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.

delicious dairy-free milks

Dairy-free milks have come a long way in recent years. Many restaurants and coffee shops offer soymilk or rice milk (and unlike years past, the servers usually know what you’re referring to if you ask for it). And I think that every major grocery chain now offers soymilk and almond milk in the dairy cases. But even more options are available.

Although I was accustomed to the “beany” taste of soymilk, I can’t say I ever really got off on it. About a year ago, my friend Jill recommended coconut milk, and I haven’t gone back to soy since. I love the creamy texture of the coconut milk in my coffee, soups, and baked treats. I buy the organic So Delicious brand, which can be found in the refrigerated section. Aseptic packaging on the shelf is also available, so I keep a few extras in the pantry. Try it in broccoli rice soup.

I love the taste of almond milk. Although some brands lack the thick, creamy texture that I prefer for coffee, it’s a great choice for cereal and also in baked cranberry walnut oatmeal. It also adds a terrific nutty flavor to smoothies.

Hazelnut milk is similar to almond milk. Look for it in aseptic packages on the shelf.

Like soymilk, rice milk is available in unsweetened versions as well as flavors like vanilla and chocolate. Although I don’t cook or bake with it, I do use it in smoothies. And the mini packages are nice to take along on trips and camping excursions – no refrigeration required.

One dairy-free milk that I haven’t tried yet is hemp milk. It’s on my next shopping list. Let us know if you’ve tried it.

So Delicious coconut milk

Our favorite all-purpose “milk”

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

mom’s mashed potatoes

Just like Mom used to make, but with a new twist: non-dairy milk.

5 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup of your favorite non-dairy milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Place potato quarters in cold water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender (about 25 minutes).

2. Drain potatoes and place in electric mixer bowl. On low speed, gradually beat in soy milk and seasonings, scraping the side of the bowl with a spatula as needed until potatoes are fairly smooth.

3. Serve warm topped with vegan margarine or gravy.

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.

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.

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.

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.