roasted root soup & savory granola

i remember being at a house party years ago when some bro dude called me a granola girl. i hadn't heard the term before, but it didn't sound offensive - i mean who doesn't like granola?! i took his snarky remark as a compliment. granola is a simple, nutritious food, that folks seem to associate with a outdoorsy lifestyle. you want to peg me as a granola girl, that's fine by me. but don't call me bland. this granola recipe packs a punch and adds a unique finishing touch to a (admittedly) stereotypical granola-girl-ish soup... ahem, a superb granola-girl-ish soup! soup has been my dish of choice to bring for lunch this winter. warming, filling, and i seem to never tire of a delicious soup as long as that soup changes recipes each week.

roasted root soup ~ serves 4
1 pound beets
1.5 pounds carrots
1 large sweet potato
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4-6 cups vegetable broth  
salt & pepper 

preheat oven to 400. prep all root vegetables - cleaning and cutting into small cubes. toss in 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. spread on baking sheet or roasting pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are gently browned. in the mean time, heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a large soup pot. caramelize onions in oil for 10-15 minutes on low heat. let sit. once root vegetables are roasted, remove from oven and add to soup pot with the remaining ingredients. broth should just cover the root vegetables. simmer with a cover for 20 minutes until vegetables are fork tender. let cool. 
my recipe fit fully in my vitamix blender. you could also use an immersion blender, or blend soup in batches in a smaller blender. add additional broth to reach desired consistency. reheat to serve, garnish with goat cheese, a scoop of creme fraiche, or enjoy a dairy-free bowl of soup with a handful of savory granola. 

savory granola ~ makes 2-3 cups  
1 cup kasha (buckwheat groats)
1 cup spelt or rye flakes, or oats
1 cup pecans, diced or pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne  
1/4 cup olive oil 
1 egg white, whisked 

preheat oven to 300 degrees. in a bowl, mix all ingredients together with a spatula. bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. the egg is used as a binder to create more clustery granola. to make vegan, simply omit the egg. 
notes: feel free to interchange grains, nuts or seeds for whatever you have on hand. this crunchy granola is great on soup, salad, or just plain for a snack.