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!

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Cauliflower Leek Soup

This soup is just as tasty as it's potato-y cousin, but lighter and better for you
This soup is just as tasty as it’s potato-y cousin, but lighter and better for you

My sister asked me last weekend if there was a way to make potato leek soup without the potatoes, and I thought “challenge accepted”. I love leeks so much and don’t eat potatoes, so why not try to make one of my favourite comfort foods better for you?! And since cauliflower is all the rage these days, I figured I would give that a try to replace the potatoes. And success!

This soup is great as is, but adding some thyme, some curry powder, or whatever spice you might like to pump this soup up would totally work because the flavours are mild but delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

2 large cloves of garlic, chopped

1/2 a medium cooking onion, diced

3 leeks, trimmed, halved and sliced

1 large cauliflower, broken into small pieces

4 cups vegetable stock

Salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in Dutch oven on medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add onion and continue to cook, 3 minutes. Add leeks and cook for another 5 minutes until soft. Add cauliflower and stir through. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

 

Blend until smooth with a hand mixer or in a food processor. Should you want a creamier or heartier soup, add 1/4 cup of cream or blend 1/2 a can of chickpeas into the soup.

Serve and enjoy!

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

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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.

 

 

Black Bean and Toasted Cumin Soup

This toasty, smoky, nutritious soup is great to whip up at the last minute.
This toasty, smoky, nutritious soup is great to whip up at the last minute.

 

I am feeling a bit under the weather today, so this toasty, smoky and very filling Black Bean and Toasted Cumin Soup is perfect on my sore throat. This soup is really flavourful, full of protein, and is also one of the all-time easiest soups to make. You can choose to make the unfancy version with cumin powder and no garnish, or you can fancy your soup up with all the fixins’. Either way, this recipe is a delicious and nutritious way to whip something up last minute.

Toasting Cumin Seeds

Ingredients

5 tbsp olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cans (425g) black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tbps toasted cumin seeds, ground

1 carton (900ml) of no salt added vegetable stock

cilantro (optional)

1/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Blending Soup

 

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a deep pot over medium heat. Add garlic to oil, and let cook 30 seconds. Add the onion, and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the black beans, cumin, and some salt and pepper to taste, and continue cooking, 3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Puree the soup using a hand blender until smooth.

Transfer soup to bowls, garnish and serve.

Optional Garnishes

1 spoonful of plain Greek Yogurt or sour cream

1 sprig fresh cilantro

Drizzle of cilantro oil (zing 4 tbsp olive oil and few springs of cilantro with hand blender in wide mouth mason jar)

Cilantro Oil

Soup will keep, sealed in an airtight container and refrigerated, for one week.

 

Thai Red Curry Soup

Thai Red Curry Soup

 

I stumbled across Thai curry paste in one of my first grocery trips in the big city and was so curious and excited. I don’t know whether it was super common then and I was just a small town girl (start singing Journey lyrics here), or whether it has now become more readily available with the popularity of Thai cuisine. Whatever the case, the curry paste in this recipe can be found at most grocery stores, and is the proverbial tie that binds everything together in a perfect harmony of delicious, creamy, spicy, sweet, soupy goodness.

This recipe is a healthier gluten free pascatarian version of the one included on the label of my aforementioned first jar of Thai curry paste, and after tweaking it for several years, this is my favourite and the easiest version. Use a Dutch Oven for best results.

Soup in a Dutch Oven always has more character and depth than cooking in any other vessel

Ingredients

4 tbsp coconut oil

3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped

1/2 medium cooking onion, chopped

2-3 inches of fresh ginger root, chopped

2-3 cups of frozen Thai vegetable mix OR 2 cups fresh snap peas, sliced red pepper, sliced cremini mushrooms, julienned carrots, beans, and chopped broccoli (see why frozen is better?)

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 400ml can of whole coconut milk

1/2 carton or 450ml no or low salt vegetable broth (Add the whole carton for more soup…it just won’t be as coconuty)

1 tbsp lemongrass paste OR 1 blade of lemon grass, cut into 4 large pieces

1/2 tsp lime zest

2 tbsp Thai red curry paste

1 tbsp of coconut sugar (substitute brown sugar but know it’s not natural)

1/3 package of extra firm tofu, cut into cubes

Garnishes: Cashews, fresh cilantro, chilli flakes, lime squeezes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a dutch oven on medium heat and let warm. Add the garlic and let cook for 30 seconds. Add the onion and ginger, and let cook until the onions are translucent, 3-5 minutes. Turn pot to medium-high and add frozen vegetables to sear and avoid sogginess; cook 5 minutes (if using fresh vegetables, you can do the same but reduce cooking time 2-3 minutes).

Add fish sauce, coconut milk, vegetable broth, lemongrass, red curry paste, and coconut sugar. Stir the pot a few times, then cover and place in the oven for 30-35 minutes. The soup should cook down an inch or two. Once out of the oven, remove the lemongrass pieces if you used fresh.

While the soup is in the oven, heat the remaining coconut oil to medium high and place the tofu pieces in the hot oil, turning every 2-3 minutes until all sides are golden brown. Place on paper towel to drain.

Once soup is finished, ladle into bowls and garnish with tofu pieces, cashews, cilantro, and chilli flakes. Squeeze the lime over the soup, then drop in the bowl. Enjoy!

Set up the garnishes and allow guests to build their own soup
Set up the garnishes and allow guests to build their own soup

UP THE PROTEIN: Add cooked chicken or raw red lentils to the soup before it goes in the oven.

WHEN YOU’RE CRAZY HUNGRY: Add a handful of pre cooked quinoa to the bowl before you ladle the soup in for a starch free meal, or use brown rice noodles or brown or black rice if you’re body is craving starch.

Note: This dish can be made vegetarian by adding 1 tbsp salt in place of the fish sauce, and using vegetarian Thai red curry paste.