Last weekend my hand blender broke down, and I’m mourning its absence. For years I have relied on this little gadget to whip up soups, smoothies, dips and sauces, even desserts. It also came with a handy chopper to grind nuts and veggies. On top of that, the loss occurred just as I was planning to purée some thick, hearty soups for the winter.
The solution for vegans? Coconut milk — a fabulous dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk because it’s fragrant, slightly sweet and super creamy. For maximum richness, be sure to use cans of full-fat coconut milk (I like the organic Cha’s and Native Forest brands).
Here’s what was brewing on my stove this weekend:
Red Thai curry with red lentils, diced tomatoes, lemongrass and ginger
Lentils and chickpeas help to thicken a soup, making it almost stew-like. The red Thai curry paste adds heat while the lemongrass and ginger bring a tropical vibe. Throw in veggies like broccoli, bell pepper, carrot, kale, spinach and eggplant, and protein like tofu or tempeh. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Have the soup on top of a bed of Jasmine or brown rice.
Cauliflower soup with mushrooms, turmeric, rosemary, thyme and cilantro
Start by sautéeing the aromatics (onion, garlic and carrots) in a big pot. Chop the cauliflower and celery into small pieces, then add them to the pot and cover with water. Boil and simmer until the vegetables become very tender; mine took about an hour because I used an entire bunch of celery and half a head of cauliflower.
Then stir in a can of coconut milk and some veggie stock, depending on how soupy you want it to be. Add some turmeric (for its cheery, yellow hue), nutritional yeast flakes (for its cheesy, umami taste) and a splash of tamari (for a bit of saltiness). Then garnish with cilantro, thyme and rosemary. The soup won’t be smooth unless you were to blitz it in a blender, but more like a chowder full of texture and crunch.
Further tips in case you become blender-less
- Make big pots of soup and keep reserves in the freezer. They will last two to three months.
- Boil and simmer vegetables until they become tender. Then pass the liquid through a fine sieve.
- Use a mortar and pestle to help crush vegetables. This will save you time rather than chopping them by hand.
- Use a grater for shredding potatoes, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, garlic and ginger.