Vegan Food Nerd


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Beet soup

20140925_182859I wanted to call this a borscht, but I’m not entirely sure if it can be classified as one. I mean there are some beets puréed into a delicious soup here, but I threw in a few extra veggies I had in the fridge that I don’t think are normally found in borscht. Regardless, this is really, really delicious. I love the earthy flavour beets lend to the soup, as well as the crazy colour!

This soup comes together fairly quickly, as long as you cook your beets ahead of time. I cooked the beets the day before and peeled and cut them as the veggies were simmering away. Delicious soup in minimal time is always a great goal!

Notes:

  • Steam or boil your beats until they are soft. This helps bring out their sweetness!
  • The agave helps to balance the soup flavours – use coconut sugar or other sweetener if you prefer. Or leave it out entirely.
  • My onion was really big – the soup doesn’t get overly oniony or anything though.
  • Feel free to make your own sour cream – I just didn’t have time to!
  • Serve with some crusty bread.

Ingredients

1 large white onion, diced
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 red pepper, diced
3 small carrots, sliced
3 small purple potatoes, cubed
2-3 large stalks of celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth (I used mushroom)
4 cups of cooked beets, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp hot paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper
juice from half a lemon
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp agave syrup (optional)
1/4 cup almond milk
Veg sour cream for garnish (I used Tofutti brand)

20140925_17132620140925_1713071) Preheat a large heavy bottom pot over medium-low heat. Add olive oil, onions and a few pinches of salt and saute until onions are translucent, about 5-6 minutes.

2) Add carrots, celery, red pepper and garlic and continue sauteing for a few minutes longer. Add potatoes, broth, paprika and some freshly ground black pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove lid and lower heat – allow vegetables to simmer for about 15 minutes or until they are tender.

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3) Add beets, tomato paste, lemon juice and agave and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the beets are heated through.

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4) Remove from heat and use a hand blender to puree the soup with the almond milk until very smooth. Taste for salt and seasonings and add more salt and pepper if needed. If your soup is thicker than you’d like add some more almond milk.

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5) Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow flavours to develop. Serve garnished with more black pepper and a dollop of vegan sour cream.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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delicious, even if it does start to look a bit like a crime scene as you eat it..


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Lentil curry (a veggie packed dahl)

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So first thing’s first. Sometimes recipes don’t work out the way you intend them too. Sometimes, you plan and you put in lots of meticulous effort, and still…something goes wrong. Many times that means ruining a recipe, but in some cases you end up with a happy accident! That may be what happened here. What was supposed to be a red lentil curry soup, ended up as a puréed curry with a side of spiced rice (see notes), and it was absolutely delicious. Not at all what I had intended to make, but still lovely to eat!

This all started when I realized I was out of the red lentils I needed for the soup and subbed them with yellow split peas. I don’t remember yellow split peas taking eons to cook (and the package said they only needed 25-30 minutes to boot) yet mine just didn’t want to cook down. So this meant the soup had to stay on the stove so long that the veggies got way too mushy to be eaten as soup. I thought the hand blender would salvage the giant pot of gorgeous veggies and aromatic spices, and it worked out fine! This all got blended up and tasted like a really delicious Indian dahl dish. So, if that’s what you would also like, follow the instructions below.

Notes:

  • If you would rather have a soup, use red lentils as they will break down much more quickly and you’ll end up with the perfect veggies. Or, even with red lentils, go ahead and puree the batch for a curry. Yellow split peas don’t normally take an hour to cook like they did for me, so either ingredient should work fine for you!
  • I served this with brown basmati rice flavoured with cardamom and cloves. Cook your rice as per the package instructions, but throw in a handful of cloves and green cardamom pods when you add your rice to the water. For 1 cup of rice I used about 13-14 cloves and 7-8 cardamom pods. I also used a tsp or two of coconut oil to prevent sticking. The rice had a great flavour that contrasted well with the curry. (Just remember to remove the cloves and pods before serving)
  • We also ate the curry and the rice with some onion bhajis. Yum!
  • This makes a large vat, so halve the recipe if you don’t want a bunch of leftovers.

Ingredients

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced, fresh ginger
1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/4 tsp saffron turmeric
1/2 large head cauliflower (8 cups)
2 small red potatoes
2 small sweet potatoes
1 cup yellow split peas or red lentils
8 cups vegetable broth (or 6 cups of broth, 2 cups of water)
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups packed greens such as kale and swiss chard
chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for serving

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Directions

1) In a large pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, 4-5 minutes.

2) Add fresh ginger and garlic and heat for another 30 seconds – 1 minute, stirring, until fragrant. Add spice mixture (I like to get mine all measured out in a ramekin so it’s ready to go) and add to the pot. Cook for another minute or two, stirring, to toast the spices.

20140918_17060520140918_1711083) Add 6 cups of the vegetable broth, and the red lentils or yellow split peas to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Simmer for 10 minutes if using split peas.

20140918_1718404) Add cauliflower and potatoes. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until veggies are tender. If you need more liquid, add more broth or more water to the pot. If using red lentils they should have broken down after 25 minutes and you can go ahead and enjoy this as a soup. If not, keep cooking until everything is cooked. You can puree or not depending on your preference.

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5) Taste for salt and seasonings, adding more as desired. Add greens and cook until wilted. Stir in freshly ground black pepper.

6) Either ladle into bowls and enjoy as a soup (even the pureed version), or serve with rice. Garnish as desired.

Makes around 8 servings

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Garden Corn Chowder

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I loooooove summer corn in Ontario. We have been eating ear after ear of the stuff, and after picking up 6 more cobs of the delicious local, non-gmo variety the Mustard Seed has in stock, I decided to try out this chowder recipe from theppk.com. I made a few changes based on what was in the fridge/garden, but it is wonderfully fresh. I wish I took a picture with better lighting as it doesn’t do justice to the yellow colour at all. Try it while the corn is still plentiful in the area!

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Notes:

  • Fresh corn off the cob is best for this recipe, but I’m sure you could try it with frozen if that’s all you have.
  • We tried it topped with various garnishes, so feel free to use what you have and what you like! One night we had chopped cherry tomatoes, basil, and chives. Another night we used what is pictured here: cilantro, chives, basil, and hot cherry peppers. I’ve also had it with no garnishes and it’s still great.
  • If you don’t want any heat, leave out the hot cherry pepper. Although we used just the pepper and not the seeds so it barely had any heat. Add the seeds if you’re looking for more hotness!

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cherry pepper diced small, save some for garnish
4 1/2 cup fresh corn (I used 6 cobs, don’t throw the cobs out!)
2-3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 medium yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (peeled or not based on your preference)
4 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 tablespoon corn starch
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt to taste
Fresh black pepper to taste

To garnish:
– any combination of: herbs (cilantro, chives, basil), fresh garden tomato, hot peppers, hot sauce, raw corn kernels

 

1) Preheat soup pot over medium heat, and add coconut oil and onion. Add a pinch of salt and saute for a few minutes, until translucent.

2) Add garlic and hot peppers and saute for another minute or so. Add corn and carrots and cook for a few more minutes.

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3) Measure one cup of broth into a measuring cup and mix in cornstarch to dissolve, Set aside.

4) Add remaining broth to the pot, as well as the potatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove lid and add corn cobs (broken in half) to the pot. Lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes and check for veggie tenderness. Cook a few more minutes if necessary.

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5) Remove corn cobs and add veggie broth/cornstarch mixture to the pot. Cook for a few more minutes while it thickens, then add coconut milk, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

6) Use an immersion blender (hand blender) to blend the soup while keeping it chunky. If you don’t have one you can move the soup to a food processor or blender, but let the soup cool a little bit first. Blend to your desired consistency, but do not puree it completely.

7) Taste for salt and seasonings, garnish and serve! This was delicious with a slice of sourdough bread, but in the summer a simple salad would also go really well with this.

Makes 8 hearty servings.