Tag Archives: soup & stew

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili

Hey folks! It’s another Dinner and a Movie night! I don’t know about you, but this new year has been keeping me so busy! I’m definitely trying to make time for more blogging and especially for more ‘Dinner and a Movie’ nights! They are our favorites!

This week we watched Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (one of our all-time favorites) and made “Jack Skellington’s Bone-Chilling Chili” (aka Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili). READ ALL ABOUT OUR FUN MOVIE NIGHT HERE!!

If I have learned anything from having two kiddos, it’s that ANYTIME (esp. Dinner and a Movie night) is a good time to dress up!! So… “don’t be afraid”  to pull out the costumes & the Jack-o-lanterns for this spooky movie night! 😉

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Vegan Broccoli and Cheese Soup

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Wow… 2014! I can barely believe it is the start of another new year. I have quite the list of resolutions this year… one is being more consistent on my blog… I know, I know… I’m off to a bit of a late start there, huh?! But for the last couple days, I have been putting some recipes from my newest cookbooks to the test, so I have lots of new favorites to share already. So here goes!

This is hands down one of the best vegan soups I have ever had! Creamy, filling and absolutely delicious. Oh… and did I mention healthy? This soup mimics traditional broccoli & cheese soup yet holds its own by remaking the classic recipe with a fabulous vegan twist. The recipe is from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s newest book ‘Isa Does It’.  We devoured the entire pot (except for one bowl, which I happily took to work for my lunch the next day) – & even my 3-year-old son was a fan! And the best part? It is completely and amazingly 100% healthy. No dairy, no soy, no faux cheeses of any kind… If you would’ve told me I would be eating “cheddary broccoli soup” that contained no cheese at all, I would’ve never believed it could be this good… and neither will you. Thank god Isa was born!

The secret of the creaminess lies within the cashew cream. This cashew cream is amazing stuff. I hope you aren’t allergic to cashews, because the cashew cream train is swiftly chugging along… and I’m hopping aboard! Sorry, I know I can sometimes be a little “cheesy” 😉 I didn’t have any cashews pre-soaked, so I boiled them for 15 minutes and then let them sit for as long as possible, as recommended in the book – worked like a charm.

Oh – two more things – 1) You will need an immersion blender for this recipe, and 2) This AWESOME soup is not only dairy free, but gluten-free as well 🙂 Bring it on!

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Oooooh yeeeeeah. Serve with some homemade bread on the side for complete satisfaction.

Cheddary Broccoli Soup

Ingredients for the Soup:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus a pinch
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli – stems and florets
  • 1/2 cup peeled and chopped carrots
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

Ingredients for the cashew cream:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, or overnight (*or the quick boil method I mentioned above)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 Tbsp mellow white miso
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preparing the Soup:

Preheat a soup pot over medium heat and add the oil. Sauté the onion in the oil with a pinch of salt – just until softened, about 3 min. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so, until fragrant.

Add the broccoli, carrots, turmeric, remaining 1/2 tsp salt and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer. Cook about 10 minutes until the carrots are very tender.

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Can this soup REALLY be this easy?

Prepare the Cashew Cream:

In the meantime, make the cashew cream by draining the cashews and placing them in a blender/food processor with the broth, miso and nutritional yeast. Blend like crazy, until smooth. This can take anywhere from 1-5 minutes. Scrape the sides of your blender down with a rubber spatula every now and then. (Mine was full to the brim! Unless you have a giant food processor, don’t be alarmed if a little liquid leaks out. I just wrapped a towel around the base of my mixer bowl to catch any overflow.). And voila! Cashew Cream!

When the carrots are tender, add the cashew cream to the soup. Use an immersion blender to puree so that only tiny bits of broccoli and carrot are visible. Keep the soup on low heat, partially covered for about 10 minutes, until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Once thickened, add the lemon juice and pepper, taste for seasoning, and serve. It thickens a bit more as it cools, so you’ll probably need to thin out the leftovers, if there are any!

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And there you have it, folks… heaven in a bowl.

On another note, I would like to say, only my latest posts are listed on the sidebar – Don’t forget to try my search bar if you are looking for something in particular! I’ve been writing this blog since 2011 so there’s some delicious history back up in there!

African Sweet Potato Soup

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Mmmm… I really love soup, especially when its cold outside! This is the first time I made this African Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter, Black Eyed Peas and Beans and it turned out so delicious! This soup is also gluten free, and makes a great hearty bowl if you are having company.  This could easily be a New Years dish since it contains black eyed peas… Perhaps next time I make this, I may try adding in some greens!

(I slightly altered the recipe below from the original one here @ the gluten-free goddess. The original recipe also includes jalapeno and cilantro. The jalapeno I decided to leave out because my kids don’t usually care for spicy foods, and the cilantro I left out because I didn’t have any! I also used a white onion instead of a red one. What can I say?…. It still tasted absolutely great!)

I was pleased that my kids tried and (more or less) liked this soup.  My son scooped his bowl clean… I think he could sense that it contained peanut butter (hahaha) which is one of his favorite foods! My daughter wasn’t as big of a fan, but she did finish her bowl for me.  I am a sucker for peanuty soups… especially ones like this. It makes about 4 adult servings. We served ours with a side of coconut jasmine rice, which the kids always love! It would also be great with some cornbread. The peanut butter can be substituted for almond butter or sunflower seed butter if you have allergies.

African Sweet Potato Soup

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red or green Thai Kitchen curry paste – hot or mild, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 14-0z can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups broth
  • 1/2 cup 100% natural peanut butter + 1/2 cup hot water (to equal 1 cup) I recommend using chunky peanut butter to give it a little  extra texture and crunch in the soup.
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red hot pepper flakes
  • Juice from 1 big lime
  • 2-3 tsp brown sugar (or agave nectar), to taste
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1) Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the curry paste and cinnamon; stir for a minute to mix the pol with spice. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, yellow pepper. Stir and cook the veggies for 5-7 minutes, until softened.

2) Add the black-eyed peas, white and black beans, broth, melted peanut butter, red pepper flakes and cilantro.

3) Bring the soup to a high simmer, cover, and lower the heat. Keep the soup on simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, 25-30 minutes.

4) Stir in the lime juice and sweetener. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro, if you please!

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This delicious soup is packed with flavor AND protein!

P.S. This soup could easily make a ‘Dinner and a Movie’ night with Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’.  That was kinda my original plan. My kids love hearing about different places in the world (in this case, Africa) and how different people live  and how our lifestyles are alike or different.  It makes for a great educational conversation!  However, somehow on this night we got sidetracked &  we never got around to putting in the movie!

Moroccan Beef Stew – made vegan

Most recipes are really easy to veganize and it is getting easier and easier with all the faux meats you can find these days. This recipe calls for 1 1/4 lb beef, but I’m sure you could also easily use seitan if you wanted to avoid soy.  In this recipe (which I adapted from a recipe titled the same in the January 2012 O magazine),  I used 2 packs of Gardein beef tips (9 oz each).   I was really surprised at how fast this soup came together.  I think maybe I may stir in some spinach next time.

Vegan Moroccan Beef Stew

    • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
    • 2 packs of Gardein beef tips
    • 2 tsp salt, divided
    • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped well
    • 1 large carrot, chopped (I sliced mine into thin medallions)
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp sweet paprika
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 6 cups beef or chicken broth ( I used 6 cups of water + 2 veg bouillon cubes and 1/2 block of a “no-chicken” broth cube)
    • 2 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • < 1 cup dried spaghetti, broken into 1″ pieces (I used tri-color corkscrew spirals instead for added nutrients and color)
    • 6 Tbsp chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional – i did not use this)
    • 1 large lemon, cut into 6 wedges, for garnish (optional)

1) Make your broth, if not using pre-made broth, and set aside. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large pot over med-high heat.  Add beef, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned, about 10 minutes.

Gardein's vegan beef tips

2) Add remaining 1 Tbsp oil, garlic, carrot, onion, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until vegetables are softened, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and ginger and cook, stirring constantly for about 1 minute.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cover until beef is tender* (*the original recipe says to cook for 45 minutes so that the beef cooks, but I found with the faux beef that mine was good in less than half that time!)  Go ahead and toss in those chickpeas now and let them get cooked with the soup to avoid them tasting raw.

3) Add the noodles, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and continue to cook, covered until the noodles are al dente, 10-15 minutes.

To serve, season to taste with salt and pepper, then ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro (if using) and lemon wedges on the side.

Serves 6. Can be frozen up to 8 weeks (though if you plan on freezing, I would recommend omitting the noodles until you are re-heating it).

Those faux beef tips are tasty and freakishly beef like. I thought this soup was very satisfying, though next time I use these faux beef tips, I’m gonna try a more traditional “beef” stew and dumplings recipe… one that would require a creamier sauce (rather than a broth) and a thicker stew with peas and potatoes.  That being said, I really enjoyed this soup.

Butternut Squash Soup

Lately time has been passing by so quickly.  I really can’t believe that Halloween is almost here and then we will be heading towards Thanksgiving… & then Christmas!! Well, I’m glad the holidays are coming up.  I am definitely the kind of person that actually enjoys being with family for the holidays.  In that sense, the holidays can’t come fast enough. Speaking of holiday gatherings, I made this soup at my family’s last Thanksgiving feast. Need I say, it was a huge hit.  I think this soup is perfect for holiday gatherings.  The kids loved it, it is easy and can be made rather quickly. If you have a emulsion blender (the stick-like blender you “stir” with, if you will) it is even faster to make this as you wont have to dirty up your food processor to purée.  One thing you surely won’t have to wash are the serving bowls – they will be licked clean!

~Butternut Squash Soup~

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • olive oil (2-3 Tbsp)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp dry ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups soymilk
  • 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot flour

First, cut the butternut squash in half, de-seed it & lay it flat side down on a baking sheet (I usually cover the baking sheet with tin foil and lightly oil it first).  Roast at 400 F for 50-60 minutes until soft. Once it is done, remove the squash from the oven and let it cool while you assemble the rest of the soup.

Saute the onion in 2-3 Tbsp oil in a large stockpot & set aside.  Add the broth to the stockpot.  (NOTE * If you do not have an emulsion blender, you will want to puree the sautéed onion first in the food processor with about 1-2 cups of broth.) Next, add all the other ingredients (except the squash) to the stockpot.

When the butternut squash is cool enough,  scoop the yummy out of the shell. If you are using a food processor, puree the squash before adding it to the stockpot.  If you are using an emulsion blender, just plop the butternut squash into the stockpot, & puree away.  Heat until ready to serve & ENJOY!

Mmmmm... I think I can hear it calling me!

This soup is gluten-free and can be made soy-free as well if you use a different non-dairy milk, such as almond milk. Honestly, I haven’t ever tried it that way, but I’m sure it would be just as delicious! Oh – I almost forgot to tell you – this soup freezes well… and yes, I suppose I have ‘a thing’ for orange soup! 🙂

Rita’s Vegan Chili

So… Did you know that October is Vegetarian Awareness Month? October 1st is actually World Vegetarian DAY – and of coarse, since we’re talking vegetarian (& since eggs, dairy & cheese is included in the vegetarian diet) there’s NO excuses to not do your part for the Earth by saying no to meat for ONE day! YOU CAN DO IT!!  Hopefully you will want to shoot for all 30 nights of meat-less meals (or more)!!

I have been wanting to share this recipe for a while, which is (like all of my recipes) 100% vegan.  I have had many rave reviews on my vegan chili and I hope I can add yours to my comments below!  Did I mention that my kids really love it too?!  They usually arent crazy about spicy stuff, but they make an exception for this mildly spicy delicious chili!

I like using Lightlife Smart Ground in my chili, but there are many different kinds of vegetarian crumbles you can find in the grocery store! Look in the freezer section if you can’t find it by the tofu. (Boca makes frozen crumbles but they may contain eggs if I recall correctly…  that is also typical of Morningstar Farms varieties.  (Unless you are vegetarian, look for the vegan symbol on the box.)  Get one or two boxes depending on how “meaty” you like your chili!

Mmmm! There's nothing like some good homemade chili!!

~Rita’s Vegan Chili~

First, crumble and brown the “meat” in a non-stick pan in a little olive oil. (I don’t even know if this step is really necessary, but for some reason, I always felt weird about just dumping it into the pot… but since there’s no chance of e-coli or anything, you could honestly probably just do that & save a step if you wanted!)

  • 2 packs of Lightlife smart ground (or “mock-crumbles” of choice)

Saute everything in a little olive oil and combine it with the “meat” in a large stockpot – or the biggest pot you have!

  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Stir in all other ingredients and cook until heated through!

  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can white kidney beans, rinsed & drained (or you bump it up to 3 cans of red kidney beans)
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 (28 oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp each oregano, basil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar

Cover and simmer.  The longer it cooks together, the better the flavor!  Top with soy cheese & vegan sour cream if desired! Serve with crackers or cornbread (my personal fave)!  This chili also freezes great!

OPTIONAL: You can even add 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup each chopped carrot, celery, or corn to the mix to throw in some more veggies, but allow some extra cooking time to soften those carrots!

Roasted Vegetable Stew

Cooler weather is fast approaching and so begins the start of the season’s wonderfully delicious fall harvest!  There is nothing more inviting than walking into your home on a chilly day and smelling an amazing soup simmering on your stove top!  Roasting vegetables is a great way to enjoy fresh seasonal produce in an easy way and at the same time make your house smell AMAZING!

This simple stew brings the flavors of sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots, and eggplant together into one giant bowl of nutritious delicious LOVE! Even though this recipe contains neither meat or potatoes, I decided it was more of a stew than a soup because it is thick, hearty & filling!  I personally think it pairs wonderfully with a grilled cheese sandwich! Mmmm!

Note: I realized after making this soup that I forgot to add the garlic!  Ideally, I would have like to have added 2-3 cloves in with the roasted vegetables, so I included that in the recipe below. This only took me an hour and 20 minutes from start to finish (including baking time)! I also used 4 japanese eggplants instead of 1 big eggplant – either works beautifully! (Japanese eggplants are long and skinny as opposed to the pear-shaped traditional eggplant.)

~ Roasted Vegetable Stew ~

  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled
  • 5-6 good-sized carrots, peeled (about 1 lb)
  • 1 butternut squash, halved and de-seeded
  • 1 eggplant, peeled
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp dry parsley (opt)
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil for roasting
  • fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish (opt)

Here are the veggies getting ready to be roasted!

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Cube all the vegetables (except the butternut squash) to roughly 1″ chunks. Put them all on a large baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil, & a little salt and pepper & mix around.  Place the butternut squash (flat sides down) on a separate oiled baking sheet (I like to put mine on a sheet of oiled tin foil).  Cook vegetables until soft, about 30-35 minutes but leave the butternut squash in the oven an extra 15 minutes.   (I put the veggies on the top rack and the squash on the bottom rack of the oven.) .  Once the butternut squash is done, set it aside to let it cool slightly.

After roasting... don't sneak too many bites! You'll need them for the stew!

Once the butternut squash is cool enough to handle, scrape it out of the shell and puree.  Pulse/puree the roasted vegetables with the broth in batches in your food processor.  Combine it all together in a large stock pot and add parsley, salt & pepper to taste. Continue to simmer until ready to serve and garnish with fresh herbs if desired. Enjoy!

This stew is great with bread... and it's even better with a grilled cheese on the side for dipping!