Caldo De Verdura

It all started one day with a chayote squash I picked up at the store. I like to challenge myself with new fruits, vegetables and flavors. I would describe the chayote as a cross between a jicama and a cucumber; all in all pretty flavorless, but has good texture and just another fun ingredient for this recipe. You have to peel the darker green skin from the fruit before using.

This Spanish dish is traditionally called Caldo De Pollo which means ‘hot chicken’. Clearly, there will be no animal parts in my recipe, but plenty of delicious flavors!

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Cook time: 45-60 minutes

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups soy curls
  • 12 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cube veg bouillon
  • 4 large carrots, cut into large chunks (peeling optional)
  • 4 large potatoes, cut into large chunks (peeling optional)
  • 4 zucchini, cut into large chunks
  • 1 chayote, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 large white onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place soy curls into a large stock pot and pour 3 cups of water over them. Let them soak and soften for 10 minutes. Drain, and roughly chop the soy curls.*
  2. Heat another medium size sauté pan on medium heat.
  3. Add garlic, onion chunks and cook for 5-7 minutes, adding small amounts of water to keep them from sticking. When onions begin to soften, turn heat off.
  4. Add the 10-12 cups of water back into the stock/soup pot over medium/high heat. Stir in vegetable bouillon cube and let dissolve.
  5. Add the soy curls, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, chayote, and sautéed onion/garlic in the broth, turn heat to medium-low, and cook soup at a low boil until carrots and potatoes are tender, 30-45 minutes.
  6. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Stir chopped cilantro into soup, simmer for 2 minutes, then serve with some warm tortillas.

RECIPE NOTES: *The soy curls will expand, and some pieces can be quite large. If you like that in this soup, don’t cut them!

Serve with a side of Spanish or brown rice. Optional garnishes: avocado slices, jalapeno slices for more heat.

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