Celery & Kale Soup with Croutons

What to do with a bunch of celery stalks sitting in your fridge just waiting to be used.. Looking for a quick appetizer or a light lunch? This soup is absolutely refreshing and a perfect welcome to Spring time.. or at least an encouraging nod towards sunshine!


Celery and Kale Soup

1-2 T. Olive oil
6 stalks of Celery, big chunks sliced
1 c. loosely packed Kale leaves, chopped
1 T. Garlic, minced
1 T. Green onion, sliced
1 can Coconut Milk
3/4 c. Water (or try broth!)
3 T. or a generous pour of Red Wine Vinegar
2 T. and 2 T. Dijon Mustard
1 T. Herbes de Provence Additional Thyme & Rosemary, if needed Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 Day Old Baguette, diced
2-3 T. Olive oil
Parmesan, grated (optional)

To make the croutons: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. On a medium sized cookie sheet, lined with either a silpat or aluminum foil, place the bread pieces in one layer. Bake the bread for about 10 minutes. Once the bread has dried out and lightly browned, pour on the 2-3 T. of olive oil evenly across the croutons. Continue to bake until each piece is perfectly golden brown! Once the croutons are ready, if you’d like, evenly grate some fresh parmesan cheese on top!


For the soup: In a medium soup pot on medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic, celery and kale for about 4-5 minutes with a pinch or two of salt, herbes de provence, black pepper, and the first 2 T. of dijon mustard. Then add the water/broth, increase the heat to high and cover.

Once the liquid is boiling, bring heat down to let it simmer. Once the celery and kale are tender, pour in the coconut milk and green onion. Stir it up!

Turn off the heat, either using an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend up the soup to your preferred consistency. I like it extra smooth. Once the soup is to your liking, throw in some more dijon mustard. Give a pour of your red wine vinegar (I “guess-timated” about 3 T.). Finally, season the soup to your liking! I decided to add some more rosemary and thyme to the soup, but feel free to play around with flavors!


Serve hot with some parmesan croutons on top! This soup was refreshing, bright, and had a great zest. The crispy croutons were a perfect compliment to the lightness of the soup. The flavors were perfect for lovely Spring day!

Now if only Chicago could get it’s act together and bring on Spring! Here’s to hoping for warmer weather soon!




Sweet Potato Soup à la Goop

Hey, so, like Gywneth Paltrow’s last cookbook, I was on the waiting list at Monroe County Library just so that I can check it out and make fun of it. I was #18 on the list, and turns out it was so, so, totally worth it. IMG_1055 Look at how bad her hair looks. Anyway, the “cookbook” she “wrote” yielded a questionable number of  “recipes,” many of which had very few ingredients, many of which were things I learned to make after school (elementary school) when my mom wasn’t home to make a snack. They were also super duper “healthy.” And yea, here at Soups & Roots & Rants, we love healthy food, but not so much to the point of counter-functionality. The things her “doctor” restricts her from eating, for example: “no coffee, no alcohol, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no shellfish, no deepwater fish, no potatoes, no tomatoes, no bell pepper, no eggplant, no corn, no wheat, no meat, no soy, nothing processed at all.” The fuck? No tomatoes? Like, what can you “eat” then? This is the woman who brought us the delight of the “Oyster Po-Boy” in her last cookbook (which, I would like point out, is not only really gross, but is an oxymoron, as oysters are super fucking expensive, and Po’Boy is short for “Poor Boy”).

Because of her inclination toward boring, healthy “foods” with very few “ingredients,” we got lots more wonderful things like this “recipe” for avocado on toast: IMG_1057 Perhaps you’d like a hard-boiled egg? Well this NY Times best-selling author has got you covered. IMG_1062 Or there’s also this really cool recipe for wet almonds.

They’re vegan.IMG_1060 And unless you’ve forgotten how to make popcorn: IMG_1063 Here’s Goop on a Vespa, next to a cheesecake recipe. Very relevant. IMG_1059 Gweggs. IMG_1065 Alright, now that I’m done (not completely done) railing on Goop, I’d like to disclose with you that I did not find her cookbook totally useless. My friends across the street were real sick, and this recipe for a spicy sweet potato soup really caught my eye. I have altered it a little bit because I didn’t want to use chipotle pepper (it takes over everything), and I also had some Ras-al-Hanout from London that I wanted to get rid of. You should be able to find it in the bulk section of your local organic grocery store. Less spicy, more sweet. IMG_1049 2 T. olive oil
1 large red onion
2 garlic cloves
5 sprigs of cilantro
3/4 t. cumin
1 t. Ras-el-Hanout (galangal, rose petals, black peppercorns, ginger, cardamom, nigella, cayenne, allspice, lavender, cinnamon, cassia, coriander seeds, mace, nutmeg, cloves)
coarse sea salt
1/2 t. chili powder
2 large sweet potatoes (peeled & diced)
6 cups vegetable broth

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot, and then add onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and a heavy pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables are softened, but not browned. IMG_1042 Toss in the potatoes, chili powder, Ras-al-Hanout until the potatoes are evenly coated. IMG_1054 Then pour in veggie broth and bring up to a boil. After it’s boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Once the potatoes are cooked, put it all in a blender. IMG_1067 It’s all good. Serve with sour cream and a sprig of cilantro.

Gwyn is great at making recipes with 2 ingredients or less, but I here at Soups & Roots, we always try and bulk up our recipes to bring out the maximum spice level. Next time you’re cooking, think: What Would Gwyn Do? (WWGD) And then do the opposite of that.

Love, Fran

Pasta e Fagioli

Looking for a delicious soup to warm you up from these cold wintery days? This Italian classic soup is the perfect fix. Plus, it’s vegan! My version is definitely on the carb-heavy side since I used potatoes AND pasta, but feel free to eliminate the potatoes if that’s not your style!

The beans make for a thick and chunky soup! The fragrant herbs will fill your kitchen with delight!

Warning: This recipe makes a TON of soup! Somewhere between 8-10 servings of soup! 

Screen Shot 2013-03-03 at 7.23.04 PM

Pasta e Fagioli

3 Celery Ribs, diced
2 Carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 Red onion, diced
2 T. Garlic, minced
1 12 oz. can of Red Beans
1 12 oz. can of Cannellini Beans
4 Red Potatoes or 1 Large potato, diced
3 c. of Pasta of your choice, I used Campanelle
32 oz. Vegetable broth
1/4 c. Dry White Wine
1/2 c. Crushed Tomatoes
3 Bay Leaves
1 T. Dried Oregano
1 T. Dried Basil
1/2 T. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh Parsley to garnish

In a deep 5+ quart dutch oven, heat up some olive oil and sauté some garlic and onions until the onions become translucent. Then add the carrots, potatoes, and celery. Make sure to mix it up so that they are coated with the olive oil. Throw on your herbs (oregano, basil, bay leaves, and crushed red pepper flakes). Then top your pot for about 5-10 minutes. Feel free to peek every once in awhile and stir – if you feel so inclined – I have trouble leaving my vegetables sometimes, too.


Next, deglaze the pot with your dry white wine and mix. Then throw in your broth and beans. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer on very low heat. Cover for approximately 20-30 minutes.

Lastly, add your crushed tomatoes and the pasta! Let it cook until the pasta gets tender and the soup gets a beautiful red hue! You may or may not need to add some more water or broth depending on the soup’s thickness. Garnish the soup with parsley!


*Take note: Your soup is going to thicken up because of the beans and potatoes so you may lose the soupiness of the broth. Feel free to add some more broth or water if you plan to eat this as leftovers!

I absolutely loved this soup! Yum yum yum! It is very hearty! But beware, the heaviness of this soup will creep up on you fast!! Also, if you’d like a bit of cheesiness, you could add some grated parmesan on top! Enjoy!



Two Seasons Chowder

It’s starting to feel like winter already here in Chicago… I decided what better way to celebrate this cold weather than with a delicious heart-warming soup!

Who doesn’t love a vegetable-filled chowder? This soup was inspired by a two seasons soup at Food Life in Water Tower Place. They have a “Soup Life” station with 9 different soups each day and I happened to find this one particularly delicious. So I decided to recreate it with a creamy twist!

Here’s what I made:

IMG_8371Two Seasons Chowder, Autumnal Squash and Summer Corn

2 c. Butternut Squash
1 16 oz can of Corn, some water saved
1 Red Bell Pepper
1/2 c. Onion
2 cloves Garlic
2 Stalks of Celery
1/2 c. Half and Half
1/2 c. Skim Milk
4 c. Vegetable Broth
1 T. Olive oil
1 T. Butter
Salt, Black Pepper, Dried Sage

Place the onion, garlic, celery, and red bell pepper into a large soup pot with the oil and the butter. As the onions become translucent, add the butternut squash. Lightly season the vegetables with the sage, salt, and pepper.

Heat the ingredients until they all start to sizzle and then reduce the heat all the way down and cover for about 10 minutes.

Next, add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce and cover for another 15 minutes so that the vegetables can become tender.

Take the half & half and the skim milk and add to the soup along with the corn and about half of the liquid from the can. Simmer the soup for another 5-10 minutes. Check the seasoning to see if it needs anything. Serve hot with some crunchy toast.

This soup really hits the spot and warms you up after a long day. As an added bonus, you could sprinkle on some grated cheese! Keep warm out there, everyone!



Butternut Squash Chili

Kids, this is not a recipe, but a warning to please take care of yourself when eating chili. I burn my mouth on this stuff every. Single. Time. My mouth is fresh with a new wound from the ghost of leftover’s past. It’s not pretty, kids. Not pretty.

about 2/3 of a butternut squash
1 ear of corn, cut from the cob
2 bell peppers, orange, red, or yellow, please.
1 red onion
16 oz. can black beans
16 oz. can red beans
16 oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 shallot
4 cloves garlic
1-3 c. vegetable broth (it depends)
1-2 c. water
2-3 tsp. cumin
1-2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1-2 tsp. chili pepper
1 T. adobo sauce
salt & pepper (as always)
olive oil

Let’s start by getting some color on your vegetables. Throw corn, minced garlic, red onion, and bell pepper, and butternut squash in olive oil, salt & pepper to saute. Do you remember how to cut a butternut squash? Key here is to A. blacken some of your vegetables. B. flavor all the vegetables with garlic C. get that weird corn taste out of your chili (be weary of the ever-present corn taste. corn perpetuates everything).

Your goal is NOT to get the vegetables so soft that they’re cooked. They’ll have time to do that. No worries. Set them aside when they’ve got some color. Your squash will still be firm. No worries.

Bring broth and water to a simmer in a LARGE saucepan. Once it’s all hot, add in the vegetables you’ve set aside and then the spices, lightly at first. Add in a smaller amount of each spice and then add the drained black beans, red beans, tomatoes and adobo. If it’s not looking very viscous, add in some more broth. If you think it’s too mild, add some spice! Keep this on a continuous simmer, stirring every 7-10 minutes or so for about 30 MINUTES. If you let all this stew, your veggies will be super flavorful, I promise.

I ate it with kale and whole wheat pasta. How does that look?

Not So Pretty Indian Lentil Soup

This evening after a long first day of school and a pretty long afternoon in the library, I decided to make some warm lentil soup. I knew that I wanted to incorporate some Indian flavors, but I didn’t want it to be too rich and hearty – so I stuck to a broth-y route.

Then I found this allrecipes creation and decided to just go for it! I didn’t have all the ingredients and I didn’t have any measuring spoons so bear with me because I did a lot of improvising and guesstimating.

photo (7)

Not So Pretty Indian Lentil Soup

1 T. Olive Oil
1/2 c. Red Onion, diced (I should’ve used more, but I ran out)
1 clove of Garlic
1/2 c. Lentils
1 1/2 c. Sweet Potato, diced
1/2 c. loosely packed Kale, sliced
2 c. Vegetable Broth
2 c. Water
Seasoned with: Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, Turmeric, Garam Masala, Cumin, Coriander, & Salt

First, I sautéed the diced red onion and the garlic in olive oil until it became fragrant. Then I added the crushed red pepper flakes, turmeric and garam masala.

Stir up until all of the onion mixture is covered.

Next, add the broth and lentils. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cover that baby up!

Once the lentils have softened, you can throw in your diced sweet potato. Once again, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cover until your sweet potatoes become tender. If your lentils absorbed too much of your broth like me, this is when you should add more water and/or broth.

photo (6)

Now, you can season to taste with the cumin, coriander, and salt.

As a final step, throw in the kale until it wilts and becomes soft. Just to give the soup that extra colorful kick!

Enjoy! Unfortunately, the soup is not the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made, but it sure was delicious!



Ps. True life story here, this soup was too delicious to keep as leftovers. I kept going back for more bites and now I think I may just go ahead and finish it.

Mushroom & Sweet Potato Chowder with Smoked Gouda

Since when does Francisco do all the cooking around here?? To be honest, I haven’t had many opportunities to cook much.. that is, until tonight. I am loving my new apartment in the city and so excited to embark on new foodie adventures.

While my stove is a bit smaller, the counter space is a bit tighter, I am making it work like a champ! It also helps that I have some wonderful new cookware thanks to my fantastic family & friends!

One of my new favorite cheeses is gouda. Pronounced Gow-dah in the Netherlands, its origin actually comes from a city of the same name in the Dutch Province South Holland. It is an orange cheese made from cow’s milk. And in my opinion, it is especially delicious smoked with that chewy outer rind.

So here’s a fun recipe for your future gouda endeavors, adapted to be vegetarian from Our Life in Food:


Mushroom & Sweet Potato Chowder with Smoked Gouda topped with Crispy Garlic

1/2 Red Onion, diced
1/2 lb Mushrooms, sliced (I used Baby Bella mushrooms)
1-2 c. Sweet Potatoes, diced
1 cloves of Garlic, minced
2 c. Vegetable Broth
1/2 c. Half & Half
4 oz. Smoked Gouda Cheese, sliced into small chunks or shredded
Salt, Pepper, Thyme to taste

Crispy Garlic:

1 clove of Garlic, minced
1-2 Tbs. Olive oil
Paprika, Cumin, & Salt

First, you need to make your crispy garlic: In a large soup pot or a dutch/french oven (I used my new Le Creuset), turn the heat to medium-high and once hot, pour in the olive oil and the minced garlic into the pan. Season with paprika, cumin, & salt — smoked paprika is best, but work with what you have! Cook the garlic, stirring every so often, until it is a golden brown and is crispy. (~5-8 minutes)

Take out your crispy garlic and set aside, but leave the remaining oil.

Next throw in your onion & mushrooms. Stir to coat the veggies in the oil. Season with salt & pepper. Let them cook until the  moisture from the mushrooms evaporates and the veggies begin to brown. (~10-15 minutes)


After that, add the sweet potatoes and the minced garlic (not the crispy kind), stirring to combine. Add the thyme and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Puree as much or as little of the mixture as you want in a food processor (I used my new 11 cup food processor) or feel free to use an immersion blender in the pot. I like my chowders chunky so next time, I’ll process it a bit less. Then return the soup to the pot and add the half and half and the gouda. I sliced my gouda into small chunks, but I think it would be easier if I had shredded it.


Simmer until the soup has heated through and the cheese has melted.

Serve with your crispy garlic on top! Enjoy!

Putting on more layers, I’m freeeeezing – I thought it was only September?


Sweet Morrocan Squash Soup

Autumn is my favorite season. I think it’s safe to say that there are few things I like more than a few fresh squash at a farmers market and a rich, rusty orange color in my food.

In August, however, when your sister asks for her final dinner before college to have a butternut squash soup. . . oh boy. I managed to find one with a nice color at my grocery store, and the rest I decided to spin North African.

Serves 4.


1 Large Butternut Squash
1/2 Sweet Potato
1/2 carton of Vegetable Stock
1/2 large Yellow Onion
1/4 tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1 T. minced Garlic
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
a large handful of fresh Sage Leaves
Cinnamon sticks
Olive Oil

Moroccan seasoning:
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Paprika
1/2 tsp. Red Pepper
1 tsp. Coriander
1 tsp. Cardamom
1/2 tsp. White Pepper
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ginger
1/2 tsp. Turmeric

Roasted Pumpkin and Squash seeds
Crème Fraîche

Preheat oven to 375°F.

To roast the butternut squash, peel, pit, and dice the vegetable (tutorial there if you click) and lay them out on a baking sheet so everything is evenly coated in olive oil. Do the same with the sweet potato, but cut into smaller slightly smaller pieces. You can use more sweet potato if you like, but They cook slower than squash. Add cinnamon, chili pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, salt and pepper. Then toss fresh sage and broken cinnamon sticks on top.

Cover the baking sheet in tin foil and let cook for 30 minutes. Take off tin foil and let cook another 10 minutes.

In a large skillet, sauté the onion in olive oil until the onions start to brown. Then throw in the squash n’ tubers, along with the Moroccan seasoning until they blacken a little on the edges. It’s alright if they start to look like mashed potatoes, but try to avoid it, stirring them every now and then.

Throw everything in a food processor or blender, adding the veggie stock. Then add water until it’s the consistency you want it. Leave it a little thicker, if you really want to garnish to stay on top.

Putting it back into the pot, add more of any one spice to your taste, but chances are you’ll be adding salt & pepper, along with more chili powder if you’re for the spicy stuff. Add water as it evaporates.

Mix crème fraîche with skim milk into it’s drizzling consistency. Then, drizzle away and top with roasted pumpkin & squash seeds! (Recipe there if you click).


Garlic Potato Soup with Apples

After a trip to the dentist, people can be confined to a liquid diet until everything is all healed up and a whole lot less numb. While this can seem like a really horrible thing, it can be wonderful when paired with the perfect soup.

As a special treat for Francisco’s mom, we made it our mission to make her a delicious soup using an assortment of ingredients that we found lying around his house. Here’s what we came up with:


Garlic Potato Soup with Apples

1 T. Oil
3 Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Onion, diced
2 Apples, peeled and diced
2-3 T. Garlic, minced
1-2 c. Broth (we used Chicken broth, but Vegetable broth would be great!)
1 c. Milk
1 c. Water
2 t. Rosemary
1 t. Chives
1 t. Nutmeg
Dashes of Paprika and Chili powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

First, we boiled the potatoes and strained them. Then with a little bit of oil, threw them into a sauce pan and added the milk so that they became somewhat like mashed potatoes.


In a separate pan, we sautéed the garlic, onions, and apples together in oil and seasoned them to taste with the nutmeg as well as salt and pepper. We waited for the ingredients to all become tender and then popped out our blender.


We blended the soup in two different batches. Taking half of each mixture as well as adding in some broth.

Once the soup was all blended, we put the mixture into a medium sized soup pot and gave it a taste. Then we threw in some dried rosemary, chives, chili powder, and paprika for a nice flavor. We brought the soup to a boil and then let it simmer to help all of the flavors marry.

Finally, we added some water to keep the mixture nice and smooth. And it was ready to serve!


Next time, we’ll have to try adding some more apple to help bring out that flavor some more, but besides that, this soup was absolutely excellent. It was a nice and warm soup that is perfect for curling up and getting well.

We can’t get enough of soups! Enjoy!


Mimi & Francisco

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Last night, one of my friends mentioned carrot and ginger soup and I immediately knew what I was going to be making for lunch this afternoon. I had all of the ingredients in my fridge!

It was kind of thrown together on a whim, but I think it turned out pretty delicious! If you’re interested in a deliciously spicy soup with a sweet tangy flavor, this is exactly what you have been searching for! This recipe serves 2 for a nice light lunch to be paired with a delicious sandwich or salad of your choice!


Carrot & Ginger Soup

2 medium Carrots, sliced
1/2 Onion, diced
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
2 small Jalapeños, sliced
1/2 Orange Pepper, diced
Green Onion (to garnish)
2 c. Vegetable Broth
1 T. Olive oil
1 T. Ginger powder
2 tsp. Coriander
2 tsp. Basil
Pinch or two of Cayenne (I like things spicy, what can I say?)
Salt and Pepper to taste

First, place the onions and the garlic into a pot with the olive oil set on medium to high heat. Cook until the onions are translucent.

Then add the jalapeños as well as the ginger powder. Throw in the sliced carrots and the diced orange pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring the entire mixture to a boil. Season with basil, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper.


Next, I used my immersion blender and blended the soup. I like my soups to be a blend of chunky and smooth, but feel free to blend it to your choice!


Serve immediately with sliced green onion as a garnish on top!

This spicy, yet simple carrot soup is a perfect recipe for a quick lunch or a nice appetizer to a dinner. It was rich and creamy, but not super filling! I loved the fresh green onion on top and I’d definitely throw more on if I had any leftover!

4 Days until Graduation! Happy Finals Week!