Soft Pretzels

Soft pretzels are one of the best snacks to have around for football season, as they pair well with beer and are more substantial than many other game-day snacks. Plus, they are naturally dairy-free, pair great with beyond brats, and can be easily customized with seasonings and toppings (“everything” bagel seasoning, shredded cheese, caraway seeds, etc.). These are surprisingly easy to make and take considerably less time than many other yeasted doughs.

Soft Pretzels

Yields 8 pretzels

Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (about 30 minutes active, 1 hour inactive)

Ingredients:

1/2 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon yeast

1 cup lukewarm water

2 1/2 cups AP flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (you can sub this with bread flour or AP flour)

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 Tablespoon salt

1.5 Tablespoons baking soda

4 cups water

2 Tablespoons butter or vegan butter, melted (for brushing tops of pretzels)

coarse sea salt, for tops of pretzels

Directions:

Combine sugar, warm water, and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let sit until bubbling.

Mix together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Add yeast mixture and stir to combine, then knead well until smooth and elastic (by hand this will take 10 minutes, by mixer on medium speed around 7-8 minutes).

Place in bowl and cover. Let rise until puffy, about an hour.

Once risen, divide dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a pretzel.

Preheat oven to 450º F.

Prepare water bath by heating the 4 cups water and baking soda in a large pot (preferably a wide and shallow pot, such as a Dutch oven). Once the water is lightly boiling, drop pretzels in 2-3 at a time. The pretzels should stay in water bath for about 1 minute (30 seconds each side).

Remove pretzels from water bath and place onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until desired depth of color.

Enjoy! These go well with mustard (of course), cheese sauce, and herbed butter. Pair with beyond brats and braised cabbage for a hearty German meal.

Sesame-Ginger Kale Salad

This recipe has been one of my favorites lately. I’m a bit obsessed with both ginger and kale! It’s easy to throw together for lunch or dinner and can be easily adjusted to feed more people.

I learned recently that your are supposed to massage kale before you use it in a salad (apparently this makes it easier to digest), so I recommend giving it a little massage.

This salad is packed with nutrients and it really does taste good, in my opinion.

Sesame-Ginger Kale Salad

Serves: 2

Prep time: 20 minutes

Salad Ingredients:

7-8 stalks of kale

1 bell pepper (I use red)

1 carrot, shredded with a peeler

1 avocado, cubed

1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped

Cilantro

Sesame seeds

1 cup edamame

Salt

Dressing Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

1 Tbls rice wine vinegar

1 Tbls honey or agave

Small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

Dash red pepper flakes

Dash sesame oil

Directions:

1. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a food processor and purée until relatively smooth (I often leave some bigger bits of ginger and garlic because I prefer that).

2. Rip kale from the thick stem and rinse. Chop into 1-2 inch pieces and massage with salt (with clean hands).

3. After massaging the kale, add the pepper, carrot, edamame, onion, and cilantro. Toss with dressing until well-coated.

4. Add avocado, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.

*If using frozen edamame, simply thaw separately in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.

Hopefully you enjoy this! I always feel really nourished after eating. If trying to make a more substantial meal, you could always serve with some cilantro-lime rice, or even some sweet potato wedges!

Tandoori Squash Bowl with Lentils

Ok, so my oven definitely is not as hot as a tandoor, but I still really like the flavor of the spices as the squash roasts at a high temperature.

With my husband out of town lately, I’ve been eating this a lot because it is really easy to make for just one person. It is easy to adapt for more, as well, and it is super simple for a nutritious weeknight dinner that keeps you full.

Tandoori Squash Bowl

I would say it takes about 30 minutes, though it just depends on how long the squash takes to roast. I usually use butternut squash, but when I last made this all I had was acorn, so choose whichever you like.

Tandoori Squash with Lentils

Serves 2 (but can easily be halved or doubled)

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice (brown or white is fine)

1/4 cup dry lentils (I prefer green)

1 cup water (for the lentils)

1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 purple onion, cut into 1/4 in slices

2 tsp olive oil

1 small acorn squash or 1/2 butternut squash

1-2 tsp Tandoori seasoning (I use Penzy’s, but it is simple a blend of coriander, cumin, paprika, garlic, ginger, cardamom, and saffron)

Few pinches salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. While oven is preheating, prepare the squash by slicing it in half, rubbing the inside with olive oil, and sprinkling with Tandoori seasoning. If only using half the squash, cover the other half and refrigerate.

2. Place squash in oven and let roast until the flesh can be easily pierced with a fork. For my oven, this takes 25-30 minutes.

3. While squash is cooking, put the garlic and lentils in a pan with 1 cup water. Bring water and lentils to a boil, covered, then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until water is completely absorbed. Once done, add salt.

4. Once done with lentils, begin sautéing onion in a pan with about 1 teaspoon olive oil. After 1-2 minutes, add broccoli, a splash of water, and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, then remove cover and continue to cook until the onions are soft and have some color.

5. Make the rice. I use pre-made rice packets for this because they are the perfect amount for 1-2 people, so I just cook it in the microwave. My favorite brand is Seeds of Change, which has tons of great rice selections.

6. Once the squash is ready, remove from oven and (once cooled enough), cut into desired sizes. I prefer about 1-inch cubes.

7. Assemble the bowls! Put in rice, then lentils, broccoli mixture, and squash. Sprinkle with more salt, if desired.

Hopefully you like this as much as I do! It is really nutritious and not terribly difficult to make. It is especially nice in the winter, when squash is abundant and warm food is comforting.