Tag Archives: soup

Broccoli and White Bean Soup

26 Oct

broccoli and white bean soup

When I picked up a head of broccoli recently, I was surprised to find it came with a huge quantity of thick, hearty-looking leaves surrounding it. I guess I’d gotten used to supermarket broccoli with these leaves trimmed and (I assume) discarded. After some quick searching, I found that, as I’d hoped, they were edible – and, on top of that, supposedly quite healthy and tasty! So when I set out to make this broccoli and white bean soup, I figured it made sense to toss the leaves in as well. They were an amazing addition to this delicious soup, and for those of you not quite so lucky with your groceries, you can substitute with another hearty green, like collards or swiss chard. I’m sure this soup would be great pureed, as in the original recipe, but it was great with everything left intact and still had a nearly creamy mouthfeel to it from the broccoli and beans simmered until beginning to fall apart.

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Egyptian Yellow Lentil Soup

24 Oct

egyptian yellow lentil soup

I stumbled across some yellow lentils (while exploring Buenos Aires’ Barrio Chino (Chinatown), a subject for another post), and as I often cook with the quite similar red lentils, I immediately bought them. Like red lentils (which you can substitute here), yellow lentils cook quickly and fall apart when cooked which makes for hearty soups that taste thick and creamy without the need to add extra fat. Confusingly, yellow split peas are also sometimes referred to as yellow lentils (and look quite similar) even though they’re actually distinct – but they should also work as a substitute here. I decided to make this Egyptian soup with simple flavors to focus on the lentils themselves. I added turmeric to boost the color (and, as a side note, turmeric actually has lots of health benefits as well) and cayenne pepper because I like my food spicy. I’m sadly lacking one of my favorite kitchen tools – my immersion blender – so I couldn’t puree the soup, as I would have liked, but cooking the soup just a few minutes longer so that the lentils fell nearly completely apart worked out just fine for me.

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Spanish Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup

19 Oct

spanish red lentil and vegetable soup

I love walking down the streets here and seeing lots of little verdulerias and fruterias with colorful produce piled high. Most people here don’t buy their produce in chain grocery stores, but instead stop by these neighborhood vegetable and fruit markets on a regular basis. It’s been a bit of adventure adjusting to this mindset, thinking ahead to what I need for an upcoming recipe (at these places, you tell the shopkeeper what you’re looking for and how much, which, with my limited but expanding Spanish, takes a little preparation) and trying out the multiple places near my apartment to find the best quality (and the place most willing to put up with my bad accent). I think I found my go-to verduleria though – an especially friendly place where the quality is great, and the prices unbelievably low. It was a cold, rainy day when I went to buy the vegetables for this Spanish red lentil and vegetable soup, but I came away feeling excited to prepare this bright, colorful recipe. Packed with roasted red bell peppers, bright orange carrots, fresh diced tomatoes, and green spinach, this soup is a visual treat compared to the often drab-looking (although tasty) bean and lentil soups I like to make. Not to mention the intense flavor packed in here, with the vegetables adding a lot of sweetness (really!), complemented by the spiciness of cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. Red lentils add some extra heft (I like to cook them until they’re falling apart), making this recipe perfect for a hearty meal, especially on a rainy day.

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Cauliflower Blue Cheese Soup

15 Aug

cauliflower blue cheese soup

I’m going to let you in on a secret – most places where people use potatoes, I use cauliflower, and it tastes even better. Cauliflower has lots of edges to get nice and browned when roasting or frying, and it also tastes much sweeter and more flavorful than potatoes to me. Of course, cauliflower is also significantly healthier than potatoes. By contrast to potatoes (the food with the highest correlation to weight gain in a recent longitudinal study), cauliflower is high in vitamin C and fiber and a wonderfully filling and nutritious ingredient. And, really, it tastes delicious. Like in this cauliflower blue cheese soup where it’s pureed with caramelized onions and then mixed with blue cheese and creme fraiche. An easily customizable recipe – use cheddar or gruyere for a more traditional “baked potato” type of soup, or change up the toppings with what you have around. I topped mine with parsley, smoked paprika, and crushed red pepper (I used my usual favorite, Turkish red pepper, but any should do), but crumbled bacon, diced apples or pears, or candied nuts would all also work wonderfully.

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Roasted Pepper and Refried Bean Soup

13 Jun

roasted pepper and refried bean soup

Some days, I feel like I cook so many soups that I should just rename this blog to “Sel et Soupe.” But there’s good reason for my love of soups – they’re quick, easily adaptable, healthy, and delicious. Maybe I’m inspired by my mom, who first started feeling confident in her cooking when she discovered soups. Whatever the reason, here is another soup recipe. I was feeling a little playful and wanted to do a take on refried beans, so I cooked down pinto beans and pink beans (feel free to use just one or the other) and roasted a few bell peppers to add in as well. The result was thick, smoky, and quite tasty, especially when topped with sour cream and cheddar cheese (as pictured) or with a fried egg for a twist on huevos rancheros (my breakfast the day after cooking this). But even served plain, this soup is worth making – and maybe it’ll convince you to love soups, too.

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Tuscan Three Bean Soup

30 Mar

tuscan three bean soup

One of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned about cooking is to be adaptable. Being able to read a recipe and then adjust it to the ingredients you have on hand and to your taste preferences will help you enjoy cooking more and yield some amazingly delicious results in the kitchen (even if there are a few disasters now and again). Take this soup, for instance. When I set out to cook it, it was intended as a chickpea soup. While I’m normally quite good about gathering all my ingredients before starting to cook (another valuable lesson), I somehow didn’t realize until halfway through cooking this that I didn’t have enough chickpeas. No matter, though, I quickly grabbed a few different cans and changed this to a three bean soup. That kale about to go bad in the fridge? Might as well toss that in too! The end result was hearty, tasty, and, dare I say, probably even better than what I’d have made if I’d had enough chickpeas in the first place!

Although the ingredient list looks long, they’re mostly basic ingredients that you probably have around (or am I the only one who has a cupboard filled with cans and cans of different varieties of beans?). And if you happen to have a different set of beans in your cupboard, feel free to adapt and use whichever beans you like best (although if you’re looking at a whole lot of black beans, I think you’ll be better off with my chipotle black bean soup). The flavoring in this soup is fairly traditional: mirepoix (onion, carrots, and celery), garlic, thyme, rosemary, and balsamic vinegar to finish it off. You’re going to want a really large pot to hold all of this soup. Great if you’re trying to feed a hungry family (with all the beans in there plus the kale, it’s sure to fill everyone up) or just want to have enough leftovers for a week or two.

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West African Peanut Soup

12 Mar

african peanut soup

Despite my love of bacon, I’ve recently found myself cooking a surprising amount of unintentionally vegan food. Meat is sadly quite pricey (especially if you’re like me and have qualms about eating factory-farmed meat with hormones and antibiotics), so I’m turning more and more to filling meals using fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, and lentils. And I’m surprised at the great flavors I can develop using these ingredients. Take, for example, this West African peanut soup. Mostly basic ingredients, but somehow combining peanut butter and tomato paste with aromatics and curry powder yields a nearly irresistible soup. Vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike rave about this soup. And this could be a great base for a number of variations – sweet potatoes or other root vegetables would be a natural fit in here, as would chicken (if you can’t resist the urge to add some meat).

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Turkish Red Lentil Soup

5 Mar

turkish red lentil soup

I’ve been really enjoying red lentils lately. They fall apart when cooked which can help thicken soups and stews, and they’re great at absorbing flavors. They’re a fundamental piece of this Turkish red lentil soup which tastes amazingly complex for a dish with so few ingredients. I haven’t eaten a lot of Turkish food, and I was skeptical at first of the combination of paprika, cumin, mint, and sumac, but the flavors work perfectly together. Rich and hearty but with a freshness from the herbaceous mint and tart sumac, this soup would be a great start to a meal or a filling meal in and of itself.

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Curried Carrot Soup

22 Feb

curried carrot soup

I cook so many complex recipes that sometimes it’s nice to put together a simple dish. A dish with less than ten ingredients (even including the basics like olive oil, salt, and pepper!). This curried carrot soup builds on the natural sweetness of carrots, enhanced by oven roasting. The trick to the best flavor here is letting the carrots caramelize in the onion while caramelizing onions on the stove top. Using fresh curry powder is crucial (and freshly-ground homemade curry powder is ideal).

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Chipotle Black Bean Soup

13 Feb

chipotle black bean soup

On Sundays, I love making huge pots of hearty soups to have for lunch throughout the week. Having this food stockpiled feels like a secret arsenal, a little extra something for a healthy midday energy burst. And many soups actually improve after sitting in the refrigerator for a couple days as the different flavors have a chance to meld together. This black bean soup is simple but delicious, meaning that even on my lazier Sundays, it’s an easy option to give me a head start for the week. I nearly always have all these ingredients on hand in my kitchen, too, so this is a good recipe for when I’ve gone a little too long without grabbing fresh groceries. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are a staple in my kitchen; their smoky spiciness adds a welcome depth to many dishes, and this soup is no exception. I usually like to top off my bowl with cilantro and sour cream, but there’s a lot of room for topping variety (which can also help prevent this soup from feeling boring by the time Friday rolls around). Green onions, grated cheese, diced avocado, or even a fried egg can perch atop this tasty soup.

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