Although, for such a small cafe, we have a fairly extensive menu at Belinda, there are two items on our menu that are the back bone of the cafe’s business: soups and quiches. Every day we have at least two or three freshly made vegan soups. People always ask (for reasons of health and kashrut) if they contain cream or milk and are surprised when we tell them that none of our soups are made with dairy. Although I can’t give away any recipes, I will share a couple of soup-making secrets that contribute to their deliciousness.
1. Fresh ingredients: We get fresh produce delivered to the cafe every morning, and what looks best often determines what Mali (head chef) decides to turn into soup. No limp or frozen veggies, and absolutely no powders, bouillons, or artificial flavor enhancers.
2. A good base: All of our soups are made with nearly-caramelized onions. We gently and slowly saute a large batch of onions in a lot of oil each evening and use them in our soups the next day. They give the soups a wonderful depth of flavor.
3. All or partial puree: Nearly all the soups we serve (with the exception of the vegetable, minestrone and one or two others) are either partially or fully pureed. Pureeing part of the soup creates a rich body and the illusion of a cream-base.
4. Extras: Don’t be shy with the salt, pepper and other seasonings, and use coconut, (unsweetened) soy or almond milk if you really need an added cream-element.
Here are some excellent soup recipes from around the web (okay, they’re bloggers I know and love…), and a couple of my favorites from this blog as well. Stay warm & have a happy winter!
Miriam’s soup trio post, from her blog, Israeli Kitchen. Three easy, vegetarian/vegan soup recipes; jerusalem artichoke, tomato mint, and lentil soup, from one of our blogger evenings on the town.
Liz’s orange-lentil soup, an easy and delicious variation on a vegetarian classic. It was tough to pick just one off her awesome blog, so while you’re there, have a look around.
This sweet potato and cilantro soup from Molly, is wishful thinking for me, since we cannot get chipotles in adobo sauce here. Looks delicious.
Pumpkin soup with Thai curry, a recipe I adapted slightly from 101cookbooks.
This borscht recipe was an unexpected hit last year, and caused me to shed my childhood aversion to the Russian staple.