Wednesday, June 5, 2013

【Meatless Tuesday】 Chilled Avocado Soup

A couple weeks ago I came across Meg’s blog post about Meatless Monday. It is a movement started in the US to promote a healthier and more environmentally-friendly diet by skipping meat on Mondays.  I thought it was a very neat idea, but the only tiny issue is that I usually have late Monday evening meetings at work, so I don’t usually cook at home and I find it difficult to cut out meat completely when you eat out.  Therefore, at our little Bear home, we decided to do Meatless Tuesday instead and the first Tuesday in June sounds like a perfect day to start!

What should I make for our first official Meatless Tuesday? It has to be something really good to entice Mr. Bear the carnivore to continue to do it after the inaugural week.  I started looking out for menu ideas and I was surprised by all these amazing vegetarian recipes out there. How come I never thought of making them before?

I went with a full three-course dinner, with Chilled Avocado Soup, a Hearty Veggie Lasagna, complete with a No-Butter Fruit Tart.  Mr. Bear was happy with the dinner and I got the green light to do this again next week!

I decided on the Avocado Soup because I had ripe avocados left from the dinner party over the weekend and they must be used up soon. We served the non-vegetarian version of the soup on the weekend but it can be easily turned into vegetarian by substituting the chicken broth with veggie stock.  The vegetarian version is actually more refreshing!  Below is the recipe for the soup.  The recipes for the lasagna and the fruit tart will be posted shortly.

Serves 4
Difficulty: Easy

2-3  ripe avocados (depending on the size, the one I found at the supermarket were organic and were smaller so I used 3)
1 cup milk
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2  red onion, diced
1/2 garlic clove
6 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice or red-wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 mango, cut into small dice
A few fresh mint leaves

1. Halve and pit two avocados. With a spoon, scoop out flesh and cut into pieces. Add milk, chicken broth, red onion, garlic, Greek yogurt, lemon juice/vinegar, salt and pepper and puree until smooth.
2. Transfer the soup to a large container and cover with lid or saran wrap.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
3. Divide among soup bowl and garnish each with 1 tablespoon of diced mangoes, mint leaves and a dash of cayenne pepper.

1. It is often difficult to find ripe avocados in stores and therefore it’s best to buy avocados a couple days in advance if you know you’re going to need them.  Green avocado can take up to a week to ripe.  To speed up the process, you can place the fruit in a paper bag with an apple for two to three days at room temperature.  If an avocado yields slightly to gentle pressure when you squeeze it with your palm, it is ready to eat.

2. Avocado flesh when exposed to air will turn brown easily.  You can slow the oxidation process by just adding a little lemon juice or vinegar.  The lemon juice or vinegar used in this recipe does not only enhance the flavor of the soup, but also prevents the soup from getting dark.

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