As I sit here and write this today it is surely almost impossible to believe that this year is quickly and surely coming almost to a close. Here I am, on the morning of yet another Halloween, and while I'm not a huge Halloween fan (never have been), I can't help but look back fondly at all the years of costumes and pumpkin carving that has flown by just way, way, way too quickly.
So quickly in fact that I've one child that won't be heading out at all tonight for the old trick or treating routine, as she is officially too old to even bother with these things, and another who has graduated to trick or treating with good friends and their ever-so-gracious-and-more-keen-than-I mom's and dad's (I cannot tell you how grateful I am to them but in a way a little sad to not be heading out!). Regardless of how you might regard this time of year, it's always been a mess of this scary stuff and an uber-important pending birthday for me: the birthday of my first-born who turns 16 whole years old this year. Now how's that for time passing, hey?
Now don't get me wrong, I have all the respect in the world for folks who really get into Halloween, and I don't mean to be a downer at all, but well, I guess I just don't get it (in all honesty as always!)? But then I'm not much of a 'dresser-upper' in general (please just throw me a good pair of boots and my favourite jeans) and I always prefer to be me through and through and through. So much so that getting into any other character just kind of well, seems like a whole lot of work, and trust me I've got enough of that to keep me just busy enough! I might just sneak out for a walk on my own tonight to smell the sights & sounds of the craziness that will be going on all around me, because that's definitely something I think I can get into. Just because I don't dress up doesn't mean I can't still snack on a few bites of those super sugary treats until they all meld together to taste exactly the same. Ah, Halloween...
Are you a Halloween lover or leaver? I'd love to know if I'm not alone!
Today's soup is perfect for a fall night like tonight, when you need something warm in the tummy quickly before heading outside. A one pot affair, this easy creamy totally vegan soup is soothing, delicious and totally filling. It's super low in fat and could be totally oil free if you chose to omit the oil in the veggie cooking process. Cooking the beans from scratch is recommended to save money and increase the freshness quotient, but of course you just sometimes can't beat the convenience of canned, in which case go to town. No one over here will judge! Leftovers are stored easily for up to a week or more and taste better and better as time goes on.
Happy Halloween everyone! Hope you all have a great end of the month, no matter if you are dressed up or not :)
Creamy Vegan Navy Bean & Tomato Vegetable Soup(1) cup Navy beans of Great Northern Beans dry, or 2 cups cooked white beans of choice
(2) tbsp olive oil or other quality vegetable oil
(1 ) large leek, cleaned and chopped, roughly 3-4 cups
(3) medium carrots, peeled & chopped
(1) tbsp salt
(2-4) cloves of garlic, minced
(1) 398 ml can diced tomatoes
(1) small can of tomato paste
(4) cups water or vegetable broth
(3) tbsp honey, or any plant-based sweetener such as agave
(1) tbsp dried dill
(2) cups minced green kale
Optional garnishes of olive oil, feta (or a vegan substitute), parsley & plenty of black pepper for garnish
If you are starting with dry beans, simply put them up to soak in plenty of cold water in a bowl on the counter for at least 6 hours, until they are well plumped up. To cook, simply drain and rinse the soaked beans and put in a large pot with 3 times the volume of more cold water. Bring the water to boiling and turn down once boiling to maintain a nice rolling boil. You can set the lid halfway onto the pot and cook the beans this way for about an hour, until nice and soft (cooking time will depend on the variety of beans but I find the smaller white ones cook quickly and larger cannellini beans can take up to 90 minutes). Drain the beans when done and rinse with cold water. Set aside until ready to use.
To prepare the veggies, simply rinse and cut the leek in half. Separate the layers roughly with your hands and chop the leek pieces horizontally into pieces. To clean the pieces, place them in a large bowl and cover them with water, putting your hands in the bowl to agitate the layers and loosen any dirt that may be stuck in the leek. Skim the leek pieces out of the water and place into a colander. Repeat this again until the rinse water no longer shows signs of dirt.
Prepare the carrots & when the two veggies are ready, heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrots & all the salt and cook for about 5 -8 minutes, until the moisture from the leeks starts to escape. Add the minced garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the mixture is fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic!
Next, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water & dill and mix until the paste is fully dissolved. Cover the pot and turn the heat up to bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and allow the veggies to cook about 15 minutes until just soft.
Next, add the honey, kale & cooked beans and mix all to incorporate. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the kale is wilted. For a creamy soup, puree about 2/3 of the mixture in a blender or in a separate pot with a hand blender, leaving 1/3 of the mixture chunky. If blended well, this soup will be silky & creamy dreamy. Combine the two back together and continue to heat on low to allow all the flavours to mingle for a final few minutes.
Ladle into large cups or soup bowls and enjoy drizzled with additional olive oil or topped with a pat of butter. This soup loves a little extra fresh herbs or even a chunk or two of feta or parmesan cheese on top. The sky is the limit here, but the goal is to warm your bones and soothe the tummy with easy blended nourishment. Nothing to be afraid of here, just a few 'less' ingredients that make up a whole lot of delicious more.