Growing up New Year’s Day was always about authentic, homemade menudo and posole made by my dad. He would go to East LA to get his dried chilies, tripe, pig foot, pork shoulder, and hominy; starting early in the morning and working laboriously on December 31 preparing the delicious soup we would all enjoy on New Year’s Day while lounging around the house still enjoying our new Christmas gear. Since we girls (my 4 sisters and mom) were not big fans of the tripe or pig’s feet, he would make a batch of posole just for us; loaded with hominy and pork shoulder. Every year I looked forward to the soup…his was just so delicious! Once I made the mistake of ordering menudo at a Mexican restaurant and it tasted flat, slimy, and disgusting; missing the layers of flavors that can only be extracted with a slow hours long simmer.
Now that I no longer eat meat and limit the corn, I don’t get to enjoy his delicious, traditional soup; however a few years ago a vegan friend gave me her recipe for a vegan green posole, which I’ve taken and added my own spin to. Thank you, Artey!
What I love about this soup is that the garbanzo beans simulate hominy, but are much healthier – loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and protein. They also contain zinc and copper, making this a great soup to enjoy during the colder, sicker months. I also love the use of tomatillos instead of traditional red chilies for a new take. I’ve incorporated turmeric because by now I think we all know (or have at least heard) that turmeric is such an amazing healing food to load up on.
To begin, you’ll need a large stock pot or dutch oven. I use a large metal one that my Puerto Rican mother-in-law gave me. I don’t know how she knew how much I’d love it, but that’s one of the reasons I loved her. 🙂 Cut up your onion, garlic, turmeric, and carrots before heating the pot under a medium flame. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought that I could get everything cut before the pot would be heated and burned my garlic because I was still chopping…not good! Once your pot is heated, add the coconut oil and once melted add the onion, garlic, and turmeric; letting it sauté until soft. Continue by adding the carrots, and garbanzo beans, sautéing about 5 minutes more. Finally add the lentils and quinoa and veggie broth or water, bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and turn heat to low to simmer for about 20 minutes.
I prefer veggie broth because it adds so much more flavor, fiber, and nutrients. I usually have it on hand since I collect my veggie scraps. Check out this blog post for a how-to on the easiest homemade veggie broth.
While the lentils and quinoa are cooking, you can make the salsa for the broth of the soup. I like to chunk my onions and quarter the tomatillos to make it easier to blend. I also use a Vitamix, which is made for this sort of thing. Make sure your blender can handle this; otherwise you may need to cut the tomatillos, onions, and cilantro down more. Begin with 1 cup of veggie broth (you will use a total of 2 cups) in the blender – this helps keep the blades lubricated so that the liquid can suck down the remaining ingredients. Next, add the onions, tomatillos, garlic, serrano chili, lime juice and zest, and salt & peps. I only used 1 serrano pepper because I wanted my kids to eat the soup and they don’t like too much spice, but if you enjoy spice add 1 or 2 more. Start blending on low for a few seconds before turning to high and continue to blend until well combined and smooth. If you need to add more liquid, add some of the broth 1⁄2 cup at a time. This salsa is great to enjoy as is, but don’t snack on it too much or you won’t have enough for your soup! 🙂
When the lentil/quinoa/veggie mixture is done, there should be no more liquid in the pot and look a bit like a rice pilaf. Add the salsa to the pot and any remaining broth from making the salsa, then stir in an additional 2 cups of veggie broth. Raise the heat to medium and leave pot uncovered. Once it comes to a boil, cover, and turn to low to let simmer for about 15-20 minutes more.
While the soup is simmering, I like to prepare all the toppings; half the fun is customizing your bowl. I dice white onion, chop cilantro, julienne radish, chop purple cabbage, slice or cube avocado, cut some lime wedges, and have salt and dried oregano on hand. I like to put each into its own small serving bowl for my guests to easily add what they prefer. Once the soup is ready, put some into a bowl and top with your faves! Personally, I like it all – the bitterness of the oregano helps balance the acidity of the limes, the cilantro adds a freshness, the avocado adds some creaminess, and I love the crunch of the fresh onion, radish and cabbage.
I spent New Year’s Day making this delicious soup for my family and one of the greatest things about it is that it’s so simple you don’t need to labor all day making it! It brings me so much joy to add this new tradition to my family’s memories. Please enjoy this delicious, healthy, filling soup and let me know how you like to dress yours.
Much love and nourishment to your body and soul
Green Vegan Posole
Green Vegan Posole with all the toppings
- 2 lbs tomatillos – husked & cleaned
- 9 cloves garlic – skin removed
- 5 carrots – sliced
- 4-5 radishes – julienned
- 3 white onions
- 2 bunches cilantro
- 2 avocados – sliced or cubed
- 5-6 limes
- 1 small head red cabbage – chopped
- 1-3 serrano chilies (depending on spice preference)
- 1⁄2 small red onion – chunked
- 1/3 cup dried oregano leaves
- 2 inch piece of fresh turmeric – thinly sliced
- 8 cups water or veggie broth (I prefer veggie broth)
- 2 cups garbanzo beans – cooked
- 1 cup brown/green lentils
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1⁄4cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp nutritional yeast
- salt & peps – to taste
- large stock pot or dutch oven
- wooden spoon
- Vitamix or other high powered blender
- cutting board
Dice 2 of the white onions and 5 cloves of garlic. Heat pot to medium and add coconut oil. Once melted, add onions, garlic, and turmeric. Sauté until soft, then add carrots, garbanzo beans, and salt & peps to taste; sauté for about 5 more minutes. Stir in quinoa, lentils, 4 cups veggie broth/water, nutritional yeast and bring to a boil. Once boiling, put lid on, turn flame to low and simmer for 20 minutes until lentils and quinoa are cooked. Meanwhile, make the salsa – add 1 cup veggie broth/water, then tomatillos, 1⁄2 white onion (chunked), 1⁄2 red onion (chunked), serrano chili, 11⁄2 cilantro, juice & zest of 1 lime, garlic, and salt & peps – to taste to blender. Blend until well combined and smooth. Add additional water up to 1 cup, if necessary. Add salsa and any remaining veggie broth/water from the 2 cups allocated to the lentil/veggie/quinoa mixture in the pot. Add last 2 cups of veggie broth/water to pot, leave uncovered and raise heat to medium. Once boiling, put lid back on and turn heat to low; let simmer for 15-20 minutes. While soup is simmering, prepare soup toppings – remaining white onion, radish, purple cabbage, avocado, limes cut into wedges, and dried oregano. Serve soup and allow guests to top with their favorite toppings. Enjoy!