Thursday, August 17, 2017

Easy Vegan Minestrone

Here's a good soup I threw together the other night, just using regular things we almost always have around. Use what you have. It will work.

The ingredients are pretty basic, and as with my other un-recipes, amounts are not important. The pasta is optional, but we're big noodleheads.

Easy Vegan Minestrone

small pasta, like elbows or little shells
1 onion, chopped
lots of fresh garlic, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
herbs to taste - 1 or more tsp. each:
1 box vegetable broth
nutritional yeast, about 1/4 cup, or more to taste
3 cans of beans, drained and rinsed - I used kidney, cannellini, and garbanzo
greens, like spinach, kale, or chard - about 3 big handfuls, chopped
tamari (or salt)

If you're going to use noodles, cook them first in your soup pot, then drain them and set them aside.

Back to the soup pot, cook the onion over medium heat, until it's soft. You don't need oil - add a little water if they start to dry out or burn.

Add the garlic and tomatoes when the onions are almost done. Simmer until the tomatoes turn a little bit orange.

Add the herbs and broth, then the nutritional yeast, and cook for a few minutes, till it's all hot again.

Add the beans and greens, and cook until the greens are softened.

Season with pepper and tamari to taste.

If you'll be serving enough people to finish off the soup (I'd say 4-6), you can add as many noodles as you like to the pot. If you'll be saving some soup for another day, just put the noodles in the soup bowls, so they don't get soggy in overnight storage.

We ate this soup for three days, adding the pasta as we went, and it just kept getting better.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Zucchini with Chickpeas

I don't know why I'm not a gardener. I'm just not. But people often bring me good things from their own gardens, which I really enjoy. I was gifted with an enormous zucchini the other day, and my first reaction was, Oh crap, what am I going to do with this monster? After pondering my options for a while, I decided to cut it in half, and make a simple dinner of zucchini and chickpeas. (The other half is slowly making its way into our morning smoothies. Who knew zucchini and bananas could be friends?)

I'm big on beans, and you're going to see a lot of them around here. High in protein and fiber, and zero in cholesterol (as are all plant based foods), beans are a satisfying, versatile, inexpensive alternative to meat. A simple bowl of vegetables becomes a meal rather than a side dish when you add beans to it. Try different beans with all sorts of things. You'll see.

This is an "un-recipe," meaning the measurements, and even some of the ingredients, are not important. Just use what you have and season to taste.

Zucchini with Chickpeas

fresh chopped garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
dry or fresh basil, oregano, and thyme
red pepper flakes (or black pepper)
vegetable broth
3-4 cups chopped zucchini
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 T nutritional yeast
squeeze of lemon

Cook the tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and red pepper flakes in a skillet, over medium heat, until the tomatoes soften and start to turn orange. Add broth a little at a time if needed to keep it from getting too thick.

Add the zucchini and cook a few minutes, until it starts to soften. Add more broth if needed, but wait to see of the zucchini will put off a lot of water first.

Add the chickpeas and nutritional yeast, and maybe a little more broth.

Check the seasoning, and stir in a squeeze of lemon just before serving.

This took me about 20 minutes to throw this together. You could serve it with brown rice or quinoa if you like, and I think the addition of black olives would have made it even better. Cannellini beans would be good in this in place of chickpeas. You could also wilt in some spinach or other greens near the end of the cooking process.

Want to know more about protein, how much we really need, and the best places to get it? Check out this article, Five Protein Myths, from PCRM. Smart folks over there.