Keeping Warm with Winter Soups and Stews

This article was originally published on YogaCityNYC.com.

There really is nothing better than a big bowl of hot soup or a rich and hearty stew on a cold day in the middle of winter. Soups are easy to make. You don’t believe me? All you need is a grocery list, a good knife, a soup pot, and an immersion blender. 


What is an immersion blender, anyway? Imagine you want to make a thick, creamy pureed soup. One way to do make this happen is to pour the hot cooked mixture into a blender. Too risky! Pouring hot liquid into a blender splashes around and god forbid the top pops off, burns and a possible ER visit. Some brilliant kitchen inventor came up with a blender that you can immerse right into the soup pot. It is like a magic wand. Submerge the blender, move it around for a minute, and voila! Hot, creamy, soup.

Now, onto the soups and stews. A great way to start thinking about cooking is to go to the store and buy whatever is in season. In the winter, that means a lot of orange – like butternut squash and pumpkin and root vegetables like potatoes. So here are a few ideas to get you going. Get creative and let us know what you come up with!

This first soup, Coconut Pumpkin Soup, is a very orange and very filling meal. The topping is seriously amazing, so be sure to make extra! 

1 onion
1 carrot
1 orange pepper
1 can coconut milk
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup cannellini beans
Sunflower oil
1 tablespoon ground ginger
S and P
3 (overflowing) tablespoons shredded coconut, garnish
3 (overflowing) tablespoons pumpkin seeds, garnish

Prep the vegetables: chip the onion, carrot and pepper. This soup will be pureed so no need to finely dice.

Heat sunflower oil in soup pot. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add the carrots and peppers. Cook for a few minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and cannellini beans. Cover with coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Add the ground ginger, salt and pepper (to taste.) Cook on medium heat until vegetables are soft.

Using an immersion blender, puree until completely smooth.

Just before serving, toast the coconut and pumpkin seeds in non-stick skillet on the stovetop. 

This is my Mom’s Stew with a Vegan Twist. It’s a bowl full of plenty: vegetables, starch and protein. The trifecta of food! 

1 onion
1 carrot
6 yukon gold potatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
2 cups water
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 cup fresh green beans
1 cup frozen green peas
Grapeseed oil
S and P

Heat grapeseed oil in a deep pot. Chop the onion into chunks and add to the oil. Chop the carrot into chunks and add to the pot. Peel and chop the potatoes and add to the pot. Cover with tomato sauce and water.

Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer to cook the vegetables and potatoes. Clean the green beans and add to the stew. After 10 minutes or so, add the beans and green peas. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook on a low flame for another 10 minutes and then turn off the flame. Let the stew sit for a while.

This last recipe is a cross between a soup and a stew. If I was Racheal Ray, I would call this a stoup. But I’m not, so I will stick with Chili Soup. Dip homemade cornbread and soak up the soupiness!

2 cups cooked mixed beans (black, pinto, and kidney)
1 cup of tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 large onion, diced
3 large carrots, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Grapeseed oil
Salt

Sauté the onions in oil and salt.  When translucent, add the carrots.  When they have been going for a while, add the peppers, beans, tomato sauce and water.   Add the corn; I usually just add it right out of the freezer.  Let it simmer on medium heat.  Add the spices and nutritional yeast and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Cook together for another 10 minutes and serve hot.


This final recipe is for Cornbread. It is super moist and delicious and totally vegan. No one would EVER know! Not that they need to know. Vegan = good. 

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup pastry flour
1/4 cup vegan cane sugar
1/4 cup vegan brown sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water)
1 cup oat milk
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup corn kernels

Preheat the oven to 400. Make the flax eggs.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine with a fork. Add in the flax eggs, milk and oil. Mix well. Pour into a baking dish (I like to use my 9×9 brownie pan but a round pie pan is good too) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. 


All of these recipes are easy to prepare and serve 3 to 4 people. Enjoy!

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