{made for dinner} black bean + butternut soup

bean and butternut soup 2

I'd been excited to try this soup ever since I saw it on Sprouted Kitchen, and it definitely didn't disappoint. I loooove butternut squash (Jared less so, but he still liked the soup) and anything with homemade tortilla strips. Plus I've been trying to incorporate more veggies into our dinners and this is chock full of healthy stuff - but not so much that it tastes like tree bark. It's sort of a healthy version of winter comfort food, and a perfect rainy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. coconut or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 a small head of cabbage, chopped (heaping 2 cups)
  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash (sweet potato would be good too)
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • pinch of chipotle powder or cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups cooked, black beans (about one can, rinsed and drained)
  • salt to taste
  • avocado, for garnish (optional)
  • cilantro, for garnish (optional)

// tortilla crispies //

  • 3 corn tortillas
  • scant 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt

In a heavy bottomed pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until just beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, cabbage, squash and broth. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, cover the pot and cook for about 15-20 minutes for the vegetables to cook. Add the spices and the beans and stir. Let everything continue to cook another ten minutes for the flavors to blend. Salt to taste. At this point, I did a few pulses with my immersion blender through the soup, because I wanted to thicken up the broth a bit. This is optional, but makes it seem a bit thicker. You could alternatively, run just a bit of the soup through a blender or food processor, and add it back in to the pot. OR a sprinkle of cornmeal will help thicken it as well.

For the tortilla crispies, preheat the oven to 375'. Stack them and slice into thin matchsticks. Spread on a baking sheet, dirzzle with the oil, sprinkle the salt and toss gently to coat. Spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes until they are light brown and crispy, giving the pan a shake halfway through.

Garnish each both with some diced avocado, a handful of chopped cilantro and some of the tortilla crispies! (We only added the tortilla crispies, mostly out of laziness. I'm sure it's even more delicious with the extra garnishes.)

Recipe from the Sprouted Kitchen

our (secretly dairy-free) Thanksgiving

I was really (realllly) hoping Emma would be able to tolerate dairy in time for Thanksgiving, but it sadly wasn't meant to be. Jared and I debated our options - make everything as we normally would (chock full 'o dairy) and deplete my pumped reserves so Emma could still get dairy-free milk for a couple of days, or try to do Thanksgiving completely dairy-free. Neither option was all that appealing, and in the end we decided to chance it and have a dairy-free Thanksgiving. The only thing was that we had to be able to fool my dad - a man who for the past two years has scowled when we told him we got an organic turkey. Having to explain that he wouldn't be able to tell the difference thanks to "vegan buttery sticks" and almond milk would have gone over about as well as raisins on Halloween... so we decided it was best to just not tell him. And by some miracle, we actually managed to fool him! (Shhh!) Here's what we made:

  • The same turkey as last year but with Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks (EBVBS) instead of butter
  • Whole berry cranberry sauce from Whole Foods (canned... yes, I'm a cheater)
  • Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing - I used this recipe for dairy-free cornbread, and substituted EBVBS for the butter and MimicCreme Almond & Cashew Cream for the heavy cream. It was a little on the dry side, so I added some more chicken stock and that did the trick.
  • Not Your Mama's Green Bean Casserole - This was easily my favorite dish of the whole meal. I wouldn't shut up about it. Dairy or no dairy, it's the best green been casserole I've ever had. Like most of the reviewers, I ended up using French's Fried Onions after burning the onions the way Alton says to cook them. Once again, I subbed EBVBS for the butter and MimicCreme Almond & Cashew Cream for the half and half. We definitely couldn't notice the lack of dairy in this one.
  • Creamy Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes - These were the real low point of our dairy-free Thanksgiving experiment. The recipe called for faux sour cream, and we used Wayfare "We Can't Say It's Sour Cream." It also called for white potatoes instead of russet, and ours were a little more green than white. The whole thing turned into a green, tangy mess. We told my dad that we had tried a new recipe and it didn't turn out so well (not a lie) and he was a sport and tried them anyway. Jared and I didn't even bother. That's how bad they were.
  • Pillsbury Crescent Rolls - Dairy-free! Who knew?!?
  • Vegan Pumpkin Pie - This was my first time making pumpkin pie from scratch (well the filling anyway) so my only comparison is store-bought, but it was really yummy. Vegan baked goods can sometimes have that "not quite right" taste or texture to them, but that wasn't the case with this recipe at all.
Hopefully that's the last time we ever have to have a dairy-free Thanksgiving, but it's good to know that it can be done and still be super tasty. Besides, this funny little one is totally worth it...