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 Vanilla Pudding

I love pudding.  Usually I make chocolate pudding though, because I’ve always been a bit timid to try to create a vegan vanilla pudding.  I was afraid it just wouldn’t meet expectations.  I’ve made the Mori-nu mixes and they are okay, but fairly expensive ~ and there is a hint of a tofu taste with the vanilla, in my opinion.  It was just easier to make chocolate.  Chocolate covers just about everything.

I have to admit, I was a Jello pudding fiend growing up.  When we gave up dairy for allergy’s sake I tried to make Jello pudding with soy milk.  What a disaster.  If I recall, I sat down and cried.  (I told you I was crazy about it.)  I didn’t think I’d ever get pudding again.  (This was before finding a chocolate recipe.)  I still have micro-pouts about the pistachio.  I am not sure I will ever be able to make that one happen, especially since the flavoring probably has more to do with chemicals and food coloring than the nuts.

This time, however, I just wanted vanilla pudding.  I decided to be brave and experiment.  I made a big batch ~ hey, if it came out well, I knew I’d have to share!  ;D  It was pretty tasty.  I do think that using your favorite non-dairy milk is key.  If you like the flavor of that milk, then you’ll like the flavor of your pudding.  I’ve recently gotten a new soymilk for hubby ~ the boys and I rotate between it, almond milk, and coconut milk with all of us having our favorites ~ and I’m not sure I am as fond of its flavor as I am of Silk’s vanilla…but all Silk isn’t organic anymore and this one was…and it was cheaper.  I think a better tasting soymilk would have made the pudding top notch.  Anyway…use what tastes good to you.  Your pudding will reflect that.

Vegan Vanilla Pudding

  • 3/4 c. (12 T) packed cornstarch **see note below
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla non-dairy milk
  • 1 c. evaporated cane juice crystals
  • 1/2 tsp. uncut stevia (may use 1/2 c. more cane juice crystals)
  • scant 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. vanilla

Mix cornstarch with enough milk to measure about 2 c.  Set aside.  Thoroughly mix remaining milk, cane juice crystals, stevia, and salt in a large pot and heat until nearly boiling, stirring constantly just until the cane juice is dissolved.  Stir cornstarch mixture into the milk, stirring constantly until pudding begins to bubble and thicken.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour into serving bowl or individual bowls.  Place plastic wrap over the top, allowing it to touch the pudding, to keep a skin from forming.  Cool on rack for an hour or so.  Then chill completely in refrigerator.

Makes about 8 cups.

**A word about thickening with cornstarch….it can behave in a wacky way.  Sometimes it seems to thicken just right and other times it can leave things anywhere from runny to downright sliceable!  I think I’ve figured out that it comes down to how I measure it and how long I cook it.  You can have a lightly fluffed cornstarch tablespoonful, or you can have it packed into the measuring spoon.  Therefore, I have indicated a packed amount of cornstarch in this recipe.  Then you can be certain how I measured it.  I also have indicated that you need to bring the pudding back to a boil for proper thickening and no guesswork.  In this case, I used 3/4 c. (I know, it sounds like a lot of cornstarch doesn’t it?  But it’s really only 12 T ~ there does that sound better? ~ and it thickens a half gallon of milk.)  The resulting pudding was very thick ~ not quite stiff enough to have made a pudding pie with it, but almost.  In the picture, I used the back of a spoon to squish any stiffer portions into a more picturesque texture.   Next time, I’ll reduce the cornstarch to 2/3 c. for a softer texture.  Let me know how it works for you!