Asian Vegetable Soup

Quick, simple, and made per person, this soup is great for dinner for one, two or five!
Quick, simple, and made per person, this soup is great for dinner for one, two or five

So while I am a firm believer that great food takes time, sometimes we just don’t have it. And although great soups often take hours of simmering to create deep flavours, sometimes a nice, quick, light soup is all you need to warm you up and keep you nourished.

Not only is this Asian Vegetable Soup speedy, but it can make one bowl or 5 bowls…whatever you need. Plus, if you’re really in a hurry you can replace all the fresh veg with the equivalent of frozen Asian veggies and no one would know! Should you want a heartier soup, add brown rice noodles to the mix and you have yourself a noodle bowl. Want more protein? Add 2 tablespoons of shredded chicken or pork, 4 cooked shrimps, or 3oz of sliced, grilled flank steak, or 3oz of fried tofu to the bowl.  To be honest, with a bit of creativity, the possibilities are endless.

 

Ingredientsimage

For each person being served:

1 cup organic, low sodium vegetable stock

1 tsp sesame oil (I always prefer toasted)

1 tsp vegetable oil

1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1/4 of a cooking onion, diced

1 inch ginger, chopped

2-3 cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 cup coarsely chopped hearty vegetables (any of carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped leafy greens (any of spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choy)

1 handful edamame beans, fresh or frozen

1 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp soy sauce

Salt & Pepper, extra soy sauce, Sriracha, sesame seeds, fresh cilantro, sliced green onion, all to taste

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Place vegetable stock in a pot and heat through on medium heat until ready to serve.

Heat sesame oil and vegetable oil in wok or skillet on medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and sauté one minute. Add ginger and sliced mushroom and saute 2 minutes. Add your hearty vegetables and continue to cook, 3 minutes. Add edamame, fish sauce, 1 tsp soy sauce, and leafy greens, and continue to cook for 1-3 minutes (if only using spinach, stick to one minute; if using sturdier leafy greens use the full 3 minutes).

Spoon contents of skillet into a deep bowl (if adding rice noodles place cooked noodles in the bowl first). Pour broth into bowl, and garnish to your liking with green onions, fresh cilantro, salt, pepper, soy sauce, Sriracha and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Wholesome ingredients make this better for you than the stuff you had as a kid, and is easy to make
Wholesome ingredients make this better for you than the stuff you had as a kid, and is easy to make

I used to serve at one of the most successful restaurant chains in the world, and man were they good at making, well, everything. People were always surprised when we told them everything was made from scratch and to order…except for the soup. The soup came in a bag and while still delicious had a million ingredients. I always thought this was a little strange, because soups are so so easy to make.

The following recipe is a simpler re-creation of one of the soups from this restaurant…it was the soup we would sneak into mugs and hide in the corner and drink it was so good. Little did we know that we were drinking to our health, as tomatoes are high in antioxidants, have been proven to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and are high in Potassium and Vitamin’s A & C. My Creamy Tomato Basil Soup has wholesome, real ingredients, and is the perfect soup for pairing with a wintery day and a nice glass of Chianti.

Ingredients

2 tbps olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 small cooking onion, chopped

1 leek, sliced

2.5l canned peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes (I use the big can from Costco)

1 cup vegetable stock

1 cup heavy red wine

3 tbsp fresh basil, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup 35% cream

Salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat, then add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add onion and cook for 1 minute. Add leek and continue to cook until soft and onions are translucent, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes one at a time, discarding the hard, green tip of each one as you go, then dumping the juices in when done.

Turn the heat up to medium high and let mixture come to a boil. Add the vegetable stock and wine and bring to a boil. Stir in the basil, reduce heat to medium low, and let simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Turn to low and stir in cream. Allow soup to heat through, and serve!

This Creamy Tomato Basil Soup is delicious when topped with fresh basil, feta cheese, old cheddar, parm, pine nuts, or any combination of the above. While the amount of cream in the soup is small in comparison to volume, you may want to opt for a lighter or vegan option instead. Should you go this route, remember the soup is highly acidic, so to avoid any milk or dairy substitute from curdling, sprinkle 1-2 tsps baking soda over the soup and stir in. This will neutralize the acid and make any cream replacement work.

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Button and Wild Mushroom Soup

This "creamy" vegan mushroom soup tastes better than traditional
This “creamy” vegan mushroom soup tastes better than traditional

 

I used to hate mushrooms. Their texture was weird to me, and I wasn’t too keen on their strong, earthy taste. Today I have grown to absolutely love them, but I find myself surrounded by people who still have a hate on for the flavourful fungi. This soup is my attempt to convince even those the most fearful of mushrooms to give them a chance. And it usually works…at least until the bowl is gone.

 

I would like to note that the key to the flavour and richness of this soup lies in the use of a variety of mushrooms. In this recipe I use button, cremini, and shiitake mushrooms, but essentially the sky’s the limit in terms of different types. Use as many kinds of mushrooms as you like. I saved some of each type to slice and add in at the end, but you can leave the soup as is after it’s blended if you prefer.

The more kinds of mushrooms, the more lfavourful the soup will be
The more kinds of mushrooms, the more flavourful the soup will be

 

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, smashed and roughly chopped

1 medium cooking onion, diced

5 cups of a variety of button, cremini and shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup sweet white wine like Vidal or Riesling

1 carton (900ml) no salt added veggie stock

2-4 sprigs of thyme

1 carton (945ml) organic almond milk (should only have 5 ingredients max)

salt and pepper to taste

Garnishes (Optional)

Old white cheddar, grated

Truffle oil

Fresh thyme

 

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add onions, some fresh ground salt & pepper, and cook until translucent, 3 minutes. Add all of the mushrooms, or save 1 cup if you like sliced mushroom pieces in your soup.image

 

Place the thyme sprigs on top of the mushrooms, turn up the heat to medium high, and allow the mushrooms to begin sticking to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the white wine and stir, pulling away all of the caramelized bits stuck to the bottom. Reduce for 3 minutes. Add veggie stock, almond milk, and more ground salt & pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium low and let simmer for 20 minutes.

 

Strining Mushroom SoupBlend soup with a handheld blender. If using a food processor or smoothie blender, make sure you let the soup cool first. Once soup is blended, you have the option to pass it through a fine sieve placed over a bowl to make the soup less gritty.

If you saved some sliced mushrooms, heat a bit of olive oil in the empty soup pot, add the mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the soup back into the pot and heat through.

Garnish with grated old white cheddar, a sprig of thyme, or some truffle oil (or all three), serve, and enjoy.

Homemade Curry Spice

This super simple recipe is really flavourful and allows you to play with your favourite spices to maker it stronger one way or another, letting you create a signature curry.

Curry Spices Pre RoastThrow a large handful each of whole cumin seeds, whole cardamom seeds, and whole coriander seeds onto a cookie sheet and toast in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, or until they start turning golden. Immediately remove them from the cookie sheet and allow to cool completely. Toasted Curry Spice

To this seed mixture add 1/4 cup of ground tumeric, 1 teaspoon of cayenne (or more if you like a spicy curry), and 1 tablespoon of mustard powder. Blend in a food processor or mini blender (I use a Magic Bullet), and store in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid in a cool, dark place for up to eight months. Add in place of store bought curry powder to whatever you like!

Homemade Curry Spice Blended