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

 

Meatless Monday – Creamy Mushroom Soup (Vegan)

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Calling all mushroom lovers!  My husband declared this the BEST MUSHROOM SOUP HE’S EVER HAD – and I have to agree with him.  I have had some pretty delicious mushroom soups in restaurants but I think this one, stocked with a blend of earthy mushrooms and a rich and creamy base, beats them all.  Best of all it is very easy, ready in less than 30 minutes and requires few ingredients.  It’s vegan too! Many soups are made delicious by adding thick creamy ingredients that add fat and cholesterol and actually mask the natural flavors of the main ingredients.  I substituted the traditional heavy cream with almond milk and veggie broth, thickened with a bit of flour, which really cuts calories without losing flavor.  This soup was wonderful served immediately after cooking, but the small bowl that was leftover that I ate for lunch a couple of days later was even better.  So this is a great soup to make a day or two ahead and reheat when needed.  What could be easier? For other soup ideas, check out last week’s blog post, 12 Vegetarian Winter Soups.

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The stars of this soup are the mushrooms, so choose your favorites but make sure they are good quality. I love a combination of mushrooms to deepen the flavor and add texture.  I prefer brown criminy mushrooms over white mushrooms, also called button mushrooms, since I think they are more flavorful but how do they compare from a nutritional standpoint? White button mushrooms have more vitamin C and slightly more iron but criminy mushrooms are the clear mineral winner.  Criminy mushrooms have twice as much calcium and significantly more potassium and selenium than white mushrooms.  The two mushroom varieties contain similar amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin B6, riboflavin and niacin. Surprisingly, white mushrooms contain slightly more fiber and protein than criminis, although criminis are slightly lower in fat, however they are both extremely low in fat.(Livestrong) So nutritionally speaking, it’s really a toss up, so go with your tastebuds or better yet, use a combination for the ultimate in flavor and nutrition.

TIPS: I have provided substitutions in this recipe for gluten free people.  For more information on gluten free thickening agents, check out this article from SF Gate.  I would like to offer one word of caution for those who are not used to cooking with almond milk, make sure you buy unsweetened, not original flavor, or your soup stock will have an underlying sweetness that is hard to cover up.

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CREAMY MUSHROOM SOUP

  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsn olive oil, butter or vegan butter ( like half oil half butter)
  • 1 carton criminy or brown mushrooms (about 10 oz or 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 carton Portobello mushrooms (2 large or 10 small)
  • 1 generous Tbsn flour (or cornstarch, arrowroot or tapioca flour for GF)
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-2 cups almond or cashew milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce (or liquid aminos for GF)
  • salt and pepper to taste

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  • Saute onion in olive oil or butter in a large soup pot until translucent.

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  • Wipe mushrooms with a damp papertowel.  Don’t rinse or they will get soggy.  Cut smaller mushrooms in half and slice larger mushrooms. Really large Portobello slices might need to be cut in half.

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  • Add mushrooms to onion mixture and saute about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms start to lose their water.

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  • Stir in flour until absorbed by the juices and add thyme.  Let cook several minutes.  If you like really thick soups, add another tablespoon of flour.

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  • Add vegetable broth, soy sauce and 1 cup almond milk and stir to combine.  If you want it creamier, add the remaining almond milk.Cook about 10 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally until soup thickens and flavors develop.   If your soup is not as thick as you would like, dissolve another tablespoon of flour in a quarter cup of water, stir in and allow to simmer. Taste (as broths can vary in saltiness) and add salt and pepper as needed.

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  • Serve hot with a sprig of fresh thyme

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsn olive oil, butter or vegan butter
  • 1 carton criminy or brown mushrooms (about 10 oz or 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 carton Portobello mushrooms (2 large or 10 small)
  • 1 generous Tbsn flour (cornstarch, arrowroot or tapioca flour for GF)
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-2 cups almond or cashew milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce (or liquid aminos for GF)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute onion in olive oil or butter in a large soup pot until translucent.
  2. Wipe mushrooms with a damp papertowel.  Don’t rinse or they will get soggy.  Cut smaller mushrooms in half and slice larger mushrooms. Large Portobello slices might need to be cut in half.
  3. Add mushrooms to onion mixture and saute about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms start to lose their water.
  4. Stir in flour until absorbed by the juices and add thyme.  Let cook several minutes
  5. Add vegetable broth and 1 cup almond milk and stir to combine.  If you want it creamier, add the remaining almond milk.
  6. Cook about 10 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally until soup thickens and flavors develop. If your soup is not as thick as you would like, dissolve another tablespoon of flour in a quarter cup of water, stir in and allow to simmer 10 more minutes. Taste (as broths can vary in saltiness) and add salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Serve hot with a sprig of fresh thyme

 

Wheatless Wednesday – Creamy Morel Mushroom Soup

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I’m not saying good bye to soup yet.  I know it’s spring and the sun is shining but as soon as the sun goes down it gets chilly and soup still seems like the perfect way to get warmed up from the inside out.  I love soup and I love mushrooms, hence Creamy Mushroom Soup, however, for a short time in spring, my absolute favorite of mushrooms is available, the coveted morel.  Much to my delight they were offered in my weekly CSA box and I clutched them in my hands like a prize.  Yet, I was in a quandary of what to make with them. Morels offer so many possibilities and they can turn an ordinary meal into a five star feast.  It was a rare drizzly day in California, so soup it was – this time.  Spoiler Alert! This won’t be the last you see of morel mushrooms from me this spring…

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Morel mushrooms are usually found in moist areas, around dying or dead Elm trees, Sycamore and Ash trees, old apple orchards and sometimes in our own back yards.  After hitting ‘Google University’, of which I am a full time student since starting this blog, I have discovered that morels are a favorite for ‘shroomers’, avid mushroom hunters who take to the woods in spring in search of  tasty morels.  Apparently people who like to hunt mushrooms are colorful individuals who like to tell tall tales, as I also learned about “SWATS” (Scientific Wild Ass Theories) on how, where, and when to find them which apparently differ from shroomer to shroomer.  I personally don’t ‘hunt’ mushrooms even though I have many that pop up in my garden because I don’t trust my ability to identify, and mistakes can have serious consequences.  I’m quite happy to get them safely identified with my weekly produce, however, the brave and hearty can learn more about morel mushroom hunting along with a dose of humor from The Great Morel.

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This version of mushroom soup derives most of it’s creaminess from a pureed potato and leek mixture rather than heavy cream or other thickeners.  I love the extra nutrients that the potatoes provide without the added calories, fat or cholesterol. Carb-fearing folks can be assured that Potatoes are complex carbohydrates which is our main source of energy. They are also a surprisingly good source of vitamin C and potassium, among other nutrients.   I also love the delicate flavor of leeks which is more sophisticated than onions but if you don’t have leeks, use onions or shallots.  I like to swirl in a half cup of plain yogurt towards the end for extra creaminess but that is purely optional.  In the spirit of eating farm to table, I use a yogurt from a  local and animal friendly farm, otherwise I would probably use a coconut, almond, soy or any other great plain non-dairy yogurt.

TIPS:  Mushroom lovers might like to ramp up the mushroom flavor by adding 1/2 cup dry wild mushrooms(reconstituted in hot water) or 1 cup earthy fresh mushrooms to the leek mixture and then blending along with the potatoes. The longer the soup is allowed to sit, the more flavors will develop. In fact it is better the next day.

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CREAMY MOREL MUSHROOM SOUP

2 cups fresh morels (or other fresh mushrooms)
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup white wine
2-3 cups water
1 large or 2 small leeks
2 medium russet potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup plain yogurt, any kind (optional)
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
1/4 cup grated parmesan (optional)

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  • Peel and dice the potatoes and boil on medium low in water for 20 to 30 minutes, covered, in a large pot until very soft.  Add more water if needed.

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  • While the potatoes are cooking, remove the root and dark green ends of the leek and slice in half lengthwise.  Clean by running water between the layers (fanning them like a deck of cards) to remove any dirt. Slice leeks into strips lengthwise and then chop by slicing crosswise.

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  • Saute the leeks in 2 Tbsn butter in a skillet until very soft.  Cover and add 1/4 cup water to make sure they get soft enough.

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  • Let potatoes and leeks cool slightly and process in a blender or food processor until smooth. If mixture is too thick add water 1/4 cup at a time.  Don’t overprocess as potatoes can get ‘gluey’.

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  • Rinse out pot and return potato leek mixture to the pot.  Add broth and stir to combine. Yum, look how creamy!

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  • Roughly chop the mushrooms and saute them in remaining butter until they are beginning to soften.

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  • Add wine and cook until it has almost entirely evaporated.

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  • Add the morels to the potatoes and bring to a simmer.

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  • Stir in the yogurt (if using), and add salt, and pepper to taste.  Turn the burner to low or off and let sit until serving to let the flavors develope.

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  • Toast pine nuts in a small dry pan for several minutes over medium heat until golden. Remove from heat and let cool.

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  • Serve soup with toasted pine nuts and a sprinkle of parmesan (both optional).

 

Creamy Morel Mushroom Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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2 cups morels (or other fresh mushrooms)
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup white wine
2-3 cups water
1 large or 2 small leeks
2 medium russet potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup plain yogurt (optional)
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
1/4 cup grated parmesan (optional)

  • Peel and dice the potatoes and boil on medium low in water for 20 to 30 minutes, covered, in a large pot until very soft.  Add more water if needed.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, remove the root and dark green ends of the leek and slice in half lengthwise.  Clean by running water between the layers (fanning them like a deck of cards) to remove any dirt. Slice leeks into strips lengthwise and then chop by slicing crosswise.
  • Saute the leeks in 2 Tbsn butter in a skillet until very soft.  Cover and add 1/4 cup water to hasten the process.
  • Let potatoes and leeks cool slightly and process in a blender or food processor until smooth. If mixture is too thick add water 1/4 cup at a time.  Don’t overprocess as potatoes can get ‘gluey’.
  • Rinse out pot and return potato leek mixture to the pot.  Add broth and stir to combine.
  • Roughly chop the mushrooms and saute them in remaining butter until they are beginning to soften.  Add wine and cook until it has almost entirely evaporated.
  • Add the morels to the potatoes and bring to a simmer.
  • Stir in the yogurt (if using), and add salt, and pepper to taste.  Turn the burner to low or off and let sit until serving to let the flavors blend.
  • Toast pine nuts in a small dry pan for several minutes over medium heat until golden. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Serve soup with toasted pine nuts and a sprinkle of parmesan (both optional).