Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Winter #WFPB Bean Soup Extravaganza 006a Kidney Bean Soup

After checking with some Dutch contacts online, there was disagreement if Dutch Bruine Bonen are most closely approximated with red kidney beans, or pinto beans, or some other kind of bean (somebody came up with a wild suggestion, about a bean variety I never heard of, borlotti beans, which I may also try), ideally, of course you would make it with Dutch Bruine Bonen. It should be noted that in Holland Bruine Bonen Soep is enough of a phenomenon so it has it's own website.

Anyway, my purpose no longer is to approximate my mother's recipes. My cooking has evolved over time, and it is now just a matter of improving the recipes. This time around, it will be a battle of the beans, between red kidney beans and pinto beans.

I will standardize the recipe, from the original post Dutch #WFPB Improv 001 Bruine Bonen Soep - Kidney Bean Soup

This first go-around will be with red kidney beans.

To make the comparison meaningful, I will standardize the recipe exactly. This is the beginning of #WFPB soup science.





1 lb cups of red kidney beans, dry
1 strip of kombu for soaking overnight
1 tsp summer savory for cooking the beans
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp of Tianjin vegetables
3 medium size yellow onions, cut-up fine
3 shallots or other small onion
6-10 cloves of medium sized cloves of garlic, minced
1-3 toes of turmeric, minced or 1 tbsp of turmeric powder
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup water with 1 tsp of Yondu for sautéing the onions and peppers
3 Thai chili, green
2 jalapeños, cut-up fine
1 green bell pepper

1 leek, washed and sliced fine.
1 cup of eddo, shredded.
3 stalks of celery, including leaves, sliced fine
2-3 red skin potatoes, washed and diced,
1-2 carrots peeled & diced
2 tomatoes, or a 15- Oz can of diced tomatoes
12 Oz block of baked seitan (kao fu) 
1 quart of vegetable broth
1 quart of water with Vegetable Better Than Bouillon

add more water as needed...

To finish: some miso (mild), or gochujan (hot), dissolved in a cup of water.

The Process

  • Soak the beans overnight (minimum 6 hours ideally).
  • Drain the beans and cook with water, including the kombu, and savory in the Instant Pot on high for 10 mins.
  • Meanwhile, cut up the onions fine and dry roast for 5 mins at 350F (Medium High)
  • Add in the minced garlic, minced shallots and chilis, pepper and turmeric and stir fry it for another five mins, adding about 1 cup of water with Yondu.
  • Add in the 2 pints of veggie broth.
  • Add in the cooked beans 
  • puree with a stick blender
  • Add in the cut-up veggies, potato, tomato, thyme and seitan and simmer on low for 30 mins.
  • Add more water to gain right consistency and finish the taste with miso (mild) or gochujang (hot & spicy).


  • by adding some miso or gochujang at the end, you can actually make two batches, one for folks who cannot take too much heat, and the other for the ones who love heat. Do NOT Cook the miso, just blend it in at the end, dissolved in a cup of water.
  • If you cook the beans normally, it takes far longer, like 1.5 hours or so to pre-cook the beans.
  • It is your option if you want it chunky or smooth. I like to purée the beans right when I add the stock (to cool them off also). Then, if you cut your veggies fine, as well as cut your seitan into small cubes, you can continue cooking and have a chunky soup or, if you want it smooth, use your trusty immersion blender once more.
  • My annotations will change in terms of temperatures, but 5 minutes roasting at 350F is how it works on my equipment, but what it means is: roast it dry until the edges just start to brown. And then, you stir-fyr it by gradually adding your water with Yondu for another five minutes. If your equipment has a temperature readout, it may well be different from mine. The result is what matters.

Meanwhile, I did some research on beans... All in the interest of science, shall we say. Meanwhile, to satisfy the bean counter in me (after all, I am Dutch), I had to figure out the prices:

1) Red Kidney Beans - $2-3/lb (Organic nearly 50 - 100% more).
2) Pinto Beans - same thing, $2-3/lb, and organic 50-100% higher.
3) Borlotti Beans (aka. Cranberry beans) - regular 4 lbs/$16, which works out to $4/lb and Organic 50-100% more.
4) Dutch Bruine Bonen, at 10 Kg/EUR30 plus freight EUR 40, or at today's rate of $1.21 = $84.70. Equals $8.47/kg and = $3.84/lb and organic was about EUR 50/kg, so that works out again in the 50-100% premium range. You would have to buy at least 10kg to keep the shipping economical. So I would end up making Bruine Bonen Soep for a year.

Next week, we'll do it again, in exactly the same way, except with Pinto beans.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Winter Bean Soup #WFPB Improv 005 - Mixed Bean Soup with Summer Savory



1 lb of any version of mixed soup beans, I used this heirloom bean blend, but you can get packages of 13 or 16 bean soup mixes.
1 piece of Kombu for soaking
1 tsp summer savory
8 cups vegetable stock (or 4 cup water, 4 cup stock or all water!)
2-4 onions, chopped yellow or Vidalia onions are great here
1 tsp savory
4-8 cloves garlic, minced
3 chilis minced
1 jalapeño minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2-3 stalks celery with tops, chopped
2-4 carrots, peeled and cut-up
1 tbsp of Tianjin vegetables
1/2 tsp of ground red pepper
2-3 dried bay leaves
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
small bunch of parsley, chopped and be added in the soup at the end, or added as garnish later.
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
juice of 1 lemon

Braggs Liquid Aminos to taste.

OPTIONALLY: other veggies as available, root vegetables such as parsnips, or taro (aka edo, or coco), turnips, ginger, fennel, celeriac, turmeric, potato, rutabaga, can also add in a green veggie like poi leaf or callaloo for the last 5-10 mins.

This time, I had poi leaf (Malabar spinach), taro, a large winter carrot, turnip. and mix of various peppers, not just one red pepper.



Soak the beans overnight, and pre-cook them in an Instant Pot for 15 mins.

In a separate pot, cook the onions with the garlic, peppers, turmeric, celery, herbs and spices. Stir frying until they are soft, add water as needed. I used a cup of water with a teaspoon of Yondu.

Add the carrot and root vegetables, and the veggie stock - if you use water, you'll need something else for flavor, like Better than Bouillon or miso.

Let it simmer for a half hour and then add the green veggie. I used Malabar spinach this time. 

Evidently, you can fine tune just how hot and spicy you want it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Mexican #WFPB Bean Soup Improv 004 - Three Sisters Posole

I wrote about Three Sisters Posole (Pozole de Tres Hermanas) before, here

This time, I improvised a little further: 


2 cups dried blue corn posole, or hominy
1 cup tepary beans, or any kind of small beans ( I used navy beans this time)
1 cup barley (optional)
1-2 onions
1 tsp Yondu

2 medium zucchini
4-8 garlic cloves
1 tsp Savory

2+ tsp Mexican Oregano
1- Tbsp ground red chili, and/or, use some chilis and/or jalapeños chopped up with the onions - adjust quantities accordingly.
8 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp arrowroot, corn starch or potato starch
1 lime
Sea Salt to taste


You can obviously enrich this soup many different ways. I added one king mushroom, with the onions, garlic, at the outset. I use savory mostly in any dish that involves beans. I also cooked both the hominy and the beans with a piece of kombu.

Adding some Yondu in the stir-fry at the outset is one of the steps that increases the depth of the flavor. In my soup stock, this time I used one quart of store-bought veggie broth and one quart of water with about 1.5 tbsp Better Than Bouillon.  



  • Cook posole for 2 hours until tender - or shorter if using a pressure cooker. (Hominy in Instant Pot for 15-20 mins on High pressure)
  • Cook the beans separately 1.5-2 hours until tender (Instant Pot for 7-8 mins or so).
  • In a large pot, add the minced garlic, chopped onion, any peppers or chilis and stir-fry for 5-10 minutes, starting with a dry roast, and gradually adding 1 cup of water with the 1 tsp of Yondu.
  • Add the cut-up zucchini, savory, oregano, ground chili, and vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
  • Add the cooked posole and beans and barley if using. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
  • Dissolve the 2 tbsp of arrowroot into the soup last and mix in well to thicken.
  • if necessary, add sea salt to taste
  • Serve with warm tortillas, wild onions, or scallions. and a squeeze of lemon or lime.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

More Yondu Magic: Spaghetti with Mushrooms, Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

This recipe was developed based on an online cooking demo by Yondu. It really proves the versatility of Yondu, which evokes a naturally aromatic flavor from veggie dishes like nobody's business.

The version that was presented in their online cooking class for meatless Mondays used EVOO, which is generally assumed to be healthy, but we know better, so in this version, I eliminated it, but in the process I think I proved the versatility of Yondu even more.

Quantities in this example are for 2 people.


8 Oz Whole Wheat Pasta, or whatever other type of whole grain pasta you desire.


  • 2 cups/ 7 Oz assorted mushrooms, sliced
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, sliced paper-thin
  • some chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • 1 cup of water with
  • 1 TBSP of Yondu
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper

Zucchini Tomato Stir-fry

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4-8 cloves of garlic, sliced paper-thin
  • 2 cups of zucchini, sliced in 1" section and cut in eights.
  • 1 cup (or more) of cherry tomatoes.
  • some fresh basil garnish
  • to taste perhaps 1 TSP Yondu (see under preparation)


Note: Order is important here, cook the mushrooms first, using a 11" frying pan.


  • Clean the mushrooms and wipe with moist paper towel, do not soak in water, so they don't get soggy. Just wipe off any dirt. Slice them to about 1/8" thickness.
  • Now roast the mushrooms over medium flame, so they begin to release moisture, stir lightly occasionally.
  • When some browning occurs, but before they start sticking to the pan, add splashes of the water with Yondu, and eventually let the water evaporate completely, so there is no appreciable liquid (they will still look moist).
  • Add in the crushed red pepper during the process. 

Here you can clearly see the mushrooms cooked dry, and a rim around the pan which is really Yondu with essence of mushrooms, so you can scoop out the mushrooms and garnish them, meanwhile reusing the same pan for the veggies, and de-glazing it first.




 Zucchini Tomato Stir-fry

  • De-glaze the pan from the mushrooms and Yondu with a splash of water.
  • Cut up the onion fine and begin roasting it briefly, ideally some edges starting to get brown, but it should not stick to the pan.
  • Cut up the garlic fine while you do this, and then add the garlic.
  • Stir in some of the water, no additional Yondu may be needed as you are de-glazing the pan and the residue may be enough. Optionally, you can add more, if you want a stronger taste.
  • Add in the cut-up zucchini and the cherry tomatoes, and slowly drizzle in the rest of the water, stirring occasionally, until  the zucchini starts to get soft throughout.
  • After the cup of water is boiled off, now you should add a few cups of the cooking water from the pasta, to sort of create a gravy with the garlic and onions.
  • Serve and garnish with some fresh basil. 


Meanwhile, while you are cooking the veggies, boil 8 Oz of spaghetti, or linguini and make sure you keep the cooking water at the end.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Pea Walnut Mint Dip - with Yondu

 Super simple!!!


Pea-Walnut-Mint Dip with multi-colored veggies


  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/3rd cup walnuts
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • a sprig of mint leaves
  • 1 TSP of Yondu
  • 1/4 cup of water


Put the ingredients together in the bowl of a small food processor and blend together, voilà it's done. Finger licking good. Serve with some favorite raw veggies.

Note: the Yondu really does work wonders here!!! 


Recipe came from a Yondu cooking presentation, I just got rid of the olive oil... rest is the same as they did. You need to make sure you add the water in the food processor bowl, this is too heavy to process dry.


Monday, December 14, 2020

Dutch Fusion #WFPB Improv 003 " Snert" - Split Pea Soup

I can no longer comfortably represent that this soup has anything to do with Dutch "snert" - the traditional name for pea soup, though formally you could call it erwtensoep - "erwten" are peas. Somehow the memory of pea soup when I was a kid is what gives me the inspiration, but then my pantry has become so much more diverse over the years that I have wandered pretty far from the original. 

And, but of course, the garden variety "snert," is made with things like bacon and sausage, the old stick to your ribs kind of soup. Mine still is substantial soup, you can really make a meal out of it, salad on the side, perhaps some whole wheat bread sticks or a slice of great whole wheat sourdough bread toast and that is really all you need.


Here is the recipe, today I included some parsnip and some taro over and above the normal things in the recipe.

Split Pea Soup

Great basic recipe for vegan split pea soup, adapted for #WFPB by leaving out the oil.


2-4 onions, cut fine
4-6 chillis, cut fine
1 jalapeno, cut fine
3 bay leaves
3-6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups dried split peas, you can also mix & match 2 cups (1 lb) of split peas (Arvejas Partidas Verdes, or Matar Dal), and 2 cups (1 lb) of yellow split peas ( chana dal).
1 cup barley
1-1/2 tbsp liquid aminos, or some Better Than Bouillon or Marmite, etc.
8-10 cups of vegetable or mushroom bouillon (2 pints)
(Alternatively, half vegetable bouillon and half water with a whole king mushroom, cut up)
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 potatoes, diced
1 tsp of panchpuran
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Optionally other root vegetables, such as parsnips, or turnips, eddo, or taro etc.
Other alternatives are to add 1 tbsp of tianjin preserved veggies, or some Braggs liquid aminos if you're using water, not veggie broth. Both of those contain some salt, so don't over do it. The goal remains to stay below the 1,500 mcg of sodium per day.

For a more chewy texture, you can include some baked seitan, or TVP.


In a large pot over medium high heat, saute the onion, dry for for a total of 10 mins, 5 mins no stir, and 5 mins stirred while adding some 2-3 veggie stock ice cubes, then bay leaf and garlic, cook for 5 minutes on medium.
Add the peas, barley, liquid aminos and water.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cut up the veggies.
Add more water as needed for the right thickness.

Add the carrots, celery, potatoes, parsley, basil, thyme and ground black pepper.
Simmer for another hour, or until the peas and vegetables are tender.



Sunday, December 6, 2020

Ecuadorian #WFPB Bean Soup Improv 002 Locro de Lentejas - Lentil Soup

Locro de Lentejas (Ecuador)

Lentil soup with Cabbage

Note: Ecuadorian cuisine tends to be mild, so I left out the chilis and used only three (seeded) jalapeños, and then I split the soup in two and finished a mild version with some miso at the end, and a spicy version with some gochujang.



1 lb whole lentils
1 lb young potatoes (the kind with the thin skin, either yukon gold or redskin), quartered or smaller, depending on the size and personal preference
one small green or savoy cabbage, quartered and sliced in 1/4" strips
1 white onion cut up in small pieces,
2-3 large red onions, sliced thin
4 green chilis, sliced thin, with seeds (optional)
2 jalapeño peppers, sliced thin (without seeds)
6 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped fine.
1-2 king mushroom cut in strips, or baked seitain cut in cubes.
1 tsp panchpuran
1 teaspoon of savory
1 teaspoon of tarragon
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
5 bay leaves
2 pints of low sodium vegetable stock
3 pints of water
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Seasoning to taste with Braggs Liquid Aminos. Alternatively, dissolve one heaping tablespoon of miso paste (or, if you like spicy, gochujang) in water and add at the end and use less liquid aminos.

Anyway you finish it up, you'll have a great winter soup you can stick a fork in!


Dry fry the onions with the peppers, panchpuran over a low flame for about 3/4 minutes until they get soft and start to brown. Add a splash of veggie broth as needed, so it does not stick to the pan.

Add garlic, the vegetable stock and the herbs & spices, the lentils and the seitan (or mushrooms) and (after about 15 mins) the potatoes. 

Let cook for another 10-15 minutes, and add the cabbage.

Let it simmer for 30 mins.


At the end, add some miso, or gochujang dissolved in water and the chopped cilantro.


  1. Some people would peel the potatoes, but if you buy thin-skinned potatoes, you can easily cook them in the skin, even cut-up: you lose less nutrition that way.
  2. Evidently, you can vary the herbs and spices to taste.
  3. Never boil the miso, just dissolve in hot water and add it in at the end.)

Friday, December 4, 2020

2021: The 5 Year Anniversary of the UN FAO International Year of Pulses

It was May 2015 when I switched to a Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet and lo and behold, 2016 was the Year of Pulses (legumes). I can only say that my repertoire of using various legumes has gradually expanded since then, so I figured it was in order to celebrate the 5-year anniversary. It will be a small, private celebration in my kitchen, but you are invited to expand it to yours. I made up my mind this winter to get really good at various heavy soups - cold weather always inspires that and in Holland we had a good tradition of heavy bean soups in winter. The bottom line is, pulses, legumes if you will provide excellent nutrition, and in any region of the world you can learn to cook with the local varieties.

I posted the first one the other day... Dutch Bruine Bonen Soep. I always assumed that this was about red kidney beans, and Wikipedia seems to reinforce that notion, but people in the Dutch community have convinced me that pinto beans are actually closer in taste. Getting comments back from around the world made me that much more aware that whatever beans you can get vary quite a bit locally. Given that I live in Little Bangladesh in the Bronx, which is overall 60% hispanic, I have a treasure trove of pulses available to me and my cooking in general reflects it. In Spanish cultures, I find mostly beans and corn, of course, as well as some chickpeas (garbanzo). In the SE Asian community, I find lots of lentils (dal), chickpeas (gram) and other goodies.

Then, when you think you have seen it all, and choice is already overwhelming, along comes 60 minutes with a piece on heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo. Here is at least a vegetarian approach. I will obviously be focusing on pure @WFPB.


To begin with, I am collaborating with Fatima Cabrera, who is the cook at the St. Helena's school. Her background is Ecuadorian. We will also get some input from Leobarda, who is the cook at the rectory at St. Helena's.

The first few soups we are plannig, starting with the Pinto Bean Soup listed above:

  1. Dutch-inspired Pinto Bean Soup
  2. Ecuadorian-inspired Locro de Lentejas
  3. Dutch-inspired Split-pea soup
  4. Mexican-inspired Three Sisters Posole
  5. Mixed Bean Soup with Summer Savory

After the first five, some of which we have made before in our cooking class at St. Helena's, we are going to expand the repertoire. The theme may be expanded to include other traditions, but we will stick to soups based on various pulses, with a preference of a winter-theme - soups you can stick a fork in, so to speak.

Principles of cooking with beans

Beans can be hard to digest if you are coming from a very industrial diet (read: SAD, Standard American Diet). There are a few things to know which can make beans easier to digest. Generally speaking soaking for 6-8 hours makes life easier. In terms of the kitchen, you can shorten prep time by using an Instant Pot to pre-cook the beans, that tends to cut an hour off cooking times. For lentils and split peas, soaking and pre-cooking is generally not an issue, for they dissolve quickly. 


If you are going to cook at night, soak in the morning, putting your beans under an inch of fresh water. You can put a sheet of kombu in your beans, that will enrich the taste and the amino acids in kombu help soften beans and make them more digestible. Add a 4-6″ strip of kombu to a pot of cooking beans. After an hour or two, the kombu will disintegrate when stirred. (Any stray pieces should be tender enough to eat, or you can remove them.) See also here, on Kitchen: Ingredient Spotligh: Dried Kombu. You can drain the soaking water, but you can cook the beans with the kombu, that adds deep flavor.

If you are cooking in the AM, soak the beans at night. So they are good and ready in the AM.

Herbs and spices, basic veggies.

Bayleaf is always good, Summer Savory adds flavor and according to kitchen lore, like Kombu, it helps with digestion. 

For the rest, it all depends on what style you are cooking in and you use the herbs and spices from that tradition. I personally cannot cook anything without onions and garlic, so my soup recipes will start with that. I like to use some fresh turmeric as well. Sometimes ginger. Carrots and celery are good companions in many soups. Then there is panchpuran (five spices), which is the quick and easy way to start any dal. You should add it in right from the start and roast it with your onions. I like chilis, jalapeños or any variety of hot peppers. Given that beans by themselves are kind of dull, it is hard to make it too spicy, but for me a soup with some subtle zing to it is the best.

Some kitchen technique

One of the challenges with beans is the need for soaking and the pre-cooking. If you have a pressure cooking solution, you can cut it short, and you can pre-cook your beans while you are preparing the veggies for the soup. I use an Instant Pot and I love it - instead of pre-cooking for an hour, I can do it in 10 minutes.


I look forward to seeing you around the campus! We are hoping to relaunch the cooking classes at St. Helena's in the spring.