I needed to use some ripe tomatoes from the garden, so I searched the internet for a gazpacho recipe that uses all fresh tomatoes (no canned sauce or tomato juice) and is gluten free (no bread to thicken). Found this recipe and although it’s very basic and easy, it’s the best gazpacho I’ve ever made!
My tweaks: Used banana pepper and poblano instead of yellow sweet pepper. I subbed fresh parsley for the cilantro because that’s what I had available. I used my mini food processor to blend most of the tomatoes (and the garlic and parsley), but left some tomatoes chopped for texture. I used my Cuisinart chopper (like a Slap Chop) to get a fine chop on the onion and cucumber.
It’s peak tomato season and I’ve been getting so many from my garden that I’ve been making tomato sauce every few days, but now my freezer is full. I have pasta sauce, pizza sauce, masala sauce, and ranchero sauce.
I needed to find another use for tomatoes and thought that a nice, spicy Rasam soup would be good for the Fall-type weather. I found this recipe and it was exactly what I was looking for. Quick and easy!
Tomato Rasam Soup Recipe
My tweaks: I didn’t use my pressure cooker, but boiled the red lentils in a pot. They took about 30 minutes. I added some coriander seeds to the mustard seeds and made it more of a vegetable Rasam by including green and yellow beans and zucchini and yellow squash from the garden. Also used fresh hot peppers from the garden instead of the dried chilis.
Tom Yum Soup
I love Thai food. If I had to pick one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, it would be Thai. My massage therapist said that lemongrass is good for joints and since I’m nursing a knee sprain, I thought I should have a big dose of lemongrass. I found this recipe and technically I think if the soup has coconut milk in it, then it’s a Tom Kha instead of a Tom Yum. I don’t care, though. It was delicious!
Vegetarian Tom Yum Goong
My Tweaks: I didn’t have Kaffir Lime leaves, so I used lime zest, bay leaf and lemon thyme as suggested here. I added some tamarind to the stock and used palm sugar instead of brown sugar. I omitted the basil and tofu and added one large sliced onion, peas, yellow bell pepper and napa cabbage. I also added lots of spice: Sriracha, crushed red pepper, fresh serrano pepper and togarashi. I like rice in my soup, so I served it with some left over steamed rice in the bottom of the bowl.
Onions in the Slow Cooker
I love French Onion Soup, but it’s rarely vegetarian so I have to make my own. This is by far the easiest and best tasting recipe I have found. The slow cooker is my favorite way to develop complex flavors just by throwing stuff in a pot and cooking for a long time. This recipe is from one of favorite cookbooks, Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson.
Oh, and don’t forget to use your Onion Goggles!
French Onion Soup with Cheesy Bruschetta
My Tweaks: I usually only put 1/8 cup olive oil in the bottom of the cooker to reduce the fat. I often use yellow onions and add a little bit of sugar instead of sweet onion, just because yellow onions are cheaper and I have them on hand in larger quantities. Instead of vegetable stock, I use Edward & Sons Not-Beef bullion because FO soup is usually made with beef stock. I use daiya vegan cheese and gluten free bread for the Cheesy Bruschetta and I float them on top of the soup.
French Onion Soup
Grandmom’s Lentil Soup
According to my late Grandmom, it is Italian tradition to make lentil soup on New Year’s Day for good fortune. The lentils represent little coins. Here’s her recipe.
Grandmom’s Lentil Soup
2 cups (one pkg.) Jack Rabbit or Goya Lentils
2 small whole onions, peeled
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 carrots, chopped fine
2 ribs celery and leaves from inner ribs, chopped fine
8-ounce can Hunt’s tomato sauce
1 T. olive oil
1 bay leaf
3-5 qts. cold water (depending on how soupy you like your soup)
8 oz small pasta – pastina, tubetini, or small elbows – cooked al dente before adding to the soup
salt to taste (after cooking)
Pick over lentils, wash and drain. Place in large soup pot with all of the above ingredients. Simmer until lentils are tender (one hour). When finished, add pasta, then salt to taste.
It’s a very simple soup, but very comforting.
To make this gluten-free, I use rice pasta instead of the regular pasta. I also like to DOUBLE the amount of carrots, celery, garlic and onion. I use 3 qts of water because I like a thicker soup. I also added some organic tuscan kale (leafy part – ribs discarded) in the last 10 minutes of cooking time. The kale adds the health benefits of dark, leafy greens. Another option would be to add escarole right at the end. I find this needs lots of salt because it is made mostly with water, not broth or stock. I salt when serving or reheating. I could’ve used the pressure cooker for this, but I decided to cook it on the stovetop, the way my Grandmom always did.
Happy New Year!