Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

During my first semester in college, I gained about 25 pounds. For a short person like me who never had any prior issues with food or weight, it was dramatic. It was the result of terrible cafeteria food, too many fat free animal crackers, and definitely too many midnight dorm room pizzas. That New Year’s Eve, I resolved to get the weight off… and fast. My best friend told me that she was doing this thing called the master cleanse so, naturally, that sounded like a good idea. I’m sure you’ve heard of it – it involves a concoction made of lemon juice, maple syrup, and black pepper. Only I didn’t like black pepper and maple syrup was expensive, so instead I decided that I would just drink lemon juice mixed with water for as many days as were directed in the “cleanse.” During those first few weeks back at school, while everyone would have their cafeteria trays full of pancakes and whatever other breakfast food, I’d fill my tray with four glasses of water, sit down, and start squeezing my lemons. Everyone thought I was crazy, but the idea of just eating reasonably and sensibly didn’t make sense to my college self, who wanted to be thin NOW. Well, I was crazy and drinking only lemon juice isn’t actually sustainable (no love with those lemons), but this line of thinking stayed with me for a couple of years while I yoyo’d up and down in weight. That was until one day I learned that if I just ate pretty well and avoided crazy ups and downs, everything would be ok – and it has been.

So this year, like every year, I have no New Year’s diet resolutions other than continuing to eat delicious, wholesome food with some room for fun foods. Just like this tomato soup (wholesome) with grilled cheese croutons (fun!). It’s all vegan but I promise you won’t even know it because it’s so creamy even though there is no actual cream. We’re partnering with ALDI on this post because they carry delicious organic produce and some A+ pantry staples as well.

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

Because it’s winter, I intended to make this soup using only canned tomatoes, but when we got to ALDI, their organic fresh tomatoes just looked so darn good. So I roasted onions, tomatoes, and garlic which I later blended with canned tomatoes, chickpeas, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh thyme.

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

This soup is SO good. It’s tangy from the tomatoes, creamy from the chickpeas, and so so satisfying. I’d say yes to a bowl of this every day of the winter. Jack, who is not the biggest fan of tomato soup, could not get enough.

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

It’s delicious on its own, but the fun, yummy grilled cheese croutons really take it over the top. I used ALDI’s Knock Your Sprouts Off Sprouted 7 Grain Bread and their Earth Grown Vegan Shredded Cheese. I have to tell you that I’m so excited about this vegan cheese because: 1 – it tastes really good, 2 – it actually melts great, and 3 – it’s so affordable!

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

Happy New Year’s soup making!

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

We’re halfway through October and I suppose I’m behind on pumpkin season :).

I haven’t made pumpkin bread, I haven’t made pumpkin cookies, in fact, I haven’t even opened a can of pumpkin yet which is blasphemy in the blogosphere.

This year, I wanted to think a little outside-the-box for my pumpkin recipes, so I’m going to start with the actual vegetable rather than canned pumpkin (so I guess I’m thinking outside-the-can?). When I was brainstorming ideas of what to make with fresh pumpkin, the winner was one of my favorites – tortilla soup. While it’s traditionally made with chicken, I thought cubes of pumpkin would make a delicious, hearty, comforting soup for fall. Lucky for all of us, I was right.

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

I got this giant pumpkin from the farmers market last weekend – it’s called a Long Island Cheese pumpkin, because it’s shape resembles a wheel of cheese. It’s similar in flavor to a sugar pie pumpkin and let me tell you it was a beast to cut open. Uhh.. it was a beast that I made Jack cut open. If you can’t find a good fresh pumpkin (or you want something easier to cut), feel free to sub in butternut squash into this recipe.

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

The base of the soup is made with roasted tomatoes, onions, and garlic. These are blended with a dried (and soaked) chipotle pepper, which adds depth and smokiness (see notes below if you can’t find a dried chile), and a corn tortilla, for thickness. It all gets simmered with vegetable broth, pumpkin cubes, and black beans.

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

Of course, tortilla soup is all about the tortillas… slice the remaining tortillas into strips and bake until crispy. Load up your bowls with the rest of the toppings – crispy radishes, avocado and lime juice. Then dig in!

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

Crispy Butternut Squash & Poblano Tacos

Crispy Butternut Squash & Poblano Tacos

Even though we all officially celebrated the first day of fall a few weeks ago, my season starts the day I roast a butternut squash. I love love love roasted butternut squash. First off, it makes my kitchen smell so warm and cozy. Second, it’s such a delicious and versatile squash that works in so many of my favorite comfort food recipes like soups, risotto, and pastas. But I’m saving comfort for another day because today is taco day! I’m so obsessed over these tacos with crispy baked butternut squash.

This recipe starts with a pretty darn awesome sauce, if I do say so myself. Roasted poblanos, onions, and garlic get mixed with lime juice, cilantro, and the best mayo on the planet – Sir Kensington’s Avocado Oil Mayonnaise. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know how much I love Sir Kensington’s condiments (see here, here, and here). They source the best ingredients and their ketchups, mustards, and mayos just taste so darn good because of it. I could eat this mayo straight from the jar, but since this blog is about recipes, I whipped it up into this spicy, tangy sauce to go with the tacos. Btw, if you’re vegan, go ahead and make this with Sir K’s Fabanaise.

Part two of this recipe is the baked crispy squash. There’s no need to fry anything here because this spiced panko & hempseed “breading” makes the squash cubes crispy and delicious in the oven. The hemp seeds might seem like a strange addition, but they offer a lovely nutty flavor (as well as some nutritional benefits).

As the squash roasts in the oven, make a quick slaw with a scoop of the poblano sauce.

Pro tip: once the squashed is baked, try not to stand at the kitchen counter dipping and snacking on the crispy cubes like I did! Assemble the tacos with the slaw, the remaining roasted poblanos & onions, the crispy squash, avocado (optional), and generous scoops of the sauce.

Spicy Chipotle Cornbread

Spicy Chipotle Cornbread

It’s fall and yes, I’m still crazy about the corn BUT hear me out – this cozy cornbread recipe is the perfect accompaniment to your favorite bowl of chili (two of my favorites are here and here). Chili and cornbread are, in my humble opinion, what fall dreams are made of. It’s the perfect dinner to cuddle up with on the couch.

Spicy Chipotle Cornbread Spicy Chipotle Cornbread

I have a few cornbread recipes here on the blog, but this spicy chipotle version is my new favorite. To the (vegan) cornbread base, I add chopped chipotle peppers, scallions, and kernels of fresh corn (although frozen is fine too, see below). This cornbread is lightly sweet, savory, and a tad spicy. It freezes well so I like to keep a stockpile in my freezer for whenever the cornbread craving hits 🙂

Spicy Chipotle Cornbread Spicy Chipotle Cornbread

Mini Tomato Frittatas with Dill

Mini Tomato Frittatas with Dill

A few weeks ago, Jack stopped by the farmstead and came home with a small haul of vegetables. As he walked in the house with bags of produce, he pulled out this bouquet of flowering dill and handed it to me. “I thought you would think this was pretty,” he said as my heart completely melted. He’s not usually one for on-the-fly romantic gestures, and I’m not the kind of girl that loves to be showered with roses and gifts… but, as you know, I LOVE a pretty vegetable so I was especially smitten by this herbaceous gesture.

When you’ve been together as long as we have, it’s the little moments, not fancy things, that are the most special. And speaking of being together for a long time – tomorrow is our wedding anniversary :). I’m realizing as I type this that I could have chosen a more romantic recipe to post for the occasion, but hey, this is real life and it’s not always fancy.

Mini Tomato Frittatas with Dill Mini Tomato Frittatas with Dill

I love dill and eggs together so that’s how this recipe started. I thought these mini frittatas would be a great make-ahead breakfast, and in fact they are. They keep well in the fridge for a few days and are a great way to start the day if you like an eggy protein breakfast like I often do.

Mini Tomato Frittatas with Dill

Of course, these vegetables can be mixed up and swapped out seasonally (I love a sweet potato frittata later in the fall), but these are super delicious with tomatoes, scallions, kale, a touch of dijon mustard, and of course fresh dill.

Mini Tomato Frittatas with Dill Mini Tomato Frittatas with Dill

Oh, and you don’t actually need flowering dill to make the recipe, just regular fresh dill is fine!

Mini Tomato Frittatas with Dill