soup and such

simple, fresh vegetarian soups and more


Pinto bean tostadas with lime cabbage slaw

Here is a fantastic summer meal idea when it’s too hot to turn on the oven and you’re tired of eating salad for dinner. That was us last week! So we decided to make some tostadas with an improvised cabbage slaw and a doctored-up can of pinto beans. Everything turned out really tasty, so I figured I’d share the idea here. These aren’t really strict recipes, just ideas for inspiration in your own kitchen during these dog days of summer. Tostadas are fun – make some tonight!

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Pinto bean tostadas with lime cabbage slaw
These aren’t hard-and-fast recipes here, just quick and easy ideas to get you started! Adjust ingredients, amounts, and seasonings to your liking. Make the slaw first and let it marinate in the fridge while you get the rest of the meal prepared.

For the beans:
2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
About ¼ cup of diced red onion
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and/or coriander
Juice from 1-2 limes
Fresh chopped cilantro

Heat a small amount of olive oil in the bottom of a saucepan or deep skillet. Add onions and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add drained and rinsed pinto beans and whatever spices you are using. Stir everything around and let cook for a few minutes. Add lime juice. Smash up the beans a bit (I use a potato masher) to desired texture. Turn off heat and stir in cilantro, more lime juice (if you want), and adjust seasonings (sometime I add a little salt, depending on how salty the beans were to begin with).

For the lime cabbage slaw:

About 4 cups very thinly sliced cabbage
3-4 scallions or green onions, sliced
Big handful of chopped fresh cilantro
Good pinch of salt
Pinch of oregano
Juice of 2-3 limes

Place the cabbage in a bowl and add a good pinch of salt. Toss to combine. Then, add the rest of the ingredients and stir it all up. Let the slaw sit for about 30 minutes so the flavors combine and the cabbage softens a bit. Add as much lime juice as you want/need – we like ours very lime-y!

Assemble the tostadas:

On each tostada shell, spread some of the pinto bean mixture. Top with whatever toppings you’d like: chopped tomatoes, avocado slices, shredded cheese, grilled veggies, chopped onion, etc. Add your favorite salsa or hot sauce then pile on the cabbage slaw! I always add a little extra fresh chopped cilantro to mine. Enjoy!


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grilled vegetable skewers + cucumber sangria

grilled veggie skewers

grilled veggie skewers

Inspired by the homemade salsa we had in the fridge, we decided to do a Tex-Mex cookout for July 4th weekend! It was really more of an indoor cookout. Since we don’t have an outdoor spacing for grilling, we just use a cast iron stovetop grill pan. This one works really well.

First, we made a festive drink to kick off the celebration. I had my eye on something I saw on this blog a few weeks ago, namely a white wine sangria made with honeydew, cucumber, and limes. It sounded so summery and refreshing. We mixed up a batch and it was so good! This is a great summertime drink to have in your repertoire.

refreshing cucumber sangrias!

refreshing cucumber sangria!

Next, we went to work on some grilled vegetable skewers with zucchini, red pepper, mushrooms, and red onion. To make it special, we let the veggies marinate in a jalapeno-lime dressing for about an hour before grilling. The marinade gave a ton of flavor to these veggies! We’ll be making this again for sure.

veggies with marinade

veggies with marinade

grilling up the skewers!

grilling up the skewers!

The veggies are flavorful enough to eat on their own, but we decided to make them into tacos. We stuffed them in tortillas with some smashed pinto beans, avocado slices, and tomatillo salsa. To make the smashed pinto beans, sauté some chopped onion, garlic, and cilantro in a saucepan, then add 1 can of drained and rinsed pinto beans along with a few pinches of chili powder and cumin. Cook the bean mixture for a few minutes while smashing some of the beans against the side of the pot with a wood spoon (or, just use a potato masher).

veggie skewers with smashed pinto beans and tomatillo salsa

veggie skewers with smashed pinto beans and tomatillo salsa

Everything was delicious! I highly recommend this marinade for any veggies you might want to grill this summer. Have you fired up your (indoor or outdoor) grills yet?

Happy summer cooking and grilling, everyone! ~Inge

Grilled vegetable skewers
This is a delicious and easy marinade idea for grilled veggies. We ate these grilled veggies in tortillas with smashed pinto beans, tomatillo salsa, and avocado slices. I highly recommend this delicious combo!

For the marinade:
4 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lime
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ teaspoon each of chili powder and smoked paprika
Pinch of salt

For the veggies:

1 large (or 2 medium) zucchini
1 red onion
1 red pepper
8-ounce container of mushrooms (I used baby bellas)

You’ll also need about 15 skewers. If you’re using bamboo skewers, make sure to soak them in water for about 30 minutes so they don’t burn on the grill.


1. Whisk all the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut the veggies into chunks that you’ll be able to easily spear onto the skewers. Add the veggies to the marinade and stir to coat. Let the coated veggies marinate for about an hour (I kept it in the fridge).

2. After the veggies have marinated, make up your skewers. I ended up with about 15 skewers, which I grilled up in 3 batches on a stovetop cast iron grill pan. I let each batch cook for about 5-7 minutes on one side, then flipped them over for another 5-7 minutes. I took them off once I saw blackened grill marks on most of the veggies. Yum!

Tip: Squeeze additional fresh lime juice over the platter of grilled veggies before serving. Delicious!

Cucumber sangria
Adapted from The Forest Feast

1 bottle of chilled white wine (we used a budget-friendly Sauvignon Blanc from Chile)
Honeydew melon, about 2 cups chopped
Cucumber, about 1.5 cups sliced
1 lime, sliced
A handful of fresh mint leaves
A little bit of Agave syrup or honey, just to sweeten it up a bit
Club soda or seltzer, chilled


1. Add the honeydew, cucumber, lime, mint leaves, and agave to a pitcher. Pour in the bottle of wine. Give the mixture a little stir. Refrigerate the sangria for 2 hours before serving.

2. Pour sangria into pretty glasses. Top off each glass with a little chilled seltzer. Enjoy!


roasted tomatillo salsa

I took advantage of cool temperatures the other day and turned on the oven to make a batch of roasted tomatillo salsa. I love making homemade salsa because it is so easy and so good! I always follow the recipes in Salsas That Cook by Rick Bayless, a trusted salsa reference around our house, and they always turn out great. This one was no exception.

Roasted tomatillo salsa

Roasted tomatillo salsa

To make this, you roast tomatillos, Serrano peppers, onions, and garlic. Then, you pulse everything up in a food processor, and stir in some chopped cilantro, salt, and a tiny bit of sugar. That’s it! I went a little nuts with the peppers for this batch and it ended up having a good amount of heat. If you don’t like things too spicy, I recommend seeding your peppers before roasting.

chips + salsa!

chips + salsa!

Happy salsa-making, everyone! ~Inge

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Adapted from Rick Bayless’s recipe in Salsas That Cook

2 pounds of tomatillos (about 13-14), husked and rinsed
8 fresh Serrano peppers, stems removed (you can also seed them if desired)
1 large white onion, cut into slices
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons salt
½ – 1 teaspoon sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place tomatillos and peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until the veggies are soft and blackened in spots. I turn everything over after 15 minutes of roasting and then put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2. Arrange the onion slices and garlic on another foil-lined sheet pan. Roast for about 15-20 minutes, until everything looks cooked and blackened in spots. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

3. Place the roasted onions, garlic, and peppers in a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Then, place the roasted tomatillos in the food processor (no need to rinse it out!) and puree. Add the tomatillos to the onions and peppers mixture.

4. Stir in the chopped cilantro. Give the salsa a little taste at this point. It should be pretty tangy with all those tomatillos! Season very well with salt. I used 2 teaspoons of salt, which is what Rick Bayless recommended for this amount of veggies. I also added ½ teaspoon of sugar, and about a ½ cup of water to get the consistency just right. Feel free to add more water and/or sugar as needed. Tasting as you season is the best way to go for homemade salsa. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it out!

Note: The amounts listed here make about 4 cups of fresh salsa. Rick Bayless advises that fresh salsa should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within 5 days.


easy veggie fajitas

I make these veggie fajitas all the time for an easy, weeknight meal. It comes together really quickly, so get everything chopped and ready before you start. The mix of veggies is entirely up to you. One of my favorite combinations is carrots, mushrooms, red onions, and red peppers. This time I added asparagus and it was very good.

veggie mix for fajitas

veggie mix for fajitas

Those little baby bella mushrooms would also be a good idea, along with maybe some poblano peppers? In my opinion, the carrots are a key addition, which might be surprising, but trust me on this.

Happy cooking! ~Inge

easy and tasty veggie fajitas!

easy veggie fajitas topped with shredded cheese and cilantro

Easy veggie fajitas
This isn’t really a recipe at all – more like a method. If you have any leftover cooked veggies, add them to quesadillas later in the week for a quick snack. Also, don’t omit the lime juice step. It really brightens up the flavors.


  • Whatever fresh veggies you’d like: carrots, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, red onions, scallions, or asparagus.
  • Ground cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika
  • A few fresh limes
  • Tortillas, corn or flour
  • Whatever toppings you’d like: chopped cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream (or vegan alternative), hot sauce, salsa, avocado slices, chopped fresh tomato


1. Prep and cut your veggies. I cut the mushrooms into thick slices, and for everything else, I like to cut the veggies into long thin strips approximately the same size.

2. Add a little olive oil to a sauté pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the veggies all at once and sauté. Cook until just softened (but not mushy). I like to keep things on the crunchy side.

3. Add the cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika, plus some salt (to taste). Stir everything around so the spices coat all the veggies and cook for just a few minutes. Then, add some squeezes of fresh lime juice to the pan, stirring so all the veggies get dressed with the juice.

4. Assemble your fajitas 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.