meal, or as a side. I personally love these French green lentils for their color, shape and texture. I find that brown lentils can get mushy, which is perfect for soup, but not for a salad. When looking for a healthy dish it’s nice to get a toothsome bite to feel like you’re getting a fair belly full.

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Beluga Lentil and Quinoa Salad With Meyer Lemon and Cornichon Dressing

Finally cooking! These past few weeks has been a whirlwind. I have been caught up in a vortex that has whisked me along and spun me around much like Dorothy and the Wizard. I can happily say that I have finally touched down and yes- it is dancy and pretty and sunshiny.  In the midst of all the scheduled mayhem I was able to attend the Cookbook Conference at the last minute. What a wonderful and fantastic time it was!

I was able to meet and connect with all sorts of incredible food people- some after my own heart and others that I would have never met otherwise. Seriously, I would never have met people like Carolina Capehart, who I am told is one of the best food historians out there. She regularly cooks foods from the 1850’s over open fires- IN BROOKLYN! Then there was Carole Murka from Heirloom Meals who interviews and records regular people about their heritage and family recipes. I made some new friends that I am sure I will carry with me long and joyfully- but I also got such a tremendous insight as to how so many of us toil separately and similarly. Maggie Battista from EatBoutique!, Winnie Abromson from Healthy Green Kitchen, Cathy Barrow-the famous Mrs Wheelbarrow, Gail Dosik from One Tough Cookie– all of these amazing women and others my kindred spirits!

And now I am finally settling down. The conference put a fire in my heart that I cannot begin to explain- and it’s all so deliciously yummy and wonderful.

So now I am finally back at my own stove. The new stove that I am making a slow and cordial relationship with thus far. I am learning it’s temperaments and enjoying the creation of a new workspace for myself. Thus far it feels wonderful and works very well.

I will be bringing lunch to a friend tomorrow and the direction I got was “try to keep it healthy” and “no capers”. Not a bad suggestion and so my mind went quickly to this recipe I developed awhile ago. It is earthy, nutritious and satisfying without being too heavy for a midday meal, and an easy flavor profile that she should enjoy.

I am not a tremendous lentil fan- they can be wonderful and they have their place, but I typically don’t swoon. The Beluga Lentils however, not only look gorgeous, but they keep their shape and bite. No mush here. The quinoa and lentils are high in fiber and rich in protein, making this a power food dish.  A generous toss of minced cornichons give this salad a sprite snap while the mellow Meyer lemon softens it all out.

I am serving ours over shredded red cabbage, but this is also wonderful over lettuces such as Bibb.

Now to go think of a good dessert….

Lentil Quinoa Salad w Meyer Lemon Dressing
serves 4 nicely
.5 c beluga lentils- rinsed
.5 c tricolor quinoa
1 clove of garlic-half left whole the other half finely minced
4T minced cornichons
zest and juice from one meyer lemon
3T minced red onion
2T minced fresh tarragon
olive oil to balance out lemon juice ~.25c (taste!)
In one small saucepan combine lentils and 1c water. Add half of garlic and pinch of salt and simmer until tender ~20mins
In separate small saucepan combine quinoa and 1c water and a pinch of salt and simmer until tender ~15mins
While the lentils and quinoa are cooking prepare the dressing.
In a large bowl add the minced garlic, zest and juice of lemon, onion, cornichons and tarragon. Whisk in olive oil a bit at a time. Taste as you go. Meyer lemons are less tart and require less oil to balance.
When the quinoa and lentils are cooked, and still warm, toss into the dressing.
Continue to occasionally toss the salad until cool to get all the dressing pooled at the bottom soaked in.
When cool check for balance and season with S&P