Spicy Peanut and Eggplant Soup

You know what they say…peanut butter makes everything better.

Who says that? Well I know I do, and you will be saying it too after trying this soup!

This soup is probably THE best soup in the world. A bold statement. But seriously, this soup is the best. Plus I am always amazed at how many vegetables one can put down when said vegetables are in soup form.

I had never even tried eggplant before making this soup so don’t be scared, eggplant is good!

While I was making this soup last night I noticed it was not very quick to make. But most of the time is passive, just letting various things cook and simmer. So while I was making this soup I also made a huge batch of quinoa…

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My Strawberry, Avocado Quinoa Salad…

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I also made Tomatillo Avocado Soup for my boyfriend (he is addicted to this soup).

I also managed to cook up a huge batch of tofu and do a couple loads of laundry in there as well. I tell you, Sundays are a very busy day for me. I feel like a vegan Martha Stewart sometimes. I’m just not very crafty. If I had my own TV show that would be incredible…

Anyway, by the time I was done cooking my kitchen looked like this…

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That’s actually only half the mess, the rest just wouldn’t fit in the picture. Does anyone want to come do my dishes? No? I thought not.

Back to the soup. This recipe is straight out of my favorite cookbook, Veganomicon. I didn’t change a single thing. I am just taking it directly from a cookbook!

I personally eat this soup over brown rice and tofu. But I have also eaten it over quinoa and that was amazing too!

A few notes on this recipe. I would not attempt to make this without a food processor. It would take a REALLY long time. I use my food processor more than any kitchen appliance. If you enjoy cooking, you will LOVE a food processor. If you don’t enjoy cooking, maybe it’s because you are dicing onions by hand? You would probably love cooking a lot more if you had one. And to cut up an eggplant, peel it with a veggie peeler, then start making 1/2 inch slices starting with the top, skinny part. Once you are down to the seedy bottom, toss that part and just use the seedless part. Then cut into cubes.

Spicy Peanut and Eggplant Soup
1 lb eggplant, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to season to taste
5 large shallots, peeled and sliced very thin
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 hot chile, seeded and minced
1 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8-1/4 ground cayenne
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 16oz can roasted diced tomatoes with juice (pureed in the food processor so there are no chunks of tomato left)
5 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter
1/2 pound french green beans cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Toss the eggplant cubes with the teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Allow to sit 30 minutes to soften, then rinse the eggplant with cold running water and drain.
While the eggplant is being brined, preheat a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots in 2 tablespoons of the oil for about 20 minutes until very soft, browned, and slightly caramelized. Scoop the shallots out of the pot and set aside in a medium-size bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pot and add the eggplant, stirring to coat with the oil. Stir and cook the eggplant for 12-15 minutes, until slightly tender. Transfer the eggplant to the same bowl as the shallots.
Add the remaining oil to the pot and allow it to heat, add the ginger and chile and fry for 30 seconds. Add the spices and fry for another 30 seconds, then add the onion. Stir and fry until the onion is just slightly soft and translucent, 5-6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir-fry the mixture for another minute.
Add the diced tomatoes, water, eggplant, green beans and shallots to the pot. Stir well and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes then lower the heat and simmer.
Place the peanut butter in a separate bowl or large measuring cup. Add a ladleful or two of hot soup. Stir the peanut butter with the soup until the peanut butter is completely emulsified. Add the peanut butter mixture into the rest of the simmering soup, stir to mix.
Simmer the soup over medium-low heat, covered, for 35-45 minutes, or until the eggplant is very tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Salt to taste after the soup has cooled for at least 30 minutes.

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Have a wonderful week!

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