Vegan Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Croutons

Recipes

During times like these, it’s comforting to have food that has a long shelf life. Butternut squash, along with most other winter squashes, will last 1-2 months if stored in a cool, dark place like a pantry. This makes it a great pantry stocking option that is nutritious as well as tasty. Another great reason to get some butternut squash these days is that it’s high in Vitamin C and boosts immune systems. It’s also high in potassium, fiber and vitamin A, making it a great vegetable to add to your diet.

I absolutely love this soup. It is so warming and flavorful that sometimes I make it in double batches and put half in the freezer for later. It’s a seriously comforting soup that when paired with some crispy sourdough sage croutons makes you crave those colder rainy soup days. It is easy to make, but it can take some time to roast the squash fully so make sure you account for that. I suppose if you wanted to save time, you could cut up the squash before cooking, but I haven’t tried that myself. Once the squash is cooked this recipe is easy peasy to complete. I use my immersion blender for this soup (and many of my other soup recipes). If you do not have an immersion blender, carefully use a regular blender to blend soup to your desired consistency. Let’s get to it!

Vegan Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Croutons

1 large butternut squash, halved and seeds scooped out

1 apple, I like granny smith but any apple will do, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

5 fresh sage leaves, dry could work too, chopped

2 cups of vegetable broth

1 can coconut milk – place in the refrigerator so you can scoop out the cream layer

1/2 cup water

Salt and pepper to taste

Sourdough Sage Croutons

A couple pieces of sourdough bread, ripped into bite-size chunks

3 fresh sage leaves, chopped

1/2 tsp or less of oil, this is just to add a drizzle to the pan for cooking the croutons

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F and stab the fleshy parts of your halved squash all over with a fork. Place on a baking sheet (you could add foil or parchment paper at this point to keep clean up easy). Bake for about an hour or until your squash is soft when pierced with a fork. Don’t start the next part until the squash is done or close to being done, or you will finish too early.
  2. Place diced apple and onion in a large pot with a little bit of water (maybe a couple Tbsp – you could also use oil here if you wish). Over medium heat, cook apple and onion until onion becomes translucent and apple is soft, stirring frequently. This takes me about 5-7 minutes, but may take longer depending on your stove. Add chopped sage and stir to combine.
  3. When the squash is finished cooking, remove from the oven and you can let it cool before this next part or be crazy like me and try to do it while it’s scalding hot – just be super careful. Scoop out the fleshy inside of the squash and add to your pot (which is still over medium heat). Keep scooping until all flesh is removed and in your pot.
  4. Add broth, water, coconut cream and some salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  5. Turn the heat to medium high and bring to a low boil. Once boiling point is reached, lower the heat and let the soup simmer for at least 20 minutes. I like to simmer a little longer to really get the sage flavor out, but it’s up to you.
  6. While the soup is simmering, make your sage croutons. Add a small drizzle of oil to a pan and heat over medium-high heat.
  7. Place ripped bread chunks and sage into the pan with the oil and stir. Dash a little bit of salt and pepper.
  8. Continue to stir frequently over medium-high heat until the chunks become crispy.
  9. Once soup is done simmering, use an immersion blender to blend the ingredients until smooth or to desired consistency.
  10. It is now ready to serve! Sprinkle your croutons over your soup and maybe add some vegan parmesan cheese. YUM!

Vegan Chickpea Noodle Soup

Ramble On

Soup is seriously one of my favorite foods! There are so many different kinds and variations that I could go crazy trying to make them all every night for dinner. This particular recipe I realize now probably isn’t so vegan since I used egg noodles – DUH, new vegan eater over here. BUT you could totally replace with vegan egg noodles if you have an issue with it. I’m not as weird about eggs as most people who eat vegan because I buy cage free organic and cruelty free eggs. I actually prefer eggs from backyard chickens and am even considering getting my own chickens in the spring so that will make it even less of an issue. ANYWAY – this soup is bomb no matter what noodles you use, heck you could even use rice! It’s super duper fricking easy and only requires 5 ingredients plus a TON of spices.

I fully suggest letting the broth simmer for a while before adding your noodles – the smell is DIVINE. It also makes for great leftovers. Isn’t leftover soup at work the best? It’s like being transported home for a little bit with all the yummy comforting warmth. Did I mention I love soup?

Easy Vegan Chickpea Noodle Soup

4 carrots, sliced

4 celery stalked, sliced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 15oz can chickpeas, drained

7 cups vegetable broth

1 cup water

2 small bay leaves

1 tsp thyme (or herb de Provence is super yummy too!)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cup egg noodles, vegan if desired (or any pasta)

1 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Add olive oil, onion, carrots and celery to a large pot over medium heat and cook until soft, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add spices, broth and water and bring to a boil on high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  3. 5-10 minutes before you’re ready to serve, add the noodles and chickpeas and remove the bay leaves. Let noodles simmer for 5-10 minutes or until they reach desired firmness. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Enjoy!

Instant Pot Vegetarian Potato Soup

Recipes

Cooking during the colder months is one of my favorite parts about winter. During the summer, having the oven or stove on feels counterproductive to the air conditioning blasting, and really food just doesn’t taste as good. But in the winter, every dish I can concoct feels so comforting and snuggly. Especially when I make soups. Soups are one of those things that you primarily eat in winter (unless of course you’re eating a cold soup). You might bundle up in a big comfy sweater and hold your warm bowl of soup close, ready to dive in with an equally warm and comfy piece of bread or a melty, satisfyingly cheesy sandwich. It’s the perfect picture of winter – and it’s making me hungry.

Last Christmas, my dad gifted me an Instant Pot. At first, I wasn’t sure what it was and thought maybe it was just a fancy digital version of a slow cooker. Boy, was I wrong. Basically, an Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker, meaning it uses high pressure to force heat into your food. It’s similar to a traditional slow cooker in that you add your ingredients, set the time and leave it to do it’s thing, but it cooks your food much faster. When I used it for the first time I made this potato soup recipe and was floored by how quickly I was able to have dinner on the table. The chopping and slicing of ingredients actually took me longer than it took the soup itself to cook – no joke. The results were amazing too. A perfectly balanced soup in texture and flavor in about 30 minutes (this would include the time it takes for the pressure cooker to preheat). You could also make this in a slow cooker if you don’t have a pressure cooker. It will take much, much longer, but would still be delicious. (I’ll include those directions at the end of this blog post.) Also, this recipe is perfect for about 4 large servings – my husband and I can eat it for dinner and still have leftovers for lunch – but it can be doubled if you need closer to 8-10 servings.

What are your favorite meals to make when it’s cold outside? What is your favorite soup?

Instant Pot Vegetarian Potato Soup

2.5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 small shallot, minced

3 cups of vegetable broth

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

3 Tbsp cream cheese

3 Tbsp sour cream, plus some for garnish

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, plus some for garnish

1 cup almond milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Green onion, for garnish

  1. Add shallot, potatoes and vegetable broth to pressure cooker.
  2. Seal lid and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes with the pressure valve set to seal.
  3. When ready, release pressure valve to venting to release pressure (be careful on this part because the valve will sputter a bit and be VERY HOT).
  4. Once the pressure is fully released, remove the lid and mash the potatoes to desired consistency. I like mine very mashed for this soup, but if you wanted larger chunks you could always mash less.
  5. Add the butter, cream cheese, sour cream and cheese – stir to combine.
  6. Add the almond milk slowly until you reach your desired consistency. If after a cup of milk it is still too thick, you can add more milk.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheese and green onion. Bread is also a delicious side with this soup. I love dipping mine in! I’ve also purchased the Morningstar bacon to sprinkle on top which is a nice addition.

For the slow cooker, you’d basically follow the same steps, but instead of pressure cooking, cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 or until the potatoes are tender enough to mash. For a vegan option, substitute the butter, cheese, cream cheese and sour cream for your favorite vegan alternatives. I recommend using a vegan cheese that melts well.

Enjoy!

MelissaRose

Vegan “Chicken” Noodle Soup

Recipes

We are now 5 days into the New Year, and I gotta say, I’m pretty proud of myself so far (cue laughter – a whole 5 days – wooo!) But seriously, everything is going just swimmingly. Still no alcohol, smokes or sweets, which is making me feel incredibly good and energized at this point. My meal plan and shopping for next week is complete. I purchased the majority of my produce from local vendors at my city’s farmer’s market this morning (as well as some other goodies I will share with you), and I even made “chicken” noodle soup from scratch as well as a loaf of French bread to go with it. I am on a roll (or on a loaf?)!

The farmer’s market this morning was amazing despite the freezing cold temperatures and the wind – oh the wind. At one point one of the vendors tents started to flip over, the poor young girl underneath didn’t really know what to do as I grabbed the leg of the easy-up and pulled it back down to earth. Luckily, the vendor next to her was able to tie their tents together and provide some weights for the legs – it was an all out event. Anyway, I was up before the sun this morning, which NEVER happens. I am going to attribute this burst of morning energy to my lack of toxic intake the past 5 days. It was so nice to have coffee and get ready at my leisure while the sun rose. I went to the window every ten minutes or so to see how the sun’s progress was going along with my own. I met my mom at the farmer’s market and we were able to pick up several items including carrots, potatoes, broccoli, celery and even some olive oil and homemade lotion. Here’s a little picture of the things I got that weren’t produce related:

I haven’t tried the biscotti or the spices yet, but both look and smell divine. I cannot wait to enjoy the biscotti tomorrow with my morning coffee. The biscotti comes from a local baking company called The Upper Crust Baking Co. They’ve been around for about 30 years and source their ingredients locally which I think is pretty cool. You can even order some of their products online and have them shipped to you (seriously, if you try this let me know how it goes). The olive oil is from a company called Theofani’s and is possibly the most delicious olive oil I’ve ever tasted. It’s difficult to explain, but something about the flavor is so fresh – so fresh that I wanted to sip the olive oil straight from the sample cup (which I did – no shame). I’ve decided to dub this my “special olive oil” which will be used only for dipping breads and making dressings and not cooking – this stuff is too delicious to be mixed with other ingredients. The last two items come from one of the nicest booths my mom and I met during our visit. Herban Wild is a family run business that offers everything from all natural lotion bars to spice mixes to loose tea blends. The lotion bar is made with local beeswax and feels and smells absolutely amazing. They were also offering samples of their Wild Nettle Chai tea that I cannot wait to purchase (although, my mom did buy some so I guess I could steal some of hers until I get my own). The owners made the tea with sweetener and a little bit of almond milk – it was absolutely divine! It was also a nice touch on a gloomy day that really required you get something warm to drink. All in all, there weren’t as many vendors as there usually are on a good weather day, but I’m grateful to have found the ones that were willing to brave the weather like my mom and myself.

Now, back to the produce… The carrots, celery and potatoes were a part of my meal plan for the week. With the weather being as gloomy and as cold as it is I knew I wanted a soup mixed in for the week. And the only thing better than soup is bread – which I also made and will post about later on. My go-to soup is usually tomato bisque with a good old fashioned grilled cheese sandwich, but this week I really felt like switching it up (especially since fresh tomatoes aren’t in season). I made the quick and easy decision of tagging in some vegan “chicken” noodle soup. I put chicken in quotes because I do not eat chicken and instead used Beyond Meat’s grilled chicken strips, which are actually just some type of plant protein formed and marked to look like grilled chicken. It really is a great substitute and worked out perfectly for my purposes. This recipe was fairly easy to make as well – as usual I did some research into a couple different chicken noodle recipes (vegan and non-vegan) and sort of mixed them together to create the perfect version for me and what I had on hand in my kitchen. (However, big shout-out to http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com who gave me the idea for using the Beyond Meat chicken strips in soup. I have used them as a substitute in many other recipes such as salads, sandwiches and even enchiladas, but I hadn’t tried a soup yet. Check out their blog for loads of other great vegan recipes and meal planning info.) The result – a comforting and tasty soup that will not only provide loads of leftovers for the week of rain ahead but provide a warm nostalgic feel of winters past with mom’s or grandma’s homemade chicken noodle.

What’s your favorite soup recipe to make when the weather is gloomy? Do you buy your ingredients from a farmer’s market? And, are there any go-to products that you’ve found from local or small shops?

Vegan “Chicken” Noodle Soup

3 medium sized carrots, cut into rounds

2 larger sized red potatoes, cubed (you can peel these too if you like)

3 stalks of celery, cut into slices

3 tsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp onion powder (equal to about 1/2 onion diced)

1 bayleaf

1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced (equal to about 3 cloves)

1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta (or whatever pasta you prefer)

1 bag of Beyond Meat chicken strips (make sure to get the unseasoned variety)

4 cups vegetable broth

3-4 cups of water (depending on the consistency you like your soup to be)

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place olive oil, celery, bayleaf, onion powder and garlic in the bottom of a large soup pot and cook over medium heat until they just start to soften or about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients (start slow with the water to build up your consistency, keep in mind the soup will cook down so you may have to add more water as you go) and stir to combine.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, stir occasionally.
  4. Once the soup comes to a boil, place a lid on the pot and reduce heat to low and let simmer until the pasta and potatoes are cooked through. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Keep in mind, you can let the soup simmer longer to enhance the flavors, but the liquid will dissipate and the ingredients will become softer the longer you cook it.
  5. When finished, add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with homemade bread or rolls for a real crowd pleaser.
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