Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spinach Tofu Soup (gasp, no meat?!)

Imagine if you will, I'm standing in the kitchen chopping, stirring, on autopilot thinking about work stuff, birthday cards, meal planning for lunch tomorrow, etc., while simultaneously trying not to cut my fingertip off (yes, that seriously happened) and someone comes meandering into the kitchen...

Person: Smells good!  Whatcha cookin'?

Me: Dinner.

Person: Is there any meat?

Me: No.

Person:  Aww maaaaaan!

Deja vu, anyone?  Happens to me at least once a week.  This is karmic retribution of course, because I used to run my mom through this very scenario all the time but I've come to enjoy meatless meals (not often enough since I married the quintessential meat-loving carnivore but still, I'm happy if I can get away with it at least once a week.
With rice..Kuen's fave.

A while back I made the mistake of decision to watch this episode of Oprah that featured Michael Pollan (of Food Inc. fame) filling my brain with all these things I almost wish I didn't know about food.  The episode also included a particularly graphic segment where Lisa Ling toured a Cargill cattle processing plant.  It was very, um, enlightening and I turned in to a pescatarian for about 4 months until I got pregnant w/ Kuen (and homegirl wanted MEAT).  I've turned carnivore since but it did leave an impression and I like to participate in Meatless Mondays.

I know we're a meat-heavy culture so I doubt you can get away with it too often but when you're feeling like a light meal and the carnivore(s) isn't/aren't around, make this soup.  It's not completely vegetarian because I like to use chicken stock but it can easily be made with vegetable stock instead and omitting the fish sauce.

This soup was my go-to through the fall and winter.  Surprisingly filling, so quick and easy, literally comes together in 15 min (if you have boiling water on hand) and made with fridge staples I always have on hand.
So du-li-shuus! Ta ta ta ta ta taaystay taystay" (name that song)

Spinach Tofu Soup
serves 2-4 (depending on whether it's a side or main)

3-4 cups baby spinach (arugula always works and I've tried kale too)
14 oz. package firm (or extra firm) tofu, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 whole scallions, sliced
1 tbsp miso paste
2 tsp organic chicken bouillon (I get the jarred stuff but you can sub canned chicken stock or bouillon cubes - enough for about 6 cups of stock, or use vegetable stock)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce (optional, omit for vegetarians)
fresh cilantro, garnish
salt & pepper to taste
6-8 cups boiling water (*if you don't have a hot water kettle, starting this first makes the dish come together more quickly)

Heat stockpot over medium heat with 1 tbsp oil, add minced garlic and ginger - stir/cook for 2 min until softened and fragrant.  Add spinach (or your favorite greens) and wilt, add tofu, stock and remaining ingredients.  Bring to a simmer.

Other optional ingredients:
1 c. frozen or canned corn, drained
1 c. rotisserie chicken, diced (if the carnivores get too restless)
1 c. ground pork, saute w/ fish sauce - lots of flavor, def don't forget the ginger w/ this addition
1 c. mushrooms, slice and saute before you add the garlic/ginger
any short cut pasta, cooked rice or quinoa

With mini shells, also awesome.

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