Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup
This soup is like a warm hug in a bowl. When I was a kid, my mom always used to make me chicken noodle soup if I was sick. In fact, chicken noodle soup is widely known as THE food remedy for the cold and flu, and while I don’t know if it actually helps cure anything, medically speaking, there is something about that hot, clear broth filled with herbs and chicken and noodles that is certainly very emotionally comforting.
My veganized version uses vegetable broth and chewy pieces of baked tofu in place of chicken, but you can easily substitute plant-based chicken pieces for a meatier alternative and a slightly faster cook time.
- For the Baked Tofu "Chicken"
- 10.5 oz (297 g) extra-firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
For the Soup
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil or vegan butter
- 1 large or 2 medium white onions, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 4–5 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 1 large rib celery, diced
- 68 oz (2 L) vegetable broth
- 1 cup (240 ml) water, plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
- 2-3 dried bay leaves
- Few sprigs each of fresh rosemary and thyme (optional)
- 3–5 oz (85–142 g) dried small soup pasta
- 1 cup (136 g) frozen or canned whole kernel corn
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- To Serve
- Few sprigs each of fresh rosemary and thyme, leaves only (optional)
- Small handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
- Almond Parm (optional)
Start by making the Baked Tofu “Chicken.” Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Dice the tofu or break it into small chunks and transfer to a bowl. Add the olive oil and soy sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to fully coat the tofu, then bake for 30 minutes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Once golden and crispy, remove the tofu from the oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. If you’re using vegan chicken pieces, add the chicken, along with the herbs, and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the chicken starts to brown slightly.
Add the garlic, carrots, and celery, and cook for another 5 minutes to soften up the veg before pouring in broth and water, along with the lemon juice, bay leaves, and fresh herbs (if using).
Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the pasta and increase the heat to medium. Cook for another 10 minutes at a gentle boil, then add the corn and baked tofu “chicken” (if using) and simmer for a few minutes more. Remove the bay leaves before serving. Season with salt and pepper. If the pasta has thickened the soup too much, feel free to add a little extra water and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
Garnish with herbs and a sprinkle of Almond Parm, if you like.
If you are cooking the pasta directly in the soup, make sure you are using a short soup pasta like margheritine or ditalini (smaller shapes like orzo and stelline work as well) and check the instructions on the package. If the pasta you’re using requires more or less cooking time, adjust accordingly. If you prefer a larger pasta, simply cook it separately to al dente and add it to the soup along with the corn.
If you want the soup to remain more broth-like, you can cook the pasta separately—to al dente—drain, and stir into the soup just before serving.
Reprinted with permission from The Vegan Pasta Cookbook by Rebecca Hincke. Page Street Publishing Co. 2022. Photo credit: Rebecca Hincke.
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