VEGAN THAI COCONUT SOUP (TOM KHA TOFU)

When I was younger and unattached, I spent close to a year in Thailand. I loved a million things about the country –  the warmth, the people, and the food. The spices were so varied and complex, meaning I could eat the same type of food every day (soup) and yet always enjoy a variety of flavours. A good amount of food in Thailand is vegetarian, so I happily ate my way through the country without a problem. I remember it as being incredibly family friendly, so I’m dreaming of the day when I can take my little ones there on a holiday.

What I love most about this Tom Kha Tofu recipe is how easy it is to make: from pot to bowl, we’re talkin’ 10-15 minutes. What I also love about this soup is how spot on it is in terms of tasting exactly like thai takeaway. Everyone is hella impressed when I serve this! It’s pretty light, so I find it’s best to eat/ serve as a starter vs. a main.

It’s also a very clean recipe, and will definitely be a staple during my upcoming 2 week cleanse with naturopathic doctor Christina Carreau. Subbing in almond milk vs. pure coconut milk reduces the fat content.

(note: I doubled the recipe below so i had leftovers for lunch).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 3/4 cups of almond milk (original)
  • 3 tbs green curry paste
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 cup thin sliced mushrooms
  • 3 cups chopped broccoli
  • 8 oz tofu, cubed
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 4 tbs lime juice
  • Fresh cilantro as a garnish

Directions

In a large pot, mix the coconut and almond milk, the green curry paste and the tamari. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli, mushrooms and tofu. Cover again and cook for 10 minutes.

Turn off the stove and stir in maple syrup and lime juice. Serve and top with cilantro and a sliced lime

 

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CLEANSING DETOX SOUP

I’m about to embark on a 2 week cleanse with my naturopath Christina Carreau from Degen’s Health Group in Scarborough and the recipe below is part of her meal plan. To me, a spring cleanse is a great way to press the reset button in my body. I feel like I’m down with the clean eating part, but not drinking coffee (and, who are we kidding, wine) for 2 weeks is really challenging for me.  I do it because the benefits are remarkable – after a cleanse I feel lighter, have more energy, I sleep better (and wake up easier…normally we’re talking multiple hits of the proverbial snooze button each morning), and develop a stronger connection to the food I’m preparing and eating.

The recipe below makes an enormous amount of soup. Enough to last you for several meals through out the week. Enjoy a large bowl with a side salad for dinner, or pack it up for lunch. Between meals, this is a great soup to warm up in a mug for a quick snack. It’s packed with veggies, so you know you’re getting ample nutrients.  I tried to let the spices do the talking in this dish – the cinnamon and cayenne added such a great kick that I didn’t have to add much salt. I threw in a can of chick peas for an added fiber / protein boost.

Recipe from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Cookbook. 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup water (or vegetable broth)
  • 1/2 of a red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, florets
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (I used powdered)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
  • fine-grain sea salt (I used a few cranks of Himalayan pink salt ) and black pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups water (or 4 cups vegetable broth + 2 cups water)
  • 2 cups kale, de-stemmed and torn in pieces
  • 1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
  • juice from ½ of a small lemon (or a whole lemon, depending how much lemon flavor you like)

 

Directions 

In a large pot, add the water and turn on the heat to medium-high. After it’s hot, add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the celery, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes and fresh ginger. Stir and cook for 3 minutes, adding in extra water or broth as needed (another ¼ cup). Stir in the turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper plus salt and pepper to taste. Add in the water or vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10- 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add in the kale, cabbage and lemon juice near the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Enjoy!

Feeling Lawless? 

No one’s gonna call the cops on you if you switch up the kale for a gorgeous bunch of rainbow chard (or at least I got off lucky when I did this). I also threw in a can of chick peas, for kicks.

“CHEESY” ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & POTATO CHOWDER

There’s nothing more comforting than a big bowl of chowder for dinner. Back in my fish-eating days, I could be talked into almost anything over a bowl of clam chowder in a bread bowl. This vegan version is just as tasty (bread bowl optional) and really easy to pull together. Have it for dinner one night and then re-heat leftovers during the week. It’s filling, so add a side green salad and call it a day. Kids love it, because it looks “plain” and the taste isn’t overwhelming. And my husband, who has a strange penchant for corn, said this dished passed with flying colours.

The first time I made this dish, I left out the daiya cheese. Using nutritional yeast alone, it just didn’t have the cheesy flavour I was looking for. The recipe below is super cheesy (the carrot helps with the colour) and the pepperjack gives it a subtle spicy kick.

Ingredients: 

1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp olive oil
1 large carrot, roughly sliced
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 head cauliflower
4 large cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
6 cups veggie stock
1 tsp salt
1 cup shredded pepperjack Daiya
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2/3 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
slices or shredded vegan cheese for topping

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 425. Cut Cauliflower into small florets and place on parchment lined baking sheet, along with cubes of potatoes, and slices of carrots. Place whole garlic cloves in between florets. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and combine well with your hands. Roast for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove cauliflower, carrots and garlic with tongs, stir potatoes and allow to roast for an additional 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare veggie stock and set to simmer.

Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan and cook onions for a few minutes. Add chopped cilantro and cook for one more minute. Add onion mixture to the broth along with salt, nutritional yeast (you may need to whisk this in to help dissolve). Once veggies are roasted, add to the soup mix and allow to simmer on low for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Once cool (ish), use hand blender (or stand blender in batches) and blend until smooth. Return to pot. Add pepperjack daiya and warm up enough to allow cheese to melt into soup (about 10 minutes on low). Add corn kernels for last 5 minutes. Serve topped with some additional cheese, and enjoy!

 

Feeling lawless? This recipe is pretty forgiving. Veggie stock + roasted cauliflower/garlic is plenty enough for a tasty soup, if that’s all you’ve got. The potatoes add some thickness and the yeast / Daiya combo makes it cheesy. You can easily leave out the onions / cilantro and sub for another herb i.e fresh basil.

If you’re keen to eat this out of a bread bowl, try a small sourdough loaf. Cut a circle in the top and pull off the “lid”. Scoop out the bread on the inside, leaving a bowl (for heaven’s sake, don’t throw the bread away!! It’s perfect for dipping into the soup). Fill the bowl with soup and cover with the lid until ready to serve. FUN!

 

THAI NOODLE SOUP

One of my favourite things about living in Thailand was how consistent my co-workers were when it came to the lunchtime meal. We would all head out together around noon, and walk over to one of many nearby noodle shops. Each and every day for 6 months, I ate soup with a variety of vegetables, interesting “balls” (fish, pork – this was back in my non-vegan days), and a stack of rice noodles. I would pile the dish with dried chili –  which I considered “training” for even spicier dishes I’d often encounter. When I returned to Canada, I was considered a bit of a spicy hero based on my ability to tolerate a seemingly inhuman amount of hot. I consider myself to be a pretty hungry person – I have a good appetite and I’ve always cleaned my plate. I like big portions and eating meals that are really filling. This soup is my version of thai noodle soup – spicy, filling, nourishing. I find it’s a good meal for stimulating conversation as there’s no way you can polish it off before sharing a story or two with your meal companion (or, if you’re alone, getting through an episode of Nashvill…..er, a thoughtful documentary).

The tamarind adds a subtle bit of sweetness to the broth. The balls are optional, but I’m a bit nostalgic, so there’s that.

Yield: 2 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

For soup
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups cooked rice noodles
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp dried tamarind
1/2 leek, sliced finely
1 tsp vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1 cup button mushrooms, quartered or 2 portabella caps, sliced thinly
½ cup cilantro sprigs
1 red thai chili, 1 small green chili or jalapeno
1/4 cup Braggs or soy sauce
2 or 3 Sweet Potato Veggie Balls (optional, recipe posted soon)
1/2 sliced avocado

Directions

Soak dried tamarind in warm water for a few minutes and then chop finely. Heat broth and add tamarind, garlic, ginger, and lemon. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

Heat margarine in skillet and saute mushrooms and leeks for 5 minutes.

Arrange noodles in bowls. Place veggies, cilantro sprigs and avocado slices on top of noodles and pour broth into bowls.

Add chopped chilies / jalapeno to soy sauce in small bowl and use as a condiment for the noodles.

Enjoy!

Feeling Lawless? This dish has 4 components: broth (veg, mushroom, miso), noodles (rice, glass, sweet potato), veggies (and and all), and protein (tofu, beans, tempeh, vegan “meat”). Pull together what you’ve got in the fridge, add you favorite hot sauce, and call it a day!

BUTTERNUT SQUASH, APPLE, AND SWEET POTATO SOUP

Amongst his many well-deserved titles, my husband has earned that of “Seasoner” in our household. I often prepare everything in my soups…prepping and roasting the veggies, making the stock, etc and then call him in to be my closer. The guy just has a way with spice. I discovered this hidden talent many years ago when we first started dating. He’d taken me out to Mongolian Grill (as one would) and he managed to create a masterpiece with the hundreds of seasoning options available at the buffet. I, on the other hand, found the process confusing and ended up making an inedible concoction. Cue my date, upgrading to the “all-you-can-eat” option, and saving the day with a new custom dish for me.  The rest, dear reader, is history.

Yield: 4-6
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 1 hr, 15 mins

Ingredients
1 butternut squash
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
Pinch of cinnamon
1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine
Additional salt and pepper to taste

Directions: slice squash in half, scoop out seeds and place cut side down on baking sheet (parchment helps with clean up). Roast at 350 degrees (F) for about 45 mins or until squash is very soft when you poke with a fork. Allow to cool. Scoop out flesh and place in broth, along with apple and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 mins or until potatoes are soft. Allow to cool. Blend with immersion blender or in batches if you’re using a stand blender. Return to pot and put on low heat while adding spices, salt and earth balance. Allow to simmer 10 more mins, stir and serve!

Feeling Lawless? Squash is a must, but add whatever you have in the way of apples or pears (even apple sauce will do). Potatoes can be plain ‘ol potatoes if that’s what’s on hand. The extra fruit / veg in the soup really helps to thicken it up, but if you’re ok with a thinner end product, you can actually skip these all together. Re: spices, you’ll need a bit of S&P, but feel free to experiment with cinnamon, cumin, curry, fresh herbs and spices (basil and parsley are nice).