Spring Minestrone Verde w/ Pistachio Pesto

Spring Minestrone Soup

Spring Minestrone Verde w/ Pistachio Pesto

Can this soup get any greener?  Spring is around the corner AND it’s been a year since I’ve started this blog.  Wow!  Time does go fast.  A lot has changed personally and professionally for me.  To say 2018 started off with a bang is an understatement.  It’s been quite a journey for me, but I’ve grown, and I am growing still.  What I’m most thankful for is my family and friends (old and new) that supported me through the journey.  I’m reminded of the song from Joe Cocker, “With a Little Help from My Friends.”  Great song.   My passion for this blog has deepened, although I needed a much-needed break to regroup and refocus. But, I’m back!!

Spring couldn’t be more apropos to talk about as it represents new life and new beginnings.  A renewal.  So, in honor of this wonderful season, I made this Spring Minestrone Verde w/ Pistachio Pesto.  It is an adaptation from Bon Appetit’s minestrone soup of the same name.  I knew I wanted to make something refreshing and green for my Spring blog post.  I don’t know about you, but I love green foods.  It signifies health and vitality.  Avocados, kale, matcha, spinach, broccoli and so on.  In this recipe, I use sugar snap peas, regular peas and Tuscan Kale.  Feel free to add your own green medley.  The star of the show in this soup is the Pistachio Pesto.  It takes an otherwise meh soup, to the next level.  Once you’ve added the pesto and topped it with shaved parmesan and crushed red pepper, you will not only have a healthy and filling soup but one with layered tangy flavors.

Oh and don't forget a good crusty bread.  Make sure you slather some pesto on the bread.  You'll want to put it on everything!

Enjoy!

 

Spring Minestrone Soup
Spring Minestrone Soup

Spring Minestrone Verde w/ Pistachio Pesto

soffritto
¼ cup olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 medium leeks, white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
Kosher salt

pesto
2 tablespoons raw pistachios
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup (packed) basil leaves
1 cup (packed) parsley leaves with tender stems
⅔ cup olive oil, divided
½ cup finely grated Parmesan
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock or water
6 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed, sliced in half crosswise
½ bunch small Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn
1 14.5-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
1 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 1 pound pods) or frozen peas, thawed
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Thinly shaved Parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes (for serving)
4 ¾-inch-thick slices country-style bread, toasted

Recipe Instructions

soffritto
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook onions, leeks, and celery, stirring often, until soft but not browned, 6–8 minutes. Season with salt.

Do Ahead: Soffritto can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill or freeze up to 1 month.

pesto
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Let cool; crush using a small saucepan (you want a mix of sizes).

Pulse garlic, basil, parsley, and ⅓ cup oil in a food processor until a coarse purée forms. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix with Parmesan, lemon zest, crushed nuts, and remaining ⅓ cup oil; season with salt and pepper.

Soup & Assembly
Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high. Cook thyme, bay leaf, and ½ cup soffritto, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. (Reserve remaining soffritto for another use.) Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add sugar snap peas; cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add kale, beans, and peas and cook until kale is wilted, and peas are tender, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper.

Serve soup, topped with some Parmesan and red pepper flakes, with toast and pesto.

 

Cardamon Tahini Granola

Part V: On-The-Go Breakfast Series 

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Hi guys!  Here it is.  The last part of this Breakfast-on-The-Go Series is granola.  Cardamom-Tahini Granola at that!  Granola is always part of my breakfast rotation and I love making it homemade. I can customize it however I like, utilizing what exists in my pantry at the time.  As a matter of fact, I haven’t purchased granola in stores for quite some time, as the ones I purchased contained a lot of sugar.  I am aware that there are healthier brands on the market that are like unto what you’d make at home, but they come at a price. 

The star ingredient in this granola is the tahini.  It adds a nice savory depth of flavor, so your taste buds will immediately know something’s up. It’s different but good different.  And, the sweetness of the maple syrup along with the cardamom (sprinkle additional on once the granola has cooled down) adds such a wonderful complexity to it.

The best thing about this granola is that my kids adored it and that’s saying something. They love when I make granola but it’s usually their way.  Either they didn’t notice the change in flavor or the chocolate morsels I added to it masked the tahini flavor.  They’re my biggest fans anyway!

For the assembly, I added persimmons because they’re in season, they’re beautiful and deliciously sweet.  Pomegranate seeds were also added for an extra pop of color and antioxidants along with flaked coconut.  This was truly a fun and exciting breakfast and super healthy.

Thanks for spending time this week on the breakfast series.  Let me know if there are other series that you’d like to see.

Enjoy!

Cardamon-Tahini Granola//makes 6 cups
Loosely Adapted from The Kitchn

3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup raw hazelnuts
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup flax seeds
1 ½ teaspoons cardamom
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup tahini
½ cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, cardamom, and salt together. Add the maple syrup, coconut oil, and tahini paste. Toss to coat.

Spread the granola mixture evenly onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. The granola is done when deeply golden and toasted. Sprinkle additional cardamom on top for extra flavor.  Cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week or in the refrigerator for several weeks.

 

 

Avocado Toast w/ Sun Dried Tomatoes, Poached Egg & Dukkah

Part IV: On-The-Go Breakfast Series 

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Avocado Toast w/ Sun Dried Tomatoes, Poached Egg, & Dukkah

Yes, it’s Avocado Toast and I’m in love with it!  It’s not only my go-to breakfast food but it’s my go-to lunch on the weekends and a quick snack whenever.  This is a breakfast food that should definitely be in your on-the-go breakfast rotation.  I encourage you to make this on your own as Avocado Toast has grown in popularity so much so, that you can order it at the trendiest of restaurants and pay the trendiest of monies for it.  How do I know?  Because I have…. for research purposes only though!

To make this ambrosia, food of the gods as it has been euphemistically referred to, you need just avocado, toast and your imagination.  My avocado recipe consists of sun dried tomatoes, a poached egg, grain bread, and my new favorite seasoning, dukkah.  It’s a party in your mouth with a wonderful marriage of flavors.  It is packed with the nutrient potassium and it contains those heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.  The good fats. 

Avocado toast is customizable.  You can go plain avo, toast and sea salt or as I said, let your imagination take over by adding thinly sliced cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, feta cheese, corn and so on.  It’s an empty palate waiting for you to go wild.

So, tell me, how do you avo your toast?  Let me know.

Enjoy!

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Avocado Toast w/ Sun Dried Tomatoes, Poached Egg, & Dukkah//serves 1

2 pieces whole grain bread
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 eggs, poached
½ cup sundried tomatoes, packed in oil
1 large ripe avocado, sliced or mashed
2 tablespoons Dukkah, optional
Kosher salt and ground pepper

Fill a large sauce pan with water and add vinegar.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, reduce the heat to simmering.  Crack in both eggs and cook for 2 ½ minutes.  The eggs should be oval and still loose in the middle due to the yolks not being set.   Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Toast your bread.  Spoon the sun-dried tomatoes onto each slice of bread.  Next, slice or mash your avocado and arrange on the toasted bread.  Place the poached egg atop of each slice and sprinkle with dukkah, salt and pepper.