Posts Tagged 'Vegetarian Soup Recipes'

Green Grape and Marcona Almond Gazpacho

I’m up to my eyeballs in Thai recipes that I’m testing for this month’s gourmet club meeting, but I realized today that I haven’t posted a word about last month’s amazing Spanish-themed meeting.  We had a terrific meal!  I was on appetizer duty and so much of the Spanish recipe content out there centers around tapas, so I had lots to choose from.  My final choices were Tomato-Rubbed Bread with Manchego Cheese (the favorite!), Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Shrimp Salad (soooo good), and the one recipe I actually managed to photograph: Green Grape and Marcona Almond Gazpacho.  I’ve made tomato and cucumber-based gazpacho before, and this one was so different.  It’s creamy, fruity, nutty, and easily made ahead – perfect for entertaining outside in the summer.  Here’s the recipe:

Green Grape and Marcona Almond Gazpacho
Makes about 8 cups

Ingredients:
1 large garlic clove
2 1/2 large seedless cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice (5 cups), plus 1/4 cup finely diced peeled cucumber, for garnish
1 1/4 cups whole green grapes, plus 1/4 cup diced grapes, for garnish
3/4 cup Marcona almonds
3 cups crustless 1/2-inch dice of good white bread
4 scallions, white and tender green parts, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 cup packed watercress leaves
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:
In a small saucepan of boiling water, cook the garlic clove for 10 minutes; drain.

In a blender, working in batches, puree the garlic with the 5 cups of diced cucumber, the 1 1/4 cups of whole green grapes, 1/2 cup of the almonds and the bread cubes, scallions, watercress, water, olive oil, and sherry vinegar until very smooth. Transfer the soup to a large pitcher and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

To serve, chop the remaining 1/4 cup of almonds.  Stir the gazpacho, then pour it into shallow bowls.  Garnish the soups with the finely diced cucumber and grapes and the chopped almonds and serve.

Make ahead: The gazpacho can be refrigerated overnight.

Source: FoodandWine.com

My notes:

  • I left out the watercress because my grocery store didn’t have any.
  • I was able to find Marcona almonds at Costco.  I had to buy more than I needed (of course!), but they’re incredibly delicious and made a great snack.
  • If you go to Costco for the almonds, you might at well get English cucumbers while you’re there as well.  You can get three for the price you would typically pay for two at a regular grocery store.

Green Grape and Marcona Almond Gazpacho

I would say this soup is best suited for adventurous eaters since it’s served cold and the flavors are a bit unexpected.  Visually, one might think avocado or peas, but the flavor is definitely a combination of fruit and nuts.  We all agreed that there was almost a pear flavor (despite the fact that the recipe didn’t contain any pears), which was, I think, a combination of the cucumber and the grapes.  The almonds stood out wonderfully in the flavor profile, and they also gave the soup its creamy texture.  This gazpacho would be a fantastic, light first course for an outdoor dinner party or would make a great addition to any Spanish-themed menu.

Recipe links: Tomato-Rubbed Bread with Serrano Ham (I substituted Manchego), Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Shrimp Salad, and Green Grape and Marcona Almond Gazpacho

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Lentil Vegetable Soup

When my friend had surgery a few weeks ago, I wanted to bring him some food to make his life a bit easier in the following days.  It seems, though, like so many deliverable foods tend to be heavy: lasagnas, casseroles, enchiladas, etc.  (I should probably mention that my friend’s enchiladas are better than mine anyway!)  I was looking for something healthy and portable that would stand up to reheating; Ina Garten’s Lentil Vegetable Soup was a perfect solution.  It requires considerable prep work and the cooking time is long, but the results are absolutely delicious.  Plus, I nearly filled two 12-cup storage containers with soup when all was said and done. That’s plenty for eating, freezing, or sharing.

Full disclosure: Depending on your knife skills and how quickly you move in the kitchen, you should probably count on 15 – 30 minutes of vegetable prep work before you can really get rolling with the recipe.  I’m going to write about the process as if the vegetables are already ready to go.

To start, I sorted and rinsed 1 pound of green lentils.  (Thank you, Gomez family, for teaching me long ago that this isn’t meant to happen bean by bean!)  The recipe specifically calls for French green lentils; my grocery store had one type of lentil (not French, I’m sure), so I took what I could get.  I put the clean lentils in a large bowl, covered them with boiling water, and let them sit for 15 minutes.  Once the time had passed, I drained the lentils and set them aside.

Meanwhile, I sautéed 4 cups of chopped yellow onions (3 large onions), 4 cups of chopped leeks (white part only – I needed 3 large leeks), and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic with 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of coarse salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, and 1 teaspoon of ground cumin in a large stockpot over medium heat.  After 20 minutes, I added 3 cups of medium-diced celery (8 stalks) and 3 cups of medium-diced carrots (6 carrots) and sautéed everything for 10 more minutes.  Next, I added 3 quarts of chicken stock (three 32-ounce containers), 1/4 cup of tomato paste, and the drained lentils.  I covered the pot, brought the soup to a boil, then reduced the heat and simmered the soup uncovered for an hour.  (At this point, the lentils should be cooked through.  Keep simmering if they’re too firm for your taste.)  Once the hour had passed, I seasoned with salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t have to add much) and stirred in 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.  I delivered the soup to my friend with a container of freshly grated Parmesan for sprinkling on top.

Lentil Vegetable Soup

Oh, this soup is yummy.  The cumin and thyme help create a rich flavor profile, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had a soup more hearty and comforting.  I simmered mine for the recommended hour, and the lentils were almost al dente – completely cooked, but not even remotely mushy.  The vegetables were crisp-tender (even after an hour of simmering!), which is so much better than the “boiled to mush” vegetables you find in canned soups.  This soup earned the endorsement of my friend, his father, my husband, and my parents (my dad loves lentil soup, so my mom made it the week after I did); it’s definitely going in the “keeper” pile.

TIPS:  I used my 8.5-quart Dutch oven to make the soup; the pot size was just perfect.  Also, if you’ve never worked with leeks, please read this post; grit isn’t good!

Recipe link: Lentil Vegetable Soup

French Onion Soup

How do I love thee, Pioneer Woman?  Let me count the recipes.

For those of you unfamiliar with Ree Drummond (aka Pioneer Woman), she’s an “accidental country girl” who blogs about life on an Oklahoma ranch with her cowboy husband and four children.  Cooking is one of the central themes of her Web site, and every single thing she makes looks abso-freakin’-lutely delicious.  Every.  Single.  Thing.

I’m a relative latecomer to the Pioneer Woman party, so I haven’t actually made all that many of her recipes yet.  (OK, I’ll admit it.  I’ve only made one.  But that Vanilla Bean Ice Cream might be the most delicious thing to ever come from the marriage of a saucepan and a freezer.  Plus, I just bought her cookbook, so surely more will come!)  I’ve been lucky enough to have things made for me, though.  One of my best memories from last winter was the day my friend Christopher brought all of the ingredients for Pioneer Woman’s French Onion Soup over to the old condo and spoiled Dr. O and I with dinner.  (What friends I have!  I tell you.)  It’s absolutely to die for, and I’m sure the stick of butter and cup of wine have a lot to do with it.

I’ve been meaning to make it for well over a week now, but The Sickness took me down before I could get to it.  Thankfully, my ingredients survived the delay.  I’m not even going to put you through the paces of step-by-step instruction today because nobody does it better than Pioneer Woman herself.  Visit her site to check out the recipe (with a photo for each step!).

French Onion Soup

This soup is just so, so good.  Make it!  It takes some time (about 2 hours total), but most of that is just sitting around waiting for things to happen.  If you can melt butter and slice onions, success is sure to be yours.

One thing, though…  I’m used to using unsalted butter in all of my cooking, and Pioneer Woman uses salted butter in hers.  Plus, she suggests using regular-sodium beef broth with the low-sodium chicken broth; silly goose over here bought all low-sodium.  Due to the combination of unsalted butter and low-sodium broth, I did end up having to add several healthy pinches of kosher salt to my soup to get it to taste the way I wanted it to taste.  So, either go with the salted butter and regular-sodium beef broth or be prepared to season.

Recipe link: French Onion Soup

Tortilla Soup with Black Beans

Is it just me, or is January official “sick time” for a significant percentage of the population?  Dr. O was sick over New Year’s, I’ve had a cold that just won’t let go (officially since the day *after* Dr. O recovered – nice, huh?), and it seems like most of our friends have had some sort of ailment in recent weeks.  Blah.

On those crappy “sick” days, soup just really seems to do the trick.  Chicken noodle is the classic, of course, but I thought it might be fun to try the Tortilla Soup with Black Beans recipe from the January 2009 issue of Everyday Food.  With only 15 minutes of effort required from start to finish, it’s the kind of meal I can handle whether I feel on top of my game or not.

First, I heated 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  I added 4 minced garlic cloves and and 1 teaspoon of chili powder, cooking and stirring the mixture until it was fragrant (1 minute).  Next, I added 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) of diced tomatoes (juice included), 2 cans (15 ounces each) of black beans (rinsed and drained), 1 can (14.5 ounces) of reduced-sodium chicken broth, 1 package (10 ounces) of frozen corn kernels, and 1 cup of water.

I seasoned the soup with salt and pepper, brought it to a boil, and then reduced it to a simmer.  I added 1 cup of crushed tortilla chips and cooked until they were softened (2 minutes).  Finally, I removed the soup from the heat, stirred in 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice, and seasoned again with salt and pepper to taste.  I served the soup with extra crushed chips and lime wedges.

Tortilla Soup with Black Beans

(I really hate this picture.  I seem to be in a bit of a slump with the camera lately, which is why I hope to pick up some photo tips from a friend’s new photography blog.)

We really enjoyed this soup.  It isn’t zippy at all – how can it be in the absence of zippy ingredients? – but it *is* flavorful.  I especially enjoyed the hint of lime, plus you can really taste the “tortilla” flavor from the cooked chips.  Mmm.

This makes a TON of soup.  Dr. O and I had it for dinner one night, we had a friend over and served it with nachos the next day (football day!), and we *still* had soup leftover.  Leftovers sure make life easier, though, so I’m going to count quantity as a “pro” here.

Recipe link: Tortilla Soup with Black Beans

Pureed Carrot Soup

In Dallas, we’re almost getting to the point where a hot cup of soup sounds, well… hot.  When we first moved to Texas, I thought April 1st pool parties were a joke.  Not so much.  I need to sneak this one before we hit “spring but feels like summer.”

The January/February 2008 issue of Everyday Food has a great spread on pureed vegetable soups.  There’s a basic recipe, then they gave you the exact amounts of vegetables you needed to make several variations – broccoli, cauliflower, celery root, etc.  I decided to go with the Pureed Carrot Soup.

I started by peeling 2 pounds of carrots and cutting them into 2-inch chunks.  I also chopped a medium onion.  I heated 2 tablespoons of olive oil in my Dutch oven, added the chopped onion, and stirred it occasionally until softened (about 5 minutes).  I added the carrots, 1 can of reduced-sodium chicken broth, and 4 cups of water.  Next, I upped the heat to high to bring everything to a boil.  Then, I reduced the heat to medium and simmered the soup until the carrots were tender, about 20 minutes.

I’ve been meaning to buy an immersion blender but haven’t gotten around to it, so I used my regular blender to puree the soup in 2 batches.  The trick here is to remove the blender lid and use a kitchen towel to cover the top of the blender; I guess this allows steam to escape and prevents splattering.  After each batch, I transferred the pureed soup to a clean pot and seasoned with salt, pepper, and about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

pureed_carrot_soup.jpg

This was a tasty, healthy soup, though I did end up having to add a decent amount of salt.  It would make a great lunch or first course at dinner.

Recipe link: Pureed Vegetable Soup
(NOTE: The Web site doesn’t actually have the carrot soup, but this link will take you to recipes for pureed beet, broccoli, butternut squash, and mushroom soups.)

Chickpea and Pasta Soup

I know, I know – more soup. 🙂 Dr. O had a dinner appointment the other evening, so I decided to make Chickpea and Pasta Soup from the December 2004 issue of Everyday Food. The recipe only makes 2 servings, so it worked out perfectly – I had a serving for dinner and Dr. O had leftovers for lunch the next day.

This one isn’t posted online, so here are the ingredients:

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14 ounces) reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup elbow pasta
1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

I started by heating the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. I added the garlic and cooked it, stirring frequently, for 90 seconds (recipe says 1 – 2 minutes).

I added the vegetable broth and 1 1/4 cups of water to the saucepan. I raised the heat to high and brought the mixture to a boil. I added the pasta (I’m still using the ditalini from the Bean and Pasta Soup and the Minestrone) and the chickpeas. The recipe says to cook until the pasta is al dente – check the pasta package instructions to see how long this will take. My pasta needed to cook for 9 minutes. I sprinkled the soup with the parsley and Parmesan to finish it.

chickpea_and_pasta_soup.jpg

This is a really tasty soup, and it only took 25 minutes from start to finish. (Most of that was bringing the soup to a boil and waiting for the pasta to cook.) I’ve always liked Italian wedding soup… This reminds me of that, just with chickpeas instead of meatballs.

Minestrone

It’s finally chilly here in Dallas, so I’m on a bit of a soup kick. I made Minestrone from the January/February 2004 issue of Everyday Food for dinner this week. This recipe is a really tasty way to get multiple servings of vegetables in one dish.

I’m apparently on a roll with recipes that haven’t been posted on the Web, so here are the ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion
1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick, and washed well
1 medium carrot, sliced crosswise and 1/4 inch thick
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1/4 small head cabbage, halved lengthwise and shredded
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 can (19 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4 ounces elbow macaroni
Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

I started by heating the olive oil over medium in a large pot. I added the onion, leek, carrot, and garlic, and cooked the mixture (stirring often) for 4 minutes. Next, I added the zucchini, cabbage, and rosemary, and cooked the mixture (stirring constantly) until the vegetables were coated with the olive oil, about 2 minutes.

I added the canned tomatoes (not drained) and 6 cups of water. I brought that to a boil and then reduced the heat to medium to bring everything to a simmer. I seasoned the soup with salt and pepper and cooked it until the vegetables were tender and the soup was slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

I stirred in the beans and the pasta and cooked the soup until the pasta was al dente. Check your package instructions to see how long this will take. I used the ditalini from the Bean and Pasta Soup I made earlier this month, so my cooking time was an extra 10 minutes. I seasoned again with salt and pepper and garnished the soup with grated Parmesan.

minestrone.jpg

This is my new favorite minestrone recipe. This wasn’t a really soup-y soup; it was chock full of yummy (and healthy) ingredients. It was a perfect lunch the next day as well.

TIPS: I had to season this soup with a decent amount of salt to get the flavor I was going for. Typically, I make soup with chicken or vegetable broth, which already has a significant amount of sodium. Since this soup has a water base, seasoning was especially important.

p.s. I’ve suffered a kitchen tragedy that may prevent me from posting any *baked* Christmas goodies this week. I was baking sugar cookies yesterday afternoon when I was startled by some kind of white light explosion from my oven. After that, my oven wouldn’t get above 300 F (the cookies needed to bake at 350, of course), and none of the bottoms browned. The bottom heat source in my oven blew out. Dang it! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s an easy repair.




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