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Souped Up Vegetarian Food

February 22, 2011

Vegetarianism has come a long way in the last 30 years.  People who didn’t eat meat used to be considered freaks, unnatural weirdos, Communists, etc.  Outside of Asian restaurants, finding tasty vegetarian options on a menu was a rare thing.  But as healthy eating became more of a necessity than a lifestyle choice, vegetarianism has become much more rampant. Pretty much every restaurant has meat-less options these days, and there are many restaurants that now cater exclusively to those who don’t eat meat.  To create a change in perception about vegetarian food, it became necessary to not just offer vegetarian options, but to also make dishes that could fill you up and taste great; the uneducated masses believed vegetarians  ate bland beans and rice all day.  Luckily today we can find a plethora of delicious vegetarian dishes; here at the MHK we go meat-less at least once a week, sometimes more.  Today’s recipe, from Vegetarian Times, is a great reason to let your inner carnivore take a night off – this healthy soup combines the earthiness of carrots, the sweetness of banana and coconut milk, and the tang of lime juice; plus the cayenne leaves a nice, slight burn on the back of the throat.  Serve it with some fresh bread and it’s a healthy, tasty meal.  The cows and chickens will thank you.  Enjoy!

Sweet and Spicy Carrot Bisque

(serves 4)

1 Tbs. canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced (1 cup)
2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 Tbs. curry powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds (4 cups)
1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced (1 cup)
1 tsp. salt
1 13.5-oz. can light coconut milk, divided
2 ½ Tbs. lime juice

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and pinch of salt, and sauté 5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Stir in ginger, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add curry powder, cayenne, and ¼ cup water. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to coat onion and ginger with curry powder. Add carrots, banana, salt, and 4 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes, or until carrots are soft enough to be pierced with fork.  Remove from heat and puree soup using an immersion blender, or in batches in blender or food processor. Return soup to pot, and stir in 1 cup coconut milk and lime juice. Simmer remaining ¾ cup coconut milk in small saucepan over medium-high heat 10 minutes, or until reduced by half.  Ladle soup in bowls and swirl each serving with coconut milk reduction. Eat!

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