SOUP-UP THE SEASON!
When the leaves start to turn, there’s a chill in the air and summer salads just won’t do anymore, I welcome the return to my weekly soup-making ritual. Not only is it my favorite time of the week to relax and spend some quiet time in the kitchen, but also I think of my “Soups on Sunday” routine as a meditation – and one with delicious, nourishing results. The culinary effort done on Sunday is also a weight off my weekday mind. I just love having a wonderful pot of soup in the fridge to come home to, to enjoy at lunch or share with my elderly neighbor who loves a home-cooked, “comfort food” meal that’s also good for him.
Two of my favorite (and his) hearty and healthy soups are Turkey Burger Vegetable Soup and Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili. I created these years ago to take the edge off those cold Berkshire winter evenings, fill up the kids and keep the family’s immunity boosted with lots of plant-based ingredients, herbs and protein. Now that the temperatures are starting to plummet, I hope you will enjoy them too!
Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Crock-Pot Time: 4 to 5 hours
1 medium red onion; chopped 1 green bell pepper; chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced; 1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 151⁄2-ounce cans black beans
1 large sweet potato (about 8 ounces), cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes 1 cup water
Step 1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and cocoa powder.
Step 2. Add the tomatoes, beans (and their liquid), sweet potato and water.
Step 3. Cover and cook until the chili has thickened and the sweet potatoes are tender (over high heat for 4 to 5 hours; over low heat for 7 to 8 hours).
Note: This recipe can also be made on the stovetop.
Turkey Burger Vegetable Soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 8 (11⁄2 cups per serving)
3 cups water
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 carrots, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 141⁄2-ounce can diced tomatoes
5 red or purple potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes
2 cups shredded green cabbage
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Step 1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add 1 cup of the water. Add the peppers, carrots and fennel and cook for about 5 minutes, until al dente.
Step 2. Add the ground turkey to the vegetables and cook for about 8 minutes, until the turkey is no longer pink.
Step 3. Add the remaining 2 cups of water, the tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, tomato paste, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano and cayenne. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil.
Step 4. Reduce the heat to low, then cover the pot and simmer the soup for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender but not mushy.
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