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Creamy Butternut, Cauliflower, and Lentil Soup

This is an easy budget soup, making four main-meal-sized portions. Don’t let the inclusion of the notoriously difficult to peel squash put you off; there are two options below to make your job much, much easier. As always, use this recipe as a roadmap: try it with the addition of coconut milk and either Thai or Indian spices; add a can of tomato sauce and some Italian herbs. A good base soup can be varied in so many different ways.

Ingredients:

1 red onion, medium dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 butternut squash
200g split red lentils
1 small cauliflower, in florets (approx. 500g)
1.5 litres vegetable stock
Pinch chilli flakes
1 tbsp fresh sage leaves, minced (or 1 tsp, dried, rubbed between fingers)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 heaped tbsp yellow miso

Directions:
1. Carefully make several slits in skin of the squash with a small sharp knife, and microwave for about 3-5 minutes to loosen the peel from the flesh slightly. Alternatively, slit and then boil the squash whole in a large stock pot for about 5 minutes, until softened. Wait until it’s cool enough to handle, and then peel, deseed, and chop into bite-sized dice.
2. In a stock pot over a very low heat, sweat the onion and garlic, stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes. Don’t allow them to take on any colour; if they start to stick, the heat is too high. Lower it, and add a little broth to loosen.
3. Add the cauliflower, stock, butternut squash, chilli flakes, and sage leaves. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
4. While the soup is cooking, rinse and drain the lentils, picking them over to ensure there are no small stones or pieces of grit among them. Add them to a saucepan with about 400g water, bring to the boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until softened. Drain and rinse.
5. Add the lentils back to the pot with the butternut squash (cooking them separately ensures that the lentils don’t add any foam to your soup), and mix well to combine. Spoon between a third and half of the soup into a blender jug with the miso paste and blend until creamy. Alternatively, remove the same quantity of soup and use an immersion blender to blend it to smooth.
6. Stir the blended soup back to the pot, warm, and serve in warmed bowls with some parsley, additional chilli flakes, and nutritional yeast if desired.

Miso-Carrot Dipping Sauce

A simple, budget recipe that’s great fun for children, and very versatile. It can be used as a spread, or even a sauce for pasta or vegetables. This recipe makes a large batch, but it keeps in the fridge for up to a week in a sealed container.

Ingredients

2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 heaped tbsp yellow miso
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1-2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp yellow or Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic

Directions

1. Boil the potatoes and carrots together until the potatoes are tender. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.
2. Place all of the ingredients into a blender with 3/4-1 cup of the cooking liquid until you achieve the desired consistency.

Miso-Ginger Salad Dressing

You may not have tried miso before, but its flavour is delicious, it’s incredibly rich, and it adds beautiful umami notes (with a hint of sweetness) to dishes. Because it’s fermented, it’s supportive of a healthy gut. You can find miso in the Japanese section of your supermarket, in your local Asian market, or in a health food store.

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, minced
3cm piece ginger, minced
1 shallot or 2 tsp red onion, minced
2 tbsp lime juice
2 cups cooked white beans, or one can, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp white miso paste
3 tbsp maple syrup or other suitable-for-vegan liquid sweetener
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2-1 cup water, or amount needed to thin to desired consistency

Method

Purée everything in in a blender or food processor. Cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

Spicy Stir-Fry Vegetable Soup

This spicy loaded soup is ready in 15 minutes and serves 8, so feel free to halve the recipe. If you don’t like spice, reduce the amount of chili or omit altogether. Feel free to use the recipe as a roadmap: no ingredient is essential, so experiment with the vegetables and see which flavours appeal to you.

Ingredients

1 red onion, sliced
3 bell peppers, sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 inch piece of ginger, quartered and thinly sliced
150g button mushrooms, quartered
2 bok choy, the white ends sliced and the green tops left whole
2 red chilis (optional), sliced
1/2 block tofu (approx 150g), cubed
2 litres vegetable stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp yellow miso paste

Method

1. Sauté the onions in a large soup pot over a medium-low heat. When they start to colour, add the peppers, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, bok choy whites, and chilis.
2. When the vegetables have started to soften, add the tofu, stock, and soy sauce.
3. Don’t bring the soup to a boil; instead, allow it to simmer over a low heat for about 5 minutes.
4. Add the bok choy and the miso, and stir. Simmer for two minutes more.

Parsnip, ginger and miso soup

A rich and filling soup for winter, garnished with smokey bourbon and brown sugar coconut, spinach chiffonade and black pepper.

Ingredients

For the soup
2T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
1T fresh garlic, minced
2T fresh ginger, minced
3 cups parsnip, 1/2″ dice (about 4-5 cored parsnips)
1T lemon juice
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
2 cups vegetable stock
1T white miso
2T nutritional yeast
1T tapioca starch dissolved in 2T cold water
1/2 cup baby spinach
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the coconut
3T coconut flakes
1T bourbon (1)
1/2T tamari
1/2t brown sugar (2)
A dash liquid smoke
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

First, core and dice the parnship.
Bring the oil to heat with 1/4t sea salt in a large pan with a lid on medium high.
Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 2 minutes until they’re aromatic.
Add the parsnip, and fry for 4-6 minutes, until the pan is starting to brown lightly.
Add the lemon juice to the pan and deglaze.
Add the soy milk, stock and miso.
Return to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
While the soup simmer, make the coconut.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Toss the coconut in the other ingredients until well-coated.
Arrange the coconut in a a small glass or ceramic baking dish in an even layer.
Bake on the middle rack until brown, about 10-12 minutes, stirring here and there. Ovens vary; use the
color and dryness as a guide and be careful not to overcook.
When ready, remove the coconut from the oven and set aside.
When the soup is ready, remove it from heat.
Add the nutritional yeast.
Puree the ingredients.
Return to a light simmer.
Stirring continuously, add the tapioca solution to the pan, stirring until thick.
Remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes to cool.
Season to taste, and ladle into bowls.
Garnish with a few grinds of fresh black pepper, 2-3 whole spinach leaves, 2-3T spinach chiffonade and
coconut.

  1. It’s rare that bourbon is manufactured with animal
    products, but some are.
  2. An increasing amount of cane sugar is made without animal bone charcoal. Organic cane sugar, beet sugar, and otherwise unrefined sugars are typically fine.

Blue popcorn with white miso and nutritional yeast

A simple, delightful and inexpensive snack.

Ingredients

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2-3T plant-only margarine (or to your taste)
1/2t white miso (or more if you like miso)
1/2t onion powder
1/4t garlic powder
3-4T nutritional yeast, divided
Sea salt and and other seasonings to taste

Directions

Pop the popcorn either by stove top method or using a popper.
For the stove top version, use a frying pan with a lid and around 2T canola or avocado oil depending on the size
of the pan.
Heat the oil on medium high.
Add 2-3 kernels when the pan is warm, cover and wait for them to pop.
Add the remaining kernels in a single layer, cover and pop.
Shake the pan once they start to pop in earnest, and remove from heat once the they start to slow down.
Pour the popcorn into a bowl when it has settled.
Melt the margarine and whisk with the remaining seasonings until well-combined.
If you prefer some soft kernels, some dry kernels, pour over top.
For a more even coating, pour the mixture down the sides of the popcorn bowl evenly.
Swirl the popcorn by hand against the sides ensuring as even of a coating as possible.
Add an tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast, sea salt and any other seasonings to taste, and enjoy.

Miso and greens soup with kale, spinach, nori and dulse

A light and but nourishing soup with an elegant and colourful presentation. Add some cooked black or French lentils for a more filling version.

Ingredients

1T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
2 scallions, minced (4″ green sliced and reserved for garnish)
1T fresh garlic, minced
1t dried oregano, rubbed
1T lemon juice
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
2T white miso
2T cashew butter
1T tapioca flour dissolved in 2T cold water
1 cup baby kale with 1/4 cup reserved for garnish
1 cup baby spinach with 1/4 cup reserved for garnish
2T nutritional yeast
1t purple dulse flakes
1t toasted nori flakes
1/2t smoked paprika
1/2T black sesame seeds
1/4t black salt
2T or so passata (tomato puree)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Bring the oil and sea salt to heat in a large pan on medium-high.
Saute the scallions for 2 minutes.
Add the garlic and oregano and saute for 1 minute.
Add the lemon and deglaze the pan if necessary.
Add the stock and soy milk, and bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the cashew butter and white miso.
Puree the soup until smooth and consistent.
Mix the kale and spinach and add 1 1/2 cups to the soup.
Return the pan to a light simmer and simmer another 2-3 minutes until the greens are wilted.
Slowly add the tapioca mixture stirring continuously until thickened.
Remove from heat and let stand to cool 2-3 minutes.
Season to taste.
Ladle soup into each bowl.
Garnish each bowl with the reserved kale, spinach and scallions.
Then garnish each with the remaining ingredients.

Strawberry, vanilla, and white miso frozen dessert with chopped walnuts.

A flavorful but light dessert or rich breakfast.

Ingredients

For the bananas
2 medium frozen bananas (about 1.5 cups)
1T sweet white miso
2t white pickling vinegar
1/4t vanilla extract
1-2T maple syrup (or to taste)

Optional: 1t maca powder

For the strawberries
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2T maple syrup
1/2T lemon juice

For garnish
1t chopped walnuts

Directions

Puree the banana first and its ingredients first, including the maca if you’ll be using it. Let the flavours mingle for about 3-5 minutes in the freezer. Puree the strawberries with their ingredients. Spoon the bananas out into an appropriate dish. Swirl about 1/3 of the strawberry mix with the bananas and top with the strawberries. Garnish with walnuts and serve.

Note: If you’re not accustomed to white vinegar or white miso, start with smaller amounts and add more to your taste, or try apple cider vinegar instead. The flavours will mellow after a few minutes.

Turmeric, miso stew with tofu, tempeh, mushrooms, and potatoes

Sweetened with dates, thickened with flax, and finished with baby kale, this is a rich, spicy stew with lots of strong flavour and colour. If you’re not a turmeric lover, keep the amount low to start.

Ingredients

1/4 cup water
1/2t coarse sea salt
2T scallions, finely chopped (reserve a few inches of green for garnish)
1-3t dried, ground turmeric (to taste — I use 1T)
1T fresh garlic, minced
1t fresh ginger, grated and minced
1/2t dried, ground cumin
1/2t dried marjoram, rubbed
1/4t dried red chilis (or to taste — I use about 1/2t)
1 cup cremini mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced, about 1/8″
125g extra firm, high quality tofu, 1/3″ cubes
125g tempeh, 1/4″ cubes (use pasteurized)
1 1/2 cups potatoes, 1/3″ dice (I use organic russets)
1/2 cup dried, soft dates, pitted and finely chopped
1T lemon juice
1 ‘sprig’ dried kombu, about 2″
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups unsweetened plant milk
3T red miso (or more, to taste)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1T sesame seed butter
2T milled flax seed
3 cups loose baby kale (leave a few leaves for garnish)
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: White, yellow, or other shades of miso will work, but they’ll change the final colour. Use freshly grated turmeric (start with 1T) if you have an easy source. Leave out the garlic if you prefer. A little shredded cabbage added with the plant milk and/or a little cilantro for garnish wouldn’t hurt. Add some fresh blueberries to brighten up the flavour.

Method

Warm a large frying pan with a lid on medium heat. Add the water, sea salt and scallion. Water saute for 2 minutes. Add the turmeric, and other herbs and spices. Saute another minute.

Add the mushrooms. Saute for another 2 – 3 minutes. Add the tofu, tempeh, potatoes and dates. Saute another 2 minutes. Add the lemon and deglaze the pan (if necessary).

Add the stock, bring the pan to a light simmer, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Uncover, add the plant milk. Increase heat to medium low.

Simmer another 30 minutes or so uncovered on low heat (as low as you can set it but still simmer) stirring periodically. Remove from heat. Remove the kombu. Add the miso, nutritional yeast, sesame seed butter, flax and kale. Stir to combine.

Let stand 2 minutes to cool. Season to taste. Ladle out into bowls. Garnish with scallion green sliced on an angle and a few scallion greens and serve.

Miso noodle soup with kale and mushrooms

Simple and satisfying with nourishing miso and chewy noodles simmered in the broth. This recipe easily doubles.

Ingredients

For the soup
2T water
1/4t coarse sea salt
1 scallion, minced (2″ – 3″ green reserved for garnish)
75g cremini mushrooms, 1/4″ slices
1/2T lemon juice
1/2T tamari
2 cups water
1 ‘sprig’ dried kombu (about 1″)
1-2T red soy miso (to taste)
1 cup green kale, coarsely chopped
Coarse sea salt (or tamari) and black pepper to taste

For the noodles
1/4 cup whole wheat bread flour
2-3T cold water
A pinch sea salt

Optional: Additional sea vegetables will go well in this soup, as would sesame seeds for garnish. Replace the cremini mushrooms with shiitake mushrooms if you prefer. Use white miso or just 1T red miso for something a little more neutral in taste. Add a few drops of toasted sesame oil with the scallions for a little additional flavour.

Method

Make the noodles first, then the soup. Mix the flour, salt and water together until a smooth dough forms. If you need to add extra water, do so a teaspoon at a time. Knead for 3 minutes and set aside in a bowl covered with a warm, moist tea towel. Let rest for at least 10 minutes. Knead another 3 minutes. Return to the bowl for another 10 minutes to rest. Knead another 3 minutes. Return to the bowl for a final 10 minutes.

On a floured board, roll the dough out to a large rectangle, about 1/8″ thick and no less than 9″ long. Using a wheeled pastry cutter, cut 1/4″ noodles, or fold very gently length-wise into thirds (in an S-curve) and cut the noodles with a knife if you prefer. Let the noodles rest while you make the soup.
Bring a large pan with a lid to heat on medium high. Add the water, sea salt, scallions, and mushrooms. Stir fry for 3-5 minutes, or until the pan is starting to brown and the mushrooms are softening. Add the lemon and tamari and deglaze the pan. Stir fry another 2 minutes. Add the water and kombu, and return the pan to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

At the 10 minute mark, add the noodles and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the kale and simmer another two minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 2 minutes to cool. Add the miso and stir to combine. Season to taste. Ladle out, garnish with scallions sliced on an angle, and serve.