Thursday, September 11, 2008

Health in a bowl

In my forays around the food blogosphere, I came across a reference to walnut sage pesto. And was immediately captivated. We have a nice little patch of sage growing outside the front door, and I don't cook with it nearly as much as our other herbs. But my husband and I love sage, so I excitedly searched for recipes.

One of the first things I learned was that most walnut sage pesto recipes have a lot of parsley because sage is a very strong flavor. Anyway, I bookmarked a few recipes, then I came across this recipe for Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup with Sage Walnut Pesto from Cooking Light and I was smitten. The picture is gorgeous. Of course. (I was planning to serve my soup in a wonderful artsy bowl, but in the end I grabbed bowls that were the right size. I only remembered about photographing after we sat down to eat. Blogging about dinner is kinda tough that way. So there's my soup, above, in an Easter bowl from The Bay! My husband's bowl had little chicks around the border...)

With this recipe in mind, I ordered sweet potatoes as part of my box of vegetables. I had to go to two stores to get leeks and cannellini beans and chard. The whole time, I was irrationally excited about making this soup. Finally it was all assembled.

So, just a little chopping and processing and the pesto was done.

The soup came together quickly. The most time consuming thing was making sure the leeks and the chard were well washed. Saute the leeks, throw a few things in, and it's done!

Here are a few notes of how I made the recipe:
- I used olive oil for cooking the leeks.
- I used homemade chicken stock from the freezer
- I forgot to add the lemon juice to the soup, although I had it all squeezed and ready to go
- for the pesto, I increased the sage and decreased the parsley. I'd add even more sage next time.
- I used olive oil in the pesto because my walnut oil had gone bad, unfortunately.
- the mini chopper was perfect for the pesto

We served the soup with crusty bread and a salad.

The Verdict:
Not only did this soup live up to my insane expectations, it exceeded them! I loved it!! The soup is packed with nutrition, especially from the sweet potato and chard, plus it has protein from the beans. The best part is how all of the flavors blended into a synergy of warm deliciousness. I can't wait to have the leftovers.

And after dinner I previewed the recipe for cookies I am going to bake this weekend that have, oh, five or six kinds of chocolate.


Audrey said...

Looks delicious! I have always loved sweet potatoes and I recently had Swiss chard for the first time. The basil pesto recipe I use (from Cooks' Illustrated) has parsley too - apparently it also helps keeps the pesto looking nicer (greener). And since you ate this very healthy soup for dinner, you can feel free to indulge in those cookies we'll be baking!

Steph said...

I love healthy soups. I actually like them more than the kind full of cream and butter. Nothing beats the flavour of homemade chicken stock, fresh herbs and loads of vegetables!

Cathy said...

This looks great, Nancy! I don't think your excitement about making it was irrational at all! It's so nice to use sage in something other than the Thanksgiving cornbread dressing. I've been looking for a healthy-cooking blogging group that makes recipes like this one to counteract the effects of TWD and Ina. I came across an avatar for something called "Cooking Light Night," but can't seem to find anything official about it on their website. I am rarely disappointed by Cooking Light recipes. And this one looks wonderful! Great job!

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Thanks for the comments, all!
Cathy, I think you may have seen the "Cooking Light Night" on cb's blog I Heart Food4Thought. I got in touch with cb and she said it's just something she does on her blog. She tries to do it once a week, and welcomed me to imitate her. It would be fun if there were an organized blog event, though.

27Susans said...

I am going to make that soup - I have all the ingredients in my garden or pantry, except leeks and potatoes. But I was going to the store anyway to buy more butter & sugar for TWD.

ps - I am reading lots of blogs so I can pass on the award you kindly gave me.

Lisa magicsprinkles said...

Sage! I have a bunch that I can try to make pesot with. Thanks for flagging this one down.

Matt's Kitchen said...

I would have never thought of using sweet potato in a soup, but now that I think of it, it would be delicious. Beautiful pictures!