Cauliflower-Turnip Vichyssoise

A true vichyssoise is a thick soup that includes potatoes and cream. Regrettably, it is outside of my dietary bounds, no matter how much I love it or try to alter it with low-cal milks.

So I was utterly delighted with this culinary experiment. The soup looks like a vichyssoise! It tastes like a vichyssoise! (Well…okay…sorta…)

The spouse even agreed the soup was good and then said suspiciously, “What’s in it?” Yes, he knows me well.

The experiment began, as many of them do, at the discounted vegetable rack where I picked up 2 heads of cauliflower and 14 turnips. (I didn’t quite expect so many in the bag, but I hadn’t counted them either.)

After I got home, I realized I had something of a turnip dilemma. Why not, I reasoned, add a couple of turnips to my Creamy Cauliflower Soup?

Why not? As it turned out, the two vegetables have a lovely, toning-down touch on each other’s flavour. The taste is a subtle, happy mix of the two, and the soup is smooth, creamy, and delicious, hot or cold.

“Turnip!” the spouse said. “I knew it!” I beg to differ.

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Tasty Turnip Fries

Quantity here is 2 lbs. of turnip

Quantity here is 2 lbs. of turnip

These turnip fries look so much like french fries that my daughter, forgetting they were made of turnip, once told her daughter, age 11, to stop eating up the whole bowl.  To which my other daughter said, “Do you want her to stop eating her vegetables?”

Yep, despite being made from the humble turnip, these fries are surprisingly tasty and satisfying.  They are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  The exterior can be as spicy and salty as you like while interior flavour is mild.  Best of all, they are healthy for you and make a terrific snack for dieters.

Taste tip: You will likely want to adjust the spices and salt to suit your palate.  I’ve followed my philosophy of little or no salt and let the individual salt his or her portion.  However, if you want more salt, you could replace the onion and garlic powders with onion and garlic salts.  With regard to spices: I haven’t tried this personally, but you could also use curry or chili powder instead of paprika to give the fries colour and add a different flavour.  And, you could also increase the amount of cheese, but that will increase the Weight Watcher points.

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Recipe is based on 1 medium turnip of approximately 1 lb.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium turnip (1 lb.), cut into french-fry strips
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Put turnip strips into a large bowl and toss with oil to coat.
  2. If you have a shaker: fill with cheese, spices, and salt.  Shake over oiled strips and toss so that strips are evenly coated.
  3. If you don’t have a shaker: put cheese, spices, and salt into a plastic bag.  Shake to mix.  Add oiled turnip strips and shake until evenly coated.
  4. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  5. Spread strips out onto the baking sheet.
  6. Bake in 425º F oven until outside is crispy and inside is tender when a fork is inserted, about 20-25 minutes.  Steam will pour out of the strips near the end; don’t worry; you’re not setting them on fire.
  7. Good hot and cool.

For Weight Watchers: 2 points for per 1 lb. turnip on both the Points and PointsPlus plans.

(Adapted from “Crispy Turnip ‘Fries'” by IM COOKIN on allrecipes.com)

Slimmed-Down Turnip Puff

Turnips can be tasty.  Really!

Turnips can be tasty. Really!

Turnips don’t get much respect, but they can be light and tasty as in this baked dish of mashed turnips, which are slightly sweetened and spiced and then covered with a breadcrumb topping.

Makes 6 ½-cup servings

Ingredients

    • 6 cups cubed turnips
    • ½ cup liquid egg substitute
    • 3 tbsp. rice flour
    • 1 tbsp. brown sugar, packed or sugar substitute
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 pinch nutmeg
    • Salt to taste
    • ¼ cup non-wheat, soft breadcrumbs (to make breadcrumbs, see video below)
    • 1 tbsp. shortening, melted
    • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Put turnip in a large pot and cover with water.
  2. Boil until turnip cubes are tender (about 15 minutes).
  3. Drain and mash. (You will have lumps and that’s okay.)
  4. Add liquid egg substitute and mix well.
  5. In another bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt to taste.
  6. Stir dry ingredients into turnip mixture.
  7. Spray a 1.5 quart casserole with cooking spray.
  8. Pour turnip mixture into the casserole.
  9. Mix breadcrumbs and melted butter.
  10. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of the turnip mixture.
  11. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until light brown on top.

For Weight Watchers: 2 points per ½-cup serving on the Points plan and 2.5 points per ½-cup serving on the PointsPlus plan.

(Adapted from “Turnip Puff” by Tebo on www.food.com)

So Very Vegetable Soup

The Diet Equation: vegetables + vegetables + vegetables 

 The Solution: soup + soup + soup

 

So Very Vegetable Soup with Grated Sheep Romano

So Very Vegetable Soup with Grated Sheep Romano

So Very Vegetable Soup was my first soup creation and, after some tweaking, I pronounced it good—tasty, satisfying, and filled with different textures because some ingredients are crunchy while others are softer.  Then it turned out to be extra-good when I added a dollop of goat cheese or a sprinkling of sheep romano cheese to a serving. 

This soup is easy to make (except for lots of chopping), is foolproof (except if overcooked), and has so much fiber, you don’t have to worry about the carbs.  You can eat all you want with no weighing or measuring.  Or you can enrich the soup by adding potatoes, peas or legumes. A can of lentils, in particular, really enhance the taste.  But remember: additions like this will bring you back into the world of diet calculations.

So Very Vegetable Soup + Lentils

So Very Vegetable Soup + Lentils

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Caveat culinaria/us: The vegetable quantities below are rough estimates because I take an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach and just put in what I have.  You can add more of one vegetable and less of another, but you should aim for balance.  For example, too many carrots could make the soup too carroty and too sweet.

Basic Ingredients

  •  3-5 cups of chicken stock, broth, or bouillon to barely cover the vegetables.  The amount really depends on how many vegetables you’ve added.
  • 1-2 onion(s), chopped.  Any type will do.
  • Garlic to taste.  I add 2 tbsp. of chopped garlic.
  • 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ – ½ head of cabbage, chopped to bite-size pieces
  • 1-2 tsp. of a spice that appeals to you.  I find that parsley, thyme or basil works nicely.
  • Salt to taste. 

Other Vegetables You Can Add

  • 2-4 celery stalks, sliced.  You can leave on the leaves as well.
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced 
  • 2-4 green zucchini, sliced
  • 2-4 yellow zucchini, sliced (Add halfway through cooking so this vegetable survives.)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup turnip or rutabaga, diced
  • 1 cup daikon or lo bok, diced
  • 1-2 cups bok choy, chopped

Problematic Vegetables

  • Beets may overpower the taste of other vegetables, not to mention the colour of the soup.
  • Mushrooms give off a liquid when cooking that could alter the balance of the soup.  I suggest mild mushrooms such as enoki.
  • Spinach, because of its consistency, would have to be cooked separately, chopped, and added at the end.

 Directions

  1. Chop vegetables beforehand.
  2. Turn heat under a large pot to high.
  3. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth.
  4. Add garlic, onions, and all other vegetables.
  5. Add canned tomatoes and mix well.
  6. Add more chicken broth until vegetables are barely covered.  You want the soup to be chock-full of vegetables.
  7. Add spice(s).
  8. Bring soup to boil, then turn down heat until it is simmering.
  9. Taste to see if you need to add salt.  Start with 1 tbsp. and then taste, and so on.  My salt philosophy is to cook with it sparingly and let people add their own after being served.
  10. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

For Weight Watchers: 0 points on both the Points and PointsPlus plan.  If you’re dieting under the Points plan, you don’t have to worry about carrots or parsnip unless you plan to eat all the soup in one sitting!  The  quantity of soup will be so great that any individual bowl serving won’t have enough of either to count.