With this being only our second winter in California I am pleasantly surprised this year by the cooler weather and the rain. It really feels wintery to me (in comparison to our usual warm and sunny days). As much as I know we needed the rain and I of course wanted it, I really just was starting to believe it didn’t actually happen here.
Last year was pretty much just hot and sunny the entire winter season, very little rain, it basically just felt like a continuation of the rest of the year. I assumed that was the norm and was really only bummed about it because I was missing comforting winter foods like soups and stews and other winter weather favorites.
This year we have had some wonderfully welcomed grey and chilly days, complete with rain and the need for cozy-time. I’m talking a hot fire, lots of blankets and comforting hot foods and drinks. I have made lot of soups and my love of hot drinks has been taken to a new level. In fact, while I write this, I am sipping away on a steamy mug of dairy-free hot cocoa, while under a cozy blanket, in front of the roaring fire place. I know, I know, those of you dealing with single digit temperatures and loads of snow, probably think this Southern California girl who hails from Buffalo, NY, should shut up about rainy 50º weather, but it’s all relative, friends. Promise.
This soup is a new favorite around here, especially with these cooler temperatures amidst the new year busyness. This is literally a dump all in and go meal. Put everything into the crock pot / slow cooker in the morning and by the evening you have a delicious, nourishing and comforting meal. The best part about this vegetable soup is that you can easily customize it with whatever veggies you have on hand. Opt for carrots or rutabaga instead of parsnips. Potatoes, sweet potato or another squash rather than the butternut, try fennel instead of leeks, go with kale or spinach instead of the Swiss chard. You could go with green beans instead of peas or maybe some fresh broccoli. Try sliced mushrooms if you’ve got them. If you are a meat or seafood eater, this soup would be delicious served with some cooked chicken breast or maybe shrimp at the end.
I personally love recipes like this, they literally act a skeleton that you can build off of and easily adapt to what you have and the season. This are the recipes I go back to time and time again. Easy, delicious and so comforting. Exactly what my life needs right now!
[print_this]Slow Cooker Coconut Red Curry Vegetable Soup (Gluten-free + Vegan)
this is the slow cooker that I use
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 leeks, cleaned and trimmed, white and light green parts only, halved and thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
- 1 lb parsnips, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
- 6 cubs low sodium vegetable broth or stock (chicken broth will also work great)
- 1/4 cup red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos (or fish sauce)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 1 can full fat organic coconut milk
- juice from 1 lime
- sea salt, to taste
- red pepper flakes, optional
- fresh cilantro
- green onions
Add all up the ingredients up to and including the gluten-free tamari (or fish sauce) to your slow cooker. If you wish to saute the onion, leeks, garlic and ginger first in a separate pan with some olive or coconut oil, you absolutely can do that. I personally prefer to make crock-pot cooking as simple and quick as possible – so I go all in.
Give it all a good stir, to dissolve the red curry paste. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, or on low for 8 hours. Just before serving add the frozen peas, the roughly chopped swiss chard, the coconut milk and the fresh lime juice. Give it all a good stir to combine the coconut milk. Put the lid back on and give it a few minutes to cook the peas and wilt the swiss chard. Taste just before serving and adjust your seasonings, as necessary. Serve topped with fresh cilantro, green onions and or sprouts. Enjoy! [/print_this]
RECIPE NOTES (taken from the post above):
The best part about this vegetable soup is that you can easily customize it with whatever veggies you have on hand. Opt for carrots or rutabaga instead of parsnips. Potatoes, sweet potato or another squash rather than the butternut, try fennel instead of leeks, go with kale or spinach instead of the Swiss chard. You could go with green beans instead of peas or maybe some fresh broccoli. Try sliced mushrooms if you’ve got them. If you are a meat or seafood eater, this soup would be delicious served with some cooked chicken breast or maybe shrimp at the end.