Vegan Dinner Miso Soup

Vegan Dinner Miso Soup

Last week, after the storm headed toward the front range was dubbed a “bomb cyclone,” we woke up to rain. And it rained and rained until about 10am when the temperature dropped and the winds started and it began to snow sideways.

It was a perfect storm for Miso Soup.

Vegan Dinner Miso Soup

Miso soup is that brothy, extra light soup you get before your sushi shows up at a restaurant. It’s so cozy, and miso paste gives the broth a complex flavor. But typical miso soup is light — really nothing more than an appetizer. With this recipe I sought out a miso soup that was filling. Something you could have as a meal when you’re snowed in.

Traditional miso soup usually has a few bites of tofu, and pieces of wakame. We added: shiitake mushrooms, rice noodles, and TOPPINGS! (Fried garlic chips, green onions, chili crunch sauce, toasted sesame oil). All in all it makes a more filling soup with out losing the miso-y quality.

Vegan Dinner Miso Soup

The broth for this soup is vegan. It’s not something I was intentional about initially: I had been unable to find bonito flakes and so tried making the broth with kombu and dried mushrooms instead, and the result was delicious. Since so many of the popular recipes on Foraged Dish are vegan, I thought it would be a great alternative to share with you all.

Dashi, the broth used in Miso Soup, is a cook-it-on-the-spot type of broth. No Sunday afternoon spent making stock. It only takes about 30 minutes to make dashi, and if you’re snowed in (or heck, if you’re home doing laundry), I bet you have that kind of time to let a pot simmer!

I know warm weather is on it’s way — but until then, I’ll be souping. :)

Vegan Dinner Miso Soup

Vegan Dinner Miso Soup

Published March 19, 2019 by
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Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 50 minutes



Ingredients:

For the broth (dash):
  • 2 sheets kombu (About 5 inches x 3 inches each)
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 7 cups water 

  • For the soup:
  • 1/3 cup white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger juice
  • 2 tablespoons dried wakame, plus about 2 cups of water for rehydrating
  • 1-2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 14 ounce package extra firm tofu, drained and diced into bite-sized pieces

  • To serve:
  • Rice noodles, cooked according to package (I used vermicelli)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions, white and dark green parts removed
  • Chili crunch sauce (affiliate link)
  • Fried garlic chips (I use avocado oil rather than canola)
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Optional (not vegan - makes the meal heartier): Soft boiled eggs

  • Directions:

    1. Make broth: heat 7 cups of water in a large soup pot with kombu and dried mushrooms. Once the water comes to a boil, remove it from the heat. Allow kombu and mushrooms for roughly 20 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, hydrate wakame in a small bowl. When wakame is completely softened, strain out excess water. Then, roughly chop wakame into bite-sized pieces.
    3. After broth has soaked, use a slotted spoon to remove kombu and mushrooms.
    4. Place miso in a small to medium sized bowl. Ladel roughly 1 cup of broth in the bowl with the miso, and whisk until no clumps remain (this makes it easier to mix into the full pot of broth). Pour miso mixture into soup pot.
    5. Add tofu, shiitake mushrooms, and wakame to the pot, and place back on stove over low heat. Heat until the soup is just barely simmering.
    6. Divide rice noodles amongst serving bowls, and label soup over top. Top to taste with: sliced green onions, toasted sesame oil, chili crunch sauce, and fried garlic (and eggs, halved, if using).

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    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    Last week, I told you all that I bought The Food of Morocco, and have been on a Moroccan food kick. The kick continues today… with this Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce.

    There are already a lot of eggplant recipes on this blog, and I know it’s not everyone’s favorite vegetable. This blog post is really more about the sauce, which you could use over fish, grilled meat, or roasted veggies (and don’t stop there). Or, eggplant.

    It struck me, while I was adding all of the ingredients for this Charmoula to the blender, that it’s just like so many other herb-based sauces found around the world. It combines oil with an acid (lemon juice), garlic, salt, and pepper, and heaps of herbs. In this case, cilantro and parsley. The process reminded me of making a South American Chimichurri, or the garlicky dipping oil used in Ecuador, or even pesto.

    It is not so much their similarity that surprises me, but the idea that diverse people, strung out across the world, all arrived at a similar solution to saucing food. Oil, herbs, garlic. I’m not a historian, though a quick look at the Wiki history of Chimichurri sauce suggests it was brought over by Spanish immigrants. Were all of these sauces another way of making the flavors immigrants were familiar with in a new environment, with new ingredients? Perhaps. (I, by the way, adored this essay on how immigrants assimilate through food).

    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce
    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    The other thing that struck me about Charmoula was it’s flavor, which I found sharper and stronger than chimichurri or pesto. I would probably eat a spoonful of pesto straight. At least, I would definitely lick the spatula. And maybe I would with charmoula as well, but it’s flavor is not as sweet, or creamy — it will wake you up a bit! It’s salty and tart and herbaceous. Which is why it’s a perfect finishing sauce, the final touch on roasted eggplant that wakes it all up. A drizzle over a fillet of fish that brings everything together. The “zing.”

    Pulling from Mediterranean flavors, I also added a drizzle of tahini to this eggplant. It’s richness is a good counterpart to charmoula, and the charmoula cuts through the richness of the tahini. Eggplant — we'll, I’d say it’s just the carrying vessel, but others might disagree.

    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    Published March 12, 2019 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 45 minutes



    Ingredients:


    For the charmoula:
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
  • Dash cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup packed parsley leaves

  • For the eggplant:
  • 2 eggplants
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • For serving: 1/4 cup tahini

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
    2. Slice stem from eggplant and then cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Spread out on a baking sheet (or two) in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt, and allow eggplant to sit for 5-10 minutes. The salt with help reduce bitterness.
    3. Brush eggplant with olive oil. Flip eggplant and brush the second side. Place in oven and bake 30-35 minutes, until eggplant is soft all the way through, and is golden/brown on the edges.
    4. While eggplant cooks, combine all ingredients for charmoula in a food processor or blender, and pulse until a sauce forms. I like my sauce to still have some texture to it, so I stop before everything is puréed, but this is just my preference.
    5. Serve: place roasted eggplant on a plate, and drizzle with several spoonfuls of charmoula and several spoonfuls of tahini. Eat warm.
    6. Note: you will likely have leftover charmoula, which can be used as a sauce for fish, or grilled meats and vegetables.

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    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    An unopened bottle of orange blossom water had been occupying precious real estate in our fridge for months as I debated the best thing to do with it. Finally I opened the bottle, just to smell. One whiff is all it took, and my thoughts were drifting away on a cloud of delicate blooms — soft and white, immensely fragrant. From that cloud, I landed in a darkly lit room, sitting at a large round table surrounded by smiling faces. My tenth birthday party.

    We perch on round, gilded pillows at a low table. Silky fabrics hang from the ceiling, lining the walls and giving the room a sense of mystery. Someone has given me a warm, floral-scented cloth for cleaning my hands. A waiter is sprinkling us ceremoniously with orange blossom water, and the droplets land on my shoulders like the sweetest rain that ever rained. Talk about feeling like Queen for the day.

    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    There are candles artfully lighting the space, but the most notable ones are balancing on a women’s body. A belly dancer. She gracefully juggles fire from her head to her elbows and back again, never missing a beat. We eat couscous, chicken with almonds, and b’stella pastry (a dish my dad would later take to making at home).

    When it is time for tea, it is time for the greatest show of all. The waiter stacks drinking flutes in a pyramid. He makes a show of pouring the mint concoction from an ornate tea pot, starting with the top glass, and pouring until it pools over, filling the next two. The cascade continues, until each glass is full. (In my mind, the memory is almost a dream-state. I can’t quite figure out the physics of these glasses. How is it that they only spill in two directions? Did they have little spouts? Did he actually pour into glasses individually, and it is my memory that falters?)

    We each take a glass and sip. It is, to this day, glorified as the best cup of mint tea I’ve ever had.

    To say the least, I’ve been on a Moroccan food kick since I stole a breath of that orange blossom water in the fridge. I bought The Food of Morocco (affiliate link) and searched for something reminiscent of that day. I bought harissa paste and slivered almonds and actually started to use the orange blossom water.

    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato
    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    The flavors of Moroccan food are so different from what you find in other cuisines. Flowers take on a large role. Both roses and orange blossoms. Herbs are used fresh. Citrus is a star of the show. Lamb, goat, cumin, paprika; Roses, pomegranate, dried fruits.

    But, this stew is not traditional. It was never supposed to be. Rather, it’s approachable. It’s a one-pot wonder that has been Americanized, Instant Pot-ized, and everyday dinner-ized. It doesn’t ask you to buy a bottle of orange blossom water, which you would surely have to get at a specialty store (or on Amazon (affiliate link), like me). It also calls for quinoa in place of couscous (Couscous is a hand rolled pasta, so not GF, despite it’s millet-y looking appearance). The recipe calls for ingredients you know, but combines them with Moroccan flare in mind. Cumin — lots of cumin. Paprika. Turmeric. And cinnamon, a small amount, something we rarely add to savory dishes here in the US.

    I know it’s starting to look a lot like spring in somewhere, but here — and lots of places - it will still be winter for at least a month. On a snowy evening, this stew is absolutely warming and cozy. Just my style.

    For the curious: The restaurant I had my tenth birthday at, Boulder’s Mataam Fez, has since closed. There is a Mataam Fez in Denver that provides a similar (but IMO, not quite as magical) experience. Plan to make an evening of it.

    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    Published March 5, 2019 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 45 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, cubed
  • 1 16-ounce can chickpeas, strained
  • 1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • For serving: minced parsley or cilantro

  • Directions:

    1. In the bottom of an Instant Pot, heat coconut oil using the Sauté setting. When oil glistens, add onion, garlic, ginger and celery and sauté until onion is transparent.
    2. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine.
    3. Secure lid on Instant Pot and press the “Manual” button. Set to “high pressure” (labeled “more” on some models) and set timer for 1 minutes with vent in the sealed position.
    4. When the timer goes off, turn off the Instant Pot and allow it to set for 10 minutes with out releasing the steam. This will ensure the quinoa is cooked through.
    5. After 10 minutes, release any remaining pressure. Stir, and ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro.

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