Soups

Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup with crispy mushroom slices and crunchy chickpeas

First Try: Parsnip

Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup with crispy mushroom slices and crunchy chickpeas

I have never had parsnip before. It is not a vegetable I grew up with. Somehow, in the last 6 six years or so, I have never felt curious enough to try it. Until I somehow got it stuck in my head that I wanted to make cauliflower and parsnip soup. Thanks to the power of the internet, I was able to figure out a recipe that worked for me.

One thing I have to say about parsnip is that it was relatively inexpensive to buy. The parsnips were also easy to peel. There was no slimy texture or anything like that. The core or flesh fell slightly foamy. I almost felt like if I dropped the parsnip in water, it would absorb some of the liquid.

Roasted cauliflower and parsnip in a pan for soup

Anyway, a lot of the recipes I read, called for roasting the parsnip and the cauliflower. So, I roasted the cauliflower and parsnip in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400 F until it has nice golden spots. Since I wasn’t using stock or broth for the soup, I used my untraditional mirepoix with celery, carrots, leeks, and onions plus garlic as a starter base. I sauteed these vegetables until they were translucent. Normally, I would have used herbs in the soup but I wanted a really plain soup so that I could taste the vegetables.

A little confession: I actually had a bite of the roasted parsnip before adding it to the soup. I am not sure how I feel about it. Maybe, it is because the parsnip feels so new to me. Despite my lackluster response to the first bite of roasted parsnip, I added the roasted parsnip and roasted cauliflower to the soup pot. Then added in a can of coconut milk. I allowed the whole pot of cauliflower and parsnip soup to come to a boil. Then, I set the heat down to simmer it for 10 minutes before transferring to a blender.

I like my soup pretty thick and smooth so that what I went for with the cauliflower and parsnip soup. This soup is very plain like I wanted and I have enjoyed eating it. Maybe, I am not sure how I feel about parsnip because it is masked so well in this soup with cauliflower and the other vegetables.

Crispy mushroom slices and crunchy chickpea on cauliflower and parsnip soup

My favorite bit of the cauliflower and parsnip soup making was the crispy mushroom bits. The mushroom slices were surprisingly “meaty.” I think they would go well with scrambled eggs on toast or a breakfast burrito. The Healthyish recipe for mushroom bacon was quick and easy for these. I followed instruction from Minimalist Baker for the crunchy chickpeas. Let me just say that the instruction to peel the chickpeas feels silly but it makes such a huge difference.

I am not comfortable giving a recipe for this cauliflower and parsnip soup since this is the first time I am making parsnip. However, I have a list of recipes I referenced before embarking on this adventure.

Anyway, let me know if you have favorite way of eating parsnip. I am sure I will give it another try. Maybe I should make a parsnip gnocchi? Or I am thinking of roasting parsnip strips for a salad. What do you think?

A white bowl filled with tomato chicken soup with kale. the soup is topped with a soft boiled egg.

My First Winter Soup

A white bowl filled with tomato chicken soup with kale. the soup is topped with a soft boiled egg.

When I first moved to the US, this soup was one of the first things I associated with winter. My stepmother would make a huge pot of tomato chicken soup during the winters in California and it was always the best thing. Especially the next day, when all the flavors would have co-mingled properly. This is my version of that soup, a tomato chicken soup with barley.

One of the things I find interesting about this soup is that the tomato, red pepper and onions are blended in Nigerian style. I never asked my stepmother is this was how the recipe was originally made or this was influenced by marrying into the Nigerian culture. She also tends to make her version of the soup with potatoes. Oh! Those cubes of potatoes would have soaked up so much flavor the next day.

A white bowl filled with tomato chicken soup with barley and kale. the soup is topped with a soft boiled egg.

I started making my version of this tomato chicken soup with barley when I lived in Manchester England. It was my first time experiencing a snowy winter. I am not sure how I found barley but this soup is one of the only places I eat barley. I like barley. It is soft on the outside with a bit of a bite in the middle. That’s how I cook my barley.

The thing I like about making this tomato chicken soup with barley is that I can make the barley ahead. In fact, I recommend cooking the barley separately from the broth of the soup. Barley has a lot of starch that would thicken up the soup if cooked in the broth. I prefer to add in my cooked grains of barley into the soup at the last stage.

Tomato Chicken Soup With Barley

A lovely soup filled with vegetables and barley. The tomato chicken soup is easy and quick since the broth does the work of bringing in the flavor.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Soup
Keyword: barley, chicken soup, kale, tomato chicken soup, tomato soup
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 bunch Lacinato Kale chopped
  • 1 cup barley cooked
  • 1/2 cup Mirepoix
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Blend the tomato puree, red pepper, chili flakes, onion, and garlic together in food processor until smooth.
  • In a large pot, add in the vegetable oil. Heat the oil for a minute or two before adding in the mirepoix. Season with some salt and then cook the mirepoix for about 4-5minutes until soft and translucent.
  • Add in the tomato mix into the pot along with the chicken broth. Bring up to boil, then reduce heat and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Add in the kale and allow that to cook and reduce into the soup for about 5 minutes before adding in the cooked barley. Check that the salt is balanced and adjust is necessary
  • Let the soup simmer for a couple minutes before serving.

Notes

I use a homemade chicken broth when I make this soup. This why I don’t need to worry about seasoning the soup because all the flavor is in the broth. I have a recipe here for how I make chicken broth at home.
Butternut squash soup with black beans in a white bowl

A Soup to Remember

Butternut squash soup with black beans in a white bowl

The first time I had a variation of the Butternut Squash soup with black beans, it was such an unexpected treat. It happened a couple of years ago at the Boston Public Market.

The Boston Public Market is one of my favorite places to wonder in the winter. I love looking at the stalls of the local producers and buying donuts. Every once in a while, I stop there to get a meal. Usually, I either get a pastrami sandwich or I go get food from Bon Me.

On the day I tried the butternut squash soup, I got accosted on my way to Bon Me by an affable guy. He was offering me soup for free. He told me, “if you don’t like the soup, you don’t have to pay for it.” Unlike my normal self, I didn’t brush him off. I figured I had nothing to lose. Plus, I loved his approach. So I tried the soup and I paid for it. It was amazing. His was a vegetarian version that was tangy and spicy with loads of vegetables and beans with sweet potato. I love it and I ate every bit of it.

Butternut squash soup with black beans in a white bowl

My version of the soup tries to capture some of the magic of that moment in a simpler version. The butternut squash soup with black beans starts with a mirepoix. Mirepoix is are so commonly sold in grocery store prepped vegetable sections. Buying the vegetable pre-chopped makes life easier but I usually make my own mirepoix at home because I don’t like carrots. Also, I use leeks instead of onions.

The broth is definitely my homemade chicken broth that I have tailored to my specific taste. One special thing that I do with my soup is make cut my butternut squash into tiny cubes. Bigger cubes would work in the soup, they would just need to be cooked longer.

The magic spice in this bowl of goodness is the cumin. The cumin brings everything together¬†and especially after the final squeeze of lime. Don’t skip out on the cumin or the lime. It makes such a huge difference to the way the taste plays out.

If there is one thing I am loving this winter, it is finding easy ways to eat my vegetables on the regular without it feeling like a chore. This butternut squash soup with black beans is such a joyous experience that I can’t help repeating it.

Butternut Squash Soup with Black Beans

The butternut squash soup with black beans takes me back to a beautiful moment of discovering new food profiles unexpectedly. It is such a joyful recipe because of its robust flavor with cumin and lime playing with the sweetness of the butternut squash.
Cook Time20 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Butternut Squash
  • 1 Can Black Beans rinsed
  • 1 Cup Mirepoix
  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Lime
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil

Instructions

  • This the perfect recipe to use the pre-cut butternut squash that is sold in the stores. It cuts down on prep time. Cut the butternut squash into chunks if you are prepping it yourself. I prefer smaller pieces to cut down on cooking time.
  • Smash the garlic cloves. Add the oil into a medium saucepan. After heating for a minute, add the mirepoix and smashed garlic cloves. Sprinkle a pinch of salt. Stir frequently and allow the vegetables to sweat for few minutes until translucent.
  • Once mirepoix looks soft, add in the butternut squash chunks and the cumin.  Stir frequently for about four minutes, then add in the chicken broth. Bring it up to a simmer.
  • Add in the black bean. Taste the soup to check that salt is at an optimal level. Let it all cook together until the butternut squash chunks are tender. 
  • Serve soup in a bowl with a wedge of lime. Squeeze lime juice over the soup before eating.
Rice and Kale Chicken Soup with Pesto topped with avocado slices in a white plate

The Leftover Soup

Rice and Kale Chicken Soup with Pesto topped with avocado slices in a white plate

This is the easiest kind of soup. Everything is already prepped and cooking really is about warming up together. This Rice and Kale Chicken Soup with Pesto is one more tool in my fight against food waste.

The flavor base of the soup, the chicken broth does most of the hard work. By making building in the flavor of the herbs in the broth already, I can concentrate on just adding in my ingredients into the broth.

One of the things I like about this soup is that it solves the problem of leftover food. When I make this recipe at home, I am usually using bits of chicken leftover from a rotisserie chicken. The rice also tends to be leftover rice.

Rice and Kale Chicken Soup with Pesto topped with avocado slices in a white plate

Really there is no recipe for this soup. I start the rice and kale chicken soup by sauteeing some kale in some oil. Any greens would work if you are not a fan of kale, Once the kale or greens are wilted, I add in the chicken broth. Bring that to a simmer, then add in the chicken bits and rice. I let it simmer for another couple of minutes, I taste it to check if it needs anything. Most times, I have to add a pinch of salt because I don’t make my broth with salt.

The rice and kale chicken soup goes in a bowl to be topped with some pesto. I also like avocado on this soup for some creaminess. A squeeze of lemon also works wonder by elevating the broth.

Carrot Curry Soup with Biscuit and Pesto

A Soup to Soothe the Cold

Carrot Curry Soup with Biscuit and Pesto

My darling Boston has been experiencing a warmer than expected winter, so far. The lack of cold has meant that I have developed a robust appetite for soups as I usually do. This week, we had a bit of a cold snap when the temperature dropped into the teens from the mid-30s. It was a wonderful opportunity to make this carrot curry soup.

The truth is that I don’t know if I really like carrots. I am a bit of a picky eater. There are certain foods I only tolerate in specific preparations. Carrots are one of those. I can only seem to eat my carrots in soup form. Any other preparation and I am not likely going to be a fan. Although, there are a few salad options I have tried and liked.

Carrot Curry Soup with Biscuit and Pesto

I, overwhelmingly, prefer to taste the full range of flavors on my vegetables. One of the things that draws me to this Carrot Curry Soup is how insanely robust and flavorful it is. There is no hiding from the carrot in this soup. The roasting of the carrot to get that caramelization completely changes the way it presents itself in the soup. The carrot suddenly has both a sweet and salty taste on the tongue. This is one of my favorite things about this soup

As the name Carrot Curry Soup suggests, the curry paste is an important part of this production. Finding a good red curry paste makes a difference in this soup. I usually buy a popular brand that I have used and liked for years. Toasting the curry paste a bit before cooking is something I learned from reading South East Asian recipes. It gives the curry a chance to develop a heavenly fragrance while waking up dormant oils.

There is a bit of a choose your adventure to making soup. You can make it as thick or as thin as you desire. I personally prefer this carrot curry soup so thick it feels like a mousse. The feel of air on the tongue is one that makes quite a difference when eating this.

I have served this carrot curry soup with an insanely flavorful Walnut Cilantro pesto sauce that is still in testing. Hopefully, I can get that recipe out to you soon.

Please try the recipe and let me know what you think.

Carrot Curry Soup

Delightful use of carrot and red curry paste to create a warming winter soup.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course, Soup
Keyword: carrot, coconut, coconut milk, coconut oil, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, red curry paste, roasted carrot
Servings: 4
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Carrot peeled and quartered
  • 4 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Red Curry Paste
  • 13.5 oz Full Fat Coconut Milk this basically one can of coconut milk
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 inches ginger chopped
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • The first step is roasting the carrots. Put the carrots on a baking sheet, add in two tablespoons of coconut oil and some salt. Mix it so that everything is well coated. Place in an oven that has been preheated to 400F. Roast for 25 minutes or until carrots is well browned.
  • In a medium-sized pot, heat up the leftover coconut oil. Add in the chopped garlic and ginger. Sauteed at medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the red pepper paste. Keep stirring and heating until the paste mixture is fragrant.
  • Pour the coconut milk as well as 2-3 cups of water. Stir until the paste is well dissolved into the liquid. Add in the roasted carrots. Let it boil at medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Let soup cool down a bit before attempting to blend, for safety reasons. Once it is cool enough to handle, blend soup until smooth. This can easily be done in a food processor or blender. 

Notes

*I like to blend the soup for a long time to whisk some air into it. This gives it a mousse like texture when you are eating it. 
*Also, I serve mine with a tangy walnut cilantro paste sometimes. This adds a serious depth of flavor to the bowl. The recipe for that is here.
A bowl of broccoli apple soup

‘Tis the Season of Healthy…

A bowl of broccoli apple soup

We finally got through the holiday season! And I say ‘we’ because it seemed everywhere I looked, there was another indulgence. From the month-long cookies post on Instagram to the decadent pies, December was the month to devour. Now, ‘we’ are all here. Here in this place where it seems the pendulum swings encouraged gluttony to starvation. We are in the season of healthy, new beginning and elimination of major food categories. While I don’t subscribe to the drastic pendulum swings, I am solidly ready to be sipping this Broccoli Apple soup.

I don’t believe in diets. Been there done that. Still paying the price for years of denying myself food in the name of health. Instead, I believe in moderation. I believe in the joy of food as a part of daily living. Food is part of my self-care routine. Eating is a statement of self-love. Choosing to eat food, in its entirety and complexity, is more important to me than any superficial aesthetics or number on the scale.

One of the ways that I care for myself is to eat things that make me feel good from the inside out. This Broccoli Apple soup is one of my winter favorites. I know that it may seem like hypocrisy to be writing about self-care, body-positive and a decidedly low calorie soup in the same page. Let me challenge that thought by asking if eating well has to me either or. Is it possible to eat with moderation?

A black hand squeezing a wedge of lemon into a bowl of broccoli apple soup

This Broccoli Apple is one of my favorite things because I love the taste of hot green soup in the morning. This one just happens to be the soup I reach for in the winter. I think the combination of the heartiness of broccoli with the slight sweetness of the apple just makes me feel awake. Adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the Broccoli Apple soup is definitely a must me.

Broccoli Apple Soup

A refreshing breakfast soup featuring two ingredients, broccoli with apple. It is a quick and easy make that stores well.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Keyword: apple, broccoli, broccoli soup, soup
Servings: 5
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound Broccoli
  • 3 Apples I love using granny smith for it tartness. But any apple works
  • 1 Lemon
  • Sea Salt

Instructions

  • In a pot, add 4 cups of water and set it to boil.
  • While the water is boiling, deseed and chop up the apple. Also, cut the broccoli florets and stem into pieces that would fit into the pot.
  • Add the chunks of apple and broccoli into the pot of boiling water. Let it cook for about 5 minutes. Set it aside to cool.
  • Blend to the broccoli and apple to your decided consistency. I prefer mind just a bit short of smooth. Season with salt to taste.
  • When serving soup, add a wedge of lemon to be squeezed in just before consumption.