Veganize your “normal” food cravings with VeganGR

At VeganGR, we find that one of the stumbling blocks for many people struggling to eat a more plant-centered diet is that they feel like they are going to have to give up eating all the wonderful meals they grew up with and love. The truth is, anything can be veganized! Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re ever going to have a vegan porterhouse steak, but it’s really easy to replace certain flavors and foods in pretty much any recipe once you get the basics down. For instance, we use cashew cream in place of heavy whipping cream in recipes. Other substitutions are easier: Earth Balance butter in place of dairy butter or margarine, almond milk in place of cow’s milk, or vegetable broth in place of chicken broth. Take, for example, one night last week when Jon and I saw an ad for Olive Garden. It sparked a memory in him of having some sort of creamy potato and sausage soup from there many years ago. A quick Google search revealed it to be Zuppa Tuscano Italian Soup. We also found some copy cat recipes. A few minutes later, Jon was in the kitchen making it. Here’s the original recipe we found (from Food.com).

The ingredients:

  • 1 lb Italian sausage (I like mild sausage)
  • 2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

This recipe is pretty simple, and super easy to veganize! We happened to have some Tofurkey Italian Sausage in the fridge, so we used that. You might already know this, but most bacon bits are accidentally vegan, just check the label and you should be good to go. We didn’t have any on hand, so we just left them out. For the chicken broth, you could just sub vegetable broth, but we’re partial to Better Than Bullion’s No-Chicken Broth. It’s a great way to replicate the chicken flavor, and color in soups. The hardest part of this (which isn’t so very hard at all) is making cashew cream in place of the whipping cream. It’s pretty simple, especially if you have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix. Soak 1 cup of cashews in water overnight, or at least for several hours (you can skip this step if you have a high-powered blender) Drain and rinse. Place them in your blender and cover with ½ inch of water. Blend on high for a few minutes until they are smooth. If you think they’re too thick, add more water. In the end, this is what our recipe looked like:

  • 1 lb Tofurkey brand Italian sausage chopped into small pieces
  • 2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
  • 16 ounces Better Than Bullion No-Chicken broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup cashew cream

Instructions:

soup bowl with breadsticks on the side

Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces. Brown sausage in your soup pot. Add vegetable broth and
water to pot and stir. Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in the pot. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn to low heat. Add kale and cream. Heat through and serve.

2 responses to “Veganize your “normal” food cravings with VeganGR

  1. Looks so good! I love a good soup!

    Like

  2. Pingback: Tried & True Thanksgiving Recipes That Will Impress Your Meat-Eating Friends | Veg Bon Vivant

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