I don’t like to use the term “curry” loosely. Not everything swimming in a sauce in Indian cuisine is considered a curry. Look on a menu at an Indian restaurant and you won’t really find that word listed anywhere. The word to me is just not sexy even though the flavors that are born from adding curry powder to various dishes can ultimately lead to something sweet, spicy, cozy, comforting and warming. Descriptive enough for you?
I’m in the process of packing up my entire childhood, my whole life and moving. It’s such a process because you go through a few things, reminisce on a few photos, read old love notes, and laugh at the things you thought you needed but really don’t. Isn’t it amazing how that works? You hold onto things you think you would need but you really don’t need them at all. How profound is that? As I pack and sort through the last 25 years of my life, I realize how important it is to simplify. To live simply is to live abundantly. Hashtag, just saying (#justsaying).
When the autumn and winter seasons approach us, I find myself strongly desiring comfort, warmth and ooey gooey cheese. The winter is when most people seem to gain weight and let’s face it, we ALL know it’s because of all the goodies that come with the season. Thanksgiving, Christmas and family gatherings full of decadent desserts, hearty meals and CHEEEEEEESE (and booze).
Moving on, I wanted to satisfy my comfort food craving for something lighter, vegan, nourishing and easy to make. This tomato basil bisque soothes the soul, warms the bones and really hits the spot. Making your own croutons (pumpernickel is what I chose) removes the suspicion of what ingredients are used to make your crunchy bites of deliciousness. Another plus? Your house smells delicious as a result. Now get cracking and write this recipe down and try it tomorrow!
Tomato-Basil Bisque with Pumpernickel Croutons (modified from Chloe’s Kitchen)
What You Need:
For the Pumpernickel croutons:
4 slices of fresh pumpernickel croutons, cubed
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the soup:
1 can of whole tomatoes (unsalted and its it liquid-READ THE INGREDIENTS)
4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
1 red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice (half a lemon)
1 teaspoon dried basil
Sea salt & Black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil for garnish
How You Make It:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl (or even on the baking sheet), toss bread cubes with oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. On a separate baking sheet, spread tomatoes, garlic and onions. Drizzle olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper.
3. Put both baking sheets in the oven. Roast veggies for up to 30 minutes or until tomatoes are lightly browned and caramelized. Bake croutons for 25 minutes, turning with spatula every 10 minutes.
4. Transfer roasted veggies and canned tomatoes to blender. Pulse until a desired consistency is achieved. Transfer soup mixture into a large pot and add broth. Simmer for 10 minutes. Mix in brown sugar, basil and lemon juice. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve garnished with croutons and basil. Enjoy!
I’m a big fan of cooking things that can last pretty much the entire week and this lasagna is one of those things that just tastes and makes you feel good. I randomly came across this recipe for lasagna when I was tired of the same old cheese and sauce get up. I have tweaked this recipe for my liking including different veggies and adding different herbs each time. My friends and family have tried this recipe and have even requested it occasionally. Trust me. It’s that good. Feel free to tweak this to your taste buds and experiment. Experiment with veggies you like. I’m partial to zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms and spinach. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
What you need:
1 box of no-boil lasagna sheets (this is MUCH easier and cuts cooking time. It still tastes phenomenal)
1 Jar of your favorite Marinara sauce (mine is Victoria Marinara- if you’re on a budget don’t buy this sauce. You can easily season a jar of Ragu or Prego to suit you. I recommend Victoria because the flavor is just incomparable)
1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese (I opt for part-skim)
1 tablespoon of freshly chopped basil
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of fresh/dried rosemary (if you can find fresh please get it! It’s worth it!)
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 bag of baby spinach, washed and set aside
1 zucchini, cubed
1 yellow squash, cubed
1 package of cremini or baby bella mushrooms, diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small bag of pre-shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (or Romano- equally as yummy)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
How you make it:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine 3/4 of the jar of marinara sauce with the container of ricotta cheese. It is important that all ingredients are room temperature in order to ensure everything is evenly incorporated. Add fresh and dry herbs, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. In a skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic. Once fragrant add zucchini and yellow squash. Sautee for about 3 minutes and toss in the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. After 2 minutes of sauteing the mushrooms toss in the baby spinach and stir until slightly wilted. Once wilted, add the can of cream of mushroom soup and stir until all veggies are coated. Feel free to season once more.
3. Take a deep lasagna pan (you can get the reusable kind) and layer the bottom with some of your marinara mixture. Add 3 lasagna sheets (they MUST not touch) and top sheets with vegetable mixture. Add another layer of lasagna sheets then proceed with the same process (marinara mixture, mozzarella cheese, parmesan, then veggies, lasagna sheets, etc).
Tip: It doesn’t matter if the marinara and the veggies touch- just keep layering until you feel content
4. Once you reach the last layer, take the reserved 1/4 marinara sauce and spread over the top of the lasagna. Sprinkle with mozzarella, parmesan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes with foil on. After 20 minutes, remove the foil and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Feel free to add some panko breadcrumbs for added crunch to the top layer.
5. Enjoy it while it’s warm and serve with a salad on the side or a nice warm slice of garlic bread. 🙂