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Pumpkin, Chard and White Bean Soup

November 8, 2012 - Written by Diana

This soup is easy, semi fast and very seasonal.  I made this on vacation with a microwave, a bowl, and one pot on an electric burner.  The kitchen was a small not even efficiency size kitchen.  One microwave, a dorm fridge, a two burner cooktop and a small sink with a tiny counter made up the kitchen.  I have trouble with how small my small kitchen is and I could live with this little efficiency for the one week we were staying in Duck, North Carolina – but I think one week is the limit.

Pumpkin, Chard and White Bean Soup

While the recipe made four bowls of soup, my husband and I both ate two bowls each for dinner.  It was a vegetarian dish for us, you can add sausage to it, or chicken and it would go well.  Also, you could serve it as a soup course along with a sandwich.  While spelt berries were cooking in broth, the microwave was used to partially cook the pumpkin – after slicing in into pieces and cleaning out the seeds and pulp. Only one soup/stew pot was used along with one glass bowl for microwaving the pumpkin. You can easily use your oven to bake the pumpkin, or peel and cook in broth to soften it.  I used a quart of chicken broth that cost me nothing because I used leftover bones to make the broth last winter. The chard melts down quite a bit, so you throw the leaves in at the end, but the stems can be thrown in with the onion in the beginning for extra veggie goodness. I used canned beans – but if you want to really make it a project you can soak the beans twice, rinse it and then simmer it on the stove for hours until they are soft.

This makes up a great hearty soup with chewy spelt, white beans, seasonal pumpkin and chard.  Yummmmmmm!

 

Pumpkin, Chard and White Bean Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Hearty seasonal vegetarian soup with pumpkin, white beans and chard along with chewy spelt berries.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Soup
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup spelt berries
  • 1 quart Broth (vegetarian or chicken)
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 small pumpkin
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • big handful of chard
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ⅛ tsp allspice
Instructions
  1. In the bottom of a soup pot, heat oil and saute diced onion.
  2. Add 2 cups of broth and cook spelt berries until they are the right chewiness.
  3. While the berries are cooking, slice the pumpkin open, scoop out the seeds, place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until the pumpkin will come away from the skin.
  4. Remove skin and dice.
  5. Add to soup pot. Large dice the swiss chard leaves and throw into the soup pot.
  6. Rinse beans and add to the soup pot along with salt, pepper and allspice.
  7. Heat and serve in bowls.
Notes
If you wish to use the stems, dice and saute along with the onion. Instead of the microwave, you can peel the pumpkin, seed it and dice it. Then cook it in the soup pot in broth until soft.

 

Beet, Feta & Spelt Berry Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

July 7, 2011 - Written by Diana

Beet, Feta, Spelt Salad with a Strawberry Vinaigrette

My Beet, Feta and Spelt Salad was my favorite of the two salads (the other was a pasta salad with peas, lamb mint sausage and a dill mint pesto) that we brought to the 3rd of July family gathering.  It’s a potluck and I try to bring something new to the table, to make it interesting.  Of course the young boys wouldn’t touch it, because it was healthy looking, and an aunt said she didn’t eat beets because they taste like dirt.  I say earthy – she says dirt.  Her husband liked it, and so did my family.  I made a pretty big batch, so we had leftovers for breakfast and then some for dinner again.  I also left a small bowl behind for my daughter because she had to work and wasn’t able to go with us.  Feel free to cut down on amounts, I was cooking for a potluck, and had plenty of leftovers for us, which I wanted by the way – so I didn’t need to cook on the 4th.  This is great for dinner, but I brought out the leftovers for breakfast and it went over well then too.

Spelt berry is similar to faro – or wheat berry.  I intended to buy faro, but the shopkeeper told me I could have faro, or a more locally produced spelt which is similar.  The spelt came from Stutzman Farms in Millersburg, which is not too, too far from me but I bought mine at the Greener Grocer.  I seem to have a lot of their products in my home, I didn’t even realize it until today.  Roasted beets are new to our family this year, and yes they have a very earthy taste, but I am enjoying it.  I added basil and parsley from the garden, that was a suggestion from my daughter, who is getting into trying to figure out what herbs to use in our recipes.  Feta seemed like a really good choice crumbled into the salad, though wait until it is cool, or it will be melted feta.  I also threw in dried cranberries and chopped walnuts, plus don’t tell my husband but some itty bitty minced shallots.

This is a really delicious, healthy salad.  Made ahead, you can portion it out for lunches or breakfast because it travels well in a covered bowl.  It will also make a great side dish, or main dish for dinner. Best of all, it’s a quick fix with lots of chopping and a little bit of cooking.  You make ahead and set to cool in the fridge.

I did roast my beets in the oven, but you can try the toaster oven, microwave or stove top if it’s too warm – today at 95 would be too warm.

The method I used to cook spelt was kind of a risotto method.  I added the same amount of water as there was spelt, and heated in the microwave in a glass measuring cup more water.  I slowly cooked out the water in the pot with the spelt, and then added a ladleful of warm water.  I continued this way until the berries were almost the correct consistency and then I pulled the pot off the heat and allowed it to finish absorbing the water left in the pot.  The berries were nice and chewy, not mushy, and not hard.

For the beets, I placed them into a glass bowl with a little water and cooked them until they were soft enough to chewy.  Then you peel the skin off and dice.  The walnuts I chopped with a knife, and also the basil and parsely.

Beet Feta & Spelt Berry Salad

Directions:

Toss it all together, serve with a bottle of strawberry vinaigrette – my daughter used balsamic, but redwine or raspberry would work well also.

 

Strawberry Vinaigrette

Shake well before serving.