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Flavorful Vegan Foods to Keep You Warm this Winter

by Cris Puscas

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Winters tend to be quite feisty, hitting Northern Hemisphere countries with days on end of below-freezing temps during the day. It’s certainly not a pleasure to have to go out.  

As the temperatures dip, it is the perfect time to cook some delicious vegan recipes to keep us warm.

Here are my favorite recipes to cook once the temps go down. They make use of many staples everyone should have in their pantry. Even if you are not following a vegan diet, these recipes are an excellent choice for when you are looking for a light and nutritious meal.

Modified Greek Beans Soup


vegan food: beans soup

Greek beans soup (or Fassolatha) is the most popular winter soup in Greece and a staple of the Mediterranean cuisine. It is also vegan, making it a good choice during lent, as well.

To make the dish, you will need:

  • 2 cups of canned beans (of your choice, but while beans are preferred) or 1 cup dry beans
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • ½ large celeriac root or 2-3 celery sticks
  • 2 tomatoes (can be canned)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a sprinkle of oregano
  • a sprinkle of salt
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2-3 cups of water (boiled in a kettle)

Those are the traditional ingredients but when I have parsnips in the pantry, one of them also makes it to the pot. And many times I like to keep it rustic and don’t cut the veggies in cubes.

The above yields two large bowls (or four small ones if you insist on eating it with bread).

If you use dry beans, soak them overnight and, when you start to put together the dish, boil them for about half an hour.

In a large pot, heat the oil, add the bay leaf and oregano and the onion. Let it turn a bit golden, then toss in the carrots, together with the celery (and parsnip). What I do is add a bit of water (½ cup) and let it simmer for 5 minutes before adding the beans and the tomatoes. Add more water (2-3 cups, depending on how thick you want the soup to be) and simmer for at least 30 minutes, if you used dry beans. If you chose canned beans, as soon as the carrots are cooked, the dish is done.

If you are a vegetarian, serve the soup with some feta cheese crumbled on top.

» Read more: BookCulinaryVacations.com’s Extended Glossary of Herbs, Spices, Kitchen Terms & Measurements

Red Lentils Thick Soup


vegan foods: red lentils soup
Photo by Cris Puscas

Lentils are among the healthiest foods and have a high ratio of protein per calorie, making them an amazing choice for the vegans.

My favorite way to incorporate lentils into my diet is a thick soup I make whenever it’s cold outside. And by cold, I also mean rainy days during summer.

To make this soup you will need:

  • 1 cup dry red lentils (my favorites)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • ½ large celeriac root, grated
  • 1 medium parsnip, grated (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a sprinkle of oregano
  • a sprinkle of salt
  • 1 peperoncino (Italian hot chili peppers)
  • 2 tomatoes, grated (can be canned and diced)
  • 2-3 cups of water (boiled in a kettle)
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Soak the lentils in about 2 cups of water at least how long it takes to prepare the ingredients. Grate the carrot, celeriac root, and parsnip.

In a pot, heat the oil and add the veggies, along with the bay leaf, peperoncino, and oregano. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add about ½ a cup of hot water and the tomatoes. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the salt and the lentils add the rest of the water. For each cup of dry lentils, you need about 3 cups of water. If you add more, the soup won’t be that thick. Depending on the lentils you use, boil for 15-20 minutes. Makes two large bowls. Or four smaller ones. 

» You may also like these Delicious Vegan Summer Recipes 

Easy Vegetable Soup


vegan food: vegetables soup

Vegetable soup is the ultimate comfort food for me. I must admit I don’t shy away from adding some homemade noodles in there. Whenever it’s cold or I just feel icky, this soup never fails to hit the spot!

For the base you will need:

  • 1 large carrot, cubed
  • 1 medium parsnip, cubed
  • 1 parsley root (whole, for flavor only)
  • ¼ large celeriac root, cubed
  • 1 tomato (can be canned)
  • 1 onion (whole, for flavor only)
  • 1 cup peas (can be frozen)
  • 1 cup green beans (can be frozen)
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • bunch of fresh parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

In a pot, start by adding the water, together with the parsley root, tomato, and onion. Let is simmer as you are cutting the rest of the veggies into cubes.

Once done, add the carrots, parsnips, celeriac root, peas, and green beans to the pot. Add the oil and salt. The veggies should cook in about 15-20 minutes, depending on how small you cut them.

Fish out the parsley root (I like to eat that too, but not everyone is a fan) and the onion. Cut the parsley leaves and sprinkle on top.

Makes two large bowls (or about 4 small servings, if you use small bowls). Serve with fresh pepper sprinkled on top.

If you have vegan noodles handy, you can add a cup in the soup. The homemade ones take a minute to cook.

» Read more: Delicious Protein Rich Foods Vegans Should Be Eating on a Regular Basis

Mushrooms Risotto

vegan foods: mushrooms risotto

I’m not particularly fond of any rice recipe but somehow, this combination hits the spot every winter. It is the recipe I make maybe once a month, though.

To make this dish you will need:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2-3 cups raw mushrooms, diced (I use white button) or 1 cup canned mushrooms
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tomato (can be canned)
  • salt & pepper
  • a sprinkle of oregano
  • 3 cups of water (boiled in a kettle)
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Start by dicing the mushrooms, onion, and carrot. Drain the mushrooms if you use canned ones.

In a large pan, heat the oil and add the diced veggies in. Let them cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the tomato, salt, oregano, pepper, and the boiled water.

A cup of dry rice needs 3 cups of water. Boil for 15-20 min (or the time listed on the rice package). Pay attention if you used mixed rice (wild with brown, for example) as the cooking time may increase quite a bit. Makes two large bowls (or four smaller ones)

If you want, you can either not add carrots at all, or include other vegetables. Red bells peppers and celeriac root are good options.

You may swap the water for vegetables stock. You can also swap the risotto for bulgur (which cooks in about the same time) or even quinoa (but the consistency will be quite diffrent). Feel free to sprinkle nutritional yeast on top (2 TBSP for the entire quantity) or grated parmesan (if you prefer the vegetarian version).

» Read more: 5 Reasons Why You Should Always Include Plenty of Fruits & Vegetables in Your Diet

Want to learn more about the vegan diet and lifestyle without breaking the bank? Be sure to browse through all the budget vegan retreats we have on offer! 

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