SOUP SATURDAY: SPRING HAS SPRUNG!

Third Saturday of the month, it’s time to share a post about soup. For this month our hostess Camilla picked a very nice theme: Spring Has Sprung… we should make and blog about a soup to celebrate a favorite season of mine. Unfortunately this year spring is taking its time to enter our universe in all its colorful glory, but little by little the harshness of the winter is fading away.  My soup centers on zucchini, makes it a bit more toothsome with a nice helping of cauliflower, and more mysterious with a swirl of tahini right before serving. Mysterious? Quite an adjective for foodstuff. But if you don’t tell your guests what’s the “unusual” ingredient in the soup, they will never be able to guess. So mysterious it is…

ZUCCHINI SOUP WITH TAHINI
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small shallots, minced
4 medium zucchini, sliced
1/4 of head of cauliflower, florets only
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, juiced (divided)
2 to 3 cups water
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup yogurt
additional yogurt and Sriracha for serving (optional)
toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot. Add the shallots, season lightly with salt and pepper, cook until fragrant. Add the zucchini and cauliflower, saute in medium-high heat until soft and the cauliflower starts to develop some golden color.

Add the water, half of the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, cover the pan and reduce heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes.  Reserve 1 cup of liquid. Transfer the vegetables to a blender or food processor, and blend until fully smooth.  Return the pureed soup to the pan, add the reserved liquid until it reaches a consistency you like. Add yogurt, tahini, mix, and simmer just to heat through. Add the remaining lemon juice just before serving.

If desired, add a dollop of yogurt and Sriracha on the serving bowl, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I am thrilled to participate of this month’s soup event. I was not sure I could make it, as – putting it mildly – life has been a bit stressful lately. But here I am to share a delicious soup which was perfect  for a Friday lunch with a lot of sun and even more wind. I tell you, we get constant reminders that we live in tornado alley. When the wind blows in Kansas, it doesn’t hold anything back. Note to self: get some ruby slippers…

To see the soups my virtual friends cooked for this month’s event, click on the link at the end of the post.

Wendy, thank you for organizing Soup Saturday Event,

and

Camilla, thanks for hosting!

ONE YEAR AGO: Black Sesame Macarons

TWO YEARS AGO: Fine Tuning Thomas Keller

THREE YEARS AGO: Cauliflower Tortillas

FOUR YEARS AGO: Majestic Sedona, Take Two

FIVE YEARS AGO: Secret Ingredient Turkey Meatballs

SIX YEARS AGO: Swedish Meatballs and Egg Noodles

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Italian Easter Pie

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Black Olive Bialy

 

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ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH WALNUTS AND TAHINI SAUCE

I never imagined I would call a butternut squash dish “festive”, but it’s the word that came to my mind as I savored it. I blame it on the addition of pomegranate seeds. They turn any dish into a celebration, little jewels of the gastronomic world. Plus their slightly sharp taste complements sweets, complements veggies, meats, hard to imagine something that cannot be paired with these red beauties. Remember Fesenjan? Anyway, in this preparation, I roasted butternut squash as I’ve done many times, in coconut oil with paprika. To me, it’s a trio made in heaven. And no, I do not use smoked paprika for this anymore, I now prefer a milder flavor with the squash. Of course, do as your taste buds instruct you to.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH WALNUTS AND TAHINI SAUCE
(inspired by several sources)

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut in large cubes
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
walnut halves or large pieces
1/4 cup tahini
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
pepper to taste
water if needed to thin sauce
fresh pomegranate seeds
light drizzle of pomegranate molasses for serving (optional)

Heat the oven to 400 F.

Place the pieces of butternut squash in a large bowl, drizzle with the coconut oil, mixing it very quickly because it solidifies fast. Season with paprika, salt, and a little pepper. Transfer the squash to a baking dish that holds the pieces in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, then add walnuts, mixing gently with the squash. Roast for about 10 minutes more, until the squash is golden, with edges turning slightly brown.

Meanwhile, prepare the tahini sauce mixing tahini, lemon juice pepper and pepper. If it seems too thick, add water until you reach a nice fluid consistency.

When the squash and walnuts are roasted, transfer to a serving dish, drizzle the tahini sauce all over, and top with fresh pomegranate seeds. If you have pomegranate molasses, consider drizzling a little bit on top, a nice additional contrast of color and flavor.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This could be a great side dish for Thanksgiving, for those trying to move away from the classics, or perhaps in need to increase the variety of vegetarian-friendly sides. Of course, it’s odd to mention Thanksgiving in December, but the color-scheme of this dish makes it hard not to. Come to think of it, roasted sweet potatoes would work wonders too replacing the squash. And dried cranberries could play the role of pomegranate. The tahini dressing is perfect to tie the whole thing together in a very luscious way. We enjoyed this hearty side dish with store-bought roast chicken. Admittedly, this could be considered a sin in the home of a food blogger, but we love the convenience of it, and our store does a pretty decent job preparing it. So, we make our life easy and often bring one home for our dinner.

Plan ahead and reserve some tahini sauce (as well as extra pomegranate seeds) in case you want to call it lunch next day… I did, and it was absolutely delicious, love the contrast of a cool sauce with the warm squash.

ONE YEAR AGO: The Complicit Conspiracy of Alcohol

TWO YEARS AGO: Candy Cane Cookies

THREE YEARS AGO: Macarons: Much better with a friend

FOUR YEARS AGO: Our Mexican Holiday Dinner 

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Ultimate Cranberry Sauce

SIX YEARS AGO: Edamame Dip

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Gougeres

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Beef Wellington on a Special Night

 

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