vegan vegetable quinoa chickpea soup

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Sometimes you just need soup. And now that winter has finally hit with a good three or four inches of snow that I am forced to shovel, I am thrilled to come back inside the warm house to be greeted by this hearty, filling, vegan soup. Best part – like most soups, you can experiment and throw in whatever you like, whatever you have on hand.

Vegan vegetable quinoa chickpea soup

Ingredients (you can play with this as much as you like… this is just what I’ve done)
1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion or two shallots, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
6 cloves crushed garlic
1 cup dry quinoa (I use tricolor quinoa)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoon dry basil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 or 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 container (about 15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
28 ounces (about two normal-sized tins) of crushed tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tin coconut milk
Any vegetables you want to throw in
Salt, pepper to taste

In a soup pot, saute the onions/shallots, and if you are using the carrot and celery saute those too. I have not always added these, and the soup is good without them. Add a pinch of salt and continue to saute until soft. Just before adding other ingredients, throw in the garlic and saute for half a minute.

Add the fennel seeds, basil, Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast, and stir. Add the rinsed quinoa and chickpeas. Stir and saute for one minute or so. Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth and coconut milk. Stir. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cook with the lid on for about 20 minutes.

Stir now and again to make sure the quinoa does not stick to the bottom of the pan. After about 15 minutes, throw in whatever frozen vegetables you want to add (I threw in some broccoli). Then at about 20 minutes, throw in the fresh veg that don’t need as long to cook; I added some quartered zucchini and a few cups of baby spinach leaves. Once you add the vegetables let it cook for another five or ten minutes until the veg achieves a consistency you like.

experimental vegan cream of broccoli soup

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Experimenting over the last few months with using what I have rather than racing to the store to buy something random. I have been messing about with some variation of this recipe for cream of broccoli soup… I don’t have exact measurements, but will indicate in the description some approximations.

Vegan cream of broccoli soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
diced or crushed garlic, to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon mustard (Dijon or plain yellow mustard)
4 cups vegetable broth/bouillon
sprinkle of turmeric
1 teaspoon mustard powder
6 cups of broccoli (I often use frozen bags of broccoli for this recipe)
nutritional yeast to taste
lemon juice
coconut milk, salt, pepper to taste (after blending)

Saute onion for about five minutes in the olive oil in a pot large enough to make a soup.

Add garlic, pepper, and mustard. Stir and cook for about half a minute before adding the broth.

You can use vegetable stock, vegetable broth or just make some vegetable bouillon. I always add a sprinkle of turmeric at this stage and a teaspoon of mustard powder.

Once you’ve added the broth to the onion/garlic in the pot, bring to a simmer and then add your broccoli.

Let the mixture come to a good simmer and cook for about 10 or 15 minutes. The longer it goes, the more the flavor develops. But you don’t have to spend long on this if you’re hungry and just want to eat.

Once you’re satisfied and the broccoli is soft enough to blend, remove the pot from heat and add the lemon juice (to taste, but this could be anything from about 1 teaspoon to a tablespoon) and nutritional yeast if you like the stuff (not necessary but does add a cheesy/umami flavor); I have at times added up to a cup, other times I’ve added maybe a quarter cup. It really depends on your taste preferences.

Once this is stirred, blend the soup in the pot with a stick blender (preferably; you could of course do this in a blender but that’s always messy).

After blended, you can eat it, add some garnishes and eat it or add salt, pepper to taste and possibly even coconut milk if you would like it thinner, creamier or milder in flavor. In the photo below, there is coconut milk in it – and there was some parmesan cheese sprinkled on top making it not-quite vegan.

Vegan cream of asparagus soup

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What person doesn’t sit awake through an entire Friday night working, and relenting to a growing craving for cream of asparagus soup around 6 a.m.? Maybe it’s not the aspiration or habit of millions, but I’m working, blasting music, watching rain fall and waiting for my asparagus spears and onions to roast to perfection to make a vegan cream of asparagus soup for a transposed dinner-breakfast.

I go through soup kicks about once a year, and generally I don’t follow a set recipe. I just guess what I might like to taste. Last time I made some variation of asparagus soup, it was a green curry and coconut-based soup, but this time I was not really in the mood for curry (apart from shaking a tiny dot of curry powder into the garlic-laced vegetable broth).

Almost all my soups end up being vegan, too. I am not big on making meat soups or traditional kinds of bone broth. I barely know how to cook meat, let alone what to do with bones afterwards. I’ve become pretty good at roasting a chicken and then making chicken soup with what’s left, but that’s really only if I feel a physical need for it (i.e., I or someone else near me is sick). Roasted veg pureed with coconut milk is the best possible soup outcome I can imagine.

Today’s asparagus soup was made more or less as follows:

  • 25-30 asparagus spears, washed and cut into smaller pieces and thrown into a roasting pan with some olive oil
  • 3 red onions – two chopped up and thrown into the pan with the asparagus; 1 to saute in the pot on the stove with garlic
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can coconut milk

Roast the asparagus pieces with 2 chopped onions. While roasting prepare the vegetable broth base.

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Saute the one remaining onion for about ten minutes in some olive oil on medium heat, throw in the garlic and stir constantly for about one minute. Pour in the two cups of broth, let simmer.

When the asparagus is ready, transfer it to the pot, stir, let simmer a few minutes. Use an immersion blender and blend until smooth.

Post-Thanksgiving food coma – Pumpkin curry soup

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Normally I make pumpkin curry soup, which is a serious fork in the road from the traditional Thanksgiving dinner road driven by my predecessors. We never had soup in my family, and if we did, it sure as hell would not have been pumpkin. My mom, the primary Thanksgiving cook, hates pumpkin, and I do not recall that my grandmother had any particular affinity for it either. When I decided to start a new tradition of making soup, I wanted something that incorporated pumpkin (one of the most important Thanksgiving ingredients in my opinion) but that was not dull or plain (as so many pumpkin soups can be). I used curry to give it its kick. Generally when I make this soup, I use coconut milk (making the soup vegan), but at Thanksgiving usually dose the soup with a generous few gulps of cream.

Pumpkin curry soup (You can use pureed butternut squash in place of pumpkin here if pumpkin is hard to find… might even be better that way. I did this year just for a change)
3 tablespoons butter or oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon curry
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups water
3 bouillon cubes (I use vegetable)
15 ounce can pumpkin (or the “meat” of a baked butternut squash)
1 cup half-and-half or cream (can replace with coconut milk if you want a non-dairy option)
Sour cream garnish

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium high. Add onion and garlic. Cook 3 to 5 minutes til tender. Stir in curry powder, coriander, cayenne. Cook 1 minute. Add water and bouillon. Bring to boil. Reduce to low, cook, stirring constantly for 15 to 20 minutes to develop flavors. Stir in pumpkin. Blend until smooth. At this point, you could cover and refrigerate the soup for a day. This develops the flavors further and of course means you can plan ahead.

When ready to finish and serve, place soup on stovetop and mix in cream (or coconut milk or half and half). Cook 5 minutes or til heated through. Garnish with sour cream if desired.