Chilly autumn days call for some of our favorite cozy things! Warming hot teas, delicious soups… which gave us an idea. Why choose one tasty thing when you can have both? This hearty vegan soup makes perfect use of our favorite fall herbs and veggies, swapping out a traditional broth base for a concentrated black tea infusion to give it extra body and character. Savory, rich, and surprisingly substantial, this soup will store in the fridge for up to a week, or can be frozen for later use within a few months.
Dragon’s Moon Soup
4-5 pieces Dragon’s Moon tea (or approx. 20 grams of any strong Chinese black tea)
4 cups of water
1 large butternut squash (approx. 3 lbs)
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed, and chopped
½ tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
½ tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
Fresh-ground black pepper
Salt and nutmeg to taste
Chopped parsley, toasted nuts or pepitas, or crusty bread (for serving, optional)
For the tea infusion:
In a small pot or heat-resistant bowl, pour boiling water over your Dragon’s Moon tea. Steep for five minutes, then remove and discard the leaves and set liquid aside for later.
For the soup:
- Begin by roasting your squash and carrot. Preheat oven to 375° F. While it is warming, peel your squash, trim off the stem and bottom, and slice it lengthwise down the center. Scoop out the seeds and dice into approx. 1” cubes. Spread on a baking tray along with your peeled and chopped carrot. Brush all vegetables with oil, then roast for 30-40 minutes until easily pierced with a fork. (Note: while this step is optional, it will add extra flavor and reduce your soup’s cooking time considerably).
- Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven on stovetop over medium heat. Once shimmering, add onion, sea salt, and a few grinds of pepper, sautéing 5-10 minutes until soft.
- Add in your squash and carrot and cook 3-5 minutes, just enough to lightly brown. (Note: if you forgo initial roasting, this may take closer to 10-12 minutes).
- Add herbs, ginger, and garlic, stirring and cooking until nicely fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add 3 cups of your tea infusion, reserving one final cup. Bring everything to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer 20-30 minutes until squash is very tender.
- Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth and homogenous. (Note: this can also be achieved using a regular blender or by hand with a potato masher). Adjust thickness of soup by adding small amounts of your remaining tea infusion until consistency is to your liking.
- Season generously with salt and freshly ground nutmeg, tasting for flavor. Serve immediately, topping with fresh parsley and chopped nuts or pepitas. This soup pairs beautifully with a dark herb salad and warm crusty bread.
By: Jen Coate