Mushroom & Lentil Soup

Mushroom, Vegetable & Lentil Soup

I desperately want it to be fall. It officially is according to the calendar, but the weather around here is making the reality quite different. I dream of cardigans and tights and flannels and coats and all the things that are completely useless in Southern California but any temperature under 65 degrees automatically warrants wearing. I keep thinking that if I act like it’s fall, it will be fall. That’s where soup comes in. It might be uncomfortably hot still, but I still keep thinking that if I make seasonally appropriate recipes or wear seasonally appropriate clothes, the season will also become appropriate. Unfortunately, this line of thought has resulted in nothing but annoyance and overheating.

Luckily this soup was delicious enough to over look the heat for the 10 minutes it took to eat. I got a hankering for soup over the weekend and saw some lentils in the cupboard crying out to be used up. I opened the fridge and the mushrooms literally threw themselves at me, so I thought it would be rude not to include them as well. I googled around for a bit trying to find a mushroom and lentil soup recipe, but nothing was really leaping out at me. So in typical fashion I chopped up some vegetables, threw them in a pot, minced some garlic, added some spices and broth, added a bit more garlic for good measure, put a lid on it and hoped for the best. I was a bit concerned about the mushrooms getting rubbery (blah), but fortunately they managed to maintain their natural mushroomy consistency and even survived reheating. This soup is basically endlessly adaptable. You could throw in diced tomatoes and their juice for a cup of broth, add some spinach or kale, and just about any other vegetable you could imagine.

Mushroom & Lentil Soup

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1-8 ounce package mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup lentils, green or brown (the bigger ones), well rinsed
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  1. Prepare and cut up all the vegetables.
  2. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When heated, add in onion, carrots and garlic and cook until slightly softened and fragrant.
  3. Add in spices and mushrooms and stir to coat. Allow water from mushrooms to cook off slightly and add in lentils and broth.
  4. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Allow simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are all cooked and soft.

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup

This is my all-time favorite soup. I am 99% certain I could have this everyday and never get sick of it. I’m not too sure where I found the original recipe, it’s just one of those things I’ve made so often, I’m on auto-cook with it.

This soup is so simple and delicious, but it is also super (soup-er?) easy to dress up or add to depending on your mood. In the past I have thrown in basil or used tomatoes with basil/garlic/chilies/anything, add parmesan, blue cheese, goat cheese, ricotta, pesto, hot sauce, chipotles. You can really go wild with it. I’ve also cooked the onions longer so they are caramelized, which is also amazing. Today, I sprinkled some onion garlic goat cheese from the farmers’ market. It’s similar to Boursin, but a million times better. (If you are in Santa Barbara, I would suggest checking out Drake Family Farms stand. On Saturday mornings they are on the first row and I think she is also at the markets on Tuesdays and Fridays)

I should also point out, that this soup is really good cold. I used to make it during the summer I lived in Budapest without air conditioning and eat it like a gazpacho to cool off. It was amazing. It’s really perfect for any time of year.

Tomato Soup
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 large onions, diced
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced (or 12 in my case, they were small, I swear)
  • 2 28 ounce cans of whole tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Optional toppings/mix-ins: parmesan, blue cheese, goat cheese, ricotta, pesto, hot sauce, chipotles, basil
Instructions
  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, saute onion & garlic in olive oil slowly until translucent and soft.
  2. Add tomatoes. With a large wooden spoon, smush the tomatoes against the side of the pot so they ‘pop’. Bring to just below boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for 25-30 minutes to let the soup thicken up.
  3. If you are mixing in any extra ingredients (basil, chipotles, etc.), add in now. With an immersion blender, blend the soup until all the tomatoes are pureed and the soup is has a smooth consistency
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Top with any extra garnishes you are using.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Spinach Tomato & Lentil Soup

Spinach, Tomato & Lentil Soup

It might not be the prettiest of soups, but it’s what’s on the inside of the bowl that really counts. This was one of those, clean out the fridge, cross your fingers, and hope for the best type of concoctions. I was super impressed by how tasty it turned out. It actually reminded me more of a stew than a soup since it wasn’t thin like a soup. It was very hearty and filling, simple to make, and made the perfect amount of leftovers to enjoy two days in a row. It was tasty enough to not mind eating two days in a row.

Spinach Tomato & Lentil Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 carrots, finely sliced
  • 5 ounces/150g baby spinach
  • 4 cups/950 ml low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 cup lentils
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1-15 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • chile powder or paprika (optional)
  1. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil, until softened. Add the grated carrot and cook for a few minutes. Add the spinach and let it wilt.
  2. Next add the vegetable stock and the lentils. Stir well. Cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes. Then blend until the carrots and spinach are smoother. Add the lemon juice and can of tomatoes, stir to combine and let tomatoes heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle each serving with a little chile powder or paprika, if desired.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Chipotle Chicken & Tomato Soup with Orange & Red Onion Salad

Chipotle Chicken & Tomato Soup

My soup kick is still in full force. I think I’ve found a new favorite. This soup was so fast and easy to make. Open some cans, chop a couple things, let them come to a boil, get out a bowl and a spoon and your soup is ready in less than 20 minutes. I’ve gotten in the habit of cooking extra chicken or turkey to have on hand to add to salads or in this case soup so I always have something quick and easy to make for lunch. Even if you don’t have cooked chicken on hand, it would probably only add about 10 minutes to your cooking time and this soup is definitely worth it. I was tempted to add in some garlic and onion, but dicing and mincing kind of defeated the purpose of a fast meal. The stewed tomatoes I used did have some bell pepper, onion and celery added in, which provided a little extra something (I would give you a brand name, but the were the store’s own brand, but I think they are a pretty common blend). Next time, I would probably throw in some frozen corn as well.

Orange and Red Onion Salad with Red Pepper

As good as the soup was, my favorite part of this meal was the orange and red onion salad. I like onions with pretty much anything, but this combination sounded very peculiar to me. I was shocked by how delicious it was. We are close to a full on obsession. The salt, pepper and cayenne were an amazing combination that made the oranges taste even sweeter. I left the oranges and red onions until after I was done with the soup, and by that time the salt brought out the juice of the oranges so I just skipped adding the original recipe’s olive oil. I’m not a big fan of olive oil as a dipping/dressing unless it’s blended with something else, and I really think it might be kind of strange here. My dash of cayenne, was accidentally a much bigger dash than planned, but it was perfect. I am super tempted to go buy huge bags of oranges and red onions, because this is something I could eat every day.

Chipotle Chicken & Tomato Soup (from Cooking Light via myrecipes.com)

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can navy/white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Partially mash tomatoes and beans with a potato masher.
  2. Stir in chicken; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in oil. Place 1 1/4 cups soup in each of four bowls.
  3. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons sour cream and 1 tablespoon cilantro.

Orange & Red Onion Salad (from Cooking Light via myrecipes.com)
(original serves 6| scale to 1 orange for individual serving)

  • 18 (1/4-inch-thick) orange slices (about 4 oranges)
  • 1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper or chipotle pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (olive oil)
  1. Arrange orange slices in a single layer on a platter. Top evenly with onion. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Drizzle with oil. Serve immediately.

Broccoli & Blue Cheese Soup

Broccoli & Blue Cheese Soup

I’m on a bit of soup kick lately. It’s been cold here. Like actually cold, not just cold by Southern California standards. According to my car, it’s even been in the 30s a couple mornings on my way to the gym. That’s cold. Soup is always the perfect solution to cold.

I made this soup in less than 30 minutes for lunch one day and it was great. You could definitely whip this up for a quick lunch or weeknight meal. I ended up using 2 small heads of broccoli since I needed to use them up. Even though there was only a liter of stock in the soup, I found it to be a lot more watery than I thought it would be. I probably should have added another potato to help thicken it up a bit more. I used crumbled gorgonzola and found I had to add a little more to get the flavor across. I really like blue cheese, so I don’t mind if the taste is strong, but if you are iffy on blue I would add and taste as you go. If you aren’t a fan of blue cheese, fear not! You could easily substitute the cheese of your choice (I think sharp cheddar or parmesan  would work really well).

Broccoli & Blue Cheese Soup

Broccoli & Blue Cheese Soup (from BBC Good Food)
Serves 4 | Ready in less than 30 minutes

  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 potato, peeled and cubed
  •  1 liter/4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 head broccoli (about 300 grams/11 ounces), roughly chopped
  • 100 grams/4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  1. Cook the onion in 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the potato and stock and simmer until the potato is tender (about 10 minutes).
  2. Add the broccoli and cook for 3-4 minutes until just tender but still bright green. Add half the cheese and whizz to a smooth soup in a blender. Season then serve with the rest of the cheese crumbled over.

Red Lentil, Chickpea & Chili Soup

Red lentil, chickpea & chilli soup

This soup is so easy to make, it’s almost foolproof. It also takes next to no time at all to whip up, so it’s perfect for a fast weeknight meal. There is a bit of a kick to the soup (it’s easy to adjust to your taste), but it helps make this hearty and filling soup nice and warming, which is great for a wintry day or evening.

I thought the heat factor from the chili was just about perfect. I might even go a little crazy next time and add in some sriracha or garlic-chili sauce. You could even you fresh chiles or jalapeños in place of the chili flakes if you wanted, or use both if you are really crazy bout spice. Next time I would definitely add in some more garlic and maybe squeeze in some lemon juice before I served it, but recipe is pretty close to perfect as is.

Red lentil, chickpea & chilli soup

Red Lentil, Chickpea & Chili Soup (adapted from BBC Good Food)

  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • large pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 140g/5 ounces red split lentils
  • 850ml/3.5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 ~400g can tomatoes, whole or chopped
  • 1 can of chickpeas (~411g), rinsed and drained (freeze leftovers)
  • small bunch coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped (save a few leaves, to serve)
  • 4 tablespoons 0% Greek yogurt , to serve
  1. Heat a large saucepan and dry-fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 min, or until they start to jump around the pan and release their aromas. Add the oil and onion, and cook for 5 mins. Stir in the lentils, stock and tomatoes, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 mins until the lentils have softened.
  2. Whizz the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor until it is a rough purée, pour back into the pan and add the chickpeas. Heat gently, season well and stir in the coriander. Finish with a dollop of yogurt and coriander leaves.


Hungarian Mushroom Soup

Mama CC discovered this recipe when I was living in Hungary, the first time. She made it for me when I came back to California and I fell in love. You can take the girl out of Hungary, but part of me will always have an unnatural affinity for anything containing paprika. It’s not 100% authentic, but it’s delicious enough to overlook authenticity.

It’s become one of our family favorites over the years and is one of my favorite meals when it’s cold out. There are a lot of flavors in this soup and they complement each other really well. I generally omit the parsley or use it as a garnish, just because it’s not really my thing, but apart from that I love everything about this soup. The paprika, dill and sour cream definitely remind me of Hungary, which makes me happy.

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium gluten free tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour (usually use a GF All Purpose blend)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onions in the butter for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 more minutes. Stir in the dill, paprika, soy sauce and broth. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk the milk and flour together. Pour this into the soup and stir well to blend. Cover and simmer for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Finally, stir in the salt, ground black pepper, lemon juice, parsley and sour cream. Mix together and allow to heat through over low heat, about 3 to 5 minutes. (At this point you can either leave the mushrooms whole/chunky or lightly blend the soup with an immersion blender). Do not boil. Serve immediately.

Spicy Tomato & Blue Cheese Soup

When I first saw the recipe for this soup I was a little taken aback. It’s as if someone knew my deepest, darkest desires and put them in soup form. Okay, so I might be a little strange if my deepest, darkest desires are comprised of tomatoes, spice, garlic and blue cheese, but I know what I like. Seriously, this soup is the thing dreams are made of. At least my strange and twisted dreams. Delicious.

I adapted heavily from the original, mainly because we didn’t have some things on hand. Don’t be shy to modify! Make the recipe work for you. I used gorgonzola crumbles from Trader Joe’s, not the ‘fancy’ blue called for in the original. I used fat-free half and half instead of heavy cream, just because that’s what we had. Same with the dried oregano. Still turned out to be delicious.

Spicy Tomato & Blue Cheese Soup (adapted from this Amateur Gourmet recipe)

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cups heavy cream, half and half, or milk
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce (I recommend the garlic chili version)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano OR 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese & a bit more for serving on top
  1. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt, allow to cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic, cook 2 more minutes. Add the whole can of tomatoes and the stock and bring to a simmer. (I added a little more salt here too). Lower the heat to low and add the cream, sriracha sauce, and oregano and simmer for 45 minutes.
  2. Add blue cheese and blend the soup. You can do this either in a blender or with a hand blender. I like my soup to have a little bit of character, so I don’t blend it too, too much.
  3. Put soup into bowls, sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles, serve and enjoy!

Corn Soup with Caramelized Onions & White Cheddar

So, I originally set out to make corn chowder, but apparently chowder requires potatoes and we were out. So, then I decided to make corn soup, but after some intensive googling, I could not find a single recipe that sounded good. So, then I decided to make my own.

It turned out to be fairly delicious if I do say so myself.

Corn Soup with Caramelized Onions & White Cheddar

  • 5 fresh cobs of corn or 3 cups frozen sweetcorn, thawed.
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. chipotle powder
  • Handful roasted corn kernels (recipe follows)
  • Caramelized onions
  • Grated white cheddar cheese
In a large heavy, pot, heat the olive oil over medium. When heated, add garlic and onions. Cook until translucent and starting to brown just a bit. Add in defrosted corn. Stir until heated through. Remove from heat. Place garlic, onions and corn in a blender and blend until smooth. You might need to add in a bit of broth to get things moving. When blended return to pot and add paprika and chipotle and stir together. Add broth and heat until soup begins to boil. Serve in bowl and top with roasted corn kernels, caramelized onions and cheese. Serve and enjoy!
Roasted Corn Kernels
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment or tinfoil. Spread out corn on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix around to coat. Put corn in oven. Check after 15 minutes, rotate baking sheet and cook for up to 5 more minutes until corn begins to get crunchy and start to pop.

Vegetable Soup

It might seem a little strange to be posting soup recipes in the middle of summer, especially considering the fact that most of the country has been suffering through unbearable heat, but here in California it has been unseasonably cold. Yeah, I know, it’s rough.

If you think about it though, vegetable soup is a great thing to make during the summer since you will get the best produce this time of year. I also like this soup, because it’s perfect for using up vegetables before they go off. There is also no real set recipe to vegetable soup, you can just use up whatever fresh, frozen, canned vegetables you have on hand!

Vegetable Soup

  • 2 tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, diced into cubes
  • 2 – 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 32 oz. low sodium vegetable broth (or broth of choice)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Fresh grated parmesan
Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and carrots. Sautee until softened. Add potatoes, tomatoes, broth and thyme. Allow soup to come to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Partially cover pot with lid and cook for about 15 minutes. Add in zucchini and broccoli. Cook until vegetables are tender. Serve in bowls and top with parmesan.