Here's My Answer

Category Archives: Vegan

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Ok ok ok… I’m sorry I’ve been a little M.I.A. lately.  I’ve been a little preoccupied with the usual stuff… Basically with life in general.  I can’t really remember what has happened in the last 10 days, but I’m sure there have been things… I hope there have been things anyway.  How lame would that be if I didn’t accomplish anything in the last 10 days??

Meh… it’s January so therefore it’s ok to not really accomplish much.  I’ve been working a lot, we’ve been trying to maintain a consistent workout schedule, we’ve been busy with friends and family, I have found a new obsession with Pinterest (I am so behind on what’s cool these days) and I’ve been very consumed by this whole “try to continue to eat ‘cleanly’ and not go out to eat hardly ever” thing.  There have been days that it’s been a challenge, but we have majorly cut back our eating out and it definitely shows in our bank account.  It’s amazing how much money you can save just from something so simple!

Oh… I know what I’ve been doing for the last few days… (I just remembered this) I’ve been addictively (did I make that word up?) watching Sons of Anarchy and this just in… Breaking Bad.  Good god… the things I have been missing in my life!  Well, I’ve always been a Sons of Anarchy fan but I started watching it at like the end of the second season so I decided to start from the beginning.  Brad and I only just started watching Breaking Bad on like Friday night (it’s now Tuesday) and we’ve watched the whole first season.  Which, hold on!  The first season is only 7 episodes so don’t get your undies in a bunch!  However, I am literally so obsessed and uncontrollably addicted that it’s all I think about.  A television show.  It’s pathetic.  I know.  You don’t have to tell me.  And I can’t wait to watch more tonight.

Ok… now that you are all fully aware of my television addictions and strange desires to watch shows about cooking meth and cancer and motorcycles and guns and high school science teachers and violence and …

Oh god.  I’m doing it again.  AH!

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Ok.  Moving on.

Let’s see.  We made these little burrito bowls like the day after we decided to stop doing CLEAN.  It definitely fits in the CLEAN program and it’s also SUPER easy so I have a feeling we will be making this many more times.  Oh!  It’s also pretty cheap too!  All you need is rice, 2 cans of beans and two avocados, a lime and cilantro!  I mean, I didn’t keep track of how much it cost, but I’m sure it’s under $15 and fed us for two lunches!  You do also need some seasoning, but I would hope everyone has garlic powder and cumin on hand.  We always have a bag of brown rice in the pantry too, so for us, it was even cheaper!

This would also be a perfect meal to use leftover rice for.  I know that whenever we make rice, for maybe stir fry or something like that, we always have a buttload leftover (wait, did I just write “buttload”?  Why yes, yes I did) and we usually end up throwing at least some of it away.  This is the perfect answer to that never ending problem!  Even if you have a little bit leftover, say like a cup’s worth, you can still pop open a can of beans and pour it on top and dollop some guac on there too and you’ll have a great lunch!  If you wanted to get really crazy, you could even wrap all of it up in a tortilla, but then it wouldn’t be considered a CLEAN recipe.  Whatever you choose, I think you’ll really enjoy this dish!

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Burrito Bowls
Serves 4

1 cup uncooked brown rice (this should make 3 cups of cooked rice)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinse
Garlic powder
Ground Cumin
Chili Powder (optional)
2 avocados
Juice of 1 lime
Handful of cilantro, roughly copped

Cook the brown rice according to the package directions.  While the rice is cooking, make your guacamole.  Mash the two avocados in a bowl.  Poor in the lime juice and chopped cilantro.  Mix together.  When the rice is done cooking, poor some in a bowl and top with beans.  Sprinkle the garlic powder, cumin and chili powder over top, along with salt if desired.  Then plop a couple spoons of guacamole on top and go to town!

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Believe it or not, these black bean burgers have been on my list to make for about 6 months.  I have bought the ingredients for them at least 3 times over those 6 months and still never got around to making them.  That is, until the other day!  I had no reason for not making them, I just for some reason never did.  I’m so glad that I finally got to it.  These things are awesome!

Now, technically these are “spicy” black bean burgers, but they are only spicy if you add the jalapeno.  However, if you are anything like me and you think you have a jalapeno in the fridge that you didn’t use the other day, when in fact you don’t…. well… they aren’t so spicy.  But they are still tasty!  They just don’t have the kick.

They are actually very simple to make.  However, I was determined, once again to not use all the required appliances in order to lessen my dish washing load.  I’m not sure what my deal is.  I get so excited to have all these awesome food processors, blenders, mixers, cheese graters…. and I love them, but when it comes down to it, somedays I don’t want to use them only based on the fact that they are more time consuming to wash.  I should really stop doing that.  Anyway… I found that they didn’t stay together super well, but I have a feeling that’s because I didn’t use the food processor to really blend some of the ingredients together so they didn’t act as much like glue as they should have… that’s my guess anyway.  So these may be more like “black bean sloppy burgers” but they still have the same awesome flavor as they would if they weren’t sloppy.

These are a great alternative to a real burger.  They are just as filling, if not more, and they are so much better for you!  They also have soooo much more flavor.  We paired them with some steamed veggies and chips and salsa.  We also topped our burgers with avocado and hot sauce.  Definitely the way to go!  Enjoy these!  They are a perfect meal for Meatless Monday!

Spicy Black Bean Burgers 
From Eat, Live, Run
Makes 5- 1/3 cup size burgers, which are pretty thick burgers

2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon ground flax seed plus 3 tablespoons of water
1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn (I used frozen)
Avocado for topping
Hot sauce for topping
Olive oil (or canola oil) for frying

In a small bowl or measuring cup or mug (whatever is easiest to clean!) stir together the ground flax and water.  Set aside.

Add the jalapeno and garlic to a food processor or blender and mince finely.  Add one can of beans and pulse until combined.  Add cumin and salt and pulse more until pretty smooth.

Transfer the bean mixture to a large bowl.  Add the bread crumbs, tomato sauce, corn and flax.  Stir to combine.  Add the remaining beans.

Heat a little bit of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop the bean mixture and form a patty with your hands.  Place on piece of parchment paper or foil.  Make remaining patties until you have used up all of the bean mixture.  Fry in the pan for about 4 minutes per side until crispy and golden brown.  Warning!  These were pretty tricky to flip, so just be prepared!

Serve the burgers with avocado and hot sauce, maybe even some tomato and lettuce too!


Fall is my favorite season of the year.  I love it because the (supposed) cooler weather, the fact that I get to wear jeans and long sleeves and sweaters instead of shorts and tank tops, the apple orchards, the pumpkin picking, the fact that Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are not too far and of course… the food.

**Side Note: Last week, Brad and I packed up the pups and headed to the Upper Peninsula/northernest tip of Wisconsin with my family for our annual vacation.  This was our 24th year up there and it was amazing.  It was jam packed with sleeping in a small bed, waking up just as the sun was coming out to go fishing, eating big breakfasts, going fishing again, eating a bunch of food at lunchtime, then fishing again, being hot, then eating a big dinner and then more fishing after that.  And then there were trips to town for a twist cone… or two and burgers and curly fries.  There was a walk or two with the dogs in there, a decent amount of beer, some margaritas, and an attempt to check out a for real haunted house, that failed.  We took the dogs on the boat with us where we found out that a boat apparently puts Cash straight to sleep while Etta helped us fish.  We caught big fish, we caught small fish, but from the looks of the beginning of the week, we were just happy to catch any fish.  Brad got to filet some fish for the first time, which was very exciting and we were able to have a fish fry (eh hem, appetizer) on Friday night!

 The view from our cabin

It was an amazing week away from television, computers and phones that was long overdue.  It was a refreshing to escape from the daily grind (although let’s face it, life isn’t that hard here) and it was the perfect change of scenery we were in need for.  If only it wasn’t 10 hours away… So if you were wondering why I haven’t posted anything in, let’s see, almost 2 weeks, that would explain why.  We arrived back on Saturday night and pretty much laid low and did laundry and ran errands on Sunday and then I started back at work on Monday.  So I really haven’t gotten the chance to sit down and write a post in awhile.

Like I said, Cash slept most of the time… in his little life jacket!

 Yea, I caught this beast.  Thank goodness Brad was there to take it off the hook and hold it for me so I could get a photo!!

 I just love this photo too much not to share!

 And of course, the family photo!!

When we arrived back from vacation, we were welcomed by some rain here in Indy, which felt like a miracle since we’ve barely had any over the past 3 months!  It sputtered on Saturday but the real rain came on Sunday and most of Monday where is pretty much rained most of those days.  But, as I said, we were totally happy about it because we now have green grass!  But a rainy Sunday is no day for grilling or any type of summery food…and so when I woke up that morning, I knew what was in store for us that day… CHILI.  

Oh chili… how I love thee.

While the temperature was not exactly in the chili making lows (it was still like 75 out) I just couldn’t keep myself from eating a perfect bowl of chili.  And luckily, Brad was in the same mood I was.

Now, I’ve made several types of chili.  Ok… maybe not several, I think I’ve made 3 or 4, but who’s counting?  I have a go-to easy chili recipe that my mom makes that’s pretty simple.  It’s browned meat and onion, packet of chili seasoning and some diced tomatoes.  Maybe a can of tomato paste too, I can’t remember.  Oh and kidney beans.  But it’s a great last minute chili to make that tastes very good.  I’ve also made a more time consuming pot of chili that comes from Paula Deen’s son that is more involved but has more veggies in it.  It takes awhile to simmer, so it’s more of a chili that you plan on making and set aside a few hours to make.


This pot of chili is a bit of a combination of the two… and it’s vegan (and I didn’t even realize it until Sunday)!  It’s got the veggies of the more complex chili, but the seasoning and tomatoes of the easy chili and beans from both, and some extras that I add on my own.  It’s relatively simple, just a little time consuming because you have to cut up a decent amount of veggies, but I like it because you can either eat it right away or you can simmer it on the stove for an hour or two while your husband takes a nap on the couch and you watch Masterchef on Hulu in the library. Just sayin.

This chili has a great amount of spice and can easily be great with meat but it’s just as good without.  You can add extra veggies like carrots or sweet potatoes or maybe corn, but I was too scared to change it on Sunday so I went with what I knew was good.  You can also add or take away spice, make it soupy or thick and you can take away or add beans.  All around, it’s a very versatile chili that I think can please most anyone!

Oh and you can make it not vegan by adding cheese on top and crackers!  Which, let’s face it, is the way to eat it.

Homemade Chili
Makes about 6 servings I think

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
2 jalapenos, diced
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 packets of chili seasonings (I only had one but definitely had to add more seasonings)
1- 14.5oz can of petite diced tomatoes (I like my tomatoes very small in my chili, you can also use regular diced or whole)
1- 8oz can of tomato sauce
1/2- 1 1/2 cups of water depending on how thick/thin you like your chili
Cheese and crackers for serving, optional

Heat the oil in a large soup pot on the stove over medium heat.  Add the celery, green pepper, jalapenos and onion.  Saute until veggies start to get soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir for another minute.  Pour in all three beans and stir.  Sprinkle in the chili seasoning (I’d suggest one packet first and then sprinkle in the other packet once all the ingredients have been added and you have tasted the chili).  Stir to combine.  Next, pour in the tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Stir and add as much water as you would like to get the right thickness.  Let this simmer for at least 10 minutes.  Check your seasonings and add the rest of the chili seasoning, salt and pepper.  Simmer for at least another 5 minutes.  You can serve the chili at this point, or you can simmer on a low heat for another hour or so.  Serve with cheese and crackers if you want!

Oh… this is Cash not wanting to go out in the rain.


I guess this is another vegan recipe and I didn’t even realize it.  So you’re in luck!  You get a total of 5 vegan recipes from me!

This was a dish that I pretty much improvised on.  Here’s the story- Brad plays double header softballs games every Wednesday night and so for dinner those nights, I like to do really good, healthy meals that will provide him with lots of energy and not weigh him down for his games.  It had been awhile since I had made a made a quinoa dish, so we were due.  I knew I didn’t want to have any cheese in it, or any meat, so in order for it to be pretty filling, I figured it needed… beans!  2 kinds of beans!  Then all I did was add some things that were left in the pantry and I had a great dish!

I’ve been doing our grocery shopping at Whole Foods now and in their bulk section (which is awesome!) I found some Tri-Color Quinoa.  They had 3 or 4 different kinds, which I didn’t even know existed!  It didn’t taste any different, but it sure was prettier!  Maybe it’s healthier… or not, who knows.  But it cooked the same and tasted the same so I was happy with it!

This dish is really simple to make.  You have to allow time for the quinoa to cook, which is a good 15-20 minutes.  But once the quinoa is cooked, you just add some beans, red onion, peppers and a can of Rotel.  Yea, that’s seriously it.  But it has lots of flavor and with the beans, it’s very filling.  The Rotel adds some really good flavor with the peppers in it and the beans give it an extra texture that I really enjoy.  I chose to use pinto beans and black beans, just so it wasn’t too simple.  I’m glad I did that.  I like the combination of the two.  You could really add to this dish as well.  I had some jalapenos (that turned red I think because of the all the freaking sun and heat) and a banana pepper from our garden that I needed to use up, so I threw them in there.  You could add fresh tomatoes, a can of green chiles, some Mexican seasoning like cumin and chili powder, you could add chicken to this… the options are endless.  It’s definitely a meal you can get creative with!  You can also use it as a side dish to burgers, grilled chicken, grilled steak…. It pretty much goes with whatever you want it to!

… It’s also incredible with guacamole on top, I failed to capture a photo of that though because I was scarfing it all down too quickly.  Sometimes I just get too excited.  But I would highly recommend topping it with the guacamole.  That really adds a whole new dimension!

Bean and Tri-Color Quinoa Salad
Created from my awesome mind
Makes about 4-6 servings

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2/3 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed (I found a whole can of both beans was just a little too much)
2/3 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of Original Rotel
1 tablespoon finely diced red onion (I don’t like a lot of red onion)
1-2 jalapenos, finely diced
1 banana pepper, finely diced

Bring 2 1/2 cups of water and quinoa to a boil in a medium sized saucepan.  Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to simmer until the water is gone, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add the beans, Rotel, red onion, jalapenos and banana peppers and stir well.

Serve with cilantro on top and if you’re feeling wild… throw some guac on there, you’ll be glad you did it!

Oh!  It also keeps really well so eat this for lunch leftover.  It’s seriously just as great as it is fresh!


This is the last of the “official vegan week” recipes.  Yea… like I said, we didn’t make it very far.  Actually, there’s a fourth recipe, but I have no photos so like I said in the previous post, I’ll just tell you it.

This tortilla soup is actually based on Pioneer Woman’s chicken tortilla soup, however, I cut out the chicken and the chicken broth to make it… Vegan!!  And if you ask me, it’s still pretty good!  I subbed vegetable broth for the chicken broth, that’s pretty much the only difference between the recipes.

The original recipe is fantastic.  It’s pretty much the best chicken tortilla soup ever (I have to say McAlister’s is a pretty close second though!)  It has lots of beans and veggies and adding a little cornmeal at the end to thicken it is key.  Knowing how delicious this soup is, I was nervous about how it would turn out without 2 of the key ingredients… chicken and chicken broth.  To my surprise though, it was fantastic!  There wasn’t a whole lot of difference really.  As Brad put it “it tastes like the same soup only I got a bowl without any chicken in it”!  I’ll take that!!

As I was getting started cutting up the veggies, I noticed that I still had a couple of ears of corn leftover from our trip to the farmer’s market that past weekend.  So instead of using frozen corn like I usually do, I cut all the kernels off the ears and used them!  It gave the soup a whole new, fresh flavor that I really enjoyed!  I just cooked the corn in the soup pot, but I’m thinking that I could have Brad grill the corn next time to get a char on it… that would really add some good flavor!  Frozen corn does work really well, but if you have any leftover corn from the night before or just want to try fresh corn, I highly recommend it!

Anyway, I think this tortilla soup is a great vegan alternative to chicken tortilla soup.  It’s just as tasty and just as filling (even more so because I added some extra beans!)  While it’s not exactly the best meal for a 100 degree day, it’s still just as delicious as it would be if we were eating it on a winter day!  There’s a good chance I’ll start making this instead of chicken tortilla soup from now on!

Oh- real quick!  The other vegan recipe is a burrito that we made to take to the track with us!  This was when we were still on our vegan diet on Friday.  It was one of the best burritos I have had it was ridiculously easy!  They were just black beans, Spanish rice and guacamole wrapped in a tortilla!  That’s it!  I’ll include a recipe at the bottom of this post, but unfortunately I don’t have any photos.  But they are so worth sharing!  They are perfect for a picnic, day at the track, or just a really quick, easy dinner!  And if you use Wholly Guacamole like I did… they are even quicker and easier!

Tortilla Soup
Adapted from Pioneer Woman’s chicken tortilla soup
Serves… a LOT.  Not sure how much… at least 8 servings though

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 ears of corn, kernels removed (or 1/2 – 1 cup of frozen corn)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 – 10 oz can of Rotel (original diced tomatoes with green chiles… there are 2 in the photo above but I only used 1 can)
32 oz vegetable broth
2-3 cups of water, depending on how thin you want the soup
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons of cornmeal
5 corn tortillas, cut into strips

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat.  Add the corn and cook for about one minute.  Then add the onion, green pepper and garlic.  Cook for another couple minutes.  Then add the cumin, chili powder and garlic powder, stir to combine.  Add the tomato paste and mix in.  Then pour in the Rotel, vegetable broth, water and beans.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Mix the cornmeal with a small amount of water (about 2 tablespoons maybe?) in a small bowl or measuring cup.  Pour into the soup and stir everything together.  Simmer for another 20 minutes.  Add salt according to taste.  A couple minutes before serving, add the tortilla strips and stir gently.

Serve in bowls with guacamole or salsa on top.  Crispy tortilla chips go really well on top too!  Adds a nice crunch!

Bean, Rice and Guacamole Burritos
Makes 3 burritos

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 package of cooked Spanish Rice (I used Uncle Ben’s Spanish Rice that cooks in the microwave for 90 seconds.  Super easy!)
1 package of Wholly Guacamole of your choice (I used the guac with pico de gallo) or use homemade guacamole if you would like!
3 burrito size tortillas
Foil

Heat the first tortilla in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to get nice and soft.  Spoon 1/3 of the beans in the middle.  Top with about 1/3 of the rice and 1/3 of the guacamole.  Fold one side over the filling and then tuck the sides in and roll over to close.  Wrap in foil (if taking it to go, but the foil also helps hold it together).  Side note: you can heat up the beans in the microwave before putting in the burritos.  I didn’t though because the burritos were going into a cooler for about 6 hours so we just ate them cold.  See!?  Couldn’t be easier!!


Welllll…. we managed to eat like vegans for 4 meals.  Uuhhhh….

Allow me to explain.  We ate like vegans actually for 5 days because I made 2 hearty soups that fed us fantastic leftovers.  We started on Monday and went all the way through Friday, sort of.  I made a total of 4 vegan recipes (one was for lunch and too easy to write a whole post about so I’ll just have to tell you about it), but here’s what happened.  The NASCAR race was in town and there was so much going on Friday, Saturday and Sunday that by Saturday I caved.  I’m not proud of it.  But sometimes when you’ve been drinking beer for a good part of the day and you already came up with some great vegan recipes, it’s hard to come up with more.  So basically, I just got lazy.  There…. I said it.  I’ve decided today that I will not beat myself up over it.  4 meals was pretty good and it’s not my fault that it was race weekend.  Plus, I had too high of expectations to be able to quit all dairy and meat cold turkey.

Instead, I think our goal for right now will be to eat a few vegan meals a week, a few vegetarian meals a week and just try to skip red meat, chicken and fish as much as possible.  I’ll report back with, hopefully, better news next week.  But for the time being I will share my handful of awesome vegan recipes!

This was Vegan Meal #2!  And to my surprise, it was pretty good!  Good enough that I will make it again.  This is another recipe that I found on Whole Foods’ website.  As I said in the last post, I was stunned by how many fantastic recipes they have on their website.  My favorite thing about all their recipes is that they are so different!  There’s a huge variety and that is absolutely what we need if we are going to embark on this journey… again.

As I said, this is an awesome vegan dish.  It’s really simple to make and also pretty quick, you just have to chop up a few veggies and cook the soba noodles which take a whopping 4 minutes to cook.  The peanut butter was definitely a different taste for me since we have never eaten anything savory with peanut butter.  But, I think that having the tahini and tamari helped balance out that out.  The snow peas were my favorite part of this dish too.  I got some of the best snow peas ever from Whole Foods last week.  I couldn’t stop eating them.  On a side note- this does make a LOT.  And sadly, it does not keep well, at all.  The noodles really soak up the sauce, but not in a good way.  You lose a lot of flavor.  So if you are making this for just 2 people, half this recipe.  Otherwise, if you are making this for a family of 4, you’ll be good with the recipe as is.  I just wanted to warn you.  However, if you eat this all right after you make it, yum.  It’s really great!


Taken straight from Whole Foods’ website (with only a couple minor changes)
Serves 4

1- 8oz package of soba noodles
2 cups of snow peas
2 tablespoons of roasted, unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter, or almond butter (this is VERY important.  Do not sub any other type of peanut butter!!!)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari (gluten-free soy sauce.  You could use regular soy sauce here)
1 tablespoon tahini
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 scallions, sliced
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Cook soba noodles according to package.  You can add the snow peas about one minute before the noodles are done, but I put mine in fresh.

In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, rice vinegar, tamari, tahini and red pepper flakes.  Add a splash of warm water to thin the sauce if desired.  Add the noodles, snow peans, carrots, red pepper, scallions and sesame seeds.  Toss to coat everything with the sauce.  Serve at room temp or chilled (it’s best at room temp)!


Here’s the deal- Brad and I decided to try going vegan for a week…ish.  It’s undecided as to how long we will be doing this, however, when it comes to food, I do best with short term goals.  It’s Thursday night currently, and as far as I am aware, I have not broken this goal that we started on Monday.

Allow me to explain why we would decide to do something so crazy:

We watched a film called “Forks Over Knives“.  And I’m pretty sure everyone NEEDS to watch it.  You can rent it and you can also watch it on Hulu Plus.  It’s a film about plant based diets and how they basically will make you disease free, cancer free, diabetes free, and essentially live an awesome, very long, healthy life.  We watched it last Wednesday and it was far more of an awakening for us than we could have ever imagined.  And so we decided to try to go vegan, but by taking small steps.

I’ll admit, it hasn’t been super easy because, while we eat a lot of meatless meals, we eat a lot of dairy.  I do not drink milk though for 2 reasons.  1) it is so gross and 2) I’m a little bit lactose intolerant (but only for certain things, it weird.  Milk bugs me, ice cream bugs me and certain amounts of cheese bug me… I’m just screwy I suppose).  But we do eat a lot of meals that involve cheese.  Especially the Mexican ones.  Mexican is just so easy to turn into a meatless meal because all you have to do is substitute black beans for the meat and you’re done.  But they are definitely not vegan meals.  There, my friends, lies the problem.

I started to panic a little when I realized I was going to have to come up with some vegan meals for this week.  But to my utter amazement, Whole Foods‘ website has more vegan recipes than I think I knew existed.  735 to be exact.  I was so excited that I spent a good hour just surfing through some the recipes.  I found some really great ones, this being one of them!

When I think of eating vegan food I think of healthy, green, earthy foods that are not entirely filling nor entirely delicious.  Wrong.  REALLY WRONG.  This soup is awesome.  So awesome that we’ve been eating it leftover… and if you know me, if I eat something leftover it has to be good.  I was shocked.  How could something with all plants or plant based stuff be… so good?

My first skepticism was the vegetable broth.  Which is obviously not quite as flavorful as chicken broth or beef broth.  I am happy to say that it does have flavor, and good flavor at that!  And the kale?  Well, this was the most shocking part!  The kale was great!!  Last time we had kale was when we tried making kale chips and learned quickly that they were NOT for us.  At all.  So I was scared to put it in the soup.  But when it’s not baked in an oven, kale is actually pretty tasty!  I think it added another level to the soup.  But you could easily substitute spinach if kale isn’t you’re think.  You definitely need one of the two though, because like I said, it adds a real something to this soup!

This was a very easy meal to make as well.  It didn’t take very long to make at all.  It reminds me almost of a minestrone with the beans and veggies and pasta.  Maybe next time I’ll add some green beans to it too.  I like green beans in my soups!  Even if you aren’t going on a vegan diet like we are, this soup is still a great addition to your box of recipes.  It’s not entirely the best meal for a 100 degree day, but I’m so sick of summer food that I couldn’t pass this soup up.  I know that we will for sure be making this soup again come fall…. or in a few weeks (which will hopefully be cooler then!).

Pasta and Bean Soup with Kale
Adapted from Whole Foods website with some minor changes
Makes about 6-8 servings

2 cans no salt added kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
1 quart of low sodium vegetable broth
1 (14.5) oz can of diced tomatoes
Salt to taste
3/4 cup small pasta, I used whole grain elbow macaroni
2/3 bunch of kale, large stems removed and leaves sliced

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery and cook, stirring every once and awhile, until everything is tender.  Stir in the beans, broth and diced tomatoes.  Add salt and bring to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until tender (about 10 minutes).  Stir in the kale and cook for another 5 minutes.  Serve in bowls!



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