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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, .

Dear Aunt Nettie,

I live on the East Coast and sometimes the weather gets miserably cold. That's when I really want to eat something that stays warm all through the whole meal. You probably guessed I'm thinking about soup. I love potato soup and I've made so much of it I'm getting tired of it. What's a good hearty soup to warm us East Coasters?



Howdy there, Vinnie,

Well, darlin', I got the purrrfect soup fer yer shiverin' innards. I betcha you'll jes love a bowl o' soup with plenty o' them perky spices that warms ya from the insides out. You'll find a good measure o' garlic, onions, veggies, an' spices in this soup that's even got a smidgeon o' hot pepper flakes. The only way I keeps warm in winter is with them spices 'cause they really works--you jes wait 'n' see.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie


Nothing comforts like a bowl of hot soup brimming with vegetables and zesty seasonings when the weather turns cold, rainy, windy, or snowy. Mulligatawny Soup originated as a meat or chicken-based soup in East India, which explains the multitude of seasonings. As the soup traveled to the West, different ingredients were added, reflecting the influences of many creative cooks. In this vegan version, tofu makes the soup hearty enough to be the main dish. Accompany the soup with a salad of greens and chunky vegetables and plenty of whole grain bread. You can even enhance the soup by adding cooked brown rice to the stockpot or putting the brown rice into each soup bowl and spooning the soup over it.

    1 large onion, chopped
    1 large broccoli crown, chopped
    2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
    1 large green apple, unpeeled, cored, and chopped
    1 stalk celery, sliced
    1/2 red or green bell pepper, chopped
    4 cloves garlic, crushed
    2 whole cloves

    3/4 cup (180 ml) water
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon ground coriander
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    3/4 teaspoon turmeric
    Freshly ground black pepper

    1 quart (1 liter) vegetable broth or water
    1 medium potato, unpeeled and diced
    1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
    3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce such as Bragg Liquid Aminos or Tamari
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

    2 cups (480 ml) coconut milk
    1/2 pound (225 g) extra firm tofu, diced
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley

  1. Have ready an 8 to 10-quart (8 to 10-liter) stockpot. Place the onion, broccoli, carrots, apple, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and cloves into the stockpot.
  2. Add the water, olive oil, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and black pepper and cook and stir over high heat for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables are softened and transparent.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, diced potato, lemon juice, soy sauce, and crushed red pepper and simmer about 10 to 12 minutes or until the potatoes are softened.
  4. Add the coconut milk and puree half the soup in a blender. Return the pureed soup to the stockpot, add the diced tofu, and adjust seasonings if needed. Warm the soup over medium heat but don't boil. Spoon into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Makes 6 to 8 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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