Sweet potato soup with coconut & lime.

 

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If you were looking for a fancy shmancy dish and you’re not a fan of sweet potatoes, then stop reading here ;-). Otherwise, please continue.

I’ve been on a sweet potato roll, for the last week or so. The reason? I asked my husband to bring home some sweet potatoes from his grocery shopping round last week, and the day after that, when I again found myself in the supermarket (which is VERY – sometimes too – conveniently located just a mere 150 m way, so I can easily pick up things I forgot the day before…), I saw the sweet potatoes were on offer: buy one package, get one for free. I went for the deal of course. So that’s why we’ve been having this gorgeous dal soup with the at least as spectacular restaurant-style naan last weekend, this chili with sweet potato instead of carrots (works great too, by the way), and the soup I’m writing about now. And since we have more sweet potatoes left, I consider making either oven-baked sweet potatoe fries, Dreena Burton’s heavenly smoky white bean-sweet potato hummus (from Vive le vegan), sweet potato rolls (got the pun?), or Isa Chandra’s sweet potato gnocchi with roasted Brussels sprouts (from Isa Does It). Chances are it’ll be the latter, for guess what, I still got heaps of Brussels sprouts  as those were on sale the week before last one (and I already roasted them, used them in soup and potato mash).

But back to the soup, which is both dead easy and filling.

 

Sweet potato soup with coconut and lime

  • Servings: 6-8 portions
  • Time: 20 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 leek
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 small sweet potatoes, cubed (I used about 330 g)
  • 1,5 – 2 tsp ginger (grated or finely chopped)
  • 1 – 1,5 tsp lemongrass (grated or finely chopped)
  • 1 l (= 4 cups) vegetable stock
  • 250 ml (= 1 cup) coconut milk
  • 2 TB lime juice (or more, if you like)
  • Salt and black pepper.
  • Cilantro, for garnish

Directions

Sauté the leek, together with the garlic. Add ginger and lemon grass, and then the remaining ingredients. When the sweet potato cubes have softened, puree the soup with a handheld mixer (immersion blender). If you find the soup to be too thick to  your liking, add some more water or coconut milk.

 

 

 

Purple carrot & beet soup.

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A short while ago I came across this mouthwatering recipe of vegetable crisps with sweet potato, parsnip and beetroot, so when I spotted a basket of beautiful multicoloured beets in our local supermarket, I decided to buy those, along with purple and yellow carrots, and have a go at the recipe.

Of course two weeks went by and still I had not ventured into the realm of homemade, oven baked crisps, partly held back by the fear of them not turning out as beautifully crisp and crunchy as the promise held by the video tutorial. Partly because I rather felt like winding down in the evening, rather then putting my apron back on. So there they were, these yellow, purple and pink beauties, unrightfully ignored. So I decided to make a soup with them instead, since my husband is quite fond of beets and soup (I abandoned the idea of a second go at purple carrot-potato mash; I made it once, and the children did not find the purple-pink colour very appealing as it was not what they are used to having on their plate).

Apart from beets and carrots, I added a red onion, a red bell pepper, and some red wine. No seasonings and frills, as this sweet soup is actually good to go as it is.

If you’re into Valentine-themed food, then this pinkish-purple soup might be something for you. You can even add creamy dots that easily transform into a heart-shaped garland with the swift touch of a toothpick.

purple carrot and beet soup

  • Servings: 10
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 4 beets (I used 2 pinkish white, 1 white and 1 yellow beet, but you can just use regular beets too)
  • 5 purple carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup or 60 ml red wine
  • 10 cups or 2,5 l vegetable stock
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Optional: a dash of sweet paprika and/or caraway
  • Chives, parsley, vegan cream for garnish

Directions

Sauté the onion, then pour in the wine and add the rest of the veggies and the stock. Let simmer until all vegetables have softened, then blend until smooth. Add more water if you want to thin out the soup.

 

 

Minestrone & Socca.

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In the series of  easy and satisfying Saturday soups I now present the magnicifenct minestrone. This was what we had two weeks ago, with socca – a savoury mediterranean chickpea flatbread or pancake stemming from the French and Italian Riviera – on the side. At the end of lunchtime, everything was gone!

Let’s not waste any words on describing how very, very simple and delicious this is – here come the recipes.

 

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Minestrone & Socca.

Minestrone

Ingredients

  • 150 g uncooked Puy lentils, rinsed (if you prefer borlotti or cannellini beans, or a blend of both lentils and beans, go ahead) + 3x the volume in water, for cooking
  • 1 onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 can finely chopped tomatoes (or the equivalent of fresh ones, ca. 400g)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ca. 6 – 7 cups vegetable broth (1,5- 1,75 l)
  • 1/2 cup tiny pasta shapes (vermicelli or alphabet pasta, or whatever at hand)

Directions

  • Boil the lentils in a separate pot. You don’t want to add them straight to the pot in which you’re preparing the soup, for otherwise they’ll add a murkish brown hue to your soup – and you do not want this, right? So boil them separately, drain and rinse them again, and then add them to the – bright red – soup in the final stage..
  • Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the finely chopped carrots and celery. After some minutes, pour in the broth, tomatoes and tomato pastetogether with the bay leaves and rosemary.

Socca

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chickpea flour or besan (there is actually a slight difference between the two; what I use is this besan or gram flour which I procure from an Asian store. This is a versatile, ingredient and very practical ingredient to have in a vegan kitchen, as it can quite often function as an egg substitute in a wide range of recipes, from quiche, omelette, to even cookies).
  • 1 cup water (one can increase and decrease the volume of water, depending on the thickness of the flatbread you would like to achieve).
  • 1-2 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • herbs and seasonings of your choice; I used a TB of an Italian herb blend, which also contains some extra salt, and also added a garlic clove or two.

Directions

  • Gradually mix in the water into the besan, careful not to make any lumps. Whisk until you have a smooth batter, and then add the olive oil, salt and the optional herbs.
  • Let the batter rest for at least half an hour, but preferably longer. (Do NOT taste the batter in the meantime. Gram flour has a very distinct, raw flavour when uncooked, so refrain from pre-tasting, as it will only disappoint you. Not so much the final result, though. So practice some patience here.)
  • Pour the liquid into a skillet and bake. — Traditionally socca is oven-baked and broiled, but since I do not have any oven-proof skillets, I just use my stove. And that works fine too.

If you google images of socca, you will find that a socca’s thickness can range from several mm, to quite thin. The one I made kind of occupied the middle ground between those two extremes.

Celeriac-pear soup

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Pears? In soup? No, I’m not kidding. At all. Fruit in soup is not as extraordinary or weird as you might think. The lentil soup I often cook has apple in it, curried apple-tomato soup is also a treat, and apart from that, I once even made a banana soup which was pretty awesome.

But back to pears! And celeriacs! Those two food items have only the whitish colour of their flesh – in common. , but apart from that, they’re rather each other’s opposites: Knobbly, irregularly shaped and earthy and sharp tasting versus shapely, smooth and super sweet. Yet, throw them both in a soup pot in you’ll end up with a wonderful silky sweet soup you’ll absolutely want to make again. And the best part of it: you only need a handful of ingredients. This is as quick as it gets.

Celeriac-pear soup.

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped up
  • 1/2 cup celery root cubes (so you peel the celeriac first, discard the knobbly skin, and then cube the flesh)
  • 2 pears, peeled and cubed
  • 3 to 4 cups vegetable stock (depends on how thick you want the end result to be)
  • salt and looooots of cracked black pepper
  • optional: a splash of plant-based cream
  • optional, for variation or extra taste: sage, parsley, chives, ginger, or even some cardamom pods.
  • For garnish: parsley, chives

 

Instructions

Sauté the onion in some oil until translucent; add the pear and celeriac cubes, fry for some more minutes and then add the vegetable broth. Let simmer until the pear and celeriac cubes are tender, then puree the soup using an immersion blender. Bring to taste with salt and pepper. Lots of black pepper, in fact.

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Turkish red lentil soup & spinach-walnut puff pastry pockets

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Once upon a time there was this wonderful lunch place in Stockholm, on Valhallavägen, called Soppatorsk. The plain but delicious Turkish food they served – especially soups, salads and sandwiches –  was heavenly. They had both a rotating and a fixed menu, and among the fixed lunch items were my two favourites, which I usually ordered simultaneously: mercimek çorbası (lentil soup) and ıspanaklı börek (spinach filo pie). The latter did not have the traditional spinach-feta stuffing, but was a veganised version with spinach and tofu, and it was truly, utterly, mouthwateringly good. Yes, the combination of a pulse and vegetable based middle-eastern cuisine and a vegan-friendly Swedish setting was ideal!

For no obvious reason one day the place was closed down – much to my despair, for other than a Korean place nearby there were no good vegan lunch options in the vicinity of my workplace. So from that time onwards I started cooking my own version of red lentil soup – which came surprisingly close to the original. I made one attempt to replicate the börek, or spanakopita, as its Greek counterpart is called, but it wasn’t success. The winning recipe must be out there, so I’m sure that one day, I will be able to come up with a filo pie that can more or less stand in for that long-lost ideal. But in the meantime I did come up with something else, that actually pairs equally well with the soup: a puff pastry pocket with a walnut and spinach filling. And it’s not only me who is a fan, the rest of the household as well.

So if you usually don’t have much time to cook lunch on a Saturday packed with household chores, driving kids to and from leisure activities, and shopping, then this is your ideal lunch!

 

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Recipes for 4 servings.

Red lentil soup

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4-5 carrots, sliced
  • 3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed (I prefer the ones which are not split, as they retain more bite)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4,5 cup – 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 3/4 – 1 tbsp paprika
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  •  1 tsp salt
  • flatleaf parsley for garnish

Instructions

Fry the onions until translucent, add the garlic cloves, then the carrots. Stir for a minute or two, then pour in the stock and the red lentils. Bring to a boil, and add the tomato paste and spices. Let simmer until the lentils and carrots are soft. Garnish with parsley.

Spinach-walnut puff pastry pockets

Ingredients

  • 2 chopped onions
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 50 g gouda style cheese (I use Violife original or Wilmersburger classic), grated
  • 100g spinach (I used frozen spinach this time, but sometimes I chop up fresh spinach leaves)
  • nutmeg, salt, pepper
  • 1 large puff pastry sheet; the vegan kind, of course (in Belgium, one can only find vegan puff pastry which is organic)

Instructions

Finely chop the onion and walnuts in a food processor and then fry in some olive oil until the onion is nicely browned. Add the spinach, the grated cheese and spices, and let the mixture fry for a couple of more minutes, until the cheese has melted. Bring to taste with extra salt and pepper, if necessary. Then roll out the puff pastry sheet, cut it into evenly diveded pieces, spoon some of the mixture onto each piece, and fold into pockets. Bake in a pre-heated oven (200 degrees C) for ca. 15 minutes.

Enjoy!
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Chickpea-cauliflower soup with croutons.

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Using aquafaba in cinnamon buns is one thing, what to do with the can of chickpeas that was opened to get hold of that brine is another. There’s plenty of options, but since the children were home for lunch today, I opted for the easiest and quickest solution: SOUP!

I love soup. Chunky soup, creamy soup, rustic, exotic, .. you name it. And the kids love it too (especially when green – which was not the case today). I used to have a newspaper clipping somewhere with a recipe for chickpea soup with a hint of lemon and cumin. After moving house 4 times within barely 5 years, that clipping is surely lost forever. Too bad. But it was a fairly simple recipe based on just onion, garlic, chickpeas, cumin and lemon, as far as I remember. So today I recreated a soup containing exactly these ingredients, adding potato and cauliflower as well. The result was amazingly good! Tangy and creamy, just as I had hoped for it to be. I think it exceeded the original. And the kids? They gladly emptied their bowl.

Cauliflower-chickpea soup. (4 – 5  portions)

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 drained can chickpeas
  • 2 small to medium-sized potatoes, cut in cubes
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 – 1,5 tbsp lemon juice (add the lemon juice gradually, until the soup has reached the tanginess you prefer – be careful not to do overdo it)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • parsley

Instructions

  • Fry the onions until translucent
  • Add the garlic cloves, chickpeas, potato cubes, cauliflower and vegetable stock
  • Bring to a boil and let simmer until the potato and cauliflower is soft
  • Add the spices and blend the soup
  • Add the lemon juice
  • Finish with some parsley  – and of course some crunchy CROUTONS!

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