Yotem Ottolenghi's Root Vegetable Zoodle Soup with Bacon and Basil Oil
If you have not heard of a Zoodle, it is essentially just a made up word for a vegetable that has been spiralized to resemble a noodle. I think it was the zucchini that first started the trend (hence the name Zoodle) but now many other vegetables can disguise themselves as a noodle--carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, potatoes, large radishes. All easily zoodled (I may have just made that one up!) This trend has been super hot for a while now largely due to the rising popularity of the Paleo and Ketogenic diets, known for their omission of carbs and grains in the diet. While I personally do not follow a specific diet per se, I do like to limit my grains somewhat--especially after a particularly carb heavy weekend. Enter the Zoodle. Your low-carb noodle-like friend.
I have been known to try and trick my kids by attempting to pass these veggies off as a pasta noodle with some fresh tangy homemade pesto, or cashew cream. Fail. They know! How do they know?!? But I refuse to give up. This week I experimented with a different recipe--Yotem Ottolenghi's Root Vegetable Zoodle Soup with Bacon and Basil Oil. And it scored me a few points. Not in the "Wow, these taste just like noodles mom!" type of way, but more like the "This is really good broth mom! What kind of noodles are these?" way. Baby steps. But my husband and I both loved the depth of flavor of this soup. It felt rich and filling, yet light and somewhat cleansing, all at the same time. I followed this recipe nearly to a T, though I did swap out the olive oil for some ghee, since I prefer to use a higher smoke point fat when cooking at high temperatures (more on that topic to come soon!) Oh--and I used homemade gelatin filled chicken broth--and it was delicious!
5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided (I used ghee, my favorite brand is 4th & Heart)
4 oz. hardwood-smoked bacon, cut into 1/4" pieces
1 large red onion, halved through root end, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
3 quarts low sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 very large carrot, peeled, spiralized using a medium blade or cut into matchsticks
1 large parsnip, peeled, spiralized using a medium blade or cut into matchsticks
1 medium turnip, peeled, spiralized using a medium blade or cut into matchsticks
8 oz brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup finely chopped basil
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium-high and cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp, 5–7 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels and let drain. Pour off all but 2 Tbsp. fat in pot and reduce heat to medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned around the edges and softened, 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is very fragrant, about 1 minute. Return bacon to pot and add oregano sprigs, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and broth. Bring soup to a simmer and cook 15 minutes to allow flavors to come together. Taste soup and season with salt and pepper; add carrot, parsnip, turnip, and brussels sprouts and cook 3 minutes (vegetables should be very al dente). Remove from heat. Discard oregano and thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Let soup sit 5 minutes (vegetables will soften a little more). Meanwhile, combine anchovies (if using), basil, lemon zest, and remaining 4 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl; season basil oil with salt and pepper. Divide soup among bowls; drizzle with basil oil.
Do Ahead: Soup can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill
Allergens: Fish (if using anchovies)