Tag Archives: soup
If you haven’t noticed, most of the dishes I make are “clean out the fridge”-type dishes. Rather than making a list and buying specific ingredients, my kitchen inspiration is instead guided by standing in front of the fridge thinking, “how can I put these things together?”
After a terrible experience in the past involving a very bitter breakfast quinoa, I thought I had been turned off the stuff forever, but since we had a bag of the stuff leftover from a cousin’s visit, I decided to give it a second try.
Quinoa is a pretty interesting food – while it looks like a grain, it’s actually a seed that, if not harvested, will sprout into a leafy vegetable. It has a pleasant nuttiness, is naturally gluten-free and boasts 8g protein per cooked cup – that’s nearly double the protein of cooked brown rice for about the same amount of calories.
Aside from the quinoa, these crisp peppers are filled to the brim with a variety of cooked veggies, some leftover soy sausage and topped with an easy tomato sauce. If you want to leave the soy sausage out, be sure to add some tomatoes or tomato sauce to the stuffing to keep it moist. These peppers are a great make-ahead meal too – they’re even, dare I say it, better the next day.
I parboiled my bell peppers before baking, but if you like a more robust pepper flavor, feel free to skip that step.
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
4 bell peppers, hollowed with tops removed
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 large red onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 lb. button mushrooms, chopped
4 oz. baby spinach
6oz. soy sausage
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Parboil hollowed bell peppers for 3-4 minutes. Remove and place in a baking tray. The peppers should fit snugly.
2. In a large pan coated with non-stick spray, cook the onions, garlic, carrots and mushrooms unless carrots are soft and mushrooms have cooked down. Add the baby spinach in handfuls – it will cook down considerably.
3. Squeeze soy sausage from its casing and mix into vegetables, enough to incorporate the sausage and warm it through. Add cooked quinoa and mix thoroughly.
4. Divide the filling evenly between the four peppers, filling each one to the top. Top each pepper with a generous dollop of the tomato sauce. Pour a good amount of sauce in the base of the dish to ensure maximum moistness and flavor.
5. Bake peppers at 350º for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then serve with any remaining tomato sauce.
Nutrition per Serving: 297 calories, 7g fat, 46 carbohydrates, 19g protein.
Think outside the pepper: Try the quinoa-veggie filling in a burrito, over crisp romaine, or in your favorite stuffed cabbage recipe.
For the sauce:
1 small can tomato paste
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup water
Pinch of sugar
1. Crush stewed tomatoes with fingers leaving it as smooth or chunky as you like.
2. Add tomato paste, vinegar, water and sugar. Mix well.
Soup embodies everything I love about cooking. A couple of forgotten potatoes, that celery that’s been growing a little limp in the fridge, a few herbs and spices – somehow they all come together to create a warm, delicious and comforting dish without a lot of planning or effort. Everything about its creation appeals to my lazy side – which, admittedly, is a pretty big side.
Plus, soup and I go way back. The very first dish I ever learned to cook, it was an ever-present, yet unassuming, part of my culinary life – every holiday dinner, every snow day, every sick day somehow included a bowl of the steamy stuff. I think everyone has at least one childhood memory that involves Grandma’s soup. It’s a dish that’s practically synonymous with warmth and comfort, so it’s no wonder that when the temperature starts to dip, everything from food blogs to Food Network blows up with soup recipes.
As much as I do love soup, it’s not generally considered a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meal. That’s where this Bean and Sweet Potato Soup comes in. It’s filling and satisfying – a soup’s soup, if you will – and is sure to fight the February blues with bold Southwest flavors.
By pureeing some of the dish and leaving the rest chunky, the textures are almost as interesting as the flavor combinations. Sweet chili powder and smoky cumin add a little depth to the top-notch trio of sweet potato, black beans and lime. This soup would be fantastic served alongside a few hot corn tortillas and topped with a generous dash of hot sauce.
I used two different beans in this soup, black and small red, but that’s just what I had on hand. Feel free to use whatever you have in the pantry, or whatever you need to use up – some chopped dark greens would be a delicious addition.
Bean & Sweet Potato Soup
1 medium red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 medium sweet potato, diced
2 celery ribs
1 roasted red pepper
1 15oz. can black beans, drained
1 15oz. can small red beans, drained
Juice of 1 lime
4 cups vegetable broth
1-2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1. In a non-stick pan, cook onion, garlic and celery until soft.
2. Add sweet potato, beans, vegetable broth, spices and lime juice. Stir.
3. Simmer 30-40 minutes until sweet potatoes are soft. Remove a third of the soup and set aside. Puree remaining soup and combine.
4. Garnish with hot sauce and a slice of lime.
Nutrition per Serving: 241 calories, 1g of fat, 56g carbohydrates, 15g protein.