Zucchini Basil Soup

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Last summer, I had a lucky opportunity to spend a few weeks in France visiting vineyards, tasting wine, and of course eating great food. Whenever I travel, I come back with a list of recipes that I might want to recreate. Very often, the ones I actually end up making in my kitchen… the ones that stand out in my memory the most… are the simplest.

Jack met me toward the end of the trip which left me with some time alone in Paris while waiting for his flight to arrive. I knew exactly how to spend the day – I headed to the store Merci. Have you been there? It an Insta-worthy store full of home goods galore and it’s the sort of place that you should go to without your significant other because he’ll likely get impatient while you’re looking at every beautiful bowl, spoon, and table-scape. They also have the cutest little library-themed cafe that was just perfect for my afternoon alone. The soup du jour was zucchini basil soup. “It’s a cold soup,” the waiter warned me before I ordered it. I thought – great, I love gazpacho. But when it came it wasn’t gazpacho at all – it wasn’t ice cold and it wasn’t too acidic. It was this lovely bright green room temperature soup served with toasted garlic bread and it was perfect.

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I’m not sure what took me so long to make this soup at home but when method reached out wanting to partner on a series of posts inspired by the herbal scents of their new kitchen hand wash, I immediately thought of this soup. Their plant-derived formula is specifically made to get food scents off your hands – especially pungent flavors like garlic. If you’ve ever gone to bed (hours later) with garlic hands, you’ll appreciate this kitchen wash 🙂

Plus, the pretty basil bottle is pretty on your kitchen countertop.

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I’ve tried to make basil soups before I realized that my mistake was in trying to heat it. The basil gets bruised and it can turn bitter. By keeping the soup at room temp (I like to serve it lightly chilled), it retains all of its fresh, vibrant flavor. The only thing that gets cooked here are the leeks (well, and the garlic-y croutons). After that, it all goes into the blender and voila!

There’s no cream or cream substitute. The blended zucchini and a scoop of hemp seeds makes this soup plenty creamy and, not to mention, light and healthy.

For depth of flavor I added a scoop of white miso paste. To make it bright, I added a bunch of lemon of course.

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Blend until smooth and then add the basil last so that it doesn’t get hot from the heat of the blender.

Top the soup with toasty garlic croutons – this step is not optional. They really balance the “health” taste of this soup and make it nicely substantial. As always, soups taste better on the second day so this is a great make-ahead lunch option.

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Turmeric Black Pepper Latte

Turmeric Black Pepper Latte

Happy Saturday friends!

We’re currently having a lazy morning that’s consisted of smoothies and Shark Tank… a.k.a, our Saturday morning “cartoon”. It’s dark and drizzly outside so we’re likely not leaving the house anytime soon.

I thought I’d take a second to pop in and share this super simple latte recipe. I posted it on Instagram earlier this week but I thought I’d share it here too. Earlier this year, I stopped drinking *so much* coffee (not that I feel there’s anything wrong with coffee!) and started drinking more matcha. This week, I’ve moved onto this herbal turmeric tea latte.

It’s lightly sweet, nicely spiced, and creamy from the combination of coconut milk and almond milk. I love it with a grind of black pepper which sounds a little weird but “they” say that the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are activated when combined with black pepper, which is why Indian curries contain turmeric and also black pepper. I was scared at first, but I think it adds such an interesting spicy kick… and this is coming from the girl that used to despise pepper. Let me know what you think if you give it a try 🙂

Tea-cheers to a good weekend!

Jessica’s Pistachio Oat Squares

Jessica's Pistachio Oat Squares

I’m excited to share this recipe today – these Pistachio Oat Squares are SO delicious!

It’s spring which means that the best cookbooks are coming out now. You know the ones – they’re brimming with fresh healthy, veggie-ful recipes. This recipe is from Jessica Murnane’s book One Part Plant. If you’re not familiar with my blog pal Jessica, you should go listen to her podcast – she’s hosted all of your favorite food bloggers (including yours truly!) and other inspiring folks who are part of the plant-forward food community.

Her mission is simple – to inspire people to eat one plant-based meal a day. No judgement, no strings. Simple as that. The cookbook reflects her vision with accessible, easy to prepare, yet delicious recipes like these oat squares.

Jessica's Pistachio Oat Squares Jessica's Pistachio Oat Squares

These are in the “snack” section of her book – Jessica noted that they’re a little too sweet for breakfast but not quite sweet enough for dessert. Well, um… I ate these for dessert and then again the next morning for breakfast – they’re addictive!

While these look so pretty with pistachios, I feel like this recipe would easily lend itself to the use of other nuts if you don’t happen to have pistachios on hand. These were so easy to make – go run to your kitchen now if you’re craving a lightly sweet, nutty, oaty snack!

Jessica's Pistachio Oat Squares One Part Plant by Jessica Murnane

This lasagna recipe is next on my to-make list – yum!

One Part Plant by Jessica Murnane

Oh, and go get her book!

Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles

Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles

I have more than a few soba noodle recipes on this site, but I’ve decided that THIS recipe is my new favorite. These noodles are rich, tangy, creamy, sweet and a little spicy, with loads of kale mixed in – I love meals like this for weeknight dinners. The formula is simple: sauce + noodles + seasonal vegetables. Check, check, and check. The sauce can be made in advance and the rest can be assembled fairly quickly.

Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles

First, let’s talk about this sauce because it’s the main component of this recipe. It’s tangy, nutty, salty, and lightly sweet. It’s sweetened with Truvia Nectar, which is a blend of stevia leaf extract and honey. It has 50% fewer calories per serving than sugar, but I have to tell you that it tastes just like honey… or maybe even a tad sweeter which means that you can use less of it without sacrificing flavor.

I usually use peanut butter to thicken noodle sauces but this time, I’ve used a mix of tahini and almond butter. You can choose to use one or the other, but I think the combination of both gives this tangy sesame sauce a rich flavor without being too nutty.

I get a lot of reader requests for recipes that use alternative sugars so I hope you give this lower-sugar recipe a try!

Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles

The vegetables I chose here were from my weekend farmers market haul. I picked up kale, garlic chives (you could use regular chives!), scarlet turnips, and black radishes. You can switch out the vegetables however you like (in the summer I would go for cucumbers), but I really loved the combination of these bitter root vegetables with the sweet sauce. Plus – HOW PRETTY ARE THEY?

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Almost-Spring Recipes

Spring Broccolini & Kale Quinoa Bowls

I think it’s safe to say that no matter what climate you live in, we’re all experiencing a version of spring fever. It’s been exceptionally beautiful in Austin lately which makes me want to cook (or in some cases, just assemble) meals that are light and fresh and full of green things. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve been in the mood for lately. Click on the photos or the links to go to the full recipes.

Spring Broccolini & Kale Quinoa Bowls (pictured above)

These are packed with roasted chickpeas, broccolini, radishes, herbs, and avocado. Serve with a scoop of (nut-free) pea pesto that’s made with hemp seeds and dill.

Avocado and Mango Brown Rice Sushi

Avocado and Mango Brown Rice Sushi

One of my go-to lunches is the take-out sushi at Whole Foods, which is definitely easier and quicker than making it yourself. But I love being able to customize the ingredients – this avocado mango version with peanut dipping sauce is a favorite.

Broccoli Tahini Pasta Salad

Broccoli Tahini Pasta Salad

Our spring weather has me looking forward to summer, which has me looking forward to pot luck picnics… and this broccoli salad is the perfect healthy dish to bring. It’s made with tahini instead of mayo, and it’s loaded with zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, and herbs.

Lemon Edamame Avocado Sandwiches

Lemon Edamame Avocado Sandwiches

And speaking of picnics… here are some very green, very packable sandwiches, made with a creamy lemon-edamame spread.

Minty Green Shamrock Shake Smoothies

Minty Green Shamrock Shake Smoothies

A healthier way to celebrate St. Paddy’s day… or any day that you feel like a creamy green smoothie. These are made with almond butter, banana, spinach (which you can’t taste), and mint.

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

A sweet twist on tabbouleh that uses dried tart cherries instead of tomatoes. It’s tossed with a bright lemony dressing and packed with herbs.

Roasted Artichoke Avocado Toast

Roasted Artichoke Avocado Toast

It’s almost artichoke season around here. Because fresh artichokes take a little bit of work to prep, I like to enjoy the fruits vegetables of my labor in simple ways like these elevated avocado toasts.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Broccoli

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Broccoli

Since it’s now quite spring, I thought I’d throw a comfort food recipe in the mix. These cozy sweet potatoes are filled with sweet potato rosemary cashew cream, broccoli, scallions, and hemp seeds.

Spring Broccolini Kale & Quinoa Bowls

For more spring recipes, click here!