I tried Jessica Biel’s hack for a quick weeknight dinner, and I think I have a better trick

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Jessica Biel has an easy recipe for quick, vegan soup. Paige Bennett for Insider; Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

I love to cook. But “easy, healthy dinner recipes” is probably one of my top searches because there just aren’t enough hours in the day to pull something elaborate together that’s delicious and nutritious.

When I’m looking for something quick, I usually turn to tray bakes, which involve roasting veggies and beans or tofu together on one pan, but I was intrigued when I came across Jessica Biel’s hack for a quick, vegan soup.

The actress’ go-to meal comes together in just about 20 minutes and only calls for vegetables and spices.

“You cook the vegetables, roasting them in the oven, adding salt, pepper, and your favourite spices,” she told Well and Good in 2018. “Then, you put it in the blender and boom — you’ve made yourself a really light, really healthy, gorgeous soup that anybody can enjoy pretty easily.”

I decided to try it for myself to see if this hack was worth adding to my simple dinner repertoire.

Read on to see how it went.

For the base, I opted for squash, sweet potato, and broccoli — some of Biel’s favourites

Step 1 veggies prepped for oven
I roasted some broccoli, sweet potato, and acorn squash. Paige Bennett for Insider

The actress said she likes to use sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and broccoli, so I went for a similar flavour profile but swapped butternut squash for acorn.

From there, the actress suggested adding salt, pepper, and whatever spices you like — I went for garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dried basil, dried parsley, and dried oregano.

I strayed from the recipe a little and added a drizzle of olive oil because that’s how I prefer to roast veggies.

The process was longer and messier than I expected

Step 2 acorn squash after roasting
The roasting took much longer than the recipe said. Paige Bennett for Insider

Even though I made sure to separate the veggies onto two trays to give them more space to cook, they took closer to 30 minutes to fully roast and soften instead of the 10 to 15 minutes advertised in the recipe.

Still, the process was mostly hands-off so far, which was fine with me.

Step 5 veggies in blender
Without added liquid, the ingredients weren’t blending. Paige Bennett for Insider

I was concerned by the lack of liquid in the recipe, and I wasn’t sure that my blender would be able to break down the veggies without some dairy-free milk or vegetable broth.

I popped everything into my blender and tried using it on multiple different settings to no avail. I added some oat milk, and things started to move along, but it still wouldn’t completely blend into a soupy liquid.

Step 9 after food processor
I switched everything to my food processor to try and blend it more. Paige Bennett for Insider

The blender just wasn’t cutting it, so I poured the chunky mixture into my more powerful food processor and added more oat milk.

It blended everything down into a thick puree in about 45 seconds, but I couldn’t get the mixture to blend into a liquidy soup without adding a lot more oat milk, so I decided to just go with the thicker puree and call it a day.

It tasted fine, but I didn’t like it better than whole roasted vegetables

Step 11 final
I didn’t dislike the puree, but I prefer whole roasted veggies. Paige Bennett for Insider

I enjoyed the roasted and caramelised flavours that came from the squash and sweet potato, but honestly, this soup felt heavier than just eating whole vegetables.

Step 13 final
I’d add more liquid if I ever make this again. Paige Bennett for Insider

Overall, the flavour was fine, but this process took longer than 15 to 20 minutes — which was a large part of the appeal.

If I spent more time cutting the vegetables into smaller pieces, the cooking time would have gone down, but the overall time would still be high with prep.

I wouldn’t mind trying this again — with the addition of a lot more liquid — when I’m in the mood for soup, but I think I’ll stick to my tray bakes sans blending for future easy dinners.

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