Hearty Pureed Veggie Soup

This brightly colored, hearty soup is a great way to get your veggies in during colder months.  It freezes well, and is a terrific accompaniment to a main dish.  It also stands alone, especially served on a bed of brown rice.  A dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream bulks it up a bit and gives it a beautiful creamy consistency.  

I just love to serve this soup in a brightly colored Fiestaware mug.

I just love to serve this soup in a brightly colored Fiestaware mug.

Let's talk about ingredients.  Organic or not organic?  Most of us are on a budget, so what's the best way to bring quality ingredients into the kitchen while trying to stretch a buck? 

I tend to use the Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen list from the Environmental Working Group.  You can view their 2017 list here.  Each year, the EWG releases a list of the most and least pesticide contaminated fruits and vegetables.  If it's on the Dirty Dozen list, I buy the organic version of that fruit or vegetable because it's much less likely to be contaminated with pesticides.  If it's on the Clean Fifteen, I buy what's available, what looks good, and what I can afford, organic or not.  If it's on neither list, then it falls somewhere in-between and I will just try to buy local and let common sense be my guide.

 

None of these soup ingredients is on the Dirty Dozen list, so you don't need to buy organic for this recipe unless you want to.

Here they are:

Aren't they pretty? Note our homemade spice jars, labeled and decorated by Jeff.

Aren't they pretty? Note our homemade spice jars, labeled and decorated by Jeff.

A concise recipe with the ingredient list and instructions follows this pictorial and entertaining narrative of how to make the soup.

You want assemble your ingredients and get out a sturdy cutting board and a nice sharp knife.  You'll also want a sturdy stock pot and an immersion blender.  A regular blender would work but would take much longer.

Get your heavy-bottomed stock pot and set it up on the stove over medium low heat. 

Heavy-bottomed stock pot.  Bonus points if it's extra shiny.

Heavy-bottomed stock pot.  Bonus points if it's extra shiny.

Once the stock pot is warm (NOT hot), add enough avocado oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  You don't need enough to fry a batch of french fries.  Just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.  You can also use coconut oil or other oil good for cooking.  I do NOT recommend olive oil or canola oil or corn oil or any other processed vegetable oil as they do not do well under heat and are highly inflammatory and disease-causing, and that is not what we are about here.  You can get avocado oil and coconut oil at a great price at Costco.  

While the oil is GENTLY heating, go ahead and chop up your garlic and onion and then toss them in the pan once the oil is warm.

Man, this smells good.

Man, this smells good.

Saute the onion and garlic on very low heat until the onion turns translucent.  

While that is happening, get to work on those carrots.  Chop off the ends, peel them, and slice them into bite sized pieces.  They don't need to be super thin (remember that we will be pureeing all of this, so your chopping artistry will not be on display), but the smaller and more uniform the pieces are, the faster they will cook.

Chopped carrots.  I used a filter on my iPhone to make them look prettier.  Let's just be up front about that.

Chopped carrots.  I used a filter on my iPhone to make them look prettier.  Let's just be up front about that.

By the time you're done chopping the carrots, the onions should be translucent.  At this point, add 3 tbsp cumin seed or ground cumin.  Turn the heat up to medium high heat.  Stir together with the onion and garlic until the aroma from the cumin starts wafting through the air.  Yes, I said WAFTING.  Let it waft.

Once the wafting is in full progress, add the carrots and stir.

Can you sense the cumin wafting?  Man, that spoon is shiny.

Can you sense the cumin wafting?  Man, that spoon is shiny.

Let the carrot, cumin, onion, garlic mixture get happy at medium heat in the stock pot and get to work on that cauliflower.  While you're working on the cauliflower, occasionally check in on the stock pot and give those babies a stir.

Trim the green and any unpleasant part of the stalk off of the cauliflower.  You get to decide what qualifies as unpleasant.  No one will be watching.

Cauliflower, trimmed of the bits that would be unpleasant in this soup.

Cauliflower, trimmed of the bits that would be unpleasant in this soup.

Once only the pleasant parts remain, cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets.  You also get to decide what qualifies as bite-sized.  It's your kitchen.  But remember:  the smaller and more evenly the pieces are, the faster and more evenly it will cook.  Like so:

Just a suggestion.

Just a suggestion.

Now it cauliflower's turn to get happy in the stock pot, so dump it in and give it all a good stir.

And get to work on that broccoli.  You know what to do.  Here's some inspiration:

The aforementioned broccoli should look sort of like this by the time Dana Carvey is done singing:

Musically inspired chopped broccoli.

Musically inspired chopped broccoli.

What you want to do now is add that broccoli to the stock pot and stir it in with the other ingredients.  Continue stirring until the broccoli starts to turn BRIGHT green, like so:

Doesn't everybody look happy?  You could stop right here and eat this as a stir-fry.  But don't.  You've come so far.

Doesn't everybody look happy?  You could stop right here and eat this as a stir-fry.  But don't.  You've come so far.

Now add enough water to cover the veggies.  Don't overfill.  You can always add more water later.  Just enough to cover what's in the pot.

See?  Just enough to cover the veggies.

See?  Just enough to cover the veggies.

It's time to really commit now and turn that burner up to HIGH heat.  I have a very exciting setting on my burner called "Power Boil".  If you have "Power Boil" use it.

"I've got the power!"

"I've got the power!"

As the name of the setting would suggest, bring the contents of the stock pot to a boil.  On my stove, this took 13 minutes. YMMV.

Once it's boiling, turn it all the way down to low heat, cover, and simmer until veggies can be easily pierced with a fork.  I forgot to time this part, so I don't really know how long it took.  Let's just say long enough to check your email but not long enough to run to the store.  I hope that helps.

Bye-bye veggies!

Bye-bye veggies!

Once the veggies are fork-tender, it's time to get to business.  I hope you have one of these:

This immersion blender has saved me approximately 239485273498572349 hours of prep work in the kitchen.

This immersion blender has saved me approximately 239485273498572349 hours of prep work in the kitchen.

If you do not have an immersion blender, go get you one.  The first one I had was a cheap one and melted in the soup, so I recommend that you INVEST in Kitchenaid or Cuisinart.  They can be used for so many things, and boy are they a help in this particular soup.

If you cannot stand the idea of one more kitchen gadget, go ahead and use your regular blender.  I did for years, but it extended the process by a full half-hour, because I had to add the veggie/water combo to the blender in batches and then combine it all.  It was a pain.

With the courage of your convictions, stick that immersion blender in the stock pot and turn it on full throttle.

See how fast this goes?  This progress pic was taken less than 10 seconds into the blending process.

See how fast this goes?  This progress pic was taken less than 10 seconds into the blending process.

Keep blending until no chunks of veggies remain.

No chunks of veggies remain. Also, my pedicure there.

No chunks of veggies remain. Also, my pedicure there.

If it's too thick, add a bit of water and keep blending.  You can decide what qualifies as "too thick".  You have that kind of power.

Add 2 tbsp of paprika if your last name is Farrell.  If your last name is not Farrell, I must caution you that 2 tbsp of paprika give this soup a bit of a zing.  If you like a bit of zing, go for the full 2 tbsp.  If you are not a zingophile, cut back to 1 tbsp and give it a taste and see what you think.  Go ahead and salt to taste at this point as well so you know what you're talking about in terms of flavor.  I probably added a couple of teaspoons of sea salt at least.  Use the immersion blender to blend in the paprika and salt in record time.

Zing.

Zing.

Call your babies to the table now because it is time to serve this soup!

It's terrific by itself.  Or on a bed of brown rice.  Or with sour cream.  Or plain yogurt.  Or as a side dish to a meal.

This soup freezes well, and I will typically make a big enough batch so that I can freeze the leftovers (usually 2-3 quarts at least) for another day.  

This makes it VERY EASY to get your veggies in!  Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli are cancer-fighting and are particularly beneficial for hormone balancing in women.

Enjoy!

Right back where we started.  Circle of life and all that.

Right back where we started.  Circle of life and all that.

Hearty Pureed Veggie Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head or 2 med heads broccoli
  • 1 med head cauliflower
  • 8 med carrots
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 3-6 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp cumin seed or ground cumin
  • UP TO 2 tbsp paprika
  • Approx. 2 tbsp avocado or coconut oil
  • Sea salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium/medium-low heat.
  2. Once the pot is warm, add just enough avocado or coconut oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
  3. Chop the garlic and onion and add to the stock pot.  Cook on medium-low heat until the onion turns translucent.
  4. While the onion is cooking, peel and chop the carrots into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Add the cumin to the pot and stir in with the garlic and onion until you can start to smell the cumin.
  6. Add the carrots to the pot and stir.
  7. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized florets and add to the pot.  Stir.
  8. Chop the broccoli into bite-sized florets and add to the pot.  Stir.
  9. Continue stirring the veggie mixture until the broccoli turns bright green.
  10. Add just enough water to cover the veggies.
  11. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
  12. After the contents of the stock pot have come to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the veggies are fork-tender.
  13. Blend the veggies with an immersion blender or in a standard counter-top blender.
  14. If the soup is too thick, add water in small increments and blend until the right consistency is reached.
  15. Add up to 2 tbsp paprika, to taste.
  16. Add at least 2 tsp sea salt, to taste.
  17. Blend in the paprika, sea salt, and any other seasonings you wish to add, with the blender.
  18. Serve on its own, or on a bed of brown rice, or with sour cream, or with plain yogurt, or as a side dish to a main meal.