“You don’t have to become a vegetarian to embrace vegetables.”
This is noted on the back cover and should be the tag line for Lora Krulak’s new book, Veggies for Carnivores. And I couldn’t agree more! For those that insist they can’t have a meal that doesn’t center around meat or that they couldn’t possibly fill up on veggies, sometimes they just haven’t tried the right ones – or tasted them prepared in the right ways.
Lora Krulak is a veggie-lover, spice-a-holic, and “nutritional muse” who coaches people to nutritional wellness. Lora’s clients benefit from the fact that Lora has traveled all over the world and loves to use the food she tastes as inspiration in their own kitchens. With the release of her new book, Lora is able to share that with all of us too.
In addition to trying out one of her tasty soups, I got a chance to chit with Lora to get to know her better.
If you could travel to only one culinary destination over and over again, which would it be?
That is a tough one, but I would have to say Israel. I am so taken by the subtleness in the cuisine, the freshness in the produce and the layers and layers of spices that I have never even heard of. The cuisine in that part of the world is always so clean and each dish is really just about the main ingredient. I always learn so much when I am there. I would have to agree! I could never get tired of Israeli food.
Your love of spices if very apparent. Which one or two do you consider most versatile?
It is true. I do love spices. They are for both healing and flavor.
If I had to pick the two that would be salt and crushed red pepper. A good salt like Himalayan or Celtic can bring out the flavor in any dish and can also be flavored itself by adding an herb, a spice or a zest. Crushed red pepper can also bring out and enhance the flavor of a dish without adding too much heat to it. Meaning, just because it is truly a chile pepper doesn’t mean it has to only be HOT – it can also be “full” and add more depth to whatever it is you are creating in your kitchen. Try it and you can surprise yourself!
I see that one of your services if providing “recipe makeovers” to your health-coaching clients. What has been your most challenging one to date? And what has been your most successful?
Ah – yes, this is fun – I love this. Well, to be honest none of the makeovers are really all that challenging because if it is too complicated to make, you are never going to make it anyway! But if I had to pick one it would be a Shepherds Pie. I say this because it was SO time consuming and I replaced every ingredient in the entire recipe save for the spices and the peas. I don’t even think the shepherd would have recognized it! As I predicted, the clients chef never made it for him and he never missed it.
As far as the most successful? I’d like to hope there have been many successes, but I had an Italian client whose son would not eat anything for breakfast and he was teething. We came up with some gluten free crepes with the only flour she could find at the small Italian health food shop. I believe it was chestnut four. It was a challenge to get the consistency right, but after we did – the kid was happy and no more crying!
The Moroccan Spiced Butternut Squash Puree from your book is right up my alley. What are your favorite things to pair it with?
I love that one too. I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed it. I will often put that puree inside of other soups, like the Broccoli Broth for example. It will add a whole new dimension to the soup and it is a beautiful presentation. Ill also serve that on top of spegetti squash as a sauce or big spoonful on top of fish. Personally Ill sit with a bowl and dip roasted veggies in it!
Which recipe from your book has been the favorite among carnivorous taste-testers?
The carnivores are really attracted to the roasted root fries and the coconut roasted veggies. Whenever I am first cooking for a full on meat eater, I always turn to these preparation because they retain the nutrients yet roasting adds deep full flavor to the vegetable. A carnivore is looking to chew and looking for fat flavor. You will get both of those desires met here.
Do you have one or two best tips for people wanting to incorporate more veggies in their diet?
The quickest and easiest way to get more veggies in your diet is to have a green salad (or more elaborate salad) every day. Just start to make it a habit, the more green you eat, the more you will want.
Another way would be to chop up or shred veggies and add to dishes that you may not think normally “go” with the dish. For example, a tuna salad – who said chopped or shredded cabbage doesn’t not belong inside tuna salad? Just be creative and sneak the crunch in wherever you can.
You are a chocolatier! What are your favorite flavors to pair with chocolate? Is there a chocolate book in your future?
Oh I do love chocolate… My favorite combinations with chocolate are tahini and chocolate OR goat cheese and chocolate (yum!). I also like a lot of spice inside of chocolate like a cayenne pepper. As far as a chocolate book in my future – I have been dabbling in the dessert portion of Veggies for Carnivores…
Ready for some soup? Lora has a great chapter on them, as well as sections devoted to:
- Versatile salad dressings
- Veggie purees that can be adapted into sauces and dips
- “Blended Salads” (aka green smoothies) and Crunchy Salads
- Roasted, Baked and Sauteed Vegetables and Grains
- Tonics & Smoothies
I quickly zeroed in on a carrot soup that was unlike any other I’ve tried. For this recipe, the carrots are roasted to bring out their extra sweetness, and the onions are sauteed in a mixture of coconut oil and tahini. I’ve blended tahini into soups at the end, but never actually cooked anything in tahini. I can now tell you that it results in a broth-based soup that is a little heartier and richer than the norm, which a slightly more velvety mouth feel. And of course, it adds a nutty compliment to the sweet carrots and zesty ginger.
Roasted Carrot and Ginger Soup with Tahini
Yield: 2 (large) or 3-4 smaller servings
A rich and flavorful broth-based soup where nutty tahini compliments sweet roasted carrots and zesty ginger.
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon tahin
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
crushed red pepper, to taste
chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut 3-4 large squares of aluminum foil and divide the carrots evenly among the squares. Wrap each one up tightly and place on a baking sheet. Roast the carrots for about 45 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the coriander and cumin and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove and set aside.
Melt the coconut oil and tahini together in the same saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onions, stirring often, until soft and beginning to turn golden, about 10-15 minutes. Season lightly with a pinch or two of salt. Add the garlic and ginger, and saute for 1 more minute.
Unwrap the carrots and stir into the pot with the onions. Add the broth, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon. Increase heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes, to blend flavors.
Adjust seasonings to taste. Squeeze in the lime juice. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with crushed red pepper and cilantro.
Adapted from Veggies for Carnivores by Lora Krulak
This post is linked to Wellness Weekends at Diet, Dessert and Dogs.