Sunday, January 18, 2015

Curried Heirloom Carrot Soup

Still winter... though you wouldn't know it based on the SoCal weather!

Even so, I've been in winter comfort food mode. One of my favorite things to make this time of year is root vegetable dishes. I always keep carrots stored away. They're such handy ingredients in so many different dishes. Check out these beautiful organic heirloom carrots.

I whipped them up for lunch, turning them into a lovely little soup. This soup is vegan—instead of cream, I add a few peeled potatoes to give it a creaminess. Though I did serve it with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt (totally optional). Curry powder gives the soup an unexpected twist.

Did I mention this recipe is easy peasy?

And it's hearty enough to be the centerpiece to a meal. Keeps great in the fridge, and it's even better the next day, if I so say so myself. What else is there to say?

Curried Heirloom Carrot Soup
Serves 4 to 6 people
Cooking time: about 25 minutes
Vegan; gluten-free

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cups low sodium vegetable stock (plus more for desired thickness)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
about 1 tablespoon maple syrup (possibly more to taste depending on the sweetness of the carrots)
salt and freshly ground pepper
good olive oil for drizzling
creme fraiche or plain Greek yogurt for garnishing (optional)

1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until softened (about five minutes). Add the garlic and curry powder and saute for another minute, or until fragrant. Add the carrots, potatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil and then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about twenty minutes.

2. Remove from heat and puree the soup until smooth using an immersion blender, or transfer to a regular blender and puree in batches. Season to taste with maple syrup (for extra sweetness), salt, and pepper. Note: more stock may be added to achieve desired consistency.

3. To serve ladle the soup into bowels and drizzle with good olive oil. Top with a dollop of creme fraiche or plain Greek yogurt if desired. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Chickpea Quinoa Veggie Patties

Happy new year!

May we all have a fantastic 2015, filled with cooking and great food!

I've been meaning to share this recipe. It's an updated version of my Chickpea Quinoa Veggie Burgers. A little easier than the original. I can't stop making these suckers. They can be eaten by themselves, or foisted onto a bun and eaten like a veggie burger. They're chocked full of healthy ingredients, like kale and sweet potato.

They're also kind of "anything but the kitchen sink" recipe. You can substitute in any vegetables you want to play around with. In this recipe, I mention adding flax or hemp seeds, but I've also made them with pumpkin seeds. You can change it up however you like. If you want to make these vegan, leave out the egg. And I make them gluten free, but you can use any sort of all purpose flour.

Seriously, I love this recipe! They can be made ahead of time, and they're great leftover, especially for breakfast with a sunny side up egg. Enjoy!

Chickpea Quinoa Veggie Patties
Makes about 8 patties
Cooking time: about 30 minutes
Vegetarian (with easy vegan conversion); dairy-free


1/2 cup quinoa, prepared per package instructions
1 14 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 sweet potato, cooked and skin removed (this can be done quickly in the microwave)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh kale
2 tablespoons flax, hemp and/or pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and freshly ground pepper
flour for dusting (I use gluten free all purpose flour)
grapeseed oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Add the kale, chickpeas, and kale to a food processor and pulse a few times until chopped. Place the veggie mixture in a mixing bowl with the sweet potato, quinoa, flax/hemp/pumpkin seeds, cumin, and egg. Season to with salt and freshly ground pepper. 

3. Mix together well (I use my hands). Shape the mixture into individual patties.

4. In a heavy-bottomed saute pan or cast iron skillet, heat two tablespoons of grapeseed oil over medium high heat. Working in batches and adding more oil as needed, drench the patties in flour and then fry up until nicely browned, turning once. Transfer the patties to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. 

5. Remove from the oven and serve with ketchup and/or hot sauce. Enjoy!

Advance Preparation: The patties can be shaped up to 3 days ahead of time and kept tightly wrapped in the refrigerator until you're ready to brown them. They can also be made in advance and then reheated in a low oven or on the stovetop.