Category Archives: Soup

Easy Red Lentil Soup

I’ve really been into lentils lately, especially red and black. I never really ate lentils before recently, and I definitely did not cook them. But they are so good and super easy to make. 
I’m anemic and I am always trying to figure out ways of how I can get more protein in my diet. Lentils are high in protein; third highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp. Not only high in protein, but also a good source of fiber, folate, and vitamin B – all things I am trying to fit more into my diet.
There are thousands of lentil recipes out there, and sometimes I just like to keep it simple. I looked through my cookbooks and combined a few of the recipes I saw and came up with the following recipe, which turned out to be delicious and full of flavor! I love experimenting in the kitchen, playing around with ingredients, and trying new things, and soup is the perfect for this.
Ingredients:  (serves 4)
1 ¼ cup red lentils
1 onion, diced
2 cups carrots, sliced
2 celery stocks, sliced
4 ½ cups vegetable or chicken stock or water* (I suggest using a stock to give it more flavor)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice (I used fresh lime because it was all I had)
½ teaspoon garlic
½ teaspoon ginger – I didn’t have this on hand but will certainty give it more flavor, I love cooking with ginger (hence why I am out)
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon coriander  
1 ½ teaspoon cumin
1 ½ teaspoon tumeric
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
* I used up leftover pho soup base instead of chicken stock, still came out great!
Optional add ins

 

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper – if you like it hot
1 teaspoon curry power
tomatoes – because let’s face it tomatoes are my favorite food and I will add them to any dish I can.
spinach add in at end
fresh parsley – add in at end
Directions:
                               1.     Place all ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a boil.

                                       2.     Reduce heat and cook, covered, for 40 minutes.
                                       3.     Ladle into 4 soup bowls and add spinach or fresh parsley
                                       4.     Serve and enjoy!

I told you it was easy!
You can really use any kind of lentils – red, green, yellow, pink. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time as some take longer to soften.
            Red – 30-35 minute
            Green – 45 minutes
            Brown 20-30 minutes
If you are using any of the other add-ins, just add them into the pot along with all the other ingredients.
The consistency of the soup changes depending on what you add and how long you cook it for. As it sits, more liquid is absorbed. So if you like it thick use less liquid and if you want more broth I would add another ½ – 1 cups of broth. 

Chicken Pho Soup

My search to find gluten free Pho Soup in Boston has failed. I can not find it anywhere!! So please please please tell me if you know where I can get gluten free Pho!
For those of you who are not familiar with Pho (pronounced ‘fuh’), it is a tradition Vietnamese noodle soup; a savory combination of aromatic spices including star anise, cinnamon and ginger, and usually served with beef or chicken. It originated in Northern Vietnamese and is usually eaten for breakfast. The noodles are made from rice and it is often served with Asian basil, mint leaves, limes and bean sprouts. Sometimes it is even served with a plum sauce or chili sauce, for those who like it hot. This is one of my all time favorite Asian dishes and before I went gluten free I ate it all the time. So you can just imagine my frustration when I found out that so many restaurants (all that I’ve been to, except for one in NYC) use MSG or some other form of gluten in their soup.
Due to my frustration last week at Le’s Vietnamese in Harvard Square – originally I was told the soup was safe to eat but once we got there our waitress informed me that the broth contained MSG – I decided to make my own homemade Pho Soup. I was at whole foods this morning and found Pacific Chicken Pho Soup Starter and I was so excited! I think I almost jumped for joy I was so excited. Good thing I didn’t because we all know how crowded Whole Foods is on Sunday.
So I bought the soup starter, chicken breast, bean sprouts, lime and green onions and of course I already had rice noodles in my pantry. Now before you call me lazy for not making my own broth and using this starter, have you ever seen the recipe to make your own? It involves parboiling fish bones and/or beef bones for hours. This link is a good recipe if you are interested.
This way is so much easier and just as tasty!  It can also be made with beef or vegetables, Pacific Foods makes all 3 starters. In 20 minutes or less you can be enjoying this convenient and flavorful soup..
Pho Chicken Soup Recipe: (makes 1 serving)
What you need:
       1 cup rice noodles, cooked ahead of time and prepared al dente. When added to the hot Pho broth, the noodles will finish softening to perfection.
       4-6 oz cooked or grilled chicken, sliced or cut into strips
       2 cups Pacific Organic Chicken Pho Base
       Condiments: bean sprouts, lime, fresh Asian basil, green onions, cilantro, fresh green or red chili peppers, hot chili sauce, plum sauce
What you do:
1.     Cook rice noodles to al dente
2.     Bake or grill chicken and slice or cut into stripes
3.     Bring soup base to a boil in a medium sized saucepan
4.     Lower heat and add chicken and noodles.
5.     Let stand on low heat for 3-4 minutes until chicken is warmed and noodles are fully cooked.
6.     Ladle into soup bowl and add ‘’condiments’’.
It’s best to lay all ‘’condiments’’ out on the table and let each person add what he or she wants. My favorites are bean sprouts, scallions, basil and lime. I never add the chilis or sauce because I can not handle that kind of heat.
And don’t forget, Pho is meant to be eaten with chopsticks and the broth is to be sipped from the bowl, slurping is ok!

Thai Yellow Curry Chicken Soup

After my recent trip to Asia I fell in love with Thai food. Two of my favorite dishes were Tom Kha Gai (coconut milk soup) and Yellow Chicken Curry. So I decided to combine the two and make a yellow curry paste and coconut milk soup with chicken. I like the yellow curry because it is less spicy than other varities of curry, but I’m sure the recipe would work with any type of curry paste. This is a very quick and easy recipe to make! This recipe makes about 4 servings.

Ingredients:
2 cup water
2 cup coconut milk
4 Tablespoons Yellow Curry Paste
1 inch fress ginger, thinly sliced
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks (or shrimp)
2 stalks lemongrass
1 onion, cut into big chuncks
1 tomato, cut into bite size peices
1 cup broccoli
1/3 cup sliced carrots
1/3 cup sliced celery
In a medium sized sauce pan add water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the yellow curry paste. Stir. Add vegetables, ginger and meat. (You can use any vegetables you would like, mushrooms, potatoes, bell peppers). Cook until meat is cooked thoroughly, stirring occasionally. Serve warm.
I’ve made this recipe twice. The first time I used coconut milk and the second time I used lite coconut milk. The first came out thicker than when I made it with lite coconut milk. But if you are on a low-fat diet than use the lite. I also added a handful of coconut flakes to the soup, I don’t think I could really taste the added coconut though. I’ve also used cherry tomatoes in place of plum tomatoes. You can really use almost any vegetable you like!
 I’ve made this recipe with leftover thanksgiving turkey meat, which was precooked and it came out great! It didn’t need to be cooked as long when I used already cooked meat. I added the vegetables first and cooked for about 3 minutes then added the turkey until the it was warmed all the way through and the brooth was hot.
In Thailand we were always served a side of rice with our meals. Adding plain white rice to the soup also tastes great! Enjoy!