There are now several brands of vegan chicken products available, with a whole range of flavours and textures, so making a dish like this vegan chicken and vegetable soup is easier than ever. I used the This Isn’t Chicken brand, but you can use whichever is your favourite. Hearty soups are a thing to savour as the colder weather creeps in. Warming, nutritious and easy to make in large batches for later consumption are what make soups an ideal choice for the autumn and winter months. You can spend a Sunday afternoon doubling up a recipe, freeze it in portion-size containers and have enough food for a few days throughout the week, when you have less time (and perhaps less inclination) to cook.
This recipe is very much a vegan take on a classic, time-honoured soup. Most of us would have had some version or other of it while growing up. I know I did many times in my youth. I have used potatoes blended in their cooking water as a base for this soup, rather than cooking potatoes straight into it. This gives us an intensely-flavoured soup stock and gives us a nice balance of whole and blended vegetables. An emersion blender is perfect for this task, but a jug will also work. Just allow the potato water to cool quite a bit first to prevent the build-up of steam in the jug.
The recipe is mostly gluten-free, but you’ll want to leave out the chicken substitute, unless you are aware of one that is suitable. You can swap it for any vegetable you like, or even put in some crispy tofu. Also make sure the veg stock is gluten free.
This vegan chicken and vegetable soup would be very nicely paired with my Homemade Focaccia Bread Rolls.
Vegan Chicken and Vegetable Soup.
Prep time: 25 minutes. Cooking time: about 45 minutes
Easy to make gluten free
2 ½ litres/4 pints cold water
2 vegetable stock cubes (make sure they’re vegan)
600g/1.3 lb potatoes, peeled and diced small
30g/1oz vegan butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pack (about 190g/7oz) vegan chicken substitute, such as This Isn’t Chicken, cut into small pieces
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1 large leek, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, diced small
1 medium or 2 small carrots, peeled and diced
3 tbsp gram (chickpea) flour, or other flour
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
125g/4 ½ oz frozen edamame beans
Salt and pepper to taste
200ml/6 ½ fl oz vegan cream
Put the water into a large saucepan, add the veg stock and the potatoes and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Use an emersion blender to blend the water and potatoes together, until completely smooth. If you’re using a jug blender, allow to cool for a little first to prevent the build-up of steam. Set aside until needed.
In another pan, heat the butter and oil until hot enough to fry. Add the vegan chicken pieces, leek, yellow pepper and carrots and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, until softened and slightly browned. Add the gram flour and the mustard and mix in. Cook for a couple more minutes.
Now begin pouring in the potato stock, 1 ladle at a time. Mix each ladle in thoroughly before adding the next so that no floury lumps form in the soup. After 8-10 ladles you will have build up enough of a soup base to pour in the rest. Do this and bring the soup back up to the boil.
Now add the edamame beans and simmer for another 15 minutes or so, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking. Finally season with the salt and pepper to taste and pour in the vegan cream. Gently simmer for 5 minutes more and then serve with crusty bread, or my Homemade Focaccia Bread Rolls.