This Roasted Vegetable and Wild Rice Soup recipe post was created in partnership with the USA Rice Federation. Thanks for supporting foods and brands I love and use.
Hey there February, with your dreary, blustery, cold, snow, sleet, and rain. We need all the comfort foods we can get right now! And as much as I enjoy some mashed potatoes and a chicken pot pie, it’s a big pot of this roasted vegetable and wild rice soup I’m really craving this winter.
Soup is seriously my favorite food group. I love it because It’s warm, satisfying, and so full of flavor. But also, every time I make it, I’m blown away at how versatile soup is. You can literally combine the same basic ingredients in different ways and get enough soup combinations to last you all winter.
The other thing I love about soup is that it’s an easy way to satisfy your craving for comfort food in the healthiest way possible. Especially a wild rice soup that’s packed with lots of colorful vegetables.
Why you crave carbs
If you feel like you crave more carb-rich comfort foods in the winter, you’re not imagining it. Long, dark days cause serotonin (the feel-good hormone) levels in your brain to fall, and your sleep-wake cycle to become disrupted.
That results in more moodiness, feelings of anxiety or sadness, fatigue, and an overall lack of energy. It’s called the winter blues – or in more severe cases, Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Interestingly, you crave carbs because they help to elevate your serotonin levels, which in turn, makes you feel better. However, not all carbs are created equal.
Eating lots of sugary, refined carbs is a quick fix that leaves you feeling worse. They promote weight gain, and they mess with your blood sugar.
On the other hand, complex carbs are digested slowly, so they energize and sustain you for longer.
Comfort foods that are rich in complex, high-fiber carbs also help your body produce more serotonin for longer. So, foods like vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are really what your body is craving this time of the year.
And guess, what? This Roasted Vegetable and Wild Rice Soup is packed with those healthy, complex carbs.
The star of this bowl is the U.S. wild rice. It’s a delicious California-grown whole grain. And here’s a fun fact:
Wild rice is not technically rice. It’s a semi-aquatic grass.
Who knew?! Like all other forms of true rice, it provides about 100 calories per half-cup cooked serving; and it’s sodium, cholesterol, trans-fat, and gluten-free with just a trace of naturally occurring fat.
Wild rice is also high in protein, B-vitamins, and it’s a good source of fiber. It’s one of my favorite whole grains because of it’s nutty flavor and hearty texture.
I make a lot of vegetable soups, but this is the first time I roasted the vegetables – and I love the results! Roasting brings out a natural sweetness in the carrots, leeks, cauliflower, and especially the garlic. Much richer and more flavorful than boiled vegetables.
If you like you can roast the garlic and vegetables ahead of time and throw this soup together when you’re ready. And, of course, feel free to substitute any vegetables you have on hand, or prefer. Just cut them all to a similar size.
Roasted Vegetable and Wild Rice Soup
- 1 head garlic
- 1 leek light green part only
- 2 stalks celery
- 4 baby Bella mushrooms
- 3 medium carrots
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 8 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 cup U.S. grown wild rice
- salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and set the oven rack to the middle position.
- Cut about 1/2 inch off the top of the garlic bulb, lightly wrap it in a piece of foil, leaving it partially open at the top. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of olive oil over the cut top.
- Cut the leek into about 1/2-inch round slices. Cut the celery, mushrooms, carrots, and cauliflower into chunks, small enough to fit onto a soupspoon. Place all of the vegetables in a mixing bowl and season with the remainder of the olive oil and salt. Use your hands to toss them well so they're evenly coated.
- Lay the garlic packet and the vegetables onto a sheet pan (I like to place a sheet of parchment paper on the pan for easier clean up). Roast them for about 15 minutes, or until they start to turn brown in spots. Turn them over and roast for about 10 more minutes.
- Remove the vegetables from the oven and place them in a bowl. Reduce the heat to 350°F, and return the garlic packet on the tray to roast for another 15 minutes, or until it's softened.
- When the garlic is soft, carefully squeeze out the individual cloves into the stockpot. It will be hot so you may need to hold it with a cloth or folded paper towels! The garlic cloves should be brown and soft like paste.
- Mash the garlic cloves into a paste in the bottom of the stockpot. Add the stock and whisk it to incorporate the mashed garlic. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and wild rice. Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low . Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the vegetables, and simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Taste and add extra salt as needed.
To learn more about the health benefits, and nutrition facts on U.S grown rice, check out ThinkRice.com