This time of year, soup calls my name. The warming comfort that a bowl of soup delivers helps get me through the bleak days that are January.
The aroma of soup simmering on the stove infuses the house with coziness and love, and the wholesome benefits of said soup bolster the health to fight off colds and flu and, if we do succumb, help heal and restore us.
Soup is also a cost-effective way to use ingredients — whether they’re leftovers, veggies that have gone unused and are past their prime, or something that you bought in bulk as a “bargain” and is going to end up wasting money if you don’t find a way to consume it. (Five pounds of cauliflower for $5 seemed like a deal at the time …)
My final plug for soup is the potential weight loss benefit. First, I shall add a disclaimer: I am not a dietitian, nutritionist or medical professional of any kind. But I have been eating for multiple decades and know that soup (assuming we are not talking about cream- and butter-laced bisque) is relatively low calorie and does fill you up. So, it’s a good choice as a healthy and wholesome meal, especially for those of us who indulged in too many latkes, cookies and adult beverages during the festive season.
Both of these recipes are vegan but can be made meat or dairy, if desired.
Roasted Vegetable Soup
Makes 8 cups soup or 4 servings
This simple recipe can be adapted to any and all vegetables that you have on hand. It’s a great way to use leftover roasted veggies — in such cases, you are more than halfway done. Other option: Plan ahead, make a double batch of the roasted veg with dinner and enjoy a meal of this soup tomorrow.
You can be as creative as you like — add fresh herbs, chilies or spices — or keep it simple and follow the recipe below. If you prefer a smooth texture, use an immersion or regular blender to puree; if not, leave the soup chunky and dig in.
8 cups assorted chopped vegetables: onion, potato, carrot, celery, broccoli, squash, tomato, cauliflower, yam, whole garlic cloves, et cetera
2 tablespoons oil
Sprinkle of salt and pepper
8 cups vegetable broth
Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place the veggies on a parchment-lined baking tray, and toss them with oil, salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the veggies are cooked through and beginning to brown. Remove the veggies from the oven and, in a pan or bowl, mix with the broth. Heat and eat.
This vegan take on the hominy-based, spicy soup is a corker — it is plenty hearty, flavorful and robust, so even the most devoted carnivores will not feel deprived. My neighbor delivered a bowl of this to me a few weeks ago when I was battling a cold and then kindly shared the recipe when I requested it. How lucky am I?
Hominy is a corn product that is a staple in Latin cuisine. It is available canned in many supermarkets.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons oregano
2 14-ounce cans hominy, drained and rinsed
2 14-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
6 tomatillos, chopped
5 cups vegetable broth
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and pepper to taste (be generous)
Cilantro leaves, sliced avocado, lime wedges, tortilla strips, pickled onions, shredded cabbage, et cetera
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium, add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, jalapeno, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, then cook for a minute more, or until fragrant. Add the pinto beans, tomatillos, hominy and vegetable broth. Bring it to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Add the lime juice, and season to taste.