Tag Archives: Vegan Soups/Stews

Black Bean-Sweet Potato Chili

This is one of my favorite winter comfort recipes:

Black Bean-Sweet Potato Chili

It has lots of good antioxidants and garlic to chase the sparkly vampires nasty flu bugs away.  I made this for dinner last week, shared some with my parents, had some for lunch the next day, and froze the rest.  It will make for easy school-night meals as the semester picks up.  Instead of using canned beans, I cooked a pound of dried beans in the crock pot early in the morning.

ImageBeans a-soaking: Cooking your own will cost about 1/4 as much as using canned beans.

Then I added the other ingredients:



…and cooked for on high 6 more hours.


1 medium red onion, chopped: $0.79
1 red pepper, chopped: $1.43
4 garlic cloves, minced: $0.20
1 large sweet potato: $0.49
2 limes: $0.50
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes: $1.99
1 pound dried black beans: $1.29
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper: $0.05
1 tablespoon cumin: $0.05
1 tablespoon chili powder: $0.05
1 tablespoon cocoa powder $0.05


/8 servings = $0.86/serving!

That’s really cheap, even for me.  And thank goodness.  Adjuncts don’t get paid in January.  However, planning ahead a little bit means that I’m not stuck with ramen.  Not that there’s anything wrong with ramen.  But variety is the spice of life.

Cabbage, Potato, and Tomato Soup in the Crock Pot!

Another winning recipe from my friend DeAnna!:


D suggested adding the juice and zest of one lemon plus 1/4 cup of golden raisins to help the “good sour.”  I did add the lemon juice but not the raisins.  I also added a can of white beans for protein and 3 choggia beets.  I omitted the butter/margarine and just threw everything in my crock pot and cooked it on low for 9 hours.

  • 1 onion, chopped: $0.25
  • 3 potatoes, diced: $0.71
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped: $0.36
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced: $0.15
  • 4 cups veggie broth: free (homemade)
  • 1/2 head cabbage: $0.75
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes with basil, undrained and chopped: $1.99
  • 1/2 cup ketchup: $0.16
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce: $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning: $0.05
  • 1 can white beans: $0.89
  • 3 choggia beets: $1.39
  • 1 lemon: $0.50

=$7.25/12 servings


Cheap, low in calories, and still comforting on a snowy February night, it doesn’t get any better than this!

Ramen: All Fancy and Grown Up!

When I was a freshman in college I spent Thanksgiving break with my Uncle Mike and Aunt Julie.  I jokingly told them that I was hoping to get a case of ramen noodles for Christmas.  They laughed, but lo and behold: Julie came back from Costco the next day with TWO big multi-packs of ramen for me: one chicken and one beef!  I was set for weeks!

However, if Julie had shown up to my graduation with a gift of ramen, I would have been less thrilled.  In fact, if she had told me at that point that I would one day be eating ramen again voluntarily, I would not have believed her.  I’d had too much of a good thing.

Now time has passed, and as an adult I realize that ramen can be much better than the crap I nuked in my dorm room way back when.  Recently having a really good bowl of ramen at Sapporo in New York has inspired me to experiment with the possibilities again.

Ramen means noodle soup.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be instant.  That said, my local Asian market has a whole aisle of instant ramen noodles, many much tastier than the Maruchan or Nissin brands you can buy at the grocery store.  Be careful: some of them are SUPER spicy!  Recently I went in after work and looked for varieties marked “vegetarian.”  I found several and chose one from Taiwan that was “Steam Mushroom Flavor.”

It was $2.59 for 4 servings.  I also picked up a pound of tofu for $1.29 (the cheapest in town).  When I got home, I prepared my ramen in the microwave and then added:

  • about 1/8 pound of tofu: $0.16
  • about 1/4 can of corn: $0.15
  • about 1/4 cup frozen spinach: $0.07
  • a handful of sliced mushrooms: $0.33

Then I microwaved the bowl for another minute or so, until the veggies were lightly steamed.  Then I added

  • a dollop of chili sauce: $0.02


Granted, that is a lot more than the $0.25 or whatever for the plain ramen straight from the grocery store.  However, the benefit far outweighs the cost here, because I actually got some protein and vitamins with my ramen, plus extra flavor and textural variety.  And that’s still pretty darn cheap for a meal: cheaper than eating out anywhere.

If you try this at home, use whatever veggies happen to be taking up space in your produce drawer.  Just about anything would be good.

Then pop in your favorite movie from college…

OR may I recommend Tampopo?  It’s a Japanese “ramen western” with different vignettes: all related to food and all hilarious.  It’s one of my all-time favorites.

I’m glad to have ramen back in my life.  What’s your favorite way to eat ramen?  Leave me a comment.

Chili Verde

There’s no doubt that chili (sin carne) is a vegetarian staple.  Without the meat it’s still hearty enough and recognizable enough to please omnivores and vegans alike.  But, of course, variety is the spice of life, so I’ve been thinking about developing a veggie version of a white chili or green chili recipe for some time.  When I had some friends over for my birthday this week, it was the perfect chance to test my idea, and I was happy with the results.

Before leaving for work I threw the following into my crock pot:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 2 cans green chiles
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 fresh jalapenos, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, cubed
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

I let that cook on low for about 7 hours (or you could cook it on high for just a few hours).  When I got home, it was a bit soupy, so I added:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa

…and let it cook for another hour.  That soaked up the extra broth and added exactly the textural dimension it needed.

Feel free to garnish it with fresh cilantro, lime juice, crushed tortilla chips, Tofutti sour cream, etc.

  • 1 can chickpeas: $0.89
  • 1 can cannellini beans: $0.89
  • 1 can corn: $0.49
  • 2 cans green chiles: $1.58
  • 1 onion, chopped: $0.25
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped: $0.10
  • 4 fresh jalapenos, chopped: $0.80
  • 2 small zucchini, cubed: $1.40
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced: $1.99
  • 4 cups veggie broth: $1.99
  • 1 teaspoon oregano: $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon cumin: $0.02
  • 1/2 cup quinoa: $0.67

=$11.09/8 servings


PS: Kudos to my friend Kate for bringing over homemade guacamole and pico de gallo.  They were delicious!!!

Corn, Mushroom, and Potato Chowder

Winter comfort food, based on a recipe from Alex Jamieson’s The Great American Detox Diet.  After making this many times, I have modified it to add a little bit of spice, a lot more mushrooms, and some soy milk.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups potatoes , peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes ( I recommend Yukon Gold)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn (I recommend the roasted kind for extra flavor)
  • 3 cups unsweetened soy milk (in this instance it is important to use the unsweetened kind)
  • 1 (16 ounce) package fresh mushrooms , thinly sliced (baby portabella or button)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  1. Saute the onions, garlic, and crushed red pepper in 2 tablespoons of oil a large stock pot.
  2. Add veggie broth, potatoes, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Saute mushrooms.
  4. Add the corn and soy milk to the pot with the potatoes. Do not boil after adding the soy milk, or it will separate.  Cook for another 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and parsley.
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil: $0.15
  • 1 large yellow onion: $0.25
  • 2 garlic cloves: $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes: $0.02
  • 3 cups potatoes: $0.98
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn: $0.89
  • 3 cups unsweetened soy milk: $1.05
  • 1 (16 ounce) package fresh mushrooms: $2.49
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley: $.50

=$6.43/6 servings


Smoky Split-Pea and Veggie Soup

I’ve been busy grading papers and mostly eating junk for the last several weeks, but today I decided to take a break in order to post about a nice autumnal comfort that I made recently.

When I was in California, we kept seeing billboards for a place called Pea Soup Andersen’s.  We didn’t actually go there, but I wondered aloud if their soup would be vegetarian, and Noor wondered how one would make up for the smoky, porky flavor.  I thought about this again when the weather started to get cold back here in the Midwest, and, of course, I Googled it.  First of all, it looks like Pea Soup Andersen’s recipe IS vegetarian/vegan.  I’ll have to go there some day.  Secondly, I found a discussion board where somebody suggested using a pinch of smoked paprika in veggie pea soup. GENIUS!  And being part Hungarian, I just happened to have some good-quality smoked paprika on hand.  Then, one day, coming out of Trader Joe’s, it hit me like a flash of lightning that broccoli would go really nicely with the flavor of split peas.  With these inspirations in mind, I created the following recipe:

Smoky Split Pea and Veggie Soup

  • 1 pound dry green split peas
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 6 cups of homemade veggie broth
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon good-quality smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges and extra paprika for garnish

This is Easy PEA-sy!  Just throw everything in your slow cooker, add a little water, if necessary, to cover.  Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours (or cook it on your stove for an hour or two).  Blend with your immersion blender (or VERY CAREFULLY in a regular blender or food processor).  Then, sprinkle with extra paprika and garnish with lemon wedges.  Serve with crusty bread.  I can’t imagine anything more comforting on a dreary day!

  • 1 pound dry green split peas: $0.97
  • 3 carrots, chopped: $0.25
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped: $0.75
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped: $0.26
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped: $0.50
  • 1 onion, chopped: $0.33
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped: $0.15
  • Seasonings: Let’s say about $0.25

=$3.46/8 servings


I have to say that I was annoyed to find that neither Trader Joe’s nor the local health-food store on the corner carry dry split peas!  I found them at the crappy grocery store, but they didn’t have barley (I was thinking of adding some cooked barley after blending, but it was fine without that).

Noor’s Lentil Stew

My boyfriend is visiting from San Francisco, and he’s been cooking for me!  Yes, he’s a keeper.  Yesterday, he made a lovely lentil stew for lunch, and he showed me exactly how to do it.  It was so simple to make and the results were so delicious that I just had to share it here.  He says the key is to spring for the good quality, imported Italian tomatoes.

San Marzano is his favorite variety, and let me tell you, these have a more concentrated “tomato-y” flavor than ANY other canned tomato I’ve tasted.  He found them at a local Italian grocery.  The rest of the ingredients came from Trader Joe’s.

All he did was saute a 14.5-ounce container of pre-chopped mirepoix (onions, carrots, and celery) from the produce section at Trader Joe’s, then added a 17.6-ounce package of Melissa’s brand pre-cooked lentils, a 28-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes, a 10-ounce bag of pre-chopped kale from Trader Joe’s (although you could use spinach, chard, or any green you like), and then let that all simmer for 10 minutes or so.  The whole process took less than 20 minutes.  The longer you let it simmer, though, the better it will get.  Obviously, if you chop your own veggies and cook your own lentils, it will take a little longer, but it will cost next to nothing.