So here's a recipe that imitates all the wonderful flavors, textures, and spices of that old standby, chicken soup, but without the meat.
This recipe is made with seitan, which is essentially vital wheat gluten. Before you freak out on me (and, really, I don't get that when you'll handle raw, dead animals--the epitome of "ew!"), give this a chance.
The recipe calls for making your own gluten first, but I had some West Soy brand seitan in the refrigerator so I used that. Next time, because it is so easy, I will definitely try making my own. If you have a gluten allergy, simply use firm or extra firm tofu instead, cut into cubes.
From the wonderful Sarah Kramer's La Dolce Vegan, try this the next time you're hankering for some good old-fashioned un-chicken soup!
2 tbsp instant vital gluten flour (Bob's Red Mill brand makes some)
2 tbsp water
OR use pre-packaged seitan or tofu, cut into cubes
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 1/2 C water
1 bouillon cube
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste (I like it spicy)
1/4 C basmati or jasmine rice
In a bowl, combine gluten flour & water & mix to form a dough. Knead it well and form into a tube shape and cut into cubes, about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch. Set aside.
In a large soup pot, heat oil on medium heat & saute onions until translucent. Add celery, carrots & garlic & cook for 5 minutes more. Add water, bouillon cube, "chicken" cubes, spices, & rice. If using seitan or tofu, DO NOT ADD YET. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat & simmer 15-20 minutes until rice is cooked. Add seitan or tofu if using, heat for 5 minutes more, then serve.