For many throughout the country, fall and winter months represent somewhat of a challenge when it comes to creating affordable, healthy, local meals. Gone are the vibrant summer tomatoes, the fresh asparagus, the sweet melons that make April through September so much fun, and easy, to cook during.
While there might be a dearth of fresh ingredient options during November through March, what is available represents some of the most fun, flavorful, and affordable ingredients to be found. Plus, much of what can be found during these months is much studier than spring and summer produce, making now the perfect time to learn to cook without worrying about waste if you make a mistake.
Soups are a great way to learn simple cooking skills and familiarize yourself with what's available locally while eating healthful, delicious food. For our first selection in our new series "Friday Food Day Recipes" here is Marie Simmons' Carrot, Sweet Potato, and Ginger Soup - a vegan, gluten free, healthy option that is bursting with flavor.
Carrot, Sweet Potato & Ginger Soup
Adapted from Fresh and Fast Vegetarian by Marie Simmons
Makes about 10 cups
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound carrots, cut into ½-inch slices
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed, skins left on, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 bunch scallions (white and green parts), sliced
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper, or to taste
- 6 ounces baby bok choy, stem ends trimmed, cut into ½-inch slices
1. Heat the oil in a soup pot until it is hot enough to sizzle a piece of vegetable. Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, scallions, celery, garlic, ginger, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat until lightly browned and softened, about 10 minutes. Add 6 cups water and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
2. Ladle out about 2 cups of the solid vegetables and set aside. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let the soup cool slightly, transfer it to a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary, and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot.
3. Add the reserved vegetables, lime juice, and jalapeño. Bring the soup to a boil. Stir in the bok choy and cook for 30 seconds. Taste and season with up 1/2 teaspoon salt. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro.
Per Serving (1 cup): Calories 90; Total Fat 3 g; Sat Fat 0 g; Protein 2 g; Carbs 15 g; Fiber 3 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 270 mg.