soup and such

simple, fresh vegetarian soups and more


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carrot, parsnip, squash, and kale soup

carrot, parsnip, squash, and kale soup

This is a really tasty soup that is full of veggie goodness. It’s perfect for when you want a bowl of something hearty and warming but on the healthy-side. The combination of veggies is so, so good. When making the soup, the key is to saute the carrots, parsnips, and squash for a good amount of time before you add the stock. The veggies will get a little brown in spots during this step, and that makes the soup so flavorful!

cooking up the carrots, parsnips, and squash!

cooking up the carrots, parsnips, and squash!

The weather has definitely turned a corner here in Chicago and I broke out my winter coat (and hat!) for the first time this week. Having leftovers of this soup in the fridge has been a very, very good idea. A bowl of warm soup for dinner on a cold night is one of my most favorite things.

Happy soup-making! ~Inge

Carrot, parsnip, squash, and kale soup
Adapted only just a tiny bit from Jeanne Lemlin’s excellent Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures

¼ cup olive oil
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 parsnips, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 cups of butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 red potatoes, diced (I don’t bother to peel them)
10 cups veggie stock
½ teaspoon dried thyme (sometimes I leave this out, it still tastes great)
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups kale, chopped into small pieces
1 16-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Method:
1. Heat oil in your favorite soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the parsnips, carrots, and squash to the pot. Stir it up so that everything gets coated in the oil. Cook the veggies for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Jeanne Lemlin advises to not skip this step because it “adds depth to the soup’s flavor.” I absolutely agree. You want the veggies to get a little brown. Don’t worry if any brown pieces stick to the bottom of the pot – they will get taken care of when you add the stock in the next step!

3. Once the veggies are a little browned, add the stock, potatoes, thyme (if using), salt + pepper. Use your wooden spoon to scrape up any veggies that stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the veggies are soft.

4. Add the kale and chickpeas. Cook for about 5-10 more minutes. At this point, you could eat the soup as is and it would be delicious. Or, you can puree some of it to get a creamier consistency. It’s your call. I usually just stick my immersion blender in the pot and give it a little whirl. I think blending a little of it up helps marry all the flavors together. Enjoy!

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easy autumn salad + red wine vinaigrette

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This semester, I pack a lunch to eat on campus three days during the week. Lately, I’ve been bringing this salad and I think it’s a winner. It’s super easy to throw together in the morning, packs well, and most importantly, it makes a tasty lunch!  I thought I’d share in case you are also looking for salad ideas to take to work, school, or wherever you like to bring your salads.

Here are the salad components:

  • hearty lettuce (I like romaine)
  • some kind of onion action (I like shallots or finely-chopped red onion)
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • goat cheese crumbles
  • pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)

Add all of these ingredients in whatever container you use to transport your salads. No need to mix, just add everything in layers, starting with the lettuce and ending with the pumpkin seeds.

Next, make the vinaigrette. Combine the following ingredients in a bowl and whisk it up:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper + pinch of dried basil

This particular vinaigrette goes really well with the goat cheese and apple combo. If you want to simplify things, just skip this step and use some of your favorite bottled vinaigrette. Either way it will be tasty! Make sure to take the dressing separately in a small container and only add to the salad when you’re ready to eat.

Oh, this salad is just so good. The combination of the apple, goat cheese, and shallot is delicious. I hope you give this salad idea a try!

Happy Autumn, everyone! ~Inge