Monday, September 19, 2011

Creamy Bean and Vegetable Soup

So it appears that fall is upon us - the weather is cooling, the days are getting noticeably shorter, and a warm bowl of soup seems like a better idea now than it did even a few weeks ago.  Here's a recipe for a creamy, high-protien and nutrient-dense soup that will keep ninja bellies warm and full against the early fall chill.  Coconut milk, garlic, and jalapenos create the perfect backdrop to lots of mushrooms, potatoes, butternut squash and pretty little pink beans.  Serve with fresh-baked, crusty bread and you'll find yourself actually looking forward to the long, dreary winter months ahead.

Creamy Bean and Vegetable Soup


3 cloves garlic
2 jalapenos, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil
6 scallions, thinly sliced
8 oz sliced white or cremini mushrooms
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1.5 lbs yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
14 oz can coconut milk
15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 of a 16 oz block of silken tofu
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ginger
freshly ground black pepper

Place the garlic and jalapenos into a small blender or food processor with the olive oil.  Puree until there are no large chunks of pepper remaining and the mixture resembles a paste.  Heat a large saucepan or stockpot over medium heat.  Add the garlic and jalapeno paste and mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to brown.  Add the corn, potatoes, butternut squash, salt, pepper, cumin, and ginger and cook for 5 minutes.  If the mixture starts to look dry, add splashes of water or vegetable broth to keep everything from sticking.
Meanwhile, puree the coconut milk and tofu in a blender until smooth and creamy.  When your vegetables have been cooking for 5 minutes, add the vegetable broth and coconut milk/tofu mixture to the pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the potatoes and squash and tender.  Add the pinto beans and scallions and cook for 1-2 minutes until heated through.  Turn off the heat and add the lime juice and maple syrup.  Allow the soup to cool for a few minutes and then put about 2 cups of the soup into a blender and puree until creamy.  Add the puree back into the pot with the rest of the soup and stir well.  Add the cilantro and taste for spices and adjust if necessary.  Allow the soup to sit for 5 minutes before eating.

Tips and Tricks:

1. The half-block of tofu problem - as I mentioned in my last post for Pan-Fried Vegetable Fritters, you can save partial blocks of tofu by freezing them, or you can use them up by pureeing them with pasta sauce, soup, or smoothies.  Pureed tofu can also be used as a substitute for eggs in baked goods with 1/4 cup pureed tofu equalling one egg, so maybe make some brownies for dessert (and then invite me over so I can help eat them).

2. This soup is relatively spicy; if you think it might be too much, halve the spices and taste it and add more if necessary.  You can also use only one jalapeno instead of two if you'd like your soup less spicy.

Well I hope making this soup starts off everyone's fall season in the most ninja-esque way possible.  As the leaves start to drop, be sure to keep fingers, toes, hearts, and tummies warm and full and happy by sharing food and snuggling with those you love.  Lucy, Skye and I plan to do just that.  Until next time!

<3 The Fur Ninja

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