Tuscan Kale Soup Supercharge

Many of my recent clients are following a Paleo-leaning or AIP (Autoimmune Paleo) diet, part of which requires obtaining high nutrient density per calorie. So, I have been delving into meals that fit that profile. I am finding that this style of cooking does not have to be complicated at all. I love it when something really simple comes out delicious and nutritionally complex. Enter this quick, rainy day soup. Not only is it Paleo, but it’s clean, weight management friendly, and can be converted to vegan very easily. If you want to go vegan and are not concerned about avoiding certain plant based foods, you can replace the sausage with cannellini beans, but since the sausage brings some flavor to the soup, you may need to ramp up the herbs and garlic to compensate.

tuscan kale soup with sausage

1 pound of your favorite organic sausage (like organic chicken basil or wild boar), cut up into pieces or made into meatballs
NOTE: For a vegan variation use cannellini beans, hemp tofu, or sprouted organic tofu
2 medium carrots cut into large pieces
2 celery stalks, sliced across the grain
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp. fennel seeds, crushed or partially ground in a coffee grinder
6-8 cups vegetable of chicken broth, warmed
2-3 cloves garlic, minced Read More

Carrot, Ginger & Turmeric, Yes!

Have you ever picked up some fresh turmeric root at the market, just to have it sort of sit in your kitchen and shrivel up? Well, here is an easy, season-appropriate way to put that turmeric root to really good use. This soup will make you want to curl up under a blanket and turn the phone off.

healing carrot, ginger & turmeric soup

1 tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
½ onion, chopped
3 tbsp. chopped, peeled fresh turmeric root
2 tbsp. chopped, peeled ginger root
1 tsp. curry powder
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 pound roughly chopped carrots Read More

Is Teff Polenta the New…Polenta?

If blizzards have you down I have just the remedy. I love that all I have to do is think, “hmmm I wish I could find something to make polenta out of besides cornmeal,” and then teff shows up, like it was lurking around the corner. A grain definitely isn’t just a grain when it comes to Teff. Considered an “ancient grain,” teff has been used in Ethiopian cooking for many years and is just starting to get some traction in modern western kitchens. More people are noticing teff probably because it is a powerhouse of nutrition and is also gluten free. And, it makes awesome, creamy polenta…tah-da! You can enjoy it in its creamy state right out of the pot, or let it set, cut it into shapes, and grill or pan fry. Basically use it anyway you would the more ubiquitous cornmeal polenta. For this recipe, I have created a sort of comfort bowl of creamy teff with roasted vegetables. This recipe is vegan, but you can substitute cheese and cream where noted for a dairy vegetarian version.

“creamy” teff polenta with roasted vegetables

For the Vegetables
2 small golden zucchini
2 small Japanese eggplant
1 red bell pepper
6-8 campari or other small tomato
4 ounces (about 8 or 10) crimini or button mushrooms
1 leek, sliced
1 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. Chinese 5 spice seasoning Read More

Detox Your Holiday Re-tox

In between your weekends of sugar, animal fat, and alcohol-laden holiday festivities, on a quiet weeknight at home, when your body is clambering for some real nutrition, try whipping up this extremely easy soup that is clean, vegan, and packed with super nutrition. The pepitas, while delivering a complete essential amino acid profile, also give it that comfort food edge that will surely hit the spot on a cold winter night.

green pepita soup

3-4 medium to large zucchini, cut into large chunks
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 fennel bulb with some of its leaves, cut into chunks, woody part of the core removed
1 medium onion, diced
1 parsnip, diced
4 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
Splash of olive or other cooking oil
6 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth for non-vegan), warmed Read More

Healthy Thanksgiving Soup

A Healthy Thanksgiving Soup

A lot of people associate Thanksgiving with a plate full of turkey and a bunch of other stuff smushed onto the plate. But sometimes its nice to switch it up a little and add a course or two, slowing it down, adding an extra layer of civilization to the crazy, energized occasion with friends and family. This porridge-like soup does the job pretty well, and although it is super rich and creamy, it is actually vegan, so you wont weigh your guests down too much before the main turkey event, and everyone at the table can enjoy it, whatever their dietary considerations.

pumpkin, potato & leek soup

1 pound red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into quarters
1 pound or about 2 cups (or more if you love pumpkin) cooked fresh pumpkin pulp or canned equivalent.
2 leeks, trimmed and cut into quarter inch pieces
1 parsnip, diced
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 quarts vegetable broth (or chicken broth for non-vegan)
2 tsp. herbes de provence
1 cup raw pumpkinseeds (pepitas) Read More

The Cleaner Side of Creamed Soups

Nothing completes a crisp autumn or rainy day like a bowl of creamy soup. I am pretty sure that there isn’t a person out there who doesn’t have a nostalgic attachment to a “cream of something” soup from their past or childhood. Well I have some good news about that! You can keep your creamy, comforting stroll down memory lane while also avoiding the bad and promoting awesome, clean nutrition. This soup is very easy to make and is also great as a cold vichyssoise style soup if you have leftovers. The salsa is a tangy compliment that offers extra rich flavor in the truffle oil, but also completely optional.

“creamy” cauliflower soup with truffle tomato salsa

For the soup:
2 tbsp. olive or other healthier cooking oil
4 cloves garlic, loosely chopped
1 average sized onion, chopped
1 head cauliflower, broken up into thumb-sized pieces without the stems
1 parsnip, diced
2 quarts vegetable broth (or chicken for non-vegan)
1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
Fresh grated nutmeg– about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp.
Salt & white pepper to taste Read More

keeping it whole all week

Sometimes weekdays can be tricky for preparing fresh whole food dinners. This probably isn’t news to most readers. But then, sometimes, those rushed days, when all you have are some bits and pieces of vegetables and random bags of beans and grains, end up producing the most memorable dinners. Is it the low expectation going into the meal? I honestly don’t know. All I know is this recent throw together came out great! So I had to share.

spinach & cauliflower bhaji

2 tbsp. coconut oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger, grated or minced
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you like spicy)

Read More

there’s something springy & sprouted going on

This time of year, whenever I start to see fresh English peas and asparagus at the market, and the nasturtium flowers start to take over the garden, my cooking mind always wanders to spring risotto with asparagus and peas. So, the other night I was making a side dish of sprouted brown rice, and I noticed that the texture would probably lend itself well to a risotto-style dish. Well that’s all I needed to give this one a try…voila! A healthy, sprouted risotto that makes a great vegan entree or side dish!

sprouted “risotto” with asparagus, peas, fennel, & mint

Makes 2-3 entrees, or 4-6 side dishes
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup sprouted brown rice
1/2 bulb fennel, with some of the stock and leaves, roughly chopped
1 small leek, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small heirloom (or regular) carrot, diced small Read More

it’s a nut! it’s a grain! no…it’s buckwheat!

I’ll be frank: I love buckwheat!!! I have always had a fond place in my heart for buckwheat. I honestly can’t remember where in my childhood buckwheat took its place, I think an aunt used it, or maybe my mom. I just remember it being there somewhere.

When I started pursuing this healthier cooking thing, I was delighted to discover the nutritional benefits that buckwheat has to offer. Buckwheat is not actually wheat at all. It is a seed that comes from a sorrel-like flower. This makes it, in my view, a superfood, not to mention gluten free, plant based, and other great qualities many are looking for today. Unfortunately, buckwheat flour doesn’t behave quite the same as wheat flour, so its uses tend to be more limited, but you can find some good products that use pure buckwheat in simple and nutritious ways. You can also use it in recipes here and there, in baking, and always be confident that you are adding amino acids, fiber, and other essential nutrition to the dish. Here is a fantastic and quick way to enjoy ramen without the toxic craziness of the ubiquitous instant ramen. And, it is great on a detox! This recipe can be ready to eat in 20-30 minutes from start to finish.

buckwheat ramen with shiitake mushrooms & vegetables

Makes 2 large or 4 small bowls of ramen
4 cups vegetable broth, plus 2 cups water
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms (fresh or rehydrated from dried)
2 100% buckwheat ramen noodle cakes

2-3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2-3 teaspoons chopped garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 cup broccoli florets
1 small julienned or grated carrot Read More

chili with a healthy secret

Let’s be honest. There is no replacement for the taste and experience of good old fashioned meat chili, with sour cream, onions, and shredded cheese. But that doesn’t stop me from having fun with the basic chili concept and seeing where it goes with healthier ingredients. One of the “secret” ingredients in traditional chili that makes it thick, and gives it an extra depth of flavor, is the use of cornmeal or polenta. In this recipe, amaranth or teff is used instead, both ancient grains that offer a cleaner, far more nutritious layer of pleasant thickness and texture to your chili. Without this, it would be a mere bowl of vegetable soup! The rest is left to the rainbow of healthy vegetables, herbs, and spices that make this, in my opinion, an awesome and easy regular for your dinner table. It saves well, even tastier the next day!

black & white bean calabaza chili

Makes 4-5 servings
1 small-medium onion
1 red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups (about 8-10 oz.) raw, peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/2-1 inch squares
1 tsp. ground cumin
 (grind from seeds if possible for better flavor)
1 tsp. chile powder
1 jalapeño, finely chopped Read More