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Meatless Monday – Chinese Hot Pot

Cold Fall Nights Call for Spicy Hot Soup!


By Meg Claire

Chinese Hot Pot soups are a thousand year old tradition. Typically, it’s a fondue-type idea: frozen meats are sliced carpaccio-style and dipped into a pot of hot broth to cook. Truly, you don’t miss the meat at all in this vegan adaptation. Tons of vegetables and tofu feed a broth started with the classic French mirepoix base. The aromatics of onion, carrot and celery give the broth a richness you don’t expect with a veggie broth soup.

Ladle the soup over a cup of cooked brown rice for a more abundant meal. The leftovers are almost better the second day, but try to keep the rice separate until serving.

I use a Le Creuset pot for this recipe because it’s the closest thing I have to the Chinese traditional clay pot vessel. Use the heaviest soup pot you have, ideally something enameled cast iron.

Chinese Hot Pot

Serves 6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small yellow onion diced

1 large carrot, halved lengthwise then sliced into ½” pieces

1 celery stalk, sliced into ½” pieces

6oz. can of sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained

2 garlic cloves, smashed

8-10oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

5 ½ cups vegetable stock

1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce

½ pound tofu, cut into large dice

2oz. snow peas, trimmed and halved

3 scallions, only green parts sliced into 2” segments

½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil or Chinese hot oil


Heat the olive oil in your best soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger, cook until fragrant, about 40 seconds. Add the carrot, celery, water chestnuts, mushrooms and red pepper flakes. Sir occasionally and sweat the mushrooms, about 8 minutes. Add the stock and tamari. Simmer for ten minutes.

Add the tofu, snow peas and scallions. Cook until the snow peas are crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Drizzle on the sesame or hot oil. Stir and serve immediately.

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  1. My parents actually have a hotpot (electric…yup, times have changed!), and I have fond memories of them on cold winter nights. I now make do with noodle soups with edamame, shiitake/enoki/straw mushrooms, scallions, leafy greens, miso, and whatever other vegetables I have on hand that I need to use up. I'll try your combo next!

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