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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
 Vegetarian Cooking with Zel

Spring has certainly sprung with sunnier days, warmer temps, and bright cheery flowers blooming joyfully in our garden, the neighbor's garden, and just about everywhere I turn. I gleefully welcome this season and am happy to shed the extra layers of clothing and let the sun shine down on me with its delicious warmth.

But when nighttime comes, I reach for the extra layer and yearn for something warming to devour for dinner. Perhaps I'm not alone and you, too, find the drop in temperature turns on the yearning for a dish that promises to bring warmth, all the way down to your little piggies. I discovered long ago that soup is a remedy for practically everything, from healing from a flu to providing divine nourishment for the soul.

Some people adore soups with a base of hot broth and a slew of veggies and noodles, while others, like my husband, have a genuine affinity for soups thick enough to make a spoon stand up straight. This tantalizing recipe is one of those thick and hearty wonders.

Thickly blended or chunky with texture, this wholesome soup beckons with its enticing, full-bodied distinctive potato flavor enhanced with a touch of curry that never fails to satisfy. And you can decide on the final texture before serving.

To spice or not to spice might be a question to consider. Some like it hot and some do not. Spices like curry blends and cayenne bring warmth, not only to the flavor receptors on the tongue, but also to the body, so you can easily turn up the heat if you like. The curry powder measurement in the recipe below will provide a mild level of spice. Double the curry and add cayenne, one pinch at a time, until you experience that wonderful euphoric feeling of chili.

Leftovers become even tastier with an overnight stay in the fridge, while starch-based soups like those with potatoes or legumes tend to become thicker after refrigeration. If you prefer a thinner, soup-like consistency, thin as desired with water, vegetable broth, or soy or nut milk.

Potato, Spinach, and Sour Cream Soup


Yield: 6 to 8 servings

    2 medium onions, chopped
    2 medium carrots, diced
    2 stalks celery, sliced
    1/2 cup (120 ml) water
    5 cloves garlic, crushed

    12 medium Russet, red, or white potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 3 1/2 pounds/1.6 kg)
    6 cups (1.5 liters) vegetable broth
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric

    1 bunch spinach, washed and chopped, or one (8- to 12-ounce/226g to 340g) package baby spinach
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    Pinch cayenne, optional

    1 recipe Tofu Sour Cream or 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) prepared non-dairy sour cream

    4 tablespoons coarsely grated carrots
    3 tablespoons minced parsley
    2 green onions, finely chopped

  1. Put the onions, carrots, celery, water, and garlic in a 10-to 12-quart (10 to 12 liter) stockpot. Cook and stir over high heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to turn golden. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent the vegetables from burning.
  2. Add the potatoes, vegetable broth, cumin, curry powder, coriander, and turmeric. Cover the stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the potatoes are softened and beginning to break down.
  3. Use a potato masher to partially mash the potatoes to thicken the soup. If desired, leave some chunks whole to give the soup an appealing texture.
  4. Add the spinach, salt, pepper, and cayenne, if using, and simmer about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the Tofu Sour Cream and mix well. Alternatively, put a dollop of the sour cream into each bowl when serving and pass the remainder at the table.
  5. To garnish, combine the grated carrots, parsley, and chopped green onions in a small bowl. Spoon the soup into serving bowls and top with a sprinkle of the garnish mixture.

    Tofu Sour Cream
    1 (12.3-ounce/424g) box extra firm silken tofu
    1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon distilled or rice vinegar
    1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. The sour cream is best if prepared a day ahead, giving it time to thicken. Makes 1 1/2 cups (360 ml).

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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