Potato and fennel soup for a hearty meal on Meatless Monday

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Soup makes a fantastic cold-weather dish, and this potato-fennel concoction is thick and hearty enough to work as an entree through the chillier days ahead. The minced fennel gives the broth a beefy flavor that could fool anyone (especially if you make your own vegetable broth), but it's vegan and gluten-free -- and delicious. Adapted from the classic Moosewood Cookbook, this is a staple for soup-lovers.

See also: Quick (vegan) chili for a chilly Meatless Monday

You will need:

1 tablespoon vegan butter (Earth Balance is best) or oil 4-5 medium onions 2 teaspoons salt 4 medium potatoes (we used Yukon Golds) 1 medium fennel bulb 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds 4 cups vegetable stock (make your own!) or water Cracked pepper to taste

1. Peel the onions. Slice them thin -- this is easier if you cut them in half first. Lovely. Melt the vegan butter in a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir until onions are coated with the butter and salt. Cook for fifteen to twenty minutes. The onions will get soft... ...and when they're a golden-brown color, you're ready to move on. 2. While the onions are cooking, you should have plenty of time to get everything else ready. Scrub the potatoes first. Slice them just like you did the onions. Cut the "fingers" off the fennel bulb and wash it. Finely chop some of the feathery tops for a soup topping if you want. Put the bulb in a food processor and mince. 3. When the onions are browned, add the potatoes. Add the minced fennel. Stir those ingredients up... ...then add the caraway seeds and the rest of the salt. Add the broth and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for about twenty minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Add cracked pepper to taste. Serve warm with the minced fennel fronds on top; you can also add a dollop of sour cream if your diet allows dairy. This recipe will serve four to six people (depending on how hungry they are!).

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