We're in the thick of the "holiday season." Prepare for an all-out assault of "Frosty the Snowman" over the loudspeakers, jewelry and sweater commercials on T.V., and this green dude around every corner (go classic or go home).
Which brings us to the theme of this dinner tonight: Green is Good. We're not talking the bright, refreshing arugula salad of July's heatwave; rather a hearty meal of warm, filling broccoli soup and a sweet-tart kale salad. Check off all your vitamins and minerals in one fell swoop and feel good while doing it.
Because gnawing on a candy cane in front of 25 Days of Christmas does not constitute dinner. Though it certainly counts as dessert.
Serves 4 to 5 (with leftover soup)
1 large head of broccoli
3 large apples (Golden Delicious or McIntosh are good)
1 large onion, diced
6 cups vegetable broth
Plain yogurt to garnish (optional)
2 bunches curly kale, center ribs and stems removed, washed, dried, and chopped finely
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup puy or beluga lentils, (substitute brown lentils if they’re what you have), rinsed and picked over
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
We’re assuming you’ve got olive oil, butter, garlic, a lemon, salt and pepper hanging around. If not, add those to the shopping list.
1. Place lentils in a small saucepan with enough water to cover them by 3 to 4 inches (approximately 2 1/2 cups). Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat, add a pinch of salt, and let the lentils simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but not mushy. Let cool.
2. Cut the broccoli florets off the stalk and set aside. Cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces. Peel the apples, core and cut into 1-inch pieces.
3. In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and apple chunks. Saute about 6 minutes. Add the broth and the broccoli stalks. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, apricot preserves, apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and a pinch of black pepper.
5. Turn kale into a large mixing bowl; massage 6 tablespoons of the dressing into the salad. You’ll need enough dressing for the salad to be well coated and start taking on a “wilted” texture. Set aside.
6. Add the broccoli florets to the soup and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with yogurt.
7. Add lentils, along with the cabbage, to the kale, and add another 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette. Use hands to combine. Add extra dressing as needed, and season to taste.