I miss the Midwest. I lived in Chicago for six years and was the wide-eyed freshman in college from California who sat by the dorm window and actually watched the snow fall. Hours were spent doing this. Whenever I had the chance, I would drag a few of my friends outside to help me build a snowman. I look back on those moments and remind myself to pick up the phone and thank them again. They were all from Illinois, Michigan or Wisconsin or somewhere on the East Coast and humored this crazy California girl even though their entire childhoods were filled with snow ball fights and sledding. They allowed me to have my moments even after their magical feelings about snow had since faded.
Outside of the snow, I miss the Midwest because the colder weather always inspired my creativity when it came to making soups. Living in Chicago, there were countless days where it was physically impossible for me to leave the house. When these snow days hit, I did two things: find some DIY or craft project, and make soup. There was always a faint smell of Modge Podge and garlic in the air at my place and I absolutely loved it! When it came to my soups, I tried every combination that I could think of and mastered many types of chowder and vegetable based soups. My absolute favorite was my Roasted Broccoli Soup. The first time I made it, I filled it with a ton of green vegetables (kale, peas, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, etc.) but the taste was overwhelming. Once I simplified the recipe and restricted myself to only using a few ingredients, it turned out to be a pretty yummy soup. And now that the temperature in Los Angeles has actually been less than 60 degrees for a few consecutive days, I made the Roasted Broccoli Soup again and wanted to share the recipe. The plus is that it is gluten-free!
This recipe will make enough for 5-6 people or what I like to think of as dinner for myself and my husband and lunch for two days. 🙂
Roasted Broccoli Soup
2 – 16oz. bag organic broccoli florets
1 – 16oz. bag organic corn (yellow or white)
1 – 16oz. bag spinach
3-4 cups vegetable broth (maybe more depending on how soupy you want it. You can always just use water for the extra liquid)
A glug of olive oil
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
Creole seasoning or another flavorful all purpose seasoning
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Pepitas or sunflower seeds (optional)
1. Set oven to 400 degrees. Spread broccoli florets on greased cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and place in oven for at least 20 minutes. (You want the broccoli to be a little crispy but still tender).
2. Place 2 cups of the vegetable broth in a pot with the corn. Season with 2 tablespoons of crushed garlic, sea salt, pepper, creole seasoning and red pepper flakes. Put it on low heat.
3. After the broccoli is finished, take 75% of the florets off the pan and place in a blender with enough broth (or water) to blend completely. Add the puree to the pot on the stove. Set the remaining 25% of broccoli to the side to add to the soup later.
4. Take the spinach and cook it either on is separate pot or microwave for a few minutes until tender. Add 75% of the cooked spinach to the blender with broth (or water) and blend until smooth. Add this puree to the soup on the stove as well as the 25% of the rest of the spinach that you did not blend.
5. Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Add in remaining broccoli florets after you turn off the fire.
6. Pour yourself a bowl and sprinkle some red pepper flakes for a little kick or a few pepitas or sunflower seeds on top if you would like an extra crunch.
Also by Sorina: GF Vegan Gumbo
More Vegan Soup Recipes: Korean Tofu Dumplings Soup
Photo: Sorina Fant