Chickpea Chowder & Honey Rosemary Biscuits

I find a lot of inspiration in the many magazines I get every month (which I might add Kirk finds deals all the time, I try to not spend more than $5 a year for any magazine – and bets is free using airline miles!). The inspiration of “OK, we haven’t had this kind of meal in a while. I wonder if I could make it plant-based?” And then so on…..rarely does it look even remotely like the original idea….


The chickpea chowder came out of a recipe from the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Every Day With Rachael Ray, on page 56. It was for a gluten-free lower cal/fat clam chowder. And from there somehow out came a vegan-friendly chowder. Smoky, hearty and warming. For me, what I always liked about clam chowder is how much body it has. It isn’t the briny flavor, rather how hearty it is. And frankly there is little as nasty as vegan clam chowder. Kelp powder? Y-U-C-K. Lets give Chickpea Chowder its debut instead!


Chickpea Chowder


  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp Garbanzo Bean Flour
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1½ lbs small yellow potatoes, bite size pieces
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • ¾ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • Fine sea salt


Heat a large saucepan over medium, add in oil and onion. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, pepper and garbanzo flour, cook for a minute, stirring. Stir in chickpeas, potatoes, broth, milk and paprika. Bring up to a boil, lower heat to medium to medium-low, and simmer till potatoes are for tender, about 20 minutes, stirring often. Season with parsley and salt to taste (I added about ½ tsp as the broth was low sodium).

The chowder is very thick, if thinner is preferred, add a bit more milk or broth as desired.

Serves 4 large bowls, 6 medium bowls.


The biscuits I saw in the recent “Travel Edition” of Saveur Magazine. They were easily veganized, although one does need to take the salty Earth Balance into mind when making them and cut back the salt in the biscuits (if you use unsalted butter, bump the salt up to 1 Tbsp total). I’ll be upfront: there is nothing redeeming or healthy with these. But oh wow. If I ran a B&B, I would bake these every day. People would line up for them. Until they saw how much freakin’ butter was in them 😉 And yes, I know…I used AP flour. While I bake normally with white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flours, these needed the lightness that only AP can give.

Disclaimer: Yes, I used honey. I have no issues with using locally sourced, raw honey. I support a local farmer couple, who support the local bee population that also pollinate their wonderful fields. Yes, you can use agave. If you must.

Honey Rosemary Biscuits


  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, preferably organic
  • 5 Tbsp granulated sugar. preferably organic
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 16 Tbsp Earth Balance Buttery stick, or similar, frozen
  • 1¾ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey or agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped or crumbled


Heat oven to 400°, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Stir vinegar into milk, let curdle.

Grate 10 Tbsp of the frozen butter with a box grater. Add to dry, gently work in with hands. Add in soured milk, stir to form a soft dough.

Knock out on a work surface, gently knead in any flour. Pat into a 2″ thick by 8″x6″ rectangle. Cut into 6 sections. Place biscuits on baking sheet, bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining butter, honey and rosemary in a small saucepan.

Take out biscuits from oven, slather the butter on the tops and sides till used up. Return biscuits to oven, bake for 10 minutes more.

Makes 6 large biscuits. Serves 6.



Potsticker Soup

What is better for the soul when one feels run down? In our house it is salty broth. Well, it used to be. Not so much anymore. Where in the past I might have driven a couple miles to get Kirk wonton soup, instead I went to the store and picked up some frozen vegan potstickers and lots of fresh veggies – like garlic and ginger. And had a bowl of not-so-salty-but-tasty broth!

The ingredient list seems long, but it isn’t complicated! And so much better tasting than the take out place……and better for us.


Potsticker Soup


  • 1 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and diced
  • 2″ section fresh ginger
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 8 ounce can water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Frozen potstickers (see below)


Heat a tall saucepan over medium, add oil, carrots and onion. Cook until softened and turning golden. Add in green onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Using a microplane grater, grate the ginger and knock into the pot (you can peel the ginger first or not, up to you). Cook for a minute or two, add in broth, water chestnuts, sesame oil and soy sauce. Let simmer while you prepare the potstickers.

Bring a large saucepan to boil. Add in 5 potstickers per person, let come back to boil, they will float to the surface. Turn down to medium and cook for 3 minutes. Gently drain.

Taste soup and decide if it needs more soy sauce – this will depend on how salty your broth is. I used a very low-sodium broth (140 mg per cup), and 2 Tbsp soy sauce was good for us, most will want it saltier. Divide the potstickers in deep bowls, ladle hot soup over and serve immediately.

Serves 4.


I used black sesame oil which I love the smell of. I can buy it at a nearby mega-Asian grocery store, any good sesame oil will work. To keep sesame oil fresh, store it tightly sealed in the refrigerator.

I used to buy lower-sodium soy sauce until I realized awhile back it contains preservatives. Since then I have changed over to a verified gluten-free, US made one. It has only what is needed, nothing extra. Use what you like, tamari, Braggs, etc.

Wontons also work well, frozen or handmade. Vegan potstickers are often found in large natural food stores, mine were stuffed with tofu and carrots. Yum!

PS: Just don’t do what I did and accidentally knock your colander sideways and have 6 of them go into the food disposal. Yeah, that blew.


Food Gifts: Creamy Vegetable-Lentil Soup Dry Mix

Curious for ideas on savory, non-sweet gifts you could make up easily? Consider this one…which can be presented as a plant-based, minimally processed and vegan friendly gift, always a bonus? I adapted a recipe I saw in the 2012 issue of Better Homes and Garden Food Gifts:


It is one of the thick “magazines” that are more like books, found in stores, near the checkouts or in the magazine aisle. I’d say it was worth the cost, of $10. What had gotten me to pick it up was for packaging ideas, of which it is stellar at. The recipes are well done as well. I did adapt it slightly, to reflect my taste in lentils (called for yellow lentils, I used French Green), varied the vegetables and used my handmade broth mix. I realize most people don’t have containers of dried veggies in their pantry, they should though! They last a long time, are handy in a pinch and in soups work the same as fresh. Buy in bulk and store in mason jars.

I call for a variety of dried vegetables in the recipe, you can of course cheat and use a pre-made mix of dried vegetables, I like making my own though (and I have plenty on hand after this past summers dehydration runs I did – of which I did a number of blog posts here and on my other blog) as the mixes often have way too much onion and parsley to bulk it up. Dried onions and Shiitake Mushrooms are both sold at Costco, onions with the spices, mushrooms are in the produce section.


Creamy Vegetable-Lentil Soup Dry Mix


Also Needed:

  • 1½ cups unsweetened non-dairy milk, non-dairy creamer or dairy milk or half and half or undiluted evaporated milk (see below)


If you have bought dehydrated vegetables they are normally dice size. If you are drying your own vegetables, cut them into dice size or small pieces before drying.

Layer the vegetables in a clean 16 to 20 ounce jar, pressing down to pack.

Mix the broth through garlic, add to a snack size bag, seal tightly and lay on top of vegetables.

Sort the lentils to endure there is no field debris, pack in a sandwich bag, lay on top.

Seal jar, decorate as desired.

Include with jar, printed or written on a pretty card:

To Make Soup –

Remove lentils, rinse and drain. Add all ingredients to a large saucepan with 4 cups water.

Bring to boiling, reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer covered for 20 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Stir in milk or creamer, let heat through for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 1 gift/1 batch soup.


We made our soup mix up and used a 12-ounce can of fat-free evaporated milk. The soup is very thick, it would work well as a sauce over rice as well. Feel free to use 5 cups water at the start if you like it thin. I enjoyed how hearty it was!


PS: I’d consider gifting it with a quick bread or scone mix, also presented in a jar, for a nifty gift. I served our soup with Walnut-Rosemary Bread.

Vegan Comfort Food: Blue Cornmeal Muffins & Broccoli Soup

Looking outside was dismal enough, wind screeching, rain dumping. Went and looked at Weather Underground’s map…yikes, shouldn’t have. The Cascade Mountains are being pounded with snow, a swath of green/yellow and orange over most of Western Washington (blue in the mountains). OK, soup day it is! It just seemed right. Up first though, I had a recipe from the December 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times, that called to be vegan-ized. Lest you all think I make no mistakes….my first batch came out like hard dense pucks. And I realized I had forgotten to put the flour in. Really, brain? How do you forget the FLOUR? Doh, I felt stupid as I dumped them in the compost bin. The second batch turned out perfectly. In some ways I thought they even tasted better the second day (I made them yesterday while it also dumped rain…..) Anyhow, they are delicious and one doesn’t miss the egg or the all-purpose flour!

Blue Cornmeal Muffins


  • 1 cup Blue Cornmeal
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, preferably organic
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 3 Tbsp water
  • ¼ cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup frozen corn


Preheat oven to 425°, spray a 12 count muffin tin with neutral vegetable oil liberally (preferably use a traditional pan, not a non-stick).

Whisk the vinegar into the almond milk, let sit. Add the water to the ground flaxseed, let hydrate for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile stir the cornmeal through salt together in a large bowl.

Whisk the flaxseed and oil together till smooth, add in the soured milk. Stir into the dry ingredients till just mixed, add ¾ of the corn, stir in.

Divide equally between the muffin tins. Sprinkle on the remaining corn on top.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes, run a thin metal spatula around, pop out, place on a cooling rack.

Let leftovers cool fully, cover and store on the counter for up to 2 days.

Makes 12 muffins.

Having received a copy of 300 Sensational Soups to review, I got poking through it. At first I had my eye on a butternut soup. Then I looked in my refrigerator and noticed that gee, maybe I should use all that broccoli I bought on sale over the weekend instead. So Broccoli Buttermilk Soup it was, easily vegan-ized as well!

The cookbook is a dream for fall and winter, and yes, that butternut soup will get made as well. Maybe later in the week. While it dumps even more rain…….soups, chowders, even dessert soups. So many delicious ones…..

Broccoli Soup (As adapted from page 50)


  • 1½ to 2 pounds fresh broccoli
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or Earth Balance Buttery stick
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Ground black pepper and fine sea salt


Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Meanwhile cut the florets off the broccoli crowns, set 1 cup aside, place the rest in another bowl. Trim the stalks and peel, then slice up.

Add the 1 cup of florets to the boiling water, blanch for 2 minutes. Scoop out and immerse in a bowl of ice water, drain and place on paper towels to drain.

Stir the lemon juice into the milk, whisk and let sit.

Drain the water from the pot, place over medium-high and heat the oil, sauté the onion, thyme and salt for 3 minutes, until onion is softened.

Add broccoli stalks, broth and bay leaf, bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 8 minutes.

Add the uncooked florets, return to simmer and cook for 3 minutes.

Remove and discard bay leaf.

Use an immersion blender to make the soup smooth, add in the cayenne, nutmeg and soured milk and let heat through, but do not let simmer or boil. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper.

Serve with the reserved cooked florets on top.

Serves 4.


FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy of the book.

Vegan Comfort Food: Quinoa Corn & Bean Chowder

I was inspired by a recipe for a “vegetarian chowder” that called for 2 cups heavy whipping cream. Eek. Jeez, take away ANY and ALL health benefits of eating beans and quinoa right there. The best part was saying it would serve 14 people. Who has ¾ a cup of soup for a serving for dinner? I know I don’t! Anyhow, the soup tastes fantastic without it. As well, I swapped in quinoa flour for the all-purpose flour. Bonus points for it being gluten-free. And if you let the chowder sit overnight in the refrigerator you will have leftovers that are nearly as thick as a casserole.

I got to use some of the corn I froze in summer as well, making this chowder a great dish for October Unprocessed 2012.

Quinoa Corn & Bean Chowder


  • 3 bell peppers, any color
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup Quinoa Flour
  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ cup vegan broth mix
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 16 ounce bag frozen corn kernels, preferably organic
  • 1½ cups cooked pinto beans or 15 ounce can, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, fresh or dried, minced
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp thyme, fresh or dried
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • Fine sea salt, to taste


Heat oven to 450°, line a baking sheet with foil. Wash the peppers, removing any stickers. Roast peppers, turning every 15 minutes, until soft and charred on outside. Remove and cover, let sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Peel of skins and remove seeds, finely chop peppers.

Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, shake off. Heat a deep saucepan over medium-high. Add quinoa and toast till dry, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Set the quinoa aside, return pan to heat. Add oil and onion, sauté until tender.

Stir in quinoa flour, add water, broth mix and milk, whisk till smooth.

Add remaining ingredients, bring to boil, lower heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring often. Season to taste and serve.

Serves 6 to 8.


Cornmeal Biscuits and Black-Eye Pea Soup

Needing a quick biscuit recipe to go with a hearty soup I was making, I quartered a recipe I saw in Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009: Every Recipe…A Year’s Worth of Cooking Light Magazine on page 60, for cornmeal biscuits.

And being pretty typical of me, I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk with vinegar added for the buttermilk called for. While I used unsalted butter, feel free to swap in Earth Balance buttery stick for a fully vegan biscuit.

Cornmeal Biscuits


  • ½ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp organic granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and diced or Earth Balance Buttery Stick (leave salt out if using this)
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk + 1½ tsp apple cider vinegar


Preheat the oven to 450° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, cut the butter in with your fingers. Stir in the milk/vinegar. Drop 6 balls on the sheet, bake for 10 minutes, or until golden on top.

Makes 6 biscuits.

Black-Eye Pea Soup


  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 12 ounce bag frozen black-eye peas
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 24 ounces baby red potatoes, thickly sliced
  • 16 ounce frozen chopped bagged spinach
  • Fine sea salt to taste


Bring the broth, water, tomatoes, garlic, pepper and peas to a boil. Reduce to medium-low and simmer partially covered for 30 minutes. Bring back to a boil and add the potatoes and spinach, return to a boil, then simmer on medium-low partially covered for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Season to taste and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.


Chickpea Veggie Soup

It might be June but it isn’t exactly “summer” here (that usually occurs after the 4th of July!). 60° and raining leads to soup for dinner. This is a hearty soup, almost more vegetables than broth. Perfect with a loaf of No-Knead Sweet Potato Bread served with it.

Chickpea Veggie Soup


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin coins
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1½ lbs zucchini, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 quart (4 cups) lower sodium vegetable broth
  • 1½ cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup finely sliced fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, finely grated


Heat a large pot over medium, add the oil, onion and fennel, cook until onion is translucent, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the carrots, cook for another 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, cook for a minute.

Stir in the broth, chickpeas, zucchini, tomatoes and pepper. Bring to a simmer, turn to medium-low and let simmer until the zucchini is tender, season to taste. Stir in the basil and serve with finely grated cheese on top, if desired. A microplane grater works well for this task.

Serves 6 to 8, depending on serving size.


Spicy Corn Soup from Soup of the Day

Williams-Sonoma cookbooks are highly addictive and Soup of the Day: 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year sucks you in. With creative soups and chowder you have so much to choose from and the many color photos will have you hungry. And yes, it really is 365 recipes, laid out in calendar style.

After going through the book I decided on trying the Spicy Corn Soup on page 156. I adapted the recipe by making it vegetarian (I left the bacon out and added a bit of oil), using all milk (it called for 1 cup of cream + 4 cups milk) and blended the soup till smooth. I am sure it would tasted delicious with the bacon. Oh, I am 100% sure on that. But alas, I was good and stuck to our no-meat policy. It was hard I will tell you!

While out shopping for the ingredients I was frustrated to not find any fresh poblano chiles in the produce department, although while staring at the chiles offered, it occurred to me that the ones marked pasilla peppers looked a lot like them. I find nearly every day I wonder what I did before I had a smartphone. Oh yeah, I remember. I’d call Kirk on my dumbphone and ask him to Google my question. Or I went home and came back. Both awful options. Instead I asked the search engine what I could substitute and hey, what exactly a pasilla was. And got my answer in a blink. They were poblanos after all. Apparently in the US many grocery stores sell them under the other name, even though pasilla refers to a different chile that is dried! Sheesh. So glad I was able to figure that out 😉 Maybe I need to shop in the chile section more! At least I didn’t have to ask the produce department workers any dumb questions…hah!

Spicy Corn Soup


  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (such as canola or sunflower)
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 large poblano chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • 5 cups low-fat milk
  • 2 large white or yellow potatoes (or termed “boiling” potatoes), cut into small cubes
  • 3 cups frozen corn
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes


In a large heavy pot over medium heat add the oil, onion, celery, chile and garlic, saute for 7 minutes or until lightly browned.

Turn up to medium high, add the milk and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Stir in the corn and red pepper flakes, cook for 5 minutes or until heated through.

Take off the stove and process in 2 to 3 batches in a blender until smooth (I used our Vitamix). Return to the pot and heat thru if needed.

Serves 6.

PS: The original recipe called for 3 slices bacon chopped and no oil. It is up to you of course.

PS2: If you have leftover soup, heat it up and toss with fresh cooked pasta for an easy lunch. Tasty with sharp cheddar cheese added in….

PS3: I really, really love our Vitamix blender. It took me years to realize how much I wanted one. After Kirk talked me into it, well, I haven’t regretted it. 30 seconds to silky smooth soup!


FTC Disclaimer: We received a preview copy of the book.

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