Colcannon Soup with Parsley Pesto is a vegetarian alternative for St. Patrick’s Day

Colcannon Soup with Parsley Pesto is a vegetarian alternative for St. Patrick’s Day

  • 2 cups sliced leeks 
  • 2 cups green cabbage  sliced and chopped
  • 2 cups kale sliced and chopped
  • 4 cups russet potatoes peeled and diced, about 3 pounds, 3/4-inch dice
  • 6 cups vegtable stock 
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 tsps kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 green onions (thinly sliced)

For the parsley pesto

  • 4 ounces flat-leaf parsley
  • Scant 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Scant 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the potatoes, onions, garlic and nutmeg and stir, then cover the pan with a lid. Reduce the heat to low and let sweat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the hot stock and bring the heat up to high. Let the onions and potatoes cook in the stock until they are completely soft, then add the cabbage — it will only take 5 minutes to cook.

While the cabbage is cooking, in a food processor, place all the ingredients for the parsley pesto and blend until you have a smooth consistency. Set aside.

When the cabbage has wilted, stir in the cream, then pour the soup into a blender and blitz until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. If necessary, return to the pan to warm through.

To serve, pour the soup into bowls and garnish with a generous drizzle of the parsley pesto.

Tonight I’m serving with soda bread and an assortment of Irish farmhouse cheeses.

Healthier Instant Noodles

Healthier Instant Noodles
• 2 instant noodle packages (discard the seasoning packet)
• 6-8 cups low sodium vegetable broth (use more or less depending upon how soupy you like)
• 2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 2 teaspoon onion powder
• 2 bok choy, rinsed and chopped
• 1 small carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
• 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
• 2 eggs
• salt, pepper to taste
• toppings: chopped cilantro, sliced scallions, sesame seeds, hot sauce

In a large sauce pan, allow broth and noodles to come to a rapid boil.
Lower the heat to medium, add garlic powder, onion powder, and vegetables to the sauce pan. Let it simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Break egg one at a time on top of the noodles, close the lid and allow it simmer for another 4-6 minutes or until the eggs are set.
Adjust the seasoning and remove the sauce pan from heat.
Serve immediately with your choice of toppings.
Tonight, serving with a side of Andrea’s homemade mac & cheese, side salad and fruit compote

Lighter Sesame Noodles

Lighter Sesame Noodles
Coarse salt

12 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti

1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced

2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

3 tablespoons dark-brown sugar

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 to 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti 3 minutes less than al dente. Add broccoli, bell peppers, and onion. Cook until pasta is al dente and vegetables are tender, 3 minutes more. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta and vegetables.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, oil, garlic, and red-pepper flakes. Add hot pasta and vegetables; toss to coat, thinning sauce with a little pasta water, if necessary. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Tonight serving with garden salad and fresh fruit compote.

Black Bean Chili with Penne Pasta

Black Bean Chili with Penne Pasta

  • 12 ounces dry whole grain penne pasta, uncooked
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 can (15 oz each) Black Beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz each) Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz each) Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion; cook 8 to 10 minutes or until onion is lightly browned, stirring several times.
  3. Add celery, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper and garlic to saucepan; cook 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add beans, tomato sauce, undrained tomatoes, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper; simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors.
  4. Add reserved pasta to chili; stir to combine

Tonight I’m serving with garden salad, crusty bread and fresh fruit compote.

Lentil & Bulgur Pilaf with Green & Yellow Squash

Lentil & Bulgur Pilaf with Green & Yellow Squash

  • 4 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4 cups brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 cup coarse bulgur, (see Tip)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 small yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick-slices
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or dill, chopped
  • freshly ground pepper, or to taste

Combine broth, lentils, onion, bay leaf, salt, allspice and pepper in a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Add bulgur and cook until the lentils and bulgur are tender and the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove the pilaf from the heat, discard the bay leaf and stir in lemon juice.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini, squash, garlic and lemon zest; sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and cilantro (or dill). Season with pepper. Stir into the pilaf. Serve hot.


Fiber-rich bulgur is made from whole-wheat kernels that are precooked, dried and cracked. You can find it in natural-foods stores and many supermarkets