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dscf2267Caribbean Green Plantain Soup

I have had this Caribbean soup before, but I wasn’t sure how to make it and couldn’t find a recipe for it with a quick search. So I called up my chef husband and asked him how to make it. Even though I am soup queen at our house, this is one of his recipes.šŸ™‚

Ingredients:

  • 1 green plantain (ripe won’t do!), peeled and sliced into rounds about 1/4″ thick
  • 3 small potatoes, cubed
  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. spicy curry powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • something spicy (if I was making this for just myself, I’d split a hot pepper down the middle and sautee it in with the other ingredients; since my little boy is going to eat this later, I just added a bit of sweet chili paste into my bowl and mixed it around. JalapeƱos would be great, too.)
  1. An easy way to peel a green plantain: Cut off the ends. Slit the peel lengthwise four times around the plantain. Then just peel each slice away.
  2. Sautee in a pot the onion, garlic, and ginger. When the onion starts to go translucent, add in the plantain and eggplant, plus the cilantro and dry spices. Mix thoroughly.
  3. When the mixture starts to brown slightly, add in the coconut milk plus 1 can of either veg broth or water. Stir and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and lower to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are done (about 10 minutes, depending on how small you’ve cut the cubes).

This makes about 4 small or 2-3 medium servings. You could serve it with a side of jasmine rice, add in “chicken” tvp at the same time as the potatoes, add in chopped tomatoes, top with coconut flakes (ooh, that would be yummy!), use sweet potatoes instead of boiling potatoes, add in sweet corn, etc., to make this dish to your liking. Enjoy!

Thai Coconut-Tofu Soup

A friend of mine cut some lemongrass from our little backyard garden yesterday for a sorbet. Smelling the delicious aroma of the cut lemongrass reminded me that I hadn’t made this soup in a while, and I really ought to! So guess what we had for dinner? This is my vegan version of tom ka gai. I can’t get fresh or dried galangal root here, but if you can, I highly suggest adding a slice or two to this soup to give it that unique taste. Also, if you like mushrooms, you can add some of those to this soup as well. Don’t ask me when to add them, though, I’ll leave that up to you, as I personally despise mushrooms and never put them in anything!šŸ˜‰

Ingredients:

  • two nice stalks of lemongrass, scored (don’t cut up because you don’t want to ingest the lemongrass, just allow it to give flavor to the soup)
  • 1 can coconut milk (not cream of coconut!)
  • 2 boiling potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 box firm or extra-firm tofu, cubed (make pieces about the same size as the potatoes)
  • about a 2″ piece of ginger, grated
  • small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 c frozen green peas (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or basil (for people who don’t like cilantro, try basil — it’s a completely different taste but just as good)
  • 1-2 tsp. Thai seasoning (I use this one and it’s fantastic!) or just use a pinch of your favorite hot dried chilis
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1-2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • salt to taste
  • optional: pinch of dried kaffir lime leaf or add in a fresh kaffir lime leaf if you can get them (I can’t, sniff sniff…)
  1. Start off by sauteeing the onion, garlic, and ginger together.Ā  When the onion starts to get translucent, add in the coconut milk and at least 1/2 can of water or veg stock (more if you like your soup thinner).
  2. Bring to a simmer; lower heat and add in potatoes and tofu, plus seasonings (cilantro/basil, lemon juice, salt, Thai seasoning, soy sauce, etc.).
  3. When potatoes are cooked (about 10-15 minutes, depending on how large or small you’ve cut the cubes), add in the frozen peas. Allow to heat through, and serve immediately. You can serve it with rice on the side, over rice (the way my husband eats it), or just by itself. Enjoy!

Slow-Cooker Chili

I am rediscovering the joys of having a slow-cooker/crock-pot. This is a chili recipe I usually make the traditional stove-top way; sauteeing the onions and garlic, then adding in the peppers and tomatoes, preparing the tvp in advance… No more! The slow-cooker makes this recipe so much simpler. Just throw everything in the pot, let it go for a few hours, and badda-boom, badda-bing, you’ve got vegan chili! (My husband, the chef and food stylist, took this photo. I bet you can tell the difference between his photos and mine.)

Vegan Slow-Cooker Chili

Vegan Slow-Cooker Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 can kidney beans (preferably organic; if not organic, rise well first)
  • 1/2 c dry tvp (or prepared; I doubt it will make much of a difference; in fact, you can leave it out and sub more beans if you don’t want a “meaty” feel to your chili)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. dry oregano
  • 1 tsp. hot red pepper/chili flakes (or to taste, if you like your chili hotter or not-so-hot)
  • 1/2 tsp. each unsweetened cocoa and cinnamon (sounds weird, but this is the secret to my ultra-top-secret chili recipe!)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Throw it all in a slow cooker with water to cover about 1″-2″. I have a small slow cooker, and this about fills it up. I let it cook at least 4-6 hours on high (or overnight on low), though times can vary depending on your slow cooker. You can top it with any of the following (or just much with crackers):

  • jalapeƱo slices
  • chopped avocado
  • shredded vegan cheese
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • chopped red onions
  • cooked corn

You could also put it over fries with vegan shredded cheese, or do the same on a vegan hot dog. Yum!

This made about 6 servings, though two adults and one four-year-old kid went through the whole pot on Christmas day. We do love our chili! Enjoy!

Of course I forgot to take a picture of it.. but it was soooo goodšŸ™‚

Happy-Chicken Noodle Soup
2C TVP Chunks
6C Water, separated
2 cubes No-Chicken Bullion
2T vegetable oil
2 carrots, diced
2C celery, sliced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
2 button mushrooms, sliced
1C orzo
1/2t corriander
1/2t pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2C fresh parsley

In a small bowl, rehydrate the TVP chunks in 2 cups of warm water and the bullion cubes. Allow it to soak while you prepare everything else.
To a large pot, add the oil, carrots, onion, and celery – cook until onion is translucent.
Add the garlic and mushrooms, cook for one minute longer.
Add the TVP and all the remaining bullion broth, add the remaining 4 cups of water, the orzo, corriander, pepper, and bay leaf. Cook for about 25 minutes, or until orzo and carrots are tender.
Remove from heat, stir in the parsley and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

(note: 1 cup of Orzo made it a bit more pasta-y.. next time I will probably use 2/3 cup, that’s the only thing I would change it was THAT good!)

Chunky Gazpacho

Chunky Gazpacho

Chunky Gazpacho

This cold soup was inspired by a power outage of 22 hours, in which I worried that everything in the fridge was going to go bad, so I’d better use it up. Thus, it’s also chunky, because we had no power with which to blend it. I think it turned out pretty darn good anyway.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups organic veggie broth
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 sweet red or green pepper, chopped
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • salt, pepper, dried oregano, and dried thyme to taste
  • hot sauce of your choice to taste (optional)
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  1. Put the broth, canned tomatoes, and chopped garlic in a bowl and stir. Then add all the veggies except the avocado.
  2. Add in the lemon/lime juice, seasonings, cilantro, and hot sauce (I used Herdez’s Taquera sauce, and it was freaking great!). It’s really best if you can let this soup sit at least 6-8 hours or even overnight to allow the flavors to meld, though we actually ate it right away because we were hungry! And if you have electricity, you could throw everything in a blender and make it smooth instead of chunky.
  3. To serve, top with avocado. You could also add veg sour cream and/or croutons to the top. Enjoy!

Vegan Chickpea and Potato Soup

Vegan Chickpea and Potato Soup

Vegan Chickpea and Potato Soup

This is my fallback soup. It’s easy (can you see a pattern emerging here? lol…), and I usually have the few ingredients it takes in the pantry. It’s also light for those nights when you don’t want something too heavy. You can leave out the potatoes if you like, or add frozen green peas at the end. Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 c. veg stock or water or a combination (I usually use 1/2 water 1/2 stock)
  • 2 large boiling potatoes, cubed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, well rinsed
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ginger, grated
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • juice from 2 large lemons or limes
  • jalapeƱos (whole or slices) to top of (optional)
  1. Start off by sauteeing the onion, garlic and ginger in a large pot. When the onions go translucent and the garlic starts to brown, add the stock/water.
  2. Bring to a boil, and add the potatoes and garbanzo beans.
  3. After about 10 minutes, add the cilantro and lemon juice. Simmer for about another 5-10 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked.
  4. That’s it! Isn’t that about the easiest soup ever? I like to give it a little extra kick with a jalapeƱo on top. You could also throw in some frozen green peas toward the end if you like. Enjoy!

Makes about 2-4 servings.

Vegan Wonton Soup

Vegan Wonton Soup

Vegan Wonton Soup

This soup is so good! It takes a bit of extra time to make the wontons, but the broth is really simple, so it all evens out in the end. This is a little different from a traditional wonton soup, because I fry the wontons before adding them to the soup to give a crispier texture (a technique learned from Taiwanese friends). I also use a broth that is slightly Thai-inspired: sweet, sour, and salty all together.

Step 1: Make the Wontons

Ingredients:

  • wonton wrappers (I used the small ones, but of course you could use the larger size if you prefer those)
  • 1 cup prepared soy “meat”
  • 1/3 cup green peas
  • small onion, diced (you’ll need more of these for the broth, if you want to chop everything together and keep separated for later)
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • peanut oil (enough to pan fry wontons)
  1. Sautee the onion in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger when the onion starts to clarify.
  2. Add soy “meat” and peas. Heat through.
  3. To make the wontons, I set out several wrappers at a time on a cutting board. Have a small bowl of water standing by (to wet the edges). You can make enough wontons for serving this soup (I figure on about 4 small wontons per serving; the recipe makes about 4 servings), or make them all and freeze the extras (remember to put waxed paper between layers so they don’t stick together). Put about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each wrapper. Wet the edges of the wrapper (I do this part one wonton at a time). Take the bottom right corner and fold it over to the top left corner. Wet the remaining two edges again, and fold the bottom left and top right corners over to the top left corner. Press the edges together to make sure they’re sealed. Then set them all aside and let dry before frying.
  4. To pan fry, add enough peanut oil (or other oil if you prefer it) to cover about 1/8″ of the bottom of the pan (I use a nonstick cast iron skillet). Fry each side until lightly browned and crispy. Since the wontons don’t lie flat, some of the sides won’t be cooked — that’s okay! They will finish cooking quickly in the soup.

Step 2: Make the Broth

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1 tsp. Thai seasoning (I use a Spice Islands mix that basically has lemon peel, chiles, coriander, and “other spices”)
  • 1/4-1/3 c. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. raw sugar
  • juice of 3 limes (or lemons)
  • about 6 cups water
  • 1/2 c. chopped cilantro (optional)
  1. Sautee the onion, garlic and ginger as you did for the wontons. When the onions are beginning to brown, add the Thai seasoning, and let it cook for a minute or two.
  2. Add about 6 cups of water. Add soy sauce and sugar. Stir and allow to come to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Add the cilantro and lime/lemon juice. Taste the broth — it should have a nice mix of sweet, sour, and salty. If not, adjust the flavors.
  3. When I make this soup, I usually only add as many wontons as I am actually going to serve at that time. That way, they don’t go all mushy in the broth. So add about 4 small wontons (or 2-3 large ones) per serving, and simmer for a couple of minutes. If you have leftover wontons, they’ll stay good in the fridge for a couple of days, or you can freeze them.
  4. Enjoy!

Please let me know if you try this recipe and how you like it!

-Raven

P.S. Thanks to my husband for the photo — he’s a chef and writer, and is much better at the taking-pictures-of-food-and-making-them-look-appetizing thing than I am!