White Bean Barley Soup with Kale

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I just love soup season!  I’ve made this simple, hearty soup with few ingredients that make for a very satisfying, healthy meal.  I especially love the barley in this because of the great texture it adds, not too mention it’s a whole grain with abundant health benefits.  Lower cholesterol, anyone?  It’s packed with fiber and phytonutrients like all our other little plant friends so yea, it’s good for us.  Let’s not forget kale, the super green I’ve added here.  I go with the lactino kale (also called dinasour kale for its bumpy texture) and cut it up in small pieces because who wants to eat a giant leaf in their soup.  No thanks.  Throw it in at the end, just long enough to let it wilt.  You don’t want to cook away all it’s precious disease-fighting nutrients.

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Serves 6

Ingredients

Olive oil or broth for sauteeing

1/2 small onion, diced

1/2 cup diced carrots

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1-32oz. container low-sodium vegetable broth

1/2 cup pearled barley (of gluten-free grain)

1-15oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary (optional)

2 cups chopped kale

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, pinch of salt and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Stir in broth and barley, increase to heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer about 20 minutes or until barley is tender.

Two choices for the next step:

Option 1: Stir in beans, rosemary and kale and cook a few minutes long until kale is wilts.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Option 2 (for thicker consistency): Transfer half soup to a blender with half the beans.  Puree and then pour back into the pot.  Stir in remainder of beans, the rosemary and kale, cook a few minutes long until kale is wilts. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

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Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

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My favorite thing about pureed soup is that I don’t have to worry about chopping up the garlic and veggies into little bits because it doesn’t matter in the end.  🙂  What else makes this soup awesome is the roasted flavor from the red pepper and tomato.  The ratio I’ve used here has a nice balance.  You can definitely taste the red pepper but it’s not overwhelming the tomato.  I even snuck in a potato and some cashews to give this soup a creamy rich taste without the unhealthy dairy cream.  No one would know this is vegan!

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Ingredients

1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked 4-8 hours, drained and rinsed

1 large red bell pepper, chopped into chunks

1 lb grape tomatoes, halved

Olive oil

1/2 medium onion, peeled and chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 small-medium yellow potato, peeled and cubed

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

Handful of fresh basil leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper to taste (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place red pepper and tomatoes on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Add olive oil to a soup pot and heat for a 1-2 minutes.  Add onion and saute 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes longer.  Do not let the garlic brown and burn.

Add in the potatoes and broth.  Heat over high and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add in the roasted tomatoes, red pepper and basil to the soup.  Cook for 5 minutes.

Puree with an immersion blender or in a blender.

 If using blender you should always be cautious of blending hot liquids so make sure to let it cool a bit first and crack the lid to release some steam once it’s blending.  

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Vegan Creamy Broccoli Soup

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Broccoli cheese soup is one of my favorite all time soups.  I have always loved broccoli, even as a child and I love soup all year round.  I’ve worked on making a healthier version without the heavy cream.  This uses cashew cream instead and I didn’t add cheese but you could if you like, although it’s rich and creamy without it.

Serves 4-6

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Ingredients

1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup water

2 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp vegan butter
1 cup shredded carrot
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
6 cup broccoli florets and reserve 1 cup stems chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 Tbsp flour
6 cups vegetable broth
2 medium yellow potato, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Soak cashews in enough water to cover them overnight or 8 hours. Drain water, rinse.  Add to blender with 1 cup fresh water and puree until completely blended.

Heat oil and butter in a large pot over low heat until butter is melted and starting to bubble.  Add carrots, onion, and chopped broccoli stems (set the florets aside for later).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.

Add garlic and simmer 1-2 minutes longer.  Stir in the flour mixing to evenly coat the veggies.   Let it cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring a few times.

Slowly whisk in about a cup of the broth and whisk to get anything stuck on the bottom of the pan.  You don’t want to have any flour clumps in your soup.  Then slowly whisk in the remaining broth.  Add potatoes.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.  Potatoes should be tender.

Add broccoli florets and cashew cream and stir.  Simmer 5 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree to desired consistency.  I like to leave some chunks of the broccoli and potato. Season with salt and pepper.

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Warm Me Up Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup 1

It’s still pretty chilly here and I’ve been craving soup and this one is one of my favorites.  The flavors really are warming, especially if you add the jalapeno!  I also love cumin so I add more of this than the chili powder but you can adjust to your tastes.

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 Serves 4-6

 Ingredients

 1 Tbsp canola oil

1/2 medium onion, diced

Pinch of salt

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 1 Tbsp)

1 Tbsp finely chopped jalapeno (optional)

1 Tbsp cumin

2 tsp chili powder

4 cups vegetable broth

1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes w/ green chilies

1 cup frozen corn

2 Tbsp cornmeal mixed w/ 2 Tbsp water

1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Add oil to a large saucepan and heat for a minute over medium heat.  Add onion, pinch of salt and saute 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic, jalapeno (if using), cumin and chili powder.  Let cook for a few minutes.

Add broth, tomatoes, corn and bring to a boil.  Then turn down heat to low, stir in cornmeal mixture and let simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes.

 Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes to cool.  Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree.  Add back into the pot along with black beans and stir.  Serve topped with avocado and tortilla chips.

Tortilla Soup 2

Middle Eastern Red Lentil Soup

This is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever made.  It’s one of those “wow this is so good I can’t believe I made this” moments.  It’s crazy flavorful and it’s easy to make.  Proof that amazingly delicious good food doesn’t have to be complicated with fancy schmancy ingredients and techniques.  One of my secrets to this is a good vegetable broth.  Some have zero flavor.  I happen to love Edward and Son’s Not-Chick’n bullion cubes that I get at Whole Foods.  I use one cube dissolved in three cups of water for this recipe (package says one cube in two cups water but I reduce the sodium).

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

5-6 baby carrots diced (that’s what I always have on hand or use 1 carrot)

3 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

1 Tbsp tomato paste

3/4 cups red lentils

3 cups vegetable broth (see note)

Juice of half a lemon (about 1 Tbsp)

Salt and black pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper for heat (optional)

Method

Add olive oil to saucepan and heat over medium-low.  Add onion and carrots with a dash of salt and cook 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and cook 2 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste and the lentils, then add the broth and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil then reduce to low and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes.

Season with salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper to taste.

Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender.

Note: recommend using a quality, flavorful broth such as Edward and Son’s Not-Chick’n bullion cubes. Dissolve one cube in three cups hot water for this recipe.

10 Vegetable Soup

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A hearty, veggie packed with soup with carrot, celery, onion, tomato, potato, cauliflower, zucchini, kale, peas and lima beans (I guess these are technically a legume but I’ll just count them as a vegetable too).  This soup will freeze well too! I created a batch with 6 servings and for some of the vegetables I only used smaller amounts so here are some tips to getting the most out of some of the fresh vegetables:

Carrots:  With a bunch of whole carrots cut up the extra for snacking or use baby carrots.

Celery: I get it off the salad bar because I never end up using a whole bunch.

Zucchini: I also got this off the salad bar but if you don’t use a whole zucchini, saute extra with olive oil and add to pasta and sauce.

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Serves 6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 small onion, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 cup diced zucchini

1 small yukon gold or red potato, cubed (about 1/2inch)

1 can diced tomato w/ juice

4-5 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 cup small cauliflower florets

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen lima beans

1 large kale leaf, rib removed, chopped into small pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Add oil to a large soup pot and warm over medium heat for a minute.  Add onion, celery and carrot with a pinch of salt.  Cook 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and basil and cook another 2 minutes.

Add zucchini, potato, cauliflower and toss to coat; cook for a minute.  Add tomatoes and 4 cups of broth.  Increase heat and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add peas and lima beans, cook 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in kale. Season with salt and pepper.