Soups, Stews and Chili


Warm and hearty plant-based soups are the perfect staple to have on hand throughout the week. With so many creative varieties to make, from stock-based to starch-based, there are an endless number of combinations for satisfying meals. In this post, we will discuss a variety of plant-based soups, including stock-based, bean-based, tomato-based and starch-based soups! Squeal!

Basic Vegetable Stock Recipe The best stock to use in any recipe is one that is made from scratch. Being able to create a flavorful vegetable stock with real, whole foods, is not only a huge money saver, but it gives you more control in terms of quality ingredients, sodium levels, and flavor preferences. Store bought stocks are convenient, expensive (up to $5 per container), and often contain low-quality ingredients, additives, high amounts of sodium and sometimes monosodium glutamate (MSG). If you need to purchase stock, as always, make sure you read the label!

While stock is a great way to use slightly blemished vegetables as well as scraps and peels, you also want to use whole vegetables that you would want to eat. Here’s a recipe for fresh vegetable stock which can be used in a number of recipes:                                                                                      4 carrots, peeled and chopped 
1/2 head celery, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 leek, white and green parts, chopped
3 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 qt cold water
1/4 cup sun–dried tomatoes
1 small handful of fresh parsley
a few sprigs of thyme

First, gather and prepare. To start the stock, add all ingredients to a large stockpot. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer, uncovered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. To finish the stock, allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Place a fine mesh strainer or a cheese cloth over a medium bowl and pour the stock into the strainer, allowing the liquid to pour through. If not using immediately, quickly chill or freeze and store until ready to use.

Bean Based Soups  From a hearty bean and vegetable base to delicate peas and lentils for a creamy savory texture, bean soups are filling, comforting and nourishing. Here is one of my favorite bean soup recipes… and those of you who know me, know I love coconut anything!             1 white onion
2 tbsp minced ginger
1/2 red serrano pepper
1 tbsp coriander seed
4 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 1/2 cups red lentils
4 cups vegetable stock
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1- 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt and 1- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper                                             2 tsp coconut or grapeseed oil*
2 fresh lemons (2 tbsp zest + 5 tbsp lemon juice)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 ripe avocado
dried chile flakes, garnish

Once you have gathered the ingredients, dice the onions and mince the ginger and serrano pepper. Then heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Toast the coriander and cumin for approximately 1-2 minutes, or until they just start to smoke and release their aroma.
Next, add the oil, followed by the onions and serrano pepper. Cook for approximately 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent, (just before they brown). Next, add the ginger, lentils, stock, coconut milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, turn the heat to low, cover and let cook for 40 minutes or until the lentils are totally soft and broken down. Stir occasionally to ensure the lentils are not sticking to the bottom of the pot. If needed, add more stock until you reach your desired consistency. Have the lemon zest, lemon juice and cilantro ready; to finish the soup, add these items and stir. Top with diced avocado and more cilantro and/or chili flakes in warmed bowls and serve! Oink!

Tomato Based Soup For many of us, a warm bowl of tomato soup is simple and satisfying. This soup base can also be flavored in many different ways to create many different recipes with a potential variety of flavors ranging across cultures.                                                                                       1-2 tbsp olive oil
medium white onion, diced
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 -28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup roasted bell pepper, chopped
2 – 2 1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

First, gather and prepare your ingredients. In a medium pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and onions and sauté quickly until the onions begin to caramelize. Next, add the garlic and fresh thyme, and continue to sauté for about a minute, or until they become fragrant.
Next, add the crushed tomatoes, roasted peppers, vegetable stock and salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a simmer, lower the heat and let cook 20 to 30 minutes. To finish, remove from heat, and with a blender, carefully blend until smooth. Season to taste. This soup is good with a crunchy piece of toast topped with avocado spread and dipped into the soup! Squeal!

Vegetable Chili This is the easiest, most hearty, nutritious and tasty chili recipes in the world! You can change up the vegetables to meet your personal preferences or to create variety of recipes of time.                                                                                                                                                  1 onion, diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 sm head cauliflower, stemmed, cut into small florets
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp chili powder (or to taste)
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 – 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 – 15 oz can whole tomatoes, seeds removed and roughly chopped
2 cups cooked kidney beans
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 to 2 avocados, diced (optional)

To make the chili, heat a large stew pot over medium high heat and sauté the onions in the oil. Once the onions are translucent and just starting to brown, add the garlic and let cook for 30 seconds or so. Next, add the carrots and let cook for about 5 minutes, or until they start to soften a bit. Then add the green pepper, cauliflower and cook until they start to soften slightly, about 5 minutes or so.
At this point, add the cumin, chili powder, vinegar, tomatoes, kidney beans and 1 cup of water. Bring the chili to a boil and then reduce the heat and let cook for 45 mins to an hour. Stir and test the chili occasionally; if the chili seems too thick, add a touch more water. Once the vegetables are cooked through and tender, the chili is done.
Lastly, check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
To serve the chili, top with diced avocado and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro! Oink!

Cream soups: That’s right, you can make creamy vegetable soups without a starch or cream—by using the vegetable to thicken the soup. Even non-starchy vegetables can be used to create a smooth and creamy texture. Here are the basics of making flavorful, creamy vegetable soups:
~Add just enough stock to cover the garlic, onions and the vegetable, and then just a little bit more. Too much stock will make the soup too thin and water it down. Remember, you can always add more water if it gets too thick… but it’s hard to go the other way.
~Simmer until the vegetables are tender.
~Once the vegetables are tender, you can serve the soup as is. Or, you can blend it to obtain a creamy consistency.

Use these tips to create your own creamy soups! I love using cauliflower and cashews with some stock; gives it a white, cheesy presentation, texture and taste! You can also use butternut squash, pumpkin, broccoli, zucchini, or other seasonal produce to create variety. Once you ahem blended your creation to desired consistency, you can add whole veggie pieces for a chunkier version of your favorite flavors! Oink!

Have fun, experiment, and learn. Its a wonderful process of tapping into your imagination and discovering different flavor profiles, and creating your very own recipes, making your journey to wellness that much more exciting! Squeal!

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