Monday, April 19, 2010

A perfect potage for a meatless Monday

The Toronto Vegetarian Association (TVA) is asking us all to make the choice to go Meatless on Mondays.

“Giving up meat for just one day a week can make a huge difference,” says the press release. “Scientific literature suggests that the consumption of a diet of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts, and fruits, is consistently associated with lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, less obesity and less heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.” Exercise is also encouraged, and, they add that, “Cutting out meat and other animal products is the most powerful way to fight climate change and reduce our ecological footprint.”

Here’s how Meatless Monday works:

-Go to and take TVA’s Meatless Monday pledge, in which you commit to give up meat for six Mondays, starting April 19 through to May 24.

-Once you’ve made your pledge, you will start to receive recipes and cooking ideas via email from TVA, to make your Monday meals more healthy and hassle free.

-Share your recipes with your friends and encourage them to take the Meatless Monday pledge.

Bottom line: Save your burger binge for Tuesday, and enjoy my delicious, earth-friendly soup tonight.

Sweet potato, coconut & cilantro soup

(serves 4-6)


1 tbsp butter

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 cooking onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 large celery rib, chopped

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, chopped

1 very large sweet potato, peeled and chopped

3 cups hot vegetable stock

pinch of sugar

pinch of cayenne

salt and pepper to taste

½ cup coconut milk (they even come in handy ½ cup cans now, so no waste!)

1/2 cup fresh coriander or cilantro, chopped

¼ cup fried shallots (optional but good)


Heat butter with oil in a soup pot. Add onion and cook for two minutes, add carrot and celery, cook for a few minutes more, stirring often. Add Yukon golds and sweet potatoes, add seasonings, cover in hot stock, bring to a boil then lower temperature and let the soup simmer away for a half hour or until all vegetables are tender.

Turn off heat and stir in coconut milk. Let soup cool slightly then add chopped coriander and add soup in batches to a blender. Here’s a trick I recently learned at culinary school in Mexico City: Let the blender go for a good few minutes – like, waaaay longer than you’d think is normal. This makes for an incredibly silky consistency. Reheat before serving.

Top with some fried shallots (I buy them by the bag in Asian stores and keep them in the freezer) and some extra chopped coriander.

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