December 3, 2010

African Yam and Almond Soup

It was bound to happen. I've been calmly anticipating it for some time, careful not to rush too quickly into a life change that may cause bitterness. I became a vegetarian about 8 years ago and haven't looked back since. Last week, I finally said adios to diary. I'm not going to insist on vegan out in the world (yet), but in my own home we're going vegan. I gave away the butter, tossed out the sour cream, avoided the cheese isle in the grocery store. I feel good. In fact, I feel great. The final deciding factor was reading the China Study. You should read it. Seriously. But be warned, it's like taking the blue pill instead of the red one. No more happy wonderland of animal protein ignorance. Ok, so I decided to invest in a couple of actual vegan cookbooks to make the transition easier. I also did a little research on vegan chefs (note some changes on my like list to the right.) It's working. I am inspired and I feel awesome.

This soup...oh, my. This soup. When you eat this soup you KNOW that you're loving yourself. It's got that much goodness in it. As usual, it's easy to make and delicious. It's based off of a recipe from The Vegan Table, which I recommend. I made several changes to it based on what I had int he house (most notably, I used almond butter instead of peanut butter).

Serves 6 + leftovers.
Better as leftovers! Keeps in the fridge for about 4 days.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 3 yams, peeled, cubed and steamed 12 minutes
  • 1 can/jar garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1 can/jar black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup sweet corn
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil and saute the onions until softened. Add bell pepper and cook until softened - about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in agave, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the yams, beans and tomatoes. Mix well.
  3. Add the almond butter to the veggie stock and whisk until well combined. Pour into sop pot. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. with a potato masher, mash the yams well. It's fine that other ingredients are also mashed, but don't worry if some items are still in tact. You just want to be sure the yams are no longer cubes. This will make the soup creamy.
  5. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper.
Note on leftovers: if you save this soup, note that it will absorb most of the liquid so it becomes a lovely dip with corn chips or a spread for tortillas or dense bread. If you want to make it a soup again, add a bit of water and stir well over medium-low heat. Continue to add water until you have the constancy you're looking for.

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