Victoria's Vegetarian Victuals

The entire world seems to be covered with ice and snow. We no longer wonder if it snowed last night; we just wonder how much it snowed. Well, it did again last night, and our water pump isn't working, and who knows why. My mother, (now in her fifth week with bronchitis) managed to get it going once, but then it went out again.

We tried to get up the driveway day before yesterday, and the RamCharger, 4-wheel-drive and all, spun and we slid back down, sideways. Scary. About now we start to miss summer.

I have an appointment with the dentist this afternoon, and nobody feels very good. I'm really looking forward to making a bunch of soups as soon as we have water again.

Heart and tummy warming delicious vegetarian soups and stews are more than welcome right now. Here is a wonderful collection of vegetarian recipes, including African Vegetarian Stew, Vegetarian Chowder, Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup and more.

I have also included some tips for cooking dry beans.

African Vegetarian Stew

  • 3 c. water
  • 4 1/2 T. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 c. raisins
  • 1/2 c. couscous or bulgur wheat
  • 15 oz. can garbanzo beans & liquid
  • 5 fresh tomatoes (or 1- 16 oz. can diced tomatoes)
  • 2 zucchini, sliced thick
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled & chunked
  • 4 small kohlrabi (or parsnips), peeled & chunked
  • 1 large onion, chopped

Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve the couscous separately, if desired.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: Less than an hour

Vegetarian Barley and Bean Soup

Vegetarian Barley and Bean Soup Recipe
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 c. medium barley
  • 6 c. water
  • 1 - 28 oz. can tomatoes, chopped - not drained
  • 1 - 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained
  • 9 oz. frozen green beans or peas
  • 1 c. sliced carrots
  • 1 c. sliced mushrooms

In a 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, cook onion and garlic in oil until onion is tender. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer 45 to 50 minutes or until barley is tender, stirring occasionally. Add additional water if soup becomes too thick upon standing.

To use quick barley, substitute 2/3 cup quick barley for medium barley and decrease water to 5 cups. Prepare recipe as directed above except simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until barley is tender, stirring occasionally.

  • Yields: 10 cups
  • Preparation Time: less than an hour

Vegetarian Barley-Vegetable Soup

  • 2 onions, peeled & diced
  • 2 carrots, scraped & diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 T. butter or margarine
  • 1 - 28 oz. can tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 c. water
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 c. pearl barley
  • 2 c. frozen green beans or peas
  • 1 T. chopped fresh dill

Sauté the onions, carrots, and celery in heated butter or margarine in a large kettle for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, water, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Stir in barley and lower heat. Cook slowly, covered, 1 1/2 hours, until barley is tender. Stir in beans or peas during last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat and stir in dill.

  • Yields: 10-12 servings
  • Preparation Time: Less than 2 hours

Vegetarian Chowder

  • 1 lb. white beans (limas, small whites, navies or great northern)
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped celery
  • 1/4 c. butter or margarine
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 3 c. milk
  • 1 - 16 oz. can whole kernel corn
  • 1 - 16 oz. can tomatoes
  • 1/4 lb. Monterey Jack or Sharp Cheddar cheese

Sort, rinse and soak beans. Drain. In large kettle, cook beans in 6 to 8 cups of hot water with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cook until tender (about 1 hour for limas; about 2 to 2 1/2 hours for small whites or great northern). Don't drain.

Meanwhile, cook onion and celery briefly in butter in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Stir in milk and bring mixture to a boil. Add to beans and their liquid, along with remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling. For extra zip, add a few dashes of bottled hot sauce.

  • Yields: 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: About 45 minutes

A bag of bean tricks to help you buy, soak, cook & store dry beans:

Bean Tips

    Canned beans do not require additional cooking since they have been thoroughly cooked in the canning process, but there are several ways of preparing dry beans for cooking. All start with a thorough inspection for damaged beans and foreign material, then washing in cold water. The next step, which is highly recommended, is soaking the beans. This not only helps make the beans cook faster, it also improves flavor, texture, appearance and digestibility. For maximum improvement of these factors, it is recommended that the soak water be discarded and the beans rinsed and cooked in fresh water.

    Soaking: Hot-soak (preferred) and Quick-soak method. For every pound of dry beans, any variety, add 10 cups of hot water. Remember beans will re-hydrated to at least twice their dry size, so be sure to start with a large enough pot. (Note: up to 2 teaspoons of salt per pound of beans may be added to help the beans absorb water more evenly.) Heat to boiling, let boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for at least 1 hour (quick-soak method), but preferably four hours or more. The longer soaking time is recommended to allow a greater amount of the gas-causing properties to dissolve in the water, thus helping the beans to be more easily digested and lessening the aftereffects. Whether you soak the beans for an hour or several hours, remember to discard the soak water.

    Cooking suggestions for each pound of dry beans: Standard method: Drain and rinse soaked beans; put into a good- sized kettle. Add 6 cup of hot water, 1 to 2 Tablespoons shortening and 2 teaspoons salt. Boil gently with lid tilted until desired tenderness is reached.

    For Especially Savory Method: Use standard method, but use

    • 2 teaspoons onion salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt instead of plain salt
    • 3 to 4 vegetable bouillon cubes
    • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

    Simmer beans slowly. Cooking too fast can break skins. Acid slows down cooking. Add tomatoes, vinegar, etc. last. Add 1/8 to 1/4-teaspoon baking soda (no more) per pound of beans when cooking in hard water to shorten cooking time. At high altitudes, beans take longer to cook. A pressure cooker helps, but follow manufacturer's directions.

Vegetarian Garbanzo Stew

  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 - 16 oz. can tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • Hot pepper sauce
  • 1 - 16 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 c. winter squash, peeled & diced
  • 1 1/4 c. spicy tomato juice
  • 2 c. fresh spinach, chopped

Place the water, onion and garlic in a large pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened slightly, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes (including tomato liquid) and seasonings. Cook for 5 more minutes. Add garbanzo beans, squash and tomato juice. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, until squash is tender. Stir in spinach and cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup

  • 1/4 c. dried tree fungus
  • 1/4 c. dried tiger lilies
  • 1/4 c. dried Chinese mushrooms
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 3 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 cake bean curd
  • 3 T. cornstarch
  • 1/2 c. cold vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar, to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. cold water

In a bowl, combine the fungus, lilies, and mushrooms. Next, pour boiling water over them and let them soak for 20 minutes. Drain and discard the water. Squeeze all ingredients dry. Sliver the mushrooms.

In a kettle over medium heat, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer. Add the fungus, lilies, mushrooms, and bean curd. Simmer, uncovered for ten minutes. Mix the cornstarch with the cold vegetable broth and stir into soup until it thickens and clears. Add the soy sauce, pepper, and vinegar.

To serve: In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water and pour into the simmering broth in a slow steady stream. Turn off the heat at once. Stir and ladle into bowls.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Vegetarian Red Bean Stew

  • 2 c. dried red beans, washed & sorted
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 white onions, diced
  • 2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 - 7 oz. can diced green chili peppers
  • 2 parsnips, peeled & chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, trimmed & sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • Red or green salsa

Wash, sort and generally pick over the dried beans, discarding debris. Place the beans in a pot with 2 quarts of water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until the small beans are creamy, not powdery, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the onions with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the black pepper until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and reduce the heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the aroma is released.

Pour the red beans and cooking liquid into the stockpot, along with the chili peppers, parsnips and carrots. Turn the heat up to medium and cook at a low boil for 10 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and 1 teaspoon of salt. Simmer until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Ladle into large bowls and serve hot with a dollop of salsa.

  • Yields: 4 to 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: less than 2 hours