Creamy cauliflower and pumpkin seed soup

cauliflower soup
Creamy cauliflower and pumpkin seed soup with fresh bread for an easy weeknight dinner.

My goal with this blog isn’t to write about special occasion meals and instagramable photos but to show that it’s doable to increase the amount of nutrient-rich food on the dinner table. Vegan cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming (though it can be both). With a bit of creativity, it’s easy to have family-friendly plant-based meals on the table on weeknights.

You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy these meals. Vegans have developed innovative recipes to mimic familiar foods we remember from before we gave up animal products. These foods have familiar textures and flavours but are much more nutritious than the foods that inspired them. If you’re looking to eat more vegetables or encourage your family-members to be less veggie-adverse, getting inspiration from vegan recipes might give you a new appreciation for a vegetable you thought you didn’t like.

Here’s a simple soup that is velvety smooth and flavourful despite the few plant-based ingredients required. The cauliflower blends into a rich, creamy texture that will make you forget you’re eating a low-fat, vitamin-rich vegetable soup. The pumpkin seeds enrich the soup with added protein and nutrients. It’s flavour is subtle enough to be enjoyed by kids but sophisticated enough for adults too. It’s easy to make – just add the ingredients to the pot and allow it to simmer.
Creamy cauliflower and pumpkin seed soup

I kept the flavours very simple so the kids would enjoy it but it would be nice with a dash of spice or extra garlic as well. Served with a side of rustic whole grain bread, it makes a nice, satisfying meal for a cool fall day.

Creamy cauliflower and pumpkin seed soup

  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped into small flowerets
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the chopped garlic and cauliflower. Cook for a few minutes to brown the garlic and soften the cauliflower. Add the vegetable broth, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes until the cauliflower is soft. Add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

That’s it – very simple and a great way to eat a nutrient-rich vegetable.

 

 

 

Rye boule and tomato-lentil soup with brown rice

Woke up to snow again this morning and when I got them out the door, the very excited kids crawled through the snow on their way to school. No wonder snow pants rarely last a whole season!

Rye and whole wheat bread

In this chilly November weather when our bones aren’t quite used to bundling up against the snow and wind, I crave rye bread. This bread was made with whole wheat flour, rye flour and all purpose flour, salt and water. Simple and good with a few flax seeds sprinkled over the top.

I didn’t give it time to ferment on the counter like I did with the baguettes last time but this loaf gets its flavour from the flours I used. I did leave it to rise for about three hours before shaping the loaf while preheating the oven and the pizza stone.

I wanted to have nice bread for tomorrow morning’s peanut butter and jam on toast but I doubt it will last until the morning – I may have to make another loaf. I made it using the technique in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking. The website is healthybreadinfive.com.

The technique involves mixing a full bowl of dough, letting it rise for the initial period and then pulling out the amount I need to make a loaf and putting the rest of the bread dough in the fridge.

Over the week, the dough in the fridge develops a sourdough flavour and I can make another loaf whenever I want. I just have to shape it and let it warm on the counter while the oven and pizza stone preheat and then bake it for 30 minutes. With this method, it’s easy to have fresh bread that tastes amazing.

Rye and whole wheat bread with flax seeds

To eat with this whole wheat rye bread, I’ve made Tomato-Lentil Soup with Brown Rice. The recipe is from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen: Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Dishes from the Healthiest Region Under the Sun. I’ve left out the scallions (the kids won’t eat them) and the celery so it’s a very simple recipe of carrots, garlic, lentils, brown rice, vegetable broth and canned tomatoes with dried thyme and a bay leaf.

I cooked the carrots and garlic in olive oil until softened. Then I added the remaining ingredients and simmered for 50 minutes. My son’s not always keen on things that include tomatoes in the broth but I think he’ll like this soup since it’s so simple. The carrots are from a local farm and are very sweet.

Lentil soup with bread

It’s a hearty, chunky soup – he probably won’t eat the tomatoes but I’ll give him a chance to enjoy it as is even if it means there will be some whining at dinner. The lentils offer a good source of protein and dietary fibre and the brown rice makes it even more satisfying.

Tomato-Lentil Soup

I love to include big chunks of the vegetables that they love so when they first sit down to a dinner, they see something inviting and dig in. This helps them overlook the less desirable ingredients they may be more skeptical about (the tomatoes).

My son prefers to eat only cherry tomatoes fresh from the garden – I get it. They’re delicious and winter tomatoes just aren’t the same. If only it were August year-round!

I’ll get them to taste the soup before I let them eat their bread. If I don’t watch them, they’ll eat three pieces of bread and be too full to eat their soup. Can’t blame them – the bread is super delicious! But I know once they taste the soup, it will go down nicely.

Hearty soup served with bread