Posts filed under ‘light-meals’

Minted Pea Soup with Ham

This soup is based on a simple recipe for Split Pea and Ham soup. It is one of my favorite soups and always reminds me of when I was a kid. Matt hates peas, though, so it’s one of those dishes I sneak in and make when he’s not around. The addition of baby peas and mint add a splash of bright green and great spring-time flavor. This soup freezes well, but don’t add the peas and mint until it’s ready to be reheated.

Minted Pea Soup with Ham
4 cups water
1 cup split peas, rinsed and drained
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper, freshly ground
1/4 pound ham steak, trimmed of all visible fat, diced
1 cup frozen baby peas
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

To Make:
Combine water, split peas, onion, carrot, garlic, salt and pepper in a dutch oven. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until split peas are soft (about 45 minutes).
Stir in ham and baby peas. Simmer, covered, another 5 minutes or until peas are tender. Stir in mint just before serving.

4 servings


February 19, 2008 at 4:29 am Leave a comment


Dal is one of the principal foods of the Indian subcontinent where the term can be used to mean either an ingredient or the dish made from it. It can be made with any lentils, although the red cook the quickest, so you will need to increase cooking time accordingly. This is a very simple dish that can be served accompanied by Naan bread or rice. I made my own mixture of garam masala, but you can often find a pre-mixed spice at the supermarket.

Adapted from “marabout chef – boulgour, quinoa & graines germées, Jody Vassallo”

1 cup dried red lentils
1 onion, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2 ripe tomatoes, crushed
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. garam masala*
1/2 tsp. tumeric
2 T. peanut oil
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
1 red onion, chopped
10 curry leaves
1 tsp. salt

To Make:
Add 2 cups water in a dutch oven. Add lentils, onion, jalapeno, tomatoes, coconut milk, cumin, coriander, garam masala and tumeric. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer 25 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the fennel seed and mustard seed and cook until the seeds jump. Add the red onion and curry leaves and continue cooking until the onion is soft.
Add to the lentil mixture and cook an additional 5 minutes. Salt to taste and serve warm.

4 – 6 servings

February 18, 2008 at 2:59 am Leave a comment

Pasta Niçoise

It’s a lovely thing to find fresh tuna, and I love to come up with ways to eat it and keep it’s perfect flavor.  This pasta dish is the perfect thing for a light meal or even a picnic.  It’s inspired by the famous Salade Niçoise of France.  It comes together quickly and will disappear just as fast!

Pasta Niçoise
2 six oz. tuna steaks
1 C. green beans
2 carrots (peeled and cut into matchsticks)
1 eight oz. can of white beans
1 C. mixed baby salad greens
1 C. cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 C. whole-wheat tagliatelle pasta (cooked and drained)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. cracked black pepper
3 Tbs. lemon juice
6 Anchovy filets (finely minced)
Sea salt to taste

To Make:
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Place green beans and carrots in boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove, drain, and flush with cold water until cool. In a large bowl, toss together white beans, green beans, cherry tomatoes and carrots. Salt and Pepper tuna steaks. Heat 1 T. olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add tuna steaks and sear about 1 minute on each side. (Should be browned on outside and pink in center). Remove tuna from pan and set aside. For the dressing, add remaining 1 T. olive oil, lemon juice, and anchovy filets to the skillet and cook for 2 mins. Stir in pasta to heat through. To serve, place mixed salad greens on each plate. Top with vegetables, pasta and add tuna to top. Season with sea salt to taste.

2 servings

January 16, 2008 at 1:15 pm Leave a comment

Watermelon Gazpacho

(Originally published by, by me, on May 16, 2007)
The weather here in Belgium has been absolutely fabulous and it has inspired me to dig into some of the refreshing seasonal fruits that are now available. This watermelon “gazpacho” is the perfect starter for a dinner party, an easy take a long for a picnic event or a tempting treat on the appetizer table. The ingredients can be varied to your tastes and imagination, but here is my favorite version:

Watermelon “Gazpacho”


5 cups seedless watermelon, diced and divided (approx. one 3lb. watermelon)

1 small cucumber, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1 cup)

1/2 yellow pepper, de-seeded, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1/2 cup)

1/2 red pepper, de-seeded, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1/2 cup)

1 peach, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1 cup)

1 small jalapeno pepper, de-seeded, minced

1/2 small red onion, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup mint, finely chopped

1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced

3 T. lime juice

2 T. red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt
Olive oil and sea salt for serving

To Make:
Put 4 cups of diced watermelon into a blender and puree. Pour into large bowl. Add remaining 1 cup diced watermelon and the rest of the ingredients. Stir. Cover and refrigerate for 1-4 hours. (The longer it sits the better the flavors will blend). To serve, pour into shot glasses and drizzle with olive oil and a little bit of sea salt.

Approx. 20 shot glass servings

January 7, 2008 at 3:35 am Leave a comment


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