Vegan Food Nerd

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Lentil curry (a veggie packed dahl)


So first thing’s first. Sometimes recipes don’t work out the way you intend them too. Sometimes, you plan and you put in lots of meticulous effort, and still…something goes wrong. Many times that means ruining a recipe, but in some cases you end up with a happy accident! That may be what happened here. What was supposed to be a red lentil curry soup, ended up as a puréed curry with a side of spiced rice (see notes), and it was absolutely delicious. Not at all what I had intended to make, but still lovely to eat!

This all started when I realized I was out of the red lentils I needed for the soup and subbed them with yellow split peas. I don’t remember yellow split peas taking eons to cook (and the package said they only needed 25-30 minutes to boot) yet mine just didn’t want to cook down. So this meant the soup had to stay on the stove so long that the veggies got way too mushy to be eaten as soup. I thought the hand blender would salvage the giant pot of gorgeous veggies and aromatic spices, and it worked out fine! This all got blended up and tasted like a really delicious Indian dahl dish. So, if that’s what you would also like, follow the instructions below.


  • If you would rather have a soup, use red lentils as they will break down much more quickly and you’ll end up with the perfect veggies. Or, even with red lentils, go ahead and puree the batch for a curry. Yellow split peas don’t normally take an hour to cook like they did for me, so either ingredient should work fine for you!
  • I served this with brown basmati rice flavoured with cardamom and cloves. Cook your rice as per the package instructions, but throw in a handful of cloves and green cardamom pods when you add your rice to the water. For 1 cup of rice I used about 13-14 cloves and 7-8 cardamom pods. I also used a tsp or two of coconut oil to prevent sticking. The rice had a great flavour that contrasted well with the curry. (Just remember to remove the cloves and pods before serving)
  • We also ate the curry and the rice with some onion bhajis. Yum!
  • This makes a large vat, so halve the recipe if you don’t want a bunch of leftovers.


1 tbsp coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced, fresh ginger
1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/4 tsp saffron turmeric
1/2 large head cauliflower (8 cups)
2 small red potatoes
2 small sweet potatoes
1 cup yellow split peas or red lentils
8 cups vegetable broth (or 6 cups of broth, 2 cups of water)
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups packed greens such as kale and swiss chard
chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for serving



1) In a large pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, 4-5 minutes.

2) Add fresh ginger and garlic and heat for another 30 seconds – 1 minute, stirring, until fragrant. Add spice mixture (I like to get mine all measured out in a ramekin so it’s ready to go) and add to the pot. Cook for another minute or two, stirring, to toast the spices.

20140918_17060520140918_1711083) Add 6 cups of the vegetable broth, and the red lentils or yellow split peas to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Simmer for 10 minutes if using split peas.

20140918_1718404) Add cauliflower and potatoes. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until veggies are tender. If you need more liquid, add more broth or more water to the pot. If using red lentils they should have broken down after 25 minutes and you can go ahead and enjoy this as a soup. If not, keep cooking until everything is cooked. You can puree or not depending on your preference.


5) Taste for salt and seasonings, adding more as desired. Add greens and cook until wilted. Stir in freshly ground black pepper.

6) Either ladle into bowls and enjoy as a soup (even the pureed version), or serve with rice. Garnish as desired.

Makes around 8 servings


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Vegan Pepperoni

20140714_200742As a vegan, I am incredibly thankful for Isa over at and her numerous cookbooks. Her recipes are foolproof and super delicious. I have never been disappointed by any of the recipes I have tried! When I saw her halloween recipes last year, I didn’t have time to make any of them for my own halloween party. But, this summer I finally made use of the vegan pepperoni recipe she shared as part of this recipe. Just like the sausage recipe I posted a few days ago, they are simple to make and come together really easily. AND, they remind me of the taste of pepperoni and go great on pizza!

I didn’t take a picture of the pepperoni logs, but once they come out of your steamer simply slice and put on your pizza with the other toppings you like. These went super well with zucchini, onions, green peppers and veggie cheese. In fact, it’s probably one of the more delicious pizzas we’ve made (and it might just be because of the vegan pepperoni addition).

You can find the recipe for vegan pepperoni here, just use the ‘pepperoni eye sockets’ portion of the recipe:

Vegan Pepperoni at


  • I added about 1/2 tsp of ground fennel to the dough and upped the tomato paste by about a 1/2 tablespoon as well.
  • White or red kidney beans will work in the place of pinto beans, as I rarely have pinto beans on hand.
  • You will have leftover pepperoni logs and they freeze well. Just place in a freezer bag or airtight container and when ready to use thaw fully, slice, and put on your pizza once again.



Bourbon Vanilla Peach Jam and Vegan MoFo

I just wanted to add an update to my peach jam recipe, as I tried a new combination and it’s really wonderful! You can use the exact same recipe, but add in a half cup of bourbon and 1-2 vanilla beans scraped into the peach mixture and allow it all to cook together. I also threw the vanilla pod in to add some more vanilla flavour and removed it before filling jars. The jam came out really yummy!


This month is also Vegan Month of Food. I am going to do my best to blog as many recipes as I can during this time period. I’m already feeling the pressure though as the new school year starts this week and I’m getting back into a new routine with my teaching schedule. I’ve also been asked to do some more admin work on my non teaching days until the end of October so the extra cooking/baking time I’d planned on having won’t exist. I still think I can update at least every other day though!

Thanks for checking in and I hope you leave a comment if you try a recipe and have any suggestions – or let me know if it just works out for you!

Tomorrow: Zucchini banana bread with nuts and chocolate chips!