Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Brussels Sprout, Mushroom & Tofu Soup

When I last shopped around for Brussels Sprouts, they all looked rather old and sad: the stems were browning, the outer leaves black-edged and bug-chewed.  The best option was a gigantic stalk of Brussels, where the sprouts are still attached to the stalk and looking, well, younger and happier.

But a whole stalk is a lot of Brussels Sprouts for one person to use in a couple of days.  So I decided to work on a new soup recipe and I'm so glad I followed my instincts on this one. This Asian-flavored soup combines roasted Brussels Sprouts with leeks, mushrooms, and tofu in a spicy broth of ginger, toasted sesame oil, miso, and chili garlic sauce and the combination really works.  A comforting soup for a wintery day and a whole new way to enjoy Brussels Sprouts.

Brussels Sprout, Mushroom & Tofu Soup:

15 Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and cut into halves or quarters
2 tsp olive oil
sea salt
1 small leek, sliced into rings
1 inch peeled ginger, minced
6 oz mushrooms, sliced (I used Crimini)
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1-2 tsp Chili Garlic Sauce (premade - available in Asian section of grocery stores)
Soy sauce
5 oz tofu, cut into cubes
1 TBS red miso

Preheat the oven to 425. Place the cut Brussels Sprouts in a casserole dish with the olive oil and salt. Combine well.  Roast in the oven until the Brussels Sprouts are almost cooked through (20-30 mins), stirring every 8 minutes or so.

In a saucepan, combine 1 tsp toasted sesame oil with the sliced leek and ginger.  Cook, stirring regularly, until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook 2 minutes. Then add the cooked Brussels Sprouts and another tsp of toasted sesame oil. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the Chili Garlic Sauce and to taste. Cook 5 minutes then add the tofu and cook for one additional minute. Use some of the broth to dissolve the miso completely, then add back to the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning with soy sauce. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Quinoa & Black Bean Mexican Salad for Holiday Potluck

'Tis the season for potluck dishes!  If you're interested in sharing a healthy, high-protein, and delicious option to offset all the indulgent goodies, this Quinoa & Black Bean Salad with a Mexican twist is festive and fabulous!  It's easy and quick to prepare and can be served as a standalone salad or with tortilla chips.

Here's the simple recipe:

Quinoa & Black Bean Mexican Salad:
1 cup of quinoa, rinsed and drained (I used TJ's Organic Tricolor Quinoa)
2 cups of vegetable stock
1 15 oz can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 TBS salsa (I used Casa Sanchez Medium Salsa Roja)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 TBS crumbled feta or goat cheese

Quinoa always needs to be rinsed in cold water to remove bitter-tasting saponins, so don't take a short-cut on this.

Combine the rinsed and drained quinoa with the vegetable stock in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10-12 minutes until the liquid is gone and the germ has sprouted from the seed.

Remove from heat. Fluff the quinoa a few times with a fork or spoon as it cools. When cool, add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine well. You're done!  Enjoy!