Thick and Creamy Vegan Potato Soup

It has been a while since I created a new recipe!  Today, it has finally been cool enough to recognize that it is kind of fall here in Ohio.  It isn’t supposed to last long with the high 80’s and even some 90-degree days coming back, but it gave me an excuse to make a small pot of soup. 

Creating this soup took about 45 minutes from start to finish – and that includes chopping the veggies, fiddling with seasoning measurements until I was happy with the results, and running next door to the garden our neighbors have graciously shared with us so that I could snip a stalk of rosemary.  I diced everything very small so that it would cook up quickly.  It shouldn’t take as long to make on a regular basis following the recipe.

This soup has a mild flavor, which is what my hubby prefers, but if you want it even milder, leave out the rosemary and fennel.  (Then it will be a smaller, thicker version of my gigantic recipe of potato soup.)  I like the interesting notes they bring, though. A quick drizzle of good olive oil in each bowl adds a nice touch, but isn’t necessary.

Thick and Creamy Potato Soup

  • 4 c. small-diced red potatoes (I used about 3 sm/med.)
  • 1 onion, diced (I used half of a red one and half of a yellow one, because I had them leftover)
  • 1 sm. carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 c. frozen, chopped spinach
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 c. water
  • ¼ c. cashews
  • 3 T. barley flour
  • 1 tsp onion granules/powder
  • 12 fennel seeds (If you like fennel seeds, throw in a few more! My hubby isn’t fond of them)
  • 2 tsp chicken-style seasoning
  • ¼ tsp dillweed
  • 1 T. fresh rosemary
  • 1 c. unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used soy)

Bring the first 6 ingredients to a boil in a 3-4 qt. pot, and boil for 5-7 minutes while you ready the remaining ingredients.

Whiz the last 8 ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth.  When the veggies are just tender, stir the blender contents into them, stirring constantly.  Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. 

Serve with a drizzle of flavorful extra-virgin olive oil and some crusty whole grain bread.

Makes 3-4 bowls of soup.

Vegan Carrot-Ginger Salad Dressing

We have a new restaurant near us called Corelife Eatery.  It is not only gluten-free, but they serve real, live food!  What I mean by that is that there are so many vegetables available, bright and colorful, right in front of you as they put your order together.  It works similarly to Subway in that you can choose what you want to go in your salad, grain bowl, or broth bowl.  (Seriously, click on their link and check out their menu if you want new ideas to create your own new dishes!  They are amazing.)  While they mostly have meat options, they do have a vegan option in each category, as well as build-your-own options.  I tried a grain bowl the first time just as it was designed – no changes by me in line – with kale as the base, broccoli pieces, shredded beets and carrots, roasted tofu, quinoa, and more.  They topped it with a carrot-chili vinaigrette and shredded ginger on top of it all.  It was SO good!!  Like all restaurants, they aren’t necessarily cheap enough to eat supper there every day of the week, even for an eatery-style dining area.  So, what’s a girl supposed to do?  Create her own dressing, of course!  I mean, the salad part is easy enough.

Corelife made it simpler for me.  It has newspaper menus to take home that tell all about their delicious dishes and list what is in each of them.  (They are meticulous protecting you if you say you have an allergy, which is wonderful.)  The newspaper-menu also lists what is in their dressings.  Their carrot one starts with carrot juice.  Well, now, honestly, when I’m in the midst of the throes of making dinner, I’m not about to get out the juicer to squeeze a couple of carrots just for my dressing, only to have to clean up afterwards!  A food processor for shredding the beets is enough moving parts to wash.  I figured I could use a thicker dressing anyway.  Sooooooo, I threw a whole carrot into the blender with other stuff and gave it a whiz.  It was pretty good, but I forgot to write down exactly what I did…rats.

The next time, I made sure to write it down.  While this dressing works very well on any salad I have put it on, it tastes the best on red curly kale and alfalfa sprouts with shredded beets and avocado.  Anything else you add is…I hesitate to say this…icing on the cake.  (What a strange word picture to use about a salad….sorry.)  Cucumbers, red onion slices, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, olives all work very well.  For those of you who have never had raw shredded beets on a salad, you will be so surprised at how delicious it is!

This dressing is quite thick.  It sticks to the greens nicely.  If you want a thinner version, add more water and/or oil, or use smaller carrots.  Remember, dressings are really, really forgiving and you can add or subtract from the measurements as your tastes decree.  Don’t have flaxseed oil?  Substitute olive, or another healthy oil.  Love garlic?  Throw in another clove or two.  Prefer spicier dressings?  Add more sriracha.  Hate ginger?  Leave it out – it is still amazing.  Or put more in – but look out!  It will knock you off your chair!  If you want to get an extra, hidden veggie into your kids, try making a batch with half the garlic and no ginger so that they are happier with the flavor.  Let them dip whatever raw veggies they DO like into it.

I did not put salt in this recipe, because even a little bit seemed so salty to my taste.  I had crossed it out on my scribbled list, but thought that must be a mistake the second time I made it and added a few sprinkles.  Nope!  I figured everyone could add it directly to their salad if they wish for it.  You can always add a little to your blender if you wish.  I recommend starting with 1//8-1/4 tsp and tasting to see if you want more.

Carrot-Ginger Dressing

  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed or peeled, and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 penny-sized slice of ginger (I used 2-3 last night and it was SO strong, but delicious)
  • 1 T. flaxseed oil
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1-2 tsp liquid sweetener (I used raw honey, but Corelife uses agave)
  • juice of 1 lemon (you could use your favorite vinegar instead, but I’m not a fan of vinegar)
  • 6 T. water (if you use smaller carrots, use less water)

Throw it all into a high-powered blender and whiz for a minute or so.  You don’t want to go for too long, or it heats it up and destroys some of the nutrients, especially in the flaxseed oil.

Store in a small jar.  Mine fit in a re-purposed Trader Joe’s relish jar, which I would guess is about a cup.  (Don’t you love my exact measurements?  Sorry!)  It keeps in the frig at least a week, but mine never lasts longer than that before it is eaten up.  I recommend spooning it out of the jar, rather than pouring, because it is so thick, you can get more than you bargained for on your salad!

Quinoa Pilaf

Another night of staring into the cupboards trying to decide what to fix because what was on my planned weekly menu just wasn’t happening tonight (this seems to happen for various reasons way too often.)  Another episode with nothing jumping around in the pantry or freezer when I stared into them saying, “Fix me!  Fix me!”  😀

The great thing about this dish that I finally created is that it is super filling, fairly fast with little hands-on during the actual cooking time, and it is versatile.  If you like peppers, toss some in.  If you dislike mushrooms, leave them out.  If you have fresh mushrooms or frozen chopped onions, use them.  If you like ginger, try adding some of that with the onions.  Quinoa PilafAnd those cooked greens pictured on the plate next to the pilaf?  Well, right after the picture was snapped and I took a bite, they ended up tossed together with the quinoa ~ and they were spectacular together!  If you don’t feel like dirtying a second pan, you could just throw a bag or two of frozen spinach right into the quinoa while it is cooking along with a little extra salt.  Ta-da!  One-dish meal.

Quinoa Pilaf

  • 2 ribs of celery (I used celery hearts), split lengthwise and diced
  • 1 small-medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 small can mushroom pieces, or 4 oz. of fresh ones, diced
  • 4 c. water
  • 2 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 3 T. chicken-style seasoning
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. dillweed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

In a large frying pan, saute the celery and onions in the olive oil while you dice up the carrots.  Toss the carrots in when you are finished, as well as the mushrooms.  When veggies are softened, pour in the water, quinoa, chicken seasoning and lemon juice; stir.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  When the quinoa begins to show tiny little curls popping out, then sprinkle the lemon juice and dill over it all and stir.  Add the garbanzo beans.  Leave the lid off and simmer, stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed and the quinoa is fairly fluffy.

Serve with cooked greens and perhaps a slice of lemon to squeeze over it all.

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.

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!  🙂