Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Golden Vegetable "Halloween" Soup
Halloween is in 21 days. I love holidays. I love being festive. I love Autumn. It gives me a reason to celebrate; something to look forward to when life's work can seem monotonous and repetitive, maybe even hard.
Taking this love of mine, I wanted to find a way to turn it into food. But everything that is festive for Halloween seems to consist of a lot of junk.
I racked my brain. What is Halloween-y-ish? Not a word, I know. But my spell checker doesn't seem to mind.
I shuffled through my big stack of vegan books. Nothing sounded good, or looked like Halloween.
So I resigned myself to just trying out a new dinner. I found a good soup, since Autumn always puts me in a soupy mood.
Forget Halloween. Vegans never have fun anyway, right?
Oh. My. Goodness.
I love this soup/stew/chowder/casserole in a bowl.
More than Coconut Corn Chowder. [Gasp!]
So do my kids...and they generally despise soup. It makes them frown. It makes them sigh. This soup did nothing of the sort. Empty bowls, and Samuel went back for seconds. To keep up with his soup-eating trend, of course Paul had thirds.
This soup was originally called, "Golden Vegetable Soup."
After stuffing my face with it, I realized.
This soup is not only **GOLDEN** my friends.
It is Halloween-y-ish.
Without even realizing it, I had found exactly what I was looking for. The healthy way that I wanted it. Beautiful orange colors, creamy, and yummy. Kid-friendly.
Serve it in black bowls, with a side of fakey little black spiders, and you have Halloween on the table.
I will definitely be making this year-round, even if it is not Halloween, not Autumn, not Fall.
So call it what you may, but I love calling it Halloween Soup. I bet your kids would love that, too.
PROJECT VEGAN KIDS
Golden Vegetable, or Halloween Soup
By Neva Brackett, from Seven Secrets Cookbook
Gluten Free Option, Nut Free, Soy Free
~Makes 12 cups. But in this family, it was gone in less than 24 hours.
Note from Neva: Here's (my daughter) Kathy's favorite soup. She is a busy mother of three, and this is a recipe she developed over time to delight her children (they like the shells) and herself (easy to make). She took it to a soup potluck recently, and was the only one with an empty soup crock to take home.
Note from Ashlee: To make it a little more child-friendly, I omitted the green onions and cilantro. I also added an extra 1/2-3/4 cup of corn to the finished soup. To make it adult-minded, serve with a large green salad. Although this does NOT qualify for VEGAN FAST FOOD, (it took me about 45 minutes) it is Mom-friendly, in that it is not labor intensive, and is quite easy to make.
1 onion, diced
1 cup shredded or coined carrots (2-3 large) (I coined mine, and added 4 carrots)
2 cups diced potatoes
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups water
2 cups uncooked pasta shells (I used brown rice pasta shells, gluten free)
1 bunch green onions, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 can coconut milk (or 1 cup raw cashew nuts and 1 1/2 cups water) (I used coconut milk)
10-ounce can tomato soup (to make it GF, may use 15 ounce can tomatoes in juice)
1 tablespoon Chicken-Like Seasoning (I used Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed (I found beautiful Dill at Trader Joe's, vibrant green color)
1 bunch cilantro leaves (omit for more child-friendly)
1.) Place onion, carrots, potatoes, salt, and water in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. (I used my electric pressure cooker, on high, for 8 minutes. Carrots take as long to soften as potatoes do.)
2.) Add uncooked pasta shells, diced green onions, and remaining seasonings. Simmer 8-10 more minutes. (Because I used brown rice pasta shells, GF, I had to simmer it for 15 more minutes.)
3.) Blend coconut milk (or cashew nuts), tomato soup, chicken-like seasoning, and corn in a blender until smooth. Add to soup along with cilantro leaves (omit, or serve separately for more kid-friendly verson.) and heat to serving temperature.
Variation: Add 1 cup frozen corn, or 1 cup frozen peas thawed, and added just before serving. (I added corn.)
I know what I am taking to our church Halloween potluck!
Do you have any favorite Halloween/Autumn foods that are healthy?
I love acorn squash. Last night I baked it in the oven, at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Served it on top of steamed, Jasmine brown rice, with some steamed broccoli. A little salt and pepper, and it was Autumn loveliness.
The kids (7 last night) had pizza topped with Daiya cheese (in block form, then shredded, I think it tastes way better this way, and not so dry as pre-shredded).
These are their very happy pizza faces.
My kids are the only ones who are vegan, and I am happy to report that all of these children enjoyed their pizza. Not knowing it was not dairy cheese. (one child ate three fourths of their pizza, and then complained that it tasted a bit different). You may give it a try with your kids. It doesn't taste exactly like dairy cheese, but if it works, it works!