French Tarragon Shallot Potato Salad with Charred Lemon

I love the simplicity of this French Style Potato Salad.  As you probably know, French potato salads are oil based as opposed to the typical mayonnaise based potato salad.  This is the perfect alternative for someone like me who has an aversion to mayonnaise and eggs. This salad has a well-rounded flavor from the vinaigrette that blends seamlessly with the potatoes.  It is meant to be served warm or at room temperature and it goes great with a side green salad, warm French bread and a nice glass of Rose’ wine!

French Tarragon Shallot Potato Salad How has your spring been going so far?  Robby and I have been taking advantage of this amazing weather we have been having lately.  We went on a really nice bike ride in Monterey once again.  This time, we thought it would be fun to stop for lunch along the ride at one of our all time favorite lunch spots in Pacific Grove called “Red House Cafe.”  I highly recommend giving it a try if you are ever in the area!  Robby loves the burgers and I usually go for the open face caprese.

French Tarragon Shallot Potato Salad
This salad has a well-rounded flavor from the vinaigrette that blends seamlessly with the potatoes.

Beto invited us to meet him and his clan at Fitzgerald Reserve in Moss Beach for a picnic and some tide pool exploration.  Moss beach is just a few miles north of Half Moon Bay off of Hwy 1.  The drive is an hour and a half long for us but it is well worth it because it is so beautiful and scenic.  We set up camp at the very far left to avoid the crowd which allowed us to enjoy our picnic.  I brought this potato salad and Jill brought a delicious broccoli salad, homemade guacamole and chips. We decided to explore the tide pools in search of the many critters before we sat down to eat all of these homemade goodies.

We saw so many cool critters along with all the cool seaweed and algae.  One type of algae we saw is called iridescent algae and it had the most amazing shimmering colors when the sun hit it just right.  It was so incredibly beautiful. There were giant green sea anemones, hermit crabs, baby eels, eelgrass and black turban snails.  Sadly, we only got to see one starfish.  Paloma could spend all day exploring the tide pools, so after we ate, we decided to go back out for round two.  This beach is a must see, especially if you have kids!

French Tarragon Shallot Potato Salad I love this potato salad with a nice glass of Rose’. It is also wonderful with a Sauvignon Blanc.

French Tarragon Shallot Potato Salad French Style Potato Salad Recipe:
8 – 10 servings
  • 2 1/2 Pounds Yellow Potatoes – 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 Tablespoon White Vinegar – (helps to keep potatoes intacket)
  • French Tarragon Shallot Vinaigrette – recipe below
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Shallot or 1/4 Cup – thinly sliced or minced
  • 1 Garlic Clove – minced
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper – or to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Red Cabbage – minced
  • 3/4 Cup Scallions – thinly sliced
  • 1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Peas – thawed
French Tarragon Shallot Vinaigrette – for whole recipe click here.
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Tarragon – roughly chopped
  • 1 Medium Shallot (about 2 tablespoons) – minced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Champagne Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
  • Dash Black Pepper
Charred Lemon
  • 2 Organic Lemons – sliced to 1/4 inch
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
Garnish
  • Charred Lemon Rings – one slice per serving
  • Scallions
  • Pecorino Cheese – optional
Instructions:
Potatoes

Dice the potatoes into half inch chunks and put in a large pot covered in water.  Add the vinegar and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium high heat.  Cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until opaque and soft.   Make sure and check on them a few times, you don’t want to hard or mushy potatoes.  The best way is to taste them.  When the potatoes are tender, pour into a colander, drain and then dump them into a large bowl.

Vinaigrette

Add mustard, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to a medium bowl and whisk together.  Next whisk in the vinegar, tarragon, shallots and slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Charred Lemon

Slice the lemons no less than a 1/4 inch or the flesh will dissolve. Lightly coat in olive oil and lightly sprinkle with fine sea salt.  Turn on the burner to medium high heat.

Heat up a a cast iron skillet or in the frying pan and when hot add the lemons in a single layer. Cook until the lemons just beginning to char then flip to cher the other side.  (about 2 -3 minutes on each side)

Assemble

Add the peas to a bowl of water to thaw.

While the potatoes are cooking, prep and then mix the garlic, shallots salt and pepper into the wine.  Set aside.

While the potatoes are hot, pour the wine mix over the potatoes and gently toss a few times.  Let sit for 5 minutes then add the vinaigrette, peas, cabbage, and scallion.  Carefully stir everything together.  The dressing will soak into the potatoes so don’t worry if it is pooling at the bottom of the bowl.  Stir before serving.  Top with a little more scallions, pecorino and charred lemons.

French Tarragon Shallot Potato Salad Health benefits:

Yellow Potatoes – Yukon gold – content of potassium is higher than many foods and can help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke.  They have twice the amount of vitamin C as a Russet, which helps protects your cells from free-radical damage.Yukon’s are rich in B6 and antioxidant properties. It has a bit of Iron but the C helps the body absorb it. They contain fiber that helps reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, helps prevent constipation and aids in weight loss,

Tarragon herb is one of the highest antioxidant value food sources.  It helps lower blood-glucose levels, which helps with low blood sugar.  It helps in the production of bile by the liver thus making it a great digestive tonic.  It is a mild sedative and can help with insomnia anxiety and stress. It is great for the health and function of the eyes. It helps prevent clot formation inside the tiny blood vessels of heart and brain protecting from heart attack and stroke.  It is rich in vitamins C, A and B-complex.  An excellent source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and zinc.  Tarragon should not be used while pregnant or nursing.

Spring Green Millet Salad with Tangerine Mint Vinaigrette

This is such a pretty and delightful Spring Green Millet Salad!  It has a fresh quality that is absolutely intoxicating and it is overflowing with flavor thanks to the vinaigrette.  It gets its crunchiness from the veggies, its softness from the mozzarella and millet, and it is also bursting with aromatic herbs.  It’s hearty enough to be a meal yet it’s light enough that it won’t weigh you down.  I like to serve it with some crusty bread and wine.

Spring Green Millet Salad This last week was packed full of adventure and fun.  My mom came out for another short visit while her boyfriend Clyde was surfing in Mexico.  We had tasty food including this salad, good wine and inspiring conversations out on our deck.  We went for an awesome bike ride in Monterey along the ocean and then stopped for some iced tea at a cute little tea shop called “Quock Mui Tea Room.”  They had tables outside in a little courtyard with a water fountain and succulents growing out of the walls.  We rode a lot farther than intended so we decided to go out to eat at our favorite restaurant, Ella’s at the Airport.

Spring Green Millet Salad My mom left early Saturday morning and I drove up to Oakland to take photos of Beto’s two-year creek restoration project.  He received a grant to fix up a creek and then inspired some local teens and neighbors to work on the project.  The creek was originally full of ivy, trash and shopping carts.  In the beginning Beto had the water tested in the stream and they found a high ammonia content, most likely from urine.  Ewww.  With the clean up and with some time the ammonia level in the creek is now at a normal level.

Millet-Salads Beto is all about native plants so they dug up all of the non-native plants and they planted beautiful native plants.  It looks amazing!  Not only is it awesome that he is restoring this creek, but that the teenagers are getting educated on restoration, native plants and horticulture.

When we were finished for the day, we drove back to Beto’s house and then Jill and I snuck off to do a little wine tasting at a wine shop called K & L Wine Merchants.  We lucked out because we were able to taste a number of extraordinary French wines from Franck Millet Sancerre straight from the winemakers Franck and Betty Millet.  They have sold their wine to this shop for 21 years and this was the first time they had been there in person.  Every single one of their wines was incredible!  When Jill and I arrived back to their house, we all decided to walk to downtown Palo Alto for some incredible pizza at La Strada and then we went to see Paloma’s favorite art sculpture.  This was going to be the first time that I have stayed the night at their house and Paloma was excited because we were going to have a slumber party.

Green-Millet-Salad I served this salad with a White Rioja but it would also be great with a Cava, Sauvignon Blanc or a Rose.

Spring-Salads Spring Green Millet Salad Recipe:

6 – 8 servings

  • 1 Cup Dried Millet – 2 cups cooked – recipe below
  • Tangerine Champagne Vinaigrette – recipe below
  • 2 Cups Baby Arugula
  • 1/2 Cup Pink Radishes – thinly sliced
  • 1/2  Fennel Bulb – about 1 cup – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Fennel Stalks – thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2  Cup Fresh or Frozen Peas – thawed
  • 2 – Persian Cucumbers – about 1  Cup – thinly sliced
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil – chiffonade or roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Chives – minced
  • 1 Container Fresh Mozzarella – thinly sliced – optional
Optional garnishes:
  • Pistachio – salted/shelled – roughly chopped
  • Chive Flowers
  • Fennel Fronds – to taste
  • Mint Leaves – to taste
  • Pecorino – finely grated
Millet
  • 1 Cup Dried Millet
  • 2 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1 Vegetable Bouillon Cube –  unsalted
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Vinaigrette
  • 2/3 Cup Tangerine Juice – (about 5 – 6 ) – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Teaspoon Tangerine Zest (optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 Cup Champagne Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Mint – – minced
  • 2 Shallots or 1/4 Cup – minced
  • 2 Small Cloves Garlic or 2 Teaspoons – minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
  • Dash Black Pepper
Instructions:
Millet
Measure the millet and rinse in a fine mesh colander.
Add the millet , water, bouillon, and salt to a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then mash up the bouillon.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, undisturbed, until all the water is absorbed. ( I use a sauce pan with a glass lid so it’s easy to see if the liquid is gone.)
Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes with the lid on.  Dump into a bowl and fluff up with a fork, then let cool completely.
Vinaigrette

Add mustard, tangerine juice, zest, salt and pepper to a medium bowl and whisk together.  Next whisk in the champagne vinegar, then slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Stir in the garlic and shallots.

Assemble

Mix everything in a large bowl except for the dressing.  Dress individual salads according to taste.

Spring Green Millet Salad Health benefits:

 Millet is alkaline and is easily digested. It has high levels of tryptophan like turkey, which causes a calming effects.  It is rich in magnesium, which helps to reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks. It is high in fiber that helps lower cholesterol and keeps you regular by also hydrating your colon. It is high in antioxidants, which may help to prevent heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes.  Millet also has high protein content.  Eat in moderation.

Tangerines are a type of mandarin orange.  They are a valuable source of flavonoid anti-oxidants that are several times higher than oranges and have even more vitamin A and iron.  The vitamin A helps with immune function, vision and reproductive health.  As with all citrus they are very rich in vitamin C that stimulates the production of collagen and helps keeps your skin supple as well as stimulating cell regeneration in the body.  Antioxidants are found in high concentrations in the rind of tangerines, which helps fight off free radicals keeping the body’s cells healthy while purifying the blood and remove toxins. They contain natural soluble and insoluble fiber that improves digestion and restrict the absorption of cholesterol in the gut, which helps cut the risk of obesity and reduce inflammation.  Tangerine fruit has been used effectively against skin diseases and arthritis.  They also help to absorb iron from food into the body.

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde with Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa

This Chilaquiles Salsa Verde is a versatile dish that nourishes the soul.  I used a green salsa but this dish can also be made with a red salsa.  Top this dish with grated cheese, diced tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, a little sour cream and the roasted multi pepper salsa and oh boy you are in for a treat!

new Have you ever had chilaquiles before?  It means a broken-up old sombrero.  I just about died the first time I tried them.  I thought to myself “where have you been all my life”.  Beto and Brian took me to a little diner that was inside a bowling alley called Pepy’s Galley shortly after I arrived back in Venice in 2007.  It seemed somewhat unassuming being that it was located in a bowling alley yet the food was outstanding!  Just check out the yelp reviews.  Pepy’s had been in business for over 40 years until they had to close there doors due to the crazy rent increases that have been going on in the Venice and Mar Vista area lately.  So very sad!

Anyways, I saw chilaquiles on the menu and asked Beto what it was.  He told me that they were a poor man’s breakfast made from leftover salsa and stale chips and urged me to try them.  They are normally topped with an egg but I asked them to make it without the egg.  They served them with a fire-roasted salsa and when I took my first bite, my eyes rolled to the back of my head in utter intoxication.  I was hooked!  I asked Beto why haven’t I heard about this dish before?  He said that it has just recently started to show up in restaurants because it was considered a poor man’s meal.  Now you see it everywhere.

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde It was Robby’s birthday last Friday so Jill, Paloma and Severin came to our house in the early afternoon.  Unfortunately, Beto had to work so he met up with us later that evening for Robby’s birthday dinner at Ella’s at the Airport.  Erin, Leif and Taj also joined us.  It was a fun time as usual.  The cutest thing was that Paloma had asked her mom if Taj was going to be there and Taj had asked his mom if Paloma was going to be there.  OMG, they are so adorable together.  I think Taj thinks that Paloma is the coolest thing.  They get along great together even though Taj is three and Paloma is five!  After dinner, Beto and his clan came back to our house and spent the weekend with us.  It’s always a fun filled time with arts and crafts, the beach, good food, etc. with the Beto clan.

Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa Try this with a light Mexican beer or a dry white wine such as a Pinot Gris or a Sauvignon Blanc.  Or if you make these for breakfast, a mimosa might be in order!

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde Chilaquiles Salsa Verde Recipe:

2 – 4 servings

  • Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa – recipe below
  • 1 Cup Roasted Tomatillo Salsa – or to taste – recipe below
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 12 Corn Tortillas – cut into 8 wedges – recipe below
  • Cheddar Cheese – shredded – to taste
  • 1 – 2 Jalapeno Peppers – thinly sliced
Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa –  1 1/2 Cups
  • 1 Poblano Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 1 Anaheim Pepper  – roasted – diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper  –  roasted – diced
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper  – roasted – diced
  • 1 Small Jalapeno Pepper  –  roasted – minced
  • 1/2 Small White Onion – roasted
  • 1 Cups Cilantro – roughly chopped
  • 1 Small Garlic Clove – minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Teaspoons Sea Salt
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa – for whole recipe click here.
  • 2 Poblano Peppers – roasted
  • 5 Tomatillos – roasted
  • 1/4 White Onion
  • 1 Small Jalapeno Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro
  • 1 Small Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Lime Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Teaspoons Sea Salt
Toppings
  • Cherry Tomatoes – halved
  • Chives – thinly sliced
  • Queso Fresco – crumbled
  • 1 or 2 Avocados – sliced
  • Cilantro – roughly chopped
  • Sprouts – your choice – optional
  • Lime – wedges
  • Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
Tortilla Chips
  • 12 Corn Tortillas
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt – lightly sprinkled
Instructions:
Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa Recipe

Roast all the peppers for both salsas,

Roast the peppers on the stovetop on medium high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it works fine on an electric stove.  Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems.

Add the onions, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, lime and salt into a medium sized bowl.  Dice the peppers into small squares.  Add and stir well.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Cut the cores out of the tomatillos and cut in half then spread them out on a baking sheet cut side down.  Turn on the broiler and broil tomatillos for 5 -7 minutes then flip over and broil for another 2 to 4 minutes or until real soft.

Add the onion to a pot of water and bring to a boil then remove and let cool.   When cool add to a food processor.

When tomatillos are done, let cool then remove burnt parts of skin as best you can then add to a food processor.

De-stem, de-seed and remove burnt skin from the poblano and jalapeno with a paper towel (if you like your salsa hotter leave the seeds in the jalapeno and add to a food processor along with cilantro, lime, and salt.  Puree.  Set aside.

Toppings

Prep all your toppings and shred the cheese then set aside.

Tortilla Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Lightly coat each tortilla in olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Stack them up and cut into 8 wedges.  Lay them onto a lightly greased baking sheet and arrange them in a single layer.

You will need to do it in two batches.  Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until the edges curl up and they are firm to the touch.  They will continue to crisp as they cool.  If not pop them back into the oven for a couple of minutes.

Assemble

Heat up the tomatillo salsa and tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat.  When the salsa is hot add the chips, quickly toss to evenly coat. Top with cheese and garnishes.

If you like it on the crunchier side, serve immediately.  It will never be really crunchy.  You can also pop it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to really melt the cheese and then add all the toppings.

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde Health benefits:

Tomatillos have been found to have antibacterial and anti-cancer properties from the Ixocarpalactone-A, a phyto-chemical.  They contain niacin, which helps convert food into energy.  They are a rich source of vitamin C and flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants.  The vitamin K increases bone mass, potassium that helps electrolyte regulation, nerve function, muscle control, and blood pressure, folate that supports red blood cell formation and fiber.  They are without sugars, low in salt and cholesterol-free.

Bell Peppers are extremely high in vitamin A, which helps to support healthy eyesight especially night vision.  It is also very high in vitamin C, which is really important for the skin.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.  They are a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum and manganese.  Red peppers are one of the veggies highest in lycopene and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, giving many fruits and vegetables their color, especially tomatoes, that are great for the prevention of cancers in the bladder, prostate, cervix and pancreas.

Poblano Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C; just one pepper has 95% of your daily value.  They are great for your immune system and help to reduce inflammation like in arthritis and asthma.  They are also helpful with the increase of oxygen helping the body to burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.  They are full of vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium.

Anaheim Peppers are a rich source of vitamin C, a half-cup provides over 100 percent required daily intake for adults.  They also have a good amount of vitamin A, which is helpful for skin and eye health.  Anaheim peppers contain phenols; flavonoids and capsaicinoids that help the body fight free radicals, inflammation and promote weight loss.  The bioflavonoids are a powerful antioxidant that helps strengthen blood vessels.  They aid the immune system and contain vitamin E that helps to protect cells from oxidative damage.  They also contain vitamin K, which increases bone mass more than any other pepper.

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde

Thyme Pistachio White Bean Dip topped with Thyme Pistachio Pesto

This Thyme Pistachio White Bean Dip with the Thyme Pistachio Pesto is a flavorful and unique appetizer.  The goat cheese and pistachio is a perfect match and they pair wonderfully with the fresh thyme.

Thyme Pistachio White Bean Dip Ang’s boys turned twelve this last weekend.  I cannot believe how fast time flies!  It seems like it was just yesterday that they had turned three.  Speaking of three, this weekend was our friends Erin and Leif’s little boy Taj’s third birthday.  I think three is my favorite age.

Taj decided that he wanted to have his birthday party at Costanoa located on Pacific Coast Highway just north of Davenport.  It is an awesome campground with lodging, cabins, campsites, etc.  His birthday party was a superhero theme so Erin made green capes for all of the kids. Tajie was so excited about all the presents he was receiving.  The first thing he said to me when we arrived was “do you have a present for me”?  I just about died! It was so cute!  We got him an orange tractor made from recycled plastic.  I’m sure he will like it but he was really obsessed with his remote control monster truck, duh, ha ha!

There was a lot of great food along with a variety of beverages.  I brought my own wine as usual.  Erin had made a huge cake covered in sprinkles topped with a superhero.  Taj blew out all of his candles by himself and then we dived into the delicious cake.  I was also very excited that Beto, Jill, Paloma and Severin were able to make it to the party as well.  Everyone had a really great time!

White-Bean-Thyme-Dip I had this dip with a white Rioja and it was perfect.  It would also go great with a Sauvignon Blanc or a light Pinot Noir.

White-Bean-Thyme-Pesto-Dip Thyme Pistachio White Bean Dip Recipe:

Approx. 3 Cups

  • 1 Cup Dried White Beans – 2 cups cooked
  • 1/2 Cup Pistachio – salted – shelled
  • 1 Cup Drunken Goat Cheese – grated
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Large Clove Garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil – or to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
Thyme Pistachio Pesto
  •  3/4 Cup Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Cup Pistachios – salted – shelled
  • 1 Cup Drunken Goat Cheese – shredded
  • 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste

Garnish – optional

  • Pistachio – roughly chopped
  • Thyme – sprinkles
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – drizzle
Instructions:
Beans

Sort through the beans to remove any rocks and rinse.  Add the beans to a large pot, then add 10 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, turn to medium-high heat for about 1 hour to 1 hour and a 1/2  or until beans are soft.  You might have to add more water if the water levels drop too much.  Drain out all the water and let cool completely.  You can also soak the beans overnight if you prefer.

Dip

Add all the ingredients for the dip except the beans to a food processor or blender.  Blend together, then add the beans and puree.

Pesto

 Remove the tiny leaves off the thyme stems by holding the top and sliding leaves off with the thumb and pointer finger of your other hand along the sprig.

Measure everything and add all ingredients except the cheese to a food processor or blender.

Blend to a coarse texture then add the cheese and blend until your desired texture.

Assemble

In a medium sized bowl or large platter, add the dip and swirl around with a spoon then top with some of the pesto or just dump the whole batch of pesto on top.

White-Bean-Thyme-Pesto

Health benefits:

Thyme is rich in thymol, the essential oil that has powerful antiseptic and antibacterial properties.  It has anti-aging properties that help boosts the immune system.  Helps fight asthma by relaxing the muscles in the bronchi and it is an expectorant helping to eliminate mucus from the lungs.  Thyme has a powerful detoxifying agent that is helpful in detoxing the liver. It is full of vitamin C and is a good source of vitamin A.

White Beans are a super rich source of dietary fiber, which is good for the prevention of constipation, also helps digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.  They are great for heart health because of their significant amounts of folate (support of red blood cell formation, one cup of the cooked beans provides 63.7% of the recommended daily intake for folate) and magnesium (lowers blood pressure).  They are good for helping insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, and help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady energy.

Black Lentil Chili with Crispy Shoestring Fries and Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo

This Black Lentil Chili is one of my favorite dishes.  It is an extreme comfort food packed with a whole lot of roasted pepper and tomato goodness.  It’s perfect on its own or you can dress it up with yummy crispy shoestring fries and my incredible crunchy veggie Pico de Gallo.

Black-Lentil-Chili I was obsessed with Amy’s canned lentil chili when growing up, so I decided it was high time that I share my own version.  Amy’s uses brown lentils where I use black lentils.  Black lentils have a firmer texture so I feel like it lends itself to a heartier chili.  I have to admit that there are times where all I want is basic comfort food and to me that means chili, fries and cheese.  However, there are other times where I want to add the freshness of my crunchy veggie Pico de Gallo salsa.  I love this chili smothered in cheddar cheese but it is also awesome left vegan.

Crunchy-Veggie-Pico-de-Gallo This crunchy veggie Pico de Gallo is a unique and incredible salsa that adds an amazing fresh quality to the mix.  The colors of this salsa make me so happy. It’s like a treasure chest of jewels.

Robby and I are pretty much obsessed with salsa and it is always a sad day when tomatoes are no longer in season.  I was determined to create an off-season salsa and I feel that I have succeeded.  It is so incredibly versatile.  You can eat it with chips, add it to quesadillas, burritos, tacos, beans, salads, rice, pasta, soup and the list goes on and on.  What would you like to add it to?

Black Lentil Chili On another note, how was your Easter?  We had a relaxing afternoon around the house and then we headed to our friends Erika and Gary’s house for dinner and had a super fun time full of conversation and laughter.  I made my rosemary garlic almonds , which were a bigger hit than I imagined.  Erika’s friend Teresa brought her artichoke dip that was to die for, I couldn’t stop eating it!  I must get the recipe and share it with you!  There was plenty of wine and champagne to go around, not to mention, Erika made her famous potato au gratin. YUMMMMM!!!

Black Lentil Chili Black Lentil Chili Recipe:

10 – 12 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Red or White Onion – diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/4 Dry Red or a Dry White Wine
  • 1 Jar Strained Tomatoes – I use Bionature (this link is for 6)
  • 10 – 12 Cups Filtered Water
  • 4 Cups Black Lentils
  • 2 Poblano Peppers – roasted – diced
  • 1 Anaheim Pepper –  roasted – diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper –  roasted – diced
  • 1 Red Orange Pepper –  roasted – diced
  • 1 Red Yellow Pepper –  roasted – diced
  • 2Tablespoon Ancho Powder (you can buy it already in powder form or de-stem and de-seed whole dried peppers and grind them in a coffee grinder until it turns to a powder)
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano
  • 2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1 Cup Frozen Corn
Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo
  • 1/2 Cup Radishes
  • 1/2 Cup Red Cabbage
  • 1 Orange Bell – diced
  • 1 Red Bell – diced
  • 1 Poblano Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 1 Anaheim Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 1/2 Onion – diced
  • 1 Cup Cilantro – roughly chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic – minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 1/2 to 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
Crispy shoestring potatoes
  • 1 Yellow Potato
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil – plus more for baking sheets
  • Sea Salt – sprinkling
Garnish
  • Shoestring Potatoes
  • Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo
  • Optional Garnish
Other garnish options
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Avocado
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Jalapeño
Instructions:
Black Lentil Chili

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven add the onion and olive oil to a straight sided pan and sauté on medium-low heat for 5 minutes then add the garlic and cook until garlic just start to brown.  Add wine and cook until reduced and it has a syrupy consistency.

While onions are cooking, grind the ancho peppers to a powder.

When the wine is reduced add the strained tomatoes and spices, except the salt!  Turn up the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the water and lentils and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium again.  Cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the spices, roasted peppers, corn and salt.

 Let cook on medium low for at least 10 minutes to incorporate the flavors.  You can also puree up to half of the lentils before you add the veggies.

Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo

Roast the poblano and anaheim peppers on the stovetop at medium high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it works fine on an electric stove.  Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for about 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems.

Add the onion, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and salt to a medium sized bowl and mix well.  Next add the radishes, cabbage, and the bell peppers to the bowl.  When the roasted peppers are steamed dice and add then mix everything well.
Crispy shoestring potatoes 
Use a julienne peeler or a spiralizer to cut potatoes into strips.  Submerge the potatoes in a bowl of cold water.  Drain potatoes and place on clean towel.  Pat as dry as you can with a paper towels.
Toss together potatoes, oil, and salt in a bowl.  Arrange potatoes in a single layer as best you can on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for about, 12 to 18 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.  (I turn them in 8 minutes.) Turn potatoes with a metal spatula a few times and rotate the baking sheets halfway through.  I cut the potatoes so there are four flat sides and depending on the size I might cut the sides to match the width of the pealer.
*You will have some leftover scraps that I usually add to a pot of water, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.  You can fry them up for breakfast or however you seem fit.  
 *
 Health benefits:

Lentils have very high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber, which is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving you a steady steam of energy.  A half-cup provides about a third of the daily requirements.  Not only is the fiber good for your heart the amount of folate and magnesium is very beneficial for cardiovascular health. Lentils provide a steady stream of glucose to your brain.  Glucose is a sugar and key source of energy for cells in the body, and is the only fuel your brain can use.  The high fiber regulates the release of the glucose, providing a steady stream of fuel that powers your brain cells, and is a key component in keeping your brain in excellent shape. They are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with a food containing vitamin C, like citrus fruits or peppers the iron is enhanced, which can also increase your energy.  They are also a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K. They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth. Lentils originated in Southwestern Asia along the Indus River have been eaten for over 8000 years.