Tastes Just Like A Cabbage Roll Soup

Meaty mushrooms make up for the lack of beef or bacon and bam! This soup tastes like the real deal.
Meaty mushrooms make up for the lack of beef or bacon and bam! This soup tastes like the real deal.

Since I stopped eating meat, there are some things I miss; bacon, chicken wings, pulled pork, Big Macs, and cabbage rolls. I love cabbage rolls. They are meaty and starchy and comforting and delicious. And I haven’t had them in over 5 years.

So I set out to figure out how to bring cabbage rolls back into my life…without meat…without rice, but with all of the flavour. And I was actually shocked when it worked…this soup tastes like actual cabbage rolls…the ones with meat…but they are completely vegan. I swear. The meatiness comes from very finely chopped mini bella mushrooms and pure luck. You’re welcome.

 

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 small cooking onion, diced

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 stalk of celery, finely chopped

5-7 mini bella mushrooms, very finely chopped image

1 medium cabbage, shredded or chopped into strips

2 cups vegetable stock

2 cups strained tomatoes

1 can organic diced tomatoes

2 sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked

salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic and sauté, 30 seconds. Add shallot and continue cooking, 1 minute. Add onion and continue cooking, 3 minutes. Add carrot, celery, and mushrooms, and cook until soft. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the cabbage, cover, and let sweat, 5-7 minutes. Remove cover, add stock and both kinds of tomatoes, thyme and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 hours. Stir in quinoa, serve, and enjoy!

image

French Onion Soup

So simple so good
So simple so good

So I know that EVERYONE is under the impression that French Onion soup needs beef broth and soggy bread to be awesome…and to be honest French Onion Soup with both of those things is crazy good. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here is a surprising truth: French Onion Soup originated in the French countrysides in husband and wife little hostels/b&b’s where travelers stopped for a filling meal and a good sleep. The only ingredients in their soup were onions, water, salt & pepper, and then topped with whatever they could afford at the time. It was designed to be a cheap and long-lasting and easily accessible, and let’s face it, onions are pretty much always good to go.

My French Onion Soup is completely vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free without any toppers, so it’s totally up to you what it becomes. Oh, and did I mention that it is delicious and flavourful and if you never say anything NO ONE will guess that there is no meat involved in the making of this soup. I dare you to take this challenge…

Ingredientsimage

8-12 onions, sliced (the more variety the better)

1/2 bottle of decent, full bodied red (Cab Sauv is best, a French full bodied wine is better, but basically anything you will drink on it’s own but doesn’t cost a ton)

1 carton (900ml) vegetable stock (or even better make your own)

1 carton (refill your veggie stock carton) water

White, non-died string + cheesecloth

2 sprigs each of fresh thyme and rosemary

3 bay leaves

Parmesan Crisps

1 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese + parchament paper

image

Half and slice onions by hand or in food processor, making lengthwise strips. Put all strips in large stock pot with lid or Dutch Oven on stove on medium heat, and let cook for 4-8 hours. Remember, the longer it cooks the more flavour you get; these onions will create their own, amazing, delicious juice which is what you want for this soup. The onions should caramelize and can even stick to the bottom of the pot as much as they want, because that’s all flavour. Stir every hour or so. No butter, no oil, no anything is necessary for this process.

Once you have decided your onions are dark enough, add your wine, and let cook/reduce for 5 minutes. Then add vegetable broth, water, and bay leaves. Pack the thyme and rosemary in the cheesecloth, make a “tea bag” and tie/secure with string, then drop in the soup, tieing one end of the string to a pot handle. If you have no cheesecloth, no worries…tie the herbs together and secure to the pot handle without the cheesecloth and your good. Let cook one hour.

Optional: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Place 2 inch round disks of grated parm. Cook for 5 minutes until golden and let cool.

Spoon soup into bowls and top with Parmesan Crisps. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Vegetable Soup

Full of vitamins, iron and calcium, this soup helps you fight the winter germs and fills you up
Full of vitamins, iron and calcium, this soup helps you fight the winter germs and fills you up

I also call this soup “Don’t Get Sick” Soup, because it kicks ass at keeping you healthy when everyone else has a brutal cold. In fact, the veggies in the soup are all extremely high in either Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, or Iron (or a combination of all of them). This soup is also great for vegans and vegetarians who have a difficult time getting Iron, Calcium, and Vitamin A from animal sources. Sometimes I even add chili flakes to the soup when I add the oregano to get that nose running and to rev up my metabolism.

But aside from all of that good-for-you awesomeness, my Winter Vegetable Soup is delicious comfort food that will keep you warm all winter long, and is really easy to make. The beans add a bit of creaminess to the soup, and the richness pairs perfectly with a bold glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ingredients

2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, smashed and coarsly chopped

1 medium cooking onion, diced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

3 stalks of celery, chopped

1 can of navy beans, drained and rinsed

1 medium zucchini, chopped

4 cups (half bunch) of kale, leaves only, broken into small pieces

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 can (794g) of whole tomatoes + 1 can of water

1 carton (900ml) vegetable stock

fresh ground salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in Dutch Oven or large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add carrots, celery and beans, season with salt and pepper, add oregano, and cook for 5 minutes, until vegetables are soft.  Add zucchini and kale and cook until kale has reduced, 3 minutes.

Add juice from tomato can, then add each tomato in the can one at a time, squeezing in your hand to break apart, throwing out the greenish, hard core of each one. Rinse the can with water and add that water to the pot. Add the vegetable stock, and bring everything to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.

imageLadle into bowls, serve, and enjoy! Keep soup up to one week in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer in a tightely sealed mason jar.

 

Note: I always try to buy organic everything because I like to avoid chemicals entering my body as much as possible. Buying whole tomatoes in a can means they have only been processed once, unlike diced or crushed tomatoes which are processed twice or more. This way they maintain more of their nutrients, and we always want more nutrients.

 

 

The White Evils

Meet the white evils:

-White flour.

-White sugar

-White-fleshed potatoes.

-White rice.

-High fructose corn syrup & other corn products.

-Margarine (and vegetable oil)

-Aspartame and artificial sweeteners

These foods are evil because they do evil things to sabotage your health and your weight.

To begin with, some of these items, like flour, sugar, and rice, have been bleached. That’s crazy. Think about what bleach does to your skin and your clothes. But the story goes that during the 50s someone somewhere decided that things looked nicer and cleaner when they were white. White cake. White bread. White pasta. White sugar in the sugar bowl. All picture perfect silent killers.

White starches like flour, potatoes, and rice essentially turn into sugar in your body. They’ll pump up your blood sugar levels, bringing your energy up then crashing you hard. They make you tired and sluggish.They make you irritable and moody.

IMPORTANT: Don’t be fooled by foods bragging about being whole wheat. Whole wheat flour is still processed. Many whole wheat products still contain white flour. Enriched isn’t like in elementary school where the enriched kids were smarter…enriched is bad 99% of the time when it comes to food. Whole wheat bread, flour, crackers, wraps….all these products are just as bad for you as their white counterparts.

While corn is a delicious vegetable when fresh off the cob, it is probably the least healthy of the vegetables. I won’t say don’t eat it, but don’t eat it every day. I would try to stay away from corn products as well. Farmers feed corn to animals to help fatten them up. It’s no different for you. High fructose corn syrup, on the other hand…avoid that like the plague. Corn syrup is found in sugary drinks and processed foods. It will wreck any health and weight loss goals you may have.It will spike your insulin levels, make you hungry, and can lead to all sorts of health ailments  like diabetes and heart disease. Again you will feel tired and sluggish after eating it, and can even mess with your mood, even as far as the day after consumption.

Margarine is pretty much like eating plastic. First of all, it is an imitation butter spread. Never eat something that is an imitation of something else. It won’t be good for you. The only way to extract vegetable (canola, corn, and canola oil) is through a chemical process. And vegetable oil is not solid at room temperature, so a process called hydrogenation has to take place before margarine comes to be, and that’s how trans fats are born. Trans fats raise your cholesterol, clog your arteries, and basically kill you slowly.These products are usually made to look good with artificial colouring. Artificial. Another word you never want used to describe your food.

White sugar and artificial sweeteners are so bad for you. Regular consumption of refined sugars can lead to Type II Diabetes, slower metabolism, and mood swings. Pilots are rumoured to be warned not to drink Diet Coke before flying because aspartame can cause seizures at high altitudes. Consumption of artificial sweeteners during pregnancy can be linked to mood disorders in babies. And again…there’s that word…artificial.

If I haven’t encourage you yet to give these foods up, just try it. Replace these items with their real counterparts. Eat a little butter now and then instead of using margarine. Honey, maple syrup,agave nectar, and fresh fruit are natural sources of sugar.Your favourite pasta recipe is probably great with roasted spaghetti squash or steamed broccoli instead of noodles. Need something to dip in guacamole and salsa? Cut thicker pieces of sweet pepper and dip away. There are a million ways to enjoy your favourite flavours and eating experiences without the white evils.

Honestly? Giving up the white evils will be hard if you eat these things a lot, because you will experience some withdrawal symptoms. But stick with it, they won’t last long, and the results will be well worth it.  You will feel better, have nicer skin, be in a better mood, and have more energy. You will more than likely lose weight, experience less stomach irritation, and feel less bloated. You will feel refreshed and have a little extra pep in your step. You will feel wonderful. I promise.