One of our teachers emphasizes food formulas rather than recipes (Joan Jackson, joanjackson.tumblr.com). That is, know the basic components of a dish, and be prepared to substitute according to food on hand or taste preferences. So, here is a formula that we use for a basic vegetable soup with protein.
Base: 4-8 cups of the following in any combination – water, vegetable stock, a carton soup (like carrot ginger, or butternut squash)
Seasoning: If using a soup base, may not need any seasoning. If not, we like to add Chinese 5 spices, a dash of Thai seasoning, and/or Worchestershire sauce. You could also add fresh parsley, basil, oregano, cilantro, or thyme if you have them on hand. Some people don’t like their soup sweet, but for David, it makes all the difference. So he adds a splash of agave or a teaspoon or two of his favorite sweeteners (e.g. xylitol or erythritol) to taste.
Vegetables (raw) : onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, bell peppers (all colors), yellow squash, zucchini, fennel, broccoli, kale leaves, swiss chard, collard greens (add green leafys toward the end so they don’t overcook)
Canned items: beans – one or two cans should do it. kidney, black, garbonzo, pinto. This adds some protein.
Meat substitute: for more protein, add your favorite meat substitute. We like Gardein’s Chick’n Scallopini or Chick’n strips. Cook according to the package directions.
1. Sauté onions in some water (use bit of oil if desired). If you want to caramelize them, keep stirring them until they are a nice golden brown color and the water is evaporated. Add water as needed to keep from burning. You can also add celery at this point.
2. Add soup base(s) and stir
3. Add seasonings
4. Add vegetables putting in the hardest first (e.g. carrots and hard squash)
5. Add beans/legumes
6. Prepare meat substitute, and add it if desired
7. You may need to add more liquid if it cooks down too much or if you want a thinner soup.
8. Add the green leafy veggies near the end.
9. Cook until all vegetables are al dente or more to your taste.
Optional – pour soup over cooked quinoa (more protein) or spaghetti squash or cooked rice.
We like to make a big pot of soup on the weekend and eat it for several meals during the week.
Above all, have fun! 🙂