Thai Butternut Squash Soup

Thai Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash lends a lovely color and flavor to this soup. Coconut milk makes the soup creamy without the cream, and the red curry paste provides a touch of heat. This would be a good first course for an Asian-themed meal.

3 Tbs. olive oil
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbs. fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
32 oz. vegetable broth
13.5-oz. can coconut milk
1/2 tsp. red curry paste (or to taste; you can use sambal oelek instead, but it’s not as authentic)
Fresh lime juice (optional)
Fresh or dried cilantro for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss butternut squash chunks with olive oil and place on a greased baking pan or a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake the squash until tender (about 40 minutes).

2. Heat the olive oil in a large stewpot over medium heat. Saute the onions until softened. Don’t brown them; add a little broth to the pan if they start to brown. Add the ginger, garlic, and salt; cook for an additional minute or two. Add the vegetable broth and squash chunks; heat thoroughly. Stir in coconut milk and sambal oelek.

3. If you have an immersion blender, use it to puree the soup in the stewpot. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the soup to a blender and process until smooth.

4. Divide soup among serving bowls. Drizzle a teaspoon of fresh lime juice over the soup in each bowl. Garnish with fresh or dried cilantro if desired.

thai noodles with spicy peanut basil sauce

thai_noodles_with_spicy_peanut_basil_sauce
Who needs takeout? Your family will think you stopped at an Asian restaurant on your way home when you serve these tasty Thai noodles, and you can make them as spicy as you like.

1 cup fresh snow pea pods
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
3 Tbs. soy sauce
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. ground coriander
Crushed red pepper to taste
12-oz. package Udon noodles (substitute spaghetti or fettuccine if you can’t find Udon noodles)
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped

1. Trim snow pea pods and blanch for 45 seconds. Set aside.

2. In a large stewpot over medium heat, whisk together coconut milk, vegetable broth, soy sauce, and peanut butter. Add lime juice, garlic, sugar, coriander, and red pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes or until mixture is thoroughly heated. Reduce heat to low.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and add pasta to sauce, along with snow pea pods, basil, and bean sprouts. Mix gently and place on a serving platter. Sprinkle with peanuts.

easy weeknight vegetables in curry sauce

There’s no need to serve an uninspired meal after a long day at work. This dish is super fast, and the tasty sauce easily rivals one from your local ethnic family restaurant. The bonus of eating at home: You get to personalize it with your favorite veggies. We included more ingredient ideas below the recipe.

vegetables in curry sauce
Rice or udon noodles

1 14-oz. can coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon each: salt, turmeric, garam masala, cumin, and paprika

2 Tbs. canola oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, chopped
16-oz. frozen stir-fry vegetable blend (ours included edamame, carrots, mushrooms, bamboo shoots), thawed
14-oz. can baby corn
Fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Start preparing rice or udon noodles according to package directions. While the water boils or the rice cooker heats up, prepare the veggies.

2. In a small pot, combine coconut milk and salt, turmeric, garam masala, cumin, and paprika. Heat on low while veggies cook, stirring occasionally.

3. Heat the canola oil in a large pan or wok. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent. Add mushrooms and zucchini; cook for 3 minutes or so. Add thawed frozen vegetables and canned vegetables at the end; cook until heated through.

4. Serve veggies over cooked rice or noodles, and spoon curry sauce over the top. Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped fresh cilantro leaves.

More ingredient ideas: Sliced kale ribbons, a handful of fresh spinach, tofu or tempeh cubes, canned water chestnuts or straw mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli, diced chili peppers, fresh ginger, tomato

thai cucumber salad

The flavor combination of vinegar, sugar, and crushed red peppers is downright addictive.

2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced
4 Tbs. kosher salt (you can substitute regular salt)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
3 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 cup peanuts, finely chopped
Scallions for garnish

1. Place the cucumber slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Drain for about 30 minutes. Rinse slices; drain again.

2. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, and red pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Cool.

3. In a medium bowl, combine drained cucumber slices with vinegar mixture. Chill before serving. Garnish with chopped peanuts and scallions.

tempeh vegetable stir fry in curry peanut sauce

tempeh vegetable stir fry with peanut curry sauce
This is a really flavorful sauce that could be the foundation for a zillion variations. Try tofu or a chicken substitute instead of tempeh. Add some shitake mushrooms. Use brown or white rice instead of soba noodles. Omit the curry powder and just enjoy the peanut sauce.

sauce:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 Tbs. agave nectar
4 Tbs. white miso
2 Tbs. sesame oil
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 cup water

stir fry:
2 Tbs. canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
8 oz. tempeh, cubed
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 16-oz. bag frozen Asian-style stir-fry veggies
Salt and pepper to taste

Package soba noodles (or brown or white rice)

1. In a medium-size pot over medium heat, whisk together the sauce ingredients. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, making sure all peanut butter and miso lumps are dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Fill a pot with water and bring to boil for soba noodles. Cook according to package directions.

3. Heat the oil over medium heat in a wok or heavy skillet. Add the garlic, onion, bell peppers, and tempeh. Stir fry for about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and frozen veggies and continue to stir fry until the vegetables are just tender. Stir in the peanut sauce; heat tempeh and veggies until simmering. Remove from heat and serve over soba noodles.

thai chili tofu

Chef Robert Church, author of The Tao of Tofu, was kind enough to share this recipe with us. Lime and chilies give a tart and spicy hue to this variation of the Thai classic. The vegetables provide additional flavor and color.

1 16-ounce block extra-firm tofu, pressed, drained, and cut into planks
2 Tbs. light vegetable oil
1 medium carrot, cut into 2″ matchsticks
1 red bell pepper, seeded, veined, and cut into 2″ matchsticks
2 Tbs. light vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, serrano, or Thai bird chili, seeded, veined, and finely diced
2 Tbs. tamari, shoyu, or generic soy sauce
1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 Tbs. palm sugar or light brown sugar

1. In a medium-size sautè pan or wok, fry tofu in the vegetable oil until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels.

2. Heat the vegetable oil to medium-high, add the carrot and bell pepper, and sautè 1 minute. Add the garlic, and carefully sautè 1 minute more. Don’t burn the garlic. Add the tofu and continue to cook.

3. Whisk together the chili, tamari, lime juice, ginger, and sugar. Pour into the pan and toss with the vegetables and tofu. Cook until the sauce thickens and coats all the ingredients.

almond tofu

Cindy Gliebe of VeggieSensations provided us with this recipe. Serve over rice for an Asian sensation!

2 cups water
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Tbs. peanut butter
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. fresh, peeled, grated ginger root
1 Tbs. sesame oil
1 lb. extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
6 cups mixed vegetables of your choice: broccoli, carrots, onions, celery, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, green peppers
1/2 cup sliced almonds

1. Using a wire whisk, mix first seven ingredients together. Set aside.

2. In saucepan over medium heat, heat sesame oil. Sautè tofu cubes until firm and brown. Set tofu aside to drain on paper towels.

3. In the same pan, sautè vegetables. When the vegetables are tender, add sliced almonds and sauce. Heat through and serve over rice.

asian peanut sauce

This sauce is wonderful over pasta or stir-fried vegetables and rice.

1/2 cup olive oil
5 Tbs. peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
6 Tbs. tamari
4 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
4 Tbs. mellow white miso
1 garlic clove, minced or finely chopped

In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together. Pour over warm pasta tossed with sesame oil or stir-fried vegetables and rice.

thai soup in an instant

Sue submitted this abbreviated version of a wonderfully flavorful recipe from her cousin Ellen. If you’re really in a hurry, substitute 1 tsp. onion powder for the diced onion. You can also vary the amount of jalapenos to your taste.

1/2 medium onion, diced
1 14-oz. can black beans, pureed
1 14-oz. can vegetable broth
1 14-oz. can pure pumpkin
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
2-3 Tbs. jalapenos, diced, or 1-oz canned
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. prepared minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in a soup pot; heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

monika’s sesame noodles

Take these tasty sesame noodles to your next office potluck or picnic and treat your friends to a taste of the Far East. They’re delicious and easy to make.

16 oz. udon noodles (use linguine if you can’t find udon)
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
2 Tbs. sesame seeds

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Pour over the cooked pasta; toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

sesame broccoli

Here’s a simple side dish with an Asian twist.

2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
2 Tbs. sesame oil
2 Tbs. agave nectar
salt and pepper to taste
2 bunches broccoli, trimmed and cut into small florets
1/4 cup sesame seeds

1. In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, agave nectar, and salt and pepper; set aside. Steam broccoli florets until just tender; set aside to cool. In a large skillet, toast sesame seeds.

2. Add broccoli florets to bowl with dressing; stir to combine. Let sit at room temperature until ready to serve (up to 2 hours). Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds right before serving.

armenian garlic dip

This is a great way to use day-old bread, and according to the Armenians, the only way to ingest such massive amounts of raw garlic and enjoy it. Jill in Boulder, Colorado submitted this recipe. She says that this recipe is one of several gifts from her dear friend and brother Spice, a vegan gourmet chef.

Jill advises against kissing or engaging in any close-talking with non-eaters of this raw garlic dip soon after you indulge in the intense garlickyness.

5 or 6 cups whole wheat bread innards (everything except the crust)
3 medium bulbs (not cloves) garlic
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/8 cup lemon juice (fresh if possible)
1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Soak the bread in enough water to more than cover it, and then squeeze out the extra water and set the bread aside. In a food processor, mix the garlic, salt, lemon juice, and oil until the garlic is pureed. Add the bread and run until the mixture is homogenous. Refrigerate several hours to allow flavors to develop.

Note: The garlic has a preservative quality that allows this dip to keep at room temperature in a sealed jar for about two weeks. In the refrigerator, it will keep at least as long, with a gradual intensifying of flavors that is desirable.

brown rice pilaf

Sue and I were curious as to where rice pilaf originated, and a quick Web search revealed a long, complex history for this dish. (The short answer: the Middle East and Central and South Asia.) Prepare our brown rice pilaf with pine nuts (and a creamy sauce) and think about how many people before you have enjoyed a similar dish throughout history.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
1 cup brown rice
1 14-oz. can vegetable broth plus water to equal 2 cups
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1. In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until onion is golden (about 5 minutes). Add rice and sautè for 1 minute.

2. Add broth, water, wine, mushrooms, thyme, and salt. Simmer until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed (about 50-55 minutes). Check rice occasionally and add water if necessary.

3. Let stand for 5 minutes. Mix in pine nuts immediately before serving.

thai golden curry with tofu

thai golden curry with tofu
This recipe is not difficult (don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients). Prepare all items in advance, including slicing the tofu. For best results, rinse the tofu block, and then stand it on its side and slice the narrowest edge into four slices. Then lay it flat and cut into about 2-inch cubes. The slices will be 1/2-inch thick and will cook more evenly.

1/3 cup light olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 16-ounce package firm tofu, rinsed
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. curry powder
1 Tbs. soy sauce
2 tsp. agave nectar OR 3 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 6-ounce package baby spinach leaves

1. Place 2 Tbs. olive oil, onion, ginger, and garlic into heated large cook pot or dutch oven. Stir occasionally until onion is transparent, about 3 minutes. Add remaning olive oil and tofu and cook until tofu is lightly browned. Add a bit more oil, if necessary.

2. Add coconut milk, pepper flakes, paprika, curry powder, soy sauce, agave nectar, and salt. Stir well.

3. Spread carrot slices on top, and add spinach leaves. Cover tightly and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Mix before serving over rice or noodles.

tofu stir fry with lime & coconut

You can easily enjoy the tastes of Thailand on a weeknight after a hard day’s work because this recipe is so simple. Marinate the tofu in the lime juice while you prepare the other ingredients and read your mail.

1 16-oz. package firm tofu
1 lime
2 Tbs. canola oil
6 green onions, white parts only, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. diced green chilies, hot or mild
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
2 tsp. tamari
1 12-oz. package frozen stir-fry veggies
Your favorite Asian chili sauce (optional)
Grated or shredded coconut for garnishing (optional)

Rice or Udon noodles

1. Drain tofu and slice into 1″ cubes. Grate lime zest and sprinkle over tofu cubes. Slice lime in half and squeeze juice over tofu cubes. Stir to combine and set aside.

2. Heat canola oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sautè tofu and scallions for about 3 minutes. Add green chilies, coconut milk, and tamari. Heat until mixture bubbles. Add frozen veggies and chili sauce, if using. Heat through and serve over rice or noodles. Garnish with coconut if desired.

michelle’s spring rolls

Michelle, mother of five and a great vegan cook, submitted this recipe. You can set out the ingredients and let your guests make their own spring rolls.

2 oz. dried bean thread noodles or rice thread noodles
1 cucumber, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
12 large rice-paper wrappers (8-inch round or larger)
2 cups baby spinach leaves (or other hardy greens such as kale or romaine lettuce), cut in thin strips
1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
8 oz. baked, seasoned tofu, cut into 1/4-inch sticks
12 fresh basil or mint leaves
Peanut sauce for dipping

1. Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 5 minutes or until softened. Drain well and set aside.

2. Remove and discard the seeds in the cucumber by scraping a spoon on the center of each piece. Cut each piece into thin strips.

3. Fill a large bowl (at least several inches larger than the rice wrappers) with warm water. Soak one wrapper until soft and pliable, 20-30 seconds. Remove the rice wrapper from the water and lay flat on a counter or cutting board. Place 1-2 tablespoons of spinach leaves along one edge of the wrapper. Place an equal amount of noodles over the spinach. Top with 1 tablespoon of carrot matchsticks, several pieces of cucumber and tofu, and a basil or mint leaf.

4. Roll the wrapper, starting with the filling side, folding the ends over the filling as you roll and forming a tight cylinder. Serve with small bowls of peanut sauce for dipping.

indonesian rice salad

Sue worked hard this week to create the Asian-inspired dressing for this salad, a perfectly blended balance of sweet, salty, spicy, and tart flavors, with none overpowering the other. Her husband loves it.

dressing:
2/3 cup orange juice
3 Tbs. peanut oil
1 Tbs. sesame oil
3 Tbs. tamari
2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. dry white wine
1 tsp. sugar or agave nectar
1/4 tsp. garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash of white pepper

salad:
2 cups cooked rice
Small bunch of green onions
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits
1/2 medium zucchini, julienne sliced
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup cashew halves
1 8 oz. can water chestnuts, sliced
1/3 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1. Place dressing ingredients into small mixing bowl and mix well with wire whisk.

2. Slice green onion bunch in half, and discard dark green half. Chop onions and place in large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and set aside.

3. Pour dressing over salad ingredients, mix well, and refrigerate.

indonesian noodle salad

7-oz. package wide-cut noodles
1 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. sesame oil
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
8 green onions, white and light green parts only, sliced
1-2 jalapenos, veins and seeds removed, minced
Dry roasted peanuts

1. Place noodles in pot of boiling water; cover. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl combine sugar, oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Blend with a whisk and pour sauce over noodles.

3. Mix cilantro with green onions and jalapenos. Combine with noodles and top with a handful of peanuts.

spicy coconut soup

Fans of Thai food, rejoice! This colorful soup is quick and easy.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp. red curry paste (read labels; the Thai Kitchen brand red curry paste is vegan) or more to taste
4 cups vegetable broth
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 12-oz. bag baby spinach leaves, larger leaves torn and stems removed

1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion, bell pepper, and garlic until onion is translucent but not browned (about 5 minutes). Add red curry paste, broth, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add zucchini and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add spinach leaves and cook until leaves are wilted. Serve with a cool salad.

mango dessert topping

If you’re fortunate enough to have an Asian market nearby, check the produce section for good deals on large quantities of mangoes. Serve this tasty topping over your favorite frozen vanilla soy or rice dessert.

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 Tbs. vegan margarine
12 cups sliced mangos (about 8 large mangoes)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and water and cook until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Add margarine; stir until blended. Add sliced mangoes and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until mangoes are tender and turn a caramel color. Serve over your favorite frozen dessert.

tomato and coconut milk rice

Michelle, an excellent vegan cook, submitted this recipe. She’s busy introducing Missourians to exotic vegan dishes via vegetarian cooking demos. Thanks, Michelle!

2 Tbs. peanut oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 small hot pepper, such as habanera, seeded and chopped (you may want to wear gloves)
1 cup arborio rice
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and pepper until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains are evenly coated with oil, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk, tomatoes, and salt and bring to a simmer.

2. Cover the pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Add more water or coconut milk and increase cooking time by a few minutes if the rice is not quite tender.

3. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the crushed pepper. Cover and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

lemon ginger stir fry

This is not your ordinary stir fry, but don’t let the exotic flavor fool you: It’s simple enough to serve on a weeknight.

2 Tbs. canola oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. grated lemon rind
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 Tbs. agave nectar
3 Tbs. tamari
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs. water
3 tsp. cornstarch
2 cups zucchini, halved and sliced
1 12-oz. package of your favorite frozen stir fry veggies

Jasmine or basmati rice

1. Heat canola oil in medium saucepan. Add onion and bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine next nine ingredients (ginger through cornstarch) in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Add zucchini and frozen stir-fry veggies to saucepan. Cook for 2 minutes. Add stir fry sauce and cook for about 4 minutes. Serve with jasmine or basmati rice.