Meatless Monday – 16 Vegetarian Soups

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Thanksgiving is over but Soup Season has just begun. Brrr… Soup is the ultimate comfort food for cold, rainy or snowy days.  It’s hot, steamy goodness warms you up from the inside out. Click through for a collection of 16 of my favorite soups. Mmm, so good!  All soups are vegetarian or vegan (or easily adapted for vegans) and gluten and wheat free.  Since they are meat free, they are naturally low in calories but nutrient dense, so fill up your belly guilt free!  Each link will send you to the recipe and original blog post. Sharing is caring. -J

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Creamy Mushroom Soup (Vegan)

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Thai Red Curry Soup

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Hot and Sour Soup

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Tuscan Bean Soup with Squash and Kale

Cauliflower Leek Soup2

Creamy Cauliflower Leek Soup

Black Bean Soup1

Spicy Black Bean Soup

CArrot Sweet Potato Soup1

Carrot, Sweet Potato Soup with Turmeric

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Ginger Miso Tofu Noodle Bowl

Mushroom Barley Soup 1

Mushroom and Barley Soup with Cannelini Beans

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Fall Harvest Minestrone

Autumn Harvest Soup11

Butternut Squash and Potato Soup with Crispy Fried Sage

Black and White Chili

Black and White Chili with Garlic Toast

White Bean and Swiss Chard Soup

White Bean and Swiss Chard Soup

Carrot Coconut Soup with Marinated Tofu Triangles

Butternut Squash Soup and Polenta Tower2

Butternut Squash Soup with Polenta Towers

Dhal Lentil Sou[p

Dhal Lentil Soup with Quinoa Cauliflower Cakes

 

Wheatless Wednesday – Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

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Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup14

Craving rich and creamy but not the calories?  Would you believe me if I told you that coconut milk is a good diet food? Coconut Milk has gotten a bad reputation for it’s high saturated fat content but that doesn’t mean it will make you gain weight. Research has shown that not having enough fat can make  you fat. Crazy, right?  The trick is to eat healthy fats like coconut milk and avocado.  Fats help us feel satiated so we eat less and feel full longer. In addition, the fats in coconut milk and oil may actually increase our metabolism which increases our bodies’ use of calories. Coconut milk also provides nutrients that support our immune systems and heart health as well as giving us pretty hair and skin, and it tastes delicious too. Win-Win!

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Nothing hits the spot on a chilly day like a piping hot bowl of creamy soup.  This soup gets it’s creaminess from coconut milk (you knew that was coming), which also adds a subtle  but delicious flavor when combined with roasted butternut squash, ginger and red curry paste. I also love using winter squash because each is hiding a little treasure trove inside, their seed stache.  Pumpkin seeds get all of the attention, but they aren’t the only squash seeds that can be roasted. Other winter squash seeds like butternut,  squash or spaghetti squash can also be roasted.  So next time you’re roasting squash, roast the seeds as well and use them as a garnish or as a tasty and nutritious little snack.  I roasted mine with olive oil, chili powder, cumin, curry, cayenne pepper and salt but you can use any spices you enjoy. You’ll be addicted!

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I also dry toasted unsweetened shredded coconut until it was golden and aromatic to use as a second topping.  All I can say is, Wow!  I have to admit to going back for more…

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TIPS:  I think roasting the squash in the skin gives it a richer flavor and it is much easier than peeling it since the skin is so tough, however, if you are pressed for time, you can peel the squash, cut it into chunks (or even buy it from the store pre-cut into cubes which is not a crime) and add it to the onion, garlic mixture along with the vegetable broth.  Then follow the recipe from there.  You will notice that my CSA squash is the size of a three month old baby!  Normally I can fit both halves in the same pan but this behemoth squash required two pans.  Don’t skip the step of roasting the seeds.  You won’t be disappointed! In fact, you’ll wish there were more…

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COCONUT CURRY BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP 

1 large butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
1 Tbsn freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsn Red Curry paste (or curry powder)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp salt (if needed)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

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  • Preheat over to 400°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Brush the cut sides of the squash with oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet.  Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until very tender. The squash should have a creamy texture. Once the squash has cooled enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the peel using a spoon.

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  • While the squash is cooking toast the coconut in a small pan over medium high heat, stirring constantly until golden brown, 3-5 minutes.  Put in a small serving dish and let cool.

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  • Pick through seeds, if using, and remove any stringy bits.  Rinse and dry with paper towels.  Let air dry in a single layer on a baking dish.  Once the squash has finished cooking, lower the oven to 300 and roast seeds by following the directions below.

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  • In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook until aromatic.

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  • Stir in the vegetable broth, coconut milk and squash. Simmer for 15 or 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add salt if necessary.

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  • Puree soup with a hand mixer or in a food processor until silky smooth.  You may have to do it in batches.

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  • Serve garnished with toasted coconut and roasted squash seeds.

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

 Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup14

 

1 large butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
1 Tbsn freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsn Thai Red Curry paste, more if you like it hotter
4 cups vegetable broth
1 14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp salt (if needed)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

  • Preheat over to 400°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Brush the cut sides of the squash with oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet.  Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until very tender. The squash should have a creamy texture. Once the squash has cooled enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the peel using a spoon.
  • While the squash is cooking toast the coconut in a small pan over medium high heat, stirring constantly until golden brown, 3-5 minutes.  Put in a small serving dish and let cool.
  • Pick through seeds, if using, and remove any stringy bits.  Rinse and dry with paper towels.  Let air dry in a single layer on a baking dish.  Once the squash has finished cooking, lower the oven to 300 and roast seeds by following the directions below.
  • In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook until aromatic.
  • Stir in the vegetable broth, coconut milk and squash. Simmer for 15 or 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add salt if necessary.
  • Puree soup with a hand mixer or in a food processor until silky smooth.  You may have to do it in batches.
  • Serve garnished with toasted coconut and roasted squash seeds.

Roasted Winter Squash Seeds

  • Servings: 1 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 cup raw squash seeds
1 Tbsn oil (olive, coconut or avocado)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

  • Separate the seeds from the pulp, place in a colander and rinse thoroughly. Spread them out in an even layer to air dry. Seeds roast better when they are completely dry.
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Drizzle seeds with oil and sprinkle with spices.  Toss to combine and spread in a single layer on a glass baking dish or a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until seeds are golden brown. If seeds aren’t browning, increase oven temperature to 325 or 350 degrees but check every few minutes.

10 Vegetarian Soups for Thanksgiving

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SOUP GLORIOUS SOUP! Perfect for cold, rainy (or snowy depending on where you are) days.  I am on vacation and not cooking this week.  As promised, here is a collection of ten of my favorite soups. Mmm, so good!  All soups are vegetarian or vegan and gluten and wheat free.  Maybe one of them is perfect for your Thanksgiving table. Each link will send you to the recipe and original blog post. Love my readers! Sharing is caring. -J

Cauliflower Leek Soup2

Creamy Cauliflower Leek Soup

Black Bean Soup1

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Butternut Squash Soup and Polenta Tower2

Butternut Squash Soup with Polenta Towers

 

Carrot Coconut Soup with Marinated Tofu Triangles

CArrot Sweet Potato Soup1

Carrot, Sweet Potato Soup with Turmeric

Dhal Lentil Sou[p

Dhal Lentil Soup with Quinoa Cauliflower Cakes

Mushroom Barley Soup 1

Mushroom and Barley Soup with Cannelini Beans

Autumn Harvest Soup11

Butternut Squash and Potato Soup with Crispy Fried Sage

White Bean and Swiss Chard Soup

White Bean and Swiss Chard Soup

Black and White Chili

Black and White Chili with Garlic Toast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meatless Monday – Butternut Squash Soup & Polenta Towers

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Butternut Squash Soup and Polenta Tower2

Butternut Squash Soup & Polenta Towers

Although the sun is shining in Northern California this mid-December, it has been deceptively chilly outside, especially once the sun goes down.  With temperatures  below normal this past week, and another “Spare the Air Day” (an Only in Marin phenomenon, I believe, where we are not allowed to burn wood or use pellet stoves), the best way I can think of to make my house feel warm and cozy is to have a big pot of hot soup bubbling away on the stove. It won’t necessarily warm up your house like a good, old fashioned fire, but it will help your kitchen feel homey and welcoming, and smell divine.  I remember my friend, Kim, once telling me that when she wanted her family to think she cooked all day, she would throw onions and garlic in a saute pan for a few minutes.  She was very smart and I’m sure her family loved coming home to the wonderful smells coming from her kitchen.  You can also greet your holiday guests with hot apple cider (apple cider with cinnamon sticks and cloves) which makes your home smell like Christmas.

Butternut squash soup is my standard this time of year. It’s flavorful and low fat, as are most of my dishes, since I use vegetable or chicken broth instead of the cream or cream cheese called for in many recipes.  Roasting the squash first, makes it very easy to peel and retains more vitamins than peeling and boiling. The recipe calls for fresh ginger which must be minced very finely.  An alternative would be to add a 1 inch peeled chunk of ginger to the soup after it has been pureed and then remove before serving.  Another good short cut would be to use a teaspoon of ginger paste.  This soup is especially delicious served piping hot with a dollop of cold sour cream or non-fat yogurt (My favorite is local, Straus Family European Style yogurt, made here in Marin County) and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds.

The Polenta Tower is an easy dish to make and fun to serve.  It also works great on a buffet or as a fancy dish to bring to a potluck, although it works better to omit the marinara sauce.  I am a big believer that cooking should be as easy as possible and will take shortcuts when available. For some recipes I would make my own polenta from scratch but not for this dish.  The Food Merchants Brand, pre-cooked polenta in the tube, is perfect for this recipe.  It is organic, (non-GMO), fat free, wheat free and gluten free.  Best of all, it’s already in the perfect shape.  There may be other brands that are just as good but this is what is in my refrigerator. The vegetables in this recipe can be altered for what is in season or what you already have.  Vegetables that can be sliced into rounds work the best.  Be creative and have fun with your food!  Vegans should omit the mozzarella and sour cream.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash

1 large or 2 small leeks

1 medium onion, chopped

2 Tbsn olive oil or butter

1 tsp finely minced ginger, or to taste

6 cups vegetable broth

sour cream or non-fat yogurt (optional)

¼ cup pumpkin seeds or pepitas (optional)

LeeksButternut Squash

  • Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. You can use a dry paper towel to get the last bits of pulp. Oil a glass baking dish and place squash in the dish cut side down.  Cook at 375 degrees for about an hour, or until a fork easily pierces the thickest part of the squash.  Let cool.
  • Cut the leeks lengthwise and wash thoroughly under running water, fanning the layers of the leek like a deck of cards to remove any grit hidden in between. Slice lengthwise and chop, using the white part only.
  • In a large stock pot, saute leek, onion and ginger in olive oil until soft.
  • Scoop out squash from the shell and add to the stock pot, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.
  • Add 2 cups of broth and stir, cooking for another 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • Puree the squash mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth.  You may have to do it in two batches. If your puree does not come out silky smooth or you can see bits of leek, you may want to cook it a bit longer and puree it again.
  • Return it to a clean stock pot and add the rest of the broth. Heat on medium to low heat another 10 to 20 minutes to let the flavors blend.
  • Toast the pumpkin seeds in a small, dry saute pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes until they are golden and lose their raw taste. Let cool.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and top with sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Polenta Towers

(Makes about 8 towers)

2 cups marinara sauce (Use your favorite or make your own, recipe below)

1 18 oz tube of cooked polenta

1 ball or 3-4 boccoccini fresh mozzarella (optional)

4 smaller portobella or crimini mushrooms,

1  japanese eggplant

1  zucchini

1-2 ripe tomatoes

1 small bunch fresh basil

2-3 Tbsn olive oil

BasilPepitas

  • Remove plastic from polenta, cut off curved ends and cut into ½ inch rounds.
  • Drain mozzarella and cut into  ½ inch rounds
  • Wash and dry eggplant, zucchini and tomato and slice them into rounds as well. Cut stems from mushrooms even with the cap and sliced in half horizontally.  If they are small, leave whole. Slice mozzarella.
  • Wash and dry about 6 large basil leaves and slice them into ribbons.
  • Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium to medium high heat and saute polenta until golden on both sides.  Remove and set aside.
  • Add another tablespoon oil, a bit of chopped garlic and saute the eggplant and then the zucchini and mushrooms, adding more oil if necessary.  (Note:  If you have time, you can salt the eggplant slices and let sit for 10  minutes or so.  Eggplant which has ‘sweated’ usually absorbs less oil.) Remove from and set aside.
  • To assemble the ‘towers’, ladle ½ cup marinara sauce onto the middle of a plate. Place a polenta circle on top of the sauce, then top with mozzarella, tomato, eggplant, mushroom and zucchini, depending on their size.  I usually go from biggest on the bottom to smallest on the top.
  • Garnish with fresh basil.

Polenta Towers

Marinara Sauce

Makes 3 cups

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsn fresh basil, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsn olive oil

½ tsp salt

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

  •  Heat olive oil in a saucepan and saute garlic for a few minutes.  Add basil and crushed tomatoes and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a boil and add salt.  Simmer about 45 minutes.
  • Before serving add balsamic vinegar and stir to combine

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