Beet and Blueberry Soup

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This is a versatile little recipe to have! Seriously, the favour will blow you away! Totally nourishing and very simple. The inspiration came from a smoothie recipe on the http://www.mynewroots.org website. There’s a reason that smoothie recipe is photographed in a bowl rather than a glass. As a smoothie, the mixture is quite thick so turning it into a soup and eating it with a spoon seemed like a natural adaptation to me. However, this “soup” is really just a puree and is highly adaptable to other uses too!  It would be divine served with plain flavoured (dairy-free) yogurt or creme fraiche, or swirled though vanilla ice cream. As I am writing this, I can imagine that this puree would be gorgeous with dark chocolate as well. Yep, this puree is simply delicious. There’s just no other way to say it.  And how about that colour? Is that not the most beautiful, burgundy/ruby red you’ve ever seen? It’s pure joy to my eyes and palate!

The original smoothie recipe called for raspberries but I didn’t want to deal with sieving the raspberry seeds so I substituted blueberries, and I am really glad that I did. The sweetness of the blueberries complimented the earthiness of the beet remarkably well! If you are not bothered by pesky little seeds, raspberries would also work, or you could use 4-oz. each of raspberries and blueberries.

The first couple of times I made this, I was cutting up honeydew and cantaloupe melons for breakfast, and dipped a bite-sized chunk of each type into the puree – talk about sublime! This might be my new favourite breakfast! It is very refreshing and energizing!  Just dollop some of the puree onto a bowl of freshly prepared fruits and add any other toppings you like, such as granola, seeds, nuts, an assortment of fresh fruits, maybe a dollop of non-dairy yogurt. 

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 Ingredients

  • 1 medium red beet, cooked peeled and chopped (reserve a slice for garnish)
  • 8 oz. fresh blueberries  (reserve a few for garnish if you like) 
  • 6 prunes, soaked overnight  in 1 cup of water – reserve the water
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (use lime if you don’t have lemon) 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions

Place all the ingredients into a high speed blender, including the soaking water from the prunes. Puree until completely smooth. I used a Vitamix to get the mixture really smooth.  Taste the mixture and adjust for a balance between sweetness and tartness. Add more lemon juice if necessary. If the mixture seems too thick or you prefer to turn this into a smoothie, you could thin the mixture out with a little more water or juice – but not too much. The flavour is so good that I don’t recommend diluting it. 

Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with reserved fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs – whatever you like. In my soup photo above, I topped the bowls with toasted coconut flakes, coarsely chopped almonds, pumpkin and hemp seeds.

Yield: About 24 oz.

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Chocolate Hummus

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In honour of National Chocolate Month and Valentines Day, may I start by simply saying, you’re welcome. I know you will thank me for this recipe.

Chocolate and garbanzo beans. Does this sound like an odd combination to you?  Well, it did to me at first, but if you crave chocolate every once in a while, this is one recipe you should have on hand. Eat this hummus for dessert, serve it as a snack or any time you just want something sweet! You’ll be amazed by the flavour. Don’t save it just for occasions like Valentines Day!

I used raw organic cacao powder in this recipe – the flavour is a bit different from the supermarket varieties but those will also work. 

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained (I used dried beans but you can used canned)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4-cup cacao powder
  • 1 rounded tablespoon of smooth almond butter (other nut or seed butters work too)
  • 1 tablespoon Teeccino* (for gluten sensitivities, use regular coffee granules – see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons water, or non-dairy milk

DIRECTIONS

If you are using dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas) soak them overnight in water. Drain the soaking water and place the beans in a large pot with triple the depth of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer on low for 45 minutes – 1 hour. Test them for softness. You should be able to squeeze them between you fingers easily. Allow them to cool in the cooking liquid. 

Here’s a tip I was given about making hummus from scratch during my time in the Middle East. Once the chickpeas have cooled, skin them. This step is totally unnecessary and somewhat tedious but I think it is worth sharing. Skinned chickpeas taste different than non-skinned chickpeas – better, in my opinion. They taste fresher and have less of that beany flavour. The difference is subtle and the average person would probably only notice in a side-by-side taste test. However, I can taste the difference and I chose to skin them when I made this recipe.

To skin the beans, rub the cooled chickpeas gently but firmly between palms of your hands and fingers to release the skins. The beans will sink to the bottom of the pot and the skins will float to the top, making it easy to skim the skins out of the water and discard. (Alternatively, you can  dump the beans onto a tea towel, close the towel around the beans so they can’t escape and rub them that way).

As mentioned above, this is purely an optional step and you can skip it. If you are using canned chickpeas, just rinse the beans thoroughly and drain before placing in the blender.  

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Place the first 7 ingredients in a food processor or blender, and puree until smooth. Add the water or non-dairy milk in increments, until you reach the desired consistency.  You may not need the full amount called for in the recipe or you may need to add a bit more.

Hummus can be eaten right away or stored in the refrigerator up to 7 days.

Yields: About 2 cups

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Notes

*Teeccino is a caffeine-free herbal coffee and a truly awesome alternative made from a blend of herbs, grains, fruits and nuts. It’s non-acidic and the package states that 75% of the ingredients are certified organic. Teeccino coffees come in a variety of flavours and the one I used in this recipe was medium roast mocha. The ingredients include: carob, barley, dates and figs, almonds, chicory root and pure natural flavours. Barley is one of the gluten-based grains, so if you have gluten sensitivities, you can substitute regular coffee granules.