Tuscan Style Farro Soup

Farro Bean Soup

This is a big batch of soup so you’re going to need a big pot. A stock pot works great. Make sure it fits in the Sun Oven before you start. You can remove the leveling tray if necessary, just be sure to set a trivet or rack on the floor of the cooking chamber to allow for air flow.

Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Allrecipes.com)


3 cups previously cooked cannellini or other white beans with their cooking liquid

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 carrots, finely chopped

3 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 clover garlic, minced

1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup farro

1 can (15-ounces) diced tomatoes

1 bunch kale stemmed and chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Additional olive oil for serving

freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Drain the beans; reserving the cooking liquid. Place 1 1/2 cups of the beans with 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth; set aside.

In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and leek. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened; about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme and red pepper flakes then the tomato paste. Add the farro, diced tomatoes, remaining beans, and kale. Add enough water to the bean cooking liquid to measure 3 cups. Pour the water into the pot and stir to combine all the ingredients. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the farro is tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Ladle into bowls. Drizzle each serving with olive oil and sprinkle with cheese.

Makes 6 servings.


More British Fare

Curried Potatoes

These pies were inspired in part by two foods commonly found in Great Britain, pasties and samosas, and in part by the lone frozen pie crust left in my freezer from the holidays.

Sun Oven Curry Pies


1/2 cup previously prepared Curried Mushy Peas

1 purchased frozen pie crust, defrosted

1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 teaspoon coconut oil or vegetable oil

2 teaspoons curry powder



Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Line a baking rack or pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Put the potatoes and carrots in a medium sized pot. Add the oil and curry powder, tossing to coat. Season with salt. Add 1 tablespoon water, cover, and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the vegetables are soft but not mushy, about 40 minutes. Remove pot from Sun Oven; leave oven out. Cut the pie crust in half and roll one half into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spoon about two tablespoons of the potato mixture on one side of the rectangle leaving 1/2 inch of crust around the three edges. Spoon half of the split peas on top of the potatoes. Fold the crust over the vegetables and crimp the three sides to seal. Use a small, sharp knife to cut a couple of slits in the top of the crust. Use a wide spatula to transfer the pie to the baking rack or pan. Repeat with the remaining ingredients (the may be some potato mixture left over). Bake the pies in the Sun Oven until golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 2 servings.

Samosa Pies


Spiced up British Fare

New Sun Oven

While most Americans know that the British consume a lot of fish and chips many have never heard of mushy peas. They have a consistency similar to mashed potatoes and every fish and chip shop in Great Britain has them on the menu. Traditionally they are cooked with marrow fat and no other seasoning. My version uses olive oil and curry powder. At a recent fish fry we hosted they were the surprise hit of the evening.

Curried Mushy Peas


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 cup dried split peas, picked over, rinsed, and drained

2 2/3 cups water



Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the curry powder. Remove from heat. Stir in the split peas. Add the water, cover, and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the peas are very soft and the water has been absorbed. Season to taste with salt. Serve as a side dish or over rice or quinoa (shockingly good) as a main course.

Makes 4 servings.


Basic Sun Baked Quinoa


When quinoa first started showing up on menus and in supermarkets a few years ago my expectations were high. I thought it could be a healthier choice than rice and couscous in many of my favorite dishes. But once I tasted it my hopes were shattered. I was disappointed with both the mushy texture and the unappealing flavor. I  tried mixing it with steel cut oats to give my morning cereal a protein boost, but even at a ratio of 3 parts oats for 1 part quinoa I still wasn’t sold. However, with half a pound of the stuff still sitting in my pantry I had to find some way to make use of it. Baking in Sun Oven does wonders for improving the texture and rinsing it a few times more than you’d think necessary helps with the taste. Once cooked, it can be used in salads or in place of rice.

Sun Oven Quinoa

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Beyond Salmon)


1 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed and drained

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup boiling water


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Have ready two sheets of aluminum foil and a dark dish towel. Put the drained quinoa in a pot. Sprinkle with salt. Pour the boiling water over the quinoa and quickly cover tightly with the foil. Cover with the dish towel and a lid. Transfer to the Sun Oven and cook until the water has been absorbed, about 40 minutes. Remove from the Sun Oven. Remove the foil, replace the dish towel over the pot cover with the lid. Let rest 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Sneaky Mac and Cheese with Tofu

Tofu Mac and Cheese

It’s the end of the year and time for something new. This week I’ll be experimenting with some of my least favorite foods. Not the ones I can’t stand. The ones I don’t really care for. The ones I’ll politely eat if I’m a guest but rarely, if ever, prepare at home. Among those foods, tofu used to at the top of my list. Over the past year I’ve learned to use it as an hidden ingredient and it’s lost its most disliked food status, but it still makes the top 10.

Silken Tofu Mac and Cheese

(adapted for the Sun Oven from grouprecipes.com)


9 ounces (dry) pasta, cooked according to the package directions until al dente, drained

12 ounces cauliflower florets, steamed or microwaved until soft

1 carton (12-ounces) silken tofu

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup milk, hot

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons dried bread crumbs


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Coat a baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.

Put the steamed cauliflower, ricotta, and Parmesan cheese in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the Cheddar, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper and process again until smooth. Put the cooked pasta in a large bowl and pour the sauce over it. Stir well than spread the mixture out in the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the pasta. Cover the pan with another baking pan or lid and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until bubbly and golden on top. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Rice, Lentils, and Onions Lebanese Style


This Lebanese style lentil dish is best served straight out of the Sun Oven and despite the fact that it has more active steps than most solar recipes, if you get it going early it will be ready in time for lunch.

Rice and Lentils with Caramelized Onions (Mujadara)


1 cup brown dry brown lentils, picked over and rinsed

1/4 cup olive oil

3 onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cinnamon stick

3/4 cup uncooked basmati rice

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Put the lentils in a medium pot and cover with water by 1 inch. In a separate pot, toss the onions with the olive oil to coat. Season with salt. Stack the pots with the one with the onions on top, cover the top pot, and transfer both to the Sun Oven. Cook until the lentils are soft but non falling apart and the onions are golden, 45 minutes to 1 hour for the lentils, up to 2 hours for the onions. While the onions and lentils are cooking toast the cumin seeds in a small pan over medium-high heat, stirring often, until fragrant; about 30 seconds. Set aside. When the lentils are ready, bring the pot in, leaving to onions to cook more. Drain the lentils reserving the cooking liquid; set aside. When the onions are golden bring them inside; leave the Sun Oven out. Use tongs to transfer 1/2 of the cooked onions to a bowl; set aside. Add enough water to the reserved lentil cooking liquid to measure 2 cups and bring it to a boil in a sauce pan. Heat the pot with the remaining onions over medium heat. Stir the cumin, cayenne, toasted cumin seeds, and cinnamon stick into the onions. Stir the rice into the onion mixture. Add the hot water and cooking liquid mixture. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes (do not over cook). Stir in the lentils and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Top with reserved onions. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.



Vegetarian Chickpea Curry Pie

Curry Chickpea Pie

The easiest way to make this savory, vegetarian pie is in a skillet, but make sure yours fits in the Sun Oven. If not, bake it in a pie tin.

Curried Chickpea Pot Pie


2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, finely chopped

8 ounces white mushroom, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups frozen chopped mixed vegetables

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup vegetable broth

1 tablespoon mild curry powder

1 1/2 cups previously cooked chickpeas or 1 (15-ounce) can drained and rinsed

salt to taste

1 refrigerated pie crust


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.


Creamy Red Lentil Soup

Apple Lenti Soup

This soup has a sublime, velvety texture. The sliced apple garnish is a nice touch, but the soup’s just as good without.

Curried Red Lentil Soup with Apples

(adapted for the Sun Oven from WW Veg Power!)


2 Granny Smith apples

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon mild curry powder

3 cups water

1 cup vegetable broth

1 1/4 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed

sour cream for serving


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Peel, halve, core, and chop one apple. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped apple, onion, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry powder. Add the water, broth, and lentils. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the vegetables are soft and the lentils are very tender, about 1 hour. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.

Halve, core, peel, and thinly slice the remaining apple. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each serving with apple slices and sour cream.

Makes 4 servings.

Solar Energy to Go

Energy Squares

These home made bars are perfect when you need a burst of energy.

Sun Baked Energy Squares

(adapted for the Sun Oven from WW Veg Power!)

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

1/2 cup dried figs, chopped

1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped

2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

2 tablespoons dried cherries

2 tablespoons dried papaya, chopped

2 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch cinnamon

pinch cardamon


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Line a 4 x 8-inch loaf pan with tin foil extending over the rim. Spray the foil with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and flaxseeds. Let soak for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together the figs, almonds, coconut flakes, dried cherries, dried papaya, chocolate chips, flour, maple syrup, baking powder, cinnamon, and cardamom. Add almond milk and flaxseed mixture. Stir until moistened. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Cover with a dark kitchen towel and bake until firm to the touch, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Use tin foil to lift from the pan. Cut into 8 squares. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Solar Simmered Classic Tomato Sauce

Simple Sauce

There’s probably not a household in Italy where this sauce does not appear on the table at least once a week. There also is probably not a single household where the home cook bothers to measure the ingredients; and you shouldn’t either. The quantities below are only a guideline. Just chop up equal amounts of onion, carrot, and celery to measure about 1 cup total and lightly sauté them in the oil. The choice of tomatoes is, on the other hand, essential to a successful outcome. Choose high quality, preferably imported, canned or boxed tomatoes that contain no other ingredients – no salt, no citric acid, no seasonings. My preferred brand is Pomì.

Classic Italian Tomato Sauce


1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup onion, finely chopped

1/3 cup carrot, finely chopped

1/3 cup celery, finely chopped

2 cups strained or chopped Imported tomatoes

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté briefly. Add the carrot and celery and sauté for about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, and sugar. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the flavors have blended and the oil has separated from the sauce, about 1 hour. Serve over pasta.


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