Lentil-Vegetable Couscous Stew

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A steaming bowl of soup is my favorite meal in cold weather, but it doesn’t travel well. I was inspired to make this stew when I was making soup and thinking about how difficult it would be to bring to work for lunch. Adding some whole-wheat couscous took care of the liquid but preserved the flavor, and the dish turned out to be just as filling and warming as a soup.

This is a simple recipe that could be changed in so many ways. The ratio of broth, vegetables, and couscous is important so you end up with the right consistency of stew, but you can throw in any vegetables you have on hand. Different spice and herb combinations would work, too, but I recommend using the goat cheese every time to add a bit of creaminess.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 32 oz low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat couscous
  • 1 oz goat cheese
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium in a large soup pot. Chop carrots, red pepper, and sweet potato (with skin on) and saute in olive oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils, broth, bay leaf, onion powder, oregano, and thyme to the pot. Bring to a boil and then drop heat to a simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. 074
  3. Remove the bay leaf, and add the salt, couscous, and goat cheese. Stir, drop the heat to low, and cover the pot. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, until the liquid is all absorbed. Stir to incorporate the goat cheese. 076
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach and vinegar until spinach wilts.
  5. Serve topped with parsley and parmesan cheese.

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Serves 4 to 6. Active time 20 minutes; total time 50 minutes.

Gnocchi with Zucchini, Corn & Basil

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Summer in Boston doesn’t always arrive in June like it should. With a sunny, 75-degree weekend, though, we’re almost there! This dish has warm-weather flavors in every bite with lots of sweet corn (frozen from last summer) and fresh basil. I added chicken sausage to make the meal more filling, but you could leave it out to make the dish vegetarian.

When I started eating for acid reflux, the new pasta prep methods were so tough to get used to. Pasta needs to be dressed lightly, as too much oil leads to heartburn; tomatoes, onions, and garlic are all forbidden. When I saw this recipe on the Iowa Girl Eats blog, I knew it was perfect for The Low-Acid Kitchen. I used gnocchi because their texture lends them to being enjoyed plain rather than smothered in sauce.

If you’re looking to impress a dining companion, I recommend using regular gnocchi in this dish; the color contrast with the sausage would look nicer. In these photos I used whole-wheat gnocchi to get the extra fiber. You will enjoy the meal either way!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 16 oz whole-wheat gnocchi
  • 2 links sweet Italian chicken sausage (optional)
  • 2 tsp lemon olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn, frozen
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped and divided
  • 3 tbsp low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add gnocchi then spread in one layer and saute undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. Toss them and continue sauteing at medium heat for 3-4 more minutes. Remove from the skillet and set gnocchi aside.
  2. Meanwhile, if you’re using the sausage, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Chop the sausage and saute for 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the lemon oil to the gnocchi skillet at medium-low heat, and then add the zucchini, corn, onion powder, thyme, and coriander. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt to taste, add half of the basil, and saute for 30 more seconds.
  4. Turn off the burner. Add the broth and parmesan cheese to the corn mixture and stir to combine. Add the gnocchi and sausage and stir, adding more cheese to taste. Serve topped with the remaining basil. IMG_5498
  5. To reheat leftovers, add a spoonful of broth (or water) to each portion and heat in the microwave. Top with parmesan cheese and more fresh basil, if you have it.
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Serves 4. Active and total time 20 minutes. Adapted from http://iowagirleats.com/2013/02/14/crispy-gnocchi-with-zucchini-sweet-corn-and-basil/

 

Pasta with Mushrooms & Artichoke-Red Pepper Sauce

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This is the fastest, easiest dinner I’ve made in a long time—and it includes a homemade sauce! In less than 30 minutes, this vegetable-filled pasta dish comes together with a thick, pesto-like sauce. Add chicken sausage if you’re in the mood for meat, but this meal is plenty filling on its own.

The romesco sauce, which is made mostly of artichokes, was one of my early recipes for The Low-Acid Kitchen. I was happy to find that it’s still as tasty as when I first created the recipe. It doesn’t have the tangy bite of traditional tomato- and vinegar-filled pasta sauces, but it ties together a satisfying meal.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 7 oz high-fiber pasta
  • ingredients for a double batch of romesco sauce
  • sea salt
  • 6 oz mixed baby spinach and arugula
  • handful of parsley leaves
  • parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat, and set a medium pot of water over high heat to boil.
  2. Add the mushrooms to the pan, cover it, and cook for 8 minutes or until browned. Stir occasionally. IMG_5469
  3. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.
  4. Meanwhile, use a mini-chop or food processor to make the sauce.
  5. When mushrooms are browned, add salt to taste. Then drop the heat to low. Add the sauce and the greens to the mushroom pan, and add the lid to heat through while the pasta finishes cooking. IMG_5471
  6. Add the drained pasta and stir. Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan cheese before serving.

Serves 4. Active and total time 25 minutes.

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

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I’ve never liked alfredo or anything with a creamy, buttery sauce. Cauliflower-based white sauces are often billed as fake-out, low-fat alfredo, but this recipe is much better than that. Its depth of flavor surprised me.

You’ll need an immersion blender if you want this dish to be easy to make—but a regular blender works if you’re willing to make a mess. Either way, be sure to blend the sauce for a few minutes to make it smooth and to fully incorporate the liquids into the cauliflower.

I served this over whole-wheat pasta, along with tilapia and sauteed broccoli rabe. Dinners don’t often include 3 dishes or look so formal in my house, so I savored every bite. I used 2 cups of sauce to cover 6 ounces of pasta, and that was enough to serve 3 people as a side dish. I froze the rest of the sauce and look forward to heating it up for an easy weeknight dinner.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot, bring the broth and water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Wash the cauliflower and cut it into florets. Add the florets to the pot, return the liquid to a boil, and cook, covered, for 12 minutes. The cauliflower should be easy to pierce with a fork.
  3. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid, and then drain the cauliflower.
  4. Add 1 cup of cooking liquid to the hot pot, along with the cauliflower, oils, salt, onion powder, thyme, oregano, and milk. Puree well with an immersion blender, adding more liquid as needed. (I added about a quarter cup during blending.) The sauce should be very thick, particularly if you plan to use it on pizza.
  5. Stir in the parmesan cheese and serve the sauce over pasta. (The recipe makes enough sauce to cover 12 to 16 ounces of pasta.) Top with parsley and more grated cheese.

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Serves 6 to 8. Active time 15 minutes; total time 30 minutes. Adapted from http://audreysapron.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/creamy-cauliflower-alfredo-no-cream/

Cook & Party: Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi

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At-home cooking classes are great! Cook & Party brings ingredients, dishes, and wine to your NYC apartment and helps you make delicious Italian food. I wouldn’t have thought to make gnocchi at home, but it was easy to do. If you’re willing to clean up the flour later, this makes for a really fun evening.

These gnocchi have ricotta cheese instead of potato—which Chef Chiara said actually makes them lighter. Although cheese is high in fat, a small portion of these gnocchi won’t irritate heartburn. The difficult part is deciding how to serve them. We made a Sicilian sauce with tomato, eggplant, and basil.

The tomatoes (along with all of the wine I drank) made this a very bad night for GERD. I should have set aside some of the sauteed eggplant before the tomatoes were added. The gnocchi would be delicious lightly dressed with eggplant, a little olive oil, and fresh basil. Chiara also suggested the combination of olive oil and sage.

I’m going to experiment with this recipe to see if I can make the gnocchi more reflux-friendly. Adding some whole-wheat flour and reducing the cheese are on my to-do list. But even as is, these are a great option for impressing dinner guests, as long as you choose an appropriate sauce.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 lb ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and knead until a dough forms. If it’s very sticky, add a bit more flour.
  2. Flour the surface of a clean counter and knead the dough until completely smooth. Roll it into logs about 1 inch thick, and use a floured knife to cut them into 3/4-inch pieces of gnocchi. Arrange them on a floured baking sheet as you go. IMG_4708
  3. Boil a large pot of water and add a pinch of salt. Add the gnocchi in batches and cook briefly (2 to 3 minutes), just until they float to the surface. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.

Serves 6. Recipe courtesy Cook & Party.