Tag Archives: soup

“Chicken” Noodle Soup


Polar Vortex 2.0 is in full force! Again. It’s rather annoying and inconvenient if you ask me. People who start giving me the “Well, you live in Michigan, Aparna. What do you expect?” crap will get my death stare. I realize where I live, thank you, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it any more or less. However, I do realize that complaining about it doesn’t change the fact that we probably haven’t seen the worst of winter yet in Michigan. Please, don’t throw things at me for saying that.

So in and effort to ensure we are warmed to the soul and don’t end up looking like this…:

…we’ve been eating a lot of soup. Now, this can get challenging and tricky when you’re like me and want to make sure everything you’re currently cooking – soup included – fits into the whole “let’s be friggan’ healthy” lifestyle.

Let’s not forget that I live with someone who, like any normal person would, gets bored with certain recipes when they go on repeat each week, so I need to keep things interesting. While I don’t mind having a hot bowl of chili or minestrone or Pho every night, REB isn’t as inclined or excited by it. I don’t think. I’m sure he’s starting to get to his limit of “Seriously? No carbs or cheese again tonight?”, but he’s being a good sport and he’s also being highly supportive. Then again I do most, if not all, of the cooking so is he really in a position to complain? I keed, I keed! I appreciate his feedback and input probably the most out of everyone since he has to eat whatever I end up making. Or at least try to. I’m getting off point.


He made a very good point to me earlier in the week though. He told me to quit trying to be all food-bloggy-fancy-schmancy and just make something simple but flavorful and filling. I said to myself, “Hey I can’t do that!” and that’s how this soup came to be. Yes, it was yet another soup recipe I made during the week, but it was simple, full of flavor and actually pretty OK for you in terms of fiber, protein, fat, etc.The biggest factor: it was filling and good enough that if you went back for seconds or thirds, you wouldn’t feel so guilty doing so. Plus it’s a classic! Whenever I think of chicken noodle soup I think of the Campbell’s soup commercial with the kid who turns into a snowman from playing outside but a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup from his mom warms him right up!

I listened to him and kept this soup and its ingredients pretty simple but it was perfect. And while we are no where near the end of winter here in Michigan, we at least have some options to help keep us warm and satiated. With that in mind, my complaints about the cold will get toned down a bit.


But don’t worry. I’ll probably complain a whole bunch about the heat once we get into the dead of July. I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

“Chicken” Noodle Soup
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Beat the cold winter blues with a hot bowl of this classic soup fit for vegetarians and vegans alike!
Recipe type: soup, vegetarian, vegan
Serves: 5
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ small white onion, diced
  • 3 whole carrots, peeled and cut into discs
  • 2 celery stalks, wiped clean, halved length-wise and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon (about 4-5 sprigs) thyme, finely chopped
  • 4 cups (32-oz. carton) low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1½ cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 oz. whole wheat wide egg noodles
  • 1½ cups (about 24 strips) frozen meatless chicken strips (Simple Truth brand or similar), thawed and cut into bite size pieces
  • Chopped parsley for garnish
  1. tart by heating olive oil in a stock pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic and thyme and stir well
  3. Cook until softened but not browned
  4. Next add vegetable broth, stock and water and stir
  5. Bring soup to a boil, will take about 10-12 minutes to bring to boil
  6. While soup is coming to boil, take the frozen meatless griller strips, place in microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds-to-1 minute or until thawed. Cut strips into bite size pieces
  7. Once soup is boiling, add the meatless chicken and noodles and cook until noodles are al dente, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Ladle 1 or 1½ cups into bowls, garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy!


Lentil Chili


One my best friends, Allison, lives 752 miles away in Oxford, MS (home of Ole Miss, the Manning’s and my Rebels. Hotty Toddy!). She and I have been friends since we were 12 years old when training bras were a big deal, school supplies translated to Lisa Frank, three-way calling was the “in” thing,  and our crushes on boys only lasted one week.

I hate that she lives so far away! It’s pretty dumb. Then again, she probably thinks it’s pretty dumb I chose to live in a state shaped like a mitten where it gets colder than ever, while she gets to maintain a garden in February like it’s no big deal – pretty badass if you ask me.


The point is, she’s one of my rocks. I talk to her every. single. day. You heard that right.

Friends are essential. Especially ones you’ve known more than half your life. I was in her wedding, she was in mine. She’s heard me cry, I’ve heard her cry. She’s vented to me about what upsets her and I’ve vented to her (sometimes multiple times a day) about what’s bothering me.


One thing she and I definitely do is exchange recipes. We’re both big foodies and literally spend hours talking about food, coming up with recipes, giving each other tips or suggestions on how to alter a recipe, what flavors would work and more. We’ve even thought about starting a blog together. She’s all classic-southern-comfort-cooking-but-also-healthy-ethnic-dish (or feasts as I call ‘em) gal, and I’ve got the vegetarian-health-nut-freak-thing on my end. Together, our kitchens are unstoppable!

So this lentil chili was born as a result of one of our chats. It’s her lentil soup recipe and my vegetarian chili recipe. Together they’re married in soup harmony. Equal soup rights, y’all. Support it.


It turned out boss, and made enough to feed an army. And if I could, I’d fly her up here to eat it with me. Then we could laugh, eat good soup together, talk for hours and it wouldn’t seem like she’s 752 miles away.

Lentil Chili
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My best friends lentil soup recipe combined with my vegetarian chili recipe. Together, it’s an unstoppable force of flavor.
Recipe type: Chili, Soups
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8-10
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 15-oz. can fire roasted diced tomato
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-oz. can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4½ cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • 1 cup brown lentils, picked through, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 15-oz. can peeled, crushed tomato
  • ½ cup meatless crumbles (Boca brand or similar)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Start by heating olive oil in a large stock pot.
  2. When heated, add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften.
  3. Then add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Next add carrot, green and red bell peppers and cook until peppers and carrot are tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the drained beans and vegetable stock and cook another 10 minutes.
  6. Then add in the lentils, cover and let the soup come to simmer, another 8-10 minutes.
  7. Add your spices: cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and also add in the frozen corn kernels. Give the whole soup a good stir.
  8. Finally add the crushed tomato, meatless crumbles, salt and pepper and stir well.
  9. Cover and bring to small bubble and then simmer 30-35 minutes.
  10. Top with your favorite garnishes and enjoy!


Easy Vegetarian Vietnamese Pho


If any of you follow the weather or look at your smartphones at the weather map, you already know that it has been ridiculously cold throughout the country this week. With wind chills in the negatives and the highs in the single digits, this January weather has not made my morning commutes all that pleasant.

My coworker Rob and I ride the same bus in the morning, and our mean bus driver refuses to drop us off closer to work like other buses do. She has no pity for us and she isn’t a morning person. With our transit center in town being rebuilt, the buses are lined up across the street from it. Not a huge deal, except it adds about 2 minutes of walking to our normal walk to the office. Also not a big deal, except when it’s -6 degrees with a windchill of -20, so by the time you do get to the office, your legs are nonexistent, as is your face.


And hey, I dress for cold weather. I live in Michigan, I’m not an idiot. But no matter how warm you dress, or how many layers you wear, or how tight you have your scarf, nothing can prepare you for that cold that hits your face gets when you step off the warm bus. Then when you get home your dog, who has a double coat and is made for weather like this, wants to play outside. And since the light is staying out longer each day, you feel guilt if you don’t play fetch with him in the backyard before you feed him.

Routine, people. I’m getting used to it. Cold weather. Also getting used to it. I have to come to terms with the fact that we most likely will not have an unusually warm winter like we did last year. Sad truth. But there are things you can do to help.


And that’s to make soup. Not just any soup. Vietnamese soup or Pho. So that’s exactly what I did. I’ve never made pho before but I have had it and if I didn’t live in Ann Arbor – the city where hippies and yuppies coexist harmoniously – I might not be able to find decent vegetarian pho that isn’t made with meat broth. There are several places that make some decent pho around here, but I decided to try making it myself.

And you know what? It was PHOnomenal. See what I did there?

Try it. It’s delicious and while I did use a shortcut to make this version, it turned out great, reheated great (for REB after class), and kept me warm while watching Full House reruns. Don’t judge me. I’ll never tire of Uncle Jesse and the whole gang.


Vegetarian Vietnamese Pho
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Easy Vietnamese noodle soup to warm you up this winter.
Recipe type: soup, noodle soup, vegetarian
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Asian, Soups
Serves: 4
  • 1 carton (4 cups) Vegetarian Pho soup base (Pacific natural foods brand or similar)
  • 1 small ginger root, peeled and cut into discs
  • 2 Serrano peppers (jalalpeno is fine), sliced into discs
  • 2 tablespoons Lite soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 12 oz. Shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed and sliced
  • 8 oz. (half a block) extra firm tofu, sliced thin into strips or squares
  • 8 oz. Stir fry rice noodles
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges
  • Garnishes: cilantro, basil, Serrano peppers and lime wedges
  1. Start by bringing a large pot of water to boil – about 20 minutes
  2. While the water comes to a boil, pour the entire carton of soup base into a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add the soy sauce, ginger discs and sliced Serrano pepper and heat through stirring occasionally.
  3. In a separate pan or skillet heat the olive oil.
  4. When it is hot, add the sliced mushrooms and cook until browned and tender, about 5-8 minutes.
  5. Remove the mushrooms, transfer to small bowl and set side.
  6. In the same pan, add the tofu slices and cook until browned on all side, another 8-10 minutes.
  7. When cooked, add the tofu to the simmering broth
  8. When the water is boiling, remove from heat and add the rice noodles. Let them sit/soak in the hot water for 8 minutes until softened.
  9. When done, drain and rinse noodles under cold water.
  11. Divide noodles among all bowls.
  12. Ladle some of of the broth over noodles, enough to slightly submerge them.
  13. Top bowls with tofu slices and mushrooms (about 2-3 pieces of tofu per bowl, a few mushrooms)
  14. Add your garnishes and squeeze lime wedge before serving
  15. Enjoy!


What foods are keeping you warm this winter?





Soup Sunday: Southwestern Spicy Black Bean Soup


Hello my lovelies!!

So I hope you’re in a region of the country where the weather has been absolutely gorgeous. I can’t get enough of this amazing weather we’ve had all week. I am so ready for spring it’s ridiculous. I can’t wait to enjoy the outdoors in the sunshine, go to the farmers market to get fresh veggies like zucchini, heirloom tomatoes and herbs!

Maybe that’s what sparked my interest in making this black bean soup. I wanted to go Mexico…or some place warm? Or maybe I was just thinking warm…? Haha. OK but seriously, I wanted to make something on the lighter side but packed with tons of flavor and spice. This soup was perfect for the job.

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It also only has 10 ingredients. Now how could you not want to try to make it??

Adapted from Eating Well

Southwestern Spicy Black Bean Soup

•1 tablespoon olive oil
•1/4 cup red onion, chopped (1/2 medium onion)
•1 tablespoon chili powder
•1 teaspoon ground cumin
•1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper  **optional – (I added this. And added a lot apparently. WOO-EEY! spicy)
•2 cans (15-oz. or approx. 3 cups) black beans, drained and rinsed
•1/2 cup salsa (I used hot!)
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•3 cups water
•1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice


Heat a large pot with the olive oil. When it’s nice and hot, add the onions and cook 3-5 minutes, or until softened. Next add the spices (chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper) and cook 1 minute. Add the beans, water, salt and salsa and stir. Cover and let it come to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer 5-10 minutes. Take the soup off the heat and squeeze the lime juice in. Transfer half the soup into a blender or food processor and process until slightly smooth. Add back to the pot, stir and serve.

Optional garnishes: dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream, chopped cilantro, extra salsa or lime juice.

It’s that simple! This made about 5 cups and I’ve been eating 3/4 cup since the spice is just too much. Even for me. GASP. Never thought that would happen ;) It was just over-zealous me thinking I could handle more spice than trusting the recipe probably had more than enough, what with that chili powder. Oh well. It was still delicious. And hey! The spice only helps rev up that metabolism! Another good thing? Eating 1 cup is only around 200 calories per serving and 9 grams of protein. Not bad for a lunch! Pair it up with some Greek Yogurt for extra protein. Yummy!

Are your ready for spring?
What foods do you most like to eat during spring and summer?

Soup Sunday: Spicy Chickpea Soup


Hello friends!

How is everyone’s week going so far? It’s hard to believe that we’re already getting into the second week of March! Where do the days go every year. Just seems like it goes by lightning fast.

In any case, I had a crazy-busy weekend of cooking and making yummy treats. Sunday was a fun recipe day too. Why? It was Soup Sunday of course!

So for this past Soup Sunday I made a spicy chickpea soup. My friend Allison showed me a recipe for a spiced Moroccan chickpea soup and I just had to try it. It kind of reminded me of channa masala, but it wasn’t thin like a curry. Instead it was hearty, full of protein and had a little kick to it!

I ended up making a lot of soup, too – about 8 servings of soup when all was said and done. I think where it gets its Moroccan flavors is the fact it had both smokey and sweet spices in it, which balanced well together. Because it was so thick, I see myself scooping it onto slimwiches to make open-face sandwiches!

Recipe adapted from Dave Lieberman

Spicy Chickpea Soup

•1 tablespoon olive oil
•1/2 cup onion, chopped (half a large onion)
•6 garlic cloves, finely minced
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1 teaspoon ground cumin
•1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
•1 teaspoon paprika
•4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium vegetable broth
•1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (liquid and all)
•3 cans chickpeas (drained and rinsed) – you can save a few for garnish
•1 teaspoon sugar
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1/4 freshly ground black pepper
•5 oz. frozen chopped spinach


Start by heating a large stock pot with olive oil until hot. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Next add the spices and stir. Then add the tomatoes, chickpeas, broth and sugar. You want the chickpeas to be submerged. If they aren’t, you can add a little water to completely submerge them. Season with salt and pepper and stir well. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and let it cook uncovered for 45 minutes. After that time has passed, take a potato masher and mash the chickpeas in the pot until you get a thick consistency. Add the frozen spinach and continue cooking until the spinach is heated through and broken apart into the soup.

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As an optional garnish, take a few of the reserved chickpeas and dry roast in a pan until crispy. Ladle soup into bowls, top with a few roasted chickpeas and a drizzle of olive oil.

What you’re left with is a thick, spicy soup that is oh so delicious and 100% vegetarian! I completely agree with Andrea over at Onion in my Hair when she said she wished soups every where were always made with vegetable broth or stock instead of chicken. I hate when I go into a restaurant and the menu says there’s a great tomato basil soup or vegetable soup, but then you find out it’s made with chicken stock. What’s the point in that?! Well I can tell you right now that this soup is 100% vegetarian and tasty to the last bite! Enjoy!

Do you have any suggestions for me for upcoming Soup Sunday recipes?
I’d love to hear about them!


Soup Sunday: Very Vegetarian Chili


Hi everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend! I had a weekend of cooking, relaxing and all around happiness. I’m mostly happy about this thing I’ve decided to start.
I’m starting what I’m calling Soup Sunday. As many of you might already know, I eat soup almost every day for lunch. It’s quick and easy, low carb, healthy and filling! Last week I made the Spiced Vegetable Lentil Soup and the entire thing lasted a week for my lunch (one cup per day). I decided to try making another soup on Sunday and this time I made vegetarian chili.

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Chili is one of those quintessential winter-time foods for me. It’s so easy to make and you can basically let it simmer all day either on the stove or in your crock pot and you can throw whatever you want into it. I guess that’s true with most any soup really.

Here’s what I used to make it:
•1 tablespoon olive oil
•1/2 cup red onion, chopped
•2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves. Add more if you want!)
•1 carrot, peeled and diced
•1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced (that’s about half the pepper)
•1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced (that’s about half the pepper)
•1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes w/ green chilies (liquid and all)
•1 can (15 oz.) dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
•1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
•1/2 can (15 oz.) corn kernels, drained and rinsed
•1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
•2 cups vegetable stock
•2 tablespoons tomato paste
•1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
•1 teaspoon chili powder
•1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
•1 teaspoon paprika
•1 teaspoon ground cumin
•1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
•1/2 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
•1 cup Boca Ground Meatless Crumbles (or you could use tempeh or even tofu I’m sure!)

Lots of ingredients for a lot of soup!

Start by heating 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Once it’s hot, add the onion and carrots and cook until soft (5-8 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for one minute so it doesn’t burn. Next add the bell peppers to start cooking those down. Once they’re a little soft, add the can of tomatoes and the two types of beans and corn. Then add the vegetable stock, tomato paste, spices and stir. Cover and bring to a boil. Then uncover and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes. Near the end of the cooking process, add the crushed tomatoes, stir, and then add the Boca crumbles. Cook another 15-20 minutes or until the Boca is warmed through and the soup is thick like a chili should be (well for me anyway -ha!). You can adjust the spices before serving.

You can garnish with the usual: cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream. But both REB and I wanted to keep it healthy so we just added a small dollop of Greek yogurt (a great substitute for sour cream in my opinion) and some cilantro. You could also cut out the yogurt to make this entire soup vegan! It was the perfect garnish to cool us down since parts of the chili had quite a bit of kick! Just how I like it!

This made quite a bit, but again, that was kind of the point. The best thing? I cup is under 200 calories!

I can’t wait to try another soup recipe next week for Soup Sunday! Enjoy!

Is there a soup recipe you have that you think I should try?
Send me a link and maybe I’ll give it a try!