soup and such

simple, fresh vegetarian soups and more


white bean dip with pita chips

white bean dip with homemade pita chips

white bean dip with homemade pita chips

This recipe is a superstar in our kitchen. Simple to make and tasty to eat. In a food processor, puree cannellini beans with lemon juice, garlic, and a little parsley. Stream in some olive oil. That’s it!

This dip comes from one of Giada’s lovely cookbooks. I discovered the recipe a few years ago and immediately added it to the regular rotation of party food at our house. Everyone we’ve shared this dip with has loved it, especially when accompanied with homemade pita chips. Don’t skimp on making the chips – they are so good!

Are you having an Oscar-viewing party on Sunday night? This dip would be an excellent addition to your spread. Cheers! ~Inge

White bean dip with homemade pita chips 
From Giada De Laurentiis

If you have leftovers, this dip makes an excellent spread on veggie sandwiches. A nice change of pace from hummus. Also, play around with the spices on the pita chips. In addition to (or in place of) the oregano, I’ve used paprika, cumin, and/or za’atar. It’s all good!  

pita breads, cut into triangles
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing the pita
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or other dried herb)
½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons pepper
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup (loosely packed) fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove

To make dip:

In a food processor, combine beans, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pulse on and off until the mixture is coarsely chopped. With the machine running, gradually mix in 1/3 cup olive oil until the mixture is creamy. Taste a little to see if you need to add more lemon juice, salt, etc.

To make pita chips:

Cut pita bread into triangles and arrange on a baking sheet. Brush the triangles with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano. I like to pour some oregano into the palm of my hand and then crush it a little before sprinkling. This step helps release some of the flavor and aroma of the dried spice!

Bake the pita triangles at 400 degrees for about 5-10 minutes. Check them after 5 minutes so you can monitor how crispy they get. I like mine on the softer side.




stuffed peppers with quinoa, spinach and feta

This is a really tasty recipe that I don’t cook nearly enough. Bell pepper halves are filled with a flavorful quinoa and spinach stuffing, with some feta crumbles thrown in for good measure. It is filling and wholesome. Served with a fresh green salad on the side, it makes the perfect dinner and leftover lunch the next day.

Here’s how I make this dish. First, I prepare the pepper “cups,” making sure to season them with a little olive oil and s+p. I want the peppers to have as much flavor as the stuffing. Then, I cook the quinoa and prepare the stuffing mixture. It all comes together pretty quickly.

pepper "cups" and quinoa stuffing mixture

pepper “cups” and quinoa stuffing mixture

Next, the peppers are stuffed. I add an extra drizzle of olive oil over the tops of the stuffed peppers and pour a few tablespoons of veggie broth (or water) in the bottom of the pan. I think the broth helps keep the peppers from drying out while baking. Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are crispy and a little brown. Enjoy! ~Inge

Quinoa stuffed peppers with spinach and feta

Quinoa stuffed peppers with spinach and feta

Stuffed peppers with quinoa, spinach and feta
Adapted from Deborah Madison

I often prepare the pepper “cups” first so that they are waiting for me when the stuffing is ready. For the spinach, I usually use two entire bags of baby spinach leaves. It seems like a lot when you add it to the pan, but it really cooks down. Also, don’t forget to add the extra drizzle of olive oil before baking – it helps to brown and crisp up the tops!

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
2 jalapenos, finely diced
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon cumin
2 bags of baby spinach
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 container crumbled feta
4 bell peppers, whatever color you’d like

1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add ½ teaspoon salt, then the quinoa. Give it a stir, then cover and simmer over low heat about 15 minutes. The quinoa is cooked when most of the water has been absorbed and the grains reveal their spirals.

2. Prepare the pepper “cups” for stuffing. Slice the peppers in half lengthwise and cut out the membrane and seeds. Simmer them in some salted water for about 3-4 minutes. You just want to get them a little soft; don’t overcook them. Remove with tongs and set them in a baking dish. Drizzle a little olive oil over the peppers and season with salt and pepper.

3. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the scallions and jalapenos and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add garlic, cumin and spinach, along with 1-2 tablespoons water, if needed. When the spinach is wilted, add the cilantro, cooked quinoa and feta. Toss everything together and season with salt and pepper. Then, stuff the peppers with this quinoa mixture.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the peppers and pour a few tablespoons of veggie broth (or water) in the pan. Bake the dish (uncovered) for about 30 minutes until nice and brown on the tops. Enjoy!


tomato carrot soup

I think I’ve fallen into a recipe rut lately – same old soups, same old salads, same old snacks. Do you know the feeling? Nothing really wrong with what we’ve been making, but it was time to switch things up.

I woke up Sunday morning thinking about carrot soup. Something creamy sounded good, perhaps with curry. But very little effort would have to be involved because, well, it was Sunday and I was tired from the week. After a little digging around the internet, I remembered a tomato-based carrot soup I saw some time ago here. I decided to give this recipe a go and save the curry-flavored carrot soup idea for another day (any recipe recommendations on that front??).

This was actually my first time making homemade tomato soup. February is probably not the best time of year to do this since store-bought tomatoes in the winter can be kind of blah. We found some decent ones, though, and the soup had a very nice flavor. Still, it would be a lovely late summer soup, so I’ll try to remember that in about six months.

creamy tomato carrot soup with basil

creamy tomato carrot soup with basil

This soup is very easy to make. I love the idea of adding some carrot to a creamy tomato soup – the carrots seem to mellow out the acidity of the tomatoes a bit. I also love the yellowish-orange color of this soup, especially when you stir in the pretty green ribbons of basil. We ate this with crusty bread on the side, but I think it would be even better with grilled cheese sandwiches. I’ll do that next time. ~Inge

Tomato carrot soup
Adapted only just a bit from soulemama

The amounts all seem very flexible here, depending on the size of your vegetables and other variables. My recommendation is to just taste/eyeball things as you go, adjusting seasonings and amounts as you like.

2 tablespoons butter
4 (or so) tablespoons olive oil
5 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves
4 pounds (or so) tomatoes
2 cups veggie stock
½ cup milk or cream or a vegan alternative
1 cup chopped basil

1. Peel your tomatoes. I did this by dropping them in a pot of boiling water for about a minute. Remove the tomatoes and let them cool a bit. At this point, the skins just slide right off.

2. Cut the peeled tomatoes in half and remove the stems. Place on baking sheet, toss with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and season with a good amount of salt and pepper. Don’t be shy with the seasonings – you want the tomatoes to have a lot of flavor. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

3. While the tomatoes are roasting, chop up the rest of your veggies. Melt the butter and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a soup pot. Add the veggies and sauté for about 15 minutes.

4. When the tomatoes are finished roasting, add them to the veggies along with the veggie stock. Continue to cook everything for another 15 minutes or so (until the carrots are soft).

5. Blend the soup. I did this with an immersion blender.

6. Stir in the milk and chopped basil. Enjoy!