Maple Walnut Energy Balls

No-bake Maple Walnut Energy Balls – sweet nutty little bites with the perfect blend of luscious maple syrup and rich, toasted walnuts. Are they a dessert, an addictive snack, or a nutritious energy boost?  (Answer: They’re all three!)

maple walnut energy balls with gilded fruit bowl

I’m a kid with a new toy! It’s distracting me and I can’t stop playing with it.

I WON A NEW FOOD PROCESSOR! Yes, a beautiful, top-of-the-line food processor! A while ago I entered a draw for a giveaway at the Food Bloggers of Canada site. The draw for a sleek and powerful Breville Sous Chef 12 Plus was sponsored by California Cling Peaches and featured along with a recipe for a delicious Peach Frangipane Tart that had me drooling. (I’m going to make their Frozen Peach Pops next.) I entered the draw, never expecting to win. When I got the email a couple weeks ago announcing I’d won the food processor, you can bet there was a whole lotta unladylike whooping and screeching going on! I have been cussing and swearing at my worn-out old food processor for the last couple years already –  it has trouble even grinding nuts or cooked beans. I have to stop multiple times to scrape down the sides and need to have the blade sharpened every year in order for it to kind of work.

I’ve been gone the last two weeks, to visit my mom and my mother-in-law, and got the call that the box with the new food processor arrived shortly after I left, so I’ve been chomping at the bit to try it out.

This is one beautiful machine. Since I got home Friday night I’ve been processing everything. I’ve been slicing, shredding, and grinding up a storm – sliced up veggies for slaws, pureed up a smooth hummus, whizzed up purees and sauces, and powered through several batches of thick gooey energy ball dough. Work that made my old processor groan and lag, the Breville whizzes up in seconds without even a hiccup in its powerful motor.

maple walnut energy balls ingredients in food processor

I think I’ve got a new friend in the kitchen. Too bad it doesn’t do the dishes, too.

I love making energy balls (see links at the bottom of this post for a selection of delicious flavours). They’re no-bake, no-fuss, easy little snacks that pack a powerful punch of fiber, nutrients, and healthy fats. I love that they’re a quick, portable bite.

paper bag with maple walnut energy balls

The base for these maple walnut energy balls is rolled oats and toasted walnuts. Don’t skip the toasting step, as it amps up the flavour of the nuts so they are rich and . . . well . . . nutty. The kind of nutty that shouts from the rooftops. Dates add their luscious caramel notes and dance a tango with the sweet maple syrup. A touch of salt brings out the flavours, and a splash of vanilla marries it all together. Such simple flavours and so quintessentially Canadian.

toasted walnuts in pan

Oats are a great source of soluble fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and walnuts are the king of the nuts, providing high levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats plus a host of other nutrients. And yes, even though the maple syrup in these little energy balls contains minerals and antioxidants, it is still a sugar. However, there’s less than a teaspoon of maple syrup in each ball. If you can find the dark, grade-B syrup, use that, as the maple flavour is much more concentrated and you can use less syrup to get the same great taste.

dough for maple walnut energy balls

rolling maple walnut energy balls in maple sugar

rolling the balls in maple sugar doubles up the maple flavour

maple walnut energy balls, some coated, some not

Pack a few maple walnut energy balls into a plastic container for work and travel, or set out a plateful, along with a few pieces of good chocolate and serve them with steaming espressos for a simple and elegant dessert.

Thank you to Food Bloggers of CanadaCalifornia Cling Peaches, and Breville Canada for my wonderful new Sous Chef!

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: If you don’t have maple sugar to roll the balls in, leave them plain, or roll them in coconut sugar instead.

Also, don’t skip the salt – it heightens the caramel flavour of these little balls.

Make sure your walnuts are absolutely fresh (old walnuts can go rancid very quickly, and taste very bitter). Store walnuts in the freezer. Toast up a big batch of walnuts and you can use the extras for this simple breakfast of yogurt, honey, and toasted walnuts.

Energy balls freeze well (they even taste good straight from the freezer) and keep well for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

maple walnut energy balls - horizontal image

Maple Walnut Energy Balls

gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan

  • 2½ cups (250gms) walnuts
  • 1¼ cups (125gms) rolled oats
  • ½ cup (100gms) pitted medjool dates (about 6 dates)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (preferably B-grade dark amber syrup)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons maple sugar (or coconut sugar), optional

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Spread the walnuts in a single layer onto a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes until the nuts are golden and smell fragrant. Let cool. Remove ½ cup (50gms) of the nuts and chop them. Set aside.

In a food processor, grind the rolled oats to a coarse flour. Add the 2 cups of toasted walnuts, the dates, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Process until the mixture clumps together into a large ball. Add the ½ cup of chopped walnuts and pulse a couple times just until the nuts are incorporated into the dough.

Scoop up about 1½ tablespoons of dough at a time, and press it into a clump, then roll into balls about 1¼ inches (3cm) in diameter. (You can also make the balls smaller, using 1 tablespoon of dough and roll them into 1 inch balls.) Your hands will get oily from the walnuts releasing their oils as you work the dough.

Leave the maple walnut energy balls plain, or roll them in the maple sugar if desired.

Makes 20 energy balls (or 30 small ones). Can be frozen for up to six months or stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks in a sealed container.

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You might also like these other delicious energy balls:

Chocaholics rejoice – intense chocolate bites to satisfy those cravings: Chocolate Walnut Cookie Dough Balls ↓

maple walnut energy balls - link to chocolate walnut cookie dough balls

 

A warm spicy bite with a cashew nut base: Gingerbread Cookie Dough Balls ↓

maple walnut energy balls - link to gingerbread cookie dough balls

 

Fun and fruity, you can call them Dinosaur Eggs because of their crunchy chia seed coating: Apricot Orange Energy Balls ↓

maple walnut energy balls - link to apricot orange energy balls

 

These are so tangy and delicious: Lime and Matcha Green Tea Energy Balls ↓

maple walnut energy balls - link to matcha energy balls

Posted in Cookies & Candy, Dairy-free, Snacks, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Gluten Free Pizza Muffins – a Grab and Go Meal or Snack

Pizza Muffins are the quick and easy answer to that pizza craving without all the work. Zesty, cheesy, and full of traditional pizza flavours, you can customize these muffins however you like. Great for snacks or lunchbox meals.

old pan full of pizza muffins

Pizza meals in our house always win rave reviews. Even Raymond’s eyes light up when he comes in from work and sees (and smells) that pizza’s in the oven. These tender, moist, muffins are stuffed with all kinds of delectable pizza toppings: pepperoni, tomatoes, olives, peppers.

ingredients for pizza muffins

I love a muffin for breakfast, but sometimes I’m in the mood for something savoury rather than sweet – Pizza Muffins to the rescue.

I rush around in the morning trying to pack easy foods in my lunches in case I’m on playground supervision at school and don’t have time for a heat-up-leftovers lunch – Pizza Muffins to the rescue.

I like to drop off care packages to my university student son who often doesn’t have time to cook proper meals – Pizza Muffins to the rescue.

I’ve been working hard in the garden all day and come inside to see that it’s supper time and I have nothing planned. What’s in my freezer? – Pizza Muffins to the rescue.

It’s easy to stir up a quick muffin batter, mix in your favourite pizza toppings, a few handfuls of grated cheese, and pop them into the oven.

dough for pizza muffins

Half an hour later you can be devouring a warm muffin – rich, cheesy, and full of pizza flavour.

pan full of pizza muffins

Pack them in your lunch for a nutritious on-the-go meal. I like to freeze the muffins in separate sandwich baggies, then it’s easy to grab one or two directly from the freezer to toss in my lunch. By snacktime they’re fully defrosted and ready to eat or to heat in the microwave for a warm, belly-pleasing lunchtime treat.

The first couple times I made these muffins I used oil in the dough, but the muffins were greasy to hold. I left out the oil and found that the cheese and pepperoni released enough fat into the muffins to keep them moist and delicious without the need for any added oil.

pizza muffins on blue board, image

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Customize the muffins by changing up your fillings. Try different cheeses, different meats like salami or ham, chopped mushrooms, chopped marinated artichokes, green pepper, canned corn, etc.

Cherry tomatoes pack a more intense tomato flavour punch, but you can substitute regular tomatoes, seeds removed and flesh diced, if you don’t have cherry tomatoes.

Pizza Muffins - image

 

Pizza Muffins

  • 2 cups (280gms) gluten free flour mix (the one I use is here) or regular flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons oregano
  • 1½ cups (180gms) grated Havarti cheese (or cheddar cheese)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup (60ml) water
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped pepperoni slices
  • ½ cup chopped cherry tomatoes, plus 6 cherry tomatoes extra
  • ¼ cup chopped black olives
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh red bell pepper or roasted red pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 12-cup muffin tin

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and oregano. Stir in the grated cheese to coat all the strands with flour.

In another bowl, beat together the eggs, yogurt, water, and garlic.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir just until moistened. Add the chopped onion, pepperoni, tomatoes, olives, and peppers, folding them in gently to combine them. The dough will be quite stiff.

Divide the dough among the 12 muffin cups. Cut the 6 cherry tomatoes in half and gently press one half into the top of each muffin.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden. Cool 5 minutes in the pan, then remove the muffins by running a butter knife around the edges and popping them out. Serve warm.

Makes 12 muffins.

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Posted in Breakfast & Brunch, Muffins | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

A Typical German Meal – Authentic Recipes

Rouladen, Spätzle, Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage, Cucumber Dill Salad = the fixin’s for a typical German meal that is special enough for any celebration.

a typical German meal, Rouladen, Spaetzle, Rotkoh, Gurkensalad

photo courtesy of Valerie Lugonja

As you can guess, I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. I am happy there – buzzing around, testing and re-testing recipes for this blog and to feed my family. But when I get to play in the kitchen with a friend or two, I enjoy it even more.

Last week I spent an afternoon in the kitchen with Valerie Lugonja from the blog A Canadian Foodie. What a fun day – a grown-up play date!

Valerie, a creative force on the Alberta food scene, has started up a new project, called Cooking in the Kitchen with YOU, in which she invites local cooks, chefs, and food bloggers to come into her kitchen and cook one of their favourite dishes with her. We had a fun-filled and very busy day cooking one of my family’s favourite meals. It’s become our tradition to eat Rouladen on Christmas Eve, and of course, these rich and savoury meat rolls need to be served with all the trimmings – Spätzle, Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage, and a crunchy Cucumber Dill Salad.

Fleisch Rouladen for a typical German meal

photo courtesy of Valerie Lugonja

Head on over to Valerie’s site for the story and my family’s recipes, with step-by-step photos of each of these lip-smacking German dishes.

Fleisch Rouladen – just a few simple ingredients to make these savoury rolls of beef stuffed with bacon, pickles, and onions.

Spätzle (pronounced shpets′-leh) – soft, slightly chewy little noodle dumplings – good with just butter, doused in gravy, or fried up with onions or cheese. (This recipe is not gluten free.)

Rotkohl – sweet and sour, tender braised red cabbage – a tasty and colourful side dish to Rouladen, sausages, or any robust meat.

Gurkensalat – a special technique removes most of the liquid from cucumbers, leaving them extra crispy. Dressed with a little dill, oil, and vinegar, they make a refreshing salad to lighten up any meal. Great for picnics and potlucks, too.

* * * * *

These dishes are all so tasty, and don’t need to be reserved for Christmas Eve (that’s just our own family’s tradition). Serve them at any time of the year. To make them extra special, serve them with a robust German red wine or one of the famous German beers.

RouladenSpätzle, and Rotkohl can all be made ahead and frozen (fully cooked). The Gurkensalat can be made hours ahead, so this meal is wonderful for entertaining. The recipe for Rouladen on my site has amounts for larger crowds – when making Rouladen I like to make a whole bunch at a time, cook them, and freeze them. There’s nothing like being able to pull a fantastic meal out of your freezer on a moment’s notice.

German food is full of rich and savoury flavours, (lots of stick-to-your-ribs cooking) and of course, some pretty amazing baking and delicacies, too.

Have fun in the Küche!

Guten Appetit!

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German Potato Salad

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Rouladen, A Christmas Eve Tradition

Posted in German Cooking | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Big Batch Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix (Freeze it so Any Day’s a Pie Day)

Making gluten free pie crust can be a hassle, so while you’re at it, make a large batch for the freezer. You’ll love pulling out a bag of this tender, flaky crust mix and being able to whip up a pie, tart, or quiche quickly with no mess.

bags of gluten free pie crust mix and baked crust

What to do?

I love eating pie and quiche, but I hate making gluten free pie crust. It’s a pain to get out all the flours and fiddle with the lard and shortening. I can usually find ways to talk myself out of making pastry and we sadly go without the delicious pie I’ve been craving.

When you grow up in a big farm family, everything is prepared in huge batches. Raising our own four kids was no different – monster batches of food to feed the hungry hordes of teenagers and friends. So why didn’t I think of making my gluten free pie crust in large batches before? Duh . . .

Now that I’ve started making big-batch gluten-free pie crust mixes for the freezer, we can have pie any time the urge strikes. This crust turns out wonderfully tender and flaky every time. The dough is easy to work with, and because it contains a high ratio of whole grain flours (oat and sorghum), it adds a good dose of healthy fiber to a dessert or quiche. (I’m good at justifying.)

To make the big batch, I just pull out four mixing bowls and since I’ve got the bags of flours and ingredients out anyway, it doesn’t take much more time to multiply everything by four.

4 bowls gluten free pie crust mix

I add the cubed lard and butter, then mix it to coarse lumps with a pastry blender.

cubed butter and lard for gluten free pie crust mix gluten free pie crust mix, cutting in the butter and lard

Then I freeze each batch in a ziptop freezer bag, labeled with the ingredients to add when mixing.

bowl and bags of gluten free pie crust mix

Each bag makes two crusts, either for a double crust pie, or if I only need a single crust I make the two discs of dough – use one and wrap the other one to keep in the fridge for up to two weeks for another pie.

one disc of gluten free pie crust dough

one disc of gluten free pie crust – see the little flecks of butter? those equal a flaky crust

Roll out the pie dough between two sheets of parchment paper. See this post for special tips and photos of how to mix and roll out a gluten free pie crust.

Carefully peel off the top sheet of paper, then invert the crust and bottom paper over the plate, carefully peel off the other layer of parchment and ease the crust down into the pie dish. Gluten free pie crust dough is very forgiving and you can patch any holes or thin spots with scraps of overhanging dough.

gluten free pie crust draped in pan

Trim off the edges.

trim off the overhanging edges of gluten free pie crust with a paring knife

Then fill the pie and roll out the other disc of dough to add the top crust. Or for a single crust pie, crimp the edges. I like to build up the height of the pie a bit by using the scraps to roll into thin ropes, then pressing the ropes onto the crust edge to form a ridge. I then crimp this raised ridge.

roll dough into thin ropes for edge crimping on gluten free pie crust rolled edge for crimping gluten free pie crust edge crimped gluten free pie crust

To prebake the pie crust before filling, prick it all over with a fork.

prick gluten free pie crust with fork before baking

Chill it for 30 minutes, then bake at 425°F for 10 to 12 minutes. This gluten free pie crust sticks to the pan so well it doesn’t need to be weighted down with pie weights or dried beans to bake like regular pie crust does.

So . . . . let’s get started.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: To make up this gluten free pie crust mix, I like to use one tablespoon of vodka, as I think it makes a more tender crust, but you can easily leave it out and just use an extra tablespoon of water – change the directions to use 3-4 tablespoons water.

making a batch of gluten free pie crust mix

Quadruple Batch of Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix

In total you will need these ingredients to make four batches (which make 8 single crust pies or 4 double crust pies):

  • 4 cups (400gms) oat flour (you can whiz rolled oats in a blender to make flour)
  • 3 cups (400gms) sorghum flour
  • 2 cups (280gms) sweet rice flour
  • 2 cups (2400gms) tapioca flour/starch
  • 1 cup (160gms) potato starch (not flour)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (helps the dough to brown)
  • 4 tablespoons (40gms) psyllium husk powder or 8 tablespoons (40gms) whole psyllium husks
  • 4 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound (454gms) cold lard
  • ½ pound (1 cup/228gms) cold butter

* * *

To make the four (or more) separate batches of gluten free pie crust mix, set out four (or more) mixing bowls (use pots if you don’t have enough bowls).

Into each separate bowl, measure:

  • 1 cup (100gms) oat flour (you can whiz rolled oats in a blender to make flour)
  • ¾ cup (100gms) sorghum flour
  • ½ cup (70gms) sweet rice flour
  • ½ cup (60gms) tapioca flour/starch
  • ¼ cup (40gms) potato starch (not flour)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (10gms) psyllium husk powder or 2 tablespoons whole psyllium husks
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Whisk these dry ingredients together in each bowl.

Then, into each bowl add:

  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon (¼pound/114gms) cold lard (¼ of a 1-lb package of lard), diced
  • ¼ cup (57gms) cold butter, diced

Use a pastry blender or two butter knives to cut the lard and butter cubes into the flour until they become coarse, pea-sized lumps.

Transfer the contents of each mixing bowl into a separate freezer bag  on which you have labeled:

“Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix”

Add:

  • 1 egg 
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vodka or water
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons cold water

Mix just enough to combine. Divide into two flat discs. Roll out between 2 sheets of parchment paper.

Makes 2 crusts.

Freeze the bags of premixed Gluten Free Pie Crust for six to nine months. They mix up best when very cold but not solidly frozen, so allow to defrost at room temperature for 15 minute or defrost the mix in the refrigerator overnight. You can keep the bags of mix in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, if you don’t want to freeze them.

The dough can be mixed by hand or in the food processor.

Some batches of flour absorb more water than others, so if you’ve added the 3 tablespoons of water and your pastry dough still doesn’t come together, keep adding water about ½ a tablespoon at a time until the dough just comes together when you squeeze a handful. Knead a few more times until it forms a rough ball.

*To make the pie crust mix dairy-free use all lard, or use dairy-free margarine instead of butter.

*To make the pie crust mix egg-free, use a chia egg (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds soaked 5 minutes in 3 tablespoons water) instead of a regular egg, when preparing the crust.

Yield: Makes four batches of Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix, enough to make 8 single pie crusts or 4 double crust pies.

Guten Appetit!

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Posted in Pies & Tarts | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Green Soup (It’ll Lure the Leprechauns)

Bring spring into your home and clean out the crisper drawer at the same time with a bowl of light and tasty Green Soup – and maybe you’ll attract some leprechauns, too.

bowls of green soup with peas and yogurt for garnish

Every year when our kids were growing up, they’d set out their leprechaun bait on the evening before St. Patrick’s Day, hoping to receive a visit from those elusive little creatures. Each child would put a shoe on the front door mat and tuck a potato into it before they went to sleep, in hopes the leprechauns would come and turn those lumpy potatoes into gold. It usually worked, because in the morning there it was –  a loonie in their shoe. The potatoes, if not solid gold, had been turned into a gold-coloured coin, and the kids were a dollar richer.

But of course, leprechauns being leprechauns, they couldn’t just leave it at one magic trick. Those mischievous little fellows must have been giggling and cavorting around downstairs while we slept peacefully in our beds. They’d always leave another little reminder that they’d been there, for in the morning our milk was green! Yup, they’d get into the fridge and turn that milk green – right in the carton, if you can believe it!

Our kids would have a glass of green milk with their breakfast, speculating on how the leprechauns had done it again and discussing how to spend their loot at the dollar store.

Now that there are no little kids in this household anymore, the leprechauns have moved on and spend their time getting up to tricks and trouble in other homes where kids still live. I guess we’re lucky they leave us alone, though a nugget of gold wouldn’t go amiss now and then, if they felt so inclined. (Just putting that out there in case they’re listening.)

silky smooth green soup with fresh peas

So we’ll just have a bowl of this delectable green soup instead, and celebrate the coming of Spring. The bright herbs and silky greens, interspersed with the pop of sweet green peas do a little spring dance in your mouth. A nice crusty slice of tasty Irish Soda Bread slathered with creamy butter would certainly go well with it, don’t you think?

(Recipe for gluten free Irish Soda Bread, plus photos of my trip to Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day here.)

My leeks and greens look a little past their prime (it was time to clean out the crisper drawer, for sure), but a good trimming and they come to life again in this light and fresh green soup. Thickened with a tart apple, and subtly flavoured with background hints of lemon and star anise, plus up-front pops of dill or parsley, this Green Soup sings with complex spring flavours. It’s wonderful as a first course for a fancy dinner, or with a big hunk of bread for a weeknight dinner, and it’s on the table in less than half an hour.

leeks for green soup swiss chard for green soup

chard and spinach for green soup zested lemon, bay leaf, and star anise for green soup

Okay, so Spring isn’t really here yet in the North. My big leprechaun was still shoveling snow yesterday, but maybe tomorrow?

shoveling snow on the day I'm making green soup

watching Raymond out the window shoveling the snow as I cook up a pot of green soup

Pippa wants some green soup, too

Pippa wants some green soup, too

We’ll think of Spring, and meanwhile have a bowl of this sprightly green soup while we wait.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: I always have a container of frozen dill and one of parsley in my freezer. They’re wonderful to use in recipes like this, because who always has fresh herbs on hand? When buying fresh dill or parsley, buy an extra bunch. Rinse them and shake off the excess water, then lay the bunch onto a clean kitchen towel. Spread them out evenly over the towel, then roll them up jelly roll style. Pop the roll into a plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate for 24 hours. This will absorb most of the moisture. Then chop the herbs finely and put them into a plastic bag or empty yogurt container and freeze. When you need some fresh herbs in cooking, break off a chunk or scrape some herbs loose with a fork. This doesn’t work well with all herbs, as some get black when frozen (like mint or basil), but works very well for parsley and dill.

Save the Swiss chard stems in a zip top bag in the freezer – along with other vegetable scraps, to use when making your own soup stock.

one bowl of green soup with bread and peas

Green Soup with Leeks, Leafy Greens, and Peas

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
  • 3 medium leeks (or 2 cups diced onion)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 tart firm apple (like Granny Smith or Pink Lady)
  • 10 oz (300gms) chopped greens (4 cups tightly packed), like spinach, chard, or romaine lettuce – or one 10 oz/300gm package frozen spinach
  • zest of 1 lemon (preferably organic)
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth for vegan)
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup (130gms) frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh (or frozen) dill or parsley
  • to garnish for serving (optional): a few defrosted peas, a dollop of Greek yogurt, a thin slice of lemon, a few parsley or dill leaves

In a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the ghee or olive oil over medium heat.

Slice the leeks and celery stalks thinly and add them to the pot. Core and chop the apple and add it, too.  Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the thick stems from the Swiss chard, if using, and coarsely chop the leaves. If using spinach or Romaine lettuce, coarsely chop the whole leaves.

Add the chopped greens, lemon zest, salt, and white pepper to the leeks. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the greens are wilted. Add the chicken or vegetable broth and the star anise and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Fish out the bay leaf and star anise pods. Purée the soup using an immersion blender or pour it into a standing blender. Purée it to your desired consistency, either completely smooth, or still with some small flecks of green showing. Return the puréed soup to the pot.

Add the frozen peas and fresh herbs. Heat just until a few bubbles break the surface. Taste and add more salt if needed (it depends on how salty your broth was to start with.)

Serve with garnishes, if desired.

Makes 6 cups (1.5l), serving 4 to 6.

Guten Appetit!

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If you like my recipes, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. You’d make my day!

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Posted in Soups & Stews, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments