Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup

I’m not normally one to ask for recipes at a restaurant, but when we were in Estes Park over Thanksgiving, I had an amazing Carrot Chile Soup at Ed’s Cantina.

Maybe it had something to do with the cold I was recovering from, but the soup was exactly what I needed that day for lunch. Although I didn’t get the exact recipe, I got enough about the ingredients to come up with my own version.

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I started off by sautéing onions and ginger in olive oil, and then adding a ton of chopped carrots (this may be the most carrots I’ve ever used in a single dish). I’m sure the version I had in Estes Park didn’t have ginger, but I thought it would work well with the spiciness and creaminess of the soup.

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Next I added a variety of chopped peppers. I like things spicy, so I used poblano, Serrano, and bell peppers.

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After adding some veggie stock and allowing the soup to simmer for a little bit, I blended everything together with my immersion blended (one of my favorite kitchen gadgets), added a little vegan cream, and it was ready to go.

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This soup is definitely getting added to the rotation!

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Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup
Inspired by the Carrot Chile soup at Ed’s Cantina in Estes Park

2 small onions, diced
1.5″ piece of ginger, peeled and minced
7 large carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 poblano peppers, diced
4 Serrano peppers, minced
1 quart veggie stock
6 ounces almond milk or vegan “cream”
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom soup pot over medium-high heat, then add the onions and ginger to the pot along with 1/2 tsp salt. Saute until the onions are softened and starting to brown.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the carrots and cover to cook until they are somewhat soft, being sure to stir them every 5-6 minutes so they don’t burn or stick.

Next, add all of the diced peppers. Cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the veggie broth, making sure all the veggies are covered. Put the lid on the pot and allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes. 

Once all the veggies are cooked, reduce the heat to medium-low and purée the soup using an immersion blender. I decided to not purée until it was perfectly smooth so that it had a little bit of texture. Add the milk or cream and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

You can top the soup with tortilla strips and thin slices of fresh red onions, or treat it as you would a tomato soup and serve with a grilled cheddar cheese (vegan or otherwise!) sandwich.

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Three Bean Soup

Fortunately for Jon, my long hiatus from blogging doesn’t mean there was no cooking, just that I’ve been too busy to write about it! In addition to work, I’ve been quilling–making pretty things out of rolled paper strips!

Since it is definitely fall/winter here, I decided to make this three bean soup.

I started off by sautéing diced onions, carrots, and minced garlic in some olive oil, then adding lots of diced peppers.

After all the veggies are slightly softened, I added a good amount of freshly ground cumin, one of my favorite spices for soups and chilis. Cumin smells great as it heats up with the onions and peppers!

Next, I added some fire-roasted diced tomatoes, veggie stock, and the beans. I used black beans, cannellini beans, and navy beans, but you could really use any combination of cooked beans that you like.

After the soup simmered together for about 30 minutes, I served it topped with an avocado garnish made with freshly chopped avocado, tomato, and lime juice, along with some warm crusty bread. Yum!

Three Bean Soup

2 small onions, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced 
3 medium carrots, finely diced 
1 yellow pepper, finely diced
1 red pepper, finely diced 
3 jalapeños, minced 
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar 
6 cups vegetable stock 
2 Tbsp freshly ground cumin 
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 can (15 ounces) each of black beans, cannellini beans, and navy beans, drained and well rinsed
1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, fire roasted if possible 
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional Avocado Garnish
1 avocado, diced
2 small tomatoes, diced
2 tsp lime juice

In a heavy bottom soup pan or Dutch oven, heat the olive over medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, add the onion, garlic, and carrots, along with 1 tsp salt. Saute until golden brown, being sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. 

Next, add the red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan. Allow to cook down for a minute, then add the peppers and jalapeño. Cook for a few minutes, until the peppers are slightly softened, then add the ground cumin and cook until fragrant. 

Add the diced tomatoes and vegetable stock. Reduce the heat slightly, then cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Once the soup has reached a simmer, add the beans. Reduce the heat to medium, and cover to cook for about 30 minutes.

If using the optional topping, combine the avocado, tomatoes, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Before serving the soup, taste to adjust seasoning if necessary. Top each soup bowl with the avocado garnish, and serve with a slice of warm, crusty bread.

Minestrone

After traveling home from Christmas with family, we were ready for some healthy comfort food. Minestrone has tons of vegetables, plus is great on a chilly evening.

I started off the soup by making a mirepoix with onions, carrots, celery, and garlic.

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After the vegetables had softened and slightly caramelized, I added some tomato powder and basil, followed by lots of veggie broth, diced tomato, and navy beans.

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While the soup was coming up to a simmer, I cooked some whole wheat spirally elbow pasta to serve with the soup. I’ve learned it is definitely better to keep the pasta and soup separate until you are almost ready to serve, otherwise you end up with pasta that has absorbed all of the soup broth, and a very thick soup!

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When the pasta was almost done, I added some chopped zucchini and parsley and let the zucchini cook for a few minutes.

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Finally, the soup was ready to be ladled over the pasta. To serve, I sprinkled a little more parsley, freshly ground pepper, and good Italian olive oil on top. Yum!

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Minestrone

1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
3 celery stalks, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 zucchini, diced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
4-5 cups veggie stock or water
1 Tbsp tomato powder (use tomato paste if you can’t find tomato powder)
1 Tbsp basil
1 can (15 ounces) fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can (15 ounces) navy beans, drained and rinsed
8 ounces elbow pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Heat about 3 Tbsp of olive oil at medium heat in a heavy bottomed pot. Once the oil is heated, add the onions and a little bit of salt (maybe 1 tsp). Cook for at least 20 minutes until the onions are very soft and slightly browned. Add the celery, carrots, and garlic, along with another dash of salt. Cook until all the vegetables are very soft, then add the tomato powder and basil and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the vegetable stock or water, along with the diced tomatoes and beans. Cover and bring to a low simmer, then cook for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. About 6 minutes before the pasta is done cooking, add the zucchini and about 1/2 the parsley to the soup.

Once the pasta is done, put a little bit in a bowl and spoon the soup on top. Sprinkle a little more chopped parsley and drizzle olive oil on top. Serve with crusty bread and topped with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Wontons in Ginger Broth with Roasted Broccoli and Edamame

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One dish that Jon really likes but doesn’t get very frequently is homemade wontons. Although not especially difficult to make, it definitely takes some time to assemble and cook all the wontons.

I started off by cooking the filling using onions, peeled and diced broccoli stems, and vegan chicken. This mixture was flavored with lemon verbena, dried cilantro (use basil if you’re a cilantro hater), soy sauce, and a little sriracha sauce, and then set aside to cool.

Next, I mixed together all the ingredients for the roasted broccoli and edamame, and stuck that in the oven to roast. Oddly enough, this was the first time I have ever tried to roast broccoli.
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While the broccoli was roasting away, I started off the ginger broth by mixing together water, soy sauce, minced ginger, rice vinegar, miso paste, a little sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. The broth simmered and melded all its flavors while I worked on assembling all the wontons. It is definitely a good idea to have some good entertainment and something comfortable to stand on for this part!
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Once my herd of wontons had been assembled, I steamed them over the broth. When all the wontons were done, several went into shallow bowls and were topped with the broth. The broccoli was a crunchy and spicy side. And fortunately, Jon was nice enough to clean up after dinner. 🙂
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Wontons in Ginger Broth with Roasted Broccoli and Edamame

Wontons
Stems of 3-4 heads of broccoli, peeled and diced
1 onion, finely diced
3/4 cup vegan chicken, finely diced
1/2 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 tsp lemon verbena
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp sriracha sauce
2 tsp soy sauce, plus more to taste
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp peanut oil
1 package wonton wrappers
Steamer basket or vegetable steamer

Ginger Broth
6 cups water
1.5 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp sugar
4 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp miso paste

Roasted Broccoli
Broccoli florets from 3-4 heads of broccoli
1 cup edamame, removed from shell (frozen is fine)
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust based on desired spiciness)

First, start the filling for the wontons. Remove the tough outside of the broccoli stems, and then dice. Sauté the onion in the sesame and peanut oils until it is softened and just beginning to caramelize. Add the ginger, broccoli stems, and diced vegan chicken to the pan. Sauté for a few minutes, then add the cilantro and lemon verbena. Sauté for a few more minutes, then add the soy sauce and sriracha sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated. Put aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 375F. On a large baking sheet, mix together all the ingredients for the roasted broccoli. The vegetables should be in a single layer on the sheet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 35 minutes until the broccoli and edamame are crispy in parts and have absorbed most of the sauce.

Mix together all of the ingredients for the broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.

Next, if you haven’t already, put on some entertainment like music, a podcast, or a talkative husband, and assemble the wontons. Place a wonton skin on a cutting board, and spoon a small amount of filling into the center.
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Using a small pastry brush or your fingertip, brush all four sides of the wonton skin with water, then fold in half to make a triangle. Press the sides together firmly, and then bring the two points together. Brush one point with a little more water, and then seal together with the other point. Place the finished wonton on a baking tray. Continue to assemble the rest of the wontons.
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After the wontons are assembled (aren’t you glad you had some entertainment?), place the wontons into a steamer of steamer basket. Make sure they are not touching, or they might stick together as they cook. Place the steamer or steamer basket over the broth pot, or another pot of boiling water. Working in batches, steam the wontons for about 10 minutes or until the wonton skins are cooked through. Remove and keep warm while steaming the rest of the wontons.
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To serve, place several wontons in a shallow bowl. Spoon the ginger broth over top, and serve with the roasted broccoli on the side. Enjoy getting to sit down, and hopefully be lucky enough to have a dinner companion who will clean up the kitchen for you.

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Khao Soi Soup

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Mmm….soup. I love soup year round, even in the middle of summer. I decided to make this new soup this weekend after seeing it in Bon Appetit. Of course, I adjusted the recipe somewhat!

I started off by making a curry paste. First I added shallots, garlic, and fresh ginger to my Cuisinart, followed by turmeric, coriander, and curry powder.

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After combining these ingredients together, I then added several roasted chile peppers along with a handful of cilantro stems (sorry, Mom!), and then blended these all together. The chiles were the last of roasted chile peppers that I got at last year’s farmers market and froze. Finally, I added a little bit of water to make a smooth paste, then added this all to a soup pot to cook in a little bit of oil.

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After the paste had cooked for several minutes, I then added light coconut milk, veggie broth, and a little soy sauce to make the soup base. Once this mixture was simmering, I added some vegetarian “chicken” chunks, along with diced onions and peppers.

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While the soup was simmering away, I prepared some wide wheat noodles, along with the veggie topping of red onions, thinly sliced red peppers, limes, and chopped cilantro. I had planned to use bean sprouts as part of the topping, but sadly they had become bean mush almost instantaneously and weren’t suitable for eating.

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After the peppers and onions were softened, I tasted the soup and added a little lime juice and chile pepper flakes to add a little sourness and some more heat. To serve the soup, I placed some noodles in the bottom of each bowl, spooned the soup over top, and then added the red onion, lime, red pepper, and cilantro.

The soup was great for a warm spring day – lighter than a heavy winter stew, but with a little more substance than a light summery soup.

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Vegetarian Khao Soi Soup
Adapted from Bon Appetit Chicken Khao Soup

  • 3 shallots
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 3 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 3 Tbsp turmeric
  • 2.5 Tbsp coriander
  • 2 Tsp curry powder
  • 6 roasted green chiles, skins removed
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves separated
  • 1 lime, cut into eights
  • 2 cans light coconut milk
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • bean sprouts, optional
  • 1/2 cup vegetarian chicken chunks
  • 1 lb wide wheat noodles, cooked
  • low sodium soy sauce
  • chili oil
  • lime juice, to taste
  • Roughly chop the garlic, shallots, and ginger, and place them in a Cuisinart food processor to finely mince them. Add the turmeric, coriander, curry powder, roasted chiles, and cilantro stems, and run the food processor until a paste starts to come together. Add enough water to make a smooth paste (I needed about 4 Tbsp).

    In a soup pot, heat 2 Tbsp chili oil and add the curry paste. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the paste starts to brown slightly. Make sure it doesn’t burn! Add the coconut milk, veggie broth, and 2 Tbsp soy sauce, then cover the pot until the soup comes to a simmer. Add the chicken chunks, red pepper, and diced onion, and allow to simmer until the veggies are slightly softened, but not falling apart.

    Taste the soup, seasoning with soy sauce, lime juice, and chili flakes until you reach your desired saltiness, sourness, and spiciness.

    To serve, place a small amount of the cooked noodles in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the soup over the noodles, then top with red onion, red pepper, cilantro, lime wedges, and bean sprouts (if using).

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    Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup

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    Yesterday was chilly, so it seemed like a good night for soup. I decided to make this yummy but healthy Italian style soup along with some homemade bread. I mixed up the bread earlier in the day, making a simple dough with water, yeast, flour, and salt.

    While the bread was baking, I started the soup by dicing up some shallots and garlic, then sautéing them in olive oil.

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    After the shallots and garlic were softened, I added in lots of cannellini beans followed by veggie broth, thyme, and lots of freshly ground pepper. While the soup came to a simmer, I cleaned and chopped up lots of kale.

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    The kale went into the soup, which I then covered to cook the kale until it was bright green and slightly softened. By this point, the bread had finished baking and was cooling – yum! Even our cat Kaley likes homemade bread.

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    The kale was finished cooking, so I chopped up some cherry tomatoes, which went into the soup to cook for just a few minutes.

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    Finally, I finished the soup with a dash of lemon juice, and ladled it over some toasted bread cubes. The freshly made bread was perfect for dipping into the soup, and Jon commented that I got him to eat (and enjoy) green stuff!

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    Italian Cannellini and Kale Soup

    4-5 shallots, diced
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    3 cups cannellini beans
    6 cups veggie broth
    1 bunch kale, ribs removed and leaves roughly chopped
    8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
    2 tsp thyme
    Lots of freshly ground pepper
    Salt to taste
    Toasted bread cubes (optional)

    Sauté the shallots and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add the cannellini beans, cooking for just a few minutes. It’s ok if some of the beans crush a little bit, as this will thicken the soup.

    Add the veggie broth and thyme and allow to come to a simmer, then add the kale leaves and cover. Allow to simmer until the kale is bright green and somewhat softened.

    Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes. Finish the soup with a dash of lemon juice. If desired, place the toasted bread cubes in the bottom of the bowls before ladling the soup on top. Best served with a slice of crusty homemade bread for dipping.

    Tri-pepper chili and cornbread

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    We are at my in-laws house for the holidays this year, and one of Jon’s longtime friends came over for dinner, along with his beautiful family. I offered to make dinner for the entire group, and decided to make tri-pepper chili and vegan cornbread.

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    I started off by making the cornbread using this great recipe from Pickles and Honey. This cornbread is amazing and is liked by both vegans and non-vegans alike! After the cornbread cooled, I sliced it up into big squares perfect for dipping and crumbling into the chili.

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    I started the chili by sautéing diced onions and minced garlic in some olive oil. After the onion was softened, I added in some ground cumin and coriander, toasting the spices until they were flavorful. Next went in diced tomatoes – lots of them! Fortunately, Kathy (Jon’s Mom) whipped out her electric can opener to help me out, so all I had to do was pour in the diced tomatoes along with the black beans.

    While the soup came to a simmer, I chopped up red, yellow, and orange peppers (hence the tri-pepper) which all went into the soup, along with some vegetarian “beef” crumbles.

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    Since I was cooking for a group, I was very restrained with my use of hot sauce, chili peppers, and red pepper flakes. So that everyone could personalize the spiciness based on their taste buds, I diced up jalapeños and green onions for toppings. There was also shredded cheddar for the non-vegans.

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    The chili made for a great meal for Jon and his friend to catch up over, followed by several games of Zombie Dice that were lots of fun for everyone!

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