Category Archives: Soup

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup and Vegan Red Lobster Biscuits

soup and biscuit

This soup from the Post Punk Kitchen is an old favorite and easily one of my favorite soups of all time. I’ve posted it here before, but it’s been a long time so I thought I would revisit. I’ve also changed my instructions slightly to cut out a couple of steps, making the prep time about 10 minutes.

biscuitsBut first. BUT FIRST. Let’s get to these biscuits. It’s been probably close to two decades since I’ve been to a Red Lobster. Something recently made me think of those biscuits they give you — salty, cheesy, flaky, bottomless baskets of delicious cheddar bay biscuits. PROBABLY not the healthiest thing on the planet, but making them at home helps. I found this recipe on the blog Amazeballs Eats.

claire biscuits Our resident tween, a self-appointed cheddar bay biscuit connoisseur, even said, “If you gave me a Red Lobster biscuit and gave me one of these biscuits, I wouldn’t know the difference. They are soooooo good.”

She always seems to like things she helped make more, but I can’t disagree. She was a great sous chef.

Do cheddar biscuits go with Thai flavors? I don’t know. But they were both good and nobody complained. Good enough for me.

Even the toddler ate some of the soup, which does have a bit of a kick in the background. She would eat a spoonful, say “hot,” push it away, then ask for more.

I’ve tried to add different vegetables over the years — it’s perfect as is. Sometimes I have to learn the hard way just to leave it alone. Also, don’t skip the cilantro and sesame oil garnish on this one. You might think it wouldn’t make that big of a difference, but you would be wrong. It completes the soup and is so much better than without. Now to the recipes!

Vegan Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Biscuit Ingredients
• 2 c. all-purpose flour — I’ve been using spelt flour a lot lately for a little extra health 🙂
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 3/4 tsp. salt (I put less in the biscuits and added to the buttery glaze that goes on top)
• 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
• 1 c. cheddar style shreds (I use and recommend Daiya)
• 1 c. plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (I went with almond)
• 1/2 c. vegan butter (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks), melted

Butter Topping Ingredients
• 2 Tbsp. vegan butter, melted
• 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
• 1/4 tsp. dried parsley (I used 1 tsp. fresh, minced parsley)

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, garlic powder and cayenne. Stir in the cheddar style shreds; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the almond milk and melted vegan butter until the butter forms small clumps. (Ours never formed clumps, so we just went for it. It was fine. They were flaky and wonderful!)
  4. Add the almond milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix gently with a rubber spatula just until a dough forms and no dry ingredients remain. Use a greased ¼-cup measuring cup to scoop out portions of dough. Place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a little more than an inch between biscuits.
  5. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown, about 12 minutes. While the biscuits are in the oven, stir together the 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter, garlic powder and parsley. Remove the biscuits from the oven and immediately brush with the topping mixture. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

 

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup

• 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
• 1/2 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 1-2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
• 1 tablespoon red curry paste (or more for extra spice! I probably added closer to 2)
• 1 15 oz. coconut milk unsweetened
• 3 cup(s) vegetable broth
• 3 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon(s) sea salt
• 1 tablespoon(s) sesame oil
• 1/2 cup(s) cilantro, fresh

1. In a stock pot, saute onion and ginger in oil for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add curry paste and cook for another minute or so.

2. Add sweet potato, diced small, and stir for about a minute.

3. Add coconut milk and veggie stock. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through.

4. Add lemon juice and salt. You’re ready to serve!

5. Once in bowls, drizzle with a little sesame oil and sprinkle with chopped cilantro (as much as you like).

 

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Miso Vegetable Soup

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As luck would have it, a little spring head cold found its way to me over the weekend. Or maybe it’s allergies. Either way, by Monday morning I was a stuffy, sinus-y mess. I decided a quick miso soup was in order.

When I don’t feel well, whether it’s a cold or a hangover or just feeling blah, my goal is to get as many vegetables into my body as possible. Miso also has many nutritional benefits so it was a no-brainer to throw this together.

FullSizeRender-2In addition to feeling pretty crummy, my 1-year-old, normally a happy baby with an amazing appetite, decided she didn’t want anything I put in front of her. All of which she normally eats up with no hesitation. It all went on the floor and she kept reaching toward the area where I was chopping vegetables and making soup. What should have taken 20 minutes, took close to an hour and by the end of it I threw a little bit of the soup in a bowl to attempt to make her happy. And it did! Obviously, it was a mess, but she loved it. Including the vegetables that were identical to the ones she just finished throwing on the floor. 🙂

I have every intention of feeding her what we eat, but many nights it’s hard to have dinner ready for all of us before she’s ready for dinner, so I often sauté some vegetables and do whatever’s easiest in the moment. Healthy at the end of FullSizeRender-3the day, but not what I’m making for myself. This is a little reminder to try to do that more often so I don’t eventually slip into the bad habit of feeding her only what’s easy or only her favorites.

When we got down the bottom of her bowl, I tipped it up to show her how to drink the rest of the soup. I may regret this later…

This could include just about any veggie you have on hand. Just chop and throw it in the pot together. I was attempting to hurry, so I didn’t even sauté anything first. I was sure to include a couple of cloves of garlic since it’s super good for you when you’re under the weather too. I tossed it in at the end, since raw garlic is more beneficial. Here’s what I did.

Ingredients
• 4 c. low sodium vegetable broth
• 4 c. mushroom broth
•  5 asparagus spears, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 small zucchini, diced
• 5-6 large baby bella mushrooms, sliced
• 1 large carrot, cut in quarters and thinly sliced
• 3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
• 1 cup leafy kale, washed and chopped, stems removed
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• sea salt and pepper
• 1/2 pkg. of firm tofu, drained in a tofu press and cubed (optional)
• 1/3 c. white miso paste

1. Pour broth into a soup pot and bring to a low rolling boil.
2. Remove 1 c. of the broth to a small bowl and whisk in miso paste. Once dissolved, add back to pot.
3. Chop your veggies whatever size you like and add to pot.
4. Add garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
5. Cook until veggies are of desired doneness.
6. Add cubed tofu if using and continue to simmer until heated through.
7. Chow down!

Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup

I threw together this easiest soup ever last night in about 15 minutes before heading to a friend’s to pass out candy. Boy was I glad I had when I returned home this afternoon after chaperoning my stepdaughter’s school field trip to the zoo — five hours mostly outside in 40-degree weather! I paired it with a vegan grilled cheese sandwich and felt like I was her age back in my mom’s kitchen on a cold day.

Ingredients
• 1 c. celery, diced
• 1/2 c. yellow onion, diced
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 3, 14 1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes (I grabbed a few different kinds — Italian herbs, roasted garlic, and fire roasted tomatoes. Use whatever you like!)
• 3/4 c. cream (of course, you could use regular whipping cream if you’re not vegan, but why when there are so many vegan creamers? I went with my favorite — So Delicious Coconut Creamer.)
• 3/4 c. water
• salt and pepper
• chopped fresh basil (the store was out, so I bought one of those squeezy bottles of organic basil. Worked for me!) Add to taste.

1. Heat oil over medium-high heat and cook diced onion and celery until softened.

2. Add cans of diced tomatoes and heat through.

3. Leave chunky or, like I did, grab your handy immersion blender and blend until it’s smoother, with not as many chunks (but not completely smooth).

4. Whisk in cream and water, season with salt and pepper and add basil to taste (I put in probably 2 Tbsp. of the basil paste).

5. Enjoy! It’s that easy.

Quick Asian Mushroom Noodle Soup

I made this for a client today and, as I often do, decided to whip some up for myself when I got home. I had almost all of the requested ingredients on hand, so I got to it and it was ready to eat in less than 30 minutes — pretty good, especially for a hearty soup! I didn’t have any udon noodles and didn’t feel like boiling up any others, so I went without. I think I prefer it this way and won’t add noodles next time.

The version for my clients included chicken instead of tofu and spinach for the greens. I knew my box was arriving any time from Door to Door Organics, so I let it simmer until that arrived and added in kale. This could really be a kitchen sink soup though — I think just about any vegetable or even beans would be really good in here.  Also, because there’s no butter or oil involved, it’s really low fat (if not no fat) and if you used Bragg’s liquid aminos in place of the soy sauce, it would be salt-free too. It’s extremely flavorful and was so, so easy. Enjoy!

Ingredients
• 4 c. vegetable broth
• 3 Tbsp. soy sauce, low sodium or Bragg’s liquid aminos
•  2 tsp. grated ginger (I took about a 2-3 inch piece and minced it)
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2-3 c. mushrooms — any combo of white, cremini, shiitake, oyster, baby bellas
•  2-3 c. shredded cabbage, white or napa
• 2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
• 1 pkg. baked tofu, cut into small pieces (I use Panda brand, made in Royal Oak — you can find it at the farmer’s market, Holiday Market, natural food stores, etc.)
• 2 oz. cooked udon noodles (optional!)
• 1-2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
• 2 c. greens — spinach, kale, chard, etc.
• pepper to taste
• 1 Tbsp. Mirin (optional)

1. Cook noodles separately if you are using.

2. In a large pot, combine broth, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, mushrooms, cabbage, carrots and tofu. Cover and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce to a simmer until mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Add in noodles (if using), green onions and greens. Simmer until greens are wilted, about 2 minutes.

Simple Butternut Squash Soup

This soup or a variation of it has become a fall staple in my house. It had been a while since I’d made it, but a client of mine handed over a couple of giant squashes so I got to work!

Get a loaf of crusty Italian bread and you barely even need a spoon.  This can be vegan or not — depending on what kind of stock, butter, etc. you use. It really is simple and delicious. You can doctor it up in any way you like — maybe add a little curry for kick. Add extra spices or herbs to it.  This is a hard one to mess up!

Ingredients
• 1 butternut squash (2-3 pounds), peeled and seeded
• 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (I go with Earth Balance Buttery Spread, any variety)
• 1 medium onion, chopped/diced
• 6 c. vegetable stock OR (what I prefer) about 3 c. stock and 1 can coconut milk
• Nutmeg
• salt and pepper

1. Cut squash into 1-inch chunks. You can always buy frozen or pre-cut butternut squash (sweet potatoes would work here too, by the way), but I don’t find it all that difficult to peel. I just cut it in half or into manageable pieces, then slice off the skin with a good, sturdy knife. From there I slice and chop in various ways to try to make roughly 1- to 2-inch cubes.  It’s all getting pureed eventually, so no need to be exact. You just want it small enough that it will cook easily and quickly.

2. Melt butter in pot. May use half butter and half oil if you like, too.

3. Add onion and cook until translucent. I think I may have added a clove or two of minced garlic at this point as well. Now is also when I would add a little curry paste or powder if I were using it.

4. Add squash and stock (I believe the stock was covering the chunks appropriately, so I held off on adding the coconut milk until later).

5. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

6. Remove squash chunks with a slotted spoon and puree in a blender. OR you can go the easy way — like me — and use your handy immersion blender. I use this regularly for soups, so I think it’s definitely worth the investment. I was given a Cuisinart one, which you can get for about $25 on Amazon.

7. Return squash to pot if you used regular blender. Add coconut milk until well blended, then stir and season with a few dashes of nutmeg and the salt and pepper.

8. Heat through and enjoy! This soup only takes about 30 minutes to make and is oh, so comforting. This one is totally doable even for those of you who “can’t” cook. Give it a try!

Vegan Creamy Asparagus Soup

Our latest cooking club happened to fall on St. Patrick’s Day and we went with a “green” theme. Although I never met a green vegetable or fruit I didn’t like, my two favorites are definitely kale and asparagus. For this, I went with asparagus and decided to make asparagus soup.

I found a vegetarian version on Allrecipes.com with great reviews, so I decided to make vegetarian and vegan versions so we could taste test them both. One of the things I have gotten better at during my vegetarian cooking exploration of the last few years is substituting various ingredients with others — I don’t think I’ve had a total fail yet, which makes me much more adventurous!

The vegetarian version uses plain yogurt, which makes the soup tangy and for the vegan version I used coconut milk, which makes the soup a little richer and with a definite coconut milk flavor in the background. I think next time I might mess with a little curry too. Both versions were delicious, but can you really go wrong with coconut milk? I think the vegan version was my favorite…

I’m sure there are many different ways you could change this up — and other vegetables you could use in the place of asparagus! In my personal chef business, I hope to never use a can of “cream of ______” (fill in the blank) soup if I can help it. Something as easy as this makes me wonder why anyone would. Here’s what I came up with.

Ingredients
• 1 lb. fresh asparagus (my guess is you could use frozen in a pinch)
• 3/4 c. chopped onion
• 1 3/4 c. vegetable broth
• 1 Tbsp. butter or vegan butter (Like my favorite, Earth Balance Buttery Spread)
• 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 pinch ground black pepper
• 1 c. soy or almond milk (I went with plain almond milk)
• 1/2 c. yogurt or coconut milk
• 1 tsp. lemon juice
• 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese, parm substitute or nutritional yeast (optional)

1. Trim the woody ends off of the asparagus and set aside.

2. This step I decided to do on my own — you can skip it if you like and I’m sure it would be just fine! I put all of the vegetable broth in a saucepan and  placed the ends of the asparagus in with it. I simmered it for about 20 minutes to infuse the asparagus flavor into the broth, then removed it from heat (I think I put a little extra broth in there in case some cooked off). Remove asparagus ends with a slotted spoon and throw away.

3. Place asparagus and onion in small saucepan with 1/2 c. of broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer until vegetables are tender.

4. Reserve a few asparagus tips for garnish if you like, and puree the rest in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree it in the pan until smooth, then pour into a bowl and set aside.

5. Melt butter in the pan, then stir constantly while sprinkling in flour, salt and pepper into it. Don’t let the mixture brown — cook while stirring for about 2 minutes.

6. Stir in the remaining 1 1/4 c. broth and increase the heat. Continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil.

7. Stir the vegetable puree and milk into the pan, the whisk in the yogurt or coconut milk and lemon juice.

8. Stir until heated through and ladle into bowls. Garnish with asparagus tips and cheese or nutritional yeast if desired.

Miso Soup

Last night I posted the recipe for a yummy miso dressing I made. To go with it, I made a very simple miso soup, which might replace Tom Yum as my go-to soup when I’m sick.

But first, let’s chat about miso for a minute. I’ve been eating miso soup for years — first because it would be given to me free before my sushi arrived. I don’t know if my tastes have changed (well, yes they have changed since I was a meat-eater, obviously, but I’m not sure if that’s the culprit here) or whether I was just not getting the greatest soup, but I used to not be the biggest fan of miso. It has such a mild flavor, I don’t really know what I didn’t like about it. Fortunately, that has changed.

There are many different kinds of miso, but the basics are that it comes from fermented soybeans generally. Though it’s pretty high in sodium (don’t worry — a little goes a long way — only a couple of tablespoons in 4-5 servings of soup), there are many health benefits.

Miso contains protein (about 2 g. per Tablespoon), dietary fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, B12, zinc (great for immune function), copper and manganese.

I still have some investigating to do with the many different types of miso, but I really liked the milk and not-to-salty flavor of the mellow white miso I used in this very basic recipe for miso soup. I imagine I will try many variations of this, including different greens, perhaps some soba noodles and something to spice it up a bit.

Here’s a good start!

Ingredients
• 4 c. water
• 2-4 Tbsp. miso paste
• sliced green parts of one bunch of green onions
• 1 pkg. extra firm tofu, pressed (I used my wonderful TofuXpress — which is PERFECT for something like this — for about 30 minutes before cutting)
• a couple of handfuls of steamed kale

1. Boil 4 c. water and place miso in a separate bowl.

2. Once water is boiling, take a bit of the boiling water and whisk into miso until not lumpy (this is much easier than trying to incorporate it to the whole pot and get lumps out).

3. Remove water from heat and pour miso mixture into it.

4. Slice tofu into very small squares. I ended up using pretty close to an entire package, adding it a few minutes before serving.

5. Add sliced green onions and any greens you might have — I think spinach and watercress  or herbs would be good too. Since I had steamed kale for another dish already, so I grabbed a couple of handfuls of it, chopped it up and tossed it in.

It was smooth and not too salty and I think the combo of tofu-onion-kale was perfect. I can’t wait to mess with it and see what I come up with!