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Saturday, October 17, 2015

CREAMY, CHEESEY VEGAN MASHED POTATO SOUP

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I made WAY too many mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving last weekend.  I ended up freezing a big bag of them, which I had never done before.  I was a little worried about freezing them, but I checked some cooking sites online and was assured that, though the liquid might separate from the solids (it did) and the solids might get a bit "grainy" (they did), they could be re-mashed when reheated and be as good as new.

So, the other night we wanted something lighter for dinner, like soup, and I wanted to use up at least some of those mashed spuds, so I decided to make a vegan and lower-fat version of something I've read about, but never tasted-- mashed or baked potato soup with cheddar cheese and bacon.  There are a zillion recipes out there for this soup, so it must be wildly popular, especially after holiday meals!

The usual recipes for this soup are, of course, laden with butter, cream, cheddar cheese (sometimes 1/2 a lb. in one recipe), and, quite frequently, bacon (the bacon fat being used to sauté the onions). What I had in mind was something, not only vegan, but much lower in fat than these recipes.

To begin with, I don't use vegan "butter" or even olive oil in my mashed potatoes. I use yellow potatoes, which have a lovely color and texture and some varieties even have a "buttery" taste. Yukon Golds are fine, and easily available, but our favorite is the German Butter potato-- Sieglinde or  Carola (German Butterball).  Fortunately, they are grown locally.  I generally steam them.  (You can either peel them before steaming, or run the potatoes under cold water and pull off the peels after steaming.) If I'm in a hurry and making a smaller amount, I peel and chunk them and microwave them in a covered microwave-proof casserole for about 10 minutes-- no water needed.  (This method saves energy as well as water and nutrients.) Then I mash them well (or run them through a potato ricer if I have time) and then beat in some soy milk (or other plant-based milk) and salt to taste until they are creamy. Believe me, these mashed potatoes  are delicious, and, if you or your guests insist on "butter" (like my homemade vegan palm oil-free "Buttah"), it can be added at the table individually. See: http://veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.ca/2008/06/how-to-make-fluffy-buttery-no-fat-vegan.html

Anyway, if you have leftover mashed spuds, I think you'll be pleased with this yummy way to use them up.


Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S CREAMY, CHEESEY VEGAN MASHED POTATO SOUP
Serves 6 (Can be GF and soy-free, if you wish)

1  Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
1/2 a medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups cooked, peeled potatoes (made with about 2 1/2 lbs. potatoes [I prefer yellow]-- microwaved, steamed or baked)-- these can be leftover
Mashed with: 1 cup (approximately) soy milk or other plant-based milk and salt to taste
Extra-Tangy Melty Cheddah Cheeze Sauce:
1 cup water (OR use 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup beer)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp white flour
(another option would be 1/4 cup very finely-ground oat flour instead of the starch and white flour)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp tahini
Additional:
4 cups vegan "chickeny" broth (I like Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Vegan Soup Base)
1  cup unsweetened vegan creamer (such as So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer) OR 1/2 cup each plant-based milk blended with 1/2 cup extra-firm silken tofu (or medium firm regular tofu)
Garnish:
vegan "bacon bits"
smoked paprika
chopped green onions (green parts only)

Sauté the chopped onion and minced garlic in the two oils over medium heat until soft OR microwave them with the oils in a microwave-safe pie plate or bowl with lid for about 4 minutes.

Mash the cooked potatoes with the soy or other milk.

Make the Extra-Tangy Melty Cheddah Cheeze Sauce: In a blender, mix all of the Cheeze Sauce ingredients EXCEPT the tahini until smooth.  Microwave in a 1-2 qt. microwave-safe batter-bowl or measuring pitcher on High for 2 minutes; whisk; microwave for 2 minutes agai and whisk.  OR Pour the blended mixture into a medium saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens.  Let bubble for 30 seconds, whisking vigorously.  Remove from heat.

Stir the tahini into the sauce.

Mix the Sauce in a large pot with the sautéed onions and garlic, the mashed potatoes, the creamer and the broth. Use an immersion blender right in the pot to make it smooth.  (Otherwise, you will have to blend the mixture together in a regular blender in two batches and return it to the pot.) Bring to a simmer, turn down and simmer, partially covered for about 10 minutes.  Add more vegan creamer or plant based milk if it's too thick for your taste.

Serves hot with plenty of vegan "bacon bits" on top and a sprinkle of smoked paprika and green onions.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving, with no garnishes):
335 calories, 59 calories from fat, 6.9g total fat, Saturated Fat 0.87g, Monounsaturated Fat 3.02g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1.71g, Trans Fatty Acids 0g, 0mg cholesterol, 657.5mg sodium, 1550.9mg potassium, 58.1g carbohydrates, 6.2g fiber, 4.3g sugar, 12.3g protein.

Compare the recipe above with this fairly standard non-vegan version of the soup from http://www.midwestliving.com/recipe/soups/bacon-and-baked-potato-soup/ :
510 calories, 360 calories from fat, 40g Total fat, 23g saturated fat, 12g Monounsaturated fat, 2g Polyunsaturated fat, 188 mg cholesterol, 1056mg sodium, 610mg Potassium,  22g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 2g sugar, 17g protein.

Enjoy!




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