Tag Archives: Soups and Stews

Sweet Potato Stew with Swiss Chard


watch this recipe being made.

Sweet Potato Stew with Swiss Chard

2 T. olive oil
2 c. diced yellow onion
1 t. salt
1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 red Thai or jalapeño pepper minced, with the seeds (adjust to suit your taste)
1 T. fresh ginger
1 t. ground coriander
½ t. turmeric
1 14 oz. can full fat coconut milk
1 bunch of swiss chard (about 4 cups loose), chiffonade
¼ c. cilantro
Squeeze of lime, for garnish

To prepare:
In a large saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat, then add the onion and a bit of salt. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potato, garlic, pepper, ginger, and spices and sauté for another minute or two. Add 2 cups of water, the coconut milk, and a bit more salt. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, add the chard, and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes or until the chard is tender. Thin the stew with water if it seems too thick. Top with cilantro if desired and spoon over rice, quinoa, or other cooked grain of your choice.

This is scrumptious served with Herbed Quinoa Pilaf, Tofu Bites or some fried tempeh. It’s equally wonderful served with a side of cornbread.

Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili

This autumnal chili, invented by Didi Emmons, uses pumpkin flesh and seeds. The curry and cinnamon makes this chili a bit exotic. It’s a dish that Didi and her cat Henry thoroughly enjoy.

Serves 6

1 sugar pumpkin, about 2 lbs.
1 T. vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 T. chili powder
1 T. curry powder
½ t. ground cinnamon
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 ½ c. cooked bulgur
1 can organic kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
½ c. toasted (green) pumpkin seeds
½ c. chopped cilantro leaves and stems
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375. Cut the pumpkin in half with a large knife such as a cleaver. Scoop out the seeds with a large spoon, remove the stringy innards, and rinse the seeds in a colander to remove any bits of flesh. Lay the seeds out on a paper towel to dry. Place the pumpkin open side down and bake until the flesh is soft, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and put it aside to cool. Now sprinkle the rinsed and dried pumpkin seeds on a prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with some salt, if desired, and toast in the oven until they are nicely browned and crisp, about 10 minutes, depending upon your oven. Set them aside.

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan or stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, as well as the spices. Stir often for about 5 minutes, or until the onions turn soft. Add the tomatoes and bulgur and about 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, spoon the flesh from the pumpkin and add it to the simmering chili along with the beans. Cook the chili for about 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary to attain a chili-like consistency. Right before serving add the toasted pumpkin seeds and the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot.

Avocado Soup

Toni’s Summer Avocado Soup

Avocados get the most response on my blog. Thanks to all of you who write in with your tips and ideas. I recently had a question about using avocados in soup. Of course you can always top a fresh tomato soup with avocado, but how about a soup made from avocado? Here’s a great simple summer recipe for avocado soup.

Serves 2-4

2-3 perfectly ripe avocados seeded and cut into cubes
2 garlic cloves, crushed in a pinch of kosher salt
1 T. fresh lime juice
3 1/2 c. vegetarian stock (homemade or store bought*)
1/8 t. ground cumin
3 T. plain vegan or dairy yogurt (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 t. hot red pepper paste (optional)
2 T. chopped cilantro (optional)
1 fresh tomato, chopped and seeded
1 scallion, green parts only cut into long thin strips

To Prepare:
Place the avocado, garlic, half of the stock, lime juice, yogurt, and pepper paste (if using) into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the remaining stock and blend again for about a minute. Add salt and pepper to taste, then chill soup for an hour before serving. Garnish individual servings with chopped cilantro, tomato, and scallions.

This “soup” also becomes a great dressing for fresh summer vegetables, and please feel free to share your own ideas with me.

*If you are using store bought vegetable stock dilute it a bit. Store bought stock is easy and often quite flavorful, but it’s usually very concentrated and with a high sodium content. This holds true for broth made from bouillion as well.

Roasted Vegetarian Soup Stock

Roasted Vegetarian Soup Stock

When I prepare my own vegetable stock, I have lately gotten into the habit of oven roasting the vegetables I’m using until they are nicely caramelized, before adding my water and boiling it on the stovetop. It takes a little more time, but it makes a very rich stock with a depth of flavor that’s worth every extra minute of preparation.

Prepared stock or bouillion cubes, while great in a pinch, can’t come close to the flavor you achieve using this method. During the week, I save my vegetable cuttings, skins, and unused pieces in a plastic bag. Even if I don’t have enough to fill a pot, a few handfulls of trimmings add great flavor, especially when I add a couple of extra small onions, a few garlic cloves, some carrot pieces, and a rib of celery.

To begin, put all the washed vegetables in an ovenproof pot and toss them with a little olive oil and salt. If you have some sprigs of thyme, parsley, rosemary, or sage, toss those in as well. Now place the pot in a 350 degree preheated oven and roast until the vegetables are softened but not too browned. If necessary, add a little water to keep the vegetables from sticking. When everything is just fork tender, remove the pot from the oven, and add enough water to cover by four inches, then bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the stock for about 40 minutes, then let it cool slightly and remove any herb sprigs. Pour the stock through a strainer or through cheesecloth. If you use a strainer, it’s possible that a few bits of vegetable will escape, but this shouldn’t cause any concern.

This delicious stock can be portioned out into individual containers and frozen until you need it or it can be used right away. If you freeze it and you’re ready to use it, you needn’t even bother defrosting. Try this. I think you’ll agree, nothing compares to the rich, deep flavor of homemade stock.