soup and such

simple, fresh vegetarian soups and more


vegetable lo mein with edamame and mustard greens

veggie lo mein // soup and such

I’ve been making this lo mein recipe for a few years now and I love it. It’s easy, filling, and tasty! Mustard greens are one of my favorite leafy greens, and I love using them in this dish. In general, I think this is a flexible recipe, and you can sub or add whatever veggies you like. I recommend keeping the mushrooms, though, because their juices help create the flavorful sauce.

veggies + noodles // soup and such

Also, you should know that the amounts listed below make a big pot of this lo mein, which is perfect for me because I love the leftovers. I take a little container of this dish with me to campus when I need a quick lunch or dinner option between classes. I actually prefer to eat this lo mein cold or at room temperature, which makes life even easier.

Enjoy! ~Inge

veggie lo mein // soup and such

Vegetable Lo Mein with Edamame and Mustard Greens
Adapted from Cooking Light

This is an easy, veggie-packed noodle dish that comes together pretty quickly. I use spaghetti for the noodles, but feel free to use whatever you like, such as soba or udon. I love the flavor of the peppery mustard greens here, but use kale if that’s what you have. I’ve done that before with tasty results.


1 package pre-sliced mushrooms
4 cups mustard greens, rinsed and chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
¾ cup chopped green onions
1 ½ cup frozen edamame (thawed)
8 ounces spaghetti (or a noodle of your choice)
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil (or canola oil)
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1-2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce (optional)
Siracha, to taste (optional)


1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the mustard greens and cook for 1 minute. Remove greens with a slotted spoon and place in a colander or small bowl. Drain and squeeze dry; set aside.

2. Use the same pot of water to cook your noodles. I bring the pot back to boiling, then drop in the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water, then drain well again. Place the noodles in a large bowl. Add the sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, toss to coat, and set aside.

3. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and stir-fry for a few seconds. Then, add the mushrooms, bell pepper, green onions, and garlic. Stir-fry everything until the mushrooms have released their juices and the bell pepper is crisp-tender. Stir in the mustard greens and edamame; cook for another 1-2 minutes. Now add the noodles, remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chili-garlic sauce (if using). Use tongs to stir everything up so the veggies and noodles are coated with the sauce. Cook for another 2 minutes, until everything is heated through.

I like a little Siracha on my lo mein for a spicy kick. Enjoy!




red lentil soup with lemon

red lentil soup with lemon

Red lentils are a favorite legume around here. They are inexpensive, easy to cook, very tasty, and a good source of vegetarian protein. We just love ‘em.

Here is a delicious red lentil soup that is really easy to make. There is very little chopping/prep work involved, which has been a top priority during this busy winter season. The flavor of the soup is wonderful; the cilantro and lemon add a nice brightness to the lentils, so don’t leave them out!

The amounts here make a big pot of soup. If you’re cooking for just a few, you’ll have plenty of leftovers to freeze for quick work lunches or weeknight meals later on.

Happy soup-making, everyone! ~Inge

red lentil with lemon

Red lentil soup with lemon
From Molly at Orangette, who adapted it from Melissa Clark (original recipe here)

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
8 cups veggie stock
2 cups red lentils, rinsed
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup chopped cilantro


1. Heat oil in your favorite soup pot, then add onions and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir everything around and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the stock, lentils, carrots, and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer, and then partially cover the pot and cook for about 30 minutes (until the lentils are soft).

2. Remove the soup from the heat, and use an immersion blender to puree about half of the soup. You can puree the entire soup if you want, but I like to keep a little texture. Warm the soup back up and stir in the cilantro and lemon juice. Taste the soup at this point to see if you need more salt, lemon juice, or pepper. Adjust to your own taste preferences! Enjoy!


vegetable stew with corn + sage dumplings {virtual vegan potluck}

veggie stew with dumplings

Welcome potluckers! I made a really tasty vegetable stew that is perfect for the cold winter months ahead. There is a ton of veggie goodness in this pot, including carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and corn. The soup is flavored very simply with cloves and cayenne. The cloves really add an interesting flavor to this soup, sort of spicy but also a little sweet. This is the first time I’ve added cloves to soup, and I really liked it. And it made my kitchen smell so good while this soup was bubbling away!

One of my favorite things in the world is making dumplings. It makes you feel like a rock star chef when you drop the dough in the soup, cover the pot, and then 15 minutes later uncover the pot to reveal plumped-up and perfectly cooked dumplings! This time, I made them with corn and chopped fresh sage. You could certainly make this soup without the dumplings and it would still be tasty, but I like the dumplings because they help thicken up the whole soup. So, be all fancy and make some dumplings!

veggie stew with dumplings

As always, I was inspired by the great Jeanne Lemlin for this recipe. In my opinion, she writes some of the best vegetarian cookbooks, hands down. Seriously, pick up any of her cookbooks – you will find endless inspiration and consistently good recipes!

Thanks for visiting my blog! Scroll down to find the link for the next blog in the potluck. Happy soup-making, everyone! ~Inge

in bowl with spoon

Vegetable stew with corn + sage dumplings
Adapted only just a tiny bit from Jeanne Lemlin’s Simply Satisfying

This is a delicious and aromatic vegetable stew that spiced with cloves and cayenne, and the vegan dumplings are flavored with chopped fresh sage. Your kitchen will smell really good as you make this. The original recipe calls for lima beans, so I added them, but I think leaving them out would also be fine.

¼ cup olive oil
3 medium onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
¼ teaspoon cayenne
8-10 cups veggie stock
1.5 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
28-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
¾ cup chopped fresh parsley
3 parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced into half moons
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into half moons
2 medium red potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups frozen lima beans (optional)
2 cups frozen corn

For the dumplings:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
½ cup frozen corn, thawed
2/3 cup cold unsweetened almond milk (soy would also work)
1 tablespoon olive oil

To make the soup:

In your biggest soup pot, heat the olive oil and cook the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves, cloves, and cayenne, stirring everything around. Cook for another minute or so. It will really start to smell good in your kitchen at this point!

Once the spices are fragrant, add the veggie stock, salt, pepper, tomatoes, ½ cup of the parsley, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, and lima beans. Stir everything up and cook for about 45 minutes, until the veggies are soft. For the veggie stock, I start with 8 cups and then add more (up to 10 cups total) if needed, as the soup cooks down.

Once the veggies are soft, add the corn and remaining ¼ cup parsley to the soup. Cook for another 5 minute or so. Remove the bay leaves.

To make the dumplings:
While the soup is cooking, prepare the dumpling mixture. Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, sugar, and sage in a bowl and mix well. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the olive oil, almond milk, and corn all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon, until just moist. Avoid overmixing! At this point, cover and chill the dumpling dough until ready to use.

Once you have removed the bay leaves from the soup, you are ready to cook the dumplings! Keep the soup at a simmer, and drop spoonfuls of the dumpling mixture into the pot. You should get about 8 large dumplings or 10-12 smaller ones. Work fairly quickly dropping the dumplings into the pot (don’t stir them). Then, cover the pot and cook for 15-20 minutes. You can tell if the dumplings are done by inserting a toothpick in the center of one. If it comes out clean, they’re done!

I like to serve the soup with 1 large or 2-3 smaller dumplings per serving, plus a little chopped parsley as garnish. Enjoy!

Click here to visit Canned Time, the next blog in the potluck.

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carrot, parsnip, squash, and kale soup

carrot, parsnip, squash, and kale soup

This is a really tasty soup that is full of veggie goodness. It’s perfect for when you want a bowl of something hearty and warming but on the healthy-side. The combination of veggies is so, so good. When making the soup, the key is to saute the carrots, parsnips, and squash for a good amount of time before you add the stock. The veggies will get a little brown in spots during this step, and that makes the soup so flavorful!

cooking up the carrots, parsnips, and squash!

cooking up the carrots, parsnips, and squash!

The weather has definitely turned a corner here in Chicago and I broke out my winter coat (and hat!) for the first time this week. Having leftovers of this soup in the fridge has been a very, very good idea. A bowl of warm soup for dinner on a cold night is one of my most favorite things.

Happy soup-making! ~Inge

Carrot, parsnip, squash, and kale soup
Adapted only just a tiny bit from Jeanne Lemlin’s excellent Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures

¼ cup olive oil
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 parsnips, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 cups of butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 red potatoes, diced (I don’t bother to peel them)
10 cups veggie stock
½ teaspoon dried thyme (sometimes I leave this out, it still tastes great)
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups kale, chopped into small pieces
1 16-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1. Heat oil in your favorite soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the parsnips, carrots, and squash to the pot. Stir it up so that everything gets coated in the oil. Cook the veggies for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Jeanne Lemlin advises to not skip this step because it “adds depth to the soup’s flavor.” I absolutely agree. You want the veggies to get a little brown. Don’t worry if any brown pieces stick to the bottom of the pot – they will get taken care of when you add the stock in the next step!

3. Once the veggies are a little browned, add the stock, potatoes, thyme (if using), salt + pepper. Use your wooden spoon to scrape up any veggies that stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the veggies are soft.

4. Add the kale and chickpeas. Cook for about 5-10 more minutes. At this point, you could eat the soup as is and it would be delicious. Or, you can puree some of it to get a creamier consistency. It’s your call. I usually just stick my immersion blender in the pot and give it a little whirl. I think blending a little of it up helps marry all the flavors together. 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.


kale and soba noodle salad


Soba noodles are a Japanese-style noodle made with buckwheat flour. When made with 100% buckwheat, they are a good gluten-free option because buckwheat, despite its name, doesn’t actually contain any wheat. I’ve read that in Japan soba noodles are traditionally served plain with a dipping sauce on the side. I think the method is to dip and slurp, and I look forward to trying that out if I ever find myself in Japan one day.

But for my first venture into soba noodle territory, I decided to turn them into a cold salad with a sesame dressing and lots of raw kale plus other assorted veggies. Oh, I also threw in some cubes of baked tofu for good measure. It was delicious. This will definitely be going into the summer salad rotation around here.

kale and soba noodle salad

kale and soba noodle salad

I actually made this salad twice, using two different brands of soba noodles. The first time I used Hakubaku organic soba noodles (the no-salt added variety – you can buy a pack of 8 for only $20 on amazon!). It turns out that this brand of soba noodles is actually a blend of wheat and buckwheat. The second time I used Roland organic soba noodles (this brand did have salt added). Results were tasty both times, but I preferred the no-salt added variety from the Hakubaku brand. Those noodles were much tastier and had a better consistency, in my opinion. So, that is my amateur soba noodle report from the field.

Happy salad-making, everyone! ~Inge

Kale and soba noodle salad
Adapted from Deborah Madison’s excellent Vegetable Literacy

Instead of the Brussels sprouts, you could use baby bok choy or napa cabbage. Also, any kind of crunchy vegetable would be a nice addition to this salad. The baked tofu is optional, but a good choice if you want to bump up the protein.

6-8 ounces soba noodles
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 bunch kale
6 Brussels sprouts
5 teaspoons light sesame oil
1 large garlic clove (or two small ones)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
A few pinches of red pepper flakes
1 bunch green onions, sliced
½ cup carrots, thinly sliced
6 ounce package of baked tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used Trader Joe’s teriyaki-flavored baked tofu), optional
Siracha hot sauce, optional

1. Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place noodles in a medium bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil. Set aside.

2. Cut the tough stems off the kale leaves. Then, thinly slice the kale using the “stack and roll” method. Stack a small amount of the leaves up, then roll and slice into thin shreds or ribbons. Put the kale ribbons in a large bowl. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of the light sesame oil. Using clean hands, squeeze the kale ribbons “until they glisten” (a quote from the original recipe – it’s the perfect description of what the massaged kale will look like).

3. Remove any yucky-looking outer leaves from your Brussels sprouts. Slice them very thinly and toss with the kale.

4. On a cutting board, mince your garlic. Then, sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon salt over the pile of minced garlic. Using the flat side of your knife, apply pressure and move the knife back and forth across the salt/garlic mixture. Doing this helps the salt break down the garlic and creates a paste. Put the garlic paste in a small bowl. Add the rice wine vinegar, remaining 4 teaspoons light sesame oil, and the soy sauce. Whisk together. Pour the dressing over the kale/Brussels sprouts mixture and toss well.

5. Add the cooked soba noodles to the greens along with the carrots, green onions, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and tofu (if using). Toss everything together (tongs work best for this job). Taste and decide if you need more soy sauce or other seasoning. Serve with a few drops of siracha hot sauce on top, if you like things spicy!