Archive for the ‘Soups’ Category

A simple soup with a creamy texture using cashew cream.  Cashew “cream” is made by soaking cashews overnight then blending them into a very smooth consistency.

The cashew cream doesn’t add much flavor but it does deliver some fat and protein.  However, this is a  light carby soup and it might not stick with you. So, if you have blood sugar issues and carby makes you crabby pass this right over.

If you use soy you might balance the carbs with a bit of soy milk.  Alternatively, you could use a 1/2 cup of tahini provided the tahini is pretty oily and not over roasted.

If you don’t give a hoot about the protein then use any old non dairy milk.

My kids love this soup so we also eat it during ordinary time with milk instead of cream.

This recipe is adapted from Robert Irvine’s on Foodnetwork.com


8 cups vegetable stock

6 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces

4 leeks (whites only), thoroughly washed and sliced

3 stalks celery, roughly chopped

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon of salt


1 cup of raw cashews for cashew cream (or 1/2 cup tahini)

Cashew cream:

  • 1 cup of raw cashews, soaked overnight in enough water to completely cover
  1.  Drain soaked cashews, add cashews and 3/4 cup of water into a blender or use a stick blender and blend until absolutely smooth


  1.  Lord, bless my work.
  2. Put the vegetable stock, potatoes, leeks, celery, bay leaf and thyme in a large pot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Boil until the potatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the bay leaf. Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender or food processor), blend the soup until smooth.
  4. Pour the soup into a medium pot; add the cashew cream and simmer briefly.  Serve.



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Here’s the recipe I made tonight.  I roasted a couple of heads of garlic yesterday in order to put hummus in the freezer.  With the leftover head I made this soup.  This recipe is from the Post Punk Kitchen chef, Isa Chandra Moscowitz, who happens to have a restaurant in my home town.  That’s right–a vegan restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska.  Blows my mind, too.


2 Tablespoons olive oil (or omit and simmer gently in a little water)

1 onion chopped (1 1/2 cups)

1 teaspoon salt

dash of black pepper

1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds crushed

4 cups vegetable broth or 4 cups water with 2 cubes/teaspoons Better than Boullion

3 cups cooked Great Northern beans or 3 cans drained

3 fresh sage leaves, chopped, or 1 teaspoon sage

1 bay leaf

juice of half a lemon or more to taste

2 heads roasted garlic (I used one and that was fine, then you can actually taste the fennel and not kill anyone with your breath during the Great Canon)

  1.  Lord, bless my work.
  2. In a stockpot over medium-high heat saute the onions in the olive oil for 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add the salt, black pepper, and fennel seeds; saute for 1 minute.  Add the broth, beans, sage, and bay leaf, bring to a boil, the lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf.  Add the roasted garlic and puree in batches in a blender or food processor (I used an immersion blender.  And everybody said, “amen”)  Return to the pot and add lemon juice.  Garnish with fresh fennel leaves if you feel fancy.
  4.  Optional:  Add kale to taste at the last minute or chopped carrots  while it warms on the stove.



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Curried Lentil and Spinach Soup

Delicious.  Easy.   Fast.  Inexpensive.  Free of common allergens.  Doubles easily.  Freezes well. 

This soup is everything you want.

Notes on preparation:

You may use up 6 cloves of garlic or as few as 2.

Salt to taste.  Start with a tablespoon of salt AFTER the lentils are cooked.  It takes a lot longer to cook lentils if you salt first.

Nutrition:  Lots of protein from the lentils.  Bonus- Calcium from lentils Magnesium from spinach


2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

6 cloves of garlic, mashed

1 Tablespoon curry

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

1 teaspoon cumin

1 bay leaf

16 ounces of lentils (about 2 1/2 cups)

1 9 ounce bag of fresh spinach

1/2 cup chopped cilantro


1.  Lord, bless my work.

2.  Heat oil in a large pot.

3.  Saute onion, celery, carrot, and garlic for 10 minutes.

4. Stir in spices (this really opens them up) and cook for 1-2 minutes.

5.  Add lentils and water, bring to a boil.

6.  Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender.  (Add more water if needed)  SALT to taste

7.  Add spinach and cilantro, cook 5 minutes longer.


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Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

This year we were home and just stayed with the fast.  Not because we’re pious.  No way, Jose.  I just can’t stare at leftover turkey for another month.

A big pile of meat in the fridge or freezer would be too tempting. And, I’m not the only one with that concern.

WordPress tells me what searches lead people to my page.  Today’s top searches:

  • koliva
  • koliva sintagi
  • cakes for fasting
  • eating leftover meat fast day orthodox
  • grinding wild sumac

That gave me a real chuckle.

So, here are the recipes I used.

Wall Street Journal had a great article on native foods including a recipe for chestnut soup.You will find the link to that article at the end of this post. I changed the recipe to make it fast friendly.

This was my first time working with chestnuts.  It wasn’t bad.  I used raw chestnuts and roasted them for about 20 minutes at 325.  According to the WSJ article you should be able to find chestnuts cooked, peeled, and packaged.  If you’re super lucky you might be able to harvest chestnuts locally.

Chestnuts are more carbohydrate than protein.  According to the USDA Nutrient Database, chestnuts have .9 grams of protein per ounce.  The wild rice has about 6 grams protein per cup.  This isn’t a protein rich soup, but it is immensely satisfying.

Chestnut and Mushroom Bisque With Wild Rice

1 cup wild rice

1 Tablespoon oil

1 large diced shallot (or half a white onion)

1 1/2 Cups sliced mushrooms (button, portobello, shiitake, or a mix)

12 ounces roasted and peeled chestnuts, chopped

4 cups vegetable broth + 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast (for flavor and nutrients)

2 Tablespoons apple cider (I used apple wine)


1.  Lord, bless my work.

2.  In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup wild rice and 2 1/2 cups water.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer until rice is chewy but tender and some kernels have begun to split and show their white pith, about 30 minutes.  Drain off remaining water and set rice aside.

3.  In a medium/large pot heat oil and add diced shallot.  Saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add 1½ cups sliced mushrooms (button mushrooms, baby portobellos, shiitake—or a mix) and stir to coat. If pot becomes dry, add another tablespoon oil. Sauté mushrooms until they begin to soften and brown, about 2 minutes.

4.   Add 12 ounces roasted and peeled chestnuts, chopped. Sauté shallots, mushrooms and chestnuts 5 minutes more, stirring frequently, until a thin brown crust forms in pot, mushrooms are soft and mixture is fragrant.

5.  Add 4 cups vegetable broth, stirring to loosen brown bits from pot. Simmer 15 minutes. // Remove pot from heat. Cool 10 minutes.

6.  Pour solids, along with enough soup broth to cover, into a blender. Reserve remaining broth. Cover blender and purée mixture until smooth. Return purée to pot along with remaining broth. Stir in 2 tablespoons apple cider. Salt to taste.

To serve, spoon ¼ cup wild rice into bowls and top each with 1 cup soup. Garnish with chopped chestnuts and a thin apple slice.


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This is a quick soup with good flavor, loads of veggies, and a good reason to eat tortilla chips.

Chips and beans complement eachother!

Mexican Vegetable Soup with Tortilla Chips

2 Tbsp oil (or water for sauteeing onions)

1 onion, chopped finely (about 1 cup)

4 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2/-3 tsp chili powder

1 carrot, sliced

1-2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed.

1 waxy potato, diced (if you use a russet or other type it will fall apart in the soup- I used a red skin with good results)

1 1/2 cups diced fresh or 1 can tomatoes

1 zuchinni, diced (or skip this and add more green beans for protein)

1/4 small cabbage shredded (no more than 2 cups)

4 cups vegetable broth or water

1 corn cob, kernels cut off, or 1 cup frozen corn

about 10 green beans, trimmed and cut into bites

salt and pepper

4-6 Tbsp cilantro chopped

tortilla chips

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until softened, then sprinkle in the cumin and chili powders.  Stir in the carrot, potato, tomatoes, zucchini, and cabbage and cook for 2 minutes, stirring teh mixture occasionally.

Step 3. Pour in the bouillon.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the vegetable are tender.

Step 4. Add extra water if necessary, then stir in the corn, canned beans, and green beans and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the green beans are tender.  Sason with salt and pepper to taste, bearing in mind that the tortilla chips may be salty.

Step 5. Sprinkle each portion with cilantro, salsa, and a handful of chips.

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My goal for lent was to post a new recipe each day.  Between travel and beloved house guests I haven’t been faithful.  To make up for it, today, I will post two recipes that we enjoyed over the last two days.  I apologize.  I didn’t take pictures.  They were beautiful dishes, and tasty, which is why I don’t have leftovers to show you.

This soup has a nice flavor, the herbs are the primary flavor so don’t skimp on them.

Beans and Greens Soup (about 4 quarts)

1 cup of dried beans (or half a bag) soaked at least 6 hours

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 small onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

4 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1 celery stalk, sliced thinly

2 carrots, sliced thinly

5 cups water

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried marjoram

1 bay leaf

4 1/2 ounces leafy greens (kale, chard, spinach, mustard or a mix) depending on the variety this would be a few packed cups

salt and pepper (you’ll need a lot to taste)

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Drain the beans and put in the pot, add enouch cold water to bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Drain and rinse.

Step 3. Heat oil in the pot, then add onion and cook, covered, for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just softened.  Add the garlic, celery, and carrots, and cook for 2 minutes.

Step 4. add the water, beans, thyme, marjoram, and bay leaf.  When the mixture bubbles, reduce the heat.   Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/4 horus, or until the beans are tender.  Season to taste.

Step 5. Let the soup cool slightly, then transfer 2 cups to the blender, blend until smooth and combine with the soup.

Step 6. Cut the grens crosswise into thin ribbons, a handful at a time.  Spinach needs less time to cook than kale or mustard, so cook them for a shorter time.  Cook greens uncovered for a maximum of 10 minutes or until all greens are tender.

Step 7. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  The beans will soak up most of the flavor so you may need to add more salt or herbs.  Serve.

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Soup made with green bell pepper isn't as beautiful as soup made with a red bell pepper

According to The Complete Mexican, South American, and Caribbean Cookbook, “Peanut soup is a firm favorite throughout Central and South America, and is particularly popular in Bolivia and Ecuador.  As in many Latin American recipes, the peanuts are used as a thickening agent, with unexpectedly delicious results.”  After dinner tonight I can say that I agree.

I like this cookbook but the directions are poorly translated and overlap too much for pleasant cooking.  I have changed the directions below for ease.

This soup should either be chunky or completely smooth.  The middle way is difficult to swallow.

With the peanuts and potatoes a serving of soup has about 8.1 grams of protein.

Peanut and Potato Soup with (or without for JKM) Cilantro

4 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 large potato

2 chiles (optional)

7 ounces canned chopped tomatoes (if you used half a can for Mexican Rice use the other half here)

1 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts

6 cups vegetable stock or Better than Buillon

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp cilantro for garnish

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2.  Toast the peanuts: You can either buy plain roasted peanuts or toast raw peanuts yourself.  If you toast the peanuts yourself, first, eat a raw peanut so you can compare flavor to determine when the peanuts are done.  When they are done the peanuts will taste like peanut butter.  You can toast them one of two ways:

  1. Spread peanuts on a tray and toast gently in the toaster oven.  Do not take your eyes off of the peanuts.  Toast the peanuts to an even gold color
  2. In a dry skillet, over medium heat, stir the peanuts around until they are evenly toasted.  This method makes for easy taste testing.  You’ve got to be very careful as the peanuts scorch easily.


Step 3. Heat oil in a large, heavy pan over low heat.  Stir in onion and cook for 5 minutes until it begins to soften.  Add the garlic, pepper, potatoes, chilies, and tomatoes.  Stir well to coat the vegetables in oil, cover, cook for 5 minutes until softened.

Step 4. Decision point!

For smooth soup: While the vegetables are cooking process peanuts in food processor or blender until finely ground.  Add the vegetables and one cup of the water to the blender or food processor and process until very, very smooth. Return mixture to the pot and stir in vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

For a chunky soup:  Add peanuts to the vegetables and stir in vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.   Chunky soup might be better with an extra potato or some noodles.

Step 5. Garnish with cilantro to serve.

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