Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese

Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese
Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese

Im sure we all know this classic soup-n-sandwich duo, but if not, id be happy to introduce you! This plant-based grilled cheese uses two slices of bread spread with butter (on one side), Chao cheese, and a drizzle of truffle oil. During these colder months, this dynamic duo will warm you up in all the right places. Just after one measly dunk-n-bite, you will never want any other grilled cheese than then you see before your eyes. Ive been wanting to get this recipe created and I am so happy I get to share one of my top 10 favorite comfort foods!

Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese

Yields 3-4 servings

Ingredients

Soup:

8 vine ripe tomato

4 cup vegetable broth

1 medium onion, diced

1-1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste

7-9 basil leaves

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

2 garlic clove

1 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/2 tsp. ground white pepper

1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1/8 cup coconut cream

Grilled Cheese:

4 slices white bread 

3 Tbsp. vegan butter

6-8 slices Tomato Cayenne Chao Slices

1/4 tsp. black truffle oil, optional

Directions

  1. In a sauce pan, combine all soup ingredients except for the coconut cream. Bring to a smaller and cover with a lid for 10 minutes.
  2. Using a blender or hand immersion stick, blend soup until smooth in texture. Add the coconut cream and mix to combine. Turn to low and set aside to make the sandwiches.
  3. Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add butter. Place bread down and add cheese, topping with the bread. Brown each side for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Serve with side of tomato soup and basil leaf for garnish

Chef’s tip: You can swap out the coconut cream for cashew milk if you would like.

Potato-Parsnip Leek Soup

Potato-Parsnip Leek Soup


Potato-Parsnip Leek Soup

Potato leek soup, or as the French call it potage parmentier, is a classic dish that can be found in many restaurants. In my plant-based version, I added parsnips, which pair well with the subtleness of the leeks, potatoes, and shallots. Not only does this meal taste delicious, but it is ready in under 30 minutes- double score!! Being able to have meals that are healthy and quick at your disposal help keep you on track. Be sure to give this one a try, my tip to make this real special is to drizzle truffle oil on top.

Potato-Parsnip Leek Soup

Yields 6 servings

Ingredients

3 Tbsp. vegan butter

5 cups leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped

2 shallots, diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1/2 cup parsnips, chopped

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped

7 cups vegetable broth

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup cashew milk

Chives, finely chopped, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a pot on medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks, garlic, and shallots- cooking until wilted, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes, parsnips, vegetable stock, thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and bring to a boil.
  3. Cover soup and reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes (until the potatoes have softened). Remove the thyme and bay leaves once done and blend using a hand-held immersion blender until smooth.

Chef’s tip: Enjoy this soup with toasted baguettes or croutons.

White Corn Tortilla Soup

White Corn Tortilla Soup
White Corn Tortilla Soup

This Tortilla Soup is like no other, partially because it is filled with all the things I enjoy most about Mexican cooking, and because it’s plant-based. Normally, it is made with shredded chicken and a lot of cheese, so I am super excited to share this healthier vegan version with you! This meal is packed with a variety of fresh and organic vegetables and is topped with crunchy tortilla strips. This soup will warm you up all winter long!

White Corn Tortilla Soup

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. avocado oil

8 white corn tortillas, cut into quarters

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbsp. onion, minced

1 tsp. jalapeno pepper, chopped

3 cups white corn

3 cups vine ripe tomatoes

1/3 cup tomato paste

2-1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/4 tsp. ground white pepper

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1-1/2 cups filtered water

4 cups organic vegetable broth

1 Tbsp. cilantro, minced

1 cup vegan cheese, optional

Tortilla strips, optional garnish

White Corn Tortilla Soup

Directions

  1. In a pot on medium-low heat with your oil, add the corn tortillas and crisp up a bit, roughly 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside briefly.
  2. Then you will add the garlic, onion, and jalapeño pepper until they are translucent but not browned. Put the corn tortillas back into the pot.
  3. Next add your tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper, chili powder, water, vegetable broth, cilantro, tomatoes, and half of the corn. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cooking for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Using a blender or hand emersion stick, blend until soup is smooth in texture. Add the remaining corn and bring back to the stove on a low heat to simmer. Be careful not to let the bottom of the soup burn. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
  5. Serve soup topped with tortilla chips and optional vegan cheese.

Chef’s tip: If you want, you can add 1/4 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes to spice the soup up for a better kick.

Pasta Fazool (Pasta e fagioli)

Pasta Fazool

Pasta Fazool

With the weather starting to get colder, I thought now would be a great time to break out one of my favorite family recipes: Pasta Fazool (pasta e frasule)! This dish brings back so many memories of family dinners with my Nana cooking this soup for us all. This old school “peasant” dish has really become a staple in my life as a go-to comforting meal, especially when I want a taste of home. Get ready to break out some crusty bread to scoop up all this soupy goodness! I hope that you all enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do.

Pasta Fazool

Soup:

2 cans northern beans (juice in)

2 Tbsp. tomato sauce, canned or homemade

2 cup vegetable broth

2-3 cloves garlic, (sliced)

1/4 cup avocado oil

1 cup onion, chopped

1-2 tsp. oregano, to taste

1/2 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

2 cans of water for EACH can of beans

1-1/2 to 2 cup Ditalini Macaroni, cooked

Directions

  1. In a medium soup pot on medium heat, add olive oil and diced onions. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  2. Next, add all above ingredients (except for Ditalini macaroni). Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium-low stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  3. Slowly add the cooked Ditalini macaroni to the soup. Note: Start by adding 1-1/2 cups and see how the thickens turns out. If you desire a thicker soup, add remaining 1/2 cup macaroni.
  4. After 10-15 minutes of simmering, remove from heat and serve with choice of bread (or my personal favorite: pizza!)

Chef’s tip: the more macaroni you add to the soup the thicker the soup will get.

White Bean Swamp Chili

White Bean Swamp Chili

White Bean Swamp Chili

Warm and comforting food has always been a favorite when the seasons begin to change and the cold weather sets in. One of my favorite meals to eat during this time, especially when I was back home in Ohio, is a big bowl of chili! This recipe is filled with plant-based ingredients including beans. White beans, to be more exact, are loaded with cancer-fighting dietary fibers, have a low glycemic index, are a great source of protein as well as antioxidants! All around, this meal will fuel you up in more ways than just one so feel free to give it a try this fall/winter season!

White Bean Swamp Chili

Yields 5-6 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large white onion, chopped

6-8 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup tomato paste

1 cup filtered water

1-1/2 cup cannellini beans, whole

1-3/4 cup cannellini beans, pureed

1-1/2 cup navy beans

2-1/2 cups tomatos, diced

2 cups whole corn

1/2 cup chives, to garnish

Spices:

1 Tbsp. curry powder

2 tsp. cayenne powder

2 tsp. ground coriander

4 Tbsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. all spice

2-3 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/4 tsp. Spicely Organics Ground Black Pepper

1 Tbsp. organic sugar

White Bean Swamp Chili

Directions

  1. In a large pot on medium heat, add the oil, garlic and onions. Sauté until tender.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, paste, beans, pureed beans, diced tomatoes, corn, water, and all spices. Bring to a slight boil and reduce heat to low.
  3. Cook for 1-2 hours (I cooked mine for 3 hours).
  4. Serve topped with sour cream and chives or cheddar cheese of choice.

Chef’s tips: I cooked my chili for 3 hours

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

This is the perfect thick, creamy and rich soup that is packing a huge flavor punch. It is so simple that I created it when I was looking at a can of coconut cream and a fresh butternut squash, thinking to myself what can I do. Being able to create something from nothing is a super important quality to have. Its like the saying, “when life brings you lemons- make lemonade!” Only this time, when life gives you a handful of ingredients, create something delicious! With this simple and tasty way to use squash, it will be an a huge hit for your family or friends.

Butternut Squash Soup

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients 

1 butternut squash 

3 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 Tbsp. avocado oil

1/4 cup onion

1/4 cup shallots

1 garlic clove

1 Tbsp. Earth’s Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks

1 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt 

1 tsp. Vitacost organic brown sugar

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Pinch of Spicely Organic Ground Black Pepper

1-2 Tbsp. Thai Coconut Cream, optional topping

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, topping

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 
  2. On a baking sheet, place the two butternut squash halves you cut length-wise, flesh side up, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and turn over so the skin is now facing up. Roast for 40-45 minutes until squash is tender. Set aside to cool.
  3. Once squash has cooled (around 8-10 minutes), remove the squash flesh from the peel and discard or compost the remains. 
  4. In a skillet, turn to medium heat and add olive oil, onions, and shallots- sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. In a medium sized pot, on medium heat add the butternut squash, brown sugar, vegetable broth, onions and shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  6. Using a hand held emersion blender, purée all ingredients until smooth. Then pour in the coconut cream and stir until combined. Cook for 5-10 minutes to allow flavors to meld on medium-low heat. Be sure to stir frequently so it does not burn.
  7. Serve with parsley and coconut cream drizzled on top or freeze for up to 1 month.

Chef’s tip: To make soup more creamy, use 1-2 Tbsp. coconut cream more and blend.

Classic French Onion Soup 

French Onion Soup

This classic soup has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. Any time that I would see it on a menu at a restaurant, I would order it. Since going plant-based, craving French onion soup has proposed some challenges. If you’re not familiar with this drool-worthy dish, it’s traditionally made with beef broth and drenched in melted cheese—no thanks! So finally, after a long wait, I decided it’s about time to allow my taste buds to reminisce and indulge in the flavors I enjoyed so much. So here you have it, folks! A cruelty-free, plant-based spin on my favorite soup.

Photo Cred: Ivy Becker

Bonus recipe: Love bread? Try making a homemade French baguette!

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients

5 large yellow onions

2 1/2 Tbsp. Annie’s Natural organics Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks

1 Tbsp. sherry

1 cup filtered water

32 oz. low-sodium vegetable broth

1 tsp. Simply Organic Thyme Leaf

1-1/2 Simply Organic Bay Leaf

1 tsp. Vitacost Fine Himalayan Pink Salt

1/2 tsp. Spicely Organics Ground Black Pepper

4 slices vegan provolone cheese

Photo Cred: Ivy Becker

Directions

  1. In large stock pot. sauté onions with  oil. Add salt and pepper. Cook 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat.
  2. Add sherry and cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, water, vegetable broth, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Scoop soup evenly into four bowls and top with 1 slice of provolone each. Broil in over for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Chef’s tip: If you do not have sherry for this recipe, it is OK to omit.

Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Baked Potato Soup with Portobello “Bacon”

Broccoli Cheddar Soup - The Vegan Rhino

This isn’t any ordinary baked potato soup. Why, you ask? Well, it may be rich, it may be creamy, but this baked potato soup is both dairy- and bacon-free. Plus, it tastes way better (and it’s healthier).  What’s even more exciting is that this recipe includes two star ingredients from another comfort food favorite: broccoli and cheddar. You definitely won’t regret asking for seconds when it comes to this tasty soup that you can enjoy for lunch or as an appetizer.

Yield 6 servings

Ingredients

1 russet potato

2 broccoli heads

1 medium onion, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

2 medium carrots, cubed

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks

1 quart plain almond milk

3 cups vegetable broth

3 Tbsp.

1/4 green onion, leave 1 Tbsp. to garnish with

1/2 cup vegan sharp cheddar cheese, leave a pinch for garnish

Portobello mushroom “bacon”

1 Portabello mushroom, sliced

1 tsp. smokey flavor

1 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pinch Vitacost Fine Himalayan Pink Salt

Croutons

1 small ciabatta bread, diced into cubes

1 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp. garlic powder

Pinch Vitacost Fine Himalayan Pink Salt

Directions

Bacon:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In bowl, drizzle oil over sliced mushrooms.
  3. Add salt, pepper and smoke flavor. Mix until evenly coated.
  4. On baking sheet, evenly arrange mushrooms.
  5. Bake 10-15 minutes.
  6. Flip mushrooms and bake for another 10 minutes or until brown and crispy.

Croutons:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle oil onto baking sheet.
  3. Add diced bread and coat with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Soup:

  1. In large pot, sauté sliced onion, carrot and celery for 5-10 minutes until transparent and soft. Season with salt, pepper and garlic.
  2. Sprinkle flour over sautéed vegetables and mix. Slowly add vegetable stock, almond milk, broccoli and potatoes to pot. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes have cooked. Mix in green onions.
  3. Serve with croutons, green onion, vegan cheddar cheese and mushroom “bacon” on top.

Chef’s tip: You can add 1-1/2 cups of vegan cheddar cheese to the soup directly and stir to mix if desired.