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Easy dinner recipes: Three rich soups for gluten-free Wednesday

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These rich soups will help to keep you warm on a cold night, and they're easy to make and perfect for most gluten-free dieters.

Leek, apple and thyme soup: For a rich yet simple dinner, you can't go wrong with soup. It might sound like an odd combination at first, but leeks, apples and thyme pair wonderfully in this dish, making for a bright soup with plenty of flavor. Serve the soup alongside a salad, or go rustic with a thick slice of crusty bread and a nice glass of wine. Dinner is served in about an hour.

Winter vegetable soup: This rich and creamy soup is thickened with potatoes, parsnips and celery root, the flavors rounded out with thyme, bay leaf and truffle oil. (The soup, as pictured, is garnished with sauteed mushrooms, which may not be suitable for some on strict gluten-free diets.)

RECIPES: 99 easy dinner ideas in about an hour or less

Roasted tomato bisque: You'll love the combination of flavors in this soup, the deep tomato flavor complemented by the roasted peppers and garlic, rich with cream and brightened with lemon juice and a good dose of fresh basil.

You can find all of the recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

MORE RECIPES: 99 ADDITIONAL easy dinner ideas in about an hour or less

LEEK, APPLE AND THYME SOUP

Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Servings: Makes about 3 quarts soup, 10 to 12 servings

7 leeks, divided

3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 to 3 large cloves garlic, pressed

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped

1 Red Delicious apple, peeled and chopped

1 3/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 quarts water

3 bay leaves

3 sprigs parsley

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Salt, coarsely ground black pepper and nutmeg to taste

1. Remove the roots and tough outer layers of 4 of the leeks, slice them lengthwise and rinse thoroughly. Slice thinly. In a medium heavy-bottom pot, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-low heat and cook the leeks and onions just until they soften. Add the garlic and cook another minute, stirring.

2. Stir in the chopped apples, potatoes and water. Stir in the bay leaves, parsley and thyme leaves. Bring to a boil and cook until the vegetables are soft, 45 minutes to an hour.

3. Remove bay leaves from the pot and purée the thyme and parsley together with the soup using a blender or food processor (this will need to be done in batches). Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Return to the pot and keep covered over low heat.

4. To make the garnish, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Clean and slice the remaining 3 leeks as you did with the first 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the 3 sliced leeks in a bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring every few minutes, until the leek slices are crisp, about 10 minutes.

5. Divide the soup between serving bowls and garnish each with crispy leeks and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

Each of 12 servings: 144 calories; 2 grams protein; 26 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 4 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 8 grams sugar; 14 mg. sodium.

WINTER VEGETABLE SOUP

Total time: 1 hour

Servings: 6 to 8

Note: Adapted from Lido Restaurant. White truffle oil is available at select gourmet markets and most cooking supply stores. The restaurant garnishes the soup with whipped crème fraîche and black truffle shavings, though the chef also suggests garnishing with sauteed mushrooms and a drizzle of truffle oil.

2 cups sliced leeks, white part only, cleaned and sliced into 1/4 -inch strips (from about 3 whole)

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter

2 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

4 1/2 cups diced boiling potatoes (from a scant 2 pounds), peeled and diced into 1/4 -inch cubes

1 1/2 cups diced parsnips (3 to 4 whole), peeled and diced into 1/4 -inch cubes

1 celery root (about 1 pound), peeled and diced into 1/4 -inch cubes

1 quart chicken broth, more as desired

Salt and white pepper

1 cup heavy cream

White truffle oil

1. In a medium heavy-bottom soup pot heated over medium-high heat, saute the leeks in the butter until tender, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, and being careful not to burn the butter. Stir in the thyme and bay leaves and continue to cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.

2. Stir in the potatoes, parsnips, celery root and broth and bring the mixture to a good simmer. Season with one-half teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper, or to taste. Cook until the parsnips begin to become tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and stir in the cream. Continue to cook until all of the vegetables are tender, an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.

3. Purée the soup until smooth using a blender or immersion blender. Strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer and season as desired with additional salt and pepper. Add the truffle oil, a few drops at a time, to taste.

4. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately.

Each of 8 servings: 299 calories; 4 grams protein; 33 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 17 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 58 mg. cholesterol; 5 grams sugar; 602 mg. sodium.

LUMBERYARD RESTAURANT'S ROASTED TOMATO BISQUE

Total time: About 1 hour

Servings: 16 (1-cup) servings

Note: Adapted from Lumberyard Restaurant.

3 pounds plum tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt

Pepper

1 1/2 pounds cauliflower, coarsely chopped

2 1/2 pounds red peppers

3 tablespoons minced garlic

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

2 cups tomato juice

1/3 cup tomato paste

4 ounces (about 6 cups) fresh basil leaves

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

3 cups cream

Sugar

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes, and sprinkle over 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast the tomatoes for 20 minutes to soften. Remove from the oven and set aside.

2. While the tomatoes are roasting, steam the cauliflower in a steamer set over a pot of boiling water. Steam the cauliflower until tender, then remove from heat and set aside.

3. Roast the peppers: Place the peppers on a rack set over a gas stove-top burner heated over high heat. Roast until the skin on all sides is charred, turning frequently. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and set aside until the peppers are cool enough to handle. Peel the charred skin from the peppers, then stem and seed the peppers. Mince the peppers. You should have about 2 cups (1 pound) minced roasted pepper.

4. Combine the roasted tomatoes (with any juices), cauliflower, minced peppers, garlic, lemon juice, tomato juice, tomato paste, basil leaves and vegetable broth in a pot or large bowl. Purée the mixture using an immersion blender, or in batches using a blender, before pushing through a strainer into a heavy-bottom soup pot.

5. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Stir in the cream and continue to heat until hot. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in sugar to sweeten as desired.

Each serving: 236 calories; 4 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 19 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 62 mg. cholesterol; 8 grams sugar; 677 mg. sodium.

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