Healthy Pumpkin Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms

Oh my gosh! This was so good. I have to give all the credit to Elena at HappyKitchen.Rocks! I followed her recipe with a few adjustments: I used canned pumpkin, as this was a last minute dinner idea and I happened to have canned organic pumpkin in my pantry (but not a whole sugar pumpkin lying around!), I added a half a chopped leek, just one large clove of garlic, freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano instead of the chopped walnuts, chicken stock instead of vegetable broth and left off the pumpkin oil (no idea where that would come from?).  If you want to keep it vegan use the chopped walnuts instead of cheese and vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. My son made some homemade pumpkin spaghetti with his pasta machine, substituting a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin puree for the usual water and oil he would put in the dough. It was soooo good! I had most of mine with some leftover frozen spaghetti squash I had in the freezer, but I had to try the pasta as well. I wasn’t sure I was going to post this, so I am lacking in pictures, next time I make it I will update with more pictures.  I think this is the beginning of my usual Fall Pumpkin Crush (I made pumpkin granola yesterday)…

Healthy Pumpkin Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Rich, creamy and very healthy pasta (or vegetable noodles) with sautéed mushrooms and spinach topped with a savory pumpkin sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 leek, white part only, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 can organic pumpkin (make sure nothing else is added, especially sugar as this is a savory dish, not pie). Or a small sugar pumpkin, roasted and puréed.
  • about 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you prefer to make this vegan). The amount may vary a bit.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 10 oz fresh spinach
  • Fresh pasta of choice or spaghetti squash
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnishing (unless making it vegan – then try chopped walnuts or toasted pine nuts or nutritional yeast).

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the mushrooms with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread the mushrooms in an even layer and roast until soft and golden, about 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through. Add the spinach for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  3. While the mushrooms cook, sauté the leeks and garlic for a few minutes or until they soften and become fragrant. Add pumpkin puree and small amounts of the chicken stock, until it is thinner than a soup, but still thick enough to grab onto your pasta. Cook over very low heat, stir frequently, and periodically add stock as it thickens while you cook it. Season with salt, pepper and sage.
  4. Cook the pasta according to package directions (or vegetable “noodles”). Drain.
  5. Mix noodles with spinach, mushrooms and sauce. Serve in bowls with freshly grated parmesan and enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    October 22, 2018

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The finished pumpkin sauce (leftovers).

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Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragu

I am obsessed with spaghetti squash. I forgot about it all summer, but now I am seeing it on the grocery shelves and I had to buy one this week. It is just my “pastaterian” (I made that up, or a friend did, meaning he would only eat pasta if I let him) son and I for dinner tonight, and I decided I would make a big pot of vegetable ragu and add ground beef to a portion of the ragu to make it Bolognese-like for him.  This way everyone is happy with little extra effort. This provided plenty of leftover sauce to freeze for later use.

Part of  my obsession with spaghetti squash is that when cooked it really shreds like spaghetti! On top of that it is healthy – one cup is only 42 calories, it has fiber, vitamin A, several B vitamins, as well as vitamins C, E and K.  This is pretty much the same recipe as Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Vegetable Ragu but I am making it a separate recipe so people can find it easily. Basically the difference is baking the dish in the squash shells and topping with mozzarella cheese versus with this recipe I scoop out all the spaghetti squash and serve it like a pasta with sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

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Amazing how it shreds like spaghetti!

Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragu

  • Servings: variable
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Fun and healthy twist on spaghetti with a vegetarian pasta sauce using spaghetti squash and a hearty vegetable ragu.

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into a small dice
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into a small dice
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Squash Preparation:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (or more if you are feeding more than 2 or 3 people)
  • olive oil (spray if available)
  • salt and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Carefully slice the squash in half from top to bottom.  Remove the seeds with a spoon by scooping them out and lightly scraping the inside of the squash to get it completely seed-free.
  3. Spray or rub a little olive oil on the inside of the squash and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender and slightly golden on the cut sides.
  4. While the squash cooks, prep the vegetables and make the sauce by heating some olive oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat.
  5. Sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and chopped bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until the vegetables are softened.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste and cook one minute. Add the tomatoes, herbs and a little more salt and pepper and red pepper flakes if desired. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes, longer if possible so the sauce gets thick.
  7. When the squash is tender remove it from the oven and let cool slightly.
  8. Run the fork along on the inside so it divides up like spaghetti and put in a bowl. Discard the squash “skin.”
  9. Serve squash strands with the vegetable ragu and a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

Notes: 

  • You can slice the very top and bottom of the squash to make it easier and safer before cutting it in half, or you can microwave the squash for a minute or two (poke a hole in the squash first) to soften it slightly before cutting.
  • You can save time by using jarred pasta sauce, but I think that the sauce plays a very important role here, so I prefer to make my own. This recipe actually makes much more sauce than you will need, so I freeze the rest for another use. Make once and eat many more times! I put mine on homemade pizza the next day!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    September 26, 2018

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Scooping seeds out of raw squash
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Shredding the cooked squash
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Prepping the vegetables for the ragu
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Sautéing the vegetables
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Finished Vegetarian Ragu
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Ragu with meat added
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Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragu
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Pasta with Beef Ragu

 

Grilled Shrimp and Watermelon Salad with Feta

Today was a nice warm Spring day here in the Bay Area, so I thought a watermelon salad would be nice for dinner. I love watermelon and feta, although I did consider using grilled Halloumi cheese instead, but went with feta since it is a lot more economical, but I may try it next time with the Halloumi. Next was some protein to make it a complete meal in my husband’s eyes, started with chicken, but switched to shrimp to make all family members happy as my son currently is not loving chicken. I also think the salad would be good with some cherry tomatoes, but alas, my market only had small tomatoes that were a very under-ripe light red color, so I left them out. But if you have access to good vine-ripened tomatoes, include them.  Enjoy with a glass of cold Rosé from Provence!

Grilled Shrimp and Watermelon Salad with Feta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: fairly easy
  • Print

Light and refreshing Spring/Summer Salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon white miso
  • 1 teaspoon light honey
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus a Tablespoon more for the shrimp)
  • 2 Tablespoons raw pinenuts
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • About 4 cups cubed watermelon (about 1/2 small seedless watermelon)
  • 1 large head of red leaf lettuce, washed and torn into small pieces
  • About 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh chiffonade mint (cut in fine shreds)

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl mix 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.  Add the raw shrimp and let soak for 15 minutes to 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  3. While the shrimp brines, whisk in a small bowl, the vinegar, miso, and honey. Gradually whisk in the oil. Set aside.
  4. Roast the pine nuts for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and set aside.
  5. Remove Shrimp from brine and drain completely. Coat shrimp with a mixture of olive oil, garlic and pepper. Grill or Broil shrimp for 3-5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.
  6. Place about a cup of torn lettuce on each plate. Add cut watermelon, grilled shrimp, a sprinkle of feta, a sprinkle of pine nuts and pour some dressing over the salad. Garnish with chopped mint. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

June 11, 2018

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Spring Cherry Pistachio Salad

Hello Spring! Here in the SF Bay Area it finally feels like spring. The weather has been wacky, felt more like fall than spring recently, but the last two days have been beautiful and warm (ok, less warm today…but I made this yesterday) so I decided to make a salad with fresh bing cherries, tomatoes, avocados and pistachios. It turned out to be a really nice and substantial salad for dinner.

Spring Cherry Pistachio Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Healthy spring/summer salad.

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 1 thick slice of bacon (I used applewood smoked bacon)
  • ½ cup unsalted pistachios
  • 1 cup pitted cherries, quartered
  • 1 avocado, diced and soaked in lime juice
  • 12 ounces Mixed Baby lettuce or Romaine lettuce, torn in bite-sized pieces
  • 3 white button mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, small crumbles

 

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light miso
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Procedure

  1. Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl with a whisk. Set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon slice in the oven at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or until desired crispiness is achieved. Remove from oven, pat off as much grease as you can and mince.
  3. While bacon cooks, lightly toast pistachios in the same oven. Approximately 5-8 minutes, careful not to burn them. Set aside to cool.
  4. Wash and pit the cherries. Slice them in quarters.
  5. Slice the mushrooms thinly
  6. Halve or quarter the tomatoes.
  7. Chop the feta.
  8. Chop the pistachios.
  9. Fill the large salad bowl with lettuce, then add mushrooms, tomatoes, avocados, cherries, feta, and pistachios.  Serve the dressing on the side.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

May 10, 2017

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Roasted pistachios

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Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Vegetable Ragu

Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Vegetable Ragu

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Fun and healthy twist on spaghetti and parmesan dishes using spaghetti squash and a hearty vegetable ragu.

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into a small dice
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into a small dice
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Squash Preparation:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 oz. bag of fresh organic spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup (approx.) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Carefully slice the squash in half from top to bottom.  Remove the seeds with a spoon by scooping them out and lightly scraping the inside of the squash to get it completely seed-free.
  3. Rub a little olive oil on the inside of the squash and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender and slightly golden on the cut sides.
  4. While the squash cooks, prep the vegetables and make the sauce by heating some olive oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat.
  5. Sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and chopped bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until the vegetables are softened.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste and cook one minute. Add the tomatoes, herbs and a little more salt and pepper and red pepper flakes if desired. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes, longer if possible so the sauce gets thick.
  7. When the squash is tender remove it from the oven and run the fork along on the inside so it divides up like spaghetti.
  8. Turn the oven on to Broil.
  9. Microwave the spinach for one minute and press out the excess water. Divide up the spinach and parmesan in half and add to each squash half. Add about 1/2 cup of sauce and mix into the squash. Top with a little more sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  10. Place squash under broiler and cook until cheese is melted and starting to brown slightly.
  11. Depending on the size of the squash and your appetite either cut each half again so they are in quarters or serve as is.  Enjoy!

Notes: 

  • You can slice the very top and bottom of the squash to make it easier and safer before cutting it in half, or you can microwave the squash for a minute or two (poke a hole in the squash first) to soften it slightly before cutting.
  • You can save time by using jarred pasta sauce, but I think that the sauce plays a very important role here, so I prefer to make my own. This recipe actually makes much more sauce than you will need, so I freeze the rest for another use. Make once and eat many more times! I put mine on homemade pizza the next day!
  • Make it dairy-free: My daughter does not eat cheese, so I made hers without the parmesan and mozzarella and it was still very delicious.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    February 24, 2018

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Onions, garlic, mushrooms and bell peppers sautéing 
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Cleaning the seeds out of the squash
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The sauce when it was thick and finished cooking. Delicious!
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Separating out the squash “spaghetti strings”
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The finished product. We cut ours in quarters because it was pretty big. Worked out well, we both ate the rest for lunch the next day.

 

 

Pomegranate and Grilled Haloumi Salad

It is autumn and that means pomegranate time! I love pomegranates but I hate getting the arils (seeds) out of them. I pretty much have avoided them unless I was willing to shell out the cash to buy the arils in a package. Then to be honest they are often slimy and not so great. But lo and behold I discovered recently that cutting open a pomegranate doesn’t have to look like something was butchered in my  kitchen! I can’t believe I didn’t know this until a couple of weeks ago–how did I miss this? This would have saved my children and myself a lot of anxiety every autumn when they wanted my to buy whole pomegranates and I would try my best to avoid it or get really crazy with bibs and aprons and tons of paper towels to contain the flying red juice. Sorry kids! Click here for detailed instructions on how to accomplish this feat and keep your hands their natural color.

I got this recipe idea from the wonderful chef my husband hired for my birthday recently. She made this incredible little appetizer of crostini, grilled Haloumi cheese and pomegranate seeds. The flavors were so incredible and so autumn-like! So today I was trying to come up with an interesting salad with pomegranate seeds and then I thought about the warmed Haloumi cheese and voilà, this is what I came up with. Hope you all like it as much as we did!

Pomegranate and Grilled Haloumi Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Vibrant pomegranate, fennel, tomato, baby lettuce and Haloumi salad is full of wonderful autumn flavors .

Credit: adapted from Haloumi, Pomegranate and Rocket Salad on Taste.com.au 

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 180 grams Haloumi Cheese, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 12 ounces of mixed baby lettuces
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, very thinly sliced, reserve some fronds for garnish
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded (see this page for excellent instructions)

Procedure

  1. Mix first four ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking to emulsify it. Set dressing aside.
  2. Place the greens and fennel slices in a large serving bowl.
  3. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the pine nuts to the dry pan and toast for a few minutes. Careful they burn fast! Remove pine nuts and set aside.
  4. Add a little cooking spray to pan and heat up again. Add the Haloumi slices and cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until slightly browned. Remove from pan and place on top of salad.
  5. Heat up the tomato halves in the hot pan for just a couple of  minutes, adding a little salt and pepper and spread them on top of the Haloumi on the salad. Add the pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts and serve with the dressing on the side (or toss if you prefer).
  6. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

October 25, 2017

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Beautiful pomegranate arils
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Slicing the fennel
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ingredients
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Cooking the Haloumi
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The finished salad

Tomato, Corn and Avocado Salad with Ricotta Salata

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Pretty warm day here in the Bay Area. I decided I would make crab cakes Crab Cakes and a tomato, corn and avocado salad. This was based on what looked fresh at the grocery store today. Just a quick salad that I threw together, no actual recipe, but I tried to capture it the best I could in the recipe below. Enjoy!

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Tomato, Corn and Avocado Salad with Ricotta Salata

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

Healthy and quick spring/summer salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half or quarters depending on size
  • 1 avocado, diced and soaked in lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (approx)
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, cooked and sliced off the cobb
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta salata cheese, very small dice
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

Procedure

  1. Combine the tomatoes, avocado with lime juice, corn and ricotta in a medium bowl. Try to add the corn while it is still hot or warm, it warms up the rest of the salad and makes the flavor more intense. Mix well.
  2. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper and olive oil and mix well.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

May 10, 2017

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Artichoke Hummus

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So easy and so delicious! I got the recipe from Feed Me Phoebe and I have made it several times. The first couple of times I used Great Northern beans instead of Garbanzo beans and I have also used marinated artichokes instead of water-packed artichokes, but I think it is healthier with the water-packed artichokes. I have also added a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach in the past, which I would have done today, but I am out of spinach! The hummus is great any of these ways. Below is the basic recipe, pretty much unchanged from Phoebe Lapine’s recipe.

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Sublime with a Himalayan Pink Salt Lentil Chip

Artichoke Hummus

  • Servings: 6-10
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

Super quick and healthy hummus with items easily found in a pantry.

Credit:  Feed Me Phoebe 

Ingredients

  • One 15 ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • One 15-ounce can artichoke hearts in water
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (one lemon)
  • kosher salt
  • pinch or two of paprika
  • one or two tablespoons of water
  • splash of extra virgin olive oil

Procedure

  1. Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil in a blender or food processor and puree until fairly smooth (I like it a little bumpy still). Taste for seasoning.
  2. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika. Serve with crudités and lentil chips (or the more traditional pita chips). Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

May 9, 2017

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Mushroom Spinach Soup with Middle Eastern Spices

Wow, ten days have passed since I last posted a recipe! My daughter was home for spring break and she was bored so she decided she would do a lot of the cooking, so Helpful! But she doesn’t follow recipes or want to participate in my blogging project, so I haven’t had much to post. Thank you again Melissa Clark and New York Times Cooking for this recipe! This is a very healthy and hearty vegetarian soup that can be bulked up further with lentils, grains or sausage (no longer vegetarian then) if one desires. We decided we just wanted a warm vegetarian soup that wasn’t too heavy, so we left it as is except we added a can of chopped tomatoes and some broth to the recipe.

Mushroom Spinach Soup with Middle Eastern Spices

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Rich and Hearty vegetarian soup that has a lot of add-in options

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb mixed mushrooms such as shiitake, cremini, oyster, etc. medium dice
  • ½ lb shallots, finely diced
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped (use a little less if dried)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground allspice
  • one 14.5 oz can chopped peeled tomatoes (organic or no salt added if possible)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup of low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • fresh lime juice, to taste (I cut one lime and served the wedges with the soup so people could squeeze in as much as they wanted at the table)
  • plain yogurt, for serving (optional)

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Spread out chopped mushrooms and shallots on a large lightly oiled sheet pan.  Sprinkle vegetables with a little salt and pepper and a little olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes and then stir. Roast for another 10 minutes or until the mushrooms have substantially shrunk and most of the liquid has evaporated. You can alternatively do this in the pot you are going to make your soup in by sautéing the vegetables.
  3. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add a little olive oil to just barely coat bottom of pot, after that is heated add the mushrooms and shallot mixture, tomato paste, thyme, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and allspice. If you like a little more spice, add a little more of all spices as I did. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in can of tomatoes including the liquid, 4 cups of water and 1 cup of vegetable broth. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook gently for at least 20 minutes. I simmered for over an hour because I had the extra time. Stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted, 1-2 minutes.
  5. Using a blender or food processor, coarsely purée 1/2 of the soup and add back to unprocessed soup. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve in bowls with a squeeze of fresh lime, sprinkle of thyme and an optional dollop of yogurt. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

March 26, 2017

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Simmering soup before spinach was added.
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Finished soup (I forgot to add the spinach).

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