Is this turning into a soup blog? A little bit, but given the weather we have had in NYC this week, I think it's appropriate. Besides, I eat a lot of soup at all times of year, so I always want to share my favorite soups that I make on repeat.
But yes, you can make an awesome chicken noodle soup that's vegan with the help of soy curls. If you haven't tried soy curls... you are missing out. They are a versatile plant based protein source, and the only ingredient is whole soy beans. They come dehydrated, and you can either soak them briefly in water (10-15 minutes) and saute them, or if you're putting them into a soup or saucy dish, just throw them straight in dry and they will absorb all of the liquid and flavors from your dish. They have a satisfying, chewy texture that makes them perfect in this chicken noodle soup, but I also love them in tacos and curries, and one time I made my boyfriend a deli-style chicken salad with them (huge success). They are a good source of protein (10g per 100 calories), fiber (3g per 100 calories), and iron (15% of your daily iron in 100 calories). You can get them on Amazon or on the company's website. This is not sponsored by Butler's Soy Curls... but I wish it was!
If you don't want to try soy curls, read the above paragraph again. But seriously, if you don't want to try them, you could substitute a can of chickpeas - but you will need to reduce the water in the recipe from 5 cups to 3.5 cups, and correspondingly reduce the bouillon.
But let's get into the soup.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 tbsp neutral oil
1 small onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced into 1/2 inch half moons
2 stalks of celery, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 medium cloves of garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbsp vegan chicken bouillon paste (I like the Better than Bouillon brand, or use enough of your brand to make 5 cups of stock)
5 cups of water
2 cups of dry soy curls
Small bundle of thyme, tied together with twine (you can use unscented dental floss, a twist tie, etc)
8oz pasta of your choice (long cut or small cut, whatever you prefer!)
Salt and pepper to taste
Add the oil to a large soup pot and heat over medium heat. Add your diced onion, a pinch of salt, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the carrots, celery, and garlic. Stir everything well, and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the water, vegan chicken bouillon, and dry soy curls. Turn the heat up to high and bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the bundle of thyme to the pot.
Simmer the soup for 20-25 minutes, until the carrots and celery are tender.
While the soup is simmering, cook the pasta in a separate pot of salted water, according to package directions. I find that it is best to cook the pasta separately - otherwise, the noodles will continue to cook and become mushy in the soup. This is especially true if you have leftover soup. Drain the pasta and set aside.
Remove the bundle of thyme and add salt and pepper to the soup pot to taste. The bouillon is fairly salty, so you may not need very much salt.
To serve, use a ladle to spoon out the soup with the soy curls and vegetables into each bowl. Add the desired amount of noodles to each bowl with the hot soup. Serve with saltines and freshly cracked black pepper!