Soup

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Soup (Vegan)

It is officially winter! So cold outside! Nothing feels more satisfying in this weather than something warm and filling and hearty. This recipe hits the spot! I roasted up some sweet red bell peppers with some garlic  and onion and blended it together with cashews. It is sweet, garlicky, rich from the cashews, and still very healthy! It’s everything you want on a cold winter’s day. I served this with some multigrain toast drizzled with olive oil. Yum!  You can roast the veggies in advance, and then preparing the soup should take you only about 10-15 minutes. I can’t wait for you to try it!

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Spiced Creamy Tomato Coconut Soup with Homemade Croutons (Vegan + GF)

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I was on vacation with my family in Florida and we went to this restaurant that had many vegan and vegetarian options. One of the dishes I loved was this 5 spice tomato coconut soup. It was creamy, it was delicious, and just lightly spiced. I decided to make my own take on this using only fresh vine-ripened tomato, coconut milk, carrots, onion and celery. It did not miss the mark. the soup was scrumptious and I will definitely be making it again!

Health Stuff

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that protects our bodies from harmful free-radicals. It is also a great source of biotin, which helps grow healthy skin and hair, in addition to a list of other vitamins  and nutrients. Coconut milk is a rich creamy liquid made from the meat of mature coconuts, which makes it a great vegan alternative to cream for thickening soups. It is also rich in Vitamins C E and B to help boost immunity. Though high in fat, they do not contain any trans fatty acids that clog arteries.

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You will need:

  • 6 vine ripened tomatoes, or any ripe tomato of your choice
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 Spices: Cumin powder, turmeric, peppercorns, nutmeg, red chili powder (or red chili flakes)
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 can coconut milk

To  Prepare:

  1. The first step in the preparation is to blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for just 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then immediately submerge them in a bath of ice cold water. This will help to peel all of the skins off.DSC_0394
  2. Next, in a pot, heat a few tsps of oil (I used olive oil and a dash of coconut oil)
  3. Sauté the onion, carrot, and celery for 2-3 minutes
  4. Add a bay leaf,  1 tsp of cumin powder, a half a tsp of turmeric, 3-5 whole peppercorns and a dash of nutmeg, and chili powder to taste. Grate in about 1/2 tsp of ginger and stir.
  5. Add Tomatoes and mix well
  6. Allow the tomatoes to reduce a bit before adding salt and water
  7. Simmer on medium for 10-15 minutes
  8. Turn off flame, remove bay leaf and  add cold water and a half a can of coconut milk
  9. Blend the mixture in a blender, or use immersion blender.
  10. If the soup is too thin, return it to the flame and simmer.
  11. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg as needed.
  12. Garnish with toasted coconut, pumpkin seeds and croutons.

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To Make the Croutons:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Cut 5 slices of a bread of your choice into cubes. (I used whole grain)
  3. Drizzle a heathy amount of olive oil
  4. Season well with italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper
  5. Mix together and lay flat on a cookie sheet.
  6. Bake in the oven from 10-15 minutes until it is crunchy

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Servings: 4 bowls of soup

Chilled Gazpacho

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The weather lately has been so unpredictable lately! A few days ago it was 90 degrees, and then yesterday it went down to 50! Well now that Memorial Day is coming up looks like the weather is just going to get hotter and hotter.

Gazpacho was one of the first recipes I learned how to make when I first started cooking. It is so cooling and refreshing, and packed with veggies so it’s good for you! Here’s my recipe for a pretty simple Gazpacho soup.

You Will Need:

  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 2  medium-large vine-ripened tomatoes or beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 medium English cucumber, seeds removed and peeled
  • 2 cloves of garlic (3 if you want it really sharp)
  • 2-3 slices of any kind of bread. I used multigrain.
  • 2.5- 3 cups of tomato juice or v-8
  • A splash of white vinegar
  • Olive oil and salt and pepper to taste
  • A blender ( I used  a Ninja)

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To Prepare:

  1. Chop up the veggies into large chunks
  2. Fill the blender half way with veggies and start pulsing 2-3 times.
  3. You might need to stir. Break in pieces of the bread.
  4. Add tomato juice and pulse until all the vegetables have been incorporated and are grainy, but not pureed.
  5. Season with vinegar,salt and pepper. Adjust as needed.
  6. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors set in.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil before serving and enjoy!

Tip: When pulsing, add the garlic and onions last so that they don’t overpower the dish. Different people have different preferences and add as much as you can handle. This also tastes great topped with avocado. But what doesn’t taste great with avocado!

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Moroccan Lentil Soup

I’m on a cooking at home roll! I’ve been trying really hard to make protein-rich lunches and dinner without spending money to go eat out. I love lentils, but I’m a bit tired of having it the same old way, so I decided to make Moroccan Lentil Soup. Spicy, tomato-ey, and  hearty. Moroccan lentil soup is full of flavor and really fills you up. For this dish I used two different types of lentils, red split lentils, or Masoor dal, and I also used brown lentils, which are more traditionally used in Middle Eastern recipes. Brown lentils hold their shape after being cooked, but if you’d like softer lentils, feel free to soak them. The recipe takes no more than 20 mins cooking time and maybe 10 minutes of prep. And it keeps incredibly well. I thoroughly enjoyed this as my next-day lunch :). Hope you enjoy!

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  • 1/4 cup red lentils, rinsed well
  • 1/4 cup brown lentils, rinsed well
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1-2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika or smoked paprika
  • 4 San Marzano whole tomatoes, crushed
  • Parsley or cilantro to garnish
  • Optional: Cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. In a pot, heat a few tbsps of  olive oil and add onions, garlic, celery and carrots
  2. Let the vegetables saute until the carrots rae slightly softened and the onions are transcluscent
  3. Crush 4 tomatoes into the vegetable mixture
  4. Now add the spices, 1 tsp of cumin powder, a tablespoon of paprika (Some people don’t like the flavor of smoked paprika, so feel free to use regular paprika), Salt, pepper and optional pinchcayenne.
  5. Stir the mixture and let the spices toast, but not burn.
  6. Crush in 4 whole San Marzano tomatoes from the can. I  had some left over and I love the sweetness of these tomatoes, so this is what I prefer to use, but you are welcome to use fresh or canned tomatoes of your choice.
  7. Add lentils and 1 cup of vegetable broth.
  8. Add water to cover and reduce heat to medium
  9. Simmer on medium for 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are softened
  10. Garnish with flat leaf parsely or cilantro and serve!

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Mexican Black Bean Soup

It was cold and gloomy outside and I was in the mood for something quick, healthy, but somewhat exciting.  This protein-packed black bean soup is creamy, hearty and slightly spicy.  I remember having this soup when we lived in Mexico, topped with white onion and crema. Since it is blended, it tastes really creamy and is pretty filling for lunch I topped it with  chopped white onions, greek yogurt, cilantro and a squirt of lime.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of black beans, thoroughly rinsed (You can definitely use cooked dry beans, it’s way healthier!)
  • Veg bullion cube or 2 cans vegetable broth
  • 1 small-medium sized onion, chopped (roughly is fine)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • oregano
  • cumin seeds
  • Half a jalapeño pepper
  • Toppings: Greek yogurt, chopped onion, cilantro, lime

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pot. Add 1 tsp of cumin seeds.
  2. When cumin seeds start to sputter add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until transluscent
  3. Add half a jalapeño pepper, sliced and a pinch of dried oregano
  4. Add the beans to the pot, with 1 bullion cube and add water.
  5. Simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Keep adding water and stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from flame and blend. I blended using an immersion blender.
  7. Garnish and serve!

Serves: 2

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Cauliflower-White Bean Soup and Sautéed Broccolini with Garlic

This recipe is quick, easy and so healthy.  Because of the beans, the soup tastes rich and creamy, without having to add any cream at all. It is packed with fiber and protein from the white kidney beans and  a ton of vitamins and minerals from the cauliflower.  Broccolini, or baby broccoli, is softer and slightly sweeter than regular broccoli. It is a cruciferous vegetable rich in Vitamins C, A and K. It was sautéed with a liberal quantity of garlic.  I hope you enjoy this light, but delicious meal!

You will need:

  • Half a cauliflower, washed and cut into pieces
  • 1 can white kidney or canellini beans rinsed thoroughly
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Fresh thyme
  • Paprika

To Prepare:

1. Sautee shallot and onion  in  1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive  oil until translucent

2. Add cauliflower and white beans and sauté for a couple minutes

3. Add water and salt and bring to boil.

4. Add the leaves of 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme.

5.  Reduce to simmer until cauliflower is soft.

6. Remove from flame and blend the soup with immersion blender or regular blender. Add water or simmer until you achieve the desired consistency. Careful  to cool the soup enough before you blend it.

7. Season with paprika and pepper and serve with whole wheat bread.

Sautéed Broccolini with Garlic

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 You will need:

  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced.

To prepare:

1. Super simple: sauté garlic in  2 tbsp of olive oil, and when the garlic is translucent add the broccolini and sauté for another minute or so.

2. Add a little bit of salt and water, cover and reduce the flame for a few minutes.

3. Remove from the pan when the broccolini is a bright green color and water has evaporated. You do not want to overcook this.

4. Crack some pepper over the top, and optionally shave some parmesan cheese and serve!

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This recipe serves 2

Classic Butternut Squash Soup and Broiled Bok Choy with Garlic

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Cooking with friends is fun! On a dreary, snowy day my friend Sruti came over and we enjoyed a nice afternoon indoors of cooking. I had some butternut squash at home, and she had a big bag of bok choy, so I decided to pair the two with a classic creamy butternut squash soup and roasted bok choy. The result was light, yummy, and a perfect meal for a cold winter day. This recipe is super simple and should serve around 4 people comfortably. I hope you enjoy!

Health Stuff: 

Butternut Squash: Butternut squash is best in the winter/fall. Although sweet and a source of carbs, it is a low-calorie food, and contains tons of antioxidant properties and nutrients such as Vitamin A and C and fiber.

Bok Choy: Bok Choy is a green member of the cabbage family, found often in asian dishes.  Bok choy  is great for weight loss as it has no sugars or fats and is rich in vitamins A, C and K. Can’t go wrong with this one.

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For the Soup…

You Will Need: 

  • 2 packages of peeled and cubed butternut squash, or 2  medium butternut squashes if you are cutting them yourself
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped (depending on the size, mine were smallish)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bullion cube or low sodium vegetable broth
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

To Prepare: 

1. Prep the veggies.  (10 minutes max)

2. In a pot, heat a few tbsps of extra virgin olive oil. Sauté the onion and carrots until the onions are translucent.

3. Add the butternut squash and sauté for a few additional minutes.

4. Add water and the bullion cube and  reduce the heat, allow the soup to simmer for around 10 minutes.

5. Once the veggies are softened, remove the pot from the flame and let it cool briefly.

6. Blend in a blender or using an immersion blender (my preference)

7. Add water as necessary and a few splashes of milk. 2 percent should be fine as the butternut squash is creamy as it is.

8. Grate some nutmeg over the top, season with salt and pepper to taste.

9. Eat! Cooking time should be around 20 minutes.

For the Bok Choy…

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This broiled bok choy recipe is super simple and fast and makes a great side dish. I was looking for a non-asian interpretation of bok choy, and this one does the trick! The leaves end up getting nice and crunchy, and the bok choy itself is crisp, yet tender. It has a great texture and flavor combination. Eat immediately, though, it does not taste good soggy.

You Will Need:

  • Baby bok choy
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

To Prepare: 

1. Depending on the size of the bok choy, halve or quarter the individual bok choy pieces, leaving the stem on so that  it stays together.

2. Rinse and submerge the veggies in water for a few minutes allowing any sediment to sink to the bottom.

3. Once the bok choy is cleaned, drain and dry them

4. Thinly slice around 5 or so cloves of garlic

5. Toss the bok choy with olive oil, salt and garlic and lay flat on a foil tray or baking sheet

6. Preheat the oven to 400° , or use the broil setting

7. Bake until you see the leaves crisp up, around 5 minutes.

8. Drizzle with some lemon juice and season with pepper

Serve this meal with some rustic bread or whole wheat toast drizzled with olive oil.

DSC_7833Thanks Sruti for a wonderful afternoon!