gluten free

Creamy Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

fall is here!

Hi friends! I’ve been on a bit of a blog hiatus — it’s been crazy busy summer of work and travel, but now that Fall is in full swing, life is finally slowing down. The transition from summer to fall is always bittersweet and seems to be happening very rapidly this year. The hot summer days full of simple salads and cold summer treats are being replaced with warming soups, stews and heartier meals. We can finally turn our stoves and ovens back on!

With this transition, I bring you a recipe for this Creamy Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup. It’s comforting and filling without being too heavy. There’s nothing like scents of onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms and thyme cooked in butter to get you in the cozy, fall spirit!

A soup great for digestion + boosting mood

Need some digestive support? Soups are a great option because they are generally easier to digest.

Remember the Avgolemono recipe I sent out a while ago? It was a delightfully creamy, lemony soup thickened with eggs. I used that same technique to thicken this soup to avoid using cream or coconut milk, which are often hard for people to digest.

This soup is also loaded with ginger and lemon, making it perfect for days where you’re digestion is feeling off. Keep reading to learn why wild rice is so much easier to digest than other grains!

This time of year (especially in Portland) the winter blues can start to set in as days get cloudier and cooler. This soup is loaded with brain and mood boosting nutrients to prevent those winter blues. Egg yolks are a great source of vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Mushrooms are another plant-based source of vitamin D because they absorb sunlight as they grow.

Other favorite warming recipes for fall:

Chana Masala
Spiced Lentils and Rice with Garlickly Yogurt Sauce
Ginger Coconut Brown Rice + Banh Mi Bowl
Spice Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

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What is wild rice?

Did you know wild rice is actually a type of grass? It’s called ‘rice’ because of it’s similar appearance and cooking method to other grains. This makes wild rice a great option for people who struggle to digest grains or are grain-free. It also has twice the protein as regular brown rice and is packed with fiber.

How to make a soup creamy without cream

Most of the time, recipes call for coconut milk as a dairy-free substitution for cream. I do this a lot, but sometimes the strong coconut milk flavor and sweetness aren’t what you’re going for! That’s where eggs come in…

When you whisk eggs together while slowly pouring in a hot broth, the eggs get gently cooked into a creamy liquid. Stir that back into your soup and you’ve got yourself a velvety, rich broth!

Try my recipe for Avgolemono (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup)!

How to make Wild Rice Mushroom Soup

Simply sauté the aromatics in butter to release their flavor. Then add in the mushrooms, wild rice, thyme and bay leaf and stir it all together. Then add water and broth and let it simmer, covered, until the rice is cooked!

To make the soup thicker and velvety, you’ll whisk together 1 egg and 1 egg yolk in a small bowl. Remove some of the hot liquid using a measuring cup and slowly pour it back into the eggs, whisking constantly. This way the hot water will slowly cook and emulsify into the eggs. Stir that back into the soup and watch the magical creaminess happen!

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Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 tbsp butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
2 celery stalks, sliced
3-inch piece of ginger, grated (about 2 tbsp)
1 tsp salt
1 cup wild rice
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (about 3 cups sliced)
2 large sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf (optional)
4 cups vegetable broth (or use 4 cups water)
2 cups water
2 eggs (1 whole egg + 1 yolk)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups packed chopped kale

Instructions:
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, ginger and salt. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes. 

Add the wild rice, mushrooms, thyme and bay leaf (if using). Stir to mix everything together.

Add the broth and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 30-45 minutes, or until the wild rice has burst open and is still slightly chewy. Remove from heat and stir in the kale to wilt.

In a small bowl, whisk together one whole egg, one egg yolk and the lemon juice until smooth. Remove one cup of the broth from the soup and slowly whisk it into the egg mixture in a slow steady stream. Slowly stir the mixture back into the soup. Add more salt and pepper, to taste. 

Serve warm garnished with olive oil, flaky sea salt and black pepper.

*See tips and tricks section below!

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Tip and tricks for the perfect Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

  1. The amount of salt needed with depend greatly on the vegetable broth that you use, so add more salt if it is low sodium! Salt (and acid) is the KEY to tastier food at home.

  2. When whisking the hot broth into the eggs, make sure to pour it in a slow stream while you vigorously whisk it into the eggs. We don’t want scrambled eggs!

  3. Don’t have wild rice? Try using brown rice, but reduce the cook time to 25-30 minutes.

  4. Wild rice can take longer or shorter depending on what brand you buy. Just look for some of the grains to burst open. They should be a little chewy, but not crunchy!

  5. If the rice is taking longer and the soup is losing more liquid than you’d like, just add in some more water.

  6. Don’t have vegetable broth? Skip it and use 6 cups of water instead!

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)

The Perfect Spring Soup

Just because it’s almost Spring doesn’t mean soup season is over! This creamy, bright, lemony soup will blow your mind with it’s simplicity and deliciousness!

Also known as Avgolemono, this traditional Greek soup is a fun twist on chicken and rice soup. It has a secret ingredient that makes it extra luscious — eggs! No dairy, just eggs to create a creamy, velvety consistency.

The soup is topped with a generous amount of fresh dill for a herbaceous punch and black pepper for lil a kick.

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Can you put raw egg in soup?

YES! Slowly stirring in hot water tempers the eggs, sort of like chocolate, so that it doesn’t scramble. Instead, it cooks slowly at a lower temperature.

What is Avgolemono?

It’s a family of Greek sauces and soups where eggs/egg yolks are combined with lemon juice and hot broth to create a creamy sauce or soup.

What kind of rice is best for soup?

You can totally use white rice or even quinoa instead of brown rice. I just like the heartier texture of brown rice. Don’t worry about overcooking the grain, it adds to the creaminess.


Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt, divided
Pinch salt
¾ cup brown rice
1 bay leaf, optional
1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 qt low sodium chicken stock
4 eggs (2 whole eggs + 2 egg yolks)
¼ cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
3 cups spinach, optional
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup fresh dill

Instructions:
In a large pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add onion and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the rice, bay leaf (if using), chicken and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes (uncovered), or until both the rice and chicken are cooked.

Remove the bay leaf and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Use two forks to shred the chicken. Return the chicken to the pot along with the spinach (if using). Simmer until the spinach wilts, about 2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the 2 whole eggs, 2 egg yolks and lemon juice until smooth. VERY slowly pour in 2 cups of the hot broth while whisking constantly.

Stir the lemony egg liquid back into the soup along with the remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Simmer it gently for a couple of minutes. It will become creamy — MAGIC! Taste and add more salt if you think it needs it (depends on the chicken broth used).

Stir in lots of cracked pepper. Serve topped with lots of fresh dill, a drizzle of olive oil and more black pepper.


Tips and tricks for the perfect Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

  1. Slowly whisking the hot broth into the egg/lemon is the most important part! It’s not hard at all, just maintain a slow drizzle while whisking away.

  2. The chicken may cook faster than the rice. If so, you can just remove the chicken and continue to simmer until rice is cooked.

  3. The soup is very lemony and salt helps to balance it all out. Don’t be afraid to add more salt if you think it needs it. A drizzle of olive oil also helps balance the lemon.

  4. Don’t skip the DILL!!! It takes the soup to the next level.






Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

This Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew is loaded with some of my favorite cozy spices to use this time of year. The coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika combo will warm you up from the inside out! The bites of sweet dates and salty olives combined with the spicy broth is to die for! BONUS — it’s loaded with immune-boosting foods to keep those nasty winter bugs at bay.

Lentils and chickpeas are my favorite legumes to use as plant-based options for dinners and lunches. While I love eating local, grass-fed, pasture-raised, etc… meats a few times a week, I try to make the majority of my meals plant-based for simplicity, affordability, and variety. The moment I tested out this chickpea stew, I knew it was going to be a weekly staple.

It’s super easy to throw together — simply sauté some onions and garlic, add your spices and chickpeas, mash them up a little to thicken the stew, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until done, voila!

I make a ton of stews this time of year because they keep well in the fridge or can be frozen for an easy meal. Make a double batch and freeze half, you won’t regret it!

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Whats the difference between a soup and a stew?

Soups have much more liquid, whereas stews are meats, legumes, and/or veggies that are simmered with enough broth to cover/cook until everything is tender and the broth is reduced and turned ‘saucy’. Yum!

How do you make a vegetarian stew?

Swap the beef, poultry or pork with some good old reliable legumes! Sauté your aromatics and spices/flavors, add the protein and liquid and simmer until everything is tender and liquid has reduced.

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Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

Serves 4

Ingredients:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp red chili flakes (optional)
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 medium sweet potato, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1 heaping cup)
2 cups water
1 cup packed chopped kale
½ cup chopped pitted green olives
¼ cup chopped dates (or dried apricots or golden raisins)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Chopped toasted almonds, for garnish

Instructions:
In a large pot, warm the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic and salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric and red chili flakes (if using) and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly, to toast the spices.

Stir in the chickpeas, then use a fork to mash about ⅓ of them up. Stir in the sweet potato and water and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the greens, olives, and dates and simmer, uncovered, for 5 more minutes.

Serve with rice or quinoa and garnish with cilantro and almonds. This is also delicious with a dollop of plain yogurt!

Tips and Tricks for the perfect Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

  1. Make sure to mash 1/3 - 1/2 of the chickpea to help release their starches and thicken the stew (thanks Alison Roman for the tip!).

  2. Some canned chickpeas are way creamier while others can be a bit mealy and dry. You definitely want CREAMY to thicken up the stew. I love the 365 brand from Whole Foods. If you cook your chickpeas at home (this yields the best chickpeas by far), then use 4 cups cooked chickpeas!

  3. Toasting the spices enhances their flavor, so don’t skip that step! But be careful not to burn them — stir it constantly and make sure there is still some oil in the pot. If not, add a glug.

  4. You still want the final product to have some liquid/sauce but not so much that it’s like a soup. Keep reducing the liquid (or add some) until it seems right.

  5. Make sure you taste and add salt/spices/maybe some lemon juice until you like it!

German Apple Tart

German Apple Tart (Apfel Schnitten)

One of my favorite fall activities is wandering amongst the apple trees with Mt. Hood in the background and a hot apple cider in hand. There are so many amazing apple orchards in Hood River with beautiful views of the mountain, it’s magical!

We obviously came home with an abundance of apples and the only logical thing to do is to bake a healthy apple treat, am I right? This one was inspired by my momma! When we were kids, my mom would always make these German tarts with whatever fruit was in season. In the fall/winter it was apples or pears and in the summer it was peaches or plums (my fav).

The original dough is a super simple tart dough, but loaded with refined sugar and flour, so I ‘health-ified’ by substituting almond flour and coconut sugar. The texture came out soo good — crispy yet slightly chewy and delightfully nutty!

Pre-bake

Pre-bake

Post-bake :)

Post-bake :)

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What is a German Apple Tart?

I asked my mom what the German name was for the recipe and she said ‘Apfel Schnitten’. I googled it and a ton of different looking recipes came up. We called it German apple tarts as kids so that’s what I’m calling it! Essentially it’s just a pie-like crush topped with fruit and nuts and baked until golden.

Which apple is best for baking?

I prefer using tart apples like Granny Smith, Empire, or Elstar but a sweeter variety like Honey Crisp works well too. You want to use an apple that is firm and crisp. A lot of it is just personal preference.

How do you make an apple tart?

It’s simple! Just throw together a basic dough, roll it out, top it with seasonal fruit + nuts and bake until golden. It’s the perfect vehicle for vanilla ice cream :)

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German Apple Tart

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup almond meal
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 small apple, cored, thinly sliced
1 egg, whisked (egg wash)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp chopped hazelnuts (optional)

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 325F.

In a bowl, mix together the almond meal, coconut sugar, coconut oil, egg yolk, vanilla and salt. Use your hands to knead the dough to make sure everything is evenly mixed. Form it into a ball.

Place the dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet and press into a square shape. Use a rolling pin (or wine bottle!) to roll the dough out until it’s about ¼-inch thick.

Layer the apples on top of the dough and gently press them down. Use a brush (or a paper towel or napkin) to spread a thin layer of the egg wash on top of the apples (helps them get nice and brown). Sprinkle with cinnamon and top with chopped hazelnuts, if using.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges of the dough are deeply golden.

Serve warmed topped with vanilla ice cream! I also enjoy it for breakfast cold or warm with plain whole milk yogurt on top!

Tips and Tricks for the perfect German Apple Tart

  1. If you don’t have a rolling pin or wine bottle you can just use your hands to press out the dough, it just won’t be as uniform.

  2. Don’t press the apples into the dough too hard, just gently so that it makes contact. When it bakes, the apples will stick!

  3. The egg wash helps the apples to get a little golden, but you can skip this step, it doesn’t change the flavor.

  4. I used homemade almond meal (just almonds blended in a food processor). You can use store-bought almond meal or the finer almond flour (haven’t tried with almond flour but it should still work).

  5. I made the recipe to serve 4, but you can easily double it for a crowd!

  6. Store in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat in the oven or microwave.

  7. This will keep in the fridge for 1 week, but I promise it won’t last that long!





Chana Masala

Chana Masala

Now that fall is here all I want to do is eat soups, stews and roasted everything! This Chana Masala is a tomato-based chickpea stew that is full of warming spices and flavors. I love this recipe because it uses super simple, budget-friendly ingredients, and is a delicious, comforting plant-based dinner option that also freezes really well!

This recipe is very dear to me because I got it from one of my best friends mom who used to feed me A LOT of Indian food back in high school. I’ve never had anything quite as good since!

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How do you make chana masala?

First you pulse the jalapeño, garlic, ginger and onion so that everything is very finely chopped. Then you toast the spices in shimmering oil, which blooms them and makes it super fragrant. Next you add the onion mixture to the pot and let them caramelize a bit. Then you add the pureed tomatoes and cook that for a bit so that it thickens. Finally, you add the chickpeas and remaining spices along with spinach (if using) and then stir in the cilantro. Easy peasy!!

What is chana masala curry?

It is an Indian curry made with ginger, garlic, green chiles, onion, tomatoes, a warming spice blend, and chickpeas. It’s very simple yet super satisfying!

You’ll need a few spices for the delicious spice blend, but if you don’t have them they are totally worth investing in. Here is what you’ll need: cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, and paprika.

Is chana masala good for you?

Yes!! It’s loaded with anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and ginger. Since it’s a tomato-based stew, it’s high in vitamin C and carotenoids that are also great for reducing inflammation. The chickpeas add a healthy dose of fiber and protein. Add some spinach for an extra boost of calcium and iron!

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Chana Masala

Serves 4

Ingredients:
3 cups cooked brown basmati or short grain rice (about 1 cup uncooked)
1 jalapeno, deseeded
4-5 cloves garlic
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1/3 cup avocado oil (or other neutral oil)
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes (or diced, but you will have to puree them)
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp paprika
2 cups packed spinach (optional)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Instructions:
In a food processor, pulse the jalapeño, garlic, and ginger until everything is finely chopped. Add the onion and pulse again a few times until finely chopped. This step really helps to finely chop and release the juices for maximum flavor.

In a large pot, add the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the spices and let them toast in the oil for about 1 minute, stirring often.

Add the onion mixture and salt and cook for 5 minutes to let the onions cook down and caramelize and spices continue to release their flavor (this is key for a deep, rich flavor).

Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 more minutes to thicken. Stir in the chickpeas, garam masala and paprika and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the spinach (if using) and cilantro and let the spinach wilt (if using). Remove from heat.

Serve on top of a bed of basmati or short grain brown rice. Enjoy!!

Tips and tricks for the perfect Chana Masala

  1. Make sure not to skimp on the oil. It allows the spices and flavors to bloom and gives the stew a rich, satisfying mouth feel.

  2. Don’t skip any steps! Caramelizing the onions, toasting the spices and simmering the tomatoes are all KEY to a delicious chana masala.

  3. You could try hand chopping everything if you don’t have a food processor. I haven’t tried it this way but am sure it will still be delicious. However, pulsing them released the juices from the garlic, ginger, etc… and leads to a better smooth texture in the stew.

  4. This will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week and freezes for several months!

  5. I always have some little bags of cooked grains (brown rice, farro, barley…) in my freezer so meals like these come together super quickly! Simply microwave the grains until warm or let them sit in the fridge overnight to thaw.