Sichuan Black Eyed Pea Soup with Hot Chili Oil (vegan & plant-based)

It is fair to say I am obsessed with the Tofu Braised in Hot Chili Oil at Judy’s Sichuan, a great local restaurant. But with its big cubes of deep fried tofu, it is a fairly high calorie dish. So I have created a profusion of ways to incorporate the flavor profile into healthier dishes, including popcorn and even popcorn salad, a whole grain-based salad like no other.

I created this warming and pleasantly *lip numbing soup so that we could enjoy our black eyed peas on New Years Day with punched-up flavor. Though Bob and I have been very fortunate during the Covid19 pandemic, I felt I should enjoy a bowl of this good luck omen on behalf of this beleaguered world.

While I made the soup for the holiday, please enjoy it any day for any reason. These humble black eyed peas are remarkably tasty with their unexpected twist.

*Sichuan peppercorns, not peppers at all, possess a numbing property that is not due to heat and, in fact, enhances other flavors.

Sichuan Black Eyed Pea Soup
Yield: 4 servings

1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 red and 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 to 2 teaspoons ground Sichuan peppercorns (I purchase at Asian grocery)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced on diagonal
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced on diagonal
1 to 2 tablespoons Chinese hot chili oil or fried chili crisp (I purchase the latter at Kroger on International aisle and use as is or make my chili oil from it)
2 cups fresh black eyed peas (you may substitute canned, rinsed and drained, or cooked dry peas)
1-15 ounce can lite coconut milk and 1/2 can warm water
Optional Garnishes: scallions, thinly sliced on diagonal, lightly roasted and salted peanuts, star anise

Cover bottom of soup pot with water, add sesame oil, and place over medium heat to bring to simmer. Add onion and bell peppers, sprinkle with salt and ground Sichuan peppercorns, and simmer, stirring frequently, until tender. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until flavours have married, peas are very tender, and soup is heated through, approximately 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning to suit your taste and add more water if needed. If desired, puree 2 cups of soup and pour back in, stirring to distribute. The soup will be less colorful, but creamier; I enjoy it both ways. Serve in mugs or bowls garnished as desired.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #plantbasedSichuan #veganSichuan #veganblackeyedpeas #plantbasedblackeyedpeas #veganblackeyedpeasoup #plantbasedblackeyedpeasoup
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Pumpkin Beer Cheddar Soup

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

My friend, Jeff Dunn, to whom I gifted half of the recipe in a red-lidded carton tied with a bow, texted me that “The soup is Phenomenal!! I think this is my new favorite soup of all time.”

This is a rich,creamy, deeply flavored, and dramatically cleaned up version of a dairy-based beer Cheddar soup recipe I came across. It was made with lots of dairy, coconut milk, and no pumpkin, rather pumpkin beer.

While I didn’t taste that soup, I can’t imagine a tastier nor velvetier version than mine made with pureed pumpkin, coconut milk, the vegan beer of your choice, and a small amount of vegan Cheddar supplemented with cheesy and ultra-healthy nutritional yeast.

Pumpkin Beer Cheddar Soup

(vegan & plant-based)
Yield: 6 servings

1 medium-large yellow onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 vegetable bouillon cube or 1 teaspoon paste
1-15 ounce can pureed pumpkin
1-15 ounce can coconut milk, lite or regular
12 ounces vegan beer (Google to identify vegan brands)
1 cup shredded vegan Cheddar
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
Ootional toppings: grated vegan Cheddar, sliced green onions, roasted and lightly salted pumpkin seeds or pecan halves, pomegranate arils, dried cranberries or cherries, sprig of rosemary, sage leaves, croutons, etc.

Cover bottom of large soup pot with water and add onion and salt. Place over medium heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until onion is soft. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add cornstarch and stir well to combine. Add remaining ingredients, in order, stirring after each to completely combine. Simmer for 10 minutes or so until beer mellows and all flavors marry. Season with additional salt if necessary and serve topped as desired.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #plantbasedsoup #vegansoup #plantbasedbeercheddarsoup #veganbeercheddarsoup #plantbasedpumpkinsoup #veganpumpkinsoup
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Best White Bean and Kale Soup (vegan, plant-based, low-calorie, & low fat)

Yield: 4 servings

White Bean and Kale soup sounds so ho-hum, right? But this is the best I have ever had, much less made. And I find myself craving it. It is rivaled by its inspiration created by my dear friend, Sharon Clohessy, and enjoyed by her Solo Stove in front of her charming yellow beach cottage.

I started feeling poorly on the drive over to her house on a recent fall evening and, apologetically declined food and definitely wine. After a bit, though, I asked to try just a little soup. The warm, mildly fragrant silkiness of it was like good medicine. And when I finished that, I asked for a little more.

Sharon used 2 cans of Northern White Beans, one pureed for the base. I used pureed cooked cauliflower instead to produce a silky base that is still luscious but even lower in calorie. And its flavor is sweet and earthy. I actually used a bag of cauliflower hash mix which includes a modest amount of carrot and celery and lends subtle layers of earthy flavor.

For seasoning, Sharon cleverly used pesto. I only had olive tapenade on hand, and 2 tablespoons was all the added flavor this soup needed.

Previously, I tended to use the baby variety of kale for any recioe requiring greens, but it cooks away to almost nothing. Massaging the more sustantial curly kale leaves, as she did, takes just a few minutes, and is well worth the smidgen of extra effort before tearing the leaves into small pieces.

Best White Bean and Kale Soup

Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, sliced or minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt + more to taste
16 ounces chopped cauliflower or cauliflower hash mix which also contains carrots and celery
1 cup water
4 cups vegetable stock
1-15 ounce can drained Northern White Beans
1 small bunch curly kale, leaves massaged with your fingers as you rinse them, and torn into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons vegan pesto or olive tapenade

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and salt, and saute, stirring frequently, until slightly softened; adjust heat as necessary. Add cauliower and do the same. Add water and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft, just a few minutes. Puree in large food processor, return to pot, stir in remaining ingredients, and simmer over medium heat until kale is tender. Adjust seasoning with salt. Serve in mugs (my choice) or bowls.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #plantbasedwhitebeanandkalesoup #veganwhitebeanandkalesoup #plantbasedsoup #vegansoup
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Middle Eastern Tomato Coconut Soup with Chickpeas and Spinach (vegan & plant-based)

Yield: 2-4 servings

This is, for me, the perfect soup: light, bright, quick, stupid easy, pretty, and a nutritional powerhouse.

1-15.5 ounce can each fire roasted tomatoes, lite coconut milk, and drained chickpeas

1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, coriander, ground cumin, sea salt smoked paprika, and sumac

1 tablespoon liquid aminos, soy sauce or vegan Worchestershire (most organic brands are anchovy-free)

4 cups lightly packed baby spinach or Kale leaves

Toppings: vegan sour cream and Everything Bagel Seasoning

Note: I stirred in a few half slices of roasted oranges I had on hand, and they were a beautiful addition.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, stir together all ingredients until simmering. Stir in greens, just until wilted. Serve in bowls topped with vegan sour cream and a generous sprinkle of Everything Bagel seasoning.

Delish served immediately; even better the next day.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansoup #plantbasedsoup #veganmiddleeastern #plantbasedmiddleeastern

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Tomato-Peach Gazpacho (vegan & plant-based)

Yield: 2 to 3 large-ish portions or 4 small cups

With fresh fruits and vegetables glistening in the refrigerator and perspiration glistening on my skin even at 8:00 a.m.–or 8:00 p.m.–cool, hydrating, and refreshing gazpacho seemed to need be the order of the day.

Nothing is easier nor more nutritious than chunking up vegetables and fruit and giving it a good whirl in the food processor or heavy duty blender.

Quasi-decadent garnishes include bread cubes toasted in a tiny bit of olive oil and sea salt, roasted and salted sunflower seeds, mint sprigs, and a drizzle of olive oil. I used blood orange flavored for this batch, but unflavored olive oil would be just as delicious.

When the heat’s got you down, this soup will perk you right up.

Tomato-Peach Gazpacho

1 red onion, peeled and quartered

1 large tomato, cored and quartered

1 peach, pitted and quartered

1 tangerine, pitted and quartered

Juice of 1 small to medium lime

1 to 2 cloves garlic or roasted garlic

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Garnishes: croutons, roasted and salted sunflower seeds or other seeds or nuts, mint sprigs, drizzle of olive oil, flavored or plain

place everything except garnishes in the bowl of a large food processor or heavy duty blender and process or blend until as smooth as you desire. Ladle into bowls or cups, garnish as desired, and erve immediately or chill, covered, until serving time. Garnish just before serving.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegangazpacho #plantbasedgazpacho

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Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup

For the 18th (!) Annual Christmas, Chanukkah, Curry, and Cakes Party & Swap for some 25 of my girl tribe, I kept the menu simple, healthful, beautiful, and delicious.

This one time buffet dinner morphed into a cocktail party-swap a few years back and then, last year, into a moveable feast and swap featuring curried pumpkin soup.  Soup is self-serve from the stove, but I make it festive with a buffet of toppings.  This year’s tasty accompaniments were vegan blue cheese-chutney cole slaw, quartered persimmons, and vegan sugar cookies.  Oh, and wine. Lots of wine.

This year’s soup creation was superior to last and I am pleased to share it with you, as I wouldn’t change a thing.

Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup

Yield: 10 cups

1- 29 ounce can pureed pumpkin

1-15.5 ounce can lite coconut milk

1-30 gram package Jaswant’s Kitchen Chana Masala seasoning packet or the equivalent (you may prefer less–it is spicy)

4 cups vegetable stock or broth

Toppings bar: grated coconut, sliced green onions, roasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries or cherries, etc.

Whisk together all ingredients except toppings in a large soup pan or Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through.  Serve topped as desired.

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The Best Vegan Hot Broccoli-Cheese Dip
(or soup)

Yield: 4 cups  (about 60 calories per quarter cup)

Broccoli-Cheese Dip is everyone’s favorite that needs no preamble, except this: my dairy-free version is rich and creamy but the flavor of broccoli and cheese shines through.  Serve it a little thinner, and you have the tastiest soup with no tongue-coating, flavor-masking dairy.  Just the perfect savory balance of aged and smoky cheddars, aromatic onion and garlic, and fresh, herby broccoli.

I medium-large onion, diced
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups vegetable broth or stock
16 ounces riced broccoli, purchased or homemade in food processor (I buy at Whole Foods)
2 cups grated vegan cheddar
4 slices–or 4 ounces–vegan smoked gouda, torn into small pieces
Optional: if you like a bit of tanginess, 2 tablespoons vegan Parmesan with other cheeses
2 tablespoons 10-calorie/tablespoon Blooming Platter Mayo (at TheBloomingPlatter.com) or your favorite creamy base, e.g. vegan mayo, vegan cream cheese, cashew cream, etc.
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Accompaniments: raw veg, chips, crackers, or bread

Place onion, garlic, and garlic powder in a large skillet. Add enough broth just to cover bottom of skillet.  Saute over medium heat, stirring, for 3 or so minutes until onion is tender.  Add broccoli and remaining broth, and simmer 5 to 7 minutes or until very tender.  Reduce heat to low, add cheeses, and stir frequently until melted.  Stir in Blooming Platter Mayo or favorite creamy goodness.  Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. If serving as a dip, continue cooking until desired consistency is reached. You may also bake at 350 for 20 minutes with or without additional grated cheese on top. Serve with the accompaniments of choice.  If serving as a soup, add additional vegetable broth, if desired, and heat through.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfood #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfood #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn

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Vegan Lunch Hack
Southwestern Butternut Squash Bisque

An easy, elegant, low calorie and, of course, vegan lunch hack…

Southwestern Butternut Squash Bisque
Yield: 2 generous servings, app. 200 calories each (including garnish)

Every so often, I go on what I only half-jokingly call an “austerity program,” limiting myself to what’s in my pantry or freezer combined with a few fresh ingredients rather than giving in to whims and cravings that would require more purchases.

I have had some Dr. Mcdougall’s brand organic, vegan Butternut Squash Bisque hanging around in a 17.6 ounce box for a while. I opened it, tasted it, and found it lovely in its sweetness, earthiness, and velvety texture.  But I felt it needed a little boost.  Incidentally, the whole container was only 240 calories.

I also discovered some Frontera brand Green Chile Enchilada Sauce with roasted tomatillo and garlic in an 8 oz package.  This whole container was only 80 calories and it, too, was tasty and silky on its own.

I simply stirred them together, heated the mixture, put a dollop of vegan sour cream and a sprig of fresh cilantro on top, and garnished with a little side salad of mixed lettuces, halved cherry tomatoes, and a wedge of lime. In a very few minutes, lunch was served.

Honestly, I would order this dish in a restaurant and tip generously with compliments to the chef.

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Best Vegan Watermelon-Tomato-Bell Pepper Gazpacho

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

For a long time, I thought I didn’t care for gazpacho. And I don’t like the rich, tomato-y kind that tastes like a Bloody Mary.

But this ain’t that!  I adore my quick, light version that combines watermelon, tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, and garlic with some delicious spices and a bit of lime juice for that needed little zip.

If you grew up in the South, you might be familiar with salting the flesh of a watermelon before eating it. Somehow it makes the fruit taste even sweeter. So, avoid skimping on the salt. But at the same time, don’t over-salt. Finding that sweet spot, no pun intended, is essential to a soup with lively flavors.

Food scarcely gets more beautiful, more nutritious, or more easy to put together than this one-processor meal. It is low-calorie, includes no added fat, and is filling without being heavy. It is low in protein, however, so you might pair it with chickpea salad or marinated and grilled tofu or tempeh.

And it is great stand-up cocktail party food because, served in glasses, guests can sip as they mingle.

1.5 pounds seeded watermelon cubes

1 large cored tomato, cut into chunks (I like a gnarly heirloom variety)

1 large seeded orange or yellow bell pepper (red would be fine too)

1-8 inch cucumber, cut into chunks (I leave peel on and seeds in for nutrition)

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into chunks

3 to 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved

Juice of one large lime

Optional: 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves and tender stems

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Optional garnishes:  roasted or grilled corn kernels; diced tomato, bell pepper, or cucumber; minced jalapeno; pine nuts, toasted or not; vegan sour cream; sprigs of cilantro; a sprinkling of smoked paprika; and/or slices of lime, cut from edge to center, and hung on rim of martini glass, if using.

Place half of fruit and vegetable chunks and all of lime juice, spices, and optional cilantro in the bowl of a large food processor and process until as smooth as you want. Pour into a large bowl. Process remaining fruit and vegetables to the same consistency, pour into bowl, and stir well to completely combine. Chill for at least a couple of hours and serve in cups, bowls, or glasses for spooning or sipping, garnished as desired.

 



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