Sunday, January 8, 2012

Creamy Broccoli Dal & Sweet Potato Bake

This weekend I made two recipes from Vegan Yum Yum.
First I tried the Creamy Broccoli Dal (recipe below), which the book describes as a cross between cream of broccoli soup and red lentil dal. I had no idea how this would turn out, but it was amazing. It combines the best tastes of both soups--the comfort food goodness of creamy broccoli soup and the Indian spices of lentil dal. I loved it, as did my omnivore husband. Bonus: it was very quick and easy to make.

First I chopped up some broccoli in my food processor. The recipe calls for the whole stalk. Note to cut off two inches from the bottom and peel the rest of the stalk to remove the tough skin.

Next I sauteed chopped onion, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and split red lentils in some olive oil.
I added the chopped broccoli and some water and let it cook for 20 minutes. Then I added soy milk and the spice mix and immediately devoured.

Creamy Broccoli Dal
from Vegan Yum Yum
Serves 2
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used 1 and stirred often)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red lentils (Masoor Dal), rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups whole broccoli stalks, peeled and finely chopped (I used one whole stalk including florets)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (or salt to taste)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, but I used it)

  1. Heat the oil on medium-high to high in a pot. Add the cumin and mustard seeds, chopped onion, and lentils and saute, stirring often, until the seeds start to pop and the lentil color starts to lighten. You may need to add some cooking spray to prevent everything from sticking, or just stir constantly like I did.
  2. Add the broccoli, water, and salt. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli and lentils are tender and the soup is thick.
  3. Add the soy milk, soy sauce, lemon juice, and spices. Turn down the heat so it doesn't boil, and let it cook for a few minutes until everything is warm and the flavors have meshed. Stir well and adjust the seasonings if needed (I added a bit more salt), and serve immediately. 

I also made the Creamy Sweet Potato Bake. This recipe calls for the Vegan Yum Yum Hurry Up Alfredo Sauce. I made this sauce last year in the Creamy Broccoli Mushroom Bake and wasn't happy about having to use margarine. So this time, I made the Happy Herbivore Instant Vegan Alfredo Sauce but adjusted the spices so they were similar to the Vegan Yum Yum version. It was delicious! Full of flavor and rich and creamy, this sauce would be great over steamed veggies or even, as the HH cookbook suggests, with crusty bread as an appetizer.

Once the alfredo is made, it's just a matter of cooking the veggies and pasta and then cooking everything in a casserole dish. The final dish was very good but...a.) The recipe called for cooking the sweet potatoes until tender but not falling apart. I under-cooked mine, thinking they would cook more in the oven. They didn't, so some of my potatoes were a little hard. b.) While delicious on its own, the alfredo sauce's taste gets a little lost in the final dish. Plus, it deconstructed a little in the baking process and balled into little tofu bits, making it look a little ricotta cheese like. Maybe the more fattening Vegan Yum Yum alfredo would hold up better in the oven. Despite these things though, it was a pretty decent winter casserole. I'd make it again with some tweaks.

Creamy Sweet Potato Bake
from Vegan Yum Yum
Makes a whole casserole dish--you'll have leftovers.

Alfredo Sauce
I combined the spices in the Vegan Yum Yum Alfredo and the basic recipe of the  Happy Herbivore Instant Vegan Alfredo.
  • 12 ounces Mori-Nu tofu
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast 
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder 
  • 1 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • few dashes ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour (Note: I totally forgot to add the whole wheat flour. Maybe if I would have, it would have held up better) 
  1. Puree all the sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
  2. Cook 2 cups ziti, penne, or fusilli pasta according to package directions. 
  3. Steam 1 head of chopped kale. (The recipe called for cooking it in the pasta cooking water in the last minute, but since the kale would lose nutrients in the boiled water, I steamed it.) 
  4. Chop up about 1.5 pounds of sweet potato (1 large potato or two small ones, or more if you want more potato) into bite-sized cubes and either microwave or boil them until very tender. Note that they won't become more tender in the oven.
  5. Combine the cooked pasta, kale, sweet potato, and alfredo sauce in a big bowl. Pour into a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray, top with some breadcrumbs if you want, and bake for 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. 


  1. I used to looove cream of broccoli soup; I've got to try that recipe. my boyfriend doesn't like red lentils (?!?!) but I have a feeling this would change his mind.
    Great idea to sub in HH sauce...I love Lauren's book but some of the recipes are a little too high in calories for my liking. The first photo of the dish is gorgeous! Hard to do with a casserole!

  2. YUM YUM! Love the sound of that creamy broccoli dal soup!!

  3. That soup sounds great, definitely very easy! I actually bought VYY a while back and will need to go back to it. I did make the (full-fat) sweet potato bake and remember it being very rich for a side dish.

  4. I love that soup. I've done it at least 5 times already and I never get sick of it.

    It's true Vegan Yum Yum uses a lot of margarine... I might try the Happy Herbivore sauce sometime : no oil, no margarine, no cashews, that sounds good to me for a low-fat sauce!