Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spring Soup

Music: Nirvana

My co-worker showed me a copy of the newest Nava Atlas cookbook last week, Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons. She orders the cookbooks for the library and I didn’t know that Atlas had a new book (or that she even had a blog— It is filled with wonderful soup and stew recipes for all the seasons. I will probably buy this book.

I tried one of the Spring soup recipes today, adapting it, of course, with ingredients I had on hand.

Greek-Flavored Spinach and Orzo Soup

I already had some leftover bulgur in the refrigerator, so I used that instead of cooking some orzo separately as the recipe indicated.

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 C chopped, well-washed leek, white part only
1 medium-sized zucchini, chopped (her recipe called for red pepper but it was wonderful with zucchini)
3 cloves garlic
6 C water with 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
On 16-oz can stewed tomatoes, undrained
3/4 C orzo
5-6 oz fresh spinach (regular or baby), washed, stemmed & chopped
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley (you can also use dill)
Juice of one fresh lemon
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste.

Heat oil in a soup pot. Add leek & sauté over medium heat, until translucent. Add zucchini & garlic & sauté until vegetables are beginning to soften.

Add water with bouillon cubes. Drain liquid from canned tomatoes into the soup pot, then chop the tomatoes finely before adding to the soup. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower heat. Cover & simmer about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook orzo in a separate saucepan until al dente, then drain. Add cooked orzo to the soup along with spinach & fresh herbs.

Stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Heat soup until spinach & herbs are warmed.

The next time I make this, I would only use the juice of half a lemon, as it was slightly too lemony-tasting for me. Jim thought it was perfect but I didn’t think so. I think I would also like to try it with orzo as it’s a firmer grain and larger than bulgur; the bulgur kind of sank to the bottom so I had to use a spoon to scoop some into my bowl.

And, since the parsley is just getting started in my kitchen garden, I didn’t quite have a 1/4 C fresh parsley which would have added even more flavor.

All in all, it was a nice light soup, which we enjoyed with hummus sandwiches on toasted bread with onions, lettuce, & avocado. The pictures didn’t come out so, unfortunately, I couldn't show you how pretty the soup looked.

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