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10-Second Recipes: Vegan Soups - Cream of the No-Cream Crop

(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)

By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate

Winter is often the chilly time of year when a hearty, rich bowl of cream of vegetable soup is much appreciated. What might not be as welcome is the saturated fat in that cream or the whole milk that is sometimes used to generate similar scrumptious soup results.

If you've never tried to prepare a vegan soup before, this might be the time of year to give it a shot. Cooks in that specialty have come up with delicious ways to richen your soups without adding to your possible health concerns.

Nava Atlas, for instance, author of many vegan and vegetarian books, including the current Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate and Life with More than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes, is expert at creating cream of vegetable soups without any cream at all.

Her cream of broccoli soup gets its texture and flavor from pureed northern or cannellini beans or tofu, peas, and unsweetened rice milk. 

Atlas' innovative cream of sweet potato, butternut squash or carrot soup (or a blend of all three) is pumped up by light coconut milk.

Fortunately, many of these formerly health food store-only products are now reasonably priced staples in mainstream supermarkets, like coconut milk, almond milk and tofu.

In addition to those good ideas as inspiration, following are some of my strategies for shortcuts. They are based on dreamy, creamy techniques like that, as well as other favorites of vegan chefs, such as using pureed raw nuts as a rich base.

Fun fare this like also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast. They take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for creating homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!

Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since there are no right or wrong amounts. These are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations, so whatever you - or your kidlet helpers - choose to use can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests.

Cashing in on Cashews: In a strong blender, blend together raw, unsalted cashews with enough store-bought or homemade vegetable broth to create desired creaminess. Add sliced steamed carrots, chopped steamed cauliflower, minced sauteed garlic and onion, curry powder and freshly ground black pepper, and heat, stirring often.

Sweet on Sweet Potatoes: Bake sweet potatoes, cool and mash well. In a blender, blend sweet potatoes and store-bought or homemade vegetable broth to create desired creaminess. Add pureed cooked carrots and fruit-only applesauce, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground allspice, and heat, stirring often.

Almond Milk Has Power to Amaze: Combine almond milk with a puree of mixed steamed vegetables until reaches desired creaminess. Add a pinch of chili powder, dried oregano, ground cumin, ground cloves and freshly ground black pepper, and heat, stirring often.

Tofu is Tough to Beat: Heat store-bought or homemade vegetable broth, steamed and pureed broccoli, lemon-pepper salt substitute and Italian seasoning blend, stirring often. Puree firm tofu in a blender and carefully drizzle into soup while stirring until soup reaches desired creaminess. Heat, stirring often.

QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: University studies have shown white tea (which is lower in caffeine than black and green teas) to be even higher in antioxidants and more of a possible disease preventer than green and black teas have been reported to be. However, white tea (which is made from immature tea leaves and buds that have undergone less oxidation before drying) is more rare, less in supply and, therefore, often more expensive. One strategy is to include less expensive, more widely available white tea blends in your tasty tea repertoire. Retail (from some supermarkets, to coffeehouse/teahouse chains, to online stores) options abound, including white tea blends that include additional antioxidants, like tiny pieces of berries, apples, ginger and spices.

Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on 


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