There have been a number of things popping up of interest here and there, so I haven’t done the best job putting my blog into hiatus, but I suppose that’s not a bad thing!
A family friend recently asked me for some advice on vegetarianism as well as some recipes. After I typed her out a huge e-mail, I realized that it was a pretty good reference for anybody looking to turn towards vegetarianism or somebody who is already a vegetarian but has some questions or needs some new recipes.
I am by no means a nutritionist, so I wouldn’t take any of this as the absolute truth (i.e. question anything that doesn’t make sense to you and do your own research), however, at this point (it’s been 14 years), I think I’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge through my own experience and research and done a pretty good job being a healthy vegetarian. I think it’s a good way to live in terms of ethics, the environment, and health, so if you’re interested, read on!
One other quick thing — I haven’t done a lot of editing from the original e-mail, so some of this stuff might have local references and such (e.g. grocery store recommendations). Please just ignore that sort of stuff if it doesn’t apply to you (incidentally, most of the items I’ve listed can be found in most grocery stores, or if not, most health food stores)…
First off are some ingredients. You can pretty much get all the nutrition (including protein), from plant-based (non-animal based) foods pretty easily. The only two things that can sometimes be tricky are Vitamin D and Vitamin B-12. You can get these from supplements (e.g. multivitamin), or, you can generally get enough Vitamin D as a vegetarian just by spending some time in the unfiltered Sun everyday. Vitamin B-12 is found in a naturally occurring yeast commonly referred to as, “Nutritional Yeast.” You don’t have to worry about these things as much if you consume eggs and dairy, but since I generally don’t, a lot of my recipes incorporate Nutritional Yeast and such (more information on this ingredient below). Onto the list…note that all of these ingredients can be found in most grocery stores, and if you can’t find them, they can definitely be found at Wegman’s and Whole Foods:
– Tofu is a great protein source. If you are using it as a meat substitute in something like stir-fry for example, you want to use extra-firm regular tofu (not the silken variety). One recommendation I have is a brand called Twin Oaks that can be bought from Whole Foods. It is grown and processed locally, and has a texture very similar to paneer — it works great as a substitute for dairy-based cheese in dishes like Palak Paneer. If you are unable to find this, you can achieve a similar texture by first freezing your tofu, and then thawing it out and squeezing out the water prior to using.
– Like with anything else, too much tofu is not good. As such, you should try an alternative to tofu called tempeh — it is like tofu but the soy is fermented — the fermentation basically eliminates some of the acids normally found in tofu that can leach away some of the nutrients in other foods when consumed along with tofu (therefore eating tempeh is slightly more nutritious than eating tofu). The taste isn’t for everybody, so you have to use good recipes (my favorite one, Orange-Glazed Tempeh is listed below).
– There are also a bunch of soy products that are processed to mimic their animal counterparts — these aren’t things you should eat often because they are highly processed, but they are good things for vegetarians to occasionally eat because they are high in protein and taste like some of the foods that non-vegetarians eat. Boca burgers (hamburger), Gimme Lean (ground beef), Tofutti non-dairy products (e.g. ice cream, cream cheese, etc.). A good non-soy alternative to the typical veggie burger is one made in California called Sunshine Burger — it is made entirely of brown rice, veggies, seeds, etc. (no soy). It can be found at Wegman’s and Whole Foods.
– Wheat Gluten is another protein source that can be consumed as an alternative to soy. You can make your own, or you can buy it from the store in the form of a product called “seitan.” Seitan can be used in the exact same way as tofu (marinated, grilled, stir-fried with vegetables, etc.).
– There is a great company called Field Roast that makes seitan sausages and such — they are minimally processed and very tasty — you can find them at Whole Foods and Wegman’s.
Beans, lentils, etc.:
– These are another great protein source, and very easy (esp. for Indians because dal is such a common dish). Black beans can be wrapped in tortillas with salsa, kidney beans can be used in chili (recipe below), etc. Hummus (with whole wheat pita bread, cut vegetables to dip, etc.) is a good snack for kids — a recipe is below.
Nuts, seeds, etc.:
– Peanuts, walnuts, flax seed, sunflower seed, etc. are very good snacks (or can be mixed into other food such as bread, oatmeal, etc.) that are high in protein and contain the essential fats, Omega 3’s, etc. that our bodies need.
– In addition to the standard brown rice (which is a healthy high-protein alternative to white rice), there are a lot of healthy grains that vegetarians can eat for protein — quinoa and steel-cut oats are some of my favorites (recipes below)
– Whole wheat is another obvious one. Whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, etc. are great protein sources. One thing to look for is whole wheat bread that is made from sprouted grain. Normally, wheat is dried and then ground into flour. However, if the wheat is sprouted first prior to grinding into flour, it can become a lot healthier (the same concept behind fermented soy — unsprouted wheat contains some acids that can leach nutrients away from other foods). You can find sprouted-grain bread in the freezer section of Wegman’s, Whole Foods, etc., as well as freshly-baked in the bakery at Whole Foods.
– Mushrooms are very high in protein. My favorites are shiitake and portobello. They are good for vegetarians because they have a “meaty” texture. Shiitake can be used in stir-fry, soup, etc. (the only caveat is that the stems need to be removed first because they are very tough/chewy). Large portobellos can be used as a veggie patty for veggie burgers — all you have to do is remove the stem, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt/pepper, and grill on both sides until tender (on a grill or in a pan).
– These are some of the healthiest things you can eat. My favorites are kale, spinach, collard greens, swiss chard, etc. A standard recipe for these is to just saute some diced garlic/onion in olive-oil, throw in the chopped-greens, saute until tender, add some salt or soy sauce, and sprinkle on some crushed red pepper if you like things spicy. Water-cress is a very high-protein green that can be eaten raw (e.g. in sandwiches, as an alternative to lettuce, which don’t have as much nutrition). Kale is also one of the healthiest all-around foods (recipe below).
– This is a form of yeast that is high in protein and Vitamin B-12. It has a nutty/cheesy flavor so it is used in a lot of vegan/vegetarian recipes. It can be found in the bulk bins at Wegman’s and Whole Foods. You will see it in some of my recipes below, but it can also be used as a condiment because it tastes slightly salty (e.g. it is very tasty when sprinkled on top of popcorn, and by doing so you are increasing the nutritional value of the popcorn).
– There are many alternatives to dairy-based milked generally referred to as plant-based milk — soy, almond, hazelnut, coconut, hemp, rice, etc. I have experimented with a lot of them and have found almond to the be best — it tastes the most like regular milk. The best brand is called Almond Breeze — it is fortified with calcium and vitamins that are normally found in dairy milk — I usually get Plain Unsweetened, but also comes in Plain Sweetened, chocolate, vanilla, etc. This can be found in most grocery stores, but definitely Whole Foods and Wegmans. It can also be made at home if you have a powerful enough blender (e.g. VitaMix).
– Margarine is a good alternative to butter, but you have to be careful about making sure the margarine you use doesn’t have partially hydrogenated fats or palm oil, which are both questionable ingredients. A good alternative I have found is called Spectrum Spread (canola-oil based) — it can be found at Wegman’s.
– Most vegan cheeses do not taste good, but there is a brand called Daiya that is quite good when cooked in recipes — they come shredded in either Mozzarella or Cheddar — they are sold at Wegman’s and Whole Foods — I use them in pizza, pasta, tacos, etc. very successfully.
– Mayonnaise: The best brand is called Veganaise — it can be found at Wegmans and Whole Foods; it is very good.
– In baking, there is a product called EnerG Egg Replacer that can be used in place of eggs — it is made of potato starch. It works very well, but there is also a version you can make at home from flax seed that is healthier. If you combine 1 TBS ground flax seed (not whole) with 3 TBS hot/warm water, let sit for a few minutes, and then stir vigorously, you will notice that it turns into a sticky consistency just like egg — you can use this as an alternative to egg in any baking.
– In other recipes, I have discovered that black salt (kala namak), gives any food an “eggy” taste. So, for example, I sometimes make scrambled “egg” by sauteeing garlic/onion in olive oil, add in chopped mushroom, add in crumbled tofu, sprinkle on black salt and a little turmeric/haldi (for color), and cook for a few minutes — you end up with a tasty alternative to scrambled egg. You will see the black salt used in some of the recipes below.
This original e-mail generated some questions about protein, calcium, etc., here were my answers:
– Plant milk is any form of milk that is not dairy-based. So this means any of the following: soy milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, rice milk, etc. You can find any of these at most stores. As I mentioned, I have found almond milk to be the best, and my favorite brand is called Almond Breeze (can be found at Wegman’s, Whole Foods, Bloom, etc.).
– I think consuming tofu a few times a week is fine. It only starts to become a problem if you are having a soy product for every meal every day. For example, there are some vegetarians/vegans who will have cereal with soy milk for breakfast, a sandwich with soy cheese for lunch, and a soy-based veggie burger for dinner, etc. I think that’s a bad idea — just like with anything else, you need moderation. So, I think tofu is good a few times a week, but for the other meals, you should mix it up with some of the other things I mentioned (wheat gluten, beans/lentils, nuts, mushrooms, greens, etc.).
– Flax seed is a great way to get essential fats and Omega 3’s (instead of eating fish). The best way to consume it is ground, because our bodies can’t really break up the seeds properly to get all the nutrition in them when they are whole — you can make sure to chew thoroughly, but it’s probably easiest to just consume them ground instead of whole. You can either buy them pre-ground or whole and then just grind them yourself — pre-ground is easier, but grinding yourself will taste fresher — the only issue is that if you grind yourself, you’ll want to only do it in quantities in which you know you will be able to consume within a few weeks, because ground flax seed goes bad quicker. To give you an example, we grind about 1.25 cups every week, and then mix 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed in our oatmeal every morning. I think that’s a good amount, but you should see what works for you (you may have to start with 1 tablespoon and see how it goes — ground flax seed gives some people heartburn). I would probably recommend this over flax seed oil, as flax seed oil tastes bad and is quite expensive.
– As for calcium, you should generally be okay with the amount of calcium that is naturally found in tofu, greens, etc., and with the amount of calcium that is added to the commercial plant milks (e.g. I think Almond Breeze has 20% calcium in one serving). All of this combined with the amount in a multivitamin should generally be enough. So, the key is a balanced diet containing the items I described in my previous e-mail. If you think you may not be eating enough of these things to get enough calcium, there are vegan/vegetarian calcium supplements available at most stores — I know that Whole Foods has them in the form of natural juice fruit chews, and Costco has them in the form of candy!
– Again, same goes for protein — you should generally be okay in terms of protein level with the amount of protein naturally found in soy, nuts, beans/lentils, wheat, etc. However, if you feel that you may not be getting enough of these things, putting protein powder in a shake every morning is not a bad idea — my only recommendation would be to find a protein powder made from pea or brown rice instead of soy — that way it will be easier to avoid overdoing the soy. I know that both Wegman’s and Whole Foods carry protein powders derived from brown rice or pea — I’m sure other stores carry these as well.
Now here are some recipes:
Spiced Banana Pancakes:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1-1/4 cups plant milk of choice
3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice and set aside. In a food processor, add plant milk and half of the banana slices and process until smooth.
2. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing with a few swift strokes until just combined. Fold in the remaining banana slices.
3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium heat. Ladle about 3 tablespoons of the batter onto the hot griddle. Cook on one side until small bubbles appear on top, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook until the other side is lightly browned, about 1 minute more. Keep the cooked pancakes warm in the oven while you prepare the remaining pancakes.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, diced
3 cups soy or wheat-gluten/seitan sausage, crumbled
1 pound tofu, drained and crumbled
2 cups plant milk of choice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 slices bread
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. In a bowl, combine the tofu, plant milk, thyme, fennel seed, salt, and pepper to taste and mix well. Blend in the sausage mixture and set aside.
3. Tear bread into bite-sized pieces and place in a lightly oiled shallow 9×13 baking dish. Pour sausage mixture evenly over bread and set aside until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes or refrigerate overnight.
4. Bake casserole until puffy and lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve warm.
Crock-pot Steel-Cut Oats:
2 cups almond milk + 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract OR use vanilla plant milk
1/2 cup steel cut oats
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons almonds (added slightly before serving just to heat through)
Pumpkin Variation (Serves 2)
1.75 cups almond milk
1/2 cup steel cut oats
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Combine ingredients in crock pot, turn on “Low” overnight or for about 6 hours.
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2/3 cup chickpea water (either from boiling, or from the can)
3 Tbs tahini
1 large clove garlic or 2 small cloves
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs lemon juice
Combine everything in a blender/food-processor. Serve with whole-wheat pita wedges, crackers, cut vegetables, etc.
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
2 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons green onion — minced
black pepper — to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the stem ends of the eggplant and prick it all over with a fork. Place it directly on an oven rack and let it roast until completely sagged (about 45 minutes). When it is sagging, wrinkled, crumpled, and totally soft, you’ll know it’s ready. Remove it from the oven, and let cool. Scoop the insides out and mash well. Combine with rest of ingredients. Chill well. Serve with whole-wheat pita wedges, crackers, cut vegetables, etc.
1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
– Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
– With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner (very important to dry thoroughly).
– Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
– Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.
Vegan “Tuna” Sandwich:
30 ounces (2 cans) garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 cup red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup dill pickle, finely chopped
2 tablespoons nori seaweed flakes (optional, for a fishy taste)
1 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
12 slices bread, lightly toasted
6 large, crisp lettuce or watercress leaves
12 fresh tomato slices
1. In a large bowl, mash the garbanzo beans with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Fold the onion, garlic, pickle, nori, mayonnaise, salt, and black pepper into the garbanzo beans. Combine thoroughly.
2. Lightly toast the bread. Spread the salad on one slice and stack with a lettuce leaf, two tomato slices, and another slice of bread. Cut sandwiches in half and serve.
“Egg” Salad Sandwich:
1 block extra firm or firm tofu
1/4 cup green onion
2 TBS mustard
2 1/4 teaspoons relish
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 tsp black salt + additional and/or regular salt if needed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 TBS nutritional yeast
1/4 cup vegan mayonaise
Hand-crumble the tofu, mix in the rest of the ingredients well. Refrigerate to chill, or serve as is, just like real egg sald (e.g. scoop onto bread with lettuce for a egg salad sandwich alternative).
Serves 2 - 4 depending on appetite…
1 cup orange juice (if fresh-squeezed, use 3-4 large juicy oranges)
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons tamari (or soy sauce)
1 1/2 tablespoons mirin (asian condiment, very important)
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
roughly 10 ounces of tempeh (or extra-firm tofu)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Put the orange juice in a small bowl. Squeeze the grated ginger over the bowl to extract the juices, then discard the pulp. Add the tamari, mirin, and maple syrup, and garlic. Mix together and set aside.
Cut the tempeh (or tofu) into thin-ish, bite-sized pieces, and if working with tofu, pat dry with a paper towel.
Put the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the tempeh and fry for 5 minutes, or until golden underneath. Turn and cook the other side for another 5 minutes, or until golden. Pour the orange juice mixture into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a thick glaze. Turn the tempeh once more during this time and spoon the sauce over the tofu from time to time.
Serve the tempeh drizzled with any remaining sauce. I like to eat this with brown rice and a side of vegetables/greens.
1 14oz. block firm tofu
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon white miso
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 tablspoon dijon or brown mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1.5 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 handful of chopped fresh chives, or garlic chives, or scallions, etc.
1/2 cup plant milk of choice
veggies of choice (chopped greens, mushrooms, onion, garlic, optionally 30 chopped leaves of de-stemmed sorrel)
1/2 cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese (OPTIONAL)
– Drain and crumble the tofu
– Blend nut. yeast, miso, olive oil, mustard, salts, pepper, turmeric, and milk in a blender.
– Saute the veggies
– Stir everything together (tofu, sauce, veggies, chives, rosemary, and optional cheese) and spoon into pre-baked crust.
– Bake at 350 for 35 minutes
Butternut Squash Lasagna :
The filling and sauce can be made ahead of time, and you don’t need to precook the noodles.
12 ounces lasagna noodles (9 to 12 noodles)
1/2 onion, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chopped spinach, kale, chard, or other dark green leafy vegetable
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 pounds firm or silken tofu
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper to taste
3 cups mashed cooked butternut squash
3/4 cup plant milk
1 tablespoon miso
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Saute onion in olive oil until soft. Stir in the garlic and greens. If the greens are dry, add a little water. Cover and steam 5 minutes or until soft. Set aside.
Place tofu filling ingredients in food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Remove to bowl and set aside. Place Butternut Sauce ingredients in food processor or blender. Puree until smooth.
Assemble lasagna as follows: Cover the bottom of 9 x 13-inch pan with thin layer of sauce. Place a single layer of lasagna noodles in bottom of pan. Leave a little space between the noodles because they will expand when cooked. Spread 1/2 of the tofu filling over noodles. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cooked greens over tofu. Spread 1/3 of the butternut sauce over the greens. Repeat for one more layer. Place noodle layer on top and cover with butternut sauce. Sprinkle chopped nuts evenly over squash. Pour boiling water in corners and around edges of lasagna. Cover pan with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove cover and bake 10 minutes. Let the lasagna rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing to set.
Makes 9 servings
Note: To save time, you can buy frozen pureed squash. Many markets also carry fresh or frozen peeled and cut squash that can be quickly steamed.
6 cups Veggie Broth
1 Tbsp Extra- Virgin Olive Oil
4 oz Baby Bella mushrooms, cut in thin matchlike strips (2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, peeled, very finely chopped (2 Tbsp)
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 cup Arborio Rice (important to use this type of rice)
1 tsp Black Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)
– Heat broth in saucepan; maintain at gentle simmer while risotto is being prepared.
– Heat olive oil in separate heavy-bottomed, medium saucepan on MEDIUM, until oil faintly smokes. Add mushrooms, garlic, and rosemary; cook, stirring, 1 min. Increase temperature to MEDIUM-HIGH. Add rice; cook, stirring constantly, 2 min.
– Add 1 cup simmering broth to rice; cook, stirring constantly, until broth is almost absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed. Add final cup of broth a little at a time, adding only as much as can be absorbed, until rice is cooked al dente and mixture is creamy. (All 6 cups of broth may not be used.)
– Remove pan from heat; season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with truffle oil (if using).
– Serve immediately.
4 cups or 2 cans cooked kidney or red beans
1 1/2 packages ground veggie crumbles (e.g. Morninstar, Gimme Lean, etc.)
2 diced onions
2 diced bell peppers
3 tablespoon minced garlic, or to taste
2 diced tomatoes or 1 can
1 can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped mushrooms
– Cook onions, bell pepper, and garlic in olive oil in a pot on the stove, over medium heat. Watch it, keep stirring and make sure it doesn’t burn.
– Add crumbles, mushrooms, tomatoes, and sauce. Stir in spices. Stir in beans.
– Stir and keep heating a few minutes until the heat is distributed evenly. Serve.
Herbed Quinoa (serve with vegetables, tofu, etc.)
½ cup quinoa (1/2 pound)
2 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup thinly sliced scallions, green parts only
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
– Rinse quinoa in 5 changes of water in a bowl, rubbing grains and letting them settle
before pouring off water.
– Cook quinoa in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain in sieve and rinse under cold water.
– Set sieve with quinoa over saucepan filled with 1 1/2 inches boiling water, the sieve should not touch water. Cover with a lid and steam quinoa until fluffy and dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Check water level in pan occasionally, adding water if necessary.
– Toss quinoa with oil and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Set aside to cool then toss with scallions and thyme.
Mixed Fruit Shake:
1 cup plant milk
1 medium frozen banana broken into several pieces
1/2 cup frozen fruit of choice
1 Tbsp maple syrup
Dash of ground cinnamon
Mix all ingredients together in a blender. This is for one serving.
2 fully ripe bananas
1 1/2 glasses plant milk
3 tablespoons vanilla soy/cocunut/rice ice cream
1 tablespoon chopped almonds
Mix all ingredients together in a blender. This is for one serving.
Strawberry Malt Shake:
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
1 12-ounce package firm silken tofu
1 cup vanilla plant milk
2 tablespoons barley malt syrup
1/4 to 1/3 cup agave nectar syrup (this is a vegan alternative to honey available mostly everywhere)
1. In a blender, combine strawberries and tofu until thoroughly mixed together. Scrape down the sides of the blender, and process once more until completely smooth.
2. With the blender running, add plant milk and barley malt syrup. Add agave to taste, depending on the strawberries’ sweetness.
Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup:
2 T margarine
3 T flour
12 oz plant milk
6 – 8 mushrooms diced
1 small onion diced
Pinch of salt, pepper, thyme (maybe ¼ teaspoon of each)
Saute mushroom and onions in the margarine until soft. Add the flour and spices, cooking and stirring constantly until thick and bubbly. Slowly stir in milk. Bring to a simmer and let it cook until thick and smooth, stirring occasionally. NOTE: substitute mushrooms for equivalent quantity of other vegetables for “cream of” soup of that vegetable. This makes the equivalent of one can of soup.
Potato Garlic Soup with Chives:
– 8 cloves of garlic, peeled
– 8 cups of vegetable broth
– 2 lbs of potatoes cut into bite-size pieces
– 1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/4 teaspoon pepper
– 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
– 2 cups plant milk
– 1/4 cup additional chives, chopped
– In a kettle, combine first 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer partly covered for 30 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer solid ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Return processed mixture to pot, stir in milk and heat through. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with remaining chives.
Butternut Squash Soup (serves 4):
– 2 Tbsp olive oil
– 1 large onion, diced
– 7 cloves of garlic chopped [1/2 head] (optional)
– 1 tsp. salt
– 2 lbs peeled and cubed butternut squash
– 8 cups vegetable broth
– 1/4 cup Arborio rice (it’s very important that you use this type of rice)
– In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and salt. Saute, stirring regularly, until the onions are softened, but not browned.
– Add the squash, cover the pot, and cook over low heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent browning.
– Add the broth and rice. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, covered, until the squash is very tender.
– Blend the soup until creamy. Add additional stock to desired consistency.
Spinach and Zucchini Soup:
Serves about 6.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
big pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups potatoes (2 medium) cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups zucchini (2 medium), loosely chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
4 cups fresh spinach leaves, loosely packed
1 cup cilantro, loosely chopped
In a large, thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot (but not smoking) add the garlic and onions and saute for a few minutes along with pinch of salt - just until they soften up a bit. Stir in the potatoes and zucchini. Add the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are soft throughout, roughly 10-15 minutes.
Stir in the spinach, and wait for it to wilt, just ten seconds or so. Now stir in the cilantro. Puree with a hand blender until smooth. Now taste, and add more salt if needed, serve.
L’Hamraak (Moroccan Eggplant and Summer Squash Soup):
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch / 13 mm cubes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large summer squash or zucchini (about 7-8 inches / 18-20 cm long) cut into 1/2 inch / 13 mm cubes
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 T finely chopped cilantro (coriander)
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
1 t cumin
1/2 t pepper
5 1/2 cups water
– Sprinkle salt on eggplant cubes and place in a strainer. Top with a weight and allow to drain for 45 minutes.
– Heat oil in a large saucepan; add the squash and saute over medium heat for 3 minutes. Stir in eggplant, onion, garlic and cilantro; saute, stirring constantly for 5 minutes, adding more oil if necessary.
– Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Taste and add salt if needed.
– Serve hot.
I hope that was informative and helpful…please leave comments if you have any questions, suggestions, etc. Thanks for reading…until next time, peace!