Big batch recipes are where it’s at! Save yourself time, money, and brain space by making a sheet pan full of roasted vegetables, 4-5 servings of a healthy whole grain, and a pot full of beans or lentils at the start of each week to make workweek meals easy peasy. You can think of the recipe below like a formula – swap the veggies out for others you like (brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, etc) and change up your spices (cumin, red pepper flakes, curry, etc). Just be sure to keep an eye as you roast different combinations as some vegetables might not need as long to cook. Look for golden brown bits around the edges and avoid letting your vegetables get black and burnt – no carcinogens please!
My winter soup craze continues this week with an easy slow-cooker recipe featuring one of my favorite superfoods: beans. Beans are one of my favorite superfoods because not only are they fat and cholesterol free, but they may even help reduce LDL cholesterol in your blood. They are rich in complex carbs and nutrient dense in health-enhancing B-vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
My French Country Bean Soup is a healthy balance of fats, carbohydrates and (mostly) plant-based proteins and is infused with the Provençale flavors of tomato, garlic, onions and herbs. It’s hearty, comforting and best-served with a hunk of artisanal sourdough or whole grain bread. In the picture below, you’ll notice I topped mine with a quarter cup of diced avocado to keep it gluten-free yet still filling and satisfying. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can also keep this meatless and animal product-free by removing the pancetta/bacon (also making it slightly more healthy).
Perhaps better than the nutritional benefits is that fact that this recipe is EASY. Seriously. In three steps (and 8 hours in the slow-cooker) you will have a delicious meal well-suited for a Sunday supper or a week’s worth of packed lunch.
What You’ll Need:
- 1/2 lb (8-oz) thick-cut pancetta or bacon, diced
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 Tbs tomato paste
- 2 Tbs sherry vinegar
- 2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes (with liquid)
- 4 cups of water
- 1 cup dry red kidney beans (soaked for 8-10 hours)
- 1 cup dry garbanzo beans (soaked for 8-10 hours)
- 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
- 1/2 cup fresh or 1/4 cup dried parsley
- 2 Tbs Herbes de Provence
- 1 Tbs fresh or 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 Tbs garlic sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
How to Make It:
- Saute pancetta/bacon and onions over medium heat for 5-8 min. Transfer to your slow-cooker.
- Add all remaining ingredients to your slow-cooker, give them a good mix and let the mixture cook on the ‘low’ setting for 8 hours (slightly less or slightly more time won’t hurt your end results).
- When you’re ready to serve, remove the bay leaves and pour into big bowls.
Serve with some toasted hearty, whole-grain bread or a scoop of diced avocado and a side salad.
As you may have noticed from some of my more recent posts, winter weather means big batches of vegetarian soup for this kid. When temperatures drop, not only do I crave comfort foods that warm you from the inside out but I’m also more inclined to be content spending a couple of hours prepping and cooking a homemade meal.
Like many of my readers, I’m big on making a Sunday supper that sets you up with easy leftovers for the week ahead. Last weekend, I made a Coconut Cauliflower Soup and enjoyed its sweet, creamy goodness all week for lunch with a little Ezekiel bread toasted on the side. Though cauliflower’s pale hue doesn’t exactly scream antioxidants like blueberries and pomegranate seeds might, it’s packed with a potent one–vitamin C. The C-monster not only helps fight off the common cold and flu but is also essential for the growth and repair of tissues in the body. It’s a major building block of collagen–a protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Cauliflower also contains high levels of potassium, fiber, folic acid and a sulfur compound (called isothiocyanate), which helps prevent certain diseases.
Coconut Cauliflower Soup with Fried Capers and Dill Oil
What You’ll Need:
- 1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 Tbs ghee
- 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 15-oz can of coconut
- 1/2 tsp cardamon
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
(For the Fried Capers)
- 1/4 cup capers
- 1 Tbs olive oil
(For the Dill Oil)
- 3-4 Tbs fresh dill
- 3-4 Tbs olive oil
How to Make It:
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add ghee (featured in last week’s Potato Leek Soup recipe), then add onions with a pinch of sea salt. Cook until softened and slightly translucent (about 5 min). Add in cardamon and stir another minute or two. Add your chopped cauliflower, vegetable stock and water, then cover and cook for about 20 min or until the cauliflower is soft when prodded with a fork.
- While your cauliflower is cooking, make the dill oil. Combine the dill and olive oil in a food processor and blend until smooth. To fry the capers, heat a small skillet over medium-high heat and add your olive oil. Dry your capers completely, using paper towels, then add them to your pan and toss them around for 1-2 min until crispy and lightly browned. Set aside to drain on a paper towel.
- Once your cauliflower is cooked, remove mixture from heat and add it to your blender (you may have to blend it in two batches depending on the capacity of your blender). Puree until smooth. Once smooth, add your now creamy mixture back to the pot.
- Over low heat, add in your coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Adjust for salt and pepper and serve with a garnish of fried capers (1 Tbs will do) and drizzle of dill oil.
[Adapted from How Sweet Eats]