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

Vacation Zucchini Casserole

What do you do with excess zucchini when friends go on vacation and welcome you to help yourself to their extras?  (Especially when you miss one that hides well and it gets pretty big?)  You invent a new casserole, of course!  Doesn’t everyone do that?  ;D

Vacation Zucchini Casserole

  • lots of zucchini, sliced thinly – no more than 1/4″ thick (mine was about 1 ft. long with a 3″ diameter)
  • frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 1 8-10 oz. package vegan cheese, shredded
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly and broken apart into separate rings or half rings
  • 2 jars (24 oz.) of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 1 pkg. vegan chorizo (mine was from Trader Joe’s, but Walmart has one, too)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Chop chorizo with a fork into the spaghetti sauce.  Put 1/3 of the sauce into the bottom of a 4 qt. dish.  Add a layer of frozen potatoes so that the sauce is barely seen or not at all.  Add a layer of zucchini.  Cover with half of the cheese.  Add a layer of onion rings.  Add another 1/3 of the sauce.  Cover with another layer of zucchini, then cheese, then potatoes.  Finish with the last 1/3 of the sauce.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Turn oven up to 450° and continue baking for another 45-60 minutes.

Serve with garlic bread to dip into the marvelous saucy, spicy juices, or serve over rice, quinoa, or pasta.