Dragonfly Home Recipes

Recipes, Photography, Musings

Category: Soups (page 2 of 7)

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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