Tag Archives: Soup

Sweet & Spicy Carrot Bisque

I love soups that have layers of complex flavors. Where, in every bite, you taste multiple ingredients with bursts of sweetness and spice. It’s the sort of soup you’d expect a good chef to make, creating the flavors from the bottom up with wonderful innovative ingredients. Little did I know, when I decided to try this Sweet & Spicy Carrot Bisque recipe from VegetarianTimes Magazine, that I’d be creating that exact soup masterpiece. This might have been the best soup I’ve ever made – and it’s all thanks to my monthly subscription to Vegetarian Times.

The Ingredients

The secret ingredients are really the banana, coconut milk, ginger and lime in this dish. And here is the detailed list of ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp + 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups of peeled, sliced carrots
  • 1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 15oz can light coconut milk
  • 2.5 Tbsp lime juice


Step 1: Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt, saute 5 min until onion is soft. Stir in ginger, cook 1-2 min. Add curry powder, cayenne and 1/4 cup water. Cook 1-2 min, stirring to coat onion & ginger with curry mixture.

When the onion is fully coated it looks like this:

Step 2: Add carrots, banana, 1 tsp salt and 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered for 25 min or until carrots are soft enough to be pierced with a fork.

Step 3: Puree soup using an immersion blender or in batches using a regular blender. Return soup to pot and stir in 1 cup light coconut milk and lime juice.

After stirring in the coconut milk, the soup will look like this:

So creamy and delicious, and I loved how vibrant the color was!

Step 4: Simmer remaining 3/4 cup coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium high heat for 10 min, or until reduced by half. Ladle soup into bowls, and swirl 1.5 Tbsp coconut milk reduction into each serving

I thought the swirls made the soup look really pretty. I served this soup with my baked pita chips & masala lentil dip – it was the perfect complement to this sweet and spicy soup. All in all, it made for a wonderful, warming dinner.


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The Best Vegetarian Chili EVER!

Historically, my husband has always been a bit skeptical of vegetarian chilis. I think this is because he used to eat meat (he turned veggie at age 15) and probably never got used to the non-meat flavor in veggie chili. (I could probably ask him why he didn’t like it but it’s more fun for me to speculate on this blog hehe). Anyway – I recently came across a really flavorful veggie chili recipe on Kath Eats and convinced my husband to try it. It was a total SUCCESS! He LOVED the chili so much he went back for seconds 🙂 I made a few modifications to Kath’s recipe – but overall stayed pretty true to it because it was so good! Thanks Kath for a great recipe!


  • 1 can Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can Black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can Navy (or pinto) beans, drained and rinsed (I used pinto beans because I like them better)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen okra (I actually omitted this, and substituted 1 cup of chopped red pepper)
  • 1/2 cup frozen lima beans (or canned) (I omitted this too, and substituted 1/2 cup chopped red onion)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth) To keep it veggie friendly, I used veggie broth of course 🙂
  • 3 garlic cloves (I probably used closer to 4-5 to up the flavor)
  • 1 heaping tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp Ghirardelli cocoa powder (unsweet) (This is totally the secret ingredient in the recipe! Makes the chili super smoky and gives it a wonderful flavor!)
  • 2 sprinkles garlic powder (This ended up being about 1/2 tsp for me)
  • 1 sprinkle cayenne pepper (This ended up being a little less than 1/4 tsp for me)
  • 3-4 glugs Worcestershire sauce (Worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it, so I actually used soy sauce as a substitute and it worked great!)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper


  1. Chop the garlic, onion, and red pepper. Saute lightly over medium high heat in 1-2 tsp olive oil
  2. Add everything else into the pot! Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min or longer as needed
  4. Top with cheese, sour cream, and serve with tortilla chips!


This makes 12 ladles of soup. Each ladle has ~135 calories; 8g protein; 8g fiber! Talk about a nutritional powerhouse in a one pot dish!

Pictures of the Ingredients I used…

The chili is almost done cooking…

Dinner is served!

Now topped with the cheese for the final touch – yummyyy 🙂

This chili really was the best veggie version both me and my husband have ever had. It had a great smoky quality about it, was super hearty with all the beans and veggies, and was amazingly easy to make! Thanks again Kath, you saved Sunday night dinner for me! 🙂


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Creamy, Healthy Corn and Quinoa Chowder!

Last night, in keeping with the weather theme of this whole week, it was FREEZING. Well, freezing for California which is still pretty cold (like 30-40 degrees)! So of course, I decided that soup would be the perfect thing to make for dinner and warm all of us up. Corn Chowder is something I’ve always enjoyed – but I never eat more than 2 bites of it because the traditional recipe is made with tons of butter and cream / whole milk – so the soup ends up being like 50% fat and tons of calories. Then I found this recipe on Vegetarian Times and I was super excited to try it because of all the healthy substitutions! The recipe and my modifications are below – enjoy!


  • 3/4 cup red or white quinoa, rinsed and drained (I used white just because it makes the soup look more creamy)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil (I probably used about 3/4 of a Tbsp)
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 large red potato, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 small shallots, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups plain soymilk (I used low fat soymilk)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 Tbs. chopped cilantro, plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • Lime wedges, optional (I would actually recommend using the Lime because it adds a wonderful flavor to the soup!)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste – this is a MUST!


  1. Toast quinoa and cumin seeds in pot over medium-high heat, 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden and fragrant, stirring constantly. Transfer to bowl.
  2. Heat oil in pot; add corn, potato and shallots. Sauté 5 minutes, or until shallots are translucent. Add broth and soymilk, and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in quinoa mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in bell pepper, cover and simmer 5 minutes, or until quinoa and vegetables are tender.
  5. Remove from heat; stir in chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Ladle into soup bowls, and garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.
  7. I served it with toasted pita wedges which were fun to use as little dippers in the soup!

The Nutritionals are also great: The recipe makes 6 servings; and one HUGE serving only has ~250 calories, 8g protein and 5g fiber!

The Ingredients…

The quinoa/cumin waiting to be toasted

And the rest of the ingredients – mostly from Trader Joe’s of course! 🙂

And the Finished Product!

I love the creaminess of the soup without adding tons of fat/calories! The red pepper and cilantro add a brightness of color to the dish, and the lime added a great brightness of flavor which was a nice surprise for our tastebuds 🙂


Filed under Picky Cooks (Favorite Recipes)

Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup! (and the Amazing Race..)

Sunday nights are always warm and cozy in our house. Usually we stay in (because I have dance class all day and come home super tired, and of course – it’s a “school night”) and I cook something we’ve never had before, and we watch The Amazing Race together!

Did I mention we’re, like, totally obsessed with The Amazing Race? We discovered it last season and totally got hooked on the show… not to mention the two coolest contestants of all the Amazing Race seasons – Jet and Cord (the Cowboys) who were so much fun to watch. Anyway – so after last season we rented most of the other seasons and watched them during our trip to Spain and Portugal.. yeah… that was like 10 seasons watched during one trip 😛 … and now we’re watching Season 17! (live of course). Yeah, we’re Amazing Race nerds, what can I say 😛

Anywayy, so tonight – I decided to try this recipe for Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup from Dave Liberman on the Cooking Channel. I was really excited about this recipe because it’s super healthy: chickpeas have tons of fiber and protein, and the tomatoes/spinach give you a healthy dose of veggies, fiber, and antioxidants! And it seemed like it would taste good. But, after an hour of cooking – it ended up being kind of bland. So I had to figure out a way to jazz it up a little… and I found one secret ingredient that totally did the trick! So here is the recipe (my modified version and notes are in purple) And I’ll tell you what my secret ingredient was at the end of this post!

Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup … with a kick!


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish (Ok people, you totally do NOT need this much oil. I used 1 heaping Tbsp and it was more than enough!)
  • 1 large onion, medium diced (I used a red onion)
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic, pressed (I used 8 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I probably ended up using closer to 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (5-ounce) package pre-washed baby spinach (I actually used a 10 oz bag of organic frozen spinach)
  • My Secret Ingredient! (to be used upon serving – and you can click on the link to find it if you can’t wait until the end 🙂 )


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until the onions begin to turn translucent; lower heat if browning starts to occur.
  2. Add spices and saute a minute or so. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, broth, and sugar. Season with a couple pinches of salt and 10 grinds fresh pepper. Stir well. Chickpeas should be just covered with liquid. If level is shy, add some water so the chickpeas are just covered.
  3. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to low and gently simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove soup from heat. Use a potato masher to mash up some of the chickpeas right in the pot. (I actually used a hand blender to make the soup a nice chunky consistency). Stir in the spinach and let heat through until wilted, just a couple minutes.
  5. Season again, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  6. Ladle into bowls. The Secret Part: Add 1 Tbsp of Masala Lentil Dip to the bowl and stir into soup until combined through. The dip gives the soup an amazing flavor and really adds a kick to it! It totally amped up the flavor of what was otherwise a pretty average tasting soup. You can add a drizzle of EVOO on top if desired. I also served the soup with toasted pita chips which tasted great. You can also serve it with Greek Yogurt or a creamy cheese – I think both would taste good. Enjoy!


Filed under Picky Cooks (Favorite Recipes)

White Bean and Kale Soup with Parmesan Balsamic Bruschetta!

A few weekends ago, we visited one of our good friends who lives in San Diego (which, if you’ve never been there – is one of the most beautiful, peaceful places to visit in California!). The first night we were there, she made an amazing soup based off this recipe from AllRecipes.com. My husband and I both loved it – so I decided to try and recreate it tonight, with a few twists and additions of my own 🙂 It was actually very easy to make – didn’t take more than 40 minutes (and then the soup just has to simmer for a while for the flavors to combine). All in all, a great, light summer supper!

Ingredients – Soup

  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped raw kale
  • 4 cups low-fat, low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans white beans, such as cannellini or navy, rinsed and drained
  • 4 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Fresh shredded Parmesan

Ingredients – Bruschetta

  • Crusty, whole wheat bread
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil, thinly sliced

Directions – Soup

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion; saute until soft.
  2. Add kale and saute, stirring, until wilted.
  3. Add 3 cups of broth, 2 cups of beans, and all of the tomato, herbs, salt and pepper (crushed red pepper + black pepper). Simmer 5 minutes.
  4. In a blender or food processor, mix the remaining beans and broth until smooth (I actually just mashed the beans in the broth with a potato masher and it worked great). Stir into soup to thicken. Simmer 15 minutes.
  5. Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with parmesan cheese
Directions – Bruschetta
  1. Toast the bread on a grill or in a toaster oven until lightly browned and crispy on the surface.
  2. Brush with olive oil and top with 1-2 Tbsp parmesan cheese. Broil at 350 degrees until cheese has melted.
  3. Top with sliced basil and 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Serve the soup with 1-2 pieces of bruschetta. Enjoy! 🙂


Filed under Picky Cooks (Favorite Recipes)

Healthy Spicy Tomato, Bean, Veggie Soup!

Tonight I made a recipe I found on CookingChannel.com’s website – courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis. For anyone that doesn’t watch Food Network – she is awesome! She has great recipes and is super fun to watch on TV 🙂 Anyway, so I found her recipe for a Spicy Tomato Soup and thought it would make a great dinner this evening. I made a few modifications, and it turned out AMAZINGLY well! My husband even said “I wish my stomach was bigger so I could eat more of this soup!”

I topped the soup with a sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese, and served it with whole wheat toast spread with Laughing Cow Light Garlic & Herb Cheese. It was a huge hit, a great balanced meal, had a wonderful spicy flavor, and was super easy to make. The modified recipe is below, and the original is here. Hope you enjoy it!


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (NOTE – I only used 1 Tbsp and it was totally enough. You don’t need the extra 2 Tbsp!)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped (I used a red onion)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (I added this because I had a red pepper left over, and it gave a great crunch and flavor to the soup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I actually used about 3 cloves of garlic)
  • 1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce (recommended: San Marzano brand) (Instead of marinara sauce, I used a 28oz jar of crushed tomatoes with Italian spices – gave the soup an amazing flavor)
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth (I used vegetable broth)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta) (I used whole wheat shell pasta for added fiber)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat
  2. Add the carrots, red pepper, onion, and garlic and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. I let the veggies saute a bit longer, like 5-10 min on medium heat. Gave them a great crunch but still were cooked through.
  3. Add the jar of marinara sauce (crushed tomatoes for me), broth, cannellini beans, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper.
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes. I simmered it for a bit longer, maybe 15-20 min. Ladle into bowls, top with parmesan cheese, and serve (with garlic bread or my laughing cow cheese toast above!)


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Curried Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup!

Today I was looking for a light, healthy dinner – and I thought soup would be the perfect option! I came across this recipe on a website about a year ago (I can’t remember which one!) and decided to try it tonight. It turned out to be an excellent meal – super flavorful with lots of healthy ingredients. I served it with toasted whole wheat pitas, and made a few minor modifications which are included below – hope you enjoy it!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large red onion , diced
  • 5 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch (1-pound) Swiss chard , tough stalks removed, coarsely chopped (This ended up being about 4 large swiss chard leaves)
  • 2 cups (about 14 ounces) dried red lentils (I used Trader Joe’s steamed lentils – they are already pre-cooked and make for faster cooking time!)
  • 1 can (15-ounce) chickpeas , rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons thick Greek yogurt , thinned with 2 tablespoons water (I like Fage 0% Nonfat Greek Yogurt)
  • 1 red or green jalapeño chili , stemmed and thinly sliced (I didn’t end up using this ingredient)
  • 1 lime , cut into 6 wedges


  1. Heat oil in large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in curry and red pepper. Add 4 cups broth and chard; increase heat and bring to a boil, stirring until chard is wilted.
  2. Stir in lentils and chickpeas. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 16 to 18 minutes, stirring twice, until chickpeas are tender.
  3. Remove from heat. Using a hand blender, puree the soup until it is mostly creamy. (Another option is to puree half the soup (about 4 cups) in a blender or food processor; return puree to pot). Stir in salt, and warm over low heat 2 minutes.
  4. Divide soup among 6 bowls. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon thinned yogurt over each serving. Garnish with a few slices of jalapeño (optional) and a lime wedge. Serve with hot toasted whole wheat pitas to dip in the soup!


Filed under Picky Cooks (Favorite Recipes)