Meatless Monday – Mirepoix and Marmite

How can vegetarian taste so good? Well there are  a number of items essential in a vegetarian pantry:

nutritional yeast, onions, garlic, herbs, spices, marmite, carrots, celery, salt (the good stuff)

Recently I experimented with all of these in one hot mess. I made a pumpkin ale butternut soup using all of the above ingredients (and more). Soup is the professional chef’s and lazy cook’s best friend in a winter kitchen. You can be creative, skilled, unimaginative and incompetent as a cook and still make a hearty soup that tastes great and is nutritious. And for the vegetarian/vegan, the sky’s the limit! No need to bother with animal parts for flavour. There are 3 parts that will make for a great soup: mirepoix, body, the kitchen sink.

Mirepoix
This is a mixture of celery, onions and carrots used to flavour soups and stocks. Onions on their own enhance the flavour and aroma of any dish to which they are added (with the exception of chocolate cake).

Body
The body consists of particular herbs and spices along with copious amounts of liquid. This combination constitutes the main composition of your soupy creation. Overwhelmed by choice? You can never go wrong with parsley, sage and thyme. Garlic and salt are a given – no savoury dish worth its salt (yes pun hugely intended) would be without either. And may I suggest 2 ingredients that can take your soup from good to amazing: marmite and nutritional yeast.  Both are saline yeast-based products containing B vitamins, the former being a brown sticky goo (a cousin to vegemite) and the later brown and flaky (a bit like me ;-))

The kitchen sink
This is where your creativity runs wild. Throw in vegetables about to go off, odd ingredients you have no idea how to use and anything else kicking around in your pantry. Basically throw in everything but the kitchen sink. Make sure to taste your soup frequently during the cooking process to make sure it’s fit for consumption.

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