No matter where you live, winter is in full swing! For some that means icy sidewalks and snow days while others it means rain drenched streets and chilly temperatures. The best way to combat the winter chills is to make some delicious comfort food. One of my favorite wintertime treats is Black Bean Soup. Today we have a great and simple recipe which is sure to warm you to your toes as well as provide a healthy nourishing vegan dish.

Organic Black Bean Soup

Prep Time: 10 Minutes    Cook Time: 30-50 Minutes

4 Cups Organic Black Beans
4 Cups Organic Vegetable Stock
2 1/2 Cups Water
1 Cup Diced Organic Yellow Onion
1 Cup Diced Organic Carrots
1 Cup Diced Organic Celery
4 Gloves of Organic Garlic
1 Tbsp Organic Chili Powder
2 Tsp Organic Cumin
1 Tsp Organic Cayenne or Paprika (depending on how spicy you want)
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Organic Black Pepper
Organic Green Onion and Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Dollop of Vegan Organic Sour Cream (optional)

Soak black beans overnight if you are using dried bean, but canned will work. Dice the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. Place the beans, vegetable stock, and water in a large pot. Bring this mixture to a boil until beans are nice and soft. Add in the salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, chili powder, and cayenne or paprika. Mix this up and turn the heat down to medium. Add in the onion, carrots, and celery and simmer for about twenty minutes or until vegetables are tender. Garnish with chopped green onion and cilantro. Add a dollop of organic vegan sour cream for an extra treat and serve!

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Earlier this month, the Groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of Winter! Now that we are near the end of February, I guess that leaves us about 4 more weeks of cold weather, snow, and pouring rain. The up side of all the terrible weather is keeping dry and warm with some delicious comfort food.  One of my favorite winter treats is lasagna. It is warm and tasty and makes the ice melt outside! This recipe can be made with or without soy meat or cheese.  So curl up in your favorite blanket and grub down on some vegan comfort food!

Vegan Lasagna

Prep Time: 30 Minutes    Bake Time: 40 Minutes    Serves: 8

1 Box of Organic Lasagna Noodles
2 Jars of Organic Pasta Sauce (or homemade sauce)
1 Cup Organic Mushrooms
1 Cup Organic Zucchini
1 Cup Spinach
1/2 Cup of Onions
3 Gloves Garlic
2 Cups Crumbled Organic Tofu
3 Tbls of Nutritional Yeast
3 Tbls of Veggie Broth
6-8 Ounces of Vegan Mozzarella Cheese (Vegan Gourmet or Daiya)
2 Tbls Olive Oil
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
10 Ounces Vegan Soy Crumbles (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a large pot, boil water with a splash of Olive Oil and salt. Once the water is boiling add in the lasagna noodles and boil until firm but not overcooked. Meanwhile cut up all veggies and in a skillet warm up the olive oil, garlic, and onions. Add in the mushrooms and zucchini. In a large bowl mix together the crumbled tofu, oregano, basil, pepper, salt, Nutritional Yeast. Once this is mixed add in the soy crumble, if choosing to use them. Add this mixture and the spinach to the skillet. Cook for ten minutes or until the veggies are a little soft.
In a casserole dish cover the bottom in pasta sauce and sprinkle vegan cheese. Lay down a layer of lasagna noodles and a thick layer of the skillet mix, followed by a layer of noodles, sauce, and cheese. Make several layers until all ingredients are included. Finish with a layer of pasta sauce, cheese, and a dash of nutritional yeast, oregano, basil, and pepper. Place in oven for 40 minutes. Let it stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

The weather outside is well yeah, frightful!  Winter is in full effect with blizzards, ice storms, or just chilly nights. There is no better way to warm the body and soul than with a great cup of soup.  And even better if it’s all vegan! Our vegan recipe of the week is a great winter warmer and pretty simple to make. This week we have put together a winter favorite of ours, Potato Leek Soup. The soup works along side a sandwich, as the main course, or simply an appetizer and its perfect for those frigid days.

Vegan Potato Leek Soup

1 Cup of Organic Soy Milk or other vegan milk

2 Tbls Vegetable Oil

4 Cups Organic Vegetable Stock

1 Organic Leek, Chopped

2-3 Large Organic Yukon Gold Potatoes, Cubed

1 Organic Celery Stalk, Chopped

2 Tbls of Vegetable or Olive Oil

1 tsp Salt

1-2 tsp Pepper

1 bay Leaf

In a large saucepan sauté the oil, leeks, celery, and salt until the leeks and celery are soft. Next add in the potatoes and cook on low until all are soft (20 minutes). If you prefer you soup smooth, rather than chunky, you can blend or food process the veggies with half the vegetable broth before heating. In a large pot, add the soy milk, vegetable broth, bay leave, pepper and bring to a boil for a few minutes. Add in the vegetables and simmer on low to medium heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot and garnish with fresh scallions.

Next week marks the great celebration of St Patrick’s Day! Although the holiday started out as a feast day to break from the Lent tradition of not eating meat on Fridays, it has since been turned into another holiday to gorge oneself in food and alcohol while wearing green! So why not keep the tradition of the old by continuing to abstain from eating meat and make a traditional Irish and St Patrick’s Day dish, vegan style! Friends will be wowed with your take on this traditional favorite. And they aren’t only to be made on St Patrick’s Day, but enjoyed year round! And this hearty Vegan Irish Stew is a wonderful winter favorite to help melt that snow! So eat up at home before hitting the bars, it will save your conscious and your wallet. Remember to be safe and recycle!

Vegan Irish Stew

Prep Time: 10 minutes   Cook Time: 40-60 Minutes

3 Cups of Water
2 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 lbs Un-peeled Potatoes
1/2 lb Seitan or 8 oz of Chickpeas (if you don’t like fake meats)
3 Large Peeled Carrots
1 Medium Onions
1 Stalk Celery
2/3 Cup Barley
2 Tbls Soy Sauce
1 Tsp Thyme
1 Tsp Rosemary
1/2 Tsp Salt
Black Pepper to Taste
Cut all veggies into large stew like chunks, including potatoes. In a large pot combine water, vegetable broth, barley, onions, an salt.  Bring to a boil and cook at medium heat for about 20 minutes. Add in the potatoes and cook for another ten minutes. Next add the carrots, seiten (or chickpeas), celery, soy sauce and all spices and cook for another 20 minutes on a low setting. Now you are ready to serve this traditional Irish dish and don’t forget to serve with a slice of Irish Soda Bread or crackers.


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