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Published on October 30, 2018

cauliflower soup

#TryItTuesday: Soup Season

The cooler temps can only mean one thing! It’s soup season!

There was a time when the only soup I had was from a can bought at the grocery store. But now, that I’ve learned a few soup making basics and experimented with some new recipes, homemade soups are one of my favorite meals.

They tend to be easy and fast, especially with an Instant Pot. They are great for leftovers, and depending on what you put in it, can be healthy. I find I eat many more vegetables when they are hidden in a bowl of soup.

Are you a soup lover but unsure how to make your soup? Here are a few soup making basics to get you started.

Soup Making Basics

Start with your aromatics. Aromatics are boldly fragrant vegetables like onions and garlic. Remember a little goes a long way. Most recipes call for either a small chopped onion or a couple of cloves of chopped garlic.

Saute in oil or butter until softened. You can also add chopped celery or carrots for additional flavor.

Add your vegetables or meat, using these guidelines:

  • Make sure meat and vegetables are bite sized.
  • When adding vegetables add veggies that have a similar cook time. Example potatoes will have a longer cook time than spinach or broccoli.
  • Tougher meat selections like stew meat, brisket, will require longer cooking times, so plan accordingly.

Add Your Liquids

I use frozen broth that I’ve saved from previous meals, say from a time I cooked chicken or roast beef. These days there are several delicious options at the grocery store. I typically stock chicken, beef and vegetable broth in my pantry.

Simmer Time

A tip I just recently learned was that I need to simmer my soup, not boil it. Simmering cooks the veggies at a nice even pace and allows the flavors to deepen.

Top It Off With Herbs

One of my biggest mistakes, when I was making soup, was adding the herbs with the other ingredients at the start. By the time we were ready to enjoy our soup, the delicate aromas of the herbs were cooked away. For the most significant impact of flavor, add your herbs right at the end.

When cooking in an Instant Pot, I tend to combine all ingredients in the pot as per the recipe directions; the device really helps seal in the flavor. This chicken noodle soup is what I have in my Instant Pot today.

Chicken Noodle Soup in Instant Pot

Ingredients

  • 3 pieces chicken breast, cubed (a little over a pound)
  • ½ onion, diced
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 3 ribs of celery, sliced
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp salt or season to taste
  • ¼ tsp pepper or season to taste
  • 2-2½ cups uncooked homestyle noodles extra wide
  • 7 cups of chicken broth 

Directions

  1. Add a dash of pepper to the cubed chicken
  2. Melt butter in the pressure cooker
  3. Lightly brown chicken for one minute, about 30 seconds each side.
  4. Add onions and garlic, saute an additional minute or two.
  5. Turn off the pressure cooker.
  6. Add additional ingredients to pressure cooker.
  7. Close the lid and turn pressure cooker on and cook for 7 minutes.
  8. Once finished open the quick release on the pressure cooker.
  9. Serve and enjoy.

Italian Orzo Spinach Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1½ cups (about 8 ounces) whole-wheat orzo pasta
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 4 cups loosely packed spinach
  • Salt and black pepper

Note: You can include optional toppings including freshly grated Parmesan cheese or crushed red pepper flakes.

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 4 minutes, until soft.
  2. Add carrots, celery, and garlic and saute for an additional 3 minutes.
  3. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, orzo, thyme, oregano, rosemary and stir to combine. Bring soup to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente.
  5. Stir in the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until it is bright green and wilted.
  6. Taste and season with salt and black pepper as needed. You also can add more of the thyme, oregano, and rosemary, if you’d like.
  7. Serve warm, garnished with your desired toppings.

30-Minute Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Chowder

Gluten-free and vegan

Ingredients

  • ½ cup raw cashews soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ cup Sabra Roasted Garlic Hummus
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water + more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons miso paste
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Additional garlic if desired

Instructions

  1. Add cashews to a bowl, cover with hot water and let soak for at least two hours.
  2. While cashews are soaking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. Chop cauliflower into florets, and peel and chop the potatoes. Arrange on a baking sheet and drizzle with about 1½ tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cut the top off the garlic bulb so that some of the cloves are slightly exposed. Drizzle with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap bulb in tin foil and place on sheet with vegetables.
  5. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the cauliflower is starting to brown and the potatoes are soft. They don't have to be totally soft because we'll be blending them later.
  6. Check the garlic after 15 minutes to make sure it isn't burning.
  7. Allow the veggies to cool slightly then add them to a high powered blender.
  8. Squeeze/spoon the garlic out of skin and add it to the blender as well.
  9. Drain and rinse the cashews, adding them to the blender along with the hummus and quinoa.
  10. Pour in liquids, miso, nutritional yeast (if using) and additional salt and pepper, and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
  11. Taste and adjust seasonings (adding more garlic, salt, pepper, miso or other seasonings) as desired.
  12. Serve warm topped with some of the roasted garlic garnish from the hummus, some chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.

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