Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January: My Fave Meatless Soups

In honor of January being Soup Month, here's my top five completely meatless soups:

1. Vegetarian Chili
I posted the recipe and scrumptious photo of my veggie chili. I've always liked the hearty and flavorful taste of kidney beans and black beans with chilis, tomatoes and cumin. Meat is so not necessary for out of this world chili. By the way, you can test this theory yourself at Compassionate Action for Animals 3rd Annual Vegan Chili Cook Off on Feb. 25th.

2. Ngon Bistro's Vegetarian HTiếu
Think vegan pho with rice noodles, brussel sprouts, baby bok choy, turnips, carrots, cherry tomatoes, basil, lime, jalapenos and bean sprouts in a light but flavorful broth. This is an uplifting dose of warm, healthy goodness to fight the chills of winter months. You can add tofu or mock duck or just overdose on veggies. I like to add hoisin sauce though others will spike the broth with spicy sriricha for a kick.

3. Mushroom Barley
Oh how I love the slightly toasty and chewy taste of barley with the earthy, rich texture of portabello mushrooms. Add some carrots, onions, bay leaves, etc. and you're making magic.

4. Potato Kale
At first, this soup came seem a little simple, peasant-like. Potatoes. Kale. Broth. Maybe some carrots, celery and onions. But after several variations this year I have to admit my fiance's go-to soup is growing on me. None of the other soups on this list really need or want a hearty, buttered (earth balance) chunk of bread as a sidekick, but this soup welcomes it. Dunking a slice of rye bread with a slather of earth balance into a piping hot bowl of this stuff. Well, that's just good eats, my friends.

5. Squash Bisque
I feel so fancy while my blender whirs up roasted butternut squash (or decadent kabocha), thyme, veggie broth and a cashew cream I whipped up earlier. The velvety smooth and slightly luxiourious mouthfeel and taste of this bisque tastes too good to be as simple and cheap to make as it is. Thinking about drizzling the leftover cashew cream and garnishing with toasted squash seeds and I'm kicking myself for not taking a photo! Seriously, try it.

Honorable Mention: Split Pea
Growing up split pea soup was by far my favorite soup. I loved the salty ham and almost blended texture of peas especially with the crunch of saltine crackers. I've got to say that over the years my childhood favorite has slipped, but it still deserves a mention. Amy's Kitchen offers a low-sodium, low-fat vegan variety for a quick meal.

Admit it, you didn't even miss the meat. :)

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