Living the WELL Life

Time to Get Happy!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Here's a three-course vegan comfort food menu that will fill you up and make you happy! This delicious and simple vegan menu includes Christina's Quickest Tomato Soup, an amazingly hearty Veggie Bread Salad with White Beans, and ... dessert! Enjoy Christina's version of Italian 'zeppole' with her indulgent recipe for Orange-Glazed Italian Donuts.


The Quickest Tomato Soup
Veggie Bread Salad with White Beans
Orange-Glazed Italian Donuts

The Quickest Tomato Soup
Makes 3-4 servings

This soup usually simmers for hours and gets rich and creamy, as the bread ‘melts.’ In this quick version, the soup has a chunky texture that is incredibly satisfying and cooks in just minutes.

Extra virgin olive oil (5-6 tablespoons)
1 small red onion, diced (3)
Sea salt (to taste)
2, 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes (8 cans)
½ loaf whole grain bread, cut into cubes (2 loaves)
Cracked black pepper (to taste)
2-3 sprigs fresh basil, coarsely chopped (1 bunch)

Place a small amount of oil and onion in a soup pot over medium heat. When the onions begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and bread; season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes. Add water in small amounts to create a thinner soup texture. Simmer 5 minutes more if you add water. Stir in basil and serve hot.

Vegetable Bread Salad with White Beans

Makes 3-4 servings

This salad is a meal in itself. With whole grain bread, lots of veggies and beans, this baby gives new meaning to ‘A Big Salad.’

1 red onion, sliced into thin half moon pieces (6)
Red wine vinegar (enough to cover onions)

½ loaf whole grain baguette, cut into cubes (3 baguettes)
½ cup frozen organic corn kernels (2 bags)
3 firm, but ripe tomatoes, diced, do not seed (3 containers cherry tomatoes, halved)

1 cucumber, diced, do not peel or seed (6)
2 sprigs fresh basil, leaves removes, shredded (1 bunch)
3 cups baby arugula (1/2 large bag)
12-16 oil cured black olives, pitted  (3 cans)
1, 14-ounce can, great northern beans, cannellini or chickpeas, rinsed well (6 cans or 5 cups cooked)
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (1 ½ cups)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (1/2 cup)
Sea salt (3-4 tablespoons to start, adjust to taste)
Cracked black pepper (1-2 tablespoons, adjust to taste)

Place onion in a shallow bowl and cover with red wine vinegar. Marinate for 10 minutes. 

While the onion marinates, prepare the balance of the salad ingredients. Drain onions and discard vinegar. Combine with balance of salad in a large mixing bowl.

Pour oil over salad and toss to coat. Add vinegar and salt and pepper to taste (take care with salt as there are olives in the salad). Toss to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Orange-Glazed Italian Donuts

Makes 12-16 donuts

Is there anything greater than fried dough? I think not, and as a kid, my life was all about ‘zeppole,’ fried Italian donuts. Here is my version … healthier although still fried …so not entirely guilt-free.

2 cups water
3 tablespoons brown rice syrup
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup semolina flour
Pinch sea salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup sparkling wine or water
Oil, for frying

Orange-Scented Glaze
½ cup brown rice syrup
Grated zest of 2 oranges
2 teaspoons fresh orange juice

Make the zeppole. Bring the water, syrup and oil to a boil. Whisk together flours, salt, baking powder and soda. Mix in boiling water mixture and stir well. Add wine and mix well. Add wine/water as needed to create a soft dough, but not sticky. 

Oil a cutting board and turn dough onto it.  Pat down flat and fold dough to create 3 layers. Flatten it and repeat this process 3 more times.

Cut off 1/3 of the dough and roll out the thickness of your thumb. Pinch off teaspoon size pieces ands fry in hot oil until golden and puffy. Drain on paper.

Whisk together syrup with orange juice and zest and drizzle on zeppole.


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