Tag Archives: vegan soup

Tomato Coconut Cream Bisque


Easy and elegant can go together. This soup is almost effortless to make and utilizes staples you likely keep in your pantry. The fresh herbs and balsamic breath life into canned tomatoes, and the coconut milk makes it smooth and creamy.  This is the perfect weeknight dinner and feels like fall when served beside some warm garlic bread.  As written, it’s gluten free, too. Serves six as a main course.


Tomato Coconut Cream Bisque

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1/2 cup vegetable broth or water

2 16-oz cans chopped tomatoes, NOT drained

1 16-oz can chickpeas, drained

1 can tomato sauce, unsalted

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbl. fresh basil

1 Tbl. fresh thyme

1 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. fresh oregano

1 tsp. paprika

1 16-oz can coconut milk


In a large soup pot, heat vegetable broth and add chopped onion. Saute over medium heat about 2 to 5 minutes until onions are wilted and fragrant, stirring occasionally.  Add contents of canned tomatoes (including juice), drained chickpeas and tomato sauce. Stir and simmer over medium-low heat about 15 minutes to meld favors.  Remove from heat.

Before blending, add garlic, all fresh herbs and paprika.  Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth and return to soup pot. Stir in coconut milk until smooth. Serve warm.

Mom’s Gazpacho


August means the garden is in full bloom. And there are loads and loads of tomatoes, cucumbers and basil. No garden? Try the Farmer’s Market. Once, we were at the Farmer’s Market when they were closing up and a vendor literally gave us a huge basket of tomatoes simply because she didn’t want to carry them home!

When tomatoes and cucumbers are in season, you’ll almost always find a batch of my Mom’s gazpacho in our fridge. On a hot August day, a bowl of chilled gazpacho is so refreshing! And it reminds me of my parents’ garden being flush with tomatoes too. I used to love wandering the backyard, between tall tomato cages and bushy herbs just before the start of school. This soup brings back all those memories!

The recipe makes about 6 portions and comes together really fast in a blender or food processor.  Ours is processed to be fairly smooth, but feel free to leave your veggies chunky if you like. We usually eat it with crackers or a slice of toast. Serve cold and sure, you can drink it from a mug – we do sometimes!

Mom's GazpachoMom’s Gazpacho

2 pounds fresh tomatoes

1 cucumber

2 stalks celery

1 red onion

1 cup tomato juice

4 Tbs. fresh basil

3 Tbs. red wine vinegar

2 Tbs. lemon juice plus zest of one lemon

1 Tbs. vegan worcestershire sauce (such as Annie’s Organic or Wizard- please note, both contain gluten)

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. Old Bay-style seasoning

salt/pepper, to taste as desired


Core and roughly chop tomatoes. Trim cucumbers and celery, roughly chop. Peel and trim onion, roughly chop. Add all veggies to a food processor or high speed blender with tomato juice, fresh basil, vinegars, lemon juice and zest, Old Bay and Worcestershire sauce. Process together until as smooth a desired.

Smoky Pumpkin Soup


Nothing defines the flavor of fall like pumpkin.  We decided this squash needed a make-over, though. I mean, who isn’t joking about “pumpkin spice” these days? Set the cinnamon aside, friends. Instead, we’d like to offer up… pumpkin spicy.

From the usual, we found another direction and added smoked paprika, cumin and adobe sauce, giving a spicy, savory kick to this soup. It’s a great weeknight supper, andcomes together in less than twenty minutes. To save time, use two cans of plain pumpkin and 1 can of drained pinto beans.  You’ll find canned chipotles in adobe sauce in the Latin food section of your grocer. We also recommend this soup as a pre-Trick or Treat meal or something to fortify older ghouls before a Halloween party. As written, this recipe is vegan and gluten-free; it serves 6 to 8 people as a main course.

Smoky Pumpkin Soup

Smoky Pumpkin Soup

1 large onion, chopped

3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs. olive oil (or use veg broth)

4 cups vegetable broth

2 cups pinto beans (canned or dried/cooked)

2 Tbs. smoked paprika

1 or 2 Tbs. adobe sauce (to taste – this is spicy and smoky!)

1/2 Tbs. ground cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano

5 or 6 cups of pumpkin (canned or fresh/cooked)

pinch salt, or to taste

fresh parsley, to serve


In a large soup pot over medium heat, saute chopped onions and garlic in olive oil or a little vegetable broth, about two to four minutes. Cook, stirring often, until onions are soft and lightly browned. Add onions and garlic to a food processor or strong blender with pinto beans, smoked paprika, adobe sauce, cumin, oregano and salt. Pour in about one cup of vegetable broth. Puree until very smooth, scraping sides of processor or blender bowl to incorporate all ingredients. When smooth, pour mixture into soup pot.  Add remaining vegetable broth and pumpkin into soup bowl and stir together. Warm over medium heat until warmed through. Serve warm with fresh parsley on top, if desired.



Meemaw’s Pastina


You only get a few real BFF’s in your life. I’m a minute from 40 years-old, and while I don’t claim to be an expert, I do know that most people come and go. Only a few really special friends are truly forever. For me, Becca is one of those friends. We met over a decade ago in a belly-dance class and though she now lives in South Carolina and we can’t visit very often, I don’t feel like she is any less a part of my life.

One of my favorite memories with Becca was a trip to see Meemaw, her Italian grandmother, in rural Pennsylvania during spring of 2004. Meemaw is a sweet, gentle lady who greeted us off the road that evening with a warm smile – and a bowl of steamy pastina soup. I’d never had pastina before and have loved it since. Apparently these little pasta stars are common comfort-food to Italians, but it was all new to me.  It’s great after a long day at work or when you have a cold or during a wintery night or when you just need simple food that feels like a snuggly hug from Meemaw!

Today seems the perfect day to post this recipe, as it’s Meemaw’s 90th birthday. This photo from 2007 shows Meemaw, on the left; Becca in the center; and Mariann, Becca’s mom, on the right. Three generations of wonderful, kind ladies. And each of them knows the value of a warm bowl of pastina.


To be honest, I don’t know Meemaw’s exact recipe for pastina.  But over the years, this is how I make it and it always reminds me of her. Making a bowl of pastina couldn’t be easier. If you don’t feel like adding the veggies, just warm the pasta and broth. If you want a veggie short cut, you can find pre-chopped onion/carrots/celery on the grocery store salad bar. This recipe serves one person. Make as much as you or your family, needs, of course, and it’s crucial to serve it with a hug, like Meemaw does!

pastinaA_lrMeemaw’s Pastina

2 cups vegetable broth (we like Pacific Foods low sodium)

2 Tbl. minced onion

2 Tbl. minced carrot

2 Tbl. minced celery

1/4 cup pastina pasta (Barilla’s is great)

In a saucepan, warm the vegetable broth and minced veggies over medium-high heat.  When the veggies are soft, about 3 to 4 minutes, add the pastina. Bring to a low boil for about 4 to 5 minutes and serve warm right from the pot.

If you want, add salt and pepper (depending on the saltiness of your broth), and sometimes, I stir in a spoonful of pesto, if I’m feeling fancy.


Wishing you a wonderful 90th birthday, Meemaw!!!!

Hugs, Rissa & Nathaniel