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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
Ask Aunt Nettie

We're delighted to share our Aunt Nettie with you. She's agreed to answer any questions you might ask about vegetarian food, its preparation, and even clean-up tips. But we have to prepare you. She just might want to come right over to your house and help you fix dinner.

To send any questions to Ask Aunt Nettie, .

Hi Aunt Nettie,

I'm looking for a great main dish that doesn't have tons of calories. During this last holiday season I put on six pounds, yuk, and have absolutely got to take them off-plus a few more. Please help me out! If you have any really filling and healthy recipes I really need them.


Howdy there Anita,

Well, darlin', I kin hear yer frettin' an' I'm gonna help y'all with a mighty tasty soup recipe that's chock full o' deelicious vegetables, them wheat an' buckwheat noodles called soba, an' some tofu. It's easy fixin's an' the recipe makes a whoppin' potful.

It's the purfect soup fer after them holidays when all's ya do is eat more than yer share o' rich foods an' sometimes even things that's pure rubbish. Now, this is a wonderful soup that oughter make ya feel mighty fine--nice an' warm, too.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

There's something magic in a bowl of soup that enables it to practically reach into the depths of the soul. Soup can satisfy like nothing else can. And soup aficionados will tell you there are defining qualities that pit the thick soup lovers against the light broth fanciers. Here's a delicious Asian style noodle soup that falls neatly into the broth niche while offering relief to the soul searching for a hearty meal. And, this soup is calorie light.


(Tofu Miso Vegetable Noodle Soup)

    1 1/2 (360 ml) cups water
    3 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 stick cinnamon
    2 whole star anise (optional)
    1 bay leaf
    1 cup (240 ml) sliced button mushrooms
    5 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced, stems discarded
    1 cup (240 ml) chopped, peeled daikon radish
    2 stalks celery, sliced, including leaves
    1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 broccoli crown, chopped
    2 to 3 leaves Napa cabbage, sliced

    4 to 5 cups (1 to 1.25 liters) water
    3 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos, low sodium tamari, or soy sauce
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 to 3 teaspoons organic cane sugar
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice Powder
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
    1/4 pound (113 g) soba noodles or noodles of your choice
    1/2 pound (225 g) firm tofu cut into bite-size cubes

    1/4 pound (113 g) bean sprouts
    Hot sauce to taste (optional)
    2 to 3 tablespoons red miso
    Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Combine the water, garlic, cinnamon stick, star anise, bay leaf, button and shiitake mushrooms, daikon radish, celery, carrots, onions, broccoli, and cabbage in a 10 to 12-quart (2.5 to 3 liter) stockpot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Remove the cover and cook and stir until the vegetables are softened, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Add the 4 to 5 cups (1 to 1.25 liters) of water, Bragg Liquid Aminos, lemon juice, sugar, 5-spice powder, cayenne, soba noodles, and tofu and cook over high heat until the liquid returns to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-high and simmer until the noodles are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Add the bean sprouts and season with hot sauce, red miso, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasonings with lemon juice and sugar if needed. Makes 5 to 6 servings.

If You Haven't Met Aunt Nettie. . .

Our Aunt Nettie has a head like a hard disk. It's filled with gigabytes of information about food and cooking. And she's just itchin' to share her learnin' with city folk who live in mortal fear of the stovetop.

Aunt Nettie grew up on the farm. She did not eat out of a can or reach into the freezer. There was no microwave to pop her food into. Everything she made was from scratch. All the food she ate was natural, without pesticides. It was grown right there on the family farm, and she had to cook to survive. At eighty-three years young she still leaps and bounds around the kitchen and can shake, rattle, and roll those pots and pans with the best of them.

Nowadays, Aunt Nettie just shakes her head and complains, "Nobody cooks anymore. They have no idea about puttin' a meal together." She's on a mission. She wants to help those younguns eat better so they can grow up healthy like her own eight kids.

Click here for past Ask Aunt Nettie Columns

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