Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sweet Potato, Collard and Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Sriracha Sauce

OK, so Joe Yonan of the Washington Post published this a couple weeks ago in the Food Section.  Joe is a vegetarian, and I have used his recipes before because Joe likes really big flavors.  This recipe appealed to my Southern roots - hello! - Sweet Potato, Collards AND Black Eyed Peas - what's not to like??

Anyhoo, when we tasted this, my beloved said, "It would be perfect with BACON!", which would completely negate my goals of reducing meat consumption, right?  Even though it was true - it was  bland.  I bumped up the salt and pepper amounts and it was better, but still a little boring.  I thought, what about Sriracha?  This made a LOT of soup, so I added probably about a 1/4 cup of the Sriracha to the batch.  It was really good, the Sriracha added the Umami that this soup was missing.  Though, there's no bacon in it, the Sriracha adds a sweet, smokiness that was sorely missing.

It's a gorgeous soup, as you can see from the WaPo pic.  I actually made my own Black-Eyed Peas, rather than using canned, and just measured 30 ounces of them and added at the end, it's super easy if you have a little extra time.

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
SAUTE until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded on a box grater
ADD, bring to a decent simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 6 cups water
  • 5 whole cloves (tie a string around the cloves so they are easy to remove - important tip, I think I missed one and had clove bits in my broth after I pureed it - bleah)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more as needed 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed 
Remove the cloves, then using an immersion blender or a regular blender processing in batches, puree until smooth.  Set aside.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
SAUTE until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes:
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 rib celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch coins
ADD, and saute for a minute:
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
ADD the Sweet Potato Broth, then add these ingredients:
  • Leaves from 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more as needed
  • 14 1/2 ounces canned, no-salt-added diced tomatoes, and their juices
Bring to a boil and ADD:
  • 2 bunches collard greens, stemmed and torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups, make sure you don't have any of the stems, they are too fibrous, and unpleasant )
Simmer until the collard greens are done, about 30 minutes, but it could be closer to an hour, seriously I wouldn't steer you wrong, collards can take a little while).

  • 30 ounces cooked or canned, black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed (I needed more...probably closer to 2 tsps total for the whole recipe, including the 1 tsp in the broth).
  • Sriracha sauce to taste, I used about 3 tbls for the whole batch, maybe 4 tbls.
This would be lovely served over rice or by itself.  I would serve it with a crusty loaf of bread, but that's just me.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Vegan Cabbage Soup

So, my spouse and I started this 5-2 diet in January, that started over in England.  The gist is that you subsist for 2 days a weeks on 500 - 600 calories for the day.  Our "fast" days are on Monday and Thursday, because that works well for us both.  I am chief-cook in our marriage, so I thought it would be cool if we went essentially vegan two days a week. Baby-steps, right? The first week was the hardest, but it's gotten much easier every week.

Anyhoo...I have been looking for really hearty, but low calorie soup options. I used to love this soup that my Grandmother, we called her Dee-Mama, made back when I was a kid. It was hearty and  comforting.  Dee-Mama's was, most assuredly NOT vegan (I think it either had bacon or sausage in it). So, this is not a family recipe, but it's inspired by one.  This may be too spicy for you with the Chipotle pepper (from Penzey's, by the way), but adjust accordingly.

Vegan Cabbage Soup

In a large-ish stockpot heat:

1 - 2 tbls  olive oil

Saute for about 3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent:

1 large onion, chopped
1 red, yellow or orange pepper, chopped
3 or more cloves of garlic, diced or pressed (according to taste, I LOVE GARLIC)

Add, and saute for about 10 minutes, or until the cabbage is slightly wilted:
1 carrot, shredded on a box grater (I don't like carrots unless they are's me, not carrots)
1 head of cabbage, shredded
1 tsp Spanish Smoked Paprika (mostly optional, it's really nice)
1 tps Chipotle Pepper (totally optional)
2 tsps salt, or more to taste (I used more like a tablespoon)

1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes (I used Tuttorosso Crushed tomatoes with basil, I bought it at BJs Wholesale)
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes (I used Hunts)
6 cups of vegetable broth or water (I used 6 cups of water, with 1 tbls. of vegetable broth concentrate)

Simmer for about an hour.  If you weren't fasting, this would go well served over some rice and with a crusty loaf.

Question for Vegans:  Would you do anything differently?