Thursday, November 19, 2020

Dutch #WFPB Improv 001 Bruine Bonen Soep - Kidney Bean Soup

As a kid, growing up in Holland, I used to love bruine bonen soep. We were vegetarian, so besides leaving out the oil, I guess I could have used the recipe from those days, but I have no idea what my mother really did, although I liked to hang out in the kitchen and often helped with cooking.

Meanwhile, later, after I started living on my own, I became a bit familiar with the general Dutch way of making this type of soup, with sausage and bacon. Stick to your ribs as they say. In my #WFPB version, I allow for either TVP or baked Seitan to provide some of that chewyness that sausage might provide and that works quite well. I have even had some omnivore friends asking me what kind of meat this was. I get a kick out of that.

So, since I have quite an inventory of kidney beans and pinto beans and other pulses, I figured it's soup season and I made this improvisation based on a recipe from a Dutch website. The first few times I made it with pinto beans, because I have a lot of them in the house, but I am also going to make it with red kidney beans, which at least visually seem closer to the Dutch bruine bonen (brown beans). I know that in the past I did make a version with red kidney beans also. Next time I do, I am going to try to appreciate the difference in flavor.

I ended up straying very far from the original, but the result was amazing. My neighbor who ate some of it said it was the best soup he ever had in his life. In some versions of it, I've also added barley, which is very nice and makes it even more of a complete meal. Have a salad on the side and you have a highly nutritious complete meal. These days you can even find some whole wheat bread sticks if you're looking for crunch.

Bruine Bonen Soep

Kidney Bean Soup


2 cups of kidney beans or pinto beans, dry
1 ounce of kombu for soaking

1tsp summer savory for cooking the beans
1-3 bay leaves
2-3 medium sized onions, cut-up fine
2-3 shallots or other small onion
4-5 chilis and/or jalapenos, or both - cut-up fine
2 quarts of veggie broth or alt. use something like Veggie Better Than Bouillon and water. More water to taste.

1 leek, washed and sliced fine.
5-10 cloves of garlic, minced
1-3 toes of turmeric, minced or 1 tsp of turmeric powder
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup of celeriac root, parsnip, or turnip, or eddo.
2-3 stalks of celery, including leaves
2-3 potatoes, washed and diced,
1-2 carrots peeled & diced
2 tomatoes, or a 15- Oz can of diced tomatoes 

Optional: add in some barley for the last 30 mins.
Some Tianjin veggies
Some miso, or gochujan, or Yondu to taste.
If you want some chewyness, you could add in some baked seitan (kao fu), or ΅soy chunks/TVP. etc. Could also be mushrooms.

Garnish with parsley.

The Celery


  • Soak the beans overnight (minimum 6 hours ideally).
  • Cut up the onions fine and dry roast for 5 mins at 425F (Medium High)
  • Add in the minced garlic, minced shallots and chilis, turmeric and stir fry it for another five mins, adding about 1 cup of water or veggie broth.
  • Add in the drained beans and 2 pints of veggie broth. If you pre-cooked the beans in the Instant Pot, you can use the cooking water from the beans also.
  • Let cook for 1- 1.5 hrs, until the beans are soft. Alternatively, you can cook the beans in water with the kombu in the Instant Pot. That will save time and energy (takes only 10 mins.
  • Puree it with a stick blender or in a food processor.
  • Add in the cut-up veggies, potato, tomato, thyme simmer low for 30 mins.
  • Add more water to gain right consistency and finish the taste with miso or gochujang or similar.

Serve, enjoy.





Friday, November 6, 2020

Spicy Carrot Soup

What to do with a ton of carrots? I was given about 10 lb of organic carrots. What to do? I made this soup twice, shared some with my neighbor, froze the rest... First time I made it with the Thai red curry paste, second time with Korean Gochujang instead (I think I like that better), and next time I am going to substitute some besan with nutritional yeast and black salt for the coconut milk, because the coconut milk as too much fat. Includes link to original recipe. Depending on the amount of carrots, you can use more onion and garlic, of course, adjusting all quantities along the way.

Spicy Carrot Soup



8–10 large carrots, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 14-ounce can coconut milk, alternatively some besan and nutritional yeast dissolved in water
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon red curry paste alternatively 1-2 tbsp Gochujang
salt to taste
cilantro and peanuts for topping



Saute the onions and garlic with a little bit of oil until soft. Add the carrots, coconut milk, broth, and curry paste. Simmer until carrots are soft. Add peanut butter and stir until melted. Run through the blender until smooth; season generously with salt, top with peanuts and cilantro.


Place all ingredients in the Instant Pot and set for 15 minutes. When done, let everything cool for a few minutes, then run the mixture through the blender until smooth; season generously with salt, top with peanuts and cilantro.
Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Soup - Pinch of Yum
Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Soup - Pinch of Yum
Carrot soup made with 7 ingredients: coconut milk, carrots, broth, on

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Plant-Based Shopping News - restoring the Starling Avenue Triangle

Ever since I started writing about the Starling Avenue Food Shopping Triangle, things have been changing. In particular one of the three supermarkets that form the triangle, the Pioneer at 1345 Castle Hill Avenue was closed for renovations and when it was almost ready, we had the Covid lockdowns... and now they are open again and they just had their grand opening.


I did a quick survey of the aisles from a Whole Foods, Plant-Based perspective and I found some good stuff, so I'll post some of my findings here. I might do more some other time.


Massive area for fruits, veggies right when you come in. Breads on the right, was not great. (no Dave's Killer Bread, which is the only bread I buy, short of Ezekiel).

Some more pics:


Pretty good selection here...

    Great selection of herbs as well as things like red leaf lettuce, which I love...

And Wasa crackers, which are delicious and totally fat-free.

Tons of berries.

College in broth was on sale at 2 for $5.00 so I nearly cleaned them out.

And a good selection of grains, including Quinoa and so on...

I did not see too much whole wheat pasta, but at least they had some.

And a decent selection of herbs.


And, I should not forget, a whole section of Bob's Red Mill products, which is also a welcome addition. Key foods has some, but this is a pretty extensive selection!






Anyway, that is it for now. Definitely worth a visit. In my book the Wasa bread in particular is a great find. Other crackers may be low in fat, but Wasa proves it can be done without fat altogether, and taste-wise it has always been one of my favorites, ever since it started to appear in Holland in the 1960's.

I am happy to see that the Starling Avenue Triangle is restored to its former glory, and this store is a darn sight better than the old one was.