Category Archives: Soup

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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Comfort Food: Vegan French Onion and Shitake Soup

OK, so maybe it’s not French Onion Soup if it’s got shitake mushrooms in it, but I’m not sure what makes it “French” anyway (I used Chilean wine in it, after all). Either way, this is a favorite comfort food of mine and I haven’t found a way to make it since going veg that really tasted like it used to with beef broth. My homemade stock was never “meaty” enough and I haven’t tried some of the new mushroom broths out there.

Kroger has been stocking its organic and veg section (usually by the produce department) with some amazing stuff lately, and I was excited to find this not-beef, gluten free vegan “beef” bullion recently. Instantly, I thought of French onion soup. I just so happen to have a pot of thyme growing like crazy on my front porch too — even better.

I dug into the recipe box and found the one I used to make back in the day. I have no idea where it came from and didn’t follow it exactly, so I’ll just tell you what I did since I really liked the end result!

Ingredients:
Onions (1-2 lg. yellow or a bag of the smaller ones)
6 c. broth (i.e. 3 cubes of that not-beef bullion)
fresh thyme leaves (about 2-3 tsps or more if you don’t have a bay leaf like me)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. vegan margarine or similar
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 c. red wine
salt and pepper to taste
vegan cheese
crusty bread or baguette

1. Add oil and butter substitute to a hot pot. I finally snagged some of the Earth Balance Organic Buttery Spread I’ve heard so much about, and it really is good! I tried some on the multigrain baguette I bought and it really tastes like butter.

2. Add 6+ cups of thinly sliced onions to the pot — feel free to guess/approximate the amount and add them as you slice. I’ve yet to find a good way to prevent crying while cutting onions. If you have any tips, please share!

3. I cooked the onions over medium heat, covered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then dropped in the garlic cloves and cooked for another 15 minutes or so. Once the onions started to brown a bit, I added salt and pepper and a giant handful of thyme. I didn’t measure and I didn’t take it off the stems. I figured the leaves would mostly fall off on their own and I could fish the stems out, along with the garlic, when I served it. Most recipes say to include a bay leaf (which also should be fished out later), but I’m out so I didn’t worry about it.

4. At this point, I also chopped up a package of washed, sliced shitake mushrooms. I guess I thought it would make it a little richer and it just sounded good. After all this cooked down for about 10 minutes or so, I added 1/2 c. of red wine. Most recipes ask for sherry (which is just a fortified wine that has salt and is a little sweet). I had a bit of cooking wine left (again with the salt, which helps shelf life, and is OK in a pinch. I can’t seem to keep actual wine around for too long, so it’s nice to have this on hand). SO, the 1/2 c. was a little cooking wine and the rest from my bottle of Chilean syrah I had.

5. I let this cook down for a bit, turning everything slightly burgundy, until there was no standing liquid (or alcohol I’m sure) left. Add your stock and let simmer for a while — if you have willpower stronger than mine and can wait that long.

6. Since I don’t have the crocks most people put in the oven to get their cheese all melty on top of the soup, I toasted a couple of slices of my baguette and cut them into bite size chunks, then topped with my new favorite vegan cheese, Daiya, which I finally picked up at Whole Foods last weekend. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it’s melty and delicious (especially on pizza!)

Cooking Club: Angela’s Spicy Lemongrass Veggie Soup

We kicked things off with a cocktail for our Cooking Club: Asia posts. Here’s another! We started dinner off that night with some delicious soup from the lovely Angela, from Tuesdays with Angela. She said it was a little too spicy at first (Angela loves the spice! I have noticed she’s always the first to grab for the hot sauce!), so she cooled it down with some extra coconut milk.

IT was really, really, really, really good. I loved it and will be making it soon for sure.

Ingredients:
• 1 can coconut milk
• 4 c. veggie broth
• 2 stalks of lemongrass, grass cut off and white parts cut/bruised with knife
• 1 Tbsp. curry paste
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 1 inch ginger
• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 1/2 red pepper, chopped
• 1 cup broccoli, chopped
• 4 oz. mushrooms
• 1 package baked tofu, diced
• 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
• 1 Tbsp. Golden Mountain sauce (if you have it — if not, no biggie)**
• lime for garnish
• sesame seeds for garnish

** I wasn’t sure what Golden Mountain sauce was, so I did a little investigating. It seems it’s like a thick soy sauce, but sweeter, and sounds like vegetarian oyster sauce or fish sauce would make a good substitute if you don’t have it!


1. Heat the coconut milk and veggie broth in a pot.  When it’s warm, add the bruised lemongrass, knob of ginger, curry paste, and sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes.  When you have simmered at least 30 minutes, fish out the lemongrass and ginger knob before adding other veggies — otherwise it’ll get lost in the pot!

2. Add the carrots first.  Simmer until they are tender but not mushy.  Add the red peppers next, then the mushrooms, then the tofu, and the broccoli last.  Stir in the soy sauce and Golden Mountain sauce (if using).  Taste, and add more soy/Golden Mountain/or minced ginger, if necessary.

3. Garnish with sesame seeds and squeeze fresh lime juice in right before serving.

Those look like happy faces squeezing the lime and eating that soup!

Spicy Sweet Potato Coconut Soup and Raw Kale Salad

I decided today I was going to make a bunch of food this weekend to have in my arsenal for the coming week, but I gave myself too many options. SO, I gave up and went to a movie when I couldn’t decide what to make first. When I got back, I decided that I was going to make one of my favorite soups of all time, even though it’s about a million degrees + humidity today. It’s nice and chilly in my house, it’s my ultimate comfort food that doesn’t leave you feeling like mashed potatoes and I haven’t had it in far too long.

I blogged about this sweet potato soup from The Post Punk Kitchen (the authors of Veganomicon and other great cookbooks) at least once in I Eat Veg’s previous incarnation — in fact, I think it may have been one of my first posts. But I decided it’s worthy of a second post. It’s really easy, really delicious, and really not spicy, so it should maybe be called sweet potato coconut curry soup — that would be more fitting.

I had some kale that needed to be used up, so I decided to search for a new kale recipe too. I found one that was easy, sounded light and I had almost all the ingredients (kind of).

Anyway, I’ll start with the soup:


Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, rinsed (This is usually about 2 or 2 1/2 large sweet potatoes)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (I usually mince it)
1 Tbsp. red curry paste (or more for extra spice!)
1 15-oz can unsweetened coconut milk
3 c. vegetable broth
3 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1/2 c. fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place potatoes directly on rack. Bake for 45 min. If you have smaller potatoes, I’d check them before that. You want them to be cooked but not mushy, as you’ll be cutting them into bite-sized pieces (not making mashed potatoes!) If you stab them with a fork to test their doneness, know that they will ooze liquid that will drip in your oven if you put them back in – FYI. When they are done, let them cool until you can handle them, then cut into bite-sized cubes.

2. 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.

3. Add coconut milk and veggie stock. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.

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). I once thought, “This soup smells so good, wouldn’t the oil and cilantro ruin it? Are they necessary?” They are essential — soooooo good when you add these two surprise elements.

This soup has been a crowd pleaser! Everyone who has eaten it has loved it and it really is so, so simple (and cheap for that matter). I would say it could serve 6-8 servings so dig in!

And, now onto the raw kale salad…

The original recipe, from JaneSpice.com calls for the following ingredients:

1/3 c. Bragg Liquid Aminos or tamari soy sauce (I just had regular soy sauce)
1/3 c. lemon juice
1/3 c. flax seed or olive oil
1/2 medium red onion (I had tons of green onions on hand, so I sliced up about 8 of them)
1/4 c. each sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds (Wow — I had them all!)
1 bunch kale
1/2 c. each alfalfa and sunflower sprouts (I had mung bean sprouts, but they were funky, so I had to omit them…)
1 avocado diced (Again, I didn’t have it…)

I basically searched for “kale salad” online since I was pining for the kale salad at The Golden Gate Cafe — something light and delicious — and this sound like a decent substitute. And it was! I would love to include the other things I didn’t have next time. And might even try substituting the soy sauce for some rice vinegar next time. A weird substitute, but for some reason, that sounds good to me. Anyhow, here’s how you make it:

1. Combine soy, lemon juice and oil in a blender or whisk it well. Add onions and let them marinate while preparing the rest of the salad.

2. De-stem the kale and cut into 1/4″ strips. This is important! The lemon juice acts similarly to how it does in ceviche (when it “cooks” fish). It kind of “cooks” the kale, wilting it a little. I think if you didn’t cut it into smaller pieces, this might not happen as easily.

3. Separately toast each of the seeds then cool them before adding to kale. I had raw sunflower and sesame seeds on hand (a weird coincidence) and also had roasted pumpkin seeds. I think the pumpkin seeds were maybe a little tougher, since they were already roasted, but I toasted them anyway and added them. They were just a little chewy though. Maybe they would have been that way regardless.

Here is the kale pre-dressing:

4. Add rest of ingredients to toasted seeds and kale. Skim onions out with a slotted spoon and add them, then add enough of the dressing to saturate the mixture, but not drench it. This ended up being about 1/2 c. for me. You are then supposed to massage it into the mixture with your hands — this helped me judge when enough was enough. Basically, everything seemed pretty well saturated and there wasn’t really any dressing sitting in the bottom of the bowl.

Here is the kale after adding the dressing:

I  really like it! I think there are a lot of different things you could add to it or ways you could change it up depending on your taste (even just lemon juice and olive oil alone would probably be good!) It’s been in the refrigerator now for a couple of days and has held up really, really well — better than any kale I’ve ever steamed or sautéed, so that’s a good thing too.

Indian Lentil and Carrot Soup

This recipe comes from the lovely Katie E., who created this for our Indian Cooking Club night back in April (I’m way behind with my posts as you can see!) It was DELICIOUS.

Here it is, with instructions by Katie:

Stock:
3-4 quarts of water
8 bunches of greens from the carrot tops
stalks from a bunch of cilantro
1 leek top
1 red onion
5 garlic cloves, smashed
salt and pepper

Simmer for 45 minutes. Don’t let it get to a rolling boil. After 45 minutes, strain the vegetable out of the stock.

Soup:
2 lb. bag of lentils
8 carrots
3 large tomatoes
1 leek
1 shallot
5 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of cilantro
4 Tbsp.  butter
2 Tbsp. curry powder (I used yellow)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. cumin
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 can coconut milk

1. Soak then lentils for about an hour before making the soup.

2. Remove the core of the tomatos and score the skin. Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water, place the tomatoes inside and bring to a boil. Cook till the skin is falling off. When tomatoes have cooled remove the skin and set aside.

3. Chop the carrots, leeks, shallot and 2 cloves of garlic and saute them in the butter for a few minutes, till soft, with a dash of salt to help draw out the moisture.

4. While that’s cooking, drain the lentils and put in the stock and simmer. Add vegetables and cook till everything is tender, about 30 mins.

5. At this point, you can either transfer it into you food processor in batches or use an immersion blender to puree the soup to your liking. Once, the soup is blended, add the coconut milk and start adding the spices and ginger. Those measurements are based on what I did but I usually start with less and add to taste.

6. At this point I add the rest of the garlic by grating it on a microplane. In the last few minutes of cooking, I muddle the cilantro in a mortar and pestle, yielding about 2 tablespoons, and add it.

Cooking Club: Southwestern-Style Roasted Squash and Tomato Soup

This soup comes from Amy E., who started out intending to make some sort of tortilla soup. After a minor kitchen disaster, this is what she came up with, and it was delicious! Especially topped with the cilantro oil she made. (And some people also topped with some plain yogurt or sour cream).
From Amy:

Ingredients
1 can diced tomatoes
4-5 tomatillos (they just looked cool at the grocery store, I’m sure they are 100% nonessential)
1 red pepper
1 poblano pepper (I assume any kind of hot pepper would work here, depending on the flavor and spice level you want. When I made the second batch I was out of poblano, so I just added a regular old chopped up green pepper)
1 small butternut squash (I used about 2/3 of one squash)
1 medium yellow or white onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1-2 tbsp cumin
1-2 tbsp coriander
1/2 tbsp paprika
salts & peppers to taste
Olive oil
32 oz. vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

1. Get yourself a huge mixing bowl. Drain the diced tomatoes and put them in the mixing bowl. Chop up everything else and put it in the mixing bowl. You don’t have to be dainty; you’re using a food processor later. I saved the garlic for later on the first pass, since I hate burnt garlic. On the second pass, though, this caused me to forget the garlic.

2. Add olive oil (I NEVER measure olive oil, but I guess about 2-3 Tbsp.?) and spices. Mix everything together (I used a big spoon so as not to get hot pepper oil all over my hands) and throw it in a casserole dish or on a baking sheet. Pop it in the oven and roast 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables start to brown. If you use a casserole dish, stir halfway. If you saved the garlic for later, add it halfway, too.

3. When vegetables are bubbly and charred around the edges, remove from oven and spoon carefully into your food processor. You may need to do this in two batches – I did. Pulse to make a paste. I wanted mine to be a little “rustic” but you could easily make a puree, too.

4. Add roasted veggie slurry to a big soup pot and add the veggie broth. Stir, heat up and serve with whatever Southwestern-y toppings strike your fancy.

Cilantro oil
1 to 1.5 cups cilantro, roughly chopped or torn
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
Shake of garlic and cayenne
Put all of these things in your food processor and pulse to desired consistency. I read a recipe recently that included garlic to make a kind of cilantro pesto which also sounded intriguing.
Happy soup eating!!

Tomato Basil Soup with Feta

This one comes from Angela, who made it for Cooking Club Season 1, Episode 2. She made it with mini grilled cheeses. It was delicious!

From Angela:

Ingredients
3 ½ c. water or broth
1/3 c. soy sauce
1 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 tsp minced garlic
1 small red pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (I have used fire-roasted and the kind with basil/oregano in them)
½ cup chopped fresh basil
1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp cornstarch
Cold water
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Feta cheese

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot and add onion. Saute until softened and add garlic and red bell pepper. Saute 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add salt, pepper, diced tomatoes, and water/broth, soy sauce, and onion powder. Stir often, bring to a boil.

3. Reduce to low heat and add basil and vinegar.

4. Remove from heat and puree soup with immersion blender to desired consistency.

5. Return to low heat. Blend cornstarch into just enough water to dissolve without lumps and stir into soup.
Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes and remove from heat.

6. Serve with freshly squeezed lemon juice and feta cheese stirred into individual bowls.

This can easily be halved if you only want 2-3 servings.  As written, it makes 5-6.