“Get Well Soon” Vegetable Chicken Soup

Has anyone else felt under the weather recently? Last week, I unfortunately managed to contract both an upper respiratory bug and pink eye. Needless to say, it wasn’t very fun and I wanted to make something that was both comforting and nourishing. I knew I had everything at home except for lentils and chicken broth to make soup. When I mentioned to Husband that I kind of wanted to go to the grocery store for those items, he very kindly volunteered to drive me to the commissary so I could feel better.  And maybe partly because it would stop me from whining in between coughing fits. Either way, he won’t admit to the later and I still think it was a very nice gesture.

This is a recipe that contains a variety of vegetables that is sure to deliver a lot of vitamins and nutrients. The chicken broth also gives the soup an enhanced flavor, but if you would prefer a vegan soup than the alternative is very simple: omit the chicken broth and instead use all water.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup sliced zuchinni
  • 1/2 cup sliced yellow squash
  • 1/3 cup sliced peppers
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1/3 cup peas
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 10-12 oz diced chicken
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T Earth Balance
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. Black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Sage
  • 1/4 tsp. Thyme

**All of my vegetables were frozen. I tend to buy vegetables in bulk, chop them up, and freeze in smaller portions. I did not thaw the veggies beforehand, just added them in. If you are using fresh veggies then this recipe may take a shorter time to prepare. Always taste test periodically!**

Method:

– Saute scallions, celery, carrots together first in 1 T olive oil in a large skillet.

– While that is cooking, add diced chicken to another skillet with the last 1 T of olive oil. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and cook on medium-low heat with the cover on.

– When the scallions are translucent, pour enough chicken broth in the skillet to cover the bottom.

– Add tomatoes, peppers, brocoli, and lentils. Also add 2 T Earth Balance.

– While the rest of the veggies are sauteing, pour remaining chicken broth into a large pot and turn heat to medium high.

– After vegetables are done sautéing (carrots should be still a bit crunchy, peppers should be soft), pour into a large pot. Cover vegetables with water and remaining chicken broth.

– Add cooked chicken.

– Add seasonings and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and let simmer until serving.

Oh-So-Delicious Vegan Chili

Tonight was one of those nights when I was hungry but couldn’t quite seem to gather the energy or inspiration to make a multi-dish meal. After flipping through a cookbook for ideas (*see below*) I happily realized I had everything to make chili. Even better, I had the opportunity to experiment and make my own recipe. This chili turned out to be so good, I had to go back for seconds (and let’s be real, thirds, too!).

INGREDIENTS:

– 1 T Italian Dressing (I used an organic one)
– 1 T extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil
– 1 small onion, finely chopped.
– 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped (or 2 smaller cloves)
– 1 small zucchini, diced.
– 1 jar or 24 oz of tomato sauce
– 1 can or 15 oz diced tomatos
– 1 can or 15 oz garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed.
– 1/2 can or 8 oz black beans, drained and rinsed.
– 1 cup corn, frozen or fresh (use more if desired).
– 1 cup sliced bell pepper, frozen or fresh (use more if desired).

ADDED SPICES:

– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp black pepper
– 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
– 1-3 tsp chili powder, depending on preference.
– dash of parsley
– salt as desired

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil and italian dressing until translucent.
2. Add the zucchini and pour half the jar of tomato sauce over the vegetables. Let this simmer for a couple of minutes.
2. During those few minutes, drain and rinse the black beans and garbanzo beans. Add diced tomatos, both beans, corn, and peppers.
3. Pour remaining sauce over the entire mixture. Turn the heat up to high and let mixture boil for a couple of minutes. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for at least 15-20 minutes, or longer. Be sure to check to make sure that chili is not burning to the bottom of the saucepan occasionally.

COMMENTS:

– Very versatile. Virtually any of the ingredients can be substituted, or new ones can be added, without any difficulty depending on your preferences.
– At a total of about $7.00 and considering it makes at least enough for 6 bowls (more sauce or diced tomatoes could be added to stretch the rest of the ingredients, to bring down the price per serving), this recipe is cost effective.
– The cinnamon is a touch that I prefer, because it adds depth to the flavor of the dish. It makes the chili taste warmer, but in a sweet spicy way, not hot.
– If I had other types of canned beans (kidney beans, for example) I would have added those as well. Feel free to use whatever beans you have at home.

*INSPIRATION*:

This recipe is loosely based off of Allyson Kramer’s book,  Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats. Her Pumpkin Chickpea Chili recipe reminded me that I indeed had a long-forgotten can of chickpeas in the cupboard. I was delighted when I realized that I had open cans of diced tomatoes and black beans sitting my refrigerator just waiting to be used up. Her recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it out sometime. I just didn’t have everything necessary this time around. But thanks for the inspiration, Allyson! For those interested in learning more about her, this is her website: http://allysonkramer.com/.