Creamy Lowfat Roasted Cauliflower Fennel Soup

I came up with this soup idea after having made roasted cauliflower and fennel  during a snowstorm in Tahoe, and thought “This would taste even better by a fire as a piping hot bowl of soup”.  It ended up being one of the first times I had ever made a soup “from the hip” that actually tasted great the first time.  Its so easy to make, yet tastes like it must be really complex.  You don’t need any fancy equipment or ingredients that are hard to find or use.  I found these ingredients all at my really basic local Raley’s in Tahoe the first time I made it.  If you want to keep it vegetarian, just use vegetable broth/stock  and don’t use the cream or milk.

Ingredients:

  • 1  2 lb (approx) Cauliflower  cut down to 1 inch size pieces
  • 2 medium sized fennel bulbs, ends cut off and quartered
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 32 ounce box of nonfat organic free range chicken broth or vegetable stock
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 peeled minced cloves of garlic
  • Optional: 1/2 cup of organic half and half or whole milk if you want a creamy flavor

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the cauliflower and fennel with olive oil and salt, and spread on foil lined oiled cookie sheet
  2. Roast aprox 2o -25 minutes, watching closely that the vegetables do not brown more than a light color.  Remove  from oven
  3. In a soup pot, saute the garlic and onion in the pan with olive oil over medium heat about 5 minutes until just soft, but not browned
  4. Toss in the cauliflower and fennel in the pot and coat with olive oil, add some more salt and heat
  5. Take the broth (and water if you need a bit extra) and pour until it just covers the veggies in the pot
  6. Bring to a low simmer for just about 10 to 12 minutes until a knife can pierce through the cauliflower easily
  7. Remove from burner, and add to blender, and puree in small batches.  Return the pureed mixture to the soup pot
  8. Reheat over medium low to medium heat, and for a more creamier soup, add the organic half and half or milk.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste

Notes:

  • Serves 4
  • Approx calories (without cream): 115 per serving, 6 g of healthy fat, 6 g of protein
  • Feel free to adjust this recipe to your own tastes by using more cauliflower, adjust the amount of cream or milk (you don’t have to use any) and try different spices  or topped with chopped parsley or fennel fronds.  Sometimes I drizzle a little white truffle oil to add a little sophistication.  Stores well up to 3 days.  This soup is naturally low in calories, and even with the addition of the organic cream or milk.

 

 

 



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Quinoa Pasta with Spinach, Rainbow Swiss Chard, and Tomatoes


Quinoa pasta is made with a combination of quinoa, a grain from the “Incan time” which is rich in protein, and corn flour instead of wheat. The pay off is that its gluten free, and in my opinion tastes just as good as regular pasta.

In this particular dish, I cranked up the nutrition and flavor with lots of veggies and fresh herbs I picked up at the Farmer’s Market this past weekend and then tossed the pasta together while it’s warm, saturating the pasta with all the yummy flavors. The result is a fun pasta dish with major flavor; a gorgeous, colorful appearance with nice texture, high flavor, and high nutrition. I make this sometimes in large batches ahead of time and keep in the fridge since it reheats well, and is a nice make-ahead, healthy snack to have on hand.

Ingredients:

  • 1 8 ounce package gluten free quinoa spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 12 ounce containers of yellow, red or multicolor cherry tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves pressed
  • 1/4 cup diced red onions
  • 1 8 to 12 ounce package of baby spinach
  • 3 – 4 cups (approx) of Rainbow Swiss Chard, ribs removed, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped or dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped or dried thyme
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh or dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Addtional: 6 tablespoons of finely grated or shredded Parmesan
  • Optional: 2 pieces of low fat organic uncured turkey bacon, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite , stirring occasionally to make sure pasta does not stick together during the cooking process.
  2. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta liquid.
  3. Heat oven to 425 degrees
  4. Mix the cherry tomatoes in a bowl with a dash of olive oil, and a pinch of the herbs
  5. Oil cookie sheet with olive oil and spread tomatoes out evenly over the pan
  6. Place in oven and set timer for 12 to 15 minutes; cook until the tomatoes have just softened, and remove
  7. In a large heavy skillet heat oil over medium heat, add the red onions, garlic and some fresh salt and pepper. If you’re using the turkey bacon you can add this now too.
  8. After a minute or two add pinch each of the each of the herbs. Continue to stir and infuse all the flavors together for about 30 seconds.
  9. Add the 1/4 cup pasta liquid and stir, scraping up browned bits
  10. Add about 1/2 cup of the roasted tomatoes (leave the rest for later), and the Spinach and Swiss Chard in small batches until just barely wilted and warmed
  11. Add in 2 tbsps of the cheese and the remainder of the herbs, and crushed red pepper
  12. Turn the heat off or down to warm
  13. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss with tongs quickly until the spinach, the Swiss Chard and all the prior ingredients are evenly mixed through
  14. Transfer to larger family style serving bowl or dish and add tomatoes to the top of the final dish
  15. Sprinkle with the remaining part of the cheese and serve family style; along with additional cheese

Serving Info: Serves 4, 375 Calories per serving, 13 grams of “good fat, and 7 grams of fiber

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