I have passed this simple concoction onto friends numerous times. I hear from friends that they want meatless options that are quick and simple enough that their kids will not question what is on their plate. But even as adults there are days when making a “big deal” over dinner is not appealing. If this is you, then Taco Slawcos is the answer to your prayers!
In coming up with a name for this amazingly tasty soup, I stuck with what I call it around the house. It was created in an effort to please my most difficult critic, my 11-year old daughter.
On a side note: When I mentioned that I would calling it “Maddie’s Chowder” for the blog to my daughter I think she thought she might become famous or something! So if you see her on the street don’t mention the soup…I don’t want fame to go to her head 😉
But seriously. Sometimes when it’s time to prep for dinner, I look into my refrigerator and there are 6-10 different veggies just staring back at me! I start to feel like I’m on Chopped (you know that totally addictive series on the Food Network?) and I have 20mins to create something awesome for a panel of judges and I must use all 4 ingredients! My saving grace is always soup. You can throw anything into your favorite pot as long as you start with the tried-and-true base of onions, garlic, carrots and celery. From there, the sky is the limit.
Now I have been making this exact soup for a few years and never have I attempted to write it down. So in order to share it with you, I started the somewhat daunting task of figuring our what it is I put in this chowder. Well, to my surprise, in this process I somehow came out of it with the BEST version I have ever come up with…and I wrote it down! So….you’re welcome 😉
The most important thing to any soup, other than the freshest quality of veggies that you can find, is the stock. The stock determines the difference between a good soup and a great soup. Since I only use veggie stock in my cooking, my requirements when looking for a great stock include; organic, yeast-free, low sodium and not alot of tomato flavor (not all dishes need tomato flavor!). I have tried everyone out there and most of them are okay but I find the best stock comes right out of my own kitchen. Making a homemade stock is simple- throw a bunch of veggies into a very large pot with fresh filtered water and let it simmer for about 1-2 hours, when finished cooking simply strain out the large pieces and Voila! A couple of secret ingredients I use for my stock are mixed dried mushrooms and something green, like kale or spinach.
The necessary spice in this particular soup is the smoked sweet paprika. It creates incredible depth to the soup but really I think it just makes the kids think that I put bacon into it 🙂
And the last ingredient to highlight is Herbamare. If you don’t have this seasoning in your pantry then you need to run (not walk) to your nearest grocery store and purchase it. It’s that good and works in anything!
Serve this up with your favorite bread and its a delicious, healthy dinner (or leftover lunch) that you can feel good about eating.
Prep Time: approx. 40 mins (plus soaking time for cashews)
Serves: 4-6 people
1/2 cups raw, unsalted cashews (soak in filtered water for 30 mins or longer if you have time, then drain & blend with 1/2 cup fresh water until smooth, creamy consistency) * If your house is nut-free, you can skip this ingredient and the soup would still be delicious, just not as creamy
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 med. yellow onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 head of fennel, chopped
2 sm. leeks, chopped
5 sm. red potatoes, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups of frozen (or fresh) corn
1 1/2 tbsp ground sea vegetables (you know the ones you made for the curried lentils- if you didn’t make that yet look at my recipe for Pantry Curried Lentils below)
3 small bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
1-2 tsp. herbamare (Or Salt & pepper to taste)
1 tsp. smoked sweet spanish paprika
- Heat up evoo on medium heat then add garlic and onions. Sauté for 3-5 mins until translucent.
- Toss in chopped carrots, celery, and fennel. Sauté for another 5 mins. & finally add in potatoes and leeks and cook for another 5 mins.
- Stir in veggie stock, 1 cup of the frozen corn, sea vegetables, bay leaves, thyme, herbamare and paprika. Place on lid and bring to a boil. Then lower heat in med-low and simmer for approx. 15 mins until potatoes are fully cooked.
- Let soup cool with lid off for about 5 mins to avoid a hot soup shower once you turn on the blender! *** At this point you need remove the bay leaves and discard. I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten to do this 😦
- Ladle about half of soup into a Vitamix or your blender of choice. Puree the soup until its thick and creamy.
- Combine blended soup back into original pot with remaining soup and stir in the remaining 1 cup of corn.
- Pour in blended cashew cream and stir until fully combined. Reheat slightly to heat the corn and serve immediately.
Happy 14th of February!
Sorry I do not have a scrumptious chocolate or cookie recipe for this blog. Aside from not really being a “baker”, when I do manage to get enough doughy, sugary goodness from the bowl to a pan in order to fully cook it, it usually just ends up in my tummy anyways. So needless to say I try to stay away from baking and stick to what I know…cooking.
However, I would to take this opportunity (and when I say “opportunity ” I mean a captive audience that thinks there is a huge pile of sugar at the end of this blog:) to highlight something that I am seeing every time I walk into a drug store/grocery store at this time of the year, and that is RED food products. I see RED RED RED and then I see RED.
It’s important that we stop and recognize that the marketing around this particular holiday has done an amazing job at turning our regular everyday candy into something that looks even more appealing to us and our children, just because it is red.
I know there are many contradictions out there around food that can make you want to throw your hands up and give up trying to make any sense of it. But I think most of us can agree that through the unforgiving test of time, medical research and just general common sense, there are a handful of things that we should just avoid completely. My list would look something like this (in no particular order):
Aspartame, hydrogenated oils, cigarettes, stress (when possible) and red food dye!
Artificial colours are chemicals synthesized from petroleum and coal-tar products (1). Many of these chemicals have been incorporated into foods with insufficient research as to safety, and some have been withdrawn because of studies showing toxicity or carcinogenicity.
Here’s the low down on the main types of artificial red colouring agents out there…
Citrus Red No.2
This dye was withdrawn in 1976, except it is still allowed to be used in colouring oranges to establish a brighter and more uniform colour. It has been shown to cause cancer in animal testing research. To avoid this, use organic oranges when adding grated orange peel in a recipe.
Red No.3 (aka Erythrosin)
This dye is used in cherries, cherry pie, gelatine, ice cream, fruit cocktails, candy, sherbet, pudding, cereals, fruit roll-ups and baked goods. It is on the safe list, but research has suggested that this coal-tar derivative is harmful, possibly causing gene mutations, cancers or changes in brain chemistry. A 1983 review committee found convincing evidence that Red 3 caused thyroid tumors in rats and the FDA suggested banning it; it was not banned.
Red No.40 (aka Allura Red AC)
This dye took the place of banned Red No.2 and is used in food, drugs and cosmetics. Specific food uses include gelatine, puddings, soft drinks, condiments, dairy products and candy. It may cause cancer in animals.
Effects on Children
According to Nancy Cordes, consumer safety correspondent for CBS News, artificial food coloring like Red 40 and Blue 2 contribute to restlessness, hyperactivity, and attention problems in some children. The children at the highest risk for these effects are those with ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Also, eliminating food coloring from the diet of children with ADHD is approximately 25 to 50 percent as effective in decreasing symptoms as prescribing prescription medication such as Ritalin, notes Cordes.
If you would like more information on ADHD children and food additives click on the link below to read more;
If you are doing your own baking this year there are some great natural choices for food colourings including carotene, annatto, beet red (powdered beets), saffron, turmeric, paprika, and grapes, as well as vegetable and fruit juices.
Or maybe just stick with the classics…sweet & delicious c.h.o.c.o.l.a.t.e.
We have choices always. This year lets not inadvertently torture our children, our children’s teachers, our children friends or ourselves for that matter! Check the list of ingredients on the package before you buy and make choices that actually show LOVE to our bodies.
Happy Valentine’s Day xo
And oh, I almost forgot ;-)….
(1) Staying Healthy With Nutrition – The Complete Guide To Diet and Nutritional Medicine, 21st Century Edition (Elson M. Haas, MD & Buck Levin, PhD, RD) p. 447-448.
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
2 1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp curry paste
2 tsp ground sea vegetables (I use NORI and DULSE)
3 Tbsp sour cream (optional), cilantro for serving
In a saucepan saute the onion on med. heat for 5 mins then add your tomato paste and curry paste, saute for another 2 minutes. Add your lentils and stock and bring to a boil, turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes to finish cooking. Toss in your ground sea vegetables and stir. Add you salt and pepper to taste.
Serve lentils over mashed potatoes and top with cilantro!