Thursday, June 5, 2008

Vegetable Soup with Pistou

Here's another recipe from the French culinary tradition. 'Pistou' refers to a cold sauce made of basil, garlic, and olive oil, and in this case, it's daubed on top of the soup at the end. This soup is a meal unto itself, with some baguette slices on the side.

Before you go off to work in the morning - or otherwise head about your day - place 1/4 cup dried navy beans in a saucepan, and cover with water to two-inches above the beans. Let stand for eight hours. Drain, then return to the pan, along with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes until the beans are tender. Drain again; return to pan again.

This time add in: 3/4 cup + two tablespoons chopped leek, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped carrot, 1/2 cup chopped, seeded, peeled tomato, 1/4 cup + two tablespoons diced peeled baking potato, 1/4 tsp. salt, a dash of black pepper, four sprigs of fresh parsley, one bay leaf, and a dash of dried thyme. Add 5 cups of water, bring it all to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

A couple culinary notes. Leeks are tricky to wash because dirt accumulates between the layers, so chop it first, place in a sieve and rinse, and then transfer over to the pan. With regards to the tomato, there's a very easy method to peel them. Cut a one-inch x along the bottom of the tomato with a knife. Place in boiling water for 30 seconds, then immediately blanch in cold water. The skin will peel back easily. But - if, like me, you're too lazy to boil that extra pot of water tonight, do as I did and simply slice off the skin with a sharp knife.

After simmering for thirty minutes, add 3/4 cup diced zucchini, 1/4 cup + two tablespoons dried elbow macaroni, and 1/8 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into one-inch pieces. For the elbow macaroni, I love the organic brand Bionaturae from Italy, which is vegan:

Now simmer another 15 minutes. While it simmers, make the pistou: in a food processor, combine 1/2 cup basil leaves, 3 tablespoons pre-grated Vegan mozzarella (try the one from Galaxy Foods), 2 peeled garlic cloves, and one tablespoon olive oil. Process until smooth.

Ladle 2 cups soup into each of three bowls, and top each with 2 teaspoons of the pistou. Each serving is 250 calories.

A couple notes from being a recipe guinea pig! Although the recipe specified to remove the bay leaf, it didn't say the same about the parsley. When the recipe called for 4 "sprigs" I included big whole stems. So as a compromise, before serving I took out the parsley, removed the stems so that just the little tufts of leaves remained, and added those back to the soup. Also, sorry about the "+two tablespoon" measurements. I halved the original recipe, hence these slightly odd measurements. Double it back again if you prefer and you'll find that your measurements work out much more neatly!

leek $1.94
onion $0.80
carrot $0.51
tomato $0.65
potato $0.64
parsley $1.49
zucchini $0.90
elbow macaroni $1.99
green beans $0.26

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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