Monthly Archives: January 2014

Shiraz Lamb Skewers with Mint Chimichurri

Shiraz Lamb Skewers with Mint Chimichurri

Happy Australia Day!

Celebrated annually on January 26, Australia Day marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Sydney Cove, New South Wales, and raising of the Flag of Great Britain at that site by Governor Arthur Phillip. I was challenged by Treasury Wine Estates to create a recipe to celebrate the day, and this is what I came up with: Shiraz Lamb Skewers with Mint Chimichurri.

Shiraz Lamb Skewers with Mint Chimichurri

Australia is well known for it’s beef and lamb industry, so I immediately gravitated towards a recipe using one of those meats. And of course the recipe needed to incorporate wine, so why wouldn’t I pick a lush Aussie Shiraz?

I decided to use lamb because I haven’t cooked with it much and I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. My butcher talked me into using a leg steak, which worked perfectly. I cut it into cubes and let it marinate overnight in Lindeman’s Shiraz, which not only injected the meat with dark berry flavors but also made for a sublimely tender bite.

But I wasn’t done there.

Skewers marinated in wine are fairly easy and not extremely imaginative. I wanted to create something to accompany the skewers that would be a bit unexpected. As I said previously, I haven’t cooked much with lamb so my repertoire is a little lean, but when I think of lamb I always think of my grandma’s leg of lamb with mint jelly.

When I was a kid my grandparents had a working ranch and raised all of their own meat. On special occasions, my grandmother would roast a leg of lamb and we’d scarf it down with a bit of sweet mint jelly.

Shiraz Lamb Skewers with Mint Chimichurri

As a riff on my grandma’s dish, I decided to create a chimichurri with mint. The result is sheer perfection! The mint chimichurri adds a peppery flavor to the rich, tender lamb. I used a mixture of Italian parsley and mint in this chimichurri, but I’m anxious to try it again using arugula and mint for an even stronger peppery bite to further play off the grilled flavor of the skewers.

The secret to grilling lamb is to cook it hot and fast. Lamb becomes hard and tough if it’s cooked beyond medium. I like to crank the heat up to medium-high and cook it for a short amount of time – just 1-2 minutes – on each side. It should be very lightly pink in the center once cooked.

How are you celebrating Australia Day today?


Shiraz Lamb Skewers with Mint Chimichurri
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Calories: 223.3
  • Fat: 10.3
  • Saturated fat: 2.8
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.6
  • Carbohydrates: 1.7
  • Sugar: 0.5
  • Sodium: 186.8
  • Fiber: 0
  • Protein: 23.1
  • Cholesterol: 75.1
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Lamb
Rich lamb is marinated in lush Australian Shiraz wine, skewered, grilled and served up with a peppery mint chimichurri.
  • 1 lb. fresh lamb leg steak, bone removed and meat cut into 1½ - 2” cubes
  • 1 cup Shiraz wine
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Pinch coarse sea salt
  • 1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  1. Place the pieces of lamb in a bowl and cover with the wine. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Arrange the lamb pieces on skewers. Grill over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each of the 4 sides of the cubes. Lamb should be just lightly pink in the center – be careful not to overcook! Remove from heat and let sit.
  3. Place the mint, parsley, garlic and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop the herbs.
  4. Whisk together the oil and lemon juice. With the food processor on low, very slowly add the oil mixture in a steady stream until the mixture has reached the consistency of a coarse pesto.
  5. Serve each skewer with a helping of the chimichurri.
I have reduced the nutritional value of the wine by ¾ since it is only used as a marinade and the bulk of it is discarded.


Alamos 2011 Malbec

Alamos 2011 Malbec

I love it when I find a solid budget wine, and this 2011 Malbec from Alamos fits the bill.

Hailing from Argentina, Alamos vineyards sprawl across the foothills of the Andes Mountains at elevations of 3,000 to 5,000 feet. The intense sunlight and cool evening temperatures characteristic of the elevation, make for a  rich wine with intense flavor characteristics.

Alamos 2011 Malbec

The Alamos Malbec is blended with very small portions of Syrah and Bonarda to create a wine with dark fruit flavors and notes of warm spices. On the palate, complex flavors of cherries and blackberries come through with a hint of toasted vanilla. I love this full-flavored wine with a spicy dish, such as my Smokin’ Hot Veggie Loaded Chicken Enchilada Casserole.

Alamos 2011 Malbec

At an average price of less than $10/bottle, the Alamos 2011 Malbec is great staple to have in the cellar for everyday drinking.

Get the recipe for my Smokin’ Hot Veggie Loaded Chicken Enchilada Casserole here.

Buy a bottle of the Alamos 2011 Malbec here.

As with any part of a healthy lifestyle, always consume alcohol responsibly and in moderation.

Black Bean Rice Cakes with Avocado Yogurt Sauce

Black Bean Rice Cakes

And we have reached the last dish resulting from that Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew and about $35 worth of groceries that I bought.

For this last dish, I combined some leftover stew with cooked brown rice, frozen roasted corn, cheese and an egg to bind the mixture. I then formed the mixture into a 4 patties and baked them at a high heat for about 10 minutes on each side until they were crispy. For a final touch, I topped the cakes with thick sauce of avocado, yogurt and cilantro.

Black Bean Rice Cakes

How easy was that? And the meal is calorie and budget friendly. Yes, it is that easy to eat healthy on a budget.

What topic would you like me to see tackle next on this healthy eating on a budget theme?


Black Bean Rice Cakes with Avocado Yogurt Sauce
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Serving size: 2 cakes + ½ cup sauce
  • Calories: 418.6
  • Fat: 17.0
  • Saturated fat: 4.3
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.8
  • Carbohydrates: 55.0
  • Sugar: 3.5
  • Sodium: 287.4
  • Fiber: 15.4
  • Protein: 22.0
  • Cholesterol: 150.5
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Left over black bean stew is transformed into crispy, oven-baked rice cakes with a creamy avocado yogurt sauce.
  • 1 cup Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup frozen roasted corn
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup shredded, light Mexican cheese blend
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 1 small haas avocado, pitted and peeled
  • ¼ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.
  2. Combine the stew, rice, corn, egg, cheese and salt.
  3. Form into 4 equal size patties and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes on each side.
  5. Puree the avocado, yogurt, cilantro and lime juice.
  6. Serve each rice cake topped with a dollop of the avocado yogurt sauce.
The bulk of the fat in this dish comes from the avocado which is a healthy fat but still should be consumed in moderation.


Smokin’ Hot Veggie Loaded Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Smokin' Hot Veggie Loaded Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I love Mexican food, and I especially love enchiladas. It’s so hard to make these cheesy, oily, carb-loaded tubes of deliciousness into a healthy meal, though. And, let’s face it, enchiladas are a lot of work! First you have to soften the tortilla in oil, fill it, roll it up, and then repeat a dozen times.


I mean, I love to cook, but if I’m making a time intensive dish, I prefer something that has fewer touch points so I can just let it cook and do it’s thing. Like the Smoky Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup I posted last week.

Smokin' Hot Veggie Loaded Chicken Enchilada Casserole

My enchilada casserole is layered and ready for the oven!

So I love this enchilada casserole, it’s sort of a lazy man’s enchilada. I get the great enchilada taste without all the work. Who wouldn’t love that?

I also put another twist on the enchilada in this dish by stuffing it full of seasonal vegetables. One of my tricks to bulking up recipes to add nutritional value as well as making the dish more filling, while keeping the fat and calorie count low, is to add in loads of veggies. In this case, I used roasted, mashed butternut squash to add to the creaminess of the filling and some baby kale for added fiber and vitamins, as well as the pretty green color it adds to the filling.

Smokin' Hot Veggie Loaded Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Baby kale leaves add a pretty pop of green to the color palette.

Yes, I said pretty. I love pretty food.

Smokin' Hot Veggie Loaded Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Baked and brimming with creamy goodness!

I also love spicy food. In this case I used a bit of chorizo chicken sausage for flavor and a bright, peppery spice. For an added complexity, I then also used a chipotle enchilada sauce which has a darker, smokier spiciness to it.

The best part of this dish? It’s a one pot wonder.

Smokin' Hot Veggie Loaded Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Yummy, good-for-you veggies spill out on the plate.

That’s right, I cook it on the stove and then bake it in the oven in the same 8″ cast-iron skillet for minimal clean-up.

So why are you not in your kitchen making this right now? Get to it!



Smokin' Hot Veggie Loaded Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: ¼ of the casserole
  • Calories: 286.4
  • Fat: 11.3
  • Saturated fat: 3.4
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.4
  • Carbohydrates: 29.8
  • Sugar: 2.7
  • Sodium: 864.1
  • Fiber: 4.9
  • Protein: 18.5
  • Cholesterol: 31.6
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Spice up your dinner with these lazy enchiladas turned into a spicy casserole stuffed with veggie goodness, like roasted butternut squash and baby kale. Lowfat, calorie-friendly, and gluten-free. Score!
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ lb. bulk (raw) chorizo chicken sausage
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ cup 2% cottage cheese
  • ½ cup reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 cup roasted, mashed butternut squash
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh baby kale leaves
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • ½ cup chipotle enchilada sauce, divided
  • 3 corn tortillas
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in an 8" skillet on medium heat.
  3. Add the chorizo chicken sausage to the pan. Cook until browned and crumbly.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage from the pan. Set aside.
  5. With pan still on medium heat, add the onion and cook in the renderings from the sausage until transparent.
  6. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cottage cheese, ¼ cup of the Mexican cheese blend, tomato, butternut squash, kale, and a pinch of salt.
  7. Add the cooked chicken sausage and onion to the vegetable-cheese mixture and stir to combine.
  8. Spread ¼ cup of chipotle enchilada sauce over the bottom of the now empty skillet. Lay 1 corn tortilla in the skillet on the sauce. Cover with half of the filling. Lay another corn tortilla over the filling, and cover that with the remaining filling.
  9. Top with 1 more corn tortilla. Spread the remaining ¼ cup chipotle enchilada sauce across the top of the tortilla and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese blend. Cook covered for 30 minutes at 375F, then uncovered for 15 minutes.
  10. Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing into 4 equal wedges and serving.
Cooked, pureed butternut squash is widely available in the freezer section of the grocery store now, but it's super easy to make your own! Simply halve the squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and pulp, brush with a little olive oil and bake at 375F for 45-60 minutes. Scoop the roasted butternut squash meat out of the shell and mash up.


Updated Healthy Soups and Stews Cookbook!

Healthy Soups and Stews

I know that New Year’s resolution to get healthy is waning, but don’t let it! Just in time to reinvigorate your resolve, I’ve updated my Healthy Soups and Stews cookbook with new recipes. Let me show you how easy it is to eat healthy and keep your resolution without compromising on taste!

Healthy eating is all about balance and moderation. I have a passion for creating recipes that are both nutritionally and calorically smart. In my own personal quest to live a healthy lifestyle, I am always in search of great tasting food that will pack a nutrient-rich punch without blowing my calorie budget. And this is what I am here to share with you in my series of cookbooks.

Slow Cooker Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage and Bean Stew

One of my personal all-time favorites: Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Sausage and Bean Stew

I’ve compiled a collection of my soup and stew recipes, some available on my blog and some not, in this handy e-book. Available for Kindle, Nook, iPad, and other formats, it’s just $1.49. That’s right – for about the price of a cup of coffee you will have a library of recipes for healthy soups and stews at your fingertips. Plus, links to bonus video content make the recipes foolproof for even the novice cook. Who can pass up that great of a deal?

And of course I included my own personal favorite, my Slow Cooker Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage and Bean Stew. With a piece of warm, crusty bread, this stew is absolutely to die for. So what are you waiting for? Get your copy today!

Click here for Kindle

Click here for Nook

Click here for iPad

Click here for additional options, including Kobo and PDF

Fattoria di Petroio 2010 Chianti Classico

Fattoria Petroio 2010 Chianti Classico

First order of business, have you entered my giveaway for a 3 day juice cleanse from Suja Juice? Click here to enter today!

And now back to your regular programming…

Fattoria di Petroio lies in the Chianti Classico wine region of the Tuscany area of Italy, just north of Siena, a town I am very excited to visit later this year when I am taking a 3 week trip between Paris and Rome. Fattoria di Petroio lies on an ancient medieval road connecting Florence and Siena, an area full of history and is run today by the Lenzi family. I am sincerely hoping to make a tour of the estate and taste some of their other wines.

Fattoria di Petroio 2010 Chianti Classico

Any wine from the Chianti Classico wine region is going to be primarily made up of fruity Sangiovese grapes, and this one is no different. At 90% Sangiovese and a 10% blend of Colorino, Canaiolo, Malvasia Nera and Merlot, it boasts a vibrant ruby color that Chianti Classicos are known for. The nose hits with aromas of red fruits while on the palate there are not only fruits but also a hint of pepper for a more spicy tone. Not overly tannic, it is an easy everyday drinking wine or pairs well with traditional hearty Tuscan fare. And at about $13 a bottle it is also very affordable.

Fattoria di Petroio 2010 Chianti Classico

I particularly love this wine both in and with my Smoky Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup. The red fruit complements the tomatoes while the hint of pepper is enhanced by the smokiness from the roasting process as well as the hint of red chili pepper flakes in the soup. Together, they make for a perfectly cozy Sunday night dinner.

Get the recipe for Smoky Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup here.

Buy a bottle of the Fattoria di Petroio 2010 Chianti Classico here.

As with any part of a healthy lifestyle, always enjoy alcohol in moderation.

Black Bean Burrito Bowl with Yogurt Cilantro Dressing

Black Bean Burrito Bowl

First order of business, have you entered my giveaway for a 3 day juice cleanse from Suja Juice? Click here to enter today!

And now back to your regular programming…

In my continuing experiments with that Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew I made and the rest of my groceries I bought for about $35, I bring you the easiest weeknight meal I think I’ve ever made: a Black Bean Burrito Bowl with Yogurt Cilantro Dressing.

Black Bean Burrito Bowl

I love eating burritos in a bowl instead of a flour tortilla because it saves so many carbs and calories. One large tortilla can have as many as 300 calories! Sometimes more!

Here, I simply layered everything you might put inside a traditional burrito: leaf lettuce, some of that Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew, corn, tomato, a little bit of shredded light cheese, and avocado. I then whipped up a simple dressing out of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt, lime juice and cilantro. The result? A quick, easy, no cook meal that is also satisfyingly delicious.

To recap, here’s what I’ve made so far from those groceries I bought for about $35:

  1. Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew
  2. Southwest Stuffed Delicata Squash
  3. Spicy Delicata Black Bean Nachos
  4. Black Bean Burrito Bowl with Yogurt Cilantro Dressing
  5. Black Bean Rice Cakes with Avocado Yogurt Sauce

What tips do you have for eating healthy on a budget?

Black Bean Burrito Bowl with Yogurt Cilantro Dressing
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1
  • Calories: 336.9
  • Fat: 11.9
  • Saturated fat: 3.2
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.2
  • Carbohydrates: 51.5
  • Sugar: 4.7
  • Sodium: 204.7
  • Fiber: 22.1
  • Protein: 24.3
  • Cholesterol: 107.5
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Leftovers from my Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew top a deliciously easy burrito bowl with a tangy yogurt-cilantro dressing.
  • 3 leaves red leaf lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew
  • ¼ cup roasted frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • ¼ cup shredded light Mexican cheese blend
  • ¼ of a Haas avocado, sliced
  • 2 tbsp plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  1. Place the lettuce in a bowl.
  2. Top with the stew, corn, tomato and cheese.
  3. Arrange the avocado slices over the salad.
  4. Puree the yogurt, lime juice and cilantro until well blended. (I recommend an immersion blender!)
  5. Drizzle the yogurt cilantro dressing over the salad and eat!


3 Day Suja Juice Cleanse Giveaway!

Suja Juice 3 Day Cleanse

During the live blogging session at the International Food Bloggers Conference last September, I was introduced to Suja Juice. Based out of San Diego, their juices are entirely organic and cold-pressed for a superior fresh taste. No sweeteners, preservatives, chemicals or fillers are added, each bottle is just pure, organic juice. At the conference, we tasted their product, heard from one of their representatives, and received an offer for a 3 day juice cleanse to blog about and a second 3 day cleanse for a blog giveaway. I filed the offer away with the plethora of offers and coupons I received and didn’t think much about it.

And then this happened.

Yes, I realized that my social life has caught up with me and that alcohol has started packing on the pounds. I felt the need to really cleanse my body out and start fresh, and then I remembered that offer I received from Suja Juice. I’ve never done a juice cleanse before so I was a little nervous about being able curb my appetite and live on nothing but juice and water for 3 days. However I was also excited to really refresh and restart with the new year.

I came home from work one day and found a very large box from Suja Juice waiting on my doorstep. Inside, the 18 bottles of juice were packed tight between ice packs, keeping them cold and fresh. I immediately arranged them in my fridge and began plotting my cleansing strategy.

Suja Juice

If you win my giveaway, your juice will arrive cold and fresh on your doorstep.

I had 3 goals for my juice cleanse:

  1. Clean out my body
  2. Re-calibrate my appetite
  3. Prove to myself that I have the self-discipline to do this

You’ll notice that losing weight was not one of my goals. While a juice cleanse typically results in quick weight loss, I don’t believe that sort of short term weight loss is sustainable in the long term. Sustained weight loss only comes from behavior change and developing new healthy habits, which aren’t going to be acquired in a 3 day juice cleanse.

I decided to start my cleanse on a Saturday when I could focus on me and not be distracted by work. So the first Saturday after the new year I put my plan into action.

Per the instructions that came with the box, I started with Glow, a mix of organic apple, cucumber, celery, mint, kale, spinach and collard greens. I eyed the green bottle warily then gave it a good shake and took a sip. I was pleasantly surprised. It was cold and fresh, I could clearly taste the apple and cucumber with just a hint of mint. What I loved is that it was so rich I wasn’t tempted to gulp it down, instead I leisurely sipped it while I got some work on my blog done. I felt great.

On Saturday I went about my normal activities. I took the dog for a long walk, paid some bills, and went on my weekly grocery shopping trip. When I knew I would be out during a meal time, I packed one of the bottles with me as well as my water bottle. I found that I had really good energy levels, I felt very satisfied, and I was even able to successfully navigate all of those tempting sample stations at the grocery store.

Sunday, day 2, was a different story. I woke up with my stomach growling. I normally don’t like to eat when I first wake up, but this day I went straight for the juice. The rest of the day went pretty much the same way; I felt hungry all day. I sipped my juice, drank lots of water and kept busy to keep my mind off of my hungry tummy. I took the dog for a long walk, finally tackled updating my cookbooks, and studiously avoided the kitchen until it was time for bed. My tummy was still talking to me when I went to bed.

At that point I was dreading Monday. Mondays mean working in the office, my day job, which is literally a minefield of unhealthy snacks like candy, cookies and chips. I knew I would be tested, and after Sunday I was very afraid of failing.

Yet to my surprise, Monday was the easiest day. I woke up to a quiet tummy. I slowly sipped my Glow juice, the cold-pressed, organic fruits and vegetables tasting even fresher and more vibrant. I packed my mid-morning snack (Purify), lunch (Fuel), and afternoon snack (Fiji) and left for the office. I arrived at work feeling refreshed and energetic, ready to start the week. I went about my day and was so focused on work that I had to remind myself to grab my juices.

Fiji was the perfect pick-me-up for the end of the day. The lemon zing and peppery ginger are perfect with the apple and assorted greens. Like the rest of the juices, it tastes so fresh it’s as if I had just pressed it myself in my kitchen. Feeling energized, I even went to the gym and got in a hard 30 minute cardio workout before heading home to let my dog out.

As I sipped my last juice that night, the deliciously sweet Vanilla Cloud, I thought to myself: “I don’t want this to end!” That’s right, I could have easily done this for a few more days. I felt that good. And as far as my goals? Well, while weight loss wasn’t a goal I did lose 6 pounds so that was a nice bonus. But more than that, I felt renewed, refocused, and confident that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. I am already looking forward to another cleanse.

Would you like to try a juice cleanse yourself? Enter my giveaway below, one lucky winner will receive a 3 day cleanse. And while you’re at it, please visit my friends at Suja Juice on FacebookTwitter, InstagramGoogle+, and Pinterest to learn more about their delicious, quality product.


Congratulations to Jennifer R.!!

Smoky Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup

Smoky Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup

The weather has been nasty across the country this week, so isn’t it fitting that January is National Soup Month? The wind has been howling and the rain pouring down in buckets here in the Portland area, so it’s a perfect time for big pot of hot, delicious soup.

Smoky Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup

I’ve made tomato soup before, you might recall my Tuscan Tomato Soup that I posted very early on in my blogging career. This one is different though because I’m using fresh tomatoes instead of canned. To add depth of flavor, I decided to slow roast the vegetables for this soup, along with a bulb of garlic. The result is a soup that has complex flavors of smoke and caramel layered with juicy tomatoes and sweet roasted garlic.

This soup is easy to make vegan by simply using a clear vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth that I like to use. I have great tips on making your own homemade broth in my Soups and Stews cookbook, which by the way is recently updated with new recipes.

Smoky Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup

Where most tomato soups use cream, I didn’t. Instead, I like to add cannellini beans, or white kidney beans. Once pureed you wouldn’t even know they’re there. However, they add a nice pop of protein to the dish while also creating a thick and creamy soup. With each bowl weighing in at under 300 calories, it’s easy to add a side salad and small chunk of hot crusty bread to round out the meal and not blow your calorie budget.

How are you faring in this wild weather?



Smoky Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 5
  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 217.6
  • Fat: 8.6
  • Saturated fat: 1.1
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.1
  • Carbohydrates: 31.1
  • Sugar: 1.7
  • Sodium: 177.7
  • Fiber: 7.6
  • Protein: 7.5
  • Cholesterol: 0.4
Recipe type: Soup or Stew
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Fresh tomatoes and garlic are roasted to bring out a smoky, caramel flavor in a thick and creamy yet creamless soup.
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 lbs plum (roma) tomatoes, wedged
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 small sweet onion, peeled and quartered
  • ¼ tsp coarse sea salt
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • ¼ tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 cups homemade salt free chicken broth or clear vegetable broth (use vegetable broth to make this a vegan dish)
  • 1½ cups cannellini beans, no salt added
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Trim the top off of the bulb of garlic exposing the cloves. Place in a small ovenproof container. Drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil over the exposed cloves. Place the top of the bulb back in place, cover the dish and set aside.
  3. Place the tomatoes, carrots, onion, salt, needles from the rosemary sprigs, and red chili pepper flakes in an ovenproof pot and toss to combine.
  4. Drizzle the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil over the tomato mixture and stir, ensuring everything gets coated with the oil. Place the bay leaf in the center of the pot and cover with the vegetables.
  5. Bake the garlic covered at 375F for 1 hour; remove from oven and set aside.
  6. At the same time, bake the tomatoes covered at 375F for 30 minutes. Stir then place the lid back on so that it's slightly ajar, leaving a crack at the edge. Bake for another 30 minutes. Remove the lid from the tomatoes. Stir. Bake uncovered for 1 more hour, stirring at halfway (30 minutes) into the cooking time.
  7. Move pot to stovetop on medium heat. Remove bay leaf. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and cook until wine reduces by half.
  8. Add the broth, cannellini beans and the cloves of the roasted garlic. Stir to combine.
  9. Puree the soup until smooth.. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
To minimize the sodium content, I used dried cannellini beans that I cooked the day prior. Also, the nutritional value of the red wine has been reduced by half since the wine reduces in the cooking process. Finally, I highly recommend using an immersion blender to puree the soup - they are inexpensive and make the job so easy!


Domaine Sainte-Eugénie 2009 La Réserve Corbières

Domaine Sainte-Eugénie 2009 La Réserve

Most people who have even glanced at French wine are likely familiar with the famous names of the Bordeaux, Cotes du Rhone, or Burgundy (aka Bourgogne) regions. But outside of that, not many Americans take the time to learn about some of the other wonderful wine regions of France, and there are many.


Scrappy vines cover the rocky foothills of the Pyrenees in the Corbières wine region of southwest France. At the top of the mountain you can see the remains of Peyrepeteuse, a Cathar castle built in the 11th century.

This week, I would like to introduce you to the Corbières appellation. Situated in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southwest France, the area ranges from the Pyrenean foothills in the south and west, to the flatter, lower-lying areas of the coastal plain near Narbonne. I have personally been in love with this area since I visited there in 2011 and spotted the fields of grapevines determinedly climbing up the rocky hills. I just knew that any wine produced in this region had to be good.

Of course I was right.

Domaine Sainte-Eugénie 2009 La Réserve

The color is a magnificent dark, inky purple.

Wines from the Corbières region are very similar in style to the Syrah blends of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation in the Cotes du Rhone. However, the price is much more affordable primarily due to Corbières being a much lesser known region. This particular bottle retails for about $15.

Domaine Sainte-Eugénie is located in the middle of Cathar country, so very close to the photo from my travels that you see above. The soils are primarily clay and chalk, and vineyards are often built on stony terraces in this area. The vines here also benefit from the Mediterranean climate which is dry, sunny and warm, affording long lifecycles to the vine.

The La Réserve is a blend of Vieux Carignan, Grenache Noir, and Syrah. The 2009 is a particularly notable vintage with a magnificently intense dark purple color. It has a complex bouquet of fruits with a hint of vanilla and flowers. On the palate you get flavors of fruit, anise, and a bit of tobacco and mocha coffee.

Domaine Sainte-Eugénie 2009 La Réserve

Paired with my Indian-Spiced Grilled Cauliflower, you can’t go wrong!

While this wine would pair very well with a rich beef or roasted meat dish, I love it with my Indian-Spiced Grilled Cauliflower. The exotic spice blend of garam masala, the peppery arugula, and mix of sweet and tart fruits pair exceedingly well with the fruit and dark flavors of the wine.

What is your favorite French wine region?

Get the recipe for Indian-Spiced Grilled Cauliflower here.

Buy a bottle of the Domaine Sainte-Eugénie 2009 La Réserve Corbières here.

As with any part of a healthy lifestyle, always consume alcohol in responsible moderation.