Category Archives: Soups

Curried (Vegan) Cauliflower & Leek Soup

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This creamy Curried Cauliflower & Leek Soup is a delicious addition to our repertoire in the Cafe and has been very popular. It was the first creamy soup I had tried using a non-dairy milk.

The original recipe that I picked up on Pinterest from Beard and Bonnet calls for canned coconut milk, which I have listed in the recipe below. It was also elegantly garnished with crushed red pepper and cilantro stems.

This last time I made it, I used fresh coconut milk, which was thinner than the canned. It was easy to adjust for this by using only milk and no water in the soup. I have a few heat-sensitive customers, so I garnished this time with cilantro and red bell pepper.

I made a few other changes in the recipes, mainly in the procedure.

Curried (Vegan) Cauliflower & Leek Soup

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower, 2 lb.
  • Leeks, 1 cup cleaned chunks (white or light green parts only)
  • Ginger, 1-1/2″ piece
  • Basmati rice, dry, 1-2 TB
  • Limes, 1-1/2 for garnish and additional flavor
  • Cilantro, 1/3 cup
  • Thai green or yellow curry paste, 2-3 TB
  • Coconut butter, 2 TB
  • Coconut milk, 4 cups (either use one can augmented with water to make 4 cups, or use 4 cups of fresh coconut milk)
  • Salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Add coconut butter/oil to the soup pot.
  2. Prepare the veggies for cooking and pureeing, beginning with the cauliflower. Remove the greenest part of the cauliflower leaves and discard or save for use in another soup stock. Cut out the core and stalk portions of the flowerets and add to the soup pot. Reserve flowerets.
  3.  Wash mud out of the leeks and cut lower portion into chunks, leaving the tougher darker green portions for another soup stock. Add prepared chunks of leeks to soup pot.
  4. Peel ginger piece and add to soup pot.
  5. Cut away any brown parts of cilantro stems. Cut of remainder of stems and put into soup pot. Reserve the leaves to mince for garnish.
  6. Add the dry rice to the pot.
  7. Add half the coconut milk (fresh or reconstituted from can) to the pot.
  8. Bring mixture in pot to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook veggies until soft.  Cool slightly.
  9. Move the contents of the soup pot to a Vita-Mix or blender and blend until very smooth and hopefully thick.
  10. Move blended ingredients back to the stock pot and add the curry paste and perhaps a little lime juice if you wish. I like to use the lime as a garnish and let people squeeze their own lime juice into the soup if they wish.
  11. Add the uncooked cauliflowerets to the pot and simmer until the cauliflower is slightly soft. This won’t take long at all.
  12. Check the seasoning and add salt to taste or more curry paste if desired.
  13. Dish up, garnish with minced cilantro and either a few red pepper flakes or chopped red bell pepper. Enjoy.

Creamy Vegan Corn Chowder

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I love potatoes and consider them a great vegetable despite the bad rap they’ve gotten in recent years. I know the arguments about their role in spiking blood sugar — but the peel counteracts that. Whole foods – that’s the key.

Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
  • Spanish onion, 1 large, small dice
  • Red bell peppers, 2, small dice
  • Red Potatoes, 16 small peel left on, quartered
  • Carrots, 6, 1″ dice
  • Water, 4 quarts
  • Cashews, 2 cups, soaked overnight
  • Cornstarch, 1 cup
  • Corn, fresh or frozen, 1-1/2 quarts
  • Salt & Szeged hot paprika to taste
  • Parsley, 1/4 cup chopped

Directions

  1. Saute the onion, bell peppers and carrots in extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Add half the water, add potatoes, and cook covered until potatoes are barely softened.
  3. Add other half of water to Vita-Mix or blender with soaked cashews and cornstarch. Blend until smooth and add to soup.
  4. Add fresh or frozen corn shortly before ready to serve. Bring back to a simmer, season and cook for 10-15 minutes.
  5. When serve, sprinkle chopped parsley on top.

Searching for a Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup

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Yesterday I woke up craving Broccoli Cheddar Soup, a demonstration to myself that I’m not vegan at heart yet.  Then it occurred to me: aha! a perfect opportunity to create something new.

My first thought was of a book I just purchased, Artisan Vegan Cheese by Myoko Schinner. While I’m very excited to try out some of these recipes, and the results look awesome and tantalize me, it wasn’t going to work for me on this one. The recipes require a curing process, which is probably what makes them good — I’m all for taking time with food — but I wanted Broccoli Cheddar Soup right now. Instant gratification.

My next thought was to check Pinterest, which is where I often do my initial research. Lots of possibilities there. I rejected the soups that use nutritional yeast. In my limited experience, they yield an odd flavor to foods when used to try to imitate cheese, and then a lot of salt is added to try to cover up the flavor.

I have a little bit of a conflict here. My approach to vegetarianism has always been to just make good food, not to try to imitate meat. As a result, I try to avoid adding unusual ingredients for the sole purpose of imitation. Part of me thinks I should use the same philosophy with veganism and cheese, which makes me question the addition of nutritional yeast. It also makes me question why I am trying to make a vegan version of Broccoli Cheddar Soup in the first place, but that is another story. For now, we’ll just say it is human to be contradictory.

Anyway, back to Pinterest. I found two recipes that were virtually the same differing only in the addition of tahina to one and garlic powder to another. The basic idea was to use cooked and pureed carrots and potatoes to mimic cheddar. I made a couple of modifications to the recipe . . . including bringing in some nutritional yeast! Why? Because it occurred to me that nutritional yeast is a seasoning and perhaps the problem was that the recipes I had tried with it just used too much and then had to use too much salt. I wanted to sneak in a little and see what happened. In addition, the soup was good but . . . well, lacked a certain pizzaz. I thought I might see if the nutritional yeast did anything for it if added in a smaller quantity.

The nutritional yeast improved the soup some, but I think if I’m going to use it, I will have to increase the quantity, which I may experiment with next time.  I also wonder about adding some lemon along with nutritional yeast. Lemon brightens the flavor of anything and doesn’t have to taste lemony.

On the other hand, it occurs to me that I can use this recipe as a start to create something with a similar mouth feel but that doesn’t really try to imitate cheese. I suspect it could be just as delicious and satisfying and be something in its own right.

What changes will I make next time? I would decrease the salt in the original recipe, might or might not use nutritional yeast or lemon, and might consider some curry powder or fresh ginger. I’ll also make the proportion of carrots smaller so the soup isn’t quite so day-glo, and I think I will use fewer cashews and perhaps add some extra virgin olive oil instead. The soup thickens quickly as it cools slightly, and the olive oil may help that.

I will share here the recipe I used for this soup but will wait to post it in my recipe files until I get it to taste just the way I’d like. It’s a work in progress, as I am!

This recipe makes about four servings.

Ingredients

  • Carrots, 2 or 1-2/3 cups
  • Potatoes, 2 medium or 1-1/2 cups
  • Spanish Onion, 1/2
  • Cashews, 1/2 cup
  • Water, 3-1/2 cups
  • Salt, 2 tsp.
  • Nutritional yeast, 2 tsp. (I added this to the recipe this time)
  • Hot paprika, 1/2 tsp. (I added this to the recipe this time)
  • Broccoli, 3 cups

Directions

  1. Soak the cashews for at least 2-3 hours before making the soup.
  2. Peel and cut up the potatoes and onion. Rinse and cut up the carrots.  Put into a pot with 2-1/2 cups of water, bring to a boil, and simmer with the lid on until soft.
  3. Cut the stalks off the broccoli. I usually like to cut up the stalks and add to my soup base (the carrots, potatoes and onion) to cook. In this case, I added just a little bit because I was concerned about the color. I might try more next time.
  4. Steam the small flowerets in the remaining cup of water until just tender. Drain, reserving the cooking water.
  5. Place the cashews, reserved broccoli cooking water, and seasonings in a Vita-Mix.  When the carrot, potato, onion and broccoli stalks are soft, add them to the Vita-Mix as well. Blend well, at least one minute, until smooth.
  6. Return the cooked broccoli flowerets to the pot, and pour the blended “cheese” mixture over them.

People who are a little afraid of veganism or who prefer standard American foods will like this soup!

Veggie Chili

(Makes about 1/2 gal. – 6-8 servings)

This chili is a favorite that I have made in my family for many years. Originally it contained meat, but with certain adjustments to the recipe, it remained a favorite when we moved to meatless meals.

Please read my post about handling the beans before preparing this soup: http://vegetatingwithleslie.org/?p=818

Ingredients
Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
Garlic, 1 TB
Green bell peppers, 2
Spanish Onion, 1
Poblano pepper, 1
Dried small red beans, 1/2 lb.
Dried dark red kidney beans, 1/2 lb.
Plum tomatoes, 8 large (or one 19 oz. can petite diced tomatoes)
Tomato paste, one 6 oz. can
Salt, 1 TB
Cumin, 1.5 TB
Hot chili powder, 1 TB
Hot paprika, 2 tsp
Cilantro, 1 bunch

Directions
1. Prepare Beans. Read my post on preparing beans – http://vegetatingwithleslie.org/?p=818

2. Prepare Veggies. Cut bell peppers and onions into 1″ dice. Mince poblano and cilantro.

3. Prepare Tomato Sauce. Hand-dice tomatoes or pulse briefly in a food processor. Measure the tomatoes, which should come to about 1 pint. Fresh tomatoes can be replaced with one 19 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes.  Add tomato paste to this mixture and water to reach 1-1/4 quarts (including the tomatoes and tomato paste).

4. Make Chili. Add olive oil to bottom of a 1 gallon pot. Saute garlic, peppers and onions until slightly soft. Add tomato mixture, and heat until entire mixture is simmering. Add remaining seasonings, and simmer a few minutes. Add cooked beans, reserving juices. You can add this back into the chili if it is too thick. Bring to a simmer.

5. Season and Finish. Add seasonings to chili, and simmer all together at least long enough to allow seasonings to permeate ingredients. Add cilantro toward end of cooking time, and adjust seasoning.

Black Bean Soup

(Makes 1.5 Gallons)

Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/2 cup
  • Spanish Onions, 1 lg., small diced
  • Garlic, 16 cloves (2 TB minced)
  • Carrots, 1/2 lb., small diced
  • Celery, 5 lg. stalks, small diced
  • Red bell pepper, 1 lg., small diced
  • Black beans, 3 lb.
  • Plum tomatoes, 1 lb. petite diced (about 8) or one 19-oz. can petite diced)
  • Tomato paste, 1-6 oz. can
  • Water, about 4-5 quarts
  • Salt, 1 TB (to taste)
  • Cumin, 2 TB
  • Hot chili powder, 1-1/2 tsp.
  • Hot paprika, 1-1/2 tsp.
  • Lemon or lime to taste
  • Cilantro and red pepper garnish

Directions

  1. Prepare the beans – read my post: http://vegetatingwithleslie.org/?p=818
  2. Add extra virgin olive oil to another pot, covering the bottom to about 1/8″.
  3. Add onions and garlic to saute briefly.
  4. Add diced veggies and saute briefly until softened.
  5. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato paste and seasonings. Simmer for a moment or two and remove from burner while preparing beans.
  6. Drain cooked beans in a colander over a bowl to capture cooking liquid.
  7. Measure the cooking liquid and add 4-5 quarts to the tomato and veggie mixture along with the beans (add less to start if you use the blanch-soak method of bean preparation).
  8. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook the soup until all has blended together well, beans are very tender and soup has reached desired thickness.
  9. I usually mash some of the soup with a potato ricer.
  10. Add lemon or lime if desired.
  11. Adjust liquid and other seasonings.
  12. Garnish with chopped red peppers and cilantro and serve.

Israeli White Bean Soup

(Makes about 1 gal.)

Ingredients 

  • Olive Oil, 1/3 cup
  • Garlic, 1 TB
  • Spanish onion, 1 lg, petite diced
  • Celery, 2 lg stalks, bias cut
  • Carrots, 2 lg, bias cut
  • Potatoes, 5 size “A” potatoes, 1″ dice, skin on
  • Cumin, 1 TB
  • Tomato, 8 lg plum tomatoes, petite diced, or one  28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste,  3 heaping TB or to desired thickness
  • Salt, 2 tsp or to taste
  • Szeged hot paprika, 1 tsp
  • Cilantro, 1 bunch, chopped
  • White beans (Navy Pea Beans or Canellini), 2 lb. dried
  • Water, 3 quarts to start

Directions

  1. Add olive oil to a pot large enough to hold the entire soup, and saute garlic.
  2. Add petite diced or chopped onions and sauté.
  3. Rinse beans well, and put in pot to cook with fresh water to cover, about 3 quarts. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to simmer, cover pot and cook ’til beans are almost tender.
  4. Add celery and carrots cut on the bias. Simmer for about 10 minutes, adding more water if needed.
  5. Add potatoes, diced tomatoes tomato paste, and continue to simmer until the potatoes are barely tender.
  6. Add remaining seasonings and water to desired thickness, and bring soup back to simmer.
  7. When finished, the soup should be thick with veggies and beans but with enough broth to be soup.
  8. Add chopped cilantro at end of cooking process, and remove from heat.