Ah, the plans I make and the menus I create….only to be dashed to pieces the first night! Grocery day can be crazy in our household, with stops at several stores, since no single one of them carries everything with which I cook. Today (actually, several months ago, since I found this post hiding in my draft folder) was no different ~ except a couple of extra errands were tossed in for good measure. This meant I didn’t have the needed time to make the do-ahead items on my menu for the week. Which also meant that when I got home late, there was no instant supper to put on the table. Continue reading
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. 🙂
- 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
- 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
Fast food. Some days you just need the availability of a quick meal. A drive-thru sounds so easy and helpful, but doesn’t exist for vegans who want truly healthy foods to eat. I have a solution for those busy days when you have little time to spend standing in the kitchen “slaving” over something healthy to feed your family. Keep these ingredients in your cupboards on a stand-by basis for those crazy nights.
Unless you live next door to a restaurant, I can have this prepared and on the table by the time you can drive through the window during the supper rush at your local Mickey D’s (if you are willing to eat there) and get back. Throw some veggie sticks, salad, or fruit onto the table with it and you’re ready to go!
Quick Bean Dip
- 1 can black olives, drained
- non-dairy cheese, shredded, such as Daiya or Vegan Gourmet (optional)
- 2 cans of chili beans (do not drain)
- 1 can refried beans
Pulse the olives in a food processor until they are small pieces. Shred the “cheese” if using. Stir all ingredients together in a 2-qt. bowl and heat in the microwave while you set the table and put out the fresh veggies, salad, or fruit you are serving with it. (Some non-dairy cheeses don’t melt very much, but do add to the taste of the finished dish.) Serve with corn chips (organic, if you can, to avoid any GMOs) or spread onto and roll up in tortillas. Leftovers make a good sandwich filling with a little ketchup or vegan mayonnaise.
You can spice things up a bit with some salsa, guacamole, and/or soy sour cream.
This serves enough for a party, or to fill 2-3 hungry teenaged boys. You can use just one can of chili beans to make the dish smaller.