The 30 Minute Vegan: Soup’s On! by Mark Reinfeld arrived in my mailbox a week ago, just as the weather started to cool. The timing of Soup’s On! is particularly good, since I am happy for a break from cooking large, multi-course meals. A quick, hearty soup is perfect. But Soup’s On! doesn’t limit the selection of soups to winter. It has more than one hundred quick and easy recipes for every season.
Soup’s On! starts out with an explanation of ingredients and recommended kitchen equipment. Every recipe includes variations on the main recipe. Most of the recipes in the cookbook are gluten-free. For those recipes that are not gluten-free, the author has included tips for making the recipe gluten-free.
Mark Reinfeld uses the Template Recipe format to make it easy for the reader to change the recipes. He shows how to break down a recipe into its components. He uses the example of Creamy Broccoli Soup. It is made up of five components.
Base: vegetable stock or water, plus onion, celery, and garlic
Main vegetable component: broccoli
Creaminess component: macadamia nuts
Herb/spice component: cilantro, crushed red pepper flakes
Vegetables added after blending component: mushrooms and corn
He then goes on to explain how to substitute or experiment with each component. It’s a handy way of thinking about a recipe.
The following chapters are vegetable-based soups; soups and stews with grains, legumes, and pasta; creamy blended soups; and raw soups and dessert soups. A final chapter provides recipes for garnishes and sides, such as basil oil, tapenade, candied pepitas, and krispy kale. Appendices give further information on preparation basics, seasonal growing charts (for the freshest vegetables in your soups), and resources.
The 30-Minute Vegan: Soup’s On! is available on Amazon for about $12 paperback or $10 Kindle.
Spicy Kale Soup with Pepitas
Serves 4 to 6
Here is where amazing flavor and high nutrition come together. Loaded with nutrients, kale is the supreme leader of the green superfoods kingdom. Virtually all of us benefit from the inclusion of more kale in our diet. Pepitas, a.k.a. pumpkin seeds, are also tasty nutritional powerhouses and are a source of protein and zinc. Top with Raw Crème Fraîche (page 196), a touch of Tapenade (page 193), and a few additional pepitas.
½ cup raw pepitas
3 cups fairly tightly packed chopped kale
2 ½ cups water
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup apple juice
½ cup mashed avocado
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon seeded and diced hot pepper
1½ teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
¹⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon chipotle chile powder,
or ½ teaspoon chili powder (optional)
1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil (optional)
2 teaspoons wheat-free tamari or other soy sauce, or to taste (optional)
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
¼ cup seeded and minced red bell pepper, for garnish
Place the pepitas in a small bowl with ample water to cover. Allow them to sit for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse well.
Place in a strong blender with all the remaining ingredients, except the cilantro and red bell pepper, and blend until very creamy.
Transfer to a bowl, add the cilantro, and stir well. Top with the red bell pepper before serving.
Add 2 teaspoons of peeled and minced fresh turmeric.
Replace the pepitas with pecans, macadamia nuts, or cashews.
Replace all or some of the kale with other greens, such as spinach, chard, or arugula.
Replace the cilantro with fresh basil or 2 teaspoons of minced fresh dill.
Add 1 teaspoon of curry powder or ground cumin.