The Italian Riviera & Bucharest, Romania

I’m sitting here writing in an oversized turtleneck knit (standard) and coat whilst trying to wrap my head around the business side of my nutrition studies. I’ve just come back from my month-long European summer getaway and thought I’d put together a little photo diary, hopefully inspiring you to put these stunning places on your travel list. I am slowly getting back into recipe development and uni life which explains So Matcha To Love’s downtime.

Food culture intrigues me and one of my favourite parts about traveling, amongst adventuring and new experiences, is trying different cuisines and essentially ‘living like a local’. Forget shopping and malls, I mostly divert my travel expenditures towards experiences and food as these are the things that bring me pure happiness and inspire me long after my return to reality. I even have a notebook devoted to my travel feeds to help me recreate pure deliciousness and nostalgia back home. I was lucky enough to travel with locals this time, but whether or not this is an option for you, I would highly recommend exploring wider than the ‘beaten path’ to discover some true gems. Although I visited various places I have included the two that created the biggest impression on me (although I am also biased because one is my birthplace and the other has my one true love – the sea.) 😉 Keep scrolling down for a photo diary of The Ligurian Coast of Italy and the capital of Romania, Bucharest. I have linked several places to eat throughout the article and they should open in a new tab.

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Mediterranean Carrot, Parsley & Fennel Seed Loaf

Don’t ever call me, doll.’

Yes, I just began this blog post with a quote from Lola Bunny (Space Jam). When I was a little girl my hero was Bugs Bunny. When Space Jam came out, I watched it every day without fail, admiring Bugs’ carrot-eating habit and Lola’s strong, independent woman vibe. I grew up munching on carrots almost everyday, probably my most healthful practice growing up. Now my mum actually questions if my tan comes from consuming so many carrots and sweet potatoes, but I assure her that I would have a slightly more orange tinge if that were the case (cue carotenaemia – an actual thing). Bugs aside, in comes this herbed carrot loaf.


As you can see I’m not very patient, the crust is the best part of any loaf in my opinion.

Every week I try to make a loaf, whether this be a buckwheat, rye, spelt or veggie loaf, to have on hand for early mornings and lazy lunches, because I am Romanian and bread is synonymous with life. There is a saying in Romania, ‘bun/bună ca pâinea caldă’, which is literally saying you are a quality person, better than warm bread. Now that is a compliment. I have a collection of tried and tested recipes that I rotate every week from my bookshelf, but I really wanted to create my own with a unique flavour that also packs a nutritional punch. I’m calling this a loaf as opposed to a bread as you should not expect a traditional loaf of bread that Romanians would eat in one sitting. It is dense, filling and delicious. Rather than preaching about the benefits of adding vegetables and herbs to every meal (keep it simple, health and food should never be stress-inducing) I will just subtly present this loaf that has 4 cups of grated carrots. 😉

Nutrition Talk
Mediterranean food inspires me so much. The colour, the aroma, the lifestyle, the love. What I really adore about the Mediterranean lifestyle is that food is stripped back, simplicity is essential. Social media doesn’t dictate what is trendy in the Mediterranean, food is to be loved, enjoyed and shared. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with being inspired by the newest food trend, there is also something incredibly beautiful about sharing a Caprese or Niçoise salad with someone you love. A simple foundation of olive oil, lemon, balsamic vinegar, a liberal scattering of herbs, and salt and pepper can elevate any dish.

Parsley and fennel seeds fulfill the senses. Everything could do with a generous sprinkle of both. Fennel seeds have traditionally been used as carminatives, a remedy easing abdominal cramping, bloating, flatulence and facilitating digestion. They are composed of volatile essential oils, which provide fennel seeds their unique property. Flavonoid antioxidants such as kaempferol and quercetin are present, quenching free radicals and providing protection from many illnesses. Additionally, fennel seeds have been shown effective in amenorrhoea and dysmenorrhoea, supporting the menstrual cycle. Try not to skip the fennel seeds, it gives the loaf a distinct taste and aroma.

Similar to fennel seeds, parsley also contains volatile oils, of note myristicin which activates glutathione-S-transferase, catalysing detoxification of toxic compounds. This makes parsley a super addition to support the liver via boosting liver enzyme production. The neutralisation of particular types of carcinogens (coming from charcoal grill smoke and cigarettes) may also be assisted by the activity of the chemoprotective volatile oils present in parsley. I have attached a link at the bottom of this post if you’d like to read up on the many health benefits of parsley – a true superfood. Whenever I use the leaves, I chop up the stems and sauté them with onion, garlic, ginger and spices at the beginning of a blended soup, ensuring I minimise waste. Sometimes I also make parsley tea, anything goes!

My passion for herbs runs so deep that I even have a mezzaluna knife and chopping board because my patience runs thin and my knife skills are still questionable. I’m known for leaving herbs (and stems – woops) whole due to the frustration that chopping herbs induces in me – I’m sure my family wonder why they let me cook when this happens, scuze/sorry! So the mezzaluna ensures I can reduce a massive pile of herbs to a fine dice thus my meals regularly feature herbs. #lifesaver But I trust that you are way more patient than me. 😉

There are so many ways to enjoy this loaf. Toasted and dipped into my miso and sweet potato soup (so European), for brekkie with this pesto and goat’s cheese or ricotta, olive tapenade, hummus, scrambled eggs or baked cumin and tomato eggs, smashed avo, a few slices in my uni lunchbox as a snack…all amazing options as this baby is very versatile and a sneaky little way to get some veggies in as well which I love. My favourite way is to pan-toast 2 slices, spread with Paté di Olive Taggiasche (thanks Giuly), mashed avocado and goat’s cheese alongside my matcha latte.

A few notes: When trialing the loaf my first one was slightly soggy therefore the arrowroot/tapioca is essential if you want a loaf that holds together better. Leaving it overnight in the fridge and pan-toasting in the morning will also produce a firmer loaf. I also made the mistake of using cumin seeds the first time because I am a bit of a haphazard cook, delicious but I wanted fennel seeds. I’m even considering adding sliced Kalamata olives to the loaf batter as well because olives are life.

Mediterranean Carrot, Parsley & Fennel Seed Loaf

Makes 1 loaf (about 12 slices)

Ingredients:

  • 400 g / 4 cups grated carrots (or use the grater attachment on a food processor)
  • 2 big handfuls parsley, finely chopped (I honestly put way more because I love my herbs)
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • a pinch of cumin
  • 150 g / 1 ½ cups of hazelnut meal/flour (can use almond)
  • 30 g / ¼ cup of tapioca flour/arrowroot
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • pepitas, to top
  • sliced Kalamata olives, to top

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Mix the grated carrots, parsley, fennel seeds and cumin in a large bowl. Add the hazelnut meal, tapioca/arrowroot, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt and pepper, mix again.

Make a well in the centre of this mixture and crack the eggs into the middle and add the olive oil and apple cider vinegar as well. Whisk the liquids in the centre with a fork then incorporate this into the rest of the batter until everything is well combined – use your hands! Transfer this mixture to the loaf tin and smooth out the top. Sprinkle with pepitas and press some sliced olives on the top.

Bake in the oven for 50 minutes – 1 hour, checking regularly around the 40 minute mark until a skewer comes out clean. Ensure you are not burning the loaf as all ovens are different. Your loaf may need a little more time as this is quite a dense loaf and does not rise like a traditional loaf.

Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then take loaf out of the tin and leave on a wire rack to cool completely and firm up. Slice and serve! This will keep up to a week in the fridge. Alternatively, you can leave to fully cool, slice and freeze individual slices into zip lock bags or place a sheet of baking paper between each slice. Toast before eating, can pan-toast alternatively, 2 minutes on each side.

*Try baking this as a flatbread by transferring to a lined baking tray and flattening this mixture into a rectangle. Bake for 25 minutes in a 200°C oven. Slice into sandwich slice pieces.

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Links:

Morning Matcha Coco Latte

🍵💜

It’s no secret I am obsessed with matcha. My first memory of matcha was in Japanese (日本語) class in primary school, which to date is still one of my favourite classes. I still remember the only way Mamiko Sensei (先生) could make it palatable for our little 6-year-old taste buds was with the addition of a spoonful of sugar or honey. Or maybe we were the ones that went behind her back and sweetened our matcha. Regardless, it was an acquired taste but I loved it.

Flash forward 14 years and I’m quite literally obsessed with matcha. It is my preferred drink, alternating with the occasional golden turmeric latte. A day does not go by without my matcha and I’m even considering bringing my matcha powder with me to Europe. The love is real. Health benefits would never sway me if I didn’t like the taste, and that is something I live by.

😍

This recipe appears to be way too simple for a post, and I’m sure there are hundreds of similar recipes floating around, but for something that I gain so much happiness from I thought it was deserving of a little blog time – my own little recipe. Despite detracting from its traditional roots, as I do not have a bamboo whisk (chasen) yet and with the addition of some milk (mylk* anyone?), I still believe mindfulness is most important when making and sipping your matcha. It is on the pricey side and admittedly the only superfood powder I invest in, but I do only use ½ teaspoon for every latte so I personally ensure I always treat myself to a packet. I have also included delicious optional add-ins to supercharge your morning matcha. Over time I have slowly increased the amount of water to mylk I use as I have become accustomed to the delicate unsweetened taste but feel free to include more mylk in yours.

*Mylk = almond, coconut, nut, rice, macadamia, oat milk etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured also are an adapted version of these oat and ginger cookies.

Nutrition Talk
Matcha is essentially stone-ground green tea leaves. Simple. Instead of brewing the leaf and discarding, as you do with green tea, you are consuming the whole leaf including it’s amazing qualities. A study published in the Journal of Chromatography A conducted by the University of Colorado highlighted that the concentration of the catechin credited for matcha’s beneficial health properties, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), is present in an amount 137 times greater than that available in regular green teas. I have found many studies exploring the potential of EGCG though this is the first analysis of its kind therefore I look forward to further studies as there is a lack of clinical trials currently available.

The primary amino acid present is L-theanine which acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain, promoting α-brain wave activity benefiting the central nervous system. This induces a heightened state of relaxation and focus counteracting the effects of caffeine, which some describe as a “calm state of alertness”. There are so many more benefits to matcha so definitely read up if interested. All the studies utilised for this Nutrition Talk can be found in a list below the recipe because as you must know by now, I love this stuff!

As always though, pay attention to your body and notice any side effects as caffeine is still present in matcha, usually in lower amounts depending on source. Too much of a good thing may become not so good in the end and not everyone’s bodies may agree so above all, listen to that bod! 😉 Remember matcha is a concentrated source of nutrients, so less is more. If you are unsure, please consult with a health practitioner. 🙂

Morning Matcha Coco Latte

Serves: 1 mug

  • ½ teaspoon matcha powder
  • 2 tablespoons hot water (I’ve started using ½ cup water and ½ cup milk)
  • 1 cup / 250 ml milk of choice (I love a mix of coconut and rice milk OR coconut and almond)
  • Optional:
    – sweetener: 1 teaspoon honey/rice malt syrup
    – add ½ – 1 teaspoon of cacao powder for a cacao-matcha latte.
    – experiment with any of the following: vanilla bean powder, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon coconut oil, collagen, nut butter – like almond, sea salt, ginger etc.

Method:

Put the matcha powder in a mug and dissolve in 2 tablespoons of hot water, stirring with a spoon. If using more water, decrease the amount of milk you warm up. This should create a clump-free paste/syrup.

Warming the milk is next. I use my coffee machine’s steam wand to heat up the milk and create some lovely froth. I then pour this slowly over the matcha liquid saving the froth for last…yum! If you have got a milk frother or blender (you will need to add all the ingredients to this version) you can use them to heat the milk. Using your stove top or microwave to heat up the milk and then pouring over the matcha are also options though no froth will be created.

Add the sweetener at the end if using. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon, cacao, coconut flakes or more matcha if desired. Hope you love this so matcha like me!

Notes: 
– as noted above, store your matcha powder in the fridge to minimise oxidation.
– ceremonial-grade matcha powder from Japan is is the highest quality matcha and ensures exposure to lead is minimal.
– some brands that I love to use and readily available at health stores in Australia are Matcha Maiden and Konomi Matcha. Please check quality matcha brands, sourced from Japan, in your country.

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References:

Head, K. A., & Kelly, G.S. (2009). Nutrients and botanicals for treatment of stress: Adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalance, anxiety, and restless sleep. Alternative Medicine Review, 14(2), 114-140.

Nobre, A. C., Rao, A., & Owen, G. N. (2008). L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 17(1), 167-168.

Weiss, D. J., & Anderton, C. R. (2003). Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography. Journal of Chromatography A, 1011(2),  173-180. doi:10.1016/S0021-9673(03)01133-6

Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Hummus

Oh hummus, how I love thee. Let me give you a snapshot of how I use hummus. Always on my breakfast buckwheat wrap, as a dip for falafels and crudités, the last touch to my big nourish bowls and even stirred into soup. Okay yes I know that last one sounds a bit weird but whatever, no one comes between me and soup. 😉

Wherever I am travelling, I always make it a goal to order a hummus or falafel side. I will never forget sitting in a hotel in Rome with my best friend at the end of our summer holiday feasting on a tub of hummus with cucumber sticks and farro salad. Or when my beautiful granny bought me the purest hummus she could find from the Bucharest farmer’s markets and I studied each and every ingredient so I could recreate it back home. The falafel served atop a thick scrape of hummus, tabbouleh and tahini in an alleyway down in Byron Bay also remains one of my most nostalgic food experiences to date. Hummus will seriously elevate your meals. It is a staple for me.

This recipe is a bit of a fusion between traditional hummus and Muhammara which is a Syrian dip. I’ve included two recipes, the quick version which admittedly is the one most used by myself, as well as the soaked dried chickpea version for the health nuts amongst us which requires prep the night before but will yield a more intense, creamier, beautiful and superior chickpea flavour. The world is your chickpea (ahem oyster)! After a bit of research, I found that adding a little bicarbonate of soda to the long version promotes softening of the chickpeas, there is a whole scientific explanation to this but I won’t go into it, just trust me.

Instead of the usual heavenly hummus recipe I normally make by Green Kitchen Stories, I wanted to spice this baby up with the inclusion of three of my favourite ingredients, walnuts, roasted red peppers (capsicums for us Aussies) and zesty lime. And the result? #win Just don’t try to eat the whole bowl and leave some for breakfast to have with avo, eggs, goat’s cheese, tomato slices, rocket and quinoa or as I have been doing, in a buckwheat wrap (recipe to be posted soon).

Nutrition Talk
Chickpeas are an amazing legume with about 65-75% of the fibre in chickpeas being insoluble fibre which is essential for digestive system support. Recent studies have shown the ability of the fibre in chickpeas to be metabolised by our colonic bacteria to produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetic, propionic and butyric acid, which are the fuel for the cells lining the intestinal wall and as such play an important role in gut health. Because the gut is everything, right? SCFAs esentially provide our intestinal cells energy! In addition to their super digestive system support function, chickpeas are also blood sugar regulators due to their fibre content. Blood sugar regulation is a real feature of this recipe alongside the omega-3 rich walnuts. In a recent study, even ½ cup of chickpeas per day in just a week was shown to improve blood sugar control in participants. This review further elaborates on the nutritional value of chickpeas and hummus so that this doesn’t turn into one of my university essays. Whenever I make the full version of this hummus I always double the recipe to have chickpeas to add to salads and to make crispy spiced chickpeas for topping soups and curry.

My favourite serving options: crudités (as pictured), burgers and falafels, buckwheat wraps, salad/nourish bowls, with eggs, veggies and quinoa/rice, as a dressing, carrots, sweet potato wedges (try coconut-crusted!!), flat bread or pita (highly recommend this broccoli flatbread – never fails me) with olives, pine nuts and parsley, shakshuka, socca, galettes, lettuce leaf dippers, roasted vegetable sandwich, or on rye toast. Get creative.

Optional: Experiment with adding ½ a sliced jalapeño, ground sumac, or 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses.

Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Hummus

Serves: 6-8 as a side

QUICK VERSION

  • 2 red capsicums, approx. 300 g
  • 1 x 400 g can of chickpeas, preferably organic (drained, rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel)
  • ½ cup / 50 g walnuts
  • 1 lime, juiced*
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (leave whole if doing long version)
  • a pinch of ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil / walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons water (or reserved chickpea cooking water if using the long version)
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

*Lemon can be used if preferred.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut the capsicum into small wedges/slices and spread out on a lined baking tray, making sure they are not touching each other. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, until the edges slightly crisp up.

Place all the ingredients in a food processor, blender or bowl and blend until smooth. You may need to scrape down the edges a few times. If using a stick/immersion blender (my preferred method), use a larger bowl. Transfer to a jar and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Use on everything!

I like to top the jar or bowl off with a sprinkle of sumac, sesame seeds, chopped walnuts, dukkah or lime zest.

LONG VERSION

Start this the night before you plan to make. Replace the can of chickpeas with ½ cup / 100 g of dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans and place in a bowl along with ¼ tsp baking soda and 500 ml/2 cups of water. Place in the fridge to soak overnight or for 24 hours.

After soaking, drain the chickpeas and place in a medium-sized saucepan along with ½ teaspoon sea salt1 litre / 4 cups of water and the 2 garlic cloves (leave them whole). Bring this to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for an hour and a half. Skim off the foam and chickpea skins that settle on the top throughout this time. You will know they are done if they are very tender, breaking easily if pressed. Reserve ¼ cup / 60 ml of the cooking water, and drain the chickpeas, setting aside to cool.

When cool, place the roasted capsicums (from the quick version), walnuts, reserved cooking water, salt and pepper, lime juice, cumin and olive oil in a bowl or food processor and blend (or with an immersion blender) until creamy and smooth. Transfer to a jar and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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References:

Wallace, T. C., Murray, R. M., & Zelman, K. M. (2016). The nutritional value and health benefits of chickpeas and hummus. Nutrients, 8(12), 766. doi:10.3390/nu8120766

WH Foods. (n.d.). Garbanzo beans. Retrieved from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=58

Sweet Potato, Lentil & Miso Soup with a Hazelnut, Mint & Parsley Pesto

Soup is my love declaration to winter. Although knits, snow, mountains and hot chocolates are just about the only things that get me excited for winter, warming up a pot of this veg-filled, hearty soup truly fixes (just about) anything. Other than that, I’m a true summer gal at heart. ♥ With my upcoming European adventure only a month away, I couldn’t leave without posting my favourite immune-boosting combination. It is sweet, salty and warming all in one beautiful hit.

Warming up a big pot of this soup every winter to share with your friends and family is so good for the soul and your body. If you’re feeling in need of a cleanse or a detoxifying meal, then this is your jam. Soups are much gentler and warming for your system therefore they can be digested easily by the body leaving you with a combination of healing nutrients cleansing your organs. I make this for dinner usually after a really rainy day and whilst it’s on the stove I’ll whip up this pesto using whole bunches of greens and a new Spotify playlist on repeat (and dance). 😉 This soup is also indicated if you really want something delicious to eat, which is good enough for me, just saying!

This pesto was created out of my love for parsley, lemons, mint and hazelnuts. *ahem that’s why I’m Hazelcoco* What initially was purely an experiment, turned into something delicious I now make regularly. Add a dollop to the soup when serving, lather it on anything that is edible and use it as a face mask. The lentils really bulk this soup out and add some protein, you can’t really taste them though which is great if you have a bit of an aversion to lentils. If you’re after some ‘food as medicine’ immunity, the onion, ginger and garlic which all contain antibacterial and antiviral properties accompanied by the alkalising greens in the pesto all provide the body with strength to prevent illness, promote healing and cleanse the body. Despite all these benefits, food for me is about enjoyment, pleasure and fun, so if this soup didn’t achieve those first primary satisfactions it would not have been posted. 😉

β-carotene – the Vitamin A powerhouse
I really cannot go past sweet potatoes, whether they are roasted as wedges, mashed or simply pureed into a soup, they are my favourite (along with 50 other foods have you noticed?) All orange vegetables contain carotenoids, specifically β-carotene, which act as precursors to vitamin A. Not all carotenoids express this ability but β-carotene most certainly does. They exhibit antioxidant activity, and aid in immune system function and vision (after conversion of provitamin A to vitamin A). Therefore, there is a lot to love about all my favourite orange veggies so definitely try to include a few servings of these body-loving vegetables throughout the week.

A few notes on the ingredients. As you can see I have suggested to peel the sweet potatoes and carrots, although these contain a lot of goodness, when the origin is unknown and you’re not sure where they were grown (which I admit is most of the time for me), then it is safer to peel. The miso paste is essential in this, please don’t skip it, although we are boiling it at this stage and the probiotic effects will be nullified, the taste is out of this world. I love Spiral Foods brown rice miso paste, which is readily available at Woolworths though any health food store will carry miso. Use your leftover miso scraped onto toast with avocado, tahini or hummus on top and use to make your own dip creation. Your jar of pesto can be used on anything from crackers, homemade pizza, wraps, zoodles, omelettes, quinoa salads, grilled fish, on a savoury pancake etc.. Leftover mint leaves make great tea when combined with lemon, raw honey and boiling water. If you haven’t realised yet I really want to encourage you to use ALL your leftovers.

Sweet Potato, Lentil & Miso Soup with a Hazelnut, Parsley & Mint Pesto Topping

Serves: 6 + (depending on your appetite)

Ingredients for the soup:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil/olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled & grated
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (approx. 1.3kg), peeled & roughly chopped into cubes
  • 2 carrots (approx. 350g), peeled & roughly chopped into cubes
  • 1 and a 1/4 cups of dried red lentils, rinsed (200g)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons red/brown rice miso paste
  • water
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for the pesto:
(makes a full jar)

  • 2 – 4 garlic cloves, sliced (depending on your taste – I use 4)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts (approx. 65g)*
  • 1 bunch of parsley, ends trimmed off with leaves and stalks roughly chopped
    (yes, the whole bunch, approx. 130g/4 handfuls)
  • 1/2 bunch of mint, leaves only
    (approx. 50g/1 handful)
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil + extra if needed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt/herb salt/Himalayan pink salt
  • pinch of pepper

*I’ve made this with pecans as well with similarly great results.

Make sure all your vegetables are chopped prior to beginning. Heat the oil in a large pot on low heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the chopped sweet potatoes, carrots and lentils and stir with a wooden spoon, coating the vegetables with the onion mix. Add the 2 heaped tablespoons of miso paste to the pot, and now add water. I haven’t provided measurements as the consistency is up to you, I find the perfect consistency to be enough water to just cover all of the vegetables in the pot. Give this another stir to break up the miso paste and combine it with the rest of the ingredients.

Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer for 20-25 minutes until all the vegetables are soft and the lentils have cooked (they should look soft). While this is happening, make your pesto. Add all of the pesto ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth making sure there are no green or garlicky chunks. You may need to scrape down the sides a few times. Truthfully, I use a hand blender for this process. Taste and adjust seasonings, add more olive oil if you like, I usually end up using 1/3 of a cup. Place the pesto in a jar and set aside.

When the vegetables and lentils are soft, use an immersion/hand blender and puree the soup until really smooth and creamy! If you have a blender you can use this (carefully). Squeeze the juice of 1 lime into the pot and stir with a wooden spoon or blend again to incorporate that. Taste and adjust the seasonings, I find the miso gives it enough saltiness already. Ladle the soup into bowls, add a spoonful of pesto to the top of each bowl and swirl through. Enjoy!

The pesto keeps in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge, use for up to a week on everything.

Serve with: rye sourdough toast, lemon/lime wedges, greens (like arugula/rocket, watercress), dukkah, pepitas, #avoontoast + lemon or hummus + sliced tomato (use good quality bread/sourdough), sesame seeds, goat’s feta cheese etc.
* In the pictures I served it with homemade millet and zucchini toast.

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Useful links: