Spicy Vegan Fall Soup

I’m not ready for snow or anything, but I haven’t been totally hating the cooler temperatures.  I decided I needed to make soup this week  and went for it — what else are you supposed to do when you’ve got a couple of leeks and an acorn squash staring you in the face? I didn’t follow any recipe at all — just a bit of this and a bit of that. Obviously this could be changed up with all kinds of stuff, but I like how it turned out. Spicy, smooth and just what the weatherman ordered.

Ingredients
• 1 acorn squash
• 1 sweet potato
• 2 leeks, cleaned and white parts chopped well
• 1 small cooking onion, chopped
• 10-15 baby carrots, chopped small
• olive oil and/or vegan butter
• 4 c. vegetable broth
• about 10 to 11 oz. coconut milk
• about 2 cloves minced garlic
• 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
• Various spices: curry powder, cayenne pepper, dill, salt, pepper, turmeric, celery salt (there may be others, that’s all I can remember!)
• honey (optional)

And here’s what I did:

1. Cut squash in half (from stem to bottom), remove seeds/pulp from center, lay cut side down on microwave safe plate and microwave on high for about 10 minutes. This also could be done by laying face down on a baking sheet or foil and baking for about 30-40 minutes at, let’s say, 400 degrees. I chose the shorter route, as I wasn’t getting started making my dinner until about 8 o’clock last night…

2. Prick sweet potato with fork all over, lay on a paper towel on a plate and microwave for about 4-5 minutes, depending on size.

3. Saute onion, leeks and carrots with ginger and garlic in a bit of olive oil and/or butter (1-2 Tbsp. total, I’d say). Cook this down for a bit until everything is soft and browning a little.

4. While cooking down/browning, add spices — a bit of salt and pepper, about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. curry powder, 1/4 tsp. dill and a dash or two each of the rest (I chose celery salt because I didn’t have any celery to contribute, cayenne for a bit of heat, turmeric for a little color and flavor)

5. Once squash and sweet potato is cool enough to be handled, squeeze/scrape, scoop out the pulp and mash it up as well as you can. This made about 1 c. of mashed sweet potatoes and 2 c. of mashed squash. Add to pot.

6. Add broth — I started with 3 c. and later put the fourth. You can kind of play it by ear depending on what consistency you think you want to end up with. Bring to a quick boil then drop down to a simmer.

7. Blend with an immersion blender, or cool a bit and blend in a blender in batches. I borrowed my sister’s immersion blender (I really need to get a new one!) and it took about 2 seconds and was really easy. There are some really affordable ones and you won’t believe how often you will wish you had one!). I added the fourth cup of broth around now, I think, because it seemed like it was a little thick and it hadn’t made very much.

8. Add coconut milk. I started with a mini can that is 5.5 ounces. This left the soup nice and thick — I actually loved the consistency. But it was a little spicier than I wanted. I started with about half of a 13.5 oz. can and it was great. I wish I just would have used the whole 13.5 oz. can to begin with (and maybe held back on the broth a little…)

9. If you’re not vegan, I thought it would be good to add a little honey for sweetness or to tone down the spice a little. It would also be a great opportunity for sprinkling in a little nutritional yeast if you’ve got some too (which would thicken it back up a little too).

I had this soup again tonight and it was really good! I’m happy with my little adventure and will definitely be “winging it” like this again. You should too.   🙂

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