Meatless Monday – Soup’s On (Again)

Clearly, I have a thing for soup!

In my defense, the bathroom scale indicates that this past weekend’s indulgences did me no favors (what, calories consumed at a fundraiser still count?) and Tween has night-after-night pizza parties as he says goodbye to a fantastic basketball season and his beloved Cub Scout den.

I recently purchased a new cookbook, Clean Slate, and haven’t made much beyond the smoothies (some great fruit-veggie combinations). So I checked out the 3-day detox diet and found a simple veggie soup different enough from my standard fair to warrant a try. I cannot justify eating pizza two more nights this week!

And tonight’s party didn’t begin until 7pm, a late dinner hour for Tween and after Teen is already at sports practice. We all needed a little something clean and healthy.

The soup recipe called for green beans but my kids aren’t big fans – and I had zucchinis that needed to be eaten (more on that in a bit) – so I subbed here and there. Especially as I’m not doing the detox plan as stated, I gave myself leeway to accommodate with what I had on hand and to add additional seasonings.

Clean Soup (adapted from Clean Slate‘s carrot, spinach and green bean soup with dill)
Serves 8

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, cut in quarters and ribbons
4 large carrots, sliced
2 large ribs celery, diced
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 Tbsp coarse salt
10 c water (or veggie broth, or a combination)
1 1/2 large zucchini, dinced
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 packed cups baby spinach
3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
Juice of 1 lemon
Spices to taste (optional): I added a dash each of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and dried red pepper, plus additional salt and black pepper)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in carrots and celery, turmeric, and salt; saute 2-3 minutes. Add water, bring to a boil, then simmer until carrots are just tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in zucchini and beans and cook about 3 minutes; add spinach, dill, and lemon juice. Season to taste. Turn off heat and let sit at least 2 minutes, or until ready to serve.

Note: Clean eating emphasizes real – not processed – food. I adore Better Than Bouillon low-sodium veggie broth, but stuck with plain ‘ol water in order to left the veggie flavors bloom. Sauteed veggies, dill and lemon, + additional spices made for a nice broth; for a stronger flavor, home-made broth or the pre-packaged broth of your choice would also work nicely.

clean soup

Remember those zucchini? I’m still learning from my citrus-sludge smoothie that I need to use produce in its proper time, so I decided to make zucchini muffins as a breakfast/lunch/after-school treats for the boys. Tween may never have eaten a made-by-me zucchini bread, that’s how long it’s been.

I turned to a trustworthy source, Oh She Glows, and found a perfect recipe. I adapted only a smidge: I used less cane sugar and added a little agave, and I omitted nuts because my kids aren’t crazy about that much crunch in their muffins (I think a little more crunch would have been fantastic, but a mother sacrifices…).

Oil-Free Cocoa Zucchini Muffins
Makes 18

1 tapioca egg (Ener-G egg replacer – 1 1/2 tsp powder + 2 Tbsp warm water)
1 1/4 c lightly packed shredded zucchini
1 1/4 c unsweetened original almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
2 tsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c cocoa powder
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/4 c cane sugar
1/3 c dark chocolate chips
2/3 c chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F and place cupcake liners in muffin cups.

Mix tapioca egg in a small bowl and set aside. Grate zucchini using a grater box (regular grate size). Set aside.

Mix almond milk and fresh lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside. It will curdle – we’re making vegan buttermilk.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar).

Mix together wet ingredients (egg, almond milk, maple syrup, agave, and vanilla) and pour over dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Fold in shredded zucchini, chocolate chips, and walnuts, if using.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 15-17 minutes at 350F, or until muffins slowly spring back when touched. A toothpick should come out mostly clean. Cool in tin for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack until completely cool.

Tween noticed "a green thing" and assumed it was apple. Tw: "Is it apple?" Me: "If you'd like to think it is." He ate it anyway and decided to enjoy it. He felt a whole lot better when Teen arrived home and dug in, no zucchini issues for him.
Tween noticed “a green thing” and assumed it was apple.
Tw: “Is it apple?”
Me: “If you’d like to think it is.”
He ate it anyway and decided to enjoy it. He felt a whole lot better when Teen arrived home and dug in, no zucchini issues for him.

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