Napa Cabbage & Watercress Soup
Happy New Year to all!
This delicious green blended soup was filled with tasty greens: napa cabbage, watercress, and dinosaur kale, made heartier with the addition of potato. It's an adaption of a recipe from the vegan Real Food Daily Cookbook by Ann Gentry. Gentry used uncooked rolled oats to thicken her soup, but I chose the more standard potato. This soup is light, yet provides all the comfort a good soup should. See my adapted recipe at the bottom of this post.
With a new year dawning, I made a sudden unplanned decision to try a vegan diet for a week, starting on January 1st. I've always said I could never give up milk in my tea and certainly not cheese, but I felt the need for a food challenge. So, here we are on January 6th and, although I cheated by indulging in a couple of leftover holiday truffles, I've stuck to my vegan challenge. It's really been a fascinating experiment. My taste buds have changed and I am definitely tasting my food in a different way. I can't quite explain this, but tastes are much more intense. For example, I had a not unusual breakfast of oatmeal with berries and soy milk (vs. plain yogurt) this morning and my mouth just felt alive with the intense flavor of the berries, the oatiness of the oatmeal. Maybe this is due to pure hunger, but it felt like a good thing.
I have to admit I had developed a pretty serious cheese snacking habit as the cold weather settled in. When I hadn't planned a meal ahead, I'd just snack on bread, butter, and cheese. Or I'd snack on cheese while I was preparing another meal. Let's just say, it showed. Switching to a vegan diet, I've suddenly had to think about everything I put in my mouth. It has forced me to be mindful of everything I eat. It's certainly made me realize how easy it is to be vegetarian vs. vegan.
I have to admit, I've been hungry. But I've also tightened my belt a notch! ( a good thing). And I've also felt... well... lighter.
I'm not ready to take the vegan plunge, but I would like to see my diet in the 90% vegan range. Stay tuned for more insights on this.
Anyway, back to this delicious soup. Here's my adapted recipe:
Napa Cabbage & Watercress Soup:
1 TBSP EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 head napa cabbage, cored and chopped
1 bunch watercress, stems trimmed
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 bunch dinosaur kale, stemmed, leaves cut into strips
32 oz vegetable stock
water as needed
3 TBS miso
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed large saucepan, and fry onions over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add the potato, cover, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cabbage and cook 1 minute. Add the vegetable stock, watercress, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the kale and additional water, if needed. Cook for another 8 minutes. Take 1 cup of the broth from the soup and dissolve the miso in it. Add back to the soup. Cook for 2 minutes over low heat. Adjust seasoning. Puree the soup using an immersion blender.
Stir in chopped basil right before serving.