Mommy Cafe

Vegetarian home cooking, kid tested and approved

Mashed Potato Soup

Okay, it’s not as weird as it sounds. Really. I’ve seen recipes for “Smashed Potato Soup,” so removing the s can’t make it more weird. Right?

Whatever. It is kind of weird. But in a very delicious way.

So the story is that I was craving soup. Badly. And what I had on hand was potatoes. I didn’t really want a cream soup, because I’m trying to cut back on dairy products (a more palatable way to say I’m leaning vegan — no pun intended). So why not make a potato puree and tell myself it was a creamy soup? It was settled. Mashed potato soup.

For a little extra sweetness, I added a sweet potato to the mix. It adds a great depth of flavor to an otherwise bland soup. And it makes it much prettier as well. If you’re the kind of person who likes to mix their mashed potatoes and peas (me, me, me!!), then by all means, throw in a cup or more of frozen peas a few minutes before serving. Will thought that was the best part of it, after giving the meal two ecstatic thumbs up.

Sorry for not posting a photo… again. Sometimes my taste buds get antsy.

Estimated prep and cook time: 30 minutes       Estimated cost: $5 (or less, using homemade vegetable broth)

Mashed Potato Soup

  • 1T olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 russet potatoes, scrubbed and diced (leave on the peel for extra fiber and flavor)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2T dried parsley
  • 1T paprika

Saute onion and garlic in oil over medium heat until onion softens. Add russet potatoes and saute, stirring, for two minutes. Add broth. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and add sweet potatoes, salt and pepper, parsley, and paprika. Cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.

Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, blend soup to desired consistency. I like mine a little lumpy, just like my mashed potatoes! Or, use a food processor and blend in batches.

Taste and add additional seasoning as needed.

Serves 4.


January 9, 2013 Posted by | Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | , , , | Leave a comment

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Just the words “tortilla soup” send me to a blissful place. I love the tangyness, the hint of spice, the tender crunch of lightly sauteed peppers in a bath of tomatoey deliciousness. Mmm. Heaven.

Okay, head out of the clouds and feet firmly on the ground.

I have put off posting this recipe for almost a year now. Not because I’m selfish and don’t want to share. The problem is that I can never wait long enough to get a photo before diving in to a big bowlful. Tonight was no exception. My sincerest apologies. But I do believe you will forgive me once you try this dish for yourself.

This is a fantastic soup. It is full of vegetables and vitamin C, and you get to customize it to your particular taste at the table. Want more kick than the kids can handle? Throw in a few dashes of hot sauce. Love sour cream and cheese but your dinner guests don’t do dairy? Add it to your own bowl. Don’t want the same soup two days in a row? Doubtful with this tasty dish, but change it up and add avocados, fresh cilantro, black olives, bean sprouts, cooked noodles or rice, or whatever you find hiding in your fridge.

My favorite way to enjoy this soup is with homemade tortilla chips. Store-bought tortilla chips are good for a lot of things, but this soup isn’t one of them, in my humble opinion. I’ve posted the recipe for homemade chips here before, but for this soup I like to use lots and lots of dried cilantro instead of the coriander. And some salt. Ya gotta have salt.

By the way, this feeds approximately one army. So either halve it, freeze some for later, or invite the neighborhood. And be prepared to force yourself away from your bowl before thirds.

Prep and Cook time: 40 minutes           Estimated cost: $2 per serving

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, anaheim, or poblano pepper, diced finely
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 10-oz can diced tomatoes (or use fire-roasted and the jalapeno)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 2 T cumin
  • 2 T cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 15-oz cans (or 4 cups) black or red beans (rinse canned beans well and drain)
  • 2 cups frozen corn

Tortilla Chips

  • 10-12 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T cilantro
  • 2 T cumin
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 1 T oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until just tender. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, spices, and salt. Stir well and bring to a soft boil. Add beans and corn. Turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Toss tortilla strips with 2 T oil, cilantro, and cumin. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until crisp.

Serve soup in bowls and top with grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, diced avocado, and tortilla chips. Or with whatever your happy heart desires!

Serves 8

August 27, 2012 Posted by | Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cream of Potato-Leek Soup

In the making of this soup, we had an unusual kitchen accident.  I was trying to figure out just which spice or herb the soup needed to get from good to great.  So I called in the expert to take a sniff and tell me what he thought.  Apparently common sense was not on the menu, because Will stuck his nose in the spice container, exhaled deeply, and blew a good teaspoon worth of marjoram into his eyes.

Many tears and a long eye soak later, we determined that marjoram works much better in a cream of potato-leek soup than in the eyes.  We also found a better way of testing herbs and spices than by sticking our noses in the containers.  Who knew tonight would be so educational?

Anyway, this soup was pretty darn delicious, if I do say so myself.  Will said so himself, so I feel justified making such a bold statement.  It has a very low-key flavor, subtly spiced and perfectly creamy.  If you like a more chunky soup, just take a potato masher to the softened potatoes before stirring in the leeks and onions.  But for the traditionally creamy soup, break out the food processor.  To me, it’s worth the extra cleanup!

Prep and cook time: 40 minutes    Estimated cost: $5

Cream of Potato-Leek Soup

  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 medium potatoes (a baking potato like Russet works best), diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 pint heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 1 T ground marjoram
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cover diced potatoes with stock and bring to a low boil and cook until potatoes are tender.  Meanwhile, saute onions and leeks over medium-high heat.  Once potatoes are cooked, add onions and leeks to the soup and stir well.  Working in batches, puree soup in the food processor and return to the pot.  Pour in cream and add marjoram, salt, and pepper, stirring to combine.

Serves 4

March 28, 2011 Posted by | Recipes, Vegetarian | , , | 3 Comments

Creamy Parsnip Soup

Yes, friends, I’m back!  Life has been incredibly hectic, which means my meals have been incredibly boring.  Nothing new to share… until now!

Two weeks ago I was so sick that I could barely make it through the grocery store.  The only things I could think of that would make me feel better (or at least not worse) were soup and parsnips.  So I combined the two and came up with this wonderful, healing soup.  Not bad for a sick day!

For those of you unfamiliar with parsnips, they look like a white carrot and pack a nice spicy flavor.  I love them chopped or sliced on salads, breaded and baked, and in vegetable soups.  In the grocery store, you may find them sold individually, in which case they’ll be coated in wax (remove the wax before eating!), or they may be sold in 1- or 2-pound bags.

I simmered the parsnips and potatoes in water with tarragon and only used a portion of the broth.  It smelled so delicious that I froze the leftover broth to use for the base of another soup, yet to be determined.  If you don’t want the extra broth, cut back the water to an amount that just covers the vegetables.  Or send it my way and I’ll put it to good use.

Will raved about this soup.  Honestly, I made it for me and didn’t expect him to enjoy it that much.  But to my surprise, he ate two large bowls of it!  He liked a little cornbread crumbled into his.  Next time I’ll probably add a half-cup of frozen corn right at the end to give it even more flavor.

Prep and cook time: 30 minutes    Estimated cost: $3.50

Creamy Parsnip Soup

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 T. tarragon
  • 4 parsnips,chopped
  • 2 potatoes, cubed
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Saute the onions and tarragon in a tablespoon of olive oil until the onions start to soften.  Add the potatoes, parsnips, and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the parsnips and potatoes are very tender.

In a food processor, puree the parsnips, potatoes, and 1 cup of the broth in batches (use more or less broth, depending on how thick you like your soup).  Return the puree to the pot over medium heat.  Add the milk, nutmeg, and salt to taste.  Heat the soup, stirring constantly, until hot but not boiling, about 5 minutes.

Optional: stir in 1/2 cup of frozen corn with the milk.

Serves 4

January 23, 2011 Posted by | Recipes, Vegetarian | , , | Leave a comment

Vietnamese Noodle Soup


With the cold weathVietnamese Noodle Souper, I have been on a huge soup kick.  I first made this soup as a warm-up for after trick-or-treating.   It was a great way to chase away the chill of walking outside for two hours, and a healthy contrast to the candy in the bucket!

This recipe was modified from a beefy version I found in Fitness magazine.  When made 100% vegetarian, it misses that great beef flavor.  If you want that flavor, you can either use beef broth instead of vegetable broth (making it not vegetarian) or stir in a little Worcestershire (again, not exactly vegetarian) or Marmite.  Be sure to use a good quality vegetable broth.  A weak broth has nowhere to hide in this soup!

The best part about the soup is that it’s so quick and easy to prepare.  The ingredient list is long, but don’t let it fool you!

Prep and cook time: 25 minutes       Approximate cost: $8-12 (homemade vegetable broth makes a big price difference!)


Vietnamese Noodle Soup

  • 4 oz thin rice noodles
  • 1 block tofu, cubed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, minced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 T fish sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 pound snow peas
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts

Cook noodles according to package directions and drain.

While the noodles cook, cube tofu and season with salt, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice.  Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add tofu and cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the broth, fish sauce and honey, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and add the snow peas, bell pepper, and noodles.  Simmer for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add bean sprouts.

Serves 4

December 11, 2010 Posted by | Learning to Love Tofu, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | , , , | 2 Comments