Any soup you want

In L.A., the heat wave’s over, and we’re back to the traditional coolness of May Gray / June Gloom, not a bad time for some soup. Fortunately, it’s easy to make just about any kind of vegetable or bean soup you like. Start here, and soon you’ll be cooking up your very own creations.carrot soup
black bean soup

Soup's on: (From top) carrot, black bean, and cabbage

Soup’s on: (From top) carrot, black bean, and cabbage

Vegetable soup

1 T extra-virgin olive oil
¼ medium onion, chopped
vegetable of your choice
1 low-sodium vegan bouillon cube, crushed
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

At medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil for a couple of minutes until tender. Add vegetable (two thinly sliced carrots or some chopped Napa cabbage, for example) and sauté till tender. For carrot or cabbage soup, add ½ t cumin, bouillon cube, salt, and pepper. Add water and bring to boil. For creamy soup, process for 1 minute in Vitamix. For chunkier soup, use an immersion blender. For potato soup, chop a medium Yukon potato and boil it in salted water for 10 minutes. Add it to the onions with the bouillon cube, water, salt, and pepper. Process as indicated above.

Bean soup

1 T extra-virgin olive oil
¼ medium onion, chopped
1 low-sodium vegan bouillon cube, crushed
1 15 oz. can of beans
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

At medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil for a couple of minutes until tender. Add beans, bouillon cube, salt, and pepper. Add water and bring to boil. For creamy soup, process for 1 minute in Vitamix. For chunkier soup, use the immersion blender. This basic recipe works well with black beans or lentils. For black beans, add ½ t cumin to the sautéed onions before adding beans. For lentils, you can sauté fresh chopped spinach with the onions or just add a pinch of fresh rosemary.

Stuffed collard leaves

This recipe largely follows the one for vegan meatballs. The proposed name of collardoni (a play on cannelloni, which these stuffed leaves somewhat resemble) was set aside, but call them what you like!

Under wraps: Field Roast travels incognito

Under wraps: Field Roast, incognito

1 bunch collard greens
1/4 onion, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 Field Roast Italian sausage link, chopped
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 T chopped fresh parsley
2 T flaxseed “egg”
tomato sauce
Serves 2

Preheat oven to 350. Remove stems from collard greens, boil for 3 minutes, then rinse with cold water. Meanwhile, sauté onion in olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add Field Roast and sauté for additional 3 minutes. In medium bowl, combine cooked mixture with half the bread crumbs, parsley, flaxseed “egg,” and salt and pepper to taste. (For “egg,” blend 2 T flaxseeds and 1/2 cup water in Vitamix. Refrigerate leftover for another occasion.) Distribute mixture to 4 leaves and roll them up, burrito-style. Layer a casserole dish with tomato sauce, add stuffed leaves, and top with additional sauce, remaining bread crumbs, and more pepper. Bake for about 40 minutes.

Chickpea pasta salad

This is another development of the basic recipe that yielded macaroni and chickpeas. It’s a combination of flavors drawn from the same Mediterranean palate.

Garbanzos talk: Pipe rigate goes light and lemony.

Zest in show: Prize-worthy legumes and lemon

4.5 ounces pipe rigate pasta
15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 black olives, chopped
3 sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 T chopped fresh parsley
2 t chopped lemon zest
1 T lemon juice
2 T olive oil
Serves 2

While pasta cooks, mash chickpeas. Add olives, sundried tomatoes, parsley, and lemon zest and toss with lemon juice and olive oil. Toss in pasta, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Vegan meatballs

Unsatisfied with the available vegan meatball options (all frozen), we tried making our own. This recipe uses Field Roast links as the protein basis, with flaxseeds as the binder. The resulting “wheatballs” were tasty and not too much trouble to prepare.

No beef: Wheatballs are easy

No beef: Trouble-free wheatballs

On top of spaghetti: A saucy substitute


1/4 onion, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 Field Roast Italian sausage link, chopped
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 T chopped fresh parsley
2 T flaxseed “egg”
Serves 2

Sauté onion in 1 T olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add Field Roast and sauté for additional 3 minutes. In medium bowl, combine cooked mixture with bread crumbs, parsley, flaxseed “egg,” and pepper to taste. (For “egg,” blend 2 T flaxseeds and 1/2 cup water in Vitamix. Refrigerate leftover for another occasion.) Form mixture into balls, about 1 T each. Sauté meatballs in nonstick pan with 1 T olive oil until browned. Simmer in tomato sauce for about 10 minutes (while pasta cooks). (For a pre-made sauce, we recommend Rao’s Marinara.) Top spaghetti with meatballs and a small amount of sauce.

Kale and white bean soup

This easy soup is healthy, hearty, and very low in calories. Your nutritionist will approve, and so will you.

Tuscan style: White beans meet black cabbage.

Bean encounter: Cannellini and “cavolo nero,” together


1/4 onion
1 T olive oil
1 bunch lacinato kale (cavolo nero)
1/2 t oregano
4 cups vegetable stock
15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Serves 4

Chop onion and sauté in olive oil at medium-high heat for about 5 minutes in large pot. Meanwhile, remove stems from kale, chop it, and add it to onions, sautéeing for another few minutes until limp. Add oregano, pepper, pinch of salt, stock, and beans, and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, and partially blend with immersion blender (or remove and process a cup or two of soup in a blender before returning to pot). The final product should be broth-y but chunky, with lots of floating kale and whole beans.

Vegan cutlet

Inspired by the Milanese at Tal Ronnen’s Crossroads Kitchen in Beverly Grove, we attempted our own breaded Gardein cutlet. The challenge was twofold: (1) make the bread crumbs stick to the patty and (2) prevent them from sticking to the pan. We accomplished this with batter made from macadamia nuts and flaxseeds, and the standard combination of lots of oil and a hot pan sprinkled with coarse salt. The result was satisfyingly crispy on the outside and, somehow, juicy on the inside. Topped with a salad of arugula, frisée, and cherry tomatoes tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette, these cutlets were a filling but not-too-heavy treat.

Keeping it crisp: Coarse salt elevates the patty.

Crisp delivery: “Chik’n” with panko bread crumbs

Gardein party: Greens make it festive.

Gardein party: Festive frisée, with arugula and cherry tomatoes

1 T macadamia nuts
1 T flaxseeds
panko bread crumbs
2 Gardein Chick’n Scallopini patties

Combine macadamia nuts, flaxseeds, and 1/2 cup of water in Vitamix at top speed until thoroughly blended. Dredge frozen patties in batter, then coat with panko, pressing each patty down in the dish to crush large crumbs into flour-y powder. Fry at medium-high heat for 4 minutes on each side. Let sit on paper towels for a minute or two to remove excess oil. Plate, and top with salad.

French toast and banana-cashew milk

For batter, this recipe uses banana-cashew milk that doubles as a beverage. The result is light and golden, a cross between french toast and banana bread.

Peach weather: Slivers make banana pop

Peach weather: Sunshine with chance of drizzle

For the french toast: Coat medium-sliced crusty bread with banana-cashew milk, sprinkle with cinnamon, and sautée on a medium-hot griddle greased with olive oil until golden brown. Top with slices of fresh peaches or other fruit and drizzle with maple syrup.

For the banana-cashew milk: Combine 6 cups of water, 1/4 cup + 2 T of raw cashews, the same amount of sugar, 1 T of vanilla extract, and 1 ripe banana, and blend in Vitamix or other high-speed blender at top speed for 2 minutes. Chill for several hours before serving.