Herby Brothy Soup

This is a simple soup that’s packed with greens for those days when you mostly just want a hug in a bowl – without feeling weighed down.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Herby Brothy Soup

1 package broccolini, chopped

1 can chickpeas, drained

1 c. parsley, chopped

1/2 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 c. basil, sliced

1 package baby spinach

Salt, pepper, citrus juice

Olive oil

Thick yogurt (I used a Skyr-style soy yogurt)

Avocado

4 c. vegetable stock

I’m a large pot, sweat the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent.

Add the broccolini, chickpeas, parsley and stock. Season with salt & pepper and simmer :20.

Turn off the heat, mix in the basil & spinach, taste for seasoning and add more salt & pepper if necessary.

Cool a bit and pulse a few times in a food processor.

To serve, squeeze with a little citrus, add a little chopped avocado, a dollop of yogurt and a swirl of olive oil.

Serves 4-6

Vegan Taco Soup

This is a great can’t-believe-it’s-vegan weeknight soup that tastes even better as leftovers.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Vegan Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef analog (I used Gardein precooked crumbles)

14 oz. can diced tomatoes

14 oz. can Rotel with chilis

2 tsp. oregano

1 Tbsp. smoky Chipotle seasoning

1 Tbsp. cumin

1.5 Tbsp. granulated garlic

1.5 Tbsp. granulated onion

2 dried ancho chilis

2 dried New Mexico chilis

1 onion

4 cloves garlic

Veggie stock

Salt & pepper

To serve: avocado, tortilla chips, cilantro, shredded cheddar-like cheese analog, fresh jalapeños

Chop the onions & garlic. Add everything but the stock and toppings to a slow cooker.

Add enough broth to your desired thinness. You can make this more of a stew with less water, or stretch it with more.

Cook on “soup” setting for an hour or simmer on the stovetop for :30.

Top as you wish.

Serves 4-6

Smoky Roasted Tomato Soup

This is a good one – smoky, satisfying, and just the thing when you’re craving some veggie goodness – or when you’ve found a cache of almost-bagels and need something to dunk them in.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo

Smoky Roasted Tomato Soup

28 ounce can whole tomatoes

1 yellow onion

4 cloves garlic

1 Tablespoon olive oil

3 Tablespoons tomato paste

1 can coconut milk

1/2 cup vegetable broth

Salt & pepper

1 teaspoon caraway seed (optional)

1 Tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons curry powder

Preheat oven to 400F/220C. Pull the tomatoes out of the sauce and place on a prepared baking sheet with the garlic cloves and the onions (chopped roughly). Bake 30 – 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are a bit blackened on the top. My onions were a bit burnt on the outside layer, but I think that added to the flavor. I chucked about half the burnt outer layer parts.

Cool and add to a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Whiz until smooth.

Add to a saucepan and simmer 20 minutes or so, stirring semi-frequently, and tasting to add salt & pepper.

Serves 4

Pomegranate & Fig Salad

I made this as an accompaniment to some killer meatballs (recipe coming next week), but this dish as it is would be great as a holiday side or studded with any protein of choice for a rounded out meal.

Note: I completely forgot to do so when making this recipe, but chucking a couple big hands of baby spinach was a fantastic way to dress up the leftovers and add a nutrient punch.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Pomegranate & Fig Salad

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into inch-ish chunks

6 figs, sliced (I had dried on hand but fresh would be even better)

1/4 c. pecans, chopped

1/3 c. pomegranate arils

Tahini & pomegranate molasses to drizzle

Salt & pepper

Your favorite seasoning – I used a spicy creole mix

Oil

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F. Prepare a baking sheet.

Chop the sweet potato into inch-ish chunks, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper & seasoning, spread out onto a baking sheet and bake until your desired level of doneness is achieved. I let mine go until the pieces were almost crispy.

Toss with the rest of the ingredients and drizzle with the sauces.

As noted in the head notes, a good couple hands of baby spinach and your protein of choice would round this out to a great meal.

Serves 2- 3

Halal? Legal? Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Avo Brekkie

Everything But The Bagel Seasoning is on it’s way out of the zeitgeist, but I’m behind the times. EBB seasoning has been causing a stir as of late where I live, with warnings going out left and right to not try and smuggle illegal items into the country while coming back from your Summer vacations.

Whaa?

Where I live, poppy seeds are illegal. I thought this had something to do with them not being halal, but according to Islamweb.net, they are fine to consume as food. The Global Arabic Encyclopedia says that the seeds have no narcotic properties, and are fine for both human and livestock consumption. [Source]

No idea why they’re illegal where I live, but they most certainly are.

In a 2019 bulletin, they were still on the banned import list.

“All Types of Papaver or Opium poppy seeds with or without mixing with other substances and all foodstuff include Papaver or Opium poppy seeds as ingredient.” The reason given was “Precautionary measure due to possibility of non-food prohibited use.” [Source]

Which is a total bummer, since I’ve been dying to get my hands on an EBB seasoned avocado toast (I know, stick me in Uggs and gimme a PSL at Target).

I was not about to risk going to jail for a seasoning, so I indulged during my trip to the US and then made plans to make my own when I got home.

I’m glad I did. Yum. I remember liking EBB seasoning on bagels, but it’s a nice way to dress up an otherwise pretty plain breakfast (unless you top it with Tajin, that is – my other go-to).

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Legal Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Avo Brekkie

seasoning:

2 Tbsp. granulated onion (chunky dried onion)

2 Tbsp. granulated garlic (chunky dried garlic)

1 Tbsp. black sesame or nigella seeds

1 Tbsp. white sesame seeds

1 Tbsp. chia seeds

2 tsp. flaky salt

the rest:

2 tsp. oil

1/2 shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3-1/2 c. frozen spinach

Dusting nutmeg

Dusting smoked paprika

Salt & pepper

1 small avocado

2 slices toast

Heat the oil in a pan over medium. Sauté the shallot and garlic until soft. Add the spinach, and let go a minute or two to start thawing.

Add a couple dashes of water to steam the rest of the spinach thaw.

When thaw, add the spices and stir. Let cook a minute more to combine. Hit with salt & pepper.

To serve, mash the avocado lightly and spread in a thick layer on the toast. Add the spinach and sprinkle the whole thing liberally with the EBB Seasoning. Add a little more flake salt to the top. Enjoy.

Breakfast serves 1; the seasoning makes extra

Roasted Veggie Coconut Curry

This is a good one and fine for a nice light Summer dinner. I think I also finally licked the issue with having my coconut curries turn out too bland – I think I *finally* added enough spice!

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Roasted Veggie Coconut Curry

2-3 c. pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and chopped

1 c. broccolini, chopped

2 green chilis, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 shallot, chopped

15 oz. can coconut milk

2 empty cans’ worth your favorite stock

4 Tbsp. curry blend

1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes

Protein of choice

Rice noodles

2 Tbsp. lime juice

1 scallion, sliced

1/4 c. cilantro, chopped

Bake the pumpkin at 400F in a little oil, seasoned with salt & pepper, 20-30 minutes or until soft.

Add the rest of the ingredients to a slow cooker or Instant Pot, minus the protein, noodles, lime juice, scallion or cilantro. Set on “Soup” or “Stew” and let cook. If you are using chicken, add the protein at this step. If you’re using something like seafood or tofu, cook separately and add at the end with the noodles.

Prepare your noodles separately.

When the curry is done cooking, tase for salt & pepper and top with the lime juice, scallion and cilantro.

Serves 4

Miso Butter Bowl

Miso. Butter. Is. Amazing. I don’t know why the combo never occurred to me, but when I scrolled past the mere mention somewhere out there on the Internets, I was intrigued.

I’m glad I followed that particular tangent, because I would happily slather this stuff on pretty much anything (including toast).

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan if you swap for vegan butter

Pictured here with sweet potato fries, which is also a good call

Miso Butter Bowl

miso butter:

3 Tbsp. your favorite butter, softened

2 Tbsp. white miso

A big hand full of minced scallion whites

Mush the above into a compound butter.

bowl:

1 zucchini, chopped

1/2 c. frozen corn kernels

1/2 onion, sliced thin

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Your favorite seasoning (I used Tony’s Cajun)

toppers:

Roast chickpeas (to make: drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, spread out in a single layer on a prepared sheet and bake at 400F for 20-30 mins or until your desired level of crisp and brownness has been reached. Toss with a Tablespoon of oil and a liberal amount of your favorite seasoning – I used more of that Tony’s)

The greens from your scallions

Sesame seeds

This would also be great with a good cashew cheese, but I did not have any on hand

To assemble, sauté the zucchini, corn, onion and garlic in a teaspoon of oil until your desired level of brownness has been reached. Season with salt, pepper and your seasoning. Add the miso butter and let go another minute or two.

Add the veggies into a bowl, and top with your extras.

Serves 2-3

Miso Vinaigrette Salad

I’ve been having a mini love-affair with miso this week – stay tuned for more umami bomb recipes coming in the next few weeks – and this delicious little dinner salad does that love justice.

I can see using the leftovers of this dressing mixed with quinoa, or in a pumpkin-heavy dish. Also as a drizzle for chicken.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Miso Vinaigrette Salad

Dressing:

1 heaping Tbsp. white miso

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. neutral oil

2 Tbsp. sushi vinegar

2 Tbsp. lime juice

2 tsp. honey

Pinch cayenne

Salt & pepper

Salad:

1 large zucchini, chopped

1 large bok choy, washed and sliced thin

1 package baby spinach

2 tsp. sesame oil

Soy sauce

1 scallion, thinly sliced

Sesame seeds

Big hand pepitas (toasted cashews would also be great)

Protein of choice: I used simply sautéed tofu

Optional topper: crispy chickpeas

Chop the zucchini and bok choy (whites) and set to sautee over medium-high with the sesame oil.

Let cook until crisp-tender.

Add a generous sprinkle of soy sauce.

Add the spinach and bok choy greens and toss until the spinach is barely wilted. Set aside. Drain if wet.

To make the dressing, whisk or shake all ingredients together.

To assemble the salad, add the toppers and toss with a couple Tablespoons dressing.

Salad serves 1-2 with extra dressing

Bruschetta Zucchini Boats

This is another quick and light little dinner for one – apparently, I was inspired to create while the hubby was gone on his trip.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian

Bruschetta Zucchini Boats

4 small globe zucchini or 1 medium zucchini

1 small red onion

2 small tomatoes

2 sprigs fresh basil

2 tsp. fresh thyme

1 tsp. dried oregano

Drizzle balsamic glaze

2-3 glugs olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp. vinegar

Preheat your oven to 375F/200C. Halve your zucchini and semi-scoop the middles out. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle heavily with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet cut side down.

Bake about 20 minutes or until browning and cooked through.

Meanwhile, make your bruschetta topping. Dice the tomato, mince the onion and garlic tear or chop the basil, chop the picked thyme. Add to a bowl with a couple good glugs of oil, a generous amount of salt & pepper, 1 tsp. your favorite vinegar, and a generous drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Let sit while your zucchini bakes.

To assemble, fill each zucchini like a boat and serve.

To bump this out to be a more substantial meal, add some chopped leftover shrimp like I did, or add some pearl couscous cooked in stock to the bruschetta mix.

Serves 2 for a light dinner

Cucumber Salad with Zhoug Sauce

This is a great riff on a classic Middle Eastern sauce (kinda like the ME version of chimichurri) with a nice, light salad.

This sauce can also be used as a meat marinade, as a topper for crispy potatoes, as a sauce in a sandwich, mixed with zucchini, avocado & peas in pasta, and as a mix-in for rice. I’m sure there are 999999 other ways to use it, but I ran out before I could try more. Which I will. I suspect this would be bomb with a Kewpie mayo egg salad sandwich.

I think next time I make this sauce, I’ll use a mortar & pestle instead of a blender – my favorite version from a local restaurant has a thicker mince and even punchier garlic.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, low-carb

Cucumber Salad with Zhoug Sauce

Zhoug

6 cloves garlic

3 jalapeños (or a mix of jalapeños and other peppers – seed if you need to)

1 cup flat leaf parsley

1 cup cilantro

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

Pinch cayenne

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

Pinch sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. lime juice

1/2 c. olive oil

Blend to combine in your food processor or blender until your desired consistency is reached.

Salad

2-3 small cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber, sliced thinly or diced

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1/4 c. fresh dill, chopped

1 small red onion, sliced wafer thin

Generous amount flake salt & black pepper

1/2 c. zhoug sauce

Combine and let sit 1/2 an hour or more to let the flavors meld.

Serves a few as a simple side with a protein. Would also make a fantastic bbq side in place of a Southern-style cucumber salad.