It's the New Year...a time to reflect on the past and look ahead to what we intend to achieve in the coming months. Many of us will focus on our wellness, perhaps planning to lose a few pounds or simply to eat more healthfully and thoughtfully.
Well, this soup is a great way to start the new year. It is super nutritious, loaded with vegetables and lovely seasonings. It is low calorie, yet filling. The smokiness and heat from the chipotle chile add a nice flavor component. Some research even suggests that spicy foods can slightly raise your metabolic rate and help burn a few extra calories (although not a license to eat a full chocolate cake afterwards!). If you do not have a dried chipotle chile, you can use chipotle, ancho or chili powder instead.
Tofu in this soup adds high quality plant protein. The tofu I used is from a newish St. Louis company called MOFU Soy Beanery (get it? The MO short for Missouri). The owner is a dietitian and chef that transforms fresh soybeans into an amazing tofu product. Whatever tofu brand you choose, be sure to use the extra-firm type of tofu otherwise the cubes will fall apart in the soup.
To help dampen the heat of this somewhat spicy soup and to add a boost of texture and flavors, avocado, cheese, tortilla chips and plain yogurt make great toppings.
Enjoy, and ¡Feliz año nuevo!
Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
1 dried chipotle chile pepper
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (Hiltys Bee Yard, Bowling Green, MO)
2 Tbsp oil
1 white onion, coursely chopped (Yellow Wood Farm)
3 cloves garlic (Roundabout Farm)
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
14 ounce package extra firm tofu (MOFU Soy Beanery, St. Louis, MO)
4 cups fresh spinach (Theis Farm, St. Louis, MO)
1 large avocado cut into cubes
2 cups tortilla chips (Gringo Salsa, St. Louis, MO)
¾ cup Mexican blend cheese
dollop of plain yogurt, optional (Windcrest Dairy, Trenton, IL)
1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in large pot. Add onion and garlic, cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add to blender or food processor.
2. Break apart the chipotle chile, removing seeds and stem; combine with diced tomatoes and juice in the food processor or blender.
3. Blend all these ingredients until pureed.
4. Pour puree back into large pot, heat for about 5 minutes. Add broth and water, bring to boil, then simmer.
5. Drain tofu, pat dry and cut into ½ inch cubes. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in skillet, brown tofu cubes for about 3 minutes, then add to simmering pot.
6. Add spinach to pot, cook until greens are wilted, about 2 minutes.
7. Ladle soup into bowls, and top with avocado, tortilla chips, cheese and a dollop of plain yogurt.