In another round of my second favorite kitchen game*, clean out the fridge roulette, I was lucky enough to come up with a winner! I am sure I am not the only one to do it, but sometimes you buy some vegetables and then kind of forget about them for a week or two. I always feel awful if I don’t rediscover them until after the use it or lose it stage, but luckily I found a kind of wilted bunch of broccoli, a cauliflower that was about to cross to the dark side and some lonely looking carrots.
I like to let my onions get nice and brown (preferably caramelized) in most of my soups, so I diced up the onion and shallot and threw them on first thing. I let them get soft and caramelized while I chopped and washed the rest of the vegetables. I don’t mind my veggie soups having a bit of a bite in them, but if you prefer a softer or more blended soup, you might want to add the carrots with the onions so they get super soft. I added them after the onions were well softened and thought they came out perfectly. Truth be told, I used less stock than usual (3 cups instead of my usual 4) because that what I had left on hand and didn’t feel the need to open or make more. This resulted in a much thicker, almost chowder-like soup, which was delicious and filling.
I topped my soup with a sprinkle of cheddar, freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of dill. After tasting the dill with the soup, I wish I had added some to the main recipe. Next time!
* – my favorite kitchen game is Don’t Cut a Finger While Cutting Onions, but I’m really not all that good at that.
Cauliflower-Broccoli Cheddar Soup
1 large onion, finely diced
1 shallot, finely diced
6+ garlic cloves, minced (I used a whole head)
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large head cauliflower
1 large head broccoli
1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste
In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and shallot and cook until soft and just beginning to brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the cauliflower, broccoli, spices and 3 cups stock. Bring broth to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and reduce to a simmer and cook 10-20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and easily cut, stirring occasionally. The broth will not totally cover the vegetables but don’t worry- stirring will be enough to ensure the cauliflower cooks through.
Using a regular blender or immersion blender, blend the cauliflower mixture until desired consistency is reached. (If you are using a regular blender, you will probably have to do this in batches so pour the blended soup into another large pot as you go. If using an immersion blender, you can blend the soup right in the same pot. Once blended, stir in the cheese and serve.
This soup is phenomenal. It might actually be one of the best things I’ve made recently. And it’s soup-er easy (sorry, just can’t resist a bad pun)! A bit of chopping and boiling and you have a delicious meal. The flavors are just amazing together. Granted paprika, onion and garlic are probably my favorite flavors, but really they were just made to be in this soup together.
The original recipe called for kalamatas. I ran out last week and much to my extreme disappointment, my Costco has decided to stop stocking them… At the rate I go through olives, kalamatas are just too expensive to be bought in any quantity less than Costco-sized bulk. I used green pimento stuffed olives and they were wonderful. Since they are so salty, I made sure to use low-sodium broth and didn’t add in any extra salt. It definitely was not needed.
I absolutely loved this soup. I definitely plan on making it again, hopefully the poor weather keeps up and it will be repeated sooner, rather than later. Even though this soup was great, I might make a few minor changes. I think the paprika could have used another flavor to combine with. I was thinking a bit of cayenne maybe or a squeeze of lemon perhaps or even a little drizzle of balsamic. Just a little addition could add a whole new layer of depth and deliciousness.
3/4 cup roughly salty chopped olives (I used green pimento stuffed olives)
Heat oil a large soup pot over medium high heat. Saute onions in oil until translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add garlic and saute about a minute or so, then mix in the thyme and paprika.
Add the lentils, broth, and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat to medium and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are almost tender. Add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer for another 20 minutes or so, or until lentils are very tender. Add spinach and olives and stir frequently until spinach is wilted and velvetty. Add water or more broth to thin, if necessary.
This stew is the perfect alternative to corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day, especially if you don’t have all day to cook. Slow cooker recipes are great for entertaining a crowd.
Some people put potatoes into their stew, which I think is just a waste of perfectly good potatoes. Stew just cries out for creamy mashed potatoes. I made a delicious horseradish and green onion mash, which was absolutely amazing with the beef and the broth of the stew.
One other note about the onions… I got a new crockpot recently and for whatever reason it does not like cooking onions unless they have already been softened a bit. To make this stew turn out, I sautéed the onions in the same pan I browned the beef in and deglazed it after all that. If your slow cooker isn’t as moody, feel free to skip that step, but it really does help add some extra flavor to the stew.
The result is a great combination of tender beef, wonderfully flavored veggies and the broth is so flavorful I can’t even put it into words. The broth and potatoes I used to sop it up were probably my favorite part.
Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds stew meat,
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Blend)
1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
kosher salt & pepper, to taste
4 large carrots, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
4-8+ cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup frozen peas
kosher salt & pepper, to taste
1 large bay leaf or 2 small
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup rich red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
Place the carrots and peas into the crockpot.
Rinse the meat and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Toss and coat beef with flour, garlic powder, paprika and salt and pepper, to taste. (I recommend using a large bowl or large plastic bag.)
In a large skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add beef and sauté in batches until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Add more butter and oil as needed and make sure not to over crowd the pan. When beef is browned, add to crock pot.
When done browning the beef, add in onion, sauté until softened and starting to brown. Add in garlic and brown until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Use a generous drop of beef stock or wine to deglaze the pan and add everything to the crock pot.
Add the rest of the ingredients (bay leaf, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, broth, wine) to the crock pot. Stir together.
Cook on high for 4-6 hours or 6 to 9 hours on low.
I’ve already shared the amazing caesar salad I had at Il Cane Rosso on my last trip to San Francisco. I finally got around to making the other part of that delicious lunch. It was love at first bite (Slurp? Spoonful?) with this soup. I liked the added chili oil drizzle so much that I stopped by Stonehouse Olive Oil after lunch and promptly bought some chili oil so I could make the soup when I got home. The soup came out so brown that you can barely see the chili oil drizzle on top, but I swear it’s there. I let the vegetables get a little too roasted. They would have been the perfect side dish, nice and crispy, but the extra brown color didn’t help the color of the soup.
This soup is so simple to make. The most involved part is chopping and peeling the butternut squash, which can be easily fixed with pre-cut, but I finally discovered a faster way to peel and chop. The vegetable peeler! Had the skin off in no time and made the whole process much easier. The soup is completely vegan. I added some queso fresco I needed to use up to add a little flavor and texture. Definitely not necessary though.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Chili Oil
1 large butternut squash
2 large yellow onions
6+ garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
chili infused extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°F. With a sharp knife slice both ends off the butternut squash. Remove the skin off the squash.
Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds of both halves. Then cut the squash into cubes and place in a large bowl. Set aside.
After peeling and cutting the ends of the onion, slice into large cubes. Place the onion in the same bowl as the squash. Peel the garlic cloves and place in the bowl.
To the squash, onions, and garlic add the olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper. Mix to evenly coat the vegetables with the herbs.
Pour everything in a roasting pan or baking dish. Place in the oven for 50 minutes to an hour until the squash is very tender.
Place the roasted squash, onions and garlic in the blender. Add 2 cups of the vegetable broth and blend on high until smooth. About one minute.
Pour mixture into a large soup pot over medium heat and add the remaining 3 cups of broth. Stir and heat until combined. Top with 1 teaspoon of chili oil per bowl and crumbled queso fresco. Serve.
The second I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, I knew I was going to make it. Every single ingredient in the original recipe sounded soup-er appealing. My end result ended up being a little different. It may be the sore throat, or the stuffy nose, or the general quasi-illness induced haze I am currently living in, but I set about making this soup and then promptly forgot to include half the ingredients. Oops…
I left out the ginger. I meant to put it in. I even put it out on the counter to peel, but promptly forgot about it until I was ladling it into the bowl. I even dug out my little bottle of toasted sesame oil to drizzle over the top. Neither the ginger, nor sesame oil ended up in the soup, but I was pretty okay with that. I like carrots. I love miso. Throw in some garlic and onions, and I really don’t see how you could go wrong.
One quick note about the Miso, I used Cold Mountain Miso . I can’t find the details on their website, but as far as I can remember all but one of their miso is gluten-free (one is made with barley). I had two different types of miso on hand (I might have a slight miso soup problem), one is Kyoto White Miso and the other is the Light Yellow Miso (Japanese White). I used the Kyoto White to begin with, but I have to say it was super mild, like you could barely taste the miso mild. I had to add the same amount of the yellow miso to get any miso flavor. If in doubt, go with the stronger miso.
4-6 garlic clove, minced (I used double that amount)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup white miso paste, or more to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
5 scallions, very thinly sliced
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, onion and garlic sauté until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add broth. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Puree soup in batches in blender, or all at once with an immersion blender. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso an a half-cup of the soup. Stir the mixture back into the pot of soup. Taste the soup and season with salt, pepper or additional miso to taste.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with a small mound of scallions.
Sometimes I get a bit indecisive when it comes to making certain meals. I try to make a rough meal plan every week mainly to make both shopping and blogging a bit easier on myself, but sometimes I just don’t stick to it. Despite my best efforts to plan ahead, sometimes I just don’t feel like what I had previously planned out. On this week’s plan I had both lentil soup and tomato soup. It’s been super cold here lately, so soup is in high demand. When it came time to make lentil soup for lunch one day, it just seemed kind of blah… I really wanted tomato soup, but it didn’t really seem filling enough. Then I got wonderful idea of putting the two together. I’m quite happy it did. The end result had everything I wanted. It was tomato-y and comforting and filling and hardy all at the same time.
If I had time (aka if I wasn’t starving for lunch at the time) I would have chopped up some more veggies to add to the soup. Carrots would be perfect in this soup. I did throw a couple large handfuls of spinach at the end to add some sort of vegetable and color (hard to see in the picture, but it’s in there). The green onions were a last-minute, impulsive addition and were amazing on top. The soup itself is completely vegan. I decided to add a couple spoonfuls of greek yogurt to stir in for a little extra creaminess, but it’s definitely not necessary.
Red Lentil Tomato Soup
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2-28 ounce cans whole (or diced) tomatoes
2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 large handfuls baby spinach
5 green onions, sliced
greek yogurt/sour cream, optional
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add onion to the pot and cook until soft, 6-7 minutes. Stir in garlic, paprika and cumin. Cook 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add in tomatoes, juices and all. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. If using whole tomatoes: With a handheld/stick blender, blend the tomatoes and onions until mixed, but still slightly chunky.
Bring heat back to medium-high and add in the broth and lentils. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Allow soup to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until lentils are soft and have absorbed some of the liquid.
When lentils are soft, add in baby spinach and stir until slightly wilted.
Put soup in serving bowls, top with green onions and greek yogurt, if desired, and serve.
I got the idea for this soup from Frugal Feeding. Cauliflower, broccoli and leeks are all among my favorite vegetables. I used to be fairly neutral towards cauliflower until I started roasting it. I am fairly certain roasting makes just about anything better. If the soup is looking a little more white than green, that might be due to the fact that some a lot of the broccoli disappeared somewhere after roasting and before entering the soup pot. Roasted broccoli is probably in my top 3 favorite vegetables. It would have been rude not to sample some, and like I said, roasting makes everything better.
I was tempted to try to make this with a melted cheese crouton on top, but since gluten-free bread is so incredibly temperamental, a piece of toast with some Boursin seemed like a much safer bet. Apart from the cheese on the bread, the soup is entirely vegan. I ended up having a lot of soup left over, so I ended up freezing the rest. I’ll report back on how it serves up after defrosting when I get around to eating it.
Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli & Leek Soup
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
5+ garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 head (about 2 pounds) cauliflower, cut into florets
1 large (about 1 pound) bunch broccoli, cut into florets
3 large leeks, cleaned and light green/white part cut in half vertically
1 1/2 liters (6 cups) low-sodium vegetable broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400F/200C. In a large heavy pot heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion when oil is hot. Cook onion until soft and starting to brown. Reduce heat and add in garlic. Allow onion and garlic to continue to brown and caramelize over low heat, stirring occasionally (about every 10 minutes) while you prepare the rest of the soup.
In a large bowl or plastic bag toss cauliflower, broccoli and leeks with remaining olive oil. Place on large rimmed baking sheets (I had to use two) and place in oven for 25 minutes. Turn the vegetables after 15 minutes.
When vegetables are done roasting, transfer to the large pot with the onion. Increase heat to medium-high and add in 1 liter/4 cups of vegetable broth with salt and pepper to taste. Allow soup to come to a low boil and remove from heat. With either a blender or a hand blender, blend the soup until you reach the desired consistency. If the soup is too thick, add in more broth 1 cup at a time.
This is like French Onion Soup, but better. I didn’t think it was possible to top the original, but this does. Balsamic makes everything a bit better. This soup is a little on the sweeter side than traditional onion soup, but the balsamic vinegar and tamari help balance that out. I also thought that the addition of the mustard made the flavor really interesting as well. The other great thing about this recipe is that it is a lot less work and a lot faster than making traditional French Onion Soup. The only thing I didn’t really like was the swiss cheese. It was a little bland. I think Gruyère might be an improvement or a really sharp white cheddar would be even better.
Caramelized Balsamic-Red Onion Soup With Cheese-Topped Croutons Adapted from Serious Eats
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
6 large red onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium gluten free tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 slices of bread (I used a gluten-free baguette from Whole Foods)
3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
Heat a large pot over medium heat for one minute. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, and then add the butter. Once it melts, add the sliced onions and salt, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Add the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and mustard, stir well, and cook for five minutes.
Pour in the broth, and turn the heat to high. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and cook for five minutes. Carefully remove the sheet, and turn on the broiler. Divide the cheese between the slices of bread. Set the sheet under the broiler for however long it takes to melt the cheese, about 30 seconds. Remove the sheet, turn off the heat, and set aside.
Season the soup with black pepper and, if needed, more salt. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a crouton. Serve immediately.
I don’t want to jinx it, but it might actually be Fall here. The entire weekend was below 70/21 degrees, it rained for approximately 7 minutes and, despite the fact that I got stuck out in the rain at Farmers’ Market, it was glorious. I have been waiting for this for at least the last 5 months. Since it is finally fall, I can finally enjoy seasonal meals. Soup is much more enjoyable when you can eat it on a cold, gray day.
I liked this soup because it was so simple to make. Once all the chopping was done the soup basically made itself. If I was to make this soup again, I would definitely amp up the number of leeks. Two pounds of carrots is a lot and they almost completely overpowered the leeks. I used a lot more onion and garlic than the original recipe called for as well, which was a good call. If I hadn’t I think the soup would have been very bland.
2 large leeks (light-green and white parts only), sliced
6 large cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 pounds carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 dried bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup plain greek yogurt
In a 4- to 5-quart saucepan, melt 3 Tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, leeks, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook until softened and light golden-brown, about 10 minutes.
Add the broth, carrots, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and 1/2 cup water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.
When the vegetables are tender, discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. With a regular or a hand blender, purée the soup (work in batches if using a regular blender). Stir in the yogurt. If you prefer a thinner texture, add a little water. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
I desperately want it to be fall. It officially is according to the calendar, but the weather around here is making the reality quite different. I dream of cardigans and tights and flannels and coats and all the things that are completely useless in Southern California but any temperature under 65 degrees automatically warrants wearing. I keep thinking that if I act like it’s fall, it will be fall. That’s where soup comes in. It might be uncomfortably hot still, but I still keep thinking that if I make seasonally appropriate recipes or wear seasonally appropriate clothes, the season will also become appropriate. Unfortunately, this line of thought has resulted in nothing but annoyance and overheating.
Luckily this soup was delicious enough to over look the heat for the 10 minutes it took to eat. I got a hankering for soup over the weekend and saw some lentils in the cupboard crying out to be used up. I opened the fridge and the mushrooms literally threw themselves at me, so I thought it would be rude not to include them as well. I googled around for a bit trying to find a mushroom and lentil soup recipe, but nothing was really leaping out at me. So in typical fashion I chopped up some vegetables, threw them in a pot, minced some garlic, added some spices and broth, added a bit more garlic for good measure, put a lid on it and hoped for the best. I was a bit concerned about the mushrooms getting rubbery (blah), but fortunately they managed to maintain their natural mushroomy consistency and even survived reheating. This soup is basically endlessly adaptable. You could throw in diced tomatoes and their juice for a cup of broth, add some spinach or kale, and just about any other vegetable you could imagine.
Mushroom & Lentil Soup
1 medium onion, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
3-6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Tablespoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1-8 ounce package mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup lentils, green or brown (the bigger ones), well rinsed
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
Prepare and cut up all the vegetables.
In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When heated, add in onion, carrots and garlic and cook until slightly softened and fragrant.
Add in spices and mushrooms and stir to coat. Allow water from mushrooms to cook off slightly and add in lentils and broth.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Allow simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are all cooked and soft.