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Cauliflower soup topped with pomegranate molasses is thick,

Cauliflower soup topped with pomegranate molasses is thick, rich and dairy free, thanks to tahini. Credit: Marge Perry

Cauliflower-Tahini Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

2 celery stalks, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 (2-pound) cauliflower, cut into florets (about 8 cups)

1 10-ounce potato, cut in 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)

4 cups no-salt vegetable or chicken broth

1/2 cup tahini

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium. Add the onion, celery, and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower, potato, broth and 1 1/2 cups water; increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the cauliflower and potato are fork tender, about 25 minutes. Uncover the pot; increase the heat to medium, stir in the tahini and salt, and simmer 10 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Puree in batches in the blender or using an immersion blender. (Soup may be made in advance up to this point and reheated).

2. Ladle the soup into four bowls. Working one at a time, drizzle about 1/2 tablespoon of the pomegranate molasses on each bowl; drag a knife or toothpick through the pomegranate to form a decorative pattern. Sprinkle lightly with parsley. Makes 4 (main-course) servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 340 calories, 14 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 20 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 789 mg sodium

TIP: Reserve a few florets to sauté and sprinkle over the cauliflower soup as garnish.

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Black Bean Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

3 cups no-salt vegetable or chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 tablespoons light sour cream

1/4 cup chopped scallions

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and carrot; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cumin and oregano and cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add the beans and broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and pepper.

2. Let the soup cool 5 minutes then puree about one-third of it in a blender. Return the puree to the saucepan and stir well to combine. Divide the soup among 4 bowls and garnish each with the sour cream and scallions. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 268 calories, 17 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 14 g fiber, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 854 mg sodium

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Curried Lentil Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tablespoon minced ginger root

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 cup (brown) lentils

1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped and divided

1 13.5-ounce can light unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and curry and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes, until the vegetables are somewhat softened.

2. Add the lentils, tomatoes, about half the cilantro and 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and gently simmer 15 minutes.

3. Stir in the coconut milk and salt and cook until the lentils are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 320 calories, 14 g protein, 48 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 520 mg sodium

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