Tag Archives: onion

Broccoli Leek Potato Soup

Relying on walking around Ashland most of the time has lots of perks. Grocery shopping while walking? It’s often budget friendly, too. Our co-op has three options for carrying your groceries around while shopping (four if you merely rely on your arms and hands): large shopping carts, smaller shopping carts, and the handy-dandy-basket. I’ve learned that if I use a basket, I can fit everything into two canvas grocery bags, manageable for the walk home. Once, I got the small shopping cart and thought I was really carefully picking things out I needed (and certainly didn’t need). After I checked out, I had my two grocery bags overflowing, my purse equally full, and a large cardboard box full. While I got a good workout on the journey home, I have not made the same mistake again.

Generally I’ll make a grocery list before walking into the store. Be it mental or on paper, I’ve got some idea of what I need. I have said it before, I am a crazy person about lists. Ca-razy. I’ll usually check out the sale ads online and plan accordingly. Lots of the things I make throughout the week depend on what’s on sale. I was happy to find that this week, leeks were on sale. Broccoli, too! Aaand potatoes. How does that not say, “Julie, make a big pot of soup?”

So the following recipe was born. It’s creamy, faintly cheesy, and very hearty. We ate this soup for three days straight – lunches and dinners – happily. It’ll freeze well, too, if you want to save some for easy reheating later on. I served this soup with slices of crusty, delicious, garlic bread and a side salad.


Broccoli Leek Potato Soup

5 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large leek, tough green parts removed *
1 medium white onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 pound broccoli, cut into florets
7 cups No-Chicken broth
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup heavy cream
salt and fresh ground pepper
pinch of fresh ground nutmeg

* You remove the tougher, green parts of the leek for this recipe, but they’re great to keep around for adding to vegetable stock or homemade beans. They impart a very mild onion flavor to whatever you cook them with. I place mine in a Tupperware container that I keep in the freezer, along with other vegetable scraps, perfect for homemade broths, until I’m ready to use them.



Cut the stalk of your leek in half, lengthwise. Place the cut-side down, then chop the leek into thin half-moons.

In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped leeks and diced onion. Cook until the onion is translucent and the leeks have softened (7-10 minutes).

Add in the garlic, diced potatoes, and broccoli. Stir to combine everything well. Add in the broth then cover the pot and cook until the broccoli is very tender (20-25 minutes should do it, but I most certainly got distracted and mine cooked for a good 40 minutes before I came back to it! No harm done).

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the leeks, onions, potato, and broccoli to your food processor or high-power blender, leaving the liquid in your stock pot. Process/blend until smooth (2-4 minutes) – if you need to, add a little of the cooking liquid to get things moving. Add the pureed vegetables back into your broth, stirring everything together well.

Turn the heat back on to medium-high. Stir in the cheese, heavy cream, some salt and pepper, and the fresh nutmeg. Continue stirring until the cheese has melted entirely. Heat the soup back up to serving temperature. Taste, then add more salt and pepper accordingly.

Vegetarian Lentil Chili

‘Tis the season for the comfort of one pot meals. If I owned a crock pot, I imagine it would get a lot of use right about now. Honestly I don’t know where the transition was that happened between summer and full-blown fall time. The windshield glass of our car was frosted over the other morning. Today my husband turned the heat on in our house. Winter’s coming… truthfully, I don’t mind.

Stews, chilies, casseroles – it’s what I think of once the weather gets cooler. The beauty of a lentil-based chili is that it requires no previous soaking, unlike dried beans. You can throw it together with much less planning (which, sometimes, is entirely necessary). The following recipe is a very straightforward, easy, vegetarian chili. While the ingredient list may seem long, there’s nothing complicated about it.


Vegetarian Lentil Chili

2 tbsp. oil
1 large white onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp. red chili pepper flakes
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp. chili powder
2½ tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/8 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups red lentils
2- 14.5 oz. cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid (or fresh if you prefer!)
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, minced
½ tsp. liquid smoke
1 tsp. vegan worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1 bay leaf
5 cups broth
salt and pepper


In a large stock pot, sauté the diced onion, minced garlic, and chili pepper flakes in the oil, until the onion is translucent (5-7 minutes). Add the green bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and cocoa powder. Cook over medium-high heat until the bell pepper softens (5-6 minutes).

Add the lentils, tomatoes, fresh oregano, liquid smoke, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, bay leaf, and broth. Stir to combine everything well. Add salt and pepper to your liking (keeping in mind you can always add more once the chili has cooked for a while – the broth will add some saltiness and the flavors will come together more distinctly as the chili cooks). Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for an hour, stirring occasionally.

Check the broth level of the chili occasionally while it cooks, adding more broth as needed (or water). Uncover the pot and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper to your liking.

Serve hot with toppings such as sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, minced parsley or cilantro.

Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup with Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

It’s officially fall. My favorite time of year. Temperatures are noticeably cooler in the early morning and evening. While the colors around here haven’t begun to change yet, I know it’s coming. Vibrant reds and oranges, yellows somewhere in there. I do this thing every year, come fall. I tell myself that I’ll make more soups. Because one-pot meals are so easy. Plus you can cook them all day, filling your home with warm, filling smells that draw everyone in. Plus in the fall and winter, how can you go wrong with a bowl of warmth, vegetables, spices, flavors that are both compelling and filling? You really can’t.

But I fail at following through with my soup endeavor. Every single year. Until this year. I even started early: the very first day of fall, which allowed me to use some of the goodness we grew this summer. We’ve got a number of fresh tomatoes of all colors, ripening faster than I want to eat them raw. So, there’s a good amount of roasted tomatoes in this soup that offer a brightness that’s reminiscent of summer, layered with earthy warm flavors of fall. If that sounds way too “hippie” for you, it’s all good. Make this soup anyway. You’ll be pleased.

I made this to feed our family plus my husband’s band mates who had been practicing for some upcoming shows (which are “current” and not “upcoming,” as I write this). I’ll be honest. I’ve never made such a huge pot of soup, only to be left with zero leftovers. I like to think that means this would be a recipe worth repeating. Hopefully you’ll find it that way as well.



Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup with Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes


4-5 cups tomatoes, cut into large chunks (about 5 medium tomatoes)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp. fresh marjoram, chopped
salt and pepper

1 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
3 cups sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and diced
3 cups red potatoes, diced (skins on or off)
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1- one inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1½ cups red and/or orange lentils
½ cup wild rice
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. smoked paprika
8-10 cups water or No-Chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste


Roast the tomatoes: Preheat your oven to 325°F. Place the chopped tomatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer, then drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle on the chopped oregano and marjoram, along with a generous amount of black pepper and salt. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the skins begin to blister and char. Set aside to cool.

Prepare the soup: Heat the one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and diced onion. Sauté until the onion is translucent. Add in the diced potatoes, carrots, and ginger. Stir to evenly disperse everything. Add the lentils, rice, oregano, thyme, cumin, and paprika. Stir to evenly coat everything in the spices and herbs. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Stir in 8-10 cups of broth (or water). Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about one hour.

Puree the roasted tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Add the pureed tomatoes and can of coconut milk to the pot. Stir well, to evenly combine everything. Cover again and cook for another 2-3 hours at least. Taste and add more salt or pepper to your liking.

You can cook the soup longer if you’d like. After adding the tomatoes and coconut milk, I actually cooked the soup for an additional 6 hours before serving.

Serve hot along with some sour cream or plain yogurt to top the soup off. This soup is also quite delicious with some homemade bread, or at least a tasty baguette of your liking!

Roasted Asparagus and Broccoli Soup

I don’t have a lot of experience dealing with death. At least not when it comes to people. I have experienced a multitude of pet deaths… Growing up, we raised guinea pigs. 50 or so guinea pigs all at once. We had dogs, cats, mice, birds, fish, a rabbit, wild chickens. I had a knack for bringing home lost and found animals. My mom would occasionally set out those nasty glue traps to catch rats and I would desperately try to pry them off without hurting them, or try to help the geckos that got stuck escape before death got them first. I learned to handle pet deaths well; not without feeling, but with recognition that it’s a natural part of life. I’d get sad, I’d cry, I’d bury my furry, feathered, and scaled friends. I’d say goodbye.

I’ve been fortunate in the number of human-related deaths I’ve had to deal with… I’ve lost an uncle who was much like another father figure, and my grandfather whose memory is tied with many laughs and love. Of course there have been other losses, but none that felt as impacting to my heart. A couple weekends ago, we lost our neighbor, Dave, to cancer. I did not know him well – at all, really – which is unfortunate, because he seemed like a humble, easygoing, kind man. He’d let Silas come hang out with his chickens, or would occasionally entertain conversations over the fence that separates our backyards. Sometimes I feel as though I don’t know how exactly to offer comfort these days other than through food and feeding people.

Craig and I had both been wanting to offer Dave’s partner some sort of meal. I didn’t know what exactly to give, as the weather’s been warm, but something comforting seemed necessary. Soup is rarely something I crave, but seems to offer a filling alternative that’s healthy even if you aren’t very hungry. With Spring in full swing, sweet asparagus, broccoli and leeks seem easy to come by. I decided to roast the asparagus, caramelize the leeks and onions, and add in a bit of cream for a creamy spring soup. We also brought over a loaf of homemade sourdough bread to go with the soup, which paired perfectly.

This is a nice, filling but not overwhelmingly heavy soup. Perfect for spring. And the ingredients are fresh this time of year; and perfectly green. :)


Roasted Asparagus and Broccoli Soup


1½ pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed off
2-3 cups broccoli (about 1 lb.) cut into florets
4 yukon gold potatoes (about 1½ – 2 lbs.), cubed
1 leek, just the white and light green parts
1 white onion
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. fresh chopped chives
zest from one meyer lemon (plus more for serving, if you wish)
5 tbsp. walnut oil (or whatever you have/prefer)
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
6 cups No-Chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Toss the asparagus in 2 tablespoons of your oil, as well as a semi-generous amount of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until crisp and fragrant. Stir the asparagus around about halfway through the roasting.

Meanwhile, slice the onion in half, then each half into thin slices. Slice the leek the same way: in half, then in thin half-moons. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan, over low heat until the butter is melted. Add in the onion and leeks, stirring to coat in the oil-butter mixture. Continue cooking over low heat, occasionally stirring until the onions and leeks have both fully caramelized (Warning! This can take a nearly excruciating long time, but is SO worth the resulting flavor! My onions and leeks took nearly 45 minutes to caramelize…)

Boil the potatoes and garlic in your six cups of broth. I leave the skins on for yukon gold or red potatoes, because they’re so thin to begin with. Once the potatoes are tender (12 minutes or so) add the broccoli to the pot. If the liquid doesn’t cover the broccoli completely, either add more broth to do so, or water. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, until the tougher parts of the broccoli (mainly the stem pieces) are tender.

Combine the caramelized onions and leeks, asparagus, chives, potatoes, and broccoli in a food processor fitted with the large blade, or in a high power blender. Puree until smooth, adding broth slowly to create a smooth soup. Work in batches if you need to.

Return the pureed ingredients to a large pot on the stove. Bring the heat back up, stirring occasionally over medium-low heat. Stir in the heavy cream and lemon zest. Taste, then add salt and pepper to your liking.

Serve drizzled with a little walnut oil, lemon zest, and fresh chopped chives along with some crusty bread. Enjoy!

Basil Pesto and Caramelized Onion Tofu Patties

Sometimes when things like tofu or tempeh go on sale, I get a little impulsive and buy way too much of both, not thinking it’s too much of course… Rather, of course I’ll use six blocks of tofu and ten packages of tempeh before their expiration dates… in two weeks. And then two weeks pass and I begin scrambling to get everything used up. Tempeh goes into the freezer, I make oven baked tofu nuggets, or throw both into enchiladas, etc.

Recently I had tofu that needed to be used up. A while back we bought some tofu “sausage” patties that were pesto flavored, and much to my surprise, tasteier than I expected them to be. The only disappointment was the cost for 4 patties, only about 1½ inches in size. The following recipe was inspired by these sausages, but really aren’t the same in texture or taste, but still delicious. One problem I did find was that when I tried to make them larger, they fell apart more readily when cooking. So I’d suggest keeping them no larger than 3 inches.


Basil Pesto and Caramelized Onion Tofu Patties

Yields approx. 16 – 3″ patties

2 tbsp. olive oil (plus more for cooking)
½  a medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup red bell pepper, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1- 14 oz. pkg extra firm tofu (the firmer, the better)
1 large carrot, grated fine
3 tbsp. basil pesto
1 tbsp. fresh basil, minced, or 1 tbsp. dried basil
2 tsp. fresh oregano, minced, or ½ tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 egg



Heat the two tablespoons of oil in a small pan over low heat. Add the thinly sliced onions, tossing to coat evenly. Continue cooking over low heat, occasionally stirring until the onions are completely caramelized. This may easily take 30-45 minutes. Once the onions have turned a nice shade of caramel brown, add in the red bell pepper and garlic. Cook (over medium-low) until the red bell pepper softens. Chop until the caramelized onions are diced small.

Drain the water from the tofu then crumble it up in a large bowl. Mix in the caramelized onion mixture, the grated carrot, basil pesto, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and egg until the mixture is well combined.

Heat about 2-3 tablespoons over oil over medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, use your hands to pat about ¼ cup of tofu mixture into a patty, about 3 inches wide, ½ an inch thick.

Fry up the patties, allowing the first side to brown completely before flipping it (4-5 minutes). Flip, cooking until the other side is brown, too.

Serve with your favorite sides, or on a salad, or on a sandwich… Also, these taste good cold!