loaded carrot soup

loaded carrot soup vegan quinoa

The other night I came home from work starving and exhausted.  I guess this is where normal people order takeout, but I don’t think I’ve done that in years.  Too much work, plastic, money, and I can cook something way better at home.  Not to put down anyone who does get takeout, it’s just not my style.  Cooking things myself is self-love, a way I give love to my family, and a creative outlet.

Surveying the fridge, I saw a jar of carrot soup that I’d pulled out from the freezer that morning, and decided to make my meal around that.  The result was so easy and delicious that I made it for dinner the next night, too.  Here’s the recipe.

loaded carrot soup (serves two very hungry people)

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups of roasted carrot soup – this recipe is so simple and tastes amazing.  I double or triple cook it and then freeze in mason jars.

1 cup of quinoa

2 small or 1 large zucchini (other green veggies would work well here, too- like brussels or broccoli)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons seeds- like pumpkin, sesame, sunflower or a mix

1 avocado, pitted and sliced

any other toppings you’d like- fresh herbs, chili flakes, green onions, flaky sea salt, cherry tomatoes, dollop of coco yogurt, the options are endless.

METHOD

Place quinoa in a small pot with 1.5 cups of water or broth and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, then turn to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Pour the soup into a small pot to heat.

Chop up zucchini and heat oil in a skillet.  Add in zucchini and a sprinkle of salt and let sear without stirring for a minute or two on high.  Stir and let cook another minute or two until tender.  With broccoli or brussels, cover the pan at this time to let it steam a bit.  Pull off the heat, add in the garlic, and stir quickly to incorporate, taking care not to burn the garlic.

Toast the seeds in a dry pan until popping and toasty, about 2 minutes over med-high.

Divide soup between bowls and dollop the quinoa (you may not use it all) in a pile towards the side so it doesn’t disperse all the way into the soup.  Add the zucchini.  Add the avocado, seeds, and any other toppings and serve!

*also, the first picture is from when I made it the second night and wasn’t rushing.  This picture below is from the first night and arguably is even prettier.  REAL fast food.

IMG_1180

black bean soup



black bean soup gluten free vegan low fat

Around here we make a lot of different meals.  I rarely use the same recipe twice.  Not that the recipes aren’t good, it’s just that I love to try new things.  However, I definitely have a stash of cherished recipes that I have made time and time again.

This black bean soup is one of them.  Flavorful, filling, creamy, and comforting, this soup is a favorite in our house.  It is extremely versatile as well (good on its own, fabulous with all kinds of toppings, leave the beans whole and eat with rice, use in nachos, etc) and keeps in the fridge wonderfully.  It’s just the thing to make on Sunday and eat all week.

The original recipe comes from my beloved Cooks Illustrated + uses a massive ham hock to cook with the beans to impart flavor.  I obviously leave out the meat and taste absolutely does not suffer.

However, since this soup is so simple, it is imperative to only use very fresh and flavorful broth, spices, and vegetables.  Bonus: cooking this will fill your house with a wonderful, subtle scent of cumin and bay leaf.

black bean soup gluten free vegan low fat

Favorite black bean soup

This recipe is cooked in two steps, the beans and the aromatics/soup.

For the beans you will need:

5c water, plus extra as needed

1 lb (2c) dry black beans, rinsed and picked over for debris

2 large bay leaves

1/8t baking soda

1t salt

Place water, beans, bay leaves, and baking soda in a large pot with lid.  Bring to boil over medium high heat.  Stir in the salt, reduce the heat to low.  Cover and simmer briskly until beans are tender, between 1 and 1.5 hours (this depends on how old your dried beans are)  Start checking the beans for doneness at 1 hour and add extra water during this time if necessary to cover the beans.  After they are done discard the bay leaves but DO NOT drain the beans.  Set aside and start the second step: the soup!

For the soup you will need:

3T oil of choice

2 large yellow onions, chopped finely

1 very large carrot, chopped finely

4 celery ribs, chopped finely

1/2t salt

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/2t red pepper flakes-

*note: this amount does not make it spicy, it is for flavor only.  I LOVE it spicy but I have small children so I add extra into the adults bowls as needed.  If you like spicy, you may want to either increase the chili flakes, add chopped fresh hot peppers to your aromatics, or add in some canned chipotle chiles.

1.5T good quality ground cumin

6c broth

2T cornstarch

2T water

2T lime juice

Heat oil in your pot/dutch oven until shimmering.  Add in your onions, carrot, celery, and salt and cook until they are soft and very lightly browned, approximately 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low and add your garlic, pepper flakes, and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the beans, bean cooking liquid, and broth.  Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes to all the flavors to develop.

Ladle 1.5 cups of beans and 2c of liquid into a blender and puree, then return the puree to the pot.  Stir together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl until combined, then gradually stir half of the mixture into the pot.  Bring the soup to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, to fully thicken.  If the soup is still not sufficiently thickened after boiling, add in the remaining cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil again.  Pull the soup off the heat and stir in the lime juice.  Ladle into bowls and top with any desired toppings.  It will keep in the fridge for about 5 days.

Suggested toppings to pass at the table: (choose as many or as few as you want!)

avocado slices

diced tomato

crumbled tortilla chips

dollops of cashew sour cream

chopped cilantro

thin slices of green onions

diced red onions

diced bell peppers

lime wedges

mango chunks

shredded cabbage

fresh hot tortillas

diced fresh chile peppers