Well, it’s official. Winter is definitely here and ready to make her presence known in more ways than one. We are fighting back with our easy vegan soups and stews.The days are shorter, the wind has a chill to it like no other, and right now, you can only handle so many layers of clothing until you start feeling like the Stay Puft Marshmallow.
Humans have been prepping for winter since the beginning of time and it seems as if we still haven’t quite adjusted to her wintery mix and random wind chills. While a good cup of hot tea or coffee is a great way to keep toasty on a chilly winter night (bonus points for drinking it in front of a roaring fireplace), nothing beats a nourishing bowl of steamy, hot soup to help you practice the art of cozy.
A Brief History of Soup
It has been thought that the very first version of soup came about some 20,000 years ago. With the advent of waterproof containers such as clay pots, our ancestors were finding bits and pieces of food scraps and chucking them into a bowl hoisted over a blazing fire pit. This cooked concoction was the beta version of what we now know as soup and resembled more of a gruel. A gruel is a mixture of boiled grains mixed with a bit of water, similar to today’s oatmeal or grits.
This gruel, which often contained a variety of vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs helped to expand the diet of our ancestors and allowed them to get a little more creative with their food preparations. The inspiring preparation of gruel eventually paved the way for the modern version of restaurants. In 16th century Paris, public restaurants began to open up and featured several different varieties of soup including broths, stews, and bouillon. These soup restaurants were named “restoratifs,” meaning a place to restore.
Different Kinds of Soup
From cream of asparagus to tomato bisque, soup sure has come a long way from the ancient gruel our ancestors once served up. The modern soup of today typically falls somewhere in between two categories: clear soup and thick soup. Clear soups include consommé, bouillon and broth. Thick soups include purees, velouté, cream, etc. One thing they don’t share is the overwhelming effort required to make these delicious meals. Easy vegan soups and stews have become a staple in many kitchens. Perhaps this is the year to try your hand at these simple and hearty meals.
Clear soups are the delicate flower of the soup world. Typically these soups are made with no thickening agent and have a broth or bouillon base. A clear soup should never taste watery and should be full of flavor.
Made from a broth or bouillon, clear soups come in a variety of flavors with chicken and beef being the most common. But vegans don’t fret! There are many vegan-friendly broths and bouillons available. For a quick and easy soup, try using a few cubes of Not-Chick’N bouillons to prepare a vegan chicken broth for this soul-warming Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup recipe from Nora Cooks. Use chunks of vegan chicken breast for an additional “wow” factor.
Clear soups are not only warm and soothing on a winter’s day but also offer a wide range of nutritional benefits while helping to keep your digestive tract squeaky clean. Simple clear soups with nourishing ingredients such as a white miso soup with aosa seaweed and tofu can really hit the spot for those days when you are feeling a little under the weather.
Thick soups are usually thickened by using flour, cornstarch, cream, vegetables, and a variety of other ingredients in order to create a warm and filling meal. Thick soups include creamy soups, bisques, stews, and porridges. Ingredients such as carrots, potatoes, and celery are always good to have on hand and can be used in a variety of vegan soups and stews.
Easy Vegan Soups
When most people think of soup, a filling meal isn’t the first thing that comes to mind but looks can be deceiving. A hearty bowl of soup is sometimes all you need to serve for a well-rounded vegan meal. Soups can provide all your nutritional staples in just one bowl including veggies, protein, and energy fueling carbohydrates while pleasing all your taste buds.
The best thing about soups, however, is that they can be very simple to prepare and quite often can be made from ingredients you typically already have on hand. If you’re extra pressed for time NoPigNeva has a variety of premade soups ready to go, all you have to do is add the broth and whatever additional ingredients needed to customize to your taste buds’ fancy.
For a super filling and utterly delicious soup with a hint of heat, be sure to try out our vegan Moroccan red lentil soup or our coconut curry chickpea soup. Serve with warm vegan naan and hummus for a well-rounded meal.
Simple Vegan Stews
A warm and cozy vegan stew is the perfect companion on a chilly winter night. Stews are chock full of texture and flavor without all the fuss of a complicated dinner yet are just as satisfying. Stews can even be served over a bed of low carb miracle rice or vegan mashed potatoes. And don’t forget to make a loaf of vegan Italian herb bread to mop up all that flavor!
Though many traditional stew recipes call for added chunks of meat this doesn’t mean you’ll be left to just potatoes and lentils. You can practically veganize any omnivore stew recipe by making sure to swap out animal meats for plant-based meats and making sure to use a veggie broth as your base.
This classic vegetable stew recipe from Brand New Vegan can be made extra hearty by adding some spicy Italian vegan sausage into the mix. For a more exotic stew check out this recipe for a vegan version of West African Peanut Stew from The Simple Veganista.
From classic comfort food to treating the sniffles, soup has an impressive resume. So the next time mother nature gives you the cold shoulder, grab your easy vegan soups and stews recipes and pay her no mind because all you need is a hot bowl of vegan soup to ward off her winter blues!