Soups on! The second annual Soupalicious is happening this weekend at Heritage Court in Exhibition Place (they are open from 11-4pm today). Toronto, ON and I had the opportunity to check it out on Saturday. So many great vegan options (even ones that weren’t listed as such on the info card – talking with the chefs and soupmasters was very illuminating.)
I helped with set up on Friday evening. I heard about Soupalicious after the fact last year, and wished I could have been a part of it, so I made a point to do something this year. I had the opportunity to help a little bit more today with set up and in the food demo area, and it was so much fun. If you can volunteer at an event like this one (or any) I recommend it. You really get a lot out of it, beyond the regular perks of volunteerism (free t-shirt, snacks, etc) you get to see the whole event in a new way.
After helping out, I had so much soup. I don’t even know where to start, so I’ll start at the most obvious, the first vegan listed item on the Participating Restaurants and Chefs Guide.
Unfortunately, the first listing of The Annex Hodge Podge and their Red Velvet soup is wrong. It has honey in it, and hey Annex Hodge Podge, honey isn’t vegan. And I wouldn’t have known except they had printed the soup recipe in the Toronto Star just a few days ago, and then that made me ask if the soup they had there was the one with honey in it. Disappointing, since it would have been so easy to skip it and make a truly vegan soup for the event. I’m always excited to try different varieties of beet based soups, and this is no exception. I’ll just make it at home myself (maybe with some nice agave nectar or just redpath sugar syrup) and see what all the fuss is about!
Christine Renaud, Author of Christine’s Vegan Kitchen had two soups that were so tasty. There was a Curried Roasted Pear & Parsnip Soup and a Tomato Barley with Smoked Paprika. She also had her cookbook available for purchase. If you click on either of the soup names, they’ll take you to the recipe on the Soupalicious page.
I absolutely loved the curried roasted pear and parsnip soup. It was thick, had an interesting texture, and so much great flavour, I probably went back there three times just for that one. Which is not to say that the Tomato Barley with Smoked Paprika wasn’t good (because it was great), it was just a thinner, chunkier soup, and with Saturday’s cool morning weather, I was looking for a thicker spicier soup.
Cruda Cafe had a Smokey Canadiana Cashew and Tomato Soup. Oddly enough, they were cooking it (or I suppose just heating it up slightly) which I didn’t expect from the otherwise raw restaurant. It was probably below 105 degrees.
Fully Nourished by Marni Wasserman was there with a Carrot/Sweet Potato Ginger Apple soup. Marni Wasserman also did a soup demonstration first thing Saturday morning. The recipe for the soup is here on the Soupalicious website.
People learned about the great ways they could use root vegetables, and how soup is pretty much the easiest thing to make as long as you know how to chop veggies and combine them in a decent way (like… don’t boil eggplant and cucumber and call it a soup!)
Homegrown Hydroponics was the one soup I didn’t get a chance to try or photograph, but they had a vegan vegetable soup. I’m sorry I missed out, but I was out of tickets and had consumed too much soup by the time I got to their station!
The L-Eat Express had a Pumpkin Sage Minestrone, which was freaking phenomenal. My partner walked up to them and asked what was in the soup, and one of the chefs enthusiastically proclaimed it’s veganness. Thrilled. It was such a pleasant surprise, full bodied flavour with hints of pumpkin and a punch of sage. It made me want to check out their 410 Adelaide W (Toronto) location, to see if they 1. had any other vegan options. 2. had any other vegan options quite as tasty as this one.
Magic Oven had their Vegan Chickpeas Power soup. I’ve been curious about it, but never tried it before. It was very good, a little spicy, with chunks of veggies and pieces of chickpeas. Plus the folks at the soup station were really nice, and I’m certain that made the soup taste better. There is something so great about a warm greeting and a friendly face (and soup.)
Once again Marben, the meatiest restaurant in town had a vegan option: a Roasted Squash Soup with Sage Oil. Sage oil can do no wrong, and after this event I’ve decided I need some in my kitchen. I thought the on the spot garnishing was a really nice touch.
Meghan Telpner, someone I saw do a food demo recently at the Vegetarian Food Festival (she was doing a demo again today at Soupalicious), had a great Curried Cauliflower Soup (and the recipe is on her blog – Making Love in the Kitchen). It was such a vibrant orange colour, it looked tasty, and even tastier after I sprinkled a little bit of cayenne on it! Yum.
The famous One Love Vegetarian soup folks had a giant pot of their award winning crazy good corn soup. If you have the opportunity to check them out do so.
Vert Catering had one vegan soup, and conveniently it was the one I was hoping was vegan. Their Sweet Potato Soup made with vegan friendly Nickle Brook Organic Beer, was super tasty, and had an interesting unique twist on a fairly common soup theme this time of year.
So in short, I didn’t meet a soup I didn’t like yesterday. And I hope you get the chance to try some of the recipes I’ve linked to. They’re great! Plus there is a bunch of soup recipes here. Not all of them are vegan, but most of them are pretty darn creative.
Someone had written on the chalkboard at the exit that they wished there had been more veg options… and I have to say I kind of disagree with them. Sure I wish the entire event was vegan, but the vegan and especially the vegetarian options were in pretty high quantities at this event. I was genuinely impressed that of the 35 or so participants, there were ten or more soups that were actually totally vegan. Anyway, I left happy.
Some more great soup recipes from MoFo’ers:
Chickpea Rice Soup from Dine Well
Roasted Squash Cauliflower Soup from The Unintentional Vegan
Kabocha Chestnut Soup from Cornfields and Cookies
Jim’s Cheeze Soup from Mo Betta Vegan (definitely a possible MoFo monday recipe! whoa.)