Last week, a few friends and I went to a retreat in California. Everything about it was wonderful, including the food. The meals included an abundance of vegetables and a great use of whole foods. And whenever I needed to ask, there was a gluten-free substitute – including GF carrot cake and chocolate mousse!
I did, however, eat a lot more meat than I am used to, so when I got home, I couldn’t wait to make a vegan meal for supper.
Fortunately, a Whole Foods email had arrived suggesting “Warming Meals for Cooler Weather,” with a few recipes I wanted to try. I couldn’t decide between two of them – that’s where it began, and this is where it ended!
Vegan Creamy Cauli/Split Pea Soup
4 cups water
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup yellow split peas
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 rib celery, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 cups chopped cauliflower
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped peeled apple
2-3 cups almond milk* (see below)
cayenne to taste
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 t salt
sprinkle of cayenne
1. Bring water to a boil. Add salt and split peas and simmer, covered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until tender.
2. While split peas are cooking, saute onion, carrot, celery and garlic in oil for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. After split peas have cooked and are tender, add sauteed veggies, cauliflower, curry powder, apple and 2 cups almond milk. Simmer until veggies and apple are tender. Add extra 1 cup almond milk as desired.
4. Prepare garnish: toss pumpkin seeds, oil, and seasonings until seeds are well coated. Roast in oven at 350 degrees for about 3-5 minutes, watching carefully, until crisp.
5. Taste soup and adjust seasonings. This can be served as is, or you can blend it with a stick blender till smooth. Top with seasoned pumpkin seeds.
*To make your own almond milk, soak 1/2 cup raw almonds overnight in water. Strain and rinse. Add to high speed blender with 2 cups water and blend until almond particles are fully pulverized and milk looks creamy. Use as is for this recipe. Or you could add a pinch of salt, a few drops of vanilla and a bit of pure maple syrup to taste if you’d like to use this for drinking or to pour over cereal. (In this case, you might also want to strain it, but that’s optional. Just shake well each time you use it.)