High Protein Noodle Soup – the Best Thing for Colds Since the Chicken Noodle

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High Protein Noodle Soup, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Winter wonderland is all around us – at least for those of us who live in the Northern hemisphere somewhere above 30 to 40 degrees North. Unfortunately, in addition to all the fun stuff that winter brings, there are also the dreaded colds or even worse full on flus that get around. Just around the Christmas time as was waylaid by a serious cold – I call it a cold but it was more of a full body weakness and loss of energy with some minor runny nose and sore throat. I stayed in bed for a day, drank loads of fluids, and all was better in about 48 hours.

One things that really helped me power through is a soup I made, full of protein as well as mushrooms. It perked me right up, and kept me coming for more at a time when my appetite was not all that great. The main reason why I went for some soup at the time like this is thanks to the well-known, and scientifically slightly supported, power of the hot bowl of chicken noodle soup to make the cold go away.

The power of the soup resides to some extent to the fact that it is served hot – the steam helps with decongestion and is commonly recommended to get your nasal passages work again. Plus: soup, and other warm liquids, are easy to swallow and therefore usually gentle for the painful throat. And: when you are under weather, down with a cold, one of the best thing you can do is stay hydrated, something any soup will help you with.

But a soup like your old fashioned chicken noodle soup that you may have been chased around as a kid, have more hidden secrets. They are full of protein, as well as vitamins and minerals that come with those great vegetables hiding in there.

So, in my attempt to recreate the richness of flavors, level of protein, and intense apparent healing powers of the chicken noodle soup I went for, well, pure protein – pea protein powder and peanut butter powder, which is really almost all protein (but do check a label before buying to be sure and stay away from some of the products out there that add sugar!).

I also went for mushroom broth as it is deeper in flavor than a vegetable stock. I used store bought, but you can definitely make some on your own especially if you are looking for ways to use up all those mushroom scraps (this recipe is a great start). And to deepen the flavors further I recommend using soba noodles. These noodles are earthy, nutty and I simply love them!  I use them in stir fries and soups, and always have them on hand in my pantry.

By the time this soup is ready, which is very quick indeed, you will be holding in your hand something that will make you feel better and go “mmmmmmm…”.

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High Protein Noodle Soup

What you’ll need:

32 FL oz (1 L) mushroom broth (or vegetable stock if mushroom broth unavailable; homemade broth also a great option)
32 FL oz (1L) water
1/4 cup pea protein powder
1/4 cup peanut butter powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
4 cups frozen or fresh broccoli florets
6.4 oz (180 g) soba noodles
1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
Freshly squeezed lime juice to taste

What you’ll do:

  1. Combine mushroom broth, water, pea protein powder, peanut butter powder, ginger and curry powder in a large pot. Mix well to combine and remove any lumps that may form. You can also use a blender or a whisk.
  2. Place the pot over the medium high heat and bring to boil.
  3. Once the soup is boiling, add broccoli and the noodles, lower the heat and let simmer for 5-7 minutes. This should be enough time for noodles and broccoli to be cooked al dente – so soft but not mushy.
  4. Turn the heat off, mix in the fresh parsley, and some lime juice for a bit of acidity, and serve. You can always serve with lime wedges, and let people add lime to taste themselves.

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019

Apple and Carrot Soup

Apple and Carrot Soup, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Apple and Carrot Soup, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Soups seem to be one of those things that have gone out the window together with long sit down dinners. I grew up in a family that had soup as a starter of a large meal, in our case lunch, almost every day. My mom still makes soups couple of times a week, and they are varied and delicious!

I vary my soups depending on the season, and gravitate towards lighter soups during summer, and rich and more decadent soups during winter. For example, about two years ago we had a major snow storm, and while my husband was out shoveling, I made a pot of New England Clam-less Chowder that hit the spot!

More recently, some of the soups that we enjoyed were rich in vegetables and can work really well to replace all those recipes that use tons of butter and cream, like Cream of Carrot Soup, and a perfect Creamy Cauliflower Winter Soup. The secret weapon to a rich, creamy and totally vegan soup is an immersion (or stick) blender. This kitchen gadget goes directly into a pot and blends the contents with ease! Of course, you can also use your regular blender but that requires a transfer of a very hot liquid, which may lead to injury – so for things like making creamy soups and sauces a stick blender is the way to go.

For this soup, which combines carrots and apples, it is important to pick firm and tart apples like Granny Smith. Apples add a bit of tartness to the soup as well as a bit of a thickening agent as they are full of pectin, which is a complex carbohydrate that makes jams gel!

One last thing I want to mention before we dive into the recipe is the sodium. My recipe does not include salt because my husband is on a very low sodium/no sodium diet. But this soup, as indeed others as well, taste best with a bit of salt added to it. So, unless you do need to omit sodium from your diet I recommend you add salt to taste, to the pot as the soup simmers. One teaspoon ought to do it for most of us!

This is a great Thanksgiving or winter holiday soup and I hope you get to enjoy it with your family and friends!!!

 

Apple and Carrot Soup

What you’ll need:

1 onion, diced

4 stalks celery, diced

5 large carrots, cut into small chunks

3 apples, tart, cut into small chunks (peeled or not, up to you)

1 teaspoon dried dill weed

4 bay leaves, whole

1 teaspoon celery seed

2 teaspoons rubbed sage

4 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1-2 tablespoons pan toasted pumpkin seeds per serving

salt, pepper to taste

What you’ll do:

  1. Place a large pot over medium-high heat, then add oil, celery and onion and let the vegetables sauté for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots and apples, and sauté for another 5-8 minutes, until carrots and apples start to soften and brown.
  3. Add the spices and mix well, then pour in the water, increase the heat to high, let the soup come to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until apples and carrots are soft and fully cooked.
  4. Once the carrots and apples are fully cooked, turn the heat off, and let the soup cool for 5-10 minutes. Take all the bay leaves out, then using your immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. You can do this in the standard blender as well, but do be careful – the liquid will still be very hot and you can get seriously burned!!!
  5. Serve the soup with some toasted pumpkin seeds. You can toast the seeds in a toaster oven or in the non-stick pan. Place your pan over the high heat and let the surface get really hot. Next pour in the seeds, and let them toast with constant stirring for 1-2 minutes. This will be sufficient to get them lightly toasted. Sprinkle on top of the soup and serve!

Note on the salt: please note that the recipe does not use any salt as my husband is on a reduced-sodium/no-sodium diet. However, I do add salt to my own bowl as I do think it enhances the flavor. If you are in the household that consumes salt, please consider adding 1 teaspoon in the pot while cooking. Enjoy!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018

Escarole and Lentil Soup

Escarole and Lentil Soup, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Soups are some of the easiest types of meals you can make. They can, of course, be light and serve to open your appetite and cleanse your palate – so if you are up for a five course meal don’t skip your soup! Having said that, that type of a soup is not what this post is about.

One-pot dinner wonders

Hearty soups are those wonder recipes that take only a handful ingredients and a single pot to make a huge amount of food to feed an army. Hearty soups, and, to be honest, soups in general, freeze well as well as taste even better the next day! This all means that if you have an hour of time, a chopping board, and a large pot you can make yourself a big batch that can see you through for a while.

How to make a hearty, yet meatless soup

Many may think that meat is the only way to boost the heartiness. This is a myth and simple to dispel. All you need is a nice selection of some soup basics, like onions, celery, garlic, carrots, parsnips, peppers – these types of ingredients will make a flavor base for your soup.

Another type of flavoring agents you may want to employ are vegetable stock, bouillon cubes or bouillon base. I use the stock fairly often – you do need to experiment a bit to find one you like. However, I find both the bouillon cubes and base to be too salty and full of stuff I don’t need/want. It’s up to you to decide whether these are the best way to enhance flavors of your soups and other dishes.

Additional key ingredients for a hearty plant-based soup are the legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas), and starches (potatoes, noodles, and rice). You can use both legumes and starches together, of course, but in the recipe below I use lentils only.

Finally, you can really refresh your hearty soup by throwing in some nice green leafy vegetables. Things like kale, spinach, chard, and escarole are all an excellent addition. This kale soup is a good example from a while back!

Re-thinking escarole and bean soup

In this one pot hearty soup recipe, I decided to play around with a very traditional escarole and bean soup recipe. Instead of the beans, the recipe uses brown lentils. Moreover, it starts with a mix of scallions and diced red pepper, this completely abandoning the traditional onion and celery. The result is a thick soup, where richness of lentils is balanced out by the escarole. Overall, one head of escarole and one pound of lentils go a long way, making this a budget-friendly recipe. Lastly, since the recipe is wholesome and uses only main stream ingredients, this is something you can serve with vegans and non-vegans alike.

Escarole and Lentil Soup

What you’ll need:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2-3 scallions, trimmed and finely sliced

1 sweet red pepper, finely diced

1 escarole, washed and chopped into bite sized pieces

1 lbs (454 g) brown lentils, rinsed and sorted

4 cups vegetable broth

2-4 cups water

 

What you’ll do:

  1. Place a large and heavy pot over the medium high heat – I recommend using a Dutch oven, but any heavy and large pot will do. Add oil and chopped scallions and brown for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the diced peppers, lower the heat to medium low, and sauté for 5-8 minutes.
  3. While the scallions and peppers are sautéing, wash and chop the escarole, and rinse and sort lentils. Add the escarole first, and let it wilt down. This will take 4-5 minutes. Then add the lentils, pour the stock in, and add 2 cups of water to begin with.
  4. Turn up the heat, bring the pot to boil, then lower the heat down to a gentle simmer. Let the soup simmer for 45 minutes or so, with occasional stirring. If you think the soup is getting too dense, add some more water in – but do go slow and only add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water at a time. After about 45 minutes of simmering the soup will be ready to enjoy. Taste test first to make sure it is salty enough for you (I don’t add extra salt since the vegetable stock I use is usually enough, but this is something you can easily adjust depending on your preferences), and that lentils are fully cooked – they should be soft by this point.
  5. Enjoy the soup with some bread, or with a salad. You can top it with a dollop of vegan sour cream, yogurt (my favorite brand is kite hill plain almond milk yogurt), or parmesan cheese, and sprinkle of fresh chives or fresh flat leaf parsley!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018

Creamy Vegetable Soup with Roasted Garlic

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Creamy Vegetable Soup with Roasted Garlic, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Vegetable soups are supposed to be healthy and good for you. But on a recent plane trip I realized that some of the cooking shows out there go out of their way to make absolutely everything in their reach as unhealthy as possible, or even worse – talk up these recipes as good for you, usually referring to them as “soul food”.

Of course, all of us have a soft spot for rich food, the one our mom or grandma used to make… Most people have warm memories associated with big family meals and joy that comes from being surrounded by the loved ones. And, yes, it is true that most of the food consumed in those occasions is not something that any nutritionist would approve off!

To be honest, I don’t disprove an occasional overindulgence, but what rubbed me the wrong way was that during the three hours of different cooking shows there was not a single recipe that would qualify as healthful, and even couple of soup and salad recipes included exuberant amounts of butter, cream, bacon…

As I was watching the continuous array of that heart-attack-in-the-making “soul food” recipes I could not stop thinking that there must be a better way. Actually, I started jotting down recipe ideas and ingredient lists while still on the plane, and this creamy vegetable soup is the first one that I have now fully developed.

I’ve made quite a few creamy soups in the past, like the Cream of Carrot Soup, Creamy Cauliflower Winter Soup, and the New England Clam-less Chowder, which are all rich in flavor and light in calories, or at least far lighter than the more conventional soups of their kind. The recipe below is super simple and cheap, so there’s no excuse not to try it.

The only slightly more time-consuming bit is the roasted garlic.  I am not even sure if you can get roasted garlic in the store, if you can you may try using the store bought stuff as a short cut. But roasting your own batch and then using it as needed is simple so you might just as well do it yourself, and here is a good recipe for you to follow (it’s basically putting a head of garlic in an hot oven for 30 minutes or so and you- there, I told you it was easy!)

To re-cap: angered by cooking shows that succeeded in making even soups and salads into a health hazard, I decided to roll my sleeves up and show the world that couple of simple ingredients, like a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, some starch and a carton of vegetable stock, when combined with flavor enhancing agents, like the roasted garlic, lemon juice and lemon zest, will make a wonderful, flavorful and rich-tasting soup without any butter, cream, bacon or cheese. Now that’s some real soul food!

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Creamy Vegetable Soup with Roasted Garlic

What you’ll need:

1 bag (1 lbs, 454 g) bag mixed vegetables, frozen

2 tablespoons corn (or potato) starch

4 cups (960 mL) vegetable stock

2 cups water

4 cloves roasted garlic

1 lemon, juice and zest

1 tablespoon oil (optional)

What you’ll do:

  1. Place a large post over the medium to medium-high heat, add the oil (if using), and all the vegetables. Let defrost and sauté with frequent stirring for 3-5 minutes.
  2. When the veggies have softened, add the starch. Make sure that vegetables are fully coated with a thin layer of starch. Sauté for another minute, just to let everything fully combine.
  3. Add the vegetable stock in a slow and steady stream, while mixing continuously. This vigorous mixing is essential to prevent lumps, so keep at it! You can use a large whisk for this if you like – the whisk works well for me.
  4. Next, add the water still mixing/whisking as you go, then let the soup come to a steady boil. Once you reach that point, lower the heat all the way down, add the chopped up roasted garlic, and allow the soup to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat off, and mix in the juice of one lemon, and all the lemon zest. Serve warm and enjoy! (As you can see from a photo above I had mine for lunch with some buttered homemade bread. If you are into making your own bread via a bread machine, my recipe is here.)

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018

Cream of Carrot Soup


Cream of carrot? How can that be? Well, it can, and it is, and you will not believe how great this soup is. Carrots are the star, to be sure, but what gives the soup its rich creaminess (without any cream) are the white potatoes, and you want to pick nice, starchy potato variety, like the Russets.  The starchier the potato, the creamier the final soup. Usually, the really starchy potatoes don’t hold well to boiling and tend to fall apart. In this case that really does not matter because everything will go into a blender at the end. I do recommend you chop your carrots and potatoes into smaller chunks to speed up the cooking process, but they don’t need to be finely diced.

The potatoes and the carrots cook together with flavor agents, like soy sauce and the Worcestershire sauce, and the spices, like smoked paprika or smoked paprika flakes, garlic powder and ground mustard.  I also suggest you use vegetable stock and not water, because a really great stock will extend the richness of your flavors, while water will dilute them out. In terms of what stock to use exactly, you’ll have to try it out and see what you like. Reduced sodium options are probably the best starting point, and you can always taste a bit of the stock before dumping it into the pot. If the stock is not pleasant to drink, it will probably not make for a pleasant soup to eat. I would stay away from roasted garlic infused or very heavy on spices stocks and go with mild almost bland stocks that you can build on and that will not interfere with all the other ingredients you are using.

This soup is in many ways an extension of me using carrots for as many things as possible, including the summer hit – carrot dogs – and some of my baking, like cookies and muffins.

What helps put this soup over the top is just a sprinkle of fresh dill at the end, and a handful of freshly toasted croutons. With all that in place all that’s left to do is grab a spoon and dig in!

Cream of Carrot Soup

What you’ll need:

6 large carrots

2 potatoes, Russet or white

2 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoon ground mustard powder

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (vegan)

1 teaspoon steak sauce

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika flakes

4 cups vegetable stock

2 tablespoons dill, fresh


What you’ll do:

  1. Wash, peel and cube carrots and potatoes. Place in a pot, cover with water and boil for about 15 minutes, until vegetables are just soft but not falling apart.
  2. Drain the vegetables, pat dry to absorb as much of the access water as you can, and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the oil, spices and sauces and mix well. Let marinade for 30-60 minutes.
  4. Place all the vegetables and the marinade into a blender and add the vegetable stock. Blend until smooth and silky. You can do this step in the mixing bowl with an immersion blender but I think the regular upright blender produces smoother consistency.
  5. Pour back into the pot and bring to simmer. Let the soup simmer gently for 10 to 20 minutes.
  6. While the soup is simmering you can toast some bread, or make some croutons.
  7. Serve the soup with a sprinkle of fresh dill, and some toast, croutons, bread or even tortilla chips on the side. Mmmmm… good!!!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Creamy Cauliflower Winter Soup

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Creamy Cauliflower Winter Soup, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

This soup is pure gold, and by gold I mean absolutely a light delight, and by light delight I mean that it uses none of the usual suspects you can find in a creamy soup. So, on the side of ingredients that this soup does not use you will find cream, butter, and flour, and on the side of ingredients that this soup does use you will find cauliflower, green peas, yellow corn, vegetable bouillon cube, fresh thyme and almond yogurt. Yes, you read that right – six ingredients and you will be done!

The soup comes together in less than an hour and serves four to six people, and if you include on your holiday menu where lots of other goodies are being served as well, this recipe can easily be served to eight people! So, one head of cauliflower with couple of extras can really go a very long way.

All you need to do is wash and chop one large head of cauliflower, put the pieces into a large pot, pour in 3 cups of water, add the bouillon cube, cover, bring to boil and cook the cauliflower for fifteen minutes or so, until cooked through. Let the soup cool a bit – it does not need to be completely cold but you do need to be able to handle cauliflower and the broth safely. Purée the broth and the cooked cauliflower until completely smooth, with either an immersion blender or using a standing blender. I highly recommend getting an immersion (stick) blender, if you don’t already have one. This is a kitchen gadget I use all the time for soups, burgers, even cookies, so I am getting a lot of mileage out of mine.

Place the soup back on the stove top, add green peas and corn, and bring to gentle simmer. You can use either fresh or frozen peas and corn, or even canned. If using the canned vegetables do check the salt content and buy “no salt added” variety. The soup should simmer for about twenty minutes. Turn it off, and then stir in fresh thyme and plain, unsweetened almond yogurt. Serve warm, with a squeeze of lemon if you like (I do!!!), and a handful of oyster crackers or freshly toasted bread.

Creamy Cauliflower Winter Soup

What you’ll need:

1 large head of cauliflower

3 cups water

1 vegetable bouillon cube

1 1/2 cup green peas, frozen

1 1/2 cup yellow corn, frozen

1/2 cup almond yogurt, plain and unsweetened

10 springs of fresh thyme

What you’ll do:

  1. Cut the cauliflower florets out, wash them and chop roughly into bits. Place in a large pot, add water and the bouillon cube, cover with a lid, and bring to boil.
  2. Boil the cauliflower for 15 minutes or until fully cooked – cauliflower should be soft and falling apart.
  3. Purée the cauliflower together with the broth it cooked in with a stick (immersion) blender until smooth.
  4. Add frozen (fresh, or canned) peas and corn. If you are using canned vegetables make sure you use “no salt added” and make sure you drain the veggies well before adding them in.
  5. Bring the soup to gentle simmer, and leave it for 20 minutes or so. If you are using canned vegetables you can simmer for less, and 10 to 15 minutes should be plenty.
  6. Turn the heat off, then add thyme and yogurt, mix well and serve. This soup can be a meal on its own, with some freshly toasted bread, or a nice start for your next three course, festive winter holiday dinner!!!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Miso Soup with Rice Noodles and Scallions

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Miso Soup with Scallions and Rice Noodles, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

The colder weather is definitely here, and everywhere you look around here you can find picture perfect foliage spanning all shades from deep green, to intensely and furiously red, and everything in between. Autumn… or is it fall? Whatever it is, the warm, fuzzy sweaters are in, and the shorts are out – I like fuzzy sweaters and can’t stand shorts so this is the right season for me! With the new season comes a new menu, the one that is full of roasted root vegetables, pumpkins and winter squash, apples and pies, cinnamon and nutmeg. There will be more of those types of recipes later, but today it will be all about the soup, my take on miso soup that is amazingly easy to make, and definitely rich enough to qualify as a warm and comforting cold weather favorite.

The key ingredient in a miso soup is miso. What is miso, I hear you ask? It’s a fermented soybean paste with salt and koji – a filamentous fungus not unlike the yeast we use in baking. Miso comes in few different versions – I’ve seen white and red miso into stores I go to, but there are others out there so keep your eyes open and read the labels carefully because what you need for this miso soup is the white miso. However, miso soups that you may enjoy in your local Japanese restaurants may be made with different kinds of miso and their flavor will definitely vary.

The recipe here is super fast and super easy. All you need is a pot, some scallions, white miso, and a bunch of thin rice noodles. Scallions will brown in a minute or two, and the thin rice noodles, sometimes called rice vermicelli, will cook in five minutes so, taken all together, from an empty pot to  the full bowl, this soup will be ready in under half an hour.

When serving, I also added some Sriracha sauce to my bowl, but that is a condiment that you can definitely skip. Some other types of condiments that would work with this soup are a squeeze of lime juice or a dash of lime zest, freshly ground black pepper, a slice or two of pickled ginger, or some toasted panko. Your choice, your delicious bowl of filling and satisfying soup!!!

Not fan of miso? There are more soup recipes for you to try here.

Miso Soup with Rice Noodles and Scallions

What you’ll need:

6 scallions

1/2 cup white miso

7 oz (200 g) thin rice noodles (rice vermicelli)

4 cups water

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Wash the scallions, trim the tops, and some of the green bits that need trimming but definitely use both the white and the green parts. Chop finely.
  2. Spray the bottom of a large pot with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the scallions and brown for 1-2 minutes. Keep an eye on the scallions since they can burn quickly.
  3. Add the miso and mix well. Let the miso brown for 1-2 minutes. Stir frequently.
  4. Pour in the water and use a whisk to make sure the soup is smooth and there are no miso clumps.
  5. Bring soup to boil, and once it’s boiling add the rice noodles. Depending on the size of your pot and the water level, the noodles may or may not be completely submerged when you put them in. Don’t force them in, as they’ll break. Wait for the bottoms to soften then gently ease the rest of them in. The noodles need about five minutes and they will be ready.
  6. Let the soup cool just a bit before serving and then enjoy as is or with any number of toppings, like Sriracha, vegan bacon bits, fresh cilantro, squeeze of lime, toasted panko… Options and flavor variations are endless!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Hearty Vegetable Soup with Kale

 

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Hearty Vegetable Soup with Kale, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

There’s always room for soup, and in some cases the soup is so rich that there’s room only for the soup. I definitely like making hearty soups that are rich and filling. I’ve already shared with you my split pea soup, which is on the left lighter side, and “clam” chowder and bean and leek soup with soy chorizo, which are both really more a meal in a bowl than a light intro to a main course.

Today’s soup is somewhere in between: not quite hearty enough to qualify as a meal yet not light by any means. It is full with vegetables and resembles Minestrone Soup. The soup builds on the classic mirepoix, a classic base of many soups and stews. Practically speaking mirepoix is a mix of diced carrots, onions and celery that is sautéed until caramelization starts to take place. This what I would normally do when making a soup like this but this time around I had to take a shortcut and I used a lot of frozen and canned veggies, including the frozen peas and carrots mix so my mirepoix started with only onions and celery.

At the end the soup came together well, with frozen corn and canned tomatoes and beans, and a whole bunch of kale. The main trick here was to let the soup simmer for a long time which helps soften kale, which has quite a sturdy leaf structure.

Hearty Vegetable Soup with Kale

What you’ll need:

6 stalks celery, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

16 oz (454 g) kale, roughly chopped

15.5 oz (439 g) can red kidney beans

2 cups yellow corn kernels, frozen

16 oz (454 g) peas and diced carrots mix, frozen

28 oz. (794 g) can crushed tomatoes

32 oz (907 g; 4 cups) vegetable stock

3 cups water

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Dice celery and onions to a medium dice. It does not have to be very fine or precise because the whole soup is a bit rustic.
  2. Spray the bottom of a large soup pot with cooking spray and place over medium high heat. Add celery and onions and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, with occasional stirring.
  3. While onions and celery are cooking, wash the kale and remove any parts of stalk that look particularly tough. Chop the kale roughly into smaller bits. If you are wondering how small should you make them, it’s really up to you. My preference is to keep them at about 2 in (5 cm). Set aside.
  4. Add the frozen veggies in all at once and cook with stirring for 5 to 10 minutes. They will not be completely thawed but they will start to soften.
  5. Add the beans – I usually drain and rinse mine but if you are a fan of keeping all the flavors of canned beans intact (including extra salt they use when canning) go ahead ad just dump the whole thing right in. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the crushed tomatoes, stir again and cook for another 5 minutes.
  7. At this point you are ready to add the kale. As with all other green leafy vegetables, the raw leaves occupy a significantly larger space than cooked, so don’t panic if adding the kale pushes your pot to its size limits. The kale will settle down. Gently fold the kale into the soup and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. By the end of this process your pot should look like it can fit the stock and water.
  8. Add the stock and as much water as you like really. What I do is dump the stock into the pot and then use water to rinse the carton out. But if you would like to keep this Soup really dense and almost like a stew you can skip adding water.
  9. Bring everything to boil, lower the heat to low and simmer for another 30 to 45 minutes or until the kale is done to your liking.
  10. Enjoy this soup with some fresh bread, top with some fresh parsley, with a squeeze of lemon or top with a bit of Cashew Sour Cream.

 

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup with Tofu Bacon, via Eat The Vegan Rainbow
Sweet Potato and Leek Soup with Tofu Bacon, via Eat The Vegan Rainbow
Soups are part of all cultures and culinary traditions. So it is no wonder that I make pots and pots of soups each week. My absolutely go to soup is Vegan Split Pea Soup or variations of it made with lentils, but over the last few months I have also shared with you a colorful and fabulously satisfying Bean & Leek Soup with Soy Chorizo, and even a vegan version of the New England Clam Chowder.

Why such a soup passion? Well, I grew up eating soup almost every day, and the soups my mom made came in many different shapes, forms and sizes. Soups are a great way to combine different bits and bobs into a one pot to create a satisfying meal for a family. In general, soups are easy to make, very inexpensive, and they store and reheat very well. So, what’s not to love?

This Sweet Potato and Leek Soup is my take on a standard soup that is usually made with potatoes, leeks, butter and heavy cream. I got rid of butter and heavy cream and replaced potatoes with sweet potatoes, making this version a bit sweeter. But, I did not remove all the fun – I made some tofu bacon to top this soup with. The Buddhist Chef makes the most fabulous tofu bacon and I’ve been using his recipe to make crunchy and delicious vegan bacon that works as a snack, in sandwiches and now on soups.

You can top this soup with couple of other toppings if you don’t have time to make the tofu bacon. Chives or green onions (scallions) will work, as will cashew sour cream like the one Angela Liddon shared on her Oh She Glows site, or simple croutons aka piece of toast cut in smaller pieces. Regardless what you put on top of your bowl of Sweet Potato and Leek soup what’s inside it is a tasty, creamy and healthy soup.

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup

What you’ll need:

5 sweet potatoes

2-3 large leeks

2 carrots

4 cups vegetable stock (optional)

3 cups water (or 7 cups if you decide not to use stock)

1 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons potato starch

2 bay leaves

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Peel and cube sweet potatoes and carrots into a rough chunks. The size of the chunks does not really matter because you will use a blender at the end to create a smooth and creamy soup. But, the smaller the chunks the quicker the cooking so decide for yourself if you would like to spend more time simmering or more time chopping.
  2. Prepare the leeks using the cleaning method of your choice. The leeks are very often full of send and dirt that gets inside the leek so you will need to open them up and wash everything out. I described my preferred cleaning method in one of my previous posts.
  3. Spray the bottom of a large pot with the cooking spray and place it over the medium high heat. Add leeks and sauté for 5 minutes. The leeks should soften and start to brown.
  4. Add sweet potatoes, carrots, bay leave and potato starch. Mix well and sauté for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add vegetable stock and/or water. mix well and turn the heat on high. Stirring occasionally, bring the pot to boil then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on whether your vegetables were chopped into smaller or larger chunks.
  6. Take the bay leaves out and add the almond milk. Using either a counter top blender or a hand held stick blender to blend the soup together and create smooth soup. Top with any topping you like and enjoy!
  7. Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

New England “Clam” Chowder

Bowl of New England “Clam” Chowder, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

A week ago New England was thrown into a March snow storm that dumped 1-2 feet (30 – 60 cm) of fresh powder all over the region. Schools were closed, businesses advised people to work from home if they can, and by the time late afternoon rolled around we were all outside digging ourselves out.

As we all know, when it comes to the cold weather and snow storms nothing works faster to melt the chills away than a bowl of hot soup, so given the success of my Jackfruit “Crab” Cakes I decided to veganize a seafood classic, the New England Clam Chowder and see if jackfruit would work in this recipe as well.

For those of you not familiar with the New England Clam Chowder it is a creamy soup built from butter, heavy cream, celery, onions, potatoes, clam juice and clam meat. I had past success in making creamy soups using potato or corn starch as gluten-free thickening agents, and I was pretty sure that they will work here as well. I was interested to see how jackfruit will do as a stand in for clams and felt confident that it will turn out OK.

But how to make vegan clam juice, which is clam broth and a key ingredient in this soup that adds unique flavor evocative of sea and shell fish posed and interesting challenge. I decided to use some Old Bay Seasoning because it worked so well in my “crab” cakes, and for some extra sea flavor I used some seaweed broth. What I did is to soak two sushi nori seaweed sheets in some warm water for 30 minutes, and then pass the mix through a strainer to remove the seaweed and keep just the liquid. That was my “clam juice”, and it worked!

Beside that little neat trick, my one general recommendation is to use a Dutch oven or a similar heavy post with a lid, as the soup does need to simmer for a while. When the soup is done, it is best served fresh with a squeeze of lemon, coarsely ground (cracked) black pepper, a sprinkle of dry basil or fresh parsley, and a piece of bread. There’s nothing better to help you recover from all that snow shoveling!

New England “Clam” Chowder, Gently Simmering, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

New England “Clam” Chowder

What you’ll need:

1.5 lbs (700 g) potatoes, peeled and diced

1 can (10 oz, 280 g) young green jackfruit in brine

6 stalks of celery

1 large yellow onion

2 tablespoons garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

3 tablespoons corn starch

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 bay leaves

2 sheets of sushi nori seaweed

2 cups hot water

3 cups almond milk

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Soak seaweed sheets in 2 cups of hot water for 15-30 minutes.
  2. While seaweed is soaking rinse and drain the jackfruit and pull the pieces apart to create smaller chunks, roughly the size and shape of chopped clams. Set aside.
  3. Peel and dice potatoes, onions and celery.
  4. Spray the bottom of a large Dutch oven, or other heavy pot, with cooking spray and bring up to medium high heat.
  5. Add onions, garlic and celery and sauté for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add potatoes and continue sautéing for another 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add jackfruit, sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning, mix well and sauté for another 5-7 minutes.
  8. While the vegetables are sautéing, run the seaweed through a strainer to remove as much seaweed as possible. You should end up with 2 cups of water that is slightly brown and smells like seaweed. That’s your “clam” juice
  9. Mix in the starch into the vegetables, and add the “clam” juice, bay leaves, and lemon juice. Bring the soup to gentle boil, mixing occasionally.
  10. Add almond milk, and keep the soup on gentle simmer for 20-30 minutes. Serve hot, with a squeeze of lemon and a piece of bread.

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Bean & Leek Soup with Soy Chorizo

beanleeksoup
Bean & Leek Soup with Soy Chorizo, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

One of my recent impulse buys was Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo. This chorizo is vegan, as well as smokey and  very spicy so a little goes a long way. I enjoyed it as a topping for an otherwise simple tomato and lettuce sandwich, but I also wanted to experiment a bit and see what else I can use soy chorizo for.

Chorizo and beans usually make for an excellent combination, but I wanted something more adventures than a pot of chili. I decided to mix several types of beans, to diversify the texture of the soup I was building, and in addition to soy chorizo use leeks to expand the range of flavors. The three different types of beans I used are small white beans, black-eyed peas, and dark kidney beans, and I used a canned variety of all three because cooking beans from scratch is not my idea of fun. One thing to keep in mind when using canned vegetables is to rinse them well before use to remove excess salt.

The time I saved on beans, I used to deal with leeks. For those of you who are new to leek, it belongs to the onion family and shares a lot of similarities when it comes to flavor with spring onions (scallions) and spring garlic, which unfortunately is not often found in large supermarket chains. Although I do enjoy leek flavor, I don’t really cook with it often mostly because it does need extensive washing to ensure that all the traces of dirt are removed. The method I use to deal with this is something I’ve seen on Food Network, where you slice the leek and submerge the slices in water. You need to leave chopped leek in for few minutes to let the sediment and dirt fall to the bottom of the bowl, then scoop, rinse and dry the leek slices. They are now ready to go!

cleaningleeks
Cleaning Leeks, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Bean & Leek Soup with Soy Chorizo

What you’ll need:

2 leeks

1 15.5 oz (439g) can small white beans

1 15.5 oz (439g) can black-eyed peas

1 15.5 oz (439g) can dark kidney beans

1/2 soy chorizo

32 oz (907 g) vegetable cooking stock

3 bay leaves

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Slice leeks across into thin rounds, then separate each round into individual circles. Fill a large bowl with water and submerge leek circles in it. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes. Using a skimmer spoon to remove the leek without disturbing the sediment that has collected at the bottom of the bowl. Give leek one more rinse, then pat dry with the cloth towel.
  2. Spray the bottom of a large pot with the cooking spray and turn the heat on to medium high. Add leek and let caramelize for 5 minutes or so.
  3. Add soy chorizo and stir to mix. If you are using Trader Joe’s brand please make sure that you remove the casing as this is not edible. Break the chorizo to small pieces and brown leek and chorizo mix for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add well-rinsed beans to the pot and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes, mixing frequently.
  5. Add vegetable stock and bay leaves to the post. Bring the soup to boil, then decrease the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve the soup with some toast, corn chips or freshly baked bread. If you are feeling very decadent, you can top this soup with some Cashew Cream, or vegan shredded cheese of your choice. Some lime juice would work well, too!

Note for those using Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo: I used only half of Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo, which added just enough flavor and spiciness to this soup as far as I am concerned. If you prefer more kick, go ahead and use the whole thing. If you are more on a cautious side, save the other half and transform it into my Vegan Mexican Lasagna. 

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017