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.

Vegan Slow Cooker Potato Leek Soup

Thank you to Sarah Norris of Gluten Free Dairy Free Walt Disney World for pointing me to this recipe – I had purchased Yukon gold potatoes and trimmed leeks at Trader Joe’s because the idea of soup when it is 100 degrees out is oddly appealing.  I adjusted it to be more calorie friendly and thought I’d share my version here.  First, let me direct you to the inspiration, Gluten-Free Goddess’ 2009 recipe.  Her post has wonderful pictures (with leeks for a garnish) and suggestions for a stove top method as well.  Also check out our Food Allergy Bloggers Conference post featuring Sarah, it was great to meet her last year!

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Ingredients

1 cup rice milk

4 cups vegetable broth

2 leeks, trimmed and sliced (I used a 6oz pre-trimmed pack from Trader Joe’s)

680g Yukon gold potatoes, washed and quartered (I leave the skins on)

1 tsp dried tarragon

1 tsp dried dill weed

1 tsp granulated garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste (depends on how much salt is in the broth you use)

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Supplies

Slow cooker or crock pot

Cutting board, knife

Teaspoon measurement

Immersion blender

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Directions

Start your crock pot on high, set it for 5 1/2 hours.  add the oil if desired and then the chopped leeks.  No need to worry about large rounds when you are chopping the leek, you will be blending this recipe up!  Add your quartered potatoes and then the 4 cups of vegetable broth.  You’ll see the ingredients are just about covered.  We don’t want the soup to be watery so trust me on this.  Cook on high and when when the 5 hours of cooking time has elapsed (I set it for a little longer so I have time to chop and prep while it heats up) you’re going to blend the soup in the crock pot with your hand immersion blender.  At this point add the 1 cup of rice milk, adjust your salt and pepper to taste, heat until warm throughout (shouldn’t take long) and you’re ready to serve.  Great with a salad.

Calorie and Nutritional Information

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The batch I made came to 1,763 grams and we like to do 100 gram servings in MyFitnessPal so it was 47 calories per 100 grams.  I didn’t list the spices and herbs in the recipe so that may have added a trivial amount of calories.  I’ve managed to put all my lost weight back on in the last year but I am still trying to fight my way back.  Here’s hoping!

Baba Ghanoush Recipe

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This eggplant/aubergine dish is deceptively simple but we have eaten it as a side dish, snack, and even a topping for brown rice.  Does anyone else call eggplant “aubergine” or is it just those of us raised in households with European and/or Middle Eastern backgrounds?  Now I do know someone who is allergic to eggplant and eggplant is featured in the graphic on a recent New York Times call for comments and submissions titled “Is There Such a Thing as a Cucumber Allergy?” so hopefully this is a safe choice for your family.

Supplies

Cutting Board

Paper Towels

Knife

Baking Pan

Aluminum Foil (optional)

Oven with Broiler

Food Processor or Blender

Ingredients

1 medium to large eggplant

1 tablespoon of sunflower seed butter

1/3 of a tablespoon of fresh basil leaves, chopped

1/4 of a teaspoon of sea salt (even though E is clear of her corn allergy I still use sea salt instead of iodized salt), plus more for preparing the eggplant

Olive Oil for the pan

1 lemon’s worth of fresh lemon juice (you may want to adjust this to taste but fresh lemon juice is crucial)

2 medium cloves of garlic, crushed

Directions

To prepare the eggplant you need to peel it and cut it into rounds about 1/2 an inch thick.  I prefer rounds to dicing just because it is easier to salt them at this stage and they will break up when you pulse them in the food processor or blender later on.  Salt both sides of the rounds and lay them on a paper towel, sprinkling salt over both sides of each round before you place them.  I like to place the paper towel on my cutting board.  Then layer another paper towel on top and you can keep layering salted rounds with paper towels as needed.  Now let them sit for at least 20 minutes.  You’ll find that the paper towel absorbs some of the liquid drawn out from the eggplant.  I believe it improves the flavor of the eggplant by drawing some of the bitterness out.

Near the end of letting the eggplant sit, you’ll want to start your oven.  Prepare a baking or jelly roll pan by either lining it with foil (non-stick foil can be great if you’re trying to go easy on oil) and then brushing some olive oil on it to lightly coat the surface or just brushing olive oil directly on the pan.  My pan is in pretty bad shape from years of cooking so I opt for foil.  Place the eggplant rounds or cubes onto your prepared pan.  Sometimes I simply bake the eggplant at 450 degrees F until they are tender, remembering to flip them at the 10 minute mark an assessing when I am content with how “done” they are before switching to the top oven broiler to give them that roasted flavor and other times I just use the broiler to start, keeping the pan 6 or 7 inches away from the heating element and turning as needed.  The all-broiler method requires some attentiveness so that may help you decide but you’ll be pureeing the end result so you just want to make sure the eggplant is cooked all the way through.  I apologize for the vague instructions but depending on how much oil you use on the pan and whether you have rounds or diced pieces your cooking time may vary.

While the eggplant cooks, you can juice your fresh lemon and set the juice aside.  You’ll add it in increments to the eggplant, sunflower seed butter, fresh basil, and salt in the food processor or blender.  You can put the still warm eggplant directly into your mixer of choice but if you are using a blender don’t put the lid on right away because you don’t want the steam to build.  A food processor is more forgiving if you leave the food pusher out so the steam can escape.  Give your ingredients a whirl, starting with maybe a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and then taste what you’ve made!  Warm Baba Ghanoush is lovely but letting the dip sit covered in your fridge overnight will enhance the flavor as well so it is your call. It rarely lasts overnight at my house.

According to my calculations, the recipe should be less than 200 calories for the whole dish so you can enjoy the dip fairly guilt-free with a serving of brown rice or chips.

Tomato Free Black Bean and Green Pepper Salsa Recipe

This is a take on a tomato free salsa my mother in law created for me because I can’t eat tomatoes while I am still nursing R due to his tomato allergy.  I have been having people find my fresh tomato salsa recipe while searching for a “tomato free” version probably because I wrote in that post that I had recently discovered R’s allergy.

Feel free to adjust to your personal taste but remember that this is one of those recipes that really gets better once the flavors have a chance to meld for a few hours.  Do I wait that long to dig in?  No, but that is what doubling recipes is for, isn’t it?

Supplies

Cutting board, knife

Bowl/sealable container (I love lock & locks (amazon affiliate link))

Ingredients

1 cup of diced green pepper (I think red pepper and yellow pepper would look really pretty here, and taste good, but my husband has had reactions to fresh red pepper)

1/2 cup of diced onion

1 cup of rinsed canned black beans (I used the Eden Organic variety that I buy via Amazon (amazon affiliate link) but the cans do arrive dented most of the time so take that into consideration)

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 a fresh large lemon, limes would be tasty here as well)

1-2 teaspoons of fresh minced cilantro

1 teaspoon of agave nectar

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Salt (start with 1/2 a teaspoon) and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions

Rinse your black beans, you won’t use the full can but I am sure there are other uses you can find for some black beans!  Prepare your other ingredients and combine in a bowl, mix and adjust the flavors to taste.  It is a very mild recipe because I serve it to the kids but some chopped up jalepeños would perk this up, or maybe some chipotle peppers?   As I wrote above, you can experiment with other kinds of bell pepper and the like but this is a tasty base.  It is crunchy with a hint of both sweet and sour.  I especially like to eat this with corn free Beanfields Rice and Bean Chips, another reason not to make the salsa too salty is if you plan on eating it with some sort of chip.  The juice at the end of the bowl when the salsa has been consumed is great with those end-of-the-bag chip crumbles mixed in, by the way.  Just eat it with a spoon, which I may or may not be doing as I type this.

In the picture above I served the salsa with Mediterranean Brown Rice Couscous from Lundberg Farms as well as some fried mushrooms, garbanzo beans, onions, garlic, spinach, and spices for a nice spring lunch.  If you try this out, I’d love to hear your thoughts or adjustments!   Also, if you like the flavor and texture mix, try Gena Hamshaw’s Cucumber Guacamole – I have made it without the tomatoes in her recipe and the crunch from the cucumbers is particularly awesome.  Is it time for a picnic yet?

Sesame Free Falafel Photos

When my friend Elizabeth told me that her husband didn’t order falafel at restaurants anymore because he preferred how she made it at home, I knew I had to try it.  Well, that was a factor but the other thing is that she’s never steered me wrong with recipes.  It is simple but perfect.

You soak the dried garbanzo beans overnight, drain them, and then process them in a food processor or blender with green pepper, parsley, spices, and a little baking soda.

Form them into patties, refrigerate for at least an hour…

Fry them in a little olive oil on medium-high heat and that’s it…

Crunchy on the outside, bready on the inside, and delicious!  Elizabeth adapted her recipe from page 68 of The Bean Bible by Aliza Green (amazon affiliate link) which is sadly out of print but available at our local library.  Very much worth hunting down a copy, this is my new favorite version of falafel and it freezes well too.

I tripled the recipe for these photos, so I think I used 3 cups of dried beans, a whole bell pepper, and a whole bunch of fresh parsley.  I know I should be doing more with dried beans versus canned and easy recipes like this are a good form of encouragement!

Tomato Salsa Recipe

(Linked to CybelePascal.com’s Allergy Friendly Friday 8/19/11, click through for other recipes!)

So I can’t eat this anymore at the moment, this photographed batch was actually still in the fridge when I realized R had issues with me eating tomatoes so I never got to finish it.  What I did have was yummy, though!  This isn’t a saucy salsa, it is a little more like a pico de gallo style.  Just good lime and cilantro flavors all mixed together.  I used to eat salsa for breakfast, is that weird?

Anyway, this is adapted from The New Best Recipe (amazon affiliate link) from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine.  I actually discovered Cook’s Illustrated (amazon affiliate link) which is still a favorite book even with our dietary restrictions.  The original one is on page 25.  I love reading the story behind each recipe.  I didn’t have all their ingredients when I first made it so my version was then born (no tomato juice, no jalapeno, white onions instead of red, and a lot more of everything else).  E loves this, she will ask for salsa for breakfast, I wonder who she got that from?

Supplies

Cutting board, knife

Large bowl/sealable container (I love lock & locks (amazon affiliate link))

Ingredients

4 lbs. of ripe tomatoes (I used roma here but you can try other kinds)

1 1/2 white onion, minced

3 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced

1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (I have tried bottled lime juice and it was not good)

Salt and pepper to taste (the best part is “checking” for the right amounts)

Directions

Some people like to seed their tomatoes but I love tomato seeds and since I leave out the tomato juice here I just chop the tomatoes small and toss them with the other ingredients.  It is good to let the flavors meld awhile but you can still enjoy this right away.  I shake the container around so everything is evenly mixed.  The salt will bring tomato juices out of the tomatoes which is nice.  Enjoy with potato chips or, if you can have corn, corn chips.

Potato chips are a staple snack at our house due to the lack of many other options but I have always eaten salsa with potato chips, even as a kid.

Slow Cooked Refried Beans Recipe

The first time I made this recipe I told the friend that shared it with me (I followed most of her suggested variations though I used more salt) that I felt empowered.  That may seem silly but every time I make something from scratch I feel better and better about the food I make for my family.  Do I mess up?  Often!  I think you have to keep trying though.

One of our “fast” food options is rice and beans so making refried beans from scratch kind of goes against the “fast” aspect of things but this is easy to throw together and you can freeze it so I think it is still a fast recipe.  You’ll need a slow cooker, something I thought as a vegetarian family we’d never get real use out of!  More photos here.

Supplies

Knife, cutting board

Slow Cooker

Sieve

Food Processor/Blender/Potato Masher

Ingredients

3 cups of rinsed dry pinto beans (no need to soak!) (about 1 lb. 3 oz.)

1 onion, quartered

4 ounce can of hatch chiles

5 cloves of minced garlic

4 teaspoons of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper plus 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

9 to 10 cups of water (I do 10 because when you’re filling cups quickly under running water they don’t fill up entirely)

Fresh lime juice

Directions

Put the beans, onion, chiles, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin in the slow cooker then add the 9 cups of water.  Stir, close the lid and set your slow cooker on high for 6 hours.  My friend remarked that hers takes only 4 or 5 hours on high and the recipe calls for 8 on high but my cooker only has a 6 hour high setting and it worked well.  You’ll need to add more water as needed, you don’t want too much to evaporate so maybe adjust your heat settings as needed as well.

The beans are so very good, you drain them and reserve the liquid.  I run mine through the food processor and add liquid until the consistency is as you like it.  I also add lime juice for flavor.  Now that we’ve made this a few times I can estimate you’ll get 3 pounds of beans if you run them all into the food processor but we’ve been reserving whole cooked beans to eat because they are so good that way.

I love that this is tomato free, flavorful, and much cheaper than canned beans.

Check out the other recipes on the 7/22 Allergy Friendly Friday at CybelePascal.com!  This week the theme is farmstand recipes so I was hesitant to include refried beans but I got the go ahead (on twitter) to post it.