Vegan Allergy Friendly Tom-Kha Soup Recipe

I first ate Tom-Kha soup in Portland, Oregon in late July/early August of 2006 – my husband’s cousin made the recommendation and for a citrus fan like myself, the flavor was fantastic.  I didn’t remember the name of the soup, though, I knew it had coconut milk and a very distinct lemon flavor.  It wasn’t something I had a chance to have again until my friend took me out to lunch at a local Thai restaurant (Komol – not remotely allergy friendly given the heavy use of nuts in Thai cuisine but a great place if you’re vegan or vegetarian with no allergy concerns).  The lemongrass and coconut mentioned on the menu had me wondering if “Tom-Kha Mushroom Soup” was what I had enjoyed in Oregon — I was right!

Google yielded this veg friendly recipe on a site called “Flip Cookbook” – it has great step by step instructions with photos so do head on over and check it out.  The recipe as written features soy sauce and tofu, so I thought I’d try to simplify things and make the soup top 8 allergy friendly.

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Ingredients

  • 5 cubes of Massel Vegetable Bouillon dissolved in 5 cups of water (I don’t normally suggest things by their brand name but I adore this veggie stock, plus it is gluten free)
  • 1 fresh lemongrass stalk (I found this by the fresh herbs at our grocery store)
  • 1 can of Thai Coconut Milk
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced with stems removed
  • 20 grape tomatoes
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • Fresh lime juice to taste
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Bring five cups of water to a boil on the stove, then add the five bouillon cubes (if you’ve bought a 4 cup carton of vegetable stock you can just use that and add some water).
  2. Follow the directions here for the lemongrass (essentially cut off the end to add to the pot and remove some outer layers before food processing the remainder into a fine mince) and add to the pot, simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, sliced mushroom, garlic, and sliced carrot and continue simmering.  After five minutes, add the tomatoes and continue on medium-high heat.  At this point I covered the pot and reduced the heat a little to try to get the carrots a little more tender but I needn’t have worried.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon of salt at this point or let people salt to taste later.  Same goes for the fresh lime juice, I added some while cooking (juice from 1/2 of a lime) and then added some to the bowl when serving for an extra boost.
  5. Add the contents of the can of coconut milk to the pot and bring back to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  In the colder months the coconut milk will have likely separated so don’t be surprised if some of it is solid at the top and there is coconut water at the bottom.

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Once the soup is heated through, it is ready to serve!  It is surprisingly easy and quick to prepare – a perfect spring soup.

Baked Potatoes with Fried Onions & Mushrooms and Green Beans Recipe

Here’s another recipe that is a little bit more of a meal idea but we could always use more meal ideas!  Also, I have spent too many years messing up baked potatoes (that makes me sound like a horrible cook, I know) not to share this.  The baked potatoes come from The New Best Recipe (amazon affiliate link) from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine.  One thing to note about this book is that it is very meat centric but the recipes that are either vegetarian, vegan, or adaptable to those types of food are worth the price of admission.  I also love the tips and equipment suggestions.

So the baked potato recipe is on pages 180-182, yes they use several pages just for baking potatoes, and they talk about mistakes I myself have always made.  The end result is a very basic method that guarantees (in my mind) perfect baked potatoes.  I use this method for sweet potatoes as well but adjust the cooking time a little since they cook a lot faster.

My best personal tip is to prep the potatoes, put them in the oven with the light on (so you remember they’re in there) and set a delayed start timer (if your oven has one) for the potatoes to kick on an hour and a half before you need them ready.  This has saved me for dinner so many times because afternoons are too late for me to get dinner together.   The scrubber I use is the Oxo Vegetable Brush (amazon affiliate link) which is pretty strong so it will take off the skin of red potatoes but does great with russets.

As for the mushrooms and onions, we serve this mixture with a lot of dishes but it makes a great topping here.  I first had fresh green beans at my mother in law’s house and to me they were so awesome and different from the canned kind.  Crisp, sweet and flavorful, yum!  I find with our restrictions I am exploring real veggies and fruits in a way I never did as a vegetarian.  Things don’t need to be slathered in cheese to taste good (though I admit I miss fresh mozzarella sometimes).

I have some great meal ideas for leftovers from the baked potatoes, a potato salad and a nice easy breakfast of fried potatoes so I will try to post those and link to them from here.  Always nice to work on several meals at once!

Supplies

Vegetable brush (optional)

Knife, cutting board

Medium sized saucepan

Frying pan

Ingredients

1-2 per person large to medium sized russet potatoes (mine from Costco weigh in at almost a pound apiece, you just need a uniform size so they all take the same baking time) or as many as your oven will fit if you want to use the leftovers

1 pound of green beans, trimmed and chopped into 4 inch sections

1/2 medium onion, sliced into thin crescents

6 large brown or white mushrooms (another Costco staple for us)

2 cloves garlic, minced (or granulated garlic)

2 tablespoons olive oil

bowl of ice water (enough to put the green beans in to shock them)

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil to taste

Directions

For the Potatoes: Wash and scrub your potatoes, poke several holes around the outside of the skin and set them directly on your baking rack in the middle of your oven.  This is really important.  Don’t put them on a pan, don’t cover them in foil, etc.  Set your oven for 350 degrees F and your timer for one and a half hours delay started to account for when you’d like to have dinner (so start it at 4 if you want to eat at about 5:30pm) or else just preheat to 350 and then put your potatoes in.  Bake for one and one half hours (90 minutes) but check them at 75 minutes to gauge if they are done.  They’re ready when you can easily put a fork into them and they don’t give resistance (though the skin may resist a little).  Serve with drizzled olive oil, salt, pepper, mushrooms & onions, chopped red peppers. . .pretty much however you like.  E loves these with just olive oil, salt, and pepper.

For the Mushrooms and Onions: Heat your frying pan on medium high, add oil when the pan is hot and you will see it shimmer, then reduce heat to medium and add onions.  When the onions are soft, add your garlic.  After maybe a minute add your sliced mushrooms (thinner slices are best).  Fry until the mushrooms have released much of their moisture and serve on top of the baked potato.

Fresh Green Beans: You’re going to blanch the beans, this means that you heat maybe 1 quart of water until boiling and add the beans, cooking them only a minute and a half to two minutes.  At this point you’re going to drain the beans and add them to the ice cold water.  This way they’ll keep that beautiful green color.  Serve with a sprinkle of salt.

(More photos here).  You can also serve the potatoes with three bean salad if you like.

I linked this recipe to Cybele Pascal’s  4/22/11 Allergy Friendly Friday, there are tons of great recipes over there if you follow the link!

Salad With Cilantro Lime Dressing, Brown Rice Couscous, and Roasted Curry Chickpeas Recipe

(Linked to Cybele Pascal’s 3/25/11 Allergy Friendly Friday, click through for other allergy friendly links!)

I posted pictures (note the expert mushroom slices above, they were done by my husband, I still have a lot to learn about using a knife properly but mushrooms taste better when he chops them so thinly), the cilantro lime dressing recipe, and the roasted curry chickpeas recipe.  Here’s where it all comes together!  Maybe it is silly to have a recipe for a salad as I suppose this is more like a “meal idea” but at any rate, here goes nothing. . .

Supplies

2 quart saucepan

Knife, Peeler, Cutting Board

Ingredients

Green Leaf Lettuce

Mushrooms

Onions

Red Peppers

Tomatoes

Cucumbers

Carrots

(Any other veggies you like, we’ve used Jicama even)

1 cup brown rice couscous cooked to package directions or quinoa (red or regular: amazon affiliate link) and water or veggie broth

Directions

To make the quinoa, you just need to use 2 cups of liquid to every 1 cup of quinoa.  Rinse the quinoa, add it to the liquid in the pot and heat until boiling.  Reduce heat to low, cover and set your timer for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork before serving.  We usually eat this salad with quinoa but for the pictures we used brown rice couscous by Lundberg because we’d had quinoa tabbouleh the day before.  My husband likes this with red quinoa over the regular sort and I do enjoy it that way but most people say there’s not a difference between regular and red quinoa.

Make a base of lettuce, add your grain of choice, top with veggies, then salt to taste, add roasted chickpeas, and finally drizzle with dressing.

Trust me, it is delicious!  I don’t even miss ranch dressing with this one.