In episode 20 Denise and Diane talk about New Year’s resolutions, soup, peppermint bark and sore feet. Scroll down to access all the truly fantastic show notes and links. Women Beyond a Certain Age is a weekly podcast by Denise Vivaldo and Diane Worthington.
Denise is an award-winning food stylist and author of The Food Stylist's Handbook and 8 other books, as well as writing for the Huffington Post. You can find out more about her at: https://denisevivaldo.com
Diane is the author of over 20 cookbooks and has twice won the James Beard Award. She is also a nationally syndicated food columnist. You can find out more about her at: https://seriouslysimplefood.com
Podcast credits: Cindie Flannigan does everything else and having more fun with it every week. She apologizes for the strange popping sounds on the audio on this episode. You can find out more about her at: https://denisevivaldogroup.com/team/
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Spaghetti Squash Adds Texture and Flavor to January Vegetable Soup
Each year I start getting the calls. I just gained x pound over the holidays. Help! Do you have any dishes to help me shed these unwanted pounds? This soup is one of my most requested recipes because it works. But this year I have added an ingredient that is also a dieter’s friend---- spaghetti squash. Low in calories with lots of texture, just bake up the spaghetti squash, seed it and have the squash ready to go for dishes that taste delicious. You can sauté it with olive oil, garlic and a bit of Parmesan cheese for a savory side dish. You can use it in place of pasta; I love it as a bed for turkey Bolognese or a simple marinara sauce. It’s great with eggs and in frittatas. You’ll probably come up with your own dishes, once you try it.
Spaghetti squash tastes so good in this wintery soup. Sometimes I double this soup recipe so it will last a few days or so. I like it for lunch and dinner. I don’t feel deprived because it is so flavorful and satisfying. And best of all, I can step on the scale a few days later and know I have conquered those extra pounds.
Diced vegetables in a fragrant broth are always delicious but another variation is to puree the soup transforming it into a creamy potage. Sometimes I will even divide the soup in half and serve the diced vegetables in one half of the bowl and the creamy puree in the other half--- a pretty presentation. The soup becomes an entirely new experience when pureed. You can completely puree it or partially puree it, leaving some texture and color in the soup. If you bake the spaghetti squash ahead, this colorful vegetable soup is Seriously Simple to prepare since you need only to cut up the carrots, zucchini and butternut squash. To save even more time, look for pre-peeled and cut-up butternut squash at your market.
To enrich the broth, I add a rind of Parmesan cheese to the soup while it is simmering. Leeks are my preference for their rich oniony flavor. I am often asked how to clean and use a leek. If you have any questions, you can find a how-to video on my website seriouslysimple.com that will give you all the information.
Garbanzo beans add an underlying earthy flavor as well as a natural thickener for the pureed version. Fully cooked garbanzos are added for just a few minutes before the soup is pureed to keep their texure intact. To dress this up consider adding a dollop of basil or sun-dried tomato pesto. Or if you’re really being good, just garnish with fresh herbs and a light sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Baked Spaghetti Squash
1 medium spaghetti squash
- Preheat oven to 350F. Place the spaghetti squash on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake squash for 30 minutes and then turn over and continue baking another 25 minutes or until soft when pierced with a knife.
- Cool squash. Cut squash in half, remove seeds and discard. Scoop out the squash and place in an airtight container until using. This will last 5 days in the refrigerator.
January Vegetable Soup
Serves 4 to 6
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 leeks, light green part and white parts only, cleaned and finely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
4 zucchini, cut into 1-inch dice
1 lb peeled and 1-inch dice butternut squash
1 tsp favorite seasoning salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes with juice
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Rind of Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley or basil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the carrots, zucchini, squash, and seasoning salt. Sauté for about 3 more minutes, or until mixed well and beginning to soften. Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
- Add the tomatoes, broth and Parmesan ring. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Partially cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the cooked spaghetti squash and garbanzo beans and cook another 5 minutes, or until heated through. Add the salt and pepper. Add the parsley or basil. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Remove the Parmesan rind.
- To serve, ladle the soup into shallow soup bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
- Remove the Parmesan rind. Puree the soup either completely or partially in the pot with a hand blender or in batches in a blender or food processor. Return the soup to the pot, if necessary. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
- To serve: Ladle into shallow soup bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomato pesto, or basil pesto.
Advance Preparation: May be prepared up to 5 days ahead in either version, covered, and refrigerated. Reheat gently. This may also be frozen. Defrost and reheat gently.