3 Simple Creamy Vegan Winter Soups

Broccoli Soup With Cream

It’s officially the Winter Holidays! And while Tampa remains a stubborn balmy 70 degrees, we’re almost dipping into the 60s this week. If you’ve lived around here long enough, I’m sure you’ll agree: It’s hat and coat time! But not only do we crave our winter wardrobes when the weather turns chilly (read: Less than 75), we crave soothing hot comfort foods. Here are three of my favorite hot soup recipes made vegan, low-calorie, and extra delicious. Oh, and the best part: They’re all major cancer-fighters!

You’ll definitely need an immersion blender…

All recipes serve 3-4 (or 2 if they want seconds!)

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

  • 1 head of cauliflower and 1 head of broccoli, steamed
  • 1 Tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • Add 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4th tsp grated nutmeg
  • Vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Non-Vegan options: Garnish with plain Greek yogurt or a sprinkle of extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Directions:

In a pot, saute 1 chopped onion until well browned in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Using an immersion blender, blend cauliflower, broccoli, and onion mixture together, adding vegetable broth until desired soup consistency is reached. Garnish with fresh parsley, or non-vegan alternatives.

Vegan Mushroom Soup

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • 1 Tb EVOO
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 lbs mushrooms
  • 1 Tb dry sherry (or white wine)
  • 1 russet potato or 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
  • Several sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of grated nutmeg
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • To add depth of flavor, try adding a dash of balsamic vinegar!

Directions

Saute onion with olive oil in a pot until caramelized, add garlic. Deglaze with dry sherry and add mushrooms and potatoes. Add herbs and spices. Cook down until mushrooms are deeply browned (not burnt!) and potato pieces are soft. Immersion blend until soup has reached a desirable consistency. Since mushrooms produce a lot of moisture while cooking down, you may not need any additional vegetable stock, which is why it’s omitted. If extra moisture is required, use vegetable stock or white wine. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme (yep, just like the song says!).

vegan creamy tomato soup

Vegan Tomato Soup

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours beforehand
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 14.4 oz cans stewed tomatoes (or 4.5 cups)
  • 1/4 c coconut milk
  • Fresh basil, chopped with some more for garnish
  • Sugar, salt and pepper to taste (yes, sugar!)
  • Pepitas (optional garnish)

Directions

In a pot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until they are soft. In a 2-cup measure (or deep pot – whatever you have handy), use your immersion blender to blend the cashews with 1/2 cup water until it’s creamy. Add into the onion/garlic pot with stewed tomatoes, basil, and coconut milk, and blend until creamy. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with garlic bread, or garnish with pepitas.

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5 Potluck-Perfect Healthy Holiday Party Recipes

Healthy party food

In the early days of Pinterest (what was that – all of 3 years ago?), when you searched for “Healthy holiday party recipes,” all you’d see is a Christmas tree made of broccoli and radishes. Healthy, but lacking in the vital ingredient of party food: Fun!

healthy holiday party food

 

How times have changed. Taking inspiration from some of my favorite Pinterest finds (Check out my new Intelligent Holiday Entertaining Pinterest Board), I’ve got you covered for all of your holiday entertaining needs – from Brunch to Lunch and Dinner Potlucks.

5 Potluck-Perfect Healthy Holiday Party Recipes

1. Artichoke-Dip Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust (Brunch)

Ingredients

  • Olive oil.
  • 3 Sweet potatoes, sliced into thin rounds (1/8th”) – May need more sweet potatoes or less depending on their size.
  • 5oz blanched spinach (or frozen spinach, thawed). Squeeze out excess moisture.
  • 1 can artichoke hearts (in water), chopped.
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced.
  • 1 Cup parmesan.
  • 1 Cup low-fat cottage cheese.
  • 4 eggs.

Preheat oven to 400F. Coat the bottom of a deep-dish pie plate with olive oil and line it with a single layer of sliced sweet potatoes, placed so they overlap. Brush the tops with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes, until browned. Reduce oven heat to 375.

Whisk together eggs, parmesan and cottage cheese. Stir in artichoke hearts, garlic and spinach. Pour into deep-dish pie plate. (There may be extra filling)

Bake for 40 minutes, until the top is puffy and lightly browned.

2. Christmas Tree Cucumber Tea Sandwiches (Lunch)

Using your favorite bread – sqaw, rye, or pumpernickel work great! – cut into tree shapes with a cookie cutter. Blend light whipped cream cheese (or your favorite vegan substitute) with chopped dill, a pinch of salt and fresh-ground pepper, and spread lightly on the bread. Cut a cucumber in half lengthwise and slice thinly (1/8th”), and arrange on the bread like the boughs of a Christmas tree. Finish with a light squeeze of lemon.*

*This works well with pita bread triangles, avocado hummus, and diced red pepper too!

healthy holiday party recipes

3. Skinny Grapefruit Margarita (Drinks)

For one cocktail, combine: 1 shot of blanco tequila, 1/2 shot Triple Sec, 5oz grapefruit juice, and a twist of lime. Sweeten if necessary with agave syrup.

4. Omega-3 Bites! (Dinner Potluck)

You can call them smoked salmon-avocado bites, but I love these good-fat, brain-fueling appetizers. Lay out 1×3″ strips of smoked salmon and spoon mashed avocado and finely diced cucumber (sprinkled with a little salt and pepper – dill too if you like) into the middle. Fold salmon over the filling and spear with a toothpick. Top with a tiny wedge of thinly-sliced lemon.

5. No-Bake Pomegranate Chocolate Clusters (Dessert)

Ingredients – makes 20

  • 1 pomegranate worth of seeds, rinsed and thoroughly dried (not like a raisin – just not wet to the touch)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Sweetened shredded coconut
  • Mini muffin pan & mini muffin liners

Put chocolate chips into a heavy-duty ziplock bag and heat in the microwave at 15-second intervals, kneading after each, until the chocolate is liquid. Snip off a corner of the bag, and drizzle a small amount of chocolate into a liner. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds onto melted chocolate, and drizzle more chocolate on top, topping with a pinch of shredded coconut. Repeat 19 more times, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Don’t feel like cooking this holiday season? Come by the store and check out our Holiday Menu!