Vegan Broccoli and “Cheese” Soup

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What could be cozier on a cold fall or winter day than a bowl of hot broccoli and cheese soup? I love broccoli and cheese soup so naturally, I had to come up with a plant based version to make at home. You can put on your favorite sweater, PJs, and socks and enjoy it all winter long! I’ve been teaching a wellness class for the medical students this year and we’ve been talking a lot about how to manage stress and something called “Hygge”. Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is the Danish term for cozy and warm moments. Making a comfortable, special, cozy nest to feel supported and decrease stress is a well known part of Danish culture. Creating Hygge time for yourself is a great way to manage your own stress and anxiety. It’s all about self love. Comfort food can really go along with this concept. Whether it’s chili, fries, mac and cheese, or broccoli and cheese soup – comfort food definitely can be stress reducing at times. Exercise, mindfulness, and meditation are also a big part of stress reduction for me.

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The nutritional yeast in this recipe is high in B vitamins that you can’t get elsewhere on a vegan diet. It also adds the cheesy flavor and protein to this dish. Broccoli is high in fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A. Both of these main ingredients make this soup nutritious, filling, and really delicious. Garlic bread, a baked potato, or salad all go really well with it. You will need either a food processor or a blender to make the cheese sauce and to puree the soup. The cheese sauce can also be made ahead to save on time. Make sure you take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram or Facebook if you make this recipe or Pin it on Pinterest! Hope you get some Hygge moments in this month!


Vegan Broccoli and Cheese Soup

  • Servings: about 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 5 cups broccoli florets (1, 12oz bag)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium sized carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of paprika
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • croutons (optional, for garnish)
  • For the cheese sauce:
  • 1 medium sized carrot, peeled
  • 1 medium sized potato, peeled
  • 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 2 tbs almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

First make the cheese sauce: Boil potato and carrot in a small saucepan until they are soft all the way through. Drain water and set aside. In a small saute pan, saute shallot in in olive oil for about 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat. Next, add garlic and saute for about 2 more minutes. Add almond flour, almond milk, nutritional yeast, and salt and whisk until smooth. Heat mixture until just boiling. Remove from heat and carefully transfer to a food processor or blender along with boiled carrot and potato. Blend mixture until smooth. Makes about 2 cups of cheese sauce. Next, heat onion on medium heat in a medium sized Dutch oven or saucepan until translucent – about 5-6 minutes. Next heat garlic and carrots for about 3-4 minutes. Add broccoli and saute for about 4 minutes. Add broth and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes on low heat until broccoli is soft all the way through. You can remove 1/2 a cup of small broccoli florets to add back in after pureeing, if desired. Add black pepper, paprika, nutmeg, and crushed red pepper. Add cheese sauce and lemon juice and stir. Let simmer for another 5 minutes. Puree in pot with an immersion blender or transfer carefully to a blender and puree in 2 batches. Puree for only about 1-2 minutes for a chunky texture or longer for a smooth and creamy texture. Top with croutons and reserved broccoli florets and serve while hot. Makes approximately 5 cups.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate Calories per 1 Cup: 135 cal

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Three Bean Vegan Chili

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It’s been a while since I’ve made classic chili. This one really hits the spot! It’s got a variety of beans and bold, spicy flavor. It’s really quick to make and will please a crowd. This cozy dish is great for a weeknight dinner or even for a tail gate or game night. Most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry. The cilantro and lime make it taste really fresh and bright. Chili is just really satisfying when it’s cold outside. This one goes really well with cornbread or tortilla strips. It’s also fantastic on its own or served on top of fries or a vegan hot dog.

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This is a great recipe to make if you’re looking for a way to get some extra plant based protein. The three different varieties of beans are also a great source of fiber. I like adding vegan beef crumbles for the texture but you can leave them out if you’re not a fan or substitute with a cup of cooked quinoa instead. This chili is super delicious with my cheesy vegan nachos recipe. Just pour the chili on top for a scrumptious appetizer. This spicy, rich chili really warmed me up. If you make it, make sure you take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram or Facebook or Pin the recipe on Pinterest.

Three Bean Vegan Chili

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1, 15 oz can of black beans
  • 1, 15 oz can of pinto beans
  • 1, 15 oz can of kidney beans
  • 2, 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes (such as Muir Glen brand)
  • 2 Tofurkey sausages, crumbled (or 1, 10 oz. package of vegan beef crumble such as Beyond Meat brand)
  • 1.5 tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (or substitute 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or 2 cups water)
  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste
  • lime wedges, for serving (optional)
  • 3 tbs chopped fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)
  • 1, 12 oz. package of vegan sour cream, for serving (optional)

Directions

Heat olive oil in a medium-large Dutch oven or large sauce pan on medium heat. Add onions and saute for about 5-6 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and cumin and saute for another 3-4 minutes. Add red bell pepper, jalapeno, and vegan crumbles and cook for about 5 minutes or until vegan beef crumbles are heated through. Next, add diced tomatoes, chili powder, paprika, and salt and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the beans and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Finally, add vegetable broth and simmer for about 20 minutes. Some the liquid will be absorbed and chili will thicken. Season with more salt to taste, if desired. Serve with lime wedges, chopped cilantro, and vegan sour cream. May store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per 1/6 of chili recipe: 336 cal
  • Approximate protein per 1/6 of chili recipe: 22 grams

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Spicy Peanut Soba Noodles with Crispy Tofu

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Restaurant quality Asian food isn’t always easy to reproduce at home. I much prefer take out for certain things like (vegan) sushi rolls, dumplings, and spring rolls because they never turn out the same when I try to make them. Sometimes I crave spicy Asian food but don’t want to order in because of how unhealthy restaurant food can be. Making certain Asian food at home doesn’t have to be complicated; there are some advantages such as being able to control the amount of fat and the quality of the ingredients you put in. You can prepare this peanut sauce ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for over a week. It can also be used as a dipping sauce for tofu or spring rolls. The combination of peanut sauce, jalapeno, and lime is just so delicious and crave-worthy! Soba noodles are soft and have a slightly different taste vs. spaghetti or vermicelli. They contain buckwheat which gives them an interesting flavor. They cook in just 4 minutes. You can get soba noodles at most groceries stores now – they’re not hard to find, but you can always substitute any other noodles as well. If you’re gluten free, gluten free rice noodles would be great in this recipe. Be careful not to overcook your noodles as they will stick together and break.

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Flavorful raw ingredients come together to make this spicy, delicious dish!

Noodles are a great comfort food when it’s cold out. This recipe in particular is well balanced with plenty of protein, color, spice, and freshness. The leftovers make a great desk lunch the next day too! I prefer to bake my tofu to get it nice and crispy with brown edges. This is a much easier and healthier way to cook tofu and uses much less oil vs. pan frying. Tofu takes a long time to brown on the stove top unless you are deep frying it. Feel free to add more vegetables to this recipe – broccoli florets, carrots, or even bok choy would be delicious additions. I used fresh, grated ginger because it’s more fragrant and spicy than ground ginger but you can always substitute with ground ginger if needed. I definitely recommend freshly squeezed lime juice for this one – it adds so much tangy flavor and balances out the spice with acid. I used Mirin or slightly sweet Japanese rice wine to make the peanut sauce but you can add an extra tablespoon of agave syrup if you don’t have Mirin. If you make these spicy noodles let me know by posting a picture and tagging @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram or Facebook or Pin the recipe on Pinterest! img_7321

Spicy Peanut Soba Noodles with Crispy Tofu

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1, 14oz package of extra firm tofu
  • 6 oz soba noodles
  • 2 tbs chopped green onions + 1 tbs for garnish
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/4 cup crushed peanuts (for garnish)
  • For the peanut sauce:
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbs soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 tbs Mirin (rice wine)
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs agave syrup
  • 2 tbs water

Directions

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil spray and set aside. Wrap tofu in a clean dish towel for 10 minutes until excess water is absorbed. Cut tofu into 1″ cubes and place on baking sheet. Spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes – flip tofu halfway through baking time. Boil water for the soba noodles in a medium sized pot. Cook soba noodles in boiling water for 4 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water. Set noodles aside. Next, prepare the peanut sauce. Whisk together lime juice, peanut butter, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, rice vinegar, agave syrup, and water until well combined. Heat olive oil in a high walled saute pan on medium heat. Add garlic, jalapeno, and ginger and saute for about 3 to 4 minutes. Next, saute red pepper for about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and add cooked soba noodles and baked tofu. Stir in peanut sauce, making sure all the noodles are coated with sauce. Top with crushed peanuts and green onion and serve while hot. May store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per 1/4 of noodles: 496 cal

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