I love the abundance of local farmers here in Columbia with fall and winter seasonal produce. I’ve made pumpkin chili with local pumpkin that I roasted and pureed myself (so much cheaper than canned pumpkin and you avoid BPA from cans). I make a lot of creamy squash soups with local acorn, butternut, hubbard or carnival squashes. I never cook with dairy, so I like to make my creamy soups and bisques with my cashew ricotta recipe from Happy Food Cookbook, shared below, or other vegan cheese sauce recipes I have created. I love making vegan, gluten free cream of mushroom soup, broccoli cheddar or tomato bisque for customers at Nourish Cafe & Market and Nourish Sedalia to give them classic favorites that are as healthy and convenient as possible. Bisques or creamy soups are the easiest way to use up vegetables that are going to expire soon in your kitchen, plus you can usually mask the flavor for those in your home who don’t like that specific vegetable by using extra seasoning.
My Soup Process
When making chunky soups, I have learned that you have to pay attention to the water content of your produce and when you add it during the cooking process. I like to sauté certain
vegetables in the beginning to soften them up before adding the broth, such as mirepoix, root vegetables or mushrooms. If I am adding meat to my soup, I like to add it at the very end of the cooking process because meats cook fast when they boil and can get dried out very quickly. Ingredients like leafy greens I like to add once the broth has come to a boil, and before I add any meats so they have time to break down and be more tender. Fresh herbs you always want to add last because they have full flavor profiles when fresh versus dried herbs that need to be added in the beginning to reconstitute them and bring out the natural flavors.
I like that I can really modify soups for different diets like switching out cut-up squash for the beans in a chili to make it paleo or substituting mushrooms or eggplant for the “meat” in soups to make them vegan.
Some of my favorite sides to spice up my soups are rolls, biscuits, cheesy biscuits, bread bowls or crackers. This always helps fill up my family more easily, gives the meal more textures and makes healthy soups feel more like our comfort-food favorites.
Here are two recipes that I love to use for making my soups. Enjoy!
Chicken Noodle Soup
Preparation Time: 15 minutes | Yield: ~3 quarts
¼ cup avocado oil
3 cups onion, diced
2 cups celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
9 cups filtered water
¼ cup sea salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 pound chicken breast, raw, diced
6 ounces pasta (I prefer Jovial brand)
In a large soup pot add avocado oil, onions, celery and carrots, and turn heat to medium-high. Sauté the veggies for 5 to 8 minutes, until onions and celery are translucent. Add water, sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, oregano and rosemary to the pot and bring to a boil. Add chicken and pasta, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from heat, and serve warm. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.*Recipe from the draft of my children’s cookbook
Cashew Ricotta Paleo
Preparation Time: 3 hours -1 day | Yield: ~1 pint
Grain Free & Vegan
1 ½ cups raw cashews, dry
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
¹⁄₃ cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
Soak cashews for 2 to 24 hours. Drain and rinse before use. Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend very well, about 4 to 6 minutes on high. Wipe down sides when needed, you do not want chunks. Store in an airtight container. Serve cold or warm. *Recipe from Happy Food Cookbook