Booyah Split Pea Soup

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Hi All! It’s been a little crazy here, as Booyahville is packing it up and getting ready to ship out of Boston. Three weeks from today, and all of my worldly possessions will be in the back of a 16 foot truck heading westward ‘ho! I am wildly balancing the mental scales between excitement and anxiety of the transition from Boston Career Gal to Small-Town Graduate Student. With the constant To-Do lists for work, my personal life and getting ready for my move swirling around me like a stock ticker, I am doing my best to stay committed to my active and healthy lifestyle. It’s not always easy: the holidays and being sick over the past two weeks have done a number to derail my progress (Like really, immune system? Don’t throw in the towel now, I need you!). BUT, I haven’t given up! I have started this week off on a great foot, with a slow and somewhat pathetic 7 mile run on Sunday (but I did it, DAMN IT!), small group training on Monday and a kick ass workout with R this morning, where we crushed arms, box jumps and abs. I’m back on track with workouts and eating things other than Thanksgiving leftovers, and this recipe is definitely a good one. It is super low calorie, fiber and plant-protein rich. To be perfectly honest, I had never tasted split-pea soup before I made this batch. I had no compulsion to try my hand at a plant-based version of this soup until I read that split peas have 23 grams of protein and 17 grams of fiber per 3/4 cup. Cue the heart-eye emoji! OH, HAI SPLIT PEAS. I loosely followed a generic recipe and threw in large amounts of booyah to make it taste awesome and far from bland. You can also have this soup two ways: chunky and funky, or smooth and soulful – aka you can leave it alone after simmering for an hour or two, or throw that whole sucker into a Vitamix or blender and blast it to create a silky smooth texture. Totally and completely up to you. Now let’s roll up our sleeves and get started, shall we?

Booyah Split-Pea Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups dried green split peas, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 – 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning (includes thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the onion over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until tender and fragrant. Add the garlic, carrot and celery and saute for 2 – 3 more minutes. IMG_4633
  2. Slowly pour in the veggie broth, split peas and herbs and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover, simmer for 1 hour or until peas are tender, stirring occasionally. IMG_4635
  3. Optional: Add salt and pepper to taste, allow to simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. In small batches, puree the coup in a blender. Return to the saucepan and reheat for 5 minutes. IMG_4639
  4. Enjoy! πŸ˜€

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I enjoyed this soup both blended and au natural (mostly because I was testing this recipe out for the first time). Honestly, I really liked them both – it’s really up to your personal preference. This recipe requires you to not be shy about adding extra spice after tasting. I feel that soups especially can tend towards bland if you’re afraid to really go for the booyah. πŸ˜‰ This recipe turned out awesome, and I truly hope that you guys enjoy it as much as I did! YUM. Enjoy that extra booyah from the plethora of plant-based protein so you can crush your next workout. πŸ˜›

With warmth,

L

L’s Kick-Ass Minestrone Soup

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As 2014 winds down, I am starting my New Year’s health kick early – with my main focus on healthy food that doesn’t taste like sh*t. Last night I made an uber healthy minestrone soup which is vegan, gluten free and packed with antioxidants and flavor. I ended up doing my workout after work (instead of my usual crack o’dawn 5 am workout) last night and when I got home after cranking it at BodyPump, I was RAVENOUS, so I forgot I was supposed to be taking lots of pictures to share with all you lovelies. Instead I just went for it. So please bear with me. πŸ˜€

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Hi there. Just preppin’ for Body Pump! πŸ˜€

I made this guy up on the fly last night, so don’t mind my measuring units. Also, the simmer time is just about 25 – 30 minutes, so it’s a nice quick and easy soup to whip up, and doesn’t contain any weird/unusual ingredients (and if you don’t have fresh herbs, just substitute dried ones. No big deal, yo!). Serve with a crusty wheat sourdough (my personal fave) and a fabulous glass of red vino, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a fantastic, quick and healthy meal! πŸ˜€

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This is what my kitchen looked like when I had the realization I had taken zero pictures of me prepping my soup. D’oh.

L’s Minestrone

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of veggie broth
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced
  • 1 heaping Tbsp of chopped garlic
  • 5 – 6 medium carrots, chopped
  • 5 – 6 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 15.5-oz can Cannelini beans
  • 1 15.5-oz can red kidney beans
  • 2 zucchini squash, diced
  • 1 medium bunch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Large handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Several friendly shakes of dried thyme and dried oregano (at least a teaspoon, I think I had more)
  • Small shake of dried sage (about half a teaspoon or less)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Step One: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes, or until the onion is slightly translucent.
Step Two: Add the carrots and celery, and saute for a few minutes. Once the carrots and celery have softened slightly, pour the entire contents of the can of diced tomatoes into the pan (juice included!).
Step Three: Add the broth and herbs and bring to a boil.
Step Four: Add the beans (make sure you’ve given them a good rinse first in a colander) and zucchini and turn the soup down to a simmer. Simmer on low until the zucchini is cooked, about 20 – 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step Five: Enjoy!
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The finished product – get in my mouth NOW! πŸ˜›

As you may have noticed, I omitted the usual pasta that is found in minestrone. You can add some if you’d like at the end and cook according to the directions on the box (elbows, rotini, ditalini – whatever you like!). I personally would rather get my carbs from a nice hunk of crusty bread dipped right into the soup. You could also use quinoa instead of pasta for something a little different. I was just really into the bread last night (give me all the carbs). YUM! photo 4

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I ate mine soup by sopping it up with some whole wheat sourdough, aka the most amazing bread on Earth. YES.

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This soup was super easy, super healthy and deceptively filling (usually soups don’t really fill me up or make me feel satiated but this one really did)! I felt very satisfied eating it for dinner after my workout and it was perfect way to warm up on the chilly evening last night. If you read my post yesterday (Mexican Quinoa and Tempeh Salad), you will know I’m heading to Florida in 10 days, and am trying to keep it low cal to balance the excessive amount of delicious sweets I ate over Christmas (I’m afraid to put on that bikini after the plethora of Vegan Cut-Out Sugar Cookies). This fits the bill, and is packed with nutrients and protein from the beans. It’s also a great way to practice for my Veganuary challenge (I’m making the leap Jan 1st! I bought Vega Performance Protein and everything!). I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do. It was really, really friggin’ good.

Sending love your way today! The last Tuesday of 2014 – here we go!

xoxox,

L ❀

Sunday Simmer: Warming White Bean and Pesto Soup

Hello, hello! Happy Monday. It is really chucking down rain out here in Boston, so today is the perfect day for the soup I made yesterday! I had a very good relaxing/restive weekend, and I hope you guys did too. I made my return to the yoga studio after long runs/half marathon training and my cross-training classes at the gym sucked up most of my free time this fall. The chill is in the air outside (bye summer!), and that heated studio and my mat were calling my name. And man, I am so glad I did! I am facing my week feeling very zen. After feeling very warm and melty on the inside after savasana, I wanted something just as warming to eat last night. So, I made this soup, with white beans, leeks, red potatoes, Swiss chard, carrots, a whole bunch of fresh herbs and a little bit of pesto for pop. And damn, was it good! It was a little bit like a unique form of torture waiting for it to be ready and smelling the herbs and vegetables melding and harmonizing together in steamy cloud in my kitchen. Last night I felt like I was in a cartoon with those wavy lines coming off the pot and me, with my nose leading, following them into the kitchen. YUM. Lucky for me, from start to finish, this soup probably only takes about 45 minutes to make (depending on how fast of a chopper you are!) – the simmer time is only 10 – 15 minutes. The best part (there always is a pretty solid “best part” on B&B, I assure you) is that one large serving is only about ~200 calories. YES! You can still fit into your skinny jeans the next day (or, whatever adorbs outfit you’re feeling). πŸ˜‰ The second best part is that the taste-to-difficulty ratio is low: you basically chop some veggies, stick ’em in a pot and BOOM: amazing, healthy and immensely satisfying meal (especially on a cold, rainy day with horrid traffic like today).

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Warming White Bean and Pesto Soup – serve with a delicious piece of crusty bread and voila – perfect soothing, warm meal for a chilly and rainy day!

Warming White Bean and Pesto Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cans (16 oz) Cannelini beans, rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 large leek, washed and sliced*
  • 3 large carrots, washed and sliced (I don’t bother peeling, whatev)
  • 1 lb red potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 (packed) cups rainbow chard, washed and chopped
  • 2 containers of veggie broth (32 oz each – 8 cups in total)
  • A bunch of fresh herbs: ~ 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, 1/2 Tbsp thyme, 8 – 10 sage leaves, chopped**
  • 2 (heaping) Tbsp pesto***

*Leeks are super tasty but a pain in the ass to clean. I fill a large bowl with tap water, and as I chop, I throw the chopped pieces of leek into the bowl of water and swirl/rub to remove the dirt and grit. You def do not want that in your soup! Once they are cleaned off (they float!), I simply scoop them out of the bowl and gave them a good shake to remove excess water. It doesn’t really matter if they aren’t super dry because they are headed straight for that soup pot.

**I bought a pack of “poultry blend” fresh herbs at the grocery store and it contained rosemary, thyme and sage. I figured that would pair well with these ingredients, and it did! Use whatever you like – parsley, dill, whatever your fave is. I really liked this combo in the soup, so I would definitely try it out if I were you.

***You can use your own homemade pesto, store bought if you’re in a time crunch, or follow my recipe for pesto (there’s a vegan AND vegetarian version!) below. Whatever works for you. πŸ™‚

Directions:

Step One: Prep all your veggies first, that way, all you do is dump them in when it’s “Go Time”.
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I set two bowls up while I was chopping: one large and one small. Into the small, I put the chopped onion, leek and minced garlic (which I ended up just dumping straight into my saucepan once the oil was heated up – so easy!). In the large, I put the potato, carrot, Swiss chard and herbs (the beans were draining in a colander after rinsing) – this one I also just up-ended straight into the saucepan once the broth was simmering. Makes life just a little easier to have all your veggies in one place.

Step Two: Once all your veggies are ready to go, heat ~1 Tbsp olive oil and saute the onion, leek and garlic in a large saucepan.
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I’m aware this picture kind of sucks, but there was so much steam coming off the onion/leek/garlic mixture it was hard to get a good one! Saute for a few minutes, or until the onions are starting to become translucent.

Step Three: After about 5 – 6 minutes of saute time, add one box of the broth (32 oz or 4 cups), and bring to a simmer.
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Make sure you get a nice, rolling bubble on that broth before you start adding veggies. It will cut down on the cooking time and you’ll get to eat this delicious soup faster.

Step Four: Add all your remaining veggies, beans, fresh herbs and enough veggie broth to cover them. The Swiss chard will cook down, but make sure there is enough liquid to submerge all your veggies (I used both boxes of veggie broth, but just in case your saucepan is a bit smaller than mine – add it gradually).
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Just for a visual, that is about how much fresh herbs I added in total – almost a small handful. The more the merrier, it really adds great flavor to the soup.

Step Five: Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover and allow to simmer on low for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender (aka you can easily insert a fork in them, but they are not so cooked that they are disintegrating into the broth).
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Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper. Unless your broth is low-sodium, you probably can skip the salt altogether, so you don’t end up with salt overload and puffy eyes like I did today. πŸ˜›

Step Six: Swirl in pesto and enjoy! πŸ˜€
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Soup sans pesto – it’s pretty damn delicious pesto-less. I ate a whole bowl plain first before I convinced myself it needed “something.”

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Soup with pesto added – YUMMMM!!! The pesto gives it just a little bit of something special. πŸ˜‰

So, not going to lie – I didn’t originally have plans to add pesto to this soup. But, it needed SOMETHING. The soup itself is wonderful with just the fresh herbs, it tastes fresh and light, but to give it a little somethin’ somethin’, I added the pesto for a flavor ka-POW. Pesto is one of my favorite things in life (for real – every birthday, if it isn’t vegetarian buffalo “wings”, it’s pesto) and it has a multitude of uses beyond pasta (spaghetti squash pasta, zoodles or otherwise). It adds a bright, fresh flavor to any dish. If you’re not in a time crunch, take a moment to whip up this pretty dope version. Obviously, it tastes the best when you use fresh basil that is in season, but I found some pretty legit fresh and hydroponically grown basil in the grocery store.

L’s Bomb Pesto:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of packed basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (or Romano cheese, if you’re not vegan)*
  • 5 Tbsp pine nuts (or chopped walnuts, if that’s more your style)
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 5 cloves of garlic, minced)

*If you’re not down with the nutritional yeast, try “diluting” it with cashews (blend nutritional yeast & cashews together in a 3:1 cashew : yeast ratio and add 1/2 cup of the mixture in place of the cheese). OR, substitute my sister J’s fave brand Go Veggie! Vegan Parmesan cheese.

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a food processor and blast until they are finely chopped into a pesto-like consistency (just enough so that the nuts are chopped). Add more olive oil if necessary. If you want to be a cooking rockstar, after adding the two tablespoons to the soup, divide the remaining pesto into a clean ice cube tray and freeze – that way, you can take one “pesto cube” out of the tray and use as necessary without thawing a whole container. Genius, eh? πŸ˜€ Once they are completely frozen, you can pop them out of the tray and place them into a freezer bag or airtight container for storage (and to make room in your freezer).

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as I did, I am preeeeeeeettty excited to go for round 2 at lunch today. Yum.

Happy Monday, everyone! ❀

xoxox

L

Balls-to-the-Wall* Curried Butternut Squash Soup

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Curried Butternut Squash Soup, garnished with freshly ground black pepper and a lime slice.

*Balls to the Wall: Meaning: intense, extreme, to the max. Although the origin of this expression is relatively benign, most people assume it is a reference to testicles (I mean, that’s fine too, if you’re into that). It’s actually from fighter planes: when accelerating quickly, the throttle is pushed all the way to the panel and the throttle lever (ball) actually touches the panel (wall). Hence, balls to the wall. πŸ˜‰

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Butternut squash (local from MA!), ginger root and potato are key players in this amazing creation.

Last night I made a butternut squash soup that was out of this world. The creamy texture of the butternut squash makes this soup silky smooth and feel really decadent, even though a 1-1/4 cup serving has only 182 calories (say WHAT!!!). Also this soup is vegan, gluten-free AND paleo (win all around). Pureed soups always seem a little intense to me (my general feeling is “Ain’t nobody got time for that”), but this one was really not that labor-intensive. It consists of shoving a butternut squash and baking potato into the oven, walking away for ~75 minutes, sauteeing some onion and spices and putting it into a blender, removing the stuff from the oven, and pureeing the sh*t out of it. The most difficult part is waiting for it to be ready. And, not eating all of the butternut squash before you can puree it, because gotDAMN it is good! πŸ˜€ Without further ado…

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Ingredients, plus a butternut squash and a potato. I’m looking at you devil onion, for making me cry more than any of my ex-bfs.

Balls-to-the-Wall Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped*
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (~ 1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 heaping Tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 medium-ish butternut squash, quartered
  • 3 cups veggie stock
  • 1 baking potato
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can of light coconut milk
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional: lime wedges and cilantro for garnish

*I used a red onion and balled my eyes out, feel free to use whatever you have on hand if you don’t want mascara running down your face into your soup. It was intense, man!

Directions:

Step One: Prep your squash. You can cut it into two and just roast the halves if you’d like, I simply quartered it because it was easier, and as I’ve mentioned before, I like to avoid chopping off any phalanges. I poked a fork into it a few times because it was making weird noises in the oven, but I don’t think that’s really necessary. You definitely need to poke your baking potato with a fork on both sides, or that little guy will explode and make a mess of your oven. Ain’t nobody got time to clean up after that.
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Quartered butternut squash ready to go into the oven. Roast at 425F for 90 minutes.

Step Two: Bake squash and potato at 425Β°F for 90 minutes (Yeah, that seems like a really long time, but you want to be able to easily scoop out your squash and potato to puree it. I started the next step about 75 minutes into roasting time. It’s kind of nice to have a solid 75 minutes to do something you enjoy, like RELAX!).
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Butternut squash after roasting. You should be able to (VERY) easily insert a knife into the squash.

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I used a fork to hold my squash in place while I scraped out the roasted flesh. If you try to hold it with your fingers, like I did, I promise that you WILL burn them.

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Like your squash, your baking potato should be soft enough to easily remove from the potato skin after roasting.

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This picture is here to illustrate why you should 100% line your pan with aluminum foil – you can roll up the zombified remains of your squash husk into a foil swan and toss when you’re done! Ta-da! Easy clean-up.

Step Three: SautΓ© onion, garlic, ginger and curry paste in a large saucepan (There are other things I’d like to do with my time than wash dishes, so I sauteed the above ingredients directly in the pan I was going to use later to re-heat my soup after pureeing. If you want to achieve orange-y creamy butternut-y perfection, use a small skillet, otherwise you may get little flakes of whatever’s left in the saucepan in your soup. Eh, there are worse things in life, amiright?!). Cook the ingredients about 8 minutes, or until the onion is softened, stirring occasionally. When it’s all cooked up, transfer to a blender.
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Sauteed onion, ginger, garlic and curry paste ready for blending.

Step Four: Blend. Once your squash is soft enough to scoop out of its rind, scoop about half of the squash and place into the blender (And/or say a prayer: it was my first time using a Vita-Mix unsupervised!). Add about half of the veggie stock, and blend until smooth. Pour back into the saucepan if it needs to be re-heated, or directly into a large bowl. Repeat for the remaining squash and the potato (removing the potato from the skin, of course).
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Don’t forget to add about half the veggie broth for puree-ing!

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This Vita-Mix is a magical creature, like a kitchen unicorn. It is amazinggggggg!

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Blend until smooth and there are no weird chunks hiding in your soup. Make sure you allow the steam to escape while blending by removing the center piece of the lid. You can place a clean towel over the opening in the blender lid to avoid decorating your kitchen butternut-orange.

Step Five: Combine. Once all of your butternut squash, onion mixture and potato are pureed into velvety goodness, add the coconut milk and lime juice and stir. Reheat on low, if necessary.
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Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Step Six: Enjoy! Sprinkle with extra black pepper (it makes the flavors really pop). You can garnish with a lime wedge, and cilantro, if desired.
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So delicious. I ate two bowls.

Choose-Your-Adventure Alternative Ending: You can make this soup using all of the same ingredients in a crock-pot (ahem, I’m sorry, “electric slow cooker”). Skip straight to Step Three, then transfer the onion mixture into a 6-quart crock-pot. Add the squash (~8 cups chopped and peeled), potato, and veggie stock. Cover and cook on low for 6 -8 hours (or until squash is tender). Then continue at Step Four. It’s always good to have options. πŸ˜‰

This is a really fantastic soup. It tastes really impressive, because the flavor profile is pretty bangin’, but it is not that difficult to make. Totally worth it – I am definitely a convert to the pureed soup arena. I hope you like it as much as I did! And the best part: no balls were harmed during the making of this soup. I’m actually pretty stoked to have a bowl after my run tonight, now that it gets dark so early, it will be an extra special warm treat when I come inside!

Enjoy, enjoy! And happy HUMP DAAAAAAAAY!

Full throttle,

L