Saturday, April 30, 2011

Veganized & Politicized Wild Rice Soup

Some of the ways we are able to maintain our unique food lifestyle (dairy-free pescaterian) is by veganizing some of our favorite meals. I did this a lot more before I found Isa Chandra Moskowitz' books, but still do it from time to time. Some examples of our favorite veganized meals are Fiesta Taco TVP Helper (that one is worthy of it's own blog post),  TVP stroganoff, lasagna/ziti/stuffed shells with tofu ricotta, and chili.

When I met Brian, he was a die-hard devotee of his mother's cooking. You can't blame him - she cooks with all the ingredients we've evolved to obsess over: fat, sugar, and salt. Although I still haven't figured out the appeal of boiling vegetables down into an unpalatable mush... but anyway. One of Brian's favorite recipes of his mother's is wild rice soup. I've tried some vegan recipes for it before and have been seriously let down by weak broth and poor flavor. Wild rice soup deserves better.

If you aren't from MN, wild rice is serious business up here. And from this socialist social worker's perspective, buying locally grown wild rice from the indigenous communities who continue to harvest it on traditional ways is one way to support Native self-sufficiency and the sustenance of cultural heritage. I'm a fan of Red Lake Nation Foods, which can be ordered from their website and is available in many MN grocery stores. The Red Lake Nation has an incredible story of maintaining their unique sovereignty, contributing to the American Indian Movement, and demonstrating resiliency in the face of tragedy. Food is a major purchase for most Americans, so vote with your food dollars and support sustainable, community-engaged food producers. Buy some wild rice that lives up to your animal-free ingredients and make some awesome vegan soup.

What made this recipe delicious is that is was textured and chunky, and the broth thickened to almost a sauce. The nutritional yeast ("nooch") makes the soup taste rich and creamy, and the bacon bits added just the right amount of smokiness in the background.  I should also say that Brian made this soup on a day when I was working and he had off, which also makes this soup liberated from second-shift domestic tyranny of women. Ah, the sweet taste of an egalitarian household.

Hearty Vegan Wild Rice & Portobello Soup
Cook time: 60 minutes
3 T. dairy-free butter (we use Earth Balance) or oil
2 onions, chopped
1 container of portobello mushrooms, rough chopped
1/4 c. imitation bac'n bits
3-4 carrots, chopped (Brian cut them into bigger chunks instead of the usual coins, and they were awesome. So that's what I'd recommend to you!)
2 c. new red potatoes (about 6), cubed
9 c. water
5 T. vegetarian bouillon powder
1.5 c. uncooked wild rice

5 T. flour
1 c. unsweetened plain soy milk
1/2 c. nutritional yeast flakes

Saute first 3 ingredients over medium high heat in soup pot until onions are softened and begin to turn translucent. Add bacon bits, veggies, water, bouillon, and rice. Bring to a boil on high heat, then lower to medium and simmer for 40 minutes, covered. Next, mix the soy milk and flour in a separate bowl, whisking out any lumps, and pour into the soup. Add the nutritional yeast and turn the heat off. Let the flavors blend (and the soup cool!) for a few minutes before serving. You may need to add more water/soy milk when reheating leftovers, as it really thickens up.

Sorry there's no pics, we nommed the hell out of this soup! And for good reason - it really lived up to it's original, animal product-based form without being unhealthy for you, animals, and the environment. Speaking of healthy, it made 6 portions clocking in at about 350 calories per bowl. Give it a try and let me know how you like it!


  1. This sounds Amazing! I will definitely have to try it. :) (Perfect use for those imitation bacon bits I have in the cupboard too.)

  2. You are so awesome, Jenna. It's really too bad that I hate wild rice cuz otherwise this sounds delicious!

  3. Love wild rice love nutritional yeast - sounds like a winner to me!