What to Expect from Sister Vegetarian Recipes...

Sister Vegetarian knows the importance of nutrition without breaking the bank. In lieu of this, I keep the meals to a cost that anyone can create and still stick to a budget. I also include raw vegan meals. Sister has acquired a Raw Vegan Chef Certfication through The Raw Food Network-Ekaya Institute of Living Food Education. I love to cook meals from Africa, India, the Middle East, Greece, Italy, and the list goes on. When I cook, I call it traveling the world without leaving my home. I see cooking as a way to experiment and learn about other cultures, as I also learn more about my roots.

Enjoy the meals. Enjoy the travel. No Passport Required. Just an appetite for delicious and healthy meals.

Peace & Love, Sister Vegetarian.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Moroccan Haira Soup: warm cuddly feelings for the home, heart, mind, body, and soul

It may be summer, but soups all year round provide hearty, nutritional, and inexpensive quick one-pot meals. Even in the summer, I eat hot soups because they provide a great substantial meal after a hard work day and warms my heart for a relaxing meal like nothing else for dinners. Left-over soups can be frozen for quick after work meals in individual serving size containers, or just freeze in one large container to feed many after work.

Although served year end round in Morocco, Haira is best known as the traditional Moroccan soup that is served during the Holy month of Ramadan for dinner and to break the fasting at sunset during Ramadan.

The recipe below is the most basic and quick version of this soup. Preparation and cooking will take about 1 hour total; but, it simmers for 40 minutes so you can just prep for 5- 10 minutes and let the soup do its thing. You can add additional vegetables such as carrots, eggplant, and zucchini as many versions do. The addition of type and amount of vegetable is up to you...have some fun and add what you like. The basic recipe is the foundation that I have included below. This version is also frequently eaten as is without additional vegetables. Instead of using fresh parsley and cilantro, I used the mustard greens for a peppery taste and Swiss Chards for that bitter taste like cilantro in honor of our African American heritage also stemming from this continent of Africa as Morocco. Cinnamon, ginger, lentils, and pasta are main ingredients to every Haira soup no matter how you change the versions. Serve with warmed pita and plain organic yogurt as a side for a more authentic meal. I really enjoyed making and eating this soup. It was quick and filling. It warmed my insides; and, made me dream of this beautiful country and its beautiful people.

Morrocan Haira Soup


1 large onion, diced

2 large garlic cloves or 4 medium garlic cloves diced

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp smoked ground chipotle pepper or chili pepper

1 cup fresh mustard greens, chopped

1 cup fresh Swiss Chards, chopped with stems

1 can diced roasted garlic tomatoes

5 cups of water with vegetable bouillon cube dissolved

1 can 15 1/2 oz chick peas, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup dried lentils

1/2 cup orzo pasta (any pasta can be substituted)

1 TBSP cornstarch dissolved in 1 cup of water

2 TBSP lemon juice

1 TBSP tomato paste

How to prepare:

1. Saute onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil for a minute.

2. Add tomatoes and stir for 2 minutes

3. Add 5 cups of water, bouillon, and lentils. Bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes or until lentils are tender.

5. Add chickpeas and pasta. Cook for 7-8 minutes until or until pasta al dente

6. Add cornstarch dissolve din water to soup, and stir.

7. Add lemon juice and tomato paste.

8. Simmer soup until it thickens (approx 5 mins more).

Serve as is, or with warm pita and organic yogurt on the side. What a cuddly warm and home feeling for the heart, mind, body, and soul :)

~ Sister Vegetarian

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Indonesian Acorn Squash and Greens Soup with a Classic Indian Raita Sauce

Indonesian Acorn Squash and Greens soup
with Indian Raita Sauce served with Chapati
This is a classic Indonesian Soup and Classic Indian side coolant sauce recipe adapted from our Indonesian and Indian sisters. Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia. It has a strong culture based on Chinese, European, Middle Eastern, and Indian descendants with a large Muslim population to bring a Middle Eastern flare to the cooking. It's cuisines illustrates an influence of these varied cultures with an emphasis on coconut milk and chili in their recipes. Here I paired a traditional Indonesian Soup with a traditional Indian Classic Sauce (Raita) for a meal that will take you to another continent without leaving your kitchen.

Cooking and Preparation Time: Approx 1 hour
Servings: 4
Spice mixture:
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup salted or unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, ground with a mortar and pestle
1 large onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 cups warm water with 1 vegan vegetable bouillon cube added to make a vegetable stock
1 14-oz can coconut milk (note: lite coconut milk changes the taste and texture so I prefer regular coconut milk)
1 medium acorn squash for 4 cups peeled and cubed acorn squash
2 cups fresh turnip greens, beet greens, Swiss chard, or kale
1-2 TBSP Lime or Lemon juice per individual serving bowl to taste

How to prepare:
1. In a soup pot, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until the fragrance just release.
2. Add ginger and sea salt until onions become translucent.
3. Add the vegetable stock and spice mixture, and simmer for 5 mins
4. Stir in the coconut milk and acorn squash.
5. Simmer for 40 minutes, or until the acorn squash is tender.
6. Stir in the greens until just wilted (do not over cook the greens).
7. Remove the pot from the stove, and serve in bowls.
8. Garnish each bowl with 2-3 TBSP lime or lemon juice.
- Serve with crusty Italian bread; or Indian Chapati Bread (or, wheat tortilla warmed) with Indian Raita
-Other variations: substitute squash for chunks of eggplant or zucchini

Indian Raita Sauce

1 medium tomato, diced

1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped

1/2 medium onion finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir. Chill for 30 mins. Serve traditionally on chapati bread, pita bread, or as a side to hot Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. Great with falafel (chickpeas balls) as pictured above.