Tag Archives: Soups

Mediterranean Grain Soup

Mediterranean in May

 I make a lot of soups, especially in Spring, Fall and Winter when the outside temperatures are cooler. There is something about sipping warm, soothing soup with some croutons or crusty bread, that is so appealing. Summertime too there are other soups,like Gazpacho which are refreshing.

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Typically, my soups tend to be loaded with vegetables and beans or lentils. This one too has a lot of vegetables but for a change it uses Wheat Berries. Like Farro, wheat berries come from a variety of wheat, the only difference being farro is grown in warmer climates and wheat berries in the colder climate regions.

This recipe is adapted from the Vegetarian Times Cooks Mediterranean book. Also known as Zuppa di farro, this soup is a specialty of Apulia in Southern Italy. Filled with herbs, wheat berries and an assortment of vegetables, it is a delicious and a soothing soup for a cold day, and even on a warm, spring day.

I adapted the original recipe to make 1/4 the quantity prescribed. Makes about 3-4 servings.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup wheat berries
2 cups water
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small zucchini, diced
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 yellow pepper, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small potato, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp fresh Italian Parsley
1 tbsp fresh basil
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp fresh or dried thyme
pinch of saffron
salt and fresh ground pepper

Soak the wheat berries for two hours or overnight. When ready to cook, rinse and cover with double the amount of water. To cut amount of time necessary to cook the wheat berries, I decided to pressure cook them. If cooking stove top, bring to a boil and cook on medium low flame for an hour or so, adding water as needed till the wheat berries are cooked and soften.

In a separate pan, add olive oil, onions, garlic, peppers, zucchini, carrots and celery. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occassionally.  Add wheat berries, basil, bay leaf, parsley, thyme and saffron and bring to a boil. Reduce flame and let simmer uncovered until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Season with salt and fresh ground pepper, garnish with basil and parsley and serve warm with bread or croutons.

Cauliflower, Kale, and Chickpea Curry Pot

I love one-pot meals, and coming across this blog and recipe, I was all for trying it out. Considering, I had all the ingredients, it was a no brainer.

cauli_kale_chickpe2Ingredients:

1 small cauliflower, washed, trimmed and cut into florets
4 tomatoes, crushed
1 cup chickpeas, soaked for 24 hours and steamed
1 onion, chopped
1-2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno, minced (de-seeded if you prefer)
1 in piece of ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 cups chopped Tuscan or Lacinato kale
1 tbsp curry powder
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
lemon juice (optional)
cilantro or parsley to garnish
1-2 bay leaves
1-2 tbsp coconut oil

Soak chickpeas for 16-24 hours. Rinse and steam with double the quantity water, in a pressure cooker. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large pan or dutch oven. Add bay leaves, onions, garlic, jalapeno and ginger and fry till lightly brown about 5-7 minutes. Add potatoes and cauliflower and continue to fry for 1-2 minutes.

Meanwhile, process tomatoes in a blender and add to the pot. Add steamed chickpeas. Season with  curry powder, salt and fresh ground pepper and mix well. Add 1-2 cups broth or water, and  bring to a boil. Reduce flame and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.

cauli_kale_chickpeAdd chopped kale and continue to cook for another 5-6 minutes. Adjust seasoning as desired, garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve warm with rice or bread.

Black-eyed Peas and Greens with Navrattan Spices to start the New Year

Happy New Year!

The southern tradition of cooking black-eyed peas and greens for luck and prosperity dates back to the Civil War era. The last few years, I have been enjoying following this tradition by trying a new recipe to cook black-eyed peas and greens.

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Following a west meets east, I decided to use a blend of 9 different spices in this year’s recipe.

Ingredients:

1 cup dry black-eyed peas
2-3 celery stalks, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut
1 onion, chopped
4 Roma tomatoes
1/2 bunch kale chopped
1 jalapeno, cut
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 in piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1-2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 anise star
1 small cinnamon stick
5 cloves
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
2-3 cardamon seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
dash of turmeric
1-2 tbsp coconut oil
cilantro to garnish
juice of lemon

Soak black-eyed peas for 12-16 hours. Rinse and cover with twice the amount of water and cook in a pressure cooker. If you skip this step, you just need to simmer for longer time period later on.

In a large pan, add coconut oil and dry spices and lightly cook for a minute. Add ginger, garlic, jalapeno and onion and continue to cook till the onion becomes translucent. Add carrots and celery and fry for a minute.

Blend tomatoes in a blender and add the juices to the pan. Add two cups water and bring to a boil. Add cooked black-eyed peas and continue to cook on medium low for about 30 minutes.

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Add kale and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes. Drizzle some lemon juice and garnish with cilantro and serve warm with rice or bread.

Thai Flavored, Sprouted Moth Bean and Vegetable Soup

I made this one up as I went, but you can’t really go wrong with beans or lentils or vegetables for that matter!

A few months ago, while walking through the streets of Boulder Pearl Street Mall, I came across a Savory Spice store. The aroma emanating from the store was intoxicating. The store shelves were lined with spices from around the world. The owner assured me that all the spices were freshly ground at his facility and  that I would have no problem with TSA, if I wanted to carry some spices in my carry-on baggage.

Despite his assurance, I decided to be conservative and only purchased a Thai Red Curry Powder and  dry Cilantro leaves bottle. Fresh cilantro can be found in abundance all year long, although this was the first time I came across dry cilantro in a bottle.

mb3Ingredients:

2/3 cup moth or haricot beans
1 carrot chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1 lemon grass stalk chopped
1/2 turnip chopped
2 green onions chopped
1 cup chopped green beans
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
salt to taste
1 tbsp red curry powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes in oil (optional)
3-4 cups of broth or water
1 cup coconut milk
some lemon juice (optional)

Soak dry moth beans in 2-3 times water for 8-10 hours. Rinse and dry using kitchen napkins. Let sit for 2-3 days to allow the beans to sprout. Note: it is not necessary to make this soup with sprouted beans, you can use non sprouted beans. Also note, if moisture is present it is easy for fungi and bacteria to form on the beans.

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To  a large pan add moth beans, chopped green beans, carrot, turnip, lemon grass, green onions, basil and water(or broth), coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce flame and let simmer. Season with salt, and red curry powder and continue to simmer for 1-2 hours. Add red pepper flakes in oil and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes.

mb2JPGDrizzle some lemon juice and enjoy warm with some bread!

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Spicy Quinoa Chili

I had originally planned to make chili a few weeks ago for Chili Night. I ended up not attending that event. Since then, I have been waiting for an opportunity to make chili. This is an old, well tried and tested recipe. I decided to make it with a slight twist.

Vegetarian ChilliIngredients:

1 cup dry red kidney beans
1/4 cup Quinoa
1 Zucchini, chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Jalapeno (or two if can handle it) minced
1/2 Yellow Onion chopped
2 large tomatoes chopped
1-2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 tbsp oil
3-4 cups broth or water
salt to taste

Soak the kidney beans in some water for 8-10 hours. I typically soak them overnight for 20-24 hrs. I usually like to steam mine in a pressure cooker. You can replace with canned beans instead if you prefer. Set aside.

IMG_3252In a large pan or dutch oven, heat oil. Add chopped onion, minced jalapeno, and garlic and lightly fry for 1-2 minutes. Add chopped zucchini, bell pepper and tomato and continue frying. Season with salt, cumin and paprika.

chili1JPGFry lightly for 5-6 minutes. Add kidney beans, and 1-2 cups water and bring to a boil. I usually add the steamed kidney beans along with the water used for steaming.

StuffedEggplant1Reduce flame and simmer for about 2 hours on medium low flame. Rinse and cook Quinoa in about 1/2 cup or more water until cooked. Add to dutch oven and continue cooking for another 30-40 minutes.

Vegetarian ChilliServe warm with some sour cream, pickled jalapeno, avocado and salsa. I usually like to pack some in a thermos for a hearty office day lunch.

Enjoy!

chili2See Also

Vegetarian Chili
French Lentil Chili
Red Kidney Bean and Quinoa Soup

Creamy Tomato and Basil Soup

Fall is the time I love to try new soup recipes.  And tomato soup is by far my most favorite soup.  I loved the Creamy Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup from A. Soup. A Week.

If you like tomato soup, here’s an alternate one…

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Ingredients:

10-12  Roma Tomatoes or use canned
1 large yellow onion
3-4 garlic cloves
3/4 cup cream
2 blended Roma tomato
2-3 tbsp fresh (chopped) or dry basil
salt and fresh ground pepper
a dash of smoked paprika
a few red pepper flakes (optional)
1-2 tbsp olive oil

If using fresh Roma tomatoes, bring a large pan of water to boil. Add rinsed Roma tomatoes for about ten minutes till you can see the skin starting to peel. Remove tomatoes and set aside.

In a large pan or dutch oven, heat the oil. Add chopped onion and garlic and fry till golden. Season with salt, fresh ground pepper, dash of smoked paprika, peeled tomatoes and 3 cups of broth or water. Bring to a boil, reduce flame and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes.

Remove. Cool. Blend with immersion blender. Add 3/4 to 1 cup cream. Season with smoked paprika or red pepper flakes and fresh or dry basil. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

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Serve warm, with some bread!

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup with Kale and Lentils

Chill is in the air. The last few days, the Polar Vortex dipped low, bringing an early freeze to the Mid Atlantic and the South. Some parts of the country even saw some snow.  It is way too early for snow!

While salads are refreshing during the hot summer months, come fall and winter, I love to try new soup recipes.

rvlk3During such chilly weather, I like to turn on the oven to bake cakes, muffins, bread or roast my vegetables. Nicely warms up the house a degree or two as well. Not to mention the aroma that fills the house.

There are plenty of root vegetables out there in fall. You can pretty much mix in your favorite root vegetables to make this soup.

Ingredients:

1 Turnip cut into rings or 1 inch pieces
2 carrots, sliced into rings
3-4 small golden beets, sliced into rings
1 Daikon (winter radish) sliced into rings
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch green onions, cut into 1in pieces
2 cups chopped kale
2/3 cup brown lentils
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp curry powder
juice of one lemon
a few red pepper flakes
salt and fresh ground pepper
fresh or dry cilantro
6 cups broth or water

If using dry lentils, soak for 6-8 hours or overnight.

rvlk1Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Toss all vegetables except kale, with some olive oil, salt and fresh ground black pepper. Lay out on baking sheets and bake for 30 minutes.

Transfer to a dutch oven, or large soup dish. Rinse and add lentils, spices, 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce flame and let simmer for an hour. Add kale and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes till kale wilts.

rvlk2Drizzle lemon juice, season with cilantro and red pepper flakes and serve warm!

Croutons or crusty bread on the side wont do harm 🙂

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