'Taste, color and crunch': Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe for a vegan soup

Enhance Veganuary's taste and texture with green bean and coconut soup, herb pumpkin and walnuts, and chickpea and carrot with olives

To be honest, I'm not very good at making New Year's resolutions or giving up. Still, if pushed to choose, I'd be much quicker to go meatless for January than to turn down the odd glass of wine, which at this point is frankly a drug. And not eating meat or fish is the most brilliant way to enhance taste, color and crunch: bright green peas, bright orange squash, mouth-watering aromatics, crunchy seeds and nuts, fresh herbs, hot chili peppers… The food we eat on the moon January, and beyond, can be as much about turning back time as it is about giving up.

Mung bean and coconut soup with soy sunflower seeds (pictured above)

It's everything I could want in the depths of winter, but it's also one to allocate for summer, when it does its best. Delicious with a slice of grilled ciabatta or cooked vermicelli.

  • Preparation 30 min
  • Cook 35 minutes
  • Serving 4
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 stalks of celery, trimmed and finely chopped (140g)
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped (170g)
  • 3 shallot bananas, peeled and finely chopped (110g)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Fine sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 pieces of makrut lime leaves
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, crushed
  • 1 x 400ml can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 500g frozen peas, thawed
  • For soybeans
  • 40g sunflower seeds
  • 40g olive oil
  • 20g fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the oil, celery, chives, shallots, garlic, and half a teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, for 10-12 minutes, until the vegetables are soft but colorless. .

Stir in the lime leaves, lemongrass and lots of black pepper, and cook, stirring frequently so the mixture doesn't seize, for another two minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and 1.2 liters of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

While the soup is boiling, make soybean seeds. Place the sunflower seeds, oil, ginger and chili in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it starts to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium and fry slowly for five minutes, until the ginger and seeds are golden. Put it in a ramekin or small bowl and stir in the soy.

Place the peas in a large heatproof bowl or pitcher with half a teaspoon of salt. Remove and discard the lemongrass and lime leaves from the gravy pot, then pour the gravy over the peas. Working in two or three batches, blitz the soup in the blender for two or more minutes a batch, until smooth and pale green, then pour back into the pot and reheat if necessary.

To serve, divide the hot soup among four bowls and stir in the seeds.

Roasted pumpkin soup with maple walnuts and herb oil

Make extra maple walnuts, if you like: they keep well in airtight containers and sprinkled over salads. Both soups and herbal oils can be made the day before, ready to be blended when served.

  • Preparation 15 min
  • Cook 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Presents 6
  • 1 x 1kg crown prince's squash, or another type of flour, such as kabocha
  • 400g sweet potato, unpeeled
  • 150 ml of olive oil
  • 5 grams of bay leaves
  • 1 red chili, thinly sliced oblique (10g)
  • 1 spring onion, trimmed and cut into 2mm rounds (200g)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped (240g)
  • 10g fresh ginger, peeled and diced
  • Fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • 2 small king edward (or similar) potatoes (200g)
  • 60g walnuts
  • 1½ tbsp maple syrup
  • 10 grams of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 10 grams of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Place the whole squash and sweet potato on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper and bake, turning halfway through, for one hour, until soft and golden. Remove and reduce oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Once cool enough to handle, use a metal spoon to peel the skins off the squash and sweet potato, and scoop out the pumpkin seeds.

Meanwhile, put 80ml of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, then add the sage leaves and fry for about two minutes, until they turn dark green. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sage, transfer it to a piece of kitchen paper and allow it to crisp. Add the chiles to the hot oil, fry, stirring occasionally, for about two minutes, until they are deep red, then transfer to kitchen paper along with the sage.

Transfer the hot oil to a large saucepan over medium heat, add the leek, onion, ginger and three teaspoons of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, until soft and translucent. Add smoked paprika and ground coriander, cook briefly, until fragrant, then add cooked pumpkin and sweet potato flesh, and 1.6 liters of water.

Peel and grate the potatoes on a cutting board, then add them to the soup before they change color. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, make the beans crumbly. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkle with walnuts, maple syrup and a quarter teaspoon salt and stir to coat. Bake, stirring once halfway through, for about 10 minutes, until toasted and golden brown, then remove, sprinkle the fried sage and chili on top, stir to coat and allow to cool. After the nut mixture has cooled, crumple the foil to crush the brittle into small pieces.

Make herb oil by combining coriander, parsley, lemon zest, remaining 70ml of oil and a quarter teaspoon of salt in a small bowl.

Once the soup is cooked, turn off the heat and blitz with a stick or regular blender until smooth and creamy. Add a little water to loosen, if needed, then divide among the six bowls. Sprinkle the maple walnut crumble on top and serve with the herb oil.

Chickpea, carrot and swede soup with herbed olives

This takes its inspiration from the Moroccan harira, which usually features lamb or chicken. Feel free to add some, or use chicken stock instead of water for a richer (though clearly non-vegan) result.

  • Prep 10 min
  • Cook 25 min
  • Serves 4-6
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped (300g)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp rose harissa
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Fine sea salt
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas
  • ½ swede, peeled and cut into 2cm dice (200g)
  • 2 carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthways and then into 3cm lengths (200g)
  • 10g parsley leaves
  • 10g coriander leaves
  • 40g pitted green olives
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar

Put the first six ingredients in a large saucepan with two teaspoons of salt and 45ml of oil, then cook on medium-high heat for five minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the chickpeas and their liquid and 800ml water, bring to a boil, then add the swede and carrot. Lower the heat, simmer gently for 15 minutes, until the vegetables have softened but still retain their shape, then take off the heat and remove and discard the cinnamon stick.

While the soup is cooking, put the herbs, olives and vinegar in the small bowl of a food processor, add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and pulse to a rough paste.

To serve, divide the soup between shallow bowls and spoon the olive mixture on top.

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