Creamy Tomato & Red Pepper Soup with Rice

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I just enjoyed a warm and hearty bowl of homemade soup and it was perfect for a snowy day like today.

I’ve posted tomato soup recipes before, but this one is a little different.  I’m always looking for easy ways to tweak a recipe and turn it into something new.

This latest incarnation of tomato and red pepper soup is truly just a simple vegetable soup that is blended with coconut milk added to give it a creaminess.  The addition of the brown rice increases its nutrient density and maks it a really sustaining meal.

Here’s how I made this simple and flavourful soup…

Step #1

Prepare brown rice.  Set up your rice cooker or start cooking brown rice as per directions on rice packaging or to your liking.

Step #2

In a large soup pot, sauté classic chopped soup veggies (e.g. one of each carrot, celery, onion) + 1-2 bell peppers (e.g. red, yellow, orange or a mix of these)  in a tablespoon of olive oil and a couple table spoons of water or broth (veg or chicken) until tender crisp.  While sautéing sprinkle in a teaspoon of each: powdered sage, powdered thyme, paprika, sea salt.

Step #3

Add in a “no salt added” can of crushed tomatoes with juice.

Step #4

Add in 500 mL water, vegetable or chicken broth.  Stir everything together and simmer on medium heat until vegetables are soft.

Step #5

Once soup vegetables are soft use and immersion blender or upright blender to blend the soup.

Step #6

Once soup is blended stir in 1 can of coconut milk.  Stir in the cooked brown rice.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes to cook soup, coconut milk and rice together.  Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

This soup makes a delicious dairy-free dish that is silky but without being heavy.  The blended vegetables also give it excellent plant fiber content.  This is a wholesome soup that is sure to be just right on wintery days like today.

Quick Shrimp & Veggie Chowder

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At our house we love our chowder!  There’s something really complete about a bowl of hearty soup!

After a day of work one day, I picked up my boys from summer camp and we discussed what to have for dinner.  With two growing kids, the topic of food is one we discuss a lot.  On this day I was surprised to hear my oldest son’s request for a veggie chowder I made months ago.  He was describing it in detail… “You know, mommy, the one with the little bits of corn and carrots.  The white soup that you make.”

It was 4:30 and I thought… hmmm… that can be a pretty time intensive soup.  How can I make it using some short cuts?

So far, I’ve posted two variations on this meal idea.  I prefer to skip the dairy in a chowder and use a blended base consisting of cauliflower or white beans.

On this day I had a few ingredients in my pantry that I always keep for these types of spur of the moment meal ideas.  I was able to pull of a tasty chowder in 30 minutes, which was right on time for a 5:00 dinner.  Here’s how it went down…

 

Staples:

2 cans of white beans

1 carton of organic veggie stock

2 carrots, peeled & chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

Olive Oil

frozen corn, add desired amount

frozen peas, add desired amount

frozen cooked shrimp, defrosted, add desired amount (optional)

Spices & Seasonings: Paprika

 

Steps to Prep:

1) First thing… If adding shrimp, prepare it first… let them defrost as per the package instructions for “quick defrost.”

2) In a soup pot I added the white beans and the veggie stock.  I let this simmer for 10-20 min.

3) In a second soup pot I sautéed the carrots, celery and onion in a little olive oil and a splash of veggie stock for about 10 minutes until tender.

4) Once the veggies were tender, I added the shrimp*, corn and peas and sautéed a few minutes until they were evenly heated.

5) While the veggies were finishing up, I transferred the bean and stock mixture to my blender and blended it in a couple batches until smooth.

6) Then I poured the blended soup into the pot with the veggies.  I gave it a good stir to combine everything.  Then seasoned with paprika and served.

* This soup can easily be made without the shrimp for a vegan option.

Quick, easy, simple… a veggie rich and fiber full wholesome meal that everyone gobbled up!

Xavier

Gulping down soup, keeping it real in the hamburger shirt! lol!

 

Zesty Jalapeño Corn Chowder

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I had a lovely ski adventure this weekend with some friends.  We had so much fun on our skis and it’s always great to get outside and make the most of this winter weather.

One night, we planned to stay in and cook dinner.  Our friend makes a mean Fish Taco, so when that was suggested we were all thrilled.  I wanted to contribute in some way, so I thought is would be fun to make a Mexican starter dish that would compliment the Fish Tacos.  I thought… Zesty Jalapeño Corn Chowder!  It would be a great way to warm us up after a long day of skiing in the cold weather.

It was a hit!  Our friends enjoyed it and that’s a sure sign that this recipe deserves to be shared.

Here’s my recipe for this great dish!

Zesty Jalapeño Corn Chowder

For the Base…

1 white onion

1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated with a microplane

1-2 potatoes, chopped into small cubes

1/2 head cauliflower (or 1 whole cauliflower if you want to omit potatoes), chopped into small pieces

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 sea salt

2 cups stock (veggie or chicken) — or use water in place of stock if preferred

2 cups water

For the tasty additions:

1 bell pepper, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 cup button mushrooms, chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped

1 bag of Non-GMO frozen Corn

1 can coconut milk

Juice from 1-2 limes

* Black Pepper – add to increase heat if desired

Procedure:

I love to sautee the base vegetables of the soup with the dried herbs or spices I’m using.  I do this right at the start of the recipe because this really activates the flavours of the herbs and spices.  The longer dried herbs and spices cook, the more they can infuse the dish with their lovely flavour.

First, sautee the garlic, onions, oil, salt, oregano and thyme in a soup pot until onions are slightly translucent.  I add a little bit of stock here to help prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

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Then I added the potatoes and cauliflower.  I mixed everything well together so the vegetables were coated with the herbs.  I sautéed these on medium high heat for a few minutes to help combine the flavours.

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It’s getting steamy in here! 🙂

Next, I added the stock and the water.  Then simmered everything on medium heat until the veggies were soft.  I stirred it occasionally to prevent the bottom veggies from burning.

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Once the veggies were soft, I pureed the entire base.  You can do this right in the pot with an immersion blender or use a standing blender, in batches.  I added a bit of water to get the base to the thickness I wanted.  You can make this chowder base as you please.

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Tasty Additions

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Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce

With the pureed soup base in the pot, I turned the stove back on to a low to medium heat and added the carrots, mushrooms, celery, jalapeño and chipotle peppers.  I let these veggies simmer for about 15-20 minutes until they were soft.

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Once they were soft I added the frozen corn and let it cook for about 3-5 minutes.  Then I added the can of coconut milk and gave it a good stir to mix the coconut milk in well.

Finally, I topped it off with a splash of lime juice.  Add the lime juice a little at a time, and stir it in.  Taste it and notice if it’s to your liking or if you want to add more.  At this time you can also adjust the seasonings by adding some black pepper if more heat is preferred or a little more salt to taste.

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This recipe is a little more of a labour of love, but it’s a fantastic recipe that will be loved!

Tomato Soup… Mmm, Mmm, Good!

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When I was a student and living away from home I lived on Campbell’s tomato soup, among other things (bagels and cream cheese, kraft sidekicks and muffins).  Needless to say I wasn’t the healthiest at that time in my life, and I really wish someone could have shown me how easy it was to make an even more delicious and highly nutritious tomato soup!

This is one of my most favourite recipes for tomato soup.  It’s pure comfort food and it’s super healthy.  I love it and my family loves it.  It’s our early fall favourite while tomatoes are still in season.  It also has that great tomato flavour when I use heirloom tomatoes  during the winter months.  Heirloom tomatoes can be found at most grocery stores, are nice and dense and are full of flavour.

Here’s my recipe!  I hope you enjoy it!

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced (I use a microplane to get it really fine)

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

6 tomatoes, chopped coarsely

1 red bell pepper, chopped coarsely

2 cups water

1 cup almond milk

2 tsp dried basil

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

1 tsp powdered thyme

To Begin… Sautee in a large pan or in soup pot a little olive oil (2 tbsp) the onions, garlic and ginger on medium heat.  Cook until translucent and golden.

Add the carrots and continue cooking until carrots are slightly browned.

Add tomatos and peppers and continue to cook, with lid on.  Stir often to prevent burning.  Cook until tomatoes are soft.

Transfer all cooked veggies to a blender in batches and blend until smooth.  Transfer blended veggies back to soup pot.

To soup pot with blended veggies… add water, almond milk, herbs and spices.  Simmer on low-medium heat about 5-10 minutes to infuse the soup with the flavours from the herbs and spices.

And there you have it!  Enjoy! 🙂

Options for this soup are…

– Add a little more or a little less water to get to your desired thickness or thinness for the soup

– Serve on its own, or mix in some cooked brown rice, quinoa or millet

– Cooked chickpeas or lentils can also be mixed into the soup to make it even heartier

– Other veggies can be cooked in and blended with the soup to increase vegetable content like a little cauliflower, butternut squash or celery

Chowin’ Down on Chowder!

dory

“Finding Nemo” and soup.. two staples in our home! Dare I say Pinterest becomes a third? It’s all for the health of our family! 🙂

Just keep pinning… Just keep pinning… just keep pinning, pinning, pinning…

This is our soup season.  I love making hearty, meal in a bowl soups for my family to enjoy.  I am always looking for inspiration for new recipes and those who know me know that I love trolling the internet for delicious recipes that I can tweak and make healthy.

I joined the world of Pinterest a little while back not realizing until recently the massive potential this site could offer me when it came to acquiring health recipes.  I was mainly using Pinterest to look for neat DIY home project ideas, but then saw that I could search food, too!  I was a little slow on the uptake, but of course foodies around the globe would go to this site to contribute to the collage of amazing recipes.  It’s a one stop recipe shop!

I joined a recipe “Board” that’s all about soup.  I am getting so much great inspiration from the amazing recipes coming my way.  I’ll be sure to share them with you as we venture into the fall and winter.

Here’s one that I was really excited to share with all of you today!  It’s for a chowder recipe that I modified to suit our liking based on a chowder I saw on Pinterest.  Side note… I realize it’s a little ironic to be featuring Dory and Chowder in the same post.  Sorry Dory!  We love you and you are not an ingredient in this recipe!

Here’s the recipe…

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CORN & LENTIL CHOWDER

I got my inspiration for this dish from here: Sweet Corn, Peppered Bacon & Shrimp Chowder.  Although this recipe looks like a foodies delight, I wanted to tone it down a bit.  I omitted the bacon and upped the veggies.  Here’s what I did…

4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth

1 head of cauliflower

2 medium zucchinis, peeled

2-3 cups frozen corn

2-3 cups lentils (cooked from dried, or rinsed well if from a can)

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp sea salt

I started out by washing and preparing the cauliflower and zucchini.  I chopped both coarsely and added them both to a pot of boiling water.  I cooked them for about ten minutes until they were tender but not mushy.  The strained them of the water.

Next I blended the cooked veggies in a little broth in batches in my blender.  Then I transferred the blended veggies to a large soup pot and added the rest of the broth.

This thickened the broth without adding potato, which is part of many chowders.  I have an intolerance to potatoes so I avoid them.  Also, adding the blended cauliflower and zucchini to the broth to thicken it are a great way to get all of us to eat more veggies.

Then I turned on the stove and simmered the broth.  I added the frozen corn and simmered it until cooked.  At the end I added the lentils, paprika and salt and simmered a few more minutes.

As an option… I added cooked shrimp.  The original recipe had shrimp in it, my family loves shrimp, so I though I’d add it.  However, this soup can be enjoyed as is, without any meat.  It was great even before I added the shrimp.  I cooked some shrimp in a separate pan and added it at the end to the soup.

This made a really delicious soup that was rich in flavour, vegetables and fiber.  My kids loved it and I was happy that it was an easy recipe that made a really hearty soup.  I’ll definitely make it again!

Congee

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This gloomy weather brings out the comfort food in our kitchen.  One of my classic favourites is Congee.  I was introduced to congee when I was a Naturopathic student in Toronto.  Up the road from CCNM was an Asian restaurant, that specialized in congee, called Congee Wong.

My classmates raved about this place.  Was this soup, made out of overcooked rice, really that good?  It certainly was.  And this restaurant had about 50 ways they went about congee.  Eating there helped me realize how something so simple could be so versatile, easy and delicious.

Congee is an ancient Chinese soup made from cooked down rice.  The classic formula is 1 part uncooked rice to 4 parts water.  Congee was, and still is, used to help nourish those who are not feeling well.

It all depends on what you add to it… for example:

– To settle the digestive tract the soup can be made with just the rice and some easy to digest, well cooked, vegetables like bok choy.  Ginger can also be added (fresh or dried) to help reduce nausea.

– To help build the immune system, the soup can be simmered with chicken or turkey soup bones or soup broth.  Garlic or ginger can be added for an antibacterial effect and to open the sinuses, respectively.

– To help provide nutrition, the soup be loaded with well cooked vegetables, beans, tempeh, lean protein, etc.

Congee is so easy to make!

There are probably hundreds of variations, but here’s and easy take on the the classic recipe:

Congee

1 cup uncooked Rice

4 cups water (or 2 cups water, 2 cups veggie or chicken stock)

Simmer for 1 hour.  Stir occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the pot.  The rice should break down as cooking time elapses and create a “stew” like consistency to the soup.

Add any vegetables or meat cooked on the side.  Season with sea salt to taste or Bragg’s soy sauce.

I had cooked rice in the fridge from a meal I made the other day.  I decided I wanted to make congee with it.  Here’s a great way to use cooked rice to make congee, too.

Dr. Laura’s Congee

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This is a great gluten free, dairy free, vegan/vegetarian congee recipe.  Whereas most congee recipes are made with some sort of animal product, congee can also be made with just plant-based ingredients and still be flavourful and enjoyable.

1 part cooked rice

2 parts water

a little extra water as needed

I put the cooked rice and water in a soup pot, put the lid on and turned up the heat.  It came to a boil and I lowered the heat to simmer.

I kept stirring every 15-20 minutes.  I cooked it until I got it to the consistency I preferred.  This took about 45 minutes.

While the rice was cooking, I quickly chopped up:

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A bunch of Swiss Chard

1 large carrot

The inner leafy part of a celery stalk

I added the veggies to a pan and sautéed them with a little olive oil, a little sesame oil, a little veggie broth and a little soy sauce.  I essentially drizzled a little of each over the veggies in the pan.  Eye-ball cooking at it’s best! 😉

The veggies where cooked down so they were tender.

When the Congee was cooked I added a little sea salt to it to taste.  Then I topped it with the cooked vegetables.

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It was delicious!  The only thing missing that I knew would be so tasty added to this recipe was if I had some mushrooms as part of the vegetable medley.  But this worked out really well.  The cool thing about congee is that it’s so neutral, that you can add just about anything to it, and it makes for a perfect healthy comfort food!

Zucchini Soup!

Aren’t these zucchini just lovely?  I’m so fortunate that my dad is an avid gardener and brings me beautiful, delicious and fresh organic vegetables from his garden.  He grows all types of things… last week he brought me a big heap of Swiss Chard, this week it was these neat climbing zucchini.  Despite the high maintenance needed for gardens in this seriously hot weather we’ve been having, my dad’s kept up with it!  I don’t know how he does it!  I can barely keep my one house plant growing!  LOL!

These zucchini are destined to make one of my most favorite summer soups.  I’ve been making this recipe for years.  It’s a wonderful soup served cold, like gazpacho, which is why it works well as a summer soup.  It can also be warmed up, too.

This recipe is full of fresh green ingredients, is full of great flavour and is very nourishing.  Check out Jennifer Corbleet’s Raw Cream of Zucchini Soup and enjoy!