Leek, Potato & Broccoli Soup {vegan}

1 2014 003

Fancy schmancy green smoothies are fine by me. But I like to kick it old school with my blended vegetables sometimes — with some green soup.

We get our color from broccoli and spinach and then trick it out with non-juice things like potatoes, leeks and garlic and top it all off with maple balsamic caramelized onions and some toasted almond flakes.

These onions are ideal on pretty much anything savory. I recommend adding a pinch of chili flakes to the batch for the perfect sweet and spicy mix. I love these on sandwiches, on roasted vegetable salads and stirred in to soup for extra texture and excitement.

There’s plenty of time for green juice in the future. Today, we soup!

green soup 2

Leek, Potato & Broccoli Soup

  • 1 tablespoon oil (I used macadamia oil)
  • 2 medium-large leeks, cleaned and finely sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium head broccoli, trimmed and cut into small pieces
  • 3 cups spinach
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot heat oil over a medium high heat. Add leeks and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until the leeks soften. Add a splash of warm water to the pan if the leeks are sticking at all. Add garlic and fennel seeds and cook for another minute, stirring.

Add potato and vegetable broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling add broccoli and cover the pot reducing to medium-low. Let cook for about 10 minutes until everything cooks through and the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Stir in spinach.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Puree in a blender in batches or use a stick blender to get a smooth consistency. Season.

Serve with maple balsamic caramelized onions (see below) and toasted almond flakes.

Maple Balsamic Caramelized Onions

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 medium red onions – or a mix of yellow and red (whatever you’ve got) thinly sliced into half-moons
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • water
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • pinch of chili (optional)

In a large pan, heat oil over a medium heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes, until very softened and getting golden. Add a little splash of water at any point if the pan gets too dry.

Add balsamic vinegar and allow to bubble down and reduce, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for another 10 minutes (again, adding small splashes of water as needed.) Once completely softened, turn off the heat and stir in the maple syrup, another pinch of salt and chili (if you’re into that sort of thing). Stir to combine and set aside until you’re ready to serve.

I love having this on hand in the fridge for a couple of days to add to anything and everything.

Broccoli & Rice Bowl with Peanut Sriracha Sauce {Vegan}

peanut sriracha bowl

A lot of what I eat day-to-day involves some sort of “Bowl”. When I’m looking to get a good hit of vegetables or just use up the bits and pieces in the fridge, a Bowl is the answer.  More than a salad, but with a similar amount of a commitment, Bowls are thrown together easily and often amount to much more than their individual elements.

The most important component of a Bowl is a kickass sauce or dressing. Once you have a good sauce, you’ve got something worth eating.

Continue reading

Broccoli and Leek Soup

I’m gearing up to tell some stories. Actually, I’ll just be telling one specific story, multiple times.

This weekend, F’s parents are throwing us our Australian engagement party. It’s going to be a lovely night in the backyard with friends, family, good food and bubbles.

There’s one catch: I’ll be obliged to tell the story of our engagement to many of the guests. While I’ve already had quite a bit of practice in the two months we’ve been engaged, I still haven’t got better at telling it.

Where do I start? One minute, I was on a rooftop in New Orleans’ French Quarter laughing at his pre-proposal speech, not being able to take a compliment and the next I realized what was going on. I think I probably just sound like a jerk when I tell it…I dunno.

It was a perfect night – like, majorly – and we were the happiest couple in NOLA, I just wish I could express the sequence of events better!

It doesn’t really matter though – we’re just excited to celebrate with the people we love.

I wish I had a better story about this soup too, but the truth of the matter is that I found myself on a Monday waiting for my fruit and veg delivery and very hungry. I scraped around the crisper and came out with a head of broccoli and a big leek. Instead of an omelet or some quick stir fry I opted for a simple and silky smooth soup.

Admittedly, you have to be a broccoli fan for this one, but you could try subbing in more potatoes or roasted carrots instead. I like to garnish the whole thing with chives, which add a nice mellow onion-y compliment to the leeks. I also think a little grating of Parmesan or cheddar would go over extremely well in this situation.

The end.

BROCCOLI & LEEK SOUP

  • 1 medium head of broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts sliced thin
  • 1 small-medium white potato, pealed chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 liter or 4 cups vegetable broth
  • salt & pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped chives, to serve

In a large pot, heat a glug of olive oil over a medium high heat. Add leak and garlic and sauté until the leek is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme and cook for another minute.

Pour in vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and potato and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 10 minutes until the broccoli and potatoes are tender.

Allow the soup to cool for a few minutes and purée with a stick blender or in batches in the blender.

Pour back into the pot, bring to a boil and and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Serve with chopped chives and extra black pepper.

Chopped Broccoli Salad

Real talk: some days I miss Whole Foods real bad. I realize that this is a total first-world problem and that I’m beginning to sound ridiculous – but [my favorite pastime] grocery shopping is just not the same after having been so spoiled on the regular.

They have all the random things I decide I need in my kitchen immediately. Mulling spices? Right near the apple cider! Pre-cut butternut squash? Fo sho. Three-year aged Gouda? Got it. Truffle salt? No prob.

Let’s not even talk about the gelato bar and bakery, please. And the salad bar! Ah, the salad bar…so amazing, so dangerous! This salad I made today was one I found on Oh She Glows, an awesome vegan blog. Angela reminded me of the joys of the Whole Foods salad bar when she made her own version of their Detox salad.

It’s crunchy, zesty and a little sweet with a satisfying chew-factor from the dried fruit – plus it’s raw and easy to throw together.

This salad is great to make for lunches throughout the week – dressing it as you go, to prevent it from becoming soggy. It lends itself to additions, so you can change it up each day – simply serve it alongside grilled shrimp, a veggie burger or chicken and the next day you can mix it with some leftover pasta or rice and feta cheese to give it a new life. You can mix it with chickpeas, black beans or tofu too, for a vegetarian-friendly protein hit. Or eat it inside a pita with a dollop of yogurt and hot sauce. Mad ideas for this salad, yo.

Chopped Broccoli Salad (serves 6 as a side)
Based on Detox Salad from Whole Foods’ salad bar and Oh She Glows

1 bunch of broccoli, cut into florets
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1-2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1/3 cup mix of sunflower seeds and pepitas
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
a handful of chopped parsley
a handful of chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
salt and pepper

In a food processor, finely chop the broccoli and carrots until they become rice-like in texture. (If you don’t have a food processor, chop the broccoli and carrots with a knife as small as you can get them.) Mix with other ingredients in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. If you’re looking to stretch out the salad throughout the week, you may want to reserve the seeds and the lemon juice/maple dressing and add it as you go. (I added it all at once and it still had a nice crunch the next day.)

Bulk it up with: 1 cup of brown rice, quinoa, cracked wheat or orzo pasta
Add some protein with: 1/2 – 1 cup chickpeas, cubed tofu or black beans
Add some gratuitous cheese with: a little bit of crumbled feta, blue or goat cheese

My New Favorite…Way to Cook Broccoli

Let’s take it niiice and easy.

Jog a little slower. Have an extra cup of coffee. Stop and take a picture of something pretty. Buy yourself a new book. Eat some extra greens. But make them taste like candy.

Green, caramelized, feta-flecked candy.

Be nice to yourself…it’s Monday.

It’s a simple concept, but roasting vegetables (as I have mentioned before) can really amp things up. Caramelizing is a powerful and delicious thing, my friends. Use it recklessly.

All you need to do is the prep, then kick back and let the oven do all the fancy work. Nice and easy.

~~~

This recipe is based on Adam Roberts’ (aka The Amateur Gourmet) The Best Broccoli of Your Life who based it on Ina Garten’s (aka the Barefoot Contessa) Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli. So you know it’s good.

I decided to use marinated feta and toasted sunflower seeds instead of Ina’s Parmesan and pine nuts – but the slightly nutty, browned broccoli is the real star here.

My Favorite Way to Cook Broccoli
– 1 head of broccoli (about 2 cups), cut into small florets and stems cut into small pieces
– 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
– salt & pepper
– zest from half a lemon
– toasted sunflower seeds
– 2 tablespoons cup crumbled feta

Heat oven to 200 C/400 F.

Toss broccoli with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt & pepper (to taste, but I prefer a heavy pour with both). Add more olive oil if all of the florets aren’t coated well.

Spread broccoli out on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes (tossing half-way through) until florets are beginning to brown a little.

Zest the lemon over the broccoli and let cool.

Toss with feta and sunflower seeds to serve.

Notes:
I used feta marinated in preserved lemon, olive oil and herbs. But regular feta with a squeeze of lemon juice works well too.