I’ve gone on at length in previous posts about Tasterie, the monthly by-mail snack box service that delivers a medley of allergy-friendly foods in cute blue boxes. If you haven’t tried a Tasterie box yet, you’re missing quite the treat. I get the regular vegan box each month to share with my mom and we love it. The majority of the box tends to be packed with treats and snacks, but they’re also very good about including one or two things that you can use to make a full meal. Some examples:
and, recently, a full box of Harvest Moon 9 Bean Soup Mix.
Packed with fiber, protein and yes, nine types of organic beans, this stuff promised to be hearty and filling. Since it also had it own seasoning packet right in the box, all I had to do was add some homemade vegan sausage, a can of whole tomatoes, some chopped green pepper, garlic and hot sauce to make a huge pot of food.
I know what you’re thinking. Hot sauce in soup? But it worked out great. The seasonings that came with the soup included dried jalapeno peppers, so it was already a bit spicy. Adding a splash of hot sauce upped the heat factor just enough to be tasty without ruining the flavor. The only thing I switched out was the bay leaf. For some odd reason, I seem to be allergic to them and can’t include them in any recipes. Instead I used my go-to substitution: a pinch of thyme! It’s not exactly the same, but I find that it works well just about anywhere you’d usually use a bay leaf.
Alas, I can’t claim responsibility for this awesome mix of ingredients. The whole recipe was printed right on the back of the box, complete with a note for turning the original mix (which suggested turkey sausage) into a “vegetarian option” using vegan sausage! I love it when companies think of things like that. Not that I wouldn’t have made the substitution anyway, but it’s nice to know that some food manufacturers are paying attention to the growing amount of vegetarians and vegans out there. Plus I’d just recently made a fresh batch of vegan sausage, so there was no reason not to cut a bunch up and dump it in! The side of the box also offers directions for a slow cooker option, making this a pretty darn versatile soup.
While the soup was cooking, I whipped up a batch of my favorite corn muffins ever from the Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook and put together a couple small side salads. My mom had her muffin on the side as well, but I put mine right in the bowl and ladled soup over the top–yum! I do that with chili sometimes, so I figured it would be good with soup. Though I’d eat those corn muffins with just about anything, really…
I only had one complaint about this mix: even though I followed the recipe exactly, soaking the beans as directed and cooking for a total of an hour and a half on the stovetop, the final product was still more al dente than I would have liked. I didn’t stir the soup much during the simmering process, so I’m wondering if some of the beans weren’t submerged enough. It was still a great-tasting soup, though, and made so much that no only did Mom and I eat it for dinner one night, but Mom also brought some to work for lunch not once, but twice. And I ate some for lunch. And my dad ate some for lunch. So you really get a big bang for your buck with this soup mix!
I’d be hard-pressed to say whether I enjoyed this or the 13-bean soup from the pressure cooker more. Both were delicious, though the pressure cooker soup had better texture. Whereas the Harvest Bean soup was chunky, the 13-bean was velvety and smooth. I guess it would depend on what I was in the mood for, seeing as they’re both hearty and healthy. And really, with winter still hanging around, who wouldn’t want a nice warm bowl of soup?