Tag Archives: soup

Think Outside the Can: “Roasted” Tomato Soup


Roasted Tomato Soup

I’ve often wondered what’s the appeal of tomato soup. After all, isn’t just like a can of tomato sauce? Maybe the appeal is that it’s a light accompaniment to a sandwich. “How about some soup and a sandwich for lunch” sounds appealing. I just hadn’t come around to liking tomato soup until now. It all started with a large basket of plum tomatoes that I picked up for a song at my favorite Amish farm stand. I decided to roast the tomatoes with a small amount of olive oil, garlic and herbs. It sounds like a lot of effort, but most of the time is spent waiting for them to come out of the oven. I froze the roasted tomatoes in plastic pint-sized containers to use throughout the winter to make my Pasta with Roasted TomatoesThis got me thinking about making homemade tomato soup using roasted tomatoes. Now that sounds like something I could go for. I wanted to simplify the recipe and opted to replicate the flavor of roasted tomatoes by cooking canned tomatoes on the stove top. (Actually, I didn’t want to risk those beautifully roasted tomatoes on a potential flop nor did I want to spend the extra money on a can of fire-roasted tomatoes.) I cooked onions and garlic until golden, added drained tomatoes and cooked them on high heat to get everything to caramelize. I added a potato to impart a little creaminess and body to the soup. This soup is light enough to enjoy with a sandwich and substantial enough to fill the gap that a salad so often leaves you with. You could ladle the soup into a cup for an afternoon snack or serve it as a first course when company comes for dinner. Mmmm, Mmmmm, Good! Try this Roasted Tomato Soup and start thinking outside the can. Thanks for being Vegi-curious. 

Roasted Tomato Soup

1 yellow onion, chopped
3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
3 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon sugar
1 small potato, chopped (about ¾ cup)

For the Croutons:

1 whole wheat or multi-grain bagel, cubed
2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dried thyme or other herb

Drain tomatoes and reserve the juice. Set aside.

Heat a sauce pot over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until they start to soften and turn golden. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add the drained tomatoes and sugar. Cook on high until the tomatoes start to brown and the bottom of the pot develops spots of caramelization. Add the tomato juice, vegetable broth and potato. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour contents into a blender container and puree until smooth. You could also use a hand-held immersion blender and puree directly in the pot. Return to stove to heat. Garnish with croutons or air-fried zucchini. You can also stir in a spoonful of soy yogurt or cashew cream.

To make croutons:

Mix the mustard, nutritional yeast and dried herb in a large bowl. Add the bagel cubes and toss to coat evenly. Place the cubes into the basket of an air fryer set to 250F. Fry until the cubes are crisp throughout. Remove from basket and let cool. If you don’t have an air fryer you can bake them in the oven at 250F until the croutons are crisp and lightly browned.

05 Nov 2017

Day One: Hoppin’ John Stew

Hoppin’ John Soup

What I love about the holidays are the traditions. It can be a beloved family recipe or a tradition from another region, country or culture. I especially like the southern tradition of making Hoppin’ John for New Years Day. This bean dish is typically made with black-eyed peas, bell peppers,onions, tomatoes and rice all cooked in one pot. Since I’ve already done the traditional recipe served over rice and Hoppin‘ John Burgers this year’s recipe is a Hoppin’ John Stew. What makes this recipe more “stew-like” than traditional Hoppin’ John is that it has more beans, vegetables and liquid and not so much rice. It can be made a day ahead and re-warmed in a slow-cooker. It’s the perfect solution for winding down on Day One after staying up late to ring in the New Year. Time to “ring in the new” with this Hoppin’ John Stew. Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year and thanks for being Vegi-curious.


Hoppin’ John Soup

1 lb. dry black-eyed peas
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can (28 oz.) plum tomatoes, drained & chopped (or diced tomatoes, drained)
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons brown sugar
10 to 12 cups water
1 cup uncooked brown rice

Soak black-eyed peas overnight and drain. (You can also quick soak the peas by covering them with water and boiling for two minutes. Let soak for 1 hour, then drain.) Cook in pressure cooker according to manufacturer’s directions. When pressure has gone down, open pressure cooker and drain the peas.

Heat a saucepot over medium-high heat. Add onions and bell pepper and cook until they begin to soften and brown, adding water 2 tablespoons at a time to prevent them from sticking. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, liquid smoke and brown sugar and cook for another minute. Add water and cooked peas and bring to a boil. Add rice and reduce to simmer. Cook, uncovered, until black-eyed peas are tender and thick (about 45 minutes). Thin with more water as desired.

28 Dec 2016

Photo-chopped: Bok Choy Soup

Bok Choy Noodle Soup

Bok Choy Soup with Noodles

I recently started an on-line food photography course in the hopes of posting some beautiful pictures of my recipes. In the process, I’m becoming somewhat disenchanted with the whole concept of food photography. I follow a lot of food blogs and the photographs are gorgeous. The lighting casts just enough shadow. The background is blurred. The food is glistening. The image of steam is captured rising out of the pot. The setting is rustic-chic. Perhaps one element is purposely (and perfectly) out of place. Photoshopped? Maybe.  Perfect food. Perfect pictures. Perfect world. But not a real world. When I say that the heart of the home is in the kitchen I speak from a lifetime of cooking and enjoying food with my family. The dings in our pots were blackened from cooking; they were not “distressed”. We had our meals on everyday dishes. The serving bowls were not eclectic; they were mismatched but always the right size for whatever was served from them. Our forks and spoons were stainless, not antique silver picked up at a garage sale. And, yeah, we wiped our chins on paper napkins. We cooked. We ate. We cherished our time at the table. When I started Vegi-curious, my aim was to encourage others to explore the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. I want my food to be healthy and tasty and my recipes to be approachable. I would not want you to be discouraged to try one of my recipes for fear that your results wouldn’t look picture-perfect. After all, that would defeat the whole point of my blog. My personal goal may be to take better photographs, but the bigger picture is to show what real plant-based food is all about. So here’s my recipe for  Bok Choy Soup. The photos don’t do it justice, so I hope you try it and see for yourself. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Bok Choy Soup

Makes 2 to 4 servings

Sesame oil (optional)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger root
2 heads of bok choy, stems slivered and greens chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Chinese hot mustard or Siracha sauce for serving (optional)
Rice or noodles*

Coat large stock pot with sesame oil and heat on medium-high heat. Lightly brown garlic and ginger. (You can omit the oil by adding water 2 tablespoons at a time.) Add bok choy and stir until it starts to wilt. Add remaining ingredients and cook until bok choy has reached desired tenderness. Ladle over rice or noodles.

*I used brown rice for one bowl and Canton noodles made with wheat flour for the other bowl. You could also use rice noodles.

29 Oct 2015

Local Color and Early Summer Gazpacho

Early Summer Gazpacho SorrelWhat I love about summer are the small farm stands and markets that crop up in our area. Each one has something special to offer. It may be a different variety of onion, a recipe shared or a nice conversation with a local farmer. I recently learned about sorrel from the farmer that manages our CSA. There are two types of sorrel. The French sorrel is a small, flat leaf (on the left); wood sorrel looks like clover with little pods (on the right). In fact, I found wood sorrel growing in our flower beds. Sorrel has a sour, lemony taste that I thought would be a nice addition to my gazpacho. Last week I picked up some Kirby cucumbers and scallions at an Amish farm stand and yellow tomatoes, green peppers and sorrel from our CSA. Sounds like I have the makings for Gazpacho.

Gazpacho is a soup of Spanish origin that’s made of raw vegetables and served cold. There are a lot of recipes out there (880,000 appeared in my search), but I thought I’d come up with one of my own, making it 880,001 recipes. This is one recipe that you can’t mess up and can easily make your own. It doesn’t matter what size tomato or how many you have, what type of onions, the color of the peppers or the herbs you use. You can leave it chunky or puree it into a creamy-like soup. You can serve it with some crusty bread to make it a meal. Spoon it into little glasses and garnish with fresh herbs for a refreshing start to your meal. The next time you take a road trip, find a farm stand and bring home some local color. Thanks and make it a Vegi-curious day!

Early Summer Gazpacho

Makes 2 to 4 servings

4 yellow tomatoes
1 large or 2 small scallions
1 Kirby cucumber
1 stalk of celery
1 small bell pepper
1 large clove of garlic
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
chopped sorrel to taste (optional)
1 teaspoons of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

In bowl of food processor, process tomatoes until finely chopped. Remove to large bowl. Repeat with scallions, cucumber, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Stir in vinegar, sorrel, sugar, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings as desired.

Note: You can vary the type of vinegar and/or herbs if you’d like.

26 Jun 2015

Learn to Cook Old School: Lentil Soup

Old School LentilsWe’ve had some chilly days in Delaware last week, so I wasn’t quite ready to put the stew pot away for the summer. I asked Mom to make the Lentil Soup that her mother always made. I don’t know about your grandmother, but Grandma Pauline didn’t own a single recipe book. Everything was in her head, hands and heart. This is how I first learned to cook. If you can boil water, you can make this Lentil Soup. All you have to do is open a bag of lentils, throw in a few cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of tomato paste, add water, salt, pepper and parsley and turn on the heat. You don’t even have to chop the garlic. Can it get any easier than that? (Well, maybe take-out is easier but it won’t be as tasty, healthy or satisfying knowing that you made it yourself.) You can make it as soupy or thick as you like. You can mix in some cut spaghetti or ditalini, or serve it over rice. Lentil soup freezes well, so don’t be afraid to make a big pot. If you insist on following a recipe, I’ve put one together for you to use. Make a pot of Lentil Soup and make it a Vegi-curious day!

Lentil Soup

Makes 2 quarts (6 – 8 servings)

1 pound dry brown lentils
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
1 – 2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt, pepper, parsley to taste

Optional: ¼ to ½ pound of cooked pasta (cut spaghetti or ditalini)

Place all ingredients in saucepot. Cover with plenty of water. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover and cook until lentils are soft and liquid is thickened, adding more water as needed. When done, mix in pasta.

Note: do no mix in all of the pasta as the leftovers will absorb any liquid and become soggy.



11 Jun 2015

Vegi-curious Udon Noodles

Vegetable Udon NoodlesIt’s starting to feel like the good ol’ days around my kitchen. My Mom is staying with us and I told her she has to help out with my blog to earn her keep. If you’ve been following my blog or have known me forever, you know that I have many fond memories of cooking with Mom and Grandma. Our recipes are different now, but the love that’s served up is still the same. Tonight we’re experimenting with Udon noodles. (Hey, we’re Italian, so we LOVE any kind of pasta.) You can find Udon noodles in the international aisle in the supermarket or in an Asian grocery. They are either sold fresh in vacuum packs in the refrigerator case or dried as pictured below. What I love about the dried noodles is how neatly they are portioned out and tied with a little ribbon. This recipe is loaded with broccoli, spinach, carrots, mushrooms and snow peas and flavored with a light vegetable broth. Mound some Udon noodles in a bowl and ladle the soup on top. A perfect comfort food for a cold winter evening. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Udon Soup
Servings: 4

12 oz.  frozen, fresh or dry Udon noodles prepared according to package directions

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar (or 2 tsp. Mirin)
4 – 6 cups vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, minced
1 cup medium tofu, cubed (optional)
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
2 cups spinach
1 cup snow peas, sliced in half
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 scallions, sliced
½ tsp. miso
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Bring broth, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar to a boil for one minute and reduce heat to a simmer.
Add tofu, broccoli, carrots, spinach, mushrooms, snow peas, scallions and cook for three minutes or until broccoli is tender. Stir in miso paste.
Divide noodles between four bowls and ladle soup on top. Add a pinch of sesame seeds on top.

Dry Udon Noodles

Dry Udon Noodles

Udon Veggies

Udon Veggies

25 Feb 2015

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