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.

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.

Corn Chowder

After a long absence, I am finally posting a new recipe!  (Sorry, folks ~ I got a new job and it’s using up any extra minutes I used to spend on my blog.  I’ll get better at this juggling thing soon, I promise!)

This recipe came about because I got hungry for corn chowder one day and just decided I would make some no matter what.  I had an okay recipe from eons ago, but after looking at it, I deemed it dull and lifeless.  I demand more taste and more nutrition from my fare now.  Because of that, this won’t look like your usual pale chowder.  I couldn’t help myself ~ I had to throw in some greens!  😀  But you should be used to that by now if you are following my blog.  (You see, my teen boys wrinkle their noses up if I serve cooked greens by themselves, but they have no problem eating them if they are in a dish.  So you see the method to my madness….)

Corn ChowderRest assured, this is a marvelously creamy, comforting soup for a chilly winter day!

Corn Chowder

  • 2 lg. onions, diced
  • 4 small potatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. frozen turnip greens with diced turnips (or another green of your choosing)
  • 2 lbs. frozen sweet corn ~ thaw and reserve 2 c.
  • 1/3 c. raw cashews
  • reserved corn
  • 1/4 c. barley or brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dillweed
  • 2 c. plain non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • parsley

Boil the first 5 ingredients in a large pot until tender.  Add the sweet corn (still reserving the thawed 2 c.)  Blend the next 6 ingredients that are listed until very smooth.  Bring the veggies back to a boil and stir in the blenderized mixture.  Keep stirring until it thickens.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring.  Add the extra salt if desired and some dried parsley before serving.  (The extra salt isn’t added until the corn is cooked so that the corn doesn’t become tough and chewy.  That’s also why the corn isn’t added at the beginning of cooking the other veggies, so that especially the potatoes can absorb most of the salt from the water beforehand.  If you are in a hurry, dump the corn and salt in at the beginning.  The extra cooking time may make up for the it.)

Creamy Potato Soup

When I created this recipe years ago, I shared it with a group of online friends.  One wrote back and declared I had misnamed the soup ~ in her opinion, it should be better-than-sex-soup!  ;D  While the jury is still out on a name change of that magnitude (and probably always will be) you can at least know that this is a super-duper, tasty pot of soup to serve!

The yield on this particular soup is ~ per usual for me ~ quite large (6-7 quarts, or about 12 good-sized bowls full.)  If you have a big family, you are all set for supper with maybe a bowl or two leftover, if you are lucky.  However, if you have a smaller family to serve, you should cut the recipe down, or you can skip cooking for the next night or two.  🙂

Creamy Potato SoupThis time I used a smaller pot than usual ~ 6 quarts ~  trying not to use my giant stockpot that is over-kill for this.  Mistake.  It barely fits, as you can see, but it would have been so much easier in a larger pot.  And I wouldn’t have to clean my flat-top due to my overzealous stirring.

 

Creamy Potato Soup

  • 5 lbs. red potatoes, peeled and diced (you can use any potatoes, but these are the best in my opinion)
  • 4-5 medium onions
  • 1 10- or 16-oz package of chopped spinach
  • 2-3 carrots (or a handful of baby carrots) chopped (I use my food processor)
  • 1 T. salt
  • water to cover vegetables by 1/2 inch
  • 2/3 c. raw cashew pieces
  • 1/2 c. barley flour (you can use other types, such as whole wheat or brown rice, but this has the best flavor)
  • 2 T. chicken-style seasoning
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1-2 tsp. dillweed
  • 2 c. plain non-dairy milk, such as Silk soy

In a 7-quart or larger pot, bring first 6 ingredients to a boil and cook until onion and potatoes are tender.  In a blender, whiz next 6 ingredients until very smooth.  Turn vegetables down to a simmer, and, while stirring veggies, pour in blender contents.  Continue stirring until liquid thickens (about 1 minute).  Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve with a hearty bread.

Yields 6-7 quarts ~ about 12 good-sized bowls full.

Chili

There is nothing quite as satisfying on some cold evenings as a bowl of good chili and a piece of cornbread to go with it.  This simple recipe doesn’t taste simple at all.  Grab a bowl and a spoon and dig in!

Chili

  • 3-4 onions, chopped
  • 2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil or water
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans chili beans, undrained
  • 1 28-oz or 2 14-oz. cans of diced tomatoes, undrained (one may be zesty style) or crushed tomatoes
  • 10-16 oz. frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 c. frozen corn
  • 1 c. water (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Marmite or Vegex paste (optional, but really adds a lot of depth of flavor ~ if you prefer, add some South African Smoked Seasoning Blend and/or Spike to achieve that depth.)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • salt to taste
  • soy sour cream and vegan “cheese” to top each bowl as desired

Saute onions in olive oil or water until they lose their stiffness and relax onto the bottom of the pan, but not until they are completely soft.  (This leaves them with just a little bit of texture in the finished stew to contrast the soft beans and the crisp corn ~ for crispier corn, add it just a couple of minutes before serving.  This both cooks the corn just enough to leave it crisp, and cools the chili a tad so that it doesn’t burn your mouth when you chow down.)  Add garlic for about 1 minute.  Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer until spinach is tender.  Serve with soy sour cream and/or non-dairy cheese.

Beefy Vegan Soup

After all the fun of the Virtual Vegan Potluck I was inspired to create something new the very next day.  I wanted to make a soup to feed my family (plus a potential 1-2 others), but none of my regular recipes were resounding with my mental tastebuds.  What did sound good was some kind of beefy stew.  I peeked into my cupboards and fridge to see if I had the supplies to pull something like this off.  Next I recruited my son, J, to help me.  (Not only is he good with ideas, but he peels a mean carrot or potato!  lol)  Here is what we came up with ~ a good solid “beef” soup!

This makes an 8-quart stock-pot just about full.

Beefy Vegan Soup

  • 3 c. sliced/diced carrots
  • 1 1/2 c. sliced celery
  • 3 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 5 c. diced potato
  • 6 c. chopped cabbage
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 10 c. water
  • 1/2 c. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 T. Marmite or Vegex
  • 3 T. chicken-style seasoning
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 T. Spike
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a touch of sweetener – maybe 1-3 tsp. (believe it or not, this makes a difference)
  • 4 c. Soy Curls, roughly broken/crushed into 1-2″ pieces

Place everything except the soy curls into a large 8-quart stock pot.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.  Allow to simmer 30 minutes or so, until the vegetables are tender.  (I like to get the potatoes to the point they will almost melt in your mouth.  Then they remind me of my mother’s crock-pot roast, potatoes, and carrots that she used to make when I was a kid and still eating meat.)  Toss in the Soy Curls and stir thoroughly.  Remove from heat.

Serve this as soon as it’s not so hot it will burn your mouth.  Better yet, let it sit off the heat for an hour or so and warm it back up.  Soups always taste better if they can sit for a while and be reheated so that the flavors meld well.  I love leftovers the next day ~ they’re always better!  🙂

Tuscany Stew for the Virtual Vegan Potluck

Welcome to Cheerfully Vegan’s main course dish for the Virtual Vegan Potluck!  If you’ve started from the beginning of the potluck and are working your way through, you must have seen some amazing recipes by now.  If you are jumping into the potluck for the first time using my blog as your entry point, then welcome to the program already in progress!  😀  Let me catch you up to speed (the rest of you can jump to the next paragraph.)  V.V.P. is a marvelous online, twice-yearly get-together of 100 (give or take) vegan or vegan-friendly food bloggers around the world.  Each blogger signs up for what kind of dish they will “bring” ~ and then on the set date, posts that recipe on their blog.  We each link to the blog before and after ours (see the leaf links at the bottom of this page) so that you can start at any one point in the 100 blogs and just click to see the previous or the next entry.  Pretty simple, huh?  Let’s get started!  For those of you who want to jump to the head of the table and start from the beginning, click on the leaf at the beginning of this paragraph.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program….

When I was trying to decide what to bring to the potluck, I was torn.  Do I make something showy and/or spectacular, or do I choose a simple dish that everybody will make time and time again?  Since I was jumping into this at the last minute (somebody needed to bow out a couple of days ago and I was blessed to take their place) I really didn’t have a lot of time to hem and haw over the decision!  Finally, I chose something that is a little of both.  It is simple to prepare with a relatively short list of ingredients, but the flavor is spectacular ~ at least if you love garlic and spicy Tofurkey links it is!  😉

The great thing about this dish is that you can be as hands-on, or not, as you like.  You can choose to cook the beans from scratch and grow your own greens to pick fresh (okay, okay…or pick them fresh from the display at the store), or you can pick up canned cannellini beans and frozen greens when you need supper on the table quickly.

My plan was to do something in between ~ canned beans and fresh kale from the market.  Mmmm…not so much.  By the time I got to the store late yesterday all of my favorite organic curly red kale was GONE!  (Understand that this was more of a crisis in my mind for my morning smoothies than for the soup…*sniff*)  I knew that the grocery store also carried a great substitute of frozen turnip greens with diced turnips (alas, not organic) that I had used in the past.  Since I not only needed a picture or two for the blog as well as supper for the evening ~ and it was getting late ~ I opted for the frozen greens.  Time had run out to dash to another store in the hopes that they still had some kale left.

I made a double batch of this last night and it is a good thing I did!  My plan was to have enough leftovers for lunch for 2, or even 3 of us.  It was so popular with the family that there is only a single serving left.

Tuscany Stew

  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lg. onion
  • 1 14-oz pkg. Tofurkey Italian “sausage” links, halved lengthwise and sliced (to decrease the intensity of the spicy flavor, only use half the package)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2-2 c. cannellini beans (or 1 can), rinsed and drained (you may substitute navy beans, but add them a few minutes before serving so that they don’t turn to mush)
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 T. chicken-style seasoning
  • 1 pound greens, fresh or frozen – kale, turnip greens, spinach, etc. – chopped (remove any tough stems if you choose fresh greens)
  • non-dairy grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

In a very large frying pan or a Dutch oven*, saute the onion and Tofurkey pieces in olive oil on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the onion is softened and the Tofurkey is browned nicely.  Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute, stirring often to keep the garlic from browning and getting bitter.  (If you prefer, you can skip the last step and just toss the garlic in at the next step instead.)  Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer until the greens are cooked to your preference ~ I like mine very tender.  Whether you chose fresh or frozen greens will affect the cooking time, too.  You probably should plan on approximately 15-20 minutes.  If you like a saucier stew, cover the pot.  If you prefer less broth, cook with no lid, but stir often so that the greens at the top of the pot don’t dry out.

Serve with non-dairy Parmesan cheese and a tasty bread to soak up any extra broth.

Serves: 3-4 (which doesn’t include hungry teenage boys, by the way, which is why I have only one bowlful leftover today.)

*Note ~ I highly recommend a non-stick pan for this, or you’ll need extra oil to keep the links from sticking.

Substitution Soup (aka: Eggplant-Cabbage Soup)

This is a bit earlier in the year than I usually make soup ~ but with cooler evenings arriving earlier than normal, I couldn’t resist.  Last week I found a very large organic eggplant at Kroger.  I’d never seen one there before, so I quickly pounced on it!  Since I needed to use it before it went the way of other science experiments in the back of my frig, this influenced my decision to make this particular soup.

My dear high school friend who taught me about this soup has a different name for it than I use.  She calls it garbage pail soup, because you can throw in just about anything you want and it’s likely to taste good.  Use up the veggies that just can’t wait much longer.  Throw in whatever meat-like substitutes you like.  Just start with the base of the soup and have fun.

I do wish the greens would stay brighter for visuals with this soup, but my family doesn’t like the texture of them wilted at the last minute of cooking time, so I have to put up with duller-looking greens.  The good thing?  It still tastes amazing!  (I ate 2 large bowls of it.)

There is one thing you should know.  This makes a HUGE pot of soup that will last you for more than one meal.  You can freeze some of it.  You can add something new each night to it to make it slightly different.  Or you can invite a crowd over for supper.  🙂

Substitution Soup

Absolutely necessary:

  • 12-16+ c. filtered or well water (depending on the size of your cabbage and other veggie amounts)  Good water is important to the taste of your soup
  • 1 small-to-medium cabbage, diced or sliced
  • 1 eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 2 large onions (more if you like)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T. basil (more if using fresh)
  • 1 1/2 – 3 tsp. Marmite or Vegex (add the smaller amount and taste test later)
  • 6-8 T. chicken-style seasoning     (ditto)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 T. +/- sweetener (depending on how acidic your canned tomatoes are), optional

Variables:

  • herbs and seasonings of choice (including Spike*, or Mrs. Dash)
  • 3-6 c. diced or shredded potatoes* (or use small cauliflower florets or corn)
  • 1-2 lbs. green vegetables ~ may be frozen (chopped leafy greens such as spinach*, kale, turnip greens*, etc., zucchini – diced or shredded, green beans, chopped broccoli, etc.
  • 1/2-1 c. dried lentils* (or add canned beans at the end of cooking time)
  • 1/2-1 1/2 c. brown rice*, millet, barley (increase cooking time), or other whole grain
  • veggie meat of your choice ~ use more than one kind for added interest ~ chorizo* (for a spicy version), TVP, seitan, homemade or canned gluten pieces, broken soy curls*, soy hot dogs or links, Gimme Lean, chopped up soy burgers, Tofurkey “sausages,” etc.

Throw everything from the “absolutely necessary” list into a large stock pot.  Bring this to a boil while you chop everything else, adding as you go.  The cabbage will decrease in size as it cooks, so you may not need as much water as you think you might.  You may always add more later, as well as more seasonings to balance the extra water.  When the lentils, rice, and potatoes are cooked, taste the soup and see if it needs something, like more salt, or some other kind of seasoning.  Adjust it as needed.  Let the soup cool to serving temperature as a large stockpot of soup can be seriously hot.  Pair it with some marvelous bread and enjoy!

*my choices for the soup pictured

“Cream” of Tomato Soup

I grew up eating Campbell’s Tomato soup.  One parent liked it made with milk for cream of tomato and one liked it plain without milk.  So they split the difference, making it with half milk and half water.  That’s the way I still like my cream of tomato soup and the way this recipe is designed.  If you prefer, use all non-dairy milk or all water in your soup.

This vegan version is quick and easy.  Like the classic “little black dress” – it can be modestly understated or dressed up into something special.  Kids (oh, okay…and adults) will like it with a grilled “cheese” sandwich.  If you need something more substantial, you may add in interesting things like sauteed onion and garlic, basil, chopped spinach, etc.

My recipes tend toward the “feeding the troops” mentality, so I’ll give you different measurements for different portions.

Tomato Soup – for 1-2

  • 1 15-oz can of tomato puree
  • 1/2 can of non-dairy milk, plain
  • 1/2 can of water
  • 1/4 tsp. celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. honey or other sweetener (optional)

Tomato Soup – for 3-4

  • 1 28-oz. can of tomato puree
  • 1/2 can of non-dairy milk, plain
  • 1/2 can of water
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 T. honey or other sweetener (optional)

Tomato Soup – for 6-8

  • 2 28-oz. cans of tomato puree
  • 1 can of non-dairy milk, plain
  • 1 can of water
  • 2 tsp. celery salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 T. honey or other sweetener (optional)

Stir all ingredients together.  Heat to desired temperature.

Variations:  Add to the original soup, or to any leftover soup, whole wheat pasta shells or cooked rice, sauteed onion and garlic, cannellini beans, chopped spinach, basil, and veggie Parmesan cheese – I like all of them at once.  Or check with the Campbell’s Soup website to see what they are showcasing as add-ins to their tomato soup.