38 Power Foods, Week 30 — Pistachios– Tomato Soup with Yogurt Swirl and Pistachios

I’ve been making lots of soup lately–for good reasons.  There’s a soup book on the way plus I’m watching my calories pretty carefully, so am eating lots and lots of vegetables.  The other day, I made a pretty special tomato soup, which I blogged on Dinner Place…. Next day, I had to have something different; yogurt and pistachios did the trick.  I mixed in a little yogurt to one small portion of my soup, spooned it into the middle of the bowl, and topped it all with chopped pistachios.  I had a partial “cream” of tomato soup and some perfect crunch for texture.

While kids often balk at green food (except for green eggs and ham or grapes, I guess), they usually love pistachios.  I think it’s their fun-to-open-shells–no nutcracker needed–, which makes eating them a bit of a chase, a puzzle,  even a trial sometimes.  These little southwest nuts pack a wallop nutritionally (I put them in my homemade granola all the time).  Like other nuts, they’re heart healthy,  high in protein and fiber, but are also rich in potassium–a great treasure.  Read more about the nutritional benefits of pistachios here.  They make wonderful snacks as they are, but are also good additions to cookies, ice creams, puddings, cereals, fresh fruit, or root vegetable dishes.

light and lusty tomato soup
  serves 4

  • 1 small yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 carrot, cut into 2-inch pieces 
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced (use a little more celery if you have no fennel)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Generous pinch each:  crushed red pepper and Herbes de Provence (see above for substitutions)
  • 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine*
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon honey          
  1. Place onion, celery, carrot, and fennel in food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Process, pulsing, until vegetables are diced.  (Or dice by hand.)
  2.  Heat a 6-quart heavy pot over medium low heat with the olive oil, pepper, and Herbes for a minute or until fragrant.  Add the whole garlic cloves and cook for a minute or until golden; turn and let cook another few seconds before adding the vegetables from the food processor.
  3. Stir in the fresh basil leaves, kosher salt, black pepper.  Cook for five minutes, stirring, until vegetables are beginning to soften.
  4. Pour in water, wine, broth, and tomatoes.  Stir in honey.  Bring to a boil.  
  5. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes or so until all vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Puree using an immersion blender, in batches in the food processor or blender, or mash with a potato masher.  Alternatively, eat as is.
  7. Serve hot garnished with one of the following: chopped fresh basil, croutons, or chopped pistachios for vegan version.  Grated Parmesan cheese or a spoon of plain Greek yogurt for Gluten-Free version.  If you’re ok any way at all, choose what you’d like, though just the Parmesan and a little fresh basil are perfectly perfect.  

*Replace the wine with water if need be.

The Parmesan version

 Cook’s Note:                        To Make the “Cream” of Tomato Soup version:

Ladle one cup of soup into the bowl.  In another small bowl, ladle in about a half cup of soup and stir in a tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt until well combined.  Spoon the yogurt mixture into the middle of the soup bowl and top with chopped pistachios. 

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