Thai Spiced Carrot Soup {Vegan}


My Sunday food prep sessions have really upped my game in the kitchen throughout the week. Chopping and roasting vegetables and cooking grains seems like a simple enough practice, but the difference is major. It makes everything just a little bit easier and gives my brain a break in the post-work scramble to make something healthy for dinner.

If I’m smart enough to make a soup during my Sunday prep session, it usually makes a dinner for Fabian and I, plus a couple of lunches for me or portions to freeze in case of laziness. It’s the pureed (or chunky – depending on the week) dish that keeps giving.

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Spicy Coconut and Lentil Soup

It’s been a grey and rainy week. I’ve been caught in the rain three mornings in a row trying to go for a run. My umbrella’s all bent out of shape. I don’t want to leave the house.

What’s your favorite rainy evening ritual? Mine looks like sweat pants, bad tv (wuttup Revenge), a glass of red and a curry.

I don’t love the rain, but I don’t mind the excuse it gives me to get cozy, make something warm, and treat myself right.

I was impressed with this recipe for 2 reasons:
It develops a rich Thai flavor in less than a half an hour – if you’re craving a Thai red curry, this is probably a quicker bet than delivery.
It’s also easily adaptable for whatever vegetables you have at home. Asian veggies like bok choy, baby corn and snow peas are all at home here, but mushrooms, green beans, carrots, spinach and even sweet potato are all welcome too.

Spicy Coconut and Lentil Soup
adapted from Donna Hay’s Off the Shelf
(makes 4 serves)

– 2 tablespoons oil
– 2 tablespoons red curry paste
– 4 spring onions, light green and white parts thinly chopped
– 4 cups vegetable stock
– 2 cups coconut cream
– 1 cup red lentils
– 1 1/2 cups button mushrooms, thinly sliced
– 1 cup snow peas, trimmed and sliced in half
– 2 cups spinach, chopped

Heat the oil and curry paste in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and cook for 2 minutes. Add in spring onions and cook 1 minute.

Add stock, coconut cream and lentils and cook for 10 minutes.

Add mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes. Add snow peas and cover, simmering for 2 more minutes.

Stir in spinach and let it wilt down. Serve hot with rice or grilled flat bread.

Thai Red Curry Mussels

I totally wanted to be amazing and make my own curry paste for you. I really did. But it was a Sunday. What should have been a lazy day. But we spent this particular afternoon scurrying to the fish market, to the regular market and to celebratory engagement (!!) drinks for friends.

In order to restore the laziness balance of my weekend, I used some store-bought curry paste.

So yeah, I cheated and I kind of don’t regret it at all.


Mussels are one of my favorite meals. Eating them is an event – a snacktivity!

Sure, looking at the little mollusks at the seafood shop, they can seem a little intimidating. But they’re really friendly and totally laid back. I promise.

The truth is,  I made a deliciously spicy pot of mussels with a velvety coconut sauce. And it was super easy.

Do you want to do this? (And cheat a little bit?) Let’s do it.


Thai Red Curry Mussels
– 1 kg of mussels, scrubbed and debearded
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 medium yellow onion, diced
– 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh ginger
– 2-3 tablespoons red curry paste (depending on how much spice you like)
– 1 small red pepper/capsicum, diced
– 1 small green pepper/capsicum, diced
– 1 carrot, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
– 1 cup of coconut milk (I used light coconut milk)
– 1/2 – 3/4 cup of vegetable broth

In a large pot with a lid, heat olive oil over a medium high heat. Cook onions for 2 minutes before adding the garlic and ginger. Cook for 3 more minutes until garlic and ginger are fragrant and the onions are soft. Add the curry paste and cook for two minutes, stirring frequently and adding a little water if the pan is dry.

Add diced capsicum and carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Pour in coconut milk and vegetable broth. (Use however much vegetable broth you’d like here. I used about 3/4 of a cup – it was just enough to make it soup-like, without making it too thin.) Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover – cooking for another 5 minutes.

Add mussels and cover again. After about 3-4 minutes, give the mussels a stir – some should be beginning to open. Cover again and cook for another 3-5 minutes. By now the steam should have opened all the mussels. If any mussels are still closed, discard them.


I served these over soba noodles, but you could serve them over rice or with some nice toasted bread – what ever gets you excited.


Notes on dealing with mussels:
– Make sure you rinse and scrub your mussels well. You want them super clean because the shells will be mingling with your broth.
– Once you’ve scrubbed your mussels, discard any that have cracks in them or remain open after you handle them. (They should slowly close if you shake them around a bit – that means they are healthy and good to go.)
– Again, if any do not open after 10 minutes of steaming. Toss those too.

Bon Appetit-inspired Food Lover’s Cleanse

I could talk about all that cheese, chocolate and wine I consumed over the holidays. But why dwell?

Inspired by Bon Appetit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse – I’m kicking of 2012 heathy-style.

This is not a diet. Diet is an ugly word. This is a food lover’s cleanse. You know, for people who like food and the way good food makes them feel.

When I came across this 2-week cleanse I was pretty excited by some of the recipes, but I thought I’d try making my own version. I’ll incorporate the main guidelines from Bon Appetit’s Cleanse but add in other meals I’ve been meaning to try and put a summer twist to some of their recipes.

Truth be told, healthy food excites me. Flavorful healthy food, that is. Maybe it’s the warm Sydney weather, but I’m pretty stoked to kick off 2 weeks of ultra-good-for-you eating.

You ready? (They still allow you chocolate, a couple of glasses of wine, and the occasional piece of goat cheese.) We can totally do this. Let’s do it!

The rules, a brief summary (read more about it and portion sizes here):

– Minimize dairy – but natural yogurt is all good.
– Take a break from refined grains, bread and pasta. Whole grains are encouraged (whaddup quinoa?)
– Eat at least one salad a day, and make sure vegetables and fruits take up half your plate at most meals.
– Make at least one day a week meat free. I’ll be going for plant proteins and fish for the majority of the time.
– Drink lots of water. (But you knew that.)
– Limit caffeine – if you have to have coffee cap it at 1 cup.
– Use natural sweeteners, like honey and agave.
– Limit of 4 alcoholic drinks in a week.

Not too bad, right?

First up is a Thai salad adapted from Theresa Cutter’s recipe at

Raw Thai Salad
(makes 1 large serving)

– 1 Lebanese cucumber
– 1 carrot
– Handful of rocket/arugula or baby spinach
– 1/2 red capsicum/pepper, finely sliced
– 2 spring onions, chopped
– 6 snow peas, sliced in half lengthwise
– 1/2 red chili, finely sliced (optional)
– Handful Thai basil,chopped
– Handful mint leaves, chopped
– 1/4-1/3 cup of diced firm tofu

– Juice from 2 limes
– 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
– 1 teaspoon fresh grated fresh ginger
– 2 teaspoons soy sauce
– 1 teaspoon honey
– 1 teaspoon all-natural peanut butter

Use a  vegetable peeler or mandolin to slice all the vegetables into long noodle like strips. Combine all the ingredients then place into a large serving bowl.
Mix together the dressing and pour over the salad just before eating.

If you’re doing a cleanse for the new year and blogging about it, shoot me a comment. I’d love to see what you’re doing.