Spicy Lentil Soup (Vegan and Gluten-free)

Hearty Coconut Lentil Soup with sweet potatoes and jalapeños. #Vegan and #glutenfree http://wp.me/p2UZoK-Dc via @blestbutstrest

Spicy Lentil Soup

©2016 Anita Strawn de Ojeda

You may have seen those bright orange lentils in the bulk section of your favorite health-food store or co-op grocery and wondered how in the world to prepare them.  Here’s a tasty answer that’s quick and easy (you can prepare it on the stove top or in a crock pot.
You’ll need:

1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 white onion, diced small
2 jalapeños, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
1/4 c. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 cups orange lentils (picked over and rinsed)
2 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes (I like the white-fleshed ones), peeled and cut into large chunks.
7 cups water
1 can of coconut milk (optional)

Crock Pot Method:
Turn the crock pot on high and add the oil and cumin seeds. Start chopping the the onions, garlic and jalapeños. Add each one to the crock pot in the order listed, and then add the spices. Cover with the lid and prepare the sweet potatoes (you can cut them into pretty big chunks (1″-2″). Add the lentil ands sweet potatoes and water (you may need slightly more water–make sure the lentil and sweet potatoes are covered). Cook on high for at least three hours.




Spicy Potato Soup-Quick and Easy (not to mention GF and Vegan)

Spicy Potato Soup, vegan and gluten-free

This soup is so tasty that your non-vegan friends won’t believe it’s vegan.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: about 20 minutes
©2013 Anita Strawn de Ojeda

You’ll need
6 medium-large red potatoes (about 2 lbs.)
2 cans of green chilies (whether you use mild, medium or spicy is up to you–we like it with spicy green chilies)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 white onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tsps. salt
1/2 cup cashews
1 Tbs. brewer’s yeast (nutritional yeast flakes)

Start by putting 4 cups of hot water in a medium-sized sauce pan and turn the heat on high and cover the saucepan to get the water boiling. While the water starts to boil, wash and dice the red potatoes (1 centimeter cubes works great and they’ll cook faster, too). When the water is boiling, add the potatoes, bring the water back to boiling and turn down the heat before covering the potatoes and letting them simmer for about 15 minutes. While the potatoes are boiling, heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and chop the garlic cloves and half of a white onion into large pieces and sauté on medium heat for three-five minutes. Place 1 cup of water, the cashews, salt, sautéed onion and garlic and the brewer’s yeast in a high-powered blender (I use a BlendTec) and blend on high for 30-60 seconds. The mixture should look white and creamy. Check the potatoes to see if they’re soft–if they are, add the creamy mixture from the blender and the two cans of chilies and allow everything to heat through again (about fives minutes). Taste to see if you need more salt (I used salted, dry-roasted cashews, so I didn’t need to add any more).

To make it a completely gluten-free meal, serve with your favorite corn chips.

Hearty Vegetable Soup Base

You can add tortellini or tofu to the soup base for a variety .

You can add tortellini or tofu to the soup base for a variety .

Hearty Vegetable Soup
Serves 6-8
Prep time-15-20 minutes
Cooking time-30-45 minutes

My family loves this basic hearty vegetable soup recipe, and it’s quick and easy to make. If you’re serving a big crowd, it’s easy to double the recipe (or, if you want leftovers to freeze and reheat for a later date, you can also double the recipe).  If you’re a busy caregiver, its the perfect recipe for preparing ahead of time.

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the chopped carrots (they take the longest to cook, so I add them first). Keep chopping each vegetable and adding it to the pot as soon as you finish chopping it. Cover the veggies and let them steam and simmer for about ten minutes, then add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, salt and water. Stir well, and allow to simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots-small dice
1/2 finely chopped onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 diced jalapeño OR 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (or both, if you like spicy food)
2 cups of chopped Napa cabbage or green cabbage
1 1/2 cups potatoes-small dice
1 chopped yellow squash-bigger chunks
1 chopped zucchini-bigger chunks
2 cups fresh spinach (chopped)
1 small can of tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
4 cups water
2 tsp salt

IF you’d like to make the soup a minestrone, add
1 can of drained cannellini beans
1 Tbs. dried basil
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 cup dried tortellini

OR you could make it a vegan soup and add curry-tofu to the soup:
Rinse and prepare a package of extra firm tofu (see below under ‘tofu tips’) and cut it into 1/2 –inch chunks. Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil in a frying pan and add ½ tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. curry powder and 1 Tbs. of chicken-flavored seasoning (I use Bill’s Best Chickenish Flavoring—it’s vegan and gluten-free) and 1 tsp. salt. Stir the spices and let them bubble for a minute before adding the cubed tofu. Fry the tofu until it’s golden and then add to the soup.

Tofu tips. The most widely available tofu is ‘tub tofu’ that comes in a plastic tub with water. Make sure you purchase ‘Extra Firm’ if you buy ‘tub tofu’. This kind of tofu tastes best if you drain it, rinse it and then squeeze the water out of it before cooking with it. I usually unwrap the tofu, drain and rinse it, set it on a plate, put a plastic lid on top, and set a gallon of milk on top of the lid. The weight of the jug of milk will squeeze out the remaining liquid (it takes about an hour to get most of the water out). If ‘brick tofu’ is available in your area, it is easier to work with and doesn’t require the squeezing process to make it tasty. ‘Brick tofu’ is super-firm and comes wrapped in a brick with no water.

To find out more about why I cook the way I do, see my “Healthy (er) Choices Manifesto” post http://www.blessedbutstressed.com/?p=185

Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup (vegan and GF)

The perfect quick meal for a cool evening.

The perfect quick meal for a cool evening.

Serves 6
Who says preparing tasty vegan and gluten-free meals has to take a lot of time? This soup takes ten minutes or less to prepare, yet it rivals restaurant soups.

½ cup raw cashews
1 cup water
2 Tbs. Brewer’s yeast
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. cayenne

Blend in blender (a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix or BlendTec works best) on high speed until mixture is creamy.

Add the above mixture to a medium-sized, heavy sauce pan:
2 15 oz. cans of organic tomato sauce
2 cups of water
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. of salt (or more if needed, different companies put different amounts of salt into their tomato sauces).

Simmer on low heat for five minutes and garnish with fresh basil.

@2013 Anita Strawn de Ojeda

Rosemary Potato Soup-Creamy and Vegan

No one will know that the creamy base is vegan.

No one will know that the creamy base is vegan.

2 tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, diced
½ onion, diced
1 Tablespoon rosemary leaves (fresh or dried)
4-5 medium-sized red potatoes, scrubbed and diced into ¾” cubes
3 cups hot water
½ cup raw cashews
13 oz. Great Northern Beans (drained)
2 cups water
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. white pepper
1 Tablespoon Brewer’s Yeast or Chicken-flavored seasoning

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed medium-sized saucepan. Add the garlic, onions and rosemary and sauté over medium heat. When the onions look limp, add three cups of hot water and the diced potatoes. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer about 20 minutes (until the potatoes are soft). While the potatoes boil, combine the remaining ingredients in a high-powered blender (I use a BlendTec) and whiz on high until the ingredients look creamy. Once the potatoes are cooked, add the blended mixture and more water and salt (to taste). Bring the soup to a simmer and then serve. It tastes great with cornbread or Rosemary Bread.

Serves 6-8 and takes about 30 minutes to prepare.

Creamy Asparagus Soup-Vegan and Gluten-free

Whether you're looking for a first course or an entire meal, this soup is sure to please.

Whether you’re looking for a first course or an entire meal, this soup is sure to please.

About two weeks ago I bought a bunch of asparagus and than never had time to prepare it. I hated wasting it, but it was on the old side of fresh, so I figured it might taste great in a soup. This happens to me a lot—I buy fresh veggies and than forget to use them right away. That happens to caregivers and busy people. We have great intentions, but we get caught up in life and forget what’s in our refrigerator.


Yields about 6 cups

Boil 1 cup of water in a large cast-iron or non-stick saucepan and add:

1 bunch of fresh asparagus, snapped into two-inch lengths (if the stem snaps, it’s still good. If it just bends, or is too pithy to snap, toss it. Of course, if you use it when it’s fresh, you’ll be able to use more of it!). Turn down the heat and simmer the asparagus until it’s tender, but not mushy.

Once the asparagus is tender, place it and the water you boiled it in in a blender jar and blend on high speed (I use a Blendtec) until the mixture is smooth. Return the blended asparagus to the saucepan and add another cup of water.

In a heavy cast-iron or non-stick frying pan, heat
1 tsp. olive oil and add
¼ onion chopped into rough chunks
1 clove garlic
Sauté until the onion is limp. Place the onions and garlic in a blender jar and add:

12 oz. prepared Great Northern Beans (I use a crockpot to cook large amounts of the Great Northern Beans and then freeze them in 12 oz. portions).
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. Brewer’s yeast
1 tsp. ‘chicken’ seasoning (I use Bill’s Chickenish Seasoning-it’s vegan)
1/2 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. salt

Blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes, depending on your blender’s power. Pour the mixture into the saucepan with the asparagus and stir well. I add another ½ cup of water to the blender jar to rinse it out and then pour that into the soup as well. Simmer the soup on low heat for five minutes.

If you’d like to know why I eat the way I do, read my Healthy (er) Choices Manifesto.

Chipotle Cauliflower Soup (Vegan)

This vegan soup is quick and easy to make.

This vegan soup is quick and easy to make.

Cauliflower Chipotle Soup
Serves 4-6
Prep time-15 minutes

The beauty of this recipe lies in the fact that you can quickly cut the vegetables into large chunks and the soup takes scarcely any time to prepare.

1 head of cauliflower, washed and cut into chunks
¼ an onion, cut into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled
½ a zucchini, cleaned and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into chunks

Heat in a non-stick or cast iron pan
2 teaspoons of olive oil

You don't have to bother cutting the veggies into small chunks.

You don’t have to bother cutting the veggies into small chunks.

Add the veggies and stir occasionally until the veggies look roasted and are soft.

In a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix or Blendtec) add the following ingredients and blend until smooth.

1 ½ cup of hot water
2 tsp. salt
¼ cup raw cashews
1 Tbs. brewer’s yeast
1 dried chipotle pepper
1 large dried mild red pepper

Add the veggies to the blender, and blend until smooth (if you don’t have a large blender jar, you may need to do this in two batches). Return the soup to the saucepan and add three cups of water. Bring soup to a simmer and serve over tortilla chips. You may want to add more salt. If commercial salsa seems hot to you, you may want to omit the dried red pepper. It you LOVE hot stuff, add two dried red peppers!

If you’d like to know why I eat the way I do, read my Healthy (er) Choices Manifesto.

I recently found a website where you can enter the recipe ingredients and amounts and then it will analyze the recipe and create a nutrition label.  Here is the nutrition label for this soup. Nutrition Label for Cauliflower Chipotle Soup

©2013 Anita Strawn de Ojeda

Creamy Potato Leek Soup (Vegan)

Wondering what to serve your vegan guests?  Try this creamy potato leek soup.

Wondering what to serve your vegan guests? Try this creamy potato leek soup.

Creamy Potato Leek Soup (vegan)
Serves six
This creamy potato soup is perfect for a cool winter evening.

Boil 2 cups of water in a 4 quart sauce pan and add
1 lb potatoes (I used gold minis) chopped into small chunks
Return water to a boil and turn the heat down and cover the pan (the water should cover the potatoes—add more if needed).

Heat 1 tsp. of olive oil in a medium frying pan on medium heat and add:

If you prefer a whiter-looking soup, don't use the green part of the leeks.

If you prefer a whiter-looking soup, don’t use the green part of the leeks.

3 stalks of leeks-washed thoroughly and chopped into ¼-inch rounds
2 cloves of garlic, sliced

Boil the potatoes and sauté the leeks and garlic for about twenty minutes—stir occasionally.

In a large blender (I use a Blendtec), add:
½ cup of water
½ cup raw cashews
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. white pepper
15 oz. of cooked Great Northern Beans (1 can, drained, or you can cook an entire package of Great Northern Beans up ahead of time and freeze them in 15 ounce portions)

Blend on high speed for at least a minute (more if your blender doesn’t achieve really high speeds).

When the potatoes are soft, add the ‘cream’ mixture and stir. Next, put the leeks and garlic into the blender, along with ½ cup of water and blend on high speed for a minute. You may need to blend the leeks in two batches if you have a small blender.

Pour the leek mixture into the potato mixture and add a cup of water to the blender to rinse it out and then pour it into the soup as well. Make sure everything is heated through and garnish with roasted red peppers or sun dried tomatoes.

©2013 Anita Strawn de Ojeda

If you’d like to know more about why I develop these recipes, read my Healthy (er) Choices Manifesto.

Butternut Coconut Soup

Vegan and Gluten-free

Try this #Butternut #Coconut soup--#vegan and #glutenfree http://wp.me/p2UZoK-3k via @blestbutstrest

I’ve discovered that our family of four can’t eat a whole butternut squash as a side dish in one setting, so this is a creative way to serve the leftovers up the next night.

This is how I prepare the butternut squash the first night: I cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and rub olive oil over the inside of both halves. Then I place them cut side down on a baking sheet and bake them at 350˚ for about an hour and a half. Once it’s tender, I scoop the squash out of the skin and serve it with as a side dish.  The next day, I’ll use the leftovers in this easy soup.

Butternut Coconut Soup

You’ll need between 2-3 cups of butternut squash puree. Simply place the leftovers in the blender, add one cup of water, and blend on high until they’re smooth.

Next, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet and add:

1 shallot (or 1/4 an onion), cut into chunks
1 jalapeño, cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, cut into chunks
½ tsp. cumin seeds
Sauté until the shallots, jalapeño and garlic are tender

In a large blender jar, add

1 c. water
½ c. cashews
The sautéed ingredients
Blend on high speed until creamy.

In a 4 quart sauce pan, add the butternut squash puree, the cream base and:
2 cups of water
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Cook on LOW heat for about 30 minutes—keep it covered and stir every five to ten minutes. It’s a very thick soup, and may erupt like Vesuvius! Add more water if you prefer to have a thinner soup.

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Try this #Butternut #Coconut soup--#vegan and #glutenfree http://wp.me/p2UZoK-3k via @blestbutstrest

Read my Healthy (er) Choices Manifesto if you’d like to know why I cook the way I do.

How do YOU like to use leftover butternut squash?

©2013 Anita Strawn de Ojeda

Cream of Broccoli Soup (Vegan)

Cream of Broccoli Soup for Vegans

This vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup is quick and easy to make.



My non-vegan, meat-eating students love this soup (even though it’s vegan and gluten-free).

Serves 4

Blend the following ingredients on high speed in a blender (a Blendtec or Vitamix work the best):

1 1/2 cups water
15 ounces Great White Northern Beans (drained and rinsed if you’re using canned beans)
1/2 cup raw cashews
1tsp salt
1 Tbs brewers yeast

Sautéd broccoli cubes

Sauté the broccoli until it’s bright green.

In a medium non-stick sauce pan, sauté the following ingredients, starting with the onions and then adding the broccoli once the onions turn limp:
1 Tbs. olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 lbs of broccoli heads, chopped into small 1-centimeter squares. About 4 cups.

When the broccoli is bright green and still slightly crunchy, pour the liquid over the broccoli/onion mixture. Add another 1 ½ cups of water and still well. Bring to a simmer. I like to add a dash of cayenne pepper.

To find out more about why I cook the way I do, see my “Healthy (er) Choices Manifesto” post http://www.blessedbutstressed.com/?p=185

©2013 Anita Strawn de Ojeda