Dragonfly Home Recipes

Recipes, Photography, Musings

Category: Soups (page 1 of 4)

White Bean Soup with Leeks and Greens

Nourishing and wonderfully fragrant, this  white bean soup with leeks and greens will chase away any chills in the air.  Sauteed onions, leeks, and garlic, plus white beans, dark leafy greens and a splash of lemon juice make up this very simple, healthy, and flavorful soup.

In the winter, I love a good soup full of greens to fill me up with powerful vitamins and minerals.  There are a lot of germs flying around this area right now (including in my own house!) and I want to make our immune systems as strong as possible.  This soup is a delicious step in that direction.  The purifying properties of dark leafy greens make me feel like I am taking good care of my body.  This delicious soup is also a light soup, so it is perfect if you want a lighter meal, yet still want lots of protein and iron.  It goes well with a nice piece of rustic bread too.

soup in potThe onions, leeks, and garlic are gently sauteed till they are nice and soft and fragrant, and then the broth, beans, greens and lemon juice come in.  The soup only takes about forty minutes to make, so it makes a great weeknight meal or a warm, cozy lunch, and it tastes even better the next day.  For me, the lemon juice is what really makes this soup.  The bright citrus flavor balances the earthy flavors of the other ingredients.

The weather has been unseasonably warm here the past few days, and all the sunshine has gotten me longing for the green of spring.  That is probably another reason I had a craving to make a soup with lots of greens in it.  We are a long way from spring here in Michigan, and it is actually supposed to snow here tomorrow, but this recent warm-up has been refreshing and energizing.  It’s amazing what a few days of sunshine will do for a person!

white bean green soupGetting outdoors has been so pleasant this past week.  It’s too early to start working in the garden (though my husband did churn up the soil last weekend), so we did lots of walking/biking on trails along a river near us.  Being around water is so soothing and inspiring to me.  The river water level is really high right now because of all the rain we got earlier in the winter, so the water is moving quickly, making lots of currents and carrying sticks and leaves along with it.  As I was watching the water flow so smoothly and naturally, I felt like I should try to be more like the river.  Flowing naturally toward my destination.  Not fighting my own inner nature, but going with it.  Navigating the rocks and bends in the earth with such natural grace.

This white bean soup with leeks and greens is in that same vein, in that it is natural and pure and nourishing.  I hope you all have a great weekend! I will be sharing this recipe over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Anugya @ Indian Curry Shack and Margy @ La Petite Casserole.white bean green soupwhite bean green soup

White Bean Soup With Leeks And Greens

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion (or about 1/2 cup), finely diced
  • 2 leeks, washed thoroughly and finely chopped (I used just the white bulb parts, not the leafy parts)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  •  1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt (or to taste)
  • 4 cups of your favorite vegetable broth
  • 1 can (14 ounces) of cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
  • a couple of big handfuls of dark leafy greens, such as spinach or Swiss chard, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, leeks, bay leaf, and salt and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until very soft.  About a minute before the onions and leeks are soft, add the minced garlic.

Then add the vegetable broth and beans to the pot.  Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, until everything is soft and the flavors are all nice and blended.  Discard the bay leaf.  With a wooden spoon, carefully smash some of the beans against the side of the pot to give the soup a thicker texture.  Add the greens and the lemon juice.  Cook over medium heat until the greens are just wilted, about 3 minutes.  Add some black pepper if desired and adjust the salt and lemon juice, if desired.  If it is too salty, add some water.  Serve warm with some rustic bread, if desired. Enjoy!

 

 

Broccoli Buttermilk Soup

Warm, nostalgic comfort in a bowl, that is what I think when I taste a spoonful of this broccoli buttermilk soup.  It is creamy without being too heavy, and the buttermilk gives it an extra tangy flavor that blends well with the broccoli and herbs.  Two percent milk keeps this soup fairly light while still allowing it to deliver that smooth comforting taste we associate with broccoli soup.  Top it with some shredded cheddar cheese, and it is even tastier!

broccoli buttermilk soupCold, gray skies make me long for soup.  Uncertain times and difficult situations make me long for soup.  Soup soothes a heart that is in need of comfort.  Whether there is turmoil out in the larger world or turmoil in our daily interactions, the act of making soup is an act of positive creation, and a steaming bowl of soup represents the intent of that positive creation.

broccoli buttermilk soupThe richness, the creaminess, offset by the earthy flavor of the broccoli, has such a grounding, calming, and nourishing effect.  This recipe is based on one I found in my Hollyhocks & Radishes cookbook by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson.  It is quick and easy to make, and tastes great for lunch or as a side dish with a sandwich for a cozy dinner.  Broccoli soup is a classic soup that has so many positive associations and memories for me.  Sometimes a classic, nostalgic soup is just what a person needs.

With the weather so gray and with no snow on the ground, we have been doing some indoor things this month.  One very simple and fun trip was to the conservatory at the botanical gardens near us.  What a great place to visit in the winter!  The air in the conservatory is warm and humid, and there are beautiful plants and flowers blooming everywhere.  It’s like being magically transported to a tropical paradise for awhile!

broccoli buttermilk soupAnother fun winter trip was to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  My son is a car enthusiast, and so my husband’s brother and his wife, who know their way around Detroit, took us to the auto show and on a tour of part of the city as well.  We thoroughly enjoyed this day, and Detroit is a city rich in history and positive aspects.  One unexpected bonus of that day was listening to a concert by a jazz band from the Detroit School of Arts.  Very inspirational for my kids, who both love music.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and if you are looking for a broccoli soup recipe, this one is really delicious!  Stay warm and take care!  I will be sharing this recipe over at Angie’s virtual potluck, Fiesta Friday.  And I am sharing this quote that caught my eye today:  “Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh  broccoli buttermilk soup

Broccoli Buttermilk Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a medium sized onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoons of dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds of broccoli (or about 2 large heads of broccoli), chopped to the size you want it
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups of milk (I used 2% milk)
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • a dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • shredded cheddar cheese for the top (optional)

Directions:

In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.  Sauté the onion until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the broth and seasonings.  Bring to a boil, and then add the chopped broccoli.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the broccoli is tender.

In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and continue to stir with the whisk until it is bubbly and smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and buttermilk and stir until the mixture just thickens.

Add the milk mixture to the chicken broth/broccoli mixture.  Continue to stir until everything is combined and very hot, but do not allow the soup to boil.  Adjust the seasonings to your taste.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.  Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from Hollyhock & Radishes by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson.

 

 

Tofu Miso Instant Noodle Bowl

Enjoy the ease, speed, and savory, satisfying umami taste of an instant noodle bowl without all the unhealthy additives with this do-it-yourself tofu miso instant noodle bowl.  With just a few ingredients and a mason jar, you can make this delicious and healthy soup in fifteen minutes! Tofu, miso paste, spinach, and thin noodles combine to make a super-quick lunch packed with protein, iron, and many other nutrients.

I have been a fan of instant noodle bowls for a long time.  Like many of us, I relied on instant ramen noodle packages when I was just out of college and living on my own.  I loved the salty, tangy taste and they filled me up for just around a dollar a meal! I quickly got more interested in my health and whole foods, so I had to let the instant ramen meals go. But in a pinch, when I am in a rush or when I am craving a quick umami taste, I will still buy an instant noodle bowl package.  So when I saw this mason jar instant noodle bowl idea in one of my new cookbooks, Mad Genius Tips, by Justin Chapple and the Editors of Food and Wine, I was very excited.  (That book is full of fun and great ideas, by the way, and I am excited to try more!)

The great thing about making your own noodle bowls is that you can vary the recipe depending on what you have on hand and what kind of taste you want, and you can make them really healthy!  Also, they are portable so you can pack them and then make them at work, or wherever you can get hot water. Just layer the ingredients in a mason jar or other type of heat-proof jar, pour in some boiling water, close the lid, and wait for five minutes.  In this case, with the miso, I found that it works best to add the miso paste mixed with some warm water after the five minutes, since it is not good for the miso to boil.

tofu miso noodle bowlThe recipe below is loosely based on one I found in Mad Genius Tips, though I used tofu instead of chicken and changed a few other things around as well.  Also, I found that pouring the soup into a bowl after it cooks in the mason jar makes it easier to eat, so that is why I call it a noodle bowl instead of a noodle cup.

Miso is one of my favorite ways to add the savory umami flavor to foods.  It is made from aged and fermented soybeans, so it contains that “good” bacteria that is so popular now.  In addition to the beneficial micro-organisms, miso is a complete protein and is full of minerals and antioxidants.  There are lots of different types of miso paste, including white miso, yellow miso, and red miso.  The kind I use in this tofu miso instant noodle bowl is considered brown miso, (or Genmai Miso), and it is aged and fermented soybeans and brown rice.  It has a pretty strong flavor, so a little goes a long way.

White miso is considered the most mild kind, and red miso is also quite strong.  You can use any type of miso you like in this noodle bowl, and adjust the amount to your taste.  The other important thing I have learned about using miso paste is that as I mentioned above, you should not let it boil, because that can destroy the micro-organisms and make it grainy, so I prefer to add the miso paste to the mixture after it has steeped in the boiling water, and the water has cooled a bit.

I like to buy baked tofu because it is fairly firm and holds up well.  Since the cooking time is only about five minutes, the noodles need to be either very thin noodles that are made to be cooked almost instantly, or noodles that have already been cooked.  I have used both, and they both work well.  I especially like using a type of Japanese noodles called Tomoshiraga Somen because they are almost as thin as thread, and cook really quickly.  I have also used leftover cooked spaghetti or angel hair noodles, and they work too, if you are trying to use up your leftovers. If you have leftover cooked vegetables and want to add them, give it a try!  Otherwise, quick-cooking vegetables like spinach, peas, or mushrooms work best.

I hope you all have a great weekend! If you are looking for a very quick, healthy, heart-warming lunch, give this tofu miso instant noodle bowl a try! There is nothing like soup to warm the body and soul on a cold day. tofu miso noodle bowl

Tofu Miso Instant Noodle Bowl

  • Servings: 1
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Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (or about 2 ounces) of baked tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup of fresh spinach, torn into bite sized pieces
  • about 1 and 3/4 ounces, or about 1/2 cup of very thin oriental style noodles (or previously cooked angel hair or spaghetti pasta), broken or cut to fit into a wide-mouth one-pint Mason jar
  • 1 tablespoon (or to taste) of brown, red, or white miso paste
  • about 1 and 3/4 cups of boiling water, plus about 1/2 cup of warm water for the miso paste

Directions:

Cut the baked tofu into cubes and tear the spinach into bite sized pieces.  Layer the tofu and spinach in a one-pint Mason jar.  Add the noodles, breaking them or cutting them into pieces that fit through the opening of the jar, filling the jar to the top.  Set the miso paste aside.  Heat some water in a kettle until it just boils.  Pour the hot water into the Mason jar and screw on the lid.  Let the Mason jar sit for five minutes.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the miso paste with a bit (1/2 cup or so) of warm water, whisking it till the clumps dissolve.  When the five minutes are done, remove the lid from the Mason jar and pour the contents into a bowl.  Stir in the miso-water mixture until everything is combined.  Enjoy!

 

Easy Watermelon Gazpacho

This refreshing watermelon gazpacho will infuse your body with natural energy derived from some of late summer’s best produce–watermelon, tomato, and cucumber.  With just five ingredients, this soup is a breeze to whip up,  and it is both festive and nutritious.  Brighten up any table with a bowl or cup of this delicious, pretty soup, and savor the essence of summer.  The watermelon gives this gazpacho a slightly sweet flavor, yet with the olive oil and red wine vinegar, it is tangy at the same time.  Sprinkle  a little feta cheese to the top to add even more flavor, if you wish.

watermelon gazpacho with vaseAfter trying a few versions of watermelon gazpacho, I came to the conclusion that in this case, for my family, the simplest recipe is the best.  This recipe, a result of researching and trying some different combinations of ingredients, is the most basic watermelon gazpacho I made, and yet it is our favorite.  Sometimes, if a recipe is really simple and quick, I am more likely to make it on a busy evening, and we are more likely have it more often.  So the recipe I am sharing below is my own answer to the question, but with the influence of lots of different sources, including Bon Appetit and Better Homes and Gardens.

watermelon gazpachoThere is something so revitalizing about eating fruits and vegetables that come from the earth, preferably earth near home.  It anchors me and at the same time gives me strength to reach out.  I recently started practicing yoga again after many years away from it.  I find that yoga helps me with my physical and mental health, especially with my spine and my stress level.  But it also teaches me so many things in quiet ways.  I have always struggled with the warrior poses, because even though I was a runner for years, and am now a walker and bicyclist, for some reason my legs are not always as strong as they could be.  The warrior poses focus on standing strong.

watermelon gazpacho in handsYesterday our instructor had us stand in the warrior pose while slightly moving our upper bodies back and forth.  I felt how life events and other people can push and pull us in different directions, and we can bend to some extent, but at the same time, we still can try to stay rooted strongly to the ground.  As my feet and legs were wobbling and aching from the effort, I focused on standing firm.  For whatever reason, I think that is the message I needed to hear this week, and a skill I need to cultivate.  The warrior pose, named after the warrior Virabhadra, is these days not about fighting an actual war, but rather it calls us to engage our inner warrior and is said to symbolize our inner struggle and ability to overcome ego and ignorance.

And all that effort makes me work up an appetite for healthy, revitalizing food! This soup is the perfect refresher and revitalizer, and the perfect way to savor the essence of summer.  I hope you enjoy it, if you try it, and enjoy this long weekend.   To those of you who celebrate it, Happy Labor Day!watermelon gazpachowatermelon gazpacho with spoonwatermelon gazpacho on bench 2

Easy Watermelon Gazpacho

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of seedless watermelon, chopped, plus 1/2 cup reserved to chop and use at serving time
  •  1 large beefsteak tomato (or similar), chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped, plus another 1/2 cucumber to peel, seed, and chop for serving time
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • crumbled Feta cheese, optional

Directions:

Wash and chop the 3 cups of watermelon, the tomato, and peel, seed, and chop the cucumber.  Place the watermelon, tomato, cucumber, olive oil, and red wine vinegar into a blender and puree until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill it in the refrigerator for at least an hour (can be chilled overnight if you wish).  Before serving, test the seasoning and add salt and pepper if you wish.  Chop the 1/2 cup watermelon and peel, seed, and chop the 1/2 cucumber.  Ladle or pour the cold soup into bowls or cups.  Top with the freshly chopped watermelon and cucumber.  Sprinkle on some crumbled Feta cheese if desired.  Enjoy!

 

 

Sole Minestrone

Take advantage of summer vegetables with this delicious sole minestrone!  The addition of sole to this classic vegetable soup gives it lots of protein, and some pesto kicks in even more flavor.  Carrots, zucchini, cabbage, celery, and potatoes provide lots of nutrients.  This is a hearty soup that tastes delicious and covers all the bases.  It is a full meal in one simmering pot.

sole minestrone with glassOnce again, necessity is the driving force behind a great meal.  I had some sole that I needed to cook before it lost its freshness, and I also knew that I had to make something ahead of time that could be reheated quickly when we all got home and wanted dinner.  I adapted this recipe from the Food and Wine website, and I am so glad I found it. The only ingredient I really changed was that I used great northern beans instead of pinto beans, and some of the amounts of the vegetables are slightly different.  All the vegetables are fresh and in season right now, so that was a huge bonus, especially because I still have zucchini to use, and I am always happy to find ways to use it!

sole minestrone in hands 2I have made minestrone countless times, but never with fish, and never with pesto, and I have to say I love this variation.  For this soup, I made my own pesto, since we have a lovely little basil plant thriving in a pot, and because we love to have pesto on hand, but store-bought pesto would work too.  The pesto, mixed with the mild flavor of the sole, takes this soup to a new level.  And soup is good for the soul.  (The poet in me cannot ignore the word play between sole and soul.)  Both making soup and eating soup fulfills some kind of need for my spirit.  With my kids starting back to school this week, this was the perfect way for me to nourish my family and myself through this transitional time.  My son had three bowls it the minute he got home from his cross country practice!

It has been a little while since I last posted, and it is good to be back in this space. The month of August has been really full and a bit chaotic around here, but I have nothing to complain about.  A trip to Grey County, Ontario is one of the highlights of this month, and I already miss that little A-frame cabin in the wooded valley, next to the clear, bubbling stream.  We went to sleep with the sound of the stream flowing over the rocks, and woke to the sun streaming through the trees. The Georgian Bay, hiking trails, waterfalls, and huge hills and valleys enchanted us.  Although Canada is not that far away from here, it does feel like a foreign country to me, and my family and I enjoyed every minute of it.  Why is it that in general, Canadians seem so much more laid-back than Americans?  I’m not sure I know the answer to that, but I tried to bring some of that relaxed approach to life back home with me.

trees in KimberleyMy kids are already back in school, and though it is good, I also miss our summer life together.  They are growing so quickly, and though we get on each other’s nerves sometimes like all families do, my husband and I treasured our time exploring new places and visiting familiar favorite places with them.  I was talking recently with a friend about the passage of time, and she said, “the train just keeps on going!” We laughed, in a bittersweet kind of way, because it is true.  We cannot seem to stop the train of time, or even get off for awhile.  One minute the kids are in elementary school, the next minute they are starting junior high and high school.

I hope you are all having a great summer, and hope we can savor the last month of it! This is one of my favorite times of the year, as the sun stays warm, but is mellow, and the insects are so loud at night, they make it a very distinctive time of year.  One evening not long ago, I stepped from inside my house out to the porch, and I felt like I was stepping into a whole different world, with the surprising humming and chirping of the various crickets, katydids and cicadas (and who knows what else! Luckily, my back porch is screened in.) I love that sound though, because it means the nights are still warm and summer is still here.  Have a great weekend! It has been awhile since I joined Angie’s Fiesta Friday, and I look forward to catching up with some great food bloggers there as well!DSC_0217-001sole minestrone in hands 4

Sole Minestrone

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/2 cup of onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 medium or 4 small potatoes, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
  • 1/4 head (or about 3/4 of a pound) of green cabbage, shredded
  • 3 and 3/4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth (I really like the Better than Bouillon broths)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of great northern beans or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds of sole fillets, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of pesto, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

Directions:

Wash all the vegetables and chop or dice them into about 1/4-inch pieces.  Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large soup pot.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the carrots, celery, garlic, and potatoes.  Cook, continuing to stir occasionally, for another 5 minutes.  Add the zucchini and cabbage and cook 5 more minutes, still stirring now and then.

Add the broth, beans, tomato paste, and salt.  Bring just to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer.  Continue to simmer, partially covered, about 18 minutes more, or until the vegetables are tender.  While the vegetables are simmering, make the pesto (if using homemade) and cut the sole into 1 inch pieces.  When the vegetables are tender, add the pesto, sole and the pepper.  Cook, uncovered, about 1 to 2 more minutes, until the fish is done.  (Sole is a thin fish, so it does not take long to cook).  Ladle into bowls.  Serve warm or wait till it reaches room temperature, if it is a hot evening.  Enjoy!

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