Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hearty Vegan Vegetable Stew

OK, I know this is not a soup, and the Vegan Soup Lady only makes soup, right? Well, I can also make terrific stews! They are cooked in a pot too, right? I sometimes need a little bit of the old comfort food to put on the table, and this rich and hearty stew fits the bill. While I wouldn’t recommend making this stew every week (veggies cooked in gravy…ummm), it is just so good and simple that it is worth it every once in a while. If you have never made a roux before, be aware that when adding the water to your “Southern Napalm,” it will put off steam like mad. I usually put a thin glove on my hand when whisking in the water to avoid a steam burn.

                                                   Hearty Vegan Vegetable Stew
                                                         Emma Rating ♥♥♥♥♥
Serves 4


1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup canola oil
5 cups warm water
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
2 pounds potatoes, cut bite size
1/2 pound carrots, cut bite size
3 stalks celery, cut bite size
8 oz mushrooms, thickly sliced
1/2 tbsp. salt, or to taste
1 tsp pepper, or to taste


Make a blond roux by mixing flour and oil into a smooth paste in a large heavy pot. Cook over medium to low heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning, until lightly colored (about 10 minutes).

Quickly whisk in about half of the warm water into the flour and oil mixture (this is where you would add your gloves J). Chaos will ensue, but just keep whisking until the steam settles down, then add the remaining water and stir.

Add all vegetables except for the mushrooms and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add mushrooms and continue cooking until all vegetables are soft. Serve hot.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rosemary White Bean Soup

This soup is a regular at our house, because it is super simple to make, we usually already have all of the ingredients in the house, and everyone likes it. It is filling enough to use as a main course for a weeknight family meal, but also nice enough to be served as a first course for a more formal meal. Be sure to tie up the rosemary in cheesecloth, otherwise you will be spending an additional 15 minutes pulling out individual rosemary leaves that have fallen off of the main branch! Our Vitamix has pretty much taken care of stray rosemary leaves in the past, but if you have a less powerful blender, you may not be happy with the results. So use your cheesecloth. Maya (my 8 yo dd) would like everyone to know that this is her bowl of soup and that she added the pepper to it. Nice job Maya!

This is good served with bread or a salad- or both.

                                                    Rosemary White Bean Soup
                                                          Emma Rating  ♥♥♥♥

Serves 6+

4 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups onions , chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 cup olive oil
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 6” branch of fresh rosemary, tied in cheesecloth
1 bay leaf
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in large heavy pot, add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook on low for about one minute more.

Add vegetable broth, rinsed beans, rosemary, bay leaf and a bit of salt and pepper. Cover, bring to boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.

Remove the rosemary and bay leaf. Puree soup, in batches if needed, and return to pot.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary this past week, so I decided to make Italian Wedding Soup to recognize our special day! I had considered using the "Italian Style" sausage from Smart Sausage, but I wanted something a bit spicier.  I think you could definitely use the Smart Sausage brand if you were looking to make a really quick version of Italian Wedding Soup, but since it was our anniversary, I decided to put in the extra effort, and make up the sausage myself.

I did cheat a bit, as I used Gimme Lean’s ground sausage style as a base, and then added my own spices and allowed them to mingle amongst themselves for a day before shaping into balls for the soup. Gimme Lean’s spices are pretty mild and were easily overpowered by the Italian spices I added, and I was able to get the spiciness I wanted without spending a week in the kitchen trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak.

As you can see in my pictures, I decided to add some carrots at the last minute, after I had already taken pictures of the ingredients. I wanted a little more color! Add them if you like, or not. Emma and I also brainstormed this week in order to clarify her soup ratings, and she has come up with this rating scale (below), to help you understand what she means when she rates something, The Italian Wedding Soup is another ♥♥♥♥♥ for Emma, which was an absolute shocker for me. I was afraid she would refuse to even try it! But she says she loved it, and it has been her favorite soup so far. Maybe I should have done this years ago! Now she is actually trying new foods rather than turning up her nose and heading for the cereal boxes.

Emma Soup Ratings:

♥                      No way I am eating this! I am making a bowl of cereal.
♥♥                   Uhhhh, it’s okay….but…no.
♥♥♥                 Mehh, maybe just a small bowl.
♥♥♥♥               I like this. Make it again soon.
♥♥♥♥♥            This is “Soupilicious “ (her word)! I could eat this every day!

Now on to the soup -

                                                           Italian Wedding Soup
                                                          Emma Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥

Serves 6

Ingredients Lists-

            Sausage Ingredients (make in advance):
1 ½ pkg Gimme Lean ground sausage
1 tbsp minced garlic
½ tbsp. paprika
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tbsp. sea salt
½ tbsp. fresh black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground anise
1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 ½ tbsp. dry red wine

Mix all ingredients together with a fork and refrigerate, until you are ready to prepare soup (I made mine the night before).

            Soup Ingredients:
            1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
            1 cup white onion, finely chopped
            1-2 carrots, chopped
            2 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
            10-12 oz fresh baby spinach, cut into strips
            1 cup orzo pasta (or other small pasta)
            About 80 3/4” “Italian sausage meatballs”

Step 1: Roll the sausage into about 3/4” diameter balls. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 275° until browned, about 15-20 minutes.

Step 2: While the meatballs are baking, heat the olive oil in a heavy pot. Add your garlic and onion and cook on low until onions are soft. Add baby spinach and cook for about a minute. Then add vegetable broth and simmer in pot for about 40 minutes.

Step 3: Return soup to a boil, add orzo and meatballs. Cook until pasta is done, about 10 minutes.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mushrooms Smushrooms

Well, it is our second Soup Sunday, and it seems we have another hit. I love mushrooms and lucky for me, my kids love them too, even Emma. I know. Shocking. This Sunday’s soup is based on a traditional Hungarian mushroom soup, which is very rich and very filling. It only serves 4, so if you want more, just expand the recipe to your liking. We found that the 4 servings worked fine for us, as the girls generally eat smaller portions- although, it would have been nice to have leftovers for lunch the next day. Next time I will increase my ingredients by at least half to serve 6, for that reason.

You will find that I like to use the low-sodium vegetable broths, rather than their salty counterpart. I find that when I use the regular broth, the soup (and anything else I might be cooking with it) is too salty. I tend to keep things on the less-salty side, so that each serving can be adjusted to a person’s personal preference. I leave it to you to add salt to your liking. I figure you can always add more, but once it is added, game over.

Anyhoo, this soup is great served with crusty bread for dipping. I hope you like it!  If you are really ambitious and can find a vegan version of egg noodles, it would be great as a stroganoff, as well. It would be a good way to use any leftovers. Now on to considering what next Sunday’s soup will be. Any requests?

                                                          “Fung”arion Soup
                                                        Emma Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Serves 4

Ingredients List:
4 tbsp. Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
2 cups onions, chopped
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 tbsp. paprika
2 tbsp. fresh dill weed, snipped
1 tbsp. Braggs Liquid Aminos
3 tbsp. flour
1 cup milk substitute 
2 tsp. lemon juice
Freshly ground sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup Tofutti Sour Supreme Better than Sour Cream

STEP 1: Melt Earth Balance in a soup-sized pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions in Earth Balance for about 5 minutes, or until they have become translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vegetable broth, paprika, dill weed, and liquid aminos, and stir. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

STEP 2: In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and milk together forming a slurry. Add to the soup and stir. Replace lid and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

STEP 3: Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and parsley. Stir. Then add Sour Supreme, gently using a wisk to blend if needed. Continue cooking on low until ingredients are just hot, not boiling- about 3-6 minutes. Serve with your fav vegan crusty bread.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hoppin' John's New Year's Day Soup

Hello all!

Since this is my first entry into the blogosphere, I think introductions are in order. I am a SAHM of 4, currently unschooling 3 kiddos: Gabe 15, Emma 10, and Maya 8. My oldest, Haley, is 22 .  I love painting, traveling, music, theatre, sewing, and knitting, among other things. As part of my 2012 New Year’s Resolution, I have decided to take the next step and become a full time VEGAN! I have been a vegetarian for the past two years, but… I love cheese. I know how bad it is for me, and yes, occasionally when I think about it, especially while eating said cheese, I too am grossed out by it. But I am a survivor, and will survive a cheese-less life. I am moving on.

So. I thought that starting this blog would help me on my journey to veganism. I plan to make one delicious vegan soup a week and post about it every “Soup Sunday” for an entire year. My picky eater, Emma, will give each recipe an “Emma Rating” between 1 and 5, with 1 being “don’t even think about it,” and 5 being “I could eat this every day.”

I have been cooking vegan dinners for my family for the past year, as my husband decided last year to become a vegan, so vegan cooking is not totally new to me.  What I hope is to present vegan soup recipes that are not only vegan, but also healthy, easy to prepare, and family friendly. I love to cook: I hate to clean. So easy prep and cleanup is a must. And hopefully Emma will eat it. That is always a goal, as well. It is a lofty goal, but a goal nonetheless.

Up for your consideration is my first soup recipe of the year, Hoppin’ John’s New Year’s Day Soup. This is a variation of the black-eyed peas and rice recipe that we all know so well, but soup-i-fied. And, of course, being New Year’s Day, we must all eat our black-eyed peas to ensure prosperity throughout the year. 

I hope you enjoy this soup. We all did, even Emma. It was served with vegan cornbread. Yum!


                                            Hoppin’ John’s New Year’s Day Soup
                                                        Emma Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Serves 6

Ingredients List:

1 lb bag of dried black-eyed peas
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
2 tsp vegan Liquid Smoke
½ tsp fresh thyme
1 large bay leaf
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup brown rice
salt and pepper (optional)
chopped chives, for garnish (optional)
Louisiana Hot Sauce (optional)

HINT: If you don’t have 6+ hours to soak, buy 4 cans of black-eyed peas as a shortcut.

Soak beans according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and set aside.

Heat olive oil in large, heavy pot on medium heat. Once oil is heated add onions. Cook onions until just softened, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add carrots, celery, garlic and red pepper. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Add beans, liquid smoke, thyme, bay leaf, vegetable broth, and an optional dash or two of hot sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, simmering gently for 1 hour or until beans are tender. Stir occasionally.

Add rice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 30 minutes until the rice is cooked through and the beans are tender.

Remove bay leaf, and garnish with chives before serving. Enjoy!