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Tom’s Cookbook Library: ‘Awesome Vegan Soups’ worth exploring

Food blogger and recipe developer Vanessa Croessmann, originally from St. Charles, delves into vegan soup in “Awesome Vegan Soups."
Food blogger and recipe developer Vanessa Croessmann, originally from St. Charles, delves into vegan soup in “Awesome Vegan Soups."

Home cooks continue to discover the merits a vegan lifestyle has to offer.

Food blogger and recipe developer Vanessa Croessmann highlights reasons behind this growing phenomenon in “Awesome Vegan Soups” (Front Page).

Croessmann, originally from St. Charles, now lives in Germany with her family. Her book is aptly subtitled “80 easy, affordable whole food stews, chilies and chowders for good health.”

In introductory remarks the author observes: “Soup is delicious, easy to make and cost-effective.”

A good example that illustrates Croessmann’s approach is found in her recipe for Creamy Caramelized Onion Soup (below).


(Makes 2 quarts)

2 Tbl. coconut or olive oil, divided

3 large yellow onions (roughly 24 oz.)

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 head of cauliflower (roughly 1 lb.), chopped

1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

2 Tbl chopped parsley

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Salt and pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large cast-iron or stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the onions into 1/4-inch slices. Add the onion to the skillet and cook them, stirring occasionally. After 10 minutes of cooking, sprinkle the salt over the onions and continue to cook. After 20 minutes, you might want to reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and add more oil if the onions are looking very dry.

Be sure not to stir the onions too often. You want them to be able to brown, but also not burn to the bottom of your pan. You’ll want to cook the onions for 45 to 60 minutes. Toward the end of your cook time, the onions will stick to the pan quite a bit. Scrape them every minute or two until they become a deep, rich and brown color.

Once the onions are caramelized to your liking, deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar. Place the caramelized onions in a bowl and set them aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pot and add the leeks, garlic, cauliflower, thyme and parsley. Cook them for 5 minutes before adding the vegetable broth. Bring the broth to a boil then reduce the heat and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Add a third of the caramelized onions you prepared to the soup along with the almond milk. Puree the soup until smooth using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender.

Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the soup with the remaining caramelized onions as garnish.

Journalist Tom Witom, who lives in Elgin, has written extensively for years about food and the food industry. Feedback on this column can be sent to

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