Wheatless Wednesday – Curried Carrot, Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup

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Happiness is…hot soup on a cold day.

On Monday I shared 25 things to make with sweet potatoes since I had just been gifted a big back of them…So which of the recipes did I decide to make?  Soup!   Curried Carrot, Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup to be specific.  It finally rained more than a few drops here in Northern California and when its cold and wet outside, soup is the ultimate comfort food since it warms you up from the inside out. I love this flavorful gingery soup, made creamy from the sweet potatoes and not from adding cream or butter.  At only 144 calories per serving (1 1/4 cups), this is a low calorie, zero cholesterol meal with a high nutrient payoff; 4.1 grams protein, 3.9 grams fiber, with loads of vitamins, including Vitamin C to help fight winter colds, plus iron and calcium.

This week we are eating orange on the rainbow.  So what does orange do for us?

“Most yellow and orange food is packed with carotenoids, which give them their vibrant colour. Three of the most common carotenoids – alpha-carotene, beta carotene and beta cryptoxanthin – can be converted from foods into vitamin A in the body. This nutrient is needed for good vision in dim light, normal growth and development, a strong immune system and to keep the skin and cells that line the airways, digestive tract and urinary tract healthy. But thanks to their antioxidant activity, there’s also evidence to suggest that carotenoids – and especially beta carotene, found in orange and yellow food – might help to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

However, these findings haven’t always been shown with supplements of beta-carotene, so it’s much better to boost intakes through eating foods which are naturally rich in beta-carotene such as carrots and sweet potatoes.” (Weightloss Resources)

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TIPS:  If I have really fresh, youngish carrots, I like to keep their peels on since so many of the nutrients are in or just under the peel and it’s a shame to cut them off.  Just scrub them with a vegetable brush or sponge and rinse.  They should be smooth and shiny.  If you have older carrots, you may have to peel them because the skins can have a bitter flavor that is best removed.

CURRIED CARROT, SWEET POTATO AND GINGER SOUP

1 Tbsn olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots (2-3 large)
3 cups peeled sweet potato
1 1/2 cups carrots (2-3 large)
1 tablespoon grated ginger (or ginger paste)
2 tsp curry powder
1 quart vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt

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  • Peel and cube sweet potato into about 1/2 inch pieces.

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  • Scrub carrots and slice or chop them into 1/2 inch pieces.

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  • Peel  ginger and grate about a tablespoon.

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  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots; saute 3 minutes or until tender.

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  • Add potato, carrots, ginger, and curry; cook 2 minutes.

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  • Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender; taste and add salt if necessary.

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  • Pour half of soup in a food processor; pulse until smooth. Repeat procedure with remaining soup.

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  • Clean saucepan and pour soup back in and reheat.

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  • Serve with a swirl of plain yogurt and cilantro with a pinch of paprika (optional).

Curried Carrot, Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
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1 Tbsn olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots (2-3 large)
3 cups peeled sweet potato
1 1/2 cups carrots (2-3 large)
1 tablespoon grated ginger (or ginger paste)
2 tsp curry powder
1 quart vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt

  • Peel and cube sweet potato into about 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Scrub carrots and slice or chop them into a/2 inch pieces.
  • Peel  ginger and grate about a tablespoon.
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots; saute 3 minutes or until tender.
  • Add potato, carrots, ginger, and curry; cook 2 minutes.
  • Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender; taste and add salt if necessary.
  • Pour half of soup in a food processor; pulse until smooth. Repeat procedure with remaining soup.
  • Clean saucepan and pour soup back in and reheat.
  • Serve with a swirl of plain yogurt and cilantro with a pinch of paprika (optional).

Meatless Monday – 25 Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes

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Happy Monday!  I spent the weekend in Seattle surrounded by family and friends to celebrate the life of my beautiful Mother.  I flew home last night with my heart full of happy memories and my suitcase full of sweet potatoes compliments of my brother, Paul.  Paul and his wife, Barbara, own Paradisos del Sol Winery in Zillah, part of Washington’s wine country (They have quite a unique wine tasting room, so check it out if you are in the area) AND they have quite a large vegetable garden.  In addition to delicious wine, Paul brought up a huge box of sweet potatoes for all of us to take home.  I didn’t get a proper photo of some of the ‘monster potatoes’ he grew. They really needed to be seen to be believed. I only took a few of the smaller ones that would fit in my suitcase.  So, I took to Google to figure out what I was going to make with Paul’s sweet potatoes and came across this article by Benjamin Placket for Health.com. He has some really great mostly vegetarian recipes for sweet potato soups, fries, salads, mashed and baked – even a noodle kugel!  I will be making one of these recipes tonight, so stay tuned for Wednesday’s blog post…

“It’s no surprise that sweet potatoes are at the top of nearly everyone’s healthiest foods list. One baked, medium-sized sweet potato contains 438% of your daily value of vitamin A (a white potato contains 1%), 37% of your vitamin C, and some calcium, potassium, and iron too. All this at just 105 calories!

What’s more, they also deliver 4 grams of dietary fiber—16% of the daily value—and absolutely zip in terms of fat.

And luckily there are many ways to whip them up. Here are 25 great (even kid-friendly!) sweet potato recipes from Health.com.”

Just click the link below.

25 Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes

Wheatless Wednesday – Root Vegetable Chips with Scallion Parmesan Aioli

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Airline food…usually dreadful, prepackaged or nonexistent.    I have never been excited about airline food – ever – however, I was lucky enough to try out one of Jet Blue’s new Mint seats, lovely pods that completely recline into 6’8″ beds, with personal service, 15″ interactive video screens and Fly-Fi.  What I wasn’t expecting though was the quality of the food.    Jet Blue has partnered with renowned New York restaurant Saxon + Parole to create a small-plates menu which they call ‘Nourishmint’, an upscale dining restaurant style approach to in-flight dining.   Picture beet salad with burrata, green goddess salad and lobster mac and cheese, all really delicious, but what got me excited was their ‘welcome taste’ of seasonal root vegetable chips with green scallion aioli. I had to resist the urge to lick the container, it was so good.  I have been wanting to try making root vegetable chips for a while, but now I was truly inspired.  I was unable to find the Saxon + Parole recipe so I had to get creative.  I realized I did well though, especially on the dip – as I caught myself scraping the bottom of the bowl with my finger…

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I wanted a colorful collection of chips so chose the dark purple sweet potatoes, bright orange sweet potatoes, red beets with their candycane coloring and creamy parnships. Each COLOR brings something different to the party.  Dark purple vegetables have anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants along with vitamin A and flavonoids; orange provides vitamins C, A, and B6, potassium; red is usually a sign of vitamin A (beta carotene) and vitamin C. and manganese;  and even white veggies shine with vitamins and minerals like vitamins C, K, and folate.   The sweet potatoes crisped up the best and were the crowd favorite.  Paired with the creamy scallion, lemon, parmesan dip, they were divine, almost as good as the original.

 

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TIPS:  Use whatever root vegetables you have available but don’t be tempted to cook them all together, as each veggie has a different cooking time, depending on thickness of cut and amount of natural sugar.  You can make multiple batches and reuse the parchment paper (which also makes cleanup really easy as you just throw the paper away when finished) or if you have double ovens (and enough baking sheets), you should be able to cook them all at once .  The sweet potatoes were done first, followed by the parsnips.  The beets took quite a bit longer and some of them never crisped.  Feel free to experiment with your favorite spices.  The chips are best served right away but will stay fresh for a few days.

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ROOT VEGETABLE CHIPS

5 or 6 root vegetables (any combination of sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, taro, yucca or beets)
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 tsp sea salt (or more to taste)
3/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
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  • Evenly space three racks in oven, and preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, either cutting or folding to fit. Brush parchment paper with olive oil.

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  • Slice vegetables to 1/8-inch thickness using mandoline or very sharp knife. Discard pointed ends. (You should have about 4 cups sliced vegetables

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  • Place vegetable slices on baking sheets without crowding. (Don’t mix different vegetables on same sheet as they have different cooking times.)

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  • Brush slices with remaining oil, and generously sprinkle with salt.

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  • Combine spices in a small container and sprinkle evenly over slices.

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  • Place baking sheets in oven, and bake 20 to 30 minutes, rotating trays half way through (or more often) or until vegetables 
begin to brown on edges and look dry. Let cool on baking sheet, then transfer to large platter.  If your chips don’t crisp, you can put them back in the oven and cook another 5 or 10 minutes.

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Scallion Parmesan Aioli

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1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise or aioli
1 Tbsn finely minced scallion (about one stalk)
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsn grated parmesan

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Garnish with additional lemon zest and scallions, if desired.

Root Vegetable Chips with Scallion Parmesan Aioli

  • Servings: 1 1/2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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5 or 6 root vegetables (any combination of sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, taro, yucca or beets)

1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 tsp sea salt (or more to taste)
3/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Evenly space three racks in oven, and preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, either cutting or folding to fit. Brush parchment paper with olive oil.
  • Slice vegetables to 1/8-inch thickness using mandoline or very sharp knife. Discard pointed ends. (You should have about 4 cups sliced vegetables
  • Place vegetable slices on baking sheets without crowding. (Don’t mix different vegetables on same sheet as they have different cooking times.)
  • Brush slices with remaining oil, and generously sprinkle with salt.
  • Combine spices in a small container and sprinkle evenly over slices.
  • Place baking sheets in oven, and bake 20 to 30 minutes, rotating trays half way through (or more often) or until vegetables 
begin to brown on edges and look dry. Let cool on baking sheet, then transfer to large platter.  If your chips don’t crisp, you can put them back in the oven and cook another 5 or 10 minutes.

Scallion Parmesan Aioli

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1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise or aioli
1 Tbsn finely minced scallion (about one stalk)
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsn grated parmesan

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Garnish with additional lemon zest and scallions, if desired.

 

 

 

Wheatless Wednesday – Carrot, Sweet Potato Soup with Turmeric

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Waiter, there’s turmeric in my soup!  I love soup!  It’s a meal in a bowl – easy preparation, easy clean up. One or two days with a tiny drizzle is enough incentive for me to drag out my big soup pot. There is nothing quite like a big pot of soup bubbling away to make your kitchen feel cozy and smell heavenly.   I have made carrot soup before, Carrot Coconut Soup, which I loved but I ran across a recipe for Roasted Carrot Turmeric Soup from Love and Lemons and was intrigued by the use of turmeric, that wildly popular spice touted to be the cure for whatever ails you.  I mean it’s even in my daily vitamin! So what’s the real skinny on Turmeric?

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Turmeric is in the ginger family and comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. It’s spicy ginger-like flavor is the main ingredient in curry powder and is common in South Asian foods. Turmeric has been used for a very long time in Asia (primarily in China and India), not only for its distinctive flavor but also for it’s powerful healing properties.   We may be slow to the party but the Western World has recently ‘discovered’ the many benefits of turmeric. Why is turmeric considered so great? Can it really prevent Alzheimers, cancer and depression (among other claims) or is it all a bunch of hype? Well, turmeric might just be all that.  According to the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Turmeric contains a wide range of antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. These properties are believed to help treat a variety of conditions.  Here are 10 Health Benefits of Turmeric including prevention of cancer, liver disease and Alzheimers, controlling diabetes and relieving arthritis and more… The list is quite impressive.

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Did you know a sweet potato is not really a potato?  Shocking, I know.  It’s actually the elongated root of a vine in the morning glory family.  Who knew? Turmeric is not the only goodie in this soup.  Carrots and sweet potatoes (and other foods in the orange/yellow food group) are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients.  I think I’ll have another bowl of soup!

TIPS:  Try to resist the urge to peel the carrots if at all possible, since most of the nutrients are right under the skin and are lost in the peeling process.  Use a scrub brush or sponge instead and dry with a paper towel.  All veggies can be cut roughly since they will be pureed with a food processor or blender once they are soft so size doesn’t matter.  Turmeric has a beautiful bright yellow/orange color which is used in dying textiles, however, it will also dye your cutting board or food processor (or anything porous it touches), so add the turmeric and curry powder after the vegetables have been pureed.  I would recommend adding 1 teaspoon of each, taste for spiciness and then add more to taste.  This original recipe called for all vegetables to be chopped, drizzled with olive oil and roasted in the oven at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or so before pureeing which may give the soup a richer flavor, so try that if you have the time and inclination.  I was a bit short on time so opted to make this a one pot meal, easy preparation and easy cleanup, plus great results!

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CARROT SWEET POTATO SOUP WITH TURMERIC

6-8 large carrots
1 large sweet potato, or 2 small
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 teaspoons turmeric, ground
1-2 teaspoons madras curry powder
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger (or ginger paste)
4 cups vegetable stock
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

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  • Scrub carrots instead of peeling. Roughly chop carrots and onion.

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  • Saute the onions, carrots, garlic and ginger in olive oil until the onions are translucent

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  • Peel and coarsely chop the sweet potato.  Add to the onions and carrots.

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  • Add vegetable stock, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 20 minutes.

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  • When the vegetables are fork tender, let cool slightly and process in a food processor or blender in batches until silky smooth.
  • Rinse out soup pot and return vegetable puree.  Add one or two cusp of water if needed.  Add 1 teaspoon each of turmeric and curry powder, pinch of cayenne and 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  Taste and add more if desired.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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  • To serve top with plain or spiced yogurt or sour cream (recipe below)

 

SPICED YOGURT (optional)

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1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
a  squeeze of lemon & a bit of zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom or Chinese Five Spice
pinch of salt

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Spicy Carrot Sweet Potato Soup with Turmeric

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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6-8 large carrots
1 large sweet potato, or 2 small
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 teaspoons turmeric, ground
1-2 teaspoons madras curry powder
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger (or ginger paste)
4 cups vegetable stock
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  •  Scrub carrots instead of peeling. Roughly chop carrots and onion.
  • Saute the onions, carrots, garlic and ginger in olive oil until the onions are translucent
  • Peel and coarsely chop the sweet potato.  Add to the onions and carrots.
  • When the vegetables are fork tender, let cool slightly and process in a food processor or blender in batches until silky smooth.
  • Rinse out soup pot and return vegetable puree.  Add one or two cups of water if needed.  Add 1 teaspoon each of turmeric and curry powder, pinch of cayenne and 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  Taste and add more if desired.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • To serve top with plain or spiced yogurt or sour cream (recipe below)

SPICED YOGURT (optional)

1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
a  squeeze of lemon & a bit of zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom or Chinese Five Spice
pinch of salt

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.


Turmeric Photo Credit:  http://www.sweetartichoke.com