Soups, Uncategorized

Fennel and Tomato Soup

Confession: this is the first time I have ever tried fennel. I’m not a fan of licorice flavor so I didn’t anticipate liking it much. The truth? I was right. I hate it. I couldn’t even finish my bowl of this soup, and that’s a shame because sans fennel it would have been perfect. This recipe from “Vegetarian Times” January/February 2012 issue will definitely be made again here, though probably not with the fennel. If you’re a fennel lover (as my boyfriend is) you’ll probably really adore this soup. It’s tasty and it’s so easy. Two qualities that I love in a weeknight dinner.

Fennel and Tomato Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, diced
3 vegan Italian sausages, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons dry white wine (vinegar)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

1. Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat.
2. Add fennel and saute 3-5 minutes.
3. Stir in sausages and fennel seeds.
4. Cook 5-7 minutes or till fennel seeds are slightly softened and bits of sausage are stuck to bottom of pan.
5. Add white wine and cook 5-10 seconds to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits.
6. Add broth, tomatoes, and parsley.
7. Cover and bring to a boil.
8. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes.
9. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

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Fennel and Tomato Soup

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Appetizers, Salads, Side Dishes

Barley Salad

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Barley Salad

I adapted this from a recipe in the Vegetarian Slow Cooker Cookbook and made it for Christmas dinner. Yes, Christmas. In case you haven’t already guessed, my life has been so incredibly hectic (for various reasons) that I have been sitting on a ton of recipes that need to be posted. I am trying to be better. I really loved this salad. It was garlicky and oniony and wonderful. I love those flavors. Most of the family wasn’t as excited about it as me because there are so many other wonderful, comfort-food-type things at a Christmas dinner, but I was proud to provide a healthy, fresh offering for those who wanted it. I haven’t made this since, but I have a feeling it’s going to appear often this summer when the air is full of heat and a chilled salad with a little bulk would be well-appreciated.

Barley Salad
1 cup uncooked barley
3 cups water or vegetable broth
1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
6 green onions, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cook the barley in the water or vegetable broth till tender. Let it cool completely.
2. Mix the barley, kidney beans, tomatoes, green onions, and celery in a large bowl.
3. In a lidded jar, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper. Shake well.
4. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix.
5. Let it sit at least 2 hours (the longer it sits the better it is). Serve room temperature or chilled.

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Quick and Easy, Soups

Easy Butternut Tomato Soup

Easy Butternut Tomato Soup

Easy Butternut Tomato Soup

I loved this new twist on tomato soup from the “How it all Vegan” cookbook, but I had several issues with it. For one, you needed a blender for the original recipe. I do not own one here in Alaska. Also, there’s no basil in the original recipe. That seemed unacceptable to me. So I took the original idea and fixed my two problems, coming up with the recipe below. You can buy the cookbook for the original recipe, which I definitely recommend because it’s an AMAZING cookbook. What you see below, however, is a great alternative if you’re lacking a blender or if you want to expedite the soup-making process. I achieved this by using canned tomato sauce, but this also meant that I had to adjust the amount of liquid in the recipe because tomato sauce is quite thick on its own. I recommend adding the minimum at first and then adjusting as you go so you can achieve your own personal preferred thickness of tomato soup. You may even want to up the amount of soy milk you use in order to make it even more creamy. This recipe is vegan-friendly, but you may sub in other foods as you wish if you are not yourself vegan. Beef broth would be a robust alternative and milk or cream would work well instead of soy milk. Jake fried up and crumbled a couple pieces of bacon over his bowl of soup and seemed to like it a lot. That’s saying something because he is definitely not a butternut squash fan.

Easy Butternut Tomato Soup
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon ginger powder
1-2 tablespoons basil
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups vegetable stock
1 28-oz. can tomato sauce
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups soy milk
green onions, chopped, to garnish

1. In a large soup pot, sauté the butternut squash in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Then add the garlic powder, ginger powder, basil, salt and pepper and sauté another 5 minutes.
2. Add the vegetable stock, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and simmer, stirring often, for 20 minutes, or till the squash is tender.
3. Remove the soup from the heat and mash with a potato masher to your own desired consistency.
4. Add the soy milk and mix well.
5. Return the soup to the heat and simmer 5 more minutes or till warm through and fragrant.
6. Garnish with green onions and serve hot. Maybe even alongside a grilled cheese sandwich…

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Soups

Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili

Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili

Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili

This is my last recipe for 2014. I wanted it to be a good one and I have to say this one is a really amazing doozy of a recipe. This recipe for Vegan Cranberry Chili comes from the Bitter Sweet blog, and as usual I’ll provide you with a list of ingredients below but you’ll have to go to her blog to see the construction. Trust me on this: construction of this chili is key. There are some science-y things going on here with cranberries and pectin that only she can explain. Also, her pictures are way better than mine. I’ve never been the best picture-taker.
Now you might be wanting to ask me: “Erin, why are you calling your version of this “Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili”? Isn’t that a weird name?” Well not really. It’s really a nod to the way I live my food life every day. Since my partner is NOT a vegetarian and I am, I mainly cook vegetarian. Every once in a while I’ll make something with meat in it if I have a lot of leftovers for me to munch on. But most of the time I live my life this way: I made this blah blah blah. It’s vegetarian. But if you want, I can make some meat to go alongside it. My partner has different eating habits and needs and I recognize that. He has never once actually complained (he complains a lot, jokingly, but all it is is a joke) because the food I make is good (usually) and interesting and because I respect his food choices as well. So you can make this recipe vegan. You can make it vegetarian. Or you can say forget all that, and add in beef. I cooked up some ground moose alongside this and he topped his bowl with that. I also fried up a bunch of mushrooms on the side for myself (because he doesn’t like mushrooms). I skipped the salsa in the original recipe and added in some TVP to up the protein components for me. In the end, make this the way that makes the most sense to your palate. If you hate bulgur, try brown rice or barley. Not a fan of pinto beans? The original author used cranberry beans (I didn’t have any on hand the day I made this).
I can see the doubt in your eyes as you scan this page. Cranberries. In Chili. You’re a darn fool idiot. I will say this now: this chili was absolutely amazing and complex and breathtaking. If I could give all of the kudos in the world to the Bitter Sweet blog I would. I would steal everyone else’s kudos and give them to her. That is how oddly amazing this recipe is. The flavors are so perfectly balanced that it’s going to blow your mind how much you love it. I’m serious. This is the best choice you could possibly make for a New Years dinner, either to end 2014 or celebrate in 2015.
Here is your shopping list…

Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
1 small carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces (1 Bag) fresh cranberries
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
3–4 tablespoons chili powder
28-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, firmly packed
4 cups cooked pinto beans
1/2 cup coarse bulgur
1/2 cup TVP
1 cup water
salt, to taste

Optional Topping Suggestions:
thinly sliced scallions
sautéed mushrooms
Shredded Vegan Cheese
Vegan Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt
ground beef (or moose!)

…now with toppings!

…now with toppings!

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Quick and Easy, Side Dishes

Chickpeas and Swiss Chard

Chickpeas and Swiss Chard

Chickpeas and Swiss Chard

I loved this recipe from “The Garden of Vegan” cookbook. I’m a newcomer to Swiss chard so combining it with chickpeas (one of my favorite things ever) was a good idea. Thanks to Iris’ CSA here in Fairbanks this summer, we have eaten more Swiss chard than I ever thought I would eat! We’ve kind of had to throw ourselves into it full force since we were getting so much of it every week. The other day I even sliced it thin and chopped it some more and cooked it into our bean and tomato mixture for burritos. It was really lovely and delicious. And so was this recipe! We ate this over rice, but it would’ve been equally good over some buttery couscous as well. Oh my yum! That would be good. Chickpeas have such a gentle flavor that they really compliment the Swiss chard without overpowering it. This is a dish in which the flavors of Swiss chard really shine.

Chickpeas and Swiss Chard
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups Swiss chard, roughly chopped

1. In a large saucepan on medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic till tender.
2. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, salt, pepper, and the stalk-y parts of the Swiss chard and simmer 7 minutes.
3. Stir in the lemon juice and lay the rest of the chard on top.
4. Cover and simmer 4 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let it sit for 2 minutes, or till the chard leaves are wilted.
5. Serve over rice.

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Quick and Easy, Side Dishes

Carolina Kale

Carolina Kale

Carolina Kale

This recipe from “Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites” cookbook is a good one. It’s also the first time I’ve ever tried beet greens! They were so delicious that it won’t be the last time. This recipe was an absolute godsend. I ended up making it on a night when I was exhausted from running around all day. Besides the chopping of the veggies, this was pretty easy and quick. It doesn’t take a ton of thought or ingredients. Awesome. Sometimes you feel like putting your body on autopilot and giving your head a rest from things. This was just a little on the sweet side with the beet greens and teeny beet roots and all (we got the beet greens from a thinning of our CSA’s garden so they had teeny tiny baby beets attached to them). I ended up tasting towards the end of cooking and adding in more hot sauce, which is reflected in the recipe below. I think next time I’m going to add in even more. Always taste test things like hot sauce because not only can a little go a long way, but sometimes you really need a little MORE for an extra kick. Highly recommend this one over rice, or over couscous as you see in the photo above.

Carolina Kale
1 1/2 pounds kale and beet greens, washed, large stems removed, and cut into 1/8-inch strips
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons hot sauce (alter to your preference)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and black pepper, to taste

1. Combine the tomatoes, onion, cumin, garlic, hot sauce, red pepper flakes and some salt in a large skillet.
2. Cook on medium or medium high till onions and garlic are starting to get tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Spread the kale and beet greens across the top of the tomato mixture and cover with a lid. Cook 5-10 minutes, as long as it takes greens to become tender.
4. Adjust seasoning and serve hot over a bed of rice or buttery couscous.

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Soups

Lentil-Quinoa Stew

Lentil-Quinoa Stew

Lentil-Quinoa Stew

I made this recipe from the “La Dolce Vegan” cookbook before leaving Tucson. Once again, we spent a significant amount of time those last 2 months packing, using up food and figuring stuff out. This was quite tasty. I am a huge fan of both lentils (particularly red lentils) and quinoa so having them both in the same dish was absolutely heavenly. This stew has weaseled its way into our permanent rotation. Most stews and soups do unless they’re god awful. We are really big soup people, Jake and I. Now that we’re living in Fairbanks we’re going to need all the warm soupy recipes we can find! It’s going to get way chilly here in the winter time.

Lentil-Quinoa Stew
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 small carrots, diced
3 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup dry red lentils
1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1. Saute the onion and garlic till translucent in a medium soup pot on medium-high heat.
2. Add the celery and carrots and sauté another 5 minutes.
3. Add the red lentils, quinoa, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix well and let it cook 3 minutes.
4. Add vegetable broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat. Simmer 20-25 minutes.
5. Add the cilantro and apple cider vinegar and cook 3 minutes more.
6. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.

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Soups

Tomato Cabbage Soup

Tomato Cabbage Soup

Tomato Cabbage Soup

Jake and I don’t eat a ton of cabbage. It’s hard for me to find a ton of ways that I really like the taste. This recipe from the “La Dolce Vegan” cookbook was interesting, but in the end it was still cabbage and it’s not my most favorite vegetable. Still, the flavors in this soup were great and I may substitute another vegetable, such as potatoes, for the cabbage in this recipe next time. I like my cabbage better fresh in salads and things like that. If you’re a cabbage lover you definitely need to give this a try. It’s a little sour and a little sweet and very interesting and satisfying. If you’re not a vegetarian, try this with beef broth and maybe some beef chunks. I remember really loving cabbage and beef soups back when I was a kid and ate meat. This would be a great soup to add beef to if you’re a beef-aholic.

Tomato Cabbage Soup
1 small red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dill
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups cabbage, finely chopped
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup

1. Saute the onions, garlic, dill, cumin, and paprika in the olive oil on medium heat in a medium soup pot till tender.
2. Add the tomatoes, veggie stock, cabbage, salt, and pepper.
3. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer 15-20 minutes.
4. Stir in the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup and serve immediately.

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Soups

Erin’s Bean and Olive Soup

Erin's Bean and Olive Soup

Erin’s Bean and Olive Soup

Winter is here at last! And Tucson has been hit by the same chilly stroke of arctic air that the rest of the country is dealing with. Sweater weather days are fewer here than in the northern parts of our country so we like to enjoy them when they happen. This started out as a recipe from “The Garden of Vegan” cookbook, but I didn’t have everything I needed, so I decided to make it my own. Which, if we’re being honest, is really the best part of cooking. I’m not sure I was a huge fan of the olives in this soup. I would rather just cram them all into my mouth as fast as possible instead of plop them into a pot of soup and wait around for everything to be finished. That said, this soup wasn’t half bad and I’ll probably make it again. Only next time I’ll put the olives on the side.

Erin’s Bean and Olive Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
2 medium carrot, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 small zucchini, diced
1-2 15-oz. cans white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz. can Kalamata olives, drained, pitted and sliced
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
5 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tomato, diced for garnish
parmesan or mozzarella cheese, to garnish

1. Saute the onions, garlic and carrots in the olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat.
2. Add the vegetable stock, asparagus, zucchini, beans, olives, salt and pepper, oregano, basil, tomato paste, red wine vinegar and lemon juice.
3. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to low.
4. Simmer 10-15 minutes or till vegetables are cooked through.
5. Garnish the soup with the parsley and fresh tomato and cheese, if desired.

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Soups

Lively Lentil Stew

Lively Lentil Stew

Lively Lentil Stew

This recipe from the “How it all Vegan” cookbook was pretty tasty. Pretty tasty, but not my most favorite. Granted, it might have had something to do with the celery. I am not a huge celery fan and usually avoid it. But every once in a while I’ll buy a stalk and force myself to eat it because I know it’s good for me. Must be my mother’s voice in my head telling me to do so. One thing I WILL say for this soup though, is that it was rather lighter than I’d expected it to be and I didn’t feel as stuffed as I sometimes do after eating a bowl of a more “serious” soup. Maybe that’s why they chose to call it “lively,” as I had plenty of strength left over to clean up the kitchen afterwards. Haha! I do need to make a confession: this isn’t the exact recipe that’s in the book. There were things I didn’t have on hand the evening I made this and so I just left them out of the soup. I didn’t suffer for this. The soup did not suffer for this.

Lively Lentil Stew
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dry green or brown lentils
3 cups vegetable broth
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 small potato, diced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons parsley

1. In a large pot, saute the onions, celery and carrots in the oil on medium heat till the onions are soft.
2. Add the lentils, broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, potatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
3. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 30-45 minutes. Stir frequently till the lentils are tender.
4. Stir in the parsley and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve hot.

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