Sue’s Very Veggie, Cold-Annihilating Comfort Soup
(a.k.a. chicken-free, gluten-free, chicken noodle soup to cure what ails you)
You can do so many things with this soup. Basically, you want a broth that is seasoned with traditional chicken soup seasonings to give you that wonderful aroma that you remember from childhood. You can make your own from one of my very favorite cookbook authors, Bryanna Clark Grogan here, OR you can buy a packaged seasoning like this one that I got a Country Life Naturals in Pullman, Michigan.
Most importantly, you should be able to understand every ingredient on a seasoning package. MSG lurks in disguise in phrases like ‘autolyzed yeast extract.’ You don’t want or need to put that stuff in your body and it’s in most soup seasonings and bouillon cubes. Take care. All the products I’ve mentioned here have been scrutinized by me with my reading glasses on.
10 cups water, divided
¼ cup La Chikky Seasoning (or vegan, chicken seasoning of your choice)* (save 1T for seasoning soy curls, if using)
2 vegan chicken bouillon cubes**
1 ½ cups Butler soy curls or other chicken substitute, optional (more on this below).
8 cups mixed veggies, divided into two piles 1) veggies to sauté like onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, mushroom; and 2) veggies to simmer, such as celery root, carrot, turnip, cauliflower
2 big handfuls ban pho-style rice noodles***
1 tsp. to 1 T chili powder, optional
¼ cup chopped parsley
Heat ½ cup water in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Toss in all the sauté veggies and steam sauté until they begin to soften 5-8 minutes.
Add 7 ½ cups of water, the chicken seasoning and bouillon cubes and simmer veggies. Bring to a low boil and simmer 15 minutes.
In the meantime, rehydrate Butler Soy Curls, if using (directions below)
Toss in the ban-pho rice noodles and simmer another 6-8 minutes.
Taste your seasonings. You may want to add salt, black pepper or more chili powder. That really helps clear sinuses. Take advantage of aromatherapy.
Turn off the heat and add the soy curls, give a good stir and sprinkle with parsley.
By this time, everyone is in the kitchen wanting some soup!
Rehydrating Soy Curls
Heat water just two boiling and stir in a tablespoon of seasoning powder. Press the curls under the water and let stand ten minutes. When water is cool enough for you to handle, squeeze soy curls dry and put remaining water into your soup. Whirl the soy curls in your food processor until they achieve a shredded chicken-like consistency. I purchase my soy curls at Country Life Naturals. Butler Soy Curls are a really fun addition to a vegan cook’s repertoire. I’ll write about them separately later. They are not highly processed and they use the entire soybean. So basically, they are cooked, dehydrated non-GMO soybeans. If you’re not avoiding soy, you should try them. They don’t have a long shelf life, so must be refrigerated or frozen. They look fantastic, have a good health profile but I find their texture a little rubbery if they are not wrung completely dry from the soaking water and then chopped up in my food processor. My husband, Roger, doesn’t think they are necessary (I like them!). You can also use another chicken substitute for a chewy texture, like seitan or a commercial product—though these tend to be highly processed with a lot of yuk! and often egg whites. I do not recommend Quorn brand, which is made from a fungus.
I served my soup to two ailing friends and one ailing husband. It was a good RX, served alongside Indian and Italian-inspired farinata
* Vegetarian Express makes La Chikky Seasoning. It is located in Whitmore Lake, Michigan. Support Michigan businesses! I purchase mine at Country Life Naturals in Pullman, Michigan.
** I used CelefibR from Harvest Health
*** I bought my ban pho noodles at Asian Delight.