May 7, 2012

{Vegan} Brussels Sprout, Black Eyed Pea and Shiitake Mushroom Soup

Oh my goodness was this soup delicious! I've made it 3 times now in the last 2 weeks! I don't know what it is, but the combination of Brussels sprouts and mushrooms make this soup very satisfying but light at the same time. There is just enough black eyed peas and rice to make it nicely filling but not so much that it makes you feel like you've carb loaded. Well balanced. I love the addition of lemon and fresh parsley, the two give the soup a delightfully bright flavor that plays so well with the rich earthiness of the mushrooms. It's lovely as a starter to a great meal, but I've been serving it as the main dish along with a nice big salad and some freshly baked bread.

This recipe is just more proof that a vegan or vegetarian diet can be just as fulfilling as any other. We've been doing well eating less animal product... slowly. I have a freezer full of meat and a fridge full of dairy that needs using up. Food is too expensive to simply get rid of it, so we've been using it up slowly but still trying to maintain a mostly vegetarian diet. I think it's working nicely and it gives us a chance to ease into the vegetarian lifestyle while not wasting what we already have on hand. 

Only the future will tell where we end up... full time vegan, vegetarian or maybe part time meat eaters with a heavy emphasis on the vegetable side of the table. I do know that we all seem to have more energy, as a family, since lowering our animal product intake. The members of the family who could stand to lose a bit of weight have been losing at a good steady pace. Everyone has been fully satiated, not a single complaint about being hungry or that the food has been lacking in some way. All good stuff. The one member of our family that's had a bit of a tougher time with the transition is my teen son. He's got a very strong opinion on food and what flavors he likes and dislikes. He's a definite carnivore. My stance on this is that he should be allow to eat the way he chooses as long as he will give the vegetarian and vegan dishes we've been eating a chance. I don't believe in forcing my ideals on anyone, especially my children. They are each individuals and deserve to be treated as such. For the most part, he's enjoyed the dishes I have served him. He does have several meals a week that contain animal product, but his dependence on those things to feel satisfied has changed quite drastically. He is much more open to eating vegetables than he has ever been and has been trying new foods that just a few months ago would have flatly refused. That pleases me greatly.

This recipe comes from FatFree Vegan Kitchen. I made some adjustments to it, to suit my family's likes. The recipe you see published here below includes my adaptation. If you would like to see the original recipe, please visit this page: Brussels Sprouts and Shiitake Mushroom Soup. If you are interested in vegan cooking, Susan's blog is worth a visit. She creates some of the most amazing food!

Brussels Sprout, Black Eyed Pea and Shiitake Mushroom Soup

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1 large sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla), chopped
24 ounces small Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
6 ounces baby bella mushrooms caps, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup brown rice
1 15-ounce can black eyed peas, drained and well-rinsed
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2-3 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1: Heat a large pot over medium high. Add the olive oil to the pot and allow the oil to heat up.

2: Add the bay leaves, thyme, and sage to the hot oil and allow to fry lightly for 1 minute.

3: Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. 

4: Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until onion begins to brown, another 5 minutes. 

5: Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.

6: Add all remaining ingredients, except for the fresh parsley. Cover and simmer on low heat until rice is cooked, about 50 minutes. 

7: Check seasonings and add more, if needed, along with the lemon juice. Add the black eyed peas and cook for another 15 minutes.

8: Just before serving, stir in the chopped parsley and remove the bay leaves.

Makes 6 full meal sized servings/ 8-10 starter course servings

If you would like to try some other fabulous vegan dishes, try these:
Double Mushroom Soup from Dianne’s Dishes
Red and White Cauliflower Bake from Grumpy’s Honeybunch
Eggplant Kurma from Veggie Platter
Spinach Avocado Pasta from Hot Pot Cooking

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