favorite vegan tomato soup

favorite vegan tomato soup

Simple yet delicious tomato soup.  Pair with a salad,  sandwich or eat solo.

  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes 
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic finely chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar

In a large pot, saute onions and garlic for about 5 minutes in olive oil.  Add the crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaves and salt.  Bring to  boil and then cover soup and lower temperature to simmer for 20 -30 minutes. Add sugar and pepper. Too add a little more flavor and a slightly creamier texture, add 1 tbsp butter which would make  it non-vegan but still vegetarian.  Sometimes a little extra touch goes a long way in taste.

Soup goes great with a spring mix or spinach salad  topped with chickpeas for plant-based protein.

Favorite canned crushed tomatoes


Favorite vegetable broth


spring mix & chickpeas with toasted sunflower seeds flatbread 

spring mix & chickpeas with toasted sunflower seeds flatbread 

Try this simple and refreshing wrap for lunch or dinner. 

What you will need:

  • Spring mix -about 2 cups 
  • Chick peas – 1/2 cup 
  • Chopped tomato – 1 small tomato or 1/2 of large 
  • Toasted sunflower seeds *- 1 tablespoon 
  • Balsamic Vinegar as desired 
  • Fresh lemon – juice of lemon wedges 
  • Salt & Pepper to taste 
  • Whole grain wrap 

Toss first 3 ingredients gently in a mixing bowl.  Add toasted sunflower seeds, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar to desired taste. Add salt & pepper.  Slightly toast flat bread for a few minutes until crisp at 350 degrees in the oven. Cut flat bread into 4 slices and top with salad mixture and enjoy! 

*to toast sunflower seeds- toss raw sunflower seeds in a single layer every 15-20 seconds gently in a small pan on medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove when seeds turn a light brown and have a delicious roasted aromatic smell. 

chickpea & broccoli pita sandwich

chickpea & broccoli pita sandwich

My favorite recipe blog, Cookie & Kate, posted a new recipe this week which I absolutely love.  Lemony broccoli, chickpea & avocado pita sandwich.  I have already prepared it twice in the past 2 days. Some of the ingredients include broccoli, chickpeas, tomatoes, lemon, garlic and red onion.  Of course fresh beans are preferred but to save time, canned beans are a great second option. I prefer the brand Eden Organic for canned beans.   The beans taste fresh, are very low in sodium and the can is BPA free.

This recipe is so simple to prepare and perfect to bring to lunch for work.  My IMG_1220-0sandwich looked so good it actually looked ALMOST  (not exactly, but close, haha)  like the photo below Follow this link for the recipe:  Lemony broccoli, chickpea & avocado pita sandwich.


Asian soba noodles with shredded veggies & recipe

Asian soba noodles with shredded veggies & recipe

Recently tried Explore Asian soba noodles sautéed with shredded red & green cabbage, kale, carrots and green onions  and thought it was quite tasty. So simple to prepare with pre-shredded vegetables. I purchased a crispy cole slaw and kale mix from Whole Foods, but any pre-shredded cabbage, broccoli slaw, etc. from the grocery store will work. 



4 ounces soba noodles

4 cups plus of shredded cabbage,  carrots, etc.

1 Tablespoon of low- sodium Tamari

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

1 tsp minced garlic

1 teaspoon of sugar dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water

1 tsp of olive oil ( or can use veggie stock or water to sauté veggies)

Few toasted sesame seeds 

Cook soba noodles and set aside. Mix soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar dissolved in water and set aside. Saute’ Olivia oil and garlic preferably in wok and add shredded veggies.  Lightly Saute if preferred crispy. Add cooked soba noodles, and soy sauce mixture.  Toss gently, top with a few sesame seeds and serve.  1-2 servings. 


favorite lentils & soup 

favorite lentils & soup 

During the past few winter months,  I experimented with making quite an assortment of homemade soups, such as vegetable, barley and bean, minestrone & black bean. I prepared so many soups, that I would often bring the extra to work to share with my co-workers and friends. Top winner by far was the Spiced Vegan Lentil Soup featured on Cookie + Kate recipe blog. My personal lentil  preference were “Trader Joe’s Small Whole Green Lentils.” The lentils are petite, take minimal time to cook and quite delicious. 

With the warmer weather coming on, today was probably the last time I will make the soup until next winter.   By the way, lentils are in the legume family and are a terrific source of prebiotics, healthy complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein and iron, plus an awesome whole-food and quite inexpensive. Below is the link to Cookie + Kate’s Spiced Vegan Lentil Soup recipe along with a beautiful photo from her blog. Click here for the cool blog: Cookie + Kate

Cookie + Kate Lentil Soup Recipe 

chef karl’s eggplant & spinach stuffed portabella mushrooms

chef karl’s eggplant & spinach stuffed portabella mushrooms

Chef Karl recently spoke about this delicious dish he prepared on a meatless Tuesday night with his wife Kass.  It sounded so heavenly, I requested the recipe.


4 large mushrooms

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1 eggplant, peeled and diced, 

3 cloves of garlic, diced

1 bag baby spinach

1 can artichoke hearts

1/2 cup Asiago shredded cheese and 1/2 cup jalapeno cheddar spread or Monterey Pepper Jack Cheese shredded 

1 cup whole grain bread crumbs 

splash of white wine (optional)



Marinate Portabella Mushroom caps in Balsamic Vinegar for 1 hour

Saute eggplant and garlic in a small amount of olive oil (or vegetable broth) in a skillet until the eggplant turns golden brown, then add the baby spinach, large dash of white wine and continue to saute until the spinach wilts.

Place eggplant mixture in a bowl, add jalapeno cheddar cheese  (optional for vegan/dairy- free) and whole grain bread crumbs.  Mix together.

Remove mushroom caps from the marinade and place in a prepared baking dishbon appetit

Spoon eggplant mixture evenly over each mushroom cap and top with artichoke hearts and shredded Asiago cheese (optional for vegan/dairy-free).

Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes


IMG_0631CHEF KARL RATZ  has been working in the food & beverage business since attending the Philadelphia Restaurant School in 1978.  He has helped open 7 new restaurants over the years including 4 of his own.  He has worked in every position from Bartender to Chef, but found his home in the kitchen.  Karl sold his share of his latest venture “Red Sky Cafe” in 2006, became a certified  Dietary Manager and has run the Caring, Inc. kitchen for 8 years.  Karl is very involved in changing the way people approach their eating habits and has embraced buying and eating local products.