There are approximately 69084023948 amazing vegan soup recipes available on the web, and even more in cookbooks. I’ll admit though that sometimes I’m too lazy to follow a recipe for soup or to shop for ingredients. This is where it comes in handy to know a few basics for throwing together a delectable liquid dinner from whatever you happen to have lying around.
Almost all vegetables (except for maybe like, iceberg lettuce) can go into a soup. So if you find yourself with a surplus of carrots, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, cabbage, potatoes, squash–really anything!–a soup is an easy, tasty, and cost-effective way to use it up.
Every soup follows the same basic formula: saute some onion and garlic (in either water or olive oil, depending on your preference), then add broth and beans/veggies/grains/potatoes and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until everything is tender. At this point you can puree, or just eat it as is. If using grains or leafy green veggies in a pureed soup, you’ll want to puree first and add these ingredients last.
It’s really that simple!
Here it is broken down for you mathematical types:
Pureed or “creamy” soup = ([sauteed onion + garlic] + broth + beans and/or potatoes) + blender <–adding other veggies is optional but encouraged!
Brothy soup: = (sauteed onion + garlic) + broth + vegetables and/or grains
Broth can be actual storebought or homemade broth, or it can be water + bouillon, or it can be just plain water (though if you’re going with plain water, be prepared to add some serious seasonings to avoid blandness). You can also sub in part of the broth in a recipe for another liquid like soy milk or canned coconut milk for extra richness.
Here is an example of the formula in action: Roasted Garlic and White Bean Soup with Kale that I threw together last night from stuff I had in the house.
This recipe is probably quite similar to the White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup from Vegan With a Vengeance as well as the Roasted Garlic White Bean & Kale Soup from the Domestic Vegan blog (which sadly no longer exists). I’ve made both recipes dozens of times and it’s extremely likely that they sub-consciously informed my soup-making, so I just want to make sure I give credit where credit is due.
2 bulbs roasted garlic (see note)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cups broth
3 cups (1 large can) white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chopped kale
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional add-ins: nutritional yeast, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, other spices and seasonings (see note)
Follow the formula! The only difference here is that you don’t have to saute your garlic because it’s already roasted. So:
1) Saute the onion until softened.
2) Add broth and beans. Bring to a boil then back down to simmer for about 10 minutes.
3) Puree the soup (or lightly blend to keep some texture, if you like it a bit chunkier).
4) Add kale and stir until wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. It’s ready to serve!
Note on roasting garlic: Simply stick 2 bulbs of garlic in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and forget about them while you do other stuff. Let them cool a bit (about 10 minutes is usually enough time) and then squeeze or peel to remove the roasted cloves.
Note on seasonings: Isa uses sage and a bay leaf in her white bean soup, and Domestic Vegan used rosemary, crushed fennel seeds, and a bay leaf in hers. All of these flavors are amazing and I encourage you to use them if you have them (1 tsp each if using dried; 1 tbsp if fresh…add them with the broth and beans in step 2 so the flavors have time to infuse the soup). Just make sure you remove the bay leaf before blending!
Oh, and about those bread bowls…
I buy the smallest-sized boules I can find (Trader Joe’s usually has them but I found these at my local Stop & Shop yesterday) and use Chloe Coscarelli’s method to prepare them–cut off the top and scoop out the inside, then brush the inside with olive oil (to keep soup from leaking out), and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Use the extra bread for dipping (like you needed me to tell you that!).
I’m also submitting this soup to this week’s Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck!