On Seinfeld, Jerry once argued with Bania over whether or not soup is a meal. Jerry said it is, and Bania said it isn’t. I found myself siding with Bania. That said, I wouldn’t pass up a bowl of hot, creamy soup on a cold winter’s day. When I heard that Vanessa Croessman was writing a vegan soup cookbook, I knew that she’d be creating hearty and flavorful meal-worthy soups, as I already knew delicious recipes from her blog Vegan Family Recipes.
Awesome Vegan Soups contains 80 recipes for seasonal soups that are plant-based and made with whole foods. Vanessa emphasizes using season produce, which is something I talk about often with my health coaching clients, too. She gives tips for making better soup and info on storing your soupy creations, and she explains why a whole foods, plant-based diet is optimal. The book is also full of Vanessa’s mouthwatering photography. Soup has never looked so good!
The recipes in Awesome Vegan Soups are divided by season, rather than type, which is really handy, because the last thing I want to do in the dead of February is think about gazpacho. You’ll find such warm and hearty dishes as Sweet Potato Chili and Mixed Mushroom Stew in the autumn chapter, while the spring section contains light and fragrant meals like Easy Artichoke Soup and Faux Pho. Vanessa has also included a chapter of homemade toppings, such as pestos, croutons, and non-dairy sour cream. She shares her homemade broth recipe, as well.
The chapters in Awesome Vegan Soups include:
- Hearty and Warming Autumn Soups
- Cozy and Filling Winter Soups
- Bright and Fragrant Spring Soups
- Light and Refreshing Summer Soups
- Extras and Toppings
I started thumbing through Awesome Vegan Soups as soon as I pulled it out of the mailbox. The first recipe I opened the book was Curried Cauliflower Cream Soup. I will never turn down any vegan recipe that’s curried and creamy, so I knew that would be the first recipe I’d cook. The “cream” in this scrumptious Thai-inspired soup comes from the cauliflower, which blends up to velvety perfection. It’s also made with curry paste, coconut milk, and garlic, which all add to it’s delicious flavor. Topped with more cauliflower, spicy peppers, and basil, this is my kind of soup. Maybe Jerry was right – maybe soup really is a meal!
Curried Cauliflower Cream Soup
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) plus 1 tsp sesame oil, divided
- 2 tsp (10 g) red curry paste
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ head cauliflower (320 g), cut into florets
- Small handful fresh basil, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 2 tsp (10 ml) fresh lime juice
- 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable stock
- 2 cups (480 ml) coconut milk
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup (58 g) cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 cayenne pepper, sliced
Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of sesame oil and the red curry paste over medium-high heat in a stockpot. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes until the garlic becomes fragrant. Stir in the cauliflower, basil and lime juice, setting some of the basil aside for garnish. Cook for 4 minutes then add the stock and coconut milk. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Purée the soup with an immersion blender, or in a blender, in batches. If the soup is not completely smooth, return to stovetop and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes before pureeing again. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in a small frying pan and fry the cauliflower florets over medium-high heat for roughly 5 minutes, or until the cauliflower starts to brown. Add the sliced cayenne pepper and remaining chopped basil to the pan and fry for an additional minute.
Serve the soup hot with the cauliflower, basil and cayenne as a topping.
Reprinted with the permission from Awesome Vegan Soups by Vanessa Croessmann