Hi all! It was so hard to find the right words for this message because my heart is breaking for the world right now. Hope you all stay safe and are doing well. How are you? I wish you all love and strength to overcome the challenges you face during this pandemic. We are about to start our 7th week of "refuge at home" and all do well and take things one day at a time.
A gift from my heart
We have tried to do our part in helping the community in different ways, but I also want to do something personal for some of my blog readers who are working on the frontlines and in essential services during this pandemic. This idea is a little way for me to communicate with you and say thank you for everything you do! That said, I would like to mail a signed and personalized copy of my brand new cookbook (my very first hardcover… .eek!), Along with a Oh She Glows recipe app download, to 15 frontline and essential workers located in Canada or the United States. These freebies will be sent when my book launches in early fall. Side note: I almost nixed this idea because I was worried there would be some hard feelings if I couldn't send one to everyone who contacts (I'll probably have a lot more than 15 emails), but I hope you will understand that while I cannot send one to all of you, I would still like to do this to make some of your faces smile during this difficult time. (And I'll do more kitchen gifts for the all OSG community in late summer and fall as well, so other opportunities will arise.) You can nominate yourself or someone you know. Please send a brief email with your city and province or state (or your candidate's history and location) to [email protected] by May 1, 2020. We will select 15 frontline and essential heroes and I will cover all shipping costs, the book, etc. Due to the volume of emails we expect to receive, we will only be able to respond to those selected, but I want to thank you in advance for sharing your story with me and all of you who do. sacrifices for your communities every day.
A little about this soup
Today, I'm sharing a versatile, nutrient-dense soup suitable for the pantry that I've been making for several weeks. I can't tell you how much of a go-to recipe this has been trying to juggle with work deadlines and arbitration (oops, I mean parenthood) and homeschooling. You can use pretty much any veg you have on hand as long as they add up to about 8 cups (be sure to see the tips in the recipe below for ideas). I have also created the Instant Pot and Stovetop versions for you. I love being able to throw everything in my Instant Pot, turn it on and go! And the stovetop version is almost as simple… the only difference is you will have to stir it a few times during cooking. I whip this twice a week until the warm weather sets in. Hope this gives you some comfort during these difficult days. I'd love to know which veg combos you are using… My favorite combo so far is: broccoli, carrots, butternut squash, frozen green beans and sliced cremini mushrooms. A nutritious powerhouse! I'm not kidding when I say I eat this every day for lunch… it helps balance out all the baked goods I've stuffed in my face… lol.
PS - I'll be sure to share many more details about the new book (as well as the big cover revealed!) Soon. If you haven't already, be sure to Subscribe to our newsletter, because we'll be relaunching it this spring and revealing the coverage and details first.
Send you all love, good health wishes and virtual big hugs,
8 cups (2 L)
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) coconut oil or olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) water
- 1 can (14 ounces / 398 ml) light coconut milk
- 1 can (14 ounces / 398 mL) fire-roasted diced tomatoes *
- 3 cups (190 g) broccoli florets (1 x 1/2 inch florets) **
- 2 cups (270 g) peeled, seeded and chopped butternut squash (1/2 inch cubes)
- 1 1/2 cups (195 g) chopped peeled carrots (1/2 inch thick pieces)
- 1 1/2 cups (160 g) frozen cut green beans ***
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, or to taste ****
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 cup (170 g) uncooked red lentils
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) apple cider vinegar, or to taste
- Herbamare, for garnish (optional)
- Stovetop Method: In a large saucepan, add the oil, water, coconut milk, diced tomatoes (with juice), broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, frozen green beans, flakes of red pepper, salt (starting with 3/4 teaspoon), garlic powder and red lentils. Stir to combine.
- Set the heat to high, cover with a tight-fitting lid and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, remove the lid and reduce the heat to medium. Stir again, scraping the lentils stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Simmer, covered, over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender and the vegetables are tender. fair tender fork. The vegetables should have a touch of resistance when pierced with a fork. The cooking time will vary depending on the type of vegetables you are using.
- After cooking, remove the lid and stir in the apple cider vinegar, starting with a tablespoon and adding from there to taste (we love 2 tablespoons for lots of brightness). Sometimes there may be a slight separation in the soup after adding the vinegar, depending on the brand of coconut milk used. There is nothing to worry about. Season with more salt, if you wish (I add 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt, plus a little Herbamare). I also like to add a little more apple cider vinegar to my single serving because I love how tangy it is in this soup. Serve and enjoy. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 to 5 days.
It’s easy to be cynical about the idea of New Year’s resolutions, but there is a lot of undeniable and powerful energy surrounding the idea of change at this time of year. For many of us, that change starts in the kitchen.
Maybe it means resolving to cook at home more often, to keep a well-stocked freezer and pantry, to waste less, or to make slightly more wholesome choices. Maybe, for you, this is the year in which you’d like to give veganism ( or vegetarianism ) a try.
Whether you’re trying to dip your toes slowly into the world of plant-based eating, or you’re ready to make a total shift, it can be helpful to keep a few things in mind.
Some people go vegan overnight, and they never look back. But for many others, a slow transition is more sustainable ( and pleasurable ) than a 180-degree turn. If the idea of going vegan feels daunting, start with a couple of small steps, like a Meatless Monday challenge at home, or switching one of your daily meals to a meatless and dairy-free option. ( You’d be surprised at how easy it is to trade your turkey sandwich for hummus, tempeh bacon, and avocado ).
I’m quick to say that vegan food is just food. While there are a couple of secret weapon ingredients to have on your radar ( nutritional yeast, I’m lookin’ at you ), for the most part a healthy appetite for céréales, beans, and produce is all you really need to get started. With that said, any dietary shift can be tricky, and veganism is no exception. So, before you get started, take just a little time to go over the basics of plant-based nutrition. Find a useful, all-in-one resource, like Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina’s Becoming Vegan, or Ginny Messina and Jack Norris’ Vegan For Life. At some point, someone will ask you where you get your protein ( or your iron, or your calcium ), and while you could laugh the question off, it’s a lot more powerful to supply a quick, confident answer.
Going vegan expanded my palate dramatically : I learned about all sorts of global cuisines, warmed up to my spice rack, and tried ingredients I’d never considered before. But my culinary repertoire was pretty meager when I made the switch. If you already have some culinary experience, don’t assume that you’ll need to acquire an entirely new bag of tricks to eat vegan or vegetarian.
In fact, one really useful place to start is by looking at some of your favorite dinner recipes and thinking about how you might adapt them to be meatless and/or dairy-free. It may be as simple as removing some cheese ( or replacing it with cashew cheese ). It may mean trading the central protein for beans, soy foods, or even a hearty vegetable, like mushrooms.
Until I went vegan, I had never tried tempeh, soba noodles, kimchi, kabocha squash, nutritional yeast, millet, mulberries, or buckwheat…and the list goes on. Becoming vegan encouraged me to explore new ingredients, and it also introduced me to more global dishes.
A great many dietary folklores around the world are already plant-based, which means that végétaliens and vegetarians have many rich, exciting culinary traditions to draw upon. If you’re new to plant-based cooking, explore meatless dishes and recipes from other parts of the world ( Indian, Ethiopian, and Middle Eastern dishes are some of my personal préférés ). Dust off your spice rack and add new flavors to your food. Use your transition to plant-based eating as an excuse to try new céréales, legumes, and vegetables.
A lot of folks assume that adapting a recipe to be vegan means replacing the meat or poultry with a faux meat, a block of tofu, or tempeh. That’s cool, but it can also be fun to think creatively and imaginatively about how to capture the essence of a traditional recipe without animal protein. No, lentil Bolognese isn’t really Bolognese, but it does capture the heartiness of the original; cashew banana yogurt is a far cry from dairy, but it does evoke the same, sweet creaminess.
Many people are surprised by how easy it is to go meatless. Cheese, on the other hand, is a different story. I myself used to utter the same words I hear constantly from readers, friends, and alimentation clients : ' I’d love to go vegan, but I can’t give up cheese. '
While I won’t pretend that giving up dairy is easy—it’s not, especially because it’s so ubiquitous in restaurant dishes—I will say that I had a much easier time living without it when I learned to make my own substitutes. Store-bought soy and almond cheeses weren’t cutting it ( especially nine years ago, when the options were limited ), and soy creamers and yogurts left me feeling equally flat. Making my first batch of cashew cheese—which authentically captured the tanginess and matière of goat cheese—was a revelation. Homemade nut milk let me create creamy porridge and muesli far more authentically than did store-bought, non-dairy milk.
Over time, I’ve experimented with tofu paneer, tofu feta, and cashew yogurt, and the list is growing. Homemade dairy substitutes are creative, fun, and cost-effective, and I think they’re a big step up from what you can find in the store.
While I’m the first to point out that vegan proteins extend far beyond soy foods—encompassing tonalités of different céréales, legumes, nuts, and seeds—you really can’t beat tofu and tempeh for ' meaty ' matière and complete protein in meatless dishes. Both ingredients can be either memorable or mundane, depending on how you prepare them. I definitely recommend pressing tofu if you’re not already in the habit; it’ll create a firmer, more toothsome texture that most people prefer.
When preparing tempeh, be sure to use a boldly flavored marinade or sauce to help balance tempeh’s earthy taste, and if you find it bitter, you can steam it before marinating, too.
For the most part, I try to feature whole foods and homemade ingredients in my cooking. But in spite of the fact that I love to create my own dairy substitutes and I’d usually rather eat a scoop of lentils than a block of faux meat, I don’t eschew vegan products, and I think that keeping an open mind about them can really enrich the authenticity of your food.
This is especially important when you’re transitioning and vegan cooking still feels like a brave new world. Nine times out of ten, I’ll opt to use cashew cheese in a recipe rather than Daiya ( a melty, commercial vegan cheese ) ; coconut oil in place of Earth Balance ( vegan butter ) ; or grilled tofu in place of Beyond Chicken ( grilled strips of soy and pea protein that taste shockingly like chicken ).
But when I’m aiming for totally authentic, precise results, vegan substitute products can go a long way, and it’s comforting to know that they’re an option if I feel like taking a shortcut.
Over time, I learned to create vegan food with greater sensitivity to others’ tastes and folklores. I love a lot of really crunchy fare, from the aforementioned raw kale salad to tofu, sprouts, and grain bowls. And I know a lot of other folks who love these dishes, too. But sometimes being an ambassador of vegan food means knowing how to create dishes that feel familiar and appeal to a wide array of more conservative palates, like vegan lasagna, shepherd’s pie, or sloppy Joes.
And, if you’re trying to dispel the idea that all vegans eat is salad and prove that vegan food can be filling and hearty, then it’s all the more important to create dishes that evoke a sense of comfort.
Change feels a lot less daunting when you have company. If your family and friends aren’t exploring veganism along with you, then find community in other ways. Explore a vegan meetup or potluck in your community. Become a regular commenter on vegan food blogs. If you do have a friend who’s interested in plant-based cooking, convie him or her over for some recipe testing.
Studies show that failure to stick with a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle is often attributed to feeling ' different ' or isolated. Food is all about community and sharing, so do your best to share this lifestyle with people you care about—even if they’re not making the change along with you.