Vegan “chicken” noodle soup, or chick’n noodle soup if you prefer, is truly a bowl of comfort. You can make this recipe with a variety of chick’n-style plant proteins, or opt for baked tofu.
This simple, soothing soup recalls a comfort soup from my childhood, like the kind my mom made, minus the bird. It proves that cool-weather soups need not always be thick to provide a sense of warmth.
Your choice of plant protein: As you’ll see in the recipe, you have a choice of what to use to stand in for chicken. For this particular round I used a nice tender chick’n-style seitan, but you can also use your favorite chicken-style plant protein. You can also opt for baked tofu.
Because the noodles absorb the broth as the soup stands, it thickens — a lot. So while it doesn’t seem like it makes a big pot full at first, it keeps on yielding. When you add more water to the soup, you’ll also have to adjust the seasonings to your taste.
You don’t have to wait until you have a cold to enjoy this soup. Make it all year round (with the possible exception of summer) for a lift to the spirit and sensees.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 large celery stalks, finely diced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced, or 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped baby carrots
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, minced
- 8 cups water, plus more as needed
- 2 large vegetable or vegan chick’n-style bouillon cubes
- 2 teaspoons salt-free seasoning (like Mrs. Dash or Frontier)
- 1 teaspoon dried dill (or add fresh at the end)
- 2 cups tiny pasta (see Note)
- 6 to 8 ounces vegan chick’n product, chick’n-style seitan or baked tofu, chopped small
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup minced parsley or scallion
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the celery, carrots, garlic, onion, and about 2 tablespoons water. Cover and sweat over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally.
- Add the water, bouillon cubes, seasoning, and dried dill if using and bring to a slow boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Raise the heat and bring to a more vigorous simmer. Add the noodles and vegan chick’n and simmer steadily for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the noodles are al dente. Make sure not to overcook, as the noodles will continue to soften in the hot broth.
- Stir in more water if the soup has already become too dense, then season with salt and pepper and heat through.
- If you opted for fresh dill, stir in now along with the parsley or scallion, then serve at once.
As the soup stands, the noodles quickly absorb the liquid. If you plan on having leftovers of the soup, add a cup or so of additional water before storing, and adjust the seasonings. This way the soup can develop more flavor as it stands.
Annelini is tiny pasta rings that work great in this soup and cook quickly. You can use vermicelli or angel hair, broken into 1 1/2 inch pieces. If you spot any other short fine noodles, just make sure they’re not egg noodles.
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