During the big Atlanta snowpacalypse or snowmagadden or whatever you would like to call it, we pretty much emptied out our freezer. So, now it is time to reload. And what is better to have on hand then some healthy, delicious soup?
For some reason, I think the word “vegan” really freaks people out. Maybe people automatically assume that you mean tofu and weird meat substitutes when you say vegan? I’m not quite sure. (I actually like tofu, but that is beside the point). Whatever your thoughts on the particularities of a vegan diet, there is no denying that eating more plants and less animals in general is good for you. And while giving things more flavor without animal products may require some creativity, that does not mean it cannot be done.
When I first started following food blogs, Oh She Glows was one of my first vegan discoveries. Her recipes are so creative and appetizing, you won’t even miss the meat or cheese. (I mean vegan sour cream?? this lady rocks!) When I saw this recipe for Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato and Kale Soup, I wanted to give it a try, with a few tweaks to include ingredients that I really like. Instead of red lentils, I used red quinoa and I also incorporated mushrooms, which are one of my favorite vegetables to have in soup.
Since I think the word detox gets tossed around a lot (even I have used it), let’s call this a “reset” soup. It is kind of like how you feel after going to Flywheel or on a long run ~ it erases anything bad that you might have had and gives you the opportunity to start fresh. In this case, you will also get a nice supply of nutritional goodness. You can adjust the spice level to your taste ~ I would hold off on the cayenne pepper if you are sensitive to spicy food.
Spicy Quinoa, Mushroom and Spinach Soup (adapted from Oh She Glows)
What You’ll Need:
1 tsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 sweet onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
8 oz mushrooms chopped
1 bay leaf
1 and 1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika or to taste
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
14 oz can diced tomatoes
5-6 cups vegetable broth or more if desired
1 cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper to taste
2 handfuls spinach
What You’ll Do:
1. In a large stock pot, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil for 5 minutes or so over medium heat or until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add in the celery and mushrooms and saute for about 5 more minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to soften. Stir in the bay leaf and the spices. Here, you could add some of the spices and reserve some for later if you want to make sure it won’t be too spicy for you.
2. Add the can of tomatoes, including the juice, quinoa and the vegetable broth. Be sure to wash the quinoa before, as it can be bitter if you don’t rinse it. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered. Add salt and pepper to taste and add additional spices if needed. Note ~ if you add more vegetable broth, you will need to compensate by adding more spices. Stir in the spinach and serve!
Go ahead and give this soup a try. Maybe you won’t think this whole vegan thing is so bad 🙂