Hi. It’s spring…nearly summer. And do you know what that means? VEGGIES! Fresh amazing veggies. They are sprouting up everywhere in my garden. Beets and carrots and spinach and kale and cilantro and cucumbers and tomatoes! I can’t wait.
This weekend I enjoyed renewing my Saturday ritual of going to the Farmer’s Market bright and early and drooling over the produce and transplants that the local farmers had brought. It makes salad making an adventure. Not your boring ol’ iceberg here…no spring rocket, and baby leaf kale, and beautiful sorel! Throw in some herbs, roasted beets, and avocado…yaaaaa, NOW you have heaven.
Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad
Inspired by Pinch of Yum and my Blood Orange and Avocado Salad
- 1 large beet
- 1 fennel bulb
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 4 cups of raw kale, washed, destemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (or spring lettuce mix)
- 1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into sections
- 1 cucumber, cut into thin slices
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup of crumbled feta
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar (or lemon juice or lime juice)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice (reserved from cutting up grapefruit for salad)
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or with nonstick spray. Wash the beet thoroughly and scrub the outside very well. Remove the top and bottom of the beet. Cut in half and continue to cut up the beet until you obtain even 1-inch cubes. Place into a large bowl and drizzle with about 1/2-tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper. Place beet cubes onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
- Wash the fennel bulb thoroughly. Remove the bottom root portion. Slice longways into even 1/4-inch width slices. Place in a clean bowl and drizzle with 1/2-tablesppon of olive and salt and pepper. Place the fennel slices onto the second prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
- When the fennel and beets are done roasting, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Set aside. Can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and kept refrigerated.
- Wash kale and massage with hands in a large bowl. Gently toss in the grapefruit pieces, cucumber, cilantro, and dill.
- Combine dressing ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until combined. Just before ready to serve, pour dressing ingredients over the kale, grapefruit, and cucumber. Add roasted beets and fennel and toss all ingredients together gently so as not to stain everything red.
- When you are ready to serve the salad, add the avocados and gently combine everything because the avocados will melt and mush quickly into the salad. Top with any additional herbs, walnuts, and feta.
I have a divided house when it comes to silky smooth soups that only contain vegetables and no cream. Pureed smooth, they show off the amazing flavor of just the vegetables without anything masking their natural deliciousness. I love them…a lot. They are creamy without being loaded with cream. They are smooth and comforting and light. I want them in my belly.
The other person in this house does not like them because, well…they are creamy without being loaded with cream and they are smooth and light and in his words, “like baby food”. He wants heartiness. He wants carbs. He wants meat. He wants cream. He wants butter. He wants bacon. Do I live with Paula Dean?
And I craaaave creamy soups that have NO cream but are just ALL vegetables. I love smooth and creamy tomato soup, or carrot soup, or butternut squash soup. And every time I make them, my poor hubs has to eat this nourishing amazing bowl of yumminess and smile and leave ALL the leftovers for me. GOOD. Best lunches EVER. He can have his can of tuna and weird packages of sardines for lunch. Meanwhile, I will enjoy my creamy roasted soups and everyone at work will smell them and say “whoa…what are you having?”. In a good way. At least, that’s how it plays out in my head.
I stumbled on this Parsnip and Apple soup the other day on the most beautiful blog called Golubka Kitchen and I instantly began drooling. I couldn’t get the soup out of my brain box. I adapted it to roast the parsnips and I swapped out the potatoes for cauliflower. I found fennel on sale at the store and so I through it in as well to round out the awesome white soup. I recommend saving some of the fennel fronds and some thyme for topping these delicious bowls of comfort. The soup is also yummy with a good drizzle of olive oil.
So despite knowing that I have a divided house on smooth and creamy dreamless soups, I MADE it. and I loooooved it. I recommend you do the same, because then you will have a few days worth of amazing lunches and they get stuck with canned tuna.
Creamy Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup (Vegan, Gluten Free, and Paleo-Friendly)
Adapted from Golubka Kitchen
Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main dish
- 1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
- 1/2 large head of cauliflower, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 large fennel bulb, sliced into 1/2-inch wide slices
- 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for drizzling on finished soup bowls)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more for seasoning)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (plus more for garnish)
- 3 to 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- Toppings: thyme leaves, olive oil, yogurt, quinoa
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a roasting pan with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper.
- Place chopped parsnips, cauliflower florets, fennel slices, apple slices, and garlic cloves in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Toss to coat evenly and then spread evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing at 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Place half of vegetables into a blender or food processor along with half of the chicken stock, cumin, and thyme. Blend well for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the pureed mixture to a medium stock pot. Blend next batch of roasted vegetables and remaining chicken stock for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer remaining soup puree to stock pot.
- Heat soup in stockpot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Add additional liquid if soup is too thick. Adjust seasonings as needed.
- Distribute evenly into bowls and top with a drizzle of olive oil and thyme leaves. I added some quinoa to mine for a more substantial dinner.