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I'm a huge fan of soups, for the winter of course but also cold soups in the summer.


Mark Bittman has a great post in the New York Times on how to make different kinds of soups. it's a keeper, bookmark it or print it out guys, it is a winner.


Please add your own favorite soup recipes to this thread!

Creamy, Brothy, Earthy, Hearty

Yunhee Kim for The New York Times; Food stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop Stylist: Deborah Williams.

 I’m not anti-recipe (obviously), but some things just don’t need them — and most vegetable soups fall into that category. Here are easy-to-follow instructions for making vegetable (vegetarian and, for the most part, vegan) soups with common ingredients, a variety of choices and terrific flavor. Print the following page, stick it on your refrigerator and work your way through it. By the time you’re done — 12 days or 12 weeks later — you’ll never again need a recipe for vegetable soup. Promise.

And you’ll need no special techniques, no advance preparation and, for the most part, not much time. You can use just about any vegetable (or bean) you have on hand. These are not stone soups, but they’re close.

I’ve created four essential categories: creamy (vegetables puréed with dairy); brothy (a strained vegetable stock, with quick-cooking ingredients added); earthy (with beans); and hearty (the vegetables sautéed first, to deepen their flavor).

A few practical notes: All of these recipes serve four, and you’ll want about a 2.5-to-4-quart (medium or large) pot. Most can be cooked for a while — but not so long that the freshness is gone. Most will taste as good or better the next day, so consider making a double batch and refrigerating (or freezing) the leftovers. But never boil a soup after you’ve added dairy to it; instead, reheat gently.

If you want a supersmooth soup (and just about any of these soups can be puréed if you like), use a standing blender — let the soup cool a bit first — which creates a finer purée than an immersion blender does; you might even strain the soup after puréeing it.

Garnishes are all optional, though herbs add a dimension that will be lacking otherwise. If you taste as you’re cooking, you’ll be fine, because there is really nothing to go wrong here.



Creamy Spinach Soup
Put 1 chopped onion, 2 peeled garlic cloves, 3 cups water and salt and pepper in a pot over high heat. Boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer until the onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Add 10 ounces chopped spinach and 1/2 cup parsley leaves; cook until the spinach is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup Greek-style yogurt and purée. Garnish: A spoonful of Greek-style yogurt and chopped parsley.

Squash-and-Ginger Soup
Substitute 1 tablespoon minced ginger for the garlic and 4 cups chopped butternut squash for the spinach (it will take longer to soften). Skip the parsley and substitute half-and-half or cream for the yogurt. Garnish: A spoonful of cream.

Curried Cauliflower Soup
Substitute 1 tablespoon minced ginger for the garlic, 2 cups cauliflower florets for the spinach (they will take longer to soften), 1 tablespoon curry powder for the parsley and coconut milk for the yogurt. Garnish: Chopped cilantro.



Vegetable Broth With Toast
Put 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped onions, 1 small chopped potato, 2 chopped celery ribs, 2 garlic cloves, 10 sliced mushrooms, 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine), 10 parsley sprigs, 1/2 ounce dried porcini, 8 cups water and salt and pepper in a pot over high heat. Boil, lower heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft, 30 minutes or longer. Strain and serve over toasted good bread. Garnish: Chopped celery leaves.

Egg Drop Soup
Beat 4 eggs. Boil the strained stock, lower the heat so it simmers and add the eggs in a steady stream, stirring constantly until they’re cooked, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped scallions, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Skip the bread. Garnish: Chopped scallions.

Rice-and-Pea Soup
Boil the strained stock, lower the heat so it simmers and add 3/4 cup white rice. Cook until tender, then add 2 cups fresh or frozen peas; cook for a minute or two. Skip the bread. Garnish: Grated Parmesan.



Bean Soup
Put 1 1/2 cup dried beans, 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery ribs, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves and 6 cups water in a pot over high heat. Boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer until the beans are soft, at least 1 hour, adding more water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish: A drizzle of olive oil.

Chickpea-and-Pasta Soup
Substitute chickpeas for the beans and rosemary for the thyme and add 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine). When the chickpeas are almost tender, add 1/2 cup small pasta. Cook until the pasta and chickpeas are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish: A few chopped rosemary leaves.

Spicy Black-Bean Soup
Use black beans and substitute fresh oregano for the thyme. When the beans are done, add 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 dried or canned chipotle and the juice of a lime. Garnish: Cilantro and sour cream.



Sauté 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped celery rib and 1 teaspoon minced garlic in 3 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups cubed potatoes and salt and pepper; cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine) and 5 cups water. Boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1 cup chopped green beans; simmer for 20 minutes. Garnish: Chopped parsley and grated Parmesan.

Mushroom Soup
Substitute 1 1/2 pounds sliced mushrooms (preferably an assortment) for the potatoes; sauté until they brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Substitute ½ cup white wine for the tomatoes, skip the green beans and add a fresh thyme sprig with the water. Garnish: A few thyme leaves.

Tomato-and-Garlic Soup
Use 2 tablespoons minced garlic and substitute 2 tablespoons tomato paste for the celery. Skip the potatoes and green beans; use 3 cups tomatoes and 3 cups water. Cook the tomatoes for 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish: Lots of chopped or torn basil.

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Replies to This Discussion

Vegan Split Pea Soup


I've always liked split pea soup, but stopped making it when I went vegetarian; didn't seem possible to make a good pea soup without the smoke and fat from meat. Wrong as usual. 


This is based on a Stephen Satterfield recipe from Food and Wine, I always make the recipe as written the first time and adjust seasonings or add spices the second time. Next time I would add some fresh garlic to the soup, not enough in the pistou.




1 pound green split peas
3 quarts water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 teaspoon marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Parsley pistou and freshly made fried onion rings were mentioned as garnish. I saw no reason for the onions, but the pistou was very nice. Had a bit of finely grated orange peel that was a nice surprise for the taste buds.




In a large pot, combine the split peas and water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes, cover and let stand for 1 hour.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the celery, carrots, onion, marjoram and thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 8 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the split peas and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the peas have dissolved and the soup is thickened, about 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with Parsley Pistou.


Parsley Pistou




1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest




In a blender, puree the parsley leaves with the garlic and olive oil. Stir in the cheese and orange zest and season with salt.


I used a food processor.


This is what dinner looked like:


yum! i've never ever had vegan split pea soup, will be whole new thing for me.

This one has just enough heat to make it interesting. Looks good, tastes good; and it is vegan. It is from Martha Rose Shulman's "Mediterranean Harvest," which is, as I've said before, an excellent vegetarian cookbook. I always adjust seasonings per my own tastes, but this one is perfect just how it is.


I am impressed with the bright fresh flavors of this soup. Considering there is no stock, the broth is rich.
White Bean Soup from the Balkans.
1/2 pound, (1 heaped cup), white beans, soaked overnight or quick soaked, drained
5 cups water
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 medium parsnip, peeled, cored and diced, (I didn't have one handy so omitted)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, (here you could use more, my hand is my measuring device)
A bouquet garni made of five sprigs of parsley and five sprigs of mint
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped mint
Combine the drained beans, water and bay leaf in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, skim off any foam, and reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for one hour. Add about 2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender and add the garlic, bell pepper, carrot and parsnip, (if using). Cook stirring for one minute. Add beans with their liquid, the paprika, red pepper flakes and bouquet garni, and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for thirty minutes.  Taste and adjust salt. Stir in the parsley and mint. Soup is good for 3-4 days.
Yesterday's lunch:


wow, so so much more fancy than my 4-ingredient white chili...(but, my white chili is not vegetarian.....yet..)

Cream of Spinach Soup
posted by Annie B. Bond

Inspired by The Low-Carb Gourmet, by Karen Barnaby (Rodale Press, 2004).

The heavenly texture of this good-for-you soup comes from cauliflower (which also offers cancer-fighting cruciferous benefits), instead of high-fat cream, and the flavonoids in spinach promote better heart-health and may guard against cancer, as well. Popeye would approve of this spinach-rich, velvety soup.


1 pound cauliflower
1 1/2 pounds spinach
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 cups good-quality vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

1. Remove green leaves from cauliflower, peel the stem, and chop it and the florets coarsely. Chop spinach coarsely as well.

2. In a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil and add the garlic, cooking for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the cauliflower, stock, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add spinach and cook another 5 minutes, until the spinach is well-wilted and the cauliflower is very tender. Mix in the mustard and thyme and allow soup to cool slightly.

3. Using a hand-held immersion blender, or working in batches in a blender or food processor, puree the soup until smooth. Add pepper and additional salt to taste, and thin with additional stock or water if too thick.

4. Serve warm.

Serves 8.

(I haven't made this soup, but it's high up on my list...)
Hearty Minestrone

Minestrone is an Italian staple and is often known as “the big soup.” Most minestrone’s I’ve had in the past are thick, tomato-based soups. It’s more of a brothy soup, with lots of vegetables and incredible flavors. Perfect for a stormy afternoon…of which we’ve been having quite a few of around here lately.

This recipe is from the Culinary Institute of America’s The New Book of Soups.


2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 1/4 cups sliced carrots
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups chopped green cabbage
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 qt. Vegetable Broth
1/2 cup peeled, diced potato
1 piece Parmesan cheese rind (about 3 inches, square)
3/4 cup spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
3/4 cup chopped plum tomatoes (peeled and seeded) or canned
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed if using canned)
3/4 cup kidney beans (drained and rinsed if using canned)
1/3 cup Pesto
1/2 tsp. salt, or as needed
1/2 tsp. pepper, or as needed
Freshly ground Parmesan cheese to garnish


Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat melts, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not allow pancetta to burn. Add the cabbage, onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the broth, potatoes, and Parmesan cheese rind. Bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Don’t overcook. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a small bot of boiling water until tender. Drain. When the vegetables in the soup are tender, add the cooked pasta, tomatoes, chickpeas, and kidney beans. Remove and discard the Parmesan rind. Season the soup to taste with the pesto, salt, and pepper. Serve in heated bowls sprinkled with cheese.

Makes: 8 servings

This is my friend Carla's 'out-of-this-world' recipe. Simple, cheap, and oh so good...

Escarole and Cannellini Bean Soup

1 medium onion chopped
1 large (red) potato cubed
1 15 oz.Cannellini Beans (Progresso)
2 heads escarole
half pound Acini (tiny tube) Pasta (or any other small pasta)
half a cube of Knorr vegetable bouillon
6 cloves of garlic
olive oil
6 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste

* Saute chopped onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and brown.
(No need to press or chop the garlic, just peel and flatten well with side off knife.)

* Add can of Cannelloni beans with liquid

*Add 6 cups of water and bouillon. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer.

* Wash escarole, cut off ends, chop leaves in half and add to pot. Cook a few minutes until wilted.

* Add cubed potato and cook for 15 minutes

* Add pasta ( this recipe is 'heavy' on the pasta, add less pasta if you want it more 'soupy'.)

* Continue cooking for 12 - 15 minutes

* Add more water if needed

* Salt and pepper to taste

* ENJOY!!!

*** Serve with salad, garlic bread, or bread sticks
Black Bean Soup With Cumin and Tomatoes

Published: March 24, 2010

Black beans are a great low-budget staple; ask anyone from southern Mexico or Brazil. They are loaded with anthocyanins, the phytonutrients found in blue and dark red foods (such as blueberries, red grapes, and red cabbage) that are being studied for their antioxidant properties. This is a simplified version of a black bean soup from the Veracruz region of Mexico. If you want spice, use the chipotle or serrano chile, but the dish is tasty with or without the extra heat.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 large garlic cloves, halved

1 cup dried black beans, washed and picked over

6 cups water

1 14-ounce can tomatoes, drained

2 teaspoons lightly toasted cumin seeds, ground

1 canned chipotle pepper, rinsed, or 1 serrano pepper, coarsely chopped (optional)

1. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add half of the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, and add two of the garlic cloves. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, and add the beans and the water. Discard any of the beans that float, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours until the beans are tender.

2. While the beans are simmering, combine the remaining onion, drained tomatoes, cumin, chile and remaining garlic in a blender, and blend until smooth. Heat the remaining oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot enough for a drop of the puree to sizzle upon contact. Add the puree, and cook, stirring, for five to 10 minutes until the mixture is thick and leaves a canal when you run a spoon or spatula down the center of the pan. Stir in a cup of liquid from the beans, and simmer over medium heat for five to 10 minutes until thick and fragrant. Scrape into the beans with a rubber spatula. Season the beans with salt, and simmer another 15 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

3. Blend the soup coarsely using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender (cover the top with a towel to avoid hot splashes) or a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Return to the pot, and heat through, stirring. Serve with warm corn tortillas.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: The soup will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator.

Asparagus Soup
by J.R. Braden

I just tried a recipe for asparagus soup from my friend Kathy Conry, and felt like sharing the recipe along with my personal tweaks.

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 cup green onions, diced small
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 2 bunches of asparagus, ends removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
* 4 cups vegetable stock
* 1/8 cup havarti with dill

Warm olive oil in a stock pot. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add asparagus and stock, simmer until tender (around 20-25 minutes). Shred the havarti and dill. In batches, ladle asparagus, cheese and stock into blender and blend until smooth. Adjust stock to consistency and cheese to taste. Float a thin slice of havarti and the head of an asparagus stalk on the soup for a garnish.

Optional: Stir in a tiny dash of Dave’s Insanity Sauce to the entire batch to add a mild kick.

Serves 4-6 >>> Bon appétit!

(The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of crème fraiche, but I substituted with the cheese.)
Submitted by Adrian

Lentil and Tomato Soup

1 large onion
2 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic
4 oz split red lentils
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 pt unsalted stock
hot pepper sauce
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/2 tsp dried basil
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 tbs lemon juice

Finely chop onion and fry in olive oil until soft and transparent. Add chopped garlic, and fry for another minute or two. Stir in the lentils and allow to coat in the oil. Add the tomatoes and stock and bring to boil. Half cover the pan, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the lentils are soft. Add a few drops of the hot pepper sauce, according to taste, and the dried herbs (grind the herbs in a pestle and mortar to release their flavour first). Liquidise the mixture in a blender, or with a blender wand, and return to the heat. Season with salt and pepper, and add the lemon juice. Serve immediately, or freeze when cool.

Spring Pea Soup

Not quite ready to give up hot soup in the spring, but definitely want an “enlightened” change from the hearty ones of winter. To test the quality of snap peas, snap one open and see whether it is crisp. The pods should be bright green, firm, and plump.

Yield: Makes 4 Servings


* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 medium shallots, sliced
* One 8-ounce russet potato, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
* 3 cups shelled fresh peas (or frozen peas, thawed)
* ¼ cup dry white wine
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon, plus extra for garnish
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the potato cubes, peas, and wine and simmer, stirring, until the wine is reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 4 cups of water and the tarragon, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into serving bowls and garnish with more tarragon.


• Mint would be a great substitute for the tarragon.

• Substitute frozen peeled fava beans and a dash of fresh lemon juice.


Serving Suggestion

Drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil or top with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche.


Simmer the soup to the desired thickness and use it as a sauce for pan-seared red snapper or grilled chicken.


When cooked and pureed, potato “creams” the soup without adding any dairy. If you prefer a traditional cream soup, add 1/3 cup cream or ½ cup whole milk during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Peas are rich in the B vitamins folate and B6 (both supportive of cardiovascular health) and are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. They also contain good amounts of vitamin K1, which activates osteocalcin, a protein that is critical for bone health.

Economy $

When in season, fresh peas are relatively inexpensive and are a great excuse to get the young ’uns in the kitchen shelling. Good-quality frozen peas have plenty of nutrient value (they are simply picked and flash-frozen).

Soups That Bloom In The Spring

by Domenica Marchetti
April 6, 2010 - NPR

"The soups of spring ... wake up the palate and celebrate new life. Their delicate flavors are a reflection, in a bowl, of the rebirth taking place around us in nature, and so require only minimal tampering."

Spring arrived in Washington, D.C., almost overnight, as it seems to do every year. From one day to the next, dirt-encrusted banks of snow became golden hedges of flowering forsythia. The cherry blossom show is now in full swing, and "Snowmageddon" is a distant memory.

I was more than happy to put away my beat-up old snow boots and snow shovel. However, one piece of equipment that is not going into storage is my soup pot. Too many cooks, it seems to me, associate soup with cold weather, and that's a shame because soup is a wonderful way to showcase the ingredients of spring, especially the young, delicately flavored vegetables that are now turning up at farmers markets, and the flowery herbs that complement them so well. Spring onions, baby leeks, sweet fennel, tender peas and asparagus, glowing radishes and tiny new potatoes are all lovely candidates for spring soups.

These soups bear only a passing resemblance to their fall and winter counterparts. Cold weather soups — often more stew than soup — are long-simmered and sturdy with grains, chunky vegetables and hearty broths. They are meant to give warmth and comfort. The soups of spring, to my mind, have a different purpose. They wake up the palate and celebrate new life. Their delicate flavors are a reflection, in a bowl, of the rebirth taking place around us in nature, and so require only minimal tampering.

This is not to say that all spring soups are alike. Far from it. Spring is a temperamental season. Mild, breezy days often are followed by cool evenings or chilly rains. The nice thing about spring soups is that they can accommodate all of these moods, taking a step back toward winter comfort if need be, or a leap forward into summer.

Given my name, it's no surprise that many of the soups that emerge from my kitchen are Italian. Italian home cooking is seasonal, and cooks take pride in expressing the seasons in their creations, especially soups. One of my favorites from childhood is a gentle soup of rice and lettuces cooked in chicken broth. As the soup cooks, the crisp greens first wilt, then turn pulpy, giving up their bright colors. The resulting soup is muted in tone, with a subtle, almost nutty flavor. The rice and the addition of cheese at the end of cooking give the soup just the substance it needs to stand up to a cool afternoon or evening.

My friend Melchiorre Chessa, a Sardinian-born chef who now lives in Umbria, was raised on another nourishing soup, one that combines fresh sheep's milk with spring vegetables, pecorino cheese and broken noodles. In adapting Melchiorre's recipe, I used goat's milk in place of sheep's milk — it's readily available, and its delicate flavor echoes the flavor of the cheese.

Velvety purees make delightful soups for spring, especially as a first course at a weekend luncheon or garden party. A soup made with freshly shelled English peas is dramatically different from the split-pea version we crave in winter. Spring pea soup sports the splashy color of newly mown grass and a fresh taste to match. It takes only minutes to prepare, and is best enjoyed right away, when both the flavor and color are at their peak.

I am also partial to creamy asparagus soup, to which I add fennel for enhanced sweetness, and pearled barley for a bit of body. Accompanied by a thick slice of country bread, a bowl of asparagus soup makes a lovely weeknight supper.

I have one rule when it comes to making spring soups, and it can be summed up in a single word: integrity. Because of their delicacy, spring soups rely on good ingredients. Start with the freshest vegetables you can find. Woody, bitter asparagus or starchy peas can ruin a spring soup. If you are inclined to make homemade broth to add to your soup, I say go for it. Broth is the foundation of most spring soups, and I have yet to find a commercial product that can match the honest flavor of a homemade one.

I add just enough herbs to perfume my spring soups — I especially like flowery marjoram and the clean-tasting flat-leaf parsley — but not so much that the herbal aroma overwhelms the flavor.

Finally, spring soups are best enjoyed soon after they're made. Their color and flavor dissipate the longer they sit. Much like the season they honor, their beauty is fleeting. But that, of course, is part of the appeal of spring soups.


Rice And Lettuce Soup

Every spoonful of this soup, with its tender morsels of carrots and shredded greens, is a welcome taste of spring. Arborio rice and thinly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese add just enough heft. Use a variety of lettuces for a mix of colors and textures. I especially like to add radicchio di Treviso, a longer, slimmer version of the more common radicchio di Chioggia, but either is fine. The greens lose their bright hue when you cook them, taking on muted, earthy tones. I find the softened appearance pleasing, but if you want to perk up the color, gently stir in another handful or two of spinach during the last few minutes of cooking. Adding a small rind of Parmigiano while the soup is simmering boosts the flavor of the broth. This recipe is adapted from my book The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy (Chronicle Books 2006).

Makes 6 first-course servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped (1/2 cup)

1 rib celery, trimmed and finely chopped (1/2 cup)

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)

1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste

1 small head butter lettuce, washed, trimmed and shredded

1 small head romaine lettuce, washed, trimmed and shredded

1 small head radicchio di Treviso, radicchio di Chioggia or escarole, washed, trimmed and shredded

3 to 4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed

6 cups vegetable broth

1 small piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (optional)

1 cup Arborio or other risotto rice

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup thinly shaved or freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. When the butter has melted and begins to sizzle, stir in the carrot, celery, onion and parsley, and saute for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables have begun to soften and the onion is translucent. Season with salt and then stir in the butter and romaine lettuces, radicchio and spinach, tossing the greens so that they are well-coated with the other ingredients. Cook, stirring from time to time, for 5 minutes or so, just until the greens have wilted.

Pour in the broth and toss in the Parmigiano rind, if using, and bring the broth to a gentle simmer. Stir in the rice, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let the soup simmer gently for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Taste and season with additional salt if necessary and a generous grinding of black pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup of the shaved or grated Parmigiano cheese.

Ladle the soup into a serving tureen or into individual bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and the remaining cheese.


Shepherd's Soup

This recipe was given to me by Melchiorre Chessa, a Sardinian-born chef who now lives in Umbria. This soup was a favorite of his as a child, and indeed, its gentle flavor and nourishing qualities are perfect for children. Tender vegetables and broken spaghetti are simmered in a soothing milk-based broth. In Italy, Melchiorre makes this soup with fresh sheep's milk, an ingredient that is hard to come by here unless you own a herd of sheep or know someone who does. An excellent substitute is goat's milk, available at many supermarkets and health-food stores, though cow's milk will do in a pinch. This recipe is adapted from one in my book The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy (Chronicle Books 2006).

Makes 4 first-course servings

4 cups whole goat's milk (Trader Joes has it in their dairy isle)

2 cups water

2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, or to taste

2 cups cut-up young green beans (1-inch pieces)

6 or 7 baby carrots (3 to 4 inches long), halved lengthwise

1 pound baby yellow potatoes, scrubbed clean and halved or quartered (about 2 cups)

1 1/4 cups broken spaghetti (1-inch pieces)

1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas

1 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for garnish

Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, combine the milk and water, and bring almost to a boil over medium-high heat (do not let the liquid boil over). Stir in the salt, green beans and carrots, reduce the heat to medium, and cook at a bare simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to turn tender. Add the potatoes and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until they are just tender. Stir in the pasta and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Stir in the peas and cook for 2 to 3 minutes if using frozen, or slightly longer if using fresh, until they are tender but still bright green.

While the peas are cooking, put the cheese in a small bowl and add a few spoonfuls of the milky broth. Stir the cheese and hot broth together to make a thin paste, and stir this paste into the soup until fully incorporated. Add a generous grinding of pepper, and stir gently but thoroughly.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with an additional sprinkle of cheese.


Cream Of Asparagus Soup With Pearled Barley

Tender, grassy green asparagus, aromatic spring onions and sweet fennel mingle harmoniously in this soup honoring the first flavors of the season. Adding pearled barley to the mix gives it a little more substance. Accompany the soup with country bread for a nice one-dish supper. This recipe is from my book The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy (Chronicle Books 2006).

Makes 6 first-course servings

6 cups water

Kosher or sea salt

1 cup pearled barley, rinsed

2 pounds asparagus

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 spring onions, bulbs and tender white part of stalks sliced crosswise, about 1 cup*

1 fennel bulb, trimmed, quartered lengthwise and quarters thinly sliced crosswise

2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

6 cups homemade vegetable heated to a simmer

6 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese

Put the barley on to cook before you start the soup: In a large saucepan, combine the water and 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Slowly pour in the barley. Reduce the heat to medium, cover partially, and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes partially covered, or until the barley is tender but still a bit chewy. It should not be mushy at all. Reduce the heat if necessary so that the barley cooks at a gentle, steady simmer. Drain the barley in a colander placed in the sink and let it sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

While the barley is cooking, trim off the tough ends from the asparagus and discard them (or add them to the pot in which you are heating the broth to enhance its flavor; remove them before adding the broth to the soup). Cut the asparagus stalks into 1-inch pieces. Set aside the tips. You should have about 4 1/2 cups asparagus pieces, not including the tips.

In a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the spring onions and fennel, reduce the heat to medium-low and saute, stirring from time to time, for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir vigorously to combine. Pour in 1 cup of the broth and stir for a minute or so to incorporate thoroughly. Slowly pour in the remaining 5 cups of broth and add the asparagus pieces — except for the reserved tips — and the parsley sprigs. Increase the heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and let the soup cool for 10 minutes.

Using an immersion or standard blender, puree the soup until smooth. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any tough fibers, and return it to the pot. Stir in the cooked barley and warm the soup over low heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

While the soup is reheating, put the reserved asparagus tips in a steaming basket placed in a pot of boiling water, cover and steam for 4 to 5 minutes, or just until tender. Or, put the tips in a plastic storage bag along with 1 tablespoon water. Set the open bag in a microwave oven and cook on high heat for 3 minutes, or until the tips are bright green and just tender.

To serve the soup, stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese. Ladle the soup into a large serving bowl or tureen, and top with the reserved asparagus tips and the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. You can also serve the soup in individual bowls, garnishing each serving with a few asparagus tips and a sprinkle of cheese.


Sweet Pea Soup With Pickled Radish

This light soup, adapted from a version in my book The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy (Chronicle Books 2006), is nothing like its heavy winter cousin, split-pea soup. Fresh marjoram imparts a delicate perfume, and a splash of cream gives it a velvety texture. The soup has a beautiful, grassy green color and a delicate fresh taste. I like to garnish it with a dollop of mascarpone and a spoonful of quick-pickled radishes and cucumbers, which add a bright contrasting note in flavor and color, as well as an appealing crunch. Look for freshly harvested English peas at the farmers market, and make sure they have not been hanging around too long — peas lose their sweetness and turn starchy quickly.

Makes 4 first-course servings

For The Pickled Radish

3 to 4 radishes, cut into thin slivers or small dice (1 cup)

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into thin slivers or small dice (1 cup)

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 small spring onion (bulb only), thinly sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Freshly ground black pepper

For The Soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup thinly sliced spring onions or leeks (bulbs and tender parts of stalk)

1 small sprig fresh marjoram

1 small spring fresh thyme

3 to 4 cups vegetable broth

4 cups shelled English peas (about 4 pounds in the pod)

1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

Mascarpone cheese or creme fraiche, for serving (optional)

To Make The Relish

Mix together the radish and cucumber with the coarse salt. Place the radish and cucumber in a small colander set over a bowl and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid and pat vegetables dry with paper towels.

Transfer the radishes and cucumbers to a bowl and stir in the spring onion, vinegar, oil, sugar and a grinding of pepper. Gently toss to combine. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until serving time.

To Make The Soup

In a medium Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the spring onions and saute, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they have softened but are not browned. Add the marjoram and thyme and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Pour in the broth, raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Carefully tip in the peas and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they are just tender but still bright green. Take off the heat and remove and discard the sprigs of marjoram and thyme. Using an immersion blender or a standard blender, puree the soup until smooth. If you want a perfectly smooth soup, strain it through a medium-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth and discard the solids.

Return the soup to the pot and place over medium heat. Stir in the cream, salt and pepper to taste. Heat until just warmed through.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of mascarpone topped with a spoonful of pickled radish.


About The Author

Domenica Marchetti is the author of Big Night In: More Than 100 Wonderful Recipes for Feeding Family and Friends Italian-Style and The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy (both published by Chronicle Books). Her articles about contemporary Italian home cooking have appeared in The Washington Post, Cooking Light, Fine Cooking and other publications. She is at work on a third cookbook, about pasta. Visit her Web site at

wow, i'm so inspired!!  look soooooo delicous!!!

Pureed Red Pepper and Potato Soup

This is a beautiful soup with a deep, rich flavor to match the color. Make sure to strain the soup after you puree it, a quick step that also saves you the trouble of peeling the peppers.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a drizzle for serving

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

Salt, preferably kosher

4 plump garlic cloves, green shoots removed, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 pounds (4 large) red bell peppers, seeded, membranes removed, cut in large dice

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 pound russet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and diced

2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf and a couple of sprigs each thyme and parsley, tied together in a bundle

Freshly ground pepper

For garnish (optional):

Garlic croutons (toast thin slices of baguette and rub with a cut clove of garlic)

Slivered basil leaves or chopped fresh thyme leaves

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot, and add the onion and carrot. Cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, and then add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Continue to cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes, and stir in the garlic and tomato paste. Stir for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant and the tomato paste has darkened, and then add the peppers, paprika, and another 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the peppers begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the potatoes, stock, and bouquet garni, and bring to a simmer. Add salt to taste, one to two teaspoons, cover and simmer over low heat for one hour. Remove the bouquet garni.

3. Blend the soup until smooth in an immersion blender, or in a blender or food processor fitted with a steel blade. Work in batches, and cover the blender lid or food processor with a kitchen towel to prevent the hot soup from splashing. Strain the soup through a medium strainer, pushing it through the strainer with a spatula or the bowl of a ladle, and return to the heat. Heat through, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Garnish with garlic croutons and slivered fresh basil or chopped thyme, and drizzle a few drops of olive oil over each serving if desired.

Yield: Serves six to eight

Leek and Potato Soup

I love leeks. I love everyone in the onion family, but I have a special affection for leeks. I tried to describe why, but it sounded like really bad middle school creative writing, so I deleted it. So we'll just skip that and move on to the cooking part.

I bought a couple bunches of leeks at the store earlier in the week, and potatoes, so that at some point this week I could throw together the soup. It's one of the simplest things to make, and it's warm and comforting on a cold wintery evening.

The recipe I followed is from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I., by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck. It's the first entry in Chapter One - Soup.

Potage Parmentier (Leek or Onion and Potato Soup)

"Leek and potato soup smells good, tastes good, and is simplicity itself to make. It is also versatile as a soup base; add water cress and you have a water-cress souop, or stir in cream and chill it for a vichyssoise. To change the formula a bit, add carrots, string beans, cauliflower, broccoli, or anything else you think would go with it, and vary the proportions as you wish."

Here it the recipe and step-by-step picture tutorial - LINK

A Mess of Pottage (Lentil Soup)

I used to make this a LOT years ago. I probably started making it when I was a vegetarian - the book it comes from is all vegetarian - and after making it once, apparently I started making it in larger and larger batches, because right next to the list of ingredients/measurements - there are columns with my increased amounts - for double, triple, and quadruple the recipe.

It's really good, and even better, it's incredibly easy.

The recipe comes from an old (okay, 1975 - but the book is falling apart, so it seems older) small press cookbook entitled "Cooking with Conscience," by Alice Benjamin and Harriet Corrigan. It was published by Vineyard Books in CT, and at the time this was published, it cost $2.00. On the cover, it reads "A book for people concerned about world hunger."

There are 52 recipes in this slim volume. The one I'm featuring is number Twenty-Two. To be honest, I don't know if I ever bothered trying anything else besides this wonderful lentil dish.

Anyway, here's what the authors wrote about this dish:

"We couldn't resist having one dish called "A Mess of Pottage." According to some Biblical translations, Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for "a mess of pottage." Other translations say "bread and lentiles" and still others say "bread and lentil soup." In any case, it was lentils and probably cooked with onions, butter, and a few herbs. Who knows? -- this might even be somewhere close to the original. (Except those were red lentils, and brown ones are easier for us to find. And he certainly didn't add powdered milk.) Serve with any whole grain bread to help complete the protein and a plate of raw vegetables such as carrot sticks and celerey. Serves 3 or 4."

I served this for dinner with a salad of mixed greens, sliced fennel, fresh basil, and a warm baguette, some olive oil, and a couple of cheeses. Alex, predictably, didn't like it on sight. Julia tried it, liked it, but didn't eat much. My husband liked it enormously. And I took my first spoonful and wondered why it's taken me so long to make this again.


Here's all you need:

Here is the recipe and photo tutorial: LINK

This soup has a very light broth. If I were to make it again I might add some garlic, maybe use half vegetable stock and half water if I wanted a stronger broth. The one good thing about this soup, very filling with the beans and wheat berries, and very nutritious. This is from Food and Wine.


Mixed Vegetable and Farro Soup




3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
1 cup farro or wheat berries, (I used wheat berries)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 quarts water
One 15-ounce can borlotti or pinto beans, drained and rinsed, (the only canned beans I had on hand were red, worked fine)
2 large carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil



In an enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the celery, onion and leek and cook over moderately high heat, stirring a few times, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the farro and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the grains are coated and shiny, 30 seconds. Add 1 quart of the water and the beans and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Add the carrots and the remaining 1 quart of water. Cover and cook over low heat until the carrots are tender, 30 minutes. Add the peas, cover and cook until tender, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, top with the basil and serve.


Mine looked like this:


Hot Soup To Cool You Off?

It may seem counter-intuitive to be cooking soups in the summertime, but hot soups can actually cool you down in hot temperatures.

“In the Caribbean where I worked for a couple years,” Chef Daniel Orr says, “they liked hot soup. So, they would have their pumpkin soup in the middle of summer with scotch bonnets, you know things that make you sweat a little bit.”

Serving these two soups cold would also be refreshing during the hot summer days.

Curried Carrot And Fennel Soup With Turmeric and Orange

Our first recipe is a bright orange carrot soup.

“If you want to make this vegan,” Chef Orr says, “you could add agave nectar instead of honey, which is made from the same plant you make tequila out of.” Instead of the optional heavy cream, you could add coconut milk.

This soup is great hot or cold and garnished with anything from crab or shrimp to Mexican cream and orange segments.


Curried Carrot and Fennel Soup with Turmeric and Orange

Photo: Andrew Olanoff/WFIU

If you want to make this vegan, you could add agave nectar instead of honey, which is made from the same plant you make tequila out of.


Curried Carrot And Fennel Soup With Turmeric and Orange

Serving Size: Makes 8 servings


  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 8 medium carrots, topped, peeled, and roughly chopped
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 orange, juiced, plus 2 teaspoons zest
  • 4 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar)
  • 1 quart water
  •   salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cream or coconut milk (optional)

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large pot, place onions, fennel, garlic, and spices and saute in olive oil for 4 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until carrots are soft.
  3. Puree in blender until smooth. Pass through fine strainer.
  4. Add heavy cream to soup and return to a boil. Season to taste, then chill the soup in an ice bath.

Broccoli And Basil Soup With Soy

What we’re going to make next is a broccoli soup with basil and soy. In this case, the soy is going to be tofu, so it’ll have a creamy, unctuous texture and flavor but without adding heavy cream.

This recipe incorporates the water used to cooked the broccoli. ”You’re building up vitamins into that water,” Chef Orr says. ”You can also save that cooking water and have it as a vegetable stock.”

Or, how about watering your plants with the cooking water? (But only as long as no salt was added!)


Broccoli and Basil Soup with Soy

Photo: Andrew Olanoff/WFIU

In this recipe, the soy is going to be tofu, so it’ll have a creamy, unctuous texture and flavor but without adding heavy cream.


Broccoli And Basil Soup With Soy


  • 2 pounds broccoli
  • 15 basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ginger
  • 1/2 pound soft silken tofu
  •   cooking water from broccoli
  •   salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Cut the broccoli stems in thin rounds and cut the tops into fleurettes.
  2. Cover with just enough boiling water to cook and simmer until tender but not discolored.
  3. Place broccoli in the basin of a blender and add remaining ingredients.
  4. Blend until smooth and thin with cooking water as needed.
  5. Garnish with nasturtiums. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Curried Potato and Vegetable Soup Recipe

Here's a tip, don't skimp on the butter.


  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, quartered, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups roughly chopped cauliflower florets (about 1/2 a head)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (more to taste)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)
  • 2 small yellow summer squash, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (or parsley) for garnish


1 In a large pot (6-quart), melt butter over medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrot and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and the bell pepper is lightly browned. Add the turmeric, mustard seed, and curry powder and cook for a minute more. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more.

2 Add the potatoes, the broth, water, cauliflower, and salt. Increase the heat to high to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high or medium, enough to maintain a simmer. Let simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

3 Add the corn and summer squash, cook for 10 minutes more, until the vegetables are cooked through. Use an immersion blender (or a regular blender) to purée about half of the soup. Adjust seasonings.

Garnish with chopped cilantro (or parsley, though cilantro is particularly good with this soup).

Serves 8.

Indian Split-Pea and Vegetable Soup




1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, (I used fresh, blanched 30 seconds, cold water bath, squeeze out excess water).

1 cup yellow or green split peas, (the picture is with green)

9 cups water, more if needed

2 1-inch pieces fresh ginger, peeled, 1 piece chopped

1 3/4 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons soy free Earth Balance, (butter if you want)

1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

4 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 pound boiling potatoes (about 3), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes



Remove the spinach from the freezer. In a medium saucepan, combine the split peas, 3 cups of the water, the unchopped piece of ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring frequently, until the split peas are tender, about 30 minutes. Add more water if necessary to keep the peas from sticking to the pan. (I thought the peas could have been cooked an extra 5-10 minutes)


Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt the butter over moderately low heat. Stir in the chopped ginger, the jalapeño, turmeric, coriander, cumin, carrots, potatoes, and the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Add the remaining 6 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are almost tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach and simmer 5 minutes longer.


Remove the whole piece of ginger from the cooked split peas and then stir the split peas into the soup. Simmer the soup for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


This was lunch:



Curried Cauliflower Soup


This soup's secret ingredient—an apple—lends a touch of tangy sweetness that complements the curry’s spice. Letting the soup cool 20 minutes before blending helps deepen the flavors.
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 medium tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 Tbs. curry powder
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced (1 tsp.)
  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into 1-inch pieces (6 cups)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. honey or agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar


1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft and golden. Stir in apple, curry powder, and garlic, and cook 2 minutes more, or until curry powder turns deep yellow.


2. Add cauliflower and vegetable broth, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes. Cool 20 minutes, then blend in food processor or blender until smooth. Stir in honey and vinegar, and season with salt, if desired.


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