Tag Archives: comfort food

Guest Blogger: Willow & Thyme – Tom Yum Pak

12 Nov

With the cold weather coming comfort soup is always on my list. Nicole, author of Willow & Thyme, is no stranger to recipe development. Here she is in her own words, “I am a recently married, vegan, cat mommy studying Dietetics at Hillsborough Community College and working toward my ACE Personal Training Certification. I love to cook and share delicious food because what’s life if you aren’t eating good food?” We couldn’t agree more.

Follow Nicole on her many social media channels:

Blog URL: Willow & Thyme

Social Media:
Willow & Thyme on Facebook
Willow & Thyme on Finding Vegan
Nicole on Twitter
Nicole on Instagram

The new hubby and I recently returned from our honeymoon in Thailand. I cannot wait to show you the photos of the food and the adventures we had– including an epic cooking class at Paresa Resort in Phuket! We had the private class at Recipe. I’ll tell you more about it when I get to sharing all of the photos, but for now I had to share this recipe. Jason and I loved it so much that in the three days since we’ve been home I’ve made it twice and we’ve had it for three meals.

I really hope you try it and I’ll share the other recipes (and will be hosting a giveaway!) starting next week.

Recipe notes: I included a section of the ingredients called “bouquet garni”. If you don’t know what that is have a quick read here. The idea is to keep all your non edible herbs bound together so you can remove them without leaving the remnants. This recipe includes a play on that idea as we’re using different herbs and spices than are traditional, but the result is the same. No rock hard lemongrass and overpowering lime leaves during your meal. If you don’t have a reusable spice bag then use a coffee filter tied off- trust me, it works!


Tom Yum Pak

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2 as an entree, 4 as an appetizer


For bouquet garni:
12 kaffir lime leaves, stem removed
55g fresh galangal+, sliced
2 stalk lemongrass, bottoms sliced until there is no purple left

For soup:
8 cups low sodium vegetable stock
31g enoki mushrooms
142g oyster mushrooms, sliced
118g shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
18 cherry tomatoes, halved
153g shallots, halved
7 Thai chilies, sliced at an angle*
2 limes, juice only
3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
63g carrots, sliced
158g broccoli florets

For garnish:
1 tsp chili oil
fresh cilantro leaves


1. Bring stock to a boil and add all mushrooms, shallots, tomatoes and bouquet garni. Continue boiling for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant.
2. Reduce heat to medium and add chilies, lime juice, soy sauce, carrots and broccoli. Continue to cook until vegetables reach desired tenderness.
3. Serve with chili oil and cilantro to garnish.


+ Substitute ginger only if you have to, galangal is a more traditional and authentic flavor
* Use less chilies to reduce the heat of this soup, or seed all of the chilies first.


Guest Blogger: The Vegan Kat – Vegan Matzo Ball Soup AKA Seitan and Dumpling Soup

1 Apr

As we’re all celebrating family time Kat from the Vegan Kat has a great recipe for Matzo ball soup! Keep up to date with Kat with her blog and Facebook page. Welcomeback Kat!

Growing up, I loved matzo ball soup. It’s surprisingly hard to make matzo balls vegan though. If anyone has a good recipe, let me know. My friend Sarah sent me a recipe for a dumpling soup that was vegan, and it’s really, really yummy! Though it’s a little different than matzo ball soup, it definitely satisfies the craving. Sarah makes hers more like a stew, but I modified her recipe a bit to be as close to the matzo ball soup that I remember. This is definitely comfort food, but still a healthy meal. Perfect for a sick day or a cold rainy day…well really for any day! As a side note, before we get to the recipe, I wanted to share a link. I don’t usually post anything political on this blog, but I wanted to share a video I created at my last job about Edie Windsor called Edie Takes on DOMA. Her case is being heard by the Supreme Court today. If you don’t already know the details, take a few minutes to watch this video. It gives a quick background on her situation. If you’re up for a longer watch, check out another segment I made about the Defense of Marriage Act, called Married But Not Equal. It goes through a few of the many ways that DOMA negatively affects LGBT couples. Okay, that’s it for the politics. I just wanted to share some background info in case anyone was interested. Now on to the recipe!

Soup Ingredients 1 box of Manischewitz Matzo Ball & Soup Mix or 6 cups of vegetable broth 1 bag of mini golden potatoes (about 2 cups) or 2-3 potatoes cubed 1 onion 2 cloves of garlic 2 shallots olive oil for sauteing 4-5 carrots 2 stalks of celery 1 container of seitan Black Pepper Dried Basil Dried Thyme Dumpling Ingredients 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons vegan butter 3/4 cup soy milk 1 tablespoon dried or fresh dill (use a little more if using fresh dill) Directions

  • If you’re using Manischewitz Matzo & Soup Mix, you only need the soup packet, not the matzo ball packet. Follow the directions on the back of the box for just the soup mix. It will tell you how much water you need for the mix you bought. If you’re using broth, bring the broth up to a simmer in a soup pot. I like to use the Manischewitz soup mix because it creates a broth that is similar to chicken broth, but it’s vegan.
  • If you’re using whole potatoes, peel and chop them. If you’re using mini potatoes, they’re already bite size, so there’s no prep work. Add the potatoes to the simmering broth.
  • Chop the onions and shallots, and press or mince the garlic. Saute them in a little olive oil until the onions are translucent. Peel and chop the carrots. Chop the celery. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery to the simmering broth.
  • While the soup simmers, make the dough for your dumplings. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the vegan butter using a pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the soy milk and dill, and stir until the dough is combined.
  • Add the dough in rounded tablespoonfuls to the simmering broth. Sprinkle in dried thyme, basil, and black pepper to taste. Allow the dumplings to simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then cover the pot and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  • While the dumplings are simmering, saute the seitan in a little bit of olive oil. Add the seitan to the soup at the end, right before serving.

Guest Blogger: Green Reset – Curried Green Pea Soup Recipe

20 Feb

Our newest contributor is Joanna, author of Green Reset, here she is in her own words, “My name is Joanna and I’m a mom of a 7-year-old boy who has been searching for a long time for easy ways to improve my family nutrition without having to be stuck in the kitchen for hours, without having to nag anybody to eat the healthy foods that I prepare, and without having to buy all these expensive supplements that promise huge health benefits, but may be in fact detrimental to our health.” Follow Green Reset: BlogFacebook, and Twitter. Welcome Joanna!

Curried Green Pea Soup Recipe

“I’ve been building websites and blogging about green smoothies for over four years now, and I’ve experienced amazing health benefits thanks to all the nutrients found in leafy greens, fruits and vegetables. I’ve been eating lots of whole plant foods, but I’ve only became vegan about a year ago, so I’m now passionate about veganizing all my recipes, including smoothies, soups, main dishes and desserts. I’m also writing a “Vegan Activist Guide to Starting a Website, Getting Traffic & Making Money to Support Your Passion” available for download at my website. My mission is to help all vegan bloggers get to the top of search engine results, so that people would be finding vegan recipes, instead of all the ones that contain animal ingredients. I appreciate any comments and questions that you can send me, if you read it. Also, if you’d like to learn how to and see how I created the super-tall image for the recipe, read this tutorial on how to make a photo collage.”

Winter is the perfect time of year for hearty soups to warm the body and spirit. Soups are easy to make from scratch, and even inexperienced cooks can learn to make them. Unlike baking – it’s easy to fix a soup by seasoning it or adding some fresh herbs.

Served with bread (homemade or from the store), croutons, or perhaps a salad, this creamy, satisfying soup makes a great lunch or light supper. It is also low in fat (if you skip the cashew cream), and completely vegan (no ham, no dairy).

Green Pea Soup Recipe


1 onion, chopped
1 leek, washed thoroughly and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons curry powder
3 cups water or vegetable broth
1 (16-ounce) package frozen green peas (or use fresh, if they’re in season)
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or dill

To make cashew cream:
Cashew cream is a great replacement for dairy in soups. It’s easy to make, all you need is some raw cashews and a blender. Since I discovered this recipe in one of the vegan cookbooks, I’ve been using it at least once per week, for many of my soups and smoothies.

2 ounces of raw cashews
1 cup water
Blend on high until smooth and creamy.


Preheat a large, non-stick pot over medium heat, with a few tablespoons of water or vegetable broth. Add onion, leek and sauté until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in curry powder until vegetables are coated in bright yellow, and keep cooking for another 3-5 minutes. Make sure the water does not evaporate (add more , if needed) and keep stirring the veggies, to prevent burning or cover the pot. (This is a no-fat sautéing method. )

Add peas, potatoes and water (or vegetable broth) and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook on low until the all vegetables are soft, about 30-30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper simmer a few minutes more. Remove bay leaf and stir in cilantro or dill. In a blender, blend cashews with water on high until smooth and creamy. Stir into the soup or use as garnish. You may blend the soup or leave it chunky. Ladle into bowls. Decorate with a splash of cashew cream and cilantro.



Guest Blogger: Deerly Beloved Baker – Savoury French Toast With Tomato and Red Onion sauce

19 Feb

VBU! is all about vegan bloggers coming together, “one blog to unite them all”, and nothing saying a vegan company cannot contribute; after all, we’re in this together.

This post comes from Deerly Beloved Bakery. Deerly Beloved Bakery is a vegan bakery run by Kayleigh Read specialising in vegan cakes, chocolates, truffles, pastries, biscuits, cupcakes, muffins, breads, salads, starters, mains and desserts. Kayleigh absolutely adores baking and experimenting to make delicious cruelty free, vegan treats! Deerly Beloved’s cakes contain no hydrogenated fats, char bone processed sugars, or GMOs. They only use real bourbon vanilla and try to source all their packaging from recycled, biodegradable and FSC materials.

Deerly Beloved Bakery’s cakes and bakes are currently available at Waterstones Cafe W, St Benedicts Food Store and Biddy’s Tea Room. In early 2011 Kayleigh started a vegan recipe and life style blog and recently wrote her first recipe Zine ‘Adventures From A Vegan Kitchen’ and started a vegan get together group in her home town of Norwich. She has also had her recipes published in Chickpea Magazine, Vegetarian Living Magazine and The Vegan Woman Website.

Check out Deerly Beloved Bakery on: Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot,


Tonight I made the best ever savoury French Toast with Tomato and Red Onion Sauce, and it was super yummy. You know when you eat a meal and want to eat it again because it was so yummy? Well this French Toast was one of those meals! It’s crispy on the outside and fluffy and quiche like in the middle. I can see this becoming a new favourite in our house! 

Now in the past I have tried to make french toast before and along with a rubbish pan that wasn’t non-stick enough (I got a new Ecolution non-stick pan for Christmas and it is a dream!) and I made the batter to runny. This recipe for the batter may seem thick but trust me it is delicious and pretty simple to make. The longest bit is leaving the bread in the pan long enough to get that lovely golden crunchy outside! I would recommend popping an oven proof dish in the oven too, (before you start frying) and whacking up the heat to keep each slice warm and crisp and then serving them all up at once!

Tomato and Onion Sauce:


1 Red Onion sliced into strips

1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes

Pinch of Salt

1/2 Tsp Dried Oregano

1/2 Tsp of Sugar

1 Tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar

Glug of Olive Oil

1/2 Cup of Fresh Cherry Tomatoes for later

In a pan fry the onions until golden then add the tin of tomatoes, salt, oregano, sugar and balsamic and allow to reduce by half. Check the seasoning and then pop to one side. You should have a very thick and rich tomato sauce which would also be amazing with pasta!

Now make your French Toast!

Savoury French Toast:


6 Slices of White day old Bread

1 Carton of Silken Tofu

4 Tbsp of Nutritional Yeast

Good Pinch of Salt and Black Pepper

1/2 Tsp of Dried Mixed Herbs

2 Tbsp of Olive Oil

2 Tbsp of Soya Milk

Olive Oil to fry

In a bowl add all the ingredients (except the bread) and whisk to make a thick paste which has some texture but is pretty smooth. Take each slice of bread and coat with the batter. Take your non-stick pan and when really hot add a 1/2 tsp of olive oil. Gently place a slice of the batter dipped bread into the pan and stand back a bit as the oil can spit!!!!! Don’t be tempted to turn it over for at least a minute, gently lift the bread and check that it is a rich golden colour, if it isn’t leave it to cook for another minute or so. Then flip and repeat with the other side. When browned on both sides, transfer it to our heated oven dish, add another 1/2 tsp of olive oil and start on the next slice of bread until you have cooked them all.

Just added to the pan.
Nicely browned!

Once you have cooked all the slices, take the remaining cherry tomatoes cut them in half and quickly brown them in the pan, these will give a lovely texture with the tomato sauce! Now plate up! Cut the french toast in triangles, spoon over the sauce and add the browned cherry tomatoes on top! And eat! X

Guest Blogger: In Vegetables We Trust – Portabello Stew

29 Nov

Please welcome back Alex of In Vegetables We Trust. This young man has a lovely blog and a very creative mind, I would highly suggest you keep an eye on his blog as I predict we are witnessing a rising star in the making. You can read his first submission HERE: Slow cooker chili, roasted butternut squash and fennel flatbreads. Follow In Vegetables We Trust‘s blog and Facebook account. Welcome back Alex!

Portabello stew:

1 packet of dried Portobello mushrooms
4 carrots, sliced
2 big waxy potatoes, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups of mushroom stock (from the rehydrated portobellos)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup or red lentils, rinsed
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons mushroom ketchup (optional)
1 tablespoon barley miso
1 teaspoon yeast extract
a dash of tamari/soy

re hydrate your mushrooms according to packet instructions using plenty of boiling water, whilst they’re rehydrating you can chop all your vegetables. once the mushrooms are rehydrated, pick them out of the liquid with a slotted spoon and put them on a plate ready to be added into the stew later and strain off two cups of the liquid to remove any small bits, use this as your stock.fry of the onion till translucent, then add the garlic and fry a little more. Add the carrots and potatoes next, followed by the lentils stock and tomato sauce. Bring to the boil and then pop the lid on and let simmer for about 20 minutes till the lentil are all cooked and the vegetables are nice and soft. Add the thyme and mix the rest of the ingredients in a measuring cup with a little water and add to the pot, cook till thickened up a bit. Serve in a deep bowl with fresh thyme.

And stuffed flat breads:

Flatbread dough recipe:

1 1/2 cups of strong white bread flour plus extra for dusting your surface when rolling, extra points for unbleached organic
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 teaspoon of dried yeast
3/4 cup of tepid water
1 tablespoon of olive oil, plus extra for greasing your baking tray and brushing over you flat bread parcels

Filling ingredients:

1 tin of mock duck, liquid drained
1 teaspoon of freshly crushed cloves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
olive oil for frying

Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together with a fork. in a cup dissolve your yeast in the tepid water and then pour your oil in the water. Add the liquids into the flour/salt mix gradually whilst mixing with your hands, squeeze out any lumps as they form, if the dough’s a bit wet add a touch more flour- too dry? No problem a tad more tepid water. Turn your dough out onto a floured surface and knead till it is slightly tacky, but still nice and soft. Then leave on the side in a bowl covered by a tea towel for about 45 mins. Now prepare your filling, nice and simple, rub the mock duck in the cloves and cumin, a little salt and cracked black pepper and fry up till nice and browned. When your dough is ready pop the oven onto 230c/450f and split the dough into four little balls and roll into circles on a floured surface till 3-5mm thick, place 1/4 of the filling slightly off centre and fold the dough over sealing the edges with water, place on an oiled baking tray and brush with oil. Bake for about 10-15 mins till crisp. And enjoy! Serve with pistachio sauce and lemon and red onion kale sauté to make a meal, or pop them in your lunch box cold.