Easy Curried Pumpkin (or sweet potato) Soup

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you already know how much I love curry! If I could, I would put curry in everything. Pumpkin soup has always been a favorite so I’m surprised I never thought to put curry in it. But today, here it is. And an easy, quick, very warming soup. Just perfect for these subzero days here in Minnesota. Makes 4 -6 servings.

In a high sided skillet or a large saucepan, heat over medium heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add:

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped mushrooms

Cook until onion is translucent and mushrooms are slightly browned. Add:

1-2 teaspoons madras curry powder (I used 1 1/2 and it was almost too spicy for me)

Stir and let cook on low heat until you can smell the curry, about a minute. Add:

2 tablespoons all purpose gluten-free flour

Stir in and let the flour cook for a minute. Slowly stir in:

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or if preferred chicken or turkey)

Cook for a minute and then add:

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree

1 cup non-dairy milk

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or just a sprinkle of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, allspice)

Combine and leave on the burner until the soup is thoroughly heated, about 2 minutes. Optional: Garnish with chopped scallions or chives.

Carrot Chowder (dairy-free, gluten-free)

Carrots are so versatile. Not only are they great in savory dishes like soups, salads, stews, curries, and stir-fries, but they also work very well in desserts. Here’s a great carrot soup with a hint of creamy tomato soup that’s hearty and satisfying. If you want a vegan soup, substitute the ground turkey for a ground vegan product and the chicken stock for vegetable stock.

In a Dutch oven pot, heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil and add:

1 pound ground turkey or chicken, when browned add:

1/2 cup chopped celery and

1/2 cup chopped onion and cook until onion is translucent

Add 2 1/2 cups grated carrots

32 ounce can of tomato puree

1 cup non-dairy yogurt

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1/2 teaspoon thyme, marjoram, and/or basil (I use a pre-mixed Italian blend that includes all three)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon date sugar

Cover, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. I like to serve this with seasoned croutons (gluten free of course) or gluten free rolls. Serves 4-6 depending on if you want it for an appetizer or a main dish.

Easy Creamed Turkey Soup with Vegetables (dairy-free, gluten-free)

This is an easy way to use up extra turkey (or chicken if you prefer). I didn’t have a lot of soups growing up because my father wasn’t a “soup” guy. But a long-time friend really loved creamed soups and when she was dying of cancer, one of the few things I could always get her to eat was my cream of chicken or turkey soup. So here’s the recipe revamped without the dairy or gluten.

In a medium size Dutch oven, heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add:

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced turnip and/or parsnip

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon dry sage

Saute over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add:

2 tablespoons gluten-free all purpose flour and stir to mix and absorb all the fat. Let cook for several minutes before adding:

2 cups chicken or turkey STOCK (use stock not broth for a stronger flavor)

1 small bag of mixed vegetables (if you’re like me, remove the corn; wish someone would make mixed frozen vegetables without corn!)

Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer until vegetables are cooked, 10-15 minutes.

The soup will thicken while it simmers so stir occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

When the vegetables are cooked, add 1 cup of non-dairy milk and 1-2 cups of cooked brown rice. Heat and serve.

Variations if you don’t care for sage or tumeric, or just want a different taste!

Italian: Add 1 tablespoon diced garlic and substitute thyme, basil, marjoram, and/or rosemary for the sage and tumeric.

Indian: Use a peeled and diced sweet potato instead of the turnip/parsnip. Add 1 tablespoon of curry powder instead of the sage and before the flour. Curry powder needs to develop its flavor so cook it for a few minutes before adding the flour and stock.

Mushroom: Add a 6-8 ounce box of sliced baby bella or whatever mushrooms you love instead of the mixed vegetables.

Vegan: Use vegetable stock instead of chicken or turkey and delete the meat. Add a drained can of your favorite beans.

Spicy Lentil Vegetable Soup

(dairy free, gluten free, vegan, soy free) Makes approximately 8-10 servings

Lentil are very versatile, allowing cooks to be imaginative in using them. They seem to like being pairs with a wide variety of other foods and spices. Lentils were not something we had growing up, don’t know which parent didn’t like them but my mother never cooked us lentil soup even though both parents loved pea soup. In this recipe, I’ve paired my favorite vegetable soup with lentils. There are various other ingredients you can use in this recipe, depending on what your family likes. Here’s the basics along with some variations. You’ll need:

1 3/4 cups (an 8 oz package) of lentils, no specific type, I used a mixture of green, black and brown

6 cups of liquid (water, stock, etc., I used a combination of water and vegetable stock)

1 cup sliced carrots

1 large onion diced

3-6 stalks of celery diced for approximately 1 cup

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 cup sweet potato diced

1/2 cup regular potato diced

1 teaspoon curry powder (or 2 tablespoon curry paste)

1 cup diced tomatoes (I used canned)

1 cup frozen peas

1 medium turnip peeled and diced

Add the oil to the bottom of a heated Dutch oven. Add the curry powder and heat for about 15 seconds or until you can smell the curry, but be careful not to burn it. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion, celery, potatoes, and turnip. Once the onion is translucent, add the lentils and the liquid. You can also add the tomatoes at this point along with the peas. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for approximately 45 minutes or until lentils are tender (if you’re using sprouted lentils, they don’t take as long as regular lentils). If you use curry paste rather than powder, add it here. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, blend until you have the consistency you want. Add salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper). Serve.

Variations: Don’t want vegan – use chicken or turkey stock instead of the vegetable stock. You can also add some cooked sausage (either bulk or links cut into slices) or diced ham before serving.

If you don’t like potatoes, leave them out and add 1/2 cup quinoa when you add the lentils. This will also up the protein!

Don’t like curry? Leave it out and use 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon thyme instead. Or, you can add 2 teaspoons cumin seeds and 2 teaspoons turmeric. Add either of these when you add the lentils.

Want it more tomatoie? Stir in 1 small jar of tomato paste before you use the blender.

Don’t have an immersion blender? Cool the soup in the frig for about an hour and then blend in a standard blender. You might want to leave a couple of cups whole for texture.

Clam Chowder (dairy-free, gluten-free, fat-free)

Growing up in New England, chowder was part of everyone’s diet.  Fish chowder, seafood chowder, corn chowder, clam chowder, didn’t make any difference.  Several times a month we ate chowder (pronounced chow-dah for those of you not from New England).  This recipe can be altered to make any of these very easily, just substitute corn (and chicken for protein) for the clams; or add some crab and/or lobster and shrimp; or put in some white fish, usually cod.  Recipe makes enough for 4 appetizer servings or 2 entrée servings.

You’ll need:

  • 1 medium to large sweet potato, peeled, diced and cooked (if you prefer, you can use russet potato instead)
  • 1/2 cup cooked peas (I usually add them to the pot with the sweet potatoes)
  • 1/2 medium onion, sautéed until soft
  • 2-3 slices of bacon, cooked and diced (I use uncured turkey bacon but feel free to use whatever bacon your family likes)
  • 1 can of diced or chopped clams (6-8 ounces) OR 1 pound of fresh clams steamed, cleaned and diced (be sure to save 1/4 cup of the steaming liquid to add to the chowder)
  • 2 cups of rice milk (you could use any milk you like but rice is the mildest and in chowder, you don’t want a milk that interferes with the taste of the clams)
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice flour made into a slurry with 1/2 cup of the rice milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

After you cook the sweet potatoes and peas, drain and put back into the pot.  Add the onion, clams (don’t drain them but add the juice as well as the clams), and the milk to the pot.  Bring to a boil and add the slurry of brown rice flour and stir until the chowder starts to thicken.  We don’t want it really thick, just enough to get a good “mouth feel” when you eat the chowder.  Add the bacon and serve.  You can garnish it with diced scallion or chives if you like.  My mother always served chowder with oyster crackers but those are also optional.  Its so thick and hearty that you really don’t need crackers with this chowder.

Cream of Mushroom Soup (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan)

One of the most versatile soups, cream of mushroom soup is delicious by itself or in any number of casserole dishes.  Its very easy to make.  This recipe makes two servings.

Add to a medium skillet:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound of diced mushrooms (I usually buy one package of mixed mushrooms and then a small package of baby bella so that it has some variety) [I put mine in the food processor and pulse until they’re diced]
  • 1 tablespoon dry parsley

Cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add to the pan:

  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour

Mix into the mushrooms and cook over low heat for 2 minutes so that the flour starts to cook.  Whisk in:

  • 1 cup vegetable or mushroom stock
  • 1/2 cups non-dairy milk of choice

Cook it for a few more minutes until it thickens.  I then like to cook it a few more minutes so that the taste develops.   Ready to eat or use in your favorite casserole.

Chicken and Cranberry Salad with Green Goddess Dressing (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free)

As all my allergies progressed, one of the things that most bothered me was a sensitivity to leafy green vegetables.  No more salad, what was I going to do!  Then I discovered that I could eat red leaf lettuces, what a relief.  Now I have a salad almost daily and here’s one of my favorites.  I really like various textures in my salads so I add crunchy ingredients as well as softer ones.  Green Goddess dressing usually has walnuts in it but since I’m allergic to nuts, I used pumpkin seeds instead.  You could substitute sunflower seeds.

You’ll need for the salad (for 2 entries or 4-6 side salads):

  • 1 head of red Romaine, cleaned and broken into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cucumber sliced
  • 2-3 small tomatoes
  • 2 wedges of jicama, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • several scallions or some red onion diced, optional
  • 8 ounces of cooked chicken, diced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dried cranberries (I used the kind sweetened with fruit juice and unsulphered)

For the dressing, in a food processor put:

  • 1 ripe avocado, skinned and pitted
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley, or 1/2 cup fresh parsley (you can add more if you like parsley; not one of my favorite herbs so I didn’t use much)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (or lemon juice if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons ground pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water to get to dressing consistency, 1/4-1 cup (my dressing came out fairly thick and I used 1/2 cup of water)

Blend until creamy and all ingredients are combined.  Here, again, I used some roasted whole coriander seeds that I pulsed in my spice grinder so they were not fully ground and the pumpkin seeds were also only partially ground.  This added some crunchy texture to the dressing.

Sweet Potato and Tahini Soup (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan)

I made this with sweet potato but pumpkin or pureed butternut squash would work just as well.  The original recipe also called for 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro but since I really don’t like that herb, I used diced scallions and pomegranate arils instead.  The spice in the recipe is also to taste; I love garum masala but if you don’t, try some ground ginger or grated fresh ginger instead.  The tahini gives this soup a very creamy texture.  Makes 4 servings.

Heat a 2-quart saucepan and add:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 diced small scallion
  • 1 diced garlic clove

Cook for only a minute over medium heat and then add:

  • 2 cups cooked sweet potato
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (you can also use chicken stock if you prefer)
  • 1/4 teaspoon stevia OR 1 tablespoon agave or coconut nectar
  • 1 teaspoon garum masala OR 1 teaspoon grated or ground ginger
  • Crushed red pepper to taste (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)

Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and reduce heat to low.  Stir in:

  • 1/4 cup tahini (you could also use a nut butter)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Puree in blender or with immersion blender.  Garnish with diced scallion and pomegranate arils.

Tomato Vegetable “Stoup” (vegan, dairy- free, gluten-free)

This time of year with all the fresh vegetables, this is one of my go to dishes.  My husband and I love this soup/stew.  Its one that is easy to customize to your taste since its basically whatever vegetables you have on hand.  Instead of using canned diced tomatoes, I peeled and chopped some of my husband’s fresh off-the-vine tomatoes sitting on my counter top.  Best of all, its delicious whether you serve it hot or cold.  Add some croutons for crunch (made with gluten-free bread of course!).  In the winter, this soup is a great vehicle for cooked chicken. Feel free to play with it and make it your own by adding the vegetables your family likes the best.  But keep the carrots since they add that sweetness that takes care of the acidity in the tomatoes (the parsnips help with that as well).  Makes 8-12 servings.

Peel as needed and dice into like size pieces:

  • 1 medium onion (I used a red onion)
  • 6-8 stocks of celery
  • 1 medium purple top turnip (or a regular one if you like them but the purple top have a milder flavor)
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 medium zucchini squash
  • 2 small parsnips
  • 2 baby bok choy (you could use regular chopped cabbage instead of the bok choy and then add some kale or spinach for the greens of the bok choy)
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms (I like to mix them up so I used half baby bella and half porcini)
  • 1 cup chopped or grated carrots
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 cup green beans

Add 4 cups (1 quart) of vegetable stock to a large stock pot (if you want, you could add 4 cups of chicken stock).  Be sure to use stock and not broth for that “cooked all day” flavor.  Add the onion, celery, turnip, squashes, bok choy and mushrooms and cook covered over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add:

  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (I find the Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes taste less metallic than regular canned tomatoes)
  • 1 12 ounce can of your favorite beans (I love the cannellini beans or great northern)

Cook over low heat for another 10-15 minutes until tomatoes and beans are heated through.

Easy French Onion Soup (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan)

Such and easy soup to make and so silky, rich and sweet.  If you like French Onion soup but you’ve always thought it was too hard to make for yourself, this is the recipe for you.  Makes 2 servings.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large or 2 medium onions (I used a Vidalia but you can use any onion you like)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free flour such as Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1 blend
  • 2-3 cups vegetable (or mushroom) stock (or if you can use it, use beef stock but I find the vegetable stock makes a very rich soup)
  • 2 slices of gluten-free bread (I love the DeLong’s millet bread)
  • 2 slices of dairy-free mozzarella or provolone cheese

First, cut onion in half and then cut across into slices.  If you want, you can then cut these slices in half.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat in a 4 quart pot (you want as much space on the bottom as possible while having room to add the stock later.  Stir the onions every few minutes to be sure that they don’t burn.  You want to caramelize them which takes about 20 minutes and you will probably want to reduce the heat when they begin to brown.  This is the longest, hardest part of the cooking process.

Once the onions are caramelized, add the flour and stir to make sure it is absorbed by the oil.  Over low heat, let the flour cook out for a couple of minutes.  Its okay if it sticks a little to the bottom of the pan since adding the stock will deglaze the pan.  Add 2 cups of stock and stir until it starts to boil.  If the soup is too thick (you want it silky but not as thick as gravy), add more stock to thin.  Reduce heat as low as it will go and cover pot.  Let cook 10 minutes.

According to every recipe I’ve seen on making French Onion soup, it tastes best if you chill it overnight and let the flavors melt together.  But its so good I won’t blame you if you put it hot into two oven-proof bowls and eat it the same day!

Using a large biscuit cutter if you have one or just a knife, cut the bread so that each slice will fit into one of the bowls.  In a fry pan large enough for both slices, heat the 1 tablespoon oil and when hot, add the bread rounds and grill on both sides.  Place on top of the soup and then put a slice of cheese on top of the bread rounds.  Broil (or microwave) until the cheese melts.  If you broil it, you’ll get that great crust on the cheese like in a restaurant.  Enjoy!