Today's installment for the 'month of soup' is a Moroccan vermicelli vegetable soup from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. Nothing to it in terms of preparation - a minimum of chopping/dicing required. Plus opening a couple of cans (diced tomatoes and chickpeas). Instead of broth/stock from a jar (I like 'Better than Bouillon') I started with a vegetable broth from scratch. A large onion, a couple of carrots, some celery, half a red bell pepper, some parsley, garlic and a handful of chives from the herb garden. All that roughly chopped and into the pressure cooker with a good few black peppercorns, a bay leaf, a bit of salt and 2 teaspoons of soy sauce. Boiled it under high pressure for 15 minutes and then reduced it somewhat for another 20 minutes or so, before straining. Practically any homemade broth is going to improve a soup and this was no exception. It just adds another layer of flavor and depth and a bit of color.
The vermicelli (I really like the fact that it comes in a 'use it all' 5 oz package) went in just a few minutes before dinner, with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro on top. Voila - a very satisfying hearty soup loaded with nutrients with zero added fat and of course no cholesterol. The only tricky part was finding one of the ingredients - za'atar - a spice mix. It is optional and probably won't make a huge difference if omitted. Found it a our local Mediterranean/Middle Eastern emporium - Phoenicia Foods. What a place! I picked up some harissa in a tube, black beans, dried garbanzos, fresh pita bread (right off the conveyor belt out of their oven) and had to fight the urge to get some marzipan. Unfortunately this little treat has no place in my 'Bodyfat Blaster' program...
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