I was inspired to make this soup after my French friend, Zilia, made it for me on a recent Saturday afternoon in the Hamptons. She is a natural cook and has been making this wonderful soup since she learned how from her own mother. I think the tendency to make wholesome food from scratch is one of the reasons French women don’t have to worry about their weight!
The only thing you need to make this soup besides fresh, seasonal vegetables, is an Immersion Blender. It’s an invaluable tool that every Chef has in their kitchen! This great tool can turn any ingredient into a puree with simply a flip of the switch.
This soup can be made with whatever seasonal veggies you happen to have on hand. You can use a vegetable stock to make the soup completely vegetarian, or you can use a chicken stock which may give you a richer flavor. Of course you can also make your own stock.
As your hearty soup simmers, you can prepare the crunchy candied walnuts for your salad, and the toasted pine nuts for your soup. Nuts are SO important to incorporate into your diet…they offer the same nutritional benefits as a piece of fish, and we all know how heart-smart fish is! Eating a handful of walnuts everyday will help lower your cholesterol, your risk of heart disease, and the level of inflammation in your body. Pine nuts are a rich source of amino acids and a handful supplies you with 31 grams of healthy protein, the highest among all nuts and seeds!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Pureed Vegetable Soup
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 4 small zucchini, chopped
- 6 cremini mushrooms, halved
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 turnip, peeled and chopped
- 8 leeks, chopped
- 10 leaves of fresh basil, roughly torn
- 2 Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 handsful of fresh basil
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1 handful of pine nuts
Pureéd Vegetable Soup
- Heat a large stock pot over a medium flame and add the olive oil. Then one at a time add the onion, garlic, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, turnip, leeks. Give each vegetable about 10-30 seconds before you add the next one. Stir often.
- Add the basil, season with salt and pepper and stir again. Sauté about 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the chicken or vegetable stock and let it come up to a strong simmer. Turn the heat down a little bit and cook for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are very tender.
- Turn the heat as low as possible and puree with the immersion blender. Taste and season with more salt or pepper as needed.
- Divide your soup into serving bowls and top with a dollop of the basil oil. Scatter a few pine nuts on top.
- In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts just until they begin to brown, shaking the pan every few seconds so that they brown evenly.
- In a food processor, combine the basil and salt, and with the processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. Scrape down the sides to be sure that all of the basil is incorporated.
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- A few thin slices of red onion
- 2 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
- 1 head of red leaf lettuce, roughly torn
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ lemon, juiced
- In a small skillet combine the walnuts and maple syrup. Cook over medium-low heat until the syrup starts to bubble, and then continue cooking another minute. Pour candied walnuts into a bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the red onion, radishes, fennel, and lettuce. Season with the black pepper to taste. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon over the salad. Toss well.
- Plate the salad on individual plates and top with the candied walnuts.
*The original blog was called Flavors in Love. All material has been transferred and some has been edited for easier reading, and archiving.