Vegan Rich & Creamy Broccoli Soup

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I’m back!!!

Y’all, it’s been a crazy few weeks since I wrapped up my Thanksgiving recipe series. I took a little time off to move and unpack and then, just as I was getting settled in, I got hit with the worst cold I’ve ever had! #Yuck

While I was sick, there was only one thing that I was craving and that was soup. I didn’t have the strength to make some during that week of tissues and tears (big dramatic baby here) but, when it finally passed, I got my ass in the kitchen and made this luscious little dish to satisfy all of my cravings.

Now, believe it or not, there are quite a few people in this world who hate broccoli -my mom is one of them. I, on the other hand, am one of the rare few who loves broccoli. I wanted this soup to satisfy not only me but also the people who aren’t fans of this particular veg. To accomplish this, I built a nice, rich, savory base which has things like vegetable broth, roasted garlic, potatoes, and something called Vegeta in it. The flavor of the broccoli, thanks to this base, becomes subtle enough for the haters but complimented nicely enough for the lovers like me. I then made everything good and smooth so that nobody would end up with a mouthful of broccoli chunks but rather a spoonful of creamy goodness. My mom ate a big bowl of it and said, “You know I hate broccoli but I actually like this soup.” Yes, folks, I think I hit the nail right on the head.

It all gets started with a head of garlic -how can anything with a head of garlic in it be bad?! About an hour before you wish to start making this soup, go into your kitchen, grab a big ol’ head of garlic, and chop of the top 1/4-1/3 of the head to expose the cloves inside. Peel off some of the looser outer papery layers and then pop the head onto a piece of foil. Drizzle into and over the head about 2-3 tablespoons of oil and then squish the foil up and closed around the head to enclose it completely. Place your little packet of deliciousness onto a small sheet pan and then bake it in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. When done, allow it to cool for about 15 minutes so that you can retrieve the cloves without burning yourself. Set the cloves, and any oil that remains in the foil packet, aside for a moment.

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With your roasted garlic done, you can begin the actual soup making process -and what an easy process it is! Rough dice half of a yellow onion and get it into a large pot, with a little oil in it, over medium heat. (I love making soups, or anything really, in an enameled cast iron dutch oven but if you don’t have one of these then don’t worry because any large pot will do.) Cook the onions for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.

While the onions are cooking, cut up 2 large, peeled russet potatoes into small cubes no bigger than a half of an inch wide. Set the cubed potatoes aside for just a moment until we’re ready for them.

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After the onions have browned slightly, the potatoes you cubed a moment ago get tossed in along with vegetable broth, water, a can of drained and rinsed white beans, a whole bunch of seasonings, and the roasted garlic you made earlier along with any oil that remained in the foil packet. Stir to combine then bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes then reduce the heat just a bit and allow the soup to soft boil for 5 minutes. Next, 2 bags of frozen broccoli florets get added and then the lid goes on. Continuing soft boiling, covered this time, for about 10 more minutes.

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When the potatoes are tender, add in some of your favorite “cheddar” shreds and a little nooch (nutritional yeast). Stir to combine then it’s time to make this soup creamy!

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Turn the heat off and then, using an immersion blender, blend until no lumps or chunks remain. Be sure to keep the blender straight up and down, and submerged when on, because we’re dealing with hot liquid here and we don’t want to splash it on ourselves. #LessonILearnedTheHardWay

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When it is as smooth as can be, serve with just a bit more “cheddar” on top and some crusty bread on the side (optional).

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Vegan Rich & Creamy Broccoli Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of garlic + 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, rough diced
  • 2 large russet potatoes, washed, peeled, and small diced
  • 1 (32 ounce) box of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can reduced sodium or no salt added white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tablespoon Vegeta
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon reduced sodium tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (10 ounce) bags of frozen broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup “cheddar” shreds + more for garnishing (optional)
  • 1/4-1/3 c. nutritional yeast
  • Bread bowls to serve in or crusty bread to serve with (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Chop of the top 1/4-1/3 of the garlic head to expose the cloves inside. Peel off some of the looser outer papery layers and then pop the head onto a piece of foil. Drizzle the oil in and over the head then squish the foil up and closed around the head to enclose it completely. Place the foil packet onto a small sheet pan and then bake for 45 minutes. When done, allow it to cool for about 15 minutes so that you can retrieve the cloves without burning yourself. Set the cloves, and any oil that remains in the foil packet, aside for use in a moment.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, add in oil and rough diced onion half. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the onions are lightly browned. While the onions are cooking, cut up the 2 large, washed and peeled russet potatoes into small cubes no bigger than a half of an inch wide, if you haven’t already done so. Set the cubed potatoes aside for just a moment until we’re ready for them.
  3. After the onions have browned slightly, add in the potatoes along with the vegetable broth, water, white beans, Vegeta, sugar, tamari, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and the roasted garlic you made earlier along with any oil that remained in the foil packet. Stir to combine then bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes then reduce the heat just a bit and  soft boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the frozen broccoli florets, stir to combine, then cover the pot and continuing soft boiling for about 10 more minutes until the potatoes are tender and the florets are warmed through.
  5. Turn the heat off then, using an immersion blender, blend so that no lumps or chunks remain. Be sure to keep the blender straight up and down, and submerged when on, to avoid splashing the hot soup around. When smooth, serve with just a bit more “cheddar” on top and some crusty bread on the side (optional). Soup will keep in an airtight container in fridge for up to 4 days.

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Vegan Green Chile “Chicken” Soup

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Earlier this year, while at the hair salon, I smelled something that made my nose very happy -green chile chicken. My hair stylist (and friend) had asked if she could eat her lunch while my hair color was processing. Upon me giving her the okay, she popped open her food storage container and that’s when my nose started twitching with delight. I immediately asked her what that delicious smell was. As she rattled off the ingredients, including some non-vegan ingredients as she herself is not vegan, my brain started to work out how I could make it vegan. I then started to think of the different ways in which I could take this dish and that’s when I landed upon the idea of a green chile “chicken” soup!

This hearty soup comes together really fast, as in 30 minutes fast, and it all gets started with half of a little ol’ onion, some oil, salt, pepper, cumin, and sugar. All of this gets tossed into a cast iron dutch oven (or other large coverable pot) where it will cook down for about 10 minutes over low-medium heat.

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After 10 minutes, everything will be darkened and aromatic. Don’t worry if some of this goodness is crusted onto the bottom of the pan -the liquid we’ll add in a moment will lift all of that off with ease!

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To the onion mixture we’ll add in 2 cans of cannellini beans, some no-chicken broth (you could use vegetable broth instead if you can’t find no-chicken broth), frozen sweet white corn kernels, green chile enchilada sauce, a little water, and some diced green chile. Stir to combine then cover the pot and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. While this cooks, you can get the “chicken” done.

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For this recipe, the “chicken” I preferred to use was Gardein’s Teriyaki Chick’N Strips minus the teriyaki. (The teriyaki sauce comes in a a little bag so you can easily opt to not use it as I have done with this recipe. They do sell just the strips without the teriyaki sauce but I can’t ever seem to find them, hence why I turned to the Teriyaki ones, but if your grocery store has them you can use those ones!)

Put the strips in a skillet with a little oil and then brown them up -this should take about 13-15 minutes over low-medium heat. Once browned, cut the pieces up into more bite size bits.

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When the 15 minute timer is up for the soup, turn off the heat and add in the “chicken” you just made as well as some chopped fresh cilantro. Stir to combine then enjoy!

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Vegan Green Chile 'Chicken' Soup

  • Servings: 4-5
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2 a white onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons oil + more for the pan the “chicken” gets cooked in
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans of low-sodium or no sodium added cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetarian (vegan) no-chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 generous cup frozen sweet white corn kernels
  • 1 cup green chile enchilada sauce (reduce to 3/4 cup for less heat)
  • 1/2 cup water (increase to 3/4 cup if you’re reducing the green chile enchilada sauce or if you desire a more liquidy soup)
  • 2-3 tablespoons canned diced green chile
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag Gardein Chick’N Strips or Gardein Teriyaki Chick’N Strips (discard teriyaki sauce packet or save for use in another recipe)
  • Small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped + more for topping each bowl (optional)

Directions

  1. Finely dice onion, if you haven’t done so already, then set aside. Place a cast iron dutch oven (or other large coverable pot) over low-medium heat. Add in oil, the onion you prepped a moment ago, salt, pepper, cumin, and sugar, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until darkened and aromatic. (Don’t worry if some of this goodness is crusted onto the bottom of the pan -the liquid we’ll add in a moment will lift all of that off with ease!)
  2. Add in the drained and rinsed beans, no-chicken broth, corn kernels, green chile enchilada sauce, water, and diced green chile. Stir to combine then cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. While this is cooking, prepare the “chicken” strips.
  3. In a skillet over low-medium heat, combine a little oil with the “chicken” strips. Cook strips for 13-15 minutes until dark golden brown, flipping or stirring the strips occasionally to ensure that they are browning evenly. When strips are done, cut each into more bite size pieces. Set pieces aside until soup is done.
  4. When soup has cooked for 15 minutes, turn heat off and add in the “chicken” strips and a small handful of chopped fresh cilantro. Give everything one final stir then enjoy! Soup will keep in an airtight container in fridge for up to 4 days.

Vegan Benevolent Bean Spread

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It’s been said that I’m a bit of a bean fiend but how could anyone not love those wholesome little nuggets of deliciousness?! In fact, I was told to eat even more beans by my nutritionist so hate all you want but I’m gonna be cramming beans in my diet wherever I can! #BeanMeUpScotty

One of my favorite beans to cook with is the white bean but the other day I realized that I’ve only shared one recipe with y’all that features white beans. (I seriously did a recount because I couldn’t believe I had only shared the one.) I knew that I needed to up my white bean game and share not just a recipe with white beans in it but rather a white bean-based recipe so today I’m doing just that.

Now, maybe you’re like, “What the hell is a bean spread?” So before I go any further allow me to explain this for those of you who are a little confused. A bean spread is a super thick and delicious mixture that can be enjoyed by itself, as a side, or smeared on veggies, on a bagel, on a pita, on tiny toasts for a party, on your finger, on the finger of your lover, on a shoe, on a stick… you get the idea. And the “benevolent” part? That’s just a cutesy word taken from one of the ingredients (more on that in a moment) that I chose to add to the title because I can.

So now we know what a bean spread is, let’s talk about what it tastes like. My bean spread is so full flavored it’ll knock your socks off! It’s garlicky, it’s oniony -wait, oniony is not a word but garlicky is? Lame! Anyways… full flavored. There’s a creaminess that you get from the beans and a little vegan “cream cheese,” then you have a meaty, salty element thanks to Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon, and the whole thing’s rounded out with some baby spinach. It’s really good and it all gets started with a little prep.

First things first, drain and rinse a can of great northern white beans then plop them into a mini food processor. Add in the vegan “cream cheese,” some salt and pepper, a little extra virgin olive oil, then pulse the mixture until smooth. Set your white bean creaminess aside for a moment and move on the the rest of the prep.

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Wash up some baby spinach (or buy the prewashed stuff) then remove excess stems and  tear remaining leafy bit into smaller pieces until you have 2 cups worth of torn baby spinach leaves. Also, finely dice about 1/8th of a white onion, finely mince a few garlic cloves, and slice up about 5 slices of the “bacon” to get them down to more bite-size pieces.

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Now it’s time to get cookin’! In a medium size skillet over low-med. heat, cook the “bacon” and the onions in about a tablespoon of olive oil for 5 minutes stirring occasionally to ensure that the “bacon” is cooking up evenly.

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After 5 minutes, add in the torn spinach leaves and the garlic. Stirring occasionally, just as you did before, cook for an additional 5 minutes.

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The last thing that we need to add is the white bean mixture we made earlier. Pour that into your pan then fold everything together and cook for a final 3 minutes. Be sure to stir nearly constantly at this point so that the beans don’t burn to the bottom of the pan.

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Serve your finished bean spread hot or cold -it’s great either way!

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Vegan Benevolent Bean Spread

  • Servings: makes about 1 1/2 cups
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-ounce) can of low-sodium great northern white beans, drained and rinsed + 1 generous tablespoon vegan “cream cheese” + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + pinch of salt and pinch of black pepper
  • 2 cups of baby spinach leaves, torn into bite-size pieces (measured after being torn, not before)
  • 5 pieces of Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon, uncooked and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1/6-1/8 of a white onion (about 2 tablespoons), finely diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Something to smear bean spread onto like a bagel, pita, veggies, mini toasts, etc. (optional)

Directions

  1. In a mini food processor, combine drained and rinsed beans with “cream cheese,” extra virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Pulse until smooth then set aside. Tear up baby spinach leaves and prep “bacon,” onion, and garlic, if you haven’t done so already.
  2. In a medium size skillet over low-med. heat, cook “bacon” and onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 5 minutes, add torn spinach leaves and garlic then cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add in bean mixture then fold everything together and cook for a final 3 minutes. Be sure to stir almost constantly at this point so that the bean mixture doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan. When spread is done, serve it hot or cold. Spread will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Vegan Potato, Kale, & White Bean Soup

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Long before I ever went vegan, I tried this little hipster joint downtown that just so happened to have some vegan offerings. One of these offerings was a kale salad with mandarin oranges and some other things in it. I chose to get that salad because I love oranges -I didn’t care that it was vegan and frankly I didn’t even notice until it was pointed out to me. This was my first experience with kale (I was in my early 20s) and let me tell you, it was not a good one. I hated that salad. I ate about 4 bites before I put the lid back on it and set it aside. Whether it was my palette or their flavor combinations, I’m not entirely sure, but it just wasn’t that good at all. In the end I decided to lay blame on the kale.

Kale and I didn’t speak for a couple of years after that and then, in my journey to be healthier, I decided give the green stuff another chance. I began juicing it and, when I didn’t want to drag out my heavy juicer, I began to toss it into my smoothies. And you know what? I actually started to enjoy it. Gasp! Fast forward to today, to me wearing a gray t-shirt that reads KALE across the chest in block lettering, and you might say I’ve come a long way. Nowadays I squeeze kale in wherever I can and that includes soup.

This soup, with potatoes, white beans, corn, and yes, kale, is seriously my favorite soup.

Like, ever.

(And to think that I never would have come up with it had I not given kale a second chance!)

Why is is so damn good? Because it’s comfort in a bowl. It’s like a hug for your stomach -yes, it’s really that good. The broth is so savory and warm thanks in part to paprika, cumin, and a little hot sauce. The potatoes are soft, the kale is perfectly wilted, and there’s some corn kernels in there for a just a bit more texture and a tad of sweetness. But don’t take my word for it, try all of this hearty goodness for yourself! And please, don’t quit on kale. Kale loves you. (And you’ll love it in this soup!)

The first step to making this soup is to prep half of a yellow onion. When it’s all cut up and ready for use you’ll then put it and some oil into a dutch oven or other large, cover-able pot, and cook on low-med. heat until the onion is just starting to brown and get soft.

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While the onion is browning up and softening in the pot, you’ll want to prep the potatoes. You’ll need about 4 cups worth of cubed potatoes for this recipe -that’s 4-5 average size russets.

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Once the onion is perfect you can go ahead and toss in the cubed potatoes, the broth, and the almond milk, and bring the mixture to a boil.

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After 5 minutes of boiling, reduce the heat and add in the beans, garlic, seasonings, butter, hot sauce, and sugar.

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Stir it all together then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

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To keep yourself busy during the 20 minutes (since I know you’ll be eagerly pacing back and forth in your kitchen in anticipation of yummy soup) you can prep the kale. Now, I like to buy the triple-washed, ready-to-use stuff personally. So my prep is dumping it out of the plastic bag or tub and removing any stray stems or bad bits that might be in there. But if you’re into doing things the long way you can get yourself some unwashed kale, in all its big leafy glory, wash it, remove the stems and bad bits, and then tear it into bite-size pieces. Whatever floats your kale boat, darling.

(And can we all just take a minute to appreciate how freakin’ beautiful the kale pictured below is?! It tasted as good as it looked, too!)

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After you’ve successfully waited 20 minutes, you can add the frozen corn kernels and the kale to the soup. But I’m sorry to tell you that it’s not time to eat just yet. Cover again and cook for a final 15 minutes.

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When the soup is done, I think it’s best served up with some crusty bread. Or better yet, in a bread bowl… with a side of crusty bread. (You can never have too much bread when it comes to soup, in my opinion!)

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Vegan Potato, Kale, & White Bean Soup

  • Servings: about 5-6
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a small yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • About 4 cups of russet potatoes (about 4-5 average size potatoes)
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans of low-sodium white beans (preferably Cannellini or Great Northern), drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2-3 dashes of hot sauce
  • 3-4 cups fresh kale
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels

Directions

  1. Begin by finely dicing 1/2 of a yellow onion. In a dutch oven, or other large, cover-able pot, add oil and bring to low-med. heat. Once oil is heated up, add in onion and cook until softened slightly and just beginning to brown, about 3-5 minutes. While onion is cooking prep the potatoes by washing them, peeling them, and then cutting them into 1/2 inch-3/4 inch cubes.
  2. After the onion is softened and browned slightly, add in the potatoes, vegetable broth, and almond milk, and bring to boil. Once boiling, continue to boil for 5 minutes uncovered.
  3. Reduce the heat and add in the drained and rinsed beans, garlic, salt, vegan butter, paprika, black pepper, cumin, sugar, and hot sauce. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the soup continues to cook, prep the kale (if needed) by washing it, removing the stems and bad bits, and tearing it into bite-size pieces.
  4. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and add in the kale and corn kernels. Stir to combine then cover again and continue to simmer for 15 additional minutes to wilt the kale and heat the corn kernels. When done, serve in a bowl with crusty bread of your choice or in a bread bowl. To store leftovers, let the soup cool completely then transfer to an airtight container. Will keep fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days.