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Meatless #1 with Mary Beth

Going meatless is madness for those who lack the skill. Thus, when food prices began to climb in 2022, my first thought was to seek Meatless Mary Beth Petruska, an all-around excellent cook for meals containing meat and those without. (She raised twin vegetarian daughters!) So here is M B's first meatless meal with a few changes-- The Frugal Catholic Peanut Soup.

TFC Peanut Soup is a tasty dinner that doesn't cost a fortune. For those familiar with tofu--a vegetarian staple--you know it as a white, soybean substance. Its nutritious beauty can be easily disguised by pureeing it and adding it innocuously to recipes such as this soup.

The Frugal Catholic Peanut Soup

Two tablespoons of olive oil

Two large onions, diced

Two large red or orange bell peppers cut into 1/2-inch chunks

Two teaspoons chopped ginger root ( or 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder)

Two sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

Three large garlic cloves, finely chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste (don't skip this)

2 cups crushed tomatoes in sauce

5 cups chicken or vegetable stock

3/4 cup peanut butter--chunky or plain

One box of soft tofu

2 cups cooked rice

1 cup sliced scallions

In a large pan, heat the oil over high heat, add the onions, peppers, ginger, and sweet potatoes, and saute until the onions have begun to color, or 8 to 10 minutes. After the first five minutes also, add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Then add the tomatoes. Add the stock, boil, and simmer covered for 25 minutes. Add the peanut butter and stir until dissolved. Remove 2 cups of the soup, puree it with the tofu until smooth, then add the mixture back into the soup. Heat thoroughly, then serve over a bowl of rice topped with sliced scallions. The scallions, rice, and excellent vegetable flavors make this a tasty meatless dish with a strong Asian flavor and crunch.

Better is a dinner of green herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.


Martha Wild King, M.Ed., Author

The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.

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