Penny Pincher Meals – Tofu Veggie Soup

I love food. Lo-ve it. If I look back at all of my spending since I was an adult, by far, most of my spending has been on food via traveling for good food, making food at home, and dining out. However, it is only this past year, in my own apartment and with adequate time, that I have really started to learn how to cook. This has been a game changer for my budget and, like learning to do my own hair, I can only wish that I had learned to do it sooner.

Tofu Veggie Soup

I am a vegetarian who loves tofu but only kinda likes eggs. However, eggs are a great source of protein, and many Asian or Asian inspired dishes allow me to easily incorporate them. This soup is great because you can use whatever vegetables that are in your refrigerator or pantry and it will probably still be tasty. I like to put it over rice for a very hearty meal.

While I won’t calculate the cost of pantry items like salt or oil, I have tried to calculate the relative cost of everything else I have used.

PP

Note: If you don’t generally like tofu because it doesn’t absorb the flavor of whatever you are cooking, it’s not the tofu’s fault. You just aren’t preparing it correctly. Freeze the tofu first and then unfreeze before for use. It breaks up the fibers, while retaining much of its structural integrity, and the tofu is much more flavor absorbent and meaty in texture.

The actual cooking is pretty simple and only uses one pot.

  1. I cook the egg(s) in the bottom of a 5 quart pan on medium heat using 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. After the eggs have mostly cooked, I add the tofu, half of the onions and half the garlic and cook until the onions are a bit more translucent and the garlic begins to brown.
  3. I added five cups of water and the soup base to the pot. I also add the remaining onions and garlic.
  4. I bring the pot to a boil.
  5. Once the pot is boiling I lower it to medium heat and add the roughly chopped cabbage and dark leafy greens (today I used turnip greens because they were on sale, but in the past I have used mustard greens, collard greens, or whatever green is on the deepest sale).
  6. I cook until the cabbage is tender.
  7. I put the soup over rice. – If I am using up old rice, then I usually add it at step 5 to give it time to absorb the soup.

And that’s it. This is what my dinner looks like tonight. If I am not very hungry this can easily become two meals. (What is pictured is just one bowl. There is still a bowl+ in the pot.) If I eat late, I usually eat the second half the next day for lunch. However, while hearty, it doesn’t really stick to your bones. What usually happens is that I eat it for dinner and then eat it for a snack a bit later. It’s simple but so very good and I eat this at least twice a week during the cooler months. I hope this allays some of your concerns that I’m not eating my veggies 🙂

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