Creamy broccoli soup with Parmesan and chives and a side of fresh salad

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A double duty, soup and salad combo for dinner tonight. The salad being a simple, fresh, clean tasting Heirloom tomato salad with fresh basil, radish and arugula, all tossed together with a mustard vinaigrette. This is a typical Sunday evening dinner at my home, whenever I go shopping to my favourite farmers market at the Marina on Sunday mornings. I get thoroughly inspired by the amazing, fresh bounty of vegetables and fruits, brought in by the local farmers. I just feel healthy and energetic, by simply savoring the abundance of fresh produce, through my eyes! See healthy, be healthy and do healthy- by whipping together a nutritious, nourishing, wholesome and sustaining meal, beneficial for the body, mind and soul.

Today’s menu includes an all vegetarian meal- Creamy broccoli soup, without the heavy cream. Just a base of white sauce, a teeny bit of Parmesan cheese (quite like a garnish, frankly) and the goodness of fresh vegetables and herbs. An easy salad to put together, along with a super easy, no fuss vinaigrette. Voila! There you have it, my farmers market inspired, hot comforting soup and a cooling, refreshing salad!

Soup servings : 6

Ingredients :

2 small heads of broccoli, cut into florets

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A tablespoon or so of mild green chillies(optional). I used a mix of Shishito and Padron peppers, from my joint to the farmers market.

1 carrot, diced

Chopped onions – 1/2 cup

1 garlic clove, minced

1 potato, diced

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A pinch, dried thyme

Milk – 2 cups

Water or vegetable stock – 2 cups

Flour – 1 tbsp.

Parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish

Finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish (expertly chopped by my little daughter!)

Olive oil – 2 tbsp.

Salt and pepper, to taste

Roast the broccoli florets with a bit of olive oil, for 10 minutes at 400 F.

Heat olive oil (add a tad of butter, entirely optional, if you are really on a healthy eating spree!) over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots, potatoes, thyme. Add a little salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes.

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Add the garlic, sauté for another minute. Add the flour. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the milk.

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On high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, keep stirring, then simmer on low for a few minutes till thick, similar to a white sauce consistency. Add the roasted broccoli.

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Add water or vegetable stock. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Purée in a blender, when cool. Or use an immersion blender to blend the soup, can leave it a little chunky, or the desired consistency of your choice.

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Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper, as per taste. When serving, pour into soup bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese and fresh chives.

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Salad servings : 4

Ingredients :

1 large heirloom tomato, sliced

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Fresh basil – a handful

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Fresh arugula – 2 cups

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4 red radishes, thinly sliced

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Extra virgin olive oil – 2 tbsp.

White wine vinegar – 1 tbsp.

Dijon mustard – 1 tsp.

A dash of balsamic vinegar

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Whisk together all ingredients for vinaigrette, salt and pepper and set aside. Arrange the tomatoes, radish, arugula and basil on a platter. Just before serving, pour the vinaigrette. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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