Sunday, April 04, 2010


I've never been a food blogger and have no interest in being one for various reasons, including that others are doing a much better job at it than I ever could. I have, however, spent many (many!) years experimenting in the kitchen. Those who've been around when that experimentation spiked as a passionate indulgence rarely complained about the outcome--including my mostly omni friends. One of my biggest loves over the years has been making soup (or stews) and I have a couple of favourite recipes I'd like to share.


First up is a variation on a green lentil soup recipe I've been making forever (and which I've posted here before). I've no idea of whether there was a specific recipe of origin for it--it's become so "off the cuff" for me. The tarragon is really a worthwhile addition!

Lentil Soup

What you need:

1-1/2 cups lentils, washed
1-1/2 quarts veggie stock or water

1/2 tsp salt

3 Tbs nutritional yeast

2 stalks celery & tops, chopped

1 Tbs celery seed, ground
1 onion, diced 2 carrots, diced
1-1/2 to 2 cups tomatoes, stewed (I just use the canned and diced)

2 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 or 1 tsp fresh tarragon, shredded (optional but recommended!)

What you do:

Place lentils in pot. Add water / veggie stock, salt and yeast. Cover and simmer until almost tender. Add remainder of ingredients. Cover. Simmer until carrots are done (about 15 minutes or longer). Add the tarragon during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

This soup is great with fresh whole grain rolls smeared with vegan "cream cheese" or a bit of Earth Balance margarine sprinkled with nutritional yeast.
Serves 5-6.


Next is an adaptation of Dorothy R. Bates' "Noodle Soup", from The TVP Cookbook. This soup is a ridiculously easy to make side for a sandwich, and reminds me a lot of the canned chicken noodle soup mom would often serve up when I was a kid.

Not-Chicken Noodle Soup

What you need:

1 cup of onions, chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
6 cups of hot water
1 cup TVP granules (smallish)
2 cups noodles, broken
1 tsp (or less) salt
1 tsp dried parsley, heaping
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 cup frozen vegetables of your choice (optional)

What you do:

Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion until it's just beginning to brown. Then add the 6 cups of hot water, TVP, noodles and salt and bring to a brisk boil and simmer for around 5 minutes. Add dried parsley and frozen vegetables (if using) and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. When done, stir in nutritional yeast flakes and serve. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Serves 6


Each spring, I have a moment of veritable "doh!" when I remember that I've once again forgotten to place an advance catalog order for tomatillo seed to have time to sprout them early enough to grow seedlings to transplant into my garden. You can't get fresh tomatillos here and local seed choices are (sadly) limited. If I manage to find a way to get my hands on some soon so that I can grow them, I'll surely be making the following amazing soup by late summer. It's an adaptation of a recipe that was given to me in a vegan recipes forum years ago, and I'm unsure of its origins but ended up tweaking it and making it several times the two summers I didn't forget to buy seed.

Tomatillo Soup

What you need:

2-3 Tbs olive oil
2-1/2 cups chopped onion
5 medium fresh poblano or Anaheim chili peppers (or if you need to substitute, see here)
2-3 Tbs garlic, crushed and / or minced
2 tsp salt
2 Tbs chili powder
6 cups tomatillos, husked and chopped
4 cups water
2-3 Tbs sweetener
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

What you do:

In a large pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion for 4-5 minutes. Mix the peppers, garlic, salt and chili powder into them and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes or so. Add the tomatillos and mix well, cover and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes, allowing the tomatillos to begin to soften. Add the water and bring to a quick boil, then lower to a simmer, cover the pot and allow to cook another 10-12 minutes. Purée some or all of the soup in a blender or food processor and return to the pot to heat. Stir in the cilantro, saving some to garnish, and serve immediately. Serves 6.


General Soup Tips:

If you're serving hot soup, preheat the bowls and tureens you're using to serve it. If you're serving cold soup, chill the bowls or tureens you're using to serve it. It really makes a difference!

Garnish your soup! Although soups often turn out looking quite lovely and colourful, I often add a little something to individual serving bowls. Suggestions include:

-Chopped fresh herbs (e.g. dill, parsley, cilantro, et al., depending on herbs used in soup)
-Grated citrus rind (organic is ideal)
-A dollop of soy yogurt topped with a thin slice of lemon or lime
-Minced scallions or chives
-A sprinkle of paprika
-Thinly sliced radish, carrot
-Chopped nuts (e.g. walnuts, pecans, peanuts)
-A spoonful of chutney
-Black olive slivers
-Toasted almond slivers

You get the point... Now go make soup!


Elizabeth Collins said...

OOO lovely! :)

The Mad Doctor said...

I love soup; thank you so much for posting.