A new wave of vegetarian cooking!

Archive for the category “Soups & Salads”

Tofu and Buckwheat/Soba Noodle Soup (Vegan)

Rainy day soup!


  • 40 fl oz V8 – spicy hot or regular
  • 1 package (14 oz/397 g) extra firm organic tofu – crumble into pieces
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro – finely cut
  • 1/3 cup broken buckwheat noodles
  • 1 tsp MTR Rasam powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger juice or 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil


  • Bring V8, tofu, ginger juice and garlic salt to a boil in a 4 qt pot on medium heat.
  • Reduce heat to simmer; add buckwheat noodles and rasam powder for few minutes.
  • Just before serving add the sesame oil and cilantro.
  • Enjoy as is!

Black- Eyed Peas/Lobia with Barley Soup

Black- eyed pea or bean, a legume that has high nutritional value (calcium, folate, vitamin A, etc) is known as the soul food of the South. This is a wholesome soup with pressed barley (oshi mugi) which gives it a subtle thickness.


  • 2 cups black-eyed peas – wash and soak in hot water for ~ an hour (or use fresh shelled or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup pressed barley soak with peas
  • 1 can/14 oz/411 gm cut tomatoes or 4 large Roma tomatoes dice
  • 1 large red onion – chop
  • 1/4 cup cilantro – chop
  • 1 leek stalk – cut thin round slices (optional)
  • 7 cups water

Fresh blend:

  • Food process 5 garlic cloves, 1″ ginger piece, 1/2″  fresh turmeric piece, 1/4″ mango ginger  and 1 green chile


  • 3 tbsp Mediterranean oil blend/canola,olive,grape seed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp onion seed
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder/hing
  • ~ 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (Kashmiri) or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice (optional-if tartness required)
  • 1 tbsp dry onion flakes


  • In a pressure cooker temper cumin, onion seeds and hing in hot oil.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add and saute dry onion, cut onion, leek and fresh blend until light golden.
  • Add the rest of the seasoning except salt, garam masala and lemon juice.
  • Saute 3 – 4 min. Then add black-eyed peas, barley and cut tomatoes. Add 7 cups of water.
  • Cook for ~ 15 min. First on high until the steam is released then reduce to medium low.
  • Turn of heat. Wait until the cooker has released all the steam before opening it’s lid.
  • Add salt and garam masala; cook for a few min more. Mash some of the the peas and tomatoes against the side of the cooker.
  • Garnish with cilantro before serving.


  • Enjoy with your favorite munches or scoop of cottage cheese!

Pumpkin Cream Soup

We recently were gifted a Vitamix blender from Costco. After going through some of the Vitamix recipes, my daughter and I decided that since it’s the season of “pumpkin” that we would take the Butternut squash recipe in the book and remake it with pumpkin and put our own twist on the spices. It is fun to take a original recipe and turn it into a beautiful new one, except for things like Jalapeno corn bread – don’t TOUCH that recipe. (we’ll post that closer to Thanksgiving – if you are lucky!!)

The winter evenings are coming closer, and we are experiencing colder mornings and nights – Sopa is an excellent way to warm up and be satisfied. The way we mixed all the ingredients has a South American touch. South Americans use a lot of squash, and corn in their recipes so you guys can think of the Macchu Picchu mountains while surrendering to this soup. Perhaps you will think instead of a spooky Halloween where you are in a dark pumpkin patch and an evil witch is following you. Wherever your taste buds and imagination take you, I am sure you will enjoy this blend of vegetarian soup.


  • 2 cups chopped pumpkin – add 2 tbsp of water and microwave uncovered for 5 minutes
  • 1/4 cup of Pepperjack or Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Organic 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup of V8 Juice Low Sodium
  • 1 Green Chile
  • 1/2 cup of chopped Onions
  • 1/2 cut chopped apple
  • 2 stalks of Green Onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon of blended Italian spices
  • 1 cup of Tortilla Chips
  • Top with Croutons as needed


  • Take all the ingredients above. Throw it in the Vitamix blender/ or other blender.
  • Slowly blend on low speed and ramp up to the highest speed.
  • Let all the ingredients get pureed into soup form.
    • (The Vitamix does take hot ingredients so after you heat the pumpkin in the microwave you can dump straight into the blender)
  • The soup should already be warm because of the cooked pumpkin, if not transfer soup from blender into a microwave friendly dish and microwave on high for 3-5 minutes.
  • Top with Croutons, or sliced apples.


Potato Yogurt Soupy Curry (Matah Ke Aaloo)

Enjoy this comfort food.


  • 3 Russet potatoes – pierce, microwave for 8 – 10 min, peel and  cut small cubes
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro – mince
  • 1 stem curry leaves – ribbon cut or use as whole
  • 4 cups water

Fresh blend:

  • Blend in a small food processor 1 large piece ginger, 1/4″ piece of fresh turmeric, 1 green chile and 1 garlic clove – peel skin and chop so that it blends nicely


  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp whole black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida/hing
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chile powder or to taste
  • 1 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp fennel powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp rasam powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • Temper cumin, black pepper, curry leaves and asafoetida in hot oil, reduce heat and add fresh blend.
  • (One way to temper without burning the seasoning is to heat oil and then turn off and immediately put all that is require to bloom. Turn back on the heat to low and increase accordingly.)
  • Then add and saute the rest of the seasoning (except garam masala) and the potatoes for 3 min. Cook on low to sear the potatoes, then increase heat and add 2 cups of water. When it starts to form a thick mushy consistency reduce heat and add yogurt. Stir for few min and add the rest of the water and garam masala. Simmer to a boil.
  • It tends to thicken, so add water, Bulgarian buttermilk and salt accordingly.
  • Garnish with lots of cilantro.
  • Enjoy with puris, toasted sour dough bread, naan, flat, pita bread, etc.


  • Fingerling potatoes lightly scraped, boiled and broken with hand are also made using this recipe. Only the liquid is more clearer and not so heavy.

Cucumber, Green Apple and Tomato Cold Soup in Yogurt

Light and cool soup for a hot summer day. Somewhat like gazpacho but in yogurt.


3 lbs yogurt

1 to 2 tbsp coconut milk

2 large cucumber (English or other) – peel and grate (remove seeds, if desired)

1 large green or red tomato – blanch, peel skin, remove seeds and chop

1 medium size green apple – core, peel and cube

1 Thai chile – dice

1 stem mint leaves

1 tbsp cilantro finely cut


1 1/2 tsp toasted cumin powder – (dry temper seeds, grind in mortar)

1/4 tsp black or white pepper or to taste

1 1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp lemon rind

1 small shallot and garlic clove (optional)


In half of the yogurt blend grated cucumber, chopped tomato, apple, chile and mint in the food processor.

Mix the blended with the other half yogurt and add coconut milk, rind, cumin, pepper and salt.

Garnish with cilantro, pickled cucumber and pomegranate.

Spinach Raita

Spinach slightly cooked retains its color and nutrients. This is a side dish for an Indian meal, but can be used with other innovative ideas. Try and enjoy this savory dish with a kachori (Fried puri stuffed with spicy potato or daal/lentil mix)


  • ~ 1 lb (1/2 kg) spinach – microwave uncovered for 4 min and coarsely or finely blend in food processor
  • 2 1/2 lb (1.13 kg) yogurt


  • 2 tbsp olive oil or clarified butter or refined mustard oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp urad daal
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 3 to 4 Thai chilies slice lengthwise or to taste
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger (optional)
  • ~ 1/3 tsp sea salt or to taste

Optional seasoning: Just add asafoetida and salt to the spinach raita

  • 1/3 tsp raw asafoetida
  • 1/3 tsp salt


  • 1 tsp dry tempered cumin powder – use mortar
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red chile powder/MDH’s deggi mirch


  • In a small saucepan bloom mustard and urad in hot oil, reduce heat, add asafoetida, fenugreek, chilies and ginger for 2 minutes.
  •  Mix spinach puree and yogurt in a bowl. Pour the seasoning and salt on the mix.
  • Mix the seasoning at the time of serving.
  • Serve with rice, quinoa and barley dish; tortillas; sauce for enchiladas, burritos, fried tofu and pasta; use as a dip.


  • Rich version of this dish – just add 3 tbsp sour cream

Lentil Salad with Pickled Veggies and More

This salad goes a long way and is one of the best choice for a healthy filling food.


1 cup lentils (whole masoor daal) – wash, soak and microwave covered for 20 minutes in a cup water

3 to 4 cups pickled veggies — cauliflower, red radish, daikon (muli), carrot, celery, beet, corn, green beans, green chiles.

Chop veggies into small cubes, microwave covered for 2 to 3 minutes, submerge into pickling vinegar and refrigerate overnight. Apple juice, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar and spices are the ingredients for pickling.

1 small piece ginger thin julienne cut

1/2 red onion thin slices and ginger –  soak / marinate in lemon juice, salt and cayenne powder for 15 min.

1/4 cup cilantro finely cut

1/2 cup cherry tomato halves (optional)

4 tbsp berries and seeds – pumpkin and cranberry, etc

1/4 tsp sea salt or to taste


Drain the vinegar from the veggies.

Mix all the ingredients in salad bowl and garnish with some of the onion, ginger and cilantro.


Enjoy the balance of mixed flavors in this wholesome and healthy vegetable soup.


1/4 cup red lentils (no skin – masoor daal)

1 cup spinach pasta (any shape) – cook separately in boiling water with 1/8 tsp salt for about 10 min and drain.

Veggies – broad green beans, carrot, celery, zucchini, yellow squash, cauliflower, potato or taro (arbi), corn, green soy beans, garbanzo, kidney, white and brown fava beans. Use 5 types of veggies and  3 types of beans if all is not available.

5 cups veggies – cube (microwave covered in 1 cup of water for 4 to 5 min)

2 cups canned or frozen beans – garbanzo/ kidney/ white (if frozen – microwave with the veggies)

1 cup medium firm tofu – cube (optional)

1 can stewed tomatoes – blend coarsely

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 small can V-8

1 garlic clove – mince

1/4 tsp garlic salt

salt and black lemon pepper to taste

1 tbsp olive oil

3/4 tsp Italian seasoning blend – can use fresh herbs – basil/oregano, etc

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp Sambar powder


Wash and cook lentils for 5 to 7 minutes in 1 1/2 cup of water on medium heat.

Add veggies, stewed tomatoes, paste, V-8, tofu, beans and both salts. Add water and simmer on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

In a small sauce pan saute garlic in oil until golden, turn off heat and add the rest of the seasoning/masala. Transfer it to the simmering soup. Cook for few min more.

Add pasta to each bowl when it’s time to serve. I cook the pasta with soup mixture only when we eat it immediately as it does become mushy and tends to break.

Serve hot! Top it with Tobasco or Parmesan or enjoy the soup as is to reduce the extra intake of calories.

Taro Root (Arbi) Soup

Taro root is a good alternative starch! It is high in fiber, lower in calories and slow releasing sugars than potato. It has a distinct slimy flavor which can be minimized by frying or making soup. Enjoy the soup on a cool summer day. Even on a cold night it keeps you warm!


  • ~ 6 – 7  large taro root – boil soft and remove skin or (wash, cut them in halves and microwave covered in 1 cup water for 15 min)
  • 1 cup yogurt or use 3 cups Bulgarian buttermilk
  • 4 cups water – eyeball it (for a thicker consistency add less water)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro – finely chop

Fresh blend:

  • Food process finely 1″ piece ginger, 1/4″  piece turmeric, 1/2 stem curry leaves and 1 green chilli


  • 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp small mustard seeds
  • 1/8 tsp carom (ajwain)
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, arrishana)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or Deggi mirch for color and distinct hot flavor)
  • 1 1/4 tsp sea salt or to tatse
  • 1/2 tsp besan (gram flour)
  • 1 to 2 cloves (long)


  • Blend smooth – boiled taro, yogurt and half of the water and set aside.
  • In a 4 qt pot temper mustard, carom and asafoetida in oil.
  • Reduce heat – add fenugreek, long, turmeric, cayenne, butter, salt, besan and fresh blend. Saute for few min.
  • Then add the blended mix –  bring it to a boil on medium heat by stirring constantly to prevent curdling of the mix.
  • Your choice to make it thin or thick by adding water. Simmer for few min more and adjust salt.
  • Garnish with finely cut cilantro. Serve the soup in the round, small and hollow crust loaf  by removing the interior.


  • When I make this soup thick, I enjoy it with a scoop of cottage cheese! Top it off with your favorite cheese, crackers, etc.

Zesty Colorful Sprouted Mung Salad

Satisfying and filling yet cool for this summer, I decided to make sprouted mung salad loaded with fruits, seeds and nuts.


2 cups of sprouted whole mung daal

1 can of  Mandarin oranges ( 10.4 oz., 295g)

1/2 cup of fresh strawberries cut in halves

1/2 head of  Baby Romaine lettuce rolled and julienne cut

1 Thai chili diced

1/2 orange or yellow bell pepper diced

1/4 red onion thinly sliced and chopped in half

1/2 cup almonds soaked overnight and skin removed

1 tbsp raw sunflower seeds

1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

1 tbsp hemp seeds for nutty flavor,  protein and omega-3 content

1/2 julienne cut pickled cucumber

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes and pomegranate optional

Dressing Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tbsp zesty Italian dressing

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Salt  to taste


Mix all ingredients and vinaigrette.


Cheese lovers add sheep or goat Greek cheese crumbled on top.

Crunchy lovers sprinkle sev bhujiya.

Healthy lovers add radish or favorite sprouts.

Note:  Salads should be fresh for optimum taste!

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