Chinese Veggie Soup provides basis for many meat-free Lenten meals (March 11, 2011)

Lois Rogers, Features Editor

Lent is the perfect time of year to appreciate the universal nature of the Catholic faith by sampling meat-free recipes from around the world like this simple yet tasty Chinese vegetable soup.

The recipe is from a good friend who, much to the delight of her husband and three little girls, excels in Asian cooking.

It’s very reasonable to make and easy to prepare – especially if you keep broth or stock on hand. Stock made from meat is a permissible base for Lenten soup provided the actual meat is removed before hand but feel free to use commercial vegetable broth if you prefer.

We enjoy this basic soup very much throughout the year, savoring the tasty mix of Chinese (an American) vegetables, soy sauce, sesame oil and red pepper.

Rice or noodles are good in the soup as are shrimp, scallops or chunks of monk fish.

Chinese Vegetable Soup

• 3 cups chicken broth
• Leaves of one head of bok choy, thinly sliced
• 2 diced tomatoes
• 1 small, sweet onion
• 1 small can mixed Chinese vegetables
• 2 teaspoons soy sauce
• 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil – don’t scrimp on quality here – this is what conveys the flavor
• 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large skillet. Stir in the seasonings – red pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic. Add the vegetables and simmer for 10 minutes until the bok choy leaves turn dark green and are wilted and tender. Spoon rice or noodles into generous soup bowls, ladle in the soup. Serve plain or top with pre-cooked shrimp, scallops or monk fish.

Serves four.

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