Archive for the 'Soups' Category

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Fall has arrived and I love fall cooking.  I recently had the chance to make it over to my parents garden in Victoria and pick up some fresh organic vegetables straight from the dirt- including two little perfect pumpkins.  Right down to the point when the pumpkin was in the pot Jason was asking if I was putting it into pie shells, but I had a different agenda for these…

Servings:  6
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Bake Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  30 minutes

2 small pumpkin squash (about 8 cups cubed pumpkin)
olive oil for roasting
1 tbsp (or more) red Thai curry paste
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2-inch piece fresh ginger
2 cups coconut milk
freshly squeezed lime, to taste
very finely shredded zest of 1 small fresh lime
sea salt and white pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Start by cleaning the pumpkins.

I removed the stem (as if I was about to carve them) and then cut them in half and again in quarters and eighths, cleaning the seeds and pulp as I went.

Rub each piece of pumpkin in olive oil and place in baking trays.  Roast at 350 F for 30 minutes.

As the pumpkin is roasting, zest the ginger, and the lime.  Juice the remainder of the lime for seasoning the soup later.

Remove the roasted pumpkin from the oven, cut off the skin and cube into 1″ x 1″ cubes.

Place the pumpkin in a large pot and cover with vegetable stock.  Add the ginger and bring to a simmer over high heat until the pumpkin starts to break down a little further.  You can add the curry paste at this point as well.  I forgot and added mine later but I would recommend adding it before blending.

Transfer the pumpkin and broth to the blender.  You will have to do this in two batches as it’s a lot of pumpkin.  Be careful!  Blend on high until the pumpkin is smooth.

Transfer back to the pot and add the coconut milk (you can save a bit of the cream off the coconut milk for garnish if you like), lime zest, and salt and pepper to taste.

Stir until well combined and the soup has been brought back up to temperature.

Serve in bowls topped with coconut cream and some lime zest for garnish.

* note that this soup is not high in protein.  I recommend serving it as a side to a sandwich or burger.


Pea and Quinoa Chowder

I found this recipe a while back on the “my food my health” website, only it was made with corn, which has next to no nutritional value.  So, I decided to swap out the corn for some protein packed sweet peas and garnish with olives instead of adding them directly to the soup as per the original recipe (feel free to do that, but I found the olive flavours infused the soup too much in leftovers).  Jason hasn’t stopped talking about this soup since.  As a lot of my recipes, this is quick and simple, yet packs good nutrition with balanced flavours.  If you love a hearty pea soup…this is for you.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time:  20 minutes
Servings:  6

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or grapeseed oil
1 large finely chopped leek (white and light green parts)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 lb red skinned potatoes scrubbed or peeled and cut into 1/2″ diced pieces
6 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
4 cups peas (fresh or frozen)
1 1/4 tsp salt (+ more to taste)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2-4 green stuffed olives (with garlic or pimento)

In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the leeks and oregano.  Sweat the leeks, stirring occasionally, until the leeks begin to soften, about 4 minutes.  Be careful not to brown the leeks as I did here!

Add 5 cups of vegetable stock and the potatoes.  Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat and add the quinoa. Turn down the heat to medium and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

If you prefer to have a bit more of a creamy texture to your chowder, in a food processor or blender, you can process 2 cups of the peas with 1 cup of stock and add it to your soup with the whole peas.  Otherwise, after the quinoa has cooked for 10 minutes, all the peas can be added directly to the pot and the extra cup of stock (as I have done here).

Add the salt and lots of fresh ground pepper (make sure to taste so that you add enough or as little to your liking).

Continue cooking until the quinoa is done (the grains should be translucent and have no opaque white dot in the center), about 2 to 3 minutes more.  Stir in the cilantro, and scallion.  Taste and add more salt if necessary.  Add enough lime juice to sharpen the flavours.  Garnish with a stuffed olive.

Creamy Green Soup

I discovered a local vegan café on Commercial Drive last fall and tested their “green” soup – which wasn’t so green after sitting on an element all morning. I was annoyed with how much I paid, and even more annoyed when I tasted it! And so my mission to devise the tastiest green soup commenced. It didn’t take long and I think you’ll agree that the creamy, cheesy flavours in this green soup are the perfect balance of satisfaction. Jason asked for this one this week. Ask, and you shall receive, on the conditions there is no talking during Supernatural!

Servings:  6
Prep Time:  5 minutes:
Cook Time:  30 minutes

1 tbsp grapeseed oil for sautéing
600 grams frozen spinach (or 6 cups fresh spinach) *see note
1 large yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
2 cups vegetable stock **see note
1 398 ml can coconut milk
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Sea salt to taste

*if you are using fresh spinach, remove the stems and rinse the leaves thoroughly as they can often have sand trapped between them. Add to the recipe as you would frozen spinach.
**of course the best stock to use would be one that you’ve roasted and deglazed yourself, however that is not always an option based on time. I keep stock cubes on hand (make sure you buy the low sodium, no MSG organic brands – you can always add more salt, but you can’t take it away). You can also buy pre-made organic stock in tetra packs at the market. Use what you need and freeze the rest until later.

Chop the garlic and onion.
In a large pot, heat the grapeseed oil. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent.
Open and drain off any excess water from the frozen spinach. Add to the onion mixture and heat through (about 2 minutes).

Add the vegetable stock. Bring the mixture to a mild simmer and remove from the heat.
Transfer the spinach mixture from the pot to a high speed blender. Be very careful when pouring out the hot mixture.
Secure the lid (you don’t want to burn yourself with hot soup splatter) and blend on high until smooth.
Return the blended soup to the pot and cook over medium heat until the soup begins to simmer.
Remove from heat and stir in the coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper.
I eat this soup as a light dinner with vegan gyoza dumplings on the side (which can be purchased from your local market in the freezer section). This soup would also make a great accompaniment to a veggie burger or fresh falafel. The ideas are limitless!