My Favorite Winter Soup: French Lentil with Tarragon and Thyme (and a Side of Cornbread)

French Lentil Soup

Of all the recipes I’ve made from “Veganomicon” (and there are still a ton that I haven’t made), I’ve probably made this French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme the most. (You can find the recipe here.) The soup comes together really quickly; just chop the onion and carrots and throw it all into a pot to simmer. I like to serve mine with crumbled cornbread on top, making it a hearty and filling meal for a cold winter day.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays! Regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you had a nice, relaxing day yesterday. I think this Christmas might go down as one of the laziest for us. We went out with my family on Christmas Eve for bowling and dinner, followed by gifts. That left Christmas day for just the two of us. My husband and I typically do a movie and Chinese food out, but this year we stayed home and watched “Indiana Jones” movies (my gift to him) all day in our pajamas and ordered Chinese takeout. It was fabulous.

This year, we decided to keep gifts to a minimum because we’re taking a big trip in February and need to keep a strict budget, but my husband still came up with a great gift for me. I’ve had my eye on this vintage soup and sandwich dish set for about a year now. I was so excited to see it when I ripped open the wrapping paper. I can’t wait to serve up a warm cup of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich on it.

Vintage Soup and Sandwich Dish Set

I hope you all are well. I’m very fortunate to be off the next few days, so I plan on cooking up some new recipes. I’ll post soon.

Vegan Weekly Roundup: Miso, Quinoa and Carrots Soups

Hey there. I apologize for the lack of posts; I’ve had a stubborn cold for the past week and half. I’m usually not this sick, but, man, this fall has been a doozy. As far as cooking, I did make a lasagna over the weekend, but I had no sense of smell, so it wasn’t my best. Anyway, to get back into the swing of things, here’s a roundup of vegan-related items that I think you’ll enjoy (you can tell I had soup on the brain). I hope you all are well, and if you live on the East Coast, I hope you and your families are safe and sound.

How to stretch pizza dough (I need this lesson).

Stir-fried peas and carrots — looks simple and delicious.

I’m determined to make an authentic pot of miso soup this winter (in other words, not out of a packet).

Vegan caramel sauce — just in time for the holidays.

This Mexican Quinoa Soup could definitely be made vegan.

I’m making this Curried Carrot Almond Soup for our lunches next week.

And, finally, a little Grizzly Bear to take you into the weekend:

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

As a kid, I loved cream of mushroom soup. You know, the kind that came out of the can with a “plop” and required adding milk to thin it out a bit. I haven’t had it in years, so I was happy to find this recipe in “The Vegan Slow Cooker.”

This is the second recipe that I’ve made from the cookbook. I have to say, while it tasted great, it didn’t turn out as thick as I would have hoped. It was a little too “soupy” for my tastes. But the next time I make it (and I will definitely make it again), I’m going to add a cornstarch mixture to it at the beginning to thicken it. The soup was great with a loaf of crusty bread for dipping and a quick salad of baby Romaine lettuce and lemon and olive oil dressing.

So far, I’m really enjoying crockpot cooking. It’s so nice to throw a few ingredients into a pot and walk away until it’s time for dinner. This week, I’m making the meatloaf recipe that is featured in the book. I’ll have a review and pictures on that as well.

New Cookbook: Big Vegan

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve written a post. Sorry for that. Things have been so busy at work. Not that I’m complaining, but this blog has definitely taken a back seat.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping up with vegan food. A few weeks ago, I picked up a new cookbook, “Big Vegan,” by Robin Asbell. It certainly lives up to its name. The book has so many different recipes, it’s overwhelming. What caught my eye were the various sandwich, wrap and salad recipes since I always seem to have trouble coming up with lunch ideas. So far, I’ve made the Fast Broccoli Kale Sandwiches with Tahini Sauce and the Summer Corn Soup with Edamame Garnish. Both were good, but they didn’t knock my socks off. Still, I’m excited about the possibilities.

On another note, we invited some friends over for dinner and movies to celebrate the beginning of the Halloween season, which is our absolute favorite time of the year. With the cooler temperatures finally moving in, I decided to make a big pot of chili and banana cream pies. I found the pie recipe in the June 2011 issue of VegNews magazine.

The pies were extremely easy to make, especially since I opted to buy store-bought pie crusts. (You can find vegan pie crust at Whole Foods. I picked up a pack of two for less than five bucks.) Now, the pies were certainly not the most attractive, but they were delicious. (The pie picture in VegNews is actually a stock photo, which was part of a big scandal with the magazine a few months ago.) And the MimicCreme whipped topping that I used, while also tasty, would not stiffen up, so I just spread it over the tops of the pies. Still, I highly recommend giving the recipe a try if you’re a big fan of banana cream pie.

And speaking of pie, I am super-excited about the new pie cookbook coming out this month from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, “Vegan Pie in the Sky.” If it’s anything like their other two dessert cookbooks, I’m going to need to step up my exercise routine to offset the extra calories.

Anyway, I hope everyone is well!

Update: I had the chance to make the tofu egg salad recipe in “Big Vegan” and it was delicious!! It’s a little more time consuming than my usual tofu egg salad recipe, but so worth it.

Chickpea Noodle Soup

My husband has been sick all weekend, so instead of making the Chickpea Picatta from Appetite for Reduction like I had originally planned, I decided to make a big pot of brothy soup to help him feel better. (I took the recipe straight from Veganomicon with no adaptation, so I’m not going to post it here. And, unfortunately, Isa mentions the Chickpea Noodle Soup, but doesn’t list the recipe on her website.) I made it a long time ago and loved it, so I’m not sure why I haven’t made it since. But with my husband not feeling well, and the temperatures here hovering in the 30’s (is it spring, yet?), I figured that this was the perfect comfort food for the weekend.

I highly recommend buying Veganomicon if you’re into vegan cooking. It, along with The Joy of Vegan Baking, were my first vegan cookbooks and I still use them every week for inspiration.

New Cookbook: Appetite for Reduction

I don’t know about you, but I ate way too much food over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was all delicious, but I’m feeling the need to detox a bit when it comes to my diet. Over the weekend, I picked up Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s newest book, Appetite for Reduction, at my local bookstore. I’m really excited about it because it doesn’t feel at all like a diet book. It contains “nutritionally balanced” recipes that don’t contain any fake anything, and, from what I’ve read so far, look very easy to make. My eyes quickly went to the Chickpea Picatta and Caulipots, the Goddess Nicoise salad, Ceci-Roasted Red Pepper Soup, and the Spinach Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta and Spinach, which I think I’m going to make for my family’s Christmas Eve dinner.

I’m planning on making the picatta this weekend, which brings me to another subject: this here blog. Since leaving the freelance world and going back to a 9 to 5, my food blogging, as you can see, has fallen by the wayside. I’ve been cooking, but by the time I get home, it’s dark outside, which means that I don’t have any natural light to take pictures. And with me not being a decent photographer, I don’t really know how to make up for the bad lighting. So, until I chalk up the money for photography lessons, I’m going to do my food blogging on the weekend when I’m home during the day to take pictures. Through the week, I intend on writing vegan food-related posts (like this one) that don’t involve cooking and taking pictures.

At least that’s my plan.

Tex-Mex Quinoa with Black Beans and Corn

This recipe is adapted from the latest issue of Vegetarian Times. It’s extremely cheap to make and very easy to pull together. In other words: my kind of meal! I love that it uses quinoa as the base grain rather than rice. Quinoa cooks faster than rice and is very nutritious.

As usual, I doubled the recipe, and it made a ton of the stuff, so we had plenty for leftovers. Also, instead of adding two cans of black beans, I substituted a can of pinto beans for a can of black beans, which added a little different texture.

Tex-Mex Quinoa with Black Beans and Corn

Serves 2 + leftovers

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cumin
2 cups prepared black bean soup (I used one box of the Dr. McDougall’s Black Bean Soup as the recipe suggested)

2 cups mild or medium picante sauce
2 cups quinoa, uncooked
1 15 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen corn
6 green onions, sliced
4 tbsp pickled jalapeño chiles, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the soup, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of picante sauce, and quinoa. Stir and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 12 minutes. By this time, most of the liquid should be absorbed, so add another cup of water. Add the beans and corn and cook for another 10 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is completely cooked (it will look translucent). Add the remaining picante sauce, green onions, and jalapeños. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a side of tortilla chips.

Enjoy!

Minestrone Stew

Despite the unseasonably warm weather (we’re talking highs in the 90’s!), I’ve been on a soup kick. I had planned on making a big pot of basic vegetable soup, but I decided at the last minute to add some kidney beans, kale, and pasta to make it more of a minestrone-inspired soup. And really, it’s pretty thick, so I’d say it’s more of a stew than a soup.

Minestrone Stew

Serves 2 + leftovers for freezing

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 carrots, sliced evenly
5 red potatoes, chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups frozen okra
1 15-ounce can of dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups vegetable stock (I used 6 cups of water with 6 tsp of Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base)
1 1/2 cup tomato juice
1 1/2 cups rotini pasta
1 small head of kale, chopped into small pieces
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp basil
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Add the olive oil to a pan set to medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring to keep the garlic from burning. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, okra, kidney beans, vegetable stock, tomato juice, and spices. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the pasta and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, then add the kale and cook for another 2 minutes. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Soup

My friend, Erin, gave me a gorgeous butternut squash a while ago and it has been staring me in the face, begging me to turn it into something delicious. I love butternut squash, but I have only cooked with it maybe once or twice and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. After finding some carrots and celery in my fridge, I decided to turn it into soup. I found this recipe online a while ago, and decided to add a few ingredients to it to make it my own. It’s surprisingly flavorful despite its simple ingredients. What I like about it is that it’s not too sweet. I’ve had butternut squash soups in the past that were a little too sweet thanks to added brown sugar, and I would get tired of eating them after only a few bites. But I found myself devouring two bowls of this soup for lunch. It’s definitely a keeper!

Also, please be careful when cutting the butternut squash. The outer layer is extremely tough and requires a sharp knife and a steady hand. (I say this after slicing my fingers not once, but twice.)

Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4 + leftovers

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)
4 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
5 cups vegetable broth (I used 5 tsp of Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base with 5 cups water)


1 tbsp dried sage
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese or non-dairy creamer

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat and sauté the onions and garlic for about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the butternut squash, broth, sage, and curry powder and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 25 minutes. Using an immersion blender or standard blender, blend the soup until smooth and creamy. Add the cream cheese or milk and blend again to incorporate.

Enjoy!