Can you tell I’m in the mood for spring? My past two recipes have been all about it! This Spring Garden Vegetable Soup has also been in my ‘must make’ stack. I like the versatility of this recipe, easily adapting to Vegan or Vegetarian (using vegetable stock and omitting the cream and chicken) and it is Gluten-Free.
This soup is light and, oh, so healthy. Daughter Sarah served a small bowl to 10-month old grandson, Evan, and he really liked it! I served the soup with the not-so-healthy baked Red Lobster Biscuits (which Evan DEVOURED) but a hearty whole-grain bread would be wonderful paired with this soup.
SPRING GARDEN VEGETABLE SOUP with ASPARAGUS, ARTICHOKES, PEAS & SPINACH
6 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
4-6 cups water (to reach desired thickness)
1 tablespoon butter
1 leek, cut into half circles
2 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into half-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
3 carrots, trimmed and cut into half-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
1 15-ounce can artichoke bottoms, tough bits sliced off and discarded, remaining parts cut into lengths
16 ounces frozen artichoke hearts (from Trader Joe’s)
8 ounces asparagus, woody ends snapped off, skin pared off if tough, spears cut into one-inch lengths, tips set aside
8 ounces frozen peas
8 ounces frozen spinach
Generous salt & pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
Cream to taste (1/4-1/2 cup)
Optional: 2-3 cups chopped chicken
In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the leek, stir to coat with butter and let cook until just soft.
Add the celery and carrots to the pot, stirring to coat with butter and cooking until soft.
Add the artichoke bottoms, artichoke hearts and asparagus lengths (leave the tips aside).
Add the stock and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer until all the vegetables are cooked through. (Optional: Add cooked chicken at this point).
Stir in the asparagus tips, peas and spinach and let cook through. Add water to reach desired thickness.
Taste, then season with salt and pepper. Stir in cream to taste. Best if left to rest for 24 hours before serving.
Several weeks ago a Facebook friend shared a recipe for roasted cabbage and I meant to copy or print it. Short story, short…I forgot. This week I was in the mood for roasted cabbage and…no recipe. After a quick Google search, I found a similar recipe from Martha Stewart for Roasted Cabbage Wedges.
The recipe calls for caraway OR fennel seeds and I AM a caraway seed lover but decided to do a few of both. The fennel seeds won, hands down! The fennel gives a nice touch to the roasted cabbage where I didn’t feel the caraway enhanced the flavor. My Czech ancestors would probably roll over in their graves if they heard me admit that!
Great recipe to pair with pork, Bratwurst or for a vegan dish.
ROASTED CABBAGE SLICES
1 tablespoon plus 2 more tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium head green cabbage cut into 1 inch slices
Coarse salt and pepper
1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
Place 1 medium head green cabbage cut into 1 inch slices, in a single layer on the baking sheet. Brush the cabbage slices with 2 tablespoons oil.
Season with coarse salt and pepper, then sprinkle with caraway or fennel seeds.
Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are golden, 40-45 minutes.
In the New Year, many of us have vowed to lost weight (5% for me) and eat healthier. This recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen grabbed my attention with the healthy vegetables and protein of the lentils. It’s an easy soup to make and full of nutrients. It makes a large batch and I found I added more and more water since the soup gets quite thick. I’ve shared some with a vegan friend and frozen some for a later treat.
SPINACH TOMATO LENTIL SOUP
1 lb. dried lentils
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 carrots, diced
2-3 celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 large cans diced Italian tomatoes, with liquid
2 tablespoons vegetable bouillon (or replace some of water with vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
12 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bag fresh spinach
In a large pot, heat olive oil and add vegetables, garlic, bouillon, spices and pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté vegetables in oil for about 7-10 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add diced tomatoes, water (or broth), and lentils to vegetable mixture.
Bring soup to a slow boil for a few minutes, then back down to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes, until soup starts to thicken.
Taste for seasoning as its cooking, add more water if it gets too thick.
In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add fresh spinach leaves to soup and gently stir to combine.
Edamame and Edamame Salad was a new discovery about 4 years ago. I loved Edamame at our favorite sushi restaurant and I’ve enjoyed Edamame Salad at potlucks but have never made one. When this recipe popped up in a recent issue of Relish.com it inspired me to try it. As I mentioned on Tuesday, it paired well with the Yogurt Marinated Chicken.
The salad kept for days and I’ve enjoyed it as an entrée as well. The Salad would be equally good without the Feta cheese, for those that are following a Vegan diet.
Mediterranean Edamame Salad
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked, shelled edamame
2/3 cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup black olives (Kalamata–I used mixed Spanish olives), pitted and halved
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups lettuce or greens
To prepare vinaigrette, combine vinegar, garlic and oregano, and mix with a whisk or in the blender. Slowly add olive oil and mix well. Add salt and pepper.
To prepare salad, combine edamame, tomatoes, onion, olives, feta and vinaigrette. Let marinate 30 minutes (or longer).
When ready to serve, toss or serve salad with lettuce or greens.
Family was visiting and we were gathering for lunch at my house. It occurred to me that a BLT, or better yet at BLATO, bar would be fun. Standing over the stove frying endless pieces of bacon didn’t sound appealing so I turned to baked bacon instead.
Early that morning I baked 30 pieces of bacon and it was a breeze! I also washed and prepared the lettuce and sliced the onion for later. Immediately before serving, I sliced the avocado and tomato. I provided 2 types of bread along with the option of toasting the bread in the toaster oven and provided condiments of mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup. In addition, I served sliced turkey and cheese for those that may not like bacon OR prefer to make a mega-sandwich with all of the above!
For the vegetarian or vegan in the group, they can still partake with a wonderful veggie sandwich!
Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place a baking rack in a large baking, or cookie, sheet. The baking rack allows the drippings to fall away from the bacon. Place bacon strips on baking rack. Bake for 10-20 minutes depending on thickness of the bacon. I used thick sliced bacon that took 16-20 minutes to bake. For 30 slices of bacon, I baked 10-12 slices per pan.
Remove bacon and pat excess drippings with paper towel. Set aside until time to serve.
My vegan menu continues and I wanted to have wilted spinach but with the protein of nuts. It’s easy to forget how much spinach wilts down when cooking. I used a 6 ounce box of spinach and the wilted spinach would serve 2 people as a side dish.
WILTED SPINACH AND PINE NUTS
1 large bunch spinach, about 12 cups leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Ground black pepper
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
Sort through spinach, discarding stems and bruised or yellow leaves. Wash spinach in plenty of cold water; if it’s sandy, wash a second time, then spin dry.
Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
Add garlic and lemon juice and sauté for 1 minute.
Turn the heat to high and add the spinach, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few pinches of pepper. Wilt the spinach, tossing with tongs to coat the leaves with the hot oil and garlic. (The water left on the leaves after washing will help it to wilt quickly.)
Toss in the pine nuts and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Recently, I started a 10-day cleansing/detox diet that requires that I eat primarily fruits and vegetables. I love both but don’t have a strong vegan recipe inventory. One of the bloggers I follow, Lucys Friendly Foods, recently posted a wonderful Silky Squash and Rosemary Soup. I did not have fresh rosemary on hand so I used a wonderful spice blend from Savory Spice Shops, Cantanzaro Herbs, a mix of Garlic, lemon peel, marjoram, basic, thyme, rosemary and oregano. The results were yummy!
SILKY SQUASH SOUP
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon Cantanzano Herbs (originally recipe calls for 2 sprigs of rosemary)
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
32 ounces vegetable stock
salt and pepper
Saute the onion, carrot and celery in the oil until softened but not browned
Add the squash and herbs (or rosemary) and stir well
Pour in the stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the squash is cooked through
Remove Rosemary sprigs if you use this option
Taste and adjust the seasoning
Serve scattered with roasted pumpkin seeds
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon Cantanzano Herbs (or finely chopped rosemary)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Combine all ingredients and spread on baking sheet
Roast for 10-15 minutes until the seeds start to turn golden brown
What says Spring more than fresh spinach and strawberries? I have a lonely bunch of spinach that popped up volunteer in my garden in late March. The strawberries at the market are beautiful, so time to celebrate spring with this luscious salad. I opted to top the salad with red onion and walnuts today but top with other items to make your salad unique!
I love quinoa! There, I’ve said it. I love quinoa salad and always looking for new ways to cook with this protein-rich, healthy grain. This Mexican Quinoa Casserole is now an honored member of my recipe collection. I made the recipe without the ground beef and taco seasoning, enjoying every wonderful bite! If you are vegan, make it without the ground beef and substitute a vegan cheese. If you’re a meat lover, go for the whole enchilada…um, I mean casserole!
MEXICAN QUINOA CASSEROLE
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 14.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup canned corn
1/4 cup green chiles
1/4 cup salsa
1/3 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
1 cup toasted quinoa
1 pound lean ground beef (optional)
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix (optional)
3/4 cup water (optional)
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
chopped fresh cilantro
wedge of fresh limes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix together the tomatoes, black beans, corn, chiles, salsa, broth, and quinoa. Pour into a greased 2 quart baking dish and cover with baking lid or foil.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove and stir and bake another 30 minutes.
While the quinoa is baking, brown the ground beef. Add taco seasoning and water. Simmer until water has evaporated. Stir in beef mixture with quinoa mixture. Top with grated cheese and brown under the broiler.
Serve with sides of sour cream, fresh cilantro and lime wedges.