If I’ve learned a lesson this week, then it’s not to change your routine too much. Even with a good plan it turned out to be hard to change my cooking. Was it the plan that was to blame? Or me? Am I just not that good with sticking to dinner plans? I know I’m very comfortable in my freestyle ‘what shall we have for dinner tonight’-style.
But then, how to explain this? This [vegan] White bean soup with sauerkraut was planned and too good not to write about.
A good opportunity.
That’s how I thought about this week of solo cooking. Cooking for just me is different then cooking for the two of us; I wrote about it a few weeks ago. With Mr. Eats traveling, I would had a few days in a row to experiment, to play with my food, maybe even to get outside my comfort zone a bit.
Yeah, like everyone else, I also have a cooking comfort zone.
I don’t know much about Asian cooking. I hardly have a clue what Southern and Central American people cook. I’m still not into American style barbecues (like big meats long and slow on coals). And I’m not comfortable enough to go vegan for more than 1 meal at the time. Breakfasts excluded, as I usually have bread with fresh grounded peanut butter. That’s some
vegan points protein there!
Cause, that was the plan. Go vegan the days that Mr. Eats would be traveling. But eh, … I wondered as well: how to get enough protein when you go vegan?
– It helps knowing that you don’t need that much protein at all.
– It helps knowing that there’s also a lot of protein in vegetables, legumes, nuts (peanuts!) and seeds.
– It helps knowing that you don’t necessarily need proteins in every meal.
– It helps knowing that on my trip to Portugal the week before I had enough proteins for a whole month. (Not sure if it works that way, though!)
– It definitely helps knowing that I would be getting enough animal based proteins while working, as I need to taste test all the food in my cooking class and the food we serve to our customers at the cooking studio where I work as well. Can’t overnight make all my students and clients go vegan as well, right?
So I basically only had to come up with a few dinner dishes. Three to be exactly. And some ideas for 1 or 2 lunches.
And I failed.
There was this evening with serious enough headache to crave M&M’s (oops, not vegan!) and chips for dinner. Another evening that I just didn’t feel like cooking anymore after a long day in the kitchen. For the lunches I turned to my old favorite bread as I was too absorbed/emersed in my work to get up in time to prep grains and protein rich veggies.
But hey, I had baked a beautiful whole wheat (protein!) bread, made a nice mushroom rillette and soaked some white beans that I could turn into an easy soup, a spread for on bread or use in another way.
But that soup! It’s the vegan White bean soup with sauerkraut that’s still in my head. That I’m still dreaming about. Simple white beans and some fresh sauerkraut. Okay, and time to soak the beans as I strongly recommend to use those in stead of canned ones.
Vegan White Bean Soup with Sauerkraut
Soaking and cooking your own beans may be more hassle and time consuming than opening a can, but there is a huge advantage to it: you can flavor the beans to your liking! Both while soaking and while cooking them.
To soak the beans:
3/4 cup dried white beans
1 T dried leek/onion powder/parsley/1 t dried thyme
1 T stock paste/1 stock cube (I used a vegetarian one)
1/2 t salt
2 bay leaves
For the soup:
1,5 cup soaked white beans
1 stalk celery
1-2 T olive oil
2,5 cup stock (vegetarian)
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic
the same flavorings as above
1/4 cup fresh sauerkraut
Soak the beans. Put all ingredients in a wide pot and submerge with water. Let soak overnight. Check if there’s enough water in the pot as the beans will absorb a lot.
Start the soup base by cleaning and chopping up the onion and celery. Over low heat cook them in some olive oil until softened.
Cook the beans. Sieve the soaked beans. Put in a pan with the stock and add the bay leaves and the peeled garlic. Let boil until the beans are done.
Tip: How long do you need to cook beans? Good question, the answer is not so straightforward, unfortunately. It depends on the beans, but most of the times 2 hours is recommended. If you’re beans are already in your cupboard for a while (guilty!), it can take (much) longer. So check your packages, google online and taste. Taste. Taste. And taste again!
Taste the beans. They should be fully cooked, but preferable still firm.
Finish the soup. Rinse the sauerkraut (if you want, I didn’t), add it a generous amount of pepper.