The Peanut Butter to my Chocolate It’s been ages since I’ve made brownies. Because brownies are just too delicious. I try *not* to bake all the time these days, because when I do it’s hard *not* to eat the whole batch in two days. And […]
‘Cheesy’ Broccoli Soup For the Win: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Paleo Recipe For real guys. This creamy cheesy broccoli soup is hands-down the most satisfying soup I’ve ever made, or ever tasted for that matter. All the creaminess. All the cheesy flavor. None of the dairy […]
Nourishing Mind Body and Soul with Soup
Yep it’s the new year and guess what that means – time for souping! It’s WAY too cold outside to even consider juicing. But soups? Nourishing, warming, and cleansing all in one. It’s my favorite approach to clean eating in cold weather.
Plus it’s SO bitter cold out there, this soup just provides another reason to get busy in the kitchen cuz who wants to go outside in this weather. And with the storm on its way, we might not be able to for a day or two!
Nourishment not Punishment
I’m also taking a nice and easy, slow start to the new year. Nourishment is the name of the game in 2018, not resolutions set as some illusive form of punishment, or even intentions that are just a subtler form of the same thing.
To be sure I’m getting clear on what I want and setting goals and getting down to business, but I’m allowing myself to take it in my own stride. I’m going for the slow shift, rather than a New Year’s 180. Because that just doesn’t sound fun. Or sustainable. And frankly it wouldn’t serve me right now.
Pink Soup for You
So I’m just focusing on serving up some soup right now! And this first one I got for you unexpectedly came out pink!!! That’s fun. And it makes the little girl in me oh-so-happy.
No joke, this soup 100% matches my childhood bedroom – all pink and white and green. So my inner child started giggling when I started blending the cauliflower and beet greens up and suddenly everything was coming up rose-colored!
It’s not quite a perfect shade of pink, but we are not getting caught up with perfection anymore. I need to tame that Virgo in me, so here’s a perfectly pleasing pink soup for you.
Cauliflower Soup with a Beet Twist
And it’s nourishing on so many levels – it provides us the cancer protective benefits of cauliflower, the pre-biotics found in leeks, detox properties of parsley, and a massive dose of nutrients from beet greens.
Health Benefits of Beet Greens
As someone who until very recently never ate beets, I most certainly never considered using beet greens. But it turns out these leafy greens are one of the healthiest foods out there – even healthier than the beetroot itself.
Beet greens are a great sources of fiber, and they pack in a whole bunch of antioxidants. They’re high in vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorous, copper, and zinc. They also provide 220% the RDA of vitamin A, 50% vitamin C, 16% of calcium, and 15% iron – even more than spinach!
Most intriguing to me is the vitamin K provided by beet greens, which is good for the blood, the bones, and the brain. Vitamin K helps in blood clotting, works with calcium to boost bone strength and ward off osteoporosis (which is also a possible side effect of chemotherapy), and may help fight Alzheimer’s. Boom.
Between the cauliflower, beet greens, parsley, and leeks, this soup is a detoxifying cancer protective inflammation-fighting system-supporting machine! Bonus – it’s just as pleasing to the eyes and nourishing to our taste buds as it is for our bodies.
Because who wants to stay on the healthy eating track when it doesn’t taste good. I love food that tastes like grass. Said no one ever. (I hope.) And pretty food makes eating all the more fun! Plus this recipe really is easy and makes a whole bunch of soup, so you can serve it up and save the leftovers for later in the week. Cuz, you know, soup for days is the current MO.
Cauliflower Leek Beet Green Pink Soup
A nourishing creamy vegan soup, made pink by super-healthy beet greens!
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 leek
- 1 cup beet greens roughly equivalent to the greens from a bunch of 3 beets
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil I also like to use avocado oil
- 4 cups broth vegetable, chicken works too if you're not vegan/ vegetarian
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 clove garlic
Wash the veggies. Cut the cauliflower heads off, de-stem the parsley, and cut off the beet greens, removing any longer stems, and slice the leeks into half-inch rounds then again in half.
Steam the cauliflower until tender.
Add the oil to a large soup pot over medium heat and sauté the garlic for a minute, then add the leeks and sauté until soft and turning slightly golden.
Add the steamed cauliflower, then add the broth. Add the cumin and sea salt and bring to a low boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or simply remove from the heat for a quicker meal.
Once removed from the heat, transfer to a high speed blender* or food processor, or use an immersion blender to purée the soup until its blended and creamy. Mine had little green flecks at the end, which is fine.
*If you use a blender, be sure to leave the pour lid open – the heat can cause the blender to burst or crack!
Serve it up! Transfer leftovers to a container and consume within a week. Or freeze!
Want some more tasty and healthy soup recipes? Check out these recipes:
Kale with a Crunch Kale chips are delicious. Trust me on this one. If you’ve been scared to eat a chip made out of a vegetable, or scared of vegetables in general, stop whatever you’re doing and make these. They’re crispy, crunchy, light, and oh […]
Rosemary for the win
When it comes to fall and winter cooking, rosemary is one of my favorite go-to’s. Its warming flavors capture the cozy weather vibes so well. I feel like kale and butternut squash with a generous sprinkle of rosemary is an ideal combo when it comes to fall cuisine.
And for the holiday table, dried cranberries and pecans are the perfect compliments to add a little nuttiness and tart sweetness to the mix. Pumpkin seeds add an extra crunch and extra fall vibes.
It’s a tried-and-true combination, so when I was coming up with my holiday menu, it was a no-brainer to add this salad to the mix.
Rosemary to the rescue
But I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go with the dressing. I thought about going tart, I thought about going sweet. I even considered doing a creamy almond dressing. But none of them really hit home.
As I hinted at above, I do love roasting my squash with rosemary, however. And then it hit me: rosemary dressing. Duh! I’ve never been one to go fancy with my salad dressings – I used to hate salad dressing – so I wasn’t entirely sure what direction to go.
But then rosemary vinaigrette came into being and pulled the dish together so well. And of course, it’s pretty simple!
Health Benefits of Rosemary
I absolutely adore rosemary. This member of the herb family has flavor profile that is hard to pin down. It’s closely related to mint but with a very different flavor: it has a warming, slightly bitter, almost pine-like taste. Sometimes when I bite into it I swear I can taste butter. But that might just be my taste buds wanting it taste butter…! 😉
And rosemary just looks so cute, kinda like the needles on a pine tree! It’s pretty much the most festive edible addition to your dishes, and delivers all the dish-elevating flavor you could hope for.
And good thing it tastes so good, because although the small quantities typical of a single dish won’t deliver a significant nutritional boost, the regular addition of rosemary to your dishes will allow the benefits to accumulate.
Here are some of the ways rosemary benefits your health:
- Mood and stress balancer. It improves mood, clears the mind, and relieves stress in those with stress hormone imbalances. More, please!
- Boosts Immunity. Rosemary contains active compounds that are anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant, and perhaps most importantly, anti-inflammatory. Win-win-win. These anti-inflammatory benefits are the most notable: the antioxidants carnosol and carnosic have been associated with reducing inflammation of muscle tissue, blood vessels, and joints.
- Improves Digestion. Rosemary also soothes digestive upset, including constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and upset stomachs.
- Memory Booster. Research into the benefits of rosemary on memory is ongoing, but it has historically been used as a cognitive stimulant and has more recently been linked to cognitive stimulation in elderly patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
- Detoxifier. Rosemary is a mild diuretic, meaning it can aid in flushing out toxins during urination. In addition to helping eliminate toxins, pathogens, salts, and even excess fat when consumed regularly, it has been linked to improved liver health. Rosemary consumption is linked with faster healing time of the liver, which is one of the slowest organs to heal, as well as lower levels of cirrhosis.
- Skin health. Rosemary, particularly in its essential oil form, contains anti-aging benefits and helps to heal blemishes and maintain clear, hydrated skin.
Rosemary also stimulates blood flow, acts as an analgesic (pain reliever), and works as a breath freshener. Basically, what doesn’t it do…!?
How to Use Rosemary
- To Maximize flavor, cook with it. Add it to your dishes: bake with it, garnish, sautée, sprinkle it into soups and stews, and rub it into meat dishes. Basically, use it in every way you can think of.
- To maximize nutritional value: don’t cook with it. Ok ok, that’s totally contradictory. But cooking does reduce the benefits, so add it toward the end of cooking, or do both: cook with it and garnish with fresh rosemary once you are ready to serve!
- People even use rosemary essential oils to deliver a concentrated dose of the goodness.
Warm Kale Squash Fall Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette
Back to the salad. It does require a little oven and mortar and pestle action, so it’s not the quickest recipe I’ve ever done, but it’s still quite simple.
First I roast the chopped butternut squash, with – you guess it – rosemary. As the squash is roasting, I make the dressing and the rest of the salad. As it’s a warm salad, I heat the dressing in a pan then add the kale. At the end I toss in the cranberries*, pecans, and pumpkin seeds.
*A note on the dried cranberries. Frankly, I don’t eat much dried fruit these days because it contains a lot of sugar (natural sugar is still sugar). This salad works perfectly fine without it, but for the holiday table I add it in cuz it’s festive. Skip to keep it paleo-happy.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m pretty sure fresh pomegranate seeds would work really nicely too, and add a generous antioxidant boost to the feast!
Warm Kale Squash Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette
A simple yet hearty and delicious warming salad with rosemary vinaigrette. Vegan, paleo, dairy-free, gluten-free recipe
Kale Squash Salad
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 bunch kale, washed and cut into smaller pieces I use curly kale
- 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries *optional. may replace with pomegranate seeds
- 1/2+1/2 tbsp fresh or dried rosemary
- 1 sprig rosemary optional
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the over to 400F. Places the chopped butternut squash on a pan and toss with the olive oil, 1/2 tbsp rosemary, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, checked and tossing halfway through.
While the squash is roasting, make the vinaigrette. Place the rosemary, salt, and garlic in the mortar bowl. Use the pestle to crush the garlic and rosemary and mash them together.
Slowly add the lemon juice and olive oil and continue to mash.
Transfer the dressing to a large pan and heat over medium. Add the kale, rosemary, salt and pepper and sauté a few minutes, until the kale is bright green and soft.
Turn off the heat and add the pecans, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries if using. Toss the ingredients together while the pan is still warm. The squash should be just about ready, so add that to the pan and toss all the ingredients together.
Transfer to plates and serve.
If using fresh pomegranate seeds, top with these at the end. I also sometimes add some sliced avocado at the end if I'm eating this as my meal.
Cauli Mash: The Best Thing to Happen to the Modern Thanksgiving Dinner Menu With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’ve been compiling, planning and creating delicious, healthy, diet-specific alternatives to the classic dishes. These days there are so many people with specific dietary restrictions, it can […]
Best Soup Ever
Pumpkins and squash are everywhere, and squash soup has been high on the to-do list. I’ve made several versions in the past, but this time I wanted to spice things up a bit and thought I’d add some ginger and turmeric. No joke, this may be one of my favorite soups, ever.
This creamy soup is so delicious and so filling it can really stand alone. Throw some cilantro and pumpkin seeds on top and you’re golden. Just like the soup.
This creamy butternut squash soup is full of goodness and robust flavor. With a touch of sweet from the squash and sour from a green apple, savory from leeks and broth, spice from ginger, turmeric, cumin and black pepper, and satisfying healthy fats from avocado and coconut cream, this soup captures the best of all worlds, in my humble opinion.
Even Better: Health-boosting benefits
The best part is that each of these ingredients is chock full of health and immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals. Squash is high in fiber, vitamins A and C, and an excellent source of manganese and potassium, which is a key component of blood pressure regulation. Green apples pack a punch of nutrition, as do leeks which are also cancer-fighting powerhouses.
And the spices are not just there for the flavor: they’re also chock-full of health benefits. Turmeric and ginger are powerful anti-inflammatories and cumin improves digestion and enhances immunity, just to name a couple of it’s myriad health-boosting benefits.
And truly, a generous garnish of fresh cilantro ups the flavor factor dramatically – something about it just works so well in this soup (as long as you’re not someone who thinks it tastes like soap!). Plus, it adds a major boost of bonus health benefits. Cilantro improves liver function and is a powerful detoxifier: it helps rid the body of heavy metals like lead, which can not only cause a host of health issues, but can also interfere with antibiotic efficacy.
Cilantro also has strong antioxidant properties that combat oxidative stress, lowers anxiety and improves sleep, helps balance blood sugar, prevents UTIs, lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, relieves digestive issues such as nausea, indigestion, gas and bloating and protects against food poisoning, soothes skin irritations, helps support health menstrual function, and prevents neurological inflammation. Phew!
Finally, I added a sprinkle of raw pumpkin seeds which add a nice little crunch and provide a hefty dose of magnesium and some added protein.
Creamy Ginger Turmeric Butternut Squash Soup
Creamy vegan, paleo spiced squash soup packed with anti-infammatory and immunity-boosting benefits
- 1 medium butternut squash, chopped
- 1 green apple, chopped
- 2 medium leeks, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
- 1 heaping tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 cups vegetable both depending on size of produce and desire thickness, may add up to 1/2-1 cup more broth
- 1/2 medium avocado
- 1/4 cup coconut cream can sub full fat coconut milk
Boil the butternut squash until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Add olive oil to the bottom of a large pot and heat on medium.
Sautée the leeks and ginger with the turmeric, cumin, pepper and salt until tender and slightly browned. Add the Squash and apple and sautée until the spices are mixed in.
Add the vegetable broth, covering the ingredients. Depending on the exact size of your squash and produce and desired thickness of the soup, you may wish to add an extra 1/2-1 cup of broth. I added 3 cups and it made a very thick soup.
Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Heat for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from the head and carefully add to your blender, or use an immersion blender. Add the avocado and coconut cream and blend on high until the soup is completely puréed.
Garnish with cilantro or parsley and sprinkle with raw pumpkin seeds to taste. I like to add an extra dash of cumin and turmeric on top as well as sea salt and black pepper to taste.
**may sub extra broth in place of coconut cream