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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Vegan Dill Pickle Soup

Hey Sweetums!

It's getting chilly willy in Winnipeg so I figured it is time for yet another Vivacious Vegan soup recipe!  Today, I would like to share a super yummy soup that ATM and I had a version of at a little restaurant just outside of Edmonton.  It was an Italian restaurant, so we were a little weird-ed out when our server informed us that the soup of the day was Dill Pickle.  ATM, a serious pickle lover, ordered it and fell in love.  I became determined to make a vegan version as soon as we got home and it will definitely be on regular rotation during the colder months in our home!  I know it probably sounds a little strange, but it is basically potato soup with pickle brine, pickle chunks and fresh dill.  It tastes just like dill pickle flavored potato chips!

Vegan Dill Pickle Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 6 cups (about 6 medium sized) Yukon Gold  potatoes, scrubbed and diced (you can use whatever potatoes you have, goldies are my fave <3 )
- 6 cups veggie stock (or water with 3 tbsp tamari soy sauce)
- 1/2 cup pickle brine (from the pickle jar!)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 cup chopped dill pickles
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill (or 2 tbsp dried) plus a few extra sprigs for a garnish
- S&P

In your fave soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant (about two minutes).  

Add the potatoes and saute for ten minutes, stirring often.  Add the veggie stock or water and bring the whole shebang to a boil over high heat.  

Once the soup has reached it's boiling point, drop that heat to medium and simmer until you can easily smush a potato chunk on the side of the pot with a wooden spoon, about 15 minutes or so.

Remove the pot from the heat and puree everything to silky smoothness with an immersion blender.  Add the pickle brine, nutritional yeast, chopped pickles and dill and blitz with the immersion blender until everything is well combined, but there are still some chunks of pickle love left.  Return the pot to low heat and simmer for ten to twenty minutes to let the flavors become BFF's.  Taste, and season with S&P.  

Serve and snuggle!



Saturday, September 8, 2012

Red Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas, Cherry Tomatoes and Herbs

Hey Babes!

          It's time to admit it.  Summer is coming to an end.  I know this because the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice lattes are back (which are tragically not vegan - order a soy Cinnamon Dolce latte instead, you'll still feel the cinnamony love).  Before things get too chilly, make the most of the last summer tomatoes and try this awesome salad recipe out!  I whipped it up in a hurry to bring to my darling friend Kerri's BBQ and it was a HIT! 

If you love quinoa, you will REALLY love it's scarlet sister, Ms. Red Quinoa.  It still has the bran on it (kinda like the difference between white and brown rice) and is chewier in texture and even nuttier in flavor.  I love it and I know you will too!  

Red Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas, Cherry Tomatoes and Herbs
- 2 cups cooked red quinoa, cooled to room temp (white would be just dandy too)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
- 1 pint red cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups, if you're getting them from the garden and not the grocery store)
- 1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes
-  10 to 12 handfuls of organic baby greens
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped mint
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped basil
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced
for the vinaigrette:
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard 
- 1 tbsp agave syrup
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- S&P
Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar.  Screw on the lid.  SHAKE IT BABY!  Taste and season with S&P.  Wasn't that easy?

In a large bowl, layer in your salad greens, quinoa, chickpeas, tomatoes, herbs and scallions.  If you are bringing in to a BBQ, the salad will travel well this way.  When you are ready to serve, drizzle your dressing over the salad and gently toss until everything has a nice gloss.  Turn out onto a serving platter and enjoy with friends or take the bowl and a fork, find a secret hiding place and eat the whole thing yourself. . .



Monday, September 3, 2012

Vegan Abby and Brittany Theme Party!

Happy September!

ATM and I like to joke that we are joined at the hip, so when we found out that "Abby and Brittany" was premiering on TLC last Tuesday, we decided to throw a party!  The show is a series based on a TLC documentary about twin sisters' Abby and Brittany Hensel, who have conjoined bodies but each have a separate head.  As our excitement for the premiere grew, so did our wacky ideas for the party.  

While on a hot date at Tre Visi (noshing on Pasta Puttanesca - hold the anchovies - with gluten-free farfalle), ATM and I decided that themed vegan appetizers were absolutely necessary.  How the heck do you make themed vegan appetizers for a two-headed sister party?  Had we lost our minds?  Had we gone too far?  

Before we start coming off like total jerks, I should note that we have nothing but admiration and respect for Abby and Brittany!  They live a life that is unimaginable to most people and they thrive.  They seriously kick ass at life!  They are a very inspiring pair and ATM and I as well as our cocktail party guests remain huge fans :)

Back to the themed appies:  It was a lot harder to come up with themed snacks than I thought.  I ended up making a crudites platter with some Abby and Brittany's made out of veggies, served with my vegan ranch dip as well as 'Abby and Brittany in a Blanket' (two vegan hot dog slices wrapped in crescent roll dough and baked) served with maple mustard dip.  ATM's auntie and I made some very cute Abby and Brittany's out of fruit as well.  

We had a blast at the party and loved, loved, LOVED the show!!!


Vivacious Vegan