A roasted pumpkin soup.

This is a vegetarian pumpkin soup. Roasting brings out the sweet and savory flavors and a creaminess in the squash. I use Japanese squash for the soup, although I imagine that it works just as well with other starchy squashes and pumpkins (or maybe even chestnut).

The soy sauce might make some folks double-take, but all it does is add to the savoriness, and doesn’t actually make anything taste like soy sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 kabocha (Japanese squash)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 medium onion
  • 6 US cups vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp butter (optional)
  • 1 Tsp soy sauce
  • A few Tbsp vegetable oil
  • Minced parsley, and/or curry powder to taste

Step 1 of 2 (Roasting the squash)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Meanwhile, cut up the squash into slices or cubes, add them to a baking tray, and coat them in vegetable oil.
  3. When the oven is done preheating, bake the squash for about 30-45 minutes, until they are tender and the edges start browning a bit.
  4. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Step 2 of 2 (The soup)

  1. Chop the onions and carrots (think mirepoix without celery).
  2. In a pan, melt butter into the oil, and saute the onions and carrots until translucent.
  3. Add the roasted squash chunks to the pan and crush them up until a chunky paste consistency.
  4. Add the vegetable stock and soy sauce. Add salt to taste.
  5. Simmer for five or ten minutes, breaking any chunks of squash apart (if desired).

Garnish with parsley and/or curry powder. The soup can be blended at the end for a smoother consistency.

A vegetarian chili.

Another open-ended one-pot recipe. Two cans of beans should work in place of the dried beans, but I haven’t tried. Step 1 might be best done the day before.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups of dried beans (any kind, or a mix, works), soaked overnight
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled
  • 1 cup mushrooms (button, shiitake, maitake/hen of the woods, etc.), chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • A chili kit of choice, or the list below
  • lime, scallions, and cheese for garnish, to taste

If not using a chili kit:

  • 4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp or so thickener of choice (optional; some kind of starch or flour)

Steps

  1. simmer the beans in lightly salted water until tender, about 45-60 min. Reserve about 3 cups of the bean broth.
  2. fry minced garlic in oil
  3. saute onions and peppers with garlic once the latter begins to brown
  4. add tomato once onions and pepper become translucent and soft
  5. add tofu, mushrooms, and tomato paste once tomato is soft
  6. when everything is combined together, add spices, beans, and reserved broth.
  7. simmer for a few minutes, adjusting the thickness with water or thickener. If adding a thickener, it may have to be simmered for longer. At this point I sometimes add a cup of farro or quinoa, and say that it’s ready when that cooks.

Garnish and serve as you would regular chili.