Simple Vegetable Soup with Tofu
Happy Wednesday, loves!
As the weather starts to cool down here in Michigan, I find myself instantly craving hearty soups. Though I love the warmth, constant sunshine and heat of summer, fall is definitely my favorite season. There's just something so magical about the turning of the seasons when the leaves are bursting with color everywhere you look, and the crisp, cool air puts me in major nesting mode where all that I want to do is make our house cozy and warm. One of those coziest elements: having your kitchen filled with delicious smells of a yummy soup simmering on the stove.
Today's soup is super simple. You'll need:
One small organic yellow onion
One bunch of organic celery hearts
Frozen organic broccoli florets
Frozen organic cut green beans
Frozen organic petite green peas
Frozen organic chopped spinach
Two cups of julienned organic carrots
32oz organic vegetable broth
1 block of organic tofu
Let's Make It:
To get started, chop and dice your onion and celery hearts. Once both are chopped, add to a large pot with about two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté until celery is soft and onion is translucent and fragrant -- about 7-8 minutes.
Next, toss in your carrots and let them cook with the celery and onions for a few minutes. Once carrots are warm, add your broth and give it a stir to combine everything. Repeat with your spinach, peas and broccoli until all veggies are in the pot and blended together. Turn heat down to a simmer and cover.
As your soup simmers, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and let's move on to the tofu. Tofu seems to be intimidating for a lot of people or they're put off by the "mushy" texture or consistency. I have definitely experimented with my fair share of tofu over the years and no matter what I'm using it for, my absolute favorite way to prepare it is with this technique from the Minimalist Baker. It gives the tofu a crispy outside and a soft and yummy inside. It's absolutely amazing, guys, and I think will change your perception on tofu.
First things first, the kind of tofu you buy is super important. Always try to get tofu that's organic and for most recipes, you'll need firm or extra firm (preferred) tofu. A huge bonus if you're able to find organic sprouted super firm tofu (like this from Nasoya)! Regular tofu is made from whole soybeans, but sprouted tofu is made with sprouted soybeans. Why does this matter? Well, when beans or seeds are sprouted, they're more nutrient-dense and are a lot easier to digest than the regular beans or seeds - this is great if you're not used to eating tofu regularly. If you can't find sprouted tofu, don't fret - regular tofu is totally okay and is what I used for this recipe.
The next step is to press your tofu to get rid of the excess water. There are brands out there that make a pre-pressed tofu (like the above Nasoya example), which will let you skip this step. But, since I have regular tofu, I removed the block of tofu from the packaging and wrapped it tightly in a clean kitchen towel. Then, I placed it on a cutting board, placed another cutting board on top of tofu block and a 15 lb dumbbell on top of that to press the tofu. You don't have to use that much weight if you don't have it - a heavy cookbook will work just the same. Let it sit for at least 15-20 minutes.
Once your 20 minutes is up, you should be left with a very wet towel and a nice firm block of tofu. Set the towel aside and chop your tofu block into roughly 1-inch cubes or rectangles.
Get out a couple of baking sheets and line with parchment paper. I used silicone baking mats. Arrange the cubed tofu on your baking sheets and pop them into the oven for about 20-25 minutes, flipping the cubes halfway through.
Once they're done, your cubes should be golden brown with a little crisp on the outside and tender and soft on the inside.
Let your tofu sit out for at least 45 minutes once it's done baking to continue to dry out as your soup continues to cook.
Save a few cubes for a bowl of your soup and store the rest in an airtight container in the fridge. You can add them all to your pot of soup if you'd like, but I found that storing them separately helps them keep the firmer consistency.
After your soup has been cooking for a couple of hours, take a little spoonful to give it a taste. I added about 1.5 teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon vegetable base to give it a little more flavor. A little bit goes a long way with this stuff, so don't go overboard! Especially since it's very high in sodium.
Once your soup is done, remove it from the heat and let it cool down before you put it into any storage containers. Scoop some soup into a bowl, plop a few cubes of tofu in and give it a stir! The tofu will soak up some of that awesome broth and flavor. Take some time to sit and enjoy your meal!
I hope you have enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what some of your favorite soups are. :)