Vegetable Soup, with a Twist

 

First of all, I have to thank Elysia for the amazing day of food, AKA my birthday, and thanks to everyone who wished me happy birthday as well. Elysia and I currently live about two hours apart so I constantly miss her when we’re not around each other. I was also lucky enough to go to dinner that night with my boyfriend, Andy. We went to the French Meadow Bakery and Café in Minneapolis where I had the Tempeh Cutlet and Andy had the Vegan Stromboli.

The Tempeh Cutlets were served with beans, brown rice and braised greens (all with delicious sauces/seasonings) so I decided that it was a fancy version of popular southern fried dishes.

The Stromboli had hearts of palm, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and basil in it, which I found delicious.

Both were delicious, although I did not realize that the Tempeh Cutlet was fried until after I got it so Andy ate half of it (I don’t even remember the last time I had fried food and didn’t really want to suffer the heartburn/general unhealthy feeling that I get from eating it). I really liked the sauce that topped the Stromboli as well, but both meals were a little out of the realm of my usual entrée as far as healthiness goes (or I’m assuming so anyways). Oh well, you only have a birthday once a year! I didn’t have dessert since Elysia made me a delicious cake but I would like to go back and try their vegan blueberry corn pancake for breakfast!

Now that I’ve gotten you hungry…soup time!

Soup can definitely be a way to explore different spices or combinations of veggies, grains and proteins. Most of the time, we start out with one idea in mind and end up with something completely different.  Take for instance, this vegetable-dill soup. Does that sound weird to you? (Insert imagination of eating soup from a dill pickle jar here). I set out to make a simple veggie soup because it was so chilly out when I made it that it seemed like an excellent way to warm up. 

My first mistake was thinking that I could cook something without playing around with it and changing my mind a ton of times.  I guess maybe that’s not a ‘mistake’ per se, but sometimes when Elysia and I cook for others they may become a little impatient waiting (it’s worth it though, right guys? 😉 ).  I was cooking with my boyfriend, Andy (I say ‘with’ but I’m really bad at letting him help), about a week ago and somehow we ended up with massive kale salads and plates full to the brim with veggies and other tasty creations.  I never know how it happens but, as he pointed out, I just ‘keep adding things’! I can’t help it, Elysia and I just don’t like to leave something as is if we have more ideas!

So, needless to say, my simple veggie soup took on a little different for by the time I was through.  Don’t get me wrong, it is simple to make, just the process of changing my mind took a little longer than expected.

Served with saltine crackers and a slice of whole-wheat toast with a little bit of peanut butter and BBQ.

Vegetable Dill Soup

  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 bell peppers (I used one red and one yellow)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 leaves of kale (we prefer ‘dinosaur’ aka lacinato kale for taste and texture)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 dill pickle spear
  • tofu
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce (or Tamari or Braggs Liquid Aminos )
  • 1-2 teaspoons Dried Dill
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
  • Sriracha, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

-Preheat oven to 415° F. Chop the veggies to desired size and remove the kale leaves from the stems, chopping them as well (after removing the leaves). Toss the carrots, bell peppers, kale stems, celery and onion with 1 teaspoon oil and a sprinkle of salt, to taste (the other veggies will be added later). Roast in the oven until the edges become brown. Note: you can skip the roasting step, I just like how it brings out the sweetness of the peppers.

-Cut the tofu into small triangles or cubes and dry-fry them in the pan until each of the sides are light brown (the amount of water in them will determine cooking time); set aside. In my opinion, this step gives the tofu a denser texture, but if you’re pressed for time it isn’t necessary. Also, the tofu definitely tastes better the next day, so you could always alternatively soak it in the broth prior to making the soup.

-In a medium to large saucepan, heat a small amount of oil and sauté the garlic until just brown. Add the roasted veggies, sriracha and spices and stir, adjusting seasonings to taste.

-Add the broth, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, pickle and peas and bring the mixture just to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the chopped kale leaves and basil; serve!

This (and pretty much any soup) tastes delicious with a hearty whole grain, crusty bread dipped into it! I also have to give credit to Andy for wanting to add the pickle spear. I took them out to snack on one while I was making the soup and he thought I was going to add it so we decided, why not! Also, when I originally cooked the tofu I tossed it with dill, nutritional yeast, sriracha and garlic sauce when I set it aside. It pretty much all came off when I added it to the soup so that is why it doesn’t say to do so in the recipe. However, it would taste good on its own, perhaps with something to dip it in (BBQ, peanut sauce, more sriracha 😉 ).

Question:

Have you made anything recently that may have been something completely different than what you set out to make? Or maybe you combined ingredients that you didn’t think would go together but turned out great? 

 

 

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