Hearty Vegan Beanless Minestrone

I love minestrone, but I usually wind up picking around the beans. That’s what’s great about making my own: no beans to pick around! Of course, if you like beans, add ’em on in. I won’t stop you. Honestly though, there’s so much going on in here that they’re not even necessary. The swiss chard gives it a rustic heartiness that’s great for winter.

This soup can be prepared vegan if you opt out of the Parmesan cheese on top.

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 bunch swiss chard: ribs removed and chopped, leaves torn into pieces
  • 28 oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. all-purpose seasoning
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1.5-2 cups small pasta (e.g. elbows, shells)
  • Pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

In a large pot, saute onion, carrots, celery and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes until soft, then stir in tomato paste.

Add swiss chard (ribs and leaves), whole peeled tomatoes (with juice), 8 cups of water, salt, and all-purpose seasoning. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for about 35 minutes.

Bring the soup back to a boil and mix in the arugula and pasta. Boil for 5-10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve topped with grated Parmesan if using.

The Best Vegan* Macaroni and Cheese Ever

I don’t maintain a strictly vegan diet, but copious amounts of dairy upsets my stomach. As you can imagine, that makes it challenging to satisfy my mac & cheese craving. I’ve tried numerous vegan mac & cheese recipes over the years, and this one is the only one I’ll eat. I like it because it doesn’t call for nutritional yeast, which I’ve never been crazy about.

Here’s the deal: While this doesn’t taste exactly like mac & cheese, it 100% fulfills my mac & cheese craving. I’ve served it to plenty of non-vegans and no one has ever been disappointed.

*Asterisk included because I make mine with real butter. It can easily be made entirely vegan if you use margarine or Earth Balance though.

Ingredients

  • 4 quarts of water
  • 8 ounces macaroni
  • 2 slices of bread, toasted and torn into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/3 cup butter (or a vegan alternative)
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the toasted bread and 1 tablespoon butter to a medium-fine texture. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
  4. In a food processor, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup butter, mustard, lemon juice and black pepper. Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the food processor and process until smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended “cheese” sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish, sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.

*Recipe adapted from Veg News*