soup and such

simple, fresh vegetarian soups and more

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tofu lettuce wraps with peanut sauce

We have made these tofu wraps a few times now and they are so good. The Soup and Such household (except Zooey) is in the middle of a 2-week vegan challenge and this recipe is vegan as is, so it was a perfect thing to make last week. They are a little labor intensive, mostly because you have to get all the components ready, but I think the extra effort is worth it. They make a really nice, light meal. One word of caution: they can be a little messy to eat, especially if your lettuce leaves are on the flimsy side. Of course, they still taste great no matter how much filling slides out on to your plate. So just have a napkin handy, throw caution to the wind, and dig in.

Tofu lettuce wraps with peanut sauce

Happy eating! ~Inge

Tofu lettuce wraps with peanut sauce
Adapted just a little from Cooking Light

I pretty much follow the exact recipe from Cooking Light, although we do add a little more Sriracha to the filling mixture because we like spicy flavors. If you don’t, I’d recommend sticking with the ½ teaspoon recommended in the original recipe. Another tip: make the rice first and let it hang out until you’re ready to assemble the wraps. The rice may have cooled to room temperature at that point, but that’s fine.

Tofu filling:
1 package extra-firm tofu
1 cup carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 cup cucumbers, cut into matchsticks
2/3 cups sliced green onions, divided
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chili sauce)

Peanut sauce:
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
4 teaspoons hoisin sauce
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

You’ll also need about 2 cups hot cooked rice. We use Jasmine rice for this, but use whatever you have on hand. You’ll also need some washed and dried lettuce leaves for assembling the wraps. We always use Boston/Bibb/Butter lettuce for this, but I think Romaine would also work. You want something fairly sturdy that would make a good container for the fillings.

1. Drain and press the water out of the tofu. Our method for this is to first drain the water from the package and cut the block of tofu into two pieces. Then, put those two pieces of tofu in between layers of a clean kitchen towel on top of a cutting board. Place something heavy on top (a small frying pan, cans of beans, etc.) and let it sit for about 20-30 minutes. Doing this presses the water out of the tofu. When the tofu is dry (the towels will be damp), cut it up into very small cubes or crumble it. Set aside.

2. To make the peanut sauce, heat the canola oil in a small saucepan and add the shallot, cooking for 2 minutes. Then, add 1/3 cup water along with the peanut butter, hoisin sauce, and crushed red pepper. Whisk it up and cook for about 1 minute. Take it off the heat and stir in the fresh lime juice. Let the sauce hang out while you get everything else ready. You might need to reheat it just a little when you’re ready to use it.

3. To make the filling, place the chopped carrots and cucumbers in a large bowl and stir in 1/3 cup of the green onions. Set aside. Now, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the sesame oil. Add the remaining 1/3 cup green onions and sauté for 1 minute. Then, add the tofu and sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. I like to get my tofu pieces nice and crispy. Then, add 2 tablespoons of the cilantro along with the soy sauce, ginger, sugar, and Sriracha. Stir everything up and cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Then, add the tofu mixture to the large bowl with the carrot/cucumber mixture. Stir it up.

4. To assemble the wraps, put a small amount of rice in a lettuce leaf, add a few spoonfuls of the tofu filling, top with chopped cilantro and a dollop of peanut sauce. Eat immediately and enjoy!


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potato + kale enchiladas

I made a summer minestrone soup last week that I was going to tell you about, but then we made these potato and kale enchiladas on Saturday that are so good they jumped to the front of the line for Soup and Such. Plus, they are vegan! This was one of the main reasons we tried this recipe because we are always looking for more dairy-free veggie dishes to make.

The standout element of this whole recipe is the potato + kale mixture. I knew these two veggies liked each other but I didn’t know what adding a little lime juice, cumin, and pumpkin seeds would do. Wow, that is a really tasty combination.  The pumpkin seeds are delicious! We rolled this filling up in corn tortillas, smothered them with a spicy tomato sauce, and then baked it all up in the oven. There’s no cheese inside or on top of these enchiladas but we didn’t miss it one bit.

Here’s a picture of the pan of enchiladas when we took it out of the oven. Tasty!

potato + kale enchiladas (w/ chopped cilantro on top)

The recipe is from the Veganomicon cookbook. I have only made a few dishes from this book in the past, but nothing really blew me away until I found these enchiladas. If you’re new to the book, I recommend starting with this recipe because it’s a winner. If you know Veganomicon well, tell me what the other standout recipes are – I’m all ears!

Hope you enjoy these! I’m going to keep this recipe in mind for holiday meals. The last few years my family has always had a pan of enchiladas alongside our holiday soup on Christmas Eve. I think this veggie version would be a hit, provided nobody objects to the missing cheese. ~Inge

potato + kale enchiladas
Adapted only just a little from Veganomicon

My advice is to not skimp on any ingredient for the filling mixture because they really all go together so well. So go get yourself some pumpkin seeds! For the sauce, we made it from scratch mostly following the recipe from Veganomicon. Doing that really added to the preparation time of the whole dish because we had to roast jalapenos, cook the tomatoes, and puree it all up with an immersion blender. It turned out to be a tasty sauce, but I wonder whether there is a simpler approach that would make these enchiladas more appropriate for weeknight cooking. I’ve included the sauce recipe below in case you are feeling industrious. But if you have a favorite jarred enchilada sauce you want to use instead, I would recommend having around 3-4 cups of it on hand for this recipe (so you have enough for leftovers). I’ve been told the one at Trader Joe’s is pretty good, but I haven’t tried it yet. 

For the enchilada sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 jalapenos
2 ½ teaspoons chile powder
1 ½ teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano (the original recipe calls for epazote but we just used regular oregano)
1 28-ounce can tomatoes (we used crushed)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons salt

For the potato and kale filling:

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes
½ pound of kale (we used one small bunch)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ cup veggie broth
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons salt

You’ll also need about 12 corn tortillas. When we made it, the filling was enough to make 12 enchiladas, but it might depend on the size of your tortillas and how much you stuff them.

To make the sauce:

1. Roast the jalapenos in a 400° oven for about 15 minutes, until they are blackened a bit. Take them out and let them cool on a cutting board for a few minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, slice them open, remove the seeds, and give them a rough chop.

2. Next, heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the diced onion and sauté for about 10 minutes. Then, add the jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, oregano, sugar, salt, and canned tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes so that all the flavors come together. Then, remove from heat, let it cool a bit, and puree the sauce so it has a smooth texture. I used an immersion blender right in the pot to do this, but you could also transfer to a regular blender.

To make the filling:

1. Chop the kale into small pieces and set aside. Peel and dice the potatoes and then boil them until you can pierce them with a fork (just like you’re making mashed potatoes). Then, drain the potatoes and set them aside.

2. In the same pot you cooked the potatoes in, add the olive oil and garlic and cook for just a second. Don’t let your garlic burn! Then, add the chopped kale, sprinkle a little salt, and stir the kale around so that the oil and garlic get all over the kale. Halfway cover the pot with a lid and let the kale steam about 5 minutes (check on it and stir when needed). You just want the kale to get soft and bright green.

3. Now, take off the lid and add the potatoes, veggie stock, lime juice, pumpkin seeds, and salt. Stir everything up with a wooden spoon, smashing up the potatoes against the side of the pot as you do this. Keep stirring and smashing, cooking for another 5 minutes. You want the stock to get absorbed so that the filling isn’t too liquid-y. Try a small bite to see if you want to add more salt or lime juice. It’s really good, isn’t it?

To assemble the enchiladas:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Get out a baking dish big enough to hold 12 enchiladas. We used a 8 x 12  pyrex baking dish, but found that it only held 7 enchiladas, so we also used another smaller dish for the remaining 5. Spread about ½ cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of whatever baking dish(es) you’re using.

2. Ladle about 1 cup of the sauce in a large shallow bowl (a pie plate works great for this). Take a tortilla and place it in the pie plate, covering each side with sauce.

3. Now, place the sauce-covered tortilla in the baking dish and spoon the potato + kale mixture down the middle. Roll it up and leave it seam-side down in the dish. Continue with the rest of the tortillas and filling mixture. Make sure to pack these guys tightly in the dish so they keep their shape. When you’ve got them all made, ladle about 1-1/2 cups of sauce on top.

4. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for another 10 or so. We let ours cool just a few minutes before serving them up and that method seemed to work well.

Additional notes:

  • The original recipe instructs you to heat the corn tortillas on a griddle before covering them in sauce and filling them. We skipped this step because our tortillas seemed soft and pliable enough to roll up, so I’m not sure if you should heat yours before filling.
  • We topped ours with chopped cilantro and I thought sliced black olives or avocado would have also been a good choice. We had a store-bought tomatillo + avocado salsa on hand that was also really good as a topping. I’ve been thinking that this sauce would be excellent, but if you don’t care about the entire dish being vegan, you could just go with a dollop of sour cream.
  • These make tasty leftovers, but they do need a little extra smothering of sauce before reheating. Make sure you have some leftover sauce for this purpose. Or just use some jarred salsa.