Posts Tagged soup

Raw Avocado and Cucumber Soup

This is a great soup for this time of year and throughout the Summer – it’s light and refreshing, yet so satisfying because of all those yummy good fats from the avocado.  We can actually get local greenhouse cucumbers at the Market now, which is what inspired me to make this soup.  I think I will be making it a lot once cucumbers hit my CSA.  As the herb selection at the Market grows, I can see many different twists on this soup – fresh mint, maybe tarragon, of course dill would be nice…

In terms of serving size, this recipe will make 2-4 portions, depending on what role it’s playing in your meal.  It could also make a nice salad dressing…

  • 2 ripe avocados, medium-sized
  • 2 small cucumbers
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1 scallion
  • 1 large lime, juiced and zested
  • a pinch to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or chipotle powder, or to taste
  • water, as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • for garnish – chopped tomato, minced red onion and parsley or cilantro, optional

Scoop the flesh from the avocado.  Cut the cucumber into pieces.  Put the avocado, cucumber, garlic, scallion, lime juice, cayenne or chipotle powder, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth, adding small amounts of water as needed to process.  Check texture and add a bit more water if a thinner texture is desired.  Once the texture is how you like it, taste and adjust seasonings.  Garnish with chopped tomato, minced red onion and chopped parsley or cilantro.  Enjoy!

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Country Lentil Stew

This is a homey, hearty stew – perfect for the April showers we’re hoping to get here in Colorado soon! It’s full of chunky vegetables, French lentils, and a touch of tomato and is delicious served over golden turmeric-spiced rice with a side of roasted veggies and maybe some bread and avocado. I like to cut the vegetables into relatively large pieces, which, to me, is what makes it a country-style stew. I start with the usual – onions, garlic, celery, green beans, and carrots, but shallots, celeriac, and lots of chopped kale add more depth, heft, and nutrition. Of course, fresh parsley is a must in any soup broth. You could also add some cabbage at the last minute; just give it a couple minutes to soften up – you don’t want it to get mushy. I currently have a toothache, so turmeric abounds in my cooking because of its anti-inflammatory effects. I’ll take all the anti-cancer benefits too. Red chili flakes add a little kick and will help keep our sinuses healthy as the weather shifts between Winter and Spring. You can pack a lot of health benefits into this one pot, huh? And, it tastes fabulous, so enjoy!

  • 1 1/2 cups French lentils, soaked overnight with a strip of kombu*
  • 2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks of celery, thickly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, cut in thick rounds
  • 1 large celeriac (celery root), peeled and cut into chunks**
  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes, plus more later to taste
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups jarred diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice, soaked overnight
  • 2 cups water (more if you didn’t soak the rice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

*Kombu is a mineral-rich (including iodine) sea vegetable. When soaked/cooked with beans, it helps to soften the beans and makes them more digestible. It often dissolves with cooking, but I typically remove any big pieces that have not dissolved, as they are unpalatable to certain members of my family…

** Celeriac, aka celery root, looks like a knobby, dirty turnip. Use a pairing knife to peel off the skin and you’ll find white, tender flesh. Now that all of my CSA potatoes are gone, I like to use it anywhere I would otherwise use a potato.

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat, then add the olive oil and onion and saute until the onion is translucent and just starting to brown. Add the shallot and saute until it starts to brown. Make a space in the middle of the pot, add a little more oil, then add the garlic and saute for about a minute or until it’s very fragrant. Stir in the celery, carrots, and celeriac, and green beans, cover and saute a few minutes more. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the lentils and add them to the soup pot. Add the water and onion and garlic powders, turmeric, and chili flakes. Turn the heat to high, and bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the lentils are very soft. While the soup is cooking, drain and rinse the rice and put it into a medium pot with the water, salt, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Once the lentils are soft, add the kale, tomatoes, salt (start with 1 teaspoon), pepper, and simmer on low for another 10 minutes or so. Season to taste and serve over rice. Enjoy!

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Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

This is one of my very favorite soups. I love it because it’s delicious and also because some of the ingredients can be sourced locally here in Colorado throughout the year, even in the middle of Winter. I buy a couple huge bags of shallots in the Fall and use them throughout the Winter until scallions come in the Spring.  I can’t think of a time when local mushrooms aren’t available here.  Osage Gardens is in Colorado, so that takes care of the dill.  And, more and more farms are making greens available through the Winter (Jay Hill is the one that comes to mind). Oh, and Colorado is known for storage onions, so you might notice the local sign on those through the year, as well.

Soon after I started making this soup, I added some leftover homefried potatoes with french lentils and chard and now I always make that a part of the soup too.  It’s great with or without, but with the addition of the lentils and greens, it becomes a complete meal.  And, of course, potatoes are aplenty in Colorado.   

  • 1 cup wild rice, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 large shallot cloves, minced
  • 1 medium leek, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cremini or button mushrooms, chopped
  • 5-6 large shiitake mushrooms, destemmed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (or 1 Tablespoon or more fresh)
  • 2 Tablespoons mirin or white wine, optional
  • 8-10 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons low-sodium tamari
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1/2 large bunch chard, destemmed and chopped
  • Optional: 1 large red potato, diced
  • Optional:  2-3 cups cooked French lentils*

Saute the onions in olive oil until slightly browned.  Add shallots and cook until slightly browned.  Add keeks and celery and cook until soft.  Push all the cooked veggies to the outside of the pan, add a bit more oil, and add the carrots and mushrooms until they break down and begin to stick to the pan.  Add wine (or water if preferred) to deglaze the pan, and mix everything together.  Add the wild rice.  Crush the dill with your fingers and stir into the vegetable-rice mixture.  Add water and tamari and season with about a teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil, then simmer 30-45 minutes (or put in the crockpot for 3-4 hours on high or overnight/for the day on low).  Add parsley to the pot about 15-20 minutes before you serve the soup.  If you are including potatoes and/or greens and/or cooked lentils, add them here too.   Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and enjoy! 

*If you don’t have cooked French lentils, you can add 1 cup uncooked, rinsed French lentils with the water, but wait to add the tamari and salt until the end!  You may also want to skip the wine, but in such a small amount, it’s probably fine to leave it in.

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Creamy Tomato Soup – Quick!

Tomato soup is an old standby for us.  The addition of white beans makes it more nutritious and hardy, and definitely a comfort food.  It’s really quick and easy and everyone in my family loves it.  I always try to have cooked white beans (or garbanzo beans) in my freezer , in case I need dinner in a pinch.  I defrost them in warm water, just enough to get them out of the jar, and then it only takes about five or ten minutes to make the soup and get it on the table.   Optimally, you can your own tomatoes; for the rest of us, see the note about tomato options in the dead of Winter. 

You can make this soup as simple or as elaborate as you like; the possibilities are practically endless.  We like to stir in some quinoa and then serve it with a salad.  The kids (and my husband), of course, love to have it with grilled cheese.  Check out the modification below for Creamy Mac and Cheese made with leftover soup, or you can use it as a pasta sauce, etc, etc, etc. 

First, I’ll list the basic recipe, then a few of the many options for embellishing…

  • 3 cups cooked white beans (or garbanzo beans)
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes, grilled, roasted, or sauteed (strained tomatoes are much more concentrated, so bring it down to about a cup)*
  • 1/2-1 cup vegetable broth, or more for the consistency you like (water will work too, but you’ll need to add extra seasoning, or maybe a little white wine)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

* When tomatoes aren’t in season, canned or jarred tomatoes are a good option.  I have to confess that, while I generally avoid canned food, I do really like Muir Glen Organic Roasted Tomatoes and sometimes use them in this (and other) soup.  Another good option, though, is Bionaturae jarred strained tomatoes (also organic) with the addition of a little smoked sea salt. 

Throw it all in the blender and process until smooth.  Heat (the red from the tomatoes will brighten up quite a bit as you heat it) and enjoy!

Optional embellishments:

  • sauteed or roasted onions or shallots
  • sauteed or roasted garlic
  • sauteed greens
  • Italian herbs (basil, oregano, etc)
  • pesto
  • chopped parsley
  • Mexican seasoning
  • cooked whole grains
  • white wine
  • Parmesan cheese

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

  • Cooked pasta
  • leftover tomato soup
  • grated cheese

Heat the soup in a saucepan.  Add pasta.  Stir in the cheese and heat until melted.  Top with a little extra cheese.  I like to add some greens, but my kids are purists, so I usually put them on the side instead.

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Recipe Inauguration – Yellow Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

I often think about this blog and all of the things I would like to do with it, but I’ve gotten a little intimidated by all the great blogs out there with their beautiful photography and well-written entries.  One of my many hopes for the New Year, though, is that I will accept what I can do when I can do it, rather than waiting until I can do something perfectly and completely, which pretty much translates to never.  So, in that spirit, here I go – I’ll just start by sharing recipes and thoughts and see where it takes me. 

While the Farmers’ Market is closed, I’ve been thinking that I want to take my friend Millicent’s suggestion and start “Soup Night”, which basically means I’ll make an organic, vegetarian, and (hopefully) delicious soup and bread one night each week and sell it to whomever wants a quick, simple, and healthy meal for their family, made by someone else.  As I’ve thought about it more and more, I’ve been inspired to think about some new soup recipes.  So I started looking through a few of my favorite cookbooks for ideas and here is one of the recipes I came across.  

This is from a cookbook called Greens Glorious Greens by Johnna Albi and Catherine Walthers.  I had never heard of it or its authors, but I received it as a gift from my friend Kris and I really love it for the simplicity and yumminess of its recipes…

For some reason, I very rarely follow a recipe exactly – I came pretty close with this one, but I did make a couple changes.  Instead of the basil, thyme and celery seed, I used Herbs de Provence (probably just a half teaspoon) and, since I was making sweet potato fries and wasn’t sure when I would make the soup, I cut some in a dice (without peeling) and roasted them until just slightly soft and then saved them for the recipe.  Also, I highly recommend the umeboshi plum vinegar over the red wine as seasoning…

  • olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, washed and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow split peas, rinsed well
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and diced sweet potato
  • 4 cups spinach leaves, washed, drained, and chopped
  • salt to taste
  • umeboshi plum vinegar (or red wine) to taste, optional

Heat oil and sauté onion until it begins to brown, then add the leek and continue to sauté until it softens.  Add cumin and cook another minute. 

Add carrots, celery, split peas, water, bay leaves, and herbs.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer on medium low, partially covered for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until split peas are totally soft.  (I did mine in a crockpot, plan on 4-5 hours to slow cook the soup).  Add the sweet potato and cook for another 20 minutes, or until soft.  Add spinach and cook until it reaches your desired texture.  Season to taste with salt and umeboshi plum vinegar or wine.   

Enjoy!  Until next time…be well and happy

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