I avoid making resolutions, but the new year is a always good time to “reset.” After the holidays, and all the excess of excess, it feels right to return to a healthy baseline normal. This is a roundabout way of advocating “manageable expectations” if you’re the goal setting-type. Find the healthy habits that work for you and bump them up a notch: eat the foods that taste best and make you feel best, look for the kinds of exercise that you actually enjoy. For example, as much as I’d love to have the physique, Crossfit just isn’t ever going to be my thing so I’ll spare myself the disappointment of that not working out. Instead, I’ll get back into my soup game, beginning with this bright green, spicy, clean spinach soup, and stick to the forms of exercise I have less difficulty keeping up with.
Looking ahead to 2016, there’s a lot of exciting stuff on the immediate horizon. You might have noticed that new book cover on the top left corner of this home screen: My next cookbook Bowl comes out in March! I’ll be announcing a very cool preorder giveaway in the next couple days, and then have been brainstorming some events around it. And my Made by Lukas burgers are now shipping direct, all across the country! And we’ll have a new issue of Jarry out in the spring! The most current place for these kinds of announcements is my Instagram—I hope you’ll follow along if you don’t already.
Spinach Soup with Herby Yogurt and Tofu Cubes
Serves 4 to 6
This simple soup (this actually is something I’ll vow to do this year: more simple recipes) is loaded with spinach, then amped up with a dollop of herby yogurt and pan-fried tofu cubes. I love how the pepper flakes draw out the heat of the ginger, but if you don’t like heat, scale that back or omit it. The extra step of blanching (and cooling) the spinach is what keeps it green; you can skip the step and just add the raw spinach directly to the soup if you don’t mind it being muddy colored.
1 pound spinach (about 10 cups, packed, or one of those big clamshells)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white or yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
Scant 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup dry white wine
One 14-ounce can cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
Herby yogurt (below), optional
Pan-fried tofu cubes (below), optional
Chopped fresh herbs, for garnish, optional
Bring a pot of water to boil then add the spinach and cook until just limp, about 20 seconds. Transfer to an ice bath to cool, then drain. (Alternatively, you can steam the spinach, using a fitted steamer basket over an inch or so of simmering water.)
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or other soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes and stir for a minute until fragrant, then add the wine. Once it cooks down by half, stir in the beans, stock, and salt. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.
Working in 2 batches, thoroughly puree the spinach with the soup in a blender. (Alternatively use an immersion blender, combining everything in the pot, but be thorough so that a smooth consistency is achived.) Return the soup to the pot and adjust seasoning as needed. Divide between bowls, and top with a big spoonful of the herby yogurt, several tofu cubes, and a sprinkling of fresh herbs.
1/2 cup thick plan yogurt
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped mixed herbs
A few swipes of fresh garlic on a microplane
Big pinch salt
Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir in small amounts of tepid water—about 1/2 teaspoon at a time—until lightened up a bit.
Pan-fried Tofu Cubes
Splash olive oil
7 ounces firm or extra firm tofu, sliced into thick slabs (half of a 14-ounce block), blotted dry
Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Gently lay in the tofu, and cook until lightly browned on each side, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Briefly drain on a clean kitchen towel or paper towel, sprinkle with salt, then cut into cubes.