Tag Archives: Healthy Food

A creamy, delish, cabbage and spinach soup

I was cleaning out a few things in the fridge today and pulled out a few remaining veggies, some stock, a bit of leftover focaccia bread and pondered how I could use all of this up in one go.

Given the current environment, every morsel of food is even more precious. And what emerged from this mishmash of ingredients was a delicious, creamy, good for you soup. Here’s how I went about the transformation.

Ingredients for soup:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cups cabbage, finely chopped, and washed
  • 1 packed cup baby spinach, washed and finely chopped
  • 2 green chilis, finely chopped
  • A sprig of oregano
  • 1.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp salt

    For croutons (you can use store bought ones)
  • Some leftover bread, cubed
  • A tbsp of olive oil
  • A bit of red pepper flakes

    For garnishing
  • A tbsp or two of grated parmesan cheese
  • Some olive oil
  • A sprig of oregano

How to:

1. Heat one tbsp olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and sauté for five minutes on medium heat.

2. Add the cabbage, spinach, green chilis, oregano, vegetable stock, and salt, mix well and cook till the cabbage and spinach appear wilted. This took about ten minutes on medium heat for me.

3. Transfer the veggies to a blender or use a hand blender to puree the veggies till smooth.

4. If making croutons, heat a tbsp of oil in a pan. Add a bit of red pepper flakes and toss the bread cubes, frying till crisp (about ten minutes).

5. Transfer the soup into two bowls. Top with the croutons, some parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

6. Enjoy!

 

A beautiful, spicy salad with couscous pearls

It started with the spotting of whole wheat pearl couscous in the aisles of Wegmans, the familiar packaging of Bob’s Red Mill grains beckoning me. I have never cooked with pearl couscous before, but the idea of turning these beautiful grains into a healthy lunch sounded good. I looked up a few recipes that used regular couscous and decided to throw together things in my fridge and pantry to create this wonderful, deeply satisfying salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pearl couscous
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 14 cherry tomatoes
  • 8-10 nuts of your choice (I used leftover macademia nuts)
  • 2 tbps raisins or craisins (I used craisins)
  • 2 tsps ras el hanout (a north African spice mix available on Amazon)
  • 2 green chilis finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Juice of 1 lemon

How to:

  1. Roast the couscous in a pan for 10 minutes till light brown and set aside.

  2. Bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil, add the roasted couscous and salt and cook over a low flame till the couscous is cooked and the water has evaporated. This took me about 12 minutes.

  3. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl.

  4. Heat 2 tbsps of oil in the pan that you used to cook the couscous, add the chopped onions and sauté till the onions turn brown. Add the cherry tomatoes, nuts, raisins and ras el hanout and toss till the tomatoes are coated with the spice.

  5. Turn off the heat and toss the onion mix into the cooked couscous.

  6. Now add the chilies, cilantro, parsley and lemon juice. Give the contents another toss and serve warm or at room temperature.


    Note: If your tolerance for spices is low, cut back the ras el hanout to one tsp and use one chili instead.

 

Easy, fluffy, pillowy, homemade gnocchi

I have been in love with gnocchi for a very, very long time. In fact, I craved these little pasta clouds of potato and flour served with tomato sauce throughout a pregnancy. But till recently, my love for gnocchi was satiated by buying the best Italian brands on supermarket shelves and eating it on my forays into Italian restaurants. But just recently, I decided to make these on my own. The process is easy (albeit a little messy), but feels at every moment like you are creating a work of art. I am so in love with this home made version that I have sworn to never really buy gnocchi ever again. Okay, with that said, here’s how I created these divine works of art.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1/3 heaped cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp of kosher salt

How to:

1. Wash the potatoes, scrub them and pierce holes. Cook in a microwave at the potato setting till completely cooked. Peel the potatoes and rice them in a ricer over a wooden board. If you don’t have a river, you can grate the potatoes with a grater that has small holes. Spread the potatoes over the board using a fork. Sprinkle the kosher salt. 

2. Sprinkle or sift the flour over the potatoes and using a bench scraper just chop all over the potato/ flour mixture.  Gather the mixture into a ball. Flatten the ball with your hands, bring the ends of the dough together and press it down again. Just repeat this gently till the potato flour mixture is seamlessly blended. 

3. Dust the work area with more flour, pinch off two inch rounds of dough and gently roll it into a rope. Cut into one inch pieces using a knife and lay down each gnocchi on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Once all the gnocchi are made, press down the surface of each gnocchi with a fork to create ridges that will help the sauce cling to to the pasta well. 

4. Repeat process till all the dough is used up. 

5. Freeze tray of gnocchi for 15 minutes.  

6. Now you could bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the gnocchi and cook just for a minute or two till the gnocchi floats to the top or alternately use my preferred method and sauté the gnocchi in a bit of butter or oil till they are moderately browned. 

7. Serve with your favorite sauce.