I was looking for a soup recipe that used Lima beans, and I came upon this soup I created a few years ago. This simple soup recipe is a wonderful meatless meal for a hot summer day, but it’s also hearty enough to be replace a meat stew once the weather turns cold. The carrots and cauliflower supply vitamins A, C and K, along with several of the B vitamins.
Carrot and cauliflower soup has a buttery smooth texture and a sweet taste, which will make it a hit with kids. The low glycemic index means you can serve it at suppertime, and your family won’t be starving again come bedtime. This soup recipe is gluten-free, and because it’s made with vegetable stock it’s suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets. It supplies important minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and other micronutrients, and dietary fibre. To increase the omega-3 content of this meal, saute some chopped leek and add it to the broth while you’re cooking the beans. Or sprinkle some chopped walnut or freshly ground flax seed over the soup just before serving.
Carrot and Cauliflower Soup
8 cups vegetable stock*
1-1/2 cups dried large Lima beans (butter beans)
4-6 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 cauliflower, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
* If you don’t have a ready supply of vegetable stock, save the cooking liquid when you boil or steam veggies, and freeze it in Mason jars until you need it. Or you can learn to make your own soup stocks and broths at home.
While the broth is coming to a boil in a stockpot, sift through the beans to remove any that are discoloured or chipped. Once the beans are well sorted, they can be added to the boiling stock.
Let the beans boil on medium-high heat about 20 minutes, stirring often. Lower the heat and allow the beans to continue simmering another 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Add the carrots and cauliflower, and bring the soup back up to a boil. Stir well. Reduce to a simmer and cook another 30 minutes, or until beans and vegetables are tender. Serve with thick slabs of crusty bread.
This recipe makes enough soup for a family of 4-6. If you have a smaller family, go ahead and make the full recipe. It’s a perfect gluten-free substitute for a sandwich at lunchtime, so warm a little up in the morning and pack it in a thermos for your kids’ lunchboxes. It will help your kids avoid that mid-afternoon blood sugar low that turns them into starving Marvins by the time they get home in the afternoon!
Featured Image Credit: Carrots and cauliflower by ericbauer0/Pixabay (CC0 1.0)
Note: This recipe was originally published by me on the now defunct site Bubblews, in August 2014
Chicken broth is an ingredient in roughly half of my freezer meal recipes. It’s not a terribly expensive ingredient – if you’re just cooking up one meal at a time. But if you need several cups per recipe and you’re preparing a whole month’s worth of freezer meals, the cost really starts to add up! And of course there is also the question of all the added sodium in commercial broths, which many of us would be happy to avoid.
The simple solution is to make your own broth. Homemade broths and soup stocks are easy enough to make, and if you learn a few easy tips you can pretty much make them for free. But forget the complex Julia Childs recipes! This isn’t gourmet cooling; it’s a matter of survival for your family. You do what you’ve gotta do, and you save the fancy stock recipes for times when you can afford to splurge.
Free Sources for Broth Ingredients
Vegetable peels and scraps: scrub veggies well so you can save the peels and end bits for your soup bag – just store in a zipped bag in the freezer until it’s time to make broth;
Cooking liquids: when you boil/steam veggies or have cooking liquid left after boiling a ham, pour this tasty stuff into Mason jars and freeze until you cook up your broth;
Canning liquids: If you drain a can of tomatoes or olives before adding to a recipe, save the liquid to add to broths or other recipes;
Bones and skin: Whenever you roast chicken, beef, pork or lamb, save the discarded bones, skin and such, and freeze in labelled bags – now you can make a meat stock!
Meat trimmings: The bits of fatty or gristly meat you trim off are good for adding flavour to a broth.
Basically, take any opportunity you have to save the “inedible” bits when you prepare your food. Even onion skins and potato peels can be added to your soup bag, in small quantities. They will give your broth a darker colour and richer flavour, so they’re especially good if you want to make a beef or lamb broth.
Remember to add in things like the leaves from the stalks of celery, or the carrot and beet tops (if you don’t use them in your cooking as is.) If you remove the stems from broccoli, spinach, kale, etc., add these to your soup bag as well. The same goes for herbs: if you have just a tiny bit of parsley leftover after making tabouleh, or stems from rosemary or thyme, toss them in the soup bag too!
When you need broth for a recipe, just pull out a soup bag and plop its contents into a heavy stock pot. Cover about halfway up with water and/or reserved cooking liquids, and simmer with the lid on for a few hours to extract the flavour. If you have bones or meat cooking liquids saved up, use these to make a meat stock instead of a vegetable broth.
Fast, easy, inexpensive meals don’t have to be boring or fussy. You don’t have to have any obscure ingredients or fancy kitchen gadgets, and you honestly don’t need to be much of a cook either. My new Budget Cooking series will show you how to cook a range of different meals to satisfy your hunger – fast, easy, on the cheap, and without a lot of fancy cooking techniques.
One of the simplest meals I make for my family is French pea soup. At its most basic, this is a one-ingredient dish. It’s just yellow split peas and water. You can flavour it with broth and spices if you want, but you really don’t have to. It’s really great with a little carrot and celery, and even better with some bits of ham thrown in. But if you’re hard pressed, you just need the split peas and something to cook the soup in.
Why Pea Soup?
Pea soup is sort of a gateway to cooking with legumes. Split peas are chock full of protein, fibre and minerals like iron and magnesium. But they aren’t as difficult to prepare as many other beans, and they take less time to cook.
Split peas are inexpensive, and you can find them in any grocery store. They take up very little space in your pantry, and if you include them in your food storage it’s no trouble at all to cook up a hot, nutritious meal during an emergency.
You may have only eaten pea soup from a can. If this is true, please cook your own at least once. you’ll appreciate the difference! Homemade pea soup is so much better than anything that comes from a can.
The most basic recipe for pea soup appears in the “bare bones” description below. You can half or double the recipe as needed. Read the other variations to learn how to
How to Cook Pea Soup
Bare Bones: Put 1-3/4 cups of split yellow peas in 8 cups of water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, then cook about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Stir occasionally. When the peas are soft and the soup has reached the desired thickness, it’s ready to serve. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Slightly Fancier: Add a couple of diced carrots and celery, a minced garlic clove, and one diced onion to your recipe. Saute the veggies in a little oil or butter before you add the split peas and water to your pot. If desired, add a little thyme and a couple of bay leaves to the pot (but remember to remove the bay leaves before serving!) This dish is great for a meatless Monday, or for sharing a meal with a vegetarian friend.
For Meat Lovers: Add a ham hock or a pound of smoked sausage to the pot. Near the end of the cooking time, remove and chop the meat and the return it to the soup. When made with sausage, pea soup is often cooked using green split peas and is thinner than the Quebec-style pea soup that I learned to prepare as a young cook. It may also include a diced potato, along with the other vegetables.
Planned Leftovers: If you’re cooking a ham or making a dish that includes either sausage or bacon, cook up a little more meat than you need and plan to make pea soup the next night. If you’ve got just enough meat for one meal, that’s OK! You can simply use the cooking liquid from your ham in the soup instead of water, to give a bit of meaty flavour to your broth. This liquid can also be frozen in Mason jars, to be used at a later date. Some people like chicken broth in their pea soup, so keep that in mind if you’ve boiled a chicken or have a little leftover chicken broth when you make soup.
Crockpot Version: Layer the peas, vegetables and spices, and meat in a crockpot. For quicker food prep, you can do this the night before and refrigerate your covered slow cooker insert for up to 12 hours. Add water or broth in the morning and cook on low for 8-10 hours. (I don’t recommend cooking pea soup in a crockpot on high.) Don’t stir for the first several hours, despite the temptation! It’s best not to lift the slow cooker lid unless you need to add ingredients or check for doneness.
Make Ahead Tip: If you have extra meat but don’t want to cook pea soup right now, package your ham or sausage with some diced vegetables and spices, and store in a zippered bag or rigid container in your freezer. It’s fine if you just have small pieces of meat leftover, too. Cook your soup on the stovetop, or in your crockpot.
Cooking from Food Storage: In an emergency, cook your pea soup on a camping stove, buddy burner or fondue pot. Keep split peas in your emergency food storage, and use dried or canned meat and vegetables to make a tastier dish. Using canned ingredients is also a great idea for young people who receive such things in care packages from home, or for those who need to find creative ways to use odd items from their food bank hamper.
Rushing It: In a real pinch, you can microwave pea soup. It does need to be pureed after cooking, though, and it won’t be quite the same.
Freezing Large Batches: If you have made more pea soup than you need, you can freeze it in zippered bags or airtight containers. Bags are ideal if you plan to give individual portions to a loved one or neighbour. The soup can be reheated on the stove or in the microwave. It will be thick, so stir in a little water to achieve the desired consistency. Also remember to keep just a little in the fridge overnight for reheating: pea soup is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day!
Pea Soup Trivia:
Did you know that split peas are just a dried, split version of the common garden pea? Peas that dry yellow are the dominant type, whereas the green ones are the result of a recessive gene.
This article was published on my food blog, 24 Carrot Diet. If you are reading this content anywhere else, it has probably been stolen. Please report it to me so I can address any copyright infringements. Thank you!