soup and such

simple, fresh vegetarian soups and more


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Egg muffins (easy meal prep)

Here is another easy meal prep idea, this time for breakfast! I have been making these little egg muffins for a few weeks now. I bake them on Sunday and keep them in the fridge for quick breakfasts before work. They reheat easily in the microwave. I’m calling them egg muffins, but they are really like crust-less little quiches or even miniature omelettes.

egg bites in tray

Here is one very important tip for this recipe: use a non-stick silicone muffin tray to bake these! They pop out so easily that way and you can avoid having to spend days scrubbing your regular muffin tin.

The ingredient list is flexible so you can customize according to what veggies you love in your omelets or quiches. I love the combo of spinach, bell pepper, red onion, tomato, and cheese.

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Just add some slices of avocado and/or tomato or even a piece of toast to make it a meal. I always top my egg muffins with a couple dashes of hot sauce.

Give this recipe a try if you are looking for a twist on your usual breakfast routine!

 

Make-ahead egg muffins
Barely adapted from Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

9 large eggs
3 tablespoons chopped bell pepper (color of your choice)
3 tablespoons chopped red onion
3 tablespoons chopped tomato
3 tablespoons frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
4 tablespoons shredded cheese of your choice
¼ teaspoon salt
black pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly spray your muffin tin with cooking spray. Make sure to use a nonstick silicon muffin tray, if possible! Put the muffin tin on a cookie sheet for stability.

2. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl and add the salt + pepper.

3. Mix in the veggies and cheese.

4. Using a small ladle, fill the muffin tins. You’ll have enough for 12 muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the muffins are set to your liking. They will puff up as they cook and then deflate a little as they cool. Enjoy!

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Greek chickpea salads (easy meal prep)

Happy 2019!

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Here is a great make-ahead salad idea perfect for weekday lunches. I take lunch with me almost every day during the work week and I am always looking for inspiration in that area. Heating up last night’s dinner can get old. I love bringing this salad because I know I have something fresh, crunchy, and delicious to eat when it’s time for lunch.

When I have the time, I make the special lemon-oregano dressing as described. It’s bright and tangy. I sometimes bring it in a small container and pour it on the salad right before eating (this feels very fancy). I also sometimes dress the salad ahead of time and that works just fine too. When I’m short on time, I use a little bit of bottled salad dressing and garnish with some fresh chopped oregano to get that delicious Greek salad flavor.

 

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Greek chickpea salads with lemon-oregano dressing
Recipe is from Skinnytaste

The amounts listed here will make enough salad and dressing for four lunches. Note: I listed 2 cans of chickpeas for four salads because I like a lot of chickpeas in this to fill me up. The original recipe calls for only 1 can of chickpeas for four salads. You choose what is best for you! 

 

Ingredients:

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups chopped cucumber
1 orange, yellow, or red bell pepper, thinly sliced
20 (or more) olives, halved or whole
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced or chopped
1 cup feta cheese crumbles

For the dressing:

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
Juice of 2 fresh lemons
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
black pepper, to taste
1. Mix all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk, or shake everything up in a small jar with a tight lid. Divide up the dressing into four small containers.

2. Assemble the salads, dividing up the components among four lunch containers. Arrange the different components in a way that looks beautiful and delicious to you. If you have it, sprinkle a little Za’atar seasoning on each salad to add a little extra flavor. Store the salads and dressing portions in the fridge until you need them!


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Broccoli and “veggie chicken” stir fry

Here is a tasty stir fry dish to add to your weeknight repertoire. We make this recipe with Quorn Chik’n, a veggie protein product we love (find it in the frozen section of your grocery store).

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Instead of Quorn Chik’n, you could substitute tofu or another protein, or just use another vegetable and keep it an all-veggie dish. Use what you like to eat. The sauce is the star here! It’s a simple mix of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic-chili paste and Sriracha, with some fresh minced ginger and garlic to really punch it up.

A few weeks ago, I made this dish on a Sunday afternoon and packed it up to bring for lunches during the week. This worked out great! It’s easy to reheat, tasty, and filling.

 

broc and quorn stir fry

 

Broccoli and “veggie chicken” stir fry 

Recipe from Vegan Fire & Spice by Robin Robertson

Ingredients:

4 cups broccoli florets
1 bag Quorn Chik’n tenders (or substitute tofu, drained, pressed dry, and cut into small cubes)
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon (or more) Sriracha
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon garlic-chili paste
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon oil (I use either extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil – both work fine)
¼ cup minced scallions
Rice of your choice (brown, jasmine, whatever you like!)

 

Method:

In a small bowl, whisk together the hoisin, Sriracha, soy sauce, water, garlic, and chili-paste. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the Quorn pieces (or tofu) until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Add the broccoli florets and continue to cook for a few more minutes until the broccoli turns bright green and is a little tender. Then, add the ginger and scallions and cook for another 30 seconds. Pour on the sauce mixture and stir everything up. Cook until the sauce thickens and the flavors have all blended together, about 5 minutes.

Serve over your favorite rice, and enjoy!

 

 

 

 


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simple leek + potato soup

Gray skies, rainy days. A pot of homemade soup simmering away on the stove feels really good right now. I wanted to make a leek and potato soup earlier in the week and finally decided on Alton Brown’s recipe after some light online research. It seemed like a good outline to follow. I opted to use regular 2% milk instead of the heavy cream and buttermilk combination he calls for, just because that’s what I had on hand and I wanted it to be really simple.

In general, I’m on the hunt for a brand of unsweetened plant milk (almond, coconut, etc.) that would be a reliable substitute anytime a soup recipe calls for milk or cream. I’ve found a really delicious brand of almond milk that I buy for my tea, but it’s just a little too sweet for some of my savory recipes. Any good suggestions?

This is a tasty soup and I recommend it! I’ve heard some people say they shy away from recipes with leeks because they are such a pain to clean. Not true, in my opinion! I took photos this time as I cleaned and chopped the leeks for this soup. I don’t remember where I learned how to do this, but I’ve always found it the easiest way to deal with leeks. I’ll post the step-by-step method below, after the recipe.

Stay warm everyone, and make a pot of soup.

 

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Simple leek and potato soup
Lightly adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe

3 tablespoons butter
4-5 medium leeks, trimmed and sliced
3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups veggie stock
1 cup milk of your choice
Salt + pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Melt the butter in your favorite soup pot. Add the sliced leeks and a heavy pinch of salt. Cook on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, then lower the heat to medium-low and cook for another 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the leeks to be tender and delicious looking.

2. Add the potatoes and veggie stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer (covered) until the potatoes are soft (probably another 30 minutes or a little longer).

3. Puree the soup. I used my trusty immersion blender, but you could also do it in batches in a regular blender.

4. Put the pureed soup back on the stove, keeping warm, and stir in the milk. You will also want to add a good amount of black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Enjoy!

 

How to clean leeks:

1. Place the leek on your cutting board. Trim off the root end and the dark green top parts.

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2. Cut the leek in half, then cut each half down the middle lengthwise.

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3. Chop the leek into little half moons slices.

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4. Transfer the sliced leek into a big bowl and fill with cold water. Using your hands, swish the leek around in the bowl, separating the slices as you go. All the dirt from the leeks will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Now you have clean leek slices! I just take the slices right out of the bowl of water (don’t drain it) and add to the soup pot. Easy peasy.

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Pinto bean tostadas with lime cabbage slaw

Here is a fantastic summer meal idea when it’s too hot to turn on the oven and you’re tired of eating salad for dinner. That was us last week! So we decided to make some tostadas with an improvised cabbage slaw and a doctored-up can of pinto beans. Everything turned out really tasty, so I figured I’d share the idea here. These aren’t really strict recipes, just ideas for inspiration in your own kitchen during these dog days of summer. Tostadas are fun – make some tonight!

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Pinto bean tostadas with lime cabbage slaw
These aren’t hard-and-fast recipes here, just quick and easy ideas to get you started! Adjust ingredients, amounts, and seasonings to your liking. Make the slaw first and let it marinate in the fridge while you get the rest of the meal prepared.

For the beans:
2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
About ¼ cup of diced red onion
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and/or coriander
Juice from 1-2 limes
Fresh chopped cilantro

Heat a small amount of olive oil in the bottom of a saucepan or deep skillet. Add onions and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add drained and rinsed pinto beans and whatever spices you are using. Stir everything around and let cook for a few minutes. Add lime juice. Smash up the beans a bit (I use a potato masher) to desired texture. Turn off heat and stir in cilantro, more lime juice (if you want), and adjust seasonings (sometime I add a little salt, depending on how salty the beans were to begin with).

For the lime cabbage slaw:

About 4 cups very thinly sliced cabbage
3-4 scallions or green onions, sliced
Big handful of chopped fresh cilantro
Good pinch of salt
Pinch of oregano
Juice of 2-3 limes

Place the cabbage in a bowl and add a good pinch of salt. Toss to combine. Then, add the rest of the ingredients and stir it all up. Let the slaw sit for about 30 minutes so the flavors combine and the cabbage softens a bit. Add as much lime juice as you want/need – we like ours very lime-y!

Assemble the tostadas:

On each tostada shell, spread some of the pinto bean mixture. Top with whatever toppings you’d like: chopped tomatoes, avocado slices, shredded cheese, grilled veggies, chopped onion, etc. Add your favorite salsa or hot sauce then pile on the cabbage slaw! I always add a little extra fresh chopped cilantro to mine. Enjoy!


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Tabouli Salad

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Is it Tabbouleh or Tabouli? I’ve seen both spellings. Either way, it’s a pretty tasty salad that’s super easy to make! I always like to pick up a container of Tabouli at the Middle Eastern bakery in our neighborhood where we buy our favorite dill hummus and spinach pies. I also sometimes buy Cedar’s brand Tabouli at the grocery store, which is surprisingly very good.

A few weeks ago, I was scrounging around the pantry looking for things to use up. I had forgotten about this bag of bulgur that I bought to make our new favorite veggie chili recipe. Anyway, the back of the bag had a recipe for Tabouli so I figured I’d try it! It was a delicious experiment.

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Fair warning: there is a not-insignificant amount of veggie and herb chopping involved in making this salad. But the end result is worth your effort, promise! And buy more parsley than you think you’ll need. I ended up using the entire bunch to just barely get the 1 cup needed. Also, and this is for a certain Soup and Such reader who tends to go rogue on recipes, don’t skimp on the chopped fresh mint! It adds such a nice flavor to the salad.

Obviously hummus is a perfect companion here, but I ended up making this favorite white bean dip to eat with the Tabouli. A super refreshing and light summer lunch! If you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out!

~Inge

Tabouli Salad

½ cup bulgur (also called cracked wheat; if you can’t find it, substitute couscous or quinoa)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped cucumbers
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt + pepper to taste

Method:

1. Rinse bulgur in a strainer or sieve a few times, until the water runs clear. Place rinsed bulgur in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 30 minutes.

2. Chop all the veggies and herbs and combine with the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt + pepper in a bowl.

3. Drain the bulgur. You want to try and get as much water out of the bulgur as possible. What I did was use my (clean!) hands and squeezed handfuls of the bulgur to get any remaining water out. Then, add the bulgur to the rest of the ingredients and toss to combine. Let the salad sit in the fridge for about an hour before you eat it. You want to give it some time so the flavors can mingle and marry. Enjoy!


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Gougères with cumin

gougeres plated

This is a favorite recipe around here. We especially love it as a special appetizer or snack, like for Oscar night or New Year’s Eve. These little guys go very well with a glass or two of bubbly. But lately we’ve been making a batch of these to have as a light dinner, served alongside a big green salad.

Gougères are basically like little soufflés or cheese puffs. I first had them when I was teaching English in France. The principal of the school where I was working invited me over for a Sunday lunch and his wife served champagne and gougères before the main meal. They were absolutely delicious.

gougeres ingredients

I thought they would be difficult to make, but they aren’t! There are just a few tricks to remember: measure out all your ingredients beforehand and do not (!!) open the oven door for the 20 minutes of baking time. Once you’ve got those two tricks down, they are pretty easy to make. Make some the next time you’re feeling like something fancy and French!

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Gougères with cumin
From Chocolate and Zucchini

6 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted; if you have salted, use a scant ½ teaspoon salt)
½ teaspoon salt (or just a bit less if using salted butter)
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups freshly grated Gruyère cheese (you can also use a good-quality Swiss)
Method:

1. Measure out all your ingredients. Have everything ready to go.

2. Combine butter, salt, and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan. I use a 3-quart saucepan and there is plenty of room; a 2-quart pan would probably also work. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Then, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour all at once. Use a wooden spoon and stir the flour quickly until everything is well combined. Then, return the pan to the heat and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has formed into a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan. (When I return the pan to the heat after mixing in the flour, it usually only takes 1-2 more minutes of cooking before it’s pulling away from the sides of the pan).

3. Take the pan off of the heat and let it cool for 3 minutes. I always time this exactly, so that’s what I recommend. Then, add the eggs one at a time, stirring very well after each addition. At first it might seem like the egg isn’t blending in, but don’t worry, they do! Just keep stirring!

Sidenote: I once made a double batch of this recipe for my family at Christmas, which meant I had 8 eggs to incorporate one at a time. It took me forever and my arm was killing me!

4. Once the eggs are stirred in, then add the cumin seeds and black pepper. Give the mixture a stir to incorporate those. Then, fold in the grated cheese. You will have a very thick batter at this point! Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. It can stay in the fridge for longer than 30 minutes, too. In fact, I’ve made the batter up to 48 hours in advance and it worked out just fine.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the batter from the fridge. Using two small spoons, scoop the batter into small balls (about 1 inch across) and place on the baking sheet. They need a little room between them, but not much. Keep any remaining batter in the fridge for a later batch.

6. Bake the gougères in the oven for 20 minutes. I always time this exactly. Whatever you do, DO NOT open the oven door while they are baking! This will cause them not to rise properly. If you have an oven window, you can peek on them through that. If you don’t, wait at least 10 minutes before you open the oven door to peek. Once the 20 minutes is up, they should be puffy and golden. Turn the oven off and leave the door open just a crack for a few minutes before you take then completely out of the oven. This helps them not deflate! Although, if they do deflate, rest assured that they will still be just as tasty!

Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy with a favorite beverage, or serve alongside a big green salad for a light meal. Yum!