Celebrate World Vegetarian Day and Meatless Monday with this easy-to-fix cauliflower chipotle soup. It’s vegan, and tastes great!
31 Days of Breaking Vegetarian
You might wonder what a life-long vegetarian would have to say about breaking vegetarian. After all, I didn’t give up meat or anything drastic like that. I’ve never craved a hamburger. The only meat that’s entered my system snuck in when Taco Bell didn’t get my order right. I don’t get the ‘it tastes like chicken’ jokes.
But, I can attest to the fact that not all vegetarians eat healthfully. At one point, my motto could have been: Vegetarianism—eat sweets, not meats. I’ve both gained and lost weight eating vegetarian. Over the years, I’ve learned how to cook a balanced diet that both nourishes me and gives me energy. I ran a marathon two years ago.
Living in my little vegetarian world, I never thought that other people might be interested in going vegetarian. But with more and more vegetarian restaurants popping up, and terrible tofu making its appearance on restaurant menus everywhere, maybe it’s time to share what I know.
At times, I’ve wanted to visit restaurant empire headquarters and let them know how to actually cook for vegetarians. No, a vegetarian dish isn’t just vegetables. If you put bacon in it, you can’t call it ‘vegetarian.’ Vegetarian doesn’t mean bland, tasteless, and gooey.
No, I don’t have a degree in dietetics (but my mom does, does that count?). Yes, I know how to cook—even meat (but I’ve never tasted the meat I prepared). Most importantly, I know that lasting changes don’t happen overnight. They take time. If you have a carnivorous family, you won’t want to spring the whole ‘We’re going vegetarian’ concept to them over the dinner table. Especially don’t make the announcement over a hearty steak dinner.
Instead, have discussions. Do research. Find the facts. Follow along for the next 31 days as I share what I know about eating vegetarian.
Tools of the Trade
First of all, let me introduce you to my kitchen. I have a few basic appliances that make preparing healthy vegetarian meals a lot easier. You might already have some of them in your kitchen. I just want to assure you that you don’t have to go out and buy any extra-special vegetarian cooking appliances.
Sturdy mixer with a dough hook. I’ve had a Bosch mixer for 30 years (thanks, Auntie Joyce and Uncle Dean!). We make our own bread, so this has proved invaluable over the years.
High-speed blender. I like both the Vita-Mix and the Blendtec, but I prefer the Blendtec because it fits under my upper kitchen cabinets. The programs make it easy to use, too. No, I’ve never put a wooden spoon in it or a cell phone to test its strength.
Instant Pot. I’ve only had an Instant Pot for a year now, but it has revolutionized my cooking. I used to use an old-fashioned pressure cooker and/or a Crock-Pot. The Instant Pot is worth the investment.
Crock-Pot. See above. It works, but save up some money for an Instant Pot.
George Foreman Grill. No joke. I use it to grill tofu and vegetables.
A good set of kitchen knives. Oddly enough, I used knives I bought at the Grocery Outlet for years and never knew what I was missing. I found a beautiful set on Amazon that doesn’t include steak knives. Who needs those when you’re vegetarian? It makes cooking in bulk a whole lot easier.Thinking about breaking vegetarian? Check out this series for tips and hacks to start eating healthy vegetarian meals. #vegetarian #selfcare Click To Tweet
A Vegetarian’s Trade Secrets
Before you attempt any of these recipes, you’ll want to check your cupboards for the following ingredients.
Brewer’s Yeast (Nutritional Yeast)—I add this to all kinds of things, from popcorn, to soups, to entrees. It adds a nice, rich flavor to savory dishes. Don’t judge, but my husband likes it on his ice cream.
Cashews—this tasty nut not only adds protein to your diet, it’s packed with vitamins and minerals. In addition, cashews have anti-oxidants and compounds that help your eye health. Cashews provide the creamy base in soups—making it easy to prepare quick vegan meals. My carnivore friends swear that my oat-nut patty casserole tastes like tuna casserole. I’m not sure if I like that comparison, but I’ll go with it because they loved it even though it was vegetarian!
Pecans—they’re not just for pies! Since I have a walnut allergy, I use pecans of cashews instead. You can check out the benefits of pecans (and other nuts) here. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-healthy-nuts#section6
Walnuts—if you don’t have an allergy to them, they provide a great source of protein, omega oils, and other good stuff. They are usually cheaper than pecans or cashews, so they make a great source of inexpensive protein.
TVP and Soy Curls—TVP stands for texturized vegetable protein—a fancy name for a dehydrated soy substance that looks like meat when its rehydrated. My carnivorous students can’t tell the difference between real taco meat and vegetarian taco meat. Soy curls, if prepared correctly, can also fool my students.
If you’d like an opportunity to win cash for trying vegetarianism, The World Vegetarian Day sponsors invite you to take the Veg Pledge.
Cauliflower Chipotle Soup Recipe
Here’s a recipe for cauliflower chipotle soup that you can whiz up in twenty minutes (especially if you have a high-speed mixer). Some of my carnivores eat it like nacho cheese sauce, and others eat it like soup. Whatever the case, it’s chock-full of good-for-you ingredients.Print
You can throw together this quick and easy-to-make spicy cauliflower chipotle soup in twenty minutes. We serve it over our favorite tortilla chips and add chunks of avocado on top. Add less water if you’d like a vegan alternative to nacho cheese sauce.
1 head of cauliflower, washed and cut into large chunks
1/4 onion, cut into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/2 zucchini, cut into large chunks
3 cloves garlic, cut into large chunks
2 tsps. olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 dried chipotle pepper
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 large dried mild red pepper
In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil on medium while you cut the veggies into large chunks.
Add the cauliflower, onion, and garlic to the frying pan and sauté, stirring occasionally, for five minutes.
Put the remainder of the ingredients into a high-speed blender. Add the sauteed vegetables and blend on ‘Soup’ (if you have a Blendtec) or high (for 5 minutes or so).
Return the soup to the saucepan and add another 1 1/2 cups of water. You can adjust the water for the desired creaminess. Add more salt if needed.
If you’d like it extra spicy, add a few jalapeños or hotter dried red chilies.
- Serving Size: 12 oz
Keywords: Vegan, Caulifower, Chipotle,Vegetarian,Spicy,Tortilla Soup, Nacho Cheese,