Easy Peasy Soy-Free Miso Soup

7 01 2014

Soy-free Miso Soup

I woke up this morning to find Rachel on the couch sick. Offering to make her breakfast, nothing sounded good except for miso soup. I whipped this up in less than half an hour and it tasted fantastic. Plus, it is full of the things she needs to make her healthy again (and what I need to avoid catching what she’s got).


Olive oil – I used Sicilian Bread Dipping Oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 head of garlic, chopped

1/4 green cabbage, chopped

1/2 cup Soy free miso – I use South River’s Chickpea Miso

Sautee the chopped onion in oil until translucent. Add the garlic and green cabbage, cook for another 3-4 minutes. Next add water to generously cover the vegetables. If you like your soup with more broth, add more water. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, or bring down to very low heat. Stir in the miso (add less or more to suit your taste – I like a lot of miso) and serve. Enjoy!

This soup is very healthy because it has an entire head of garlic, which has been shown to be effective in preventing colds. There is also cabbage which is a little known superfood full of vitamins and minerals. Finally, the miso is full of pro-biotics which is why it is important not to add it to the soup until after you have boiled the water, otherwise you will kill all the good bacteria you want to end up in your stomach!

Here are the other things I have in my medicine closet to fight off colds:

How to Fight a ColdOregano oil – Prevents and helps cure a cough or colds that come with a cough.

Netti pot – Drains your sinuses which can help you get rid of a clogged nose, or by regularly flushing out the germs that get up there, keep you from getting sick at all!

Vitamin C chewable – I try to eat citrus instead. A grapefruit in the morning with some local honey is full of vitamin C and the local honey will fight a cold as well. I know this is not 100% vegan, but I have some friends who are very responsible beekeepers and do not feel bad consuming their honey. Sometimes it is easier to just take a chewable so I keep them around.

Tea – Traditional Medicinals makes a number of amazing teas – I keep Cold Care PM, Throat Coat, and Echinacea Immune Support stocked at all times.

Note: I have no medical training, these are simply the items that work to fight colds for me and my family.


Butternut Squash Soup with White Beans and a Hint of Lemon

1 01 2014

I used to hate soup. Something about drinking my dinner always felt wrong to me. Of course, this was way before I fell in love with smoothies, green drinks, the master cleanse, and well let’s just say I’ve seen the error in my thinking. Besides, when the cold comes creeping in, a warm bowl of soup is the perfect anti-dote. The inspiration for this recipe came from Veganomicon  (if you don’t own it, you should) but the recipe morphed according to what I had in my house and I really like the final version. This soup is on the sweeter side, but is all around an awesome butternut soup that your family/friends/strangers in your life will fall head over heals for.


serves 8

time: 1hr


2T olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper

2 tsp minced ginger

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

1 butternut squash (or 2 small acorn squash)

2 firm bartlett pears

4 cups of vegetable stock

1 15-oz can white beans

1 T fresh lemon juice

drizzle of chocolate balsamic vinegar (optional)

Remove the seeds from the butternut squash, peel and chop roughly. Sauté the onion in oil until it turns translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, and Chinese five spice powder and then sauté for another few minutes (be careful not to burn the spice). Add the bell pepper, squash, pears, and vegetable stock. Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce to a rolling simmer for about 20 minutes or until the squash is very tender. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or transfer to a food processor/blender and process in batches. Return the soup to the pot and add the white beans and lemon juice. Serve with a drizzle of chocolate balsamic vinegar.

If you are not ready to eat the soup, cool it in an ice bath and refrigerate to use within a week or freeze and eat within 6 months.

Feeding the Hungry Ghost Book Review

8 03 2013


As I mentioned in an earlier post, the New World Library sent me a free review copy of Ellen Kanner’s new book Feeding the Hungry Ghost. In all honesty, I probably would never have thought to pick this book up and read it. First, I’ve never read a memior-style cookbook before and I didn’t know if I would like it. Second, the title didn’t really peak my interest and I wasn’t sure from the descriptions that this was the kind of book I would like.

However, I had a free copy, so I might as well give it a chance, right? And boy I’m glad I did! This book is a gem. The recipes she gives us, 50 in total, are wonderful. Most of her recipes seem fairly easy to make, use ingredients you probably have on hand, and vary in flavor. The most likely thing you are going to need to buy is a spice here or there. While many vegan cookbooks I have read try and tell us how we can re-create our favorites in a vegan version, this cookbook just gives you straight up hearty vegetarian food. Plus, I found that I could make quite a few of these things in Senegal. I’m happy I have this book, because I think it will give me ideas on how to make less expensive day-to-day vegan food.

The stories she told to go along with the recipes were also fun and interesting. She does a good job of describing the recipes and fitting them into a story. In fact, if you like reading food blogs, you will probably enjoy reading her book. My only complaint with this book is that sometimes her arguments seemed poorly supported. For example, she would talk about how important it is to eat local and the following recipe involved mangoes. Later in the book it became clear that she lives in a part of Florida where mangoes grow. However, for most of us in the U.S. mangos are not local, and if you don’t point out that they are local where you live, it is confusing.

In conclusion, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and check it out. In the meantime, let me give you a little teaser: I already talked about her fabulous Veggie Bhaji in my Vegan Valentine’s Day Feast post.


So today I will give you a recipe for what she calls “well-being in a bowl”. My friends describe it as a vegetarian chicken noodle soup. It is comforting and healthy feeling: the perfect bring a sick friend soup soup.


Harira (printed with permission from New World Library)

Serves 8


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion

1 tsp turmeric

3 zucchini or yellow squash, or a mix of the two, chopped

2 red bell peppers, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped (I left this out)

Pinch of saffron or ras el hanout (optional but very nice)

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes or 4 gorgeous ripe tomatoes, chopped

One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

6 cups vegetable broth

1 small handful whole wheat vermicelli or angel hair pasta, broken into bite-size pieces (please substitute a gf version – I used rice pasta)

1 tablepsoon active dry yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm vegetable broth or water

Juice of 1 or 2 lemons

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Lemon wedges for serving (optional)

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and turmeric. Cook, stirring, until the onion softens and turns golden, a few minutes. Add the zucchini, red bell peppers, celery, and, if you’ve got it, the saffron or ras el hanout. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables become tender, 5 to 8 minutes more.

Stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas, and broth. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Add the broken pasta, yeast mixture, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Continue cooking 3 to 5 minutes more, until the angel hair softens, stirring occasionally. Season with sea salt and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro.

Serve with extra lemon wedges, if desired.

note: New World Library sent me a free copy of this book but the views expressed here are my own. In no way was I pressured or encouraged to write a certain way.

Carrot Soup

25 02 2013

Last time Meredith came to visit with her fiance Rick, they made this amazing carrot soup from Smitten Kitchen. Soup, especially pureed soup, is not my favorite, but I couldn’t get enough of this one! My only suggestion is to make more of it. soupWe didn’t have the means to make gluten free flat bread, so we served it instead with my favorite pre-made bread mix: Bob Red Mill’s GF Hearty Wholegrain Bread. breadNote: the bread calls for 1 egg, but it comes out great if you use 1 tbsp of ground flax seeds mixed well with 3 tbsp of water.

Three Bean Chili

29 10 2012

During my last trip to Matam to help out with the Eye Clinic and visit my homestay family, Meredith Hickson taught me how to make this simple but tasty chili. Now visiting Sarah Keyes in Dakar we decided to whip some up and serve it with cornbread — such great comfort food! I do not have exact measurements to offer you today because I was using whatever spices were on hand, and most of them were mixes that you probably wouldn’t see in the US. Instead, I will list approximately what we used and expect you to play a little with the amounts until it tastes good (-:

serves 6


2 medium carrots, chopped

vegetable oil (I used sunflower)

1 medium green pepper, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

1 small head of garlic, diced

1.5 large cans of diced tomatoes

1 small can of butter beans, drained

1 small can of black-eyed peas, drained

1 small can of red kidney beans, drained

3/4 large can of corn (this would probably also work well with just a small can of corn)

1 tblspn? creole seasoning (garlic, chili powder, cayenne, sugar, paprika, pepper, and onion)

3 tsp? cumin

2 shakes of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg mix

1 or 2 tsp sugar

1 tsp vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the carrots in a small amount of oil. Add the green pepper, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Let simmer for a while, allowing the tomatoes to break down. Remember to stir occasionally to ensure the stew doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and begin to add some of the spices. Once the tomatoes have sufficiently broken down (or you are tired of waiting), add the beans and corn. Finish spicing and serve hot with cornbread.

Cannellini Soup with Leeks and Golden Beets

27 06 2011

I found this soup in Delicious Living, March 2011 and it was a hit with my parents!  It goes great with crusty bread and simple kale salad.

Spicy Fall Stew Baked in a Pumpkin

23 12 2008

I intend to make this recipe a thanksgiving staple when I start hosting thanksgivings, does that mean I need to settle down? We baked ours in several small kabucha squashes from the garden.  Also, I coudn’t find hominy, so I substituted chick peas instead.  The recipe calls for cheese, but I left it out and wasn’t missing it. However, you could always try it with some Daiya cheddar cheese.

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