Slaad Soup

In the middle of the colder months, it can be nice to get some compilation of vegetable ingredients together, but too often they can come loaded with potatoes, rice, and other bulk imbuing starches.  This aims to be something more salad-like in nature while also being warm and comforting against any chill in the air … or under foot.

Spinach and Kale Soup (aka Slaad Soup)

Ingredients:

Cashew Cream

  • ¾ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours up to overnight
  • 1 cup water (not for soaking)

Soup

  • 2-3T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1-2 carrots, diced
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1T Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ – ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2T apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 green onion stalks, sliced thinly
    • and/or replace with bell peppers
  • 3-4T sesame seeds
  • 1C chopped mushrooms

Instructions:

  1. To prepare Cashew Cream: Drain and rinse cashews a couple times. Pour into a blender along with water and blend, scraping the sides as needed, until totally smooth. Set aside.
  2. To prepare Soup: Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for a few minutes until softened.
  3. Stir in spinach, kale, carrots, and garlic. Season with Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 2-3 minutes more or until garlic is fragrant.
  4. Pour in vegetable broth, and mushrooms, and stir to combine; if adding bell peppers, add now. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until greens are wilted and carrots are tender.
  5. Remove soup from heat and stir in lemon juice, vinegar, and cashew cream. Soup can be served as is or blended using a food processor or blender for a richer, creamier soup.
  6. Garnish soup with green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Garbanzo and Spinach Mixup

This recipe (http://www.simpleveganrecipes.co.uk/index.html?recipe=recipes/vegan-chickpea-spinach-recipe.html) was the first I made from this cookbook.  I managed to get a bit ambushed by not reading the ingredients list right and wondered where all the spices came from — for me, they’re a little understated in the ingredients list.  But I can be a bit pedantic when it comes to that.  The result was very good.  This is a repeat for certain.

Original recipe:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tins chickpeas
  • 8oz (200g) spinach
  • Cumin seeds
  • Chilli powder, ground coriander, cumin powder
  • Lemon juice

Boil water and cook spinach until soft. Drain and chop.

Heat some oil and fry 1 tsp. cumin seeds. Add chopped onion and cook until brown.

Add cooked spinach and chopped tomatoes. Add some salt, 1/2 tsp. chilli powder, 2 tsp. coriander, 2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. lemon juice.

Stir in chick peas and 6 fl. oz. (150ml) water.

Cover pan and simmer for 10 minutes.

My rewritten “For Level 1 Wizards” recipe:

  • 8oz (200g) spinach
  • 1 onion, julienne cut
  • 1t cumin powder
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cans chickpeas (normal, soup-can sized cans)
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/2t chili powder
  • 2t coriander
  • 2t cumin
  • 1t sugar
  • (1t sesame seeds)
  • (1t minced garlic)
  • 1T lemon juice
  • 6oz water

Combine dry spices and set aside [1].

Steam spinach until soft.  Watch carefully when steaming as this shouldn’t be cooked to serve, but merely wilted.  Drain and chop.

Heat 1T olive oil in a large pot.  Add onion and cumin.  Cook onion until slightly fried — beyond sauteed.

Add cooked spinach, tomatoes, dry spices, and lemon juice.  Stir in chick peas and water.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

My minor improvisation was not using cumin seeds.  Nothing dramatic, but I’m sure I missed something in the flavor.  One thing I would add in the future would be some toasted sesame seeds (1t) and, of course, minced garlic (1t).

[1] Something I finally learned is to prep all my dry spices in advance.  Measuring out 5 dry spices, then the lemon juice and the water is a tad annoying compared to tossing them in all at once.  Small bowls (be they specifically for this or the little custard bowl — I prefer the latter) are invaluable for this.

Sautéed Spinach of Shrinking

I have finally learned that boiling spinach should result in a night in the stocks.  Many nutrients end up in the water and often the result can be mush.  Steaming spinach is a great alternative, but there are just so many options that can be explored with steamed spinach.  So I took a long look at my inventory tab and decided to try a duel between a pile of spinach and a skillet.  When this starts out in the skillet, the spinach seems like it will win, but after a short time in the heat of sautéing the spinach ultimately gives up and shrinks into tasty, tender leaves.  The fun variation with this recipe is the oil.  With so few ingredients, the type and quality of oil used really stands out and can change the flavor dramatically.  I typically use a #8 cast iron pan for this with a lid.  Alternatively I suspect a “dutch oven” (or similar item) could be used.  The goal is to keep the spinach and steam contained.

Heat 1T of oil in the pan over medium heat.  Add 1T of minced garlic and let that cook for a couple minutes.  Add spinach and 1t of sesame seeds.  Stir around to coat everything with oil (that part is easier with a larger pot – in the skillet I carefully flip clumps of leaves using tongs).  Add 1T of water.  Cover.  Reduce heat to low for about 5 minutes.  Serve and enjoy.

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