Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cabbage and Seitan Dish and Indian-spiced Lentil, Barley Soup

Vegan Mofo:

How many of you are taking part in Vegan Mofo in November? I participated last year but I don’t know that I can post every day this year so I was considering bailing out this year. However if many of you are doing it too I may give it a go again this year. I want to hear your thoughts on this.


The sun finally peaked out for the first time in days. It was great to see blue sky peaking from behind the clouds for a while today. I am definitely a girl that needs her sunlight. Do you have any tricks for surviving long bouts of gray weather?


As you know by now I try to eat greens every day either in my smoothies or in salad, and sometimes both. I was craving salad so that is what I made myself for lunch. This one contained a head of romaine, 3 Roma tomatoes, ½ shaved cucumber, 1 shaved carrot, a tablespoon’ish of dried cranberries and a sprinkle of slivered almonds. I used my current favorite dressing of Dijon, red wine vinegar and stevia. There is just something about eating a big salad that feels right.


Like usual I got hungry mid afternoon and had a snack. I feel as though if I get a little something to eat when I am hungry I end up eating less dinner which is always a good thing. Since most of us are doing nothing more than lounging on the sofa after dinner I feel like dinner should be a small meal. There is no science behind that I know of, it is just what I try to do and it seems to work.

My afternoon snack today was about a cup of frozen grapes and a few walnut halves.


I was in the mood to cook but had no idea what I wanted to make. Doesn’t that always seem to happen? Since it is apple season I decided that a dish that included them would be a good call. Here is what I made:

Sweet and Savory Red Cabbage, Apple and Onion over Quinoa
Serves 4


1 cup quinoa
2 cups water to cook quinoa
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced (allow to stand 10 minutes before cooking)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced (allow to stand 10 minutes before cooking)
2 apples, cored and cut into bite sized chunks
2 vegan sausages, but into bite sized pieces (I used seitan sausage with quatre epices)
¼ cup water
½ cup apple cider
1 tablespoon apricot preserves
¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
6 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
black pepper to taste


Begin by starting the quinoa since it takes a few minutes more than the topping

Cook the onion, garlic, apples and sausage in water, apple cider, apricot preserves and ginger in a covered pan. Cook until the onions are beginning to get tender about 5 minutes. Give the ingredients and stir and place the cabbage on top and recover the pan. The cabbage will be cooked in less than 5 minutes. Remember to cook cabbage as quickly as possible to retain the most nutrition.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 429.69
Calories From Fat (9%) - 38.27

Total Fat - 4.3g
Saturated Fat - 0.48g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 81.55mg
Potassium - 1266.26mg
Total Carbohydrates - 73.36g
Fiber - 13.9g
Sugar - 9.36g
Protein - 29.46g


This was a nice autumn dish more sweet than I anticipated but still good. I think it would have been enhanced by a touch or Dijon in the sauce or few nuts on top for crunch and I would make one or both of those changes the next time.

Twitter and Foursquare:

Those of you who have been reading for a while know that I have been resisting Twitter for some reason. I can say that I finally understand the appeal. It is not intuitive, or at least it wasn’t for this technology dinosaur but it can be a lot of fun. You can follow me @VeganEpicurean.

While on Twitter I also found a few local suggestions from someone on Foursquare. Since Twitter worked out so well I also signed up for Foursquare about a week ago. If you want to follow me on Foursquare I am Vegan Epicurean there too. In only a few days I have already gotten some great tips from Foursquare you may want to check it out.


This morning was much nicer than it has been. It was windy overnight but by morning that had died down and temps were in the mid 50’s. By 9am we were up to 62 and it was beginning to feel like a nice fall morning.


Dan opted to have a green smoothie this morning for breakfast since it was a bit warmer today. His smoothie contained: 2 frozen bananas, 4 kale leaves/stems, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 handful walnuts, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger and water to process.

I asked him if he was learning to tolerate the green smoothies yet and he said, “They have always been good, but they aren’t strawberry banana soft serve.” I have to say this was a better reaction than I had expected. I am not sure why but I didn’t think he liked it I guess that was because of the fussing that I mistook for actual dislike. *rolls eyes* I will never understand men or guy humor.

Guess who actually made fresh veggie and fruit juice again this morning? Yes it was me. However the funny thing was that I forget to put it in Dan’s lunch. Can I be any less functional in the morning? LOL, I am SO not a morning person. I store his juice in the freezer after I make it and until he is ready to leave for work and completely forgot to pack it this morning. *sigh*

I even made a huge batch of juice so that Dan could have it in his lunch and I could have a couple of cups for my breakfast. For some reason I have really come to enjoy the taste of the fresh juice. I like the acidity from the lemon, the zip from the fresh ginger and the sweetness from the apple, carrot and beet.

The picture above is the prepped veggies and fruit on an 11 by 17 inch pan before being run through the juicer. This amount becomes approximately 7 ½ cups of juice. Today’s juice contained: 1 head romaine, 6 leaves kale, 5 apples, 2 lemons, 2 inches fresh ginger, 8 carrots, and one huge beet.

I try to include juice in our diet to provided additional nutrition. Fresh juice is not a substitute for whole fruits and veggies but in addition to them. It is important to also eat your veggies and fruit whole to ensure you are getting enough fiber. Since we almost always exceed 40 grams of fiber per day that isn’t an issue for us but the average American gets 12 of less grams of fiber and for those people juice may not be the best solution.

Soup for the week:

After breakfast I decided it was time to make an enormous pot of soup for Dan and I to eat for a few days. I love making soup because it gets better as it sits in the refrigerator. Today I decided to do something different and I broke out the crock pot. Here is the soup I made today:

Indian-spiced Red Lentil, Barley and Shitake Soup
Serves 8


2 red onions
10 cloves garlic
2 inches fresh ginger
3 carrots, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
½ pound shitake mushrooms, but into bite sized pieces (I used shitake but any variety will work including dried)
1 cup red lentils
1 cup hulled barley
1 tablespoon turmeric
½ tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
½ tablespoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ajowan seeds (or substitute thyme)
1 dash asafetida (not too much as this has a funky smell)
1 dash cardamom powder
1 dash cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste (add generously since the piperine has a synergistic effect with the turmeric)
¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
water to cover everything by 2 inches


Place everything in your crock pot (I used a 6.5 quart model) and set on low. Cook for at least 8 hours. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your taste. Something happens when you cook in a crock pot that seems to mute the seasonings which typically has been tweaking then at the end of cooking.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 229.93
Calories From Fat (7%) - 15.33

Total Fat - 1.83g
Saturated Fat-  0.27g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 53.61mg
Potassium - 507.38mg
Total Carbohydrates - 45.07g
Fiber - 10.02g
Sugar - 2.88g
Protein - 10.71g


This is a lightly spiced soup that is very healthy. The lentils and barley provided fiber to help keep cholesterol down and your GI system working properly. The mushrooms and turmeric have antiproliferative properties. In addition to being healthy it is a tasty soup. Both Dan and I enjoyed this, and it is a good thing because we have plenty of leftovers.

Dinner tonight was soup for both of us followed up with strawberry banana soft serve for Dan. Just another typical day at our house. ;-)


It will be no surprise that lunch was leftovers from dinner from the night. I find that making intentional leftovers works very well for me in terms of total time spent cooking. As much as I enjoy cooking I just don’t have time to spend hours in it each day. Since we eat a whole food plant-based diet if we didn’t have leftovers for lunch I would spend a lot more time in the kitchen.

Dehydrated food:

Today I spent more time drying Roma tomatoes and leeks for the pantry. I feel a bit like a squirrel putting away nuts for the winter. ;-)

Mozzarella cheese:

Today I made my version of a mozzarella recipe that my friend Courtney gave me. It is still cooling so I can’t share it yet since I haven't tasted it. However you can expect that tomorrow.

Signing out:

That is going to be it for me today. It was a busy day here getting prepped for the seasonal change. I must say I am going to miss my sandals and I am not looking forward to wearing a coat. However I do like the change of seasons so I am trying to focus on that aspect of things.

Talk to you all again tomorrow after I get finished with my Friday errands. I have high hopes for the mozzarella in the refrigerator now, and this version doesn’t require agar. ;-)


  1. Hi Ali!
    I agree. Eating a salad does feel right. I haven't decided anput vegan MOFO as I haven't looked into it yet...does it simply mean that you post every day? for the grey weather...get outside for a morning walk even if it's dreary. Keep the house lit and have an aromatherapy diffuser with an uplifting scent like sweet orange wafting through the house. Eucalyptus is good too. Play your favorite music while you cook and EXERCISE!!!

  2. Aimee,

    You are supposed to post everyday for the month of mofo. Since I haven't been doing that lately I am not certain I can make it happen at the moment. Addtionally you are supposed to read the other blogs and comment. Last year there were over 300.

    Great suggestions! I have been exercising but not doing the other things. I need to work on that.


  3. I agree with Aimee - music and exercise are useful for mood improvement...although I actually enjoy grey weather LOL. And lentil-barley soup sounds perfect for the chilly weather. Thanks for sharing!

    Also, I plan to participate in MoFo again this year, despite anticipating that it will be more difficult for me this year to post daily. But it's a fun challenge, so I guess we'll see how it goes. :)

  4. The Indian soup looks great. So hearty and warm. Definitely adding to my list!

  5. I've signed up for MoFo. This will be my first year participating. I will probably do some shorter or photo-only posts, but I'm also looking forward to reading new blogs, too. I have a lot of quiet blogs in my reader right now. For me, though, I'm new to this and always looking for ideas.

    Speaking of ideas, you always have such great ones. I like the cabbage/apple dish and it's going to the top of my things to make.

    I go in and out of using Twitter. It's fun but also a little overwhelming. I don't have a smartphone, so I'm not sure Foursquare would be good for me.

  6. Hello Ali, Sorry I've been so out of it! How did you get that breakfast drink that color with all that kale? Was it the walnuts or cinnamon? It's funny because sometimes my smoothies come out such a weird color that I wouldn't expect. I made tomato soup the other day and fully planned to blog about it, but the color turned out like the color of "something" you would find in a diaper. I was so sad, haha!

  7. I'm going to particpate in MoFo, of course it will be my first year, Like Jessica, I may have some small post, but I'm gain. :o)
    I agree with Aimee on the gloomy days. I also love to watch movies.
    Your lentil-barley soup sounds good, that should help to warm up the day. :o)
    I hope you have a great weekend!

  8. Tiffany,

    I wish I enjoyed grey weather, it seems to bring me down even with plenty of exercise. I didn't listen to music as much as I should though. ;-)

    I find the reading and commenting on other blogs the most time consuming, though the posting is also a problem. I may participate again, I guess I just need to decide to do it.

    Enjoy your weekend,

  9. JL,

    I try to make soup every week. We love the flavor of Indian spices and they are so healthy that is always a good way to go. I hope you like this as much as we did.


  10. Jessica,

    I love your idea of shorter and photo only posts. Brilliant! That would make the post part of the process easier to manage.

    I love cabbage and apples so it was a nature combo to me. I just had the end of it for my afternoon snack. ;-)

    Twitter can definitely be a little overwhelming. I found it necessary to set aside a predetermined amount of time of it. A smart phone is necessary for foursquare (or at least I think it is). ;-)

    enjoy your weekend,

  11. Carissa,

    Are you talking about the "red" juice? That is from the beet. If you look under the pic of the tray of produce I think listed the ingredients. I hope I didn't forget to mention the beet. That would be a big fail. LOL

    I have had my share of brown food from the blender. Too many food colors lead to brown like mixing too many paints together. Now I add things a little at a time. ;-)


  12. Michelle,

    Wow, it looks like everyone is participating in MoFo this year. Oh the vegan blog peer pressure, LOL.

    Movies are a good suggestion, but I guess they should be comedies. I need to spend more time listening to music, I think that will help. I can't exercise any more than I already do, nor should I probably. Thanks for the movie suggestion. I am trying it the next time it rains.

    I hope you have a good weekend,

  13. Grapes + walnuts are a great snack idea :D

    I have never combined barley and lentils, but that soup sounds fantastic!

    By the way, it's so nice to see another vegan food blogger who provides nutritional stats. Thank you for that :)

    -Amber Shea @AlmostVegan

  14. Amber,

    Grapes and walnuts is one of my favorite snacks. LOL

    I don't combine lentils and barley often but it is a good combination. Perfect for cool fall weather.

    Thank you for letting me know you like the nutritional stats. I started that when a friend asked me if I could include it. It has been a great learning tool for me to see the macro and micro nutrient composition of the foods I use often.

    Thanks for stopping by. :-)


  15. Hey, I love your blog. I am trying to turn into a vegetarian with vegan leanings. Wondered if you could let me know the difference between red and white quinoa? Thanks for all the great recipes!!

  16. Susan,

    Thanks for letting me know you enjoy the blog. I appreciate the feedback.

    Good luck on your transition. Been there myself it takes a while for it to become your new "normal". However if you stick with it for at least a month your taste buds will adapt to the changes. :-)

    I have had both red and white quinoa and taste very little difference. They also cook the same. I typically buy white because they carry a 3 lb bag of organic white quinoa at Costco. Hard to beat the price. ;-) I read one article that suggested red quinoa may have different antioxidants but there was no reference to follow so that may not be significant even if it is true. Did that answer your question?


  17. Thanks, that was the perfect answer!

  18. Susan,

    Glad I could help. If you have any other questions feel free to ask, I am happy to share what I have learned.

    have a good evening,


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