Posts tagged ‘vegetarian’

Vegetable and bean soup

IMG_3388

Happy Meatless Monday! Here is a very simple soup recipe – basically a half-finished minestrone soup. It was so (unexpectedly) popular with everyone here that I think I will be making it again and again.

If I had a TV show, it would be called “Cooking with Casey,” and it would feature recipes that can be completed with one hand while holding a baby/toddler. We have a budding chef on our hands, I’m sure, because he absolutely needs to be “up!” to see all chopping, stirring and especially mixing with the KitchenAid.

I intended to add pasta, lentils and various seasonings to this soup, but I learned that hungry babies are not interested in culinary musings when the basics are already ready. Our stove top taste test at what I thought was the halfway point resulted in a lot of vigorous “more!” signs, so we sat down to eat, and rightly so. This soup was substantial enough for dinner, but not too heavy – the broth is really nice and light.

If you save parmesan cheese rinds in the freezer to flavour soups and sauces like I do, this is a perfect place to use them. Or omit them and you will have a completely plant-based meal. The soup is delicious either way.

Vegetable and bean soup
Serves 4-6

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3-4 large bay leaves
1 large (28 oz) can chopped tomatoes
4 cups of water
Rind from parmesan, asiago or other hard cheese (optional)
2 cups cooked mixed beans (I used a combination of chickpeas, kidney beans and white beans)
1 cup finely minced kale
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in oil on medium heat until translucent; about 10 minutes. Add carrots, celery, bay leaves, tomatoes, water and cheese rind (if using). Cook until carrots soften; about 20-30 minutes. Stir in the beans and kale, season with salt and pepper, cook for a few minutes until heated through and tasting great, and then eat.

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February 8, 2016 at 12:23 pm 1 comment

Roasted yam and garlic soup

yam and garlic soup

More soup! After last week’s farmer’s market I spent about an hour chopping and cooking the root veggies and squash I bought. Since then I’ve made beet salad, spaghetti squash casserole and now this soup. All took less than 15 minutes to make since the veggies were all cooked and waiting in the fridge.

Truly a feeling of healthy wholesome-ness, even domestic goddess-ness. 🙂

I know, I know…this will only last a little while longer with baby on the way, so I am trying to enjoy it now before the chaos hits!

Roasted yam and garlic soup
Makes 1 big pot of soup

3-4 medium sized yams, roughly chopped (wash and remove any blemishes, but leave skins on for nutrients and flavour)
6-8 garlic cloves (whole, peeled)
Fresh ground pepper
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water, plus more for later when blending the soup
1 can white beans
1/4 cup basil pesto (I used Golda’s, which comes in a vegan version if you want to avoid dairy. Or make your own, of course!)

Place yams and garlic cloves in large shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika and fennel seeds, drizzle with olive oil and pour water over top. Bake in a 350F oven for 45 minutes or until yams are tender. Puree with beans in a blender or food processor – just add enough water to reach the consistency of soup you like. Heat in a saucepan and adjust seasoning as necessary. Pour into bowls and add a swirl of pesto to the top of each.

Delicious with grilled cheese sandwiches.

November 2, 2014 at 2:42 pm Leave a comment

Celery root, leek and white bean soup

celery root
The return of soup – this is one of the reasons I love fall. I found this lovely, gnarly celery root at the Moss Street Market last weekend and was very excited to turn it into soup. I was also keen to try out this very simple soup-making method that uses just olive oil, veggies and water. It works great, especially for a soup like this where I think what you want most is to taste that fresh celery flavour.

In my quest for protein, I’ve discovered that white beans are a brilliant substitute for any recipe like this where you would normally use cream. They add a neutral, creamy texture and of course are so much better for you.

Enjoy!

Celery root, leek and white bean soup
Serves 4

1 medium celery root, peeled and chopped
1 large leek, sliced (white and light green parts)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can white cannellini beans, drained
6 cups cups water
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Saute celery root, leek and salt and pepper in olive oil over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until leeks are soft but not brown. Add 1 cup of water, cover the pot and cook on medium-low for about 15-20 minutes or until celery root is soft. Add beans and remaining water and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let rest for about 15 minutes to let the soup cool before blending (and allow flavours to combine). Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor and simmer until hot. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and more fresh pepper. We ate it with cheese and crackers and a veggie plate with carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market for a simple dinner in front of the fire last weekend and that was just perfect.

celery root soup

October 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

Arugula pesto pasta

springtime pasta

I made this for lunch last Friday. A day off from work thanks to the holiday weekend – there is nothing better than making a proper lunch at home. This dish was easy, as well, since I already had the pesto on hand, so it was just a matter of boiling the spaghetti and stirring things together.

It’s a perfect time of year for arugula and spinach – either for growing or for buying at the market. Both are so much better in their “real” state – a different food altogether from the plastic-packaged variety that we eat during the winter.

Thanks to Laurie for her delicious arugula pesto recipe, which you can find in the comments on this post.

Arugula pesto pasta
Serves 2-3 people
1/2 pound spaghetti (use brown rice pasta for gluten-free)
Save 1 cup of the pasta water when you are draining it
1/2 cup arugula pesto (see above link for recipe)
3-4 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
Fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts
Truffle oil and parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until just about al dente. Drain, but save about 1 cup of the pasta water to use in the sauce. Toss pesto, spinach and chili flakes with pasta and gradually add in reserved pasta water a small amount at a time as the spinach cooks down until the sauce is a good texture. Top with pine nuts and freshly ground pepper, and add truffle oil and/or parmesan as a garnish if you wish.

April 21, 2014 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment

January salad

squash and tofu saladColour is nature’s way of telling you that food is healthy. And don’t we all need a splash of colour (and health) in January? To make this winter salad, combine greens, roasted squash, pumpkin seeds, minced red onions and baked tofu. Drizzle on a citrus dressing (or any other light dressing).

For the tofu-phobic among you, baked tofu tastes very much like chicken breast. You should try it! Granted my memory of what chicken tastes like is rather dim, but I think the texture is very much the same.  Here are a few tips on how-to:

Buy a small block of extra-firm tofu. Cut it into small strips or blocks. Toss tofu strips with a few tablespoons of a marinade of your choice. I used a sweet/spicy ginger chili sauce for this salad. Bake in a 350F oven for about 20 minutes.

January 6, 2014 at 9:52 am 2 comments

White bean, chard and beet salad (and what do you think about #vb6?)

white bean beet salad

Have you heard about VB6 yet? It’s new to me since reading an article in the Georgia Straight this week and I have to say that I think you’re all about to become vegans. Part-time vegans, anyways.

VB6 is short for “Vegan Before 6,” a diet / catchphrase coined by New York Times food writer and cookbook author Mark Bittman. The idea is to eat a plant-based diet during the day, and then after 6pm you’re free to eat what you like – meat, eggs, dairy, junk food, whatever you want. “All the benefits of a strict diet without the deprivation,” he says on his website.

I think it’s great. I’m much more a fan of moderate solutions like this, and like Meatless Monday, that promote modest, incremental shifts in our habits and mindsets that lead to actual change. So much better than the usual diet narrative of no this, no that. It’s yes to plants all day, and then yes to whatever you want at night. And if you cheat, that’s fine. Actually, that’s the point: you’re supposed to cheat.

I’m curious to see if the movement catches on. I think it will. I really agree with the woman in the Georgia Straight article who says this: “Something magical happens when people start down the path of a plant-based diet. They start asking what’s in their food. They begin being concerned with the ingredients, quality, the source, the cost to the environment, and the toll it takes on animals.”

I know, you’re thinking, no way, not me, never. Vegan food is gross – too much quinoa and kale and hippie-dippy nonsense. Meat4ever.

But watch, as soon as you start thinking about what you’re eating – whether it’s an animal or a plant – I bet you’ll notice yourself leaning a tiny bit toward the plants. That’s what happened to me, and now I eat things like white bean, chart and beet salads all the time. With edible flowers on top.

Those plants…they’re a slippery slope!

White bean, baby chard and beet salad
Makes 1 salad

This salad was inspired by the beautiful baby chard from Vancouver’s Local Garden. You could also substitute spinach or baby beet greens or any other type of lettuce from your fridge or garden.

Pile 1-2 cups of chard leaves on a plate. I also added a few pea shoots, arugula, mint and Asian greens from my garden. Drain and rinse a can of white beans and sprinkle 1/2 cup of them on top of the salad (reserve the rest for something else). Top with 1/2 cup diced roasted beets and 1 tablespoon of toasted nuts or seeds (I used pumpkin seeds). Drizzle with a balsamic or raspberry vinagrette, and don’t forget the flowers! If you’re eating vegan, you might as well go for it. Nasturtiums, violets, pansies, roses and all sorts of other flowers can all go on salads – mine has (had) arugula blooms on top.

arugula flower

June 14, 2013 at 7:09 am Leave a comment

Autumn cup squash (risotto + soup)

Autumn cup – isn’t that a perfect name for a squash? Also known as buttercup, kabocha or turban squash, it tastes similar to butternut squash, but with a smoother, sweeter, and in my opinion, more delicious flavour. Dark green on the outside, bright yellowy-orange flesh inside – it is as gorgeous thing to look at as it is to eat.

Here are two recipes that will take you through one squash: a risotto flavoured with kale, caramelized onions, and fresh chives, and a soup made from roasted squash, ginger, and paprika. Warm and yum!

Autumn Cup Squash Risotto (inspired by the Acorn Squash Risotto in my favourite Italian cookbook, Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano)

Serves 6

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/2 of a autumn cup / kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
1-1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated*
1 cup kale, finely chopped
1 small bunch of chives, finely minced (about 1/4 cup)
fresh ground pepper

This first, all-important step is so often missing from risotto recipes: Put a chair/stool beside the stove, turn on the music, pour a glass of wine and bring a book. You have an hour of occasional stirring in front of you.

In a large saute pan (large!), cook onions in oil over low-medium heat – let them turn brown slowly so they caramelize. Then add the squash and stir until it softens and starts to break down. Add in arborio rice and cook it for a few minutes so it toasts, and then add in the wine. Have the vegetable stock warming in a pot beside your risotto pan. Add a couple of ladle-fuls of stock to the risotto and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until you’ve used up all the stock. Stir in the cheese, kale, and chives, and sprinkle with pepper. I made this recently and served it with a spinach, pear and walnut salad and that was a nice match.

*Vegans, omit the cheese.

Autumn Cup Squash Soup
If you make the risotto above, you’ll be left with half a squash – the perfect amount for a pot of soup that provides a generous serving for two people. Cut the squash into wedges, toss with olive oil and cracked pepper and roast it in the oven until soft. Blend with water or vegetable stock, season with ginger and paprika and you’ll have a cozy lunch.

October 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm 1 comment

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