Loaded Miso Soup

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I’ve been craving miso soup like crazy, but really wanted something that would provide a full meal. So why not make miso soup loaded with goodies to make a complete meal?

Done and delicious.

This makes a large pot with 4-6 bowl-sized servings. Great for lunch or dinner, and perfect for packing for work lunches. Enjoy!

Loaded Miso Soup
Author: Q&DK
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. Somen, rice vermicelli, Soba, Udon or any other type of noodle
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced bok choy, stems and leaves
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced (whites and greens)
  • 5 slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 8 oz. diced tofu, drained
  • 6 cups water
  • About 5 tbsp. miso, to taste
  • Salt, optional
  • 2 cups baby spinach, or chopped spinach
  • Soy sauce
Instructions
  1. Cook the noodles according to package instructions and reserve a tbsp. of pasta water. Drain and set noodles aside; toss with the pasta water to prevent sticking.
  2. In a large pot set over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and then add the bok choy, scallions, ginger, and tofu. Cook until fragrant and tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add 5 cups of water to the pot – reserve the last cup and add the miso to that cup and whisk until smooth (this just makes it easier to dissolve the miso). Add the miso water to the pot, stir to combine.
  4. Bring the soup to a simmer and let cook about 10 minutes. Do not boil, just simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more miso, and/or salt if needed. Once the seasoning is adjusted, stir in the spinach and a splash of soy sauce. Remove from heat.
  5. Add noodles to each bowl and then ladle soup onto the noodles. Serve immediately. Store leftover noodles separately – if you store them in the soup they can soak up the broth and become soggy.
Notes
Miso comes in three types: red, yellow, or white. Any variety works in soup. I use a type called Mellow White Miso. I have to buy it at Wholefoods or Asian markets in a refrigerated area. Do not just get a miso soup mix – you want actual miso. Different types vary in the strength and sodium which is why I can’t put an exact tbsp. amount in the recipe. Start with a few and then taste. The Mellow White is mild and low in sodium so I use a good amount and add a bit of salt to taste.

 

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Curried Butternut Squash Soup

butternut squash soup

In an earlier life I was not really a fan of soup in general, but over the years things have definitely changed. I tend to like vegetable-based soups and the more I learn about making soup at home, the more I’ve grown to love a good bowl (especially during the cold winter months). Some of my favorites are homemade ramen soup, french onion, creamy kale soup, and Mexican albondiga soup.

This recipe will definitely be a staple for me … it was easy to make and super tasty. (But to me honest, I HATE cutting butternut squash – that is now my husband’s job. This link is a good tutorial). Plus, I’m a huge sucker for recipes that have a short ingredient list. I made a batch and we ate it for several days. I plan on making this again soon and packing for lunches. I topped with fresh pomegranate and S/P almond slivers for some added texture. When visiting Ecuador we are often served soup topped with popcorn or pork rinds. I’ve adopted that habit and love trying different toppings on my soup.

If you also begin to discover the joys of making homemade soup, I highly recommend investing in an immersion blender. Instead of transferring hot ingredients to a blender or processor to mix, you can keep all the ingredients in the pot and mix with this. I also use immersion blenders to make sauces and homemade whipped cream because most come with a whisk attachment.

I have a very cheap (less than $20 model), but I want to upgrade to the beauty below (still affordable at under $35 on Amazon) to match the mini-processor I just bought in the same color. Multicolored kitchen tools are my thing. Why go with black & white when you can have all the colors of the rainbow? 🙂

 

Here’s the recipe – I hope you enjoy!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
 
Recipe Type: Soup
Author: Adapted from Wine magazine (Publix)
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes, about 7 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 medium tart apple (Granny Smith, for example) peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
Instructions
  1. In a dutch oven, or large pot, cook the onion in hot oil about 5 minutes until tender. Stir in ginger, curry, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the squash and apple. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, 40 minutes or until squash is very tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  2. If you have an immersion blender, use this to blend the soup in the Dutch oven until smooth. (Alternatively, work in batches and transfer to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Return the blended soup to the Dutch oven.) Stir in the coconut milk and bring back to a warm temperature. Serve immediately. Stays good for several days in the refrigerator.
 

 

Super-Healthy Vegan Ramen Noodle Soup

homemade ramen noodle soup

So, maybe the last time you had ramen noodle soup you were a poor college student and you sprinkled “flavor” (aka salt) on hard noodles, covered with water and zapped in the micro? I’m not judging – I definitely feel the love for pre-packaged ramen soup.

But, guess what? You can buy plain ol’ ramen noodles and create an extremely healthy meal with real vegetables and real flavorings. Yes. You. Can. And although I really hope you don’t get the flu or a cold this season, this soup is totally calling out for some cold season love – not just to make you feel better, but to prevent yucky colds in the first place. Garlic, lemongrass, and ginger are known to pack a punch against nasty colds and they give this soup some serious flavor. Two for one. 

Recipe notes:

You should be able to find the noodles in the Asian section of your grocer – sometimes called “Chinese noodles.”  Vegans can omit the fish sauce and add a bit more soy sauce in its place. If you can’t find fresh lemongrass, sometimes the produce section has it in a tube and it’s a good substitute. Buying cubed tofu makes this recipe even quicker. Some tips for getting crispy, golden tofu: drain well and press dry (see this recipe for instructions), then cook in skillet that is not nonstick. Nonstick makes it much more difficult to get a good crust on anything. I swear by my cast-iron skillet.  Feel free to swap out the vegetables for your favorites and create all kinds of ramen soups. Let me know if you create something wonderful. 🙂

vegan ramen noodle soup

Super-healthy Homemade Ramen Noodle Soup
 
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Q&DK
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained, patted (very) dry, and cubed
  • 2 tbsp. canola or olive oil
  • S/P
  • 3 scallions, sliced, whites and green separated
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped lemongrass
  • 32 oz. low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Mirin (rice wine)
  • 1/2 pound green beans, snow or snap peas
  • 1 8 oz. pkg. ramen noodles (sometimes called “Chinese noodles)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Lime wedges, optional to serve
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a large skillet and cook the tofu over medium-high. Season with S/P and turn occasionally until a golden crust forms, about 10 minutes. Set aside off heat.
  2. Heat the remaining tbsp. of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the scallion whites, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass. Cook about 2-3 minutes until fragrant and tender. Add the broth, fish sauce, soy sauce, and Mirin and bring to a low boil. Add the green beans and cook until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the noodles to the pot with 2 cups water. Cook until the noodles are tender, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  4. Divide the soup among bowls, add the cooked tofu and tomato, and serve with lime wedges.
 

 

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

I absolutely love this soup. My mother-in-law came to visit and I made this for her because she loves French onion soup as well. I loved it, but she LOVED it … as in ate it for breakfast the next day. Really, how can you go wrong with the sweetness of caramelized onions and butter mixed with savory herbs and broth? You can’t. To make it even better, I’ve trimmed some of the excessive salt and butter you find in some recipes by using low-sodium broth (maybe make your own? it’s soooo good) and just enough butter.

And now that the weather is turning cooler in most parts, hot and cozy soup is calling your name.

French Onion Soup
 
Recipe Type: Soup
Author: Q&DK
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 45 mins
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. Coarse salt
  • 6-8 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sherry or dry white wine
  • 8 cups low-sodium beef broth (or a combination of chicken and beef broth)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Bread, cheese, and fresh parsley optional to top
Instructions
  1. Using a large dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the oil and 2 tbsp. of the butter over medium high. Add the onions, sugar, a generous amount of ground pepper, salt, thyme and the bay leaves. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are deep golden brown, about 45 minutes. Make sure to scrape the good browned bits from the side of the pot as you cook the onions. If onions get too dry, add a tbsp. of water to moisten.
  2. Discard the herbs. Stir in the remaining 1 tbsp. butter, flour, and sherry and cook until butter melts, about 1 minute. Add broth and garlic, increase heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste with S/P. Top with toasted bread, cheese, and chopped parsley if you desire.
 

 

Cook’s Illustrated Creamy Gazpacho Andaluz

gazpacho

Never one to disappoint, Cook’s Illustrated has perfected the gazpacho recipe. I normally don’t actually like gazpacho because I think it tastes like drinking salsa. BUT, when I saw the word “creamy” in the title I was intrigued for sure and it didn’t look like any gazpacho I had previously tried. So how did CI do it?

This recipe calls for salting the vegetables for an entire hour. According to the amazing food scientists over at America’s Test Kitchen, the salting forces flavor molecules within the vegetables to separate from proteins within the cell walls, which in turn gives you more flavor when the soup hits your tongue. Science is cool. Science + food = super cool.

Then, slowly drizzling the olive oil into the soup as it processes helps the soup emulsify, which creates the creamy, non-greasy texture. And pushing the mixture through the sieve is key. All this equals perfection.  Top it off with a splash of tangy sherry vinegar, fresh herbs, and black pepper and you have the perfect summer meal.

Although I stuck to the major aspects of this recipe, I did adapt it a bit because I felt it called for too many diced vegetables to stir into the soup making it incredibly chunky. The recipe I’ve posted below instead leaves a moderate amount of vegetables to stir into the finished soup. I served with crusty bread and butter. Divine.

Cook’s Illustrated Creamy Gazpacho Andaluz
 
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: Slightly adapted, Cook’s Illustrated
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 45 mins
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs ripe tomatoes (about 6 medium), cored
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, halved and seeded
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, halved, cored and seeded
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
  • 1 small serrano chile, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • kosher salt
  • 1 slice white sandwich bread, crust removed, torn in 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. finely minced parsley, chives or basil leaves (or a combination)
  • Ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Dice 1 tomato, about 1/4 the cucumber, 1/4 the green pepper, and 1/4 the onion and place in a medium bowl. Toss with 1/2 tsp salt and transfer to fine mesh strainer set over medium bowl. set aside 1 hour.
  2. Roughly chop the remaining tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, and onion and place in a bowl. Add garlic, chile and 1 and 1/2 tsp salt; toss until well combined; set aside.
  3. Transfer drained diced vegetables to an airtight container and refrigerate. Add bread pieces to exuded liquid and soak 1 minute. Add soaked bread and any remaining liquid with roughly chopped vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.
  4. Transfer half of vegetable bread mixture to blender (or food processor) and process 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup oil and continue to blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain soup through fine mesh strainer into large bowl, repeat with remaining bread mixture and 1/4 cup oil.
  5. Stir in vinegar and fresh herbs and season to taste. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least several hours for flavors to develop.
  6. Serve with a spoonful of the diced vegetables, a splash of sherry, olive oil, and fresh ground pepper.