First: Tofu White Bean Soup. This recipe is so good, I had to make it two nights in a row.
Second: It’s highly likely you have all the ingredients in your pantry/refrigerator RIGHT NOW.
Whenever I, or anyone I love gets sick, I go into super turbo naturopath mode, and make tonics with fresh herbs, spices, and roots, and make chicken noodle soup. Wait, whaaat? “But you’re a vegetarian now, right?!” I hear you say. Truth be told, nobody has gotten sick this past year, so when it happened this week, I had to hit the brakes on my normal routine, and re-think my course of action.
If you’re looking to cook more in the kitchen, there are things that you should always, always have in your possession. First, onions. Second, carrots. Third, celery. Besides the fact that the two latter are great snacks, (the first if you’re my brother! :-P), these vegetables are the base (mirepoix) of all things great in the kitchen. Nearly every meal in my house starts with onions, and it’s one of the aromas that I equate to pure nostalgic bliss. Many people love the smell of baking cookies. Me? It’s the smell of onions frying. Make that shit a candle, yo! This is the same step as my original course of action, so no crazy stuff happening yet. Get these ingredients frying and season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, bay leaf, and thyme.
Where I would have used chicken stock before, this is a more kind choice. I actually find that vegetable stock has more flavor anyway! The same goes for vegetable stock as do carrots, onions and celery, only vegetable stock has even MORE uses. Obviously it’s a go-to when making soups, but what else is it good for? Pretty much any type of sauce, and my favorite – cooking rice and other grains like quinoa, farro, millet, etc.
In place of egg noodles (and because I didn’t have any), I moved to make the starch of the dish beans. Great northern beans to be exact! They’re smaller than cannelini beans, have a great flavor, and most importantly have the fiber needed to make this a filling meal. While the egg noodles would still technically be vegetarian, I like the idea of the beans more not only because they’re vegan, but because they are less processed than the noodles which probably contain bleached and enriched flour, which are highly processed.
Now for the obvious, the protein content of what was to be “chicken” noodle soup. Oh what to do? I had tofu hanging out in the fridge, so I used that to make the soup even more hearty. I just got done talking about how the flour above was so processed though, and now I want to put processed tofu in my soup?! Hold up! It’s true tofu is processed, so you got me there, but do you know how they actually make it? It’s a lot like almond milk in the sense that they soak dried soybeans, blend them up and heat, strain, and coagulate the resultant milk. It’s kind of like cheese. Bean cheese! Consider tofu demystified.
It seems like our nation has been gripped with sniffles, fevers, and aches these past few weeks. Make this soup for yourself or your loved ones, and you’ll be feeling better in no time!
What do you cook for yourself or others that is like a warm hug for the insides when you’re feeling blue? I would love to know! Leave your answer in the comments below.
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1½ Cups Diced Yellow Onion
- 1½ Cups Diced Celery
- 1½ Cups Diced Carrots
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme, diced
- ¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 8 Cups Vegetable Stock
- 1 15 ounce Can Great Northern Beans
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Parsley
- 1 Package Organic Extra Firm Tofu
- 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- ¼ Teaspoon Pepper
- Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add the olive oil.
- Chop the onions, and add to the pan, stirring frequently. Repeat with the celery and carrots. Add in the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme and bay leaves.
- Stir frequently until the vegetables become tender, about 10 minutes. Add in vegetable stock and beans. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to simmer the soup.
- While the soup simmers, cut the tofu into 4 long planks, and press against two paper towels to get out the extra moisture. Cut into ½" cubes, and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, and add in the olive oil. Cook the tofu in two batches, cooking on both sides for about 5 minutes per side, or until the tofu has become a golden brown.
- Add the tofu to the simmering soup, and add in the parsley.
- Remove the bay leaves.
- Portion into 4 large bowls for an entree, or 6 smaller bowls for an accompaniment to a meal. Garnish with a parsley sprig and serve immediately.