Is everyone else obsessed with Love & Lemons or is it just me? We cook from this beautiful blog at least twice each week and we’re in love. Heads up Jeanine and Jack – we’re falling hard over here.
I used to think that vegan, gluten-free, seasonal cooking was mostly for people with food allergies, people who pretend to have food allergies, bandwagon eaters, and worst of all – picky eaters. There’s nothing I disdain more than a picky eater, unless, of course, the thing you won’t eat is bananas. Then you’re just spot on, because bananas are disgusting.
But, as it turns out, non. The more I eat from the Love & Lemons archives, the better I feel. And the fact that it’s usually vegan or gluten-free or seasonal is probably why. And while I will never hate on bread and its assorted compatriots – especially since I made no fewer than eight loaves of this bread during our Christmas break – we’ve been eating a whole lot lighter lately and we love it.
But what I mostly really love about what Jeanine and Jack post is that it’s a great jumping off point for other things. Other dishes, other ingredients, other flavors. We don’t always have some of the rare or Asian-inspired ingredients on hand, but a quick swapperoo and a modification or two and nobody is the wiser.
Enter last night’s soup. A delicious green confection, chock full of seasonal veggies and interesting flavors. The sweetness and bright zing of the leeks mellows out when the peas and mushrooms are added, and a splash of balsamic is just enough to give it some punch.
I tried to make it correctly – that is, according to the recipe – but my love for experimenting is well documented. Something just wasn’t quite right, so we did a little adapting and tasting along the way, and ended up with this.
And lo, it was good. Sometimes, when food is simple and you feel good eating it, that’s all that needs to be said.
Though – one more thing to say – this soup gets better the longer it sits, so consider making it a day ahead and stashing it in the fridge or just freezing it!
SPRING VEGETABLE SOUP
(adapted from Love & Lemons)
. 2 T olive oil
. 2 medium-sized leeks, light green & white parts, coarsley chopped
. 1/2 cup cooked peas, fresh or frozen (either is fine)
. 1/4 cup crimini mushrooms
. 1 shallot, coarsley chopped
. 2 garlic cloves, coarsley chopped
. splash of white wine
. one can of chickpeas
. 1.5 cups vegetable broth
. pinches of salt and pepper
. 1/2 cup half and half
. handful of italian parsley, some stems are ok
. 7 large basil leaves
. splash of honey or agave
. juice of half a lemon (to taste)
. splash of balsamic vinegar
. 1/2 cup water if needed
. 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
. splash of honey
. splash of olive oil
. squeeze of lemon
. pinch of saltInstructions:
1. In a large stock pot, heat the EVOO, add a splash of white wine and the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms reduce down and are soft. They should be giving off that nice, earthy mushroom smell, like stinky feet. Appetizing, no? Once they’re done, remove them from the pot and set them aside.
2. Heat a bit more oil, then add leeks, shallots, peas, garlic and a few pinches of salt. Saute until translucent, about five minutes. Add a splash of white wine and let it cook down for 30 seconds to a minute. Add rinsed and drained chickpeas and vegetable broth. Let the whole thing simmer for ten minutes or so, until the chickpeas are tender. Add another few pinches of salt. I love Maldon sea salt and keep a small cellar of it stove-side.
3. Remove from heat and let cool to room temp or just above. Then, pour the whole thing into a blender and add the cream, lemon juice, herbs, honey and mushrooms. I tried my immersion blender on this mixture and it just didn’t get it pureed enough, so into the blender it went.
At this point, you will likely need to adjust something. We fiddled with it for quite awhile before settling on a bit more cracked pepper and a splash of balsamic. My go-to fix is always a squeeze of lemon or a splash of balsamic and it rarely fails me.
4. Put it back into the pan to get it piping hot, then swirl in a dollop of yogurt sauce and serve. We ate ours with warm pecorino garlic bread from the Irish bakery around the corner, but you could also just sip it out of a mug and congratulate yourself on saying no to bread, if you’re into that kind of thing.