I vowed when I went vegan that all of my food would taste as good as the food I'd always eaten. So far, so good. Except I've been fighting off a cold and felt it was time for a nice "chicken" soup and early to bed night. This was going to be a challenge. Instead of using tofu or dried soy chicken, I turned to my newest experiment- green jackfruit. It is a superfood fruit that you can use as a meat in all sorts of vegan recipes. Cut into small chunks, it has looks and texture remarkably like chicken in the soup.
But- chicken soup is really the mother of all superfoods, isn't it? It has been shown to actually help colds, and I wanted to do more than just soothe myself psychologically, so it was time for a little research into why chicken soup in particular helps a cold. According to Dr. Stephen Rennard MD's research, chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine that is released when the soup is made. This amino acid thins mucus in the lungs, aiding in the healing process. So I checked the nutrition charts where I discovered that 100g of chicken contains 42% of the RDA of methionine and cysteine (both are listed as interchangeable in charts) and jackfruit only contains 3-8% of the RDA. However, I also discovered that good plant sources of Cysteine include lentils (21% for 100g), miso (12%), and onions, peppers, and garlic. Also, Dr Rennard notes that onions in chicken soup "contain protein, calcium, and especially sulfur, which decreases swelling and aids in reducing nasal congestion. Another significant ingredient in chicken soup is carrots. Carrots enable our bodies to produce vitamin A, which strengthens our white blood cells and in turn allows us to better fight off infection", and "hot soups in general help keep nasal passages moist, thin out mucus, prevent dehydation, and soothe a sore throat", so "the more ingredients in your soup, the better". With all of this new information, I was ready to make my own vegan version of healing "chicken" soup. Feel free to change up the vegetables based on what you have on hand.
Step 1: Ingredients
- One onion.
- Two carrots.
- One green pepper.
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped (what I had in the fridge, I'd add more if I had it but I wasn't feeling like a grocery trip)
- One stalk of celery
- 1/2 cup of snap peas.
- 1/2 cup of pasta noodles- whatever type you have.
- 1 cup/1 can of cooked lentils.
- 1/2 can of young green jackfruit, chopped (again, this is what I had leftover from my last recipe, so feel free to use the whole can and make a larger batch- adjust amounts of ingredients using your culinary discretion and preferences).
- 6-8 cups of vegetable broth.
- 2-4 tablespoons of miso (adjust type and amount to your taste).
- Lots of freshly ground black pepper.
Step 2: Directions
- Chop vegetables and jackfruit.
- Pre-soften the vegetables in the frying pan for a few minutes.
- Put the vegetable broth in a pot, add the miso and vegetables.
- Add the jackfruit, lentils, and pasta, and simmer for at least 1/2 hour- the longer the better to blend the flavours.
- Enjoy hot with lots of pepper, some warm bread or a bit of salad.
I found this to be soothing and satisfying, the babying I needed to start feeling better almost immediately.
Research source: http://studentaffairs.duke.edu/blog-entry/healing-...
Nutrition Charts: http://www.nutritionvalue.org/Chicken%2C_raw%2C_g...
NOTE: Be sure to use the young green jackfruit which is firm and salty in the can. Ripe jackfruit is sweet and used for desserts (in fact, I read that ripe jackfruit is the flavour that inspired Juicy Fruit gum- yummy, but not what we're looking for here).
You can find canned green jackfruit in some Asian/Indian grocery stores and departments of larger grocery stores, as well as some health food stores and Amazon.com