As we approach the winter months rooted vegetables are plentiful and are a treat to cook with. A trip to Coastal Growers Farmer’s Market and my last harvest of carrots from my personal garden inspired this meal.

As an eater and a provider of meals, I try to put the best healthiest whole foods into my family’s bellies. It’s important to me to try to shop as organic as possible and shop locally. We choose not to eat meat very often if at all (once every couple of months) and recently have been gluten free. The recipes I provide are vegetarian/vegan and gluten free, but always can be altered to suit your tastes.

These two recipes are easy, delicious and comforting. We enjoyed them together and it made for a great chilly-day lunch. The soup would also make a great starter and the carrots make a great starter as well or side dish.

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Potato Leek Soup (vegan & gluten free)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced or pressed)
  • 1 large or 2 medium or 4 small leeks sliced (white and dark green parts cut off and discarded)
  • 5 russet potatoes peeled and diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • salt and pepper
  • pumpkin seeds for garnish

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  1. Heat oil in large pot on medium, add garlic and leek, saute until soft (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add vegetable broth and potatoes bring to boil then reduce to simmer until potatoes are soft (about 15 minutes).
  3. Transfer soup into blender and puree until smooth (about 1 minute).
  4. Return soup back into pot and add coconut milk, salt and pepper and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  5. Ladle into bowls and top with pumpkin seeds.

Need the meat? Substitute vegetable broth with chicken broth or add cooked, chopped bacon when adding coconut milk. Not a fan of coconut milk? Use ½ cup of heavy cream instead.

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Roasted Carrots with Goat Cheese (vegetarian)

Ingredients:

  • Carrots cut to equal thicknesses (½ inch)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • hulled (no shells) raw sunflower seeds
  • creamy goat cheese
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  1. Place carrots into bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss.
  2. Spread out carrots evenly without overlapping onto parchment paper-lined cooking stone or cookie sheet. On the same sheet spread out hulled sunflower seeds, again so that none are overlapping. Put into oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, until carrots are tender.
  3. Plate carrots, top with crumbled goat cheese and then sprinkle roasted sunflower seeds. Serve hot.

Where’s the protein? I hear that all the time . . .

1 cup potatoes > 2g
4 carrots > 2.5g
1 small leek > 1.3g
1.5 tbsp sunflower seeds > 1.5g
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds> 3g
1 oz goat cheese > 5.2g