Tag Archives: comfort food

Comfort with a Kick: Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

Now that Fall is in full swing, I’m craving everything pumpkin.  I’ve already enjoyed more than my share of Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks, and last weekend I made my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.  You don’t have to look far to find recipes for decadent pumpkin desserts, but they can cause one to “fluff up” pretty quickly if you know what I mean!  I’ve been on the prowl for a lighter, nutrient-dense pumpkin recipe, and something a little unique to pass along to you.  I stumbled across this Pumpkin Tortilla Soup recipe on Pinterest, and I only needed to make a couple of tweaks to make it a bit more nutritious.  I’ve had my eye on it for a couple of weeks, and I was so excited to finally give it a try this weekend.  It’s vegetarian, gluten-free and packed with delicious fall flavor.

Ingredients (Serves 6):

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of finely chopped cilantro, plus more sprigs for garnish
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (Depending how much of a kick you want!)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
5 cups unsalted vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
Coconut oil for frying
1-2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and cubed

Preparation Instructions:

  • Cut 6 of the tortillas into 1/2-inch squares.

This soup can be prepped in under five minutes!

  • Heat oil (preferably a more stable fat like avocado or coconut oil) in a pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, cilantro, and chopped tortillas, stirring frequently, until onion is soft.
  • Add the cumin and cayenne and sauté for another minute.
  • Add pumpkin, tomatoes, vegetable stock, and salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and let simmer until you’re ready to serve.

Let the soup simmer awhile so that all the delicious flavors have time to combine!

  • While the soup is simmering, cut the remaining 6 tortillas into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Heat 1/2 inch of coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it’s very hot, but not smoking. Fry tortilla strips in two batches until crisp and light golden (about a minute). Using a slotted spoon, transfer tortilla strips onto paper towels to drain.  Season with a little coarse sea salt if you wish.

The recipe I used called for frying in veggie oil, but I used coconut oil as it’s a much more stable fat and won’t lose all of its nutritional value when heated.

  • To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with tortilla strips, avocado, and cilantro.

Colorful, Hearty, Spicy and Delicious!

If you want even more kick like I did, season your bowl with some habanero or Tobasco sauce.

I absolutely loved this twist on a typical tortilla soup, and I’ll definitely be making it again this Fall.  In fact, it’s now in my top ten list of recipes I’ve blogged about the last couple years!  Give it a try and make it your own by switching up the seasonings or adding some dried peppers or chopped jalapeno.  It can stand on its own, or you can serve it with a side salad and chips and salsa.  The options are endless.

Happy Fall, Ya’ll!

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Going Into Hibernation Mode: Italian Butter Bean Soup

I realize I’ve been on a little recipe run here lately.  Between being 33 weeks pregnant and the rainy weather, I’ve just wanted to hole myself in my house and do a little nesting.  It didn’t hurt that my husband just did a big farmer’s market run and stocked our house with all kinds of beautiful produce.  To me, January and February are all about hibernating, and I’m taking it to the next level this year.  Might as well rest up while I can, right?

In case you haven’t been paying attention, I’m a big fan of chili, soups and stews, mostly because they are EASY to prepare, but also because they pack a lot of nutritional punch and are so filling during the dreary winter months.  I was flipping through Natural Health Magazine awhile back when I came across a tasty looking Italian Butter Bean Soup, so I just had to try it out and make a few tweaks of my own.  I’m a big fan of cooking anything with a bunch of fresh herbs, and I’ve never cooked anything with butter beans before.  Plus, I’m always looking for ways to sneak in some greens, so I loved that this recipe includes fresh kale leaves.

I think this may have been my first time eating butter beans, and I’m definitely a fan!

Before I give you this recipe, here are a few other soups I’ve shared with you on this blog.

White Bean Chicken Chili

Working Woman Soup

Naughty and Nice Sweet Potato Chili

Chicken Noodle Soup

Italian Butter Bean Soup Ingredients (Serves 8):

1 can of Italian butter beans, rinsed and drained
8 cups vegetable broth
A few fresh thyme sprigs
A few fresh oregano sprigs
A few fresh sage or rosemary leaves
6 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
3 bay leaves
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup carrots, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 zucchini, quartered and diced
1/3 cup white wine
1 large bunch of kale, ribs removed, torn into ribbons

Preparation Instructions:

  • Place beans in a pot, cover generously with water and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and set aside to soak for 1-2 hours.  Drain beans and rinse well.
  • Combine 6 cups vegetable broth, beans, herbs and leaves in a large soup pot and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer uncovered until the beans are cooked all the way through, about 90 minutes.

    Feel free to use whatever combination of herbs and leaves you prefer. Once these bad boys start cooking, your house will smell DIVINE!

  • While the beans are cooking, heat a little oil in a saute pan and add the onion, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper.  Cook over medium heat until the onion begins to soften, about three minutes.  Add the garlic and cook another minute or so.  Stir in carrots, peppers and zucchinis, another 1/4 teaspoon of salt and another pinch of black pepper and cook about 10 minutes, adding a little broth as needed to keep the veggies from sticking to the pan.  Pour in the wine and cook 3 more minutes

    Time to give your soup some vibrant color!

  • Add the vegetables to the soup pot, along with the remaining broth and the rest of the salt and pepper and cook about 20 minutes.  Add the kale and cook until tender, about 10 more minutes.  Add more seasonings to taste.

    Holy Antioxidants! I know it looks like a lot of kale, but don’t worry, it will cook way down.

  • Remove the herb sprigs and leaves, serve and enjoy!

    One dish wonder!

Even my husband, who is “just not a bean guy” and usually not into vegetarian meals, was a fan of this soup.  Miracles can happen!

I hope you give this nutritious, comfort food a try.  Happy Hibernating!

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Apricot and Mushroom Rice Pilaf

There are three things I like about today’s recipe:  It’s a great comfort food for this time of year, it’s gluten-free, and it’s super easy and nutritious (Why else would I make it?)  I found it on the Whole Foods Website and made a few minor adjustments.  The WF blog is one of my go-to places for healthy recipes, so check it out if you’re in need of a little  holiday inspiration.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 cup long-grain brown rice
2 cups vegetable broth
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped herbs (I used fresh cilantro and thyme and dried parsley)
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preparation Instructions:

  • In a medium pot, sauté mushrooms and both types of onions in a little oil over medium-high heat.

Stir often, about 6-8 minutes.

  • Stir in rice, broth, salt & pepper to taste and bring to a boil.
  • Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is completely absorbed, about 45 minutes.
  • Remove covered pot from heat and let sit 10 minutes; uncover and fluff with fork.

Brown rice is rich in fiber and antioxidants.

  • Transfer to large bowl, add apricots, walnuts, herbs and vinegar.
  • Toss to combine.  Serve and enjoy!

There’s nothing like adding walnuts and apricots to give a hum-drum recipe some fall pizazz!

I served the pilaf with baked tilapia and green beans.

Brown rice is packed full of nutrition, but if it’s not your thing, you could always swap it out for cous-cous, quinoa or bulgur.  You can serve it with a nice green salad for a simple vegetarian meal, or it would go great beside my Walnicot Chicken Delight!

I hope you give this simple, healthy dish a try this holiday season!

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