My family and I are in Indiana to celebrate Passover. After this bitter cold weekend, I couldn't be happier to sit outside without a jacket watching the kids run around.
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A couple of years ago I decided I was going to get my family to eat more of a plant based diet. My plan was to serve more vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes. Meat and dairy weren't out, but I really wanted that portion of the meal to become more of a side than the main course.
At the time, dinners at my house had become boring with the same salad or side of broccoli. I decided to turn to the internet for ideas and I also purchased some new vegetarian cookbooks. My goal was to make healthy meals that actually tasted great and weren't at all boring.
Over time, I started increasing the amount of vegetarian or vegan dishes that I was serving. I hadn't started with this intention, but after a year of eating this way I became a full-fledged vegetarian.
Through lots of trial and error, I found recipes that my entire family loved. This Senegalese peanut soup from Mark Bittman's cookbook, "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" is one of my family's favorite meals. I usually make this once a week by popular demand and it's loved by the vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
Senegalese Peanut Soup
3/4 cup crushed peanuts
2 tbsp peanut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
pinch cayenne pepper
salt and ground black pepper
6 cups vegetable stock or water
2 sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into slices
8 to 12 plum tomatoes, cored and halved (or one can diced tomatoes)
1/2 lbs collards or kale, washed thoroughly and cut into wide ribbons
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1. Put the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion, ginger and garlic and stir occasionally. After 3 to 5 minutes, add 1/2 cup of the peanuts and the cayenne and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir in the stock and sweet potatoes, bring to a boil and turn down the heat to medium-low so that the soup bubbles gently. Partially cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in the tomatoes, collards (or kale) and peanut butter. Cover and cook until the greens are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning and garnish with the remaining peanuts.
When tomatoes are out of season, I always used canned. I often use creamy peanut butter and I've skipped the crushed peanuts if I didn't have them on hand. The recipe turns out just as delicious. The peanut butter really adds a smooth, creamy texture and all of the flavors come together beautifully. This is a hearty soup and I always serve it as a main course with either a side salad or poured over a grain, such as quinoa or millet.
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Thank you, Christine! I am especially excited because this is a perfect dinner to make during Passover this week when we are all sick of Matzo pizza.
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