Dairy-free creamy soups (with vegan options)

Its been a bit of a rough week for me, including, in no particular order: Vicodin, stitches, a referral for physical therapy and orders for soft foods. 

I started the week with a bit of oral surgery and ended it with an adductor strain that will probably bench me from my next half-marathon. So, I can’t really chew and I can’t really work out. As you might expect, it’s a bit of a challenge finding soft foods that are still relatively heathy and that don’t contain dairy. 

Here are some of the soups that helped me through the week:

Black bean-tomato soup from myrecipes.com

I just leave the cilantro-lime cream off my portion, sometimes swapping in some diced avocado if I have a ripe one around. This time I skipped the bacon because I didn’t have any on hand and used olive oil instead. Honestly, I didn’t taste a difference, so this soup can easily be made vegan. And opening a few cans is easy enough to do when feeling under the weather.

North African Carrot Soup with Chermoula from feasting at home

This is one of my all time favorite soups. Again, I just leave off the sour cream garnish, the chermoula is plenty tasty. This can be made vegan as well.

Roasted red pepper-cauliflower soup from myrecipes.com

This was very simple. Since I was feeling poorly, I skipped roasting the peppers myself and just used jarred peppers. I made a half recipe and one jar was plenty. If you’re making a full recipe and don’t want to roast peppers, two jars should be fine. I left out the sugar completely, it wasn’t necessary.

Kale and cauliflower  soup with kale chips from brooklyn supper.

We like anything with celery root and this was no exception. It is a rich, green color and absolutely delicious. I skipped the kale chips because I wasn’t supposed to eat anything sharp, but I’m looking forward to adding them next time. Vegan as written, if you choose the vegetable broth option.

All photos are from the recipes sites linked, I wasn’t really up to taking my own. 

Popcorn Madness, Round Two: Carolina Dirt vs Everything Bagel

I picked up this bottle of Carolina Dirt BBQ rub in a specialty food store while visiting Saratoga Springs, NY this fall. It’s insane. I want to try all the other rubs and sauces and visit the Chicago restaurant, but that’s for another day. Just trust me when I say it’s fantastic on popcorn. Fantastic. 

The Carolina Dirt popcorn had a tough matchup with Everything Bagel, which I’ve made a few times before, inspired by my local favorite, and number one post- long-run breakfast. It was a really tough call, but Carolina Dirt won out in the end. I think we ate about 6 cups of popcorn before deciding. Tough job, but someone had to do it.

You can find more instructions on dairy-free popcorn here, and of course, if butter works for you, by all means, add it. 

Carolina Dirt Popcorn

Three cups air-popped popcorn

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons Carolina Dirt BBQ rub

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Try to share.

Everything Bagel Popcorn

Three cups air-popped popcorn 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon onion flakes

1 tablespoon garlic flakes

1 tsp poppy seeds

1 tsp sesame seeds

Kosher salt

Instructions: Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Taste and add more garlic or onion if you want a more highly flavored popcorn.

Winner: Carolina Dirt (by a nose)

Popcorn Madness

One of my coworkers introduced me to the whirlypop a few months ago and my boss hooked me up with some “hull-less” kernels. Since then I’ve been experimenting with all kinds of crazy combinations. As dairy is something I should avoid, the recipes in this series are all dairy free, but you can certainly add melted butter. I mean, what isn’t improved with melted butter? 

We decided to have fun with all the crazy combinations and do a little March Madness-style bracket competition. First up, we have the somewhat redundant Chili-Cayenne vs. the unusual Wasabi-Seaweed.

I loved the Wasabi-Seaweed. The Chili-Cayenne was also good, but not as unique. Ted liked the Chili-Cayenne, but the Wasabi-Seaweed was too “fishy.” As much as I would have liked to give the win to Wasabi, we decided to let Chili-Cayenne advance to round two.

All of the recipes start with hot popcorn made in the whirlypop, or any kind of air popped popcorn you like. The amount of seasoning is going to be up to you as well.

Chili-Cayenne Popcorn

3 cups cooked hot popcorn

1 tsp olive oil

A couple of shakes of chili powder

Two pinches of cayenne (then wash your hands right away)

Kosher salt

Place the popcorn in a bigger bowl than you think you’ll need. Drizzle the olive oil over the popcorn and salt liberally. Add chili powders to taste. Toss.

Wasabi-Seaweed Popcorn

3 cups cooked hot popcorn

1 tsp olive oil

Kosher salt

1/2 package Trader Joes Roasted Seaweed Snack with Wasabi, minced

Place the popcorn in a bigger bowl that you think you’ll need, drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and seaweed. Toss.

Winner: Chili-Cayenne

Baby Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Chickpea Fritters and Fried Egg

Man, it was cold yesterday.

The ridiculously cold weather made me want to stay in bed all day, maybe binge-watch something on Netflix, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I banged out a long run on the treadmill (can we pause for appreciation of that alone?), went bowling for the first time in a million years, and whipped up a quick fridge-clearing dinner before heading out to listen to some excellent Jazz.

I had been meaning to try these fritters for some time. They were easy, warming and relatively healthy. 

 Baby Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Chickpea Fritters and Fried Egg 

 Serves 2, with leftover fritters 

Citrus-Honey Dressing from myrecipes.com 


1/8 cup fresh lemon juice 

1 tablespoons fresh orange juice 

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

1/2 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper 

 2 cups baby kale 

2 cups shredded Brussels sprouts 


1. Preheat the oven to 375. 

 2. Toss shredded Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until starting to brown. 

 3. Combine first ingredients (lemon through honey) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

 4. Toss baby kale with dressing. Allow to stand until Brussels sprouts are finished cooking, (Kale, even baby kale, can stand up to being dressed ahead of time. I think it actually helps. Unlike other more delicate lettuces, which would get soggy if dressed ahead of time.) 

Mustard-Chickpea Fritters, slightly adapted from Honest Cooking 


 1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 

½ medium yellow onion, minced 

3 garlic cloves, minced 

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 

½ teaspoon Kosher salt 

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

1 egg 

2-3 tablespoons all purpose flour 

canola oil, olive oil, or your cooking oil of choice 

⅓ cup mayonnaise 

2 tablespoons Harissa 


 1. Heat a small amount of oil in a cast iron skillet. Add onions. Sauté until beginning to soften. Add garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. 

 2. Add chickpeas to the bowl, mash with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher until they are completely broken down. Add mustard, egg, salt, and pepper. Mix until fully combined. Add flour, one tablespoon at a time, until there is no visible liquid but it is still relatively wet. (I used all three.) 

3. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet. Using your hands, form 6-8 fritters and drop them into the hot oil. Cook on each side for 3-6 minutes, until nicely browned, then flip and repeat on remaining side. 

4. Meanwhile, stir together mayonnaise and Harissa. 


1. Mound 1 cup of dressed kale on each plate. Top with roasted Brussels sprouts. 

 2. Place 2-3 fritters on top of the salad. Drizzle with Harissa mayonnaise mixture. 

 3. Top with a fried egg. 

 4. Serve remaining Harissa mayonnaise on the side.