Mashed Potato Soup with Caramelized Leeks

This soup was easy to make and very tasty. I made a huge quantity and think it will freeze nicely. I ate it just as-is, but since I made so much of it, I’ll probably experiment with adding other things to it such as beans, tempeh, crumbled tofu.

4 leeks, chopped into bite sized bits
drizzle of olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper (for the leeks)

1 stick Earth Balance (soy butter), divided in half
1 large onion, diced small
about 3-4lbs diced potatoes
a heckton of garlic
herbs/spices as desired (I used a tablespoon of Italian seasoning, a tablespoon of sweet smoked paprika, and a teaspoon of black pepper)
6 cups water/broth (I used leftover bean cooking water and a couple of bouillion cubes)
1 cup unsweetened plantmilk (I meant to use soy, but apparently I bought coconut by accident, so coconut happened)
liberal splash of lemon juice
a lot of nutritional yeast, maybe 1/2 cup to a cup?

Preheat the oven to 425F. Roast the leeks for maybe 10-12 minutes, take them out when the edges are a bit browned and/or they’re as caramelized as you want them.

Melt 1/2 stick soy butter in a soup pot. Saute the onion for about 5 min, then add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the herbs and give it a good stir. Put the potatoes and water/broth in the pot and turn the heat up all the way. When it starts to boil, turn it down to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about a half hour. Once it’s fully simmered, the potatoes should be mashable with a potato masher. (If you want your soup base 100% smooth, use an immersion blender or let it cool and blend in a stand blender; I was happy with it a bit chunky!) Add the remaining ingredients, including the leeks. Enjoy!

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Three Bean Chili

This tasty chili is adapted from a friend’s recipe for maximum deliciousness with minimum effort. I usually make it very spicy, but yesterday I brought it to a choir retreat and made it extra mild so everyone could eat it and not burn up all our throats!

It’s the anniversary of the death of my beloved friend Bean this weekend, so I dedicate this chili to them today.

olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 head garlic, minced
a handful of cilantro, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon each: cumin, oregano, smoked paprika (skip if you can’t find it, it just won’t be quite as smoky)
maybe 1/2 tablespoon thyme
black pepper as desired
whatever heat-adding agent you like, or none if you want it mild (I like to add a heaping teaspoon of Vulcan Fire Salt and/or some chipotle powder)
apple cider vinegar
2-3 25oz jars of your favorite tomato sauce (I like 365 brand Roasted Garlic or Italian Herb)
any veggies you like (I usually throw in a few handfuls of chopped kale)
1 15ozcan each: chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans
maybe 1/2 – 1 cup nutritional yeast?
rice for serving (I like brown basmati)

In a pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the onion for a few minutes, stirring frequently, then add the garlic and cilantro, continuing to stir. Add the seasonings, give it another minute or so, then splash in some apple cider vinegar to deglaze. Pour in the tomato sauce. When the sauce has warmed up, add the veggies and cook until they’ve reached the desired texture, adding the beans in for the last 10 minutes or so. Add the nutritional yeast. Serve with rice.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Collards and Black Beans

Roasting the squash:
1 medium butternut squash, chopped into large bite-sized chunks
olive oil
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
a lot of garlic
3 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
6 cups veg broth
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 large head of collard greens, chopped bite-size
2 cans black beans
red wine vinegar, soy sauce, salt & pepper, nutritional yeast to taste

First, roast the squash.
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Toss and/or stir the chopped squash in a bowl with olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt & pepper so the squash is well-covered. Spread the squash out on the lined baking sheet. Bake ~25-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and set aside.

You can start the soup while the squash is roasting.
Start the soup part by heating olive oil over medium heat in your soup pot. Saute the onion for a few minutes. Add the garlic, then the spices, and cook another minute or two. Add the veg broth*. Turn the heat to high to bring it to a boil, then let it simmer another 10 minutes or so. Remove from the heat**. Add about half the roasted squash. Blend until smooth (either in the pot using an immersion blender, or in a standing blender and then return it to the pot).
Add the coconut milk and stir it in all the way. Add the remaining squash, collards, beans, and any remaining veg broth. Bring it back to a simmer and let cook for another 5-10 minutes or so.

*If you’re using a standing blender, consider the size of your blender when adding the veg broth because everything that’s currently in the pot will go in the blender soon. I did it by adding 4 cups of the veg broth at this stage, then adding the last 2 cups after the blending stage. Add red wine vinegar, soy sauce, salt & pepper, nutritional yeast as desired.

**Again if you’re using a standing blender, you’ll want to let the soup cool before you put it in there. Two tricks for doing this:
1. Pour the soup out of the pot and into a serving bowl to let it cool
2. Stick the pot (or the serving bowl) in the fridge for a bit.

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Sesame-Coconut Noodles

I have a curry noodle pot I make for myself pretty often, and I’ve been playing around with adaptations that are more group-friendly (i.e. less spicy and fewer allergens). I brought this to a potluck today and was really happy with how it turned out!

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 leek, quartered and diced (you could just use a regular onion, I just happened to have an abundance of leeks at the moment)
a spectacular quantity of garlic
1 heaping tablespoon ginger powder
1 heaping tablespoon cumin
1 tsp black pepper
6 cups veg broth
whatever vegetables you have around, chopped into bite-sized pieces (I had green beans, broccoli, and kale)

whatever beans or other protein you want (I used 1 can chickpeas and 1 can kidney beans, I had originally planned to use black beans but I didn’t have any so I improvised)
1 can full-fat coconut milk
2/3 cup tahini
noodles (I used Amy’s mai fun brown rice noodles, which are gluten-free)
8 scallions, chopped into thin rounds
1/4 cup or so sesame seeds
soy sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, nutritional yeast as desired to taste
optional: peanuts, cilantro (I did not use these for the potluck but will add them to the leftovers!)

Melt coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Saute the leek for a bit, then add garlic, stirring continuously. Add spices, stir some more. Add veg broth. Turn the heat up to high. Add the vegetables while the water is heading toward boiling. Once it boils, reduce it to a simmer and add the coconut milk and tahini. Stir thoroughly to fully incorporate them. Add the beans. Add the noodles. Set the timer for however long the package suggests to cook them (basically you’re just cooking them directly into the flavorful liquid in the pot, instead of cooking them separately and then adding them). When noodles are cooked to desired texture, add the remaining ingredients and serve. (I usually grab a long knife at this point and use it to chop the cooked noodles inside the pot, so they’re easier to serve and eat!)

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Pumpkin Lentil Soup

My lovely friend Nick, whose food preferences match up marvelously with mine, came over for dinner last night and mentioned having recently made pumpkin lentil soup. Pumpkin, lentils, and soup are all things that I love, and haven’t had enough of lately, so I was immediately inspired to make a thing that was ALL OF THEM and it came out GREAT. The sage and ginger together with the balsamic work surprisingly well!!

1-2 Tbsp olive oil (coat the bottom of your soup pot)
1 onion, chopped
an absurd amount of garlic
1-2 Tbsp ginger (i used a sizeable knob of minced fresh ginger)
6 cups veg broth
1 tsp black pepper
1 heaping tsp turmeric
chopped fresh sage and parsley…maybe 1/4 cup each?
1 cup lentils
1/2 can of pumpkin puree (you can definitely use the whole can if you don’t want to leave half a can unused, I just happened to be saving the other half for something else!)
several handfuls of your favorite leafy green vegetable(s) (I used kale)
balsamic vinegar to taste
hot sauce as desired (I highly recommend chipotle)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onions for a few minutes, then add garlic and ginger, for another minute or two. Add black pepper, turmeric, sage, and parsley. Keep stirring. Add broth and lentils. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add pumpkin and greens. Stir a lot. Simmer another 20 minutes. Serve with rice (I used brown basmati) or whatever grain you want.

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Cacao Bean Memorial Cookies

I baked these cookies for the memorial ceremony for my beloved friend and chosen-family member, Bean. I wanted to do something with beans to honor my friend, but trialing a recipe with a bean-based batter at a memorial ceremony with 100+ guests seemed like a bad move, so…cacao beans. 3 batches of these yielded 75 cookies, which I set out on the food table at the event when I arrived. Luckily I had taste-tested one the night before, because by the time I got back to the table, they had all been eaten.

1/2 cup softened soy butter or coconut oil
1 cup brown sugar OR 1 cup white sugar + 1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 heaping Tbsp applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt (you can omit this if using salted butter or if you just don’t want to use it)
1 heaping Tbsp cinnamon
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 375F. Beat the butter/oil and sugar/syrup together using a mixer or sturdy spoon, until smooth. Add applesauce and vanilla and mix those in. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together, then add the oats, chips, and nibs. Scoop dough into balls (I think I did large teaspoon scoops and got about 2 dozen cookies per batch) and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes (13 was our sweet spot).

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Pumpkin Tofu Scramble

Back in my early days of having this blog, I tried a recipe that a friend invented for a pumpkin tofu scramble. I even posted about it right here, with a link to the original recipe. At the time, I planned to continue playing around with the recipe and eventually post my version. Then a long time went by! I still make this fairly often, I’ve pretty much settled on a favorite way to do it, and recently a friend asked me for a tofu scramble recipe for a new vegan, so I decided it was time to finally get this post up. Here it is! It’s really the unique combination of spices that make this recipe a favorite of mine, but in your kitchen you should try spice combos that make you happy!

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 block (12-14oz) extra firm tofu
10-12 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sage
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp thyme
1/2 – 1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
tiny pinch of cloves
1 can pumpkin puree
several handfuls of chopped kale or other leafy greens
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar + more as needed
1/4 – 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
soy sauce, hot sauce, etc to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a pot or large pan. Saute the garlic for about a minute. Crumble the tofu with your hands (or mash it up in a bowl first if you’re not into that) and stir it in with the garlic. I usually try to cook the tofu till it’s slightly browned, but that can take a long time and/or lead to burnt tofu, so if it doesn’t quite get to the point…it’s okay, you tried. While the tofu is cooking, you can combine all your spices and then add them all at once when ready. Now add the entire can of pumpkin puree, kale, and apple cider vinegar. Stir this all together. Turn the heat down a bit and let it continue cooking till the kale reaches the texture you’ll want in your mouth. Add more apple cider vinegar if it seems to be getting too dry (or add some soy sauce now if you like). Stir in the nutritional yeast. Add soy sauce and/or hot sauce to taste.

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