Tag Archives: paprika

Quinoa, Beet, and Black Bean Burgers

25 Feb

quinoa, beet, and black bean burgers

Once again, I’m playing host here in Buenos Aires (this time, to Andrew’s parents instead of mine). And, although it’s easy for people to eat out for every meal when on vacation, I think there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal after a long plane ride or a day of sight-seeing. These quinoa, beet, and black bean burgers are more complicated than many bean burgers, but the different components can be cooked ahead of time, and the mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week before being formed into patties. This makes them ideal for serving to guests – I did all the legwork ahead of time and just had to fry up some patties and toast some buns to have dinner on the table. Of course, they’re not just convenient – they also have amazing color, flavor, and texture, and I have to give most of the credit to the beets. I would never have guessed that finely diced beets would make such a great base for a veggie burger, but their earthy flavor and firm texture are perfect here. I always like to add chia seeds to my cooked quinoa, so I went ahead and did it here, too, with the added benefit of the chia seeds helping to bind the burger, eliminating the need for an egg (though if you’re having trouble keeping your patties together, you can always still add in an egg to help). I balanced everything with some rehydrated dates, for sweetness, and lemon juice, for tartness, and couldn’t help tossing in some smoked paprika as well (you can use a chopped chipotle pepper in adobo instead for similar smokiness with a spicy kick). These burgers (which can also be formed into balls and used in place of meatballs or on top of a salad) are so flavorful that they barely need any toppings – but I went ahead and added halved cherry tomatoes and pickled red onions for a little fresh crispness.

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Chana Masala

23 Jan

chana masala

Despite the lengthy ingredient list, this North Indian chickpea stew comes together quickly and easily. It’s more of a tart curry, rather than some of the creamy ones with lots of warming spices (cinnamon, cloves, etc). Here, acidic tomatoes, tart amchoor powder, and citric lemon juice are strong components, alongside a hefty quantity of spices, of course. But it still manages to feel balanced, especially when served over rice (or quinoa, as I served it). I added cauliflower florets to my version (I think that actually makes this gobi chana masala), which I think are great alongside the creamy chickpeas. A sprinkle of cilantro at the end proved surprisingly crucial in rounding out the flavors (I wouldn’t omit it), and a little yogurt on top helps to quench the heat of hot peppers and ground cayenne pepper. I also topped mine with pickled red onions and thought their crispness was a great complementary texture. This curry, by the way, only improves with a couple of days in the refrigerator, so don’t hesitate to make this large batch even if you’re only cooking for one or two.

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Spanish Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup

19 Oct

spanish red lentil and vegetable soup

I love walking down the streets here and seeing lots of little verdulerias and fruterias with colorful produce piled high. Most people here don’t buy their produce in chain grocery stores, but instead stop by these neighborhood vegetable and fruit markets on a regular basis. It’s been a bit of adventure adjusting to this mindset, thinking ahead to what I need for an upcoming recipe (at these places, you tell the shopkeeper what you’re looking for and how much, which, with my limited but expanding Spanish, takes a little preparation) and trying out the multiple places near my apartment to find the best quality (and the place most willing to put up with my bad accent). I think I found my go-to verduleria though – an especially friendly place where the quality is great, and the prices unbelievably low. It was a cold, rainy day when I went to buy the vegetables for this Spanish red lentil and vegetable soup, but I came away feeling excited to prepare this bright, colorful recipe. Packed with roasted red bell peppers, bright orange carrots, fresh diced tomatoes, and green spinach, this soup is a visual treat compared to the often drab-looking (although tasty) bean and lentil soups I like to make. Not to mention the intense flavor packed in here, with the vegetables adding a lot of sweetness (really!), complemented by the spiciness of cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. Red lentils add some extra heft (I like to cook them until they’re falling apart), making this recipe perfect for a hearty meal, especially on a rainy day.

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Beef, Olive, and Egg Empanadas

28 Sep

beef olive and egg empanadas

It’s been really fun posting empanada recipes all week, but all good things must come to an end. So here is my last recipe, and the only one I’ve posted that isn’t vegetarian – I had to include at least one with meat to do proper justice to this Argentine specialty. The combination here of ground beef, green olives, and hard-boiled eggs is a classic Argentine one that you’ll find almost anywhere that sells empanadas. These traditional flavors complement each other quite well, and the mixture of spices in the beef along with some sliced green onions take these over the top. Yet another filling that I could (okay, and did) eat plain, but, of course, it’s even better when baked inside the flaky empanada dough.

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Mushroom Black Bean Patties

27 Aug

mushroom black bean patties

I remember when I had my first homemade bean burger; I was shocked at the amazing flavor and texture. Those frozen patties are, I’m sorry to say, a poor imitation. Perhaps the mistake is trying to mimic meat as closely as possible when, in actuality, you can get much more creative with bean burgers. This version, while a little more time consuming than most (which often only involve blending together a variety of ingredients), uses caramelized onions and mushrooms to add extra depth of flavor, alongside cumin, paprika, and chipotle pepper. This versatile mix can be used not only to make burgers, but also for “meat”balls or even to replicate ground beef (cook loose in a pan, letting sit until browned and then stirring). These can also be formed into patties of whatever size you want and eaten plain, over salads, or on sandwiches. As you can see in my photo, I chose a simple preparation, topping the patties with alfafa sprouts and serving with a couple different salsas (including avocado salsa verde) and sour cream to go along with the light Mexican spicing in the patties themselves. Of course, you can easily change the spices to suit your taste and intended purpose. All in all, this is a great recipe that’s really worth adding to your repertoire.

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Roasted Pepper Hummus

22 Aug

roasted pepper hummus

I’ve long thought that the hummus my dad makes is far superior to any other hummus. For a while though, since my dad is Lebanese, I thought this just meant that I really liked authentic Lebanese hummus. But then I spent a summer in Lebanon and still found the hummus not to be quite up to what I was used to at home. When I asked my dad about it, he smiled and said, “paprika.” It’s not truly authentic, he admits, but I have to agree that it adds a little something extra. So, even though this isn’t my dad’s recipe, I knew as soon as I set out to make it that I had to add paprika. Alongside roasted peppers and garlic, a little bit of this spice really does seem to complete the flavors here, and I love sprinkling extra on top for visual effect.

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Cauliflower Blue Cheese Soup

15 Aug

cauliflower blue cheese soup

I’m going to let you in on a secret – most places where people use potatoes, I use cauliflower, and it tastes even better. Cauliflower has lots of edges to get nice and browned when roasting or frying, and it also tastes much sweeter and more flavorful than potatoes to me. Of course, cauliflower is also significantly healthier than potatoes. By contrast to potatoes (the food with the highest correlation to weight gain in a recent longitudinal study), cauliflower is high in vitamin C and fiber and a wonderfully filling and nutritious ingredient. And, really, it tastes delicious. Like in this cauliflower blue cheese soup where it’s pureed with caramelized onions and then mixed with blue cheese and creme fraiche. An easily customizable recipe – use cheddar or gruyere for a more traditional “baked potato” type of soup, or change up the toppings with what you have around. I topped mine with parsley, smoked paprika, and crushed red pepper (I used my usual favorite, Turkish red pepper, but any should do), but crumbled bacon, diced apples or pears, or candied nuts would all also work wonderfully.

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Roasted Pepper and Refried Bean Soup

13 Jun

roasted pepper and refried bean soup

Some days, I feel like I cook so many soups that I should just rename this blog to “Sel et Soupe.” But there’s good reason for my love of soups – they’re quick, easily adaptable, healthy, and delicious. Maybe I’m inspired by my mom, who first started feeling confident in her cooking when she discovered soups. Whatever the reason, here is another soup recipe. I was feeling a little playful and wanted to do a take on refried beans, so I cooked down pinto beans and pink beans (feel free to use just one or the other) and roasted a few bell peppers to add in as well. The result was thick, smoky, and quite tasty, especially when topped with sour cream and cheddar cheese (as pictured) or with a fried egg for a twist on huevos rancheros (my breakfast the day after cooking this). But even served plain, this soup is worth making – and maybe it’ll convince you to love soups, too.

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Fasoulia (Middle-Eastern Spiced Kidney Beans)

9 Apr

fasoulia

Fasoulia is simply Arabic for beans. Many different dishes go by this name, sometimes there’s meat included, sometimes a splash of pomegranate molasses. But the base of beans and tomatoes with Middle-Eastern spices stays consistent. I used kidney beans here, but other beans (including green beans) would also work, and my dad says black-eyed peas are what’s usually used in Lebanon. Traditionally, this dish would be cooked with baharat, a Middle-Eastern spice mix, but I didn’t feel up to making a new spice mix when cooking this, so after looking at the ingredients typically included in baharat (paprika, black pepper, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom) settled on using a mixture of curry powder and paprika to come close to the same flavor. This combination worked very well, although if you have baharat, that would certainly be best.

Fasoulia is usually served with breakfast, and I found it tasted amazing topped with a fried egg (or mixed with scrambled eggs) and sprinkled with a little zaatar. But this would also work by itself as a stew for a hearty lunch or dinner. I love how perfectly simple this recipe is while still managing to pack a lot of flavor; it’s really a great reminder how important spices are to a dish, so now is a good time to make sure you’re using fresh spices (ground spices typically don’t stay good for much longer than six months, and you can easily gauge how much flavor is left in your spices by taking a smell – you want a fairly strong aroma).

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Roasted Pepper and Mushroom Paprikash

14 Mar

roasted pepper and mushroom paprikash

Paprikash is a Hungarian stew, usually made with chicken, where the spicing comes entirely from paprika. As a paprika lover, this stew is naturally a favorite of mine. I’ve made a more traditional version using chicken before, but was recently inspired to try out this vegetarian version. The sweetness of roasted peppers and earthiness of cremini mushrooms is a great match with the paprika (I think I’m going to start adding both to my chicken paprikash!), and I tossed in some lentils to make it a little heartier.

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