A few days ago I found myself thinking about how my style of cooking has changed since I became vegetarian and how much I will have to tweak my recipes to make vegan versions (during my vegan challenge). Learning to cook meatless meals was actually a very fun exploration for me and I viewed it not so much as a difficult task but as just another one of my creative projects.
I learned to cook by spending a lot of time in the kitchen with my mom who loved preparing meals for the family, and luckily for us was very talented. When I moved out of the house to attend college my mom provided me with a a handwritten book of her recipes. This book, which I lovingly refer to as my “kitchen bible,” has been by my side ever since. When I began my exploration into a more plant-based lifestyle I began to realize how much meat and animal products have been at the very center of my diet since childhood (I think it’s safe to say this is the case in most american households). There were many recipes in my kitchen bible that would need to be adjusted for me to continue eating the delicious my mom had always prepared for me, just in a slightly altered form. It became clear that my newest project was to create a plant-based kitchen bible.
When I broke the news to my meat-eating fiance that I had decided to take a 30 day vegan challenge, I was armed and ready with some comforting words. Many meals are “accidentally” vegetarian or vegan simply because they already contain no animal products. The good news about this is that I will still be preparing lot of great meals that we both know and love.
Minestrone is a great example of a meal that is “accidentally” vegan. Or at least it is in my shiny new plant-based version(my mom’s recipe calls for ground beef). Simply omit the beef and you have a hearty, delicious plant strong soup!
- 4-5 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 zucchini
- 4 carrots
- 1 white onion
- 1 can of red kidney beans
- 1 can of pinto beans
- 1 can of white cannelini beans
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tbsp. parsley
- 1 Tbsp. basil
- 1 Tsp. oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- Chop the vegetables and add to pan over medium heat with a little vegetable broth. Cook until slightly tender.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer over low heat for about an hour.
- This soup is great right away but even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to meld together.