In celebration of love, I have prepared a heart-healthy, vegan soup for two. It is flavor-packed but please don’t worry! I’ve left out certain unromantic elements such as garlic, onion, and jalapenos. Just watch it on the salt. Taste test before adding because sometimes less is more.
To make heart shaped soup, you’ll need a few basic tools:
- A small heart-shaped cookie cutter. Amazon has one-inch cookie cutters for fairly cheap.
- A pair of kitchen gloves. I survived without them but the tips of my fingers were quite sore after pressing the cookie cutter through so many vegetables. I recommend protecting yourself.
- A peeler. This is needed for peeling potatoes, beets, carrots, etc.
- A paring or chopping knife. Whatever you use to cut vegetables.
- A cutting board. You probably have one on hand, but here’s a link to a nifty set of three for sale on Amazon.
- A mallet (Optional). I’m not entirely certain if this would be useful as I don’t own one. However, it got to a point where my fingers were feeling tender and I secretly wished I had a mallet to punish those puny vegetables for their insolence.
- A medium-large soup pan, ladle, and slotted spoon.
Let’s Talk Hearts
Here are a few different vegetables that work well with a one-inch heart cookie cutter:
- Potatoes. One of the easiest vegetables to make heart shaped is the potato. I simply wash the potato and then slice it into 1/2 inch slices. Then I cut out the hearts. Make sure the slices are thick because once the potato is cooked, it is liable to break if thin.
- Red Bell Peppers. I can get 8 one-inch hearts out of an average-size bell pepper. Cut the pepper apart by slicing between the lobes and then coring it. Rinse away any remaining seeds. Cut away any white ribbing and any curvy edge parts. Use the cookie cutter to cut two hearts out of each lobe. The outer skin of the bell pepper can be a little tough. Just press against the cutting board and slide it around a bit to break the skin.
- Beets. Wash and peel beets before using. Then slice into 1/4 inch slices and cut out hearts.
- Celery. This one is doable but kind of a pain. I like snacking on celery and hummus so I took a long, full head of celery, removed all the stalks, washed them and cut hearts out of the widest part by the base of the plant. Then I chopped the leftovers up and stuck it in the fridge for future snacks. That being said, it’s kind of a pain because the celery is very stringy and brittle. A couple hearts broke in half, but I had the most success when pressing the cookie cutter through the humped side of the celery.
Heart Shaped Pasta. I didn’t use this in my recipe because I had trouble finding any that was in my budget. 12 Dollars for 16 ounces of heart-shaped pasta just seems a little much. For special occasions though, maybe a splurge is in order?
Beets bleed. I don’t want the entire soup to be bright red. I put about 4 cups of water in a medium-size saucepan and brought it to a boil. Meanwhile, I washed and peeled the beets. I sliced them into thin 1/4 inch slices and cut out six hearts. I diced up the remaining bits of beet and threw all into the boiling water for about 40 minutes. Beets take quite a while to cook.
While that was processing, I prepared the ingredients for the rest of the soup. Once the beets are tender, remove from heat and drain with a colander. Rinse with cold water and set aside. These will be added at the end of soup-preparation.
If you want to save yourself 40 minutes of extra cooking time, replace the beets with yams and cook them with the potatoes and carrots.
Preparing Other Vegetables
Clean all fresh vegetables.
Cut the potatoes into 1/2-3/4 inch slices and cut out 6-8 hearts.
Cut 6-8 hearts out of the wide ends of celery. Dice up an additional stalk of celery. Set aside. Chop remaining celery stalks as desired and refrigerate for use in other cooking projects. Celery stalks also make great snacks.
Slice the peppers open between the lobes and around the core. Remove seeds and white ribbing. Trim the edges of each lobe so only the flattest portion remains. Cut two hearts out of each lobe. Set aside.
Chop the ends off the baby pea pods and the green beans. Chop them in half. Set aside.
(Optional) Prepare one medium carrot. There is a fairly simple way to make carrots heart-shaped. Here is a link to another blogger who shows how to do it.
Cooking the Soup
If you decide to use the heart shaped pasta, you will need a large soup pot. A medium-sized pot should be sufficient for a strictly vegetable soup.
If using pasta, prepare it according to the instructions it came with. Drain and set aside.
Put four cups of vegetable broth in the soup pot. Bring it to a boil and add the potatoes and carrots.
Add all the seasonings next. It’s important to add these early on so that the food has time to absorb the flavors. Use dry seasonings only if you must. Fresh is far more flavorful.
Here are the seasonings I added:
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh basil
- 1 dry bay leaf
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
Cover the pot and let everything boil on medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
Time to add the rest of the chopped ingredients. Add the bell peppers, peas, green beans, mushrooms, and celery.
Continue boiling for about 5 more minutes. Test the carrots and potatoes for tenderness and continue cooking as needed. The goal is for the hard vegetables to be edible but not overcooked. If cooked too long, the vegetables will fall apart and you will have some broken hearts!
Once the hard veggies are softened sufficiently, toss in the fresh tomatoes and the cold cooked beets. Simmer for another minute and remove from heat.
Serving the Soup
There is enough soup for two people to potentially pig out a little. Usually, I eat mine with a handful of crackers or a slice or two of toasted bread. I recommend eating about half the soup and saving the other half for a second meal.