Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Eating Your Fruits and Vegetables

Easy, very nutritious, super-creamy and delicious soup.  This soup is dairy free, full of healthy fats and protein, high in fiber and full of vegetables.  But most importantly this soup is very, very tasty.  After the soup recipes is a delicious juice/smoothie recipe that makes a great healthy dessert or snack.

Creamy Skillet Soup
Makes two large servings.  A great, hearty, tasty lunch or dinner.  Serve with a simple greens salad and your favorite bread.  The kale turns the soup bright green.

1/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup unsweetened boxed coconut milk (I used So Delicious)
Generous amount of Tabasco sauce
About 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (or a slice of lemon if using Vitamix, peel and seeds removed)

About 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1/3 of a bell pepper, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped
About 1/2 pint mushrooms, roughly chopped
Pinch of salt
Fresh pepper

10-15 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
About 5 pieces of kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
About 1/2 can of great northern beans
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
1/2 vegetable bouillon cube

Soup base, Vitamix:
Put the first four ingredients into the Vitamix, then proceed making the rest of the recipe.

Soup base, stick/immersion or regular blender:
Chop/crush the cashews and allow to soak in the milk for at least four hours in the refrigerator so that the cashews become soft enough to fully blend.  Once soft, add the lemon juice and Tabasco sauce and set aside.  If you don't have the time for this step, add 1-2 tablespoons of tahini to the milk.

Saute the onion, carrots and bell pepper in a deep pan until they start to soften.  Add the garlic, mushrooms, salt and pepper, saute a few minutes more until the onions are browning and the mushrooms are soft.  Add the next five ingredients, raise the heat to bring the mixture to a boil, deglaze the pain, press the bouillon cube into the water to help it quickly dissolve, lower the heat and cook just enough to wilt the kale.  Then take the pan off the heat.

Add the pan ingredients into the Vitamix and blend for a few minutes until creamy and piping hot.

If using a convention blender, blend in batches with the soup base, combine it all back into a soup pot on the stove and heat through.

For a stick/immersion blender, combine the soup base and the pan ingredients into a large deep stock pot, blend and heat through.

Once blended, taste the soup and add additional salt, pepper or hot sauce as needed.

This soup is also delicious made with additional or different vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, spinach, chard, cabbage, sweet or regular potatoes.  The beans can be omitted for a lighter soup.  Plain greek or regular yogurt is a great addition.  Plain, unsweetened almond, soy or cows milk can be used instead of the coconut milk.  Full fat canned coconut milk/cream can be used or added.  The quantities of the vegetables need not be precise.  The trick to the deliciousness is the soup base, using a variety of vegetables and keeping the cooking time short so the flavors are fresh.

Citrus Blast Juice Drink
Three servings.  Refreshing, sweet, tangy, complex and delicious.

1/2 grapefruit, peel and seeds removed
2 small nave1 oranges, peeled and halved
About 1 cup of pineapple chunks
1 small apple, cored and in chunks
1 slice ginger
1/2-1 cup water

Blend together until frothy and serve immediately.  If using a conventional blender, cut the fruit into smaller pieces.

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