By Eileen Goltz

Based on a very unscientific survey of my friends and family, I’ve come to the conclusion that every single table that is being set for yontif has at least one vegan or vegetarian who has been invited. Ten or 15 years ago, requests for meat- or dairy-free recipes had more to do with kashrut than with a conscious choice to remove said meat and dairy from recipes. Nowadays, the two go hand in hand.

One of the hardest traditions to replace, in my opinion, is chicken soup. Yes, I know there are some mock recipes but really, why bother? I say, if it can’t be chicken soup, jump off the “now for something totally different” cliff and embrace these fun, different, and delicious vegetarian-friendly soups.

Hot-and-Sour Vegetable Soup

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced (shiitake are best)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can bamboo shoots
  • 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 shredded carrots
  • ½ cup green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chili oil
  • Matzah balls or one package tofu, diced (can be fried in sesame oil or used uncooked) (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer and add the mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, soy sauce, pepper, hot sauce, vinegar, and garlic. Allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Add the green onions and carrots to the pot and simmer for about 5 more minutes. Stir in the chili oil. Add additional soy sauce, hot sauce, or vinegar to taste.
  3. If desired, you can add matzah balls or top each bowl with several pieces of fried tofu or add the uncooked tofu pieces when you add the carrots.

Taste Of Tuscany Soup

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 yellow summer squash, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 3 cups chopped kale, ribs removed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 cups cooked bow-tie noodles (or other noodle of choice) or mini matzah balls

Directions:

  1. In a soup pot, heat the oil, and then add the onions, carrots, celery, zucchini, and squash. Sauté for four minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick.
  2. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, and rosemary. Mix to combine; then add the broth, beans, and tomatoes.
  3. Mix to combine and then bring the soup to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and add the kale. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Take 2 to 3 cups of the soup and place them in a blender and puree. You can use an immersion blender if you prefer. Make sure this is just a quick zap as you really want this soup to be chunky.
  5. Add the salt, pepper, sugar, and vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Return the pureed soup to the pot and add a little water to thin, if necessary.
  6. Stir in the noodles (or matzah balls) and heat until hot throughout.

Spinach Artichoke Soup

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 cups canned or frozen (thawed) artichoke hearts
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 cups spinach leaves
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cups water
  • 1 cup pareve sour cream
  • 1 container pareve cream cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sunflower seeds or croutons (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil and add the onion and garlic and sauté for 4–5 minutes or until they are soft but not mushy.
  2. Add the artichokes, basil, and oregano, and cook, stirring constantly for 3–4 minutes.
  3. Add the spinach, broth, and water and mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring so the spinach cooks. Once the spinach starts to wilt, cover and reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat immediately.
  4. Add the pareve sour cream and cream cheese. Using an immersion blender to process until mostly smooth (some chunks of artichoke are OK).
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return to a low heat and cook until the soup simmers (8–10 minutes). Serve with sunflower seeds or croutons as garnish.

© Eileen Goltz

Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes columns for the Chicago Jewish News and the OU Shabbat Shalom website. She also wrote the “Perfectly Pareve Cookbook” (Feldheim).

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