Category Archives: American

Smoky Bacon and Navy Bean Soup

Whenever we go to Buffalo to visit Nick’s parents, his mom always makes great soups. My family never ate much soup, but after eating several of her soups, as well as, several delicious soups at The Chicago Diner and at Native Foods Cafe , I decided to try making some of my own, since they’re always great on a cold winter day.

One of my favorite soups from The Chicago Diner is their navy bean soup, so I set out to create my own version of it using Upton’s Naturals bacon seitan and here’s what I came up with. It’s not the same as the Chicago Diner’s soup, but it’s delicious!



2 cups dry navy beans
4 medium red potatoes, cubed
1/3 Red onion, chopped
2 Tbsp Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
4 Tbsp vegan Liquid Smoke
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk or other unsweetened non-dairy beverage
5 slices of Upton’s Naturals bacon seitan
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp salt

Soak navy beans in water overnight or for at least 8 hours. Once soaked – rinse and drain. Pour 6 cups of water into a large soup pan and add beans – boil for 30 minutes.

While beans are boiling, cube your potatoes and place in a separate bowl. Chop red onion into small pieces and chop bacon into small strips, as well. Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan and fry bacon with onion until the onion is translucent and the bacon is a little browned – set aside.

After beans have cooked for half an hour, drain again. Place 5 fresh cups of water into your soup pot and add beans again, as well as cubed potatoes and bring to a boil. Dissolve 1 vegetable bouillon cube in 1 cup of boiling water and add to soup mix. Add 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke and one tablespoon of salt and stir. Allow soup mix to boil for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Take off heat and use potato masher to mash soup mix.

Once beans and potatoes have been mashed, add bacon and onion from the pan you set aside earlier and return pot to heat. Stir and allow to simmer until water evaporates and mixture starts to look like mashed potatoes (10-15 minutes). Stir in almond milk, margarine and the other 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke. Allow to simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Makes 3-4 bowls.


Mashed Turnips & Butternut Squash

This week I’m going to be focusing on meals involving vegetables that grow locally during this season. This is my first year being a part of a CSA, so I’m learning a lot about what grows locally at various times of year and I’m being exposed to a lot of vegetables I don’t normally eat, like squash and turnips! Until a few weeks ago I’d never eaten a turnip in my life and the only squash I ate semi-regularly was pumpkin, which I’d only ever had in desserts. However, thanks to the recent delivery of a beautiful butternut squash and lots and lots of turnips, I was able to eat the following delicious meal!

Butternut Squash and Mashed Turnips with Pasta

The mashed turnips make a great sauce, but can also be eaten as a side dish, while the squash is so tasty is can be eaten all on its own if you like or mashed and turned into a side as well.

Here’s the recipe:

Butternut squash:

1 Medium butternut squash

Clean your squash, cut it lengthwise and remove the seeds and fibers. Fill a shallow pan with a quarter inch of water. Place your squash in the pan (skin side down) and dot the flesh with margarine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Preheat oven to 400 F, cover squash and bake 35-40 min.

Cooked Butternut Squash

Mashed Turnips:

1lb turnips
2 scallions
1 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp Earth Balance butter
1/2 tsp nutmeg
6 Tbsp Tofutti soy sour cream

Remove your turnip greens (if they’re still attached), clean the turnips, remove the ends and coarsely chop the turnips. Place them in a large pot of cold water. Boil for 15 minutes. You should be able to slice through a piece of turnip easily. Remove from heat, drain the water and mash with a potato masher. While turnips are cooking, dice the scallions and mince garlic, simmer in olive oil in a separate pan. Once turnips have been mashed add sour cream, Earth Balance, pepper, scallions, garlic and nutmeg. Simmer over low heat until margarine melts and everything is mixed together.

Cook pasta, skin and cube squash and pour turnip sauce over everything or use as a side.

Makes 2-3 servings


Grandma’s Mac & Cheese

My friend Mickey recently turned me on to Daiya vegan cheese.

Daiya Cheddar Style Shred
It doesn’t taste exactly like cheese but it comes pretty close and it melts really well. Check out the grilled cheese we made.

So when he asked me if I wanted in on his next order I said, sure! and I got a bag of the Cheddar Style Shred (28g/1 serving size) and I immediately began doing some experimenting.

Mac & Cheese has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid and I have searched for the best vegan alternative for ages and I think I’ve found it!

1/2 Package or 8oz of elbow macaroni
3 Tbs margarine
3 Tbs all-purpose flour
2.5 Cups Rice milk
1/2 tsp salt (this is how much my grandma’s recipe calls for – I usually add 3/4 tsp though)
1/8 tsp pepper
2 cups of shredded Daiya cheddar style “cheese” (about 2/3 of a 1 serving bag)
1/2 cup Bread crumbs

Cheese sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to package directions. In a medium saucepan melt margarine and stir in flour. Gradually stir in rice milk. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until sauce thickens. Stir in salt and pepper. Add cheese and stir until cheese melts and there aren’t any clumps of anything left in the sauce.

Pre-baking/bread crumbs
Drain pasta and pour 1/2 of it into a casserole dish, pour 1/2 of the cheese sauce over it. Pour second 1/2 of pasta in and add remaining cheese sauce.

Top with bread crumbs to your tastes. (I usually brown my bread crumbs with a little margarine in a small sauce pan before spreading them over the top of the casserole). Bake 30 min.

Makes 4-6 servings