Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Case of Maple-roasted Beet Soup

In a previous post, I said I hadn't yet "discovered" my vegan alternative to dairy. Light coconut milk just may be it! According to product labels, 60 ml light coconut milk has 40 calories, compared to 60 calories in 2% evaporated milk, which I've already substituted for cream. Regrettably, light coconut milk does have more fat – 3.5 g compared to 1.2 g. But if animal products aren't part of your diet, that's not such a big deal, is it? And when I dilute light coconut milk (1 part light coconut milk to 1 part water) to make "milk" for cereal, the resulting 250 ml beverage again has more fat than 2% milk – 7.5 g compared to 5 g – but its calorie count at 84 is much better than 2% milk's at 130.

Unfortunately, coconut palms don't grow in Black Currant Bay, Northern Ontario, Canada. So light coconut milk doesn't score points in the "buy local" arena. Shall I be kind to the environment and buy local, or be kind to the environment and eat vegan? Often the two acts are simultaneous. In this case, they're not. Buy vegan? And here's another dilemma – I photographed my vegan Maple-roasted Beet Soup accompanied by a grilled cheese sandwich. Life is complicated.

Maple-roasted Beet Soup

6 red beets, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin seed
2 tbsps olive oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
4 cups water
4 rounded tsps (for 4 cups) vegetable bouillon powder
1 cup light coconut milk

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place the beets and onion in a 9" X 13" pan. Sprinkle with the garlic and cumin seed, and drizzle with the olive oil and maple syrup. Toss to coat the vegetables. Roast for 30 min. Scrape the roasted vegetables and juices into a saucepan with the water and vegetable bouillon powder, and simmer, covered, until the beets are tender. Blend, and return to the pot. Stir in the light coconut milk, season with salt and pepper to taste, and heat to serving temperature. Serves 4.

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