Cauliflower Butternut Squash Soup

Standing in front of the cupboards in my kitchen and peering into the depths of the refrigerator, I wonder what to make for supper.  (Never mind that I have a weekly menu I usually follow ~ it has already gotten so messed up that it is unrecognizable by this point.)  Although it would seem unlikely that I should make soup this close to the end of March, the fact that we are expecting a significant snow storm tonight belies that thought.  But what kind of soup?

Taking another mental glance at the refrigerator’s contents, I realize that I have a head of cauliflower that needs to be used before it gets all spotted.  Since I have no desire to waste a perfectly good organic cauliflower I get it out and plunk it onto the counter.  What else to go with it…?

Every great once in a while some wild combination pops into my head.  Keep in mind that I am not typically a wild-idea person culinarily speaking, and certainly my family is not adventurous when it comes to eating. I notice a languishing butternut squash on a corner counter.  Ping!  A weird idea comes into my head.  Wondering if anybody else has ever thought of such a soup, I contact my good friend Google to see.  (What did we do before such luxuries?)  Sure enough, many entries are listed.  Back to the kitchen I go to start the creation process comforted by the fact that this shouldn’t come out totally warped.

Here I simply must give a warning note.  If you have never peeled and cut up an uncooked butternut squash, I have to say that it is not for the faint of heart nor the dull of knife!  Yikes.  I had never tried this before, but I have seen plenty of recipes that tell you to do it, so I assume that people have had success peeling squash.  First off I broke one of my vegetable peelers (thankfully, not my favorite one.)  I messed around and fiddled with different processes until I settled on the best way for me.  I got out my large serrated knife and cut

off a relatively thin slice of the blossom end.  Standing it on this now-flat end, I started at the squash’s “waist” and dug the knife in and cut/sawed down toward the bottom, curving slightly around the “hips.”  This actually worked pretty well, but again, it is not an easy process.  You’ll need to hitch up your britches for this one!  My forearm and hand are going to complain tomorrow.  I lay the squash on it’s side to do the top half of it with sideways slices.  Good luck.  (I suppose you could buy it already cut up….)

I have a terrible tendency to make enormous soups.  I have cut this one down for you since I would guess most of you don’t want to make 1 1/2-2 gallons of soup at a time!  But if you want to use an entire head of cauliflower and all of a medium butternut squash like I did, triple the recipe.  🙂

Cauliflower Butternut Squash Soup

Cauliflower Butternut Squash Soup

  • 2 c. chopped cauliflower (small pieces, randomly hacked up)
  • 2 c. diced butternut squash (1/2-1″ pieces)
  • 2/3 c. chopped onion
  • 1/2 c. sliced celery
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 c. water
  • 2 1/2 T. chicken-style seasoning
  • 1/3 of a bag of chopped frozen spinach
  • 2 tsp. Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend **
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. dillweed
  • 1/4 tsp. basil
  • 1/3 c. quinoa, well rinsed and drained

Toss everything except the quinoa into a large pot and bring to a boil.  Gently boil for 10-15 minutes or until the cauliflower and squash are tender.  (The onions might not be yet.)  Stir in the rinsed quinoa and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, or until the quinoa’s little curls release and it becomes soft.

**Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend contains smoked paprika flakes, sea salt, garlic, and basil.  The label states that it “adds that wonderful Umami flavor, which can be elusive and difficult to achieve.”  I’ve never had any Umami flavored anything before, but I think you could probably modified this soup with some hickory smoke drops and some Spike seasoning blend if you don’t have access to a Trader Joe’s.

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Potato Cabbage Casserole

Just in time for the yearly deluge of Irish-type dishes on blogs and recipe sites, here is my version of a tasty concoction of potatoes and cabbage.  It doesn’t take very long to put together and then you have about an hour to do other things while the oven finishes things for you.

You can use any type of vegan link/hot dog/sausage in this.  A few years ago a local grocery store was clearancing out some Boca links for $1 a package – and eventually marked them down to 25 cents!!  My husband called me and asked how much freezer room we had.  He cleaned them out…and brought home 40 packages!!!  Yes – 40.  We were feeding 3 hearty young male appetites at the time and these went a long way to help out our food budget.  You can’t find those particular links any more (and I think they may have had egg whites in them), so I’ve substituted Tofurkey Italian Sausages instead.  (I know, that is hardly Irish, is it?  But what are you going to do?  Use whatever you can find that fits the description better.)

Potato Cabbage CasseroleFor the dish pictured here, I happened to have purple cabbage on hand.  It would look nicer if it was green cabbage, but the purple does contain more vitamin A…and, as I mentioned, I already had the purple version.  😉  I also suspect that I sliced up more cabbage than just a pound as the balance wasn’t what it was when I made it with a measured package of coleslaw mix.  Truth be told, the actual measurements aren’t super critical – you just want a nice balance of potatoes to cabbage.

Potato Cabbage Casserole

  • 4 medium potatoes, halved and sliced (peeled, if you prefer)
  • 1 c. chopped onion (or more)
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix or 1 lb. thinly sliced cabbage, rinsed
  • 4-6 vegan links/hot dogs/sausages, optional
  • 2-4 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
  • 2 T. orange juice, or freshly juice 1 small-to-medium orange
  • basil taste
  • salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 450°.  Mix the potatoes, onions, and cabbage in a 4-qt. baking dish.  Drizzle the oil, Bragg’s, and orange juice over it all.  Sprinkle on the basil and salt.  Mix well.  Lay the links/hot dogs/sausages over the top (or you may slice them and mix them in, which I prefer for the larger links.)  Cover with foil and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the potatoes and cabbage are tender.

Creamy Mushroom-Vegetable Soup

I love “chicken” potpies…but I never take the time to make them ~ and they are much too expensive to buy if I want to fill up my hungry hordes.  This tastes like the inside of a potpie in thick, creamy soup form.  If I had more time before I had to rush out the door for a meeting, I would probably try to make some kind of dumplings for the top of this, or serve it with biscuits.

This is the perfect place to use those crumbs of soy curls from the bottom of the bags or box that you buy.  Since I get a 12-lb. bulk box, I get plenty of those crumbs.  I put them in ziplock freezer bags to save them until I’m ready to use them.  You could use any very small pieces of the soy curls for this, but I like the crumbs best.  It has a very satisfying chewiness with them.

This soup actually happened because I had some mushrooms languishing in the refrigerator that had to be used.  My boys are sick and not very hungry and I thought soup would tempt their appetite.  However, if they aren’t interested, I am more than happy to eat this myself!  I hope there is some left when I get home from my meeting.  🙂

(Note:  I came down with the flu my boys had the day after making this recipe.  Nobody felt up to eating it, or taking pictures of it.  In an effort to get a recipe up and out to you, I am posting it without a picture.)

Creamy Mushroom-Vegetable Soup

  • 8-12 oz. portabello mushrooms
  • 1 lg. sweet onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • olive oil and/or coconut oil
  • 1 lb. frozen spinach (organic, if possible)
  • 1 lb. mixed vegetables (organic, if possible)
  • 8 c. hot water
  • 1 c. raw cashews
  • 1 pkg. Morinu extra-firm tofu
  • 1/2 c. cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 1/4 c. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 3 T. onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. chicken-style seasoning
  • 1 c. soy curl “crumbs”, optional

Finely chop the onion and then the mushrooms in a food processor.  Saute them in olive and/or coconut oil for several minutes until they are softened.  Stir in the garlic and saute for another minute or so.  Add remaining 5 cups of water and frozen veggies to the onion/mushroom mixture, bringing it to a boil.  Allow it to simmer while blending 3 c. warm water with cashews, tofu, cornstarch, Bragg’s, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and chicken-style seasoning.  Stir into the vegetables.  Stir constantly until it thickens.  If using the optional soy curl crumbs, stir them in now.  Turn the heat down and let simmer for 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender.