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In this weekly series we have been discussing the benefits of a vegetarian diet including: better health, animal rights, public health, food safety, frugal living, water and land depletion, global food crisis and the staggeringly huge contribution of meat/livestock production to climate change (pdf)

Want to opt out of conspicuous consumption?  It can be done.  Want to opt out with the fastest, most effective and easy solution?  You can be a part of the solution to repairing our planet with a simple decision to eliminate meat and meat products each day.  I can attest that it's liberating to be a part of the solution to the most critical issue of climate change.

Macca's Meatless Monday/Meatless Advocates is a solution oriented activist group, with solutions for some of the most pressing issues of our time including: climate change, global food/water insecurity and public health. Here we don't just talk about the severity of the crisis. Armed with knowledge about how our actions can contribute we become part of the solution.

I was inspired to create this series by former Beatle and vegetarian advocate Paul McCartney(Macca) who partnered with the Meatless Monday campaign to promote less consumption of meat.  We not only discuss the advantages of a less meat diet we also do some cooking, share recipes and listen to great Beatle music!

We've had a few wet, chilly days so it's time to bring out the soup pot to enjoy some easy, comforting and healthy one pot meals. Even if I'm not cooking for a crowd I like to make the entire recipe and have the luxury of prepared soup in my freezer or fridge.

30 MINUTE MINESTRONE SOUP
A one pot, healthy meal perfect for a chilly night along some crusty bread

 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
 6 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and caps cut into 1/2-inch pieces
 3 large garlic cloves, minced
 1 leek, white and tender green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced
 6 cups vegetable stock
 1 cup drained canned Italian tomatoes, coarsely chopped
 Salt and freshly ground pepper
 1 cup tubetti pasta (1/4 pound) or use ditalini or small shells
 1/2 pound wax beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
 1/2 pound baby zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
 1 cup drained canned white beans, may use navy, northern or cannellini
 1/2 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
 2 tablespoons chopped basil

 Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large casserole. Add the mushrooms, garlic and leek and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until barely softened. Add the stock and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until barely softened, about 3 minutes. Add the wax beans, zucchini and white beans, cover partially and cook until tender. Stir in the peas and basil. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and serve.

ROASTED TOMATILLO and WHITE BEAN CHILI
Looking for a casual company dish for a TV evening at home with friends? This is low-key, elegant and great served with the cone pones below.  Serves 6-8

2 lb fresh tomatillos
1/2 a jalapeño, seeded for less heat
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable stock, preferably low-sodium
4 oz can diced green chiles, undrained
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp green Tabasco sauce
black pepper, to taste
2 15.5 oz cans small white beans, drained and rinsed (great northern, navy or cannellini
1 cup cilantro, chopped

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse them. Arrange on a single layer on a large baking sheet along with the jalapeño. Roast in the oven 12 minutes. Using tongs turn the tomatillos and jalapeño. Roast another 12 minutes. If they’re getting too blackened at this point remove from the oven. Otherwise, turn again, and roast another 5 minutes or so.

Set the jalapeño aside and chop into pieces. Place the tomatillos in a food processor and puree until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Stir in the onion and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the pureed tomatillos, chopped jalapeño, vegetable stock, diced green chiles, lime juice, oregano, cumin, coriander, sea salt, green Tabasco sauce, and black pepper. Cook 30 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the beans and cilantro. Cook 10 minutes.

CONE PONES
Makes 5 or 6 great with chili

2 cups cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp unsalted butter (I use Earth Balance vegan butter)
1 cup unsweetened soymilk, or water (wiki says traditional cone pones are made with water)

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Whisk together the cornmeal, baking powder, and sea salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until the texture is like a fine sand. Stir in the milk just until a stiff dough forms.

Shape into slightly flat cakes and arrange on a lightly sprayed baking sheet. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until lightly browned.

BLACK BEAN SOUP with CHILI, COCONUT MILK and LIME
On a cold, wet day it doesn't get more comforting than this soothing soup and it's quick and easy! Just mix up the cone pones above or steam some tortillas and forget about the drive home. This is a Deborah Madison recipe so you know it will be yummy! Serve plain or with rice as above.

2   tablespoons sunflower or olive oil  
1   small onion, finely diced
1 1/2   teaspoons toasted ground cumin seeds  
1   teaspoon ground chipotle chile or minced chipotle in adobo to taste  
1/4   cup chopped cilantro, plus a little extra for garnish  
2   (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans  
1   can coconut milk (about 15 ounces)  
  Sea salt  

  Juice of 1 or 2 limes, to taste  

Heat the oil in a wide soup pot, then add the onion, cumin, chile and cilantro and cook over medium heat, stirring every so often, for about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, lower the heat and continue cooking until onion is soft, almost 12 minutes in all. Pour in the beans and their liquid, 21/2 cups water and the coconut milk. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Purée a cup or so of the beans and return it to the soup. (Or purée all of the beans if you prefer a smooth soup.) Season with salt and stir in the lime juice. Serve garnished with a pinch of chopped cilantro.

SPICY TORTILLA SOUP
Hearty soup to chase off the chill.  

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 cup frozen corn kernels or more to taste
2 29 ounce cans vegetable broth
2 16 ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, packed
1 cup shredded low-fat Monterey Jack cheese or use vegan jack cheese
6 corn tortillas or more if you like lots of tortilla strips
cooking spray
low-fat sour cream or vegan sour cream
lime wedges

Add olive oil, onion, garlic, jalapeno and cumin seed to a large pot over medium heat, stir constantly for 5 minutes. Add corn, vegetable broth, beans and cilantro.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat cookie sheet with cooking spray, place tortillas on sheet and spray tortillas with cooking spray. Cook approximately 10 minutes. Cut tortillas into strips.

Top soup with cheese, tortilla strips and a dollop of sour cream. Garnish with lime.

VEGETARIAN WONTON SOUP
A spectacular, homemade, healthy and Earth friendly wonton soup.  Serves about 6

    1 T. finely chopped garlic
    2 cups thinly chopped scallions, divided
    About 10 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
    For the Filling:
    1 T. canola oil
    1 lb. crimini mushrooms, chopped finely
    1/2 t. garlic powder
    1 16-ounce box firm tofu (not Silken), crumbled
    1 1/2 t. lemon juice
    3/4 t. salt
    About 40 wonton wrappers (if vegan, make sure the wrappers are egg-free)
    1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
    1 1/2 cups sliced bok choy
    Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Prepare the broth. In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add 1 1/2 cups of the chopped scallions and the vegetable broth. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow the broth to simmer while you prepared the wontons.

2. Prepare the filling. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the canola oil, adding the finely chopped mushrooms and garlic powder once hot. Cook, stirring often, until the mushroom are soft, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the crumbled tofu, lemon juice, salt and remaining 1/2 cup chopped scallions.

3. Fill the wontons. Set out the wonton wrappers on a dry surface, such as a counter, cutting board, or baking sheet. Place about 1 T. of the filling into the center of the wontons. Moisten the edges of the wrappers with water, using a pastry brush or your fingers, and fold: pull one corner to its diagonal and pinch, then pull the remaining two corners to the same point and pinch the edges closed.  Repeat until all of the wontons or filling is used.

4. Bring a pot of salted water to simmering. Just before serving, cook the wontons you intend to serve with the meal (leftover wontons can be frozen until a later date) in the salted water until they become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the wontons from the boiling water. Transfer 3-4 wontons to each bowl.

Add the bok choy and broccoli florets to the simmering broth. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the vegetables are bright green in color. Ladle the broth and greens over the wontons in the serving bowls and serve immediately with salt and pepper to taste.
 

VEGETARIAN POSOLE
Have fun cooking with dried mexican chilis with this economical, healthy main dish soup. Serves 4-6

1 dried guajillo chili
1 dried ancho chili
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
1 (15-ounce) can of diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
2 (15-ounce) cans of hominy
1 cup cooked pinto beans
Juice of 2 limes

Garnishes (suggested)
Lime wedges
Radishes
Lettuce
Cilantro
Red onion
Aged cojita cheese
Sour cream
Corn tortillas

Soak chilies in hot water for 20 minutes. Remove any stems and puree with a hand blender or food processor.

In a large pot, saute onion in olive oil over low heat for 10 minutes or until it begins to soften. Add tomatoes (with juice), broth, chili puree, salt and oregano and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add hominy and pinto beans, return to boil and simmer for additional 5 minutes. Add lime juice. If necessary, add more salt, lime juice or chili puree.

Remove from heat and serve with garnishes.

"Everybody Out There"  Paul McCartney from his 'New' album

"If I Needed Someone"   The Beatles

What have you all been cooking? Please share your recipes and fave Beatles music here!

Originally posted to Meatless Advocates Meetup on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 03:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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