Thursday, May 29, 2008

Chilled Pea Soup with Mint Pesto

If you like, double the Mint Pesto recipe below and use the other half to toss over whole wheat pasta noodles as a main dish to this soup.

For the Mint Pesto: In a food processor, combine one tablespoon pine nuts, one small peeled garlic clove, 2 cups loosely packed fresh mint (don't tamp down in the measuring cup or you'll wind up with way too much), 1/4 cup grated "Parmesan" cheese, a dash of salt and a dash of pepper. Puree until finely minced.

For the Parmesan, use the Vegan Mozzarella block from Galaxy Foods and grate it with a cheese grater.

Add two tablespoons water and a teaspoon and a half olive oil to the food processor. Process until blended. Set the pesto aside.

In a saucepan, melt one teaspoon vegan butter (such as Earth Balance). Add 1/2 cup chopped green onions and saute for two minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle one and a half tablespoons flour over the onions, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in one and a half cups soy milk (such as Silk) and a 14-oz can vegetable broth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, then cook for 3 minutes until slightly thick. Add a 16-oz package of frozen peas (unthawed) and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

A few notes on boiling (soy) milk. For some reason it always makes me nervous! (Perhaps I had a bad episode boiling milk in another lifetime...), so I always jump the gun, get anxious that it's taking too long to boil over medium heat so turn it up a notch, then worry constantly that the milk will burn to the bottom of the pan or too much will evaporate out. So first: be patient as the milk boils over medium heat. It will get there eventually! Secondly, the original recipe didn't specify whether or not I was supposed to keep stirring constantly during the 3 minutes after the mixture reached a boil. I erred on the side of caution and did so, but once the peas were in and the bubbles settled down, I only stirred "occasionally" for those 5 minutes.

Phew! My neuroses aside, now pour half of the pea mixture into a blender and puree until smooth. As always when blending hot liquids, remove the center piece from the blender's lid and hold a folded-up paper towel there instead. This allows steam to escape but prevents splattering. Pour the pureed mixture through a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl, pressing with the back of a spoon or spatula. Discard the solids. Now repeat all that with the remaining half of the pea mixture. Don't be alarmed if there's quite a lot of pea-solids to discard! You'll still come out with enough soup.

Stir in 6 tablespoons Mint Pesto (all of it, if you haven't doubled the above recipe), plus a 1/4 tsp. salt and a dash of black pepper. Cover and chill the soup until ready to serve.

This recipe makes 6 servings of 2/3 cup and 150 calories each. It would look even better in delicate little teacups! Garnish with mint sprigs.

pine nuts $5.99
mint $1.99
vegan 'parmesan' $3.39
green onions $0.98
plain soy milk $1.49
vegetable broth $1.19
frozen peas $1.29

Oh! And here's the Mint Pesto.

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance