soup and such

simple, fresh vegetarian soups and more


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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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chévre chaud salad with dijon-shallot vinaigrette

chevre chaud salad

 

Ever find yourself in a cooking rut? Some days (or weeks) nothing really sounds good and you end up making the same old same old. When I’m lacking inspiration for meal ideas, I usually turn to this salad. It’s super simple to make but it feels like a special treat. Just the thing to get me excited about dinner again.

This isn’t so much a recipe as an idea, in case you need some inspiration of your own for dinner.

Happy salad-making!

~Inge

chevre chaud

Chévre chaud salad with dijon-shallot vinaigrette

For the salad:

  • goat cheese (at room temperature so it spreads easily)
  • baguette slices
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Za’atar (optional)
  • salad greens
  • chopped tomatoes

For the vinaigrette:

  • about 1.5 tablespoons finely minced shallot
  • about 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • about  1.5 tablespoons champagne vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • about 1/4 cup olive oil
  • good pinch of salt + freshly ground black pepper

 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arranges the baguette slices on a baking pan. Spread the goat cheese on the slices, then top with freshly ground black pepper. Sometimes I also sprinkle on some Za’atar. Put the pan in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese melts and the bread gets a little crispy. You could also do this step in the broiler or a toaster oven.

2. In a salad bowl, combine the salad greens and tomatoes and whatever other veggies you’d like to throw in.

3. To make the vinaigrette, add the minced shallot, dijon, salt + pepper, and vinegar in a small bowl. Using a whisk, add the olive oil in a steady stream, constantly whisking to combine. Make sure to taste the vinaigrette to see if you want to add more of any of the ingredients. The amounts I listed are really flexible; I never even measure when I make this. I generally prefer my vinaigrette to be on the more mustard-y side, so you might want to start with 1 teaspoon and work your way up.

Another way to make the vinaigrette is to add all the ingredients to a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Then just shake it up. Super easy. This is a good way to go if you’ve reached the end of a jar of mustard. Just make a vinaigrette in the jar!

4. When the toasts are ready, toss the dressing with the salad and assemble your plate. Enjoy!


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vegetable lo mein with edamame and mustard greens

veggie lo mein // soup and such

I’ve been making this lo mein recipe for a few years now and I love it. It’s easy, filling, and tasty! Mustard greens are one of my favorite leafy greens, and I love using them in this dish. In general, I think this is a flexible recipe, and you can sub or add whatever veggies you like. I recommend keeping the mushrooms, though, because their juices help create the flavorful sauce.

veggies + noodles // soup and such

Also, you should know that the amounts listed below make a big pot of this lo mein, which is perfect for me because I love the leftovers. I take a little container of this dish with me to campus when I need a quick lunch or dinner option between classes. I actually prefer to eat this lo mein cold or at room temperature, which makes life even easier.

Enjoy! ~Inge

veggie lo mein // soup and such

Vegetable Lo Mein with Edamame and Mustard Greens
Adapted from Cooking Light

This is an easy, veggie-packed noodle dish that comes together pretty quickly. I use spaghetti for the noodles, but feel free to use whatever you like, such as soba or udon. I love the flavor of the peppery mustard greens here, but use kale if that’s what you have. I’ve done that before with tasty results.

 

1 package pre-sliced mushrooms
4 cups mustard greens, rinsed and chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
¾ cup chopped green onions
1 ½ cup frozen edamame (thawed)
8 ounces spaghetti (or a noodle of your choice)
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil (or canola oil)
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1-2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce (optional)
Siracha, to taste (optional)

Method:

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the mustard greens and cook for 1 minute. Remove greens with a slotted spoon and place in a colander or small bowl. Drain and squeeze dry; set aside.

2. Use the same pot of water to cook your noodles. I bring the pot back to boiling, then drop in the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water, then drain well again. Place the noodles in a large bowl. Add the sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, toss to coat, and set aside.

3. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and stir-fry for a few seconds. Then, add the mushrooms, bell pepper, green onions, and garlic. Stir-fry everything until the mushrooms have released their juices and the bell pepper is crisp-tender. Stir in the mustard greens and edamame; cook for another 1-2 minutes. Now add the noodles, remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chili-garlic sauce (if using). Use tongs to stir everything up so the veggies and noodles are coated with the sauce. Cook for another 2 minutes, until everything is heated through.

I like a little Siracha on my lo mein for a spicy kick. Enjoy!

 


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roasted tomatillo salsa

I took advantage of cool temperatures the other day and turned on the oven to make a batch of roasted tomatillo salsa. I love making homemade salsa because it is so easy and so good! I always follow the recipes in Salsas That Cook by Rick Bayless, a trusted salsa reference around our house, and they always turn out great. This one was no exception.

Roasted tomatillo salsa

Roasted tomatillo salsa

To make this, you roast tomatillos, Serrano peppers, onions, and garlic. Then, you pulse everything up in a food processor, and stir in some chopped cilantro, salt, and a tiny bit of sugar. That’s it! I went a little nuts with the peppers for this batch and it ended up having a good amount of heat. If you don’t like things too spicy, I recommend seeding your peppers before roasting.

chips + salsa!

chips + salsa!

Happy salsa-making, everyone! ~Inge

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Adapted from Rick Bayless’s recipe in Salsas That Cook

2 pounds of tomatillos (about 13-14), husked and rinsed
8 fresh Serrano peppers, stems removed (you can also seed them if desired)
1 large white onion, cut into slices
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons salt
½ – 1 teaspoon sugar
Method:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place tomatillos and peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until the veggies are soft and blackened in spots. I turn everything over after 15 minutes of roasting and then put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2. Arrange the onion slices and garlic on another foil-lined sheet pan. Roast for about 15-20 minutes, until everything looks cooked and blackened in spots. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

3. Place the roasted onions, garlic, and peppers in a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Then, place the roasted tomatillos in the food processor (no need to rinse it out!) and puree. Add the tomatillos to the onions and peppers mixture.

4. Stir in the chopped cilantro. Give the salsa a little taste at this point. It should be pretty tangy with all those tomatillos! Season very well with salt. I used 2 teaspoons of salt, which is what Rick Bayless recommended for this amount of veggies. I also added ½ teaspoon of sugar, and about a ½ cup of water to get the consistency just right. Feel free to add more water and/or sugar as needed. Tasting as you season is the best way to go for homemade salsa. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it out!

Note: The amounts listed here make about 4 cups of fresh salsa. Rick Bayless advises that fresh salsa should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within 5 days.


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kale and soba noodle salad

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Soba noodles are a Japanese-style noodle made with buckwheat flour. When made with 100% buckwheat, they are a good gluten-free option because buckwheat, despite its name, doesn’t actually contain any wheat. I’ve read that in Japan soba noodles are traditionally served plain with a dipping sauce on the side. I think the method is to dip and slurp, and I look forward to trying that out if I ever find myself in Japan one day.

But for my first venture into soba noodle territory, I decided to turn them into a cold salad with a sesame dressing and lots of raw kale plus other assorted veggies. Oh, I also threw in some cubes of baked tofu for good measure. It was delicious. This will definitely be going into the summer salad rotation around here.

kale and soba noodle salad

kale and soba noodle salad

I actually made this salad twice, using two different brands of soba noodles. The first time I used Hakubaku organic soba noodles (the no-salt added variety – you can buy a pack of 8 for only $20 on amazon!). It turns out that this brand of soba noodles is actually a blend of wheat and buckwheat. The second time I used Roland organic soba noodles (this brand did have salt added). Results were tasty both times, but I preferred the no-salt added variety from the Hakubaku brand. Those noodles were much tastier and had a better consistency, in my opinion. So, that is my amateur soba noodle report from the field.

Happy salad-making, everyone! ~Inge

Kale and soba noodle salad
Adapted from Deborah Madison’s excellent Vegetable Literacy

Instead of the Brussels sprouts, you could use baby bok choy or napa cabbage. Also, any kind of crunchy vegetable would be a nice addition to this salad. The baked tofu is optional, but a good choice if you want to bump up the protein.

6-8 ounces soba noodles
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 bunch kale
6 Brussels sprouts
5 teaspoons light sesame oil
1 large garlic clove (or two small ones)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
A few pinches of red pepper flakes
1 bunch green onions, sliced
½ cup carrots, thinly sliced
6 ounce package of baked tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used Trader Joe’s teriyaki-flavored baked tofu), optional
Siracha hot sauce, optional

Method:
1. Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place noodles in a medium bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil. Set aside.

2. Cut the tough stems off the kale leaves. Then, thinly slice the kale using the “stack and roll” method. Stack a small amount of the leaves up, then roll and slice into thin shreds or ribbons. Put the kale ribbons in a large bowl. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of the light sesame oil. Using clean hands, squeeze the kale ribbons “until they glisten” (a quote from the original recipe – it’s the perfect description of what the massaged kale will look like).

3. Remove any yucky-looking outer leaves from your Brussels sprouts. Slice them very thinly and toss with the kale.

4. On a cutting board, mince your garlic. Then, sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon salt over the pile of minced garlic. Using the flat side of your knife, apply pressure and move the knife back and forth across the salt/garlic mixture. Doing this helps the salt break down the garlic and creates a paste. Put the garlic paste in a small bowl. Add the rice wine vinegar, remaining 4 teaspoons light sesame oil, and the soy sauce. Whisk together. Pour the dressing over the kale/Brussels sprouts mixture and toss well.

5. Add the cooked soba noodles to the greens along with the carrots, green onions, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and tofu (if using). Toss everything together (tongs work best for this job). Taste and decide if you need more soy sauce or other seasoning. Serve with a few drops of siracha hot sauce on top, if you like things spicy!


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beets with lemon and herb vinaigrette

June has been a super busy month and it looks like it will continue to be one in the weeks ahead. I’ve still been finding time to cook, though. After a quick visit to my neighborhood farmer’s market yesterday morning, I came home and made these beets for lunch. Wow, they were good!

beets with lemon and herb vinaigrette

beets with lemon and herb vinaigrette

In my opinion, beets are best with some sort of vinaigrette, eaten cold or at room temperature, in salads or simply on their own. I think beets sometimes get a bad rap because of their appearance, but they are so tasty! I learned recently that you can even grate raw beet into a salad. This sounds like a messy affair (pink beet juice flying everywhere?), but something I’d like to try.

Yesterday, though, I simply steamed my beets, cut them into bite-sized wedges, and dressed them with a lemony vinaigrette made with a good amount of red onion, fresh parsley, and cilantro. It was delicious! Even if you’re staunchly opposed to beets, go ahead and make this vinaigrette recipe – it’s a keeper!

beets with vinaigrette over greens

Happy June cooking, everyone! ~Inge

Beets with lemon and herb vinaigrette
Adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

This recipe makes more than enough dressing for one bunch of beets (which is what I bought). Store any leftovers in the fridge and use later on salad greens or other steamed veggies.

1 – 1.5 pounds of beets
zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ teaspoon coriander
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Clean and scrub your beets to remove any dirt. Steam the beets in a steamer basket for about 20-25 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork. Carefully remove cooked beets and place in a small dish to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, you should be able to easily slide their skins right off. After removing their skins (and washing all that pink beet juice off your fingers!), cut the beets into bite-sized wedges.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a jar with a fitted lid. Shake it up! Taste a little of the vinaigrette on one of the beet wedges to see if you want to add more lemon juice, salt, etc.

3. Mix some of the vinaigrette with the beets. Gobble up all the beets as is, or serve them over some salad greens dressed with a little more of the vinaigrette. Enjoy!

 


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strawberry + almond tart

strawberry +almond tart

strawberry +almond tart

I made this tart last weekend and loved it! It’s got a graham cracker crust with a layer of almond-flavored cream filling and sliced fresh strawberries on top. It’s a light dessert, not too heavy, and I think it would be perfect for springtime or summertime entertaining. Who wouldn’t love a slice of this tart at the end of a fun evening?

slice of strawberry tart

To make it, I used a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (I love this one). This made it very easy to maintain those pretty wavy edges when serving up slices, but a regular pie pan would also work just fine.

getting ready to assemble the tart!

getting ready to assemble the tart!

This is the first dessert I’ve featured on Soup and Such! I’m looking forward to sharing more. I’ve been seeing some tasty-looking rhubarb crisps these days and I’m excited to give some of those recipes a try. Just as soon as I can get my hands on some rhubarb!

~Inge

strawberry + almond cream tart

Strawberry and almond tart
Adapted just a bit from Cooking Light

As a shortcut, you can use a store-bought graham cracker crust. Making your own, though, is so easy and tastes so much better!

Crust:
• 9 sheets graham crackers
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons melted butter
• 2 teaspoons water

Filling:
• 5 ounces cream cheese
• ¼ cup sugar
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• ¼ teaspoon almond extract

Topping:
• 5 cups sliced strawberries
• 1/3 cup sugar
• ½ tablespoon cornstarch
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

To prepare crust:
Place graham crackers in food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add sugar, melted butter, and water. Pulse a few more times, just until moist. Place mixture into a pie pan or 9-inch tart pan, pressing into the bottom and up the sides of the pan to form a crust. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to completely cool.

To prepare filling:
Combine cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar, and vanilla + almond extracts in a bowl. Stir until smooth and combined.

To prepare topping:
Place 1 cup of your sliced strawberries in food processor and process until smooth. Pour the strawberry puree into a small saucepan over medium heat and add 2/3 cup sugar and cornstarch. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer for just 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine the rest of your sliced strawberries with the lemon juice and toss to coat.

Okay, now you’re ready to assemble the tart!

Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over bottom of cooled tart shell. Arrange your sliced strawberries on top. Spoon or spread the glaze/strawberry puree over top. You might not use all of the glaze, just spoon on however much you think looks good. Sprinkle toasted almonds around edge. Cover and chill for a few hours before eating.

Enjoy!