Cream of Carrot Soup


Cream of carrot? How can that be? Well, it can, and it is, and you will not believe how great this soup is. Carrots are the star, to be sure, but what gives the soup its rich creaminess (without any cream) are the white potatoes, and you want to pick nice, starchy potato variety, like the Russets.  The starchier the potato, the creamier the final soup. Usually, the really starchy potatoes don’t hold well to boiling and tend to fall apart. In this case that really does not matter because everything will go into a blender at the end. I do recommend you chop your carrots and potatoes into smaller chunks to speed up the cooking process, but they don’t need to be finely diced.

The potatoes and the carrots cook together with flavor agents, like soy sauce and the Worcestershire sauce, and the spices, like smoked paprika or smoked paprika flakes, garlic powder and ground mustard.  I also suggest you use vegetable stock and not water, because a really great stock will extend the richness of your flavors, while water will dilute them out. In terms of what stock to use exactly, you’ll have to try it out and see what you like. Reduced sodium options are probably the best starting point, and you can always taste a bit of the stock before dumping it into the pot. If the stock is not pleasant to drink, it will probably not make for a pleasant soup to eat. I would stay away from roasted garlic infused or very heavy on spices stocks and go with mild almost bland stocks that you can build on and that will not interfere with all the other ingredients you are using.

This soup is in many ways an extension of me using carrots for as many things as possible, including the summer hit – carrot dogs – and some of my baking, like cookies and muffins.

What helps put this soup over the top is just a sprinkle of fresh dill at the end, and a handful of freshly toasted croutons. With all that in place all that’s left to do is grab a spoon and dig in!

Cream of Carrot Soup

What you’ll need:

6 large carrots

2 potatoes, Russet or white

2 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoon ground mustard powder

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (vegan)

1 teaspoon steak sauce

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika flakes

4 cups vegetable stock

2 tablespoons dill, fresh


What you’ll do:

  1. Wash, peel and cube carrots and potatoes. Place in a pot, cover with water and boil for about 15 minutes, until vegetables are just soft but not falling apart.
  2. Drain the vegetables, pat dry to absorb as much of the access water as you can, and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the oil, spices and sauces and mix well. Let marinade for 30-60 minutes.
  4. Place all the vegetables and the marinade into a blender and add the vegetable stock. Blend until smooth and silky. You can do this step in the mixing bowl with an immersion blender but I think the regular upright blender produces smoother consistency.
  5. Pour back into the pot and bring to simmer. Let the soup simmer gently for 10 to 20 minutes.
  6. While the soup is simmering you can toast some bread, or make some croutons.
  7. Serve the soup with a sprinkle of fresh dill, and some toast, croutons, bread or even tortilla chips on the side. Mmmmm… good!!!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

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Creamy Cauliflower Winter Soup

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Creamy Cauliflower Winter Soup, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

This soup is pure gold, and by gold I mean absolutely a light delight, and by light delight I mean that it uses none of the usual suspects you can find in a creamy soup. So, on the side of ingredients that this soup does not use you will find cream, butter, and flour, and on the side of ingredients that this soup does use you will find cauliflower, green peas, yellow corn, vegetable bouillon cube, fresh thyme and almond yogurt. Yes, you read that right – six ingredients and you will be done!

The soup comes together in less than an hour and serves four to six people, and if you include on your holiday menu where lots of other goodies are being served as well, this recipe can easily be served to eight people! So, one head of cauliflower with couple of extras can really go a very long way.

All you need to do is wash and chop one large head of cauliflower, put the pieces into a large pot, pour in 3 cups of water, add the bouillon cube, cover, bring to boil and cook the cauliflower for fifteen minutes or so, until cooked through. Let the soup cool a bit – it does not need to be completely cold but you do need to be able to handle cauliflower and the broth safely. Purée the broth and the cooked cauliflower until completely smooth, with either an immersion blender or using a standing blender. I highly recommend getting an immersion (stick) blender, if you don’t already have one. This is a kitchen gadget I use all the time for soups, burgers, even cookies, so I am getting a lot of mileage out of mine.

Place the soup back on the stove top, add green peas and corn, and bring to gentle simmer. You can use either fresh or frozen peas and corn, or even canned. If using the canned vegetables do check the salt content and buy “no salt added” variety. The soup should simmer for about twenty minutes. Turn it off, and then stir in fresh thyme and plain, unsweetened almond yogurt. Serve warm, with a squeeze of lemon if you like (I do!!!), and a handful of oyster crackers or freshly toasted bread.

Creamy Cauliflower Winter Soup

What you’ll need:

1 large head of cauliflower

3 cups water

1 vegetable bouillon cube

1 1/2 cup green peas, frozen

1 1/2 cup yellow corn, frozen

1/2 cup almond yogurt, plain and unsweetened

10 springs of fresh thyme

What you’ll do:

  1. Cut the cauliflower florets out, wash them and chop roughly into bits. Place in a large pot, add water and the bouillon cube, cover with a lid, and bring to boil.
  2. Boil the cauliflower for 15 minutes or until fully cooked – cauliflower should be soft and falling apart.
  3. Purée the cauliflower together with the broth it cooked in with a stick (immersion) blender until smooth.
  4. Add frozen (fresh, or canned) peas and corn. If you are using canned vegetables make sure you use “no salt added” and make sure you drain the veggies well before adding them in.
  5. Bring the soup to gentle simmer, and leave it for 20 minutes or so. If you are using canned vegetables you can simmer for less, and 10 to 15 minutes should be plenty.
  6. Turn the heat off, then add thyme and yogurt, mix well and serve. This soup can be a meal on its own, with some freshly toasted bread, or a nice start for your next three course, festive winter holiday dinner!!!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Miso Soup with Rice Noodles and Scallions

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Miso Soup with Scallions and Rice Noodles, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

The colder weather is definitely here, and everywhere you look around here you can find picture perfect foliage spanning all shades from deep green, to intensely and furiously red, and everything in between. Autumn… or is it fall? Whatever it is, the warm, fuzzy sweaters are in, and the shorts are out – I like fuzzy sweaters and can’t stand shorts so this is the right season for me! With the new season comes a new menu, the one that is full of roasted root vegetables, pumpkins and winter squash, apples and pies, cinnamon and nutmeg. There will be more of those types of recipes later, but today it will be all about the soup, my take on miso soup that is amazingly easy to make, and definitely rich enough to qualify as a warm and comforting cold weather favorite.

The key ingredient in a miso soup is miso. What is miso, I hear you ask? It’s a fermented soybean paste with salt and koji – a filamentous fungus not unlike the yeast we use in baking. Miso comes in few different versions – I’ve seen white and red miso into stores I go to, but there are others out there so keep your eyes open and read the labels carefully because what you need for this miso soup is the white miso. However, miso soups that you may enjoy in your local Japanese restaurants may be made with different kinds of miso and their flavor will definitely vary.

The recipe here is super fast and super easy. All you need is a pot, some scallions, white miso, and a bunch of thin rice noodles. Scallions will brown in a minute or two, and the thin rice noodles, sometimes called rice vermicelli, will cook in five minutes so, taken all together, from an empty pot to  the full bowl, this soup will be ready in under half an hour.

When serving, I also added some Sriracha sauce to my bowl, but that is a condiment that you can definitely skip. Some other types of condiments that would work with this soup are a squeeze of lime juice or a dash of lime zest, freshly ground black pepper, a slice or two of pickled ginger, or some toasted panko. Your choice, your delicious bowl of filling and satisfying soup!!!

Not fan of miso? There are more soup recipes for you to try here.

Miso Soup with Rice Noodles and Scallions

What you’ll need:

6 scallions

1/2 cup white miso

7 oz (200 g) thin rice noodles (rice vermicelli)

4 cups water

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Wash the scallions, trim the tops, and some of the green bits that need trimming but definitely use both the white and the green parts. Chop finely.
  2. Spray the bottom of a large pot with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the scallions and brown for 1-2 minutes. Keep an eye on the scallions since they can burn quickly.
  3. Add the miso and mix well. Let the miso brown for 1-2 minutes. Stir frequently.
  4. Pour in the water and use a whisk to make sure the soup is smooth and there are no miso clumps.
  5. Bring soup to boil, and once it’s boiling add the rice noodles. Depending on the size of your pot and the water level, the noodles may or may not be completely submerged when you put them in. Don’t force them in, as they’ll break. Wait for the bottoms to soften then gently ease the rest of them in. The noodles need about five minutes and they will be ready.
  6. Let the soup cool just a bit before serving and then enjoy as is or with any number of toppings, like Sriracha, vegan bacon bits, fresh cilantro, squeeze of lime, toasted panko… Options and flavor variations are endless!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Hearty Vegetable Soup with Kale

 

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Hearty Vegetable Soup with Kale, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
There’s always room for soup, and in some cases the soup is so rich that there’s room only for the soup. I definitely like making hearty soups that are rich and filling. I’ve already shared with you my split pea soup, which is on the left lighter side, and “clam” chowder and bean and leek soup with soy chorizo, which are both really more a meal in a bowl than a light intro to a main course.

Today’s soup is somewhere in between: not quite hearty enough to qualify as a meal yet not light by any means. It is full with vegetables and resembles Minestrone Soup. The soup builds on the classic mirepoix, a classic base of many soups and stews. Practically speaking mirepoix is a mix of diced carrots, onions and celery that is sautéed until caramelization starts to take place. This what I would normally do when making a soup like this but this time around I had to take a shortcut and I used a lot of frozen and canned veggies, including the frozen peas and carrots mix so my mirepoix started with only onions and celery.

At the end the soup came together well, with frozen corn and canned tomatoes and beans, and a whole bunch of kale. The main trick here was to let the soup simmer for a long time which helps soften kale, which has quite a sturdy leaf structure.

Hearty Vegetable Soup with Kale

What you’ll need:

6 stalks celery, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

16 oz (454 g) kale, roughly chopped

15.5 oz (439 g) can red kidney beans

2 cups yellow corn kernels, frozen

16 oz (454 g) peas and diced carrots mix, frozen

28 oz. (794 g) can crushed tomatoes

32 oz (907 g; 4 cups) vegetable stock

3 cups water

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Dice celery and onions to a medium dice. It does not have to be very fine or precise because the whole soup is a bit rustic.
  2. Spray the bottom of a large soup pot with cooking spray and place over medium high heat. Add celery and onions and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, with occasional stirring.
  3. While onions and celery are cooking, wash the kale and remove any parts of stalk that look particularly tough. Chop the kale roughly into smaller bits. If you are wondering how small should you make them, it’s really up to you. My preference is to keep them at about 2 in (5 cm). Set aside.
  4. Add the frozen veggies in all at once and cook with stirring for 5 to 10 minutes. They will not be completely thawed but they will start to soften.
  5. Add the beans – I usually drain and rinse mine but if you are a fan of keeping all the flavors of canned beans intact (including extra salt they use when canning) go ahead ad just dump the whole thing right in. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the crushed tomatoes, stir again and cook for another 5 minutes.
  7. At this point you are ready to add the kale. As with all other green leafy vegetables, the raw leaves occupy a significantly larger space than cooked, so don’t panic if adding the kale pushes your pot to its size limits. The kale will settle down. Gently fold the kale into the soup and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. By the end of this process your pot should look like it can fit the stock and water.
  8. Add the stock and as much water as you like really. What I do is dump the stock into the pot and then use water to rinse the carton out. But if you would like to keep this Soup really dense and almost like a stew you can skip adding water.
  9. Bring everything to boil, lower the heat to low and simmer for another 30 to 45 minutes or until the kale is done to your liking.
  10. Enjoy this soup with some fresh bread, top with some fresh parsley, with a squeeze of lemon or top with a bit of Cashew Sour Cream.

 

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

New England “Clam” Chowder

Bowl of New England “Clam” Chowder, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
A week ago New England was thrown into a March snow storm that dumped 1-2 feet (30 – 60 cm) of fresh powder all over the region. Schools were closed, businesses advised people to work from home if they can, and by the time late afternoon rolled around we were all outside digging ourselves out.

As we all know, when it comes to the cold weather and snow storms nothing works faster to melt the chills away than a bowl of hot soup, so given the success of my Jackfruit “Crab” Cakes I decided to veganize a seafood classic, the New England Clam Chowder and see if jackfruit would work in this recipe as well.

For those of you not familiar with the New England Clam Chowder it is a creamy soup built from butter, heavy cream, celery, onions, potatoes, clam juice and clam meat. I had past success in making creamy soups using potato or corn starch as gluten-free thickening agents, and I was pretty sure that they will work here as well. I was interested to see how jackfruit will do as a stand in for clams and felt confident that it will turn out OK.

But how to make vegan clam juice, which is clam broth and a key ingredient in this soup that adds unique flavor evocative of sea and shell fish posed and interesting challenge. I decided to use some Old Bay Seasoning because it worked so well in my “crab” cakes, and for some extra sea flavor I used some seaweed broth. What I did is to soak two sushi nori seaweed sheets in some warm water for 30 minutes, and then pass the mix through a strainer to remove the seaweed and keep just the liquid. That was my “clam juice”, and it worked!

Beside that little neat trick, my one general recommendation is to use a Dutch oven or a similar heavy post with a lid, as the soup does need to simmer for a while. When the soup is done, it is best served fresh with a squeeze of lemon, coarsely ground (cracked) black pepper, a sprinkle of dry basil or fresh parsley, and a piece of bread. There’s nothing better to help you recover from all that snow shoveling!

New England “Clam” Chowder, Gently Simmering, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

New England “Clam” Chowder

What you’ll need:

1.5 lbs (700 g) potatoes, peeled and diced

1 can (10 oz, 280 g) young green jackfruit in brine

6 stalks of celery

1 large yellow onion

2 tablespoons garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

3 tablespoons corn starch

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 bay leaves

2 sheets of sushi nori seaweed

2 cups hot water

3 cups almond milk

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Soak seaweed sheets in 2 cups of hot water for 15-30 minutes.
  2. While seaweed is soaking rinse and drain the jackfruit and pull the pieces apart to create smaller chunks, roughly the size and shape of chopped clams. Set aside.
  3. Peel and dice potatoes, onions and celery.
  4. Spray the bottom of a large Dutch oven, or other heavy pot, with cooking spray and bring up to medium high heat.
  5. Add onions, garlic and celery and sauté for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add potatoes and continue sautéing for another 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add jackfruit, sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning, mix well and sauté for another 5-7 minutes.
  8. While the vegetables are sautéing, run the seaweed through a strainer to remove as much seaweed as possible. You should end up with 2 cups of water that is slightly brown and smells like seaweed. That’s your “clam” juice
  9. Mix in the starch into the vegetables, and add the “clam” juice, bay leaves, and lemon juice. Bring the soup to gentle boil, mixing occasionally.
  10. Add almond milk, and keep the soup on gentle simmer for 20-30 minutes. Serve hot, with a squeeze of lemon and a piece of bread.

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Bean & Leek Soup with Soy Chorizo

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Bean & Leek Soup with Soy Chorizo, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
One of my recent impulse buys was Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo. This chorizo is vegan, as well as smokey and  very spicy so a little goes a long way. I enjoyed it as a topping for an otherwise simple tomato and lettuce sandwich, but I also wanted to experiment a bit and see what else I can use soy chorizo for.

Chorizo and beans usually make for an excellent combination, but I wanted something more adventures than a pot of chili. I decided to mix several types of beans, to diversify the texture of the soup I was building, and in addition to soy chorizo use leeks to expand the range of flavors. The three different types of beans I used are small white beans, black-eyed peas, and dark kidney beans, and I used a canned variety of all three because cooking beans from scratch is not my idea of fun. One thing to keep in mind when using canned vegetables is to rinse them well before use to remove excess salt.

The time I saved on beans, I used to deal with leeks. For those of you who are new to leek, it belongs to the onion family and shares a lot of similarities when it comes to flavor with spring onions (scallions) and spring garlic, which unfortunately is not often found in large supermarket chains. Although I do enjoy leek flavor, I don’t really cook with it often mostly because it does need extensive washing to ensure that all the traces of dirt are removed. The method I use to deal with this is something I’ve seen on Food Network, where you slice the leek and submerge the slices in water. You need to leave chopped leek in for few minutes to let the sediment and dirt fall to the bottom of the bowl, then scoop, rinse and dry the leek slices. They are now ready to go!

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Cleaning Leeks, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Bean & Leek Soup with Soy Chorizo

What you’ll need:

2 leeks

1 15.5 oz (439g) can small white beans

1 15.5 oz (439g) can black-eyed peas

1 15.5 oz (439g) can dark kidney beans

1/2 soy chorizo

32 oz (907 g) vegetable cooking stock

3 bay leaves

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Slice leeks across into thin rounds, then separate each round into individual circles. Fill a large bowl with water and submerge leek circles in it. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes. Using a skimmer spoon to remove the leek without disturbing the sediment that has collected at the bottom of the bowl. Give leek one more rinse, then pat dry with the cloth towel.
  2. Spray the bottom of a large pot with the cooking spray and turn the heat on to medium high. Add leek and let caramelize for 5 minutes or so.
  3. Add soy chorizo and stir to mix. If you are using Trader Joe’s brand please make sure that you remove the casing as this is not edible. Break the chorizo to small pieces and brown leek and chorizo mix for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add well-rinsed beans to the pot and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes, mixing frequently.
  5. Add vegetable stock and bay leaves to the post. Bring the soup to boil, then decrease the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve the soup with some toast, corn chips or freshly baked bread. If you are feeling very decadent, you can top this soup with some Cashew Cream, or vegan shredded cheese of your choice. Some lime juice would work well, too!

Note for those using Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo: I used only half of Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo, which added just enough flavor and spiciness to this soup as far as I am concerned. If you prefer more kick, go ahead and use the whole thing. If you are more on a cautious side, save the other half and transform it into my Vegan Mexican Lasagna. 

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Vegan Split Pea Soup

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Vegan Split Pea Soup, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
It is mid-February in New England, and we have already endured three snow storms this month. This is not unusual, and makes February unbearable. Just when I think the winter is almost over, this short month rolls around and brings tons of snow, subfreezing temperatures, messy roads, no-school days… Of course, not everything is gloom and doom, as slopes are inviting and winter wonderland is all around me.

After few hours outside, braving the elements, enjoying the slopes, or just digging the car out of the pile snow, there is nothing better than coming into a warm kitchen and enjoying a bowl (or two) of a hearty soup. Most of us have grown up with some version of the chicken noodle soup. These days, though, what really warms my heart, my tummy and my wallet is split pea soup, and I have recently developed my take on this staple that doubles the amount of vegetables, and ends up with nice, rich consistency. Although my Vegan Split Pea Soup is remarkably hearty, it only takes a handful ingredients and just 30 min to make.

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Ingredients for the Vegan Split Pea Soup, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Please note that there’s nothing Consommé about this one, folks! I recommend serving Vegan Split Pea Soup with a slice or two of sprouted bread, toasted, and you have yourself a heart warming lunch that is sure to fill you up and keep you going well into the cold February winter eve. I hope this soup helps us you power through the last bit of winter!

Vegan Split Pea Soup

What you’ll need:

1 large onion, diced

5 stalks celery, diced

1/2 yellow pepper, diced

4 carrots, cut in rounds

1 pound (500 grams) split yellow peas

1 quart (1 liter) vegetable (vegan) stock, gluten free

3/4 to 1 quart (0.75 to 1 liter) water

cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Spray the bottom of a large pot with cooking spray and turn the heat to medium to medium-high.
  2. Add the vegetables, except the split peas, and let them brown for about 5 min.
  3. Rinse split yellow peas under some cold water and shake the access off. Placing them in a strainer works well. Once rinsed add them to the pot and let split peas brown just for 2-3 min.
  4. Add the stock and water, mix everything together, increase the heat, and bring the soup to boil. Once the soup starts boiling, decrease the heat to low and let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. Enjoy as the main dish or as a nice introduction to a more substantial feast.

Note: This recipe works with split yellow peas, split green peas, and lentils. I like to top my soup with some crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, and some parsley, as you can see from the picture above. Parsley adds a nice, fresh note to the soup and the black pepper and red pepper flakes do give it a bit of a punch. But, if you prefer less heat you can also top this soup with some lemon juice and lemon rind. 

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017