Monday, January 20, 2014

Spicy Moroccan Vegetable Soup

Happy Monday to you.  Today, Day 20 of my Gratitude Challenge, I am grateful for the JCC.  It's such a special place for all of us.  I've been teaching fitness classes there since 1997 and I think of many of the participants like a second family.  Adam and I met there.  The girls have Hebrew School there and take swim classes.  It's such a unique place, and I think it really reflects the flavour of Toronto: full of culture and diversity!  Yeah, its not just for Jews, there are folks of all kinds who use the wonderful facilities.  Anyways, going there every Sunday morning to teach my spin class makes me very happy.

Man, its super cold here again.  The milder temps just won't stick around.  Stupid Polar Vortex! So I have a lovely recipe that is sure to warm you up.   Before I get to that, I just wanted to ask my readers a favour: I have a survey I've put together, hopefully to provide me with some data to present at the CFAS conference in September.  Its about people's experiences using fertility clinic services.  If you or anyone you know has ever used the services of a fertility clinic (anywhere in the world), I would be very grateful if you would fill out my short questionnaire.  You can link to it here.

While I've called this Spicy Moroccan Vegetable soup, don't be scared, if you don't like heat, you can make this healthy, comforting soup without the spice.  But personally, there is nothing better on a cold winter day than a soup that is both hot - in temperature - and spicy.

If you want to add a protein, you can throw in some chickpeas and you pretty much have a whole meal in a bowl.  I kept it light to make it a side for my sandwich at lunch a few days last week.  Anytime I make soup, its an exercise in batch cooking so this recipe is big.  I have tons in the freezer now so I can defrost, as needed, for future lunches.

Spicy Moroccan Vegetable Soup

1 cauliflower, chopped
6 small zucchini, chopped
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Harrissa spice blend (*See note below)

1-795 ml can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 litre vegetable stock
1 300g package frozen chopped spinach, or finely chopped fresh spinach
4 cups water
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt and additional Harissa, to taste

Toss veggies with oil, vinegar and seasonings.  Spread on parchment-lined baking sheets and roast at 350F for 40 minutes.  Toss veggies into large pot set over medium heat.  Add tomatoes, stock and water and heat until bubbling.  Use immersion blender to blend out some of the veggies, but leaving some chunky, or ladel about 1/4 of the soup into a food processor and puree and then add back to the rest of soup.  Add remaining ingredients and adjust seasonings, to taste.  Keep refrigerated for up to 4 days or freeze.  Makes a lot.

*Note: If you don't like spice, make your own harissa blend omitting the chili and combining  dehydrated garlic, ground cumin, ground caraway seeds, ground coriander, and dried mint leaves.

We had a nice quiet weekend, how about you?

I have shared this recipe with Gluten-Free Friday and Wellness Weekend.