zucchini

Leek & Dill Soup

From the start, I have to state that this is my Romanian Aunt Anca's recipe and I fell in love with it from first taste. It's low in fat, full of fiber and vegetables, surprisingly sweet and savory at the same time, and absolutley delicious. This also fits really well in the "easy peasy" department as you don't have to babysit it much and it practically makes itself.

2 leeks, white part and a little of green, cleaned and chopped fine

1/2 zucchini, cubed (optional)

handful of peas

water to cover

1/4 cup chopped dill, saved for the end

Combine leeks, zucchini and peas and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. You can blend 1/2 of it with an immersion blender until smooth, or leave it as is, chunky. Add in the dill, and season to taste with salt & pepper. 

You can easily add anything else to this soup you'd like: a potato, carrots, celery, etc. Enjoy and experiment. 

Smooth Greens Soup with Rosemary

The chillier nights are on their way as we soon enter November, and I long for soups that comfort and calm. Creamy soups have always been my love, but I don't always feel good eating them since they tend to be heavy and very fattening. Back in my dairy-eating days especially, soups were considered a light meal, but when you add in the cream and butter, they're anything but light! Inspired by one of my favorite chefs and authors Terry Walters, I've added in a few secret ingredients to thicken up the soup while still maintaining a lightness that I'm looking for.

It's all about the oats.

Terry taught me to use oats to thick soups and it works wonders in this recipe! Also I've added in just a few cashews to make it a bit heartier, but the whole fat is still light: there's only 1/4 cup in the whole soup pot! Hope you enjoy it. And if you want to add in curry, italian spices, anything you'd like ~ this is just a template so feel free to play with your food.

A little side note: We love buying heads of broccoli instead of the precut broccoli bags. The stems are great for juicing, munching on, and they're loaded with nutrition. The other day I realized I had collected 6 stems, so I I peeled and chopped them all and used them in the soup. They're a great way to use up the stems that few people know what to do with. Just get to the inner core that's sweet and crunchy and avoid the thick exterior. If you don't have stems this time around, just substitute with more broccoli florets.

one yellow onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, diced small

1 tsp coconut oil

6 broccoli stems, peeled and chopped (or just add more broccoli)

florets from one head of broccoli, chopped

1 small zucchini, chopped

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup cashews

water to cover veggies by 1 inch

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp dried rosemary

plain unsweetened coconut yoghurt, optional

Sauté the onion in  1 tsp coconut oil for about 2 minutes. Add the sea salt so that the onions sweat a bit, then add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add in the broccoli stems, broccoli, zucchini, oats, cashews, rosemary and enough water to cover the ingredients by about an inch, cover, and cook for at least 25 minutes on medium. Stir occasionally and when the veggies are tender, use an immersion blender to blend the soup well. Taste and adjust the salt if needed. Serve with crushed pepper and a tsp of coconut yoghurt if desired. Enjoy! 

 

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

This is probably one of my favorite go-to soups. In addition to eating high-raw in teh winter time, I really do enjoy a hot bowl of broth or soup to warm me up, and in some instances, really delicious creamy comfort food. This is one of the creamiest silkiest soups you'll find without all of the added guilt of cream, milk or butter! And it couldn't be simpler.

1/2 onion, fine dice

1 box mini bella mushrooms, sliced

1 box shitakes, sliced

1 small zucchini (optional), diced

cashew milk made with: 1/2 cup raw cashews blended with 4 cups water (do not strain)

You can make this an oil-free dish by simply sauteeing the onion, zucchini and mushrooms in a bit of broth or water until soft (or you can use a little bit of olive oil). Cook on low, covered, until the mushrooms release all of their juices and they're tender. Add in the cashew milk, and bring to a simmer to heat through. That's it - you're done! 

 

Mexican Zoodle Bowl

Spiralized zucchini are one of the easiest summer foods (especially when you have them growing in your garden). It’s not their season just yet, but this sets you up for success when they’re on sale in the stores or you’re growing so many, you can’t keep up with them {enter the 1.5 food bohemith we grew last summer!?!?}

One of the things that I have to watch out for (and probably many of us) is how glycemic foods can be, especially pasta, breads, baked goods. Zucchini noodles low glycemic, raw, huge in fiber, and taste “al dente”, almost like the real thing. Of course, you can spruce them up with red sauce or pesto, but my favorite is chipotle garlic salsa. Don’t knock it till you try it! It’s delicious. A little cilantro, even some avocado, you’ve got a meal!

I use the following spiralizer for zucchini when I'm just making this dish for myself or for two: it really just makes angel hair, which is great for me. But when I want to get really fancy, and require additional thicknesses, like udon or spaghetti, this is the gadget you’re looking for. I really just pull this one out when we have company over.

So, let’s get ready to eat!

Ingredients:

1 medium spiralized zucchini (keep the peel on - it's prettier that way)

½ cup chipotle garlic salsa (I get mine fresh from whole foods, or you can make your own)

So, get yourself a nice bowl, place your “zoodles” at the bottom and pour the salsa on top. Yum!

That’s it! In the past, I’ve added in some coconut bacon, avocado, even some pumpkin seeds and cilantro, and it’s all delicious. But most days, it’s just these two ingredients and it hits the spot!

BLT Zoodle Salad

This is a super simplified BLT, in all of its glory, with all the nutritive qualities you'd want and none of the bad stuff! We've got coconut bacon, fresh ripe tomatoes, and the spiralized zucchini stands in for the lettuce. Super easy to put together, incredibly tasty and filling. Just make sure you have enough coconut bacon on hand, as you'll want to make this again and again!

1 zucchini, spiralized

1 tomato, chopped

1/4 cup sliced red onions

drizzle of olive oil

drizzle of raw apple cider vinegar

sea salt and crushed black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons coconut bacon (recipe found here)

Combine zucchini, tomato, onion, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper together and taste for seasoning. Serve with a  sprinkle of coconut bacon on top and devour. 

Spicy Zucchini Green Curry Bisque

Not sure what happened, but about a month ago, I had a huge craving for thai soup. Hot, spicy, thai soup. In the middle of 85 plus degree august. I thought I was going nuts, but there I am, in the heat of summer, looking for more heat. 

I went with it. What else can you do? When you crave something, you just crave it.

At the same time, our garden was producing zucchinis by the boat-load, so I made good use of them. Chopped them up, threw in a forgotten sweet potato (lonely little guy), some coconut milk, green thai curry, sea salt and pepper, blended it up and it was fantastic! Easy peasy, too. Whatever I needed in the spice, it delivered it beautifully and I was happy. 

If you're a normal person, feel free to make this sometime in the fall when it's a little cooler out. You can also serve it chilled as a nice summer treat. Or if you're a little nutty like me, go for it hot. 

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 sweet potato, peeled (optional) and chopped

2 medium or large zucchinis, chopped (if you a large amount, just add more water and taste for curry paste)

1 can light coconut milk

2 tablespoons green curry paste (I use this one

water

Combine onion, sweet potato, zucchini, coconut milk and just enough water to cover in a heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until fully cooked, about 25 minutes or so. Add in the green curry paste, blend using an immersion blender, and taste for seasoning. Enjoy! 

 

 

Parsley Arugula Pesto over Zoodles

Who doesn't love pesto? Everyone loves pesto. It's so fun to say, even. A Seinfeld episode even began touting the wonders of just saying "pesto.....pesto.....pesto". Exquisite in every way, it can be used as a dip, a spread, a smear on a piece of bread, in a sandwich, over noodles....I wanted to kick it up a notch and use the bounty from our garden. The basil was dwindling but in these cooler months, the arugula and parsley were popping! So I got to work. Using mostly whole fats such as pine nuts, not as much olive oil, but loaded with lemon and garlic, this pesto is sure to please everyone. No need for cheese of any kind, since it's loaded with flavor! 

2 big handfuls of parsley

one big handful of arugula

1/2 cup basil

juice from 1/2 lemon

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/3 cup raw pine nuts

a few pinches of sea salt

Several turns of fresh ground black pepper

olive oil, to thin

In a food processor, process the herbs and lemon juice until everything is roughly chopped. Add in the pine nuts, salt & pepper, and garlic and pulse briefly (garlic turns bitter if processed too much).  Drizzle a little olive oil, just enough to thin, and process again briefly. Taste for seasonings. Dress your favorite noodles (mine are raw zucchini noodles, spiralized, using this or this tool). Enjoy! 

Zucchini Minestrone Soup

I absolutely love soups...especially when it's a one pot meal, I can make it as I'm checking the news or wiring a blog post (like this one). You have two options: add in the potato and orzo (my boys love these!), or keep it low glycemic if you're sensitive to the sugars, and omit them both (like for me). Either way, the soup is sure to please everyone, whichever way you make it! So simple, quick, and delicious.

This is a veggie-rich, non-pasta minestrone. Is that even possible? Yes. You'd be surprised if you match the flavors (tomato, Italian seasonings and veggies), how close you get to the real thing without adding much starch and noodles. Give it a try! If you're missing a bit of bite, feel free to throw in some white beans for some extra protein and flavor. I've never made this recipe the same way twice, always using what I have on hand, and encourage you to do the same. 

I've also been playing around with making sourdough bread. I've read and heard some research that mentions that sourdough making is the original way of making bread. Making and culturing sourdough ferments the grain and grows beneficial bacteria which helps the gut, lowers the sugar content of the bread, makes it more digestible and low glycemic. I think as far as bread goes, that's a win in all departments! The tricky part is that the sourdough needs to culture for at least a week, so it's a process. But my boys gobbled it up and were very happy. If you're OK with sugars, you may want to try it as an alternative to regular bread and you may be happily surprised. 

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tsp sea salt

1 large zucchini, chopped

1 large stalk celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

one 28-oz can chopped tomatoes

1 medium yellow potato (optional), chopped

2 tablespoons whole grain orzo (optional)

1/2 tablespoon Italian seasonings

In a large soup pot, heat up the oil and onions. Sprinkle a little with some salt, and let the onions sweat, covered, over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Add in the zucchini, carrot, celery, garlic, and tomatoes. If you're using the potato, add it now, but feel free to omit - you may not even notice its' gone! Cover with water, about 1 inch above the veggies. Cover and set to medium and bring to a boil. Once it boils, add in the orzo if you're using, and simmer, covered about 20 minutes or until the potato is done. Add in the Italian seasonings and taste again for seasonings. Enjoy!