Tag Archives: Soup

Hearty Minestrone

Recently, I attended a cooking class in Egypt.  It was sponsored by the Healthy Life Center and was all about cooking vegetarian food.  We had a lot of fun and in one day, we made 8 different vegetarian dishes using all kinds of pasta.  The classes are usually held in a series.  We will definitely post the upcoming series so you can attend, too!

One of the delicious, nutritious dishes we made was minestrone.  Minestrone is such a versatile soup – you could do almost anything you want with it!!!  The version we made is on the traditional side, using lima beans.  Remember we told you about lima beans in a recent post?  But, if you can’t find them dried, they’re available in a can, too.  AND, if you just want to use your favorite bean – FEEL FREE to improvise!

One of the great things about this dish is that it is highly nutritious and filling.  That makes it perfect for those of us watching our weights!  For example, in one serving of this soup, you get 151% of your daily requirement for Vitamin A!

Get the printer-friendly version here.

Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
6 cups water
1 bouillon cube, crumbled
½ cup of small pasta
1 package (450 g) frozen mixed vegetables (or substitute fresh)
1 can lima beans (450 g) (or soak and cook your own)

We soaked and cooked our own!

salt to taste (we use 2 teaspoons)

1.  Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until onions are translucent.
2.  Add the crumbled the bouillon cube, tomato paste, basil and marjoram and stir to mix.
3.  Add the water, pasta, frozen (or fresh) vegetables, cooked beans.
4.  Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the pasta is completely cooked.

Nutrition Information: 1 of 4 servings
296 Calories; 4 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 53 g Carbohydrates; 12 g Fiber; 13 g Protein

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

  • Use different beans
  • Use your favorite vegetables
  • Serve with garlic bread or crackers
  • Add some hot peppers for a spicy twist
  • Add more greens!





Spicy Pinto Bean Soup

Are you trying to lose weight?  Maybe you’re just trying to not gain any more!  Well, we have been trying to maintain a healthy weight for a while.  One of the tricks we use is to look for highly nutritious, but low calorie food.  Beans and vegetables are the perfect for for this!!!
The base of this soup is the pinto bean.  The pinto bean is mostly known in North American and is very common in Mexican food.  If you go to a Mexican restaurant, you will probably eat these mashed or refried or in a burrito.  I love pinto beans!  Unfortunately, I have never found dried pinto beans in Egypt, so we always use them from a can.
This soup is kind of spicy, so adjust as you need!
Serves about 5Ingredients:
1 can pinto beans (about 500 g)
4 small to medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion
1 vegetable bouillon cube, crumbled
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, (hot green peppers) diced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
water to cover (about 500 ml)Instructions:
1.  Place everything in a large pot.
2.  Add enough water to cover the beans and vegetables.
3.  Cover and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.
4.  Check frequently and add more water if necessary.

Add an extra jalapeño pepper for more ZING!
Serving Suggestions and Variations:
  • Serve with cornbread, balady bread, or any grain.
  • Guacamole might even go well with this spicy soup!

Nutritional Information (1 serving of 5):
116 Calories; 1 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 22 g Carbohydrates; 6 g Fiber; 6 g Protein

What’s YOUR favorite bean?!
Alf Hana!!!

Creamy Tomato Soup

Well, winter has finally arrived in Cairo! That severe sand storm yesterday brought with it the cold weather. What’s the perfect remedy for the cold noses, toes, and fingers?  A warm, rich soup!!!  So, here’s our favorite tomato soup just for you!  It’s low in calories and provides 22% of your recommended daily intake for Vitamin A and 51% for Vitamin C!

Serves 6-8
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup celery stalks and leaves
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup water
4 cups tomato juice
½ teaspoon sugar
2 cups non-dairy milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup water
2 tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1.  Heat the oil and add the onions, garlic, and celery.

2.  Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.
3.  Add the salt, oregano and red pepper flakes.  Cook for another 5 minutes.
4.  Add 1 cup water, tomato juice, and sugar.  Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes on low heat.  Stir occasionally.

5.  Heat the non-dairy milk in a pan until hot but not boiling.
6.  When 25 minutes are up, strain the vegetables and broth through a sieve.  Set the vegetables aside.  [You can use them for any number of other recipes…]

Here's what's left after straining...We're going to use ours for pizza!

7.  Return the broth to the pan.
8.  Mix the all-purpose flour and ¼ cup water until smooth.
9.  Whisk the mixture flour mixture into the broth.

10.  Cook the soup on medium heat until thick.   This should take about 5 minutes.
11.  Add the warmed non-dairy milk.
12.  Add the tomatoes and basil and heat the soup until it is just about to boil.

Serving Suggestions and Variations:
*Serve with garlic bread.  Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, of Compassionate Cooks, has a wonderful recipe in The Vegan Table.
*Add more or remove the red pepper flakes, according to your love of spicy flavors.
*Serve with herbed croutons.

Nutrition Information (275g):
Calories: 92; Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0g; Carbohydrates: 15g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 3g

We veganized this recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special.

The Ancient Soup of Kings (Molokheyia)

It is said that molokheyia is one TRULY Egyptian recipe, originating with the pharaohs.  Its name (according to Wikipedia) actually means “for kings and nobles”.  Today, as all my Egyptian readers know, it is a staple food for Egyptians.  And we PROMISE that it is just as absolutely delicious when prepared in the following vegan version as it is when prepared in the traditional way (and a lot healthier, too!).

What is Molokheyia?

Fresh Molokheyia leaves

Molokheyia (corchorus oltorius) is a dark green leafy plant that is full of antioxidants, iron and calcium.  You can buy it fresh, dried, or frozen.  If you buy it fresh, you’ll have to use a special knife to mince it.  It must be minced into very tiny pieces in order to make the soup.  The easiest form to use (in my humble opinion) is the frozen kind.  (Many Egyptian cooks will tell you that the only way to eat it is fresh, but oh well….)

There are many specific ways to prepare molokheyia.  And every cook has her own opinion about how to do it.  This recipe is based on Mary’s mother’s recipe.  We have adjusted it ever so slightly to reduce the amount of fat.  However, from our experience, the difference in taste is not noticeable.  Also, if you have never had molokheyia before, be sure to try to achieve the slippery, “slimy” consistency, which is basically done by not adding too much water and not allowing the soup to boil over.  Follow our directions and you’ll have a very tasty, rich green soup perfect to kill any cold before it starts!

Serves 2-4


  • 1  400 g (14 oz) bag of frozen molokheyia
  • 500 ml (about 2 cups) of water
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

1.  In a large pot on medium heat, add the water, bouillon cubes and molokheyia.  Stir frequently.

Frozen Molokheyia

2.  After the molokheyia has thawed, turn down the heat and add the garlic.  Leave to cook about 10-15 minutes.  Stir frequently and keep your eye on the pot.  (The soup should not boil.)
3.  Serve hot.

Molokheyia and Rice

Molokheyia, Rice and ONIONS!

Mary illustrates the slimy (but DELICIOUS) texture....

Up close...

Nutrition Information (for 1/2 of this recipe):

Calories: 111; Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0g; Carbohydrates: 18g; Fiber: 3g; Protein 1g

Serving Suggestions and Variations:
1.  Serve over a bed of rice.
2.  Serve with baladi (or pita) bread.
3.  Serve with plain raw onions (or soak them in a bit of vinegar first).
4.  Instead of adding the garlic to cook in the soup, heat up a tablespoon of oil in a separate small skillet.  Fry the garlic with some salt and coriander.  Once the garlic has turned a light golden color, add the garlic mix to the soup.  Serve immediately.  (Most Egyptians eat molokheyia this way.)
5.  Add some tomatoes to the soup while cooking.