Happy New Year, everyone! Ahh, January. The month of resolutions, fresh starts, and attempts to undo all of the hefty holiday indulging. Here’s a recipe I really enjoyed that falls in the healthy eating category, while still being tasty!
I came across a pretty clean eating recipe at Saving Dessert for vegetable soup but made a few edits. I upped the butternut squash because you can’t cut up a butternut squash and just end up with 1 cup. I also threw in a zucchini just to mix it up a bit, and used purple kale instead of the pound of bok choy. With the extra veggies added, there isn’t a ton of broth in the soup, but I also don’t mind it that way. Perhaps this is more of a stew in that sense. Anyway, we are all about efficiency in this household with the baby around, and this is a great easy way to get our veggies in without having to cook every night! Hope you like it as much as we do!
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small leek, cleaned and sliced (white and light green parts only)
2 stalks celery, sliced
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cup chopped butternut squash (1/2″ cubes)*
1 zucchini, chopped
3/4 cup green lentils, rinsed and drained
4 cups (32-ounces) no-salt or low-salt vegetable stock
14 ounce can chopped canned tomatoes (low salt)
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bunch kale, swiss chard, cabbage, or other seasonal leafy green (I used purple kale)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like things spicy!)
Drizzle the olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven with a heavy bottom. Heat on medium until hot. Add the chopped onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is softened.
Add the leek, celery, carrots, butternut squash, and the lentils. Stir gently to coat all vegetables in the olive oil then add the zucchini, vegetable stock, and chopped tomatoes. Add paprika and cayenne, and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot with a lid and gently simmer for about 15-20 minutes until lentils are soft.
Add the tomato paste, chopped greens, and thyme. Simmer until the greens are just tender.
Smoked paprika might be my new favorite spice. I really wasn’t expecting this soup to be so tasty because… how good can vegetable soups really be? The smoked paprika really adds that addicting smoky flavor to the soup, and the little bit of cayenne adds a warm tingle to the tongue. I’m not big on spicy food, so this is just the right amount.
*If butternut squash isn’t in season, you can sub it with rutabaga, turnips, or other hard squash. I bet potatoes or sweet potatoes would even work in this! Be sure to cut vegetables about the same size so they cook evenly.
“Quiche” is such a fancy word. Every time I see them in bakeries, I always think about how much work it’d be to make one. However, once you remove the crust factor from the equation, the steps are far less daunting! This crustless quiche has been THE recipe of summer 2017 for me. I’ve made it a dozen times to date, and it never gets old. It’s low-carb, as healthy as you want to make it, and holds up really well as leftovers. It’s a filling breakfast that you can just pop any leftovers in the microwave, top with a bit of avocado, and enjoy.
1 tablespoon butter
1 large yellow or white onion, sliced into half-moons
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
3 to 4 cups chopped vegetables*
8 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar or other cheese
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Melt the butter in a cast iron or ovenproof skillet over medium heat. (If your skillet isn’t ovenproof, transfer everything to a deep dish pie plate to bake it.) Add the onion slices and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over them. Cook the onions until they are golden-brown and starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and spread the onions evenly across the bottom. Spread the vegetables evenly over the onions. The dish or pan should look fairly full.
In a bowl, use a fork to beat the eggs lightly with the milk, cheese, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, just enough to break up the yolks and whites. This is a savory custard mixture. Pour the custard over the vegetables and onions and enjoy watching it fill in all the open spaces.
Transfer the quiche to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Once the surface is lightly brown all the way across, it’s fully cooked. Let the quiche cool for about 20 minutes, then slice into wedges.
*NOTE: For hardier vegetables — like broccoli, cauliflower, or winter squash — steam or cook them before adding them to the quiche to ensure they’ll be fully cooked. For tomatoes, zucchini, spinach, or any other quick-cooking vegetable, just use them fresh. My favorite combination (and also what I used in these photos) so far has been zucchini, dry-packed sun dried tomatoes, and steamed broccoli.
Also, if you HATE scrubbing burnt egg and cheese out of a cast iron skillet, you can also make make this in an 8×8 Pyrex baking dish. I would even recommend lining it with nonstick foil to make clean up impossibly easy. Just use a frying pan to cook the onions prior to tossing them in the Pyrex. Your servings will be more like rectangles if you use a Pyrex, like the photo below:
As a continuation of the belated Thanksgiving posts, I wanted to share a pretty simple recipe for acorn squash that isn’t smothered in butter.
Squashes were on sale for pennies at Sprouts a couple months ago and I had read that acorn squash tastes a lot like the butternut variety. As much as I love butternut squash, they are an absolute nightmare to cut, so I thought I’d give acorn a try. Most roast recipes call for butter, but I didn’t like that idea, so I came up with a simple but tasty recipe of my own. Since then, I’ve bought several to experiment with and tweaked the recipe to something I’m really happy with! It was a hit at this year’s Thanksgiving. Enjoy the relatively vague but easy recipe below!
Grapeseed oil, melted coconut oil, or any other oil with a high flash point (about 2 TBSP should do it)
Fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Cut your acorn squash in half from top to bottom and scoop out the seeds. Then cut each half into 1/4″ thick slices. I lay the flat slide down and then cut from top to bottom to create the pretty shape you see below.
Toss the acorn squash slices lightly in the oil of your choice, and lay flat on a baking sheet. I recommend lining your baking sheet with parchment or nonstick heavy duty foil to make clean-up easier.
Sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar on each slice, and follow with a lighter sprinkle of salt and pepper. Don’t go too heavy on the seasoning, as you’ll be doing this twice. Roast for 5-7 minutes, until the sugar has melted.
Flip each slice over, and sprinkle that side with sugar, salt, and pepper. Roast for another 8-12 minutes, or until the squash starts to brown and look caramelized.
It’s an easy recipe – no measurements, and all to your taste! You can also cut your squash slices thicker if you like – you’ll just have to keep an eye on it and roast it for longer.
Mixing it up, and adding a post about the dinner I made with my brother’s help the other night. My dad is diabetic and can’t have carbs at night, so he tends to lean towards meat and vegetables for dinner. However, my brother has inherited ghastly high cholesterol, so he has to stay away from most meat and stick with vegetables and carbs all meals of the day. Neither of them are fish fans, so I decided to make one of my favorite lean dishes – turkey-and-quinoa meatballs with whole wheat pasta and chunky vegetable sauce. My dad could stick with the meatballs and chunky veggie sauce, and my brother could have a lean meatball or two, and then veggie-and-carb load.
I found the recipe for the meatballs a couple of years ago on WholeFoods.com, and loved that the moisture that the extra vegetables and quinoa provided along with the healthnut “brownie” points. The recipe calls for beef, but the meatballs have tasted like meatloaf instead of meatballs the times I’ve made this with beef so I usually use turkey instead.
The meatballs have diced onions, garlic, quinoa, grated carrot and zucchini, and traditional herbs and spices. If you plan on making the meatballs at home, it’s definitely not a weeknight type of meal because of all the time that goes into prep in mincing/grating vegetables. Alone, the meal altogether takes me 2-3 hours to make.
The sauce is composed of just a bunch of chopped vegetables cooked til tender in some EVOO, mixed and heated together with some Prego, and then throw over some whole wheat pasta. Easy!