Green Gazpacho

green gazpacho - trust in kim

This soup is awesome! I was a little hesitant at first, as I’m not a big fan of green bell peppers, but since I have loved red gazpacho so much I thought I should at least give this a try.  After all, Yotam Ottolenghi wrote in his lovely cookbook Plenty that this is by far his favourite cold soup, so it must be good.  It is now one of my top favourites too.  It has so much flavour, and it’s got lots of healthy ingredients.  I made one big change, though – the recipe serving six people called for one whole cup! of olive oil! I cut that down to 1/4 cup.  Still takes great, and I feel better knowing I’m not eating almost 3 tablespoons of oil per serving.

While there is no cooking, there’s a bit of chopping, and then blending, so it’s not as quick as I thought it would be.  But it is totally worth a little extra chopping.

What you need:

  • 2 celery stalks (including leaves)
  • 2 small green bell peppers
  • 6 mini cucumbers (1 & 1/4 lbs), peeled
  • 3 slices stale white bread with crusts removed
  • 1 fresh green chile (I used a jalapeno)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used white balsamic vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt (I just used my plain yogurt)
  • about 2 cups cold water
  • 9 oz ice cubes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • white pepper (I just used black)

What you do:

  1.  Lightly toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan or in the oven. Let them cool.
  2. Roughly chop the celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, bread, chile and garlic and place it in a blender. If you are using an immersion blender, as I did, just put the ingredients into a large bowl.  If you have the option to use a blender I recommend that, as it would be a bit easier to get the right consistency for all the vegetables.  Add the sugar, walnuts, spinach, basil, parsley, vinegar, oil, yogurt, most of the water, half of the ice cubes, salt, and some pepper.  Puree until smooth.  Add more water if you need, in order to get the right consistency.  Taste and adjust seasonings if you need to.
  3. Add the remaining ice and blend for just a second or two to break it up a little.
  4. Serve with homemade croutons or a few walnuts sprinkled on top.

This makes 6 very generous portions.  I cut the recipe in half, which would be a great option for a starter-sized portion.

 

Green Couscous

green couscous - trust in kim

This scrumptious recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty – love this book!  I used the larger Israeli couscous, which is also called pearl couscous, but you can feel free to use the smaller version.  I really liked the texture of the larger couscous, which has a bite more similar to a small pasta. The recipe involves cooking the couscous, then coating it with a lovely green herb paste, then topping it with pistachios, green onions, fried onions, arugula or spinach, and a little green chile.

I enjoyed this salad alongside roasted cauliflower and squash with tahini sauce. I absolutely love this meal, and my leftovers at work were the envy of many. This would also make a great picnic salad, instead of a pasta salad.

What you need:

 

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous (or regular – just cook it according to the package directions)
  • just over 1 cup boiling water/ chicken broth/ vegetable broth
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced (I like to use a sweet onion)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted and chopped
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh green chile, finely sliced
  • 1 & 1/4 cups arugula or baby spinach

What you need for the herb paste:

  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

What you do:

  1. Cook the couscous according to the package instructions.  I used homemade chicken broth to give it a little more flavour, but you can use water or veggie broth if you have it.
  2. Fry the onions in the olive oil over medium heat until they are golden and soft.  Mix in the salt and cumin, then set aside to cool
  3. Blend all the herb paste ingredients together.  You can use a food processor, but I used an immersion blender because that’s what I have in my tiny kitchen, and it worked well.  Add a bit more olive oil if you need; I left out 2 tablespoons of oil that the recipe called for.
  4. Mix the herb paste into the cooked and slightly cooled couscous, then mix in the pistachios, green onions, green chile and arugula or spinach.  I added the spinach to individual portions because I knew I would have leftovers, and I thought it would wilt over night if I mixed it in.
  5. Serve at room temperature.