Leek, Potato & Broccoli Soup {vegan}

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Fancy schmancy green smoothies are fine by me. But I like to kick it old school with my blended vegetables sometimes — with some green soup.

We get our color from broccoli and spinach and then trick it out with non-juice things like potatoes, leeks and garlic and top it all off with maple balsamic caramelized onions and some toasted almond flakes.

These onions are ideal on pretty much anything savory. I recommend adding a pinch of chili flakes to the batch for the perfect sweet and spicy mix. I love these on sandwiches, on roasted vegetable salads and stirred in to soup for extra texture and excitement.

There’s plenty of time for green juice in the future. Today, we soup!

green soup 2

Leek, Potato & Broccoli Soup

  • 1 tablespoon oil (I used macadamia oil)
  • 2 medium-large leeks, cleaned and finely sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium head broccoli, trimmed and cut into small pieces
  • 3 cups spinach
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot heat oil over a medium high heat. Add leeks and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until the leeks soften. Add a splash of warm water to the pan if the leeks are sticking at all. Add garlic and fennel seeds and cook for another minute, stirring.

Add potato and vegetable broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling add broccoli and cover the pot reducing to medium-low. Let cook for about 10 minutes until everything cooks through and the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Stir in spinach.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Puree in a blender in batches or use a stick blender to get a smooth consistency. Season.

Serve with maple balsamic caramelized onions (see below) and toasted almond flakes.

Maple Balsamic Caramelized Onions

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 medium red onions – or a mix of yellow and red (whatever you’ve got) thinly sliced into half-moons
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • water
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • pinch of chili (optional)

In a large pan, heat oil over a medium heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes, until very softened and getting golden. Add a little splash of water at any point if the pan gets too dry.

Add balsamic vinegar and allow to bubble down and reduce, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for another 10 minutes (again, adding small splashes of water as needed.) Once completely softened, turn off the heat and stir in the maple syrup, another pinch of salt and chili (if you’re into that sort of thing). Stir to combine and set aside until you’re ready to serve.

I love having this on hand in the fridge for a couple of days to add to anything and everything.

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili {Vegan} with slow cooker option

vegan chili

A smokey, hearty chili that lends itself to all kinds of vegetables. Feel free to replace the sweet potato with butternut squash, or add green pepper or zucchini. I like to top it with a grilled corn and cilantro salad or just slices of fresh avocado.

Having a good vegan chili in my arsenal is super important when I’m looking for something warm, bold and comforting. This recipe is a mix of a few recipes I’ve made over the years and what I default to when I have it in my mind to make chili. I like to pack it with at least two types of beans and a combination of vegetables, although I always favor something like sweet potato.

This can also be made in a slow cooker. See below for instructions.

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Eggplant Po’Boys


This recipe was inspired by Killer Poboys in New Orleans. I was reading their most recent menu (because that’s something I do in my spare time) and was instantly excited by their vegan option. Each individual ingredient was original and all together it sounded like a sandwich I could totally get on board with.

I think that’s what I love about vegan and vegetarian cooking so much – it encourages a different level of creativity, inevitably making vegetables taste more interesting and satisfying.

Now, a po’boy is really just a sandwich. But in New Orleans it’s a sandwich on a fresh pillowy baguette. It’s almost certainly one of those things that people claim cannot be replicated outside of the city due to the water – like bagels in New York or sourdough in San Francisco, I tend to believe these dough-related myths.

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Sesame Chili Soba Noodles with Kale


I’ve been a dedicated – and admittedly uncool – brown-bagger for as many years as I’ve been working a full time job. More than just the limited food options nearby, I bring my lunch to eat healthy and stretch my paycheck.

This is the sort of dish that makes it easy to bring your lunch to work. Quick to make, packed with toasty sesame and warm chili flavors, and effortlessly vegan. It’s all about making meals play double duty – you know, cook once, eat twice.

I made this soba noodle dish after a Sunday shopping excursion when I returned home ravenous. I whacked it together in a few hasty minutes and gobbled it up even quicker.

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Red Lentil Dahl with Kale

voraciousvander -RL dahl

Even in summertime I crave comfort dishes. I’m talking warm, heavily spiced bowls of things that might make you sweat a little when you eat them. I dunno. I’m aware that no one likes to sweat whilst eating, but I’ll take it over eating chilled soup. Gazpacho? I just…can’t. I’m sorry. (Not sorry.)

You know I’m game for a massive minimal-cookingrequired salad, but homegirl needs a cooked meal several times a week, regardless of the weather. It’s something about sitting down at night to eat something that has a story. Something that’s been chopped and sautéed and simmered.

I love experimenting with cuisines that I find a little intimidating, it’s like facing your fears in a totally contained and inconsequential way!

Whatta rush.

Since I’ve been cooking, I’ve found Thai and Indian cuisines to be among my favorites to make at home. Mostly because they involve big vats of stew-like concoctions that can be custom-made to involve heaps of vegetables, tons of flavor and spice, and require being mopped up with rice and/or flatbread. (In general, I enjoy mopping my food up with carbs. It’s satisfying and delicious.)

Plus, a good curry paste can’t really let you down.

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