What’s for Dinner
A great vegan dish
-Adapted from: Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews, (Broadway Books, 2009) by Nava Atlas
The zesty flavors of tacos turned inside out. The presentation of this easy, offbeat soup is fun and dramatic.
4 cups water
1/2 cup raw bulgur
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, finely diced
4 cups cooked pinto beans (about 1 1/2 cups dried), or two 16-ounce cans, drained and rinsed
One 28-ounce can salt-free crushed
1/4 cup chopped mild green chilies, fresh or canned, optional
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 to 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar-style nondairy cheese
Thinly shredded romaine or green leaf lettuce
Finely diced firm, ripe tomatoes (about 1 cup)
Large, triangular stone-ground tortilla chips
1. Bring 1 cup of the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the bulgur and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Or if you can do this step ahead of time, simply add the bulgur to the boiling water, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for 30 minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and bell pepper and continue to sauté, stirring frequently, until all are golden.
3. Add the remaining ingredients, except the garnishes, plus the cooked bulgur and the remaining 3 cups water. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove from the heat.
4. Assemble each serving as follows: Fill each bowl about 2/3 full with soup. Top with some grated cheese, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes. Line the perimeter of each bowl with several tortilla chips, points facing upward, for a kind of star-shaped effect. The tortilla chips can be used to scoop up the solid parts of the soup or just nibbled along with the soup. Pass around a bowl of extra tortilla chips.