Spaghetti Squash Soup with Tomatoes

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
Mary Oliver

As the wind howls and snow falls outside I contemplate this beautiful scene. We had an incredible growing season in our new hoop house and I cannot wait to see what 2018 brings for the Waldo Farm.

As 2017 takes its final bow, I imagine that I am not alone as I reflect on the past year. Experience has taught me to not have regrets, but to believe that everything happens for a purpose (even if we are too close at the time to realize that gifts come in multiple wrappings and disguises).

I believe that we are our worst critics and that we must focus on the positives in our lives and not wish time away waiting for the things that we long for. We must focus on the now, while planning for the future. Even small changes can impact our tomorrow and help us achieve our dreams. 

What if we decide, as we reflect on the past year, to not beat ourselves up for all the broken promises we made (to ourselves or others), and we focus on the strides we made to live a full life? What if at the same time we made small and manageable resolutions and intentions to plan, grow, and set goals? Imagine entering 2018 with a mindset that allows us to move forward with wisdom and courage.
My goals for the New Year, as every year, are to focus on my health. After being diagnosed with Hashimotos disease this fall I have had to take many deep breaths and learn new things about my body. I profoundly believe that taking care of ourselves allows us to better take care of others. Since we have to eat every day, the way we nourish our bodies seems to be a natural start. While my taste buds naturally gravitate to fruit and vegetables – I can easily be lured into treats and indulgences that are heavily processed (especially over the holidays). Therefore, I have to make time to prepare wholesome food in my own kitchen.

While you will find a wide array of salad recipes on my blog, in the winter months I enjoy accompanying my greens with a steaming bowl of soup. Broth based soups help fill you up at mealtime and even make a satisfying and guilt-free snack. I love filling my stockpot, or crock-pot, with vegetables and have found that sliced cabbage or spiralized squash make a wonderful substitute for rice or pasta.

In the soup recipe that I am sharing with you today, I use spaghetti squash to bulk up the bowl.  This was a recipe that I shared back in 2013 and it is one that I keep going back to. This year this soup is extra special to me because I was able to can tomatoes from our hoop house and had a bounty of spaghetti squash. Of the benefits of growing squash in the summer is that when kept in a cool place it will last for months. Plus, I have noticed that local supermarkets offer a wide variety of squash throughout fall and winter. Some people are intimidated by the task of preparing squash, but they actually are not labor intensive.

Is there anything more lovely than garden tomatoes?

SPAGHETTI SQUASH AND TOMATO SOUP

  • 6-8 cups vegetable stock
  • 28 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • Quart of tomatoes (large can)
  • 1/2 large chopped onion
  • 3 ribs of celery chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped (I use 1/2 yellow and 1/2 red)
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • Large cooked spaghetti squash (Approximately 10 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon each of oregano, rosemary, and basil

To prepare the squash simply pierce with a knife, or fork, and place into a shallow baking pan that is filled with water. (I bake the squash whole and use about an inch of water).

Bake for approximately 60 minutes at 375 degrees (the time depends on the size of your squash).

Let cool and cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and use a fork to shred the squash. It will naturally pull apart in strands that will resemble pasta.

To prepare the soup, sauté the onion, garlic, celery, pepper, and carrot in the olive oil until soft and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 30-45 minutes. Makes 15 cups.

You could cut the recipe in 1/2 and it would still make a generous pot of soup. I like to make extra to freeze. You could add beans for protein and add any other vegetables such as zucchini and mushrooms. It is delicious, filling, and the addition of tomato sauce makes it taste similar to spaghetti.

When my friend Jackie made this soup she added a dollop of cottage cheese and a sprinkle of Parmesan and said it tasted like lasagna. Add some croutons or a slice of garlic bread and you have a satisfying meal that will keep your healthy resolutions in check.

Whatever your goals are for 2018, make sure that they are achievable and realistic. Setting small goals helps us achieve success that will snowball and we can confidently make the next steps to finding our balance. Let us make sure to make time for our health in the coming weeks, month, and year. Trust me, we are worth it!

I was also able to can tomatoes and salsa from our tomatoes.



Advertisements

Roasted Vegetable Stew

Roasted Vegetable Stew by Produce with Amy“Just as a painter needs light in order to put the finishing touches to his picture, so I need an inner light, which I feel I never have enough of in the autumn.”
― Leo Tolstoy

My heart is not feeling autumn joy this weekend. The sky is gray and yesterday my husband Mike fired up the furnace. I guess when the inside temperature dips below 60 it is sign that it is time to rely on artificial heat. To help deal with my seasonal funk I made time to read, write, and I cooked up a storm. Chopping vegetables is therapy for me. Instead of turning to unhealthy food for comfort this coming week I decided to stock our house with an abundance of vegetable rich meals. I made a batch of autumn themed Mason jar salads, vegetable lasagna, and a rustic roasted vegetable stew (the salad and lasagna recipes will be shared soon).

Do you roast vegetables? It is a simple technique that brings out the sweetness in produce and makes the house smell incredible. When making this stew you may want to make extra roasted vegetables to use in other recipes and serve as a side during the week.

Roasted Brussels SproutsFor this stew I roasted the following in three batches:

1st Batch:
*Brussels sprouts (you will need 1 cup for this recipe.

I roasted extra for my jar salads for the week). If you are buying fresh, buy 2 cups (they shrink) or one bag of frozen. 

 

2nd Batch (Vegetable Medley):Roasted Vegetable Medley
*1 small zucchini
*1 medium onion
*3 ribs of celery
*1 yellow bell pepper
*8 ounces of mushrooms
*1 pint of cherry tomatoes (I add the cherry tomatoes in the last 15 minutes of roasting).

This recipe rendered 4 cups of vegetables. I used two cups for this stew and 2 cups for my vegetable lasagna. Therefore, you may want to cut the recipe in 1/2.

Roasted Root Vegetables

 

3rd Batch (Root Vegetables):
*3 carrots
*3 parsnips
*1 pound of potatoes (I used fingerling potatoes)

I did not season any of my roasted vegetables since the stew will be seasoned. I chopped, drizzled with a little olive oil, and roasted for approximately 40 minutes (turning at the 20 minute mark) at 400 degrees.

The carrots, parsnips, and potatoes were roasted for 50 minutes.  If I was roasting the vegetables to serve as a side I would also add salt, pepper, and minced garlic.

This weekend I also roasted 3 heads of garlic. If you have never roasted garlic before, you have to try it. Roasting garlic makes it sweet, mellow, and creamy. It is terrific in hummus, spread on bread, and is great in any recipe that calls for garlic. I added one entire head to this stew but if you are using regular garlic you can use a couple of minced cloves.
Roasted GarlicDirections for roasting garlic:

Slice the end off of the garlic bulb (the wider end). Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and wrap in tinfoil. Pop into a preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes at 450 degrees (depending on your oven).

After roasting the garlic flesh will become soft and will slide right out of the bulb. It’s marvelous spread on bread, in hummus, and works well in any recipe that requires garlic. I always use all of my roasted garlic immediately, but it would keep well for a week in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Roasted Vegetable Stew by Produce with Amy
ROASTED VEGETABLE STEW

*6 cups of vegetable stock (I used bouillon that I purchased at our co-op)
*1 head of roasted garlic
*2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon of dried)
*Handful of lemon thyme (or 2 teaspoons of dried)
*1 cup of roasted Brussels sprouts
*2 cups of roasted vegetable medley
*Roasted root vegetables
*Juice and zest of one lemon
*1 bunch of chopped, fresh parsley

Bring vegetable stock, roasted garlic, and fresh rosemary and thyme to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add all the roasted vegetables and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and zest and stir in chopped parsley.


Printable Recipe: ROASTED VEGETABLE STEW by Produce with Amy

Pin it HERE.

If you are like me and enjoy a steaming cup or bowl of soup to help chase away a chill and bulk up a meal – make sure you check out my other soup recipes.

As the cold weather progresses, I promise to share more ideas for healthy comfort food. Thank you for joining me on the quest to enjoy plant-based meals. If you have a favorite fall or winter recipe – please share. Make sure you stop by my Facebook page and join the conversation. I wish you a healthy and productive week!

Italian Vegetable Soup

Italian Vegetable Soup by Produce with Amy“Do stuff. be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.”
― Susan Sontag

The first month of the new school year depleted my energy. Each evening I found myself returning home exhausted and in a fog. I felt filled up and content, but I had little energy to do anything but rest, eat dinner, and go to sleep.

Last week after arriving home from work I felt guilty sitting on the sofa as sunshine filtered Athenathrough the burnished leaves – autumn was quickly approaching and summer was making one last stand. The weather was warm and I should have been going for a walk.

Midweek I mustered up the energy to go outside and plucked a bouquet of blooms from my garden – late roses and the sunflowers that the birds planted. I placed the flowers in one of my Fiestaware pitchers and marveled at how splendid they looked set up against the setting sun. It was the perfect backdrop to snap a few pictures of a bowl of my latest recipe – a vegetable soup. Our cat Athena let her curiosity get the best of her, which led to a spontaneous photo shoot. Instead of shooing her away, I let the moment bathe me in beauty and I thought to myself how refreshing it felt to pay attention.

This tiny pocket of brilliance in my evening bubbled over into my classroom the next day. I took out a copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and read to my creative writing students about how important it is for us to fill the well. I encouraged my young writers to fill their hearts and minds with sounds, scents, and sights. We talked about Cameron’s philosophy of going on an Artist’s Date to nurture our creativity.

I decided to follow my own advice and I took the weekend off. I did not grocery shop, cook, do housework, or grade. Sunday my husband Mike and I traveled a couple of hours north to Ontonagon, Michigan and visited the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and enjoyed the day basking in 80 degree weather. We swooned over the glistening beauty of Lake Superior and were rendered speechless at the sight of the Lake of the Clouds ensconced in waves of scarlet and copper hued leaves.
Lake of the Clouds

Two days into a new week and I feel a bit of my fatigue lifting. I believe it is because I allowed myself to be astonished by my surroundings and I made time to fill the well and nurture my own creativity. I snapped photos, scribbled in my journal, and laughed.

As testament to the lightness that I feel this week, I am able to share my latest recipe for soup. A steaming bowl of soup radiates fall and this combination makes the best of fire roasted tomatoes and the last of summer’s herb garden. Dried herbs will work – but as always – fresh is best.

Italian Vegetable Soup by Produce with AmyITALIAN VEGETABLE SOUPFire roasted tomatoes

*4 cups of vegetable stock
*3 chopped carrots
*3 ribs of chopped celery
*3 cloves of minced garlic
*2 cans fire roasted tomatoes (the cans that I used were 15 ounces each)
*1 can of tomato sauce (14.5 ounces)
*1 chopped green bell pepper
*1 small chopped onion
*1 spiralized zucchini (or chopped if you do not have a spiralizer)
*8 ounces of fresh, sliced mushrooms
*13-14 ounces of cannellini beans
*1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil (2 teaspoons of dried)beans
*1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley (2 teaspoons of fresh)
*2 sprigs of chopped fresh rosemary (1 teaspoon of dried)
*2 sprigs of chopped fresh oregano (1 teaspoon of dried)
*5 strands of fresh chives (1 teaspoon of dried)
*1 Tablespoon of cooking oil (I used coconut oil)
*Salt and pepper to taste
(I also added a few baby pea pods and green beans from my garden)

Saute the garlic, onion, celery, bell pepper, and carrots in the cooking oil until soft (3-5 minutes). Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional four minutes. Add the vegetable broth, fire roasted tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Cook on medium heat until the soup boils. Add the beans and fresh herbs. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the spiralized zucchini. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Since I like my spiralized zucchini al dente, I add it after the soup has cooked. If you are used chopped or sliced zucchini you may want to add it when you add the mushrooms.
I like to add the herbs close to the end of the cooking progress to maximize their flavor.

Simmering soupFinished soupItalian Vegetable Soup by Produce with AmyPrintable Recipe: ITALIAN VEGETABLE SOUP by Produce with Amy

Pin it HERE.

Find my other soup recipes HERE.

Thank you for your interest in my blog and please share if you enjoy my posts and recipes. I would love to hear from you. Make sure you follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and stop by my Facebook page and give it a like (all the links can be found on the right hand side of the page).

As we move into winter I promise to continue to share my ideas for healthy comfort food. This week I will be experimenting with a plant-based roasted vegetable stew. Have a wonderful week and I challenge you to pay attention and fill the well of your creativity.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

French Onion Soup – Healthy & Plant-Based

Plant Based French Onion Soup by Produce with Amy“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~William Wordsworth

What is there not to love about the above quote? As an English teacher and writer I try to encourage my students to tell their stories. This year my 9th grade students are so reluctant to write that first line. They sit paralyzed in their desks with looks of alarm on their faces. I try to coax them — sometimes quietly – and sometimes in passionate-crazy-English-teacher fashion to allow their hearts to lead them.

I think that the same can be said about cooking (just replace the word paper in the quote with stock pot, bowl, or plate). When I became a Weight Watchers leader I was surprised to learn how many people are reluctant cooks. I love being able to help provide my members, and readers of my blog, with an array of new food finds and recipes.

For my regular readers, I apologize that I have been on a bit of a blogging hiatus. Life is busy and it is a challenge in the beginning of the school year to find energy to do anything but work, eat, and sleep. In fact, my healthy goals for the beginning of the school year have been nutrition, drinking plenty of water, and getting to bed at a reasonable hour.  Luckily, I get in a lot of movement at work, but in the coming weeks I will be trying to add in more formal exercise.

Last week I started a new novel with my 9th grade students. We are reading Starved by Michael Somers. Somer’s novel details the story of Nathan Thomas who faces stress from school and his family life and develops an eating disorder. I think it is an important topic to discuss with teenagers and as I guide them through the novel, I anticipate many conversations.  In fact, this weekend the assignment was for my students to identify five healthy activities that one can engage in to manage stress. I look forward to seeing their responses tomorrow. As we brainstormed in class I loved hearing about how they love to hike outside and enjoy nature, go fishing, listen to music, and draw. It made my heart joyful when several shared that they enjoy writing when they feel overwhelmed emotionally. I hope that I can help them develop healthy ways to cope with stress at a young age.

My students were excited when I informed them that Mike Somers would be visiting us this year at our high school. What an exciting opportunity it is for them to be face-to-face with an author and be able to ask questions about the creative process. Especially an author that wrote a compelling book that addresses the overwhelming issues of self-concept, identity, and how to find control and balance in our stress filled lives.

For me, part of the way that I deal with stress is to make sure that I am fueling my body with the proper nutrition. Therefore, this blogging adventure has been therapeutic in helping with the stresses of work and my personal life. I really struggled this summer after my beautiful aunt Bev passed away suddenly in June. While I did not share as many recipes as I would have liked, the constant flow of comments and messages from readers who enjoy my recipes kept my spirits up.
BEVolution of Kindness

My aunt owned a supper club,  Bev’s Supper Club, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She was an incredible woman and I will always struggle with the reality of her death.  I spoke at her funeral and shared how I was not ready to say goodbye to Bev. She was my babysitter when I was a little girl and I looked up to her and loved her. I asked all present at her memorial to please commit an act of kindness in Bev’s memory. I started a Facebook page called BEVolution of Kindness and I am thrilled that the kindness campaign is still moving. I also started a FB group that is currently 230 members strong and I hope the numbers continue to grow in the coming months. Please consider joining. You do not need to have known Bev to participate. All it takes is a kind heart and the desire to make a difference in the world. What I am asking people to do is commit an act of kindness and to pass along a BEVolution card to the next person (who in turn passes on the card etc.). My hope is that people find their way to the Facebook group and page and share their story and location that the act of kindness occurred.

Here is a link if you are interested in printing off BEVolution cards:Printable BEVolution Cards

Today’s blog post is in memory of Bev. My aunt’s baked French Onion Soup was enjoyed by her customers and was nearly world-famous (or U.P. famous).

My version of this classic soup is plant-based and was made in the crock-pot. A woman who I chatted with in line at the supermarket suggested that making a flavorful French onion soup without butter or beef broth was impossible. Not only do I think that I nailed this recipe – but I also managed to add crusty bread with plant-based cheese that came out bubbly and browned from the broiler.

Fresh herbs from my garden. I think that the secret to a rich French onion soup is caramelizing the onions and slow-cooking it with a variety of herbs. You do not need butter to caramelize onions – your favorite cooking oil will do the trick. I like to use coconut oil or olive oil – and if you do not have fresh herbs, dried will work.

Since my husband would be eating this soup I made a large batch so you may want to reduce it in half (but I promise you will not regret making a large batch if it is only you eating this soup…it is the perfect, healthy, comfort food).
Plant Based French Onion Soup by Produce with Amy

PLANT-BASED FRENCH ONION SOUP

*8 cups of vegetable stock
*Optional – 1 cup of red wine
*8 medium sliced onions
*4 minced garlic cloves
*2 sprigs of rosemary (2 teaspoons dried)
*2 clusters of sage (2 teaspoons dried)
*6 strands of chives (2 teaspoons dried)
*1/2 cup of parsley (2 teaspoons dried)
(I do not chop the fresh herbs but tie them in a bunch with string and add them to the soup)
*3 Tablespoons of your favorite cooking oil
*Salt and pepper to taste
*Loaf of crusty bread
*Swiss cheese (I used Daiya Swiss Style Slices non-dairy cheese. I highly recommend this product…it was perfect for this soup)

A steaming bowl of soup is the perfect comfort day for a crisp Autumn day. Divide up the cooking oil and onions in three batches and cook on low heat. Add a little salt to the onions and cook until brown and caramelized. Saute the minced garlic with the last batch of onions. Add the onions, garlic, herbs, and broth to the crock-pot. Cook on high for four hours (times may vary according to your slow cooker.  This soup could be also be made on the stove top and I would recommend cooking it on low for a few hours).

Serve the soup hot and top with toasted bread. Slice the bread, top with cheese, and allow to brown under the broiler. You can also make garlic toast and forgo the cheese if you are trying to save calories. Last week I spread olive tapenade on my garlic toast for my soup since I did not buy the Daiya non-dairy cheese until the weekend.
3

Printable recipe:PLANT BASED FRENCH ONION SOUP

Pin it HERE.

Make sure you check out my other soup recipes.

Stop by my Produce with Amy Facebook Page and make sure that you sign up to receive email updates of my posts (on the right side of the page). Follow my posts on Twitter Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Thank you for joining me in the journey to eat more fruit and vegetables. As cold and flu season makes its ugly rounds this time of year it is important to fortify our immune systems with plenty of vitamins and minerals. Your body and health will thank you.
Plant Based Onion SoupI hope you enjoy this soup recipe that I am sharing in memory of my sweet auntie. There is nothing quite as comforting as a bowl of healthy soup. My aunt welcomed people into her restaurant as if it was her own home. She was known for her infectious laughter, warm personality, and her heart-of-gold. I am certain that if there were more people like Bev in the world – it would be a much kinder, gentle, and joyous place. I hope you will consider joining the BEVolution of Kindness that I started to honor her spirit of compassion. Thank you!

BEVolution of Kindness

 

Chilled Green Soup – A Summer Staple

Raw - Chilled Green Soup by Produce with Amy“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
― Julia Child

Often I am told that I am fortunate to be married to a man who is flexible with meals and will eat anything that I cook. While I do often prepare a different dinner for each of us (since he does eat meat and I do not) Mike does enjoy eating an abundance of fruit and vegetables. He will try anything that I make and loves to eat healthy. I agree that I am lucky –  but his eating habits are one of the reasons that I fell in love with him in the first place. Right from our first few conversations I could tell that he cared about nutrition and fitness. When we first started dating he purchased a cookbook (which just so happened to be a Weight Watchers cookbook) and we would select dinners from it to prepare together.

VitamixTwo summers ago when Mike and I invested in a Vitamix blender, I had a marvelous time experimenting with different recipes. One of our favorite summer recipes is a raw, cold, green soup. I suppose it could be called a green gazpacho – or a savory green smoothie – and I never make it the same way twice. I love to add whatever produce that we have on hand and toss in a variety of fresh herbs from our garden. The result is a refreshing, filling, and healthy soup that serves as a great lunch or opening course for dinner. I normally make a bowl for each of us but I think that one could make a large batch of this soup and it would keep well in the refrigerator for a few days. Not only are cold soups refreshing on a warm summer day but there are loads of health benefits from eating raw vegetables. One of the advantages of blending greens is that the blender breaks down the cell walls of the kale and spinach and the nutrients are easily absorbed by our body. In my Weight Watchers meetings we are always discussing new ways to consume more fruit and vegetables and a cold soup is a light and delicious way to do so.

In this post I will share the recipe for the soup that I made for tonight’s dinner so you can create it yourself or tweak the recipe based on your personal tastes and what you have on hand.

Produce

CHILLED GREEN SOUP
(Makes 2 bowls.  Approximately 3 cups)

*2 cups of fresh spinach
*3 large kale leaves
*1 cup of vegetable broth (I have also used water)
*Juice and zest of one lime (lemon works well too. If you are using bottled citrus juice, use 1/4 cup)
*1/2 cup of fresh cilantro (chop and reserve 1/2 for garnish)Garnish
*1 cucumber (chop 1/2 into small pieces and reserve to add to soup after blending)
*1 avocado (cube 1/2 and reserve to the soup after blending)
*1 medium tomato
*1 seeded jalapeno
*1 carrot
*1 red bell pepper (you can also use orange, yellow, or green)
*1 clove of garlic
*1 Tablespoon of onion
*1 Tablespoon of fresh chives (optional. Since I have chives in my garden I add them to everything in the summer)
*Pinch of salt and pepper
*Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on top
*Optional – if you are eating this soup as a main course you can add raw nuts or beans to the top for protein

Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend until all ingredients are smooth. I have a high power Vitamix blender and do a quick blend for 45 seconds.

Pour the soup in a bowl (if my ingredients are room temperature I like to let the soup chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes before serving). Add the cucumber, bell pepper, avocado to the top and drizzle with olive oil. I also like to sprinkle on a little coarse sea salt. The color will be bright green and beautiful and it tastes as fresh as it looks.

Printable recipe: CHILLED GREEN SOUP by Produce with Amy

Pin the recipe HERE.

Raw Green Soup by Produce with Amy

Chilled Green Soup by Produce with Amy

Cold soup is so simple to make and it is a great way to add more vegetables to your meal plan.  Please let me know if you are interested and I will gladly come up with more flavor combinations. Think about a raw tomato, spinach, and basil soup with grilled corn added after blending. How about turnip greens with avocado, cucumber, and marinated mushrooms? Or spinach and garden peas with fresh mint and dill? Maybe you have a favorite cold soup combination that you would like to share!

Over the next couple days I will be sharing weekly recipes and shopping lists for an August Green Smoothie Challenge. My hope is to have the recipes posted this weekend so that you can be prepared. You can use my recipes, or come up with your own. The goal will be to try to drink at least one green smoothie a day (Mike and I will be drinking ours for breakfast). If you are new to green smoothies you may want to check out my post from last January: New Year’s Green Smoothie Challenge.

We can keep each other updated on our favorite green smoothie combinations during August so please make sure to stop by my Facebook Page and give it a “like”. I will create a hashtag on Instagram too. In the meantime, please sign up for email updates of my posts. Follow me on Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter and thank you for joining me on the journey to eat more fruit and vegetables. Cheers to our health!

9

Creamy Asparagus Soup ~ 100% Plant-Based

Creamy Asparagus Soup by Produce with Amy“The deep roots never doubt spring will come.” 
― Marty Rubin

Dare I be bold enough to say that spring has arrived? Yesterday was Easter Sunday and Mike and I stole outside to walk our dog Phoebe. We remembered to go slow. Last year, in our exuberance, we pushed her too fast and too far. Her poor little hips and legs grew sore and she limped around for a couple of days. This year we made a promise to acclimate her muscles slowly with short loops around our neighborhood until she can manage longer walks.

After a long winter, we cannot help but feel the symptoms of cabin fever. Even our indoor cats jumped from window-to-window yesterday to watch the birds and feel the warm breeze on their fur.

To add to the delight, my flowers are already starting to wake-up. Shoots of tiger lilies, tulips, poppies, and bleeding hearts are starting to inch forward and tingle with life. Of course, I had my camera ready to document their growth.
Spring GrowthI wanted to make a spring dish that I could enjoy all week so I decided to make asparagus

I use my Vitamix blender to puree the cauliflower and white beans.

I use my Vitamix blender to puree the cauliflower and white beans.

soup. This soup gets its creamy body from a puree of white beans and roasted cauliflower, It was simple to assemble and tastes delicious and satisfying. Plus, the protein from the white beans makes it especially filling. If you are a Weight Watchers member, an added benefit is that it is composed of 100% Power Foods and works well with Simple Start and the Simply Filling Technique.

I always make a large batch of soup to eat for the entire week (with several servings to freeze). If you do not want as much soup you may want to cut the recipe in half.

CREAMY ASPARAGUS SOUP

  • 8 cups of vegetable  broth
  • 2 cups of roasted cauliflower (I cut the head in pieces, drizzled with melted coconut oil, spread on a baking sheet, and roasted at 450 for 30 minutes. Flip at the 15 minute mark. You could use all of the cauliflower in the soup but I reserved some to eat on salads or as a side with dinner this week)
  • 2 cups of white beans
  • 1 bunch of chopped asparagus (discard the woody ends)
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 4 ribs of chopped celery
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil (or your oil of choice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Add the cauliflower and bean pureeSaute the onion, celery, and garlic in coconut oil until soft. Puree the cauliflower and white beans in a blender with a couple of cups of the vegetable stock until silky smooth. You can puree the onion, celery, and garlic too but I like to leave them whole.

Add the vegetable stock and the pureed mixture to the sautéed ingredients. Bring to a boil.

Add the chopped asparagus and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

If you prefer the asparagus to be a bit crisp, once the soup comes to a boil remove it from the heat and add the asparagus. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into a bowl and enjoy.

Broccoli or kale would be a healthy addition to this soup and it would be lovely served with a fresh drizzle of lemon juice, lemon zest, and even fresh dill.

Printable recipe: CREAMY ASPARAGUS SOUP

Creamy Asparagus Soup

If you like this soup you may want to check out my other soup recipes.

Please make sure you stop by my Facebook page, sign up for email updates of my posts, and follow my posts on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

If you try this recipe, please let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you. Thank you for joining me in the journey to eat more fruit and vegetables. Together we can thrive and embrace a healthy lifestyle. We are worth the time and energy that it takes to prepare a healthy meal. 

Creamy Asparagus Soup for Spring

Asparagus

Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale & Green Chilies ~ Plant-Based Comfort Food

Creamy White Bean Soup with Green Chilies & Kale by Produce with Amy

“The snow itself is lonely or, if you prefer, self-sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed of one thing and one thing only.”
-Joseph Wood Krutch
Last night I peered out the window countless times in a transfixed state of both awe and horror. I was stunned by the beauty of giant, lacy flakes falling from the sky, but at the same time disenchanted that March has nearly come and gone and there are yet to be signs of spring in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In fact, our spring holiday (in the school district that I am a teacher) was extended by a day ~ with today heralding in a snow day. I have lost track of how many we have this year.
Winter WonderlandTrying to remind myself how thankful I was for a warm house and a job that keeps me off treacherous roads on most stormy days, I remembered that this is not the longest winter in human memory (even though it may feel like it). A message from my mom did inspire hope. Five days ago she planted tomatoes in her sun room and they have begun to sprout already. Summer will be here soon and the earth will awaken in green glory.

Our Street Decked Out in Spring Snow This Morning

Our Street Decked Out in Spring Snow This Morning

With winter’s chill still upon us, I figured that today was the perfect time to post a soup recipe. When I created this recipe I was craving a creamy soup so I decided to add body and creaminess to the broth with pureed beans. It is very rustic with pieces of kale, but so silky that it is refined and elegant enough to serve at a dinner party. Green chilies and Rotel tomatoes give it a little heat and the end result is a bowl of healthy comfort food.

When I make soup I make a HUGE batch so I can freeze and have a constant rotation on soup on hand. This recipe makes 14 cups so you may want to reduce the ingredients if you do not want a large amount of soup.

CREAMY WHITE BEAN SOUP WITH KALE & GREEN CHILIESWhite Bean Soup

  • 6 cups of vegetable stock
  • 6 cups of white beans (I cook my own from dried)
  • 4 cups of kale (I roughly tore the leaves)
  • 1 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 3 minced cloves of garlic
  • 10 ounce can of Rotel tomatoes (fire roasted tomatoes would also work well)
  • 14 ounce can of green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil (or your cooking oil of choice)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro 
  • 1 lime cut in wedges
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion, garlic, and celery in the coconut oil in a large stock pot. I like to keep these ingredients whole because I like the chunks in the soup but if you prefer the soup to be completely creamy you can puree the onion, garlic, and celery with the beans.

Puree the beans in the blender with a couple cups of the vegetable stock. Add all the stock and pureed beans to the pot. Add the Rotel tomatoes, the green chilies, the coriander, and cumin and bring to a boil. Turn off soup and add the kale. I wanted the kale to still have a slight crunch and be lightly cooked so its nutritional value was not destroyed.

Finish with chopped cilantro and a fresh squeeze of lime before serving.

Printable recipe: Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale and Green Chilies

This soup was filling and full of flavor. I loved the addition of kale.

This soup was filling and full of flavor. I loved the addition of kale.

Plant-Based Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale, Green Chilis, and Tomatoes

Creamy Bean Soup

 

I enjoyed the soup so much that I photographed it twice.

I enjoyed the soup so much that I photographed it twice.

Soup is such a satisfying and healthy way to add variety and bulk up our meals. If you are familiar with my blog you know that I make a large batch of soup every weekend. If you are interested in other recipes, make sure you check out my Soup tab.

Make sure that you stop by my Facebook page, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest,Twitter, and Tumblr. I will be sharing at least one new recipe a day this week since I will be home on spring holiday. Let me know if you try this soup recipe or any of my other recipes. I am thrilled to be able to share my passion for creating healthy and delicious recipes with you. Thanks for joining me on my journey to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. Cheers to thriving together.
Birdfeeder and Birches