Black Bean Soup with Tofu Croutons

Black Bean Soup with Tofu CroutonsIs there anything better than a warm bowl of soup on a cold winter day? As I was typing that sentence I just thought, “Um, yes, a plane ticket somewhere tropical. That’d be much, much better than soup.” But let’s focus on the small joys in life here.

Throughout my time working with Nasoya on this series of tofu recipes and posts, I did a ton of experimenting in the kitchen trying to find ways to have fun with the texture of tofu. I think one thing that often turns people off from tofu is the mushy factor, but there are ways to change this. Turns out a little bit of cornstarch goes a long way. Now, I know cornstarch isn’t exactly a superfood (ha!). I sort of think of it like white rice–not bringing much to the table, but also not a total bad guy. I don’t regularly cook with it, but the texture benefit that comes from just a small sprinkle on the tofu is well worth it.

It took some brainstorming and failed attempts (tofu + ground rolled oats = no. Just…no), but I finally got a winner. Especially with a soup that’s already high in protein (from the beans), I wanted the tofu in this recipe to add something special outside it’s nutritional value. And these tofu “croutons” are awesome. A crispy, flavorful outer shell and warm, soft middle that seems to soak up the soup with each bite.

Black Bean Soup with Tofu Croutons Black Bean Soup with Tofu Croutons

Try this soup next time you’re looking to serve up a Meatless Monday dinner. It’s filling and delicious, and will satisfy even the meat lovers in your family (when my boyfriend first tried it, his first comment was “It tastes like there’s meat in here—am I eating chili?”).

Black Bean Soup with Tofu Croutons

Black Bean Soup with Tofu Croutons

Yield: 6

Black Bean Soup with Tofu Croutons

A vegan, Mexican-flavored soup with crispy tofu croutons.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans black beans
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cups low-sodium veggie broth
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 vine ripe tomatoes, diced
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • For the croutons:
  • 1 pack organic black soybean tofu plus (and firm or extra firm tofu will do!)
  • ½ cup cornstarch (you won't use it all, you just want enough to roll the cubes in)
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Place tofu between paper towels on a plate. Cover with another plate and place something heavy on top (a can of beans, etc.) to add pressure so that water will drain from the tofu. Leave it there while you cook the soup.
  2. Add a splash of extra virgin olive oil to a large pan and sauté onions on medium-high heat. After a couple minutes, add in the garlic and bell pepper. Sauté for an additional two minutes.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients (beans, corn, broth, tomatoes, spices), mix together, and let simmer uncovered over medium heat for 30 minutes.
  4. If you want a thicker soup, take about 1/3 of the soup and run it through a blender. Pour back into the pan and stir it all together.
  5. Cut tofu into ½-1” cubes. Mix the corn starch and spices together and roll the tofu in mixture. Heat a coupe tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil on high and toss in the tofu, flipping occasionally until golden and crisp (about 5 minutes).
  6. Serve soup with tofu croutons on top.
http://pumpsandiron.com/2015/01/05/black-bean-soup-with-tofu-croutons/

Enjoy this soup! And before I sign off, a big thanks to Nasoya for a wonderful partnership. This is my last post in the series I did with them, and in addition to providing high-quality, organic, non-GMO tofu, their team is a pleasure to work with. It was a step outside my cooking comfort zone to work with tofu in such creative ways, and I loved every second of it!

Black Bean Soup with Tofu Croutons

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Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers (Vegan + Gluten Free)

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -- vegan, gluten-free and a great option for food prepping for the week!In coming up with recipes lately, my focus has been on recreating things I find myself buying constantly. Every time I go to the grocery store, I pick up some frozen veggie burgers. And every time I tell myself I should just make my own. The first attempt resulted in patties of baby food mush. Yummy baby food, but…baby food. It’s funny how with cooking, sometimes the tiniest ingredient or technique tweak can make a world of difference—I made a couple tiny changes for round two and BOOM. Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -- vegan, gluten-free and a great option for food prepping for the week! Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -- vegan, gluten-free and a great option for food prepping for the week!

I’m so in love with these. I make a batch at the start of the week and pop ‘em in the freezer to have on hand. They can be served as a burger (duh), on top of a salad (my favorite way to eat them!) or mashed up with some scrambled eggs for breakfast. Talk about a food prepper’s dream! Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -- vegan, gluten-free and a great option for food prepping for the week!

I’m not vegan or gluten-intolerant, but it was so easy to make these without eggs or gluten that I went for it.

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers (Vegan + Gluten Free)

Yield: 10-12 patties

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers (Vegan + Gluten Free)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sweet potato, coarsely mashed
  • 1 can black beans (15oz)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ of a red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (I used gluten free), ground
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I probably used ½ tsp salt and a little less pepper)

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice according to the package (bring water to a boil, add rice, simmer 35-40 mins); roughly ½ cup dry with make enough for the 1 cup of cooked rice you need.
  2. While the rice is cooking, peel your potato/s (one huge potato or two medium sized will probably be enough) and chop into small pieces. Toss them lightly in extra virgin olive oil before spreading on a baking sheet and placing in the oven for 20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, flipping halfway through. When they’re done, use a fork to coarsely mash them up (you want them to be chunky; not like a puree).
  3. Grind the oats into a flour using your food processor. Next add the beans, rice and onion into the food processor and pulse a few times. You want them to retain some structure and “chunk”. Because I am severely challenged in the cutting-cilantro-and-garlic department, I also tossed those in the food processor with the previous ingredients.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the food processor contents, the sweet potato and all the remaining spices. I found it was most efficient to use my hands to do this.
  5. If the potatoes were still hot when you mixed everything together, you may want to stick the mixture in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Otherwise, get right to the patty-making. Grabbing a small handful of the mixture, roll it into a ball in your hands and then gently press it into a patty shape.
  6. To serve, heat a splash of olive oil on medium-high heat on the stove top and cook the veggie burger for 3-4 minutes, flipping midway.
  7. To store, wrap in a piece of parchment paper (so they don’t stick to each other), place into a plastic Ziploc or Tupperware container, and freeze.
http://pumpsandiron.com/2014/12/14/sweet-potato-veggie-burgers-vegan-gluten-free/

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -- vegan, gluten-free and a great option for food prepping for the week! Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -- vegan, gluten-free and a great option for food prepping for the week!If you do Sunday food prepping for the week, add these to your list! I wrap each patty in a small piece of parchment paper and then stack 3-4 into a ziploc bag and slide ’em in the freezer. Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -- vegan, gluten-free and a great option for food prepping for the week!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

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Crock Pot Tomato Soup with Popcorn “Croutons”

Crock Pot Tomato Soup (Vegan) with Popcorn "Croutons"When I was out in Colorado a couple months ago, a restaurant we ate at had soup on the menu that was served with popcorn instead of croutons or crackers. Maybe this is a common thing and I’m just behind the times, but it was a total why didn’t I think of that?? moment.

Crock Pot Tomato Soup (Vegan) with Popcorn "Croutons"

Popcorn (real popcorn—not movie popcorn slathered in butter or caramel chocolate popcorn or cheese-covered popcorn) is a low-calorie snack option, and its texture makes it pretty flippin’ perfect as a healthy soup topping (especially if you’re gluten-free!). In a recent post, I mentioned that Clean, Lean & Sexy had sent me some of their healthy snacks to try out, and I couldn’t wait to put their popcorn to use.

Crock Pot Tomato Soup (Vegan) with Popcorn "Croutons"

I got annihilated by allergies this past week (I’ve never had them this bad before—it was awful!), and my cold-like symptoms were craving some good ol’ tomato soup. This one is ridiculously easy to make (gotta love crock pots!) and vegan.

Crock Pot Tomato Soup (Vegan) with Popcorn "Croutons"

Crock Pot Tomato Soup with Popcorn “Croutons”

Yield: 11-12 cups

Crock Pot Tomato Soup with Popcorn “Croutons”

A vegan tomato soup made in the crock pot and topped with popcorn.

Ingredients

  • 2lbs fresh Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped (= about 6-7 large ones)
  • ¼ cup packed fresh basil
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 small-medium onion, diced
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Popcorn (or topping of choice)

Instructions

  1. Over medium heat, sauté onions, celery and carrots in a little extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper until onions are translucent (6-7 minutes).
  2. Dump everything except the almond milk and popcorn into a crock pot, give it a couple stirs, and cook on low for 5 hours.
  3. Put it in a blender for a couple minutes until smooth (do this in batches).
  4. Stir in the almond milk.
  5. Top with popcorn and enjoy!

Notes

This is a thin(ner) soup. If you prefer your soup thick, leave out 1 cup veggie broth and 1 cup almond milk.

http://pumpsandiron.com/2014/04/17/crock-pot-tomato-soup-with-popcorn-croutons/

Crock Pot Tomato Soup (Vegan) with Popcorn "Croutons"

Have you ever used popcorn as a soup topping?

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P.S. Sorry for the lack of blog posts this week! Life keeps getting in the way, and I figure it’s better to just prepare awesome blog posts for next week rather than throw up a bunch of quickie junk posts this week.