Soup’s On

Welcome to the Wholefoods Diner. The special today is soup. The delight of soup is that it offers so much and requires so little. There is nothing quite as nurturing on a chilly day as a pot of simmering soup. Luckily, there are many excellent homemade soups that can be quickly prepared.

From the many we have dined on, here is a sampling of our “every day” soups, taken from the brand new edition of American Wholefoods Cuisine: 1300 Wholesome Meatless Recipes from Short Order to Gourmet – the “vegetarian Joy of Cooking” – introducing a way of eating that “tastes great and happens to be healthy.”

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Nikki & David

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Portuguese Bread and Garlic Soup

This very substantial soup, made from the most modest ingredients, can be prepared in just 10 minutes.

4½ cups water
4 cloves garlic, cut in pieces
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 slices (6 ounces) whole grain bread
chopped parsley

Bring water to boil in a soup pot. Add garlic, salt and bread torn into tiny pieces. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until very soft.

Mash soup with a spoon or fork. Return briefly to a boil.

Season generously with fresh ground pepper, adjust salt if necessary to taste and sprinkle with parsley.

Yield: 4 servings

Hot Borscht

Serve this Russian vegetable with soup plenty of YoChee for each person to spoon into their soup bowl.

3 cups water
1 cup tomato pulp or puree
1 onion, diced
1 cup shredded or finely chopped carrot
1 cup peeled and shredded or finely chopped beets
1 cup shredded or finely chopped potato
2 cups thinly shredded cabbage
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine water and tomato in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Add vegetables, season with salt, cover, and simmer about 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender. When cooking is completed, add lemon juice and serve.

Yield: 1½ quarts; serves 4 to 6

Broccoli and Macaroni Soup

Fragrant with garlic and very satisfying.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup small whole wheat shells or macaroni
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a 3-quart pot and sauté garlic until lightly colored. Dilute tomato paste with some of the water and add to pot along with remaining water, salt and a generous turn of fresh pepper. Bring to a boil.

Add broccoli. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add pasta. Cover and simmer 10 minutes longer, or until tender.

Sprinkle with cheese just before serving or add to individual bowls.

Yield: 4 servings

Quick Creamy Bean Soup

An excellent way to use precooked beans, either plain or in a seasoned sauce, or even canned beans. This basic recipe can be varied as desired for a thick or thinner soup.

Combine cooked beans with an equal amount of dairy or soy milk, allowing 1 cup of each for 2 small servings, 1½ cups each for a generous bowlful. Puree smooth in a blender or food processor.

If beans are unseasoned, flavor as desired with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, hot pepper sauce, or other favorite seasoning. Warm through and serve.

Potage Bonne Femme

A French country soup that takes the place of chicken soup in the nonmeat kitchen.

3 tablespoons combined olive oil and butter
1½ cups sliced leeks
2½ cup diced carrots
3 cups diced potatoes
6 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon honey
chopped parsley

Heat oil and butter in a 5-quart soup pot. When melted, add leeks and carrots, stir to coat, and cook over gentle heat until hot and impregnated with the fat.

Potatoes can be scrubbed and diced while the vegetables are cooking. Add to the pot along with water, salt and honey. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Puree soup through a coarse sieve. This is preferred to electric pureeing in the blender or food processor as the vegetable is reduced to fine light shreds rather than a mash; however, these appliances can be used.

Adjust salt and pepper to taste and garnish with parsley. If soup has cooled while pureeing, reheat before serving.

Yield: 2 quarts; serves 6 to 8

Potato and Greens

This is a simple Italian soup, the product of times when both money and fresh vegetables were scarce. A perfect cold weather meal.

3 cups diced potatoes (about 1 pound)
1 clove garlic, cut in half
2 cups diced dark leafy greens (escarole, chard, kale, chicory, or Romaine)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced stale whole grain bread
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine potatoes, garlic and water in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until potatoes are not quite tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add greens and salt, cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until tender.

Remove from heat, add bread cubes, cover, and let stand off the heat for 10 minutes. Stir in oil, season with lots of fresh ground pepper and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

French Onion Soup

This delicious soup, one of David’s favorites, is accomplished without the lengthy cooking involved in making most classic onion soups.

2 tablespoons oil (olive preferred)
4 cups thinly sliced onions (1½ pounds)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
6 cups water
1½ teaspoons salt
4 thin slices whole grain bread, lightly toasted
1 cup shredded gruyere or Swiss cheese

Heat oil in a soup pot. Add onions and soy sauce, cover and stew over very low heat until soft and pulpy, about 20 minutes. Add water and salt, bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Place 1 slice of toast in each serving bowl and pour on boiling soup. Sprinkle with cheese.

Yield: 4 servings

Variation: For Baked Onion Soup, ladle soup into individual ovenproof ramekins. Top with toast slices and a generous layer of cheese. Bake in a 325oF. oven until top is crusty.

Recipes from the Nikki & David Goldbeck’s American Wholefoods Cuisine ©