Let’s be honest. Thanksgiving is typically not a vegetable-rich zone. I love the idea of adding a vegetable platter for adults and children to munch on before, during and after the main event.
Inspired by Pinterest, I made this platter last year thinking my 4 year old grandson would think it was cool. In passing, he may have thought as much but the adults seemed to enjoy it more.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Wishing many blessings to you and yours.
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.
Recipe adapted from ALANNA’s TIPS
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.
Recipe Adapted from Aggie’s Kitchen
Quinoa salad can be found in my refrigerator about 50% of the time. Quinoa is full of protein and a great substitute for pasta or rice and great if you are trying to avoid gluten.
The combinations with quinoa are endless. I select vegetables that are in season toss with Gazebo Room Greek salad dressing (or your favorite vinaigrette) and you have a wonderful salad.
This salad has become a favorite at our book club, potluck gatherings made by different people with their own wonderful variations. What variations have you tried?
SUMMER QUINOA VEGETABLE SALAD
2 cups water (or your favorite stock)
1 cup dry quinoa
- Bring water to boil. Add quinoa, cover and return to boil. Lower heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for another 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool.
- Chop your favorite vegetables (broccoli, tomatoes, celery, carrots, corn, onions, peppers, etc.). I also add a can of drained garbanzo beans.
- Dress with your favorite vinaigrette (I used Gazebo Room Greek Salad Dressing). This great dressing was introduced to me by friend, Chris (aka Grandson Evan’s other grandma). Since Gazebo Room is not available (yet?) in Colorado, we order from their website. Still working on King Soopers to carry this great product!
Chill and serve. The salad keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.
Also reference my recipe for Quinoa Salad with Strawberries and Chicken
Vegetable Pizza served cold and is a great appetizer and a family favorite. This recipe made its way to my wooden recipe box many moons ago and has been a favorite of our family for many years.
The recipe is simple and easy to make. Two tubes of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, sour cream, garlic powder, dill, fresh veggies and cheese and you’re prepared. It’s refreshing in the summer and a side dish to serve with a hearty soup.
Make an hour or two before serving and chill in the refrigerator.
2 cans Pillsbury crescent rolls
2 cups sour cream
2 teaspoons dill weed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
chopped broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, onion, green pepper (or your choice)
shredded cheddar cheese
- Spread crescent rolls flat and bake in 9×13″ pan until slightly brown. Cool.
- Mix together sour cream, dill weed and garlic powder. Spread on cooled crust.
- Top with chopped fresh vegetables.
- Sprinkle top with shredded cheese. Cut into small squares for serving.
Can half the recipe and bake on round pizza pan.