Last week, a friend of mine was feeling under the weather. For an opera singing student, illness is serious business — we depend on our bodies to function as our musical instruments! As you can surely imagine, a sore throat or head cold can ruin a singer’s week like nothing else.
And so, we’ll go to just about any length to kick a cold to the curb as quickly as humanly possible. Unfortunately, most cold medicines are harsh on the vocal chords, as they can be quite dehydrating. Instead of taking traditional remedies, we gargle salt water, drink gallons of tea with honey, stifle our coughs, and even turn to Eastern medicine for herbal tinctures and supplements.
While a full-on assault of these methods does seem to shorten a cold, I also like to give my body an extra fighting chance by feeding it lots of nutritious foods. For my sick friend, my first thought was to make a hearty soup full of vegetables and tofu.
Not only was the resulting soup a resounding success on the healing front, it was so delicious that I had to recreate it this weekend and share it with you! A combination of peanut butter, miso paste and chili paste makes for a rich, savory, spicy broth. It’s hearty enough to satisfy your appetite for an end-of-winter meal, but light enough to carry over into your Spring recipe repertoire as well. Feel free to sub in whatever vegetables you please as the seasons change. The recipe is vegan, gluten free, and takes about a half an hour to make. Enjoy!
Spicy Peanut Miso Soup
1″ knob ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 medium yellow onion, quartered and sliced 1/4″ thick
4 ribs celery, sliced 1/4″ thick on diagonal
2 large carrots, sliced 1/8″ thick on diagonal
1 large red bell pepper, in bite size pieces
1 large pasilla pepper, in bite size pieces
1/3 C. unsalted creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp. white miso
1 tsp. sambal oelek (chili paste)
1 (20 oz) block super-firm tofu, cut into bite-size cubes
4 C. water
6 oz. baby spinach
6 sprigs cilantro (about 1/2 C.), chopped coarsely
1. In a medium-sized (4-quart) dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil and sesame oil over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic, sauteing for a minute until fragrant. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and saute for three minutes, until onions become a bit translucent.
2. Add the bell and pasilla peppers, peanut butter, miso paste, chili paste, and tofu. Stir to evenly distribute the peanut butter and miso paste, then add the water and stir until everything is mixed evenly.
3. Cover and bring to a simmer. When soup just begins to simmer, add the spinach and cilantro. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for five minutes to allow the spinach to wilt. Stir and serve.