Today please welcome Tess Masters, The Blender Girl!
Today I’m thrilled to welcome my dear friend Tess Masters to the blog! You may know Tess through her blog, Healthy Blender Recipes, or by her alter ego, The Blender Girl. I first “met” Tess when she asked me to contribute to her month-long Gluten-Free Baking with KitchenAid event on her blog; later, we met up in person when we both attended the Nourished conference a couple of years ago, and lucky for me that we did! Besides her extensive knowledge of raw and alkaline diets, her simple and easy blended recipes, her incredible generosity with other bloggers and her open, friendly nature, Tess is just plain fun to be around. You’ve likely seen her at various blog events and conferences across the US, as the face of Vitamix, or in the media lately promoting her new book, The Blender Girl, which will be released April 8th:
I was lucky enough to peek at an advance copy, and let me tell you, this book is stunning!! Like the recipes on her blog, the recipes in the cookbook (100 main dishes, snacks, desserts and drinks) can be prepared using a blender and are quick, easy, healthy and delicious. Today she shares one of those recipes with us. . . so read on!
I am so honored to be doing a guest post for Ricki while she writes her book. She is my favorite food blogger and a dear friend. Even with her busy schedule, she has been so supportive of my book that launches April 8th. So, I jumped at the chance to share this cream of spinach soup which is one of the ten recipes from my website that I included in the book. I had 55 recipe testers blending all over the world and this recipe was one of the favorites.
I often cook this soup for a quick lunch or dinner lecture and always receive rave reviews from people that “didn’t know they liked spinach”! It is a showstopper. For those of you following the Body Ecology Diet or other anti-candida diets, this soup is a star! Just make sure you use raw blanched almonds to cream instead of the raw cashews [Ricki’s note: the diet I followed permitted cashews as well as almonds.]
This soup is “souper” easy and unlike starchy soups that need about 30-40 minutes to cook through, this soup only needs about 20 minutes. Just chop up your ingredients, bring to the boil, simmer, blend and serve. I can’t seem to go past using whole roasted garlic in this soup for a depth of flavor that is hard to beat. But, you can easily chop 4 to 5 cloves of garlic and sauté it with the onions and simmer with the vegetables at the very beginning.
To get a rich creaminess with this soup I use raw nuts. If you have a Vitamix you’ll get a soup that is so velvety and smooth, you will fool even the most devout cream dreamer. If you don’t have a high-speed blender be sure to soak your nuts with a bit of boiling water for about 15 minutes to make them liquefy more easily in order to achieve the smoothest texture possible. If you want to make this soup nut free, stir in about 1/8 to ¼ cup of rolled oats during cooking – it blends up really well.
If you want this soup to taste exactly like mine, the vegetable stock/broth that you use is important. Not all stocks were created equal. They really do vary in quality and taste. I always use Massel vegetable stock that complements the natural flavour of the vegetables beautifully. Massel stocks are vegan, gluten free, lactose free, kosher and free of MSG. When I don’t make my own home made stock I always use Massel. I actually prefer to use the stock cubes so I can control the strength. I use 1 stock cube for every 2 cups of filtered water.
Either way, this spinach soup will make even the most devoted spinach hater keen for green.
Cream of Spinach Soup
1 head garlic
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1/4 cup (20g) finely chopped green onions (mostly the white part)
1 cup (100g) sliced red onion
Celtic sea salt
1/4 cup (33g) diced celery (about 1 rib)
1 cup (135g) diced zucchini
1/4 cup (12g) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 cups (960ml) vegetable broth or stock
2 cups (86g) firmly packed baby spinach
1/4 cup (35g) blanched slivered raw almonds or 1/4 cup (35g) raw cashews, soaked
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 ̊F (180 ̊C).
Cut off the top of the head of garlic, wrap the bulb in aluminum foil, and roast it on a baking sheet for 30 to 40 minutes, until tender. Allow the bulb to cool and then squeeze the garlic pulp out of the husks. This should yield 2 tablespoons or more of roasted garlic. Set aside.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add the green onions, red onion, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and saute for 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the celery, zucchini, and parsley and sauté for 5 minutes more.
Stir in the roasted garlic and the vegetable broth. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the spinach and simmer for 5 minutes more, until the leaves are just tender.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the soup to cool somewhat. Stir in the nuts.
Pour the soup into your blender (I use a Vitamix) in batches and puree on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
Return the soup to the saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Serves 6 as a starter, 4 as a main.
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Tess Masters, AKA “The Blender Girl” shares super quick and easy allergy friendly vegetarian, vegan, and raw recipes on her popular blog, Healthy Blender Recipes. All of her recipes are gluten free and plant based, as many are are also nut free, soy free, corn free, and sugar free. Her cookbook The Blender Girl: 100 gluten-free, vegan recipes will be released on April 8th! Follow Tess on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and You Tube.