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Vegetarian Chicken Noodle Soup

Vegetarian Chicken Noodle Soup

 

Whenever the weather goes back and forth between cooler days and warm ones, do you ever find yourself getting sick? There’s something about this kind of temperature fluctuation that makes people  sick. We’ve been getting that kind of weather lately, and what can we do? Obviously, there’s only one solution: chicken noodle soup.

So how does one go about making vegetarian chicken noodle soup? Well, in the past, We’ve avoided this question entirely by purchasing Amy’s canned no-chicken noodle soup. But that is cheating, and really nothing beats a homecooked soup. We adapted my recipe from Tyler Florence’s Chicken Noodle Soup,  because it is awesome. We thought about using seitan in place of the chicken, but went with tofu instead. By freezing the tofu first, it gives it a nice chewy texture–don’t skip this step! We also reduced the amount of noodles to cut calories a little. To replace the chicken broth, we used a chickenless chicken broth–you can find these at most natural food stores. (Oh, and if you want to make vegan chicken noodle soup, use noodles that aren’t made with eggs.)

Clearly tofu is not chicken, but the texture comes pretty close to the chicken bits in canned soup.  This might not be chicken noodle soup like your grandma makes it, but it’s pretty darn close.

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Vegetarian Chicken Noodle Soup

Vegetarian Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

A vegetarian chicken noodle soup recipe adapted from a (non-vegetarian) recipe by Tyler Florence.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 4 celery ribs, sliced
  • 8 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-14 oz. package extra-firm tofu, frozen overnight, thawed, pressed for 30 minutes (I use the Tofu Xpress), and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 quarts no-chicken broth
  • 12 oz. dried wide egg noodles
  • 1/2 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for 3 minutes; add tofu. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened, but not browned.
  2. Add broth and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, add egg noodles and simmer for 8 minutes. (The noodles will be slightly undercooked, but don’t worry–they’ll continue cooking after removed from heat. This way, the noodles won’t be mushy.)
  3. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley before serving.

Notes

No-Chicken broth and bouillon cubes are sold at Whole Foods, natural grocery stores, and many supermarket chains. If you can’t find either of these, you can use vegetable broth.

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78 Comments

  • Reply
    Beth
    December 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Love this soup so much – as does my 15 mo old. The only difference is I baked small tofu pieces in the toaster oven with garlic powder and a little soy sauce for about 15 mins at 375. adding the tofu pieces in at the very end. yum!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 18, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      I love the idea of baking the tofu first! 😀

  • Reply
    Claire
    January 17, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Does this freeze well?

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 20, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      Yes, I’ve frozen this soup many times and it freezes beautifully!

  • Reply
    Sheila
    February 1, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    love this soup! it’s what I crave whenever I’m sick.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 2, 2014 at 8:14 am

      It’s perfect for when you’re under the weather, isn’t it? 🙂 I’m glad you enjoy it!

  • Reply
    Rottenham
    September 6, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I gave up meat voluntarily. I do not look for recipes that are “almost like meat.” If I wanted chicken, I would eat chicken. If I want tofu, I’ll eat tofu. This recipe would be just as good without the tofu.

    However, I would use LS chicken broth, as it is healthier and tastier.

    My 2 cents.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 7, 2014 at 9:29 am

      Well then by all means, make the recipe without tofu!

      • Reply
        Natalie
        September 17, 2014 at 4:33 pm

        I’ve made this soup several times, and it hits the spot, and sorry, Rottenham, but there ARE some voluntary vegetarians who crave comfort foods of their past at certain times, chicken soup while sick is one of them. And the last time I checked, tofu isn’t simply a meat replacement like mock meats. I like the inclusion of it in this soup to add protein, which helps a lot when you’re feeling down and achy. But to each their own — no need to be nasty about it. This is why carnivores think vegetarians are super judgmental mega douches. Kiersten, thank you for sharing your fantastic recipe. It has helped both veggies and meat-eaters in my family feel better.

        • Reply
          Kiersten Frase
          September 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm

          Yeah, in my years of blogging, I’ve learned that it’s impossible to make everyone happy! 🙂 I don’t find myself craving meat, but I do find myself craving the comfort foods I ate when I was a kid, which is why I love doing vegetarian remake recipes. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe!

        • Reply
          Cere
          December 24, 2015 at 3:06 am

          Uh, Rottenham clearly isn’t a vegetarian, as evidenced by the fact they state they’d use chicken broth. So you’re completely wrong, because Rottenham is a judgmental and superior animal-eater (not a carnivore, as humans are not carnivorous – please revisit your science classes), not a superior and judgmental vegetarian. So not only have you smeared vegetarians by spitting a tired cliche, you’ve also insulted them by lumping them in with their ideological opposite simply because they act the way you think vegetarians act. A spectacular fumble all around for you.

          • Dee Cee
            February 10, 2018 at 10:41 am

            Name says it all……rotten ham

  • Reply
    Renée
    September 28, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Instead of the noodles i put in 3 small potatoes and i baked the tofu before-hand also and it was super good!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 30, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      I’m glad to hear it worked out well like that!

  • Reply
    Jane
    November 1, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    What does freezing the tofu before pressing and cubing it do?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      December 28, 2017 at 7:17 pm

      I found this answer on Google: Some people don’t love the texture but freezing your tofu is a great way to change the texture without much extra effort. Freezing tofu removes the excess water which makes tofu able to soak up your marinade better. It also makes your tofu less ‘sponge-y’ and gives it a sort of ‘chewier’ texture.

  • Reply
    Jess
    January 11, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    I loved this soup! I made it on a really yucky winter day and just when I thought I had everything, I realized I wasoit of tofu! I didn’t want to drive the bad roads, so Irwin a can of chickpeas for
    Protein. Turned out great! Hank you!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 14, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      I love the idea of adding chickpeas – I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Reply
    Amy
    May 4, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Absolutely love this soup! Freezing the tofu definitely gives it a great texture.

  • Reply
    Kristin
    October 18, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Getting ready to make this delicious looking soup. Just wondering, does it really use 4 quarts of broth? It just seems like a lot.

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      October 20, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      I know, it is. It makes a BIG batch of soup – but the good news is that it freezes beautifully. I make a big batch every month or two in the fall & winter for easy dinners and lunches. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jules
    November 9, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Is there a way to adapt this to a slow cooker / crockpot?

  • Reply
    Rene'
    October 4, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    WONDERFUL recipe! My sister is a vegetarian, and I’m not, so I had only ever made regular chicken noodle soup for sickie friends. 🙂 When she came down with a cold, I went on the hunt for a veggie version. Yours hit the spot!

    I made homemade veggie stock in my pressure cooker instead of using the No Chicken stock (though I LOVE No Chicken!!) I also used the Quorn veggie chicken breasts instead of tofu. Everything else I did the same, and it came out simply fantastic!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      October 4, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I have a cold right now too and I was thinking about making it myself this week. 🙂

      • Reply
        Rene'
        October 5, 2016 at 9:38 pm

        Oh, I hope you feel better! Forgot to mention I added a little fresh lemon juice and a bit of lemon zest. Something about the lemon really brings out the flavor – and a tad of Vitamin C never hurts! 🙂

  • Reply
    sandra
    November 14, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Hi this looks great. One question: when I freeze the tofu, do I take it out of its plastic container and drain it before putting it in freezer or do I just stick the container with tofu and liquid in it and freeze it? thanks for your help

    • Reply
      Alissa
      November 14, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      Hi Sandra! I think you could do either. I’ve frozen tofu after draining it, as well as right in the package with the water, and the result is pretty much the same either way.

  • Reply
    Anna
    January 29, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Legitimate question… Why not simply call this “tofu noodle soup”? Why keep the chicken in the name, if there isn’t any in it and it’s meant to be vegetarian?

    • Reply
      Katie Trant
      January 30, 2018 at 9:13 am

      Good question, Anna. I think it’s because chicken noodle soup is a recipe name that people can identify with, and are often looking to find a vegetarian substitute for. Tofu noodle soup doesn’t have the same ring to it.

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