Moroccan Chickpea Soup, A Happy Planet Vegetarian Gluten-free Masterpiece

The other day I left the office quite late and didn’t feel like cooking and I decided to stop off at Choices on the way home.

Happy Planets Moroccan Chickpea Soup grabbed my attention being organic and all. I brought it home and heated it up very slowly on low-med heat. It’s funny, I did not have huge expectations for a prepackaged soup – but I was totally surprised of how awesome this soup was when I had my first spoonful! OMG!

The soup seemed so fresh, and had noticeable pieces celery and onion and full firm chickpeas. The vegetables and beans were not mushy what-so-ever. The spinach seemed to be chopped fine and hide in the background giving the chickpeas all the attention it deserves.

The warm spices had a nice touch. I read the ingredients and it had basil with cilantro and cumin. I would have never thought to use those three together! Cilantro and cumin together is a gimme though as a duo. Although it does not read fennel seeds in the ingredients, I think it adds a extra special touch to this soup.

Take a look at the picture of the soup in my bowl above. I think it could fool a meat eater!! I am guessing that a percentage of the soup was pureed to give it a thicker consistency like a meaty soup. It can also fool the same person that it had a meat broth base too – it had some mighty fine depth!!

Happy Planet wasn’t too shy on the spices and it worked out like a vegetarian masterpiece!!

Oh ya, it is also Gluten-free, high in fiber and more. Read more here on Happy Planets website.

Ingredients: Water, organic chick peas, organic tomatoes, organic onions, organic celery, organic spinach, organic garlic, organic sunflower oil, organic tomato paste, sea salt, organic cilantro, organic and/or natural spices.

This is one soup I would LOVE to try and recreate at home! I may put this at the top of my to do list! I would also consider bring home another bag of this soup from the grocery store anytime in the future.

Soup Mistress Rating for Happy Planet Moroccan Chickpea Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (4.5/5)
Taste: (5/5)

Soup Spark is Lit! Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Soup with Quinoa

Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Soup with Quinoa

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The completed Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Soup with Quinoa

Yikes! This is my first blog post since May! Somehow my passion for playing golf and training for my first half marathon ate up all my time over the last few months.  But heck, it’s never too late to start back at er! It is fall here now and somehow my soup spark has been lit again!

Every once in a while when I receive Costco’s bi-monthly magazine I flip through the pages just to read the recipes. For this September/October issue, I found this great looking soup recipe that had quinoa in it.  I have had a bag of quinoa for quiet sometime and been meaning to make a quinoa salad or something, but never looked into any recipes to date. I have not thought of using it in soup.  But soup it is today!

The Verdict of Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Soup with Quinoa?

The original soup recipe was good, but with some fine-tuning, I transformed it into a splendid soup for myself!  Somehow it seemed a tad bland so I added more pepper and freshly squeezed lime juice, which seemed to have lifted it up quite nice! Also goat yogurt is highly recommended or even give Greek yogurt a try – they both will give the soup a nice creamy taste! Just make sure you swirl it around in your soup before digging in!

Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Soup with Quinoa Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 pound sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 5 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/8 cup of fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup goat yogurt

Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Soup with Quinoa Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Cut top of garlic bulb off, place on tin foil enough to cover the whole bulb, sprinkle olive oil, wrap and bake in oven for about 30 minutes. Cool then spoon out garlic.
  2. Heat oil in large saucepan or pot over medium heat.  Cook onion for about 8 minutes, then add in mushrooms and cook for 7 more minutes until mushrooms are softened.
  3. Remove 2 cups of the mushroom/onion mixture and put aside till later.
  4. Add in stock, water, quinoa, roasted garlic, thyme, salt, pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for approx 15 minutes until the quinoa is tender.
  5. Puree soup with hand blender (or in blender and return back to pot).
  6. Stir in reserved mushroom/onion mixture. Cook gently until evenly heated through and stir in lime juice and spinach.
  7. Ladle into bowls
  8. Garnish with a dollop of goat yogurt and grated parmesan.

Original soup recipe from:  Costco Connection, September/October 2012 edition, reprinted from: Quinoa Revolution: Over 150 Healthy Great Tasting Recipes Under 500 Calories by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming.

What I changed from original soup recipe:

  • Used olive oil instead of vegetable oil
  • Doubled the mushrooms and used shitake as well as cremini
  • Used 5 cups of stock versus 4 cups
  • Added lime juice
  • Added goat yogurt
  • Used more pepper

Soup Mistress Rating for Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Soup with Quinoa:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5)
Presentation: (4/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Thai Coconut Vegetarian Soup With Mock Noodles

Thai Coconut Vegetarian Soup

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Thai Coconut Vegetarian Soup With Mock Noodles

My brothers girlfriend (Leslie) sent me a wonderful Thai Coconut Chicken Rice Soup recipe that I decided to make this week with some modifications. I wanted to take her recipe and make it into a vegetarian soup similar to Happy Planets Thai Coconut Soup that I tried a few weeks back.

I added a fair bit of veggies to replace the chicken and rice.  Note: this is a large batch of soup to have as left overs or even freeze. My decision to omit rice is because I find rice gets too mushy the next day or when freezing. I decided to use bamboo shoots as a substitute for rice – they were some mighty fine mock noodles I must say! Happy Planets Thai Soup gave me the ideal of adding bamboo shoots.

The Verdict of Thai Coconut Vegetarian Soup? I think this soup should not be made without the red chile thai and lime juice. They both work together very well. The red thai gives it a superb heat (may be a tad too hot for some folks though) and the lime juice gives it a great acidic freshness. I love the bamboo shoots as a substitute for rice or noodles, they were almost noodle-like and thicker pieces than what Happy Planets soup had. This is also one soup that get’s better the next day – I had it 3 days in row for lunch and froze the rest for a later date.

Thai Coconut Vegetarian Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrot, julienned
  • 10 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red thai chile, finely chopped
  • 1 cup bamboo shoots, julienned
  • 1 can of baby corn, cut in thirds (if whole in can)
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, halved or quartered and bruised
  • 7 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 can light unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2  cup fresh baby spinach
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lime rind
  • 1/8 cup lime juice
  • 4 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Thai Coconut Vegetarian Soup Instructions:

  1. Saute onions, garlic, and ginger for 3 minutes.
  2. Add mushrooms, carrot, celery, red pepper, red thai chile, sauté for 3 more minutes.
  3. Add red curry paste, baby corn, bamboo shoots, lemongrass, vegetable broth, coconut milk. Bring to boil and turn down to simmer until vegetables are tender.
  4. Add baby spinach and cook until wilted.
  5. Add lime rind, lime juice, ground pepper.
  6. Ladle in bowls and garnish with cilantro and more pepper (if desired).

What I changed from the original recipe:

  • omitted chicken, rice, white sugar, snap peas
  • added 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • added lemon grass, bamboo shoots, red thai chile, baby corn, red curry paste, garlic
  • used low sodium vegetable broth instead of chicken broth
  • increased cilantro to 4 tablespoons

Soup Mistress Rating for Thai Coconut Vegetarian Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (4.5/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Turkey Spinach Soup – A Perfect New Year Resolution Dish!

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The completed turkey spinach soup

Over the holidays, I celebrated with food. I had a lot of butter-rich breakfasts, delectable desserts, chocolate covered cherries and splashes of wine here and there. And let’s not forget about turkey and gravy – oh how much I love you so!

On boxing day, I was excited to cook a turkey to make some homemade turkey stock for a healthy soup. Homemade turkey stock is probably the best stock ever!

Time to detox myself and go back to my regular healthy eating habits….

So turkey spinach soup it was!

The Verdict of Turkey Spinach soup? I truly believe I created a really tasty healthy turkey soup recipe. I didn’t follow a recipe what-so-ever. I wanted to make a turkey soup that had no pasta and decided to use parsnips as a stand in. I tried to use whatever fresh vegetables and herbs I had in the fridge.

This soup freezes very well. I ate a batch from the freezer already this week!

Turkey Stock Ingredients:

  • turkey carcass
  • turkey giblets
  • 4 sprigs thyme, whole
  • 5-6 celery ribs, cut in half
  • 1 white onion, cut in half
  • 2 large carrots, cut in half
  • 1 lemon (sliced)
  • dash of pepper and salt
  • 15 cups of water (approx)

Turkey Spinach Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cup carrots, sliced thin
  • 1 cup parsnips, sliced thin
  • 2 teaspoons thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dill, finely chopped
  • 7 cups turkey stock
  • 2 cups, white cooked turkey meat, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
  • dash salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions for Turkey Stock:

  1. Add all stock ingredients in a very large pot with strainer.
  2. Bring to a boil then simmer for 45 – 60 minutes covered.
  3. Strain and discard all but the liquid.
  4. Filter the stock with fine sieve.
  5. Skim fat off the top of the rested liquid with large ladle or scoop.

Cooking Instructions for Turkey Spinach Soup:

  1. Heat olive oil in heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 5 minutes, or until onions are softened.
  2. Add parsnips and carrots and cook for 4 more minutes.
  3. Add thyme and dill.
  4. Add turkey stock and bring to a boil, reduce heat, and gently simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add spinach and chives, cook until spinach is slightly wilted. Add dash of salt and pepper to taste.
  6. To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls. Serve immediately.

Soup Mistress Rating for Turkey Spinach Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (4/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5)