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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
 Vegetarian Cooking with Zel

Father's Day Is a Time to Pamper Dad to the Max!

Consider making Dad his favorite breakfast. Start with a cup of coffee or whatever his beverage preference is. Bring him his newspaper and offer to help him with tasks he may have planned for the day.

At dinner time, pull out all the stops. Make a gorgeous tossed salad with his favorite variety of lettuces, choices of veggies, and dressing. Add his favorite steamed veggies to the meal, and, of course, pitch in to clean up, help with the dishes, and setting the table.

For this special occasion, we've chosen a very unique dish called Koshari. The dish might also be spelled koshary or even kushary. What makes this so special is the unique and hearty combination of ingredients and exceptional flavor of the topping sauce that comes with a little touch of spice--perfect for Dads who adore foods with a spicy edge.

Koshari is a unique and hearty entrée that may have originated in India, undergone some transformation, and finally traveled to Egypt, where it is now considered the national dish. Diners enjoy it in restaurants, at home, and at food stands on the streets. Because Koshari requires preparing its components in separate pans, it may be easier to cook some of the foods a day ahead, such as the rice, lentils, and the sauce, and store them in heat-proof glass pans. That way, they can easily be quickly warmed before assembling the final dish.

The finished recipe is not only delightfully eye-appealing but it is also irresistibly delicious and just right for a Father's Day celebration. Yes, admittedly, it's definitely a step away from the long-standing barbecue tradition, but it will certainly not be a disappointment. Once Dad sinks his choppers into this tasty treasure, he'll be one happy Daddy.



    Onion Topping
    2 large onions, sliced
    2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

    Tomato Sauce
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped
    4 garlic cloves, sliced
    1 (28-ounce/794g) can whole tomatoes
    3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

    Koshari Base
    1/2-pound (226g) pasta (elbow macaroni or penne style pasta)
    2/3 cup (160 ml) lentils
    2/3 cup (160 ml) brown rice (I like the short grain type)
    1 (15-ounce/424g) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

  1. TO MAKE THE ONION TOPPING, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (Gas Mark 5) and have ready a large, rimmed baking sheet. Slice the onions and heap them onto the center of the baking dish. Roast the onions for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the onions from the oven and stir them. Heap them into the center and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until they become very soft.
  3. Remove the onions and pour the balsamic vinegar over them and add salt to taste. Toss well to distribute the seasonings and spread the onions over the pan. Roast for another 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool.
  4. TO MAKE THE TOMATO SAUCE, while the onions are roasting, put the olive oil, onions, and garlic in a large, deep skillet. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off heat and add the juice from the tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes with your hands and add the pieces to the pan.
  5. Add the cumin, coriander, pepper, cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg, and cloves. Turn on the heat and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook and stir for 20 to 30 minutes to infuse the flavors. Set aside.
  6. TO MAKE THE KOSHARI BASE, you'll need separate saucepans to cook the pasta, lentils, and rice. For the pasta, fill a 6-quart (6 liter) saucepan 2/3 full with water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions. When the pasta is soft, drain it thoroughly in a colander, and transfer the pasta to a large serving platter.
  7. Meanwhile, cook the lentils and rice. Put the lentils in a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan with about 4 cups (1 liter) of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until just softened, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add small amounts of water if needed. When softened, drain excess water, and spoon the lentils over the pasta on the platter.
  8. Put the rice in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan with 2 cups (.5 liter) of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes or until the rice is soft. Open the can of garbanzos, drain and rinse them, and set aside.
  9. TO ASSEMBLE THE DISH, spoon the cooked and drained lentils, over the pasta. Spoon the cooked rice over the lentils, and top with the garbanzo beans.
  10. Spoon the tomato sauce over the top, leaving a border of the koshari ingredients. The final topping is the caramelized onions attractively spread over top of the sauce. Serve with a smile.

Note: If not serving immediately and you need to keep the dish warm, preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. (Gas Mark 1/4). Make sure the platter you use is not plastic and is oven-safe at this low temperature. You can keep the ready-to-serve dish warm for up to 45 minutes.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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