savory lentil soup

This is a wonderful winter soup that is so satisfying but not too heavy. This is the best lentil soup I have ever made and the kids really loved it too. My four year old was even thanking me the next day for the yummy soup! It is based on a recipe from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.

serves 6


1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large carrots, diced
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
1 tsp. garam masala* (curry if you need to be quick but it will give a different flavor)
2 cups lentils (I used brown but green would work too)
8 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (this adds deeper flavor but you can always use water)
2 cups chopped tomatoes (canned are fine)
4 cups baby spinach leaves
1-2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
bacon, chopped (optional) I used some delicious Hempler's uncured smoked bacon. Some chicken sausage would work well too.

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until soft.
2. Add the garlic, carrots, thyme, and garam masala and sauté 5-7 minutes more.
3. Add lentils and liquid, cover the pot and simmer for 35-40 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes, spinach, sea salt, bacon, and red wine vinegar and simmer for 10 minutes more.

*you can make your own by mixing:
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. pepper
3 tsp. cumin
3 tsp. coriander
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves 
2 tsp. ginger

split pea soup with fresh vegetables and herbs

For those of you who love split pea soup you may like to know why you should keep on loving it. Split peas are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and B vitamins. They help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol. So warm up and fill up on a chilly evening with this satisfying soup. Recipe adapted from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.


2 cups split peas, rinsed and drained
5 cups water
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium red bell pepper
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. sea salt
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ tsp. black pepper

1. Place the split peas into a 6-quart pot with the water and bay leaves. Cover, and simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if needed
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they begin to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and bell pepper and sauté for a minute. Add the thyme, rosemary, and sea salt and sauté 3 to 5 minutes more.
3. Add the cooked vegetables to the pot with the cooked split peas, then add the stock and stir well. Simmer over medium-low heat until the vegetables are tender. Add the fresh basil, parsley, and black pepper. Adjust salt and seasonings to taste.

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african peanut and red quinoa soup

I have been working my way through a delightful cookbook called Nourishing Meals Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes for the Whole Family (I also have the newest book by the same authors, Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre). It is a wonderful book that teaches how to eat in a way that benefits health. They make gluten-free and whole foods recipes that are beautiful and delicious. Here is one dish we recently tried (with a few modifications). This soup is full of vegetables and the quinoa provides extra energy and protein.


1-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
2-3 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 small red bell peppers, chopped
8 cups water, vegetable or chicken stock
7-8 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter (all natural if possible because it doesn't contain hydrogenated oils)
pinch of red chili powder (more if you like more spice. You can also use crushed red chili flakes)
2 cups thinly sliced savoy cabbage
large handful fresh cilantro, chopped
3-4 cups cooked red quinoa
1-3 tsp. sea salt

1. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the oil, then add onions; saute for 5-10 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and ginger; saute another minute. Then add carrots and red bell pepper. Saute for 3-5 minutes.

2. Add water or stock, peanut butter, and chili powder. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Stir in cabbage, cilantro, and cooked quinoa. Add salt to taste (if you are using salted stock you may not need much at all).

3. Simmer for a few more minutes, until cabbage is tender. Serve each bowl with an extra sprinkling of crushed red chili flakes and more chopped cilantro if desired.


roasted pumpkin soup

How fun is this? Eating this pumpkin soup out of a pumpkin is a clever idea (and it saves doing dishes). You scoop out pumpkin with each spoonful of creamy vegetable soup.You can also try a kabocha squash.

serves 2-4
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks celery
1 large ripe tomato, seeded, chopped
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 sugar pumpkins
grated parmesan and chopped flat-leaf parsley for garnish

1. Heat oven to 375º
2. In a pot over medium heat, melt butter with olive oil. Add onion, garlic, celery, tomato, and herbs. Saute 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 tsp. of the salt, 1/2 tsp. of the pepper, and chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil, remove from heat, stir in cream and set aside. (if you prefer a creamy vs. chunky soup then puree).
3. To prepare pumpkins, cut off tops and reserve and scoop out seeds. Season insides with remaining salt and pepper. Ladle soup into pumpkins discarding herb sprigs. Place tops on pumpkins.
4. Roast on a foil lined cookie sheet for 1-1.5 hours or until pumpkins are tender when pierced with a knife.
5. Serve soup out of pumpkins or ladle into bowls and divide pumpkin flesh. Garnish with parmesan and parsley.

thai curry butternut squash soup

This is a delightful Thai twist on a traditional fall soup. Modified from

serves 4-6


3 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 sweet onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
2 Tbsp. red curry paste
3 cups vegetable stock
4 cups uncooked butternut squash, cubed in 1-inch pieces
1 -2 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
¼ cup fish sauce
coconut aminos or soy sauce to taste
coconut sugar to taste
1 lime, juiced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup torn fresh cilantro for serving
1/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts for serving


Heat a large pot over med-low heat and add coconut oil. Once it is melted, add in the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt and stir. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in ginger and curry paste and stir until incorporated. Cook the curry and onion mixture for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the stock and add the squash cubes. Cover the pot and increase heat to medium. Cook until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes.

Once the squash is soft, turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Puree in blender (in 2 batches if needed) until smooth. Pour back into pot and heat over med-low. Add in coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, coconut aminos, coconut sugar, salt, and pepper, and stir. Cover and cook until heated through. Taste and season additionally if desired. Serve with a garnish of cilantro and crushed peanuts.

updated 10/28/15

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2013

root vegetable soup with parsley pesto

satisfying, low fat and high in vitamin C
4 servings

2 Tbsp butter

8 garlic cloves, peeled
5 cups peeled and coarsely chopped root vegetables such as golden beets, yukon gold potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, and carrots
1 cup chopped onion
29 oz (2 cans or one carton) beef broth
2-3 Tbsp horseradish
2 ciabatta rolls or 4 baguette slices, toasted
parsley pesto:
1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup toasted nuts, such as pine nuts, almonds, or pecans (if not pine nuts make sure they are finely chopped)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper

1. In stockpot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic, chopped vegetables, onion, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cook about 10 minutes or until vegetables are golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add broth; cover and simmer 10 minutes.
2. Stir in horseradish. Cook, uncovered 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, spread a small spoonful of the pesto on the cut side of the breads. Broil about 1 minute or until pesto is heated through. Drizzle any remaining pesto into the soup


watercress soup

a delicious and nutritious soup, which is great served with crusty bread or biscuits like these:
serves 4

1 Tbsp. oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 potato, peeled and diced
6 ounces watercress
14 oz. (1 2/3 cup) vegetable stock
14 oz. (1 2/3 cup) milk
lemon juice, to taste
salt and pepper
sour cream to serve

1. Heat oil and butter in a large, heavy pan and cook the onion over gentle heat for about 5 minutes, until soft but not browned. Add potato, cook gently 2-3 minutes and then cover and cook over gentle heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, strip the watercress leaves from the stalks and coarsely chop the stalks.
3. Add the stock and milk to the pan, stir in the chopped watercress stalks and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and summer gently, partially covered, for 10-12 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add all but a few of the watercress leaves and simmer for 2 minutes more.
4. Process the soup in a blender, then pour into a clean pan and heat gently with the reserved leaves. Add a little lemon juice and adjust seasoning.
5. Garnish with sour cream and enjoy!


kale and apple soup

adapted from
This soup provides a healthy dose of greens with a little indulgence in the form of bacon and crème frîache (if you so desire). Even the kids loved it.

serves 4
1/4 cup cubed bacon
1 large bunch kale
4 cups chicken stock, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium apple, cored and chopped
1/4 cup crème frîache, mascarpone cheese, sour cream or plain yogurt (The Green Barn has them all!)
freshly ground black pepper

1. Wash kale and remove bottom 1" of stem. Chop roughly into 1" pieces.
2. In a stock pot over medium heat, sautée the bacon for 1 minute. Add the kale and stir to coat with rendered fat. Add a bit of olive oil if kale sticks to pan. Cook, stirring, until kale begins to wilt. Add 2 cups chicken stock, lower heat to medium-low and cook covered, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer mixture to blender. Let cool slightly then puree. (I am always nervous about having liquids explode out due to one past experience, but if you hold down the lid with a kitchen towel it should be fine). If blender is more than half full you will need to reserve some to make room for the next step.
4. In the same skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and cook onions with salt until just barely showing color. Add chopped apples and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until apples soften and onions are translucent. Transfer mixture to blender.
5. If working in two batches (if you doubled the recipe or if you have a small blender), add half the remaining chicken stock (1 cup), cover and puree until smooth. If working in one batch, add all the remaining stock and puree until smooth. 

If soup seems too thick, add more stock or water until it reaches the desired consistency.

Garnish with a dollop of crème frîache, mascarpone cheese, sour cream or plain yogurt and a few grinds of black pepper.


carrot-ginger-yam-coconut soup

quite the title but it is quite the soup; a perfect way to ease into fall. This soup has rich creamy flavor (without  cream). This can also be made in a slow cooker.
serves 6
2 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces (or 2lb baby carrots)
1 large yam, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp curry powder
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
14 oz coconut milk

1. Place carrots, yam, onion, ginger, and curry powder into large pot or slow cooker.
2. Pour in vegetable stock.
3. Bring to boil then lower heat and simmer about 1-11/2 hour (until veggies are soft), or cook in slow cooker on low 6-8 hours.
4. Allow to cool slightly then puree in blender adding coconut milk. Return to pot and reheat. Add salt to taste.


carrot-parsnip soup

This is very tasty and easy to prepare. It doesn't even require cream to make it creamy. It had a similar taste to squash soup, but is simpler because the vegetables don't need to be peeled. The parsnip crisps add a very nice finish.

2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 1 quite large onion)
3 cups water
2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped carrot (about 1 pound)
3 cups coarsely chopped parsnip (about 1 pound)
28 oz. low sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
to taste: nutmeg, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves (you can add some of each or pick and choose to your liking)
1/2 cup (1/8-in thick) slices parsnip
1 Tbsp. fresh chives or green onion, chopped

1. Heat 1 1/2 tsp. oil in pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add chopped parsnip, carrot, water, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 35-45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

2. Puree mixture in small batches (fill blender about halfway so the hot liquid doesn't explode out (I've had that happen so I'm always nervous when I blend soup :) Stir in salt and pepper and desired spices.

3. While keeping soup warm, heat remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp. oil in a small saucepan over med-high heat. Add parsnip slices; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle parsnip chips and chives on top.

makes 6 servings


broccoli and cheddar cheese soup

The fresh croutons add a delicious crispy complement to the soup

2 1/2-in. thick slices of bread, cut into 1/2-in. pieces
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 med. russet potato, cut into 1/2-in. pieces
1 bunch broccoli (about 1 1/4 pound), heads cut into small florets, stalks thinly sliced
salt and pepper
3 cups water or chicken broth
1 cup lowfat milk
1/4 tsp. freshly grated or ground nutmeg
6 oz sharp cheddar, coarsely grated

1. Heat oven to 400F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the bread with 1 Tbsp oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 5-7 minutes; set aside.
2. Heat the remaining Tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery, garlic, onion, potato, broccoli stalks, 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally until just tender, 5-6 minutes.
3. Add the florets and 3 cups water to the vegetables, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes until broccoli is just tender.
4. Remove from heat and puree in batches in a blender. Add milk and nutmeg and heat through, about 2 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted. Serve with croutons.

Serves 4


Cream of Cauliflower Soup


5 T. butter
1 leek, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 t. dried tarragon
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 c. flour
1 cup dry white wine*
3 14.5 oz cans chicken stock (a bit less for a thicker soup)
salt to taste
1/4 t. white pepper
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 c. half & half (or milk for a lower fat version)
1 c. shredded Swiss cheese

1. Melt butter in a stockpot over medium high heat. Add leek, onion, garlic and carrot; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. 

2. Stir in tarragon and thyme and cook 1 minute longer. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and gradually stir in the wine and chicken stock. Season soup with salt and white pepper. Add cauliflower. Simmer the soup, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender. Let cool slightly
2.  Puree the soup in batches in a blender. Return to pot. Stir in half & half. Gently reheat and stir in swiss cheese until melted. Serves 6

(For an alternate version: replace the wine with chicken stock, omit the thyme, tarragon and white pepper. After stirring in half & half add black pepper to taste, 1/8 t. nutmeg, and 1 T. dry sherry. I made both soups at the same time and was pleased with how each turned out. )

*I'm not exactly a wine expert. The way I usually choose wine is by price and by how pretty the label is. Here is a list of a few dry/medium dry wines:  Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Gewurtztraminer, and Riesling (good thing the chardonnay we had on hand just happened to be on sale and look attractive when I went shopping last week!)

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