Vegan and Gluten-Free
On Monday mornings, I read the Sunday New York Times. (Read Mark Bittman’s article on bread in yesterday’s NYT magazine–beautiful.)  I’m totally perverse.  Occasionally I snuggle up on the couch for a Sunday afternoon with it, but I work Sundays…

and after I eat a late lunch that I never cook, I typically read something a wee bit ephemeral like the current book club book, a Diana Gabaldan novel, a P.D. James or a Dorothy Sayers (I’m re-reading all of her mysteries this winter).  Right now I’m stuck, really stuck on a book called, FROM HERE, YOU CAN’T SEE PARIS, by Michael S. Sanders (2002, Harper Collins)  I’ve read a lot of books about living in France (Isn’t there a plethora?), and enjoy them all, but this guy describes things so vividly I feel not only like I’m right there, but perhaps I’m the one writing or maybe participating in some way.  Quite touching, quite moving, quite arms-open-wide-here’s-how-it-feels.

There are times on Sunday that we go for a long walk with the doggies; we live near the Mississippi River and there’s a beautiful, miles’ long parkway with walking-bike trails.  In the winter, it’s the only time we go to The Mall of America, despite the fact that it’s ten minutes away.  Great place to walk in bad weather if it’s not too crowded; I seldom buy anything but lunch.

  
Anyway, that’s why I read the NYT on Monday after I do my power walk (which now includes four minutes of running a day–I keep edging it up–go bones) and have breakfast.  (Breakfast today is a chopped Minnesota Honey Crisp Apple with 1/2 cup Fage No-Fat Plain Yogurt and a tablespoon of my own granola, which is terribly good for you!)  Dave’s back in his home office or traveling, and I rarely blog on Mondays…except today…so I can just sit and enjoy the paper at my leisure while I catch up on laundry.
Today’s a little different…when I just had to share a simple, flexible, 0-1 Point WW chile vegetable crock pot soup on a meatless Monday. I would easily say this is 0 Points, but I’ve put in a sweet potato and it may make the second cup count as a point; I’m no Weight Watchers expert.  I’ve had such good responses to my 0-Point Vegetable Soup a la Provence, that it spurred me to make another soup to keep me on my fitness program and to have at-the-ready …

LUNCH FOR THE WEEK.

Whether or not it’s cold where you live, this is a warm-up; the chiles and hint of chile powder take the vegetables out for a run while you do whatever all day long.  You then have lunches–no temptation to go for take-out– or can freeze this in one or two-quart containers so that you don’t get bored with it.  If you’re not watching every calorie P and Q, you might have a few tortilla chips and a little grated cheddar on top.  Feeding a family or an individual who likes a larger, heartier meal? Serve two cups of  the soup ladled over a half or whole cup of hot brown rice– or even 1/2 cup each pinto or black beans and rice.  I like to blend just part of this soup and return it to the crock pot so that it has a thicker appearance and texture.  Try this:

green chile-vegetable crock pot soup
vegan (without cheese garnish) and gluten-free                                                            8-10 servings
 
Cook’s Note:   Switch the vegetables around to accommodate what you have or like.  Be sure any purchased or canned ingredients are labeled “gluten-free,” if needed.
  • 1/2 cup white wine or water
  • 2-quarts vegetable stock, gluten-free
  • 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 7-ounce can chopped chiles, undrained
  • 3-4 drops hot sauce (I like Tabasco)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet potato peeled, large dice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 each yellow squash and zucchini, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled, sliced thinly
  • Handful of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1 teaspoon each kosher salt and ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon each:  fresh ground black pepper and chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • tortilla chips (gluten-free), if desired for garnish
 Add all ingredients to a 6-7-quart crock pot.  Set on high and cook four  hours or set on low and cook 7-8 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Remove about 1/3 of the soup to a deep pot or large bowl and puree using an immersible blender (or in batches in the food processor or blender) and return blended portion to crock pot. Stir well.  Serve hot as is or garnish with grated cheese or tortilla chips, if you like.  If desired, serve over hot brown rice.   Cool and refrigerate leftovers within two hours for up to three days in tightly-covered containers or freeze as long as 4-6 months.
Stove-top soup:  Bring all ingredients to a boil in a 10-quart soup kettle.  Lower heat to a healthy simmer and let cook 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.    Follow rest of directions above. 
Interested in more crock pot/slow cooker or soup recipes? Check out Kalyn’s Kitchen Slow Cooker from Scratch    or Lydia Walshin’s Soup Chick dot com. Enjoy!
Disclaimer:  While this recipe appears to easily be both vegan (without the cheese garnish) and gluten-free, I am not a dietary expert.  Please be sure of your ingredients if you are on a special diet and consult a dietician with any questions.