Showing posts with label Engine 2 Diet Challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Engine 2 Diet Challenge. Show all posts

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Greek-Inspired Potato-Leek Soup with Lemon and Dill for Food 'N Flix: My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

What do you get when you put something mild and subtle together with something that is tart, lively and a little surprising? You get a tasty Potato-Leek Soup with Lemon and Dill inspired by the food-friendly romantic comedy, My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

It's my pleasure to be hosting Food 'n Flix for February, bringing together some of my favorite pastimes; cooking, eating and watching a good movie. I emailed Food 'n Flix's founder, Heather of girlichef and requested (begged?) to host this film because every time I watch it, it makes me laugh and feel good. If you have not seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding (and I insist that you must!), you can read my description of it here. It's a movie about family, culture clashes and love between Toula, a nice Greek girl with a big crazy family, and Ian, her non-Greek beau who is the only child of quiet, WASP parents. Although food is not the dominant plot line in this film, it is (along with Joey Fatone), a fun supporting character. From the Portokalos family restaurant, Dancing Zorba's, to the platters of spit-roasted lamb, to the Bundt, Mrs. Miller brings to dinner, to Ian being a vegetarian, and the constant offering of food to everyone--food is sprinkled in throughout.

Ian gives Toula his love and makes her happier than she has ever been, and Toula and her family bring a zany spark that Ian's life has been missing. For my dish inspired by the movie, I wanted to capture some of that spark and I stumbled across this soup which livens up a classic recipe with lemon and dill, giving it a Greek-ish feel. Since Ian "don't eat no meat!" and I am still on my 28-day Engine 2 Challenge--eating a plant-strong, meat, dairy and oil-free diet, It seemed like a great choice and something that could be served to either the Portokalos family or the Millers with success. The recipe comes from You Won't Believe It's Vegan!: 200 Recipes for Simple and Delicious Animal-Free Cuisine by Lacey Sher and Gail Doherty and I made a few changes in red below, to remove the oil and to bump up the lemon and dill flavor throughout the soup.

You Won't Believe It's Vegan says, "The lemon and dill we add to this traditional soup gives it a lightness and zip that's missing in the country classic."

Potato-Leek Soup with Lemon and Dill
Adapted from "You Won't Believe It's Vegan!"
(Serves 4-6)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (omitted)
6 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium white onion, cut into small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced (I used 5 cloves)
2 small leeks, sliced thinly (I used 3 not-so-small leeks)
2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice (I used 4 Yukon gold)
6 cups mixed low-sodium vegetable-broth & water
3 sprigs fresh dill chopped or 1 tsp dried dill (I added this to the soup & chopped up extra to garnish)
(juice of 1 lemon)
1 lemon sliced thinly for garnish
salt and pepper

In a 4-to6-quart stockpot, sauté the celery, onion, garlic, and one leek in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until softened. (I omitted the olive oil and sautéed in a bit of low sodium veggie broth.) Add the potatoes and broth, and bring to a boil . Turn down the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft, approximately 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a separate pan, sauté the remaining leek over medium-low heat in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until crisp but not burned. (I omitted this step.)

Garnish each bowl of soup with some dill, the crisped leeks, and a lemon sauce.

Chef's Tip: If you want a thicker consistency, blend half the soup in a blender before garnishing.

Notes/Results: I am a big fan of the classic potato-leek soup and I like how the dill and lemon really liven it up with a sunny kick of flavor. As you can see from my notes above, I bumped up the amounts of some of the key ingredients--to make it both heartier and to give more flavor. Taking out the oil reduced the calories--a cup is only about 114 calories, made it E-2 Challenge approved, and it wasn't missed. I am sure the sautéed leeks would be fabulous on top but I was fine without them and really enjoyed this soup, with some bread, for a light but satisfying meal. I would make this again.

If you would like to join in the Food 'n Flix fun with My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you have until Monday, February 27th to watch the movie and make and post a dish inspired by it. (Details for participating are here.) You can also join us for the March pick, Last Holiday, hosted by La Cocina de Leslie, and see the film line up for the next few months here.

Now let's take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who we have waiting.

Margo of has The Best French Onion Soup to share and says, "What is it about French Onion Soup that has such an allure for me? When I was in high school, I sliced up some onions, boiled them in beef broth, added some bread, covered it in the first available cheese (mozzarella) and was sorely disappointed when it didn’t taste like what would be served in a French restaurant.OK, so I’ve learned a few things along the way and now know that in order to make this soup, the onions require caramelization. The broth needs to be seasoned with herbs and simmered to blend all the flavors and mozzarella is not exactly the right cheese to use."

Tigerfish of Teczcape-An Escape to Food made this Chinese Vegetables Superior Broth Soup and says, "When it comes to winter, the body usually needs better blood circulation. Consuming warm fluids to facilitate good blood circulation is essential throughout the day, and soup is one of the sources to get "warm fluids" into the body; and especially when soup can be incorporated into our daily meals, it helps to keep us hydrated and warm inside. When a soup base or I call, broth of essence, is made from ikan bilis (Dried Anchovy), onion, garlic, ginger, dried scallops (conpoy), homemade chicken stock - it speaks downright comfort flavors no matter how plain it may look. Don't underestimate this plain-looking soup, looks can be deceiving."

It's famous British chef Delia Smith's hearty Bean, Bacon, & Parsley Soup filling up the soup bowl of Heather of girlichef this week. Heather says, "'I've been in the mood for lima beans when I came across a recipe in one of Smith's books that combined them with bacon and onion (sigh...heaven-scent. Yes, scent.)...I didn't turn another page. I knew what I was making. This soup has a surprising amount of flavor and is creamy, delicious, and chunky all at the same time."

It's so nice to have Carol of There's Always Thyme to Cook back with us this week. She says, "Specifically you should make this soup, Black Bean and Ancho Chile Soup with Roasted Chicken, Cilantro, and Lime. I got pretty ambitious with this one, ambitious for me anyway. Made the stock from scratch from a roasted chicken the night before. Usually I'd use a boxed stock and save homemade strictly for matzoh ball soup. And usually from raw pullets. I never thought to use the carcass from the roast chicken before, it made a great stock. I got almost a quart from one roast chicken. And the leftover meat wasn't all mushed up from being boiled for hours. This was excellent."

Joanne of Eats Well With Others is sharing a creamy Carrot and Tahini Soup this week and says, "If you have anything against all this soup. If you're getting bored of it. If you think it's kinda weird/strange/unusual that someone so against drinking calories...drinks them nightly in the form of blended carrot tahini mush heaven. Then you should probably speak now. Or forever hold your peace. ... This soup is a new favorite. Melissa Clark, whose recipe it is, gets it right just about every time, but this really is exceptional. Sweet, nutty, with just a hint of spice. It's an addiction in a bowl. No recreational drug flashbacks necessary."

Janet from The Taste Space has a soup and a salad this week. First is this Pickle Soup and Janet says, "Truly, pickle soup is a misnomer. Yes, there are pickles in it but it is not a dominant flavour. Just like vinegar and lemon juice are added to enhance the balance of a soup’s flavour, pickles do the exact same thing here. They add that salty and acidic touch.So if this isn’t a pickle soup, it is a soup filled to the brim with veggies! It has an Eastern European flavour profile with dill and cabbage but it also has a hint of thyme. The veggies are bountiful, making this a huge pot of soup – leek, delicate oyster mushrooms, celeriac, carrot, turnip, Swiss chard, cabbage, red bell pepper – as well as barley."

Janet's second dish, this colorful salad, came from the ingredients for a less successful recipe lacking flavor. Changing it up, Janet says, "I veered towards an alternative route, towards a Mango, Black Bean and Quinoa Salad with a Sesame Orange Dressing, that I ended up adapting from Eating Well. Bonus broccoli, of course. After trying the first dish, this was a much better alternative. Light and fresh. Bright with the mango with subtle flavours from the fresh orange juice, toasted sesame oil and cilantro. I added toasted sesame seeds to highlight more of the sesame flavor."

Here's a healthy Sprouted Mung Bean Salad from Judee from Gluten-Free A-Z Blog who says, "Notice the little mung beans in this salad. They are sprouted and packed with nutrition. Sprouting is a super easy way to add extra protein , nutrition, enzymes, and antioxidants to your diet. Sprouts are very low in calories and low in carbs to boot! ... Mung is a small bean that is dark green in color. It is sold in Indian food markets, Chinese food markets,health food stores, and on Amazon. It makes the typical bean sprout that you find in Chinese recipes. The mung bean salad was fresh and delicious and different than our typical nightly salad."

Please join me in welcoming Victoria of Tastes of the Sun, who joins us from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico with this Winter Salad with Roasted Beets and Citrus Reduction. She says, "This is such a straightforward and refreshing salad for winter--or anytime! When I decided to make this salad, I knew I might not find the radicchio (I rarely do here in San Miguel), but otherwise, the ingredients are readily available and easy to find. As for the citrus reduction--it is such a perfect dressing for the beets. The result? A delicious, healthy salad perfect for colder days." Welcome to Souper Sundays Victoria!

Such wonderful soups and salads this week--many thanks to everyone who joined in! If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays badge on the side bar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Beets with Yogurt & Pistachios (Pantzarosalata): A Heart-Healthy Salad for a Pink and Festive Valentine's Day

Sure, roses are lovely for Valentine's Day, chocolate is even better... But, if you really want to show someone how much you care, say it with beets. They are full of phytonutrients and provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. They are a great source of folate, and manganese, and a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C--making them effective for protecting the body from diseases--like heart disease for example. OK, maybe I haven't convinced you to forgo the holiday flowers and candy, but start off with a plate of creamy beet salad with crunchy pistachios on top and you will have earned a little chocolate for dessert.

These Beets with Yogurt & Pistachios (Pantzarosalata) are from Food From Many Greek Kitchens by Tessa Kiros. I know not everyone is a beet lover out there, but these are surprisingly good with the tangy yogurt and lemon dressing going nicely with the earth sweetness of the beets. To make this dish fit my vegan, no oil Engine 2 challenge (starting week three and still going plant-strong!), I cut the olive oil out completely and used plain soy yogurt that I strained overnight to get a creamier texture.

Tessa says, "This is the way my friend Annette makes her beet salad. I love the colors here. And its freshness, even though it looks mayonnaisy; it’s a surprise to remember that it’s actually much lighter than it looks. This is wonderful with fresh, roasted beets, or you can also use canned beets, in which case it will only take a second to put together. If you are using fresh ones and they have leaves, you can boil those too for a few minutes and dress them with olive oil to serve. If using fresh, cut the leaves well above the bulb so that they don’t bleed."

Beets with Yogurt & Pistachios (Pantzarosalata)
Very slightly adapted from Food From Many Greek Kitchens
(Serves 4 to 6)

1 lb 7 oz beets (about 4), leaves trimmed, or 1 lb 2 oz canned beets
3 Tbsp olive oil (I omitted)
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 Tbsp coarsely chopped Italian parsley
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 1/3 cups Greek yogurt (I subbed in plain soy yogurt)
1 Tbsp shelled pistachio nuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wash the (fresh) beets well, being careful not to pierce their skins. Wrap each fresh beet individually in aluminum foil and bake for about 1 hour, until tender when tested with a sharp knife.

Whip the oil lightly in a bowl with the lemon juice and garlic.

Wearing kitchen gloves, peel the beets. Trim away the root and cut them into nice chunks. If you are using canned beets, rinse if necessary and trim away any tough end bits and cut into chunks. Put in a bowl. Add the lemon oil, parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Add the yogurt and mix gently. Scatter the pistachio nuts on top and serve.

Notes/Results: I was worried that my substitutions would change the texture and flavor too much, especially since I am not a big fan of eating soy yogurt on its own, but it actually worked quite well. Straining the yogurt removed some of the liquid and although Greek yogurt is still much creamier, once it is all mixed together it isn't that noticeable. If possible, go the roasted beets route. It sweetens the beets and gives them much better taste and texture than you get from canned. The pistachios not only look pretty on top of the pink salad, they add a great bit of texture. I served this on a bed of fresh spinach and used my heart-shaped cookie cutter to make it festive. It's a little fun, a little different, and a great way to get some healthy beets into your diet. I will make this again.

We are In the Pink this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs--cooking up some rosy-hued dishes. You can check out what everyone made by going to the site and following the links.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Coconut Chickpea & Kale Soup: Fast & Easy Clean Eating for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Finding a healthy soup that can be made in 15 minutes is good. Finding a healthy soup that can be made in 15 minutes and tastes great is even better. This Coconut Chickpea and Kale Soup is from this month's Clean Eating magazine, a favorite source of healthy recipes. I was attracted by the mix of ingredients--all things I like but wouldn't necessarily have thought to put together.

Clean Eating says, "A rich, creamy puree with bold South Asian flavors makes this quick, easy soup taste like it's been simmering on the stove top for hours!"

Coconut Chickpea Soup with Toasted Pita
Clean Eating Magazine, March 2012
(Serves 4)
Hands on Time: 15 minutes / Total Time: 15 minutes

2 (15 oz) cans unsalted chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups roughly torn kale leaves, tough stems removed
2 cloves garlic
15 oz low-fat coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp raw honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
4 whole-wheat pitas, cut into triangles and toasted

In a blender, combine chickpeas, broth kale, garlic, coconut milk, curry powder, cumin, honey, salt and pepper. Puree until completely smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a medium pot and heat on medium-high. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Divide among serving bowls and serve with pitas.

Nutrients per Serving (1 1/2 cups soup and 1 whole-wheat pita): Calories 398, Total Fat 9 g, Sat Fat 6 g, Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g, Carbs 64 g, Fiber 12 g, Sugars 5 g, Protein 17 g, Sodium 545 mg, Cholesterol 0 mg.

Clean Eating Nutritional Bonus: Chickpeas to help you relax? Yes! In fact, chickpeas are a good sour of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that your body needs to make protein. High tryptophan foods play a role in lifting your mood, and tryptophan is even used therapeutically to help treat anxiety, depression and sleep disorders.

Notes/Results: Creamy, a little spicy from the curry, this soup has a lot of good flavor. I like the kick from the curry and the smokiness of the ground cumin and how they soften the slight bitterness of the kale. My soup appears darker green than the picture in the magazine. I think it's because I really packed those kale leaves into the measuring cup--in my opinion, the more greens the better. ;-) Even though this is a blended soup, between the chickpeas and the coconut milk, it is very satisfying--especially with the pita to dunk in it. So quick and easy to toss together after a long day, I will definitely make this one again.

There are delicious dishes galore in the Souper Sunday kitchen--let's take a look.

Margo--the other Saucy Cook from is here this week and repurposed her favorite soup when she's sick into a heart healthy Mexican Fusion Chicken Soup. Margo says, "I have a few friends that are concerned about the health of their hearts and I’ve given out the recipe. Not sure if anyone has made the soup yet but those people who have tried it, really liked it. It’s also high-fiber, vitamin packed and a little spicy, I think I’ll change the name from “sick” soup to “optimum health” soup. This is a great thing to store in the fridge and grab when you need something to nosh on that won’t pack on the pounds. Now I’ve decided to start making it while I’m healthy, to keep me healthy." Welcome Margo!

Simona of briciole made a hearty and healthy Savory Cabbage and Kale Soup for Anna inspired by the book, Anna, Heart of a Peasant. She says, "I made a number of changes to adapt it to my taste and ingredients I have available. I used a lovely purple Savoy cabbage, locally grown, and Red Russian kale from my garden. I added a bit of celery and thyme to the garlic, onion and carrot base, used fire-roasted crushed tomatoes instead of puréed tomatoes, omitted the sugar and cut down the lemon juice. Finally, I topped the soup with homemade kefir instead of sour cream."

Janet from The Taste Space made this Iraqi Pomegranate Stew (Shorbat Rumman). She says, "I originally spotted this Iraqi Pomegranate Stew on Julia’s blog. I am always thrilled to find new ways to add pomegranate molasses to my meals, and I was tickled pink when I saw it had many of my other favourite ingredients- beets, spinach, split peas, lime juice, cinnamon, cilantro and even mint! The flavours of stew combine the salty, sweet, and savoury perfectly. It helped that I followed Julia’s recommendation of adding more split peas and rice, and removing the sugar altogether. The pomegranate molasses gives this a nice sweet tang all by its lonesome."

A new face at Souper Sundays this week is Judee from Gluten Free A-Z Blog here with a ruby red Valentine Beet Borscht. She says, "Why not make something good for the heart this Valentine's Day? Love beets? ? Both sets of my Russian grandparents thrived on Borscht (Cold beet soup), and my paternal grandmother lived to the ripe old age of one hundred and seven! Until her death, she was feisty, dignified, happy, and with it. Longevity was prevalent with my Russian ancestors and so was borscht (is there a connection??)" Welcome Judee!

Foodycat made the most of a chicken, turning it into the foundation of several delicious meals. Part of the yummy homemade chicken broth became the base for her hearty and warming (it's a nippy a -8 degrees Celsius at her house right now) Minestrone. She says, "The last of the chicken broth became a pot of minestrone. Carrots, onions, borlotti beans, some smoked Polish sausage, canned tomatoes, macaroni and shredded cabbage joined the broth in a big, cuddly potful that lasted us a couple of days."

Debby from A Feast for the Eyes is here with a satisfying Beef and Barley Slow Cooker Soup and says, "This soup has a very rich red color to it, because of the crushed tomatoes and red wine. The beef is super tender. I felt a little disappointed in that I didn't go with my gut instinct to increase the amount of barley from 1/4 cup to at least 1/2 cup. I really appreciate a higher barley to beef ratio, and I could barely detect in the soup. As for the flavor, I liked it. I'm a lover of all things flavored tomato, but I felt that the crushed tomato overpowered the flavor of the beef. However, my son disagreed with me. He loved this soup."

Sue from Couscous and Consciousness has two dishes to share this week. First up, Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Olives, Lemon & Yoghurt from Tessa Kiros. Sue says, "Tessa suggests other possible toppings - rosemary, cream, a drizzle of chilli oil or truffle oil, maybe even a couple of grilled prawns. I think also a dollop of creme fraiche or mascarpone could be a nice alternative to the yoghurt. This could also be nice for a gathering served in small glasses, with all the toppings set out on the table in individual dishes for your guests to "dress" their soup according to their tastes. Whatever ... no matter how you serve this soup you're going to love it. The colour is sublime, the texture thick and velvety, and the flavour bold and robust."

Sue also made this Fried Zucchini, Pea & Quinoa Salad inspired by an Ottolenghi recipe. She says, "The original recipe combined fried zucchini with edamame, pasta and buffalo mozzarella. However, lacking both edamame and buffalo mozzarella, and not wanting to venture out to the supermarket, I used some frozen peas and feta - both of which I had on hand. I also swapped the pasta out for some quinoa, since I was in the mood for something a little lighter. ... I hope you'll give this salad a try - the quinoa is healthy, nutritious, and has a lovely nutty flavour which marries well with the fried zucchini and feta. A glass of pinot gris on the side and you have the perfect summer meal."

Akheela of Torview is here this week with this colorful Cabbage Salad that she says is very "simple and easy to make." In addition to cabbage, there are onions and carrots and a spicy-sweet-tangy dressing made from vinegar, brown sugar and chile powder. It's a perfectly-hued addition to a healthy Valentine's Day plate.

An appetizer from Mark Bittman's Food Matters inspired Chipotle Squash Salad with Jicama, Goat Cheese, and Avocado for Joanne of Eats Well With Others. She says, "Though these were meant to be served as an appetizer, I couldn't help but de-skewer them and turn them into a salad! Spicy sweet from honey chipotle glaze, with cooling refreshing bites of jicama, goat cheese, and avocado in-between, this salad was exactly what I craved at lunch almost every day last week. And I loved knowing that I was infusing health into my body with every bite."

Finally we have one decadent sandwich creation from Heather of girlichef, Fried Mozzarella Sandwiches. She says, "This sandwich won't win any beauty pageants, but a plate stacked high with wedges of them will be the first thing your kids make a beeline for when they walk in the door after a "hard" day at school. In fact, it's pretty hard for kids of any age to resist melty cheese in a crispy-fried crust, isn't it? It is. I'm gonna admit...they're pretty messy to make. My hands were covered in egg and bread crumbs from trying to hold them together and get everything to adhere before frying. But it was totally worth it. Totally."

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week with their wonderful dishes. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Puréed Yellow Split Peas (Fava)--Creamy Comfort Food

A quick post for an insane week. These Puréed Yellow Split Peas are a creamy mashed potato like comfort food dish from Food From Many Greek Kitchens. I left out the olive oil so that it complies with my Engine 2 challenge guidelines. I ate it as a main dish with a side of veggie broth sautéed collard greens and it made a nourishing and filling dinner.

Tessa says, "In Greece, fava refers to dried yellow split peas that, when boiled, melt into a creamy purée. This is great splashed with olive oil, pepper, capers and chunks of sweet red onions. It can be served as a meze with bread and cheese. It also works beautifully next to a main course, for example with grilled lamb cutlets."

Puréed Yellow Split Peas
Adapted from Food From Many Greek Kitchens
(Makes 4 Cups)

1 lb 2 oz yellow split peas
1 small red onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
About 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
(I added 1/2 cup almond milk to make it creamier/smoother)
olive oil for serving
1 large red onion, sliced, for serving
handful of capers with leaves for serving

Rinse the fava, then put into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Drain and give the lava a shower in a colander. Rinse out the pot, put the fava back in and add four cups of hot water. Bring to a boil, add the whole onion and garlic and simmer, partly covered, for about 30 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer over low heat, stirring from time to time, for about 30 minutes more or until all the water has been absorbed and it starts glooping on the surface.

Stir in the salt to taste. Discard the onion and garlic cloves (Note: I left the garlic cloves in), and pulse the fava, with a hand-held blender if you have one, or in a food processor until smooth like soft mashed potato--much will have collapsed on its own and it may not even be necessary to purée. Leave it to sit for a bit, then spoon into a serving dish. Drizzle a good amount of olive oil over the top. Serve warm with the onion slices, capers, and a grinding of pepper.

Note: If you have made it beforehand, you will need to add some water and beat it to thin out again to a soft creamy mash, as it will have set in a clump.

Notes/Results: Simple, creamy and good. A couple of cooking notes--I had to cook my fava an additional 20 minutes to get it to the creamy texture I wanted, as well as adding about 1/2 cup of almond milk to make it moist. I also left the garlic cloves in and pureed it along with the peas.The puréed lentils are good, but when eaten with the caper and onion topping, it tastes even better. Although this recipe is isn't anything fancy, it hit the spot, has more fiber, protein, and other nutrients than mashed potatoes, and it is my contribution to this week's Potluck theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs.

You can check out the Potluck creations that the other IHCC participants made by going to the post and following the links.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup: Rosy-Red & Healthy for Souper (Soup, Salad and Sammie) Sundays

I must confess that I was a beet hater until very recently. I'm not sure why--maybe it was the canned beets that made up my beet experience that made me place them firmly in the dislike column of my veggie list. Slowly, through trail and experimentation (and plenty of goat cheese at first), roasted beets moved their way over into the like column. Beet juice followed. Finally I found I don't even mind the canned ones--in small doses, mixed in a salad.

I saw this recipe in the February 2012 Whole Living Magazine. (You can also find it on the magazine's website here). The combination of the roasted beets, roasted garlic and leeks sounded good. To make it fit the 28 Day--Engine 2 Challenge I am doing, I roasted the beets and garlic without oil and cooked the leeks in a bit of veggie stock. I also bumped up the lemon juice--I like how much it brightens the earthy sweetness of the beets in this simple soup.

Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup
Adapted From Whole Living, February 2012
(Serves 4--Makes 4 Cups)

3 medium beets (I used 6 small beets)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling (omitted)
6 unpeeled garlic cloves (I used 8 cloves)
1 large leek, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
coarse salt and pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used abut 3 Tbsp)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle beets with olive oil and roast in parchment-lined foil until tender, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, drizzle garlic cloves with oil and roast in separate foil packet, about 30 minutes. Unwrap beets, let cool, peel, and quarter. Squeeze garlic from skin. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add leek and cook, stirring, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beets and garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and 3 cups water. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Let cool slightly, then puree in a blender until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and adjust seasoning to taste.

Nutritional Information: Per Serving: 130 calories, 9g fat, (1 g sat fat), 2 g protein, 3 g fiber. Note: Taking out the oil brings the calories down to about 70 and the fat to .2 g just in case you were wondering)

Notes/Results: Rosy-red, thick and full of flavor. This is a fairly low-effort soup--once the beets and garlic are roasted, it goes together quickly. I needed a bit more lemon than the recipe called for to make it to my liking, so I added another tablespoon and it was perfect. I enjoyed this soup warm, garnished with a few slices of beet, but I liked it even better cold for lunch the next day when the flavors really popped. I would make this one again.

It's a soupy Superbowl weekend here at Souper Sundays. We have a few soup-loving friends waiting, so let's take a look.

Tigerfish from Teczcape - An Escape to Food starts us off with this comforting Fresh Herbs Chicken Macaroni Soup. She says, "With homemade chicken stock, I find myself indulging in soups more than ever. Freshening soups with generous amounts of finely chopped cilantro and green onions, plus that little fresh chili for extra kick has become the magical fresh touch to the last, that awakens the soup seconds before serving (and slurping!). Oh this is comfort and instant satisfaction!"

We have two new faces to welcome to Souper Sundays this week. First up is Jill~a SaucyCook from who is blogging from Denver, Colorado. She's here with a No Cream Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with a Kick and says, "A quick inventory of the vegetable bin determined that I would be making yet another Butternut Squash Soup, but certainly not the same one already published here! No, this one would be more savory than sweet and bite you back upon closing your mouth on the spoon." Welcome Jill!

Our second newbie is Torwen from Torwen's Blog, joining us from the United Kingdom with this Vegan Singaporean Laksa. Torwen says, "This recipe is a mix from different sources and I adjusted it to my own preferences of course. The spice past is more or less based on Ottolenghi's recipe and I also referred heavily on this nice vegan recipe from Hunger Pangs. But there are endlessly more good Laksa recipes out there in the web. A colourful novelty I introduced was however, the use of black rice noodles. The end result is a beautiful, spicy, and warming vegan Laksa (you can see the black rice noodles at about 5 o'clock on the picture below)." Welcome Torwen!

Janet from The Taste Space has a hearty Martinique Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Eggplant and Pineapple to share this week and says, "...this curry originates from Martinique, an Eastern Caribbean island, that has elements from Africa, France, the Caribbean and South Asia in its cuisine. The distinctive flavours come from the Colombo spice mix that includes cumin, coriander, mustard, fenugreek, black peppercorns, cloves and turmeric. The curry gets its heft from starchy sweet potatoes, but butternut squash could equally be used. The eggplant melts into the coconut-curry broth, tangy from the tamarind and lime juice."

Finally we have Joanne from Eats Well With Others, who made this healthy Quinoa Chowder with Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Feta, and Scallions while saving her kitchen from her pancake-making roommate and her boyfriend. Joanne says, "After they were safely tucked away in Anu's room. Eating. Happily. I got to dig into my chowder. And maybe it was the fact that by this point, I was hungry enough to eat my own hand...but it was all the comfort I needed after that trying kitchen experience. There are no crazy innovative flavor combinations in here, just tried and true favorites that you can depend on to taste good."

Thanks to the friends--both old and new who joined in with their soups this week. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!